Paganism has tremendous potential to change society. I think that the current power structure (whatever you happen to think that is) is, or very soon will be, aware of that fact.
The numerous pagan related teacher firings recently reported on “The Wild Hunt” blog is an indication of that. I know that many pagans feel very nervous about possible or apparent prejudice against them. Very understandable. But I propose we head “them” off at the pass. The way to do that is through community involvement.
The type of community involvement will of course vary from place to place. However, there are always opportunities somewhere close. For example my tuatha will be helping to re-seed one of the areas hit hard by the wildfires here in Colorado a few years ago. We simply visited the Forest Service website, looked up our local ranger district and found opportunities for volunteering galore.
Depending on the place, you may not want to even let people know that you are pagan . . . at first. In some places you may feel comfortable expressing your pagan-ness right off the bat. But a word of caution here. One of the most effective ways of getting the average Joe’s respect is to simply help out. Once you have proved your abilities to be dependable, to organize, and work well with others, that is the most effective time to spill the beans about your pagan spirituality. IMO, the more involvement pagans have in community problems and needs, that gratefulness will (9 times out of 10) translate into respect for, and comfort with, paganism in general.
What I am saying here is that there are times *not* to wear the pentagram. Leave the black clothing and heavy eye liner at home. Just show up and help. Once you have lent a hand and gained community respect (which always takes time), wear the above accoutrement with pride.