Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 2131
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 22nd. 1998
Rant: Community Support, Does it Exist?
First Posted: February 22nd., 1998
Intro Updated: January 10th., 2000
Pagan Community Finances 2000...
Not much has changed... We all still struggle to find the cash to do this kind of work. As predicted, several good folks that used to do this work simply went away. The Witches' Voice is still entirely sponsor supported. We accept no free goods, services, or cash in return for promotion of other people's agendas. Wren and I continue to work for zero pay. The WitchVox sponsors do help us to pay for mailings, legal support, books, communication lines, postage and various other expenses that we incur directly related to doing this site for the community. We thank the Goddess for their support. You are reading this because of the WitchVox Sponsors.
NOTE: Although encouraged to do so on numerous occasions, by many Pagans, TWV has NO desire to be the money collector for the community, the bank or the "clearing house" for community funds. It is our observation that in a crisis, the community itself will be there with the support. We discourage you from sending your cash to any middle men/women that are collecting funds FOR the community via a commercial venture. If you see or hear of someone in need, check out their situation and send your support directly to them. It's, clean, precise and no one is lining their pockets off of your good nature.
This past year we were blessed by a ground-breaking case that set some powerful precedents solidifying Witchcraft as a legally acknowledged religion. The balances of the high profile orgs in the Pagan community hasn't changed much in the last year (YES, many of us are all still essentially broke) but THANKS to the ACLU, powerful legal action is at hand.
Well, here we are in the 21st century and I find myself making the same plea... "Support ANY Pagan Organization that you Believe in"
(from early 1998)
In my years of involvement in the Pagan community, I have seen numerous cases of real discrimination against the modern Witch, Wiccan and Pagan by individuals, employers and branches of our state and local government. Some fundamental religious groups would love to take that "famous quote" from the bible and do a religious cleansing in the name of their god. Don't get me wrong; the modern Pagan movement has definitely achieved some successes in the area of educating the general populace on what we REALLY do. Until recently, this has been rendered by local awareness work via public circles, local Witch shops and through direct communication with the media. THEN along came the Internet and our opportunity to "explain ourselves" took a giant leap forward.
Thanks TO the Internet, the "opposition" IS aware of us. Are they fine-tuning their plans for our future? Those that want to oppress us are trying to silence our voice using the tools of censorship legislation, filtering software and out right lies. (See Wren's latest editorial "Why Censorship Is Making A Comeback" for more on this)
Our community has a good reason to be upset; the X-Files "educating" our society is one thing... but the government (and the unsuspecting public) even as we speak is purchasing some "filtering" software (for schools, libraries, private use etc.) that completely blocks over 1,000 Witch, Wiccan and Pagan web sites. And that is a different matter altogether.
Letters of concern often fall of deaf ears. What DO you do when your concerns are met with silence or e-mail bombs?
So, once again our community is calling for a class action suit or some kind of legal action against these "censorware" manufacturers. It is my belief that properly funded we just might win. However, the sad reality is that the Pagan community can't afford a long-or even short-legal battle! Not by a long shot.
Wren Honey? What's our balance?
I can't speak for the other Pagan organizations out there, but we have been doing everything that we can think of for over a year to generate funds. The community tells us over and over (via email and submission forms) that they love what we do (The Witches' Voice pages have been viewed some 1.3 million times).... and as of this morning our current balance is (drum roll!) 81 dollars and change...
That's $81.22 folks!
We ARE one of the lucky ones, very lucky. WE are in the BLACK. The community has kept Wren and I working hard by paying for our 2 internet connections, a voice phone line, some office supplies, incorporation and a $25.00 a month Web hosting charge. We ARE one of the lucky ones... We can't thank our sponsors enough for helping to keep us alive. You hear us say this a lot. Why? Because without our sponsors, you wouldn't be reading this essay or ANY of this site. Wren and I will work hard for you and we will do it for free. We simply cannot afford to fund this out of our own pockets.
Do know, loud and clear, that Wren and I hate to "cry for cash" just to keep this thing going. Whenever we allude to this reality here on the web site, we always get some angry e-mail and I am sure we WILL get some angry mail for putting up this page!
