The Last Word
Land of Liberty
Liberty Mutual commemorates the new Statue of Liberty Museum in New York with a poem about hope and unity.
- Lori Chordas
- September 2019
FIRST LIGHT: The Statue of Liberty’s original torch.
Photo courtesy of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
The Statue of Liberty has served as a quintessential American symbol of hope and freedom since the people of France gifted the 305-foot-tall monument to the United States in 1886 to commemorate the friendship between the two nations.
Over the years, the statue's representation of democracy and justice, along with its welcoming of millions of weary immigrants fleeing their homelands in search of opportunity in America, have inspired countless songs and stories, including a new poem commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Earlier this year, the Boston insurer tasked former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith with writing a poem that celebrates what Lady Liberty means to the world today. The poem is a gift from Liberty Mutual to the new Statue of Liberty Museum in New York that offers visitors an in-depth look at the statue's history.
Smith wrote Harbor as a ghazal or ode form poem that commemorates hope and unity across all forms of difference. Harbor is written in the same vein as Emma Lazarus' The New Colossus poem penned in 1883.
Liberty Mutual presented its gift during the museum's star-studded opening gala on May 16. Smith unveiled Harbor via video at the event, which was hosted by comedian and political commentator Seth Meyers.
Harbor is a “beautiful embodiment of hope and the possibilities that we as a people and a nation can and should be,” said Dawn Frazier-Bohnert, global diversity and inclusion officer at Liberty Mutual.
The poem begins: “Stranger, I find myself lost. Let us watch this new age gather overhead. Let's see what rains onto unaccustomed skin.”
Liberty Mutual has a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Both diversity and inclusion are essential, Frazier-Bohnert said. “It's not enough to just talk about various dimensions of who we are, we also need to highlight how we collectively do our best work to create an environment where people feel connected and have a sense of belonging.” The company's partnership with the Statue of Liberty and the opportunity to be part of the museum is one way to symbolically bring that to life, she said.
For nearly a century, the Statue of Liberty has been part of Liberty Mutual's logo. In 2013, the company began running a series of TV ads against the iconic background of the statue. The spots, which still air today, feature people from different backgrounds and generations sharing frustrations about past experiences with their car insurance and highlighting Liberty Mutual's commitment to alleviating those concerns.
Now Liberty Mutual is once again showing support for Lady Liberty as a sponsor of the new museum on Liberty Island.
The museum is part of a $100 million islandwide beautification effort that's being funded by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Inside the 26,000-square-foot museum are three galleries, including the Inspiration Gallery that is made possible by a gift from Liberty Mutual. The gallery, which is devoted to liberty today, houses Lady Liberty's original torch that was replaced in 1986.