Virginia Credit Union to close on Friday in honor of Juneteenth

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Virginia Credit Union in North Chesterfield, Va., announced that it will be closed on Friday in honor of Juneteenth.

“To celebrate Juneteenth—honoring the end of slavery in the United States—we're closing all VACU locations on Friday, June 19th,” according to a message on the $3.9 billion-asset credit union’s website.

On June 19, 1865, more than 250,000 enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas, found out that they were freed. President Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation happened more than two years before that.

Several banks, including JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial Services and Comerica, have also said that they would observe Friday as a holiday by closing for the entire day or part of the day.

Virginia Credit Union’s decision drew mostly praise on social media.

“I am so proud to be a member of VACU! Great job and thank you,” one person wrote in a comment on Facebook.

There have been widespread protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody late last month. The demonstrations have led to calls for reforms to law enforcement practices and forced many businesses and industries to reflect on social justice issues in the U.S.

Credit unions have grappled with how to respond. Some institutions, industry leaders and groups have put out statements condemning racism. Rodney Hood, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, implored credit union personnel “to have difficult conversations” around race and to look for ways to promote inclusion within their communities.

The Credit Union National Association’s board passed a resolution that requires the group to work with others in the industry to “create measureable ways that the organization can commit to action by August 10, the anniversary of the creation of the credit union system.”

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