Why People Are Wearing Safety Pins in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)-The election is over. For many, the anger is not. In the news Friday, President-elect Trump named his transition team. It includes some of his children as well as such well-known figures as Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and others expected to play roles in the administration.

Protests of President-elect Trump’s victory continue. Police in Portland, Oregon say the protest there turned into a riot. There are also reports in places of racist language used against African-Americans and immigrants. The latter problem is prompting action.

A group in Lexington spent their Friday hoping to make a big impact to show people they are safe. It all centers on safety pins. It is an idea that started after Britain voted to leave the European Union. There was a spike then in reported crime against immigrants.  Some chose to wear safety pins to show concerned immigrants they would protect them, a literal symbol of safety. Now, post U.S. election, many are hoping to share a similar message.

Inside the Plantory on West Sixth, safety pins are taking on new importance as a symbol of solidarity with those who are worried about their safety post election. This group hopes if someone sees them wearing a pin, they will know they are safe, loved and wanted in this country. Why the need for this symbol of safety, though?

While the Plantory’s project is non-partisan, several of the beaders say President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks have been anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim, and they have emboldened people to harass those they fear.

“I have friends who now have people leaning out of their trucks instead of screaming out of their trucks,” Shannon Baker, one of the pin makers, said that is an example of how catcalling has gotten worse recently.

This group also shared stories of seeing more swastika graffiti, and of a little boy who told a Latino man he hoped he was ready to go back to Mexico. Baker says as a bisexual woman she was nervous about the election result because she is part of an often attacked marginalized community.

“While it may feel like we’re alone and it may feel like we’re outnumbered there are so many of us that are outnumbered that we are many and we can be the light in the world,” Baker said.

She says she has learned hate will grow if not actively pushed back so this group is trying to do just that by making their little green safety pins.

“If it helps them feel a little more safe and a little more part of the country they live in then I’d consider that a success,” Devin Zimmer said.

This group hopes their pins will be a visual representation of the love they know exists in Lexington.

“It’s not time to put it on social media. It’s time to put it on our shirt and walk it,” Baker said.

The folks at the Plantory say their pins are available for free to anyone who wants one.

Categories: Local News, News

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