Residents in the city of Millinocket, Maine, say they are outraged and unhappy following a regional insurance policies agency shown a racist indicator remarking on the Juneteenth holiday break. Progressive and Allstate are terminating their interactions with the agency, in accordance to reps of the insurance coverage organizations.
“Juneteenth ~it is no matter what… We’re shut. Get pleasure from your fried chicken & collard greens,” the indicator stated in a huge font. It was taped to the entrance of Harry E. Reed Insurance policy Agency in Millinocket on Monday. The smaller town sits about 3 several hours outside the house Portland and some 50 miles away from the U.S.-Canada border.
An graphic of the racist sign was shared on the web Monday, getting the interest of thousands throughout social media.
The coverage agency has confronted heavy criticism on-line, with individuals leaving just one-star reviews on Google and Yelp, some of which have due to the fact been taken off.
Just one critique written on Yelp suggests: “@Progressive – is this definitely a company that you want symbolizing you? Or is Progressive a company that believes in racism?”
Progressive spokesperson Jeff Sibel wrote in an e-mail that the corporation is “knowledgeable and appalled by the indicator” and that it is terminating its connection with the agency.
“At Progressive, Range, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are elementary to our Main Values. We’re fully commited to building an ecosystem in which our individuals come to feel welcomed, valued and respected and count on that any person symbolizing Progressive to choose component in this dedication,” Sibel wrote. “The sign is in immediate violation of that determination and doesn’t align with our firm’s Core Values and Code of Conduct.”
The Harry E. Reed Insurance policies Company did not reply to NPR’s request for comment.
Millinocket resident Alura Stillwagon initially posted the image on Facebook with a caption looking through, “The racism in Millinocket is authentic.”
Stillwagon, who very first heard about the indicator from her mother, Lisa Groelly, claims she had to do a double choose when looking at an picture of it.
“I had to read through it additional than when mainly because I assumed it was some thing [my mom] noticed on Fb. But when she stated it was a enterprise [in town], I was immediately disgusted,” Stillwagon instructed NPR. “Men and women have this plan that Maine is just not extremely racist and that it truly is really liberal. But up north, it can be not like that at all.”
Groelly, who life in Millinocket, says when her buddy told her about the signal exhibited outside the business enterprise, she was speechless, contemplating it must have been a joke.
“I am hoping that folks will wake up and understand that this is not Ok. Persons have to have to know their record. They require to comprehend that there was a whole lot of suffering and that this holiday break is warranted — and it is needed,” said Groelly in an job interview with NPR.
Steve Golieb, chair of the Millinocket Town Council, launched a statement on Tuesday with regards to the incident:
“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any individual, enterprise, or group to endeavor to make mild of Juneteenth and what it signifies for thousands and thousands of slaves and their residing descendants,” Golieb said in his statement. “There is no put in the City of Millinocket for this sort of a blatant disregard of human decency.”
Allstate claimed in a assertion to NPR on Wednesday: “We are terminating our agreement with this unbiased agent. Our motivation to Inclusive Range and Fairness is non-negotiable and we get motion when men and women violate our code of carry out.”
The point out of Maine celebrated Juneteenth as an formal getaway for the very first time on Monday. Governor Janet Mills signed a invoice into legislation final year declaring the yearly commemoration a paid state holiday getaway. This month, Mills signed a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is an annual commemoration celebrated on June 19 that marks the United States’ 2nd independence working day.
On this day in 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger — who had fought for the Union — arrived at Galveston, Texas, with practically 2,000 troops to announce that the much more than 250,000 enslaved Black men and women in the condition were last but not least cost-free.
President Biden signed a invoice in 2021 to acknowledge Juneteenth as a federal holiday break.