Celebrating Juneteenth at Fifth Third Bank

Jun 19, 2024 9:00 AM ET

June 19 marks Juneteenth, the observance of the ending of slavery in the United States. As noted in the official holiday proclamation, Juneteenth is a day of “profound weight and power.” It commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas finally were told they were free. That date came more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and months after the end of the Civil War.

Fifth Third’s Northern Ohio Multicultural Business Resource Group invited employees across the Bank’s footprint to participate in the Enterprise virtual Juneteenth celebration featuring Kris Garrett, group regional president, head of Wealth & Asset Management and co-executive advocate of the African American Enterprise BRG. The celebration also included Alandes Powell, co-founder and executive director of Black Art Speaks, in a discussion about the history of Juneteenth.

“We felt it was important to highlight the significance of Juneteenth to help educate others,” said Brandon Thompkins, financial center manager in Maple Heights, Ohio, and one of the employees who helped plan the event. “Personally, I was not well read or educated on the history behind the celebration until it became a federal holiday. This is an opportunity for all of us to learn more.”

India Jenkins, float pool program manager in North Canton, Ohio, and fellow event coordinator, agreed: “Understanding how Juneteenth relates to the freedoms we now have allows us to fully participate in the celebration that this day represents.”

Business Resource Groups across Fifth Third Bank’s footprint are honoring Juneteenth in a variety of ways:

  • In the Carolinas, watch parties for the Enterprise virtual event were held in Raleigh, Greeneville and Charlotte. Employees in Charlotte also were invited to an evening event for networking and connection.
  • In Chicago, the African American BRG hosted a watch party for the virtual Enterprise Juneteenth event. Later in June, the group is supporting a panel on financial literacy, which will be followed by a networking opportunity.
  • In Cincinnati, employees and their families are invited to the fifth annual Juneteenth Block Party, sponsored by Fifth Third. The African American BRG led a series of events to celebrate this year’s Juneteenth holiday. The group hosted a booth at the annual Block Party and a lunch-and-learn featuring guest speakers and networking focused on African American influence on western and country culture.
  • In Kentucky, the African American BRG is sponsoring the fifth annual Louisville Juneteenth Festival. Members will work a booth, representing the Bank in the community.
  • In Florida, the Central Florida African American BRG will attend the Juneteenth Celebration in Kissimmee, hosting a booth and inviting employees, their families and friends to attend.
  • The Northern Ohio Multicultural BRG will host an in-person event, in addition to planning the virtual Enterprise-wide event. The internal event will celebrate Juneteenth with a discussion on history and food samples that reflect African American culture.