A symbol of safety and support in Echo Park and Silver Lake

Photo courtesy Melissa Newman

Photo courtesy Melissa Newman

ECHO PARK — Melissa Newman and partner Salvador Avila spent Sunday walking through Echo Park and Silver Lake, handing out the new symbol of solidarity – safety pins – popular among those concerned about the election of Donald Trump as president.

After Newman and Avila purchased more than 300 safety pins and a blue box at the Echo Park Walgreens, they hit the streets to distribute the pins and offer support.  “Women, gays and lesbians, and Latinos seemed the most eager to talk about the fear they have felt since Trump got elected,” Newman said in an email.

The wearing of the safety pin to express solidarity with those groups — including minorities, immigrants and women — who have felt vulnerable began in Britain following the Brexit vote. Newman and Avila wanted to help spread the Safety Pin Movement in their own backyard.

“We walked up Sunset, spent some time in Stories Books (where the owners also now have ten huge boxes of safety pins to hand out) and by the Micheltorena stairway,” she said. “We placed them on the stairs for while and ended our four mile hike at  Fix Coffee in Echo Park, where the owners eagerly handed out the rest to happy customers. Made me feel proud to live in Echo Park.”

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. We don’t get to make ourselves feel better by putting on safety pins and self-designating ourselves as allies.


  2. I don’t think wearing safety pins is important, but neither do I agree with the Huffington Post piece (link above). For one thing, As a Hillary Clinton voter I don’t feel any need to take on guilt about those who voted Trump. They can take responsibility for their votes and any guilt they may accrue. And I’m very, very weary of the self-important, egotistical people, such as the author of this piece, who feel they can speak for “We.”

    I do not plan on supporting black lives matter in any way; they are rabble-rousers supporting violence while they transmit false information. Neither do I support those people who are marching in protest while carrying flags of nations other than the United States. And even if they are carrying U.S. Flags, I do not join them in support of illegal immigration.

    • when a group peacefully protesting state-sanctioned violence against them is instead accused of being the violent ones, well that’s a page right out of most authoritarian governments (including, it would seem, Trump’s America).

      • Gotime:

        This is a comment to related LAT story.

        Murder arising from anger based on a myth created by selective reporting…



        The Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings over the past year and a half to correct acknowledged deficiencies in federal tallies. The emerging data should open many eyes.

        For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

        The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

        Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.« less

        Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there.

        Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force.

        The Black Lives Matter movement claims that white officers are especially prone to shooting innocent blacks due to racial bias, but this too is a myth. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception”—that is, the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed.

        A 2015 study by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway, formerly acting director of the National Institute of Justice, found that, at a crime scene where gunfire is involved, black officers in the New York City Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to discharge their weapons than other officers at the scene.«

        The Black Lives Matter movement has been stunningly successful in changing the subject from the realities of violent crime. The world knows the name of Michael Brown but not Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old black child lured into an alley and killed by gang members in Chicago last fall. Tyshawn was one of dozens of black children gunned down in America last year. The Baltimore Sun reported on Jan. 1: “Blood was shed in Baltimore at an unprecedented pace in 2015, with mostly young, black men shot to death in a near-daily crush of violence.”

        Those were black lives that mattered, and it is a scandal that outrage is heaped less on the dysfunctional culture that produces so many victims than on the police officers who try to protect them.« less



        And more officers killed since publication

        • Becky with the good hair

          Unfortunately Min Fran, you are citing cold hard facts. That just doesn’t fit the narrative of the news media and will not sell as well as the one they push.

        • Here are some facts. If you want to look at crime levels in predominantly black neighborhoods you have to look at the structural reasons those neighborhoods were created, then starved of resources, in the first place. The USA has a long history of giving preferential treatment to whites over other races, and these policies created these neighborhoods to begin with. This includes the New Deal, GI Bill, and continues with how drug laws are massively unevenly applied in this country today, resulting today in an incarceration rate per capita that exceeds even China and Russia. (see: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/)

          FURTHERMORE, the United States as whole has more police killings than every other Western democracy. If any other country were faced with this level of killing, it would be a national emergency.

