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According to WBTV, Novant Health has withdrawn its sponsorship of one of the largest Fourth of July parades in the Carolinas. They say it is because of  Confederate imagery and symbols. These have been part of the parade for years.

A Novant spokesperson told WBTV, “Novant Health has decided to discontinue our sponsorship of several events in the area which do not align with our values of diversity, inclusion, and equity. We are using this opportunity to strengthen our sponsorship evaluation process and we’ve invited the organizers of the events in question to engage with us in conversation about how we may work together in the future to foster safe, inclusive environments for the entire community. We remain committed to supporting and investing in Rowan County with activities that more closely align with our values and celebrate the diversity of our communities.”

The Faith Fourth of July parade brings more than 40,000 to the city. There are lots of floats and marching groups. There are also several groups and displays linked to the Confederacy.

Alissa Redmond, the owner of the South Main Book Company in downtown Salisbury said she started a letter-writing campaign to remove the confederate imagery.

Alissa said, “I saw photos online of the 4th of July parade in Faith and was very surprised to know Confederate reenactors shot live weapons on Main Street over the heads of spectators. Almost the same moment I saw those photos, someone reached out to me about this letter-writing campaign she started after her friends and neighbors attended the parade and felt so threatened in that space by the Confederate flags, ‘soldiers,’ and weapons. That parade brings so many out-of-county visitors here to Rowan County, and – for any of them to feel threatened – that is our loss of the economic impact of their future visits.”

Redmond also said that she and others have written letters to all of the sponsors urging them to rethink their commitment to the event. These include Duke Energy, Food Lion, F&M, Miller Davis, Gerry Wood Auto, and Sheetz.