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J.K. Rowling approved the first-ever 'Harry Potter' comic — for a great reason.

The comic's proceeds go toward the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

J.K. Rowling approved the first-ever 'Harry Potter' comic — for a great reason.

In September 2016, DC Comics and IDW Publishing announced "Love Is Love," a charity comic anthology to support the victims of the June shooting at Pulse nightclub.

Teaming up with more than 200 artists and writers, Marc Andreyko (best known for his work on "Batman" and "Wonder Woman '77") led the charge in curating the anthology of more than 100 short graphic stories packed into 144 pages. In DC's announcement, "Love Is Love" was described as a "love letter to the LGBTQ community."

In addition to featuring some of the biggest names in comics, the anthology also features stories from actor Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), documentarian Morgan Spurlock, and comedians Taran Killam and Patton Oswalt.


The big-name affair got even bigger when J.K. Rowling signed off on a "Harry Potter"-themed illustration — the first time an officially approved version of the character has appeared in comic form.

DC co-publisher Jim Lee created a sketch featuring Harry, Ron, and Hermione standing with Dumbledore, who Rowling famously revealed was gay after the final book in the series was released. The final version of Lee's illustration will include the words "Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open," a quote from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" published in 2000. As Lee notes in a caption on his Instagram page, it's the first time Rowling has given her blessing to an illustration of this kind.

Check out @georgegustines lovely article in the @nytimes in which my "Love is love" contribution is revealed. This first of a kind illustration was done with #jkrowling's blessing, inspired by her quote: “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” –The Goblet of Fire #harrypotter #Loveislove is an amazing anthology and collaboration among so many of comicdom's finest talents with all proceeds going to the victims, survivors, and their families of the Orlando shooting tragedy via EQUALITY FLORIDA. I want to thank @idwpublishing editor #SarahGaydos and @dccomics Vertigo group editor @jamie_s_rich for their tireless work in making this book a reality. The full uncropped image available in the book in stores 12/28. Colors by the magnificent @markchidc!

A photo posted by Jim Lee (@jimleeart) on

While events like the Pulse shooting are tragic and devastating, it's heartening to see people respond in solidarity however they can.

In the months since the shooting, which killed 49, a number of Pulse benefits have been held to honor the victims. The OneOrlando fund raised more than $30 million to pay out to victims of the shooting, Orlando-area hospitals are taking steps to ensure that survivors won't be billed for treatment, and a number of entertainment industry fundraisers have been held in support of the victims.

That's what superheroes do — and that's what makes the "Love Is Love" anthology so appropriate. Harry Potter will appear alongside some of the most famous DC characters — such as Batgirl and Superman.

While we could all use a Superman in our lives, especially amid these sorts of senseless acts of violence, we'll have to settle for the next best thing: regular people with a lot of heart.

For "Love Is Love" pre-order information, check out IDW's website.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."