'When we say Black lives matter, we mean it': Delta upgrades Black passenger harassed by white passenger

  • Demetria Poe, a 25-year-old Black woman, was on a Delta flight recently, wearing a "Black Lives Matter" face mask. She helped a white woman wearing an American flag face mask with her luggage. 
  • In seeming response, the woman then changed her face mask, donning a "Blue Lives Matter" mask, before sitting down next to her, Poe wrote in a Facebook post. 
  • The woman began harassing Poe, making inflammatory remarks including that George Floyd died because he "was on drugs," according to USA Today.
  • Delta moved the woman, offered Poe a seat upgrade on her flight home, and gave her a few small gifts. 
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One passenger is applauding Delta Air Lines for intervening during a racist incident and "taking a stand" against intolerance. 

On August 28, 25-year-old Demetria Poe, a Black woman, was on a flight from Minneapolis to Washington DC, to participate in a civil rights march. She was wearing a "Black Lives Matter" facemask.

After helping a white woman wearing an American flag facemask lift luggage into the overhead compartment, Poe sat down in her seat. The woman who she helped came back from the aisle and sat down in a seat next to Poe, wearing a different mask that read "Blue Lives Matter," Poe explained in a Facebook post. 

The woman began talking to her, saying, "I support blue lives because I support our officers."

Poe defended the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, "The life of an officer exists but there is no such thing as a blue life and that statement is nothing but a rebuttal to the fact that [Black Lives Matter] has been disregarded time after time after time."

The other woman proceeded to say things such as "Africans from the west sold the most slaves" and "having Blacks in America has been the best thing for them because they can work their way up," according to Poe. 

She told USA Today that the woman began talking about George Floyd, a Black man who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for close to nine minutes. The woman said he died because he was "on drugs." 

Soon after, multiple white women and a white man sitting nearby intervened, defending Poe. Flight attendants came over to check on her and offered to move the other woman's seat. 

Later, Poe wrote, she was informed that the woman "would not be flying with Delta anymore because they do not personally or as a company stand for racism and discrimination." 

On her flight home, Poe had her seat upgraded and got a small bag of goodies that included a luggage tag and a pin with the Delta logo that reads "Black Lives Matter." 

Poe shared her story in a Facebook post, which has since gone viral. Delta's official Facebook account commented on the post: "When we say Black lives matter, we mean it. You matter to us, Demetria."

The incident happened as marches and protests continue in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans, with more Americans calling on businesses to take a stand against racism.

Delta did not return a request for comment.

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