File this under things that will make your day: there’s a bonafide service organization called the Harry Potter Alliance.
As you very likely already know, the final Harry Potter movie opened early this morning – marking the end of a decade plus-long era that has captured the imaginations of people young and old. Looking (I thought rather hopelessly) for a connection that could tie the historic occasion to service, I stumbled across the Harry Potter Alliance, founded in 2005 and which, according to its website:
…”takes an outside-of-the-box approach to civic engagement by using parallels from the Harry Potter books to educate and mobilize young people across the world toward issues of literacy, equality, and human rights. Our mission is to empower our members to act like the heroes that they love by acting for a better world.
The organization’s approach reminded me of something I’ve seen at a lot of Passover seders in the last few years – namely, taking the 10 plagues and adding 10 additional “modern plagues” (from climate change, to human trafficking, to growing illiteracy rates) which highlight the idea that we continue to have work to do and rights to fight for. In a similar vein, the HPA takes the idea of horcruxes from the book and finds modern-day equivalents.
In just a few short years, the Harry Potter Alliance has assembled a Dumbledore’s Army of its own – encouraging campaigns with names like “Accio Books!” (a book drive that has collected more than 32,000 books for underprivileged kids), “LiberaCorpus” (a campaign to build better body image), and “Imagine Better” (a campaign to raise awareness about climate change as a human rights issue).
With all the books finished, and the last movie in theaters – it is time to say goodbye to the Harry Potter dynasty. But thanks to the HPA, Harry can live on. Plug into the Harry Potter Alliance here.