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Engaging new videos highlight African American legends in fashion, aerospace and technology and the young trailblazers they inspired

LOS ANGELES, CA – In celebration of Black History Month and as part of its ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity, Union Bank today launched a series of unique videos featuring powerful examples of how history makers from our rich past inspire new generations to make history of their own. Tapping specifically into the fashion, aerospace and technology industries, the engaging videos highlight three motivating stories of how African American icons Arthur McGee, Guion Bluford and John Henry Thompson influenced Moziah Bridges, Thea Norment and Laura Weidman Powers respectively.

“Honoring inclusion and diversity is part of our Union Bank legacy and an example of our ongoing commitment to responsible banking and doing right,” said Union Bank Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Art Smith. “The videos are engaging and insightful and depict the importance of celebrating the important legends who paved the way for future generations – we hope they educate, entertain and inspire viewers far beyond Black History Month.”

The videos feature the following new-generation history makers connecting the past to the present:

Moziah Bridges, from Memphis, Tennessee, established Mo’s Bows handcrafted bow ties in 2011 when he was just nine years old and serves as chief executive officer. He wanted to dress nice but couldn’t find any bow ties that he liked, so he asked his grandmother to teach him how to sew. Designing colorful bow ties is only part of his vision to make the world a fun and happier place. Another part is giving back to the community through the Go Mo Scholarship Fund that supports youth who cannot afford to go to summer camp. Bridges is inspired by Arthur McGee, often referred to as the Dean of African American Designers. McGee inspires Bridges because he was the first African American designer to run the design room of an established apparel company. McGee blazed the trail for Bridges who is inspired to continue his legacy and push fashion forward.

Thea Norment, from Chicago, lives in Palo Alto, California. As a child, she was interested in the universe and knew that she wanted to be an astronaut. Her dream was to go to space. Norment is a senior electrical systems engineer who designs the electrical systems for high-powered satellites that provide services for cable, internet and television. Norment is inspired by Guion Bluford, the first African American in outer space. Bluford, who was inducted into the astronaut hall of fame in 2010, is an aerospace engineer and skilled military pilot. His groundbreaking accomplishments inspired Norment to launch an aerospace career of her own. Her goal is to be a key decision maker in space policy and encourage future generations, particularly African American women, to go into technical fields.

Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and chief executive officer of CODE2040, is a native New Yorker who lives in San Francisco. Code2040 is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities. After working at a technology start-up, Powers noticed a lack of diversity in the technology field. The year 2040 is significant because people of color will be the majority in the United States and for companies to thrive they will have to attract, hire and retain African American and other minority talent. Powers is inspired by John Henry Thompson, a pioneer in the technology industry. Thompson, a computer programmer, invented the Lingo programming language. Lingo is still used today to create visuals used in video games, web design, animation and graphics. Thompson’s work inspires Powers to break even more barriers in the technology industry.

“It’s important to give back to my community…,” said Bridges in the video featuring the young entrepreneur. “…Black History Month is important to me because it teaches my generation about the great African Americans who came before us.”

“We are proud to celebrate the cultural heritage of these extraordinary African Americans in history through this collection of life-changing success stories,” said Union Bank Multicultural Strategies Manager Frank Robinson. “The videos are a tribute to the amazing accomplishments of African Americans and help demonstrate the powerful connection between the passions and dreams of our current generations with the pioneers who have influenced their futures.”

For more information and to view the videos, visit www.unionbank.com/blackhistory.

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, retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers.  The bank also offers an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for customers, including investment banking, personal trust, capital markets, global treasury management, transaction banking and other services.  With assets of $113.7 billion (USD), as of December 31, 2014, the 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 (NYSE: MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥264 trillion (JPY) or $2.4 trillion (USD)1, as of September 30, 2014.  MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, the financial holding company and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. have corporate headquarters in New York City.

1 Exchange rate of USD=Â¥109.45 (J-GAAP) as of September 30, 2014

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