In Harry Potter, we see activism taking place most notably through Hermione Granger’s work with the creation of S.P.E.W., which stands for the Society and Promotion of Elfish Welfare, as well as the creation of Dumbledore’s Army. More recently, in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, we have seen Newt Scamander also being an activist for magical creatures especially when it comes to the protection of Frank the Thunderbird and the love he has for the creatures in that marvelous suitcase of his. But what about in the muggle/no-maj world? Is it possible to use something that we love to help others and be activists in our own right? My answer is yes. After all, J.K. Rowling began Lumos for this very purpose.
There are a few organizations that I would like to introduce you to that are very close to my heart for multiple reasons. The first one that I would like to talk about is the Protego Foundation. This foundation, which has also been known by the Fwooper Foundation and the Fantastic Beasts Foundation, is a foundation after Newt Scamander’s own heart. Protego fights to end animal abuse around the world and to educate people and make them aware of why animals too deserve the same love and treatment that we should also be giving to ourselves and other humans.
Protego has had support from multiple Harry Potter celebrities such as Robbie Jarvis, who played the young James Potter, Devon Murray, who played Seamus Finnigan, and of course Evanna Lynch, our very own Luna Lovegood. Their campaigns are currently working on a petition for Universal Studios to create a vegan butterbeer for Harry Potter Fans at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as the rescue of rhinos, a species which is still hunted for its horns. These campaigns are titled Accio #veganbutterbeer and Erumpent Rescue respectively. Then there is the Adopt a Pygmy Puff program, which helps shelter cats and dogs find forever homes and end the overpopulation of these furry friends.
I had the chance to meet Protego’s founder, Tylor Starr, at LeakyCon this year and talk to him personally about the foundation. Not only is he a quidditch enthusiast, but his passion and love for magical and muggle creatures alike is what makes him truly a beautiful person. Be sure to check out what he has started!
Another activist group that was founded through the love of Harry Potter is Transfiguring Adoption. This is an organization that also means a lot to me. Some people already know that I spent a portion of my life in foster care. Transfiguring Adoption is not specifically for foster or adopted children but rather for their caregivers. Many people do not realize how tough it can be for a foster or adoptive parent to take in children that come from so many different backgrounds and home environments. It can be difficult to bond with them, creating another environment that is hard on both the parent and child.
Most children in foster care come from broken homes and have experienced trauma which causes a variety of issues such as learning disabilities, mental illness and the inability to trust. Transfiguring Adoptions focuses on the caregiver by giving them resources and people to talk to for encouragement when dealing with the children they have taken in. By doing so, these parents are receiving help to create a more nurturing environment for the child so they can better function and continue to grow.
At LeakyCon, I got to meet Chris Rankin and hear his story of being an adoptive child. Like me, this is an organization that he has a personal connection to, and he recently helped to unveil the Elf Squad kits which were sent to supporters of the organization to help spread the word in their communities. The Elf Squad has done some great things including donating night lights to foster agencies so children that were afraid of the dark or had night terrors could use the power of lumos to be less afraid. I know I still sometimes use a night light, so this is a very powerful thing for foster families to have to assure their foster children that they understand and that it’s okay they are afraid.
One last group I would like to discuss is the Harry Potter Alliance. This group has been around since 2005 and is well-known in the Harry Potter community. They focus on many different things, but their main purpose is to engage fans of Harry Potter to fight for a cause important to them. They have campaigns that support human rights, equality, literacy, empowering women, and voter registration.
The great thing about the HP Alliance is that it has a very high percentage of first-time activists. They have even created a special Wizard Activist School to get these first-timers involved and familiar with what it takes to fight for human rights and social justice. Activists can even start a chapter of HPA right where they live and get involved in their own communities. It becomes a sort of social club for Harry Potter fans while also meeting others who are as passionate about the same causes. Think about Dumbledore’s Army. It was the inspiration for this organization’s founding.
I encourage all of you to get involved somehow in a cause that means something to you and to fight for it in your own way. This may be joining or forming a chapter of the HPA in your hometown, donating to Protego or signing their vegan butterbeer petition, throwing a Party with a Purpose to support Transfiguring Adoption, or maybe blogging on social media to raise awareness and to educate people about your cause. By doing so, you’ll be joining a great group of witches and wizards including Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Newt, and Luna in fighting to create change around our world.