This is exactly what it means to me. I am trying to stop being a bystander. I teach and live in a community that is almost 100% POC and my students see me as the enemy because I am white and to them that means that I must support trump. There are some teachers on staff that DO support trump and I want them to see me everyday. I want it to remind THEM.
I read Maddy Myers’ “A Bystander’s Guide to Standing up Against Islamophobic Harassment” and I thought, “If I go sit with someone or talk to them, how will they know that I am just standing with them and not a threat”. I didn’t want it to be a safety pin, but then it became a thing so I thought, a symbol people will recognize is better. I wanted something, something at all to let people know that I want to stand with them and let other people know that I will not be a bystander while you harass someone, that if you mess with them you mess with me.
What I really want is an app that I can have on my phone that broadcasts my location in case someone needs help or their location if they need help. One of my friends called the idea, “Grinder for Allies”. At first I thought of making a map with my house on NeighborNextDoor but there are other people who live there that I might put in danger.
I also feel like…well, solidarity means everyone joining together for a cause. That means that some of the people who join are going to be people you don’t want, but excluding them just seems to fracture a cause. So, if not safety pins, than what. A yellow ribbon? A livestrong bracelet? Someone suggested a Black Lives Matter pin, and I would be happy to wear one, but it’s not as meaningful in my community where the people being marginalized are women, LGBT, and muslims. Earlier this year when people were worried that wearing the hijab would make them a target I was thinking, “wouldn’t it be great if we just all wore the hijab in solidarity one day so they would go about their lives without standing out?” There was a similar movement in Australia, but it never traveled here. I never pursued it because I didn’t want to be seen as the “white savior” or as a culture appropriator.
Wow this ended up being much longer than intended. Maybe I should have sent a private note. I don’t know, I’m new to medium.
Anyway, thank for reading. I’m at a loss here and feel very impotent because not matter what I do I feel that someone is hurt by it. I know the only thing worse than that is doing nothing. I just wanted you to know that for some people (for me), that exactly what the pin means. It means I stand with you.