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American Airlines OKs Black Lives Matter pins for employees

Company calling it a “matter of equality and not politics.”

FILE: Buttons with Black Lives Matter, colors of the Pan-African flag, the image of George Floyd, left, and Breonna Taylor, right, are spread on the pavement on 16th Street Northwest at the area renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza north of the White House, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Washington. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be remembered as the year the holiday reached a new level of recognition. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
FILE: Buttons with Black Lives Matter, colors of the Pan-African flag, the image of George Floyd, left, and Breonna Taylor, right, are spread on the pavement on 16th Street Northwest at the area renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza north of the White House, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Washington. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be remembered as the year the holiday reached a new level of recognition. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

FORT WORTH, Tex. – American Airlines will let employees wear Black Lives Matter pins on their uniforms, calling it a matter of equality and not politics.

With the move, American joins Starbucks, Delta Air Lines and other major companies that let employees wear items supporting the movement that protests police violence against Black people.

An American Airlines spokeswoman said Tuesday that Black employees saw workers at other airlines wearing a Black Lives Matter pin and asked if they could too.

“Fundamentally, we believe Black Lives Matter is an expression of equality, not a political statement,” said the spokeswoman, Sarah Jantz. “It doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter, rather that in our society Black lives should matter and be valued the same as others.”

American, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, is working with Black employees to design the pin. The airline allows other pins, including ones supporting Christians, veterans and LGBTQ people.

Starbucks reportedly banned employees from wearing Black Lives Matter shirts, then created one in June for workers to wear.

American’s decision drew mixed reviews on Twitter. Some people praised the airline, while others called Black Lives Matter a domestic terrorist group, a label used by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

Trump urged supporters to boycott Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. after a Kansas TV station reported that it allowed employees to wear Black Lives Matter attire but not clothing with the pro-police Blue Lives Matter or Trump’s campaign slogan. Goodyear’s CEO said the company would let employees wear clothing supporting law enforcement but would continue to ask workers not to wear attire supporting political candidates while on the job.