This depressing Hogwarts acceptance letter is going viral. You should read it.

Can you fathom the wizarding world of Harry Potter without Hermione Granger?

It's a thought that's horrified plenty of people online this week.

Gaining steam under the #WithoutHermione hashtag on Twitter, Potter fans discussed all the bone-chilling ways the series would have been different without its leading witch.

The consensus? The books would have been an awful, incomplete tale that left the magical world a complete mess.

Fans are pondering the unnerving premise thanks to an acceptance letter from Hogwarts' Professor McGonagall that went viral on Sept. 1.

"We are pleased to inform you that you have been added to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Waitlist," McGonagall begins. "Unfortunately, we are not able to allow you to come to Hogwarts at this time."

Image via The HP Alliance.


As the letter goes on to explain, getting waitlisted at Hogwarts wasn't a reflection on the applicant's abilities — it was a reflection of their gender.

"Around the world, thousands of girls are not permitted to attend school or are unable to finish their schooling due to discrimination, tradition, poverty, or violence," the professor noted.

The faux-acceptance letter was sent out by the Harry Potter Alliance for a new campaign in conjunction with She's the First encouraging supporters to use the hashtag to spread the word.

"What would the wizarding world look like without Hermione? What about without Luna? Or Ginny? Cho? Angelina? Tonks? McGonagall?" the campaign website reads.

"Hogwarts doesn't work without witches. Harry's story falls flat without heroines. Yet all over the world, girls and women are being kept out of classrooms and losing the chance to lead."

She's the First is focused on helping girls around the globe overcome the barriers they face in reaching graduation day.

Unique cultural challenges keep girls and young women out of the classroom. Factors like early marriage and high costs associated with schooling disproportionally affect girls, hindering them from gaining economic independence and pulling themselves — and thus, their families and communities — out of poverty.

"Girls are more likely than boys to remain completely excluded from education despite the efforts and progress made over the past two decades," a 2016 report by UNESCO found.

Photo by Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images.

That's why groups like She's the First are so instrumental in making a difference.

The organization funds scholarships and mentorships for girls in developing countries, as well other basics that students need to stay focused on their studies, like medicines, school uniforms, and healthy food. And you can get involved too.

Share the Hogwarts acceptance letter on social media, learn more and expand She's the First's efforts around the globe, and stay up to speed on the issue by following Potterwatch — an online effort by the Harry Potter Alliance to promote a variety of social justice causes.

"If the Harry Potter series has taught us anything, it’s that back to Hogwarts means back to action," the campaign's website reads. "So hop on the Hogwarts Express — it’s time we make sure that everyone can get on board."

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Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


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Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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