How the Safety Pin Has Become a Symbol of Support

How the Safety Pin Has Become a Symbol of Support

A simple gesture meant to show unity in a divided, post-election America.

A simple gesture meant to show unity in a divided, post-election America.

Text: William Defebaugh

Since the American people Electoral College voted in Donald Trump as President of the United States last Tuesday, there has been a startling increase in bias-based attacks. Just last Friday, every black freshman at Penn forcefully received unwarranted racist text messages via GroupMe (among the racial slurs were messages like "Trump Is Love").

Thanks to President-elect Trump's campaign having become a symbol of discrimination against just about anyone who isn't a white male, thanks to his divisive rhetoric, members of minority groups across America have become fearful for their own safety and future. After protests erupted in more than 25 cities in the United States, people are looking for a more silent way of communicating their support for people of color, women, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community, which they've found in the form of a simple, everyday object: the safety pin.

#saftypin

A photo posted by Cass Bird (@cassblackbird) on

When Great Britain faced a similarly changed political and cultural climate following this summer's Brexit vote to leave the European Union—after which the nation experienced a 57% increase in incidents related to xenophobia—citizens took to wearing the pins as a silent way of communicating that they are an ally. Now, Americans are doing the same, attaching safety pins to their clothing, and sharing pictures of them on social media.

It's important to note that wearing a safety pin does not necessarily mean being anti-Trump; the act is meant, in many cases, to simply communicate that the wearer will come to the aid of vulnerable citizens. Some have called it "slacktivism," or just a way for white people to feel like they are doing something, but in a divided country with many left wondering how they can help, anything that creates a sense of unity and support is a good start.

For a list of organizations and charities that need support now, click here.

Credits: Cover image: Lady Gaga wearing custom Versace photographed by Inez & Vinoodh for V85, 2013.

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