Living Tradition – Ep.5

Branding for Inclusion – Ep.4
October 21, 2020
Embracing Diversity- Ep.6
November 4, 2020

Cynthia Mundy joins the show to talk about her experiences with celebrating Kwanzaa and how the tradition’s principles can be applied to everyday life, she shares her journey uncovering her family history by tracing their African roots and discusses how it felt to star in a theatrical production that portrays the Black History of Tracy, CA.

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to The Jali Podcast, I’m your host Melyssa 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, today I am excited to have Cynthia Mundy on the show and thank you for being here.

Cynthia Mundy:  Thanks for having me. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, absolutely. Cynthia Mundy is a Bay Area native working in technology. She’s served in a number of capacities including, diversity and inclusion, chairing a black employee resource group for many years, she’s a singer, an actor, just a fabulous individual. And in light of the continued attention on racial injustice, I thought it might be helpful to just talk a little bit about, how and why we started the journey that we had.

Cynthia and I go back a long way and over the past 20 years, my husband and I hosted a Kwanzaa event in our home. And we’ve always invited the community, had a multicultural audience, educated, showcasing African and diaspora and history and culture. And Peter, my husband was a curious individual who’s now passed, but loved history and had a lot of black experiences, ended up being a professional storyteller. 

And although he loved every culture, he was guided by his storytelling coach to focus on black culture, mostly because there was such a need for education in that area. So he began to call himself the Jali, which as you notice is also the title of The Jali Podcast. Before I start on that journey, I wanted to just talk a little bit about Kwanzaa and how we started that whole celebration for us. 

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. It’s based on the agricultural celebrations of Africa called, the first fruits celebrations, which were times of harvest and gathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment and celebration. It’s a time to celebrate heritage, achievements, Reverence for the Creator and creation, commemoration of the past, recommitment to cultural ideals and celebration of the good.

And really of the reasons that I bring this up is because the journey for us and Kwanzaa, when we created our own Kwanzaa celebration began with Cynthia Mundy. And so I wanted to really just reach out and have you talk a little bit about, your family background maybe and how you were exposed to Kwanzaa?

Cynthia Mundy:  Family background, well, I’m a native San Franciscan and my family comes from Alabama as well as from Georgia. And most people just migrated here, so my dad’s side and my mom’s side migrated to the San Francisco area. In regard to Kwanzaa, I really got into that with my aunt Evelyn. She started this, I want to say it was early 90s, maybe like 93, I want to say 94 because my son was just one.

And we went there and she wanted me to sing and I really didn’t understand Kwanzaa even at that time. That’s where I started and got into learning more about the black history stuff, because really we didn’t go through that in the city. You got the surface things more like, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, but I didn’t have this part of the black history.

That’s how it kind of started for me with her and attending each year to sing. And then from that other activities came, other people would request for me to sing at other events, whether it was for 100 Black Women or for the march, the Freedom Train, from San Jose to San Francisco, I would sing at the opening of that. 

It helped me to open up more to what this black history thing was really about other than just me being black, so that’s where it started from.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, and if I remember correctly, she would have celebrations and she would invite the community into her home?

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes. She had, I forget how many she had in her home but it grew. I should say, the number of people grew over the years. But she would host in her home and it was important for her to host it in her home because she wanted the community to come in and for us to have unity. And it was more like a family gathering when we all came together there.

Just seeing everyone genuinely care about one another and what’s happening in one another’s lives, that’s what I saw when I went there. And each year I just got overwhelmed because there were so many people coming in there, but it was her passion. And she created this binder and passed it on to me, and then that’s when I passed it on Pete and saying, “Here you go, let’s get it started over here.”

And I think from that point on, it just grew. He started having it in his home and now it’s a big community gathering in your home.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, and it has grown over the years. What’s so exciting to me about it is, when he became really excited about it. We were struggling at that time with just having a young family and realizing that Christmas and Kwanzaa, and there was all sorts of things happening and we didn’t have a lot of money at the time. 

I think our kids wanted lots of things and we wanted to give them lots of things. 

Cynthia Mundy:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Melyssa Barrett:  But I think we had this focus on trying to figure out, how do we create a baseline for delivering information to our kids about our own culture without really focusing on the commercialization of it? And I think what was nice for us is that, Kwanzaa is such a celebration that is not built on having to deliver a bunch of gifts. 

