Perhaps the most popular lapel pins available today are ribbon awareness lapel pins.¬† If you were around in the ’70s, then you must remember the huge Tony Orlando and Dawn hit, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.¬† This is my earliest recollection of a ribbon awareness pin, but the tradition dates back much further than that.¬† ¬†
The origin of¬†yellow ribbons as a token of remembrance goes back to¬†the 19th century when women allegedly wore a yellow ribbon in their hair to signify their devotion to a husband or sweetheart serving in the U.S. Cavalry.
Of course, these days, yellow ribbons are joined with ribbons of every color of the rainbow.¬† Many groups, organizations and foundations have adopted ribbons to represent their causes.¬† Often, ribbons have multiple meanings or causes attached to them, making it difficult to create a comprehensive and fully accurate list.¬† But, we’ve attempted to identify some of the most common awareness lapel pins:
Pink ribbons are most commonly¬†associated with breast cancer awareness and childhood cancer awareness.
Yellow ribbons signify support of our troops, but they can also serve as a¬†symbol for MIA/POW, adoptive parents, amber alerts, bladder cancer, spina bifida, and endometriosis. A yellow ribbon with a heart is used to represent the survivors left behind after a suicide.
Red ribbons are most commonly affiliated with the fight against AIDS and HIV.¬† This ribbon color is also¬†a symbol for heart disease, stroke, substance abuse, MADD, DARE, Epidermolysis Bullosa, and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.
A burgundy ribbon¬†represents brain aneurysms, Cesarean sections (worn upside down), headaches, hemangioma, vascular malformation, hospice care, multiple myeloma, William’s syndrome, Thrombophilia, Antiphospholid Antibody Syndrome, and adults with disabilities.
Purple ribbons are used for pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, domestic violence, ADD, alzheimer’s, religious tolerance, animal abuse, the victims of 9/11, Crohn’s disease and colitis, cystic fibrosis, lupus, leimyosarcoma, and fibromyalgia.
Blue ribbons are used to symbolize the fight against drunk driving, child abuse prevention, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), the victims of hurricane Katrina, dystonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alopecia, Education, Epstein-Barr Virus, Save the Music and many other causes.¬†
Dark blue ribbons symbolize arthritis, child abuse prevention, victim’s rights, free speech, water quality, and water safety.
A light blue ribbon is a symbol of childhood cancer (alternative color: pink), prostate cancer, Trisomy 18, and scleroderma.
Teal ribbons are used for ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers as well as sexual assault, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and tsunami victims.
The color green (green ribbon)¬†is a symbol of childhood depression, missing children, open records for adoptees, environmental concerns, kidney cancer, tissue/organ donation, homeopathy, and worker and driving safety.
Orange is the ribbon color used to represent¬†leukemia, hunger, cultural diversity, humane treatment of animals, and self-injury awareness.
White ribbons honor victims of terrorism, violence against women, peace, right to life, bone cancer, adoptees, and retinal blastoma.
A pearl ribbon is a symbol for emphysema, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and multiple sclerosis.
¬†Black ribbons represent mourning, melanoma, and gang prevention.
Brown ribbons are¬†an anti-tobacco symbol.
Grey ribbons stand for¬†diabetes, asthma, and brain cancer.
Silver ribbons are used to represent children with disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, and mental illnesses such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Gold ribbons are a symbol for childhood cancer.
If you’ve ever seen a ribbon made of fabric that resembles a jigsaw puzzle, you are looking at a symbol for autism.¬† See our blog post, Pinning it Forward.
Rainbow ribbons represent gay pride and support for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender community and their quest for equal rights.
Lace ribbons are a symbol for osteoporosis.
Pink and blue ribbons represent miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death due to SIDS or other causes.
Flag ribbons are a¬†symbol for both the victims and heros of the 9/11 attacks. They also symbolize patriotism and support of our troops.¬† Appropriately, flag ribbons are also a symbol of fireworks safety.
No matter which lapel pin ribbon color you choose to represent awareness for a meaningful cause, we hope you will not only wear¬†it with pride, but use¬†it as a way to start conversations that lead to prevention, cures, and hope.