Category Archives: Voices

Turning In to Turn Up During Ramadan

by Sabreen Akhter


Like many children of immigrants, it was rare that I would see my mother cry. She was made of that same earthen ore that so many recent immigrants are — setting out a path for herself, and then putting her head down and throwing every ounce into the effort of her new life in America. In the 1980s, when she was still early in her career, with two young children under her care, and a husband with an equally punishing schedule, there was little time to travel to see family, and even less opportunity to connect in the ways that we can today.  Long distance phone calls were prohibitively expensive, long distance flights even more so, and the intervals between seeing loved ones stretched over many years. 

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A Highly Compelling Session: An Evaluation of the 2021 Washington State Legislature

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by John Stafford


“The Legislature has just wrapped up an historic and truly extraordinary session. It has been the most innovative, having produced unprecedented and legacy making advances as all-encompassing as any session in the last 25 years.”

— Governor Jay Inslee, April 25, 2021

The Washington State Legislature has just completed its 2021 session — a 105-day event charged with passing three state budgets (operating, transportation and capital) and hundreds of policy bills, conducted exclusively online. From a liberal perspective, this has been an exciting and momentous session, with major legislative achievements in a wide range of areas.

I’ll evaluate the 2021 Legislative Session in 14 different areas: state budgets, tax reform, pandemic response, economic relief, housing and homelessness, K–12 education, health care, racial justice, criminal justice, gun control, labor, climate change, growth management act, and other, and give the session an overall grade. 

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What The Emerald Means to Me: Everything

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by Marti McKenna

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

As an editor for the South Seattle Emerald, I get to see so many great stories before they go out to our readers, and I am continuously blown away by the breadth of topics, the depth of reporting, and the heart in the stories the Emerald brings to South Seattle and beyond. To me, the Emerald represents everything that is right with independent journalism in the Greater Seattle area.

The Emerald is a true gem in our community, and over the past year, it has shone brighter than ever, uplifting community voices to tell stories that directly affect the readers it serves. 

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What the Emerald Means to Me: Filling in the Puzzle

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by Susan Davis

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


Consuming the world’s current events feels like constructing a new puzzle every day. The border is the international news that guides the framing of the world in general. It impacts the rest of the puzzle and guides our puzzle piece placement. The national news is next and fills in the picture allowing for better clarity as the picture appears. Of course, the regional news brings its own subtle twists to reach our goal; matching colors, images, and even shapes of the pieces themselves.

But, even the Seattle Times doesn’t include most of the South End pieces. Assembling my daily puzzle picture can turn into a scavenger hunt in which the pieces are buried in the B section.  Once found, those pieces help construct the final picture. But, the heart is still missing.

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Why the NAACP Youth Council Is Demanding the Dismantling of HCC

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by Nhi Tran, Foziya Reshid, Thao-Mi Le


Advanced learning programs first made an appearance in Seattle schools during the 1960s with the adoption of the “Policy for the Education of Able Learners.” The program was created with the intent of providing every student with an education that would “challenge [their] maximum ability and meet [their] individual needs.” However, after introducing school busing in the 1970s, the district used this program as an incentive to keep white parents who opposed racial integration from pulling their children out of Seattle schools. This program provided select white students with an education separate from their Black and Brown peers, perpetuating a segregated school system. 

Throughout Washington state, schools are required to provide “highly capable programs” for students they deem “gifted.” The state defines gifted as “students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments.” The state allocates funds for each school district and, in return, school districts must abide by the state Legislature’s policies regarding basic education, which were redefined in 2011 to include programs for highly capable students. However, as you will see, these programs are built upon a foundation of white supremacy and constructed with the intent to perpetuate the segregation of schools on the basis of race and socioeconomic status. 

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OPINION: Reclaiming the History of May Day

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by JM Wong


On this year’s May Day, as we grieve and witness the calamity of state-sponsored or state- manufactured violence; the premature (because utterly preventable) COVID epidemic deaths raging from India to Brazil due to fascist governments more invested in power than people; and the unceasing state lynchings from Columbus, Ohio to North Carolina and Seattle, Washington — we need the memories that Lucy Parsons bequeathed our struggles for which this day, International Workers Day, was created.  

Lucy Parsons should be a household name at any May Day celebration. She had a vision of freedom for the working classes who had been made by histories of colonialism, slavery, settler violence, and migration. Her vision challenged the internationalism of capitalists who professed a right to universal exploitation while creating borders and racial systems to divide those they exploited or killed. Today, Parsons’ erasure is part of the whitewashing of labor history in the United States that abets American empire. Remembering her is a reminder that she and so many others, even in the belly of the beast, left us the foundation and resources for a workers’ internationalism that revokes capitalist claims to exploitation and reconstructs our global connections for the purposes of shared freedom.

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Bob Shimabukuro: Side Street Renaissance Man (August 4, 1945-March 29, 2021)

Support the Emerald with me! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 76 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight. That was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald during our fund drive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 7th Anniversary campaign April 26–May 5. Donate here.🥳💚 

—Cynthia “Mama” Green

by Sharon Maeda


 “Daydreaming isn’t allowed in the fast lane. So Bob Shimabukuro has mostly lived life on side streets, taking a detour now and again to help other people along the way.”

That’s how former Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large captured the essence of Bob in 1994. To that I would add: Renaissance Man. In addition to being a writer and a consummate family man, Bob was also an artist, chef, community activist/leader, feminist, furniture designer/woodworker, Hawai‘i-style philosopher, and so much more. 

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Ask a Therapist: Finding ‘Flow’ Amid the Stressors of a Slow Re-Opening

by Liz Covey, LMHC


Question: I am going crazy trying to figure out what I am allowed to do right now, versus last month. And being recently fully vaccinated makes it all the harder to figure out. Especially with others who may or may not be, such as strangers in the park. How on earth am I supposed to cope with all this stress of not knowing??

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