What the Emerald Means to Me: Beyond a Single Story

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.

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