When my mother passed away in 1978, my sister and I sorted through her belongings. Some we kept, some we passed on to other relatives and friends, and others we gave to charity.
For sentimental reasons, I kept a few of her sewing supplies which included a small glass jar of safety pins. They are just simple steel pins that have remained beautifully preserved in a glass jar whose lid is painted with roses, my mother’s favorite flower.
This jar of safety pins has now taken on new meaning for me this week. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s presidential election, I felt shocked and stunned. Then grief set in. I felt bereft that all that I had worked for in my lifetime was now put in jeopardy: civil rights, women’s rights…the right for people of every race, color, and creed to express themselves freely regardless of their sexual orientation, social status or physical abilities. I thought of all the progress that we have made in our country in the last 50 years and how this election might try to turn back the clock and reset history.
I will not sit quietly by and allow this to happen. I have to find a way to continue to champion diversity and inclusiveness which are at the heart of my core values.
Our country is made up of people from every nationality and culture. Our motto remains: “E Pluribus Unum…Out of many, one.” This has not changed, regardless of the rhetoric we are hearing blaring from our television sets and flashing across our news feeds.
In the past few days, a grass roots movement has sprung up which invites people to wear a simple safety pin as a sign to others that you are a “safe person” to talk to if you are fearful for any reason. This movement actually started in England after Brexit, and now has spread to the United States. Simple, really…but also profound…creating safe havens in our chaotic world.
Today, for the first time, I opened my mother’s jar and put on one of her safety pins and wore it out in public. And I shall continue do so as long as it seems meaningful.
My mother was the kindest person I ever knew, and I want to carry on her legacy of kindness to every friend and stranger I meet. This will not be easy as I am sure there will be some backlash. There always is when standing up for liberty and justice for all.
But I am not afraid. I am determined to carry on my mother’s legacy of kindness by wearing her safety pins as a symbol of unity and peace and safety.
From the words of the prophet Micah: “What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Michah 6:8
Peace be with you, Mary Anne+