December 3, 2022

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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 policies Company in Millinocket, Maine, faced backlash over a racist sign posted in its window.

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Update: Insurance firms Allstate and Progressive both ended their partnerships with the Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company after controversy erupted more than the offensive indicator, WGME claimed. The human being who posted the signal apologized on Fb and stated she had been reprimanded. The original tale appears down below.

A business in Maine is struggling with backlash in excess of a racist signal posted in its window on Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth ~it’s whatever…” the signal mentioned. “We’re closed. Love your fried rooster & collard greens.”

A photograph of the indication, taped to the entrance of the Harry E. Reed Insurance plan Agency in Millinocket, was shared on Facebook on Monday, June 20, by a resident of the city, Alura Stillwagon, who reported “the racism in Millinocket is authentic.”

The company did not immediately answer to a ask for for remark from McClatchy Information.

A spokesman for Progressive, which is affiliated with the company, told NPR that the organization is “aware and appalled by the sign.”

“At Progressive, Range, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are elementary to our Core Values. We’re committed to creating an natural environment the place our folks really feel welcomed, valued and respected and anticipate that anybody symbolizing Progressive to consider component in this dedication,” Jeff Sibel explained to the outlet. “The indication is in direct violation of that dedication and doesn’t align with our company’s Core Values and Code of Perform.”

Stillwagon’s mother, Lisa Groelly, explained to her about the indicator, NPR documented.

“I experienced to browse it additional than after for the reason that I considered it was something [my mom] noticed on Fb,” Stillwagon informed the outlet. “But when she mentioned it was a business enterprise [in town], I was promptly disgusted. Men and women have this notion that Maine isn’t quite racist and that it’s rather liberal. But up north, it is not like that at all.”

The business’ concept was speedily condemned by metropolis officials and inhabitants of the town.

Millinocket Town Council Chair Steve Golieb dealt with the matter in a June 21 assertion, declaring it’s “deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable” for everyone to “make mild 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 such a blatant disregard of human decency,” the statement explained.

Damaging reviews for the company also commenced pouring in on Yelp and Google Opinions.

As of June 22, the company has two stars on Google. Its Yelp webpage, which has 84 testimonials and one particular star, displays an warn declaring that the enterprise has lately obtained negative community notice and an inflow of new opinions.

“We have temporarily disabled the skill to post right here as we get the job done to investigate the information,” Yelp reported on the business’ web page. “While racism has no location on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all testimonials on Yelp should replicate an actual initial-hand consumer expertise (even if that suggests disabling the capability for users to specific points of view we could agree with).”

Most of the business’ present Yelp opinions reference the indication and criticize the business enterprise for putting up it.

The incident is a reminder that Maine is not removed from its history, College of Maine history professor Mary Freeman informed the Bangor Each day Information.

“The fact that this human being could make a indicator that does not use an noticeable racial slur, but however gets its concept across by drawing on these kinds of associations and photographs that have had a racist affiliation in American lifestyle once more displays how Maine is not so considerably removed from this heritage,” Freeman instructed the outlet.

Groelly, the mom of the Facebook person who at first shared shots of the signal, instructed NPR that she hopes the incident is a wake-up connect with to residents of the city.

“People have to have to know their history. They require to understand that there was a great deal of suffering and that this getaway is warranted — and it is wanted,” Groelly informed the outlet.

Juneteenth, celebrated nationally on June 19, was observed as a federal holiday break on June 20 this year. The celebration became a federally identified holiday in 2021 and commemorates the anniversary of when in excess of 250,000 enslaved Americans in Texas been given phrase in Galveston that they were being totally free by govt decree, according to the Smithsonian Countrywide Museum of African American Record & Society.

The getaway has been celebrated by Black communities in the U.S. because 1865, but only lately became a federal vacation when it gained renewed national awareness subsequent the murder of George Floyd on Might 25, 2020, McClatchy Information described.

This story was originally printed June 22, 2022 3:46 PM.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy True-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and examined journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Beforehand, she documented for Usa Today, The Dallas Morning News, and Arizona PBS.



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