As a Pagan, I’m predisposed to celebrating. Every day, there are awareness raising campaigns, commemorations, and celebrations. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether to celebrate, or raise awareness – as with International Women’s Day or Pride month. All too often it feels performative and superficial. We wave the right hashtags about and make vague supportive noises and move on to the next one, but has anything changed at all?
Today isn’t World Mental Health Day or Suicide Prevention Day. The ill and depressed people haven’t gone away. The social pressures contributing to people’s mental health problems have not been fixed. It isn’t Bi Visibility today, but here I am, back to being my usual invisible bisexual self and wishing for a world in which I didn’t have to routinely flag up my own existence to try and make space for the fact that I and my fellow bi-folk exist and would rather like to be allowed to exist, free from both prejudice and erasure.
Earth Day isn’t enough. Peace One Day isn’t enough. We can probably do with just the one international apple day, and there are a fair few cheerful, innocuous world celebration days that aren’t big issues. But for everything else, one day a year of trying to make the right noises really doesn’t cut it, and it doesn’t beget serious change.
Real and meaningful change takes dedication. It makes more sense to pick a few causes you can properly support and commit to doing that all year round. Raising awareness and educating people requires more time, more insight and more effort than is possible showing up one day a year. Rather than being awash with Day of the Whatever and performative allyship, it is much more use to focus and commit to some specific issues.
You can take on quite a few issues on these terms. I’m a longstanding woodland and tree campaigner. I talk about mental health a lot, I raise awareness around domestic violence and queer issues. I talk about disability, accessibility, diversity and inclusion. I make this part of my everyday work and part of how I do my Druidry. I used to spend more time as a campaigner for Paganism but that feels less urgent right now. There are, inevitably, a lot of issues I don’t really show up for as a campaigner. But, I can always undertake to learn and to educate myself, to pay attention and try to improve my understanding. There’s always more to learn.