Families aim to find 'safe haven,' build 'city of Freedom' for Black people on 97 acres in Georgia

Families aim to find 'safe haven,' build 'city of Freedom' for Black people on 97 acres in Georgia

September 17, 2020

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Nineteen Black families who collectively purchased nearly 100 acres in Georgia they call the "future city of Freedom" want to inspire a sense of ownership and leave a legacy for the next generation, founders Renee Walters and Ashley Scott told Fox News.

Walters and Scott call their project the Freedom Georgia Initiative and hosted a "Big Black Campout" over Labor Day weekend to spread the word.

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The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minnesota "sparked something in us to go out and do something — find a safe haven, a special place for us where we can go and relax and be free and breath," Walters said.

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    L to R: Renee Walters and Ashley Scott on their land in Wilkinson County, Ga. (Freedom Georgia Initiative)

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    Nineteen Black families purchased nearly 100 acres of land in Wilkinson County, Ga. (Freedom Georgia Initiative)

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    Members of the Freedom Georgia Initiative walking on their private Black-owned land in Wilkinson County, Ga. (Freedom Georgia Initiative)

The land, which is about two hours southeast of Atlanta, is a blank space for now. Walters and Scott envision it as a retreat center that will eventually include a tiny home retirement community and homes for the "founding families."

"We are a very different group of people," Walters said. "Some of us have children. Some of us are single. Most of us are married. Everybody has different professions. We've got entertainers, pastors, therapists, doctors."

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Their goal is to build a manmade lake and farmhouse by the end of the year.

"We're dead last when it comes to wealth," Scott said. "When it comes to the people who have been impacted the most by the pandemic, it's Black American families."

"When I look at ways to solve our problems, I think it's important for the brightest talent in our community to have the resources, to have the space to think and to innovate," she continued.

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Freedom Georgia Initiative is about getting in the mindset to build generational wealth, Scott said.

"We can’t ever get ahead if we’re not giving our children a step up," she said. "The upper level of power and leaders are w\White men, and that’s just the reality of America. … We can’t expect White men to solve Black woman and Black men problems because we have different perspectives. This is a chance for us to create a safe space for us to self-determine … what our communities need."

Scott and Walters are both mothers, and Walters said her teens are "really proud" of Freedom Georgia Initiative.

"A lot of people expect entertainers and musicians and things like that to influence our children, and I always say I’m my children’s biggest influence," Walters said.

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