Why do we open our borders for Harry Potter, but not for refugees?
Harry Potter fans are calling for the U.S. to #Welcome75K
The Harry Potter Alliance, an international non-profit that uses the power of stories to fight real world injustice, is calling on the United States and governing bodies around the world to open their borders to refugees.
Over 20 years, the Harry Potter series has seen unprecedented success across every border. Harry boasts fans on every continent who can read official translations of his story in 80 languages. The boy who lived has also given life to an international movement: there are Harry Potter Alliance chapters in 38 countries on 6 continents. The chapters act as autonomous arms of a real world Dumbledore’s Army, tackling dark arts like illiteracy, LGBTQ+ discrimination, the global refugee crisis, and more. Through Harry’s story, the HPA has donated 380,000 books around the world, supported disaster relief efforts, compelled Warner Bros. to support fair labor practices by making all their Harry Potter brand chocolate fair trade/UTZ-certified, and much more.
It’s no question that Harry’s story has made the world better — his presence has inspired millions of fans around the world to become activists, philanthropists, readers, and leaders. Yet, while the world has opened their borders to Harry, the U.S. is shutting its doors to everyone else. On September 17, 2018, the U.S. State Department announced that it would cap refugee admissions in 2019 at just 30,000 people — a record low for a country that once asked the world to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
The U.S. isn’t alone in their decision. The Australian government continues to imprison 102 refugee children on the island nation of Nauru (the U.S. detains migrant children in far higher numbers). Greece detains migrants, too, in the Moira camp that is now being called a humanitarian crisis. Hungary recently made it illegal to help undocumented migrants. Anti-immigrant parties have surged in the polls in Italy, Sweden, and other European countries.
You can, of course, purchase copies of Harry Potter in each of these countries. The world doesn’t care that Harry isn’t from within their borders. We made room in our hearts for his story a long time ago.
Make no mistake — Harry’s story is different than any refugee’s. He is, like real world refugees, a victim of violence — orphaned by war, persecuted by an evil would-be dictator, subjected to ten years of vile abuse by his only family. He has unquestionable advantages: he’s white, he’s wealthy, he’s famous. But most of all, Harry is a fictional border-crosser. He’s a story, not a person. When told in books and movies, we open our hearts to characters regardless of the countries they’ve come from and the borders they’ve crossed. Confronted with real world refugees of war, violence, persecution and, increasingly, climate change, we stumble. We don’t talk with love about a global phenomenon. We fight about vetting and worthiness and walls.
We forget our love of stories. Stories of refugees who are twice as likely as U.S.-born citizens to start businesses. Stories of refugees that become community leaders, doctors, and hot sauce moguls. Stories that, like the Harry Potter series, celebrate the magic of food. Stories, also like Harry’s, that are children’s stories: more than half the refugees around the globe are under the age of 18. Stories that are incredibly common: out of 9 billion human beings, nearly one in 100 have been pushed out of their homes due to war or political instability.
As fans of a story that has crossed every border and made the world better for it, we cannot in good conscience stay quiet while the U.S. occupies indigenous land and closes its borders. Instead, we are encouraging Harry Potter fans to urge the U.S. State Department to resettle at least 75,000 refugees in 2019. Fans can take action to #Welcome75K today:
(1) Share this statement on your personal social media pages. If in the U.S., add the hashtag #Welcome75K.
(2) Invite two friends into the movement by asking them to read and share this statement.
Help us open our hearts and our borders: visit Dumbledore’s Army Fights Back and join our movement to change the story today.
For additional actions and to learn more about the HPA and #DAFightsBack, please visit http://thehpalliance.org/dafightsback.