Friends, Romans, heathens, pagans, countrymen and women, lend me your ears. From time to time, many of us bemoan bad behavior in our communities, but today I would like to put forth a serious question: what would you like to do about it?
I know that we are scattered and often many of us are isolated or solitary in our practices. But faith should bring us solace in our grief and a network of support when we are in need. What can or should we do to facilitate this?
We do have charity, and there are people doing admirable things on the local level, like Alley Valkyrie in Eugene, Be the Light Chapel, or Kyrja Withers’ organization, Hands of the Goddess here in Central Florida. And yes, Kyrja still does open and active community work as a Pagan, despite hate crimes perpetuated against her and her family. Hands of the Goddess also has a South Georgia chapter. The Maetreum of Cybele provides shelter for abused women, despite harassment from local authorities.
And those are just the people that are on my personal radar; I’m sure there are many more out there who could and would like to help people, which brings me to this question: If you do charity work, are you willing to have your contact information (or the organization, if you run an org) put up on a database where someone could put in their zip or city/state/province and find local, pagan-friendly assistance?
I have a friend who is programmer who has put forth the willingness to do the code. But I need contact information for counselors, therapists, hypnotherapists, shelters, food pantries, emergency housing, and medical assistance. Said contacts don’t have to be Pagan, but they need to be Pagan-friendly. We need to network and support each other. The discrimination against Pagan charities is less likely to continue as we show solidarity and as we do more work, because then the public begins to understand that we’re not scary – we’re the people who help the needy. So please, let’s network. Send me your social services information. Let’s get it up and easily found by whoever needs it.
Example for a submission:
Name: (organization or person)
Need: (shelter, food assistance, counseling, etc)
Web and social media links:
Where and how to donate:
Any other pertinent information (ex: shelter that does not discriminate against trans* individuals)
And if you’re reading this and you need assistance right now, 2-1-1.org can connect you to social services – in my area it pulls up the United Way, which is an org that has a mixture of secular and faith-based assistance programs.