Why We Do It

Diversity is a gift, a gift that we should come together and celebrate.  Too often in public discourse, we see others dehumanize those that do not believe the same as they do.  They silence.  They shame.  They intimidate and terrify people from openly proclaiming what they believe.  Though they might never make a racial slur or discriminate based on gender, we find that they still discriminate on the basis of religion because they believe that there is only one valid religion, or because they were simply misinformed about another’s religious practices.  They fail to understand that tolerance is not enough, but that they need to realize the value of plurality of opinion, background, and viewpoint, especially in an increasingly global community.

Kansas City Pagan Pride Day is not just another pagan gathering.  Though this is a great opportunity to visit and support local vendors, enjoy a local Pagan entertainer or speaker, attend a public ritual, or see friends that you have not seen in a while, it is much more that a get-together.  Since 1999, KCPPD has sought to promote tolerance and understanding between people of different belief systems and provide the public an opportunity to experience a first-person view of not only what Pagans do but how we do it. Our desire is that the public might gain a better understanding of Pagan beliefs and practices, even if we differ in religious opinions and approach.

One of the primary objectives of this event is to demonstrate to the public that we are significant.  The larger our attendance, the harder it is for the public-at-large to dismiss us as isolated nuisances.  Pagans are easy to miss as they often practice in small groups, or go to isolated locations for meetings and festivals, sometimes by choice and somethings because they must.   Your attendance in this event helps send the message that we are here and not going away.

KCPPD also provides many Pagans a rare opportunity to surround themselves with others who also identify with Paganism.  Many come from a significant distance away because they do not know any Pagans in their own area.  Meeting other Pagans often helps them gain more confidence in being themselves and to being open in their chosen path.   As such, your presence, smile, handshake or hug means a lot to them.

KCPPD provides the Pagan Community an opportunity to build stronger bonds with each other.  Often our community is fragmented based on the various beliefs and personalities within it.  KCPPD attempts to provide neutral ground where all Pagan beliefs can come together and share.  It is a place where we put aside our disagreements and differences, and celebrate the diversity of our beliefs.   Pagan organizations are invited to share information about their activities, and help others understand what they do and why they do it.

KCPPD provides an accepting place for the non-Pagan public to interact and learn about Paganism.  Sometimes Pagan gatherings can be seen as shocking by the general Public, especially with little understanding of the Pagan beliefs.  KCPPD provides an opportunity to learn, watch, interact, question in an environment that seeks to eliminate misinformation and bad stereotypes.  We’re never going to be able to practice our spiritual paths openly if we don’t give the public accurate information about what we do and do not do.

KCPPD helps bolster and motivate Pagans, especially those practicing a solitary path.  Our Pagan Experience area and workshops can inspire, challenge and energize attendees to develop a deeper spiritual practice in the manner of their choosing.    KCPPD provides the opportunity for those new to their path to interact with others that may have been practicing for decades.  The goal is never to proselytize, but to assist each Pagan in the manner that would best help them.

KCPPD provides an opportunity for the Pagan Community to celebrate the skill of our vendors, and possibly support them with our purchases and praise.  Some especially need our support because they do not have the large market base that a non-Pagan vendor might have.  Buying handmade helps support individuals and their craft as well as their desire to continue creating items that are unique and of quality not found with mass produced products.  Their items also often have a story behind them, a purpose and inspiration for their existence. There’s a reason why it was created beyond just the obvious monetary reasons and most will be glad to share it with you.

KCPPD provides us an opportunity to acknowledge the entertainers in our community.  They also often are forced to sell their services to a smaller market and therefore would need our support.  Bards have a long tradition in Pagan lore, and contemporary Pagan music can extend from ambient instrumental to hard core Pagan metal.  But our musicians and entertainers help us celebrate in a unique way that only music and dance can provide.

KCPPD’s Dragon’s Nest, our young person activity center, helps provide a safe environment for children to interact on various Pagan activities.  Pagan children are often ostracized for their religious practices or the practices of their parents.   By having Pagan children interact together at the Dragon’s Nest, we hope that they also gain in understanding, pride and confidence in any path that they may choose.

No matter how tough you think your life is there’s always someone who has to face challenges that are even tougher than yours.  An important aspect of KCPPD is our charity raffles and food drive in support of charities serving our local community.  Those who witness our giving are reminded that we are all interdependent on one another for our care and well-being. That reminder can have a viral effect and motivate countless others to follow your example.

Every year we gather to celebrate our spiritual beliefs and our community.  If you are a Pagan, we hope this event will help you grow in pride and confidence in your chosen path. If you are not Pagan, we welcome you to join us with the intent to experience and learn more about Paganism so that we might open lines of communication.   In fact, let’s all celebrate together a little harder this year!

Sam Shryock
Former Local Chapter Coordinator
Kansas City Pagan Pride Day