Many of us have been searching for ways to show solidarity with members of our community most affected by the election results. Subtle and peaceful tactics include the safety pin movement, modeled after the response to Brexit when the UK withdrew from the European Union. Adorning a safety pin has come to signify alliance—a symbol that says, “I will stand with you in the face of hostility and violence.”
Similarly, the nationwide #IllGoWithYou campaign allows community members to show support in the form of a pin that identifies them as willing allies to LGBTQ and other affected communities. Wearing the I’ll Go with You pin means agreeing to offer support of and protection for any person feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.
PJ Harris, an OSU student who brought the program to Corvallis, said, “I would like to highlight the necessity of the #IllGoWithYou message right now. In light of the visceral reactions following the recent election, many community members feel afraid to leave their homes.”
This #IllGoWithYou campaign started in reaction to anti-transgender legislation and has evolved into an important symbol for anyone who feels targeted or fears increased harassment post-election. Harris said, “I truly believe that the #IllGoWithYou ideology can mean comfort and safety for many people right now. I hope that as many people as possible will brave their buttons right now so that people who are scared or in danger know they have someone to reach out to who will help them. The buttons are not limited to transgender people; it is there for anyone in their time of need.”
Overall, the Corvallis community has responded positively to this campaign. Many people have stopped by the Pride Center on campus to request buttons. Harris recalled first seeing a stranger wearing the button: “I was driving on Tyler towards Fred Meyer and a cyclist had one on their backpack. It warmed my heart knowing that if I was seeing them randomly, that other students who needed the support were seeing them too.”
This is the time to act. If you support our community members who feel threatened, show them. Stop by the Pride Center or the other cultural centers on campus to get your button and ask how else you can help. But remember, wearing this button is a big responsibility. It means you will be a witness, that you will speak out against intolerance, and that you’re willing to put yourself in uncomfortable spaces. Be safe.
For more information about the #IllGoWithYou campaign, visit http://www.illgowithyou.org./
By Anika Lautenbach