"They are busting out at the seams. They are young and restless because we haven't turned things over to them. We haven't given them more opportunities," she said.
Washington said she appreciates Anchorage's rich diversity. When she was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, everyone talked about America as a melting pot.
But stir what's in a pot and "you really can't see any differences," she said. She prefers the salad bowl metaphor, lettuce and tomatoes, fruits and nuts, all different, all working together.
"You look at that bowl and they are all in there. The individual and the diversity, all different things that we bring to the table and I think that's what makes this city a great place to live in, because of the great diversity."
So much has changed for the better since King gave his famous speech in 1963, said Washington. She was 1 year old. She's 48 now. Sometimes people get consumed by the battles not yet won and can't see all that has been gained, she said.
When she graduated from Chugiak High School in 1980, "I was the only black girl in my senior class. There weren't even African Americans at Chugiak High School years ago."
Washington gave young people an assignment. Go home and write about the life they envision for themselves. Write their own obituary, like she had to do in college.
Maybe, she said, they will dream big, as she did. Maybe thinking about it will help them live it.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com
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