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10 real-life ways muggles can experience Harry Potter

Nov. 19, 2010, 12:40 p.m.
Harry Potter Alliance Darfur poster

Photo: "Harry Potter" was one of five planes of supplies that the HPA sent to Haiti. (HPA)

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Fight the Dark Arts

In "Order of the Phoenix," the wizarding world is ignoring the threat of Lord Voldemort, so Harry and his friends organize “Dumbledore’s Army” to raise awareness. Andrew Slack, executive director of The Harry Potter Alliance, likens this to how “our world ignores AIDS, Darfur and global warming.” Under Slack’s leadership, Potter fans have created their own D.A. and formed the HPA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to social activism.

Just as Harry fights the injustice of treating muggle-borns, house elves and goblins as second-class citizens, the HPA works to end genocide, send aid to the needy and get equal rights for homosexuals. Group members ask themselves, “What would Dumbledore do?” and act accordingly.

How successful have they been? The HPA raised more than $123,000 in just two weeks for Partners in Health in Haiti. It called more than 3,500 phones in just one day, advocating for marriage equality in Massachusetts. These Potter fans also gathered three quarters of the 10,000 signatures sent to the U.N. Security Council concerning Darfur. Plus, the HPA registered almost 1,000 first-time voters in 2008 and 2010. How’s that for real-life magic?