Tag Archives: Emerald Voices

OPINION: ‘Building Back Better’ Requires Big New Investments in Women and Caregiving

by Marilyn Watkins


COVID-19 has hit the hardest smack at the intersection of racial, gender, and economic disparities, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable amongst us. Black and Brown communities have been much more likely than whites to suffer illness and financial hardship due to COVID-19. The closure of schools and childcare facilities has put a whole generation of kids at risk while throwing a double whammy at women of all races, who provided the bulk of unpaid family care pre-COVID-19, and are now struggling to juggle work with full-time childcare plus supervision of schooling.

We need both our state and federal governments to commit to investments and policies that build health, economic security, and educational opportunity for women and children, with special emphasis on families of Color.

Continue reading OPINION: ‘Building Back Better’ Requires Big New Investments in Women and Caregiving

Year of the Ox

by Jiéyì 杰意 Ludden


新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè!

I was born in 1991 on the first day of Lunar New Year in Nagoya, Japan to a Chinese mother and a white American father. My brother, my dad, and I moved to the States when I was 5 and my mom followed a couple years later. Throughout elementary school, we would go back to China to stay with my mom’s family every other summer. We’d spend the whole school break there, almost three months at a time, and come back just in time for school to start in the fall. One year in early elementary school, we landed on the first official day of school, so I started school a day late. The, at the time, 14-hour time difference meant that I was so sleepy that first day back that I fell asleep during class. I’m grateful that my teacher was understanding.

Continue reading Year of the Ox

OPINION: Loved Ones Lost to Police Violence Make Case for HB 1054

by Deborah Jacobs


Giovonn Joseph-McDade was a 20-year-old Green River College student when Kent Police officer William Davis shot him to death after a vehicle chase in June 2017. According to his mother, Sonia Joseph, Giovonn was a humble kid with a passion for sports, especially football, who kept fit, healthy, and positive, and had three younger brothers who loved and looked up to him.

On Jan. 12, the House Public Safety Committee in Olympia heard public testimony on House Bill 1054 (HB 1054), legislation that has the potential to save lives like Giovonn’s, needlessly and tragically taken at the hands of police. HB 1054 deals with multiple police tactics that have resulted in the loss of life and injury to the people of Washington state, including a ban on vehicle pursuits. It’s a bill that deserves a vote on the House floor as soon as possible and in its strongest form.

Continue reading OPINION: Loved Ones Lost to Police Violence Make Case for HB 1054

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: Darryl Smith

by Sharon H. Chang

DARRYL SMITH, former Deputy Mayor of Community and founder of Columbia City Beatwalk, is not only a heartfelt but eloquent man. His words are smooth and dedication is profound in everything he says. More importantly he’s a community man, deeply invested resident and long time organizer. Simply put he cares. And, Darryl explains, he’s never known any other way. Born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, in a racially diverse and political neighborhood called the Third Ward “I grew up in a household where my mom was the campaign manager for the first African American mayor in Bergen County,” he says. “It was normal to have Jewish friends and we all went to Quaker-run sleepaway camp…I just grew up like that.” Continue reading Emerald Voices: Darryl Smith