Faith town board continue to hear comments about Fourth of July parade

Published 12:10 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

FAITH — The Faith Board of Aldermen are continuing to hear comments about the town’s annual Fourth of July parade, which has been steeped in controversy for at least two years as residents have debated the appropriateness of some of the parade’s participants flying the Confederate flag.

Michael Chapman, who lives in Bostian Heights, told the aldermen he thinks they should “hold steadfast with the traditions of this town.” Chapman works as a bus driver and substitute teacher’s aide for the Faith Academy Charter School and also ran for a position on the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education last year.

“Being a part of Faith, I’ve learned to appreciate this town, and of course it’s been honoring veterans since 1903, and the parade itself (has been running for) 75 years, that’s a long time to have a tradition like that,” Chapman said. “I’m just encouraging you to not let this minority of liberals come and bring their liberal ideals into this town, just don’t let it happen and stop this tradition.”

“Woke corporation companies that don’t want to support Faith, that’s OK. This parade went on before they had their support anyway, it’s been going on a long time,” Chapman continued.

Food Lion, Sheetz and Duke Energy withdrew their sponsorship of the parade last year, as well as Novant Health, the parade’s biggest sponsor.

Chapman made a proposal to the town to create an event called the “Everything Southern Festival” that will celebrate Southern heritage, culture, food, music and history.

“It basically will highlight the good things of the South and why we love it and why we’re here,” Chapman said.

After Chapman finished speaking, the board of aldermen did not discuss and have made no plans regarding his proposal.

Many people have spoken out against Confederate flags and reenactments that are part of the Faith’s Fourth of July parade. Some have asked the town to ban these participants; others have called for a full stop to the parade itself. Two Salisbury residents, Mary Walker and Whitney Peckman, spoke during the town’s board meeting in December against flying the flag.

During that same December meeting, Faith’s mayor Randall Barger said, “we appreciate everybody’s opinions and that’s what we’re here about. Everybody has an opinion and we don’t all have to agree, but we do have the right for you to do so.”

The Faith Town Board posted a response on Nov. 14 to public concerns over the parade:

“The town of Faith’s elected officials must protect the Constitutional rights of all citizens. The town will avoid being drawn into a dispute over protected speech on either side of the dispute between citizens and involving potential implications on Constitutional rights. As the governing body, our role is limited to determining whether a parade permit should be issued. We believe any discussion as to the content of the parade is best left to the parade organizers and any concerned citizens.”