• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

My Emerald Story: My Extended Family

ByRandall B. Phelps

Apr 23, 2022

In celebration of the South Seattle Emerald‘s 8th Anniversary, we asked members of the community to share moments from our publication’s history that remain special to them.

by Jamil Suleiman

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

The amount of support and community love that me and my homies have received from Marcus Green and the South Seattle Emerald over the years has been one of the most inspiring things to be part of. I wrote for the emeraldhave produced incredible region-focused video work with our Indie Genius Media team, been featured for multiple causes and performances, and connected some of my most trusted friends to the emerald over the years. I could tell a thousand stories of gratitude and service, but I will focus on some of the more recent opportunities that emerald gave us.

Ever since COVID arrived, things have been tough, as we can all attest. Especially near the Mount Baker light rail station, the violence and the pangs of poverty have had a severe impact on our neighborhood. As a community organizer, I went to work with my neighbors to do our best to help people in need around our area, and the emerald been the voicemail to help us organize and tell our story.

All I had to do was send them a quick email, let them know what we were going through and the efforts we were making, and they immediately sent reporters to help amplify our cause. They never asked for anything more than to help us and tell the story – of the people, the challenges we faced, and most importantly, the community solutions we put into practice. From organizing tenants to youth-led mural work, it was the emerald who helped bring our story to Seattle and beyond.

I am forever grateful to Marcus and the emerald family, which I do consider to be my family. They are there for us when we need them most, and I know I can count on them to help cover what is happening locally. As Marcus moves on and passes the torch to what is sure to be a hardworking and caring team, I look forward to new projects and opportunities to help share our story.

Great love to South Seattle Emerald from the entire Indie Genius Media team. See you there, fam.


Help us celebrate our 8th anniversary with our ‘Ripples & Sparks at Home virtual event on April 28 at 7 p.m. with Ijeoma Oluo, Charles Johnson, MP Pramila Jayapal, and ours Marcus Harrison Green – with music by Shaina Shepherd and Intisaar, along with Emerald Board Member Lucas Draper, will prepare a personalized cocktail/mocktail with you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. RSVP here!


Jamil Sulman is a South Seattle-based writer, rapper, and actor. He is also co-founder of Indie Genius Media.

📸 Featured Image: Illustration by Haley Williams for the South Seattle Emerald.

Before you move on to the next story …
Please consider that the article you just read was made possible by the generous financial support of donors and sponsors. The Emerald is a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet with the mission of offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities. Please consider making a one-time gift or, better yet, joining our Rainmaker Family by becoming a monthly donor. Your support will help provide fair pay for our journalists and enable them to continue writing the important stories that offer relevant news, information, and analysis. Support the Emerald!