How to look for the helpers.
Hi, I’m a heterosexual white male, and I’m frightened for the safety and well-being of everyone I know who isn’t.
The fact is that Trump’s election is a green light on people who don’t look like him. “Take our country back” has been their slogan, and now that they’ve achieved a victory, the worst ones aren’t going to stop there. It’s open season.
Look for the helpers, Mr. Rogers tells us. But where are they? How can you ever feel safe in a country which has told you, in no uncertain terms, that you’re not welcome, even if you were born here?
If you’re like me– a straight, white, able-bodied male– you need to be one of the helpers, and you need to be visible.
This is the Green Rings.
I’m releasing this simple image into the public domain. One neon green ring, overlapped by one forest green ring. You can copy them, redraw them, recreate it any way you want as long as it’s recognizable.
Wear the Green Rings on your person to show that you are a helper.
The Green Rings are not intended to be used on the Internet, where your ideas are seen before your person. The symbol is for wearing: on a shirt, badge, button, armband, earring, a patch on your backpack or purse, a tattoo, anything you can attach it to that will be readily visible. Wear it somewhere that it can be seen. With the Green Rings, a book can make its contents more easily judged by its cover.
Wear the Green Rings to send this message:
- Solidarity: Although I’m a (white or other) majority member, I support and care for minorities– and I vote.
One thing that every President-elect always says is that it’s “time to pull together”, and that’s never been more true than it is now. We DO need to pull together, in resistance to this new world order. A wearer of the Green Rings is making it public that they’re opposed to the new way of things, and the many ways it can harm others.
- Accessibility: I can be approached if you’re in trouble or danger.
This symbol means you’re open and ready to help when someone, even a stranger, needs you– especially minorities who have lost their security in this dark time. This can mean something simple like volunteering a ride in your car, carrying groceries, or simply offering friendship to someone who needs it more than ever; most likely, you do too.
- Conviction: I will not put my privilege before your safety.
This means that if someone trusts you enough to come to you for help, you’re not going to brush them off for fear of being judged by other majorities. You’re putting their health ahead of your privilege, regardless of what others of your social group may think.
- Vigilance: I will not put my safety before yours.
This means you’re not just a shoulder to cry on, or someone who can provide valuable tax advice: a wearer of the Green Rings is someone who will call the police on your behalf, defend you in court if called to witness, and yes, even defend you bodily and physically.
This is where the line is drawn; don’t put them on if you’re not willing to fight.
Wear the Green Rings and you will have to fight.
This is why it’s important that it be worn by able-bodied people who can defend themselves. You don’t have to land an attacker with a punch or return gunfire– but if someone is being attacked and calls for help, then the fourth promise, the promise of vigilance, requires you to help. Even if just with a distraction; a loud whistle, a thrown rock. If that gets their attention and they come after you, then you may need to brace for a fight, but as soon as the original attack victim gets away, you’ve won– no need to fight more than you have to. (If the victim doesn’t look like they can get away, you may want to start with something stronger than just getting the attacker’s attention.)
Yes, this is scary! This is what’s happening now!
There is also the possibility that, if the Green Rings experiment becomes a success and gains notoriety, you may become a target yourself for wearing them. If you starts seeing more people who wear the Green Rings in your area, get to know each other– and watch each other’s backs.
Finally, one way we’ll REALLY know this is taking off, is when you start seeing fraudulent Green Rings bearers. This is a concern that we can’t fully predict the outcome of, but in the event someone who wears the Rings doesn’t keep their four promises– solidarity, accessibility, conviction, and vigilance– then spread the word, in the neighborhood. Use social media. Tattle. Maybe they’re someone otherwise devoted to the cause who fell down on the job and need some social pressure– but maybe they’re just scumbags who need to be exposed.
Look for the Green Rings when you need help.
Who needs helpers in this new era?
- Women, of all races.
- Muslims, of all races.
- LGBTQ+ of all races, with special emphasis on the T.
- Blacks of all genders and faiths.
- Latinos and Latinas.
- American Indians.
- Immigrants from anywhere, and their children.
- Jews. (I’m so sorry this keeps happening, friends.)
- Disabled people of all genders, races, and faiths.
- Sufferers of mental illness.
- Children who fall into any of the above groups.
If you’re a member of the above groups, or another minority group that I thoughtlessly excluded (my apologies), look for anyone wearing the Green Rings– especially white males, who can do an especial amount of good by playing “plainclothes” among dangerous members of their groups. Greet them and point to their symbol. It’s okay to ask what areas they live and work in, so you’ll know where your allies are.
If you are in physical danger, call for your Green Rings allies by name: knowing someone specific might be listening is more of a deterrent to attackers than a call for the police– especially if the attackers are the police.
If you’re in danger and in an unfamiliar area, call GREEN RINGS! as loudly as you can. This may be unlikely to help, especially as we’re only barely beginning to organize, but if you show confidence that someone will arrive to help, that can be a deterrent as well.
How can I help?
Share this. I want this to be more than just my short-sighted, rambling little way of making myself feel better about the country I always thought I loved before. If you’re someone who could benefit from having Green Rings in your area, share it and spread it around. If you’re not able to wear the Rings but you know someone cool that might be interested, share it with them. The initial idea was for Green Rings to mark white males who were safe to approach, but it’s still OK to wear them if you’re not one yourself. Spreading the word will help it gain traction, and alert people who might need it someday.
There are people in this country who are direly, violently opposed to there being such things as “safe spaces”– but no one can stop you from being a safe person. We need the helpers, now more than ever; I hope you’ll be one too.
This is an excellent initiative, and I support it wholeheartedly. I’m gonna go buy something to paint my clothes with first thing tomorrow.
I’m trans, but I pass all too well as a potential racist asshole. This design will make its way onto my wardrobe.
I’m Australian, but there’s no reason why this can’t take off over here as well.
I’m mostly white so I’m gonna wear it too