A new pledge, co-written by Genevieve Vaughan (Sekhmet Temple) and Dr. Heide Goettner-Abendroth (Academy Hagia), is making the rounds within the international Goddess community. The “Pledge of the Goddess Community on Racism” urges all signatories to make a personal commitment to directly involve and honor local indigenous people and other ethnic groups in any conference or event held.
“As a member of the group of human beings who honor the present and past images of female divinity, I pledge to include in Goddess conferences the indigenous people of the locality or territory where conferences are held, and to reference and honor their deities. That is, I myself will make every effort to invite speakers and participants of the people indigenous to the area and of other ethnic groups. If I am not an organizer of the event myself I will work to ensure that the organizers invite them. Given the economic injustice in our society, I will promote special stipends for speakers of color and sliding scale or free access to conferences for any participants of color or other participants who may be economically oppressed. The multiplicity of the Goddess is expressed in the variety of humanity and in the many kinds of ritual and worship. Racism dishonors the Goddess(es).”
One notable early adopter is Reclaiming co-founder Starhawk, who has endorsed the pledge on the Women and Spirituality Blog, calling it “a sensibility long overdue in the Goddess movement”. Other prominent signatories include Letecia Layson, Candace Kant, Anniitra Ravenmoon, Catherine Wright, and Judy Grahn.
If widely adopted, such a pledge could go a long way towards healing rifts between the Goddess community and indigenous groups who have accused individuals within the movement of cultural appropriation. It also seems to be reaching for a solution to questions of racial diversity and class in a movement that has been depicted in the past as predominately upper-class and Caucasian. It should be interesting to see how widespread this pledge becomes, and if it truly results in changes to Goddess community events and conferences. If you are interested in signing the pledge, go here.