This week, How Do You Like It So Far? continues our examination of the Black Panther phenomenon, with a look at the fan activism the film has already inspired. Julian Gomez is a young activist who my research team met when we were working on By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism.
He was then making videos for the Harry Potter Alliance and generated a lot of discussion when he came out as undocumented in a confessional video, Why I Can't Go to Leakycon.
A second video discusses the fan response and how Leakycon became an opportunity to educate Harry Potter fans about the debates around immigration reform and in particular, the Dreamer movement.
Today, Gomez is part of the core team at Define American, a organization focused on activist storytelling around immigration rights. Partnering with Fandom Forward (an off-shoot of the Harry Potter Alliance) and UnDocuBlack Network, Define American has been developing a study guide and tool kit around Black Panther which uses the film as a resource to reflect on borders, refuges, immigrants, and environmental justice. You can find the study guide here.
In this podcast, Colin and I talk with Julian about his experiences and about the new project, and then Colin and I have an intense conversation about how fan activism works and what it offers as a model for political mobilization. Much of what I have to say there draws on insights from my collaborators on By Any Media Necessary: Sangita Shresthova, Liana Gamber-Thompson, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, and Arely Zimmerman.