In the sermon I also promised to offer some additional reflections about wearing the safety pin, and there has certainly been a lot of vigorous debate about wearing the pins. There are some voices that suggest that wearing the pin is too simplistic of a gesture, and there have been voices of warning that people intending to do harm might even wear the pin as a false promise of safety. There have been posts by white nationalist groups announcing their decision to wear safety pins.
On the other hand, there have been other voices saying that at least wearing the pin is a step beyond paralysis.
To me the most pressing work ahead is making sure that the most vulnerable among us feel safe. We should stand in solidarity with any who are fearful, and we should have honest and brave dialogue about the best way to move forward.
One of the most helpful considerations I've heard is that if you choose to wear a safety pin, make sure that you have a plan of action for de-escalating a tense situation. Also, don't selectively decide which vulnerable minority you are going to try to protect. You should be prepared to help everyone.
In the words of a popular blog post that is getting shared a lot these days:
Know what the pin means. It is a sign that you are a safe person. A marginalized person who is being harassed will look to you to help keep them safe. By wearing the safety pin you make a public pledge to be a walking, talking safe space for the marginalized. All of the marginalized. You don't get to pick and choose. You can't protect GSM people but ignore the Muslim woman who needs help. You can't stand for Black people who are dealing with racial slurs but ignore the disabled person who is dealing with a physical attack.Marie-Shirine Yener did an excellent comic on how to de-escalate a situation in public. The comic itself speaks specifically to anti-Muslim violence but the skills are transferable to other situations.
My hope is that the safety pin debate will lead to constructive dialogue about what it means to be a helpful ally. As I said in my sermon on Sunday, "now more than ever is a time for seeking first to understand, and then to be understood."