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Jazz for Justice and Peace in Salisbury

By Karen Puckett
For The Salisbury Post
Sudan Rowan invites the public to attend Jazz for Justice and Peace at the Looking Glass Artist Collective’s Black Box Theatre, on Thursday, Feb. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. The theatre is located at 405 N. Lee St., at the corner of Kerr and Lee streets.
The evening includes Black History Month exhibits by local artists, a presentation by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, live entertainment by the Joe Robinson Jazz Band, refreshments and a cash wine/beer bar.
Tickets may be purchased at the Literary Bookpost, 119 S. Main St. in Salisbury, or by calling Rowan Blues and Jazz Society at 704-636-2811. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. The evening’s proceeds benefit Sudan Rowan and the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society.
Sudan Rowan is an ecumenical/interfaith Rowan County-based coalition that joins hands with Sudanese partners in their efforts to achieve peace and sustainability. The group is sending an entourage to the village of Aliap in Unity State, South Sudan in late February to deliver school supplies.
Sudan Rowan will also finalize plans with village leaders on how to best further the village’s current educational initiatives.
Aliap, Unity State is the home of “Lost Boy” John Madut, the inspiration behind the formation of Sudan Rowan. In the late 1980s, Unity State was one of the most severely victimized areas of the mostly Christian and animist South during Sudan’s 20-year civil war.
During the war, militants from northern Sudan’s corrupt Khartoum government attacked civilians due to conflicts over resources, civil rights, and control of oil supplies in the South.
Boys around 6 to 9 years of age in South Sudanese society are traditionally in charge of tending the cattle outside of their villages in “cattle camps.” Many of these boys were working in the cattle camps as they saw their families and villages being attacked. Thousands of boys fled the attacks and ended up in United Nations refugee camps in Kenya.
In 2001 Madut, now in his 20s, was transferred to the United States by the INS along with about 3,800 other Lost Boys in order to build a new life, become educated, and hopefully create an avenue to help rebuild South Sudan.Madut was placed in Atlanta, where he continues to work and attend college.
A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between the Northern Sudanese government and an interim Southern Sudanese government in 2005. Still, basic services such as water, schools and medical facilities are poorly lacking as massive reconstruction efforts must be undertaken to overcome the desolation created by the war. According to the Educational Ministry of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) there are currently no plans to build a school in Unity State.
In March 2006, Madut visited South Sudan to visit his surviving family members.
While there, Madut was devastated to witness the suffering of his people and determined to return to the United States and tell their stories and to create a nonprofit that would find ways to improve infrastructure in the areas of water, education and medical help for Aliap.
As a result, Madut spent a year speaking to community groups in the Atlanta area, but was unable to find anyone to undertake his project there.
In March 2007, St. John’s Lutheran Church hosted the film, “The Lost Boys of Sudan.” A local youth pastor and advocate for the Lost Boys happened to attend that event and ultimately, Sudan Rowan was developed.
Sudan Rowan is a charitable non-profit under Section 501(c)(3). All donations are tax deductible.
Donations may be sent to: Sudan Rowan, P.O. Box 412, Salisbury, N.C. 28145.
For more information on Sudan Rowan, contact sudanrowan@yahoo.com or visit www.sudanrowan.org.

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