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.

Vee Hua

Interim Managing Editor and News Editor

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 managing editor of South Seattle Emerald, editor-in-chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication REDEFINE, and a member of the Seattle Arts Commission. They are also 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. Their latest film, Reckless Spirits, a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, for which they are working on a feature-length version. Follow them at @hellomynameisvee or over at veehua.com.

Marti McKenna

Deputy Managing Editor

Marti McKenna (she/her) is a writer and editor who spent over 30 years writing, editing, and wrangling writers and editors in the video game industry. She co-founded and co-edited the critically acclaimed electronic magazine Aeon Speculative Fiction (2004–2008) with Bridget McKenna. When she’s not moving words and letters and images around her computer screen for the Emerald, she edits novels for independent authors. She lives in Leschi, but her heart belongs to Beacon Hill.

M. Anthony Davis

Voices and News Editor

M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis) is a local journalist who covers arts, culture, and sports.

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.

Jessie McKenna

Operations Manager

Jessie McKenna (she/her) is a writer and marketing/communications and project manager with a focus on South End nonprofits, small business, and community projects. She joined the Emerald in 2017 as a volunteer, later becoming the content manager, and now heads up operations. She aims to ensure that every part of the Emerald inside and out receives the care and attention it deserves, so our authors, photographers, artists, editors, production crew, and the community we serve may shine as brightly on the screen as they do IRL (in real life). Jessie lives in Beacon Hill on unceded ancestral lands of the Duwamish people. If you do too, you can pay them rent at RealRentDuwamish.org.

Need assistance with something and aren’t sure who to ask?
Hit up Emerald Operations via email.

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

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.

Ronnie Estoque

News Reporter

Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website at RicoInFrame.com.

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.

Amanda Ong

Arts, Culture, & Community Reporter

Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies. There, she was involved with Asian American student activism and completed a thesis on immigrant family stories and orientalism. Amanda has recently been awarded second place for the Bristol Short Story Prize, and completed a zine about radical self-love. In both her creative writing and journalism, Amanda sees writing as a means to community building and empowering marginalized folks.

Victor Simoes

Arts, Culture, & Community Reporter

Victor Simoes is an international student at the University of Washington pursuing a double degree in journalism and photo/media. Originally from Florianopolis, Brazil, they enjoy radical organizing, hyper pop, and their beloved cats. Their writing focuses on community, arts, and culture. You can find them on Instagram or Twitter at @victorhaysser.

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.

Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle