State law does not allow voters to wear items with the name of a candidate or political party, but does not prohibit items with “Black Lives Matter.”
— THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, NBC NEWS
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A poll worker in Memphis, Tennessee, has been fired after turning away early voters who were wearing “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, an elections official said Monday.
The worker was fired Friday after officials received a call from a witness at the Dave Wells Community Center in Memphis, Shelby County Election Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Thompson said.
Tennessee law does not allow voters to wear items bearing the name of a candidate or a political party in a polling place. But state law does not prohibit statements such as “Black Lives Matter,” Thompson said.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. The broader movement and its related organizations typically advocate against police violence towards black people, as well as for various other policy changes considered to be related to black liberation.
In July 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin 17 months earlier, in February 2012. The movement became nationally recognized for street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown—resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, a city near St. Louis—and Eric Garner in New York City. Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions or while in police custody. In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter activists became involved in the 2016 United States presidential election. The originators of the hashtag and call to action, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, expanded their project into a national network of over 30 local chapters between 2014 and 2016. The overall Black Lives Matter movement is a decentralized network of activists with no formal hierarchy.
Source – Black Lives Matter (Updated: 20 October 2020) Wikipedia. Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter, (Accessed: 20 October 2020)