As we reflect upon recent discussions related to inequality and race—discussions that are as relevant now as they were more than 150 years ago when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed—it is important to acknowledge Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, a blend of the words June and nineteenth, is the oldest nationally commemorated celebration in recognition of the end of slavery in the United States. Also dubbed “Freedom Day” and “Jubilee Day,” Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas, and informed the people of Texas that “all slaves are free.”
On this day—and every day—we have a responsibility to challenge ourselves to listen, learn, and reflect upon what we can do as individuals to ensure a more inclusive future for our company and our country. To honor this effort and this date, First Interstate will be closing at 1 p.m. local time on Friday, June 19.
There is always work to be done to rebalance the scales of inequality in our country. We celebrate strength in diversity at First Interstate, and that collective strength is derived from better understanding and appreciating experiences—past and present—of our colleagues and community members.
Change requires action and action requires resolve. As we forge our way through this challenging time in history, thank you for your efforts to help move our country forward.
Kevin Riley, President and CEO of First Interstate BancSystem, Inc.