Tue, Dec 15|
Move Black: Black Communities and Land Ownership as a Means to Economic Power
A discussion on an economic and community development agenda for Black people. Learn about existing Black towns, land ownership, and our journey to develop thriving safe havens for Black families through current initiatives that create an economic base and generational wealth for our communities.
Time & Location
Dec 15, 2020, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
About the Event
Arkee Hodges, Ashley Scott, Derrick Smith, Alex Aaron
Arkee Hodges is a historian, educator, entrepreneur, and visionary leader. He is the Founder and President of the Black Achievement Fund and also the Founder and President of Education for Life Academy (EFLA). EFLA offers an online African history curriculum that begins with the origins of humanity in Africa 200,000 years ago - not slavery. EFLA also offers onsite classes in Black history for middle and high school students. Mr. Hodges was a professor at John Jay College for Criminal Justice in and New York City College of Technology where he taught the courses: Race and Ethnicity in America, the African American Experience, and the Sociology of Urban Poverty. In addition, Mr. Hodges served as the inaugural Director of the Children's Aid Society's (CAS) African American Male Initiative (AAMI), a groundbreaking academic and mentoring program for boys in Harlem. He has also worked with several New York City-based nonprofit organizations including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – the largest repository of Black arts and letters in the world, and Echoing Green – the premier seed funder for social entrepreneurs devoted to social change. Mr. Hodges received a B.A. in African-American Studies from the University of Virginia, and an M.P.S. in Africana Studies from Cornell University. Outside of his professional experience, Mr. Hodges enjoys traveling, real estate investing, and horticulture.
Ashley Scott is a visionary entrepreneur, creative executive, REALTOR, and CEO of The Mobile Mavens, an Atlanta-based full-service marketing agency specializing in 360-degree immersive brand experiences and digital marketing. She helps small businesses engage their target audiences by developing brand strategies and creating assets and events in support of that strategy. Ashley currently serves as the Vice-President of The Freedom Georgia Initiative formed in 2020 to create a thriving safe haven for black families in response to dealing with racial trauma, a global pandemic, and social-economic instabilities. Her marketing brilliance is behind the back to nature event to be hosted annually by FGI called the “BIG BLACK Campout” bringing black families outdoors. She is a wife to Robert Scott, an electronics technician, musician, and producer as well as the mother of two small children. Ashley is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and an active member in her church ministry.
Derrick E. D. Smith Jr. is a native of Lawton, Oklahoma. In 2003, Derrick was signed to a management contract and spent six years of his life performing and experiencing the business side of hip-hop. After traveling the nation, he returned to Lawton to complete his studies at Cameron University and to start a family. At the same time, Derrick served as a Gang Intervention Street Outreach Worker with the Lawton Gang Program. His program received credit for a 26% reduction in the juvenile crime rate in Comanche county. With a seat on the Lawton Gang Steering Committee, Derrick’s main interest became helping to save lives and uplift communities. He focused his talents, skills, and abilities on restoring black towns and communities. In 2017, he designed the Black Town Motorcycle Tour. With its success, he has expanded the tour to include non-motorcycle riders by establishing the 13 Black Towns Tour. Currently, Derrick works in schools as a history influencer encouraging youth to learn as much about themselves as possible. He still writes and records music, infusing urban entertainment with hidden histories.
Alex Aaron is the Found and CEO of Blank Slate, a minority-owned development and construction company specializing in revitalizing vacant historic properties and stabilizing distressed neighborhoods. The firm is committed to promoting economic development while preserving the existing community. Since 2016, Blank Slate has developed and sold $4.5MM across Baltimore City neighborhoods including Broadway East, Greenmount West, Hollins Market, Oliver, Park Heights, Reservoir Hill, Roland Park, and Seton Hill. Currently, Blank Slate has 11 units under construction with a total value of $2.6MM. Mr. Aaron is responsible for raising capital, guiding project vision and design as well as representing the company at community events and meetings. Alex earned a B.B.A in Finance from Howard University. He currently resides in Baltimore City with his wife and two sons.