Blow the Freedom Whistle long and loud Ms. Dolly, it has to be heard around the world

Blow the Freedom Whistle long and loud Ms. Dolly, it has to be heard around the world

Itah Sadu

Canada’s 8th annual Ride For Freedom is coming to a Smart Phone near year for 2020.  Scheduled to take place on August 1st, the train ride to mark Emancipation Day, is happening this year online!

Held every year in Toronto, the Annual Emancipation Day Underground Freedom Train Ride usually sees over 1,000 people take a midnight subway ride from Union Station to Sheppard station.  The TTC has always provided the special midnight train and a volunteer crew, and people from all across the country have come to the city to ride the rail. But, because of Covis 19, the train will not be leaving the station in 2020.

"We are excited about bringing the train ride to a virtual platform and the world's stage," said Itah Sadu, Founder and Chair of the Freedom Train Ride Committee. "This year we are connecting with people nationally and internationally with the theme of diasporic crossings and relationships, and furthering the conversations on reparations for people of African descent.  We have traveled by foot, by bus, by train and by water, and now we are traveling virtually."

Last year over 1,200 people took the train to Sheppard West Station to recognize the brave people who travelled the Underground Railroad in the 19th century to freedom in Canada. After leaving the TTC train at midnight everyone went into the station to celebrate the start of the new Emancipation Day.

In 2020, even though it is all happening on computer screens, there will be a real live conductor to blow the ceremonial whistle. Yesterday the A Different Booklist Cultural Centre and the 2020 Freedom Train Ride Committee announced that this year's Conductor is 90-something Dorothy Sharp.

“Dorothy Sharp is a pillar in the Ontario Black Community,” Sadu told the Caribbean Camera. “Affectionately known as "Ms. Dolly", she is over ninety years strong and is the matriarch of a family that has made significant contributions in Canada. “

The train ride will be held online and live on A Different Booklist Cultural Centre's YouTube page beginning July 31st, 2020 at 10:30 PM and running to August 1st, 2020 at 12:15 AM.   The cultural Centre’s website is https://adbcc.org/ and the phone number is 416-538-0889