CNN Feature on Harry Potter Alliance and Andrew SlackFans
With so much attention on the release of the Half-Blood Prince movie, there is also coverage of the larger Harry Potter today, with a new CNN feature on the Harry Potter Alliance and a new interview with founder Andrew Slack. He says he was motivated to help found the HPA as he "saw that the books weren't just empowering personally," he said. "I
think the books speak to something that is very unique, because
["Potter" author] J.K. Rowling has been able to express a story about
the importance of love."
The HPA is described as "a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging Potter fans in social activism," with the piece highlighting some of the efforts readers here at TLC will recall: "The alliance also helped hundreds to register to vote last year, according to Slack. Earlier this year, the Harry Potter Alliance conducted a book drive for children around the world, an effort led by "Potter" actress Evanna Lynch. Slack said they raised over 13,000 books, 4,000 of which went to youths in Rwanda who were very young at the time of the Rwandan genocide"
CNN includes comments from several of the 4,500 members, and mentions the current "What Would Dumbledore Do" campaign. The news site also makes note that Harry Potter author JK Rowling has praised the group publicly in the past. "It's incredible, it's humbling, and it's uplifting to see people going out there and doing that in the name of your character," she told Time magazine in 2007. "What did my books preach against throughout? Bigotry, violence, struggles for power, no matter what. All of these things are happening in Darfur. So they really couldn't have chosen a better cause."
Finally, the article makes mention that there are some who criticize the efforts of the HPA, with the piece reading: "Some bloggers have criticized the group for taking their fandom too far or using young fans' love of Harry Potter to promote an agenda. Slack denies that he has a partisan agenda. "I sort of took it as a compliment," he explained. At the same time, he hopes that at least some of their causes, such as promoting literacy, are things that all can agree on." Members of the group agree: "There are issues I didn't know much about or hadn't thought about too deeply that I'm now involved in, like Darfur," Bolton said. "It has introduced me to new issues and new ideas."