Forget wearing your heart, figuratively, on your sleeve when you can wear a safety pin, literally, on your shirt.
After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union this summer — or what is referred to colloquially as Brexit — many opposed to the vote there started wearing safety pins on their clothing. The Brexit vote was widely thought of throughout Europe as an anti-immigration and anti-minority movement, and hate crimes against people of color spiked in the days following the vote. Those who did not share these sentiments started wearing safety pins on their clothing as a sign of solidarity with immigrants and minorities — and a way to visually signal to others that they were, physically, not a threat.
Following the election of Republican nominee Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, Nov. 8, to the office of the presidency, many in the United States are now doing the same and encouraging others to spread the word, bringing this repudiation of rhetoric targeting religious and racial minorities across the pond. With reports of hate crimes and KKK rallies, many feel that publicly identifying themselves as an ally against such violence is crucial.
Ansley Husack of Marietta, Ga., is one woman trying to spread the word. She tells Yahoo Style that after the presidential election earlier this week, she saw a friend who lives in the United Kingdom post on Facebook asking if anyone in the United States had started wearing and sharing safety pins yet, as they had in Britain after Brexit. Husack then shared her friend’s post in the secret Facebook groups Dream Warriors — a group that started as a collection of Atlanta-area women who wanted a place to stand up for gender and racial equality, LGBTQ rights, immigrants and refugees, and any marginalized group that has since gone nationwide in its membership — and Pantsuit Nation, a group for supporters of Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Husack said that the idea of bringing the safety pin movement to the U.S. seemed so necessary — and that social media seemed like a “no-brainer as where to get the ball rolling.”
“I feel like my Facebook news feed has been swapped out over the past day from people posting, saying ‘I’m so afraid’ and ‘Stop the hate’ to ‘We have to fight this hatred, this bully in a presidential office, and fight this with love — how do we do that best?’ [Wearing safety pins] is the perfect way. It’s silent protest. It’s using something in your household and putting it on your clothes and saying I believe in love, not hate. It’s saying to others, I will stand by you, sit by you, fight for you if someone comes out against you. It’s something you can do instead of just posting on Facebook,” Husack says. “It’s action instead of inaction as a form of grieving about what happened in this election.”
People are certainly getting behind the movement quickly.
Children’s book author Mo Willems tweeted a drawing of his iconic Knuffle Bunny character wearing a safety pin:
— Mo Willems' Pigeon (@The_Pigeon) November 10, 2016
And he’s not the only one.
— Sarah Lill (@SarahLill9) November 11, 2016
— Safety Pin America (@SafetyPinUSA) November 11, 2016
— Jamie Tworkowski (@jamietworkowski) November 11, 2016
— Lauren B. Davis (@Laurenbdavis) November 10, 2016
Wearing a Safety pin- as a sign that you are a safe haven for those who don't feel safe post-Election. Moving gesture pic.twitter.com/BpIuaw0oim
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) November 11, 2016
— alan ???? (@bookmaggot) November 11, 2016
— Michele Goytia (@MicheleGoytia) November 11, 2016
— Safety Pin Nation (@SafetyPinNation) November 11, 2016
“Movements don’t happen if you don’t know they’re happening,” Husack adds, saying how thrilled she has been to see the way the safety pin — and people posting and sharing images of themselves wearing their pins with the hashtag #safetypin — has gone viral. “I know there are people marching down the streets right now too, but this movement is quieter. And people need to share it to make sure that the marginalized — people of color, the disabled, any religious minority group — know what it means and can see the pins and know that [the person wearing it] is a safe spot. It’s a good way to feel like you’re doing something and not letting hate win.”