Spreading His Wings & Leaving the Nest: a Message from Jackson Bird

Photo of Jackson Bird in a red jacket. He is smirking and standing in front of a path through green hills in Iceland. On to the next adventure! Photo credit: Jackson Bird

Jackson Bird has been making magic with the HPA for over eight incredible years! At Hogwarts, that basically makes him a super senior, which means the time has come for Jack to leave the nest and pursue some awesome new projects! He’s left a message for all of us, but first Jack, a message for you: We’ve been so honored to learn and grow with you over the years — thank you for taking so many of us under your wing. Over eight years, you’ve helped the HPA spread its wings and reach incredible heights. As you take to the sky, we’ll be cheering you on and excited to see all you accomplish! Don’t forget to tweet, and remember — Hogwarts (and the HPA) will always be here to welcome you home. ❤️⚡️

And now, some words from Jack:

Today I’m stepping down as the Director of Wizard-Muggle Relations at the HPA.

I’ve been with the HPA for eight years, first as a volunteer and for the past five years as an employee. This tenure would make me a super senior at Hogwarts, which I think we can all agree, is not a cute look.

Much like Hogwarts, the HPA has been my school, my place of friendship, and my home. I joined the HPA as a volunteer in 2010 at twenty-years-old and was hired full-time at just twenty-three. I’ve spent my whole adult life thus far guided by wizards. From teaching me how to manage a staff and conduct performance reviews to challenging me to grow into an activist and enveloping me in unconditional love when I came out as transgender, my colleagues at the HPA have helped mold me into the person I am today.

I have met many of the most important people in my life at the HPA. Our volunteers, our founders, our board members, our chapter members, our partners, and our donors are truly passionate, kind, and creative folks that I’ve been honored to work alongside and befriend over the years. It’s because of each one of them that I know the HPA will continue forward with even more strength and magic than I’m leaving it with.

I’ve been fortunate to be there for some of the HPA’s greatest victories — like helping pass marriage equality bills year after year, mobilizing fans for net neutrality, educating on safe spaces for transgender people, successfully getting Warners Bros. to switch to ethically-sourced chocolate for their Harry Potter candies, and so much more.

And I can’t wait to watch as future victories roll in. Granger Leadership Academy is entering its fifth year as our training ground for future fan activists. There are now over 235 chapters in thirty-five nations, in six continents (nearly four times as many as there were when I joined eight years ago). Neville Fights Back is giving hope and instructions to all of us in this dark timeline. And this year’s Accio Books campaign, adding to the 350,000 books HPA members have already donated around the world in past years to send books to Boys and Girls Clubs in Puerto Rico, feels particularly special to me. Afterall, it was seeing fans come together in support of a community in need after another disastrous hurricane in 2010 that inspired me to join up in the beginning.

So why am I departing from this magical organization that has colored in the outlines of my life for the past eight years? I don’t have a great reason, other than that it’s time.

I’ve been super fortunate during my time at the HPA to be allowed — encouraged, in fact — to continue other creative pursuits on top of my job. Having been hired at such a young age, it was always understood that the HPA was a center of learning for me and not a final destination. Now, as my creative endeavors have grown more and more, it’s come time for me to move on.

But moving on doesn’t mean leaving. Not really. I’ll be watching from the sidelines, cheering everyone on, and maybe popping up as a guest in videos or livestreams from time to time. I’ll even be attending VidCon and LeakyCon as an individual this year so make sure to say hi if you see me (I’ll be the one trying to figure out what to do with all my free time now that I don’t have to wake up at six am to open the HPA’s merch booth every morning).

Who I am will always be inextricably tied with the HPA and this amazing, wonderful, magical community. In fact, I’m pretty sure my heart has a lightning bolt sticking out of it at this point. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you to each and every one of you, all of you who make up the HPA. I promise to continue living out the values of the community and never forget the magic I was taught here. The HPA will always be my home. Always.

The Weapon We Have Is Love,

Jackson Bird

the Wizard Activist

From the Harry Potter Alliance. We turn fans into heroes.

the Harry Potter Alliance

Written by

We turn fans into heroes. Help us keep doing it: thehpalliance.org/donate

the Wizard Activist

From the Harry Potter Alliance. We turn fans into heroes.

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