To my knowledge, most of the excellent/hard working Pagan Web sites and organizations have no choice but to fund their work FOR the community directly from their OWN pockets. THEY pay for the web space, hardware, phone calls, office supplies and THEY also do this work for free. The more the community hits their pages or attends their public circles, then the higher the usage/materials charges are... More often than not, its a small handful of dedicated individuals that foot the difference FROM their own pockets.
I do keep my ears pretty close to the tracks and although the following is what I would call loose information, it does paint a pretty grim picture of the lack of financial support in our community.
Unless I am way off here, sisters and brothers, our STRONGEST organizations are lucky to be treading water. The frightening reality just might be that the Witches Voice is the richest Pagan organization on the Planet (That is until this month's bills come in - gulp!).
- This month, Green Egg (Church of All Worlds) magazine is having an auction to keep from going belly up
- Roger and Jacqui of Iron Oak were left holding the bag with a $40,000 debt from their legal battles FOR the community.
- The Pagan community DOES have a legal assistance group called ERAL and I do know that their financial status is anemic at best.
- I have personally heard nothing related to the current financial status of COG, CUUPS or Circle Sanctuary, but it is my guess that they too are struggling.
- The Pagan Webcrafters Association is entirely funded by Craig (Website) and Donal (mailserv) from their pockets (Thanks guys!).
- Lhiannon, Did you know that TPA shouldn't have to pay for all of this itself (meaning mostly YOU)?
- Moira love, does Earth Spirit have a spare 10 mil we can borrow?
- Tina (my Idol - The Webmistress of Avatarsearch), how is the support from all those that you celebrate?
- Robert, can the Pagan Awareness League take legal action on it's good looks?
- WADL? How's your piggy bank looking these days?
Who's IS going to save the day? Who will actually give us a hand? Is the ACLU our best hope? They HAVE expressed some interest because of the library censorship issue. However, they are hardly our cash cow and they already do what they can for so many. The Witches' Voice IS a sponsor of the ACLU and we did send them $50.00 this year. They survive on sponsorships, too.
|By contrast... |
The Christian Coalition is sitting on some 27 million and crying about it. Embarrassed that this is the best that they could do this year.
According to an article in the Arizona Star-Net, CyberSitter's president, Brian Milburn, estimates about 200,000 users of his "filtering" software-at about 30 dollars a whack.
An A.P. article just yesterday stated that the Promise Keepers (who generated some 70 million buckaroos last year) have let go all of their paid employees because they are "disappointed" in current support and will have to find a way to "eke by" on a paltry budget of 50 mil in '98 and will be run entirely by volunteers.
Does anyone want to grab a calculator and run the numbers on
exactly what percent $81.22 is of 97 million?
Can we do a call (not for a boycott - ouch!) to all the Pagan organizations to count up the change? Just what IS in the "war chest" of the Pagan community? I, for one, am afraid to look inside.
Will we ever really be able to consider legal action EVEN when we know it's correct and for the good of all?
To support any of the other wonderful Pagan orgs out there check out our Links section (They are all listed in the Freedom Fighters section) or email me personally for their url. Properly funded, our community can do some incredible things with this wonderful religion. We have much to say. We have much to offer. Our Voice could become a loud and powerful one.
|The Witches' Voice is just one of SO MANY that are trying to move this thing forward... |
My plea is for YOU to find ANY organization that you like and trust and toss them a couple of bucks. Toss them a couple of stamps. Put a dollar in an envelope and mail it to them.
Sure, we DO know that some of you are students and some of you are dirt poor and can only access the net via schools and libraries. Your community does understand this. However, if you can afford a personal computer and an internet connection, please try to support the organizations that keep you connected to and fight for the community.
Without YOUR financial support their days are numbered
Many of these Web Sites will simply go away!
But maybe this is too much to expect right now...
And maybe some one else in the community will pay your share?
And maybe the censors-those who wish to silence us once more-will have a change of heart...
And maybe all of this will just die down and simply go away.
Anyone out there have their Tarot Cards handy?
(ALWAYS Learning - NEVER Burning)
February 22nd., 1998 c.e.
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