It’s Friday, and we’re thrilled to finally announce the members of our Evergrey Writing Group. What’s that? A quick refresher:
We launched The Evergrey Writing Group in December with the goal of helping a diverse and passionate set of Seattleites share their perspectives with our city. More than 60 of you sent in some really thoughtful applications. (Wow do we love it here.) And with the help of our friend, writer extraordinaire and Evergrey reader Marika Malaea, we picked 14 participants for the group. It was really, really hard, but we are so grateful to everyone who applied and really excited for what comes next.
Over the next three months, Marika will lead writing group meetings to help our writers develop personal stories to share with all of you. That means more pieces like Caley Cook’s perspectives on being a foster mom in Seattle and Jessica Eggert’s reflections on Donald Trump becoming president.
So onto the stars of today’s edition. Please join us in welcoming the 14 members of the Evergrey Writing Group, as they introduce themselves in their own voices…
Cristina Friday is an angry optimist: disenchanted with the system but hopeful for change. She is an arts administrator, equity advocate, and lover of community building, having worked in non-profits and social service since her college days. She has been been planted in Capitol Hill for over six years and is always on the prowl for good conversation and a good slice of pizza.
Paul Gambill is an entrepreneur, project manager, and classical liberal who wishes the Free Ballard bumper stickers represented a real political movement. He’s interested in carbon removal, decentralized systems, and skiing.
Don Goldberg has written jokes for the Emmys, satire for Jerry Springer, help screens for Microsoft, web pages for HP, The History of Rock and Roll for radio, church bulletins, documentaries for Children and other work for hire he’s not as proud of. No matter how hard he tries to be serious, he finds the humor in it because he revels in the absurdity of it all. He has lived all over the United States but settled in Seattle 26 years ago because, as he puts it, there was no other place left. He lives with his wife, Gail, and his daughter, Maya (until she moves out of the house), and is currently working on an irreverent spiritual sendup novel and a companion cookbook about a rebellious teenager and her family.
Ethan Phelps-Goodman is a civic organizer, software developer and data journalist. He runs Seattle in Progress, a web app that documents what’s being built in Seattle neighborhoods, and Seattle Tech Workers for Housing, a grassroots housing advocacy group.
Claire Justice (pen name, not pictured) is 62, has experienced homelessness, and has been in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous for about 30 years, with 19 and a half years as her longest stretch of abstinence. She loves art and music. (Editor’s note: We granted her anonymity because she prefers that her identity not be tethered to her struggles.)
Carrie Melissa Jones is a writer, community builder, and the Founding Partner of CMX, the hub for the community industry. She is passionate about uncovering Seattle’s communities and helping connect people through her writing. She lives on Capitol Hill, where she snuggles regularly with her pup Bruce Wayne.
Kristin Leong is a speaker/writer/teacher/organizer. She is currently working on Roll Call, her TED-Ed Innovation Project exploring the gaps separating teachers and students. See her compare nightclub bartending to middle school teaching at kristinleong.com.
Julian Lepke has been in Seattle for three years, after relocating from northwest Michigan. He is a strong advocate for independent media, civil rights and economic equity.
Erica McGillivray is community manager, marketing consultant, and author. She’s also a founder of GeekGirlCon, a Seattle-based nonprofit. Erica has a comic book collection that’s an earthquake hazard, and you can follow her at @emcgillivray.
Bo Roth has spent 27 years in Seattle in the same small farmhouse she never quite finished fixing up— which means she is officially part of old Seattle. In the pre-wifi days, she started a print newsletter called Seattle Volunteer and used to drive it to coffee shops and libraries around the city. For most of her life she was a freelance editor and three years ago she began working for TEDxSeattle (formerly TEDxRainier), selecting and coaching speakers. She’s hoping to start her own editorial business, presumably called, “Rock your Talk,” and keeps toying with the idea of starting a blog.
Tim Sargent is a first-generation immigrant who was raised in Washington state. He’s lived in some of the smallest mountain and beach communities and Seattle has been his home now for a decade. Rooted in the working class, he finds meaningful purpose fighting for social justice.
Jaleesa Smiley has lived in various parts of Seattle for the formative years of her life. She lives in Skyway and has roots in Chicago as well. She comes from a rich family creative history and writing is her chosen outlet of expression.
Laurie Tran is the first person in her family of ethnically Chinese refugees from Vietnam to have been born in the US. Although she is currently living with her partner in Northgate, her heart is still in South Seattle- rooted in the struggles of growing up in a single parent household where the parent was not English speaking. She uses her newly attained privileges as a college educated woman of color with a salaried job to work and build power with immigrants and low income families of color. She enjoys pretending that she is artistic- leaving a wake of unfinished creative projects here and there- and eating anything & everything that is considered to be bad for her (fun fact: she spent her first “big girl” paycheck on candy). She is a self-declared tea snob and you can usually find her staring at corgi butts.
Sarah Worley is a Seattle transplant by way of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Sarah’s background is in veteran, transitioning military, and military spouse employment. She’s currently working at Amazon, helping talent in Worldwide Operations develop and build their careers, and is loving it! Her other passions — beyond people and community organizing include scuba diving with sharks and attending Michael Bolton concerts.