          ALSO, there have been plenty of documented cases now, where an unarmed black man is killed in highly questionable circumstances, but investigations are covered up and go away through the grand jury process (as a side note the USA is the only British-style legal system that hasn’t done away with this antiquated relic). It’s not just Michael Brown, it’s John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, and many many more, too many to list.

          Especially in light of the over 400 documented cases of harassment and intimidation since Trump’s election (which has galvanized a lot of truly hateful groups), you cannot say that racism ended in America because of the Civil Rights Act and electing a black president.

          Black Lives Matter exists as a movement because historically speaking, black lives have not mattered here. For starters, the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws in the south, but throughout the country as well. They didn’t matter when housing policy was being developed, when training and education programs were developed, when drug policy was being enacted, and certainly not today in how law enforcement is used in predominantly black communities.

          The problem is far deeper than police shootings, but police shooting unarmed citizens and more importantly – how those incidents are dealt with – might be the most visceral examples of a society that doesn’t care equally for all its citizens.

          As far as the danger police themselves face – in 15 of the last 20 years, more officers died in traffic actions than by anything else. It is a dangerous job no question, but accusing Black Lives Matter groups of making it more dangerous is just cherry-picking. This article lists three attacks on police by white men which got scant national coverage vs some other recent coverage. The media does have a tendency to focus on stories that reinforce racial bias, and ignore those that go against it.


          Finally, as a counterpoint to the flawed WSJ article (as a side note, the author is also a vocal proponent of the so-called Ferguson Effect, which has been debunked by a number of studies and FBI data itself), there’s this, written by a WaPo reporter (remember, the WSJ article also relies on the data WaPo compiled):


          Overall, the majority of the people who have been shot and killed by police officers in 2015 and 2016 were, based on publicly available evidence, armed with a weapon and attempting to attack the officer or someone else.

          But an independent analysis of The Post’s data conducted by a team of criminal-justice researchers concluded that, when factoring in threat level, black Americans who are fatally shot by police are, in fact, less likely to be posing an imminent lethal threat to the officers at the moment they are killed than white Americans fatally shot by police.

          The study also sought to answer whether officers were more likely to shoot and kill someone who is unarmed if the shooting happened to occur in a high-crime area. They concluded that is not the case.

          “The only thing that was significant in predicting whether someone shot and killed by police was unarmed was whether or not they were black,” said Justin Nix, a criminal-justice researcher at the University of Louisville and one of the report’s authors, said in April. “Crime variables did not matter in terms of predicting whether the person killed was unarmed.”

          “This just bolsters our confidence that there is some sort of implicit bias going on,” Nix said. “Officers are perceiving a greater threat when encountered by unarmed black citizens.”

      • State sanctioned violence? Holy crap, I think you’re going to need a bigger safety pin.

        • John Crawford – buying an air rifle in a Walmart in Ohio, killed by police before he could comply, police exonerated

          Akai Gurley – killed while using stairs in his apartment stairwell, shot by officer who was ignoring proper use of firearm protocols. Officer given probation.

          Tamir Rice – killed by police within 2 seconds of approaching, because he had a toy gun. No charges

          That’s just three off the top of my head. Police are civil servants. When they break protocol and kill someone, then the district attorney uses the tools at their disposal to see that they can escape the law, then that is state-sanctioned violence. Sticking your head in the sand over it will not make it different.

          • Becky with the good hair

            …and the reason those names ARE on the top of your head is because the coverage is disproportional to the statistics. Even though whites and hispanics are shot by police more than blacks, the media gets more “mileage” out of the story. Go figure.

          • The fact you are trying to downplay the murder of innocent people by public servants says it all. You are essentially making the case for why #BlackLivesMatter needs to exist.

          • Becky and gotime, I believe you both have valid points – neither of you are racists or bigots, but simply concerned American citizens that want what is best for yourself, your family, and your fellow citizens. I don’t think anyone wants to see innocent people (of any color) murdered by the police and we can all agree that blacks in America historically got a raw deal.

