HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - TowneBank has retracted their previous Juneteenth statement, which stated that all of their African Americans employees will have a paid day off, in honor of Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, which commemorates an event in 1865 that signaled the end of slavery in America, is now considered a state holiday after Governor Ralph Northam was joined by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams Tuesday to announce that he will be proposing legislation making Juneteenth a state holiday.
Governor Northam announced Tuesday that all executive branch employees in his administration would have the day off with pay.
In support of Northam's decision, TowneBank initially sent a letter stating all African American employees will be offered a paid day off on Friday.
Bank officials say after reflection, they believe all Americans should observe the significance of Juneteenth.
Since the bank is not legally authorized to close the bank, they will provide an additional day of personal leave to all TowneBank family members that can be taken at their discretion.
Any African American employee who would prefer to work Friday and take another day off can do so as well, bank officials say.
This decision applies to all TowneBank offices and subsidiaries.
"We hope our employees, our members and the communities we are so proud to serve will accept our apology and take a moment this Friday to reflect on what Juneteenth represents in the history of our nation. It is our hope that all Americans will pledge to do their part to bring about racial understanding, justice and equality," G. Robert Aston, Jr. Executive Chairman says.