Recent cases of racial-motivated violence made many people feel unsafe, no matter where they live or if they are directly endangered. 19 black families decided they value their safety more than anything and joined their forces to create a safe utopian community. In order to make it happen, they have purchased 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, Georgia.
Ashley Scott, a Georgia-based realtor, started the Freedom Georgia Initiative. She said that the idea came after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. He was killed by a group of white men while out jogging.
“I am concerned. At times distraught. For the first time ever in my life, I felt disempowered. So much so that the overachieving, solution-oriented, practical, non-emotional person that I am had to stop,” Scott said.
“I sought counseling from a black therapist and it helped. It helped me to realize that what we as black people are suffering from is racial trauma. We are dealing with systemic racism. We are dealing with deep-rooted issues that will require more than protesting in the streets. It will take for us as a people, as Atlanta rapper and activist Killer Mike so eloquently put, ‘To plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize.’ So that’s what I and my good friend Renee Walters, an entrepreneur and investor, did.”
Together, they started working on making the world a better place. “We wanted to make some kind of difference that could ensure the safety of our black sons and black husbands when they went about their lives just breathing and being. We wanted to do something to amass black power to affect real change.”
“We considered the reality that even in Atlanta, with an exceptional black woman like Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, there was still no respect for the humanity of blacks,” Scott says. “Even with Erika Shields, a black woman chief of police at the helm, there was the murder of Rayshard Brooks. We can see there is something much deeper happening. Politics, as usual, isn’t the answer. Something new has to happen.”
They’ve joined a number of Facebook groups debating building black cities and new Black Wall Streets and found many people who share their views and desires. “It was clear to me that developing new cities was necessary because these old ones, even with strong black leadership, have too many deep-rooted problems.”
Scott’s realtor profession allowed him to have insights into zoning and city council meetings. “At first, I attended wanting to get a few new clients, but seeing the progress of the newly created city of Stonecrest, Georgia, inspired me.”
It encouraged him to look more deeply into local political affairs and how cities are established. “My research into cityhood gave me insight that this is how we change our communities and build real black power.”
“Black power comes from wealth,” Scott says. “Wealth is created through cash-flow and assets. Who has more cash flow and assets than governments? Where does the cash-flow come from? Taxes and bonds. Who pays taxes? Landowners. Who runs governments? People. We are the people. We have to be more involved, especially young people!”
Scott understands that people might start wondering, “What in the world does all this have to do with why you all purchased land in the midst of protests and a pandemic, and how you used cooperative economics to do it?”
“We figured we could try to fix a broken system or we could start fresh. Start a city that could be a shining example of being the change you want to see. We wanted to be more involved in creating the lives we really want for our black families. And maybe, just maybe, create some generational wealth for ourselves by investing in the land. Investing in creating a community that is built around our core values and beliefs.”
The group intends to create a community with green, environmentally safe, and eco-friendly materials. The community will be self-sufficient and thriving with a food system built by black farmers to provide food security for all their residents. It will also prioritize diversity and inclusion by hiring BIPOC and women suppliers and contractors.
“We made a PowerPoint presentation the day after we left the ‘Toomsboro for Sale’ open house. We called our like-minded friends and family. We impressed upon them the urgent power of now. We brought 19 families together on one accord during a series of online meetings. We started an LLC. We considered a field, and we bought it. We bought 96.71 acres of land!”