Financial education is a huge component of this year’s festivities.
Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021, but in Little Rock, Arkansas, and many other communities throughout the U.S., it’s been celebrated for more than 150 years.
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC), created to honor the Arkansas African American experience, has hosted Juneteenth festivities for 13 years. This year, the community partner of U.S. Bank will host the 2022 Juneteenth in Da Rock street festival at historic 9th Street - once the cultural heart of Little Rock for the Black community.
“In Little Rock, Black communities have been celebrating Juneteenth since the 1870s,” said Key Fletcher, MTCC assistant director. “While it’s not widely known, we have been creating environments to enrich and support the legacy of our stories for centuries beyond what is usually assumed to be slavery. Those who were the founders of the Mosaic Templars of America, the museum’s namesake, were key in the early celebrations of Juneteenth in Little Rock. So, we continue to share the history of the celebration of Juneteenth but also the history of African Americans in Arkansas.”
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. U.S. Bank began sponsoring the Little Rock event in 2019.
“Our ongoing relationships with organizations in the Little Rock community like MTCC are incredibly important to us,” said U.S. Bank Branch Banking Market Leader Mike Richardson. “This year’s celebration will provide a unique opportunity for our Little Rock team to share financial education tips and highlight a few of the unique Access Commitment initiatives U.S. Bank is committed to in Little Rock.”
Those initiatives include Access Home, which is focused on closing home ownership gaps, and Access Business, which addresses the three most prominent gaps that limit business growth and employment opportunities for minority-owned businesses: information, connections and capital. U.S. Bank will touch on these important areas as part of the Juneteenth event.
“I believe this is going to be one of the biggest Juneteenth events our city has experienced!” said Cassandra Kidd, one of the bank’s nine Business Access Advisors across the country who are focused on helping develop minority-owned businesses. “Our team looks forward to being a part of the event to emphasize our involvement in the community and ensure attendees know that we truly care about their overall financial well-being.”
The Little Rock Juneteenth celebration will also feature music, food, lectures and other educational opportunities. Thousands are expected to attend the main event on Saturday, June 18. Additionally, other in-person and virtual events occurred over the course of two weeks and included an inaugural 5K.
“This is the first time the museum has offered financial programming tied to our Juneteenth festivities,” said Fletcher. “The more we can share information and resources, the more we can empower people to create generational wealth through ownership. Juneteenth and working with U.S. Bank through various programming is an all-around win.”
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