Category Archives: Emerald Voices

Emerald Voices: Alejandra Pérez

by Sharon H Chang 

ALEJANDRA PÉREZ, 23 years old, is energetic, passionate, often fiery. On this day, and I suspect on most days, Alejandra’s eyes are bright; she is animated and lively. She has a story to tell that could leave her and her family vulnerable, but that is not going to stop her. She will do whatever it takes to fight for justice for undocumented people. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Alejandra Pérez

Emerald Voices: Chú Tuân

by Sharon H Chang

CHÚ TUÂN, 81, bicycles to my home the day before our interview just to verify the address. He says a brief hello, confirms, leaves. Then, the day of our interview he arrives earlier than I expect. He’s very prepared, I realize, dressed neatly and professionally. In his hand he clasps several newspaper clippings. I thank him profusely and respectfully for his time. He smiles politely and strides in through the door. Continue reading Emerald Voices: Chú Tuân

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)