Blueprint’s Resurgence Amplifying Black Women’s Voices

Kylar Gray and Mauranne Vernier visiting The Harvard Crimson during the Christopher J. Georges Journalism Conference (April 2024)
Kylar Gray and Mauranne Vernier visiting The Harvard Crimson during the Christopher J. George’s Journalism Conference (April 2024)
Cocoa Williams

Women’s History Month is ending, but never fear; we emerge into Black Women’s History Month. The month where the multi-faceted contributions of Black women are celebrated throughout April. What better way to acknowledge the excellence of Black women than to pay homage to the co-editors of the newly revamped Spelman Blueprint, Mauranne Vernier and Kylar Gray?

When sitting down with co-editors Mauranne Vernier and Kylar Gray, I gained a deeper insight into the resurgence of the Blueprint. “When I was a senior in HS and a freshman in college, I saw archival pictures of the yearbook and newspaper that intrigued me. I wanted to bring back the Spelman College Yearbook, but when we tried, they didn’t want to, so we pivoted to the Spelman Blueprint,” answered Vernier. She also expressed her desire to make a platform for journalists, leaving a legacy that ensured Spelman was included.

Echoing her sentiment, Gray shared her experience in the revamp process. She expressed her interest to her professors, who directed her to the Maroon Tiger Newspaper. “I wondered why we didn’t have a newspaper. Like Mauranne, I wanted to create a legacy and ensuring Spelman also had a space.”

The Blueprint is a platform that provides students an outlet to not only amplify their voices but to express themselves through journalism.

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Ensuring that it remains an environment for authenticity in story-telling is something constantly on the minds of our co-editors, especially as seniors.

“The newspaper has gone through so many reruns; if you go through the archives, you’d see it’s restarted every five years. Ensuring that there’s a wide variety of people no matter their classification and that we sustain our partnership with The Renew Project is a big component of making sure the Blueprint lasts well after Kylar and I are gone”, said Vernier.

Among ensuring stability for the student-led newspaper, The Blueprint embodies the cultural contributions of Black women. From fostering a space for development and creativity, honing in on skills to perfect your craft, engaging the Spelman community, and keeping everyone informed about issues that often go under the radar at Spelman. The co-editors reflected on the publication’s impact on campus and the most influential published stories. Vernier explained, “When you’re doing the work, it’s kind of hard to see the impact,” whereas Gray noted a few surreal moments that solidified her opinion on Blueprint’s impact. She expressed her gratitude at seeing how faculty and students expressed excitement about relaunching Blueprint’s Homecoming issue and handing out issues to the alumnae.

The Blueprint looks forward to the future; not only the co-editors but the entire board’s visions extend beyond pitches and issues; viewing the Blueprint as more than just a student-led newspaper but a force to be reckoned with that can continue to shape Spelman College, leaving us with a lasting legacy. Vernier and Gray hope for the Blueprint to remain cemented in our campus.

“Spelman is known for SGA and Pulse, so making sure we’re included in that conversation so that it’s never a discussion for The Blueprint to shut down again, like in the past,” said Vernier.

The frequent shutdowns and reruns of the publication, according to Vernier and Gray, are most likely due to the lack of awareness and visibility of the Blueprint’s presence. There previously was no one to “pass the baton to.” It is both of their hopes that because of the size of the Blueprint, it remains up and running, but it is also more accessible for the predecessor.

“I would love for the student body to help us stay on campus. It can’t just be our team’s efforts, but even faculty and alumnae, ” said Gray.

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