Can A Safety Pin Really Pop Our Collective Angst?

In the aftermath of the election, wounds have been ripped open, hatred unleashed, protests are in full force.

Safety, arguably a myth to begin with in the first place, has gone out the window.

The tension is incredible. People are out of sorts. Most of us have gotten very little sleep. The biggest moon in seventy years is about to rise on Monday. How much crazier can it get?

And sadly, as surreal as it seems, it's not all that shocking for anyone outside the fringes of the dominant.

At moments like this, acts of solidarity seem not only appropriate, but necessary to our survival.

Solidarity is defined as "the ties in a society that bind people together as one". Given the unraveling occurring right before our eyes, it seems like the right time.

Taking the lead from Britain's' post-Brexit angst, Americans are strapping on safety pins to show solidarity with those most vulnerable to being attacked, marginalized, or even deported. Which is far too many of us.

When you pin one on, it means you are defining yourself as an ally, which means you're joining forces with a group to protect their interests, and give support. The election proved a critical shortage of allies, and the aftermath has eroded our very fabric. The pin is an instant signal of safety and support.


Yesterday, my friend, a talented musician, and loving mom was at an ATM when she was ambushed by an aggressive white man since she "looked like a Hilary supporter". My safety pin is on for you, Melissa.

Then, my daughter called me in tears--her dear friend, who is from El Salvador, was antagonized to "go back home" as he walked his neighborhood, shaking him to the core. My safety pin is on for you, Javier.

Later in the day, my students told me that they and their family members had already encountered multiple incidents with random strangers, who seemed to have new license to attack. They said it felt like an animal had been unleashed out of a cage. I held back the tears, as I listened to story after story. My safety pin is on for all my students, and your families.

By the end of the day, my mood was somber. I had been excited for weeks over securing my Amy Poehler ticket. It's homecoming weekend. She was the headliner at the University where I teach. But in this state of mind, I wasn't so sure that even my favorite comedian could undo the heaviness.

I was so glad she didn't try to. Amy left the overzealous Leslie Knope side behind, and didn't for a second compartmentalize what was happening outside the packed arena, and within our shattered hearts. Instead, she was raw and candid and beautiful. She said she felt a piece of her was broken too, and she's tired of "needing comedy" to diffuse the pain at hand. We laughed some, and cried a lot. Thank you, Amy. My safety pin is on for you.

If you choose to put a pin on, don't do it because its trendy, or because of groupthink. Think about what solidarity really means. What empathy means. What ally means. What it means to our society and world that any person would have to be afraid they will be in harms way because of their skin color, ethnicity, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or any other reason. What it means to really love your neighbor. Put your pin on because you mean it. Do it because we need to stop the unraveling. Standing together as one human family is the only true way to move forward peacefully and productively.