The first week that I arrived in Seattle from Honolulu in July 2012, I was assigned my first story as a freelance writer for the International Examiner. The article, “National Businesses May Have a Future in Seattle’s ID,” was my first glimpse into the important history of the API movement in the Pacific Northwest. I learned about how Asian Pacific Islanders, united in solidarity, had fought to preserve the culture and identity of the Chinatown International District—and that recurring issues of gentrification, public safety, and social justice for our communities was an ongoing struggle.
When I became editor in chief of the International Examiner in 2013, I had the honor of experiencing firsthand how a newspaper like the Examiner has empowered a community for generations.
Underrepresented communities don’t need to wait for mainstream media to tell them what is important. We all have the potential to tell our own stories and report on the issues that affect us.
My experience as editor of the Examiner, with its long history of community engagement and activism, has been truly humbling. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t learn something new about the region’s rich diversity and immigration stories. One of the greatest things about the Examiner in its news and arts coverage of all Asian Pacific Islander communities is that we are constantly learning about ourselves.
I’ve been able to embrace head on the fact that there are disparities within our own communities and I will always be driven by the need to never stop learning about the communities we serve. As editors and publishers, we need to actively reach out to those voices that aren’t being heard.
I also had the privilege to be mentored by community leaders such as Ron Chew, Maria Batayola, and Doug Chin, who helped me to grow as a leader during difficult times.
In my four years as editor, I’ve worked day-to-day with nearly 20 interns, and hundreds of writers. I can say without a doubt that working to teach emerging journalists skills and instill confidence in young people has been the highlight of my job. It’s a passion that I take with me on my next endeavor. Over the past several weeks I have been transitioning in as the executive director of the Seattle Globalist, a nonprofit news organization whose mission is to elevate diverse voices through media.
While it was a difficult decision to step away from my role as editor in chief, I will still be a part of the International Examiner family as an advisor and in continuing to teach the journalism practicum as part of the inaugural year of the Advocacy Journalism Fellowship Program.
I am very excited for the next chapter at the Examiner, which is being led by its new editor in chief Jill Wasberg, who brings the kind of vision, energy, and passion for the community that will help the Examiner to continue to grow on its path to another 45 years.
In today’s volatile political climate, it is essential that diverse voices are brought to the forefront and are heard in a way that is mindful and generous. Thank you to the International Examiner’s writers, readers, volunteers, staff, board, and supporters for continuing to strengthen the voice of our communities.