Moral Monday CT

Monday, February 23, 2015

Today was a turning point for me. I acted on what I’ve been saying I respect for a long time while watching from a distance. I know that many people whose opinions and approval are important to me may disagree with what I did. The best I can hope for is their understanding of my need to act on what my gut tells me is right. Here’s the story…

I’ve been fortunate to meet some pretty amazing people in the months following Ferguson. Some of those people are White, most are Black. All of them are sympathetic to “Black Lives Matter” but most know the truth of that slogan from a lifetime of personal experience. I am doing my best to listen when they talk of White privilege. I am doing my best to untangle my emotional reactions to that concept from the reality of its truth. I am doing my best to identify ways to make a difference in a meaningful rather than merely a rhetorical way. So, after much thought, I decided to attend the first Moral Monday in CT, set to address the urgency of “Black Lives Matter”. I knew we’d be meeting at a church and that following some speakers we’d be marching to City Hall. After that, I didn’t know what to expect. (Debra, you can walk away at anytime if your comfort level is challenged beyond tolerance) Some call that ability White privilege.

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When Family is More than Blood

Three Mother Goddesses of Egypt. Photo by RevKess.

My High Priestess shared an article with me in December 2014 about how many have turned the concept of the Coven into a Family. The author seems to feel that Coven members should be friends at most, hinted that near strangers may even be better. I may be interpreting her intent incorrectly. It is not my purpose here to pick apart the article or the author.

What family means to me…

Family is one of the most important things to me. Both in my mundane life and in my spiritual life. When you break it down, there really is little difference between the two. Continue reading

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Racism and Activism at Pantheacon

FB_IMG_1424196654259–by Shauna Aura Knight

Yesterday Pantheacon ended. Pantheacon is the largest Pagan conference and has almost 3,000 attendees and takes place in San Jose every year. I’m posting this a day late because I’ve been at the conference and wanted to write about activism within the Pagan community and specifically on activism-related issues that come up at Pantheacon.

Several years ago, Pantheacon was rocked by the exclusion of transgender women from one of the women’s rituals, and that controversy rippled out (and is still rippling) across the broader Pagan community.

This weekend I was proud to be part of a panel discussing racism within the community. Unfortunately, that panel began on a sour note as I learned that there had been something hurtful and racist written in one of the various newsletters distributed at Pantheacon.

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Privilege and Its Limits

boundaries-2After the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, a lot of talking heads said that the people deserved what they got because they knew the storm was coming but didn’t evacuate. What a lot of them didn’t realize is that many of the people didn’t have the means to leave, or anywhere to go if they did.

We’re often blind to our own advantages. Discussing privilege is necessary and important. Having someone point out your privilege is like having someone point out your blind spots. It provides context and, hopefully, compassion as we learn to walk in someone else’s shoes.

When the talking heads criticized the folks hurt by the hurricane, they were really just dismissing them out of hand, which is an important aspect of othering. When we dismiss others, we deny them any possible reasons or causes for their actions; if they behave differently than us, it’s because they’re just deficient.
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Global Divestment Day: February 13-14

I ashamed to admit that I hold stock in a utility company.  It was purchased for me at my birth because even 35+ years ago we knew that energy from fossil fuels wasn’t going anywhere, and we expected it would be a regular and steady source of growth (i.e. income).  Now, we’re less sure about that last bit, but unfortunately, the great engine of human innovation has been let loose and new means of pillaging our planet have been discovered extending the lifespan of this industry.

I could console myself with the fact that this company doesn’t have much of a negative reputation — they’re not at fault for massive spills or pipeline explosions — but it’s still an electrical company in Pennsylvania (where I was born) that generates its power on the back of coal torn from the ground with techniques like mountaintop removal.  While they do help to support some wind power in PA (see Ethical Electric for ways to purchase wind energy from PA if you’re in the Mid Atlantic states or southern New England), it’s not enough to offset the damage caused by the coal industry, even the so-called “clean coal” movement.

On February 13th — if you’re reading this as it is published, that’s this Friday — I will be selling those shares; I will divest from that company.

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