NEW ORLEANS - They may be just pins, silver brass on slivers of newspaper and black ribbon. But for those who proudly wear them, they mean much more.
"They're definitely protesting the three day a week publication," said Choeli Hilferty, marketing and public relations coordinator at Mignon Faget.
The pins are symbols of support for the more than 200 employees who will be laid off when the Times-Picayune stops daily publication this fall. 10 percent of the proceeds from the $25 pin will go to a new employee assistance fund spearheaded by a Times-Picayune alum who now lives in Las Vegas, Rebecca Theim.
Civic activist Babs Johnson is also helping the effort get underway.
"The inspiration behind it is we want to be as supportive of our affected Times-Picayune staff members as possible because they had our backs after Katrina," said Johnson.
To those outside the world of print journalism , the fund's name, at first, may sound unfamiliar. Dash30Dash, or -30-.
"In the older days, when you were finishing a story, you ended it with -30-," said Johnson. "I think people will get it. It's the end. And obviously, this is the end of many careers."
It's a code some affected by cuts wrote on their Facebook walls after the news came down.
Dash30Dash will benefit those employees once the ax falls.
Writer Danny Monteverde is among those who learned Tuesday that come September 30th, he would have to find other work. While he likely won't apply for the fund, he said it's much appreciated, especially by employees with families.
"The moral support and the monetary support combined is going to help get a lot of people through this time," said Monteverde.
Because it's a lengthy process to get a 501c3 non-profit status, the Contemporary Arts Center volunteered to provide basic accounting for the fund so that Dash30Dash could get the benefit of its non profit status.
Organizers will meet next week to decide how the money will be awarded, but said there will be a confidential application process.
As for the Mignon Faget pins, they hit the shelves Friday morning, and by Friday afternoon, about 150 had been sold. Another sign of support for a daily publication that has meant so much for so long.
"I think it goes beyond financial implications," said Johnson. "It shows everyone's on board and behind them. We have their back this time."
Ralph Brennan also agreed to donate a portion of proceeds from cocktail sales to the cause. And La Petite Grocery is planning a benefit dinner June 26th, in which 25 percent of the proceeds will go toward the fund.
If you would like to donate, you can write a check to the Contemporary Arts Center, and write Dash30Dash in the memo. Or visit the website, http://dashthirtydash.org/, or Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Dash30DashNOLA.
If you're unable to donate, you can also sign a petition protesting the lack of a daily New Orleans newspaper at http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-times-picayune.