Social protests, solidarity, and fashion have gone hand in hand this presidential election season. Think "Make America Great" baseball caps and "Nasty Woman" T-shirts.
In the days since the election, Americans standing in solidarity with those who feel threatened that Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote - blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQs, women - are affixing safety pins to their lapels, conveying the message "safe." And the simple fastener seems already to have taken a stylish twist: with colorful thread and sequined accents.
Shortly after British citizens voted in June to leave the European Union, the nation had an uptick in hate crimes (sound familiar?). During that time, an American woman living abroad tweeted the suggestion that those sympathetic to victims wear safety pins on their lapels. In two days, #safetypin was trending on Twitter.
Within a few days of the presidential election, actors Mary McCormack, PJ Marshall, and Patrick Stewart posted Instagram pics of themselves with the pins visible on their shirts. Countless social-media posts followed as people changed their Facebook profile pictures to safety-pin-infused images.
As with all symbolic gestures, the safety-pin effort has been criticized. Does the gesture make it better for the wearer or for the victim? And is it enough? Time will tell.
If you want to show support for fellow humans, yes. But it's not enough to wear a safety pin - jazzed up, or plain and simple. Those who witness injustices must be willing to stand up, speak out, and do something. Wearing the safety pin is just the first step.