In July 1999, after the U.S. House Representative of Georgia, Bob Barr issued a press release titled: “BARR DEMANDS END TO TAXPAYER-FUNDED WITCHCRAFT ON AMERICAN MILITARY BASES.” Selene Silverwind and Brian Ewing decided that Los Angeles Pagans needed an event to come together and celebrate our presence.
We discovered the Pagan Pride Project organization in its third year, planning approximately 35 events around the country to coincide with Mabon, the autumnal equinox. We joined the Pagan Pride Project initiative with very little time to prepare and held our first Pagan Pride Day event on September 19, 1999.
The event received tons of help from dedicated volunteers and attracted 150 attendees, including local LAPD officers. The officers who attended came away from the event with a new understanding of Pagans and paganism. And where heard frequently commenting that we were “all so nice.”
After the massive success of our debut event, Pagan Pride LA/OC was incorporated as a non-profit organization in November 2000.
We knew Pagan Pride Day 2000 would need a larger venue. Our third coordinator, Mysti Rosewind, was instrumental in planning our second Pagan Pride event at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Long Beach, CA.
It was attended by over 700 people and received news coverage in two major daily Los Angeles county newspapers.
By the following year, the Pagan Pride Project had spread throughout the country and internationally. Pagan Pride events had sprung up in Rome, the United Kingdom, Brasilia, and Sao Paulo.
Locally, Pagan Pride Day 2001 was a sorrowful event, occurring in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. We gathered over 200 people at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA, and hosted a memorial and healing ritual for the families suffering from their loss.
By 2002, the nation was still recovering from such a painful moment in our history. But Americans from all walks of life were also starting to unite in the spirit of togetherness. And perhaps it was this same spirit of unity that brought almost a thousand people to our Pagan Pride Day event that year.
Pagan Pride Day 2002 hosted fifty vendors and organizations, eight performers, eleven authors, and ten workshops at Whittier Narrows in El Monte, CA. The main ceremony was performed by the Covenant of the Goddess SoCal chapter, as arranged by Raven’s Flight, with awe-inspiring and soulful rituals conducted by the Raven’s Cry Grove and the Ancient Keltic Church.
The Pagan Pride Project, Inc. currently stands at over 100 planned events in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Great Britain, and Portugal.
Today, Pagan Pride LA/OC hosts one of the nation’s largest Pagan Pride Day festivals. It’s the one day of the year when Pagans can come together in one place to celebrate our diversity and raise awareness of pagan religions in our society.
Brian Ewing, Selene Silverwind, & Mysti Rosewind (January 2003)
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