I’m honored that Michelle has invited me to participate, especially since I’m not generally the kind of activist who is out there on the front lines. I tend to do my activism with a keyboard or a pen, spreading the word, raising awareness, and writing my legislators. That may not be as exciting as marching and rallying, but I hope to use it as a vital and integrated part of activism, so that’s most of what I’ll be doing here at Pagan Activist.
I hope to present a mix of suggestions for ways you can use your words to act in accord with your values and intent. Being able to explain, clearly and simply, why you take a particular position can sway the public discourse. The more specialized communication of writing to your legislators (or better yet calling them) can have more impact than some people realize, especially if you are able to explain your concerns effectively.
For example, at one point a bill was under consideration in my state legislature that had an innocuous-sounding message about ensuring people’s right to pray, including in schools. As civil rights organizations pointed out, it seemed to be aimed at re-introducing official school prayers, including ones led by teachers. I called my legislator’s office and asked how the legislator would feel if I was teaching his child and opened my class with an invocation of Kali.
The staffer who took my call was taking frantic notes. I could tell that no one – no one at all – had raised this point, or had considered that “religion” doesn’t just mean “Christianity.” Something similar probably happened with a Louisiana legislator who was recently amazed to discover that “religious schools” didn’t just mean Christian schools.
Explaining the experience of a minority to the majority in such a way that it communicates the visceral impact of an infringement of rights can make a world of difference.
Some of my posts may be suggestions to write your legislators; others may be examples that you can use to help discuss and explain rights to other people. I’m sure some will take forms that I can’t predict. Some will be about Pagan issues, others about women’s rights, social justice and issues of privilege, and other areas I work with. Throughout, this is my goal: to help us all find effective ways to put our words to work.
So mote it be!