Hangin’ with the HPA at LeakyCon

Photo courtesy of Leakycon.com

In just 3 days, we’re going to back Hogwarts.

We’ll be at LeakyCon in Orlando, FL this whole weekend. This is one of our favorite times of the year. It’s also one of our busiest. Our plans include five panels, orchestrating a magical book swap, and winning a Quidditch showdown. Here’s where you’ll be able to find us around the con:

At the Marketplace

When we’re not winning Quidditch matches, running panels, or singing Total Eclipse of the Heart, we’ll be open for business in the Marketplace. This’ll be where you can find our merchandise, including some throwback t-shirts in the bargain bin and our Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards journals.

While you’re there, you can also buy tickets for our raffle. The winner will win a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone signed by one J.K. Rowling. You know, the lady who wrote it. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Seriously. It’s signed and you could win it!

Our booth will also be the home to our Apparating Library. Our magical book swap first materialized in LeakyCon London last year. It’s been around the world since then, and we’re so psyched to see it come back to where it all began.

Here’s everything you need to know to participate: Read more ⇓

Posted in Chapters, Connect, Esther Day, Harry Potter Alliance News | Tagged , , , ,

Esther Day: Harry Loves Hermione


Esther Day is just a 1 week away!

We’re starting to see some of the projects coming in and it’s awesome. If you’re looking for Esther Day events on August 3rd, we’re encouraging people to list all their events here:

As we get closer to Esther Day, we’re asking everyone to think about those people to whom they may have trouble saying “I love you.” It can be a scary thing to do.

To help rally your courage, we asked our friend Harry Potter to take the lead. See what Harry has to tell Hermione.

Esther Day happens on August 3rd, so get ready! For more information, go to estherday.org.

The Weapon We Have is Love,
The HPA.

Posted in Esther Day | Tagged , , ,

Seven Years since Deathly Hallows came out!


Seven years ago, the world said it was the end of an era. News outlets prepared for what they thought – and perhaps hoped – would be their final coverage of the Harry Potter phenomenon. While small bookstores celebrated alongside readers, big box stores were gearing up for “one last midnight release.”

Seven years ago, we knew better. We were ready. We were decked out from head to toe, friends new and old by our side and wand at the ready. Maybe we were lining up, filling stores and sidewalks with our excited chatter, shutting down Harvard Yard with our music movement, pushing our favorite fansites’ servers to their limits. We were loud because we knew the rest of the night would be spent in silence. We knew we’d be reading well into daylight. We knew better. Read more ⇓

Posted in Empowerment, Literacy, Philosophical Musings, Stories | Tagged , , , ,

Internet Merch Table

Safe sounds don't tolerate gender-based harassment!  Do you know who the Title IX Coordinator for Hogwarts is?  Image: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:Concept_photo_of_The_Hogwarts_Castle_%28

Did you know we have an internet merch table?

We’ve spent our summer apparating from one con to another, so our physical merch table has been pretty busy. Thanks to wizard science and our friends at DFTBA Records, however, all our wizard wearables (including shirts for people and walls) are also available through the internet. We’ve even gotten the Ministry of Magic to let us lift all the charms on it and make it available beyond the Floo Network.

Our online store just got some new additions:

Now you can rep the internet with our Hogwarts Internet Club and Grangr t-shirts. There’s also our super-swanky Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards journal, which we promise is not a horcrux. And if you’re in need of some encouragement, you can hang the Hang in There, Baby Crookshanks poster on your wall for instant, furry moral support.

These are the latest in our merch line, which includes some of our old favorites like the Granger/Lovegood 2016 campaign tee and our classy HPA logo shirt. So classy.

We’d love to see you at our booths and tables across the country (LeakyCon Orlando, anyone?), but the internet’s got your back if you can’t make it.

Each purchase helps support our work at the Harry Potter Alliance. So thanks!

Feel free to buy all the things. 

