The Black Lens is the only African American newspaper in Eastern Washington. It is a local, community publication that is focused on the news, events, people, issues and information of importance to Spokane’s African American community. Published on the first of each month, the Black Lens is available free of charge at targeted pick-up locations around Spokane, online, and by mail with a paid subscription.


The Black Lens has quickly become the go to source of information and news for Spokane’s African American community. The first 12 page issue was published in January of 2015, with an initial distribution of 500 copies delivered to targeted pick-up locations within Spokane’s African American community (ie Black Churches, businesses and community organizations) and throughout Spokane. Since 2015, The Black Lens has grown to an average of 20-24 pages with a current distribution of 1,000 issues per month, and pick-up locations have expanded to include community centers, college multi-cultural centers and the downtown public library, with an additional 200 mail delivery subscribers.


It is common knowledge that mainstream media does a less than adequate job of covering the news, information and people that are important to diverse communities. Unfortunately, people of color rarely see themselves represented in the media unless it is to highlight something negative or to support existing stereotypes. African Americans in particular generally have three choices for media coverage, as criminals, entertainers or athletes. However the African American community is so much more than that, made up of vibrant extended families that include business owners, educators, scientists, and politicians, to name a few. There is a need for a publication that highlights all of who we are as a people and that focus on the news, information, issues, events and accomplishments that are important to Spokane’s African American Community.


Inform. Educate. Challenge. Celebrate. Unify.

The goal of The Black Lens is to be a positive influence and to uplift Spokane’s African American community by accomplishing the following: a) offering a source of news and information that is relevant to Spokane’s African American community through an alternate lens; b) highlighting the accomplishments of the people in Spokane’s African American community; c) raising awareness about issues of importance; d) encouraging critical thinking and discussion; e) offering a source of education and knowledge; and f) offering an easy means of communication about African American focused events and activities taking place in Spokane.


Sandra Williams, Editor and Publisher of The Black Lens, is an activist, writer, and filmmaker, with an extensive background and decades long history of addressing issues of discrimination, oppression, equity, and social justice. Sandra received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Washington State University in 1983, and her Master’s Degree in Film/Television Production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema/TV in 1998. Sandra’s professional history in Spokane has included work as an HIV/AIDS Prevention Educator for POCAAN (People of Color Against AIDS Network), the Spokane representative for Youth Suicide Prevention Program, the Executive Director of Odyssey Youth Center, and the Coordinator of the Pride Center at Eastern Washington University. Sandra left E.W.U. in 2015 to work full time on the Black Lens, which is the only African American focused newspaper in Eastern Washington. In 2013, Sandra was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs and she has been advocating for the interests of African Americans in Spokane and Eastern Washington for the past five years.