WASHINGTON, D.C. — All the sights, plenty of history, and lots to do – it’s all stuffed into just over 60 square miles of Washington, D.C.
“It’s a lot of walking, but they’re going to make it,” says Dayvida Brown. “And you can learn a lot of new things out there.”
Dayvida Brown and Envyana Scott are just two of the young people from Milwaukee’s Amani Neighborhood who visited our nation’s Capitol this summer. Dominican Center youth coordinator Amanda Clark says it’s an amazing opportunity.
“There’s a world outside Milwaukee. A lot of the youth that we service, you know, they don’t even make it downtown,” Clark says.
“I ain’t going to lie, I didn’t know any of these people until we went on this trip,” Envyana adds. “It was scary but I had fun.”
Meeting all those new people helped Envyana and Dayvida open up to new perspectives.
“It helps me to be nicer to other people when I meet them in person,” Dayvida says.
Dayvida and Envyana had plenty of eye-opening experiences during their trip. They visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“A lot of people went through stuff back in the day,” Envyana says. “We don’t have to go through it, but we still act stupid.”
Envyana says – despite a lot of progress – America still has a long way to go for a brighter future. Clark says a great first step is helping kids become better versions of themselves. It’s something she works on year-round.
“A big part of it is just find the youth in this community, this neighborhood and getting them connected to resources, programming that can keep them out of trouble,” Clark says.
She says her work includes everything from helping young people navigate job challenges to coming out to their parents.
Clark wants her kids to know they have a lot going for them.
“A lot of the times, we only focus on the Black history and not the Black future,” she says.
And this summer’s trip to the Capitol helped Envyana and Dayvida realize what that future can look like. Dayvida was especially focused on all the references to men in The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
“I learned that men mostly did everything and the wives were stay-at-home parents,” she says.
“It wasn’t fair!” Envyana adds.
“For me, in the future, I want to do more things, other than having my husband do everything for me,” Dayvida says.
“She said, ‘I’m going to be President!’” Clark adds. “And I said, ‘You can! And how about you start with being president of the youth council?’”