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Why Is Ridgewood, Glen Rock Community Group Handing Out Safety Pins?

The Board is downtown for the holidays.
The Board is downtown for the holidays. Photo Credit: Facebook
The Community Relations Board of Ridgewood and Glen Rock is distributing safety pins as a symbol of solidarity.
The Community Relations Board of Ridgewood and Glen Rock is distributing safety pins as a symbol of solidarity. Photo Credit: Community Relations Advisory Board of Ridgewood and Glen Rock Facebook

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- The Community Relations Advisory Board of Ridgewood and Glen Rock encourages a welcoming, inclusive and sensitive approach to the challenges of a multicultural society -- and it's helping give the safety pin a wider meaning.

"Our mission is to develop educational and other programs that promote intercultural communication and understanding; to encourage the regular use of sensitivity training for police, school personnel and other community employees; to support victims of bias-related crimes, and to encourage the reporting of such incidents," the group explains on its Facebook page.

"Our vision is a society where all are able to build lives of dignity and self-respect," the group explains.

It's a trend that's popped up, in America, after the election. "More than anything, it's pro-kindness," one woman noted in a New York Times piece on Nov. 14. "I wouldn't say it's resistance toward Trump. It's a form of resistance to hate and to negativity."

The campaign was first begun by an American woman living in Britain, as the Times piece notes, after a rise in xenophobic incidents there, following the Brexit vote.

The attached graphic, posted by CRAB -- as it's affectionately called -- on its Facebook page, explains the pin's meaning as symbol of social solidarity, to let people who might feel vulnerable know that they are safe with the wearer of such a pin.

"For the last three years, we've had a respect campaign, that's spread into a civility campaign," Jan Philips, CRAB committee chairperson, told Daily Voice. The respect campaign was begun in coordination with the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

On Friday, Dec. 2, CRAB will be distributing safety pins on the main street of Ridgewood, at the "Downtown for the Holidays" event, from 7-9 p.m.

The larger event, sponsored by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, runs from 5:30-9. Get all the details here.

Philips said that the restaurant It's Greek to Me is sponsoring the group's table, since CRAB isn't a Chamber member.

She said that another community partner is Hallak Cleaners, in Hackensack, which has donated 1,400 safety pins for the group to distribute.

CRAB will also be distributing the pins this Sunday, at a Glen Rock rally called "You're Safe with Me," organized by Glen Rock resident Laura Occhipinti. The rally will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more information about this campaign, or about the group generally, contact Philips at crabnj@gmail.com.

All of the group's meetings are open to the public, on the third Wednesday of every month, at 7:30 p.m. in the in the Village Hall of Ridgewood's Garden Room.

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