The practice was first started in Britain after a spike in hate crimes following the Brexit result in June
In the wake of Tuesday’s historic election night in the US, reports have emerged of a spike in hate crimes carried out against African-American, Hispanic, Muslim and LGBTQ communities. Much like the Brexit vote, Donald Trump’s election victory has galvanised anti-other sentiment. But just like in the days and weeks after Britain’s decision to leave the EU, Americans are wearing safety pins to show solidarity with the minority groups facing the attacks of intolerance.
A British woman, identified only as Allison, started the initiative back in June when she said that she was wearing the pine as a “gesture of silent reassurance,” a symbol to anyone suffering from vitriol or violence that they are not alone.
“For those wearing it, it would be a constant reminder of the promise they’ve made not to stand idly by while racism happens to someone else,” Allison told the Metro in July.
The campaign follows other movements around the world designed to support minorities during periods of heightened danger, such as the #IllRideWithYou project in Sydney, during which Australians offered to accompany Muslim passengers on public transport after the Lindt Café siege in 2014.
The safety pin trend soon became a movement across Britain, as thousands of Britons took to sporting the safety pins on their shirts and jumpers, sharing the token in photos of themselves on social media, using the #SafetyPin hashtag.
Now the hashtag is once again in action, having resurfaced across the US after civic unrest and hate crimes have come to the forefront of American towns and cities after Trump shock victory. Commentators and analysts reacting to the Republican candidate’s win over Hillary Clinton have said that the new President-elect’s comments on mass deportations, Muslims and Mexicans, who he described as “rapists and criminals” when he announced his campaign, could embolden racist and bigoted behaviour.
“Wear the humble safety pin as a signal to anyone facing hate crimes that they are not alone,” one supporter wrote. “We stand by you.”