Feeling hopeless about Trump? Wear a safety pin
Published Friday, November 11, 2016 4:58PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 11, 2016 8:01PM EST
An increase in violent hate crimes. An unprecedented surge in calls to crisis hotlines. Reports of racist slurs and swastikas being spray-painted on cars, schools and houses.
In the days after Donald Trump’s election win, a series of discriminatory incidents across the U.S. have many marginalized groups – including Muslims, African Americans, Latinos and LGBT community --fearing for their safety.
To combat those fears, some Americans are fastening safety pins onto their clothing in a silent gesture of solidarity.
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The idea is borrowed from the U.K., where a safety pin campaign emerged after violent, xenophobic attacks – mostly against Polish people -- in the wake of the ‘Brexit’ vote.
The sentiment is simple: people wearing a safety pin are saying that those maligned by Trump’s divisive campaign are safe with them.
“I think that any campaign that is intended to show solidarity against bigotry and fear mongering and hatred is a campaign that should be supported,” Zainab Chaudry, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CTV News Channel on Friday.
Protesters across the U.S. have taken to the streets since Wednesday. In Vancouver, a rally outside the city’s Trump Tower was held Thursday as protesters carried signs saying “Make America Safe Again” and “Love Trumps Hate.”
Chaudry says many Americans are still shocked by Trump’s win, which was considered a long-shot by almost every election poll. On election day, the New York Times gave Hillary Clinton an 84 per cent chance of winning.
“I think what we need to focus on right now is working to unite our nation and undo some of the damage that was done during the election campaign season,” she said.
But coming to terms with four years of President Trump – a political outsider who vowed to deport illegal immigrants, tear up NAFTA and build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. -- has been made even more difficult due to incidents of violence.
“We are seeing a rise in attacks, not only against American Muslims, but also Sikh Americans and other minority groups … who were otherwise impacted by the especially toxic election season that we saw over the course of the last 18 months,” she said.
In just three days, numerous reports of overt racism and violence have flooded social media. In one case, a rainbow flag attached to a Rochester, N.Y. home was set on fire. A Florida woman going for a run Wednesday morning said children yelled at her “Go back to Africa!” A Utah father said children in his son’s kindergarten class were telling a Mexican boy that he “will be going back to Mexico.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported 660 calls in a single hour on Wednesday morning, the most in the organization’s history. The Trans Lifeline, which supports transgender people in the U.S., got more than 500 calls in a day after the election – about ten times the normal amount.
Wearing a safety pin may be a small gesture, but Chaudry says it gives people a voice in a time where they may feel hopeless.
“If anything, it can build more bridges and raise more awareness about the need for all of us to stand united against fear mongering and divisive tactics that we’ve seen during the last 18 months.”