CAYA Statement on Police Militarization, Brutality, and Racism 2016

CAYA Coven’s full legal name is “Come As You Are Pagan Congregation.” The foundation of our shared purpose as a community is the recognition of the divinity inherent in all human beings. In the wake of the disproportionate number of deaths of people of color at the hands of police in the US this year, we have updated and are re-issuing our 2014 Statement on Police Militarization, Brutality, and Racism

Our prayers and hearts are with all of the people of this nation, Black and Brown, living daily with the realities of the racist United States justice system and all those killed, raped, and brutalized by the police.

The people of the US can no longer deny the institutional racism that operates within the law enforcement system. A system that targets its citizens for punishment and violence based on race, ethnicity, color, sex and/or gender expression, or sexual orientation is not a system for the people by the people. CAYA has and will continue to work spiritually and practically in our actions to bring circular shared power dynamics to the Pagan community. As racism in the U.S. is being confronted and challenged, we know it to be our duty to commit ourselves as a community to exemplifying diversity and respect.

  • We are committed to understanding and leveraging our own varied weights of privilege and to the process of dismantling the internal racism we have all been raised with in United States culture.  

  • We support the efforts of peaceful assembly and demonstration to awaken and change a system that kills with impunity Black and Brown people living in the U.S. The militarized police responses and the use of methods outlawed in war by the Geneva Convention at these gatherings have only underscored the desperate need for change in this system.

  • We encourage all Pagans to stand for justice and to find ways to uplift the marginalized, to listen to their voices and to place their lived experiences at the center of the discourse about their lives and issues. We encourage dialogue that acknowledges and supports Black and Brown people as the centerholders and authorities regarding the subjects of racism, racial privilege, and police brutality.

  • We encourage Pagans to use their voices and votes to demand their local and state representatives enact the needed legislative changes to reform the police and legal system.

  • We encourage all Pagans of conscience to get involved in local government, to call and write to their city councils, their state representatives, and the federal government. Find your local representatives’ contact information here.

  • CAYA Coven will continue to endeavor to be a safe spiritual space for people of color. We welcome dialogue with our community to ensure that safe space.

  • We have family in St. Louis, in New York, in Chicago, in Los Angeles, all places where there is current and ongoing police violence. We gather for worship in the Bay Area, where there is current and ongoing police violence. We are part of the greater human family, and we weep for the fallen, the beaten and the maimed. We fear for our own friends, families and loved ones who suffer injustice. We see you, we care about you, and we stand with you.

May justice prevail over the comfort of privileged citizens who turn a blind eye to injustice. May unethical uses of power be dealt with peacefully, yet uncompromisingly. May Black and Brown people be given their long-overdue respect and recompense, and may we collectively guarantee the rightful acknowledgement and action to address their fear, grief, anger, and outrage. May we endeavor to truly ensure the rights of all people by resisting, criticizing, and dismantling systems of injustice. Blessed Be.