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The Battalion

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A&M Athletics announces new organization for Black student-athletes

BLUE+Print+is+the+Black+Leaders+who+undertake+Excellence+and+was+started+by+student-athletes.
Via The B.L.U.E. Print Twitter

BLUE Print is the Black Leaders who undertake Excellence and was started by student-athletes.

What began as an idea to empower the Black female athletes at Texas A&M underwent a shift in vision after the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
The B.L.U.E.print is a student-athlete led all-inclusive organization that aims to “provide leadership opportunities and a sense of community while empowering Black individuals to use their voice.”
Conceived by soccer junior Karlina Sample, The B.L.U.E.print — which stands for “Black Leaders who Undertake Excellence” — was announced by A&M Athletics on Monday.
According to a press release from the athletic department, Sample serves as the president of the organization and is joined by women’s basketball’s Ciera Johnson as Vice-President, football’s Keldrick Carper and Chase Lane as Community Relations Coordinator and Treasurer respectively and women’s track and field’s Jean Jenkins as Social Media Coordinator.
Sample said she first thought of the idea after attending a Black student-athlete conference in January. Her original plan was for the organization to focus on Black female student-athletes, but that changed after Floyd’s death.
“Black women and men often fight similar battles within society,” Sample said in the press release. “We thought it was imperative to make a joint group where Black men and women could essentially learn from and build off of each other.”
Sample said the five founding members of the organization took the idea to Athletic Director Ross Bjork and Deputy Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Experience Kristen Brown and were pleased with the way it was received.
“They were very supportive of us and very uplifting of the goals that we had and what we wanted this B.L.U.E.print club to become,” Sample said. “It is great to have them behind us and supporting us.” 
Bjork said he is proud of the way A&M student-athletes have stepped up as leaders over the summer, and this organization further proves that. 
“In early June of this year, Texas A&M athletics organized the Unify Aggies petition with three stated commitments: Educate, Engage, and Help Texas A&M get better,” Bjork said. “The B.L.U.E.print club will set the standard for these commitments, and the pillars of success they have established will allow our student-athletes to reach their full potential as Aggies. In the coming weeks, we will also unveil a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan for the entire athletics department. We appreciate our student-athletes for stepping up and being a great example of Texas A&M Core Values.”
The focus of the organization is to build an environment where Black student-athletes at A&M can find and give support, Johnson said.
“The main goal of the B.L.U.E.print is to create a safe space for Black student-athletes at A&M at a P.W.I., predominantly white institution,” Johnson said. “We want to create an environment where you know people love and care about you. And understand some of the things that you may be going through, where your white counterparts and other people in other minorities may not know what you are going through.”
In addition to providing community outreach events, the organization will also offer educational sessions on the second Tuesday of every month, which Carper said will teach the members about the different forms that racism takes.
“We will be educating the members of the B.L.U.E.print about microaggressions and various forms of racism that take place,” Carper said. “We will educate our members about their legal rights and Black history. We will empower members with confidence to be their authentic self as a Black individual and with different connections through alumni and networking so when we graduated from Texas A&M you have additional opportunities. We will equip members with confidence, self-love, self-pride to build them up as a person.” 
The B.L.U.E.print can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @blueprinttamu.

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