A few weeks ago, we introduced you to the brilliant concept that is the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) and their fight for immigration reform. Now, the 19-year-old who sparked a thousand wands sat down with Univision News to tell us more about the HPA, their new campaign for equality, and the real meaning behind the term "undocumented American."
Julian Gomez has been a member of the HPA since first hearing about it back in 2010. He has since quietly been working in the social media department, that is, until a few weeks ago when Julian made headlines as the new face of immigration for the HPA.
Coming out as an "undocumented American" in the video titled “Why I Can’t Go To LeakyCon,” (a huge annual Harry Potter convention, held this year in Chicago), Julian gave a face to the complex issue of immigration reform.
You might be wondering why Julian calls himself an “undocumented American” instead of the term we’re so used to hearing, “undocumented immigrant.” Well, that’s simple: “I don’t see myself as an immigrant as much as I see myself as permanently here, as an American,” says Julian, who was born in Rosario, Argentina and brought over to the States at one and half years old by his parents.
“I talk to my friends all the time about being undocumented, but I had never told my larger audience online,” he added. “It was sort of something I needed to get off my chest, and I felt this was the right time to do it so that I could educate people. When I tell people that I’m undocumented, a lot of the responses that I get are like, ‘get in line,’ or ‘can’t you just take the citizenship test?’ and stuff like that, and I feel like people need to know more about immigration policies, because [getting in line and taking the test] are things that aren’t available to a lot of people.”
Julian believes that there should be comprehensive immigration reform that would make the topic more user-friendly, so to speak.
The main purpose of the previously mentioned video was to get people passionate about immigration reform and start a discussion, but that was not all that came from it. Since then, Julian has made another video titled “Why I Went To LeakyCon.”
Fans and friends alike were instrumental in getting Julian to LeakyCon 2012 despite his inability to fly there or take a train without the proper government-issued ID. He spent hours on the road in multiple buses and cars and finally made it to Chicago to share his story.
Also while at LeakyCon, the HPA took the opportunity to announce a new campaign called Equality FTW (For The Win). "It strives to build a network of Imagine Better libraries, educate people on immigration reform, and fight for marriage equality in different states,” said Julian, adding that this is the largest member-driven fundraiser they’ve ever done.
Using the online funding website IndieGoGo, the Equality FTW campaign aims to raise $50,000 in just a little over 3 weeks – to help fund a whole year of equality campaigns. They’ve already raised over $38,000! (Yeah, Harry Potter fans are that awesome).