Seattle Foundation Blog

N2N Spotlight: South Seattle Emerald

A growing media outlet tells stories that reflect, inform, and engage a diverse community.


October 13, 2020

By Aileen Balahadia, Neighbor to Neighbor Program Consultant, and Elaine Chu, Senior Philanthropic Advisor

The South Seattle Emerald is a powerful online media outlet, driven by community-minded storytellers. Its mission is to authentically depict the dynamic voices, culture, arts, ideas, and businesses of South Seattle and South King County, as a service to the community it chronicles.

Editor in Chief Marcus Harrison Green founded the Emerald in 2014, in the basement of his mother’s home, with a passion to amplify his community’s complex stories, which he saw as underserved and misunderstood by mainstream media. “Community journalism and equitable access to relevant information is vital to an engaged democracy,” Green said during a recent virtual site visit with the organization. “We don’t tell people what to do, but we do present ideas and perspectives that may shape how they act.”

This year the needs facing South Seattle and South King County have been exacerbated by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the area’s Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, as well as by violence against Black communities and persistent systemic racism. All of these challenges add urgency to the Emerald’s work informing and engaging the community—as evidenced by a huge growth in readership, which has quadrupled since June.

As the Emerald sheds light on South Seattle, its stories also connect people to critical resources. For instance, an article about the SE Seattle Senior Center and Rainier Valley Food Bank generated a rush of donations to those organizations. Likewise, a story about a father attempting to get his son out of jail and into mental health care led to offers of legal services and other support.

The Emerald’s first grant from N2N will support an Impact Reporter from the Black, Indigenous, or other people of color communities who will cover the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism and the ways they affect the people of South Seattle and South King County. Freelance journalism has long paid unsustainable wages, requiring people without considerable privilege to work various other jobs to enable their journalism work—a dynamic made worse by the pandemic. The N2N grant will support the Emerald in paying its new Impact Reporter a living wage and in providing professional development opportunities. These opportunities could include mentoring from journalists at Emerald partner outlets, such as the International Examiner, KBCS-FM, and Real Change.

“People are desperate to hear and see stories that aligned with their everyday life,” Green told N2N partner Communities Rise. “Life is filled with challenges, yes, but also nuance, creativity and joy.”

South Seattle and South King County brim with life. Its stories matter and need to be heard.

Visit the South Seattle Emerald to learn more.

The full list of N2N’s Summer 2020 grantees are listed below.

1. 100 Black Men of Seattle*: To support and engage the African American community in South Seattle and beyond to increase voter registration through town hall discussions, social media, training youth leaders, and directly registering people to vote in advance of the November 2020 elections.

2. Afghan Health Initiative*: To fund a series of community conversations based in Kent to help Afghan community members engage with one another, increasing connection and engagement, and to provide a safe, vocal space for them to influence decision-making systems and institutions.

3. Amigos de Seattle*: To provide virtual workshops on topics ranging from parenting classes, dance, crafting, and cooking classes that build community amid the stress of the pandemic. These activities will set the foundation for the creation of a Spanish-language community radio station for the Duwamish Valley, South Seattle, and neighboring communities.

4. Black Dollar Days Clean Greens Market*: To help the Clean Greens Farm and Market produce training videos—by Black and brown youth of color, for youth—about farming, planting, and harvesting techniques, which support healthier communities for their families and the surrounding Central District community.

5. Building Resilient Inspired Communities of Color (BRICC)**: To support community-led grassroots protests, marches, rallies, and teach-ins focused on social justice issues that impact Black, Indigenous and other People of Color based in South Seattle.

6. Latin Empire of Seattle*: To support Hispanic/Latina women small business owners in the White Center area and nearby vicinity so they can improve their business practices in order to achieve better economic outcomes for their families and the community.

7. Lao Community Service Center: To support the coalition and capacity of a more united Lao community by identifying cross-generational leaders and working with them to develop key leadership skills, such as understanding the specific social, cultural, and health needs of the community and fostering cross-cultural relationships among the different Lao ethnic groups.

8. Oromo Cultural Center*: To support Oromo youth (high school and university) by providing leadership training that empowers them to lead the community, improves education and decreases youth violence in the South Seattle area.

9. Seattle King County NAACP*: To fund community events that benefit the African American community and address police accountability and criminal justice reform, as well as ways to make long due changes through advocacy, leadership and engaging in local and state legislative processes.

10. South Seattle Emerald*: To support a young journalist from the Black, Indigenous and people of color community to train, cover and publish stories of how the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism affects the diverse communities of South Seattle and South King County.

*First time grantee of N2N
**Also, the first grant ever received by the organization

We invite you to learn more about the history of the Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) program by watching this short video. You can also read about Seattle Foundation’s Center for Community Partnerships, which houses N2N.

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