I serve on a number of boards and advisory groups. But the one that gives me the most joy is my role as advisor to the Harry Potter Alliance.
Over ten years ago, I first received an unsolicited phone call from Andrew Slack. He explained that he had set up the Harry Potter Alliance as a vehicle for the book fans to do progressive social activism based on themes from the books. I was intrigued. The next thing that happened, I was invited in 2005 by Andrew to a benefit for Amnesty International performed by Andrew’s stand-up comedy group and the “wizard rock” band Harry and the Potters. I was quite impressed with the punk rock (nerd core?) style of the band as well as the enthusiasm of the young crowd. The event even raised $300.
I quickly became a huge fan of Andrew Slack’s ability to connect young people to social actions through making analogies to the themes of the books and films they love. Andrew is now building the “Imagine Better Network,” that, in his words, seeks to create “an unprecedented movement that goes beyond Harry Potter to all fandoms so that fantasy is no longer an escape from our world, but an invitation to change it for the better.”
Although I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, my main love is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As I continued to advise Andrew, he dubbed me as his “Rupert Giles.” I’m particularly proud of that and specifically my advice for the campaign to press Warner Brothers to use fair trade chocolate in its Harry Potter bars.
After almost ten years, I’m pleased that I’ve finally made the masthead of the Harry Potter Alliance website as a Senior Advisor. Here’s to another ten years as an advisor to my favorite activist group.