Harry Potter And The Fan Conference of Awesome

Aug 28, 2007

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. ~J.K. Rowling, Harvard University, June 5, 2008

OK, who WASN’T bawling by this point in Jo’s Commencement address to Harvard’s Class of 2008?! Anybody?

My name is MJ, and as one of LeakyCon’s Co-Directors, this particular passage in the amazing speech hit close to home. It made me reflect upon why I volunteered to help organize LeakyCon, why I’m proud of the work myself and the LeakyCon team have done thus far, and why I think the fandom at large should be excited about this particular conference.

I’ve been asked a lot, “Why LeakyCon?” and “Why now? Why after ‘Harry Potter Is Dead?'” First, I want to say that I don’t think Harry Potter is now, or will ever be “dead”. I am still as excited about these stories as I was the day I picked up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the first HP book I read) over 3 years ago now. How have I sustained that level of excitement? The answers are so simple: Leaky. Jo. Harry. Leaky, for bringing together people from all walks of life and allowing them to forge friendships with each other by not only reinforcing their love for HP, but by helping to bolster other common interests as well. Jo, for remaining an inspiration, for maintaining grace under pressure, and for fighting for things she truly believes in…consequences and ridicule be damned. And Harry, who has inspired us all to want to be the best possible versions of ourselves. Harry, who fought for a world free from oppression, evil and fear with the one weapon he had. Love.

This conference, LeakyCon, will be the first of its kind. All proceeds are going to two incredible charities: The HP Alliance and Book Aid International. The pride I take in that, that Leaky takes in that, makes my heart swell. It’s personal. It’s a feeling of being able to pay it forward. We are all working, for free, to make a significant contribution to these charities. I’ve talked with Andrew Slack, the webmaster and visionary behind The HP Alliance, and his enthusiasm and work ethic are infectious. Making the world a better place, he says, can be achieved one smile at a time. I couldn’t agree more. Activism begins with the smallest and seemingly most mundane changes…but you wouldn’t believe what a little positive interaction can do for everyone. I’ve seen what a positive attitude can do first hand. It can change a life forever.

You don’t always have to throw dollars at a problem…that’s not all it takes to get the job done. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty from time to time. Get into the problem, dissect it down to its most basic form, and only then can you rebuild from the ground up. I believe that’s what Jo was talking about in her address at Harvard. If you can imagine better, and are willing to put your imagination and work ethic behind your ideas, amazing things will result. I truly believe that.

Look to LeakyNews.com for more updates about LeakyCon, or check out LeakyCon.com to learn more about this conference. And, of COURSE, check back here weekly, where you will get some random thoughts about HP, the fandom, Leaky and JK Rowling from me! See you soon!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.