Beyond Juneteenth – How Capital One is Commemorating and Implementing Change

Provided By Capital One

Two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was enacted on the first day of 1863, over a quarter million Black people were still in bondage in Texas. News traveled excruciatingly slowly to outlying places such as Texas. Juneteenth celebrates the historic day when Union Army General Gordon Granger sailed into Galveston Harbor and issued a proclamation of freedom to those enslaved people. It was the date of Granger’s proclamation — June nineteenth, 1865 — that formed the holiday’s name.

By the following June 19, 1866, Texas had inaugurated the first official Juneteenth celebrations. The original observances included prayer meetings and the singing of spirituals, while celebrants chose to wear new clothes to represent their newfound freedom. A few years later, Black people in other states began celebrating the day as well, carving out an annual tradition that has continued into the 21st century.

Over the 156 years since, 49 states and the District of Columbia officially began recognizing Juneteenth, and on June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, recognizing the historical date as an official federal holiday.

Capital One joined in commemorating Juneteenth this year as it recognized Juneteenth as a holiday by closing its U.S. offices on June 18 and branches on June 19 in observance.

 

“Commemorating Juneteenth is just one small step we’re taking to honor the legacy and ongoing contributions of the Black community on our shared society,” said Corey Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Operations for Capital One Bank. “We’re proud to be able to provide our associates with the time to be with family and to reflect on the historical significance of the day, while honoring the ongoing contributions of the Black community on our shared society.”

Lee says Capital One’s  commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging is embedded in all of its strategic Human Resources imperatives.

“From delivering an amazing associate experience to building our talent for the future to creating a culture of belonging, we want to deliver on our mission to bring ingenuity, simplicity and humanity to banking while ensuring that every voice is heard and matters.”

The bank recently launched the Capital One Impact Initiative to advance socioeconomic mobility by advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives. It’s fueled by an initial $200 million multi-year commitment in community grants to catalyze economic growth in low- and moderate-income communities and close gaps in equity and opportunity.

As a springboard for the initiative, Capital One is addressing racial equity by committing to drive greater inclusion and representation. In Richmond, they’ve partnered with The Jackson Ward Collective to support Black-owned businesses, Girls For A Change to empower black youth for the future workforce and The City of Richmond to advance racial equity work in the city’s historically most underserved and under resourced communities. The Capital One Impact Initiative builds on its $10 million commitment to organizations advancing the cause of social justice for Black communities.

“Companies should take a stand on critical social issues facing communities and advocate for equal treatment and opportunity of groups and individuals in order to drive meaningful change,” Lee said. “Last year’s racial justice events reinforced our need as a company to listen and learn about the impact of systemic racism on the Black community.”