Monday, June 14, 2010

Harry Potter Inspires Activism

The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) is only sort of what it sounds like. What it sounds like is a fan club, one of many that have brought fans of the Harry Potter series together to discuss their favorite books. It is true that every member of this organization loves Harry Potter. But the HPA does not spend very much time discussing whether or not Sirius Black is actually dead or exactly how Harry ended up with the elder wand. The HPA is an activist organization that seeks to fight the dark arts in our world by promoting the messages found in the beloved series – equality, love and friendship.

With a young staff comprised of volunteers, the HPA has become a steadily more impressive member of the activist community. Founded in 2005, the HPA has grown steadily over the past few years to include over 60 chapters and 40 staff members, as well as hundreds of individual participants. Made up of high school and college students sprinkled with a few “real adults” here and there (one, of course, being the incredible head of the organization, Andrew Slack), these volunteers are responsible for raising $123,000 during the Helping Haiti Heal initiative – enough to send five charter planes full of much needed supplies to the country after the devastating earthquake. Throughout its tenure as an organization, the HPA has collected over 55,000 books which were donated to a village in Rwanda and the Mississippi Delta and has registered hundreds of voters through its Wizard Rock the Vote campaign during the 2008 elections.

The HPA also engages its volunteers in getting other young people to act on issues that matter to them through its Wizard Rock the Vote campaign. Wizard rock, also known as Harry Potter through music, is yet another example of the pervasiveness of the Harry Potter series. But more importantly, it is a representation of how much the fandom has become a community, and a community of activists at that. As wizard rock bands tour this summer, playing crowd favorites such as “Teenage Werewolf” and “Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock,” they’ll also be plugging the necessity of civic engagement, of participation in the election process, and they’ll be working with HPA volunteers from across the country. They’ll be encouraging the young people in their audiences to vote for what they believe in, to take action for causes that inspire them.

What the Harry Potter Alliance has done is take the fundamental rule from Harry Potter and turn it into action. No one is going to save the world for you. Harry Potter was an 11 year old, and then a 15 year old, and then a 17 year old saving the world again and again because he saw an enemy and a way to defeat him. He didn’t wait for someone to help him. His friends didn’t wait for someone else to step up. When Harry was on the run, when it seemed as though Voldemort had taken over, there were still those who fought him, who gave hope to the rebels and the fighters. They, too, didn’t wait for someone else to save them.

And thus the Harry Potter Alliance was born with the idea that everyone has the right to read books, to vote in elections, to be civically engaged in our communities, to live peacefully and happily without the threat of genocide or persecution, and with the idea that we are not hindered by our youth, but empowered by it. Because no one is going to save the world for us. The HPA reminds us that as long as we have the passion, we can find the means to help those around us, whatever our age.


陳逸群 said...
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RoseH_Huls21365 said...
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