Responding to the changing faces of Kitsap

Nationally known speaker to promote cultural understanding.

Almost six months after the ninth annual Salad Bowl Sunday at Crossroads Neighborhood Church in East Bremerton celebrated Kitsap County’s diversity with an evening of food, fellowship and fun, the Bremerton School District and several community leaders are teaming up for another cultural event.

“Responding to the Changing Faces of Kitsap County” seminar is scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 at Emmanuel Apostolic Church, located at 1105 Sixth St. in Bremerton. It features Dr. Samuel Betances, who is considered America’s foremost communicators on the challenge of casting away barriers to success.

“When most people hear the word, ‘diversity,’ their eyes glaze over,” said Bremerton School board member Vicki Collins, who is one of the community leaders spearheading the event. “However, this is different. I can’t even begin to describe it.”

Collins said she was inspired to bring Betances to Bremerton after attending a diversity workshop in Chicago where Collins and two other district leaders were the only educators at the event, which was comprised mainly of business and military leaders.

“It was so refreshing that I decided we had to bring him to Bremerton,” she said.

One of Betances’ key themes is about utilizing “human capital” for success, Collins said. “For business, it’s about the bottom line; for the military it’s about the mission.”

For the community it’s about reaching across barriers to benefit not only students, but the entire community at-large, she said.

“Kitsap County is not the same it was even five years ago, much less 30 years ago,” she said, adding that the large influx of different cultures to the community necessitates increased awareness and understanding to build a better community.

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman will share his thoughts on the changing faces of Kitsap County in the opening remarks. There also will be a question-and-answer session, Collins said.

“We only have two hours, but this is something that everyone needs to hear,” she said.

The event is free to the public and there will be a 30-minute social period with refreshments beginning at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available in the Kitsap Credit Union and Bank of America parking lots.

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