Sat
Jan 23 2010 12:19pm

Geek relief for Haiti

Fantasy and gaming is often accused of being frivolous, pointless, escapist or lost in it own world. 

But not anymore.

An organization called the Harry Potter Alliance, which has long inspired Harry Potter fans to take action on real-world social issues like global warming and Darfur, has now launched perhaps its largest fandom action with an organization called Help Haiti Heal.

Saturday, January 23 at 2pm ET is when the awareness-raising and fundraising effort kicks off. On that day, fans of all kinds will be coming together to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Rooted in the Harry Potter community, the Helping Haiti Heal live fundraising webcast will take place via Livestream (http://www.thehpalliance.org/haiti), and bring together Harry Potter fans and fans of other blockbuster books, movies, and TV series such as Heroes, True Blood, Mad Men, The Wire, and Firefly for this effort. The four-hour event includes entertainment, performance, interviews, news and more.

During the webcast, performers will laugh, talk and listen while they raise money for Partners in Health, an organization helping those hardest hit by the January 12 earthquake. (Co-founder Paul Farmer was immortalized in Tracy Kidder’s book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.) The event will also feature a donation drive where donors have the opportunity to receive unique and personalized thank you gifts from donated by prominent musicians, authors, and actors.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has donated a signed, full U.K. edition set of her books, as well as a handwritten card, to Helping Haiti Heal. This extremely rare item joins more than 100 special gifts, including a signed book by author Neil Gaiman, five signed books by Sir Terry Pratchett, original conception art from the film Where the Wild Things Are, and much, much more.

“This community is uniting with other popular and vibrant fan communities to harness the energy of popular culture toward making a genuine difference in Haiti,” says Andrew Slack, Executive Director of the Harry Potter Alliance. “We have chosen Partners In Health because they have written the book on addressing poverty in Haiti and will be with Haiti, rebuilding long after the initial effects of this recent earthquake subside.”

In addition to the above one-of-a-kind contributions, other items up for auction include:

• Signed books from Time Magazine’s Lev Grossman, NY Times bestselling author Melissa Anelli, Movies in 15 Minutes author Cleolinda Jones, and Urban fantasy novelist Lilith Saintcrow, as well as young adult authors Karen Healey, Aprilynne Pike, Pam Bachorz, Lisa Mantchev, and many more.

• A signed Mega Book Pack of 30 novels from The 2009 Debutantes (http://www.feastofawesome.com/), including: Malindo Lo, Saundra Mitchell, Sarah Ockler, Michelle Zink, and Jackson Pearce.

• Guest spots on PotterCast and Hogwarts Radio.

• Signed CDs from such wizard rock bands as The Remus Lupins, The Whomping Willows, The Butterbeer Experience, and Oliver Boyd and the Rememberalls.

• Quality replica LightSaber based on Luke’s from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

• Full Access Registration to LeakyCon 2011, valued over $300.

• $200 Gift Certificate to Infinitus 2010.

• Limited edition, artist signed, Replica Slimer from Ghostbusters.

• A signed copy of Ethan Gilsdorf’s book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks

The fundraising webcast will also feature podcasting personalities from leading Harry Potter podcasts; live performances from many wizard rockers; leaders in fan communities; personal interviews with Haitian-Americans about the importance of giving to Partners In Health; human rights activists; a representative from MIT’s Media Lab discussing ways that we can donate our time using new media; and much more. It is the aim of Helping Haiti Heal to provide ideas and inspiration across fandoms to those with the desire to aid those affected by the earthquake.

Together, we all can help heal Haiti. And prove that fantasy can have a real impact on reality.

Helping Haiti Heal is sponsored by The Harry Potter Alliance (http://www.thehpalliance.org/), The Leaky Cauldron (http://www.leakynews.com/),MuggleNet.com (http://www.mugglenet.com/), HPANA (http://www.hpana.com/), and FictionAlley (http://www.fictionalley.org/).

Ethan Gilsdorf is the author of the new travel memoir Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms

14 comments
Foxessa
1. Foxessa
I'm sure the people running this benefit are fully educated as to how to get the proceeds to the right organization so that they will be used for the benefit of those who are intended to be the benficiaries.

Many relief groups have no experience with disaster relief, which perforce demands a very different protocol with funding and supplies than that of a homeless shelter in NYC for instance.

On behalf of my Haitian friends who are too stressed and too busy trying to save their family and friends, I say, "Thank you. From the bottom of my / their hearts."
Foxessa
3. Foxessa
Thanks to you all too!

