The gesture, which gained traction after Brexit in the UK, is supposed to show marginalized groups that they are not alone, and that they have an ally in the person wearing the pin. Washington’s choice is especially timely ― and important ― considering Donald Trump’s recent executive order that targets Muslims and refugees and his move to build a border wall between Mexico and the United States.
Some of Washington’s followers praised her choice, writing, “I love you Kerry, thank you for making such a powerful difference,” and, “So much love for you @kerrywashington. Thanks for your support.”
Others criticized her choice, saying things like, “Many marginalized people dislike the safety pin. They see it as trendy and trite. I’m just saying,” and “A pin ain’t gonna do nothing.”
Kerry responded to critics of her safety pin on Twitter:
The actress also opened the show with a powerful quote spoken straight to camera:
“A lot of people are saying right now that actors shouldn’t express their opinions when it comes to politics, but the truth is actors are activists no matter what, because we embody the worth and humanity of all people. This union helps me to do that. I’m Kerry Washington and I am an actor.”