Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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White Pagans, time to collect our racist Uncle Wotan

Content Note: Racism, Nazism, Trumpism

Authors Note: Nazism has close ties to Odinism and Asatru, and both Nazis and Neo-Nazis often use Heathen symbols on their images. We can’t afford to ignore this connection, because regardless of what happens, the impact on Paganism and Heathenism is either “bad” or “worse”. I am aware that my own Hellenic and Wiccan traditions struggle with racism as well, and this will be addressed in other posts, primarily because racism takes many forms which deserve their own discussions. I am also aware that not all Heathens, Asatru practitioners, or Odinists are Nazis or racists. However, I will point out that people who use “not all *blank*” tend to be part of the problem as well. For purposes of this post, I will refer to Odinism attached to the Nazi/Neo-Nazi movement as Nazi Wotanism, as Wotan is the High Germanic name of Odin and the name has strong associations with the white separatist movement. If you are a member of any racist or hate group and want to leave, Life After Hate is there for you. Please reach out for any help you need.

Barely a year ago, literal tiki torch-bearing Nazis marched in Charlottesville. They terrorized the town, and their actions led to the death of a brave Antifa activist Heather Heyer (may she return in power). If you paid any attention to the banners and have a passing knowledge of runes, you probably noticed some familiar symbols: elhaz/algis, othala, tyr, and the valknot. These are all symbols used by Nazis during the Third Reich and in use today by Neo-Nazis. Nazis love themselves some Pagan symbols and imagery, they loved the Pagan gods, and that love has been passed down to the Neo-Nazis of America. Which makes them our problem to collect and police.

Nazism and racism have long been part of Paganism’s dark underbelly. The much-admired Madame Blavatsky who influenced many Pagan traditions started it off by popularizing the swastika (seen on the emblem of the Theosophical Society) and endorsed the concept of a “superior race”. One of her followers, Guido von List   Ariosophy, the philosophy of the supposed Aryan priest-kings. Von List was one of Heinrich Himmler’s greatest inspirations and he modeled the Schutzstaffel SS on that Ariosophy. The Thule Society, which was based on Blavatsky and von Lists teachings, is basically a who’s who of the Nazi leadership. The Thule Society’s influence extended past politics and into the private world: women were considered priestesses of the home, and popular holidays such as Christmas were re-branded as Pagan celebrations. This becomes important after WWII because Else Christensen, a housewife, peddled her toxic mix of white supremacy, sexism, and Wotanism in America.

If you recognize Ms. Else as a Pagan activist who pushed to have Odinism and Wotanism recognized by the prison system, good for you. That doesn’t negate her sins in the least.

Many Pagans think that because we’re a minority religion we can hide this association between Nazism and Wotanism. That because we’re often overlooked for things like a holiday, we’ll be overlooked for things like this. They’re wrong.

Nazi Pagans already made headlines in the Washington Post and Vice.

Nazi Pagan Facebook pages exist. And Facebook ignores it when people report the hate. I know that for a fact because while I was researching this, I reported several. And each one was ignored.

Wotanism loves a particular kind of toxic hyper-masculinity and sexualized violence. Scrolling through any of the hate pages on Facebook reveals a consistent pattern in their posts. Memes proclaiming the superiority of the white race and calling for the defense of the traditional family, white women, and children are mixed with Barbie doll Valkyries in impractical armor and near-nude Freyas’ posing provocatively with swords. The message is clear: protect the racist and homophobic ideas of Nazism and this is your reward. This is exceptionally dangerous in the era of Trumpism when calls for stochastic terrorism ring from every rally.

Regardless of how the next couple of months and years play out, Pagans are going to suffer from this representation. We live in a nation that firmly embraces White Evangelical Christianity. Make no mistake, the Wotanist Nazis are tolerated only so far as they can support the nationalist agenda. White Evangelical Christians will throw Wotanist Nazis under the bus when it becomes politically expedient; a movement that gleefully justifies separating children with the Bible isn’t going to make distinctions between the flavors of Paganism. In the event that the elections are free and fair and there is a blue wave, these Wotanist Nazis will just blend back into the Pagan crowd, hiding behind the idea of a progressive minority religion. A cancer hiding until it can grow unchecked again.

So what do we do?

If you are safe and capable of staying safe, we call them out where we can and when we can. And if you can stay safe, keep your connections to the people you know who are Pagan Nazis.

