People around the UK are wearing a #SafetyPin in solidarity with immigrants

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Wednesday 29 June 2016 15:00

In the wake of an increase in reports of hate crime following the EU referendum, Londoner Allison had the idea over the weekend to get people to wear a safety pin on their clothes to show solidarity against racism.

She told indy100:

It's simple because you don't have to go out and buy it, 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.

Since Monday the suggestion has spread like wildfire.

Thousands of people have taken up the idea, posting pictures to social media:

While Allison told indy100 the goal is that anyone targeted by abuse, including British people of colour, should see it as a symbol of alliance, there has been criticism of the idea from people who note that wearing a safety pin doesn't do anything to fix the root causes of racism - especially if it's only adopted by and for white people.

Galdem magazine writer Varaidzo has pointed out that #AsWellAsAPin there is a lot more that allies can do if they want to get beyond symbolism - such as donating to organisations that combat hate crime like Stop Hate UK and Tell Mama, and signal boosting diverse voices and experiences in the media.

As Allison also said on Twitter:

If someone starts some racist sh-t, you better be prepared to do what you can to be a force for good. This might be shouting, or videoing for evidence, or phoning the police, or comforting someone in the aftermath - but you MUST DO SOMETHING.

Otherwise it's just an empty gesture, and I think we've all had enough of those.

For lots more concrete ways to help, check out the links here.

More: #SafetyPin: The simple way to show solidarity with the UK's immigrant population

More: Man walks the street with his British passport as a 'safety-precaution' after Brexit