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A little girl holds up a sign as “Black Lives Matter” New York protesters demonstrate in Times Square over the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on June 7, 2020 in New York. — On May 25, 2020, Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, died in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)

“I Can’t Breathe:” The refrain that reignited a movement

By Jasmeet Sidhu, Senior Researcher, Amnesty International USA

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A young girl holds a sign on August 8, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. As the embattled community celebrates the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown Jr. by a Ferguson police officer, there are a wide range of social events and civil disobedience actions throughout the St. Louis, Missouri area. AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL B. THOMAS (Photo credit should read Michael B. Thomas/AFP via Getty Images)
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New York, New York, United States — August 23, 2014: Thousands of people protest against NYPD in Staten Island Over Eric Garner’s Death.

10 ways Black Lives Matter activists and protestors have achieved meaningful change:

1. Officers Involved in George Floyd’s Death Charged

  • Seattle, Washington banned the use of chokeholds and teargas following law enforcement’s use of the gas against protestors.
  • Louisville, Kentucky banned “no-knock” search warrants in the city, by unanimous vote.
  • Washington, DC implemented a three-month ban on the use of rubber bullets or chemical irritants on peaceful protestors,
  • Iowa, New York, and Connecticut passed statewide laws or issued executive orders banning the use of chokeholds by law enforcement
  • Mayors and law enforcement officers from Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Tampa, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Phoenix, Arizona; and Columbia, South Carolina have joined to create a Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.
  • For the first time in two decades, New Jersey, under the direction of their attorney general, will update its use of force rules for all police.
  • The NYPD has committed to disbanding its problematic plain-clothes anti-crime unit.
  • Two Buffalo, New York, police officers who without provocation shoved a 75-year-old peaceful protestor, cracking his skull, have been arraigned on felony assault charges. Law enforcement officers in several other cities who engaged in excessive force against protestors have also been charged with offenses ranging from assault to harassment.
  • Johnson & Johnson addressed colorism by pledging to halt sales of its skin lightening creams, alluding to fairer skin as preferable to darker tones.
  • A unit of PepsiCo Inc with purview over the Aunt Jemima Syrup brand, will retire the name and image of Aunt Jemima, branding clearly rooted in offensive racial stereotypes. The company also plans to spend $400 million to support Black communities over the next five years.
  • Famed coffee conglomerate Starbucks Corp loosened its staff policy, allowing employees to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts and pins to demonstrate their support stance against racism.

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