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To help the Hopewell Valley community engage with each other three local groups have organized a community-wide dinner to talk about race, bullying and social media.

Global Connections, Hopewell Valley Race and Diversity Discussion Group (HVRDDG) and the Global Peace Foundation partnered up to have the community dinner and discussion, so residents could better understand each other and address some of the problems facing the community.

“This dinner and program shows that not just one group is working on one aspect, but multiple groups are coming together to work on the same issues. The partnership brings together all the different networks of the three groups, each one bringing different perspectives,” said David Angwenyi, Global Connections Advisor.

The event will begin at 6:30 and take place at the Timberlane Middle School in Pennington, which is located on 51 S. Timberlane Drive.

The dinner for the forum is being catered by The Peasant Grill, according to officials.

Angwenyi said the issue of race and young people getting into extreme positions are the headline topics in the community discussion.

“By having these conversations we open up the opportunity to engage with others. We will also be discussing preventative measures to avoid violence or extreme measures,” he said.

The discussion will also include an in-depth look at the role of social media, according to event officials.

“Social media is playing a very critical role in how messages are going out. The fact that most people are not aware of what they are putting out there and the meaning of it is why it is important to have this event,” Angwenyi explained. “We want to use this platform to increase awareness, but also discuss the importance of engaging with one another on a face to face level.”

The HVRDDG facilitator, Renata Barnes, revealed that she is excited about the collaboration with Angwenyi and his Global Connections team.

“Our regular potluck dinners and discussions have been a great way to engage with friends, but we tend to see the same people each time. We were thrilled when the Global Connections team reached out and wanted to collaborate and expand the circle to include the schools and greater community,” Barnes said.

Angwenyi said he hopes everyone will come away from the event with the understanding that the best way for people to deal with an issue is by having a conversation.

“We hope people will have an open mind and not make assumptions. We want people to have conversations with their neighbors and listen to each other,” he said. “We need to get to the root of what is dividing us.”

For people to participate in the dinner and discussion registration was required by June 10.

“This dinner and forum is just the beginning. Our goal is to make this event happen on a regular basis. This will not be just a one-time event,” Angwenyi reported.

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