Black Lens showcases a new perspective

An independent newspaper provides insight into the black community in Spokane

Starting last January, WSU began offering copies of Black Lens, an independent newspaper that focuses on the black community in Spokane.

“A newspaper that’s solely dedicated to black people is always great to see,” said Pomy Ayele, an active participant in Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students (VIBES). “It’s not very common out here, so it’s nice to know that someone in Spokane is thinking about us.”

The newspaper exists with the purpose of showing people, events and issues that are important to the black community, said Editor-in-Chief Sandy Williams.

Black Lens is small, Williams said. Columnists send in articles, but only two send them regularly.

“I have interns, but it’s a very small operation,” she said. “[The newspaper is] dependent on people in the black community submitting content and material. I’ve survived this long because people from the black community write stories or report on events.”

There is one regular photographer for Black Lens, an African American man from Spokane named Bob Lloyd, Williams said. Lloyd takes photos at any events featured in the newspaper.

“It really is a black community project where people in the community are the ones who provide the content,” she said. “It feels like family, or that’s what I’ve heard people say.”

The newspaper, which first published in January of 2015, has survived throughout the years because of the sense of closeness it brings to its readers, Williams said. This is especially true of those who contribute stories.

Even though Black Lens is based in Spokane, it is still relevant to WSU students and Pullman residents because it provides them with a unique take on the world around them, she said.

“It’s easy to sort of see the world through your own lens or your own perspective,” she said. “That’s important, specifically for students who come to college to get different experiences.”

Ayele found the promotion of black businesses especially relevant to WSU students, she said.

“We have a pretty active black community here,” she said. “We’re always looking for people to sponsor … because it’s really important for all of us to help each other out.”

Copies of Black Lens are found in the African American Student Center located in the CUB 420.