Posted in Harry Potter Alliance News | Tagged , ,

Don’t let Net Neutrality disrupt your regular stream of cat videos

Image source: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/01/net-neutrality-is-half-dead-court-strikes-down-fccs-anti-blocking-rules/

Flickr user M3Li55@

Hey, do you love YouTube?

Maybe you’ve heard about this thing called Net Neutrality.

It’s the idea that once you’ve paid for your internet service, you should have equal access to the entire internet: from your favorite independent YouTube creators and to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

But internet service providers (ISPs) want that to end. They want to be able to charge the content creators to get onto your computer screens: a service that you’ve already paid for.

Today is a big day in the fight to preserve Net Neutrality.

The FCC’s public comment period ends this week!

Take a few minutes to watch our friend Hank Green’s video on net neutrality and sign this petition which sends comments directly to the FCC.

Tell the FCC that you love YouTube. Tell them about how independent video creators have enriched your life and remind them that it was made possible by Net Neutrality.

Let them know! Now!

Posted in Action | Tagged , , , ,

Tomorrow’s Esther Day event


Earlier this summer we launched The Esther Day Project, a campaign to prepare for our favorite holiday. While Esther Day is August 3rd, we’re honoring Esther Earl and the power of love all summer long.

Tomorrow at 2:30 PM Eastern, HPA President Andrew Slack will be joined by Lori and Wayne Earl, Esther’s parents and This Star Won’t Go Out’s founders, for a livestream. Read more ⇓

Posted in Esther Day | Tagged , , ,

Happy Birthday Title IX! Legal Gender Equality in Schools is Turning 42

The crack of a bat.  The slap of a hockey stick.  The splash in a pool.

Title IX is about more than just women's sports.  Image credit: http://blogs.state.gov/photos/2012/08/14/gbv-card-signed-650-women

Title IX is about more than just women’s sports. Image credit: http://blogs.state.gov/photos/2012/08/14/gbv-card-signed-650-women

If you’ve heard anything about Title IX, it probably sounds something like that.  This past week celebrated the 42nd anniversary of Title IX, an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965. Title IX states that, No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Quidditch may have always been co-ed, but for muggles in the U.S., Title IX is credited with equalizing the playing field for women in sports.  When the law was enacted in 1972, there were 295,000 girls playing high school sports.  Today, that number has skyrocketed to over 3 million.  Girls of different racial and economic backgrounds don’t reap the benefits of increased athletic opportunities equally, and the money spent on women’s sports pales in comparison to the budget for men’s teams, but there is no denying Title IX has had a profound impact on women’s athletics.

“But wait,” you say.  “That law up there says no person and any education program, not just women and sports.”

You savvy reader, you.

Read more ⇓

Posted in Action, Empowerment, Human Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A very big announcement


As you know, it’s already been a big year for the HPA. And it’s nowhere near over. I’m extremely excited to share with you a series of three more epically awesome updates.

I was just named an Ashoka Fellow!

“Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who we recognize to have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. They demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that compassion, creativity, and collaboration are tremendous forces for change. Ashoka Fellows work in over 70 countries around the globe in every area of human need.”

This fellowship offers three years of funding and support, but beyond that, for the rest of my life I will have deep connections to a network of thousands of proven innovators and social entrepreneurs, and that network should open up fundraising, partnership, and expansion opportunities that will be unprecedented and gamechanging for the HPA. See this video interview Ashoka did with me to learn more.

The HPA is expanding from an organization to a movement – which brings me to the next exciting announcement.

I am now HPA President and Director of the Imagine Better Network

As the founder of the Harry Potter Alliance, it is my baby and I treasure it deeply. But when I thought of the idea for the HPA in 2005, it was mainly a way to get to the dream I came up with around 1999: to build what we now call the Imagine Better Network, a larger movement based on the notion that fantasy is not an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it.

The power of story extends beyond the walls of Hogwarts into all of our most treasured books, TV shows, and movies. It is my role to take the HPA’s methodology of harnessing the power of popular stories and spread it to nonprofits and schools, activist organizations, philanthropists, and Hollywood. In short, I will put forward an Imagination Stimulus Package to expand our civic imagination, so that we can envision and work for a world beyond the injustices in our status quo.