            It’s hard to truly understand what it is like to be a police officer in a big city or a young black man in America without living in their shoes. After everything’s said and done, can the problem be solved? If so, are we qualified to solve it?

          • Becky with the good hair


            Merely stating factual stats is not downplaying anyone’s plight. If we stick to paying attention to stats and facts rather than sensationalized news stories for profit, we could make some real progress.

            Actually, it is you that are downplaying the lives of the white and Hispanic people killed by saying #blacklivesmatter. Again, more whites and Hispanic people shot by cops than black people. Why are you concerned about the smallest portion? Just because of the color of their skin? Why do they get more of your attention than the larger groups?

            If you are able to answer yourself honestly, you may start to understand why a buffoon like Trump can get elected.

          • Becky and Gotime,

            Here is demand list from BLM (https://policy.m4bl.org/reparations/):

            We seek complete open access for all to free public university, college and technical education programs (including technology, trade and agricultural) as well as full-funding for lifelong learning programs that support communities and families. We also seek the forgiveness of all federal student loans. Policies shall apply to all and should focus on outreach to communities historically denied access to education including undocumented, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.

            Cover all living costs, including but not limited to housing, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and food for students attending public universities, colleges, and technical educational programs (including technology, trade, and agricultural).

            Fully fund and provide open access to K-12, higher education, technical educational programs (including technology, trade, and agricultural), educational support programs and lifelong learning programs to every individual incarcerated in local, state, and federal correctional facilities (juvenile and adult).

            Provide full access to all undocumented people to state and federal programs that provide aid to cover the full costs, including living costs, to attend public universities, and colleges, technical educational programs, and lifelong learning programs.

            Increased federal and state investments in all Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs).

  3. Elections come and gone, worst I’ve seen so far in my life, Vietnam an Rey Gun closing down mental health institution, people not believing in global warming . We now have Trump, Dont like the guy, but he’s elected, he didn’t show respect to me as a minority person, doesn’t mean I return hate with hate. Guess I chose to wear rose colored glasses, an see half full cups.

  4. If wearing a safety pin makes you feel better, wear a safety pin!

    Here are a couple thoughts to get past all the ridiculousness:

    Stop getting your news from Facebook and Instagram (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37983571). Perhaps it’s better to focus on a news source that don’t have a political slant/agenda. Here are a couple resources to choose from:



    Here are some interesting revelations that have surfaced over the past few days:

    Obama: Trump is ‘pragmatic’: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/obama-praises-trump-pragmatic-231361

    Trump says he may keep parts of Obamacare after campaigning on a promise to repeal and replace it: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-updates-trail-guide-1478897759-htmlstory.html

    Donald Trump says he will deport up to 3 million immigrants ‘that are criminal’: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/donald-trump-vows-to-immediately-deport-up-to-three-million-immigrants-interview/articleshow/55404050.cms

    I’m not defending Trump – he’s still an idiot, but just like every politician before him, what he says and what he actually does may be very different. Trump the man is not America, but collectively, we are. Our collective actions have a bigger impact on the world around us than one person, especially since Trump hasn’t actually done anything yet. Calm down…this is not going to be the end of civilization as we know it!

    • There are a lot of people who want to believe Trump isn’t as bad as he seems, but…he also just hired a known racist and anti-Semite to be one of his closest advisers. If that doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, maybe these quotes on Bannon’s hiring will:

      “Perhaps The Donald is for real,” – Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party

      Bannon will “push Trump in the right direction, That would be a wonderful thing.” Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. “


      • I appreciate your insight. I read a little about Stephen Bannon and his resume/positions…definitely not in line with my personal beliefs. I have a lot of respect for President Obama and hope that he is a fair judge of character when he described Trump as ‘pragmatic.’

        Personally, I would like Trump to offer an explanation as to WHY he would align himself with someone like Bannon. I have my own personal theory, but I would like to hear it from him before grabbing the pitch fork 😉

    • Thanks, Jawbone, especially for posting news links. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter but it can still be difficult to find unbiased news sources.

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