My eight year old daughter and I were headed to the Maritime Museum and ambled through Darling Quarter on our way. Suddenly, my daughter stopped and gasped. She had spotted a table teeming with paper flowers. She ran up to investigate and I asked how much they were. “We are giving them away,” a young woman smiled. She handed my daughter a flower and information about their organization. They are The Deluminators and this is their story.
How did The Deluminators come about?
“The Harry Potter Alliance is a global organization that was founded in 2005 by a group of social activists and Harry Potter fans. They sought to make social justice accessible to a younger demographic, by drawing parallels between pop-culture and real world problems. When I came across them in December 2013, I was amazed by their work. Their capacity to enact real world change whilst participating in a sense of community and fan culture was an inspiration. To my dismay, there were no chapters in Sydney, so with the help of my two older sisters, The Deluminators journey began.”
What sort of things are you involved with?
“My favourite aspect of this type of charity is that there are no restrictions to what we can do. We are not strictly a literacy, social, wellbeing or homelessness charity. We are whatever our members want and need us to be. Our campaigns are drawn from the hearts and minds of our members, and thus have involved our Accio Books (Harry Potter reference to a summoning charm) drive where we collected 9, 512 books for the ALNF and Sydney Footpath Library and our Yule Ball (Harry Potter reference to the yuletide ball within the tri-wizard tournament), where we raised $12,000. It also raised lots of awareness for the HKWS, a new homeless shelter opening in Hornsby. We have also had our Packages4Homeless drive, where we collected and distributed 150 backpacks full of necessities to people on the streets of Sydney. There have been so many inspirational activities that our members have come up with! “
Where do you get inspiration for your projects?
“It is derived from what is happening in the world around us. From the debate over the homeless population in Sydney, our Yule Ball and Packages4Homeless campaigns were born. From the increasing awareness concerning youth mental health, we have The Wolfsbane Festival lined up for next year. We try to enact change in areas that are important to our members, and at the outset of campaigns we sit down to discuss what our members feel passionately about, and what they would like to see changed in the world.”
I met your group when you were giving out paper flowers for Esther Day. Can you tell me what inspired this day?
“Esther Day is one of the yearly highlights for many of The Deluminators. The day began in 2011 in recognition of a phenomenal young girl called Esther Earl, who lost her fight with cancer in 2010. She was a fan and good friend of video bloggers John and Hank Green, who in her memory, decided to turn August 3rd (her birthday), into a holiday. At Esther’s bequest, the day has become a day to celebrate platonic love-a day to tell people in your life ‘I love you.’ In other words, it’s a Valentine’s Day for the rest of love. In 2014, The Deluminators came to Darling Harbour with beautiful roses and postcards, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we knew we had to come back.
In 2015 (with a much smaller budget), we returned with 300 origami flowers, beautifully-decorated postcards and Esther Earl postcards. Throughout the day, we handed out our creations for the people of Sydney to re-gift to the people in their lives whom they love. A truly magical day we feel so blessed to be part of.”
What are your goals for the future?
“Onwards and upwards! Recently, my sisters Zoe and Sasha and I announced that we will be stepping down as leaders. Running The Deluminators is an all-consuming activity that has given us so much joy over the past two years. However, as we move on with our increasingly busy lives, it is becoming harder to give 100%. In the next few weeks we will be handing over to a phenomenal new executive team.
Our next big event will be free entry to a Harry Potter movie marathon on the 1st and 2nd of October 2015 at St Ives Village Green
Please like us on Facebook to stay up to date with details. The event is mainly a community event, however we will be selling some of our Harry Potter merchandise and promoting our chapter to potential members. Early next year, we will hold the Wolfsbane Festival; a wellbeing music festival raising awareness and support for youth mental health.”
What can people do to help?
“Get on board! We are always looking for passionate and talented members to come up with innovative campaigns. There is no age or geographical limit to join. We have members from 15-25, all over Sydney. If you can’t be actively involved, please follow us on social media and keep up with our campaigns. We often have events open to the public and would love for you to attend.”
A deluminator is a magical device invented by Albus Dumbledore (from the Harry Potter series). Learn about it here.