Embracing Diversity- Ep.6

Living Tradition – Ep.5
October 28, 2020
Innovating for Inclusion – Ep.7
November 11, 2020

Mother-Daughter duo, Yvette & Aria Washington join the podcast to discuss why the conversation of diversity and inclusion should start at home, Aria’s experience studying abroad and adopting a foreign culture, and Yvette tells her story about having a career as a Black female police detective in one of the most segregated cities in America.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jolly Podcast. I’m your host, Mellyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity, inclusion and equity. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share, or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started.

All right, this week, I’m joined by Mrs. Yvette Washington. She is a retired police detective born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chose a career in law enforcement and retired after 27 years. Mrs. Washington believes that diversity can be used to better understand oneself as well as each other. And to help teach her children about diversity, she socialized them with people of different cultures really early on. So I’m also joined this week by Aria Washington, the daughter of Mrs. Yvette Washington and she is a Grad student at the University of Milwaukee. She is also the middle child of three sisters, first in her family to attend an immersion school where she was enrolled by her parents in the French language program. And she studied abroad in France three times. She’s taught English to French university students, as well as she teaches French to students of various ages. She did go to Xavier University, our historically black college in New Orleans, Louisiana. And I am looking forward to having a great conversation.

I know you have your own journey and you write as well. So before I get started, I wanted to just reach out and see if Yvette can… can you tell us a little bit about your background? I know you say you’re born in Wisconsin and I’m assuming that was an interesting journey in itself. Were there particular people that you looked up to or influenced you to get where you are today? Because I would imagine if you chose law enforcement, there must’ve been some influence there somewhere.

Yvette Washington:  Well, initially no, there wasn’t. I ended up in the law enforcement field as a result of my guidance counselor at my high school. I was looking for a job. I was 16 years old and there was a program within the city of Milwaukee that provided an opportunity for young people to work in the police department. And so I worked in the police department while I was a sophomore in high school as a file clerk. So that was my foray into an introduction into law enforcement.

After I graduated, I quit that job and came back a couple years later… no, a year later I came back a year later and the city of Milwaukee had this program called the Police Aid Program where it is like a Cadet Program to introduce young people into law enforcement. And we wore uniforms unlike the police, but essentially we were clerks, but we get to work in various different departments within the police department. I worked in the Traffic Bureau. I also worked in the Criminal Investigation Bureau. I did a lot of filing, but I also did verification of warrants from when people were stopped on the street and arrested. I would check their backgrounds to determine if they were wanted at that time and then do the verification with the various different agencies. And after that program at the age of 21, I went into the Police Academy.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, wow.

Yvette Washington:  Yeah. I mean, I had no police powers while I was in the Police Aid Program. I didn’t earn my police powers until after I went into the Academy.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Wow. Well, that was a pretty big decision at 21 to go in the Police Academy.

Yvette Washington:  It was a good job.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Well, that’s good.

Yvette Washington:  You must understand. When you’re in law enforcement, it’s different every day. It is different every day. So if you’re looking for variety and excitement, law enforcement, it’s a good job.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. I’m sure it’s got… I mean, you have lots of adrenaline going for sure. So, and this was the police Academy in Wisconsin or…

Yvette Washington:  Milwaukee.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Okay. Milwaukee. Okay.

Yvette Washington:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mellyssa Barrett:  Fabulous. So then tell me a little bit about… so when you’re 21, you go into the Police Academy. I’m assuming you had your kids after you were already a police officer then?

Yvette Washington:  No, I had my first one just before I went into the police department. I had in 1981. Yes, a bazillion years ago. Don’t age me. It was a bazillion years ago. I talked to him coppers now and when I tell them when I came on the job, they were like, “I wasn’t even born.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yes. I’ve heard that a lot myself. Yes, indeed. Well, that’s interesting. So then you ended up with small kids and… I mean, what was it like? Were there a lot of people of color in the force where you were or-?

Yvette Washington:  There were quite a few of us and we all knew each other because Milwaukee has been known to be one of the most segregated cities in America. So-

Mellyssa Barrett:  Really?