First, call out their behavior. Don’t let them hide in your communities. Don’t let them melt back into Pagan spaces without scrutiny. Don’t let them post their hate speech in your social media pages unquestioned. Circle is supposed to be a space you enter in perfect love and perfect trust. You can’t enter anything in perfect love and perfect trust when there are Nazis. Don’t let them hide behind the claim of minority status. We, as Pagans, are uniquely placed to call out their racist, Nazi, homophobic bullshit, because we hold space and status within their own communities. It’s hard for a Wotanist Nazi to claim they’re being discriminated against because of their religion when the person calling them out is from their own community.

Because it can be difficult to tell Wotanist Nazis from Odinists, Asatru practitioners, and other Heathens; be thoughtful in how you approach this. Educate yourself on what symbols and in what configurations these Wotanist Nazis use them in. And always, always, always keep your safety in mind.

Second, if you have connections to Wotanist Nazis, keep the lines of communication open. Individuals who leave cults and hate groups do so because they have connections to the outside world. You don’t have to help them yourself or approve of what they do. In fact it’s good if you make it clear that you don’t. But let them know that you have resources if they need help with their rage or hate. People can’t access resources they need if they don’t know those resources exist.

Or if neither of these options appeals to you, you can do what I did: plastered links to Life After Hate all over their Facebook pages.


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A Dark Horse on the Horizon

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While my musical tastes are broad and sometimes “auditorily offensive”, Katy Perry is by no means a favorite, and not someone I normally associate with Paganism. So when I saw Katy Perry mentioned on The Wild Hunt, I was a bit confused. Apparently, Perry is in the hot seat again for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse”. For me, Perry is hugely problematic not-fave for reasons you can see here, here, here, and here.

And honestly, even if none of her homophobia, cultural appropriation, or sexual misconduct was a factor, I’m not super enthused by the music video. As a Hellenic practitioner with no real ties to the Egyptian pantheon, I don’t have a horse in the race in terms of divine representation; even if the color scheme in the music video is the hue of my depression. The song is meh and I have no comment on the use of Aphrodite’s name in the lyrics. In an early version of the music video, Perry destroyed a necklace with the name of Allah on it which is really just another sign of her inattentiveness as an artist. Although I did find her Grammy performance of “Dark Horse” distasteful and concerning for a whole host of reasons.

The issue here is that Perry is being sued by Marcus Gray, Lecrae Moore, Emanuel Lambert, and Chike Ojukwu for plagiarism of their song “Joyful Noise“, as well as tarnishing the reputation of “Joyful Noise” with “Dark Horse”s “association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in Dark Horse. Indeed, the music video of Dark Horse generated widespread accusations of blasphemy and an online petition signed by more than 60,000 demanding removal of an offensive religious image from the video.” Given that Perry has a background as a Christian music singer, and that the songs do share a remarkably similar beat and melody I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Perry didn’t give credit where it was due. And that’s really shitty of her if she did. But I take serious issue with where this fits into the larger cultural narrative, particularly the cultural narrative in Trump’s America. 

Right out of the gate, I will say I don’t expect my celebrities to use their platform politically. I do think that individuals with that kind of reach have an ethical responsibility to use that platform wisely, but having a responsibility doesn’t mean you have to do something. However, I do know for a fact that people who claim minority status have to behave like the eye of the Moirae is on them; because the eye of the public is and it’s not much kinder.

Why does that matter? Perry has claimed to be a New Age practitioner.

Now, if we’re talking labels, “New Age practitioner” isn’t Pagan isn’t pagan isn’t Wiccan isn’t witchcraft isn’t Illuminati (what even is an Illuminati when it’s at home?). But those are differences without a distinction to most of the populace, as we see in the “Joyful Noise” lawsuit.

In terms of the claims from the lawsuit, most of the pagan imagery comes from the music video. Excluding the army of sexy-Bastet, I can somewhat understand it. Ra and Anubis have probably never been so ripped, but many who reject the Christian faith often go through a phase of strongly connecting with the Divine Feminine. Most people don’t have such a large artistic venture to express it though, and others who do have certainly done it better (the bold mixture of Isis and Christianity in The Cranberries “Zombie” and Beyonce as Oshun come to mind).  I can tolerate Perry’s bubblegum attempt at Isis, even if I give it a healthy dose of side eye.

More concerning was her Grammy performance. I’m not going to claim that witchcraft is always rainbows and fairies: in my magickal pantry I have grave dirt, bones, and menstrual blood. But that performance. I was a child during the Satanic Panic, and the evangelical school my parents sent me to clung to the panic even after it passed out of the mainstream media. That Grammy performance was EXACTLY what my parents and the school said witchcraft was: skeletal trees, hooded Baphomet, dancing demons, witches branded with red crosses, women getting sexual pleasure from being burned. I swear, joining my first coven after that build up was such a letdown.

