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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Meet Harvard Newspaper’s First Ever Black Woman President In 145 Years — She’s Only 20 Years Old!

Kristine Guillaume, the first Black woman president of Harvard's newspaper

Kristine Guillaume, the first Black woman president of Harvard’s newspaper

Cambridge, MA — Kristine E. Guillaume, a 20-year old student of Harvard University, has recently been voted to lead the prestigious school’s newspaper, The Crimson. She made history as the first ever Black woman to serve as President of the publication, which is the nation’s oldest newspaper that has been continuously published for 145 years.

Guillaume, a junior student who is concentrating on both African-American Studies and History and Literature, has served as one of the paper’s central administration reporters during which she was able to interview two of the university presidents and be a part of the team that covered Harvard’s 2018 presidential search.

She is also one of the three chairs of The Crimson’s Diversity and Inclusivity committee, where she is responsible to formulate and oversee the paper’s initiatives to foster diversity and welcome students of all backgrounds.

“At Harvard you’re in a space that was made for white men, so if you’re not the cookie-cutter white man who Harvard was built for, it can be difficult to navigate being here,” she said. “I want people to think about how to navigate, and feel like they can and get through their education and feel like they do belong here. That’s a big thing for me.”

A daughter of a Chinese mother and a Haitian father who were both immigrant doctors, Guillaume herself has experienced issues of racial and gender barriers that affect Black people, people of other races, and women in the U.S. And she is glad to be one of the many history-makers this year.

“It does make me feel weird that we’re still doing firsts,” she told The Boston Globe. “It’s about time. I’m nervous but excited. It’s a huge responsibility, and honestly it doesn’t feel real that I actually have the opportunity.”

Guillaume will replace outgoing president Derek G. Xiao for the 2018-2019 school year. She is set to lead over 320 staff members while also working hard to focus on the long-term direction of the newspaper. It is her personal duty to increase staff diversity as well.

From her first writing gig covering a campus talk by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Guillaume has certainly come a long way to now being the school newspaper’s president. What great opportunity it really is for Guillaume who will have her framed photo hung on the same wall as The Crimson’s past presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy!

“If my election has validated anyone’s experience or validated anyone’s belonging in Crimson, then my hard work will be worth it and will continue to be worth it,” she said.