A Black woman who said she was harassed by a white passenger on a recent Delta Air Lines flight is praising the company for taking a stand against racism.
Demetria Poe, who lives in Minneapolis, said she was traveling to Washington, D.C., on Thursday for the Commitment March, a civil rights rally, when a white female passenger came back to her seat wearing a Blue Lives Matter face mask.
Blue Lives Matter shows support for police officers and is considered counter to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“She proceeded to remain silent until take off but once we took off she started the conversation with me by saying, “I support blue lives because I support our officers.’ I explained to her blue lives do not exist,” Poe wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. “The life of an officer exist but there is no such thing as a blue life and that statement is nothing but a rebuttal to the fact that BLM [Black Lives Matter] has been disregarded time after time after time.”
Poe said the woman continued to make inflammatory comments, including that “having Blacks in America has been the best thing for them because they can work they way up.”
Eventually, other passengers on the plane spoke up to defend Poe, and a flight attendant offered to move the woman’s seat. Poe did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.
She told USA Today in an interview Wednesday that she thinks the woman was trying to start an argument with her but she didn’t engage.
“… There was no need for her to flip that mask in my presence. She didn’t do it for anyone else. It was as if she was making a statement and wanted me to know,” Poe told the outlet. “I feel like in that situation they do want to see a Black woman get angry.”
Poe wrote on Facebook that on her return flight with Delta she learned that her seat had been upgraded and the airline company had left her a gift. She posted a video of her opening the gift, which included a journal, a luggage tag and a Black Lives Matter pin.
The Facebook post has been shared more than 5,000 times. Poe said she wanted to share her story to urge other companies “to take a stance!”
“This furthers why I will only fly Delta Air Lines! At this point make me an ambassador Delta I just thank God that this didn’t flip onto me because too many cases Black people are guilty until proven innocent,” she wrote.
A Delta spokesperson told NBC News in a statement Saturday, “The actions by our people in the air and on the ground are what really set us apart as a company bringing humanity to air travel.”
“Based on an idea from one of our flight attendants, Delta has designed an optional pin for our people to wear while in uniform in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” the spokesman continued. “We have a lot of work to do for true equity to be within reach for the Black community, and it’s part of our culture to represent efforts our customers and our employees care about. For now, these pins are for our people and not available to customers, but our teams chose to include a pin for this customer as part of their gesture.”