Friday, June 12, 2020

You never walk alone

Shawn Dromgoole, 29, has lived in the "12 South" neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee, all his life. As a young man, he watched his neighborhood gentrify. Black families moved out and white families moved in. With each passing year, he felt less welcome. On an app that connects neighbors, he saw frequent postings to look out for "suspicious black men." Afraid to walk outside his yard, he finally shared his own concerns. "Yesterday I wanted to walk around my neighborhood but the fear of not returning home alive kept me on my front porch."

Unexpectedly, responses from his community poured in. Neighbors who Dromgoole did not know asked if they could join his walk. Finally he posted when he'd take his next walk, and anyone who wanted to join him was welcome. At the meeting spot, he found 75 neighbors waiting for him. "I was so overwhelmed," he said, "I still can't find the words."

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