But it was really something where you really treasured the traditions and the ceremony, and just the connection with others.

Cynthia Mundy:  Right, yeah. I was going to say, also too, when you said that, “It’s also about getting everyone involved.” And so I know my aunt, she would get all the children involved to recite the principles. She would get other people in to do the other, reverence of the creator. It was really about, involving everyone in this gathering so then you could learn more and appreciate it more. 

That’s what I started to do as I move along and attended more celebrations.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Do you think she was having challenges, or what challenges do you think she experienced that made her want to develop her own Kwanzaa?

Cynthia Mundy:

I’m not sure if it was more of a challenge, I just think it was more of her passion, she was really about community. My aunt started, in the 70s she had her own childcare agency up in San Francisco. And when she moved from there in the late 70s, she started a child development agency in San Jose. 

And it was all about community for her, all about helping people, helping underserved youth and those who were having troubles, all about her getting them to understand who they are, where they’ve come from and get them excited about being more active in the community. That was I think what just drove her, I guess she may have been introduced to Kwanzaa at some point, but I think it was always a part of her. 

I just felt like, Oh! This is something for her to use her God-given talents for and her passion.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And you talked a little bit about, what the celebrations were like with you singing and getting other folks involved. Can you talk a little bit about what those programs looked like?

Cynthia Mundy:  The programs, she would get our family when we first started, it was mainly our family who would sing and then the kids would recite the principles and my uncle would be doing the Reverence for the Creator. And you had other people doing the table, explaining the items on the Kwanzaa table. 

I think as years went by, my uncle became the one, he was like Pete. He would be your main facilitator, so to speak. And then as her grandchildren grew older, just getting them to participate. I think always trying to get the kids to participate was the most challenging but the adults, from the times that I went, they had no problem jumping in.

Let’s do it, they were excited to come together to fellowship and just catch up on what’s going on with each other.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. It was that one part of the year that I always felt like, if you didn’t see somebody any other time during the year, that you could come together and really just recommit and fellowship and have some food and commune together at least that one time. I think we started off, I want to say, the first Kwanzaa had maybe, I think we had four families with maybe what? 12 of us or so, maybe 15 of us.

Cynthia Mundy:  Something like that, yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  And now I think we’ve had crowds up over 100 in the house. And we were always very focused on making sure that it didn’t move to another facility because a lot of folks will celebrate in different community centers. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I think it just provides a different feel when you’re having it in your home.

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes, it does because I’ve gone to different Kwanzaa like events and it’s not as… Oh! I can’t describe the feeling, but it’s not like that home family connected kind of feeling, you understand what’s happening there. They’re going through the principals and explaining Kwanzaa but it’s not the same as when you’re in a home, it just seems more like family and more family oriented I should say, when you come together in a home.

Melyssa Barrett:

Yeah. And I think even over the years as the kids grow up, it’s just that safe space for the kids to make mistakes but really learn about their culture. And I think for a long time, I know Peter and I, when we think about our kids, we never thought they were even listening, because it’s like you’re trying to drill in different things about your culture.

And then all of a sudden you look up and they’re teenagers and you think they haven’t listened, but they actually have been listening. 

Cynthia Mundy:  Right. 

Melyssa Barrett:  And its just rewarding to see that they start to embrace their own identity because I think, part of the challenge is just learning and understanding how your identity is going to impact you. Can you talk a little bit about, with now there’s so much conversation about racial injustice. And I’m sure you’ve had your own experiences in the corporate world some of which, if you want to share, feel free. But I’m sure there are things that are frustrating, exhausting.

I know I’ve had just the trauma of reliving things a lot and the injustice of it all. What do you think we could do, because I think about the principles of Kwanzaa as something we can use every day. When we talk about the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, co-operative economics, purpose, creativity and faith, we should be thinking about on a regular basis.

And I know it was created in order to really help lift an entire culture out of the civil rights movement to really take that negative anger and really turn it into something positive. So you think that’s been helpful or how have you embraced those principles?

Cynthia Mundy:  I’ll have to think about this for a minute. Just thinking about the principles, unity, I think comes to mind when I think about all that’s going on, especially the current climate. I think that comes to mind only because I think we all need to come together. I still think even within our culture rather, there is still some division.

