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Belmont Unity Day event brought folks together

Jan 30, 2020 11:01AM

By Alan Hodge

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Belmont’s 29th annual Unity Day service in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day saw a large crowd of folks gather in harmony at Belmont Foursquare Church on Jan. 20.

The event this year was bittersweet. Missing was the Rev. Kenneth Alexander who passed away on December 14. His basso profundo voice and powerful spiritual presence had been a part of the Unity Day events since its early days and were sorely missed this year.

First Foursquare’s Rev. Kevin Ford recalled Rev. Alexander and his impact on the Unity Day ceremony though the years.

“There is a void where his face was,” Ford said. “He sowed great seeds and we are thankful for what he did.”

Music is a big part of the Unity Day event and this year the Mt. Pleasant Men’s Choir was back in action. The ensemble performed a medley of tunes that had the crowd clapping and bopping up a storm. The group pitched into a heartfelt rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” that lifted the roof. Each year the group sings “God Bless America” and this year’s version was especially rousing. Yet another lively number the guys performed was “Come See About Me”.

The guest speaker for Unity Day 2020 was Belmont native Dr. Anita Davis DeFoe. A  South Point High grad, she has a plethora of accolades including being a workforce development expert in Essence Magazine,  a global strategist, a John C. Maxwell mastermind, being named the first woman chief by the Itam Clan in Nigeria, author of numerous books, and an organizational effectiveness expert.

Dr. DeFoe’s remarks at Unity Day touched on the need for harmony in today’s world. She referenced a remark by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., where he spoke 53 years ago about the choice we have between “chaos or community”.

“We are still in that shape,” she said. “We are in crisis. To shift that, it’s up to you and me. If we choose to do nothing, nothing will happen.”

Dr. DeFoe also reminded the crowd of another MLK bit of wisdom.

“Dr. King said it’s not a person’s color, but their character that’s important,” she said.

Another traditional aspect of Belmont’s Unity Day is when the Humanitarian Award is given to two recipients. The award is given by the Belmont Youth Council and  the Coalition of Concerned Citizens. This year, the award went to David Hill and this writer.

“It was a great and humbling honor,” Hodge said. “Don’t forget- ask not what Belmont can do for you, ask what you can do for Belmont.”