PLEASE WEAR YOUR SAFETY PINS!
I am a black disabled female and I am a pretty big fan the safety pin! Wear it! Wear it with pride! Don’t ask POC for permission to wear it! If it makes you feel even slightly better as we all try to recover from the trauma of recent events then wear it. If you want to signal to oppressed populations that you are committed to confrontihg oppression, wear it! If it looks good with your outfit, wear it! BUT — don’t ONLY wear a safety it. You need to think of allyship as and ACTIVE verb — not a badge or an identity.
Several white friends have asked me if it is okay for them to sport a safety pin. OF COURSE IT IS OKAY! Anything non-violent is okay!!! But be prepared to back it up. To me, your pin means that when you see oppression, and if it is safe to do so (meaning your kids, your physical safety or life aren’t imperiled) you will at best directly confront it and at least support the oppressed person who doesn’t have the privilege not to confront it. A classic example which happens to me with regularity, is me, the black disabled chick on oxygen confronting the able-bodied person who has illegally taken the handicapped parking space. While I am making a scene (and I make a big scene because I think it’s safer) NOT ONE PERSON has ever backed me up, preferring to treat it as entertainment and just sit back and watch. If you are wearing a safety pin, I have an expectation that you will either directly support or safeguard me, or go get security, or call the police or start yelling safely from a few dozen yards away. If you are just going to shake your head and then go and tell your other privileged family and friends about the horrible thing you witnessed at Safeway and discuss all the ‘bad’ white people, then DON’T wear the safety pin.
Lastly, the safety pin has been a great conversation starter with folks I might normally not have spoken with. That’s when I get to ask, “So, what else are you doing to help change this?” If you end up with a blank expression on your face, I will exchange info with you so I can invite you to attend some events, and make a few immediate suggestions. I even carry some handouts for this very reason.
PLEASE WEAR YOUR SAFETY PINS! BUT BE PREPARED TO BACK THEM UP!