Annual Ride for Freedom goes online


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 1, the train ride to mark Emancipation Day,  will be online  this year.

 At the Annual Emancipation Day Underground Freedom Ride in Toronto, about 1,000  people usually take a midnight trip by subway 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 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 stage,” said Itah Sadu, Founder and Chair of the Freedom Train Ride Committee.

At Union Station the underground railroad crowd listens to speaker

“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 travelled 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 train at midnight, everyone went into the station to celebrate the start of the new Emancipation Day.

Freedom train arrives at Sheppard

In 2020, even though it is all happening on computer screens, there will be a real live conductor to blow the ceremonial whistle.

Yesterday, A Different Booklist Cultural Centre and the 2020 Freedom Train Ride Committee announced that this year’s Conductor is 90-something year old Dorothy Sharp.

“She is a pillar in the Ontario Black Community,” Sadu told The Caribbean Camera.

“Affectionately known as “Ms. Dolly,” she 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&#39  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