Outside of a very wise group of Cassandras, I don’t think any of us really expected the political rise of the White Evangelical to play out the way it did. In 2014 I remember Pagans talking about LGBTQ rights and evangelism; Trump, Russia, and the malice of White Evangelism were hidden for the most part. Most of us didn’t think it could or would happen. Except it did, and we’re seeing all sorts of human rights violations and bullshit go down. After all, evangelical lobbyists sell access to the president at the Prayer Breakfast, the DOJ uses the Bible to justify separating children at the border, and Jeff Sessions formed the Religious Liberty Task Force (ostensibly to protect the voices of religion in the government, but let’s be real about how that’s going to play out).  In the grand scheme of things, this lawsuit seems small and insignificant. But bigger atrocities are built on the small and insignificant, so this case very well should be watched closely.

Perry has the wealth and resources to inoculate herself against the discrimination every Pagans and magickal practitioners face. Regardless of the outcome of this case, Perry will continue on making money by the boatload and will present an air of the effortless New Age practitioner. She will not struggle to find employment or days off, and should things in America turn against minority religions she has the means to protect herself and her empire. But if Perry claims to be a New Age practitioner, she’s the representative we have in the wider world even if she isn’t one we would have chosen for ourselves. Which means she needs to step up her game, and we need to call her out about it. Because it’s not her neck on the line. It’s ours.


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A Song of Endurance

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When I was a child, I met La Llorona. I was playing in the river and slipped and fell in. The water was deceptively still, so the current took me by surprise. While I was, and am, a decent swimmer; the current carried me downstream, and I could feel fingers wrapping around my ankle and pulling down. Surrendering to that firm tug was the most comforting thing to do. It was a small thing, just follow it down, don’t fight it. Above the surface is difficult and hot, just sink down. It was only after I scraped my hand on a rock, did I come back. My stinging palm reminded me to swim, so I did. Because I had to. I had no other choice.

I’m entering the first harvest after my divorce. And there were many times during the disintegration of my marriage and later adventures in the legal system, where it was so much easier to sink. To sink into depression and anxiety. There were sometimes I did, and my two pit bulls were great sources of strength for me at the time, but they were more “keep my head above water” strength. Other things, such as hecatedemeters Prayers for the Resistance, scraped my hand and reminded me to swim.

Now, a year after reading the Prayer for the Resistance, I’m writing a response to that post. This is a Song of Endurance.

 

This is a song of Lughnasadh. This is a song of Endurance.

 

Lughnasadh: when the wildfires send ash into the air, when the harvest is beaten by hail, and we dream of the cool in the dark. Here, Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike: frying green tomatoes broken from the vine, and neighbors watch the river to protect what we have. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the green witches, who grow communities in the rich bosque soil. Who build arches of peas and plenty, even in the high heat of a desert drought. This is their song of Endurance.

This is the song of children making lemonade as taught by their mothers and the song of women making Lemonade as taught by Beyonce. This is their song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when ash graces our hair and clings to our taste buds, and we crave the clean taste of winter and fall. Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike, for that is how we survive. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the scientist working against disbelief and lack of funding to bring light to the dark places. This is the song of the teacher who tries to protect students from swastikas. This is the song of waiting for Mueller Time. This is the song of Endurance.

This is the song at the food bank, giving rhythm to sorting good food from bad. This is rhythm reverberates in typed letters to Senators, dial tones to Representatives, and the endless march of feet. This is the song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when the heat of fires miles away make it too hot to sleep and exhaustion pulls our bones into Skeleton Woman’s embrace. Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike, for this is how blessings grow. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the women’s group, moving one step forward through all setbacks. This is the song of the mothers who push back against encroaching normalization. This is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the nagging reminder: they/them not she/her. She/her because she was always a woman, even when she isn’t here. And he was always a man. This is the song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when the rainbow lightning touches trees bringing rain and fertile ash to the dry, sandy earth. Lughnasadh is when we share

and share alike, for this is how rain falls and the wheel turns. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

My song isn’t for tomato cravings, or gorging cucumbers, or rambling vines, or sharp-witted eggplant. My hands aren’t made for plants, only the hardiest survive my home. Aloe, pothos, bamboo, and an oddly defiant orchid. They endure through my neglect, and my unskilled watering. My wheel never centered the agrarian.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when the ash has settled, and the monsoons unleashed; a second quiet growing season begins with curling sprouts around charcoal foundations. Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike, the gifts I bring combined with yours means we all survive. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is how we endure. When the hardest hail punishes growth, and the lightning strikes those who dare to touch the sky, and the fire burns all but the hardiest away; Lughnasadh sings, Endure. Endure. Endure. Hold on, and hold out. Sink roots deep to the hidden water, let the broken branches protect new growth. And when you have survived all this, reach once more for the sky.


