Our Team

Michael McPhearson

Executive Director

Michael McPhearson is executive director of the Emerald. He has decades of experience as an executive director of national nonprofit organizations including Veterans For Peace. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be an executive director again, but he’s honored to serve the community by listening, learning, and helping the Emerald grow to sustainability. As co-coordinator of the Ferguson/St. Louis Don’t Shoot Coalition and leading a delegation to support the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, he recognizes the critical role of community media for social change. He has testified before Congress and is currently on the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group and a board member of the ACLU of Washington.

Rosette Royale

Rosette Royale (he/she/they) is a writer and storyteller, whose first gig in journalism was in 1995 at the Provincetown Banner, on the tip of Cape Cod. Rosette moved to Seattle in 2003 and spent more than a decade as a reporter and editor at Real Change. Rosette loves to elevate the voices of people whose stories often go unheard. And when they aren’t reading, Rosette’s cooking up something good in the kitchen.

Phil Manzano

Interim News Editor

Phil Manzano is a South Seattle writer and editor with more than 30 years’ experience in daily journalism. He’s been an award-winning reporter, editor, and suburban bureau team leader for The Oregonian in Portland. He moved to Seattle in 2013 and worked for nonprofits directing content strategy and development. He is director of Southend Connect, a platform created during the pandemic to support small business and build community in South Seattle. His journalism roots can be traced to the ground-breaking efforts of Robert Maynard and Nancy Hicks Maynard, founders of The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and whose work opened American newsrooms to BIPOC journalists and continues today, training the next generation of storytellers and media leaders. Phil has a Certificate in Community Storytelling from The Hearth in Ashland, Oregon, and is passionate about the power of story to heal and build community.

Mark Van Streefkerk

Arts, Culture, & Community Editor

Mark Van Streefkerk (he/him) is a mixed-race Dutch-Indonesian writer and journalist who has lived in Seattle since 2007. He often writes about community events, LGBTQIA+ topics, local restaurants, and Seattle news. He was previously the interim guest editor for Eater Seattle, and has bylines in The Seattle Times, The Stranger, Mashable, and BuzzFeed. Mark’s favorite thing to do is bike to ChuMinh for a tofu banh mi. You can find out more about him at markvanstreefkerk.com, and follow him on Twitter at @VanStreefkerk.

Lola Peters

Operations Administrator

Lola E. Peters (she/her) is semi-retired from a 40-year plus career as an organizational development and training professional. She has written many articles and opinion pieces for the Emerald and also served as a developmental editor and as the editor-at-large. She lives in Renton where she writes essays, poems, and short stories reflecting her commitment to building a just society. She has published a book of essays, The Truth About White People, as well as two collections of poems, Taboos and The Book of David: A Coming of Age Tale, and written articles and essays for many other publications. Lola has been a proud member of Seattle’s African-American Writers’ Alliance since 2007 and served on various boards including Leadership Tomorrow, Technology Access Foundation, and Central Area Motivation Program (now Byrd Barr Place). View her website (www.lola-e-peters.com) for more information, including a list of her published articles and access to her blog.

Afrose Fatima Ahmed

Development Officer

Afrose (she/they) is a daughter of Muslim immigrants from India, a writer, and a long-time nonprofit professional. They are excited to be joining the South Seattle Emerald team as support for the Development Department. Afrose began her nonprofit career as an advocate at Chaya and went on to be the operations and events manager at Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center. She is passionate about connecting people to important missions that are community-driven.

Megan Christy

Megan Christy

Lead Content Manager

Megan Christy is a proofreader, copy editor, and web content manager who has worked with a range of storytelling formats from romance role-playing games to nonprofit grant proposals. She started volunteering with the South Seattle Emerald in the summer of 2020 and joined the Emerald team officially the following year. As a granddaughter of an incarcerated Japanese American during WWII, Megan is passionate about helping those whose voices have been forgotten, overlooked, or silenced by society.

Headshot depicting Lauryn Bray holding up an iPhone to take a mirror selfie.

Lauryn Bray

News Reporter

Lauryn Bray is a writer at the South Seattle Emerald. She has a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from CUNY Hunter College. She is from Sacramento, California, and has been living in King County since June 2022.

Ari Robin McKenna

Education Reporter

Ari Robin McKenna worked as an educator and curriculum developer in Brooklyn, New York; Douala, Cameroon; Busan, South Korea; Quito, Ecuador; and Seattle, Washington, before setting roots in the South End. Please send tips about education in South Seattle/Southwest King County to Ari.Mckenna@SeattleEmerald.org. (@R_E_McK, Muck Rack)

Vee Hua

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at linktr.ee/hellomynameisvee.

Jas Keimig

Arts, Culture, & Community Reporter

Jas Keimig is a writer and critic based in Seattle. They previously worked on staff at The Stranger, covering visual art, film, music, and stickers. Their work has also appeared in Crosscut, South Seattle Emerald, i-D, Netflix, and The Ticket. They also co-write Unstreamable for Scarecrow Video, a column and screening series highlighting films you can’t find on streaming services. They won a game show once.

Megan Burbank

Features Reporter

Megan Burbank is a writer and editor based in Seattle. Before going full-time freelance, she worked as an editor and reporter at the Portland Mercury and The Seattle Times. She specializes in enterprise reporting on reproductive health policy, and stories at the nexus of gender, politics, and culture.

Carolyn Bick

Watchdragon Reporter

Carolyn Bick is a journalist and photographer based in South Seattle. As the Emerald’s Watchdragon reporter, they dive deep into local issues to keep the public informed and ensure those in positions of power are held accountable for their actions. You can reach them on Twitter @CarolynBick and can check out their work on muckrack.com/carolyn-bick/portfolio as well as cebickphotography.com.

Alex Garland


Alex Garland is a photographer, reporter, writer, and artist. He is a regular contributor to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and the South Seattle Emerald. Alex started his journalism career in Seattle during the 2011 Occupy protests and has covered almost every major protest and activist movement in the city since. Published internationally, Alex enjoys working around the world, but calls Seattle home and cares deeply about the subjects he photographs and is grateful for the people and experiences he’s met along the way. Providing accurate information for the people of Seattle to determine their own opinions is vital and Alex appreciates the trust his viewers and readers place in him to find the light. Follow his work at AlexGarlandPhotography.com 

Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle