By Stacy M. Brown
Stephanie Perry quit her night shift pharmacy technician job in 2015 to tour Southeast Asia, Australia, and Europe for a year.
“I felt like my life revolved around my work, but traveling around the world showed me that there is another way,” Perry, a Black woman in her 40s, told Bloomberg News. “You can have a full life in other countries that we don’t necessarily have in the US.”
According to Bloomberg, Black professional women have left the U.S. for a better life during the past three years due to COVID-19 and societal unrest. As a result, some are going with their kids to build enterprises abroad.
Michelle Wedderburn, now in her 50s, fled Florida for San Miguel de Allende in 2018 with her 10-year-old son because she wanted to raise him bilingually. She also expressed concern about school shootings and drug availability in South Florida.
She said living in Mexico allows for a more uncomplicated childhood, Wedderburn argued.
In January 2020, Atlanta tech professional Ashley Cleveland received her third pink slip in five years. After counseling for burnout and severe depression, the 36-year-old decided to shift her environment.
She said she lived in a society “that didn’t value Black women’s mental or physical health.”
Cleveland moved her 2- and 11-year-old daughters with her to Tanzania before settling in South Africa in January.
In September 2020, Perry co-founded the ExodUS Summit, a digital platform to help women determine how to leave America.
On the site, people talk about planning for long-term travel, finding house-sitting jobs abroad, and turning a skill into an online business.
During Perry’s first event, more than 3,000 registered. Last year, the online Summit hosted over 4,500 women.
Today, Bloomberg noted that a private Facebook group includes almost 9,000 members sharing relocation tips and hosting meetups in the U.S. and overseas. Other groups have also formed since 2020, such as Blaxit Global.
“This is a movement,” Perry told the outlet. “I think Black women have discovered that the American dream is not necessarily possible in America.”
A survey of 2020 summit attendees showed that 25% to 30% of members earned more than $200,000 a year and held graduate or professional degrees. The majority are also Generation Xers or baby boomers.
Mexico, Portugal, and the Caribbean attract Black Americans. Some moved to Bangkok. Perry predicts this will be another Great Migration, partly because those places have cheaper living costs.
“ExodUS Summit was truly the most inspiring thing I’ve taken part in,” Amanda, who didn’t provide her last name, wrote on the Summit page. “Moving abroad was just an idea before. But, after the Summit, it became achievable.”
Meanwhile, Perry told Bloomberg that she would live in San José, Costa Rica, for five years.
She emphasized looking at the history that has created the current reality as a reason to seek out a different life with better results.
“There are people who expect to magically get something from the United States that they have not gotten so far, and that their parents have never gotten, and their great-grandparents,” she insisted.
“If what you want is a life of peace, a life of safety, a life of joy, you should have that, and it’s much easier for Black women to have that in other countries.”
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