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Get to know your neighbors at forum

By Chris Shoaf
For the Salisbury Post
When I was young and talking to my parents about a friend from school, they would usually ask what the friend’s last name was. And more often than not, once I mentioned their last name, my parents ó usually my dad ó would have a story to tell me. It was a different time then, and familiar names often had familiar histories. I find it hard to believe that this happens much now-a-days. People are too busy, it seems, to know the folks next door, let alone who our children are texting.
I’ve wondered, though: Do you think it’s possible that our neighbor wonders about us as much as we wonder about them? It’s seems that when we ask about our new neighbors, it’s from the perspective that it’s entirely our choice whether to get to know them better or not. Maybe our neighbor is thinking the same thing about us and wondering if we’re worth the effort.
Isn’t it nice to know that it’s natural to be interested in people? Years ago, a party line was not a political term ó it was how we kept up with our neighbor. We’re much more efficient today, though. Now we have Facebook. But are we more connected now? Are we worth the effort to know better?
Is this endeavor, Covenant Community Connection, along with Catawba College’s Community Forum, will be hosting a “Meet Your Neighbor” discussion Tuesday (tomorrow night) at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at the college’s Tom Smith Auditorium, and all neighbors are welcome. Forum participants will be from various communities, including Islamic, African-American, Hispanic, African immigrant, PFLAG, Asian and Jewish. The discussion will be moderated by Chris Verner, editorial page editor of the Salisbury Post. Those attending will be privileged to learn about the richness of our community as well as the benefit of a greater understanding of all our neighbors.
The Covenant Community Connection (CCC) is a sub-group of the Salisbury/Rowan Human Relations Council. Led by Betty Jo Hardy since 2000, it has been meeting each month at the Milford Hills United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall and discussing ways to think more inclusively about the community of Salisbury/Rowan. And we’ve come up with some ways that you may have heard of.
One is an event at Dan Nicholas Park on May 16 called “Let’s Get Connected Day.” The theme this year is “Community = Neighbor + Me.” The mathematical formula appealed to the members of the CCC because there is a logical certainty to its effective application.
Students from the fourth through the 12th grades are invited to submit their own unique inspiration in art and essay based on this year’s theme. Also taking place will be the dedication of a Peace Pole with the inscription, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages. During the dedication, members from the community are invited to join hands in a Circle of Prayer to symbolize a united effort to make peace a reality in our lifetime for all mankind.
Please join us at the discussion tomorrow night and at Let’s Get Connected Day on May 16. Being a good neighbor is really worth the effort.”
“No tree has branches so foolish as to fight amongst themselves.”ó Ojibwa Indian saying
– – –
Chris Shoaf is a member of the Covenant Community Connection.

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