It Is About Solidarity: It Is Not “You Are Safe With Me,” But, “We Will Fight This Together.”

Wow. Can I just say, “Wow!” ? I read an article on Huffington Post bashing the safety pin movement. They criticize it as a ‘white people’ thing assuaging their guilt. They make it sound like all white people voted for Trump, and they didn’t. And, they make it sound useless to wear a safety pin. Well, guess what. It isn’t. You are wrong. Dead wrong and self-righteously full of yourself. You should be ashamed, both Keelty who penned the piece and Huffington Post for promoting it. And now I will educate you as to why.

First, it is not only white people wearing the pin. Get over yourself. If it were just white people, especially straight white people, then that promotes the opposite of what it stands for. The pin means, “I’m against discrimination and hate.” The pin means, “I don’t judge people based on color, sex, sexual orientation or identification, or based on religion.” It says, “I stand against xenophobia in our country.” It says, “I am standing against hate, not with it.” And it is for anyone and everyone who feels this way. It doesn’t tell someone “I am here for you,” it tells them, “We are together.”

The safety pin movement has meant different things in different places. But here, in the United States today, it has taken its broadest movement. We are not just experiencing backlash against our Muslim population. Every single minority group is being targeted. Muslims, Blacks, Asians, LGBT, Hispanics, Native Americans, Non Christian Religions, and Women. More than half of our country is being targeted. Get it? Not a minority of our country. The majority of people in our country are subject to abuse right now. The safety pin is about us all standing together against it. It is a silent, simple protest which says we do not accept vile, discriminatory behavior. We will not accept abuse. No one here is second class. No one goes to the back of the bus. No one hides their religion. We are proud of our immigrants. Our diversity is our pride and strength and we will reject xenophobia.

For those who want to make the safety pin, or any other action, exclusive to certain people, then you are why we fail. When you attempt to exclude anyone who wants to help in any small way, then you are self-righteous and more concerned with how you look doing something than actually accomplishing anything. We want everyone who can do any small part to take part. If all they can reasonably do is wear a symbol, then great. Why? Because that symbol helps spread an idea. It helps deliver a message. It says something. And saying something is far better than saying nothing.

And stop condemning white people who do wear this. Guess what. You are wrong. It is not embarrassing. It is not to assuage guilt. I’m white and I wear it and I will continue to do so. The people who do wear these in public are subjecting themselves to ridicule from racist bigots. They are being called “Ni**** Lovers,” “Fa*****,” “Traitors,” and worse. When they put that pin on, they know they open themselves up to discrimination and hate. They also know that they could leave it off and never be bothered, sail under the noses of the vile deplorables with their white skin. But they choose not to. So stop condemning people who choose to put themselves at risk of abuse because they believe in something.

Finally, it is not just white people wearing these. My husband is an Asian immigrant. Not only is he wearing these, he took them to work, where he says other affected groups are taking part as well, Asians, Hispanics, Women, African American, Muslim, and White people, all taking up this cause together. It is about solidarity. It is that we are all one people. We may celebrate different histories, different cultures, different languages, different religions, different holidays, but we are all human and we are all equal.

So, I encourage you to stop assigning limitations on who is allowed to protest. Stop segregating people or creating an elitism for dissidence. If the safety pin isn’t your thing, fine, don’t wear it. Contribute how you feel comfortable and safe doing so. But this is how I wear mine:

img_1703so that I always have one to give to someone else. Safety doesn’t have to mean, “you are safe with me.” It means there is safety in numbers. It means we are fighting for a country that is safe for everyone.

So, if you have the audacity to be offended, get over yourself. It is not just about you. This is about taking our country back from hate mongers who feel empowered by Trump’s victory and letting them know their vitriol will not be accepted. It will not be mainstream. There are more of us and we have power.

We can push this back into the depths it crept out of by showing solidarity against it. A hateful man is not going to yell at a black woman or try to pull a Muslim woman’s Hijab off on a bus or subway or even on the sidewalk if he looks around and sees twenty safety pins around him. Get it? By a display of solidarity, we change what is socially acceptable. This is how we push them back. This is how we restore decency and public safety.  Hey, did you get that? Public Safety -> Safety Pin…

There has been no doubt about the uptick in hate crimes, intimidation and public displays of hate and xenophobia. I’ve listed a few links to articles below as examples. We cannot allow this to be mainstream. We must do something in solidarity to push back against these people who have abandoned human decency and respect.

I am encouraging everyone with some sane amount of decency who is willing to be a sign of hope for our future to take part in this public statement. It does not matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or gender. You are a voice and such a simple thing unites you with others who, they too, believe public displays of intolerance and acceptance of those displays, should be unacceptable in our society. I encourage you to take a safety pin and have a few to spare. Stand with us.

This is a protest of inclusion, not exclusion. Do not allow it to be co-opted by the vain or discouraged by the self righteous. Maybe you can’t participate in a march or walk around with signs. You may not have an audience which allows to speak to thousands or millions. But you can wear pin, just like my husband. Just like my son. For crying out loud, I even have one for my cat!

img_1707You don’t have to say word, but you will speak to every person you pass. There is power in that.

Be safe, be strong. Be the world in which we hope to live.

We are One Woman, One World.

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Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams

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Ann Lavendar is an author of Children's books, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Southern California with her family and fur babies and enjoys the mountain views from her writing habitat. She is a Texas Tech Alumni. Guns up! Ann has worked in the industry more than two decades with publications in magazines, newspapers, and textbooks world wide and multiple books available in print and eBook formats. She organized youth writing programs and conferences in West Texas and was the third director of the Write Right Critique Group, located in Lubbock, Texas, an organization recognized by and featured in Writers' Digest. She has also worked as an editor, including presently with LeeLoo Publishing. She has been the Literacy Day featured author for Sam's Club and Walmart and has been an invited speaker and taught workshops at multiple writers' conventions. Ann taught creative writing for adults as part of the community outreach program. Check out her work day blog Daily Write! right here on goodreads! Ann Lavendar also is an avid supporter of equal and civil rights, pushing awareness, calls to action, and encouraging legislative development in the United States and abroad. Her blog, Lavendar Thoughts, tackles issues which have direct impact on the progress of civil and human rights. She believes every person has the right to grow to their full and best potential.