March for our Freedom (MFOF) was formed, during a global pandemic, from one woman's inability to sit idly by while innocent black men, women, and children were being killed without any justice or respect for their lives. Below is Aeriel Lane's Call to Action asking her community to Make A Path By Marching:
“I have started this group because it is painfully obvious that our lives are not valued. The hashtags are too many to recount. I know many of us have been debating the question of whether Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be our guide or whether Malcolm X is our man during these times. All I can say is, I don’t really know, but I think we should start with simply being loud and forcing our voices to be heard
My hope is that we can quickly pull together a group to march in Gainesville very soon. If you are open to participating in something like that please chime in. If you know of others who would like to as well, please feel free to add them to this group and let's start getting something off the ground.”
MFOF started as a Facebook group with an invite to 10 of Ms. Lane's friends. Within 3 days the group had grown to over 3,000 people ready to activate and be a part of systemic change. In the days following the community call to action the group has grown to over 5,000 individuals ready to continue changing their communities and affecting changes nationally.
The first community impact initiative was the community march. The march garnered over 3,000 participants, wearing masks and practicing social distancing when possible, to adhere to guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control during the global pandemic of Covid-19. The community march was a huge success and placed a spotlight on the community needing compassionate, charismatic, and willing leader.
To scale up and replicate the success of MFOF's community march, Ms. Lane would regroup with her close friends/team to formally start the non-profit, March for Our Freedom. To continue to impact the community while building an organization, the group's second community impact initiative was implemented, Cash Mobs. Cash Mobs, similar to flash mobs, brings together a group of people to help boost sales and community support for particular local businesses. The group's first cash mob would take place at Lucille's Southern Kitchen; a black owned business located in the heart of Gainesville's East Side.
In the first 30 days of MFOF inception a community partnership was made with the City of Gainesville, Gainesville Police Department, and the Community Foundation of Florida.