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Happy New Year, Queen of Heaven

queen of heavenHera starts off the New Year in terms of devotionals, and I will be the first to say I think Hera gets a bad rap and that isn’t fair to her. Hera is the best example of the oversimplification of the gods to fit a cultural narrative. Let’s lay down some truth here: Hera is pretty bad ass. She has a pretty strong realm of dominion; Hera is the Queen of Heaven, the goddess of kings and empires, goddess of marriage, of women’s fertility, one of the three goddess of child birth (she is the protector of the mother, Artemis is the protector of the child being birthed, and Eileithyia the patron of the act itself), and the goddess of dynasties. Quite literally, she rules. Hera fights in the War of the Titans, and the War of the Giants, Dionysus Indian War, and she sponsors Sparta in the Trojan War. If the idea of Hera as a warrior queen seems counterintuitive, consider that Pausanias describes a strong cult to Hera Aigophagos (Hera the Goat-Eater) in Lakedaimonia and its capital of Sparta. Hera takes no prisoners.

But wait, her detractors say, Hera treats Zeus bastard sons and other consorts pretty shittily. My response to this is yes, she does. But look at those actions in light of her realms of dominion: she is Queen of Heaven, goddess of empires and dynasties and women’s roles in them. She isn’t going to let others come in and take what is rightfully the jurisdiction of her and her children. After all, even though Hera is considered the last consort of Zeus and tricked into marriage, she was Queen of Heaven in her own right before he got there. No upstarts allowed. It’s even debatable whether all of her divine children have Zeus as a father. Of her children, Typhaon and the Charities don’t have a mentioned father in myth; Hebe, Ares, Hephaistos, Eris, and Eileithyia have disputed paternity.

And through it all the ups and downs of enforcing her dynastic claim on Olympus, Hera does some very kind and loving things. Philostratus the Elder describes Hera welcoming Athene into the company of the Olympians. Hera fills the rivers with rain water of Argos for the devotion Inakhos after Poseidon dries up the island in rage. When the daughters of Pandareos are left orphaned she blesses them with wisdom to lead. And she sponsors Jason on his search for the Golden Fleece and his journey to bring prosperity to Argos.

Despite of all of this Queen Militant badassery, and kindness and support to her devotees, Hera is remembered as “that bitch who gets in the way of Zeus fun”. Hera is reduced from mighty queen of heaven on a cerulean throne to…shrew.

I’ve always thought that the Wiccanate Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother, Crone to be heinously limiting. And that we need to reclaim the goddesses who embody more than the young nymphet, the voluptuous mother, the disfigured old woman. Women deserve goddesses who represent womanhood in all of its forms, not just the forms that are palatable to the public or described and defined by the older and sexist Pagan writers. Hera is the goddess of leaning in and while she may not be the goddess every woman needs, she is one of the goddesses that everyone deserves. So this month, I’m raising a glass and starting to bring her back.

O Royal Hera of majestic mien, aerial-form’d, divine, Zeus’blessed queen,
Thron’d in the bosom of cærulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care.
The cooling gales thy pow’r alone inspires, which nourish life, which ev’ry life desires.
Mother of clouds and winds, from thee alone producing all things, mortal life is known:
All natures share thy temp’rament divine, and universal sway alone is thine.
With founding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar, when shook by thee.
Come, blessed Goddess, fam’d almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.


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Dancing with Safety

Recently, a festival I attend banned a man. I can’t say that I’m entirely surprised by this to be honest. The man in question did have a problem with boundaries (as in he didn’t acknowledge them) and had a particular skill for avoiding detection for many years. I, personally, can attest to his ability to be creeptacular and after my first less than pleasant run in with him, have done my best to never be alone with him. I’m very glad that the festival organizers are standing up to this and saying that it is in no way acceptable to behave the way he did.circle dance

On the other hand, exposing this man’s behavior and his banishment has brought out a bit of semi-hidden ugliness. People in respected positions of power have vehemently jumped to his defense, causing a slightly public kerfuffle. While this in itself is troubling, that’s not want really what I want to talk about. The festival organizers are in a better place than I am to appropriately respond to public criticisms. I am more concerned with a lower level of negative response.

When it was brought to our attention that this man had been banned, some men had a (to me) very curious response. They became concerned that they might be similarly be put on a list of banished people or that they might get in trouble as well. As our conversation progressed, I gathered two main points that this group of men were upset about. The first was that they might be accused of inappropriate behavior and that second would lead to them being banned.