And I think we all need to come together and understand who we are, and understanding our culture so that we know that we value ourselves. And if we value ourselves, then other people will value us as well. And that is the unity to me that we need to have is less value of one another and be able to take that out into the world and not fighting against one another.

I see even though we’ve come together a lot with what’s going on, I still see that part of it there. Self-determination is to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves. That’s something that I see happening but I still think our culture could be a bit stronger in that self-determination. 

Just those first two stick with me. If we can really hone in on those and embrace those, I think as a people our culture will be stronger. And then when I think about even coming into the workplace, just looking at unity and self-determination, I can have that as an individual but when you have a group, like we have a black employees group, those things were not all in the place we need to be so that we can show that… What do you call it? Strength in numbers and be able to rise up and have a voice and make change.

I see things happening now because of the current climate, but I guess it took something of that magnitude to get us all to start saying, “Hey, we all need to pull together.”

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, and I think it’s very optimistic. I think, I’m optimistic that we have people involved in the conversation that likely have never been involved in the conversation before. It is encouraging to pick up on your discussion about self-determination, about defining ourselves, naming ourselves, creating for ourselves and speaking for ourselves. 

I think part of the information that a lot of groups are looking at today, even in corporations is the ability to make sure that the collective group, whether it be black employees or people of color, whether they are actually being included in the conversation because I think everybody is looking to take a lot of action.

But the process to make sure that the collective community is engaged and providing feedback is so significantly important. And I think sometimes we just rush to take action and we’re not connecting those dots.

Cynthia Mundy:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), I agree. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Let’s pause for a moment, we’ll be right back. Even in terms of co-operative economics, we have a lot of things going on now where people are interested in supporting black businesses and funding black businesses, which is great. How do you think you’ll see some of that as we go?

Cynthia Mundy:  I actually think that, for me, I’m looking to support more black businesses and I’m definitely always seeing like, the advertisements come up in my thread on Facebook or something like that to support black business. I’m looking forward to doing more of that because I don’t think I do enough of it, but that’s probably because I’m not aware. 

I’m trying to make myself aware by doing more research and actually supporting them, because if we support one another, then our businesses can grow and be mainstream as opposed to sitting in the back and then eventually having to die out. I’m looking to do more of that and I love seeing people become entrepreneurs, whether it’s selling products, whether it’s selling a service, I love it, so I’m looking to do more of that.

And I think because of what’s happening, its been the motivator for people to want to either become entrepreneurs or to support those [inaudible 00:19:11].

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Do you think there’s… I mean, in terms of just creating solutions, I think a lot of the principles are focus areas for me in terms of just creativity and purpose. And you have a lot of creativity when it comes to your own singing and acting. I think, over the years as we’ve pulled in those things for our own celebrations, I think there is a thought process for people to be able to pull in other cultures and diversity in general as they go about their own business on a day-to-day basis. 

And I think it creates a lot more innovation throughout the world really. I wonder if there are, you work in technology and typically there are not a lot of people of color in technology. Do you think there are other solutions we might want to tap into?

Cynthia Mundy:  How do you mean solutions, other solutions?

Melyssa Barrett:  Are there things… I know there are folks looking at how to pull in additional people of color into corporations or technology, STEM programs?

Cynthia Mundy:  Well, the solutions I think that are out there just need to actually be worked, because I think they’ve been talked about for a long time, going to HBCUs, getting college students to intern from those schools. And I think not just the HBCUs but other, just even local colleges. I think, they could reach out to, or even… What do you call it? The trade schools.

Someone who’s just going to a technology type school, not to get a bachelor’s or [inaudible 00:21:11] degree like that. But I think that we could cast a net out that way because everyone’s not going to a city college or a university. They could be someone who just attends a course and becomes great at coding or become a good hacker or however they do it and they’re not all in school.

I think just casting the net in different areas other than your schools would be a way to actually move it forward. Because right now I think they’re doing things to bring people in of diverse cultures, but we’re not all in school. I think we could just cast it a little wider, I think.

Melyssa Barrett:  Definitely. In terms of just going back to Kwanzaa and some of the things in terms of, when you complete a Kwanzaa event what does it make you feel like?

