I do, as well. But sometimes the holy one needs a hand up out of the tomb. So, let me share with you something that happened this morning. After doing so, I hope you’ll join me…
I don’t know whether you’ve heard of this or not, but in post-Brexit Britain, where racist, violent attacks are on the rise, people of conscience have taken to wearing safety pins as a way of making a physical, obvious statement to the world that they are not racist, not xenophobic, not homophobic, not transphobic, not misogynistic. The safety pin tells everyone, but especially those who feel vulnerable, that you can be asked for help. If you feel threatened, the person wearing the safety pin will provide safe harbor, will stand with you. You are not alone.
I direct you to this article in the Telegraph, which outlines the importance of this symbol.
This morning I felt helpless. Frustrated. Which means I know I have to do something. So… I put on my safety pin and went off to my local grocery store to pick up milk and bread and so forth. I also wanted to buy more pins. I asked a young woman who worked there — Hispanic, as it turned out — if she knew where I might find them. As we walked to the appropriate aisle, I asked her how she was feeling after the election. Her eyes, beautifully made up with cat’s eye liner, flicked here and there, but she said “I don’t have words.”
“It must be frightening. I know it is for me.”
“Really scary,” she glanced at me.
“I feel that way as well. I’m so sorry. I really am.”
“It’s okay,” she said, as we passed the international foods aisle. “But I didn’t sleep last night. I told my boyfriend I just don’t know what will happen.”
“Well, if helps at all,” I said, “I’m wearing this safety pin,” I pulled at it so she’d notice. “So people will know I stand with them.” I told her about the Brexit thing and how this started.
She burst into tears and hugged me. “The worst thing is,” she said, “I look at everybody now and I don’t know who wants me gone, who hates me, who wants to do me harm.”
“Look for the safety pins,” I said. “You’re safe there.” And I gave her my number.
Then I struck up a conversation with a woman wearing an “Obama” sweatshirt, and asked her to join me. She talked about the people crying in the gym this morning, and said she would.
As I checked out, the black cashier and I had a similar conversation. She said the worst thing was not knowing, and that the day before a really nice woman had come through her station wearing a Trump button. The woman was with her two young grandchildren, and they were wearing them as well. She didn’t know what to think, but it unsettled her. She’d never heard of the safety pin movement, but she said, “That’s an amazing idea. I’m going to tell people. Because you never know what people are thinking about you. I mean, we never have, but now… wow. It’s scary.”
It’s a small thing, this safety pin, but if we couple it with conversation, if we let people know we are on their side, that we hear them, that we see them, that we stand with them…. maybe that will build a bridge…. many it will all be okay. Maybe we will come back to life better, stronger, more compassionate.. and more CONNECTED than ever before.
Will you join me? How about posting a picture on social media of you and your safety pin? Spread the word. Here’s mine: