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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Community Builds Bridges At Annual Unity Celebration (From the Kingsport Times-News)

Theme for this year’s event is ‘Unity: The Vision Coming to Life.’
KINGSPORT — Barriers continue to fall and bridges continue to be built inthe Model City, according to the Rev. Kenneth Calvert. Calvert on Wednesday discussed details of the 12th annual Community UnityCelebration scheduled for Sunday in the Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center beginning at 4 p.m. “All along, our goal with the event was to build bridges and develop a community relationship with all of Kingsport, not just one section of it. We’ve made such progress with that objective since the advent of the event,” he said. The theme for this year’s event is “Unity: The Vision Coming to Life.” Calvert said the theme refers to accomplishments that have been made with the city, South Central, the Riverview communities and city leaders in the areas of cultural diversity and working together to improve those areas of Kingsport. “From my point of view, the police partnership has increased dramatically. From an economic viewpoint, the businesses that have partnered with those areas are making relationships grow every day,”Calvert said. “We see some barriers that may have been established throughmisunderstandings or other elements that have come down and they have not gone back up because more people are recognizing the need for unity. “The inclusion of church organizations in those efforts to bring city and community leaders together has worked. We see the proof. It wasn’t like things weren’t going on to bring people together before. Since 1994, you could say it has been more concerted.” Calvert said the “universal language of music” will be a centerpiece of the celebration. The Community Unity Choir, under the direction of Ida Conley; Limited, a three-piece jazz ensemble; and Chosen Generation, a praise music/dancegroup from Knoxville, will be among the groups slated to perform. The recipient of the 2007 South Central Kingsport Building Bridges Scholarship will also be announced during the event. Eleven graduates from Dobyns-Bennett High School have been awarded nearly $18,000 since the honor began in 1996. The $2,000 financial gift helps the recipient pay for college. An art exhibit, coordinated by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and UnityReception will follow the program in the center’s lobby.