Cynthia Mundy:  Well, I feel bad because I should be doing it more often. I keep saying, “You know what? I just need to do this everyday, practice these principles and read through our whole Kwanzaa event.” I get that, Oh! I feel guilty because I’m not doing this on a regular basis but then it’s like, okay, this is motivation. As black people we can come together, we can do events and they can be successful. 

We have a lot of professionals that we can use their skills. You learn more about people there and it’s like, “I need to connect with that person.” So I leave saying, “Okay, I need to do this better, I need to connect with this person, I need to start this ministry over here.” I leave with all these grand ideas but then life happens and I just let the ball drop.

But it definitely, when I’m there and when I leave it’s like, I really need to dig more into my culture because I don’t do it enough. I think I started this and when I started talking to Pete, [inaudible 00:23:22] been black and I’m like, “I’m not from Africa.” And he was like, “What? Excuse me.” 

He just pushed me to start thinking, okay, you’re not just black because that’s… You know I grew up in San Francisco and other than my aunt Evelyn, there wasn’t anyone in the family championing, how I can say the word, but you know what I mean? Question, learn about your culture, about your blackness. 

And so I just grew up with the basic and I’m like, man, but when I talked to Pete about this and went and did my 23andMe DNA and I also did ancestry, that’s all we would talk about. And so I learned a whole lot more, just about me. And it’s like, “Okay, you’re black but your ancestry is from Africa.” You are Nigerian and you have this, this and this, so I’m learning all this stuff about me. 

So when I get to Kwanzaa it’s like, “Man, I really need to dig down deeper into the bone marrow about my blackness and where I come from and actually be more confident in talking about it.” Not just, I’m black, I deal with racism, people don’t like me because of my skin color or whatever.

That’s just basic stuff but do you know why? Do you get to the marrow of why? And that’s what Kwanzaa does for me, it’s like, dig a little deeper sister.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. Well, and it’s a great point because I think part of it too really goes to your core identity. 

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  And so, as I used to think about it, it was always interesting because you shape your own identity. And if you don’t know where you came from and the strength of your ancestors, the kings and queens that existed back in Africa well before slavery began, you start to think that the education and the journey is all tied into slavery. 

And I think you miss that definite marrow part of your being in terms of what that brings for you as an individual. And I think we all come from there, right? So, we all have it inside of us. And it’s a matter of us actually being intentional about understanding our own history and our own education.

Cynthia Mundy:  Right.

Melyssa Barrett:  Do you think that, I know I’m looking at my kids who are now in their 20s and they have now this past year, really gotten into trying to assist with planning Kwanzaa. That’s been exciting because in the past they were like, Oh! Man, we got to clean the house and whatever. But getting them to participate and really think about what they want to do for their own families, and now they’re creating their own Kwanzaa’s and those things blossom. 

I’m excited to see the next generation get into that Kwanzaa celebration as well. And do you know anybody, specifically in your area, I know we live fairly far apart, that attend or are interested in Kwanzaa celebrations?

Cynthia Mundy:  I don’t know anyone that’s having anything. I know that my uncle who used to facilitate my aunt’s Kwanzaa, he would probably be, I’m not sure if he attends anything but I know he’s all into the culture as well. I’m sure he’s doing some things but other than that, I don’t know anyone other than our mutual friends that actually participate in Kwanzaa.

And in my community I haven’t even heard of a Kwanzaa celebration here, I’m in the Bay Area, have not heard of one near me in the East Bay. And I’m sure there are, it’s not widely advertised.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And I’m hoping, well, the one thing that I would hope would come from my legacy one day would be that, everybody who has come to our Kwanzaa celebration would at least try to create one of their own so that other people can learn and be educated about the African-American culture as well.

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes. And I know that’s going to be something that I need to really step up on because I have grandchildren now and they are biracial, they’re black and Mexicans. I have to be able to step up so that I can help to teach them about their African-American culture. They’re learning a lot about their Mexican culture because when you’re the mom, usually that’s where the kids spend most of their time.

But I want to try to get some books and start to teach them more about their culture I think is important like you said, “For them to be able to carry it on.” But right now they have not been exposed to it, so I need to get them exposed to it so that they want to participate.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And I mean, it starts small, right? You don’t have to do a big event. But even being able to rely on some of these principles, I think it’s helped me to get over some of the emotion that I’ve had in the past few weeks, months, even years, when you go through things to just be able to recenter on your own purpose or your faith.

