In all of the tragedy of recent weeks, it can be hard to find uplifting news. Massacres stretching from Orlando to Istanbul to Baghdad to Dhaka have flooded headlines and newsfeeds. Across Britain, the fallout from “Brexit” has sparked hate crimes and backlash towards minorities.

Following these events can be exhausting, for readers and for journalists. But, there are some bright spots. 

In the wake of Brexit, people across the UK have been wearing safety pins, as a small and subtle indicator to immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and any other targeted group that they stand in solidarity with them.

Initially sparked by an American woman the Washington Post identified only as “Allison,” the campaign is a direct response to the disturbing rhetoric emerging in Britain post-Brexit. The pins are a promise of sorts to those being attacked, a commitment that the wearer will respond in some way to any act of bigotry she witnesses. Whether this includes “shouting, or videoing for evidence, or phoning the police, or comforting someone in the aftermath” does not matter, Allison tweeted, “but you MUST DO SOMETHING.”

Scores of individuals have tweeted and shared images of their safety pins, oftentimes with rallying cries underscoring the incredible contributions immigrants and minorities have made to the UK:

Sharing images of safety pins is, of course, only a small step toward countering discrimination. In the UK’s current climate, it can be hard to feel safe, and symbolic gestures can only do so much. But, as Tom Ana wrote for Muftah last week, there are groups working hard to draw attention to issues plaguing minorities in Britain, including Tell MAMA, which documents discrimination towards Muslims, and Post Ref Racism, which is highlighting the post-Brexit backlash against minorities. These efforts have been key in calling out the atmosphere of violence that has followed the vote.

For those eager to express solidarity with minorities, wearing a safety pin is a great way to start. But, if bigotry is witnessed, the next step (other than calling the police, where appropriate) should be reaching out to organizations that are dedicated to pushing back against bigotry and discrimination. Here is a short list of organizations in Britain that can be contacted in this case:

Tell MAMA (specific to Islamophobia)

Post Ref Racism

Worrying Signs

Community Security Trust (specific to anti-Semitism)

Victim Support UK

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