Jully Black: 'When I hold this award I hold this as the baton that my mom passed to me'
Watch Jully Black perform 'Glass Ceiling' and receive the Rosemary Sadlier Award
On August 1st, on stages across Ontario and Quebec, Black Canadian artists expressed what freedom means to them through music, poetry, performance and dance as part of FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2020, a program marking Emancipation Day, the day that slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire on August 1st, 1834.
As part of the program, R&B singer and actress Jully Black performed her song "Glass Ceiling" and was the recipient of the Rosemary Sadlier Award. The honour is named for Rosemary Sadlier, the president of the Ontario Black History Society from 1993 to 2015 who pushed for recognition of Black history through education and worked toward — and achieved — national recognition of Black History Month. Sadlier continues to work toward official recognition and celebration of August 1st as Emancipation Day across the country.
"I dedicate this award to every little girl and boy in at-risk communities, Jane and Finch in particular," said Jully Black in her acceptance speech. "I'm grateful for this award because I'm finally in love with the skin that I'm in. I no longer desire to be anybody but Jullyann Inderia Gordon, who you may know as Jully Black. When I hold this award I hold this as the baton that my mom passed to me."
"The race is not for the swift or for the strong but for those that endure. And so I want to invite everyone to endure. Today I firmly and boldly unapologetically stand in the gap for every human being and I stand for every Black woman, girl, boy, man, everybody who's been afraid to operate in their freedom. One team, one dream. Rosemary Sadlier, thank you."