To me this says three things:

  1. These men understand that they might have, or actually have, done something inappropriate to a woman at some point.

As much as the motto “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” has its problems, in this case it’s a little bit true. I have not killed someone, therefore I don’t have to be afraid of prison or the death penalty. I have never ignored personal boundaries of another at a festival, therefore I have no reason to be afraid of being banned for that reason (I will however be the first to admit that I have behaved badly in other ways). Festival organizers of the past have made it very clear that ongoing, affirmative, and enthusiastic consent is highly encouraged. They have hosted workshops, posted fliers and signs, and made sure that attendees try to look out for each other. This standard is by no means a new trend. If these men are concerned that they might be punished it says to me that they know they have done something that crosses a boundary.

  1. These men are afraid that those in a position of power might not believe them or their stories.

Snarky feminist says: Wow, how shocking! You don’t trust the rules, organizers, and leaders to protect you if you are innocent or telling the truth? You don’t say! Tell me all about how difficult this is for you. Admittedly, that was a bit nastier than what I originally wrote, but I really needed to get that out of my system. False accusations of anything involving sex are rare, strike that. Accusations of anything involving sex are rare, period. This is because women are often afraid that for whatever reason they won’t be believed. Often women don’t trust those in charge, for good reason—between anecdata, documented responses of organizers, police, and even judges, and horror stories we’ve been given no good reason to trust people in power with our stories, our terror, or our trauma. In this particular case, these men are afraid of the people in power and I’m finding it very difficult to muster sympathy for them. But I will say this, the festival organizers aren’t on a witch hunt. They are very fair, banishment from the event is an extreme response for only the extreme cases. If you do something inappropriate and it is reported, they’ll talk to you, possibly keep an eye on you for a little while, but you’ll still be able to attend and enjoy yourself.

  1. These men believe that their right to not monitor their behavior and to act as they wish comes before the right of women to feel safe at a festival.

This. This statement. Everyone wants to have fun at a festival. Everyone wants to be safe at a festival. It is very possible to do both. Being aware of boundaries, listening to your partner in the moment, asking if you aren’t sure. These are things that are easily done and make the festival safe and enjoyable for everyone. There are many ways to communicate consent in a sexy, fun manner. “I want to *insert act here*” “Like that?” “Want more?” These can all be said in a fun, sexy, teasing way, and still make it clear that you are asking for permission; and that guideline isn’t just for the men, it’s for women too. Does this mean that these men will have to change their behavior? Yes. Will it be easy? Probably not. But it’s worth it. If everyone feels safe, everyone can have more fun. More women will come to the drum circle and dance if they feel safe. Women will be freer and more relaxed if they feel safe. Women will be more inclined to participate in the sexy times IF THEY FEEL SAFE. If these men want to have more of the fun sexy times with women at a festival they need to be part of creating an environment that is safe.

Women move through a male dominated space every day. Sometimes it’s not safe. Sometimes it’s terrifying. Paganism is a religion that venerates the Goddess next to the God. This means that women need, not only to be treated equally, but also to feel safe in those spaces. If women feel safe, they will join in more.


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Yemaya says cut your crap

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). Shine_Bomba for Yemaya

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.


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Today’s Food for Thought

Two in a week, wow. I’m on top of it. Or, this is actually the case, I want to share something.

North Miami Beach PD was found to be using the mugshots of black men. Now, this bugs me on a lot of levels. Should police be well trained in the use of their weapons and be able to use them safely? Yes. But they also need to have a fundamental respect for human life. I live in Albuquerque so police shootings hit really close to home.practice16n-4-web

But the police seem to be alright with shooting the people they are supposed to protect. They even appear to be so ok with it that they are practicing shooting a certain group of people—black men. And that is not ok. So not ok.

A collection of clergy is starting a collection of photos using #Usemeinstead that they will be sending to North Miami Beach PD for them to use for shooting practice. If the police are comfortable shooting photos of black men, we need to give them photos they aren’t comfortable shooting.  I sent in my photo, in my role as a priestess serving her community.

And my message is this:

By practicing on the mug shots of black men you are training yourself to target, and shoot, black men. You are not training yourself to shoot people who look like you, you are not training yourself to realize that those men are human beings with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You are training yourself to not think about the life that is ending when you pull the trigger, because they do not look like you and so are not the same as you. Aren’t human like you are.

Black lives matter.  Latino lives matter. The lives of the mentally handicapped matter. My life holds the same value. I demand that you give my life the exact same value as you give the lives of the men in the mug shots. If you see fit to use their photos as target practice, it is only appropriate that you put a bullet in my photo as well.