“Safety” pins

10 Nov

Yesterday, as I watched a mother in a hijab pick up her child from school, I wondered – Does she know I’d be a friend? Does she know I’d have her back? Or would she think I was just another white face she couldn’t trust?

I wished there was something I could wear to show I was someone who was on her side, and on the side of my friend who’s wondering if his marriage will become invalid. To teens who feel they might be bullied because they weren’t Donald Trump’s vision of America.

I came home and asked if there was anything like that and heard about how after Brexit, people wore safety pins to show they were “safe”. That they’d help combat the hatred spewed outwards. I thought “Hmm…that’s simple enough…”

As the day went on, many thoughts crashed through my head. One of them was this – I am mad at Donald Trump and the wall he wants to build and the fact that bullies of all ages now seem to feel it’s okay to spray “Make American White Again” on walls. No, really, this is happening. This is happening in MY country. Because you know what? It’s MY country too. It’s my country, my Hispanic neighbor’s country, my African American friends country, my LGBT friends country, my disabled daughter’s country, my kid’s country.

This is our country too dammit.

My daughter told me about the safety pin idea, as she saw it on Instagram. I told her how I knew about it…and then, I had an idea….

Back when I was in 5th grade, we made friendship pins. You’d take a safety pin, and put beads on it, hooking one pin into another, trading them. I had an awesome amount of friendship pins because my mom was an artist and a seamstress – we had all the supplies and funky buttons and beads. I loved my friendship pins.

And I told my daughter  – we need some friendship pins.

And she was like – omg. yes.

So we went out, we bought pins and beads and thought about the color scheme. This is what we came up with.




There’s red, white, and blue because this is OUR country too. But after those are orange beads. Because orange is the anti-bullying color. And right now, we need to be aware of bullying, and stand against it. Silver because…well…we needed something neutral on the end.

This is our start. It’s not much, but it’s something. We are making a bunch of these for her to pass out at school, and maybe pass out in the community. More than ever, we need to know that we have friends out there, and we need to let the bullies of all ages know that this is OUR country too.



UPDATE – In searching for what colors mean what…turns out orange? Is also the awareness color for…drumroll please…racial tolerance!

Something some of us could really use right now <side eyes a bunch of voters>


UPDATE AGAIN – a reader asked how to pin it because you’re putting beads on the pin side. And I was like “Oh, duh! Not everyone was a girl in 1985 south side Chicago making chains of frienship pins!”

Simply take a second safety pin and hook them together through the big open part. You can then have a “chain” of pins if you add more.



Another reader sent me a link to how to move the beads to the other side, if you don’t want to double up on pins –


16 Responses to ““Safety” pins”

  1. Nicole November 10, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    Oh, I love this.

  2. pattyspathtohealing November 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    I love this idea.

  3. Laurie Ann Thompson November 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes! All the same thoughts here: from the parents at the Muslim school, to the pin symbols, to the friendship pins from the 80s. I bought my supplies this afternoon. ❤

  4. J Hunt November 10, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

    I love this! However, it needs to be figured out how to get the beads onto the “other” side of the pin, since the pin cannot be, uh, pinned with beads occupying the ‘business’ side of the safety pin. How can we get the beads onto the other side?? There must be a way!

    • Phoebe November 10, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

      Just string it through another safety pin – I’ll post pics in a moment

      • Catherine Rebecchi November 11, 2016 at 1:42 am #

        You can also get coil-less safety pins in the beading and jewelry making sections at craft stores. I use them for Girl Scout SWAPS. That way you can get the beads onto the other side and pin it on.

  5. Claire Gajary November 11, 2016 at 2:26 am #

    1. Can I have one?
    2. Can mine also have a green bead and a purple bead for LGBTQ?
    3. This is the greatest idea ever.

    • Phoebe November 11, 2016 at 2:27 am #

      Always Claire.

  6. Dean B November 11, 2016 at 6:39 am #

    Brilliant! When the BREXIT happened here. I was upset with all the anti-foreign sentiments happening in the UK and when I went to pick my daughter up from school and saw one of the dads wearing a safety-pin I almost burst into tears 😦 The anger and hatred did fade eventually, I feel safe again. Hopefully it will be the same in the US.

  7. nanis November 11, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    Let’s spread this around!

  8. SarahB November 11, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    My suggestion is that we wear these on our shoe laces. It would be easy to make them for several pairs of shoes – and you won’t accidentally send them through the wash or forget to put one on.

  9. Raymond November 11, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    Here, this is how you get the beads on the other side of the pins!

  10. Kinsey November 13, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

    I love the beads! I wear my safety pin and it’s just plain. But I’m having friends over this week so we can bead up! 🙂 I was also struggling with how I could be perceived as a “safe” person out in the world, and I decided to slap on my Hillary Clinton bumper sticker on my truck and wear a safety pin. My girlfriend hung our gay flag in our porch window. We need to be seen so we can be there for people. We’ve decided to volunteer more and donate more to organizations like Planned Parenthood. We must remain strong. (new follower, btw) 🙂

  11. Williahmena November 15, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    The sky did not fall,
    many felt that way in the last election and the sky did not fall

  12. legalshieldassociatemeerasahadeo November 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    Wonderful idea! This country is beautiful and so too its people. However, this election brought out the ugly in everyone. Living in hope that this new president would surprise us by encouraging more unity, tolerance, peace and love. This country so desperately needs it right now.

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