Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shining- a reminder about what good leadership can be

As I wrote about the other day, I have been watching another nasty and bizarre  Pagan drama unfold online. I've written about staying safe from abusers in spiritual communities, but I also had a really positive observation to make from this as well.  I got a chance to see a remarkable bit of grace and spiritual maturity from the the woman in question.

Marjenna  L.Gittings, a long time member of the pagan community, found that some of her writing was posted on someone's social media page without attribution, and she asked for the person who posted it to make sure that it was attributed to her. It would have been simple for the whole matter to be squared away in a matter of minutes, but it wasn't.  Marjenna, was cussed at, told that the guy didn't have to listen to her, and she turned to a a group of people interested in intellectual property rights for help.  The incident is now duly documented, it's been discussed at length among the group and advice on how to report these sort of violations to the proper entities given.  She got an apology, it wasn't the best apology I've ever seen, but it was an apology.  People who have had interactions with the offender were still not satisfied, and I they have their reasons for still , after a few days, being upset, angry and ready to act. Marjenna, though, accepted the apology, and was perfectly willing to move on with that and her work properly attributed.

In the midst of high emotions and past hurts, she exhibited not only incredible grace and a willingness to stand up for herself, but she also was, and continues to be, thoughtful and compassion to all sides of this argument.  She hasn't backed down from insisting that her work be properly attributed, she sought help and followed, reasonable logical steps to assert her copyright, but she never stopped being compassionate, polite and professional.

The larger issue of plagiarism, misappropriation and a lack of attribution, combined with the fact that some people aren't very nice, is going to take a long time to deal with, but I also think that we can't change the world without building community, looking for cooler heads in any debate to moderate and be a bridge for communication, and holding on to honor, compassion and love.  I am honored to have been able to witness this event because it served as an excellent reminder, during my own drama with my volunteer work, to hold onto my principles, not get walked on, but still be compassionate.  The reminder was so perfectly timed that I can't help but think it got a little help from the gods.

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