Black Emphasis Program (BEPM)
Black Emphasis Program (BEPM)
Jennifer Van Eps, (509) 323.2914
Washington's Black Emphasis
I'm Jennifer Van Eps (Jenn) and I am your Black Special
Emphasis Program Manager (BEPM) on the Civil Rights Advisory Committee.
My role is to focus on
issues such as employment, retention, promotion, training, career
development and advancement opportunities affecting black applicants
and employees in NRCS.
In August of 2010 I began my employment with the NRCS as a Visual
Information Specialist - which is just a fancy way of saying Graphic
Designer. I am very creative and enjoy working on new projects, so I
will bring that to the Civil Rights team to ensure that all underserved
communities are well represented in Washington State. I also enjoy many
other creative activities including sewing, knitting and scrapbooking. I
am married and have a whole hoard of animals at home to love!
The Black Emphasis Program is an integral part of the overall equal employment
opportunity (EEO) program and is designed to:
- Ensure that African Americans/Blacks receive equal treatment in all
aspects of employment.
- Increase the number of African Americans/Blacks employed in all
professional, administrative, technical, clerical, and other categories,
series, and grade levels.
- Provide opportunities to participate in training, career development,
and leadership programs.
- Encourage the participation of African Americans/Blacks in all
NRCS-sponsored programs and activities.
- Provide a network of professional support for African Americans/Blacks.
- Provide mentoring support to African Americans/Blacks in the workforce.
- Educate all NRCS employees by raising the level of awareness of African
American/Black workplace issues and concerns.
February is Black History Month
Originally “Negro History Week” , introduced by Carter G. Woodson “the Father
of Black History” during a traditional celebratory time centered around the
birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two great
Americans who played a prominent role in the shaping of Black history. Records
indicate that as early as the 1940s “Negro History Month” was being celebrated
in some states, but wasn’t institutionalized until 1976 from a week to a month
and from Negro history to Black history by the Association for the Study of
Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization founded by Woodson some 60 years
earlier, but still in existence today as the Association for the Study of
African American Life and History (ASALH).
Black History Month Poster
Celebrating "The First"
The front of the poster highlights photos of 32 Black Females
are displayed as "The First" to hold key positions at NRCS. The
second page recognizes "The First" positions these women held within the agency either in a particular
state, at National Headquarters or even in the nation.
2012 Black History Month poster (PDF; 1.6MB)
Poster can be printed on 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17 paper.
Black History Month Facts and Accomplishments Calendar (PDF; 86KB)
- In an era of American history marked by racial segregation and
anti-immigrant attitudes, Washington was an anomaly: the only state in the
west and one of only eight nationwide, without laws banning racial
- Located in southwest Washington, the town of Centralia was founded by
George Washington, an African American who came west in 1850 to escape
discrimination. Although the founders of Centralia have long since passed
away, the city itself has flourished. The town that an African American
platted over 125 years ago has grown to over 13,000 residents, and is the
largest city in Lewis County, Washington.
- One of the driving forces of the Civil Rights Movement in Seattle was
the desire to end unfair employment discrimination in the city. Thus the
Drive for Equal Employment in Downtown Stores (DEEDS) was launched. Although
the victory was initially subtle, the DEEDS campaign was successful in
bringing fair employment to the forefront of important issues for the city
of Seattle in the mid-1960s, and from 1965 on, the number of African
Americans working in downtown stores and offices would continue to grow.
Items of Interest Specific to WA
CleanGreens (small nonprofit organization, owned and operated by residents
of Seattle’s Central District)
Tilth (Seattle Tilth is working with refugees, immigrants and other
low-income individuals to create small farming businesses)
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Washington State University-Resources for African Americans (PDF; 368KB)
(Spokane and local area, Washington State, and National resources)
Specialty Items of interest:
Presidential Decree of National African American History Month
Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement
(2010 census Black population information)
Association for the Study of African American Life
and History (Founded by Carter G. Woodson)
Mentoring and Leadership of African American youth and economic empowerment of
the African American Community based on respect for family, spirituality,
justice, and integrity).
National Black Emphasis Program Directory
(Links to National and State Black Emphasis Program Managers and more)
Washington Agricultural Organizations (A list of organizations with contact information throughout Washington State)
Outdoor Afro (Reconnecting
African-Americans with the natural spaces and one another through recreational
activities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, gardening, skiing – and
USDA/1890 National Scholars Program
(Historically Black Land-Grant Universities with Full Tuition Scholarships)
Thurgood Marshall College Fund (Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders)
NOPBNRCSE The National Organization of Professional
Black NRCS Employees (NOPBNRCSE) seeks to enhance the awareness and improve the
level of education and professional development of Black employees within NRCS
and to increase the participation of Blacks in agriculture, natural resources
and related fields. Membership in the organization is open to all employees of
NRCS, retirees and friends.
http://www.naacp.org/ (National Association for the Advancement of Colored
Have A Dream" Speech Text by Martin Luther King, Jr.