My Emerald Story: My Extended Family

In celebration of the South Seattle Emerald’s 8th Anniversary, we asked community members to share moments in our publication’s history that remain special to them.

by Jamil Suleman

Join me in helping the Emerald create ripples and sparks everywhere! Information is Power! Imagine media for, by, and accountable to the community — thankfully, you don’t have to, because the Emerald already exists! As a founding board member living in a community so often treated as powerless, I’ve seen the Emerald grow to become a beacon of light that reminds us of our power, our wisdom, and our agency. But we can’t continue to do it without sustainable financial resources that allow us to thrive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28, by becoming a recurring donor! 

—Bridgette Hempstead, Community Activist, Founding Board Member, & Rainmaker

The amount of support and community love I and my homies have received from Marcus Green and the South Seattle Emerald over the years has been one of the most inspiring things to be a part of. I’ve written for the Emerald, produced amazing local-focused video work with our Indie Genius Media team, have been featured for several causes and performances, and have connected some of my most trusted friends to the Emerald over the years. I could tell a thousand stories of gratitude and service, but I’ll focus on some of the more recent opportunities the Emerald has given us.

Since COVID hit, things have been challenging, as we all can attest to. Especially near Mount Baker light rail station, violence and the pangs of poverty have made a severe impact on our block. As a community organizer, I went to work with my neighbors to do the best we could to help the people in need around our area, and the Emerald has been the voice box to help us organize and tell our story. 

All I had to do was shoot them a quick email, let them know what we were going through and the efforts we were putting in, and they immediately sent us some reporters to help amplify our cause. They never once asked for anything other than to help us and tell the story — of the people, the challenges we have been facing, and, most importantly, the community solutions we have been putting into practice. From tenant organizing to youth-led mural work, it was the Emerald that helped bring our story to Seattle and beyond. 

I am forever grateful for Marcus and the Emerald family, who I indeed consider family. They are there for us when we need them most, and I know I can rely on them to assist us in covering what’s going on at the grassroots level. As Marcus moves on and passes the mantle to what’s sure to be a hardworking and caring team, I look forward to the new projects and opportunities to help share our story. 

Big Love to the South Seattle Emerald from the whole Indie Genius Media crew. We’ll see you out there, fam. 

Help us celebrate our 8th anniversary with our ‘Ripples & Sparks at Home virtual event on April 28 at 7 p.m. with Ijeoma Oluo, Charles Johnson, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and our own Marcus Harrison Green — with the music of Shaina Shepherd and Intisaar, plus Emerald board member Lucas Draper will make a custom cocktail/mocktail with you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. RSVP here!

Jamil Suleman is a South Seattle-based writer, rapper, and actor. He is also the co-founder of Indie Genius Media.

📸 Featured Image: Illustration by Haley Williams for the South Seattle Emerald.

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