In his most recent “From the Edge of the Circle” podcast Tommy Elf laments the fact there was no Pagan Pride Day in North Texas in 2011 and asks if there will be one in 2012. And unlike so many who simply complain, he’s offering to do something about it. I say we pitch in and help.
The Dallas – Fort Worth area held Pagan Pride Days for many years. I went to several and I led workshops in 2009 and 2010. I’m not sure how much they accomplished in terms of generating positive publicity for the local Pagan community, but they were great for connecting people in the area. Last year the long-time coordinators bowed out rather abruptly. I don’t know the whole story – I suspect they were simply burned out. A replacement event was advertised but it also fell through.
It really is a shame that the fourth largest metro area in the country has no Pagan networking opportunities. I know there are lots of small groups in the area – I’ve been to some of their events and met many of them, some at Pagan Pride Days. I’m sure there are far more I don’t know about. We’re all so busy with our own organizations we don’t have much time for the wider community, and the long distances created by the North Texas urban sprawl makes it even harder.
But it really helps when we can see and talk to each other face to face. We get to know each other, develop some personal relationships, and find out what’s going on in our area. When I run into people looking for Wiccans or Heathens or ceremonial magicians it’s nice to know someone I can refer them to and feel confident they’ll be in good hands. And maybe we can start building (rebuilding?) a sense of community for local Pagans that extends beyond individual covens and groves and CUUPS chapters. There are more of us than you might think, but we’re still a definite minority in this heavily Christian area. The more we connect, the better we can help create an environment where Pagans and other religious minorities can thrive.
The international Pagan Pride Day organization has a long list of suggestions and requirements, including a list of local coordinators that appears to be several years out of date. I’m not up to producing a large festival and I don’t think Tommy is either – we may not be able to meet the requirements to call it “Pagan Pride Day.” But we should be able to organize a gathering of local Pagan, magical and interested folks for a day of fun and friendship.
Anybody know of anything that’s already in the works? If not, are you up for helping do something for our wider community? If so, please contact Tommy or contact me. Let’s find a time and place in late September or early October when the North Texas Pagans can get together.