Craft stores are running out of safety pins after the election – here's why

A rush to show solidarity with America's minorities after the election has seen safety pins fly off the shelves – including in Minnesota.
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A rush to show support for America's minorities after the election has seen safety pins fly off the shelves – including in Minnesota.

The pins are being worn by some as a sign of solidarity with people of color, immigrants and the LGBTQ community targeted by abuse since the election on Tuesday – with the pin signifying that person is an "ally" safe to approach.

The nonprofit group Hatewatch says it had identified more than 200 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation as of Friday evening.

Mashable reports the safety pin movement has been adopted from the U.K., where they were worn in response to a rash of anti-immigrant abuse incidents after Britain voted to leave the European Union this past June – known as "Brexit."

And it's spreading across the country, including here in Minnesota, with the Star Tribune speaking to managers at several Michaels Stores in the Twin Cities who noticed there has been a rush on them since Tuesday.

Richfield store manager Kevin Kurhajetz told the newspaper he's filed for a new order with the district manager, noting on Saturday that demand for the pins has been "pretty heavy."

Pin movement divides opinion

The movement has somewhat divided opinion on the liberal left. Huffington Post writer Christopher Keelty said the pins do little but make "white people feel better," and said it'll do nothing to reassure marginalized people.

He has listed in a separate blog a number of suggestions for how people could better use their time supporting minorities.

Kenyan blogger Lara Witt had a similar view, writing: "It’s a badge white people want to wear so that PoC don’t associate them with Trump. It’s performative allyship at best."

PinkNews however calls the pin movement a "beautiful symbol of solidarity," and notes that while they came back into fashion as a form of protest following Brexit, its history dates back to World War 2, when the Dutch wore them under their collar to show loyalty to their Queen while under Nazi occupation.

Trump's election has prompted widespread protests across the country – including in the Twin Cities – involving protesters who object to the divisive rhetoric he used and some of the potential policies, such as a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, he mentioned during the campaign,

The hashtag #Safetypins has been trending on Twitter the past few days.

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