When I heard that people had started to wear safety pins to show that they were safe people to be approached, and that they would not attack anybody because of their religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation, I was immediately convinced that I would like to support this idea. Traditionally, safety pins have been used to hold together torn cloths and broken zippers. So, why not wear a safety pin to show that you are in the business of bringing society together and to bridge the gaps? Surly, our country needs mending and an emphasis on unity, inclusion, and mutual respect, if we want to live peacefully together. After I had given out several hundred safety pins for free, I started attaching messages of love to them. For example, some of the pins said: “United in Love,” “Never a Bystander,” “All Human,” “All Equal,” “No to Hate,” “Organize,” or “Act Protect Love”. In addition, I started handing out my “message of hope”. It states that all minority groups and their allies combined are the majority, and that we can keep all members of society safe, if we stand up for each other, and if we do not allow any group of society to be marginalized or attacked. I truly believe that solidarity with those who are being intimidated, threatened, or attacked is key. An attack on any one of us, is an attack on all of us. This is not a time in which we can be silent. This is a time to speak up with one voice for our human and civil rights. Those who threaten and attack others are criminals and need to be held accountable.
Over the last two weeks, I have been around downtown, mainly on campus and the Farmer’s Market, passing out free safety pins and flyers. I had an opportunity to talk to people with different backgrounds and life experiences who feel that our basic rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are under attack by racists, homophobes, misogynists, white supremacists, xenophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, and other hate groups. The increase in hate crimes is a sure sign that this is the time to come together and to demand that the human and civil rights of all individuals, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or immigration status, are protected. Thank you to all of you who are getting involved in this important struggle. You encourage me and give me strength and hope. I appreciate and cherish your activism, your support, and our coming together in this movement for unity, inclusion, and mutual respect.
To those who approached and interrogated me while I was passing out pins, to judge whether I am white and American enough, I have this message: You are not more American or better than any one of us, and you are not entitled to step on other people’s rights. If you are truly Christians, as you have claimed, you know that hate, and a supremacist mindset, do not have any place in your lives. Jesus has called on you to be peacemakers who oppose any form of oppression. You have been called to love all your neighbors, not only those who you perceive as being equal or similar enough to yourselves.
To the self-righteous zealot who told me that for years now he has been the messenger of Christ on campus, and that I need to repent from my liberal views I say: As a Christian you are not called to destroy the community by behaving like a dictator and pushing your views on others. Start listening to others and seek real relationships in which you get a chance to broaden your views and to grow in your faith.
To those who have joined the active struggle to uphold our human and civil rights for all members of our society I say: If we stand together there is nothing we must fear, but fear itself. We have the power to protect and foster what is good and wholesome in our lives and in our communities, and to stop the onslaught of divisiveness and hate. Let us be firm activists for our message of UNITY, INCLUSION, AND MUTUAL RESPECT. Let us be messengers of love.
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