Category Archives: Emerald Voices

Emerald Voices: Selena Velasco and Suyoung Yun

by Sharon H. Chang

SELENA VELASCO and SUYOUNG YUN plop down cheerfully next to me. They giggle, they laugh and swap jokes, and–even though we’re inside–I suddenly have the sensation there’s flowers blooming out of the furniture. It’s because, I realize, Selena and Suyoung’s soulful friendship is a living, breathing, sustaining thing. The two queer Rainier Valley Corps fellows work together at Families of Color Seattle where they’ve deepened an incredibly special connection not only as coworkers but as queer artists and activists of color. They are confidantes, co-conspirators and comrades. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Selena Velasco and Suyoung Yun

Emerald Voices: Camie Goldhammer

by Sharon H. Chang

CAMIE GOLDHAMMER swings open the door to her well-kempt home in Columbia City wearing a big grin–but then quickly apologizes. “Hi welcome come on in! Sorry, just hold on a sec…” She rushes back to the kitchen table to finish booking work travel. Camie is a really busy woman and I’m lucky she has time to meet up. After a couple minutes she closes her laptop, turns a warm expression on me, and prepares to talk about racism, saving Native American babies lives, and vision across generations. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Camie Goldhammer

Emerald Voices: Bailey Adams

by Sharon H. Chang

BAILEY ADAMS–to my mind–is nothing less than a superstar senior. She is at least the kind of youth who inspires hope for the future (which is a lot). But far more than that she’s the kind of youth it’s cosmic to know exists in today’s tumultuous times: An empowered, no bullshit, young Black woman maneuvering a barricaded world on her own terms, in her own way–before even hitting her third decade of life. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Bailey Adams

Emerald Voices: Mrs. Sokha

by Sharon H. Chang

SOKHA OUK, fondly called Mrs. Sokha (pronounced SO-kah) by parents, staff and students, holds the official title of Office Support at Hawthorne Elementary School. But that title doesn’t do her justice. Really she’s everything from family support assistance, field trip chaperone, to reading help and crosswalk guard. And she does it everywhere from classroom-to-classroom, in the front office, to the nurse’s office and on the playground. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Mrs. Sokha

Emerald Voices: Remembering 김영섭, Michael Layton Taylor (1972-2016)

by Sharon H. Chang

 KIM, YOUNG SEOB was born on September 19, 1972 in South Korea. Six months later he was left at an orphanage near Seoul with no explanation. He would never see his birth family again nor ever know why he had been surrendered. Five years later Kim, Young Seob was selected for transnational adoption. He was placed with an elated interracial U.S. couple, Larry Layton Taylor (white) and his wife Fuyo (Japanese). The young child boarded a long flight overseas to join his new parents in a foreign land called Seattle, Washington. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Remembering 김영섭, Michael Layton Taylor (1972-2016)

Emerald Voices: Darryl Smith

by Sharon H. Chang

DARRYL SMITH, former Deputy Mayor of Community and founder of Columbia City Beatwalk, is not only a heartfelt but eloquent man. His words are smooth and dedication is profound in everything he says. More importantly he’s a community man, deeply invested resident and long time organizer. Simply put he cares. And, Darryl explains, he’s never known any other way. Born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, in a racially diverse and political neighborhood called the Third Ward “I grew up in a household where my mom was the campaign manager for the first African American mayor in Bergen County,” he says. “It was normal to have Jewish friends and we all went to Quaker-run sleepaway camp…I just grew up like that.” Continue reading Emerald Voices: Darryl Smith