SAN FRANCISCO – The Northern California Local Council of Covenant of the Goddess (NCLC-CoG) released a statement yesterday condemning the practices of the United States government in detaining children and separating them from their families.
The new statement follows a press release that was issued on June 29, 2018. In the statement, NCLC Local Council denouncing the practice of family separation and urging the courts to support family reunion.
Canu Nodiad, First Officer of Covenant of the Goddess sent this statement:
“The Covenant of the Goddess supports and empowers its local councils making statements on issues of social justice, human rights, and discrimination, such as the one released by the Northern California Local Council on July 7th. Many of CoG’s members believe that Witches and Wiccans must show solidarity with those less privileged in our world and those who try to improve the lives of the least fortunate. To seek and demand change in the culture of oppression and exclusion that allows the detention and separation of immigrant children raises everyone towards equality and respect, not just our members or the Pagan community. CoG reaffirms its statement on Statement on Separation of Young Children From Their Parents at the US/Mexico Border, which says:
We, the members of the Covenant of the Goddess, condemn the separation of children from their families as has been occurring at the U.S./Mexico border as well as elsewhere around the world. The Covenant of the Goddess believes that the forced removal of immigrant children from caring parents exposes the child to grievous psychological, emotional and even physical harm, and it is immoral. We demand the reunification of families to happen immediately and the immediate cessation of any policy that dictates the separation of families.
The statement quoted by Canu Nodiad was released last summer by CoG on July 2, 2018.
The COG Facebook page echoed a similar message sparking extensive dialogue on the matter.
At the moment it is unclear what actions CoG or their Northern California Local Council plan to take beyond issuing these statements.
The Covenant’s Work
CoG has been an established advocacy organization since the mid-70s focused on “assuring Pagan rights” as well as “representing Witches and Wiccans”. It is one of the oldest and largest Pagan religious groups in the world, extensively participating in interfaith activities as well as working to address social and environmental injustices.
While based in the United States, CoG has become an international organization and is now “a confederation of covens and solitaires of various traditions, who share in the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods and subscribe to a common code of ethics.” Their code of ethics is published on the CoG website and centers upon the Wiccan Rede: “An ye harm none, do as ye will.”
Currently, CoG has nine local (regional) councils spread across the U.S. with the highest concentration of them located in California. CoG’s mission states that it, “seeks to foster cooperation amongst Wiccans and Witches; to secure legal protection; to provide education through outreach and to nurture its members through dialog and community.”
Their annual business meeting and gathering, Grand Council and the adjacent festival called Merry Meet, are scheduled for August 2019 in New Mexico.
CoG’s statement and the NCLC statement align with nationwide protests that have been occurring with more frequency, like the ones that took place on July 2, 2019, ever since reports were released on the horrific conditions inside the camps that highlight the overcrowding, and lack of sanitary and personal hygiene supplies for detainees.
The most recent occurring on July 8, 2019 in Chicago and organized by grassroots Jewish advocacy group Never Again Action.
Lights for Liberty has called for another nationwide rally and vigil in protest of the detention camps on Friday, July 12, 2019. That group has an extensive list of events occurring this Friday on their website that includes not just U.S. Cities, but spans the globe with international rallies and vigils in Australia, Canada, France, Haiti, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.
No Pagan organization has issued any press releases specifically connected with the rally or their intent to attend any of the various vigils scheduled.
During the fiscal year, 2018, just under 400,000 individuals were detained by Customs and Border Patrol (242,778) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (153,670). Of those detained the number that are adolescents and younger children, the statistics are unclear, ranging anywhere from 13,000 to over 18,000. Not all those detained are held near the U.S. border.
The organization, Freedom for Immigrants, maintains a map of all the detention sites in the U.S., which number over 2oo currently and are virtually in every state, the lone exceptions being Hawaii and Connecticut. They also track all the data that pertains to the number of people detained, duration of detention, and other relevant information. Their data shows that roughly 48% of those detained are held for a period of two to four years, 28% are held for one to two years, 12% are held for six months to a year, with only about 7% being held for less than six months, and 5% being held for longer than 4 years.
TWH will continue to follow this story.