J.K. Rowling's series has doubtless had an incredible impact on the literary and pop culture worlds, but last night I learned of another, and I think rather astonishing, effect.
I give you the Harry Potter Alliance.
This organization uses the ideas and values of the Harry Potter series, and specifically the courage of Dumbledore's Army, to encourage youth toward social activism. From their website:
"Did you ever wish that Harry Potter was real? Well it kind of is. After all, both our worlds face "dark and difficult times":
- Genocide, Poverty, AIDS, and Global Warming are ignored by our media and governments the way Voldemort's return is ignored by the Ministry and Daily Prophet.
- People are still discriminated against based on sexuality, race, class, religion, gender, ethnicity, and religion just as the Wizarding World continues to discriminate against Centaurs, Giants, House Elves, Half-Bloods, Muggle borns, Squibs, and Muggles
- Our governments continue to respond to terror by torturing prisoners (often without trial) just as Sirius Black was tortured by dementors with no trial
- A Muggle Mindset pervades over our culture-a mindset that values being "perfectly normal, thank you very much" over being interesting, original, loving, and creative
So Harry's world is not very different than ours. And just as in his world, Dumbledore will remain here as long as there are those that are loyal to him. As long as there are those that are aware that the weapon we have is love and that more than ever, it's time to use that weapon.
And so the HP Alliance is dedicated to bringing together Harry Potter fans from everywhere to spread love and fight the Dark Arts in the real world and we need your help!
Help us replace the Dark Arts with love. Help us build the real Dumbledore's Army. Help us create an Alliance in the name of Harry Potter."
I'd guess all readers of this blog would agree that books can do a world of good - but I usually think of it in terms of creating more readers and educating young minds. The Harry Potter Alliance takes the value of imagination and literary energy to an entirely new, and wonderful, level.
Plus, they have Wizard Rock Bands: