Just Us of Washington County is an 501(c)3 organization dedicated supporting and providing guidance to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals and families in Washington County. This week, Barseana Simond and Hadwat Sankari join me to discuss Just Us, how the organization got its start, and why their organization is important to promoting inclusion and acceptance here in our county.
Learn more about Just Us of Washington County in the links below.
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Fuzz Martin 0:08
Hello, my podcast buddies. Thank you for tuning in to Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. I'm your host, Fuzz Martin. And on this show, we talked about positive things happening in and around Washington County, Wisconsin, one of my favorite parts of the show is when I get to learn new things from new people, and you get to come along for the ride with me and learn as well. And this week, we're going to do that. Okay. I am joined this week by members of Just Us of Washington County, just us is an organization promoting inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities in our county and this week, Barseana Simond and Hadwat Sankari. Discuss the organization, how it got its start, why it's needed, and how you can get involved. And with that, here are 15 minutes on Just Us of Washington County with Barseana Simond and Hadwat Sankari on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.
Fuzz Martin 1:13
Barseana and Hadwat thank you for joining me today I heard about Just Us of Washington County from Noel Braun at Casa Guadalupe. And I'm very excited to speak with you both today. So thank you for coming in.
Barseana Simond 1:23
Thanks for having us.
Fuzz Martin 1:24
Let's start with a high level first of all, so what is the mission behind Just Us Washington County.
Hadwat Sankari 1:30
So our mission at Just Us of Washington County, we're a 501(c)3 organization and we provide support and guidance to BIPOC populations as well as LGBTQ plus individuals and families. So what we're really trying to do is we're trying to seek to help navigate and supply guidance for everyday experiences and challenges faced within Washington County, we offer support and access to resources that directly impact the well being of others.
Fuzz Martin 1:53
How did the organization get it start? So like? Are there other Just Us organizations throughout the country? Or is this local just here to Washington County? How'd you guys get started?
Barseana Simond 2:01
There are not any other justice organizations that we are aware of. Okay. However, both myself and Hadwat we have many interactions with different students, different parents and people of the community? And through these conversations, it was discussed how we can help others because there are many challenges that individuals face with an area.
Fuzz Martin 2:23
Who else is involved here with Just Us of Washington County?
Barseana Simond 2:26
We have another board member? Okay, as well as we have a few volunteers who help us on different projects. Okay, and things of that nature.
Fuzz Martin 2:34
Barseana, you you moved to Washington County just over 10 years ago, right? Yes. What are some of the challenges that you and your family have seen for people of color, moving into a county that's generally not known for its diversity?
Barseana Simond 2:47
Here in Washington County, a lot of people know and it's not just for people of color, or the LGBTQ population, but there's a lack of transportation. So transportation is reliable transportation is very hard to get as well as adequate childcare and suitable jobs, I often hear that people are able to, you know, get jobs and obtain jobs. However, sometimes when they were working, there may be their co workers playing inappropriate music, or they're listen to some political station that's clearly biased towards them. Sometimes they don't complain, because they feel like nothing won't be done, because they did so in the past, and nothing happened. So it just continuously happens. So even though people are able to get jobs here, sometimes the job is more stressful than not having a job at all.
Fuzz Martin 3:33
Sure, sure. How do you feel that we can make a change to make that better? Through education conversations like this? How does that work?
Barseana Simond 3:43
Um, education conversations, yes. But a lot of times, it's good to just talk to people without without having these preconceived notions, just to get to know each other on individual basis, and that group people according to what you see on television, or according to your biases, so a lot of times, it just takes communication to talk with others and try to use empathy and understand what they're saying.
Fuzz Martin 4:08
Treat people like people.
Barseana Simond 4:09
Hadwat Sankari 4:11
And I think also acknowledging differences, like it's okay, that there's differences, like it's okay to be curious about differences and to be accepting of differences. So I think sometimes it's like, voided completely like almost like, we're colorblind, or we don't see these things, but I think that actually can do more damage as well, when we're talking about how do we be more inclusive? Certainly.
