Shawn Dromgoole has lived in the same Nashville neighborhood for his entire life. His family moved to the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville over 54 years ago and has owned the same house ever since. However, gentrification has inevitably pushed his fellow Black neighbors out of their homes due to surging home prices, and new, white neighbors had moved in.
During the George Floyd protests and general social and political unrest, Shawn began noticing posts on his neighborhood NextDoor forum explaining that people needed to "keep their eyes open for suspicious Black men" in his neighborhood. The posts combined with everything else going on began to strike fear into Shawn, he felt scared to walk around the neighborhood he has lived in for his entire life.
Shawn posted on NextDoor and Facebook seeking advice from friends:
He had no idea that his post would begin a movement, first in his neighborhood and then throughout America. Messages began pouring in from his neighbors who offered to walk with him. The next time Shawn decided to go for a walk he posted on Facebook and NextDoor asking if anybody wanted to walk with him, he left his neighbors and friends with the time and location of his next walk.
To Shawn's surprise, 75 neighbors of all races showed up to walk with him. “I was so overwhelmed, I still can’t find the words," Shawn said in the video below.
Shawn's walks became more and more popular, with the last walk being attended by over 300 people. We Walk With Shawn is now a nationwide movement! Shawn hopes to honor Black men who were killed around the country by walking in the hometowns of Treyvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tamir Rice. Eventually, Shawn dreams of walking around the entire country bringing hope to everyone who is afraid to walk alone.
“I want to walk with anyone who doesn't feel safe in their community, specifically Black people. I want to help humanize us because so often we are deemed a threat and it's not fair. We're normal humans trying to survive like everyone else," We Walk With Shawn
Watch the whole video, here.