Cynthia Mundy:  Right.

Melyssa Barrett:  I think, it’s one of those things where you want to keep those things in the front of your mind so that you don’t react the way maybe you want to react, but to really have the ability to make change in the community. 

Cynthia Mundy:  Right. 

Melyssa Barrett:  I know one of the other things I wanted to ask you about, because in your acting career, you also participated in a theater production called Being Black in Tracy and it outlined a lot of the black history of Tracy. It was written by former city council member Evelyn Tolbert. And what was that experience like? And I’m sure you didn’t know any of Tracy’s history back then?

Cynthia Mundy:  No, I didn’t. But it was definitely a history lesson so just learning, having the first black nurse. I think I was in another play, one of the Tracy plays with that and then spawn the Being Black in Tracy. So, it was interesting to learn a bit about how it was to be black in Tracy.

Being in the play was a challenge I took on and I was thought to bit off more than I could chew through it. But I actually did okay going through that and actually meeting some people that were portraying some of the other characters there. And I think one of the other plays, Being Black in Tracy, I actually had the opportunity and I can’t recall her name to meet the nurse that I was playing. 

I was so honored that she was there to actually see me act out her part and she definitely was appreciative of what I did and felt that I did it just right. Being Black in Tracy was a good experience for me and just didn’t realize that Tracy had that type of history there, so it was good to be a part of that.

Melyssa Barrett:  It’s a bit eclectic for sure?

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  But we’re all growing, right? We all have pasts somewhere.

Cynthia Mundy:  Oh! Yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  Some of it, not so good.

Cynthia Mundy:  Yeah. I think, just even looking at the current situations that’s happened, I have found myself being angry, being exhausted, being heartbroken because no one should lose their life for something so trivial, but it just made me look back over history. This isn’t the first time, it’s been happening for 100s of years and it’s taken I guess, this and because of where we are with technology, for it to actually be it’s in everyone’s face.

You can say, “Oh! Why did take so long?” But it’s like, okay, let’s just look at it and say, Hey, it’s here and now they see, and hopefully we can see some changes to the system so that things could get better and they can value black lives because our lives have not been valued. And I’m hoping that some of the voting that will be coming up, people will get out to vote so that we can make sure our voices are heard through there as well as being there when they’re making these laws and policies.

Getting involved there and getting involved in the community so that people know, yes, we’re here and we’re here to help to make our community better for everyone. It’s just made me think even just my community that I’m in. It’s sad to say, I know maybe my neighbor on one side of me and we had new neighbors move in and people just are so close to getting to know you.

But it’s like, “Okay, we don’t bite.” But that seems to be how people are these days. They see you and sometimes they judge you by your appearance and they tend to withdraw and not really engage. I’ve seen that with the new neighbors that move in, but our other neighbors when they moved in they were open arms and coming over and just saying, we’re introducing ourselves and things like that. 

This whole thing and I know I went around about way, but has had a lot of thoughts running through my mind in just the way that I feel, in just the way that I interact with my community here, just my neighbors. I honestly don’t know any of them and that’s a sad thing but I’m hoping that this will spark a change even with that so we can do better.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And I think it’s interesting because certainly, there have been a lot of new emails from people that maybe haven’t reached out before. Just even because you’re now sharing your experience there’s seemingly at least a lot more empathy for the journey and understanding the journey, so I think that’s positive in itself.

Cynthia Mundy:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Melyssa Barrett:  I think the challenge is, you have people that have been around and doing it for years. I mean, you know that even during our Kwanzaa events, there’s probably some allies that have been to more Kwanzaa’s than the black folks that are there. Just being able to experience things can often just totally broaden your perspective. 

Being able to have those connections, I think is good but I think from a systemic perspective, there’s just so much work to do and it becomes exhausting. 

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  I think, you’re out there constantly working in the community, I think we all try to put in as much as we can. What other things would you like out there in terms of, as we get into more detail on Kwanzaa? Are there other things that you want to talk about that you remember? Any fond memories?

Cynthia Mundy:  Nothing comes to mind right now. I mean, as it relates to Kwanzaa, I mean, I’ve enjoyed all the Kwanzaa celebrations that I’ve been to with my aunt and as well as with you guys there at home. It makes me happy, I guess, to see how this has grown from my aunts Kwanzaa and you have been going strong for 20 years. 

