Posted on: November 14, 2016
Since the election the British “safety pin movement” has take roots in the United States, and for some folks it feels like the wrong move. Some news sources are saying that it’s a silent protest of drumf, others are saying that it’s meant to show marginalized people that the wearer is an ally, some are just doing it because it’s cool and what people are doing. My question is why people are people really wearing it. Is it to make the wearer feel part of a movement? Is it to make the wearer feel like they’re doing an action? Is it to make the wearer feel like they’ve done something in this time where it seems like there’s nothing to be done?
(psst, there’s plenty to be done).
It’s my understanding that the safety pin is meant to show that the wearer is prepared to be an ally to a marginalized person come what may. To me that means that if I am on the bus in Seattle and the person next to me starts swearing at me, calling me a nigger, etc. that you, Safety Pin Wearer have signaled by wearing your safety pin that you will help me. This means that you might come and sit next to me to ask how I’m doing, ask about the weather, distract me from the man harassing me.
By wearing a safety pin you are signaling to the woman wearing the hijab that you are there to support her, to be an ally for her. So that means that maybe you smile at her if you’re waiting in line behind her at the market perhaps you ask how her day is going.
To me it seems like the LGBTQ Safe Space stickers in places of business that signal to an at-risk person that they are safe. My only concern is that it means so many things to different people that I wonder that people aren’t prepared to do what the symbol means.
I’m aware that folks of every race and religion are wearing the pin, and I get that not everyone has the ability to take to the streets in protest. For folks who feel hopeless in this time wearing a pin is an incredibly easy thing to do.
It just can’t be the only thing. It has to be a step, not the end all be all. There are many “action” items that folks can do from the comfort of their home, here is my incomplete list.
Donate and encourage your friends, family, colleagues to do so as well.
Don’t do nothing, don’t despair, use your voice to call your elected officials and demand that they protect the rights of ALL Americans. Something as small as noticing that your child’s school only celebrates Christmas or that the books in the library aren’t diverse is a step in the right direction.