Paul DeGeorge is the new Executive Director of the Harry Potter Alliance

I received the Ashoka fellowship in large part based on my work this year as a Nathan Cummings fellow in social justice innovation. During this time, it became increasingly clear to both Paul and me that his job has evolved more and more to lead the HPA as an organization, while mine was focused on leading the HPA as a movement.

As one of the HPA’s co-founders, a creator of wizard rock, half of Harry and the Potters, and a founder of 21st century fan activism, Paul is an innovative big vision thinker while excelling in the day-to-day skills needed to steward ideas to completion, manage finances, and inspire staff and volunteers to rally around him as a leader.

Please join me in congratulating him as our new forward-thinking captain. Paul is truly one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met, and one of the most creative human beings on the planet.

As President of the HPA, I will continue to work closely with Paul as we continue to turn fans into heroes and change the world. And while Paul leads the HPA, I will ensure that all of the work the HPA does gets amplified 10,000 times over – when the HPA does something amazing, I will take it to other nonprofits, activists, Hollywood, you name it, and make it 10,000 times more spreadable and amazing.

This is only the beginning of our movement, and I’m honored that you’re part of the journey with me.

The Weapon We Have Is Love!


Posted in Connect, Human Rights | Tagged , ,

The Granger Grant

Chapters Logo

Remember when we had that awesome and amazing fundraiser during EFTW 2.0 last year? Well, thanks to the support of our amazing community during the fundraiser, we’re thrilled to offer the Granger Grant for Excellence in Community Organizing.

The Granger Grant is an exclusive award offered to chapters with an outstanding history of achievements, who have an innovative action idea for the upcoming year, and a concrete plan to turn that idea into reality. Each round of awards offers one top prize of $1000 and three runners-up of $500.


Last February we were thrilled to award our very first Granger Grants to four fantastic chapters: the Ashville HPA, the Edmonton Potterwatch Institute for Charity (EPIC), London Leviosa, and Phoenix Rising. Check out their websites and keep an eye out for more awesomeness from these fantastic chapters.

With the first round of Granger Grant winners already blazing trails into a brighter future, and we hope that your chapter will be the next on the list! All chapter organizers are eligible to apply as long as their chapter is registered with the HPA, and demonstrably active. There are no requirements for size, length of existence time, or location–so what are you waiting for?!

The deadline for the second round of Granger Grants is June 30th, so now’s the time to apply! Get your wands out, dig out those great ideas you haven’t been able to put into practice yet, and let us help you make them into reality. Head on over to the Granger Grant page to learn more, check out the Frequently Asked Questions, and submit your application here!

While you’re over there, check out the first-annual Granger Leadership Academy and join us in a magical weekend connecting with other chapter members and our wonderful chapter staff.

Posted in About, Chapters, Harry Potter Alliance News, Literacy, Stories | Tagged , ,

BookCon, Book Fans, and the Lines that Connect a Community

Image courtesy of: http://www.thebookcon.com/Media/BookCon-Logo/

Image courtesy of: http://www.thebookcon.com/Media/BookCon-Logo/

As I followed a small crush of people down a long concrete hallway, I noticed two girls stuffing paperbacks into a large rolling suitcase.  They were laughing about the weight of the bag and the thought of hauling it home on the subway.  They weren’t particularly concerned about the endless flow of people rushing past them.  They were already in line.

I was at BookCon in New York City, heading to the back of a line to see a panel about Jonathan Tropper’s book-turned-movie, This is Where I Leave You.  I came to BookCon because I am what NPR editor Linda Holmes calls a “Book Girl”.  According to Holmes, Book Girls (and Book Boys and Book Women and Book Men and Book People of All Ages and Genders) grew up on J.K. Rowling, love trilogies and dark stories, and get as excited about authors as we do about musicians and movie stars.

Read more ⇓

Posted in Connect, Literacy, Stories | Tagged , , , ,