2 insurance companies end relationship with Maine agency after racist Juneteenth sign
Current June 22, 2022 at 5:56 PM ET
Residents in the town of Millinocket, Maine, say they are outraged and upset soon after a area coverage agency exhibited a racist sign remarking on the Juneteenth holiday. Progressive and Allstate are terminating their interactions with the agency, according to representatives of the insurance policy businesses.
“Juneteenth ~it is whichever… We’re shut. Appreciate your fried rooster & collard greens,” the signal mentioned in a big font. It was taped to the entrance of Harry E. Reed Insurance policies Agency in Millinocket on Monday. The modest city sits about three hrs outside Portland and some 50 miles away from the U.S.-Canada border.
An picture of the racist indication was shared online Monday, attaining the notice of countless numbers across social media.
The coverage agency has confronted significant criticism on-line, with people leaving one-star evaluations on Google and Yelp, some of which have since been eliminated.
One particular overview written on Yelp states: “@Progressive – is this actually a business that you want symbolizing you? Or is Progressive a enterprise that believes in racism?”
Progressive spokesperson Jeff Sibel wrote in an e mail that the company is “knowledgeable and appalled by the signal” and that it is terminating its romance with the agency.
“At Progressive, Variety, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to our Main Values. We’re committed to creating an setting in which our men and women truly feel welcomed, valued and highly regarded and anticipate that any individual symbolizing Progressive to get element in this motivation,” Sibel wrote. “The signal is in immediate violation of that determination and won’t align with our firm’s Main Values and Code of Carry out.”
The Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Agency did not answer to NPR’s request for remark.
Millinocket resident Alura Stillwagon at first posted the picture on Facebook with a caption reading, “The racism in Millinocket is genuine.”
Stillwagon, who first read about the indicator from her mother, Lisa Groelly, claims she had to do a double consider when looking at an picture of it.
“I experienced to examine it much more than the moment mainly because I imagined it was something [my mom] observed on Fb. But when she said it was a company [in town], I was instantly disgusted,” Stillwagon informed NPR. “People have this concept that Maine is just not extremely racist and that it is really really liberal. But up north, it’s not like that at all.”
Groelly, who life in Millinocket, claims when her close friend explained to her about the sign shown outdoors the enterprise, she was speechless, pondering it must have been a joke.
“I am hoping that men and women will wake up and recognize that this is not Ok. Men and women have to have to know their history. They want to comprehend that there was a lot of struggling and that this getaway is warranted — and it is desired,” claimed Groelly in an job interview with NPR.
Steve Golieb, chair of the Millinocket Town Council, produced a assertion on Tuesday regarding the incident:
“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any particular person, enterprise, or corporation to endeavor to make mild of Juneteenth and what it signifies for hundreds of thousands of slaves and their living descendants,” Golieb reported in his statement. “There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for these a blatant disregard of human decency.”
Allstate explained in a statement to NPR on Wednesday: “We are terminating our agreement with this unbiased agent. Our determination to Inclusive Range and Fairness is non-negotiable and we choose motion when persons violate our code of conduct.”
The point out of Maine celebrated Juneteenth as an official vacation for the very first time on Monday. Governor Janet Mills signed a bill into regulation past calendar year declaring the yearly commemoration a paid out point out 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’ second independence working day.
On this working day in 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger — who had fought for the Union — arrived at Galveston, Texas, with almost 2,000 troops to announce that the extra than 250,000 enslaved Black people today in the point out were last but not least cost-free.
President Biden signed a invoice in 2021 to acknowledge Juneteenth as a federal holiday getaway.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see far more, go to https://www.npr.org.
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