What the Emerald Means to Me: Connection

by Julie Pham 

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

My favorite essay from the Emerald is an obituary. Marcus Green honored his high school friend, Latrell Williams, who was the victim of a fatal shooting not too far from his home. I saw myself in Latrell even though we have seemingly little in common. He was a laconic, Black single father, former collegiate football star who “looked like the love child of granite and titanium” and wrote show scripts and I’m a talkative, petite Vietnamese American childless woman who has no athletic talents and who doesn’t own a TV. The story Marcus told of Latrell’s resilience, optimism, and persistence exemplifies how the Emerald humanizes the news. Emerald readers don’t just read about people, they feel connected to them.

My own father, Kim Pham, recently passed away. In 1986, he co-founded Northwest Vietnamese News, not too far from where the Emerald started, both in the Rainier Valley. When I told Marcus, he responded by saying, “I really wish I had met your father. And by met, I mean a full, leisurely conversation with him.”
I regret not bringing them together. They would have had a lot to talk about. Each was a young man when they left a well-paying career to start a media organization so that their community could have a voice and a place to share their stories. They share a love of  writing and listening to others. Whenever we wrote a long feature story relevant to South Seattle, my father would ask, “Can we ask the Emerald to post it?” He knew on our own, our audience was limited if we just published in our Vietnamese newspaper. By partnering with others, we were stronger. The Emerald doesn’t just connect me to others through its stories. I also feel we are connected by a shared sense of pride of being storytellers for our community.

Original Illustration by Alexa Strabuk.

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. Support the Emerald!