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Pensacola Habitat for Humanity is hosting its 3rd Annual Community Summit this month. The free event is open to the public and is presented in partnership with Race and Reconciliation, UWF Inclusion Spotlight, and a Pensacola Interfaith Initiative. It opens on August 23 at 1 p.m. at Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center at 913 S I Street near downtown Pensacola.

The program is intended to spur thoughtful discussion on issues of compassion and acceptance, and consequently, meaningful action, that will foster the development of a compassionate community.

The keynote speaker, Caren Goldman, Executive Director and co-founder of Compassionate St. Augustine and author, will begin the discussion of building a community centered on compassion and reconciliation to counter current trends of divisiveness. Goldman will be joined by her husband, Rev. Ted Voorhees, vicar of St. Cyprians Episcopal Church in St. Augustine and the partnering founder of Compassionate St. Augustine.

Panelists will provide insight into identifying origins and influences of divisions in our community, whether they’re political, economic, racial, faith-based, or cultural. They will lead discussions about building partnerships through uncomfortable conversations and difficult circumstances and will talk creatively about finding ways to build experiences of intentional unity and understanding. The first panelist will be Dr. Karen Barber, Director of Federal Programs for Santa Rosa School District. With over 30 years in public education, Barber will share her experiences working with families of diverse economic backgrounds and provide insights into developing a sensitivity and greater awareness of the differences related to economic status, race, ethnicity, political, cultural and other differences.

The second panelist will be Dr. Keya Wiggins, Licensed Psychologist and Certified Group Psychotherapist. In addition to her local practice, Dr. Wiggins is also an Instructor and Psychologist at the University of West Florida.Wiggins will utilize her relationship expertise to discuss the importance of engaging in uncomfortable or awkward conversations that can help to facilitate understanding between seemingly oppositional audiences.

The final presenter will be Rabbi Joel Fleekop of Temple Beth-El. Rabbi Fleekop will speak to the importance of intentionality in structuring an inclusive community.

Round table discussions and interactive activity will expand each panel member’s discussion. To register, visit: www.pensacolahabitat.org/invite.

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