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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

UNCP celebrates diversity with annual Harmony Walk

By Hannah Simpson

The 4th annual Harmony Walk united organizations and clubs on September 20 in the Givens Performing Arts Center at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Former Fayetteville Mayor Marshall Pitts

Former Fayetteville Mayor Marshall Pitts

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Seven clubs and organizations gathered to listen to guest speakers and perform in a banner competition. The parade of organizations displaying their banners and unity throughout the campus was cancelled this year due to weather conditions.

Guest speaker former Fayetteville Mayor Marshall B. Pitts asked students to not only “celebrate our diversity, (but) we should work harder to appreciate our diversity.”

Pitts, the first African American mayor of Fayetteville, reminded students to be open minded to all cultures.

“We have a way of separating ourselves from…cultures that we don’t understand,” he said. “That’s a big mistake.”

It is important for all cultures and ethnicities to work together to solve problems, Pitts said. Pitts used immigrants as an example of working together to motivate legal over illegal entry into the U.S.

“People are coming to this country in the droves for the same reason they’ve always come; they are looking for a better opportunity,” he said.

The Hispanic population has grown 600 percent in North Carolina in just 10 years, Pitts said. By the year 2050, half of the population in the U.S. will be races other than Caucasian, so it is in the best interest of communities to learn to accept diversity and other cultures, he said.

“Communities that learn to celebrate and appreciate diversity…will be the communities that prosper,” he said.

Chisepo Mphaisha, a visiting Fulbright Scholar and professor from South Africa, asked students to “think about two things from God’s creation”: the rainbow and fingers.

The rainbow has many colors, set together, but distinguishable, he said. He described the rainbow as a community of many people who are many different colors, but all working together to create something beautiful.

The Voices of Serenity gospel choir

The Voices of Serenity gospel choir

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His next example of harmony was fingers, which he noted were all different shapes and lengths.

“Although diversified, they always work in unity,” Mphaisha said.

 “We know no social class, we know no (differences) in background,” Student Government Association President Dwight Humphrey concluded. “We walk for love. We walk for peace. We walk for harmony.”

United Ministries won the first place prize of $200 for the Harmony Walk banner competition, which took place directly after the speakers concluded. The National Council of Negro Women placed second for $100, followed by fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia for $50.
           
Otherparticipating organizations and clubs included: Sigma Alpha Iota, Lambda Theta Alpha, the African Student Organization and the Asian Student Organization.

Hannah Simpson is a Mass Communications and Political Science major.

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