For those who are wondering about the significance of wearing a safety pin, I embrace it for 3 reasons.
1) It signals people that if they are being harassed, I am a safe person, willing to stand up for them. I will do whatever I can to stop bullying.
2) It makes a public statement of opposition to racism, nativism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia. I will fight to protect the rights and human dignity of all people.
3) It symbolically puts me in solidary with the global justice movement for progressive change. I will remember that if people in much direr situations than I can fight for justice, I can too.
Wearing a safety pin originated in the UK as a response to the rise of hate crimes after the Brexit vote, which empowered the far right.
“I kept seeing these reports about people being abused on buses and trains…. I was watching the Euros with my husband and I thought, how can we show people in public we are going to stand with them? We didn’t want to force people to go out and buy something so I said, what about a safety pin? Most people have one somewhere in the house. My husband said it’s like a pin of safety – he likes puns.”
Sadly, after the Trump victory, alt-right hate crimes in the US have already begun to increase as well. Both trends make sense since studies show a correlation between extreme political rhetoric and hate crimes.
We currently face a dark time globally. We have already seen the triumph of fascistic forces in the UK and the US, and, sadly, we may see France go the same way if Le Pen gets elected. The zeitgeist bodes evil, and the struggle is global.
As someone who embraces anti-nationalist, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist politics, I hope that putting a safety pin on my clothing everyday will keep the importance of that work in my mind’s eye and in public view.
As Emiliano Zapata once said, “I would rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.”
If you want to add a safety pin to your FB or Twitter picture, click here for options.