Today, May 2, 2017, is the nineteenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. Every year on this day, I think very seriously about the bravery and the sacrifices made by some of the greatest literary characters ever created, because the Harry Potter books are not just stories to me. Even today, when something in my life has got me feeling a lot like Harry when he found out how much information Dumbledore had been keeping from him, I think about the children who hadn’t yet graduated school who stood up against the ultimate evil to protect their friends and classmates and even people they didn’t know from prejudice and hatred and human rights abuses. I think about the adults who put themselves in harm’s way even if it meant losing their jobs or their dignity or even their families. I think about the power of love and truth and justice and how important it is for every one of us who believes in those things to never back down, never surrender as long as our fellow humans need our help.
We have a president right now who doesn’t understand that the American Civil War was fought over the enslavement of human beings. He tells lies and twists words and claims to be the only voice of truth while he shouts over and shuts down legitimate journalists and other people with accurate information. He speaks highly of historical figures known to be bigots, racists, dictators. He treats women like objects and people who don’t look or talk like him as insignificant. He capitalizes on fear and is very skilled at pulling the wool over the eyes of people who want him to be good and honest, and he has a whole cadre of people helping him along. If you know even the first thing about Harry Potter, you should be able to see the parallels here.
In the United States and a number of other places around the world right now, it often seems that fear and hatred are winning out over love and compassion. It’s up to us — all of us — to stand up and say NO. We believe in love, justice, mercy, compassion, and truth. Whether we’re students or middle-aged moms or teachers or Ministry officials or well-intentioned grandmothers, we must fight against the rhetoric used by Voldemort and Donald Trump. We must not get distracted by fluffy news stories and fake scandals. We have to stand up for Muslims, Muggle-borns, Native Americans, Jews, werewolves, house-elves, people of color, women, Muggles, the LGBT community, immigrants, centaurs — anyone whom the authorities wish to put down, cast out, disenfranchise, or subjugate. It’s scary, but if we don’t do it, who will?
We’re wizards and witches. We’ll party forever, and we’ll fight as long and as hard as we need to.
Please enjoy my favorite Harry Potter fan-made video, which I watch every year on this day: