Racist Juneteenth sign at Maine insurance agency sparks backlash online : NPR

People in Millinocket, Maine, say they are outraged soon after an insurance coverage agency shown a racist indicator remarking on the new Juneteenth federal holiday break.

Lisa Groelly


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Lisa Groelly


Citizens in Millinocket, Maine, say they are outraged following an insurance policies company exhibited a racist indicator remarking on the new Juneteenth federal getaway.

Lisa Groelly

Residents in the town of Millinocket, Maine, say they are outraged and unhappy after a area insurance policies agency displayed a racist signal remarking on the Juneteenth holiday. Progressive and Allstate are terminating their relationships with the agency, according to associates of the insurance policies firms.

“Juneteenth ~it really is what ever… We are closed. Delight in your fried hen & collard greens,” the indication mentioned in a big font. It was taped to the front of Harry E. Reed Insurance policy Company in Millinocket on Monday. The smaller town sits about a few hrs outside the house Portland and some 50 miles absent from the U.S.-Canada border.

An picture of the racist sign was shared on the web Monday, getting the notice of countless numbers across social media.

The insurance plan agency has faced hefty criticism online, with people today leaving a single-star reviews on Google and Yelp, some of which have considering the fact that been eradicated.

One critique written on Yelp suggests: “@Progressive – is this really a company that you want representing you? Or is Progressive a firm that thinks in racism?”

Progressive spokesperson Jeff Sibel wrote in an electronic mail that the corporation is “knowledgeable and appalled by the indication” and that it is terminating its marriage with the agency.

“At Progressive, Range, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to our Core Values. We are fully commited to making an environment where our men and women come to feel welcomed, valued and respected and be expecting that anybody representing Progressive to just take aspect in this motivation,” Sibel wrote. “The indicator is in direct violation of that motivation and doesn’t align with our company’s Main Values and Code of Carry out.”

The Harry E. Reed Coverage Agency did not reply to NPR’s request for comment.

Millinocket resident Alura Stillwagon initially posted the image on Fb with a caption looking through, “The racism in Millinocket is serious.”

Stillwagon, who to start with read about the indicator from her mom, Lisa Groelly, says she had to do a double get when viewing an impression of it.

“I experienced to examine it much more than the moment for the reason that I assumed it was some thing [my mom] noticed on Facebook. But when she reported it was a business [in town], I was immediately disgusted,” Stillwagon instructed NPR. “Individuals have this idea that Maine isn’t really racist and that it is really pretty liberal. But up north, it’s not like that at all.”

Groelly, who lives in Millinocket, claims when her pal explained to her about the indication exhibited outside the house the organization, she was speechless, wondering it should have been a joke.

“I’m hoping that people today will wake up and notice that this is not Ok. Folks have to have to know their heritage. They require to know that there was a lot of struggling and that this holiday getaway is warranted — and it’s needed,” reported Groelly in an interview with NPR.

Steve Golieb, chair of the Millinocket City Council, unveiled a assertion on Tuesday concerning the incident:

“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any person, small business, or business to endeavor to make gentle of Juneteenth and what it represents for tens of millions of slaves and their living descendants,” Golieb reported in his assertion. “There is no area in the City of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency.”

Allstate reported in a statement to NPR on Wednesday: “We are terminating our contract with this unbiased agent. Our determination to Inclusive Range and Equity is non-negotiable and we just take motion when people today violate our code of conduct.”

The condition of Maine celebrated Juneteenth as an formal holiday break for the very first time on Monday. Governor Janet Mills signed a monthly bill into legislation past calendar year declaring the yearly commemoration a paid out point out vacation. This thirty day period, Mills signed a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is an once-a-year commemoration celebrated on June 19 that marks the United States’ next independence working day.

On this day in 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger — who had fought for the Union — arrived at Galveston, Texas, with just about 2,000 troops to announce that the extra than 250,000 enslaved Black men and women in the point out were eventually absolutely free.

Joe Biden signed a bill in 2021 to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Maria Flores

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