A Texas family permanently moves to Italy because of ‘police brutality’, ‘mass shootings’ and ‘general hatred’ in the US after learning of a scheme selling cheap homes that would otherwise be empty.
Nadine Dawkins, 59, her husband Kim, 61, and their two children Lorenzo, 29, and DeNae, 27, bought a home in the southern Italian town of Latronico for 46,700 dollars.
They were inspired to move after reading about Latronico’s initiative to sell cheap homes that are already habitable, rather than ruins for a euro, or just over a dollar.
They decided to leave America three years ago following the murder of George Floyd who died on May 25, 2020 after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine and a half minutes.
Nadine also denounced Donald Trump’s administration and said “racism” and “division” had led to an exodus of black people from the United States.
The family is currently preparing for this life-changing move and will visit Panama shortly before flying to Italy.
A family in Texas permanently moves to Italy because of “police brutality”, “mass shootings” and “general hatred” in the United States
Nadine Dawkins, 59, her husband Kim, 61, and their two children Lorenzo, 29, and DeNae, 27, bought a home in the Italian town of Latronico for $46,700.
The Dawkins’ three-story home in the historic district needed little renovation but needed fresh paint on the exterior
Nadine, a former retired soldier and businesswoman, tells CNN that Floyd’s death “showed the world how we black people in America have been treated for centuries.”
She added that “all the racism, all the division, all the hate that the last administration brought to the fore” has caused an “exodus” of black people to America who are able to do this.
“Basically, the police brutality against black people, the mass shootings of domestic terrorists, and the general hatred in this country is the reason we are leaving the United States.”
She claims that “black American history has been lost” from American culture.
“We have to leave America, so we’re leaving. The United States is a divided and very divisive country, voting rights are reduced and black history is canceled. I’m tired, added Nadine.
However, Italy currently has its most right-wing government since dictator Benito Mussolini in the form of the Italian Brotherhood party which has neo-fascist roots.
Black people nationwide have often complained that racism is not taken seriously and say the problem is rampant.
Despite the potential obstacles, in 2021 they bought their new home in the heart of Latronico in Pollino National Park surrounded by hot springs. The city has a population of only 4,000 people.
Nadine sees the move as a way to connect with her Italian heritage as her great-great-grandfather moved to America in the 19th century.
“After hearing my nonna’s stories, I always felt a connection to Italy,” she said.
“As a soldier stationed in the area many years later, I vowed to return. Years later, my husband and I took our kids to see where they came from.
His Italian parent took the American name Clint Jeffrey. She doesn’t know much about her great-great-grandmother, Lucinda, who was a slave on an Arkansas plantation when Jeffrey bought her and “lived out the rest of his days with her.”
Nadine added: “Unfortunately I don’t have any further information about Lucinda. All I know is that she was a slave and he bought her.
“My grandmother and my great-grandmother never told me anything else about him. I believe it was because of such atrocities that slavery and the memories of it had on them; because of course being born in the 1800s and early 1900s was a tough time for all black people in America.
The family decided to leave America three years ago following the murder of George Floyd who died on May 25, 2020 after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.
In 2021 they bought their new home in the heart of Latronico in the Pollino National Park and it is surrounded by hot springs. The city has a population of only 4,000 people
Nadine, who served 30 years in the military, and Kim, who works for the US government, decided to email Latronico Deputy Mayor Vincenzo Castellano one night during the pandemic.
“We weren’t expecting it, he contacted us the next day. We set up a video call, he sent us a video of our selected house,” she said.
“It sealed our fate: we bought the house without seeing it, without going to Italy.
Castellano and his assistant helped them through the selling process and found local businesses to decorate and furnish their new home.
The deputy mayor was even mandated for all technical questions and was responsible for translating the deed of purchase into English.
The Dawkins’ three-story home in the Historic District needed little renovation but needed fresh paint on the exterior.
The house has two bedrooms, a kitchen which they have extended into a huge dining room and an underground cellar. They added two bathrooms to the property.
Nadine wants to teach locals English once she moves to town and wants to help put it on the map.
“We love people,” she said. ‘We’ve never met a single mean person, everyone offers coffee. One day we met a villager in a store and we became like best friends – he took us to his house for an espresso, even though I don’t even drink coffee.
The family plans to spend six months a year in Italy due to tourist visa restrictions and will spend the other six months in Panama.
But they will apply for a permanent “optional residency” visa which requires a certain amount of passive income per year.
Their ultimate goal is to obtain Italian nationality and Nadine hopes to find the origins of her Italian ancestor.
She says the only challenge is overcoming the language barrier, but says people are patient when she uses her translation app.