Safety- the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss.
–Courtesy of Merriam-Webster
In the last two weeks, we have become increasingly aware that a safety pin can be a signal to other people, and not just a piece of metal that attaches things to our person. Or happens to get us out of a rapidly deteriorating clothing malfunction.
But what can be used as just another random show of support, really means much more.
Brought back into the spotlight after the UK experienced a backlash of anti-immigrant injustices following Brexit, wearing the safety pin actually had it’s origins during WWII. The Norwegians and Dutch are said to have worn hidden office supplies under their clothes, such as pins and paperclips, to indicate that they would help each other after the Germans invaded their respective countries.
Now in the US, it is being worn by people to help counter the abusive acts that have taken place following the latest election. It crosses all political lines, and is an indication that those who wear the pin are allies against discrimination and violence. It is not a feel good status symbol to tell others about you or to make yourself feel better. Before you pin one on, understand what you are saying, should your lapel signal alert someone that you, in fact, will help them.
What may seem like a cheap adornment is an overt act of courage not to be taken lightly.
That safety pin you wear now says that you are an ally in an increasingly turbulent world. It says that not only will you stand up for someone, you will actively help protect them. This is where ribbons stop and where safety pins, once the mere understudy, takes center stage.
Do not turn this into a fad, because there are actually people out there who may take you up on your offer of protection. Your decision to wear it is not a choice to be passive—to be a bystander. You have chosen, by wearing one that you are an active participant in the arena of human rights no matter where you are.
It is not about choosing a pin you like, it is about choosing to be pinned, and what that may mean, one random day.
To wear the safety pin is no small matter.
Though it is tiny, it may make a huge difference to someone who feels they haven’t a friend. And you, my friend must decide if you are that kind of warrior before you wear it–not when you are faced with its meaning in real time.
At that point it is no longer a decision—it is valor in action.
Safety Pins: PDPics/Pixabay