Also it needs to be noted that Haitians themselves, here in the New York communities, to my personal knowledge, have been sending in various ways hundreds of thousands in money and supplies back to their communities in Haiti. Our Haitian American communities are not helpless sitting on their hands waiting ... they've been there from the first.

But you all probably know that!

The sad thing though is that none of their contributions will get the 2009 tax write-off that contributing to the biggies last night on the televised music benefit does.
Foxessa
4. sunjah
Foxessa, I hear your concern re: relief organizations.

IMHO, the event organizers choice of Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante is probably a good choice. They have been in existence in Haiti over 25 years building community health systems, and have a good track record with disaster relief (eg after the 2008 hurricanes...) and working with other organizations.

I would like to suggest that anyone who is interested in contributing to Haiti in the longer term as well as short term, but does not yet have an established channel for doing so, should check out the PIH/ZL website. I have no financial or personal ties to the organization.
YouDont NeedToKnow
5. necrosage2005
My condolences to all affected by the recent earthquakes in the Caribbean. I say it that way because I know that Haiti isn’t the only country that was hit.
Foxessa
6. Foxessa
sunjah -- I was sure that was the case. Thank you!

necrosage2005 -- Could you specify which Caribbean islands were also affected by the earthquake that had it's epicenter in the area just above Port-au-Prince? Or are you speaking of the aftershocks felt in northern DR -- the other country that shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti?
Maggie M
7. Eswana
Just an update- as of right now, the HHH auction has raised over $42,000. Auction continues until Friday the 29th at midnight (okay, technically saturday the 30th a 12:00 am). So check out the prize lists and donate if you can!
Foxessa
9. Foxessa
Which other Caribbean nations have been affected by the earthquake that took out Port-au-Prince, Jacmal and much else of Haiti on January 12, 2010?

Look at the maps of the epicenter of the earthquake and the seismic waves -- other islands have not been affected. Tremors were felt in the northern DR and eastern Cuba. It would be likely that perhaps Jamaica felt tremors too. But no buildings toppled, no one was killed.

In the future, as in the past, this is likely not

However, if I am wrong, please provide this information with names, urls, etc., because this information matters to my work.
Foxessa
10. Foxessa
In the previous post a sentence got truncated.

"In the future, as in the past, this is likely not" should have read, "In the future, as in the past, this is likely to happen, but it didn't happen on January 12, 2010."

For a projection of anticipated earthquake activity in the Caribbean basin, check the NY Times Science section here:


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/science/26fault.html?ref=science
YouDont NeedToKnow
11. necrosage2005
Foxessa, so you belive that, eventhough the Dominican Republic is on the same island and has a direct border with Haiti, they didn't feel anything? That is wonderfully "convenient," in my book. I also guess that Cuba felt nothing, too.

Didn't think that I had to show my work in something that is plainly evident to anybody with common sence and a MAP.
Foxessa
12. Foxessa
necrosage2005:

What you said in #5 was "My condolences to all affected by the recent earthquakes in the Caribbean. I say it that way because I know that Haiti isn’t the only country that was hit." Which, as we were speaking about the almost beyond imaginable destruction, death and suffering of the Haitian people suggested that people had died and had cities destroyed in other parts of the Caribbean, which had not ever been mentioned.

Which is why I asked in #6: "Could you specify which Caribbean islands were also affected by the earthquake that had its epicenter in the area just above Port-au-Prince? Or are you speaking of the aftershocks felt in northern DR -- the other country that shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti?"

All you said, was "Look at map."

And again in #9 -- you will see this: "Look at the maps of the epicenter of the earthquake and the seismic waves -- other islands have not been affected. Tremors were felt in the northern DR and eastern Cuba. It would be likely that perhaps Jamaica felt tremors too. But no buildings toppled, no one was killed."

I am in close touch daily with friends in easterrn Cuban and the DR, and they never mentioned anything except their horror and compassion for the conditions in Haiti.
YouDont NeedToKnow
13. necrosage2005
Thanks for repeating what I said by copying and pasting. It is obvious that you didn't comprehend any of what I typed, otherwise you wouldn't have gotten so angry with it. I said, and will continue to say, "My condolences to ALL AFFECTED by the recent earthquakes in the Caribbean. I say it that way because I know that Haiti isn’t the only country that was hit."
Maggie M
14. Eswana
WOOT we raised almost $85,000! Some of the small auction items have closed, but a lot of the bigger ones are still available. Donate at http://www.thehpalliance.org/haiti/prizes/

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