Friday, December 2, 2016

Rosa Parks on Main Street

December 1st is both World AIDS Day and the anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery AL bus.  This year the convergence of these days has special meaning.  In Orange NJ, an additional meaning was added, as gun violence took lives and led to a call for a "peace concert."  What better day to have peace concert than December 1st? And what better place than the Rosa Parks Community School on Main Street?

The Rosa Parks Community School Chorus with their leader, Mariel Johnson
Photo by Briana Heart
"Remembering Rosa: A Concert for Peace" was planned by the Music Department of the University of Orange as an assemblage of the diverse musicianship in Orange. The performers ranged in age from young children to seniors.  They had different perspectives on themes, and expressed them in song, stories and performance art.  There were many joyful moments.  For example, the St. Matthew A.M.E. Gospel Choir sang "I need you to survive" which the children of Rosa Parks Community School think of as "their" song.  The children began to sign the words, as the Choir sang.  The joining seemed emblematic of the song's message of interdependence.

It was a night to lift the spirits, one of those Main Street moments to treasure.

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