Pagan Pride and Protests

This weekend was the 13th Annual Vancouver Island Pagan Pride Day. And it took over my life for the past week several weeks.

Vancouver Island Pagan Pride Day 2017

Circle of the Sacred Muse book at Vancouver Island Pagan Pride Day 2017

I’m really pleased with how well the day turned out. My team of volunteers/friends pulled together, got over the rough start to the morning (the sprinklers were on for the first hour we were supposed to be setting up and marking out vendor spaces), and made the day a fantastic one.

The smoke was more or less cleared from the sky, the sun came out, and there was a gentle breeze throughout the day.

The main ritual touched many people, and I am so grateful for Bella and Dusty coming up from Washington to perform the White Goddess ritual for us, and for Michele and Erik coming up from Duncan and supporting us throughout the day.

The organizers went out after the event and had a lovely dinner. I crawled into bed after unloading my van at about 11:30 pm, and it still took me a little while to wind down, even though I’d been up since 4:30 am. That’s when I checked back in with the rest of the world and learned a tiny bit about what happened in Virginia.

Demonstrators clash late Saturday morning in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo credit

On the same day that our peaceful Pagan Pride event was going on, people gathered on the other side of the continent to spread, and protest, hatred and fear. White supremacists clashed with counter protesters in violence. People were injured and killed.

My initial reaction was shock. I wanted to bury my head in the sand. I didn’t want to know what happened. I wanted to just write a blog post about how wonderful Vancouver Island Pagan Pride Day was.

And yet, my heart is heavy. I may not know exactly what to do, however, I know I can’t ignore what has happened. I’m white. It is my responsibility as a conscientious white person to speak out and loudly say “THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.” We are all people. We all deserve to live in love and safety.

I have friends who are Black, Native, Syrian, gay, lesbian, trans-gender, gender queer, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan… They don’t fit the “white Christian” mold, and have been living in fear of exactly what happened in Charlottesville. That the hate and fear that has been hidden below the surface would not be hidden forever. That racism, sexism, and religious bias would once again become okay. That the rights and freedoms that they have fought so hard to gain would be ripped away, because they haven’t even been universally supported.

My friends are tired. I don’t experience even a fraction of what they do, and I’m tired. And it’s precisely because I DON’T experience what they do that I need to speak up. I need to fight harder. I need to support them. I need to educate myself, because it is not their job to educate me. It’s not enough to dismiss the current events as a one-off, as not my problem because it’s too far away/I’m not racist/I didn’t vote for the president. That’s a cop out. And as much as I would like to turn a blind eye, I can’t. People I love are hurting. They are terrified. And history shows that not doing anything allows it to get much, MUCH worse.

If you want to know what you can do, here is an excellent article: White Feelings: 0-60 for Charlottesville

Read it. Take action. Call out your friends when they are being insensitive. Do not stand idly by while hate consumes and destroys.