Nobody should be forced to live in fear of walking around their neighborhood alone. However, that’s exactly what best-selling author and TEDx speaker Shola Richards’ life is like. In a viral Facebook post, the father of two shared how he’s “scared to death” to go outside without taking his girls or his dog with him. And that’s even after having spent the last 4 years living in his house in Los Angeles.

Richards told Bored Panda that he didn’t expect his post to get so many people’s attention. “After the unarmed killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, I was devastated. I have always been a highly-sensitive person, so I tend to feel things more deeply than most folks, and these brutal executions hit me hard,” he revealed how strongly he reacted. “After seeing the Christian Cooper/Amy Cooper confrontation in the park, it completely pushed me over the edge into despair. Some of my white friends couldn’t understand why I was so upset, so I wrote the Facebook post in the hopes that it would be informative to them, and cathartic for me. But no, in a million years I would not have ever expected this amount of attention.”

Scroll down to read Richards’ story in his own words and for the rest of his interview with Bored Panda.

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Shola Richards is scared to walk alone in his neighborhood, so he takes one or both of his daughters and his dog

Image credits: Shola MRichards

Richards’ post went viral and got a lot of people’s attention

He told us that based on what he’s hearing from people all around the world, his post changed a lot of people’s perspectives. “When I write, my hope is to explain things in a way that is easily understood, and ideally, in a way that could open minds to a different way of thinking. I’m thrilled and humbled to hear that many people thought that I was successful in that effort.”

The neighborhood reacted “exceptionally well” to Richards’ story on Facebook. “The level of support and kindness that I’ve received from my neighbors in the past two weeks has been off the charts. In some cases, some neighbors admitted to me that my post has caused them to re-examine some of their biases, and I’m grateful for that. Most importantly, our neighbors are now having the often awkward, messy, and complicated conversations about race (that were avoided before), and I am very hopeful that we will be a better neighborhood because of it.”

Here’s a photo of best-selling author Richards and his dog, Ace

Image credits: Shola MRichards

Richards is an optimist and he told us that he feels very hopeful about the direction that the world’s headed in right now. “The level of energy, passion, and dedication around addressing systemic racism feels different to me, and I believe that long-term positive change will come from these efforts.”

He continued: “Sure, there are people who would rather stay asleep as they wish for a return to the Tiger King-binging, Zoom background-searching, stimulus check-cashing part of 2020, but that ship has sailed. The reality is that we’re all here now, and I sincerely hope that we will use this opportunity to literally change the world. As always, in order for it to happen, we will need to do it together.”

Richards also shared that he published a follow-up article to his post which you can read right here.

Richards’ Facebook rant and list of his insights about how the world works got a lot of attention. It got more than 494k reactions, was shared over 596k times, and was widely covered in the news.

Some people call Richards a cheerleader and Brother Teresa while he sees himself as a champion of those who value integrity. He has written two books (Go Together and Making Work Work) and he speaks to organizations all over the US about creating safe, collaborative, and bully-free work environments. Oh, and Richards is an ENFP in the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, so he has that in common with yours truly.

This is how social media users reacted to Richards’ post