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Photo on 06-07-2016 at 11.24 #2

Around and About XVI

Having a coffee in Hoagies Cafe, watching the world go by, I overheard two local men talking to the waitresses about the post EU Leave Vote safety pin campaign – symbolising allegiance with people of all cultures, writes Zelly Restorick. A sign that simply says: I’m a friend not a foe.

Luckily, hate crimes and race-related hatred are perpetrated by a minority of people. Most of us – in Hastings and St Leonards and around the world – simply want to get on with life and not spend time judging other people as enemies or as a threat. Although the people of this area voted Leave, it doesn’t automatically mean it was a vote against people of other races and cultures, although it may have been for some. The safety pin campaign is simply a symbol that the wearer believes, “We’re all human beings in this together.” Solidarity rather than separation.

The idea was initiated by Allison, an American woman living in London, who, inspired by a similar campaign in Australia, said she was dismayed by the outpouring of racist abuse following the Leave vote. She’s started a campaign suggesting people wear an empty safety pin as a badge to symbolise solidarity against racism – and let any potential targets know that the wearer is a friendly face.

“It’s simple because you don’t have to go out and buy it,” said Allison to Indy100, “and there’s no language or political slogans involved. It’s just a little signal that shows people facing hate crimes that they’re not alone and their right to be in the UK is supported.

“I’m always having to remind people I’m an immigrant. You know, I’m white and speak English as a first language so I get a pass. They say, ‘Oh you don’t count, you’re not the kind of person we’re talking about’.”

Safety pin solidarity.

Posted 11:48 Wednesday, Jul 6, 2016 In: Around and about


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