Yvette Washington:  Oh God, yeah, yeah, yeah. We had many a marches in the sixties and then we had riots in the sixties as well. I remember that because I was a small kid and yeah. Yeah. Milwaukee was deemed to be one of the most segregated cities in the United States. It still is. And it’s still is, but it’s much different. It has improved a lot because there was a time where the North side is where Black people, African-Americans live and no person of color, the Black person lived on the South side. There was a viaduct that runs between our city, separates North from South. And we had a big march in the sixties with a Catholic priest who led it, father James Groppi where we people of color, cross the 16th Street viaduct and they went nuts. They didn’t want us to cross because you’re not welcome. So in 1994, I was the first Black cop assigned to the South side.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, wow. So what was that like?

Yvette Washington:  Oh, that was something. That was something very interesting. A lot of times we were met with unwelcomed responses, rhetoric. I have heard… it was such a big thing that there was a newspaper article written about me in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. We still have the paper. Yeah.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh my goodness. I can imagine.

Yvette Washington:  Yeah. But then there were some who they didn’t mind, but they didn’t outwardly overtly display their racism, but there was some who said, “Send me another cop.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, okay. Interesting. But those are the kind of experiences that really stay with you.

Yvette Washington:  Oh, absolutely.

Mellyssa Barrett:  It really kind of shapes you and your perspectives, which clearly it made a difference for your daughter, at least, for sure. I’m sure multiple daughters in terms of how you socialize them. So what was that process like? Because clearly you were dealing with challenges during the day and then you come home and you want to make sure that your kids have a different opportunity or experienced than you were having.

Yvette Washington:  Well, most Black people, African-Americans, we have to have a talk with our children.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah, absolutely.

Yvette Washington:  Our counterparts, they don’t have that conversation. Along with that conversation also and try to teach my children that we are no better and we’re certainly not worse than anyone else. No one’s superior. We’re all created in God’s image. And that you can be friends with anyone you want. To learn about other people you have to get to know other people. You can’t segregate yourself, isolate yourself, and only socialize with one type of people, the ones that look like you. The world is larger than your four block area. So our house, when these kids were in elementary school and high school, what I called it the UN. You were the Rainbow coalition. We had all kinds of kids and it’s a way to broaden your horizon.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah, absolutely. That’s fabulous because I think a lot of people, especially when you talk about the division between North and South side, you end up with a challenge of being able to socialize because you’ve been essentially forced to be in a particular location with, I’ll say “your kind” in quotes. And so, I mean, how did you ensure that… I mean, did you guys have a lot of diversity or you had to travel in order to pull that diversity in for your kids?

Yvette Washington:  Because my kids went to the French Immersion School, the initial school was on the South side. Well, at that time, the vast majority of the student body were white, were Caucasian. We’ve had some Hispanics and some Asians. But that program quickly outgrew that building. So to make the move to the North side, because there was a vacant school that was much, much larger-

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, interesting.

Yvette Washington:  They were currently in, and some of the Caucasian parents did not make that move.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Right. From the South side to the North side.

Yvette Washington:  Right. They did not make that move. It was okay for our children to take a bus, which mine wouldn’t take the bus.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Of course not.

Yvette Washington:  None of them would take the bus. They were driven to school every morning because they were traumatized by the school bus. No, I was traumatized by the school bus.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Why were you traumatized by the school bus?

Yvette Washington:  I don’t really remember why, but I just remember getting off the bus crushed. It must of been first day and yeah, it went downhill after that.

Mellyssa Barrett:  So what was it like, Aria, going to a French immersion school?

Aria Washington:  I just thought I was going to school. I didn’t know what was happening to be quite honest. I remember actually, no, before I even started going there, my dad took me up there to go see the school. I went into the, I think it was the first grade classroom and I got to walk around there. I was like, “Okay, I don’t know why I’m here but okay. This looks like fun.”

