Our Board

Devin Chicras

Devin Chicras

Board President

Devin Chicras (she/her) is a multidisciplinary brand builder whose day job conveniently lends itself to her favorite hobby of using design and communication as tools of choice in the fight for a good cause for over a decade. She also serves as VP for the nonprofit West Hill Community Association and lead organizer of events like Skyway Outdoor Cinema and formerly was founding President of the Seattle Central AIGA.

Andrew (AJ) Johnston

Board Vice President

Andrew (AJ) Johnston (he/him) joined the Emerald board shortly after the Emerald’s first anniversary. He is a South Seattle-based architect specializing in residential and commercial projects. Andrew is an outspoken supporter of Black-led, community­-centered media as a way to speak truth to power and inspire positive change within communities in need. He is also a passionate volunteer and organizer with Social Justice Fund NW (SJF) where he is working to foster a network of BIPOC donors in Seattle and the greater NW area.

Ijeoma Oluo

Board Secretary

Ijeoma Oluo (she/her) is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race and the forthcoming Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. Her work on race has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among many others. She was named one of Seattle’s Most Influential People of 2015 by Seattle Magazine and one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle by Seattle Met in 2018. She has twice been named to the Root 100, and she received both the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award and the 2020 Harvard Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Lucas Draper

Board Treasurer

Lucas Draper (he/him) is an architectural designer. New to Beacon Hill, but a long-time resident of the Central District, Lucas has witnessed firsthand the power of community outreach to build lasting change, and actively seeks to use art as a medium for critical social justice in a communal space. Recognizing the powerful interplay between arts and advocacy, he is invested in grassroots efforts to enact foundational reform at a macro and micro level. A tireless advocate for gay rights and racial equity, Lucas is compelled by the intersectionality afforded by community engagement, and the transformative power of working together for a common goal. In his spare hours, he is a fine baker and is blossoming into a confident parent of several plants.

Jovelle Tamayo

Board Director

Jovelle Tamayo (she/her) is an independent documentary photographer and visual journalist born in the Philippines, raised in New Jersey, and currently based in Seattle’s Beacon Hill. She has contributed to publications including YES! Magazine, The Marshall Project, California Sunday Magazine, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Crosscut, The Seattle Globalist and the South Seattle Emerald. Since 2016, Jovelle has taught photography, filmmaking, and media literacy to youth with Reel Grrls, Coyote Central, the Northwest Film Forum, the Seattle International Film Festival, and The Everyday Projects/Refugees Northwest. As an advocate for a more equitable visual media industry, Jovelle co-founded the Authority Collective and contributed to authoring the Photo Bill of Rights. Previously, she served as VP of Programs for the Asian American Journalists Association Seattle chapter. 

Khyree Smith

Board Director

Khyree Smith (he/him, they/them) is an educator, facilitator, and lifelong Seattleite working in various roles with Austin Foundation, OneWorld Now and Seattle University. Khyree has been fortunate to provide services for thousands of youth and young adults throughout King County, often known commonly as “Coach Khyree.” Khyree believes in doing work “for the sake of the children,” holding the importance that any work you do should be in efforts to make a safe, happy, and flourishing world for youth to grow up in and to continue to live in as adults.

Jini Palmer

Board Director

Jini Palmer (she/her) is a podcaster, musician, and filmmaker. All of her trades are rooted in writing and inspired by the scope of media to communicate, inform, and inspire change. She is the digital media manager for Town Hall Seattle, where she is the creative video lead and host & producer of the In the Moment, Civics, Science, and Arts & Culture podcast series. She has been a joyful resident of Seattle since 2009, coming from her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle