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Walmart will stop selling ‘All Lives Matter’ shirts, but keep ‘Blue Lives Matter’ merchandise

Two people were killed and at least four others were wounded Saturday, June 27, 2020, after a gunman drove his SUV into a Northern California Walmart distribution center before opening fire on workers during a shift change. (Roman Tiraspolsky/Dreamstime/TNS)

Walmart is taking “All Lives Matter” shirts out of its online store.

The retailer is making the change after receiving feedback from employees and customers, CBS MoneyWatch reports.

“We will continue to sell other variations, including ‘Blue Lives Matter,’” a spokesperson for the company told the outlet.

“We fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect,” they said. “However, as we listened, we came to understand that some, but not all, people using the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ in the current environment intentionally minimized the focus on the painful reality of racial inequity.”

“All Lives Matter” is widely panned as a way of trying to obscure the Black Lives Matter movement, which is focused on systemic racism and police brutality. Many have pointed out using “all lives matter” as a response to Black Lives Matter dismisses white privilege and the devaluing of Black lives.

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Walmart is still selling merchandise that says, “All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter.”

Blue Lives Matter formed as a response among law enforcement to Black Lives Matter, which gained momentum in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the 2012 fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in Sanford, Florida.

Blue Lives Matter emerged in 2014 after Ismaaiyl Brinsley fatally shot New York police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn. The shooting happened months after the summer of 2014, when Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri. The month prior, Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man on Staten Island, died after being put in a chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo.

The “thin blue line” flag — a black-and-white American flag that has a blue stripe — is often used by those who support Blue Lives Matter. A Blue Lives Matter shirt on Walmart’s website features a shield emblem that displays the flag in the shape of a police badge.

Walmarts in Mississippi also recently removed state flags that include a Confederate emblem.

The changes at Walmart arrive during a national reckoning on racial injustice. Widespread protests followed the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died at the hands of police in Minneapolis after officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Protesters have also rallied in the name of Breonna TaylorAhmaud Arbery and many other Black Americans who have been killed.

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© 2020 NJ Advance Media Group