The knowledge of justice

Today marks the start of Pride Month. LGBTQ+ rights are under threat across the world.

Today the news shows police violence against Black protesters in America.

Today the UK government has reduced anti-coronavirus measures, effectively letting the virus spread through the population, where it will disproportionately kill old, ill, poor and disabled people as well as BAME people.

These things are the same thing.

The Druid’s Prayer written by Iolo Morganwg is used in every ritual of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and many other Druid groups too. I say it at my home shrine every day. But for it not to become meaningless rote repetition, we need to pay attention to its words.

The prayer calls Druids to “the knowledge of justice, and in the knowledge of justice the love of it”.

To know justice is to understand the systems of injustice on which our modern world was built and which are perpetuated daily to keep power and wealth concentrated to a few, and to control the others.

To know justice is to imagine a better world.

To love justice is to be prepared to take a stand for it, and not to let it be destroyed by governments, greed, and hatred.

To love justice is to build a better world.

Justice means Black Lives Matter.

Justice means Trans Rights Are Human Rights.

Justice means Anti-Fascism, always and everywhere.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Pride month is a celebration of LGBTQ+ diversity. But it is not a party. Pride is a protest.

Pride is held in June to honour the memory of the Stonewall riots, in which Black Trans women played a key part. The LGBTQ+ rights movement directly drew from the Black Civil Rights movement for its inspiration and actions, as have virtually all social justice movements and campaigns ever since.

As Druids and Pagans we understand that life is interconnected, that no one living being is separate from any other. Likewise no one issue or one person’s rights are separate from any other.

LGBTQ+ rights are Black rights are disabled rights are class rights are women’s rights are environmental rights.

Justice, if it is to mean anything at all, must mean justice for all.

The Druid’s Prayer is a clear and clarion call for Druids everywhere to stand for justice everywhere.

There is no such thing as neutrality – to be neutral when others are being oppressed is to take the side of the oppressor.

Druids are only True Neutral in Dungeons and Dragons.

This month, please find some way, however small, to work for justice. You don’t have to fight the world or take on every issue at once, but select what is important to you and those you love, and do something.

And best of all – Listen.

If you’re white, as I am, or straight, or cisgender, or healthy, or rich, don’t make it all about you. Listen to Black people, listen to Trans people, listen to disabled people.

Don’t tell their stories for them, but listen to their voices.

Not sure where to start? Here are some resources to begin:

Black Lives Matter

Stonewall

Disability Rights UK

Stop Ecocide

The image used at the start of this post is the Progress Pride Flag designed by Daniel Quasar to incorporate Trans and Non-Binary people, People of Colour and people affected by AIDS as well as the traditional six-stripe LGBTQ+ rainbow flag. The design is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0).

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