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:
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.