An ornament for sale at Gertens is at the center of a backlash on Facebook.
A shopper browsing the ornament section Wednesday night at the Inver Grove Heights store spotted a black rectangle ornament with the words “All Lives Matter” written on it in white.
The shopper posted a photo of the ornament in a private Facebook group, itself an offshoot of Pantsuit Nation, a larger group that sprung up ahead of the election in support of Hillary Clinton.
Since the photo was posted, people have been leaving negative reviews on Gertens’ Facebook page.
“Any store that carries an ‘all lives matter’ Christmas ornament has their priorities in the wrong place. How insulting and insensitive of them,” Katrina Hannemann wrote on Gertens’ public page.
The controversy lies in the phrase “All Lives Matter,” a slogan that spins off the Black Lives Matter movement.
With the best of intentions, the broad phrase could signal a coming-together sentiment. But people sympathetic to Black Lives Matter say swapping “Black” with “All” diverts attention from the specific concerns of black Americans.
“It’s sad and disturbing that a local company would take a swipe at the Black Lives Matter movement during the Christmas season,” said civil rights activist Nekima Levy-Pounds, former president of the Minneapolis NAACP.
“This time of year is very painful and challenging for family members and loved ones mourning those who have died as a result of police violence. Beyond that, it is clear that all lives will not matter until black lives matter in this country, a pinnacle that has not yet been reached.”
Gertens did not respond to a request for comment.
Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853