If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you have at least heard the word “Brexit,” referring to the United Kingdom’s controversial decision to leave the European Union. The country was pretty divided on the decision, and the backlash has been substantial.
One of the most heinous things to come from the decision, though, is an increase in racism and xenophobic displays in the country. In the week following the vote, the U.K. saw a 57 percent increase in reported incidents of xenophobic abuse, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Great Britain’s outgoing prime minister, David Cameron, acknowledged the abuse and admonished the people of his country, urging them to show love and acceptance instead of hate.
“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country,” he said. “We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks, they must be stamped out.”
Wanting to help, one Twitter user came up with a way for Britons to show their support for immigrants in their country, and her idea has taken off.
Hundreds have taken to Twitter to share pictures of the safety pins they now have affixed to their outfits.
— Janis Thomas (@JanisThomasMktg) June 29, 2016
And the gesture is already making a difference.
The woman who started the campaign, Allison, is actually an American living in the U.K. “I’m always having to remind people I’m an immigrant,” she said. “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.”
But while the hate hasn’t been directed at her, Allison is committed to taking a stand for those who have been victimized. “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,” she said.
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