In the chaos and shock of post-election America, one of the most frequently expressed sentiments has been fear. President Elect Donald Trump has consistently targeted racial minorities and other often marginalized communities like women, the LGBT community, and disabled individuals.
The subjection of these communities to such frequent verbal abuse is something they rather unfortunately face quite regularly, but with a President Elect who not only fails to oppose such hateful rhetoric, but actively makes use of it, set to take office come next year, the fear minorities face on a daily basis has increased substantially. After all, if the President can say it, why can’t anyone else?
Since Trump’s election only ten days ago, a total of 437 hate crimes (verbal and physical) have been reported, according to reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Even in Bloomington, many have been targeted by verbal violence. On the B-Line Trail, swastikas and “KKK” were spray-painted in several locations Thursday night, only a few days after voters elected Donald Trump as President.
Elsewhere, Jennifer Crossley was verbally assaulted as she left work on election night. “F**k you, n****r b***h. Trump will deport your a** back to Africa,” screamed an unidentified man in a pickup truck.
In response to instances of hate-fueled physical and verbal violence such as these, people of all races, genders, and sexualities nationwide are banding together in solidarity with one another.
One simple, yet highly meaningful, act of support has people wearing safety pins on their clothing. The safety pin signifies that the wearer is a safe person for marginalized groups who’ve been targeted by the violence and hate Trump and his supporters incite. The movement itself has yet to catch on on a large scale, but as more individuals are informed of what wearing the safety pins entails, they, too, join in on the support.
In times of such heightened divisiveness and hate, it’s refreshing and hopeful to see something such as this. Wearing a safety pin doesn’t take much effort (although remembering to pin it to your shirt every day is astoundingly difficult) but it can mean a world of difference to someone who feels threatened by recent events.
As a member of the LGBT community and a safety pin-wearer myself, it gives me a great deal of hope to see how so many have responded to this polarizing, divisive, and hatred-inciting election by spreading love and preaching acceptance. To me the safety pin signifies more than just support for marginalized communities (although that is, in and of itself, an already tremendous thing), it represents hope for the future. As bad as things look for America right now, young people are the future of the country, and seeing so many young people sticking together, despite every attempt made to tear us apart, is endlessly inspiring.