About Marissa

Doing the right thing will make me unpopular sometimes, and being popular doesn’t mean that I’m doing the right thing”
— Marissa Jenae Johnson

Originally from Louisiana, Marissa and her family relocated to Burlington Washington where she found her own voice - a voice that was much different than that of her conservative parents but was much more true to her needs as a person. A life-long Christian and a degree holder in Biblical Studies, Marissa uses her faith as a tool to bring peace to her life, and help guide her in her mission to not only find answers to the difficult questions that arise at times, but also to help others in their own journeys.

Moved to action by the murder of Michael Brown, Marissa quickly acknowledged the distinction between being effective, and being well liked - a distinction that showed itself in the notorious but effective disruption of then presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by Marissa and Mara Willaford. While this action garnered a varying amount of positive and negative attention, for Marissa this was an expression of the agitation work that had been effective in sparking hard and often uncomfortable change for those in positions of privilege. The unsustainable nature of this type of work however, left Marissa questioning how she could maintain meaningful work that would have a lasting impact, while making sure that it was personally healthy and sustainable. Thus Safety Pin Box was born. 

Co-created with fellow activist and organizer Leslie Mac, Safety Pin Box uses carefully curated curriculum that translates into tangible, measurable allyship. These exercises in self reflection, personal growth, and giving of hard resources gives self proclaimed allies a chance to not only back up their talk with action, but also give resources directly to an often overlooked and under compensated group - Black Women. Subscription fees from Safety Pin Box go directly to Black Women activists in the form of grants. This is where the bulk of Marissa's work is focused, and whether it be working directly with children and teens, doing podcasts, or writing a book, Marissa's core mission is the growth and preservation of Safety Pin Box, and the many women that benefit from it.

In her rare moments of free time, Marissa spends her time playing with children, swimming, singing, and engaging in quality time with her friends and family.

Follow Marissa on @rissaoftheway, and see her writing work HERE. To contact Marissa for media requests or interviews, visit the contact page, and send a message through the contact form.


upcoming Projects

Personal Memoirs (TBA)

Safety Pin Box Book (TBA 2018)