Yvette Washington:  And back then that immersion schools weren’t really advertised. Only reason I knew that that school existed was because it was in my area.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, okay. Interesting, so was Aria one of the only person of color or-

Yvette Washington:  No. No, she was not, but they were clearly not in the majority.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Because I know when I was going to school and I grew up all over the place, we moved every 18 months. I remember being in the first grade and I was one of three Black kids in the school. And it was an interesting experience. So, the school moved to the North side, Aria’s attending and she’s getting along and you’re bringing kids home from the school and that’s how they socialized or-

Yvette Washington:  Well, they socialize at school but her friends were, who became her friends were children of different ethnic backgrounds. See the problem isn’t with the children. The problem is with the adults. The children just see, “Oh, I know you.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  You’re my age and you’re my friend, right?

Yvette Washington:  You’re not even different. I just like you. The problem is the hearts and minds of the adults.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Well, so what are some of the challenges that you guys see and I’m sure it may be different for both of you in terms of when you think about diversity and inclusion, there’s obviously a lot of things going on with the conversation. Many things, we can’t fix by ourselves and many will probably take long periods of time to complete, but do you think there are specific challenges that we can solve or, what do you think we can use in order to kind of move the needle?

Yvette Washington:

Only God can change a heart and the mind of an individual and showing love and kindness and standing up for what is truth and is right. Even if you find yourself on an island by yourself, because I’ve been on that island by myself in the police department. So even if you find yourself on an island by yourself, you have to do what is right. What is good, what is right and what is Godly on clearly what is lawful, so.

Mellyssa Barrett: So why don’t we chat a little bit about, because I know after you went to the French Immersion School, was that all the way until high school Aria or?

Aria Washington:  Well, after I left the actual French immersion school, I went to a different school called Milwaukee School of Languages, which is another school that’s all about immersion programs. And there, I was able to meet students from Spanish immersion and German immersion and also while I was there, I took Japanese.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Wonderful.

Aria Washington:  So I was going to take a third language. So that was cool. And I was there from sixth grade until twelfth.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Wow. Well, and that is so interesting because there are so many people in America that know one language and you travel outside the even the United States and you see so many people that have multiple languages that they just pick up so quick. The minute they learn the second, then it’s easy to learn the third or the fourth. Yeah. So, that’s fantastic. I didn’t even know you knew Japanese. That’s fabulous.

Aria Washington:  My Japanese is not very good anymore. I can still read it. I can write it still pretty much, perfectly fine speaking since I don’t-

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. You have to practice, right?

Aria Washington:  Yeah. My sister tries to practice on me and I’m just like “What?”

Yvette Washington:  Right. The youngest speaks Japanese better than Aria does.

Aria Washington:  She does. She speaks it far better than I do.

Yvette Washington:  But Aria also speaks Portuguese and understands Russian and Hebrew.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh wow. Oh my goodness. So that’s phenomenal. And this was all because of the way the immersion school was run, that you have all of these languages that you tap into?

Aria Washington:  It was like the immersion program that I discovered like, “Oh, I actually liked languages. Okay.”

Yvette Washington:  And so now her brain is geared, in my humble opinion, I’m not a PhD, but I watch this and their lives. Their brain is geared towards language. So picking up the third, fourth and fifth language… because I was surprised that she knew Russian because she taught herself that.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Wow. So all of your kids speak multiple languages?

Yvette Washington:  No, just the younger two. Aria and her sister, Alexa and my youngest, Allegra. The older one does not.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Okay. Interesting. So then how did you, Aria, decide to go to an HBCU?

Aria Washington:  Actually, funny enough, my mom and dad were the ones that brought the HBCU idea and they were the ones that I have to talk about Xavier the most. And I was like, “Okay, fine. I’ll go for that application.” Because funny enough, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school. I did know I did want to go to college. However, I was just like, “Maybe I want to take a gap year. Maybe I…” My parents was like, “No, no, no, no.” Cool. I’m glad that you pushed that. I’m glad I listened to them that I wasn’t being hard-headed because I can be stubborn as a mule, but I’m like, my parents were like, “She’s right. I’ll suck it up and I’ll go and I’ll just go straight to school.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  That’s so that’s awesome. What was that like for you? Was it a culture shock in some way, or?

