Frequently Asked Questions
- Is this for real?
- What is an “Ally”?
- Why is it called “Safety Pin”?
- Is Safety Pin Box a charity organization?
- How do the financial gifts work?
- Why a subscription and not just general donations?
- Why is the Safety Pin Box focused on Black people and not all marginalized people?
- Why don’t you give your money to organizations? Shouldn’t I give to Black organizations as well?
- Should I keep my ally work a secret?
- Can I get a sample task to see what I'm signing up for?
- Who is behind Safety Pin Box?
- Are you Black Lives Matter?
- Marissa and Leslie don’t seem very respectable. Neither of them bite their tongue when talking to white people. That makes me nervous.
- When can I sign up for a Safety Pin Box subscription?
- I want to support, but I don’t think I can afford a subscription.
- I live outside the United States, can I subscribe to Safety Pin Box?
- Do you have a Safety Pin Box subscription for groups?
- How does the Pin Pal Box work?
- Can Pin Pals be long distance?
- I'm an E-Ally subscriber and found my Pin Pal! Can I upgrade to the Pin Pals Box?
- When will my box ship?
- When will my card be charged?
- Is my subscription tax-deductible?
- Can I get a refund on my box?
Is this for real?
Yes! This is a real subscription that will send you a REAL box every month. Subscription fees go directly towards supporting real Black women, two of whom are the creators of the Safety Pin Box.
Watch the video below to hear more about this project directly from the Safety Pin Box co-creators.
What is an “Ally”?
“Ally” is the term commonly used to refer to someone from a privileged group who supports the efforts of oppressed people. White “allies” support Black people in their pursuit of full liberation from anti-Blackness and white supremacy. This support is given wholly and unabashedly and is demonstrated financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Allies to not define what it is to be an ally, rather allyship is defined by the oppressed people being supported. If Black people choose to have white people a part of their freedom work at all, they reserve the right to fully define what allyship they require.
There are many issues with “allies”, both the term itself and how it manifests practically. We use the term “ally” to broadly identify white people who looking to support Black liberation both with their resource and with their deeds.
Many will claim they are allies, few will do the work necessary to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating white supremacy. Ally work is a privilege and not a right. No white people are entitled to Black revolutionary efforts or Black spaces. Ever.
For more about allyship & accountability watch these live videos from Black Women:
Why is it called “Safety Pin”?
Soon after the election of Donald Trump, the “safety pin” arose as a symbol of solidarity. The idea was that privileged people (men, white people, cis hetero people, Christians, etc.) would wear a safety pin on their shirt identifying them as “safe people” to marginalized populations as hate crimes rose in the aftermath of the presidential election. Further, it was suggested that those wearing a safety pin would intervene if they saw a hate crime taking place.
But this “safety pin solidarity” was largely just for show. Almost immediately oppressed people, particularly Black women, critiqued the safety pin as a shallow gesture focused more on privileged people feeling like a “good person” rather than actually keeping marginalized people safe. It became clear that safety pin wearers had not thought about how they would actually intervene in the event of a hate crime, nor had many made any meaningful contribution towards the liberation of oppressed people beyond wearing the 10 cent pin. Even more alarmingly, the safety pin solidarity allowed people to self-report their intentions and did not guarantee they would actually be safe spaces for the marginalized. Things came to a head as neo-nazis vowed to wear safety pins as a way to lure in oppressed people so they could harm them. The safety pin show of solidarity was a failure.
To complicate things further, white women took this challenge as an opportunity to make money. Within days safety pin charms and necklaces were selling on etsy (by white women) for upwards of $300 dollars. Overnight the safety pin solidarity became commercialized, with white people raking in most of the profits.
It was out of this context that Leslie and Marissa came up with the Safety Pin Box. Safety Pin Box takes the impulses of the original safety pin show of solidarity and stewards them for good.
Let’s compare the original safety pin intent with the Safety Pin Box:
Is Safety Pin Box a charity organization?
No. Safety Pin Box is a business that provides a service & product to subscribers. While we have a business model that involves giving back substantially via financial gifts to Black Women/Femmes, this is a business - just call us Safety Pin Box, LLC!
How do the financial gifts work?
Each month, recipients will be chosen at random from our pool of “Black Women Being” applicants based on funds raised from that month's subscriptions. Any and all Black women/femmes doing any work towards the liberation of Black people are encouraged to apply.
