If Maine's Proposition 1 (aka California's Proposition 8) passes on November 3, the movements for intolerance and bigotry will gain momentum, with voters granting the government the right to strip same-sex couples of the chance to be married. If the proposed legislation is stopped, we will have demonstrated that Americans are ready to make the Homophobic Legacy history, and the movement for equal rights will gain momentum that will ripple across the United States and world.
Enter the Harry Potter Alliance, a global organization that I co-founded and direct. The group is dedicated to bringing the themes of Harry Potter into the real world. We're about to pull off an unprecedented event in conjunction with both Mass and Maine Equality that uses the magic of new media to merge on-the-ground grassroots activism with online-based netroots activism.
It's called Wrock 4 Equality.
On Saturday morning, October 24, Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys (two indie rock bands that sing from the perspective of characters in the Harry Potter books and have over 100,000 followers) will perform at the North Star Café at 225 Congress Street Portland, Maine.
With training and resources from Mass and Maine Equality, the bands and concert attendees will canvass for five hours to remind Maine residents to vote against Proposition 1. Afterward, we're going to reconvene at the North Star Café for a second, two-hour concert and dance party.
But that's only the non-virtual part! The morning concert will be streamed live online to thousands of viewers from all over the world. While the bands and concert attendees are canvassing, these viewers will start phone banking through Mass Equality's system (any one can join us at callforequality.org).
To add to the sense of urgency (and fun) of this hyper-day of organizing, the entire event will be constructed as a one-day House Cup Competition, modeled after the House competition at Hogwarts. Mass Equality is creating a feature in their phone banking system that will allow HPA participants to register with the Hogwarts House they most identify with; for every phone call they make, this system will automatically award points to their House. Just as Hogwarts has a Head of House, this "magical day of activism" has none other than Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, as the Head of Ravenclaw House.
The Harry Potter Alliance, which used this model of friendly Hogwarts-house competition to raise thousands of books for a youth village in Rwanda, coordinates this day of hyper-activism.
As readers, we are reminded through Harry Potter's eleven years living in a cupboard (because his relatives fear his wizarding powers) that no one should have to live inside of a closet because of their identity. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when in the middle of discussing the prospect of a marriage that would challenge the status quo's perfectly-normal-thank-you-very-much definition of "marriage", McGonagall says, "Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world."
But allowing for more love in the world is going to be close:
"A new Public Policy Polling survey in Maine finds the public deadlocked on whether to reject the state's law allowing same sex couples to marry, 48% to 48%.
"With most voters' minds made up the election is not really about persuasion at this point but turnout. Even a small difference in the ability of supporters and opponents of the referendum to get their folks out to the polls could tip the scales with the issue this close."
The fate of marriage equality rests in the hands of those who are getting out the vote. With 2500 people on our recent conference call who are ready to get out the vote, the fate of marriage equality in Maine and the momentum of the LGBT movement may very well be in the hands of Harry Potter fans.
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