Aria Washington:  I was like, “Wow, there’s so many people who look like me here and who are smart.” I was thinking about people when I was in middle school, high school, people were like, “Oh, you think you’re better than me because you think you’re smart and,” blah, blah, blah. I says, “No.” And I was accused of trying to be someone else I wasn’t. I was told that I was not black enough for my own community in high school. It’s like, “I don’t know what you guys want me to do. I’m just myself.” But when I went down to Xavier, I was like, “Oh, I’m not an outcast. I fit in. This feels nice.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. No, that’s awesome. So, then in terms of… I mean, it sounds like you started off with French and then you got into some of the other languages? Is there a reason you migrated to French? Do you have history there or-

Aria Washington:  The whole French thing was this one’s idea. It was my mom’s idea. I was like, “Okay, I’m just going to school. This is okay.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  And what made you choose French?

Yvette Washington:  Initially we tried for the Spanish immersion school, but that one was full.

Aria Washington:  I didn’t know this.

Yvette Washington:  Yeah, yeah and I said, okay, well I want her to have a foreign language because the world is not getting larger. The world is getting smaller. And it’s also better if you’re able to speak another language. So I didn’t want German, but I knew French was a worldwide language. So, and there’s nothing to say, any negativity in regards to the German immersion program. That’s fine because there are a lot of little black kids around here now who are fluent in German.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And it’s funny because I traveled to South Africa and my tour guide, he actually was fluent in German and normally gave all of those tours in Germany. So, I know there’s lots of folks around that had different languages. So, you went to college at Xavier, you graduated and then studied abroad or were you studying abroad during-

Aria Washington:  Okay. Okay. Okay. So the whole study abroad thing is kind of a long story. So it all started because when I was in 10th grade, in high school, my French teacher, Mr. Rozier, he was handing out flyers to all the students. He was like, “Okay, there’s this thing going on at the foreign language,” which is an organization that teaches French. He’s like, “This is going on on Saturday. So if you’re interested, go check it out.” So I live in France, Italy, Spain, Japan, or Vietnam or China. Kind of my thing. I’ve always wanted to live in France. So this sounds like this is-

Mellyssa Barrett:  A good idea.

Aria Washington:  Something like that. Yeah. So I took it home. I showed it to my mom. My mom said, “Okay. After karate.” Because at the time we were very active in karate. I was like, “After karate on Saturday, we’ll go.” So we went and I was the only kid from my school there. And then one other girl from another high school. She was there too. And we met with a girl. Her name is. She did the program that she was presenting. So she’s an alum of that program. She did the Spanish one in Spain. And then she gave her whole presentation. She told us all about the program. And then I was like, “Oh, okay,” and I was… she said, “Hold on a minute. It’s something’s on my headset. Do I really want to do something like this? I don’t know. Do I? And my mom’s like, “Oh no, you’re going to France. Nothing else is going to say, “Okay, you’re going.” I was like, “Okay, She said, Nope, you’re doing it. I said, “Okay.”

Yvette Washington:  She wanted to go.

Aria Washington:  I was like, “Should I go, should I really. I was the only kid here from my school. Should I go?” Mom said, “No, you’re doing it.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Well, that had to be pretty significant. I mean, even as a mother sending your child off to another country. Had you been there before or?

Aria Washington:  No, she has.

Yvette Washington:  I have, she hasn’t.

Aria Washington:  She has. They took their fifth graders to France for about a month. So the day after I turned 11, we went to France for about a month. And we went to help families and I didn’t have my parents, so it was like, “Okay, this is all right. Even though ever since I was five years old, I did say I wanted to live in France after my first day of school.

Yvette Washington:  And then we turned around and hosted a child from France.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, wow. Well, that’s really interesting. Because I know even when you’re going through that, you get so much from them, and you get a lot when you go there. So, just kind of transitioning from one country to another, how do you think that changed your perspective, Aria? And then I’m going to ask your mom the same thing, because I’m sure she must’ve seen a little bit of a difference.

Aria Washington:  Yeah. It was after that, when I moved there the first year in high school, I was 15 years old in high school. I had a rough first week there if I’m being quite honest. At first I cried myself to sleep.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Homesick.

Aria Washington:  Because I didn’t know how to work the shower. It was my first time at the hotel was awkward and I was tired from the flight. I got sick. It was not fun after that. But as time went on, it got a lot better. I learned how to use public transportation by myself for the first time.

