The Lady Liberty League has issued a press release regarding issues surrounding a Summer Solstice Festival to be held June 19-23 near Pahokee, Florida. The event is the subject of controversy among local residents, with opposition coming from a number of local churches, as reported by a local news site, Florida.Newszap.com, in a story headlined "Summer Solstice Pagan Festival has Pahookee Residents Outraged," and showing a group of raqs sharqi (aka "belly") dancers in traditional (and I must say, quite beautiful) attire. The article quotes a local resident as saying, “We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells....”
The following news release was issued today by the Lady Liberty League of Circle Sanctuary:
May 30, 2013
For Immediate Release
Florida - The Lady Liberty League has formed a Task Force to address community concerns surrounding the Summer Solstice Pagan Festival near Pahokee, Florida.
The planned Summer Solstice Festival at the Lake Okeechobee Resort and Marina in mid-June was the target of anger and protest at a Pahokee City Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 28, by several Christian pastors and community members who objected to the festival being held in the region. On Wednesday, May 29, participants and coordinators of the planned Pagan festival appealed to the Lady Liberty League for assistance.
Also on May 29, coverage of the meeting appeared on local news website florida.newszap.com, and was soon picked up by Pagan news sources. Many Pagan individuals and organizations have expressed support for a unified effort to address the misinformation and lack of knowledge shown by individuals quoted in the article.
"This is an opportunity not only to bring about better public understanding about Paganism, but for Pagans of many paths to work together,” said Rev. Selena Fox, Executive Director of Circle Sanctuary and the Lady Liberty League (LLL).
LLL is currently working with festival organizers to resolve the situation. At this time, both the local government and the owners of the festival site have expressed support for holding the festival as scheduled. Efforts are focused defusing confrontation with the local Christian community, and engaging in education and compassion-based communication to create a safe and positive event.
A special LLL Task Force has been created by concerned members of the Pagan community to work toward a thoughtful and measured response to the situation. Members of the LLL Task Force are presently involved in interfaith discussions to increase understanding about Paganism in the local community. "It is an honor to be in service to our community and help coordinate this effort that seeks to both educate the public and protect the religious activities of our community,” said Peter Dybing, the primary coordinator of the LLL Florida Fest Task Force.
The support of the entire community in sending positive energy, volunteering for the Task Force and offering technical support is requested and appreciated. It is very important to focus on unified effort and to avoid any action that might be perceived by members of the local community as intimidating, as that would undermine the ongoing communication and education efforts.
At this time, Lady Liberty League asks that those who wish to help:
Press Release on www.circlesanctuary.org.
- Communicate with LLL in advance about ideas, by emailing email@example.com, including your contact information and what kind of help you wish to contribute,
- Avoid independent actions that have the potential to complicate efforts,
- Send spiritual support to the Festival organizers and other Pagans affected, and to the success of the LLL Task Force’s communication, outreach & support efforts,
- Stay informed through LLL’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LadyLibertyLeague)
- Share this release with others who may interested in helping.