What the Emerald Means to Me: Beyond a Single Story

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by Reagan Jackson

(In support of the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary fundraiser we asked community members to share about what the Emerald means to them.)


South Seattle is home to many artists, writers, activists, caregivers, restaurant owners, dog lovers, environmentalists. Maybe that is a distinction that can be given to a lot of places … that where I live is a place filled with stories, people, and cultures complex and nuanced. But before the South Seattle Emerald, anytime you heard any news about Rainier Beach or really any of the South End neighborhoods, it was never about any of this.

Chimamanda Adichie talks about the danger of a Single Story. The single story of the South End was that it was the place where people got shot. It was the story painted in black, of poverty and criminals at war with one another and with the police. And not one single news outlet seemed to care enough to ever fact-check that story or to see beyond it to the thousands of other stories coexisting.

When Marcus Harrison Green decided to start the Emerald, he created a platform that has amplified the voices of our community and created a space for us to shatter the myth of the single story and begin to chronicle the many beautiful, rich, complicated stories that exist here.

In doing so, the Emerald has changed the way people look at South Seattle, and in many ways, it has changed even how we who live here see ourselves. It is truly a gift.


Reagan Jackson is a writer, artist, activist, international educator and award-winning journalist.

Featured illustration by Jiéyì 杰意 Ludden.

Before you move on to the next story …
Please consider that the article you just read was made possible by the generous financial support of donors and sponsors. The Emerald is a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet with the mission of offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities. Please consider making a one-time gift or, better yet, joining our Rainmaker Family by becoming a monthly donor. Your support will help provide fair pay for our journalists and enable them to continue writing the important stories that offer relevant news, information, and analysis. 
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