12th South community supports neighbor with just one walk

Posted at 8:17 PM, May 29, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — He was scared of the community he no longer recognized, but Shawn Dromgoole of Nashville says he was overwhelmed to see just how much those same people cared.

Shawn never set out to make a point with the videos he posted to Facebook and YouTube. His only goal was to be transparent with his feelings.

When you talk to Shawn, he’s not afraid to tell you that when he walks on 12th Avenue South, he doesn’t feel comfortable. He’s afraid to do so and when you add the mask, he says it only makes matters worse.

“When I was a kid, there was one thing my mom told me to remember and it was that I was a black man,” said Dromgoole.

What that means for Shawn is no matter where he is, even in the neighborhood he’s known all his life, he feels someone could mistake him for a threat.

He’s spent the past three days watching racial tension engulf cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

“In my mind all these things are bombarding my thoughts and my emotions and I think, I don’t want to be a number,” said Dromgoole.

Shawn decided to share how he felt, by posting on the NextDoor app that he was afraid to walk his neighborhood and in minutes the responses began pouring in.

“My neighbor said we’ll walk with you. One after one,” said Dromgoole.

Ten turned to 20, then 50. All joined by Shawn’s mentor, his first boss, his music teacher, just to name a few.

As they walked to Sevier Park, people were on their balconies, clapping and cheering for what Shawn says was just an honest thought.

“I was scared to walk alone and now look who is behind me. Look who has my back," said Dromgoole. “I didn’t do any of this to be seen. I didn’t do anything for any reason. I just wanted to take a walk in my neighborhood, but if it’s going to change the way people see people like me, then I want to do that."

Shawn plans to host another walk next Thursday at 6 P.M., after getting several requests from people in the neighborhood. Shawn says everyone is welcome to take part in the walk which begins on the 2700 block of 9th Ave. South.