Freedom is fraught with perils and promise.
For the past five years, I have followed the footsteps of freedom seekers across parts of the Deep South, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Northern Ireland, and, more recently, along the Underground Railroad through Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Today the Underground Railroad, and the physical remnants of its network splinter and come together as one, always heading north throughout the mid-Atlantic.
Following this journey of the African American migration by foot, one feels the inner determination of the freedom seeker to succeed after walking many hours and days; one feels the pressure points of oppression entering through the soles of their feet towards the end of each walking day; and one dreams of the radiance of tomorrow while keenly aware freedom remains days and possibly weeks away.
Walk to Freedom is a long-distance walking initiative designed to stimulate discussions with communities about the importance of Civil Rights, Health, Immigration and Freedom.
In April 2021, I arrived in New York City after walking over 250 miles from Maryland to Harlem following the Underground Railroad.
On Thursday July 14, 2022, I will embark on a new Walk to Freedom journey from the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in Harlem (pictured above) to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, a distance of more than 500 miles.
Like many Freedom Seekers, I wasn't gifted the time to plan this journey. A window of opportunity opened last week, and suddenly I have one month free to complete my next Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad walking journey.
I am seeking both monetary and non-monetary assistance. I have some personal savings to start, but I will quickly exhaust them after one to two weeks on the road while maintaining other monthly financial commitments. Donations in the amount of $100, $50, or even $25 will be greatly appreciated to assist with meals, campground fees, ground transportation to and from beginning and end points, multi-media data plan, emergency trip insurance, and severe weather lodging. While walking across Alabama and Mississippi in 2018, I had to take cover in the nearest motels from extreme weather a few times due to tornado warnings.
Since I have most of the camping gear needed for this walk, my equipment needs are low. A water proof rain jacket or poncho, a headlamp, and quality new or lightly used hiking shoes, size 10 men, 43 Euro, are all I need in this category.
Non-monetary assistance is also great. I need, community connections to potential overnight lodging across Eastern New York, meals, help with outreach to churches, meeting houses, community groups, and environmental orgs interested in guest speakers, or joining me during the walk.
My itinerary, which is a work in progress, involves walking in and out of the following communities between Harlem and Albany:
Harrison (The Hills)
Brewster (Putnam County)
Pawling (Dutchess County)
Hudson (Columbia County)
Please check back for more information on the second leg of the walk from Albany to St. Catharines, Ontario.