The Harry Potter Alliance, a fan activism organization, recently announced its plans to change its name and expand to include other fandoms.
For over fifteen years, The Harry Potter Alliance has been a fan-created organization that combines fandom and activism. Inspired by the messages of the Harry Potter series, the organization and its numerous chapters around the world have run a variety of campaigns in order to help communities and fight back against injustice. Recently, the leaders of the national Harry Potter Alliance organization announced that they will officially be changing their name and expanding into a multi-fandom activist organization in the near future.
Founded in 2005 by Andrew Slack, the Harry Potter Alliance (official website) has been a force in activism over the years. The campaigns run by the Harry Potter Alliance range from “Accio Books,” a book drive that has donated over 400,000 books to various organizations, to “Dumbledore’s Army Fights Back,” a campaign to combat the harmful policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.
The Harry Potter Alliance’s accomplishments also include the founding of the Granger Leadership Academy, an annual retreat for fan activists, and the successful campaign for Warner Bros. to change the chocolate used for Harry Potter branded candies to a fair-trade source. In addition, the local chapters of the organization have been a way for fans to connect to each other and bond over their love of fandom while working together for a common cause.
The Harry Potter brand has been mired in controversy over the past few years. While more new and exciting projects set in the world have been announced, there has been a lot of controversy around Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and the world she has created. The biggest issue has been Rowling’s repeated tweets attacking the transgender community (which includes Harry Potter fans). In addition, the series and its subsequent spinoffs have been criticized for their issues with representation, particularly for people of color and the LGBTQ+ community.
While Rowling’s recent harmful crusade against the transgender community is a major part of this decision, the official statement from the Harry Potter Alliance states that the decision was also made to rebrand as an organization that was already previously working with multiple fandoms outside of the Harry Potter sphere.
The Harry Potter Alliance has previously worked with other fandoms to put out a series of “Fandom Forward” toolkits. These toolkits include fandoms such as Marvel, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Star Wars and encourage discussions and activism using the themes found in those works.
Regardless of what the organization’s official name change will be, this move is a way to include more fans from a variety of different fandoms into fan activism while distancing the organization from Rowling and the recent controversies surrounding Harry Potter and its spinoffs.
Hopefully, this change will allow the organization to continue to expand its advocacy work and allow new groups of fans to find each other, connect, and work together to make the world a better, more inclusive place for all.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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