How Harry Potter Gets Me Through Darkness
Nia Wilson was the last straw. I know that it shouldn’t have taken so long but it did. She was the last straw in my silence. My silence up to this point was about self-preservation. I thought it was the only way to take care of myself. To help myself heal from the constant bombardment of what’s going on in the world. At one point, one that I can’t put my finger on, it all became too much. I shut down. I hadn’t realized it until I saw the news about Nia all over my Facebook and Instagram feeds. But that’s what I’d done. I shut down to try and shut out everything that’s been going on. But I cannot do that anymore. It’s not what I do. I’m a person that takes action during times of struggle but I didn’t. I just shut down.
As people of color, we need time to relax. We need time to step back. I totally understand that. I understand that I was doing that. We need time to continue our own healing but we also don’t have the luxury of escapism. Unfortunately, we just don’t. I wish I could. But when we walk into the world, we can’t escape everything that impacts us as individuals and as a community. Whether it’s the rampant poverty our communities are subjected to or the violence at the hands of the system, white supremacists, police, we are surrounded by it. Escaping is something that we don’t get to do.
And that’s what I’ve been doing for probably close the a month at this point or trying to do. But I can’t just allow myself to get overwhelmed by all the hate, all the injustice. So, in times like this, I turn to Harry Potter.
I know what you’re thinking, Harry Potter? Yes, Harry Potter. The series has really gotten me through tough times and I find it really soothing to know that in the end, good prevails. Not without loss or pain, but good wins and though it’s just a young adult book, it reminds me that there is hope in all circumstances. That resiliency pays off. And that our communities will be liberated.
Yes, I get all that from HP.
I didn’t realize it until a few days ago that I did this and I know that it seems frivolous in such horrific times. When I realized it, I was shocked at myself. But anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed, I pick up one of the books from the series. I don’t necessarily read the whole thing from cover to cover every time, but just knowing the story gives me a sense of calm. It’s weird that a series of books can have this effect on me. But with Harry Potter, there are so many instances of injustice and so many instances of people fighting back. From Hermione starting S.P.E.W to help bring justice to house elves in book 4 to Harry sacrificing himself to save his family and friends from Voldemort in the last book and especially with the creation of Dumbledore’s Army in Book 5 to learn more about how to fight dark magic.
I also love that it’s not just about Harry, even though he’s the main character in the series. Everyone around him plays an integral role in eventually beating Voldemort. Without them, defeating Voldemort would have been impossible to do. It reminds me that behind every Martin Luther King Jr or Cesar Chavez, there are many more people putting in work, getting things done, making sure that people are taken care of.
These books, though fiction, portray what transformation can look like in a time of darkness and uncertainty. That one can either hide away from what’s happening, like I've been doing, or they can make themselves stronger to be able to endure what is to come. I think of Neville and his transformation from a shy, clumsy kid to a young man that helps defeat Lord Voldemort by killing the last horcrux, Nagini.
Reading Harry Potter is part of my self-care.
Some people do yoga, or meditate; they write or dance. In a time of darkness, I turn to HP. It’s not the only thing I do, obviously as I write when I’m feeling some type of way. I also do yoga and I run. But for some reason, HP grounds me and reminds me that good can win. That justice prevails and that evil will get what they deserve. It may not be right away but we can hope that even in the darkest of times, we can see a light, we can heal. And we can make sure that any suffering or death will not be in vain because the community will always get justice.
I hope that we, as people living in this world, will see justice and liberation. I hope that Nia Wilson, and her family, will get justice. That her family will find healing. And that her death will not be in vain. That all people, not just the Black community, will unite, create our own Dumbledore’s Army and make sure that justice will prevail, no matter what. We deserve liberation and justice. The Black community deserves it. Nia Wilson deserves it.