Maine insurance agency slammed for racist Juneteenth message

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The Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket, Maine, faced backlash over a racist sign posted in its window.

The Harry E. Reed Insurance policy Agency in Millinocket, Maine, faced backlash in excess of a racist indicator posted in its window.


Update: Insurance plan firms Allstate and Progressive the two finished their partnerships with the Harry E. Reed Insurance plan Company following controversy erupted around the offensive indicator, WGME claimed. The man or woman who posted the indication apologized on Fb and stated she experienced been reprimanded. The first story appears under.

A organization in Maine is facing backlash more than a racist signal posted in its window on Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth ~it’s whatever…” the sign said. “We’re closed. Enjoy your fried rooster & collard greens.”

A image of the sign, taped to the entrance of the Harry E. Reed Coverage Company in Millinocket, was shared on Fb on Monday, June 20, by a resident of the city, Alura Stillwagon, who said “the racism in Millinocket is genuine.”

The agency did not straight away reply to a request for remark from McClatchy News.

A spokesman for Progressive, which is affiliated with the agency, instructed NPR that the corporation is “aware and appalled by the indication.”

“At Progressive, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are basic to our Main Values. We’re committed to producing an natural environment exactly where our persons sense welcomed, valued and highly regarded and count on that anyone representing Progressive to take element in this dedication,” Jeff Sibel told the outlet. “The indication is in direct violation of that dedication and does not align with our company’s Core Values and Code of Carry out.”

Stillwagon’s mother, Lisa Groelly, explained to her about the signal, NPR reported.

“I had to browse it additional than once since I assumed it was some thing [my mom] observed on Fb,” Stillwagon explained to the outlet. “But when she explained it was a small business [in town], I was quickly disgusted. Folks have this thought that Maine isn’t extremely racist and that it is quite liberal. But up north, it’s not like that at all.”

The business’ message was speedily condemned by town officers and citizens of the town.

Millinocket Town Council Chair Steve Golieb tackled the make a difference in a June 21 assertion, stating it’s “deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable” for anybody to “make light of Juneteenth and what it represents for tens of millions of slaves and their residing descendants.”

“There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for this kind of a blatant disregard of human decency,” the assertion claimed.

Negative evaluations for the company also commenced pouring in on Yelp and Google Critiques.

As of June 22, the company has two stars on Google. Its Yelp site, which has 84 opinions and 1 star, shows an inform stating that the organization has recently obtained adverse public focus and an inflow of new critiques.

“We have briefly disabled the capability to article in this article as we perform to look into the information,” Yelp claimed on the business’ webpage. “While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any kind, all opinions on Yelp have to reflect an precise first-hand customer encounter (even if that implies disabling the skill for users to specific details of view we might concur with).”

Most of the business’ latest Yelp evaluations reference the sign and criticize the small business for submitting it.

The incident is a reminder that Maine is not taken off from its historical past, College of Maine heritage professor Mary Freeman told the Bangor Each day Information.

“The simple fact that this man or woman could create a indication that does not use an obvious racial slur, but nevertheless will get its information across by drawing on these forms of associations and images that have experienced a racist association in American culture yet again displays how Maine is not so much taken off from this heritage,” Freeman explained to the outlet.

Groelly, the mother of the Facebook consumer who to begin with shared pictures of the sign, explained to NPR that she hopes the incident is a wake-up phone to inhabitants of the town.

“People need to know their record. They need to have to notice that there was a large amount of struggling and that this holiday break is warranted — and it is wanted,” Groelly advised the outlet.

Juneteenth, celebrated nationally on June 19, was observed as a federal holiday break on June 20 this calendar year. The celebration grew to become a federally regarded holiday in 2021 and commemorates the anniversary of when more than 250,000 enslaved People in Texas acquired phrase in Galveston that they had been no cost by government decree, in accordance to the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past & Lifestyle.

The getaway has been celebrated by Black communities in the U.S. since 1865, but only lately turned a federal holiday when it acquired renewed countrywide attention pursuing the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, McClatchy Information documented.

This story was at first posted June 22, 2022 3:46 PM.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy Actual-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and examined journalism and political science at Arizona Point out University. Beforehand, she noted for United states of america Right now, The Dallas Early morning Information, and Arizona PBS.


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