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Safety Pins ID the Friendlies

New York Times report that safety pins show support for the vulnerable

Posted on
Nov 17, 2016

The recent presidential election inspired a notable amount of accessorizing, with hats and T-shirts, as impassioned voters wore their positions on their sleeves (or head or chest). The postelection atmosphere suggests this trend is not slowing down any time soon.

The latest political fashion statement? The safety pin, an object that’s been adopted in the past by statement-making celebrities (remember Elizabeth Hurley’s Versace dress?) and the punk movement.

After the election of Donald J. Trump, fears are growing that segments of his base may physically or emotionally abuse minorities, immigrants, women and members of the L.G.B.T. community. As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable.

“It’s a matter of showing people who get it that I will always be a resource and an ally to anyone and everyone who wants to reach out,” said Kaye Kagaoan, 24, a graphic designer from the Philippines who lives in Brooklyn. “When I saw it on Facebook, it was so simple. It resonated with me.”

On Friday, the actor Patrick Stewart posted a photo of himself to Twitter wearing a pin on his jacket, and the photographer Cass Bird shared an Instagram post about why she’s wearing one that started with “If you wear a hijab, I’ll sit with you on the train” and ended with: “If you need me, I’ll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me, too.” Between the two statements, sentences began with “If you’re a person of color … ” and “If you’re a refugee … ” and offered various forms of support. The actress Jaime King posted the same words to her Instagram account.

In wearing the safety pin, participants are taking a page from protesters of the Brexit referendum results. After British citizens voted to leave the European Union in June, the nation experienced a 57 percent rise in reported xenophobic incidents. An American woman living in Britain tweeted a suggestion that people wear safety pins to show support to those experiencing abuse. Two days later, #safetypin was trending on Twitter.

Click here to read more in the New York Times.

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