Sandra Williams is an activist, writer, and filmmaker, with an extensive background addressing issues of discrimination, oppression, equity, and social justice. She is currently the Coordinator of the Pride Center on the campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney Washington. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of Odyssey Youth Center, serving Spokane’s LGBTQ youth, and was also the Spokane Field Coordinator for Youth Suicide Prevention Program, conducting school based peer education programs and community in-service trainings and workshops that address adolescent stress and depression, and effective strategies for suicide prevention.
Before her return to Spokane in 2006, Sandra spent eleven years in Los Angeles, CA, where amongst a host of other things, she attended graduate school earning an M.F.A. in Film/TV Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. She also ran a small production company, worked as an assistant to a film and television director/producer, and served as the Southern California Project Coordinator for the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, where she supported the creation and development of middle school and high school GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) clubs across the region.
In the early 1990s, Sandra was an AIDS Prevention Educator in Eastern Washington, where she founded and managed the Spokane office of POCAAN (People of Color Against AIDS Network) and was responsible for providing AIDS prevention and outreach programs in the area. She acted as a grassroots organizer and advocate; built coalitions between social service agencies, People of Color and the LGBT community; developed and conducted workshops, seminars and in-service trainings; created and facilitated support groups; designed publicity campaigns; and served on numerous boards, coalitions, task forces, and advisory panels at the local, state and national level.
Sandra received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington State University, and her Master of Fine Art’s Degree in Film/Television Production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema/Television. Her advanced student project at USC was a documentary film about the issues facing children of gay/lesbian parents, entitled CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE. The film has been screened in schools, universities, churches, community organizations and film festivals around the world, and was selected by the International Documentary Association to be included in their student reel as one of the top student films of the year.
Over the years, Sandra has effectively used the mediums of film, video, theater, and the spoken word as tools to address the issues of discrimination, oppression, and the need for social justice. Her foray now into radio, with the development of a bi-monthly public affairs program REVOLUTIONARY SPIRITUALITY on KYRS Radio in Spokane, is yet another step in a life long journey towards the goal of individual empowerment and social transformation.
Q & A With Sandra Williams, Editor & Publisher of The Black Lens