On Tuesday afternoon the Minnesota State University, Mankato’s 45th Annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Conference continued its panel by steering the conversation to The Freedom Georgia Initiative.
This initiative, founded by Renee Walters and Ashley Scott, was created to help Black people live in a land that protects them from climate harm and food insecurity. The initiative also focuses on innovation and technology.
Finding the land that would sustain the mission took time, but Walter and Scott were able to travel all around in order to find the perfect spot that would sustain the mission.
After dedicating hours upon hours scouting out the right land, Walter walked up on 96.71 acres of land and thought, “We knew. We saw the land and just knew.”
This was when the founders knew they had to stop making excuses, but instead start making action to match their words.
“We need to protect our community for future generations,” Scott said.
As stated on its website, the mission of the initiative was to help Black families heal from racial trauma and economic instabilities they have been experiencing, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scott commented on the importance of this project as, “We need to thrive, not just survive.”
She said that when everyone unifies and collaborates together they can create a safe space for everyone, which is essential to the initiative.
Creating this project wasn’t simple and took lots of work between Walters and Scott, as well as anyone who believed in Freedom, Georgia. The two founders worked with what they had and built up from it. Their hard work and advocacy turned heads and made people come to help out in any way they could.
Walters and Scott pointed out that any teamwork and help is welcomed and appreciated.
“The diversity of voices gives you more knowledge to move forward,” Scott stated.
To make this dream become reality, the Black Achievement Fund has been an essential aspect of the initiative. This fund helps Black people follow through the projects it brings to the table, whether it be scholarships or investments. (To learn more or make a donation visit baf.solutions.)
Reaching out to friends and families, as well as the Black Achievement Fund, they helped Freedom, Georgia be lifted from the ground up.
The group has also recognized that this community isn’t complete without the help of businesses to provide jobs, access to resources, and to allow them to be a functioning town. Many of these businesses helping Freedom, Georgia are ones that are Black-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and BIPOC-owned, as stated on the organization’s website.
To make all of this possible, Walter and Scott connected with their local government through town meetings.
“Get to know your community. Go to town meetings and make connections within your local government. These are the people who will help you if you put in the effort,” Walter commented.
To help build on the Freedom Georgia Initiative, visit their website thefreedomgeorgiainitiative.com.