GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Some Gwinnett County activists are protesting the development of a 100-tree fruit forest and Mahatma Gandhi statue at Bryson Park in Gwinnett County.
Cheryle Renee Moses is an activist, publisher of Black Gwinnett Magazine and is planning to run for the Georgia State Senate in 2020.
Moses hosted a protest Sunday to protest the Gandhi statue and fruit forest.
Moses is opposed to this development. She says it is a misuse of taxpayer dollars.
She told 11Alive that approximately 70 people came to the protest.
“We’re talking about all of our tax dollars that will be spent to maintain [the trees],” she said.
During an October 1 Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners accepted a donation of 100 fruit trees from the Indian Friends of Atlanta—a project valued at $8,000.
The nonprofit also donated volunteer assistance in planting the trees, according to a statement from Gwinnett County.
“Yeah, they’re going to donate it but it’s Gwinnett County who is going to maintain it,” Moses said.
“It takes a lot of time and money to maintain fruit trees.”
The Indian Friends of Atlanta donated the fruit trees in honor of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday and are intended to function as a “food forest.”
Food forests are designed to provide healthy food options in communities where there are limited healthy food options.
Moses also said that a food forest is unnecessary in the Lilburn community.
“This park is definitely in a place that has access to food. There are grocery stores and markets all around,” she said.
The median household income in Lilburn in 2017 was $54,276, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nanak Bhatti is a member of the Organization for Minorities of India. He told 11Alive that he is not only opposed to the food forest and Gandhi statue because of the misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Bhatti also said Gandhi held racist and discriminatory views and this statue would not be positive for Gwinnett County.
“He wanted to uphold the caste system,” he said.
Cheryle Moses said the Gwinnett County Commissioners approved this project without comment from the general public.
"The county didn't follow the proper protocols," she said.
Moses told 11Alive that she and another group of residents will be retaining a lawyer to potentially file an injunction before October 19.
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