Spokane’s Black newspaper relaunches

A woman in an orange shirt speaks into a microphone at a Black Lives Matter rally.
Sandy Williams first launched The Black Lens, Spokane's Black newspaper, in 2015. Her family has been working to bring the paper back. (Credit: The Black Lens)



The Black Lens, Spokane’s Black newspaper, is back, is more accessible, and showcases more voices from the Black community.

Founder of The Black Lens, Sandy Williams, had a mission to connect the Black community in Spokane and give readers thoughtful discussion around civil rights and race issues. 

A woman in a beanie and purple coat holds up issues of a paper that reads "The Black Lens."

Sandy Williams holds up copies of the first issue of The Black Lens, published in Spokane in January 2015. (Credit: The Black Lens)

The paper launched in 2015, and the monthly publication ran until her death in September 2022.

For the last two years, the Williams family has been working with local businesses to revive the paper and continue Sandy’s mission. 

Its interim leader is Natasha Hill, a local attorney. She said with the restart, The Black Lens plans to hire a full-time race and equity reporter and set up the paper as a nonprofit.

“By putting it into the ownership of a nonprofit that’s community-owned, it’s not going to be reliant on advertising dollars to be sustainable,” Hill said. “That gives it the opportunity to really grow and be shaped by the community.”

A woman with curly hair wears a teal blazer and smiles at the camera with her arms crossed.

Natasha Hill, a local attorney, will serve as the interim editor of The Black Lens until the position can be filled permanently. (Credit: Natasha Hill)

Hill said she is concerned about the trend of family papers being bought up by hedge funds and corporations. The new nonprofit setup for The Black Lens can serve as a model for other communities, she said.

“This is how we protect journalism,” Hill said. “We also want to create more opportunities for Black people in our community to get published.”

The new website for the publication launches on Thursday with the first new issue coming out Sunday in the The Spokesman-Review and in free magazine racks across Spokane. 

The paper also will now be available as a subscription. In addition, there is a newsletter for breaking news and information on local events, said Hill. 

Celebrations for the revival of The Black Lens will take place this week across the city. 

The Black Lens Relaunch Events in Spokane:

Feb. 1: The Black Lens – Spokane Black Voices Symposium
Location: The Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center – Coughlin Theater, Spokane, Washington

Feb. 2: The Black Lens Re-Launch Celebration
Location: The Steam Plant 3rd Floor – 159 Lincoln St. STE 1, Spokane, Washington

Feb. 8: The Black Lens Contributor Training
Location: The Spokesman-Review – 999 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane, Washington