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Many people are using safety-pins as a symbol of solidarity with marginalized groups, first, if you’re one of them, let me applaud you. 

I think this movement is a great idea with a beautiful spirit. There has been a surge of hate crimes, and those of us who see this and want to help, have started wearing safety-pins and using a safety-pin symbol on social media to signify that we stand with the victims of those crimes. I think this movement has great potential, but only if used with common sense and caution.

First, I’m a smallish white woman. I’m non-confrontational by nature and have never taken so much as a single self defense class. If I see a hate crime occurring, what on earth should I do? I’m gonna be honest and tell you that I jumped right on board the safety-pin band wagon without ever giving this a single thought. 

That’s asinine.

I’m more than a bit ashamed to think that I got caught up in a social justice movement without bothering to make a plan to back it up. If you’re identifying yourself as willing to stand against bullying or harassment of people, then you had better consider what to do if and when it happens. This guide shows a simple, non-confrontational method of addressing bullying or harassment, and should be read by any person embracing the safety-pin movement.

Moreover, if you’re willing to stand with marginalized groups, then let me suggest that you put your money or time where your mouth is. A safety-pin is a symbol. Symbols mean nothing without action. If you have a passion for any group that has expressed fear of hate crimes or harassment, then consider volunteering for or donating to that group. Those of us who are sincerely concerned can and should make an actual difference in the daily life of the people you have pledged to stand by with your safety-pin. 

I’m still wearing my safety-pin, and I’m still a huge fan of the movement, but I’m doing it with a solid plan, in case I ever do need to stand up for someone, and doing it with a renewed commitment to improving the daily lives of marginalized people groups with both my time and my money. 

Might you do the same?

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on https://benswritingrunningmom.wordpress.com/. She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.

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