The world feels like it's falling apart more than usual recently, and in the UK, the chaos was sparked by a recent referendum that people are referring to as #Brexit. A vote was called, and Britons made the choice to leave the European Union, a decision marked by frightening declarations of xenophobia and blatant anti-immigrant rhetoric. But in spite of all this, many Britons who voted against this motion have now started to show their solidarity with the country's immigrants -- and the way they're doing it is pretty unexpected.
First, it's important to familiarize yourself with the tension of the situation. According to the National Police Chief’s Council, reported hate crimes have jumped by 57% since the vote. Some citizens felt that they needed to do something publicly, in the open, as a response to all the hatred. Most surprisingly, the movement was started by an American immigrant, who openly admitted that as a white woman, she doesn't experience the same discrimination post-Brexit. Find out what she did in the story below.
The British decided to vote for the country to leave the EU, which means that the UK will change all of its immigration laws.
According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the UK witnessed an 57% increase in reports of xenophobic attacks after the referendum passed. There have also been blatant displays of hatred, such as the sign from the photo above, reading, “Leave the EU. No more Polish Vermin.” So why have many of them taken to wearing safety pins?
“In the past few days we have seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we’ve seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they are members of ethnic minorities. Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country. We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks. They must be stamped out.”
A Twitter user known as Allison, an American living in London, urged people to wear a safety pin to show solidarity with immigrants living in the UK.
"I’d like to come up with something that can be made by anybody anywhere to pin on their jacket or coat to signify that they are an ally. A safe person to sit next to on a bus, walk next to on a street, even have a conversation with,” she wrote. “I quite like the idea of just putting a safety pin, empty of anything else, on your coat. A literal SAFETY pin!” The idea quickly took off with hundreds of social media users sharing their new flair with the world. Of her idea’s success, Allison 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. 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.”
"I’d like to come up with something that can be made by anybody anywhere to pin on their jacket or coat to signify that they are an ally. A safe person to sit next to on a bus, walk next to on a street, even have a conversation with."
“This is meant to be more than just a symbolic gesture or a way for like-minded people to pat each other on the back," Allison wrote. "If people wear the pin and support the campaign they are saying they are prepared to be part of the solution.”
"It’s simple because you don’t have to go out and buy it, there’s no language or political slogans involved," said Allison. "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."
**To see more commentary about what's going on in the UK, check out the video below.**