Where’s the proof that child slavery is not being used in Harry Potter’s name?
As we enter the new year of 2012, we in the Harry Potter Alliance have a big vision of expanding our work with people from all over to translate the message of Harry Potter into our world: that love has a power beyond the reach of any magic. A crucial step in our world embodying the power of love is to honoring our children.
The cocoa industry is unfortunately plagued by the exploitation of cocoa farmers whose children continue to go hungry. In extreme circumstances, children are kidnapped from their families and trafficked as slaves on cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast. The entire cocoa industry is so corrupt that unless there is a transparent way (such as the process required by the Fair Trade label) to prove that chocolate comes from ethically grown cocoa, there is a chance that it funded the market for the trafficking of children and an almost definite chance that it funded the perpetuation of global hunger amongst children.
We in the Harry Potter Alliance only want to see Harry Potter’s name used to promote products that come from values that Harry Potter, the members of Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix would stand by. In short, we want to see all Harry Potter chocolate become Fair Trade – so that we know that our delicious chocolate frogs are not coming at the expense of the messages that JK Rowling imbued in the series, of the goodwill in the Harry Potter fandom, and most certainly, in the lives of children across our world.
Given Warner Bros. statement that they are opposed to the exploitation of farmers and to child slavery under all circumstances, this should have been a no brainer for them. But when we showed Warner Bros. that Behr’s Chocolate, the company they use to make all Harry Potter chocolate got an “F” in human rights by our partners at Free2Work, Warner Bros. ignored us. Finally upon further inquiry, Warner Bros. released a statement that they had conducted an internal investigation that proves that Behr’s Chocolate is ethical in how they come by their cocoa.
We asked them to send us the results of this investigation and they ignored us. Over 16,000 of us Harry Potter fans have asked. We have sent video howlers, letters, and more, all demonstrating how important it is that we see the results of their investigation.
We finally asked Warner Bros. to send us the results of their investigation by midnight on New Year’s Eve heading in to 2012.
Well, now it’s 2012 and we have received nothing but silence from Warner Bros. They have no intention of sending us their investigation – assuming there even was an investigation in the first place.
I feel saddened by this. Our world has so much suffering in it but I was hoping that Warner Bros. realized it’s amazing power in changing that. I was hoping that in dark and difficult times, they would make a choice between what is right and what is easy, and their choice would be what is right. Unfortunately, they seem to have chosen what is easy in place of what is right. They seem to have calculated that as a giant company there is little recourse that we ordinary folk have in challenging them.
But I think they calculated incorrectly. Time Magazine made the 2011 Person of the Year, “The Protestor” as we have seen a year where the power of ordinary people has created an Arab Spring, an Occupy Movement, and more. Forty year old dictatorships have been brought down thanks to ordinary people who have had nothing but will, creativity and access to social media.
Well, my fellow Harry Potter fans in this Dumbledore’s Army for our world, we have those things in spades. The Harry Potter Alliance is a community that went from nothing but the hope and inspiration of the Harry Potter series to winning first place in the Chase Bank Community Challenge out of over 10,000 organizations, sending five cargo planes of supplies to Haiti, donating about 90,000 books across the world, building a library for an elementary school in Brooklyn, funding the protection of thousands of civilians in Darfur and Burma, and breaking records in advocacy efforts for LGBTQ equality.
In their arrogance, by ignoring us, they are not realizing the power they are about to awaken. Because Harry Potter fans are not going to walk away without ensuring that Harry’s name is being used for the liberation and not exploitation of children. The longer Warner Bros. ignores us, the more they will realize that while they thought they were sacrificing what is right for what is easy, they actually were sacrificing what is right for what is hard.
We will not flinch from a Goliath who believes it can intimidate us with its size. We have magic. We have used it before. We will use it again. Get ready my fellow Wizards. We are about to invite a giant to dance. And get ready Warner Bros. Hagrid has our backs. And he knows how to teach a giant to do just about any thing.
We will not back away until we see the report that you supposedly did. And we will not back away until we reach the day when we all can know that what is sold in Harry Potter’s name is consistent with the values in the books we have treasured and grown up with.
Happy New Year everyone! This fight has now begun.