In an effort to express solidarity after increased incidents of hate crime, U.K. residents have been joining the #SafetyPin campaign to support immigrants.
An American woman living in London, who identifies herself as Allison, reportedly came up with the campaign to show other foreign-born U.K. residents that the person wearing the safety pin is an ally.
"So I have an idea similar to #ridewithme to help protect those being abused as a result of Brexit Referendum - but I need your help," she wrote under the Twitter username miss pommery 1926 on June 26. "The idea being that anyone against the sort of nationalistic, racist violence we've been seeing could identify themselves as a ‘safe’ ally. 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."
Although Allison was unable to vote in the referendum, she wanted to do something to combat the increase in hate crimes towards immigrants.
"I'm always having to remind people I'm an immigrant," she told indy100. "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.'"
Post-Brexit, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of hate crimes, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
"Thousands of people who voted both ways have been horrified by this," Allison said.
Between June 23 and June 26, a 57 percent rise in reported hate crimes, most of which were allegedly targeted towards immigrants, was observed compared to May.
"I kept seeing these reports about people being abused on buses and trains," Allison told The Guardian. " ... My husband and I thought, how can we show people in public we are going to stand with them? We didn’t want to force people to go out and buy something so I said, what about a safety pin? Most people have one somewhere in the house. My husband said it’s like a pin of safety – he likes puns."
Allison contacted community centers and well-known British residents to spread awareness of the campaign.
"The first step is just getting it out in the open," she told indy100. "The more people you start a conversation with, the easier it is to combat violence and abuse."