A lot of the information I have about this is either second hand, or from first hand accounts. I have never been to a Pantheacon (it’s totally on my bucket list) and I didn’t contribute to the discussion about the statement from Covenant of the Goddess (while my coven is a member of CoG, I’ve got other things on my plate currently).
For those not in the know, in December CoG issued one of the blandest non-statement statements. Black lives didn’t matter, all lives did. And while true, in theory all lives should matter; the fact is that some lives are held as more valuable than others. To not acknowledge that is insensitive and ignorant at best. Understandably, many people were upset about this and it sparked a lot of conversations. Some Pagans of color left CoG, something I can’t blame them for in the slightest. At last check CoG seemed unresolved about the issue and I’m fairly certain when (if) it ever is, it will be too late and CoG will be marked as an irrelevant has been.
Fast forward to Pantheacon. For as long as I’ve been aware of, and paid attention to, the goings on of the national Pagan community it seems like Pantheacon has been a big thing. Not only is it actually a huge thing, it also seems to rip the band off of some of the darker pockets of ick. See the transwomen and gender debate of 2012. This year it race. A satirical workshop description was put out “Ignoring Racism: A Workshop for White Pagans”. It caused a bit of a kerfuffle as I understand it.
Here is where I weigh in. Pagans, particularly polytheistic Pagans, are aware of the diversity of gods and goddesses out there. Amateratsu, Yemaya, Lakshmi, Kali are all very popular goddess of color (for lack of a better word), and often find their way into eclectic circles. But if those goddesses have a place in your circle, your altar, your magickal practice, then you cannot ignore where they came from, your woven connection to them, or to the people who look like them. To worship Yemaya, but to completely ignore the fact that black people face a horrifying set of challenges in the world is not only anathema to me, but to my mind highly racist. It implies that the lives of people of color, that black lives are only of value when attached to Divinity.
So, CoG, you could use some changing and a healthy dose of the real world.
But, Pantheacon don’t ever change. Keep exposing the nastier sides of our community that we can keep learning and growing into a better and more supportive group.