This month Likewise focuses on readers. In particular, Harry Potter fans. The Harry Potter Alliance formed in 2005 with a mission of "changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story." That gives me goosebumps. I love that good books not only linger in people's minds but they move them to find other people who love books and then use that passion to make the world a better place. Goosebumps.
This year the HPA won an unprecedented victory against child slavery when they convinced Warner Brothers to make all HP chocolate sold at WB outlets Fair Trade certified. It was a four-year effort, complete with HPA members sending cease and desist orders and muggle howlers. In 2013, they combined forces with Walk Free, a global anti-slavery movement, and last spring J.K Rowling joined the effort. At long last, Warner Brothers saw the light and conceded. Washington post reporter Alyssa Rosenberg called the victory " . . . a fascinating symbol of what activism might look like when it's animated by fiction rather than political parties . . ."
The HP Alliance also helped win a battle for internet neutrality and continues to fight as the giant entities that provide internet service rally to erase that victory. HPA is a perpetual equal rights army with too many projects to mention. You can catch up on their blog, but I can't end this post without mentioning Accio Books, their campaign to gather and give away books. Since 2009, they've provided needy communities with over 200,000 books. This year, besides book giveaways, they're participating in the American Library Association's National Library Legislative Day and Celebrate Teen Literature Day, as well as gathering stories with personal value to HPA members to explore how story shapes membership.
There are HPA chapters all over the world at high school, university and community levels. I counted eleven in Florida alone. Click here to find one near you or learn how to start your own. It's amazing what story lovers can do when they unite.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist, and I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti at Open Book Literary.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor