on safety-pins

I’ve been asked a few times about the safety pin I’ve been wearing, and I’ve also seen critiques about it, particularly about white people wearing safety pins. Here is why I am wearing one:

ย safety-pin

I wear a safety person to indicate that I am a safe person for someone to talk to if they are feeling vulnerable or scared. I wear one to display that I stand in solidarity as an ally with people who are marginalized or otherwise vulnerable in our society. I wear one to remind myself to be brave and put those intentions into action if and when the occasion rises when intervention is needed to defuse a situation or to protect someone from being hurt. I wear one because every time I reaffirm my baptismal vows, I promise to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. With God’s help, I will.

However, I am conscious of the criticisms about wearing a safety pin and how it is a silent, easy, “slacktivist” form of protest. It means very little without action to back it up. More concerning is the prospect that those who would harass or hurt those who are vulnerable are co-opting the symbol.

For now, I will continue to wear one for the very reason that it reminds me that words must be supported by actions.

Photo: A red poppy and safety-pin worn on Veteran’s Day, 2016.

5 thoughts on “on safety-pins

  1. cyranny says:

    Hi Chera ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just stumbled upon your blog, and scrolled through it quickly… (What a beauty your little Willow is!!) and I am surprised to learn about the Safety Pin movement… I had never heard or read about it before, and I love the idea behind the gesture! Of course, there are always a few rotten apples in every basket, but that is no reason to throw out the whole basket, and forget the idea. I have a feeling I’ll most probably find myself a pin to wear, in case anybody would feel the need to reach out to someone. I already have a “talk to me” face, it seems (in public places, strangers often stop to talk to me for no reason… lol) might as well show my support to the good cause!

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    Oh, by the way, I linked your blog’s adress to a post I made to promote bloggers with less than 100 readers… I hope it’ll bring a few faces to your blog!


    • Chera says:

      Hi Cyranny,

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment on my post! Thank you also for linking to my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I should add an update: Many people have stopped wearing safety pins, myself included. I am afraid that to some extent, it was a trend, or an immediate reaction to the November election. Some of my colleagues have a printed picture of a safety in on their office doors. In my case, to be completely honest, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t wear jewelry and thus simply forgets to add a pin; but also, I think that my words, actions, and demeanor ought to convey that I am a safe person to talk to, and I challenge myself to make that be the case. I do think that the practice of wearing the pin was beneficial during the days and weeks after the election, when so many were frightened and anxious.

      Of course, now we are six months into our current president’s term and there are many who still are anxious and afraid; and it is for them that I phone my representatives, work hard to inspire my students to find their voice, and generally try to live in a way I want all of us to live: treating each other with respect and compassion. I know I’m not perfect; I try, anyhow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cyranny says:

        Thank you for the update ๐Ÿ™‚

        Living in Montrรฉal, Canada probably explains why I hadn’t heard about the safety pin movement. I can understand how people were particularly vulnerable after the election…

        I still like the image of the safety pin a lot, and though I am not a jewel girl either, I might try to wear one on, even if I am the only one understanding the meaning of it here… It might help me remember to be present and available for people in need around me ๐Ÿ™‚

        I really appreciate your explanation, and I’ll be checking out your blog in the future ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

        Liked by 1 person

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