‘I am 400’ banners displayed in DSHS offices

In recognition of Black History Month in February, some DSHS offices have begun to display the “I Am 400” banner. The banner, commissioned and unveiled in 2019, features reproductions of 69 works of art created by the father-and-son artist team, Jerome and Jeromyah Jones. The portraits depicted on the banner showcase the many pivotal African American figures and icons who shaped the African Journey in America over the past 400-plus years.

Staff at office locations displaying the “I Am 400” banner are encouraged to email pictures of the banner displayed in their office to insidedshs@dshs.wa.gov. Inside DSHS will share these pictures from offices and administrations around the state all throughout Black History Month, along with quotes from DSHS staff from those offices remarking on the significance of the banner and its relevance in the context of the African Journey in America.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation headquarters in Lacey was one of the first DSHS offices to display the banner.

Some thoughts and reflections from DVR staff who have seen the banner:

“The banner is very powerful.”- Terry Redmon

“I really appreciate how it shows a more holistic look than is normally portrayed during Black History Month. That variety is especially powerful in the range of experiences and expertise that is displayed… As a side note, it’s fun seeing Bill Russell on there. I remember watching him golf in Federal Way while I was delivering papers as a kid.”- Don Alveshere

“It is an impactful and positive representation of Black excellence. I am glad DVR leadership was so motivated to order and display this piece. This is just a small example of how supportive our leadership team is of improving EDAI and belonging in our division.” –Cassi Villegas

“It represents truth, honesty and strength to me.” — Allesandria Goard

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