Maine Insurance coverage Firm Receives Backlash After Posting Racist Juneteenth Signal

An insurance coverage firm in Millinocket, Maine, is receiving backlash on-line after it displayed a racist signal concerning Juneteenth, NPR reviews.

“Juneteenth ~it’s no matter… We’re closed. Take pleasure in your fried hen & collard greens,” the signal learn in massive letters.

The signal was posted on the entrance of Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company on Monday. Millinocket resident Alura Stillwagon posted an image of the signal on Fb.

“The racism in Millinocket is actual,” she wrote within the caption.

Stillwagon advised NPR that she first heard in regards to the signal from her mom, Lisa Groelly, and that she was shocked.

“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 advised NPR. “Folks have this concept that Maine isn’t very racist and that it’s fairly liberal. However up north, it’s not like that in any respect.”

Groelly stated she discovered in regards to the signal from a buddy. Like her daughter, she was appalled.

“I’m hoping that folks will get up and understand that this isn’t OK. Folks must know their historical past,” she stated in an interview with NPR. “They should understand that there was plenty of struggling and that this vacation is warranted — and it’s wanted.”

Together with some Millinocket residents, viewers on social media have been disgusted by the insurance coverage firm’s signal. They took to Twitter to specific their outrage and present that whereas Juneteenth is lastly a federal vacation, we nonetheless have an extended approach to go as a rustic.

“Reed Insurance coverage Company in Millinocket Maine is totally wild for this one. This racism is uncontrolled. Be higher,” one viewer tweeted.

“Calling on residents of Millinocket, Maine to dump the Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company! It is a racist company and shouldn’t be rewarded along with your hard-earned cash! Discover a new insurance coverage firm,” one other added.


Some individuals referred to as out Progressive, Reed Insurance coverage Company’s affiliate, following information of the signal.

“@progressive Are you conscious that The Reed Company of Millinocket ME is overtly #Racists & posted one thing so vile on their enterprise? As an company representing Progressive Insurance coverage, it is best to tackle this!! @WMTWTV @WGME @PressHerald @bangordailynews,” one Twitter person wrote.

“I suppose in #Millinocket, #Maine, this @progressive insurance coverage agent, isn’t. Sorry @ItsFlo,” one other tweeted.

Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, addressed the incident in an electronic mail to NPR. He stated the corporate is “conscious and appalled by the signal,” and that it’s ending its relationship with the Maine insurance coverage company.

“At Progressive, Variety, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are basic to our Core Values. We’re dedicated to creating an surroundings the place our individuals really feel welcomed, valued and revered and count on that anybody representing Progressive to participate on this dedication,” he wrote. “The signal is in direct violation of that dedication and doesn’t align with our firm’s Core Values and Code of Conduct.”

Chair of the Millinocket City Council, Steve Golieb, launched a assertion in regards to the signal as effectively.

“It’s deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any individual, enterprise or group to aim to make mild of Juneteenth and what it represents for hundreds of thousands of slaves and their dwelling descendants,” he stated. “There is no such thing as a place within the City of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency.”