Dumbledore’s Army is a powerful force in the Harry Potter books and movies, and in real-life too. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Ron, and Hermione start the secret organization to teach their fellow Hogwarts students how to defend themselves against the dark arts and, most especially, Voldemort. You-Know-Who is a fictional character, but Donald Trump is real, and worse than the Dark Lord, according to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Fans who feel the same way and want to be activists can join The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit that helps Potterheads channel their energy into social justice issues. It offers chapter programs and training programs like the Wizard Activist School, which helps fans develop skills regarding conflict-resolution, engagement, and event-planning. The Granger Leadership Academy is a semi-annual four-day conference where members attend workshops and hear from keynote speakers.
The organization has chapters in over 25 countries, and in addition to local challenges, they focus on the seven critical issues outlined in their plan for resistance, which include climate change, LGBTQIA+ equality, and racial justice. Everyone who takes part in the nonprofit’s efforts becomes part of Dumbledore’s Army, a parallel to the one featured in the books and movies.
“We consider ourselves Dumbledore’s Army for the real world because we are all young people or formerly young people who decided a long time ago that it wasn’t up to just the people who are considered leaders in the country, and in our world, to make change,” Katie Bowers, campaigns director for The Harry Potter Alliance, told Mashable. “It’s really up to all of us, and if folks feel like they don’t have the skills to make that change yet, we are here for them.”
Since 2005, The Harry Potter Alliance has engaged with millions of fans, but following the 2016 election, the organization experienced a spike in sign-ups. Nearly 200 new chapters were created, and in total, over 1,000 new members joined. The Harry Potter Alliance is now rallying its members for their latest undertaking: the midterm elections.
On Thursday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. EST., The Harry Potter Alliance will host a livestream event, in partnership with Latinx Geeks and the #NoOn105 campaign, in order to defeat ballot measure 105 in Oregon. If passed, the measure will repeal the state’s sanctuary law and allow local law enforcement to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in potentially racially profiling and detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.
To mobilize support against the measure, fans will learn how to make calls to Oregon voters to remind them to vote no and to help them locate ballot drop sites. (Oregon has all-mail elections, which means voters must mail their ballots or drop them off at an official drop box.)
Fans will also hear from creative professionals, including documentary filmmaker and director Annalise Ophelian (Looking for Leia), actor and undocumented activist Bambadjan Bamba (Black Panther, The Good Place), and comic creator Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez (La Borinqueña).
The Harry Potter Alliance will also team up with The Women’s March Youth Empower Coalition and take part in its #VoterUp initiative. The goal is to help members put a voting plan into place, and provide information about where and when to vote, as well as which races and ballot measures to study. In addition to sharing messages on social media, The Harry Potter Alliance will reach out to their chapter organizers and list-serves to share resources.
No matter the election results, The Harry Potter Alliance will continue organizing and fighting for marginalized communities.
“Obviously we’re hoping for some really wonderful outcomes, but whatever happens, we’re going to have an action immediately following that is dedicated to making the point that refugees and immigrants are welcome in our communities and always will be,” Bowers said.
The ongoing action is known as Owls of Hope, a call to members to write letters to refugees. It’s a response to the Trump administration’s decision to reduce the number of refugees allowed in the U.S. in 2019, from 45,000 to 30,000. The campaign was also inspired by the Hogwarts letters Harry Potter received via messenger owls.
“Those were sent to Harry, who was … a victim of the first wizarding war and grew up in some pretty rough circumstances, who was able to come to the wizarding world and start an entirely new life,” Bowers said.
The Harry Potter Alliance, in partnership with , the , and Any Refugee, will deliver the letters to refugees on Nov. 10.
But that’s not all. This fall, The Harry Potter Alliance launched Dumbledore’s Army Fights Back, a campaign that will continue to support marginalized communities throughout fall 2018 and into 2019. In the past, the campaign called attention to the migrant children still separated from their parents, and released an anti-bullying toolkit, Don’t Be a Dursley, to educate members about the sources of bullying, the different types of bullying, what to do if they themselves are being bullied, and why not to be a bystander.
The hashtag #StoptheSnatchers is a major component of the campaign. It was originally created by the NYC chapter, New York Dumbledore’s Army, in summer 2018, in response to the Trump-led family-separation crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. As many Potterheads know, the hashtag is a reference to the snatchers (essentially bounty hunters) introduced in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. They bearing a striking resemblance to ICE, considering they roamed the country, trying to catch Muggle-borns because they were deemed illegal by Voldemort and his administration…I mean the Ministry of Magic.
To help support The Harry Potter Alliance, consider donating to Resistance is Magic, an Indiegogo fundraiser that will fund Dumbledore’s Army Fights Back. It ends on Saturday, Nov. 3. Perks include Harry Potter posters, shirts, and more. You can also start or join a chapter, join the mailing list, or volunteer. Whether you’re a brave Gryffindor, a loyal Hufflepuff, a witty Ravenclaw, or a cunning Slytherin, this is a movement you’ll want to be a part of.