Amid protests over the police killings of several Black men and women, a group of 19 Black families has come together to purchase 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, Georgia. The group plans to build a new city in the area.
Ashley Scott, a Georgia-based realtor, started The Freedom Georgia Initiative with a group of friends.
"Our vision is to develop our vast resource-rich 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, GA for the establishment of an innovative community for environmentally sustainable-living, health & wellness, agricultural & economic development, arts & culture for generations to come," the group explains on their website.
"Our aim is to be a premier recreational, educational, and cultural destination for Black families across the African diaspora. We welcome you, your family, and all Black allies to support us in our vision to be the change we want to see!"
In an op-ed for Blavity, Scott explained that the idea came after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was killed by a group of white men while out on a jog.
“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,” Scott wrote.
“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.”
"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. That 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."
"We discovered the viral post about Toomsboro, Georgia, for sale and we joined several Facebook groups discussing building Black cities and new Black Wall Streets — and we were here for it," Scott explains. "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."
Together with Renee Walters, an entrepreneur and investor, Scott attended local city council and zoning meetings. They then assembled a group of 19 families and purchased the land.
“We figured we could try to fix a broken system, or we could start fresh,” Scott wrote. “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.”
Scott's plan for the land includes Black farmers, vendors, and contractors.
“Amass land, develop affordable housing for yourself, build your own food systems, build manufacturing and supply chains, build your own home school communities, build your own banks and credit unions, build your own cities, build your own police departments, tax yourselves and vote in a mayor and a city council you can trust,” Scott added.
“Build it from scratch! Then go get all the money the United States of America has available for government entities and get them bonds. This is how we build our new Black Wall Streets.”