This issue features three local couples — Emad Rahim and Cjala Surratt; newlyweds Umar and Maria Karriem, and Joe and Connie Gregory — who share not only how they fell in love but how they work to sustain that love.
The Stand featured successful couples in our February issue last year, too. Readers told us they loved the profiles on the Billues and the Owens. And we loved the feedback! So we decided to do it again this year.
Our current three couples were selected based on their unique love stories.
Dr. Emad Rahim nominated himself and his wife, who have previously shared their love story on NPR’s StoryCorps and in the documentary “Against the Odds.” Rahim is well-known for arriving to Syracuse as a refugee of the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields and for an attempt at the city’s third-district councilor seat. He shared in an email “we met and wed in a month, and this summer we celebrated our 20 year anniversary. I am a Cambodian refugee that survived the Cambodian Killing Fields and my wife Cjala is African-American and a Syracuse native.”
I decided to nominate the second couple myself after learning the pair tied the knot last July. I found it touching that Umar, 86, and his bride Maria, 56, have found love late in life.
Our final pair, the Gregorys “are incredible people who have continued to grow together, support one another and demonstrate what true Black love means,” wrote their daughter, Darien, who nominated them for this issue.
Both are former teachers and shared openly about how they overcame challenges in their marriage together. Darien added that both of her parents make personal investments in the community with their time, their knowledge and their love and are very deserving to have their story heard.
Other stories in the issue include our Fatherhood Q&A with Tedd Perry, an update on the Street Addiction Institute Inc. and an examination on whether South Side residents should participate in the 2020 Census (spoiler alert — yes!).
Looking ahead, The Stand will celebrate its 10th year in print next month. This milestone will be celebrated with a special anniversary issue and gallery show of some of the best photos captured by Stand photographers during the past 10 years. This photo exhibit will also include a collection of images from our 10th Annual Photo Walk.
The gallery show reception will be held at the Link Gallery at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse downtown. We’ll have more details soon. To stay up-to-date and receive the latest news from The Stand, be sure to sign up for our eNewsletter.
— Ashley Kang