And I wish she had had an opportunity to attend and see it, but I know she’s smiling down going, “Good job you guys.” But no, other than the opportunities to meet people and get other, I guess, invites to other community events like the NAACP in Oakland… I mean, on San Jose the NAACP, sung at a installation or something they had there as well as the 100 Black Women coalition in San Jose, that came out of me singing at Kwanzaa with my aunt. 

I did something for the 100 Black Men coalition in San Jose, all because of participating in Kwanzaa. That helped me grow as, I guess, an entertainer so to speak. She would always tell me, “You’re a professional.” And I say, “Oh! I’m not professional.” And she said, “Yes, you are.” She was very good at encouraging me and motivated me, so I do miss that about her.

But those are the fond memories of just starting my journey of Kwanzaa with her, as well as with you guys getting into the acting because I didn’t think I was an actress, but I’ve learned to love it. Being in the Tracy plays as well as going into our own, we had a program at church called [Open Mic Group 00:38:09]. Getting that set up to where we had, it was mainly for the youth to bring in their friends, to come either, sing it, say it or play it.

And so you could sing something, you could do poetry or you could play an instrument. We started that for them, that grew from me, participating in Kwanzaa is like, let’s get this together and get people involved. And out of that, I started doing improv, creating different characters and just flying by the seat of my pants as they say, whatever the line was going to be or given high level, and then I just take off from there and become whoever the character is, Gladys or whoever. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Jerome, I remember.

Cynthia Mundy:  Jerome. Yes, Jerome. 

Melyssa Barrett:  I did not even recognize you. When I walked in I was like, what?

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes. All of that just brings back memories from just getting involved in Kwanzaa, because I don’t think I ever would have done any type of acting had I not did the stuff for my aunt and then Pete encouraged me to do the acting and stuff. And I was like, “No, I don’t talk.” And like I told you, “I don’t talk, I just sing.” 

And I just developed a passion for it. I love it, I don’t do it as much as I would want but man, it just allows you to be outside of yourself and has some freedoms there when you get into character. It brings back all that and it has shaped me into who I am as an artist right now. So [inaudible 00:39:58] has come with us a little bit.

Melyssa Barrett:  It kind of creates the whole platform, right?

Cynthia Mundy:  Yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  You get to practice all along the way.

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes. I love it and that’s the part of me wanting to bring out more of the artist in myself. And again, my aunt and a lot of people along the way, and then Pete along the way pushing me, “You can do it, you’re going to do it.” And I’m like, “No, I’m not.” “Yes you are.” All of this just helped my artistic person and I’m still trying to grow in that area and do more.

And as I remember them, they come to mind when things come up, it’s like, hey, do this. They pushed you along the way, now you’ve got to keep on pushing and make it happen and also encourage other people and that’s what I’ve done along the way as well. I encourage people to use their talents for others and to pay it forward.

When people reach out and want help, advice, I give it to them and then that’s like, pay it forward so somebody else can learn and grow as well. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Definitely, each one.

Cynthia Mundy:  That’s right.

Melyssa Barrett:  Lift and to climb, right?

Cynthia Mundy:  Yeah, definitely. 

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s awesome. 

Cynthia Mundy:  It’s been a journey and I’m still on it. I think also I’ve been looking at just growing culturally because when you said about the culture earlier. And I was like, yeah, I said, “That’s something that I just haven’t jumped into enough.” And I want to make that one of my goals this year and as we plan Kwanzaa and just start to work on doing something, not just Kwanzaa, but try to do something every other month or something to where we’re pulling in the community, we’re gathering together to spur one another on.

Melyssa Barrett:  So needed in this time period for sure.

Cynthia Mundy:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, I want to thank you so much for being here. I think you talked about stretching yourself and this is another way to stress yourself, get out here and do the podcast because I think I’m stretching myself too.

Cynthia Mundy:  I’m really stretching.

Melyssa Barrett:  I appreciate you being here and giving us some perspectives, talking a little bit about Kwanzaa and we look forward to having ongoing conversations for sure. 

Cynthia Mundy:  All right, thank you for having me.

Melyssa Barrett:  Giving honor to Evelyn Cox and Peter Barrett, #rememberthejali. Have a good night. Thanks for joining me on The Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.