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Let's Get Connected Day tries to bring unity to community

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
“So much love wrapped in sunshine from above.”
Those words came from a poem by Clara Corry, and her phrase fit the purpose of the day at Ellis Park on Saturday. The ninth annual Let’s Get Connected Day brought together a large multi-cultural group from the area for a celebration of peace and harmony. Corry presented her poem as part of the opening ceremony.
Let’s Get Connected Day is a product of the Covenant Community Connection, a fellowship of concerned citizens of Salisbury/Rowan committed to being a multicultural voice helping to foster unity and harmony in our community, demonstrating compassion and love for each other, understanding, appreciating and respecting differences, celebrating commonalities, and affirming that everyone has value and worth.
Various performances by local groups highlighted the morning’s entertainment. Overton Elementary’s Marching Band, called the Mini Funk Factory, revved things up with a high energy performance including music from Stevie Wonder and Justin Bieber dance moves. The North Rowan Connections Choir presented several songs, including “America the Beautiful.” Marilyn Goodman danced to “Nearer My God to Thee” and “When I Look at You” by Miley Cyrus. The Salisbury Drill Team gave a rousing, rapid-fire exhibition.
Proclamations recognizing Let’s Get Connected Day were presented by Salisbury City Councilman Pete Kennedy and Rowan County representative Darlene Boling.
City of Salisbury employee Milena Sifuentes brought her sons, Immanuel and Johnny, ages 6 and 12.
“This is educational for them,” she said. “I want them to be part of the community and be aware of other cultures.”
Mary Frances Edens, retired principal at Overton Elementary, is a member of the Human Relations Council. The Covenant Community Connection is a subgroup of the Human Relations Council.
“We offer the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast and many other projects,” she said. “We provide opportunities to get to know and appreciate each other.”
Betty Jo Hardy is the Chairman of Let’s Get Connected Day.
“It is about connecting with different people, cultures and religions, not just here but everywhere. We are praying for peace and harmony,” Hardy said.
Hardy performed the chiming of the hour at noon. The Indian Native American Spiritual Circles offered a blessing of the four corners, advocating hope in all areas. Chief Fleming Otey sang the first verse of “Amazing Grace” in Cherokee and everyone then walked as a group toward the Peace Pole while singing several more verses in English.
The Ellis Park Peace Pole was dedicated by Hardy, followed by a circle of prayer that included praise in Hindu, Cherokee, Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian prayers in German, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Liberian and English. Doves were released by the Native Americans and the Rev. Steve Combs closed the dedication service by leading “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Peace poles have been dedicated in Rowan County by the Covenant Community Connection since 2007 at various locations. Sites with peace poles include City Park, Bell Tower, Dan Nicholas Park, Sloan Park, Kelsey Scott Park and now Ellis Park. To date, more than 200,000 peace poles have been dedicated in more than 190 countries around the world. They are found in town squares, city halls, schools, places of worship, parks and gardens — “any place where the spirit of peace is embraced by people of good will.”
Peace poles can be found at the Magnetic North Pole, the Pyramids of El Giza in Egypt, the Jordan River in Israel and the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.
Barbara Davis brought Amos Gillespie of Salisbury to the festivities.
“I think it is important to come together for peace and community,” Davis said. “We should respect and embrace everybody.”
Lunch was then provided for everyone. Sponsors included Cheerwine, F&M Bank, Food Lion, Salisbury Rowan PFLAG, Rowan Regional Medical Center, Rowan County Parks and Recreation and the Salisbury Rowan Human Relations Council.
Next event on tap for the Salisbury Rowan Human Relations Council is “Meet Your Neighbor,” a public forum for Communities at Risk in the Harriet Tubman Building “Little Theatre” at Livingstone College on June 12 from 7-8:30 p.m.
Hardy’s final thoughts focused on the theme of the day when she said, “As we get to know each other, it only enriches everyone and adds to our blessings. This is my passion.”

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