NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — From The Icon to Barry’s Boot Camp, a handful of businesses in The Gulch are boarding up ahead of this weekend’s March for Justice.
Crews were seen drilling and nailing up plywood Friday morning. It’s an added cost and extra work, but as protests have sparked violence across the country tourists and residents tell News 2 they understand the move.
“I don’t see boarding up windows being anti-protest, it’s just a security measure like you would shut a front door,” explained Sean McKinney who lives in The Icon.
He said the property manager sent an email to residents Friday morning about boarding up in preparation for a scheduled Saturday march.
“Just to protect the glass in case somebody throws something,” he said.
McKinney who will be walking in unity with his neighbors Saturday for George Floyd, also joined the protest through downtown Thursday.
“It was amazing, it was touching to fall on our knees and raise our hands…it’s a beautiful thing,” he said.
McKinney has hopes that tomorrow’s message is just as beautiful.
“I hope things don’t get violent, but I’ll support it. I’ll be here.”
Tourists we spoke to standing with the community as well, speaking out on police brutality and social injustice with hopes the message doesn’t get overshadowed by riots.
“I think it’s so unfortunate, but I think for me when justice doesn’t happen in the courthouses where it supposed to, on the streets then that overflows into other sectors and it’s really unfortunate for businesses and people who are you know are trying to do good work,” said Jamie Baxter whose family was visiting from Cincinnati.
While the Baxter’s are taking time to appreciate what Nashville still has to offer, artists, where they live, are turning the dull plywood on boarded-up buildings into inspiring murals and messages of unity.
“Artists are doing some of their work and spreading messages of hope and justice painting and during murals on the boarded-up buildings which has been really beautiful and you know I think just spreads a positive message,” said Baxter.
Although boarded-up buildings may not be what tourists were hoping to see in Nashville, they tell News 2 they will be back.
“Unfortunately we saw some closed stores and everything like that, pretty sad (but) compared to New York this is way better. We love this city already, so we are definitely coming back,” proclaimed Gudman Oktapianus from New York.
The “March For Justice” is scheduled for Saturday at 2, starting at the John Siegenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.