‘Safety pin’ campaign reassures people experiencing racism following Brexit vote

People are wearing safety pins in support of anyone experiencing racism following the Brexit.

Allison, a 30-year-old from south-west London, was inspired to start the #SafetyPin social media campaign because of the rise in hate crimes reported to the police since the referendum.

The freelance writer, who was not able to vote because she is American, was inspired by the #ridewithme campaign in Australia. After the Sydney cafe siege in December, 2014, people said they would sit with Muslims on public transport.

She said: “I wanted to start something similar — an easy way for people who were at risk of being targeted to quickly, and quietly, identify who their allies were.

“I tweeted the original thread out and just started bugging people to retweet it. I asked nearly everyone I know personally, plus sent it out to a few big names. At some point, it just took on a life of its own.”

The ‘Pin of Safety’ marks its wearer as a “safe person”, so anyone feeling nervous can sit next to the wearer on public transport or talk to them, Allison said: “I see the safety pin as a pledge that the wearer will not just stand by if they see acts of racism going on — they will intervene and report, to the best of their abilities.”

The hashtag #SafetyPin was trending on Twitter yesterday. It has received the support of several famous faces, including Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, comedians Noel Fielding and Lenny Henry, singer Charlotte Church and Blur’s Graham Coxon.

The campaign was also shown support on Twitter by South Thanet Labour, the seat that the Ukip leader and Brexit frontman, Nigel Farage, went for in the last general election.

Allison said: “It’s really restored my faith in the population of the UK. You always hear about the horrible things on the news — the massive subset of the population who is lovely and kind don’t get reported on.

“Anyone can wear the pin. How you voted in the referendum doesn’t matter. There are thousands of good people on both sides of this debate who don’t want to see immigrants, EU citizens, or black and minority ethnic British citizens abused and harassed.”

Allison’s Twitter account is twitter.com/cheeahs.

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