More than a dozen Black families came together for a common cause in Georgia — snatching up a bunch of land to start their own community, which they hope will be a safe haven.
The nearly 97 acres of unincorporated land recently purchased near the town of Toomsboro — about 130 miles south of Atlanta — has now been dubbed Freedom, GA … and the 19 Black families that went in on the land are hoping to make it a complete city one step at a time.
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Renee Walters and Ashley Scott are the two women who kick-started the initiative — now known as the Freedom Georgia Initiative — and they say they did it because they wanted a safe place to raise their families without fear of police brutality or other forms of oppression embedded into society. The whole idea is a community by Black people for Black people.
They also note that when the place is up and running — with an agriculture infrastructure, businesses and eventually homes — they won't exclude anyone … meaning you don't have to be Black to be a resident. They do make it clear though … it'll be a pro-Black town.
The first phase of getting all this started is clearing the land, farming it and then creating a man-made lake that they intend to use for sustainable fishing. It's a massive undertaking, and will presumably take years before it might be considered viable. Still, they're working on it.
Over Labor Day weekend … Renee, Ashley and co. hosted an event called the Big Black Camp Out, where folks flocked in from all over the country to enjoy the land with tents and RVs in tow. It also served as a ribbon-cutting ceremony to highlight the achievement.
As for what exactly inspired them to do this … Renee and Ashley say the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others — plus the protests that have erupted as a result — made them realize they needed their own space for their own people.
Pretty incredible stuff, really. But, it's somewhat also disheartening considering this is what some POC feel they need to do in order to thrive and avoid persecution.