Monday, June 19, 2017

Safety Pin Box

Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates the news of emancipation finally making it to Texas and the last of the slaves being freed (at least for that era).

This Juneteenth comes as we learn that Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black woman and mother of young children, was fatally shot by the police she had called for help after a burglary, even though they promised not to shoot her. This is right after the acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez for shooting Philando Castile for reaching for his wallet, as he had been ordered to do, reminding us how there is still effectively no penalty for police killing Black people.

This has been going on for a long time, but given the current administration, the fact that it got into place largely through appealing to racism and taking advantage of racist voter suppression, and the installation of racists like Sessions, it is worse than discouraging.

And it can be really hard to know what to do.

I had thought I would highlight multiple efforts today, but decided to focus solely on Safety Pin Box:

Safety Pin Box is "A monthly subscription box for white people striving to end white supremacy." It was started by Marissa Jenae Johnson and Leslie Mac.

They have gotten a lot of flack for charging for the service, which ties into our national history of not expecting to pay Black people for their labor. That makes subscribing already a challenge to the racist system, not only by paying the content providers for their work, but also passing on contributions to other Black women who are serving Black people. Given the known disparities in pay and wealth for Black women, this is already progressive, but it does much more than that.

One strength is that this is a good starting place. One of the first tasks was examining power locally. It is easy to focus so much on the national scene that you forget about towns and cities and counties, but when there are policies of for-profit policing, it happens there. The issues that make housing worse or schools better or help segregation persist are happening locally, even if federal policies encourage or discourage them. The Safety Pin Box will help you understand the system and have a better idea of how to function within it.

Safety Pin Box also works on multiple levels.

Not only are there three different pricing levels, there is a free task available if you question whether it can be worthwhile.

There is an eight-week summer series for kids. Are your children asking questions that you don't know how to answer? Are they shielded in a way that you worry will make them grow up blind to their privilege? This can help.

There is an option for groups. Actually, there are multiple options for groups, based on size and the desired level of depth. Do you have a group already but you are not sure what to do? This can help.

If you are not ready to commit to a monthly subscription, you can get an Allyship Jumpstart, which includes a 6 video primer.

There are also weekly Twitter check-ins, allowing people to share what they have learned and support each other.

If you want to fight racism and you don't know how, start here.

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