Yvette Washington and her husband, Mr. Rodney B. Washington, have lived in Sherman Park since 1990. Ms. Washington was born and raised in Milwaukee. She grew up in the Riverwest neighborhood and remembers that all her neighbors were homeowners. She went through the Milwaukee Public School system. The couple has three daughters, Chiesa, Aria, and Allegra. She has instilled a deep respect and love for education in her daughters.
Ms. Washington settled in Sherman Park because of the beautiful homes in its historical districts. She spends a lot of time walking the neighborhood, appreciating the architecture, and looking at flowers. She loves her neighbors, all of whom are concerned homeowners who look out for each other. However, vacant and foreclosed homes bother her, and she thinks there are things city officials can do to help.
Ms. Washington worked as a Milwaukee Police Department detective for twenty-seven years. Her husband, Mr. Washington, also works for the Milwaukee Police Department as a Sergeant. She began working at the police department when she got a part-time job while in high school. After she graduated, she enrolled in the police aide program. She started as a dispatcher, then became a police officer, and then a detective. Her personal experience taught Ms. Washington that not all police officers are bad; that everyone comes into this job with their own backgrounds and biases.
Now that Ms. Washington is retired, she loves to spend most of her time gardening. She attributes some of her affinity for gardening to living in a corner house, since corner houses are most visible and have larger yards. However, this also means the home requires more maintenance. Her love for gardening also comes from her father, who grew up in the south and was an avid gardener.
Yvette Washington moved into their current home in 1997. She likes to use the term "pride of home ownership," as she compares caring for her home to self-care. She told us that care has to be taught, and some people don't care or have respect for themselves or others. Ms. Washington taught her daughters to care and tries to teach the people around her as well, by planting flowers and picking up trash left in the street.
Ms. Washington feels that renters and homeowners have different mindsets, and that they care for their homes in different ways. She feels that more time, work, and money is put into something one owns. Ms. Washington is also a landlord, and has experienced difficulties with renters who may not take care of their homes as much. She is therefore interested in encouraging everyone — homeowners and renters— to become good stewards of the neighborhood.
Ms. Washington also loves and cares for her family and is the anchor that keeps the family together. She holds annual family events and was supportive of her mother and sister when they had health problems. All of Ms. Washington’s values come from her parents, which is why she believes parenting is central to how we create a caring world.