Photos and story by Sabrina Tyson / Contributing Writer
Residents from all over Murfreesboro on Friday afternoon came to see how the City Square prepared for the “White Lives Matter” rally, which is set to happen Saturday afternoon. Businesses on the square took to boarding up their windows to protect their storefronts in case of violence.
Mark Ebersberger, a contractor with L&L Contractors, was out helping neighboring businesses prepare their storefronts for the rally on Saturday by putting up plywood.
“We’re just cautiously optimistic,” Ebersberger said. “We just prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’m just hoping that everyone will come out and behave, but if they don’t, at least we’re protected.”
Local businesses in the square also had signs in front of their buildings for Murfreesboro Loves, a local group that will be holding unity events in response to the White Lives Matter rally away from the Square on Saturday. The signs read, “#Murfreesboroloves—a community action against hate.”
A few of the boarded-up storefronts also acted as a way for people to communicate messages of love and peace. Murfreesboro residents used sharpies to write messages, ranging from poems and song lyrics to words of acceptance.
“Everyone, of course, has their freedom of speech, but I just hope it’s in a respectful manner and there’s no violence, especially for our town,” said Lauren Hill, a 23-year-old Murfreesboro native. “We don’t promote violence in any way. I’ve been here my whole life … It’s just an eerie feeling around here.”
The White Lives Matter rally is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and many participants are expected to move to Murfreesboro until 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The counter-protest events held by Murfreesboro Loves are scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
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