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Feel Good Friday: Harry Potter fans push to make a difference in anti-slavery campaigns


Ever wanted to fight evil and make a difference with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of Dumbledore's Army? Now you can.

Ok, yes, Dumbledore's Army is fictional, but the Harry Potter Alliance is very real and they're making a huge difference. Inspired by the novels, they fight for the same ideals their fictional heroes fought for.

Founded in 2005 by Andrew Slack, the Harry Potter Alliance is a social activism group made up of Harry Potter fans. Their latest victory came as an early Christmas present. Warner Bros. released a statement saying, “By the end of 2015, and sooner when possible, all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent UTZ or Fair Trade certified." 

This long battle with Warner Bros. was won in efforts to fight back against child labor, which is very prominent in cocoa production. Sort of like Hermione Granger and S.P.E.W. (Society of the Promotion of Elfish Welfare), the HPA saw a population that couldn't stand up for themselves and decided they wanted to help.

The campaign was launched on Halloween in 2010, after a supplier of chocolate at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was given an 'F' rating by the anti-slavery organization Free 2 Work

“If ‘Harry Potter’ [as a franchise] were to be in alignment with the values of Harry Potter [himself], it could be a real symbolic and coherent victory,” Slack told the Washington Post. "'Harry Potter,’ more and more, is becoming a classic, and one that children are growing up on, with all seven books having been written. It’s part of the culture. It represents righteousness, nobility, love, so much beauty and a place of safety that people go to, and moral authority. If the ‘Harry Potter’ brand were to move something like fair trade, it would be making a statement that not only is the ‘Harry Potter’ brand a cut above the rest but that [other franchises] have to catch up to it.”

Teaming up with another anti-slavery organization Walk Free and notable Harry Potter fans like John Green, the campaign kicked off with a petition and the HPA sending Warner Bros. Howler messages (inspired by the series), which were videos berating the practices.

They had contact with JK Rowling's lawyer to represent them and threatened to even hoist a Dark Mark over the theme park, the ultimate sign of evil. The pressure worked, Warner Bros. caved and the heroes were victorious once again.

Just goes to show that beyond fangirling on Tumblr and Twitter, fans can really make a difference not just in their own lives but also in the lives of others.


by Kate Radin | 2/1/2016