Barseana Simond 4:30
So I just wanted to bring up like, there's so many different experiences that I have had that, how do I have had and other people have had, but I remember when I first moved in the area, I was at a government office, like a public government office, and they had, there was no picture of anyone of color. However, they had a cartoon hanging up of Michael Vick, and it was a very demeaning cartoon, and it was just like, it was just crazy. Like, this is the picture you choose to even though it's just a cartoon. This is what you choose to display, like actors Government Office. So that was very discouraging. Right?
Fuzz Martin 5:03
Well, I bet and I think that people need to hear that more in order to understand that, that means something to somebody that walks in a negative way. Right? And to, I guess, have more empathy for everybody. Yes. So are there good things that you see here in Washington County? What are some of the things that you enjoy most about the county?
Hadwat Sankari 5:22
I really appreciate just the outdoors. It I mean, there's so many trails, so many activities, so many things that are family friendly, which I think is what really drew us to Washington County.
Barseana Simond 5:31
Yeah. So there's certain things that I really enjoy living here. I've been here for I think, 11 years going on 12. However, I like the family friendly activities, such as the dirty ninja one. And Halloween is my favorite, because everyone is just out and walking around and talking and having a good time. And yeah, so I do really like those as well, as I was part of a community garden some years ago by Gehl, a lady named Mary ran it. And everyone was just so extremely helpful. So it was just everyone with one purpose in mind grown a garden. And yeah, so everyone helped. And I learned a lot from that. So there are some good things and good people in Washington County,
Fuzz Martin 6:08
We all want to see more of those good things and help bring up generations of more good people and that are doing good things. Barseana, you've dedicated yourself to working with nonprofit communities and disabled populations. You're also actively involved with West Bend High School as a an advisor for the multicultural clubs. So what led you to that and tell us about how that works?
Barseana Simond 6:29
Ever since I was in third grade, I always went to school with people who do not look like me. And so it was very difficult. And my mother had her reasons for putting me in there, she felt that it was a better education that I would get, which is probably true, I probably did receive a better education. However, like some of the things that was said to me, and some of the feelings that I was experiencing, were horrible. So being that I know what it's like to you know, be in a room full of people. Of course, we have similarities, but there are so many different similar similarities we do not have. So knowing how that feels, and knowing that challenges that people or students face, I wanted to volunteer my time at the high school to give back to those kids and kind of be a listening ear for those who had any problems or concern.
Fuzz Martin 7:14
And I think that's very important here and in every community, but, you know, especially I grew up in a not here in West Bend, but in a similar, you know, town in southwest Waukesha County. And so, you know, it wasn't until college that I had a professors, you know, who are people of color, and I didn't have a teacher that, that didn't look like me until I was in college. So you don't experience that as I grew up in a community, and you don't get that diversity in that. And I think that it is important to expose people to all communities so that we can be better together. So but I think that's great that you're part of that multicultural club. And I think that it's very needed in these kinds of communities that there are those kinds of clubs and the door, there are those opportunities for our younger generations to be more worldly. I guess.
Barseana Simond 8:10
There's a former member of the multicultural club who's now in college, and the other day she had said on Facebook that she was so happy to get like a professor. I think she had two or three that look like her. So yeah, it's amazing. Yeah,
Hadwat Sankari 8:25
yeah, it makes a difference. Absolutely. Can I just add also, I, before I even knew Barseana, I think when I first heard about the multicultural club, they were putting on a Black History Month celebration, which was amazing to see something like that in Washington County, I was so happy to see just like, for celebrating, there's awareness, there's representation. So bringing things like that I think has really enriched the community.
Fuzz Martin 8:48
I agree. I kind of touched on this before, but what what do you feel are some more ways that we can become inclusive and more welcoming of bipoc and LGBTQ plus communities here?
Barseana Simond 8:57
Get yourself in uncomfortable situations? Yes, yeah. So just do something outside the box, whether it's going to an event, reading a book, making a new friend, it doesn't even have to be a friend, even an associate, you know, just talk to people and just, you know, try to get out your backs a little.
Hadwat Sankari 9:14
And I think also just seeing more representation, just like we were talking about, like having people, whether it's businesses, people in local government, teachers administration, like just being able to see people of color and people from the LGBTQ community, holding those positions, seeing yourself reflected in those positions. I think that helps to break down stereotypes. And that also helps a person of color a person who identifies from an LGBTQ group to say like, oh, I can see myself right. I can see myself in these positions.
Barseana Simond 9:41
Even I like when I see a mother doing something. I'm like, Oh my gosh, why am I not doing it?
Fuzz Martin 9:51
I ask myself all that time. For those who are looking to support just us of Washington County for those We're looking for support from justice of Washington County, how can they get involved in getting in touch with you guys?Barseana Simond:
they can either email us find us on Facebook or find us on Instagram, okay, we are looking for a volunteer to update our social media accounts. However, we both have access to them, where we can check messages and things of that nature. However, we do need to do a better job of just putting information out there. It's hard for old people likeFuzz Martin:
I kind of work in social media here at Epic, and it's hard for me to do it on my own. So how can people support your organization? What kind of things do you guys need? And what are you guys looking to do here in the future?Hadwat Sankari:
I think I mean, donating time, I think is huge. So anyone who's willing to volunteer that's always welcomed, of course, monetary donations, just to help out people in the community who are seeking out resources we always appreciate, and not even monetary. But if you have things to donate, whether it's clothing or things that you feel like people could utilize, we appreciate those things as well.Barseana Simond:
Even a skill like hey, I can create website. Can I help you out with it? Right, yeah, anything and everything at the same time, even if they want to donate some time, but don't know exactly what they're good at. You know, there's all sorts of ways that we can use peopleFuzz Martin:
to help. Do you guys have any events coming up or anything or onBarseana Simond:
Saturday, May 13 of next year, we have a sharpest event coming up? This will be our second one. So it's a vendor fair. What people from Southeast Wisconsin are selling their goods and services at Ozaukee County Fair Park? Um, no. Thank you. Yeah. County Fairgrounds? Yeah. So we didn't need volunteers for that, and things of that nature.Fuzz Martin:
Alright, sounds good. I'll be sure to share that information. I will be when we get closer to that. And when you're looking for that, just tag me when you're on social media and or send me a message and I will retweet it. People can find out more information speaking to that people can find more information about justice of Washington County on Facebook and Instagram, right? Yes. All right. Very good.Barseana Simond:
Or just talking to us. Like if you see us just pull this to the side and say, Hey, I need to know more. Yeah, yeah, there's various ways to contact us.Fuzz Martin:
I really appreciate you guys coming in. I know these conversations. I love these conversations. I think they're great to have. And I think we all need to have more of them. And I really appreciate you guys coming on on the show with me.Barseana Simond:
Thank you. Yeah, thank you for having us. Also, Amazon Smile like anyone would like to do like a donation without really donating. If anyone knows about Amazon Smile, you can just put justice of Washington County in there and a percentage of your purchase will go directly to us without paying any additional fee.Fuzz Martin:
Yeah, that's a great program. So you go to smile.amazon.com. And then I'll ask you to select your charity, and then select justice of Washington County. It was great meeting you both. Thanks for coming in. And thanks for all you're doing to help promote increasing our inclusiveness and feelings of welcoming us here in Washington County for BIPOC and LGBTQ plus communities. Thank you both.Barseana Simond:
Thank you.Fuzz Martin:
Thank you again, to Barseana Simond and Hadwat Sankari of Just Us of Washington County for joining me on this week's show again, you can find their organization on Facebook and on Instagram. I've put links to their organization on my website fifteenwithfuzz.com. And also in the show notes here in your podcast player. If you go to description, you should be able to find them there and just click there if you want to learn more. Do you have an idea for a guest for Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz? Please email me email@example.com. That's fifteen spelled out with fuzz @gmail.com or go to fuzz.cc/guest. New episodes come out every Monday. I thank you for listening. And I'll talk to you again next time right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Transcribed by https://otter.ai