The recent 2016 election has left many feeling victimized. But a new trend has people feeling a little safer. It’s no secret that Trump has put minorities between a rock and a hard place but many Americans are showing their support for these minorities with a small but impactful statement. A safety pin. The message is aimed more at pro-kindness than anti-Trump.
Photographer Cass Bird posted a photo of her safety pin on Instagram with a message that read, “If you wear a hijab I’ll sit with you on the train… If you need me I’ll be with you, all I ask is that you be with me too.”
It’s such a simple statement to let people know that you are a safe resource for them to go to when they aren’t sure where they can go. Several actors, including Jaime King and Patrick Stewart, have posted their support as well. Per The New York Times an American living in Britain made a social media post suggesting that everyone wear safety pins to show support for those experiencing abuse following the Brexit movement this past year. Thus, the movement was born.
Hashtags like “I am safe” and “You are safe here” popped up overnight and the word quickly spread across the globe. But this isn’t the first movement of its kind.
Journalist Zack Linly put this thought into proper terms. “White people (and POC, too, for that matter) need to know that they can wear their pins all they want, but they don’t get to demand trust and appreciation. It behooves them to stop trying to tell marginalized people, whom they claim are “safe” with them, how to feel about it. I understand people who see a safety pin and appreciate it and find it comforting. I also understand those who find it to be patronizing and, once again, centering white folk in an issue that generally doesn’t belong to them.”
Those who chose to wear the safety pins cannot do so under the pretense that they are making a statement. They should be willing to back that statement up with action. Once you pin that small piece of metal to your clothing you must be willing to defend your statement with action. Some have criticized the movement with statements like, “a hollow gesture sure to be unaccompanied by action.”
I’m still on the fence about the whole movement but I will continue to wear my pin in hopes that I can reassure someone. I know that I will step in if need be but I certainly hope I don’t have to. Twitter user NasimaBee said, “Not entirely sure how I feel about this #safetypin movement tbh. Solidarity is speaking up, being aware and raising dialogue about racism.”