Recipients will be notified via email and will receive a one-time financial gift. Number and size of gifts given and will depend on the number of active subscriptions. No gift recipients are required to disclose their gift amount to anyone for any reason. We believe Black women/femmes are the best stewards of their own funds and we do not dictate how recipients use their gifts.
A portion of subscription fees will also go towards supporting the Black women founders, Marissa and Leslie, directly and as compensation for their labor on this project.
Why a subscription and not just general donations?
Part of doing ally work is being consistent. A monthly subscription not only creates sustainable ongoing capital for Black women, but it makes ally work become a habit instead of a one-time thing. You can always make individual donations to the Safety Pin Box at any time as well, instead of, or in addition to your subscription on our donate page. And besides, who doesn’t love a good subscription box?
Why is the Safety Pin Box focused on Black people and not all marginalized people?
Safety Pin Box was created by Black women for Black women/femmes. Often Black people, and especially Black women/femmes are expected to labor for everyone but themselves. Safety Pin Box is an act of radical collective self-preservation and we openly declare we are #NotYourMule. There are many other organizations and efforts that support other identities and you are welcome to support them as well.
Why don’t you give your money to organizations? Shouldn’t I give to Black organizations as well?
There are many great Black organizations you can and should support monetarily. You can choose to support them instead of Safety Pin Box or in addition to your subscription. We believe giving Black people your money is essential to being a useful ally.
The Safety Pin Box is designed to specifically benefit Black women as individuals. Black women, who may or may not be with an official organization, do a majority of the labor for Black liberation work and are also the least likely to be financially sustained while doing it. Organizations have their own ways of getting money, but we believe supporting individual Black women is important too.
Black women who are a part of organizations are welcome to apply for financial gifts as an individual, and Safety Pin Box promotes the ongoing liberation work of many Black organizations and individuals through our platforms.
Should I keep my ally work a secret?
You read that right. No. Do not keep your ally work a secret.
At Safety Pin Box, we encourage you to share what you are working on with others and to promote ally work and Black liberation work on every platform you have including social media.
Subscribers are encouraged to blog or post about the tasks they are working on on social media using the hashtag #safetypinbox, and subscribers are expected to promote Safety Pin Box and the work of Black women often. Putting your work out in the open is both a way to encourage other white people to join in, and also a way for Black people to hold you accountable.
But be warned, while Safety Pin Box takes the impulses of performative allyship and stewards them for good—we do not recommend using your ally work as leverage or as a demand for recognition from Black people. Such actions will not only get you dragged across Black Twitter (probably by Leslie and Marissa themselves), but are also a manifestation of white supremacy. The Safety Pin Box subscription is an invitation to be accountable, not a pass to be an asshole to Black people. Share your ally work, but share it in humility and sincerity. Safety Pin Box is not responsible for any hands you might catch or reads you might receive as a result of abusing your ally position.
Can I get a sample task to see what I'm signing up for?
Who is behind Safety Pin Box?
Black Femme Organizers Marissa Jenae Johnson & Leslie Mac are the co-creators of Safety Pin Box. There are no "investors" in Safety Pin Box. Leslie & Marissa are using their own resources to get this project off the ground.
Are you Black Lives Matter?
No. Safety Pin Box is not a part of the official Black Lives Matter National Network, though the founders (Leslie and Marissa) have ties to the network and have done work in the larger movement labeled “Black Lives Matter”.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement or the “Movement for Black Lives” are both a part of the larger struggle for Black liberation. There are many different organizations and individuals who are a part of this work and we support the efforts of the larger movement as a whole as it aligns with our political beliefs.
Marissa and Leslie don’t seem very respectable. Neither of them bite their tongue when talking to white people. That makes me nervous.
Leslie and Marissa do not ascribe to respectability politics and will resist any labels of “Angry Black Woman”. Neither is concerned with appealing to white sensibilities or being unnecessarily “polite”. Rather, they are wholly focused on the liberation of Black people by any means necessary, and that might sometimes rub you the wrong way.
Many in the movement for Black lives support the work of both Leslie and Marissa and you can chose to follow their lead or not. Marissa and Leslie will not be softening up their stances to provide this service. These times are dire and the need for Black liberation is urgent.