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Press Release

Union Bank Celebrates Black History Month by Honoring African American History Makers

Press Contact:
Erika Montelongo


LOS ANGELES, CA February 1, 2016 – In celebration of Black History Month and as part of its ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity, Union Bank® produced a series of unique videos featuring powerful examples of how history makers from our rich past inspire younger generations to forge new pathways. To view the videos, please visit

The videos highlight three uniquely talented African American luminaries whose achievements are breaking new ground in the areas of art, medicine and entrepreneurialism: Desmond Blair, Tony Hansberry and Tristan Walker, each share stories of eminent figures from the past that have served as an inspiration to pursue their own dreams. 

Desmond Blair 
Desmond Blair’s passion for art began as a child. He spent most of his childhood focusing on learning various traditional media. Blair was born without both hands, but he has not let that interfere with his artistic ability and passion for art. Blair attended Dallas Skyline High School to study advertising design. After graduating at the age of 16, Blair attended the University of Texas at Dallas where he pursued a career in art and technology. It was here that he continued to hone his traditional abilities and transfer them to digital mediums. 

In the fall of 2007, Blair returned to the University of Texas at Dallas to pursue his MFA in art and technology. He currently teaches a course in 3D Modeling for Computer Animation as an adjunct professor at UT Dallas. 

His inspiration is Lois Mailou Jones, an accomplished African American artist who began her career at a time when racial prejudices and gender discrimination were strong in American culture. Born with what some may call a disability, Desmond uses art to inspire and demonstrate that in his words IMPOSSIBLE means I’M POSSIBLE. 

Tony Hansberry II 
As a ninth grade student at Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts, Hansberry embarked on a project that gained national and international recognition. Through collaboration with administrators at the Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research (CSESaR) located at Shands Jacksonville Hospital, he developed a sewing technique to reduce the risk of complications and simplify the hysterectomy procedure for less seasoned surgeons. 

Hansberry is currently a fourth year chemistry major and biology minor student at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. He plans on pursuing a Master of Public Health degree and attending medical school to become a trauma surgeon. The source of his inspiration is Dr. Keith Black. Dr. Black’s pioneering research has focused on the treatment of brain tumors, and he has devised two innovative methods for treating brain cancer. 

Tristan Walker 
Walker is the founder and CEO of Walker & Company Brands, a health and beauty products company aimed at meeting the needs of the African American community. He has received numerous recognitions, including: USA Today “Person of the Year” in 2014; one of Ebony Magazine's “100 Most Powerful People”; Vanity Fair's "Next Establishment"; Fortune Magazine's “40 Under 40”; AdAge “Creative 50”; The Hollywood Reporter's “Digital Power 50”; and Black Enterprise's “40 Next.” 

A valedictorian graduate from Stony Brook University, Tristan also earned an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. 

“Cultivating a culture that celebrates diversity is an area that Union Bank is proud to support. The videos highlight the importance of looking to our cherished past to find inspiration in others who sought to break down barriers and helped pave the way for future generations,” said Union Bank Multicultural Strategies Manager Frank Robinson. “The young men featured in the videos are a testament to how our African American community is truly making a difference in how we shape our future.” The succinct two-minute videos tell powerful stories of how heroes and history-makers from the past serve as inspiration for future generations. In 2015, the bank’s Black History Month video campaign earned a Multicultural Excellence Award from the Association of National Advertisers. 

About MUFG Union Bank, N.A. 
MUFG Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service bank with offices across the United States. We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial and retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers. We also offer an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for customers, including investment banking, personal and corporate trust, global custody, transaction banking, capital markets, and other services. With assets of $114.3 billion, as of September 30, 2015, MUFG Union Bank has strong capital reserves, credit ratings and capital ratios relative to peer banks. MUFG Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥289.2 trillion (JPY) or $2.4 trillion (USD)1, as of September 30, 2015. The corporate headquarters (principal executive office) for MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, which is the financial holding company and MUFG Union Bank, is in New York City. The main banking office of MUFG Union Bank is in San Francisco, California.

(1)Exchange rate of 1 USD=¥119.96 (J-GAAP) as of September 30, 2015