Residents within the city of Millinocket, Maine, say they’re outraged and disillusioned after a neighborhood insurance coverage company displayed a racist signal remarking on the Juneteenth vacation. Progressive and Allstate are terminating their relationships with the company, based on representatives of the insurance coverage corporations.
“Juneteenth ~it is no matter… We’re closed. Get pleasure from your fried rooster & collard greens,” the signal said in a big font. It was taped to the entrance of Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company in Millinocket on Monday. The small city sits about three hours outdoors Portland and a few 50 miles away from the U.S.-Canada border.
A picture of the racist signal was shared on-line Monday, gaining the eye of 1000’s throughout social media.
The insurance coverage company has confronted heavy criticism on-line, with folks leaving one-star evaluations on Google and Yelp, a few of which have since been eliminated.
One evaluate written on Yelp says: “@Progressive – is that this actually an organization that you really want representing you? Or is Progressive an organization that believes in racism?”
Progressive spokesperson Jeff Sibel wrote in an e mail that the corporate is “conscious and appalled by the signal” and that it’s terminating its relationship with the company.
“At Progressive, Range, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are elementary to our Core Values. We’re dedicated to creating an atmosphere the place our folks really feel welcomed, valued and revered and count on that anybody representing Progressive to participate on this dedication,” Sibel wrote. “The signal is in direct violation of that dedication and would not align with our firm’s Core Values and Code of Conduct.”
The Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company didn’t reply to NPR’s request for remark.
Millinocket resident Alura Stillwagon initially posted the picture on Fb with a caption studying, “The racism in Millinocket is actual.”
Stillwagon, who first heard concerning the signal from her mom, Lisa Groelly, says she needed to do a double take when seeing a picture of it.
“I needed to learn it greater than as soon as as a result of I assumed it was one thing [my mom] noticed on Fb. However when she stated it was a enterprise [in town], I used to be instantly disgusted,” Stillwagon instructed NPR. “Individuals have this concept that Maine is not very racist and that it is fairly liberal. However up north, it isn’t like that in any respect.”
Groelly, who lives in Millinocket, says when her buddy instructed her concerning the signal displayed outdoors the enterprise, she was speechless, considering it will need to have been a joke.
“I am hoping that individuals will get up and understand that this isn’t OK. Individuals have to know their historical past. They should understand that there was quite a lot of struggling and that this vacation is warranted — and it is wanted,” stated Groelly in an interview with NPR.
Steve Golieb, chair of the Millinocket City Council, launched a press release on Tuesday relating to the incident:
“It’s deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any particular person, enterprise, or group to try to make gentle of Juneteenth and what it represents for hundreds of thousands of slaves and their residing descendants,” Golieb stated in his assertion. “There is no such thing as a place within the City of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency.”
Allstate stated in a press release to NPR on Wednesday: “We’re terminating our contract with this unbiased agent. Our dedication to Inclusive Range and Fairness is non-negotiable and we take motion when people violate our code of conduct.”
The state of Maine celebrated Juneteenth as an official vacation for the primary time on Monday. Governor Janet Mills signed a invoice into regulation final yr declaring the annual commemoration a paid state vacation. This month, Mills signed a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is an annual commemoration celebrated on June 19 that marks america’ second independence day.
On today 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 greater than 250,000 enslaved Black folks within the state have been lastly free.
President Biden signed a invoice in 2021 to acknowledge Juneteenth as a federal vacation.