Thursday, November 17, 2016

Safety Pins: More Than A Fashion Statement

After last week’s election, some cheered, some were in shock, some were scared, some were resigned. I was just angry, deeply pissed off, not a very good frame of mind to figure out next steps. There will be next steps but in the meantime I thought about a positive, non-partisan, non-ideological way to take a stand: wear a safety pin.

After the election, folks started wearing safety pins to show solidarity with racial, gender and religious minorities who feel threatened. According to news accounts, the trend began in the Great Britain after the Brexit vote to leave the European Union because after the vote attacks on minorities increased.

You don’t need to wear a safety pin to protect minorities from attacks but I will wear one to show everyone I will speak, stand and act for minorities to protect them under the full extent of the law. That, I believe, is non-partisan, non-ideological and a message of safety that can be extended to and by everyone who voted in the last election— and to and by those who didn’t vote.

But there’s a deeper and more insidious form of attack that pervades our social fabric and divides rather than unites us in our human condition. I’m wearing my safety pin to show I will speak, stand and act for anyone being bullied, whether it be in a classroom or on a playground, in a workplace, in families, in public meetings, on the campaign trail... Using physical, social or economic power to make someone do something they don’t want to do or to keep someone from doing something they want to do can be as blatantly overt as physical harassment or as subtle and insidious as being labeled and stigmatized. Bullies keep other people in their places; that’s how bullies keep their power.

Wearing a safety pin and saying “no more” to this is non-partisan, non-ideological. It doesn’t matter what race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or whatever you are and your tribe might be, bullying is not acceptable. Bullying divides, does not unite. It demeans and debases, does not make us better people.

So, I wear my safety pin to stand against bullying in all its forms and stand with those bullied against the bullies wherever they might be and whenever they might bully and say, “No. Stop. No bullying.”

That’s more than a fashion statement.

What do you say?

--Mike Sato


  1. I loved how you wrote this, Mike. I wear my safety pin, too, and hope to share the rest of the package with relatives -- especially grandchildren -- over Thanksgiving. At first I was disbelieving; then terribly sad; and now I'm angry. And my anger is continually reinforced by cabinet and other appointments being made, as well as bigoted violence and abuse being reported in the news. I cannot believe what "we" have done to our citizens and our country. I can only hope he will quit and take Pence with him. In the meantime, the one thing that gives me hope is the possibility that enough of the electoral college members will vote for Hillary to change the course of the results from November 8. After all, she won the popular vote, and is ready and fit to lead. On social media sites, there is talk that if something like the Muslim registry does take place, millions of citizens will protest by registering. It reminds me of that old movie "Spartacus" where his entire army stood, one by one, and called out, "I am Spartacus."

  2. It really is the #majority that is being bullied now. :( #ImStillWithHer


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