In celebration of the South Seattle Emerald’s 8th Anniversary, we asked community members to share moments in our publication’s history that remain special to them.
by Marcus Harrison Green
Join me in helping the Emerald create ripples and sparks everywhere! Information is Power! Imagine media for, by, and accountable to the community — thankfully, you don’t have to, because the Emerald already exists! As a founding board member living in a community so often treated as powerless, I’ve seen the Emerald grow to become a beacon of light that reminds us of our power, our wisdom, and our agency. But we can’t continue to do it without sustainable financial resources that allow us to thrive. Help us celebrate authentic community stories during the Emerald’s 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28, by becoming a recurring donor!
—Bridgette Hempstead, Community Activist, Founding Board Member, & Rainmaker
I’ve reflected continuously on that word over the last couple of weeks. Today not only marks the celebration of the South Seattle Emerald’s eighth anniversary, but also my second to last day as its interim editor-in-chief and executive director. Next week, I will transition from the day-to-day operations of the Emerald to fully adopt the role of publisher as a part of the Emerald’s board of directors.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, legacy is defined as “the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past, or of a person’s life.” Black history and culture encapsulates the legacy of Black people. I celebrate those who dared to dream and those who survived despite injustice.
The contribution I celebrate begins with the legacies within my own family. When considering Seattle’s local Black history, I trace the impact of those who came before me.
My Black history begins at an intersection where two bloodlines of Seattleites meet.
Seattle’s Central District (CD) has gone through drastic changes over the last 20 years. Many communities have called this historic neighborhood home: Jewish people, Japanese Americans, and African Americans. Long-time residents and displaced families whose histories go back generations will lament this sentiment.
If you’ve been to the CD in the last month, you might have noticed an important piece of 23rd and Yesler missing — the Soul Pole. In the summer of 1969, as part of President Johnson’s Model Cities Program (which ended in 1974), the Soul Pole was carved in a month by five teen artists, aged 14–16: Brenda Davis, Larry Gordon, Gregory Jackson, Cindy Jones, and Gaylord Young and was led by Seattle Rotary Boys Club Art Director, Gregory X. The sculpture honors 400 years of African American history by using four figures to represent significant moments of the Black man’s experience from primitive, to slavery, to liberation.
We celebrate and honor the legacy, labor, divinity, sacredness, and love of our Black trans women and femmes and trans Women of Color in community!
by Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network
Jaelynn Scott, M.Div., is the executive director of Lavender Rights Project. Jaelynn has worked as a director of HR, operations, and education for nonprofits and religious organizations. She is an ordained minister and regularly preaches and facilitates workshops on justice and mindfulness. Jaelynn is passionate about trans liberation, sacred practices for self-care, decolonized labor practices, and mindfulness in the workplace. Jaelynn, we love you and celebrate you! Thank you for your loving leadership and cosmic commitment to Black trans liberation and healing for generations to come!
“We provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.” —Seattle Children’s Hospital mission statement
Every hospital, including Seattle Children’s, has one: a policy against obstruction of patient care.
Seventeen years ago, Children’s policy was a single page, with bullet points outlining violent and intimidating behavior against hospital employees by patients’ family members or friends.
The policy is a warning: our institution has the power to remove and ban you from this hospital if we feel your behavior interferes with our care. The document requires a signature of acknowledgement, which the hospital can use to invoke internal security or external police, child welfare, and the court system. The message was clear: you are here receiving life-saving — or not — care. On their terms.
The South Seattle Emerald asked our photojournalists to pick some of their favorite 2020 photos shot for Emerald stories. From protests to pandemic responses to celebrations-despite-it-all, the images show not only a difficult year but also one filled with resilience, strength, and solidarity. We are proud to call South Seattle our home and grateful to our talented photographers for helping us capture our community’s special history.
The Honorable Charles V. Johnson was among the many civil rights leaders of our times whose path breaking journey ensured transformative change. He was an extraordinary eyewitness to history, determined to forge a new pathway for Washingtonians. Judge Johnson is distinguished by one transcendent theme: He was a servant leader with an overwhelming sense of duty to work for equality of opportunity and racial justice through the rule of law.
Judge Johnson arrived in Seattle in 1954 to attend the University of Washington School of Law. During an interview, he recalled there were just two additional Black students enrolled when he arrived. One of them dropped out after six weeks and the other shortly thereafter. As a result, Johnson was the only Black graduate in his class. Having grown up in the segregated South, and serving our country in a segregated army abroad, law school was the first time he would sit down across from whites to have a conversation, let alone discuss the law.