Yvette Washington:  But she never took the bus here.

Aria Washington:  I never took the bus in Milwaukee. I had to learn how to navigate the transportation system. I had to learn how to navigate the Metro because I was in a smaller French city, but it had a Metro and tons of buses. I had to learn how to navigate by myself. I had to take myself to school, learn how to get to school every day from my house. And I was forced to speak French every single day to people. I had to figure out how to work the French high school system. It was just a lot.

Yvette Washington:  Yeah. that’s a lot.

Aria Washington:  But through that, I gained so much independence as I was doing stuff for myself, by myself at a young age. So it’s like, “Okay, it’s time to grow up. You’re not a little kid anymore. Time to be a big girl. You’re a young woman now. You want to do this? Okay. Let’s make this happen, make this work.” So it made me feel more competent within myself because it’s like, okay, I guess you do a lot more stuff than I thought I could. If I had of stayed at home, like I’ll been far more dependent on my parents. But after doing that for a year at 16, it’s like, “Wow, I’m amazed how much I can do.” And I shouldn’t be doubting on myself saying, “I can’t do anything because no, actually I can do a whole lot.” Because not a lot of 16 year olds move away from home for a year by themselves in a foreign country.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Where you can’t speak the language. I mean, it’s one thing to move away to a different country, but to a country where you may not be able to really navigate through the language. I mean, that’s challenging, so.

Yvette Washington:  Well, she could speak the language. She spoke it properly as opposed to using the colloquials that they normally do. And so there she learned, Isabel, Isabel, no Bridgette, and you don’t have to say that that way.

Aria Washington:  She’s like, “Yeah, I’m saying like this. I’m like, “No, no, no, you don’t have to do it like that. Relax.

Yvette Washington:  But she was speaking in like the textbook.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh wow. Okay.

Yvette Washington:  The French don’t care about proper grammar. They don’t even use proper grammar.

Aria Washington:  I can’t break. And then when I moved back and when I was at Xavier, I did another year in the French Alps. I lived in the city of Grenoble for a year, a junior year there. Yeah. So that was a whole nother bag of worms. Like, okay. Now you learn how to deputy the French University system. This is fun.

Mellyssa Barrett:  So when when did you actually become fluent? At a much younger age it sounds like?

Aria Washington:  It was fluent by the time I was in fifth, fourth, fifth grade. That’s when they said that you were like, and then you just get better after time.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah.

Yvette Washington:  Now she’s a native speaker.

Mellyssa Barrett:  That’s fabulous. Wow. So, I’m assuming you saw a change in her as she was going through this process?

Yvette Washington:  Oh, absolutely. Particularly when she went to, when in her junior year in high school. She was so self-assured by that time. So she wouldn’t even go down to Paris to get her hair done.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, wow. 

Yvette Washington:  Yeah. She would go down to Paris and get her hair done. Yeah. She would go. She was our tour guide when we went. So, yeah, she was very confident at that because she wasn’t so much, kind of sheltered. Like I said, she had to go to France to learn to catch the bus and there was a bus stop in front of our house that she never got on.

Mellyssa Barrett:  That’s hilarious. Oh my gosh. You guys are too funny. So, what has this experience been like? I mean, clearly when we think about diversity and inclusion, there are lessons we can learn here. Did you see some of the same types of challenges in France that you see here in America? Or what’s that like?

Aria Washington:  Well, in France, I mean experience, a lot of challenges, to fit in, everyone there is like, they don’t see you as just like black, white, or Arabic or Asian. They’re like, “Oh, you’re French. Okay.” Everyone’s together, it seems like… they’re all just like a… it’s truly a melting pot over there. I lived in Glen, which is a small city in Brittany was just South of the UK. I lived in Grenoble, which is at the mountains. And then I lived in the Capitol. I lived in Paris and in all three cities, everybody’s together. It’s a big blend. You see all French people just hang out together of all different colors and creeds. They just all hang out together. It’s just like, “Oh, okay. This is nice.” And when I’m there, they all think I’m French.

Yvette Washington:  And when she was there, all her families have been white.

Mellyssa Barrett:  So what is it like to come back here then? I mean, what’s the experience here?

Aria Washington:  Well, I don’t know why, but sometimes when I’m out in public, sometimes I will speak to… I’m with my sister, sometimes we would just speak to each other in French. This is the second age until I was like, let me do this. Is it okay if we speak a blend of French and English with each other in public sometimes but I could get, he was saying like, “Oh, wow, I want to fit that symbol like you will be able to speak French. Like, wow. Like, like, wow. I didn’t know this was like a circus act.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  Someone like you, huh?

Aria Washington:  Someone like you, they like, “I didn’t think people like you speak so eloquently.” And it’s like, this is like, when I’m home, I get those authentic comments from people and just like, “Okay. Like, I didn’t know I was an anomaly I just thought I was a normal person.”

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Well, yes. We’re all one people. Right. So, what do you say… I love what your mom said in terms of like when I asked her what you think we can do to just be respectful and courteous to each other and express kindness. Are there other things that you guys think… I love the idea of getting your kids so broadly socialized with other languages and to me, diversity and inclusion is all about connection and trying to figure out how you can connect with other people. One of the things that I know many of the podcast series, I talk about my husband, but he had a love for history. And he could connect with pretty much anyone because he knew everybody’s history. And it used to just stun me that he could relate to so many people because he knew their history. He knew his own history and theirs, whether they were Greek or German or French or Russian or whatever.

And he had this curiosity. So it’s really interesting how, when you think about inclusion and diversity, we have an opportunity to really have a global conversation, but we keep putting people in boxes.

Yvette Washington:  Absolutely. And we find that a lot. So when they were younger and growing up, I had them in so many different activities and they know how to sail, not a motorboat. They know how to sail.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Oh, wow.

Yvette Washington:  Yeah. They know how to sail. They’re musicians. Both the girls, the two younger ones… well, all three of my girls have played musical instruments. The older one played piano, but Aria and Allegra are both violinist and Aria played the flute as well. And Allegra played piano. And I played viola. Viola, no, I’m talking about other stuff that… yeah, I said. And they got so angry with me. I guess I got on their nerves, but I really don’t care because I’m their mother and they’re not mine. The Lord gave me you and he says, bring up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart far from it.

And I’m training them so that they can have a conversation with anyone from anywhere in regards to the stuff that they’ve done. Not because they read about it in a book, but because they lived it, they did gymnastics, they did ballet. They’re really great martial artists and the reason they were martial artists, because they had no brothers. And mommy and daddy were not going to be with them all the time to defend them and because I know from my law enforcement background, that many a young woman has been sexually assaulted on a college campus. They need to know how to take care of business. They need to know how to defend themselves and how to keep themselves out of precarious situations that could be disastrous and horrible. So I put them in it and I got a letter from Aria and Allegra when they were younger, “Dear mommy, we hate karate. We don’t want to do it anymore.” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I read it. I said, “Oh, that was very nice. Thank you.” So, it was not nice.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Yeah. No. And I’m sure you were seeing it every day with-

Yvette Washington:  I saw it every day. So that night you need to take care of yourself.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Oh my gosh. You guys are too funny. Well, I’m so glad that we had a chance to catch up. I love that when you start talking about diversity and inclusion and you talk about getting your kids exposed early to all these different languages and cultures and it actually clearly it makes a difference. What’s interesting to me is I would love to fast forward 20 years from now and see all the kids that have all these opportunities to expand their thought process so early in their perspectives. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like to see them thrive as they get older, because there’s a lot of generations we didn’t have those opportunities necessarily.

Yvette Washington:  Absolutely. Yeah. They were not to us.

Mellyssa Barrett:  I mean, I’m encouraged by the youth of today and tomorrow. So I think it’s going to be awesome, but it’ll take some time. So thank you guys so much for agreeing to be on the podcast. Hopefully everybody got something out of this. I know I did. I’m excited to learn more about you guys and thank you guys so much for being here.

Yvette Washington:  Thank you for having us.

Aria Washington:  Thank you.

Mellyssa Barrett:  Thanks for joining me on the Jolly Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.