UPDATED: J.K. Rowling Receives Prestigious Leadership Award

UPDATE (August 27, 2020):

In a statement on her website, Rowling expressed her opinion that she has “no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon [her] last year.”

This follows a statement written by Kerry Kennedy, one of Robert F. Kennedy’s daughters and the current president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, earlier this month, in which Kennedy details how the organization has “long fought in solidarity with transgender and other allied activists around the world.” 

From her own words, I take Rowling’s position to be that the sex one is assigned at birth is the primary and determinative factor of one’s gender, regardless of one’s gender identity—a position that I categorically reject. The science is clear and conclusive: Sex is not binary.

Trans rights are human rights. J.K. Rowling’s attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and represent a repudiation of my father’s vision.

By now, the Harry Potter fandom is used to J.K. Rowling making headlines. She has received numerous awards since Harry Potter became world-famous, but earlier in December, she received a truly honorable award.

On December 12, the annual Ripple of Hope Gala was held in New York City, and Rowling was among the honorees to receive the Ripple of Hope Award from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. This award is all about celebrating leaders in their respective fields who share Robert F. Kennedy’s vision for basic human rights, justice, equality, and the belief that anyone can make a difference. In short, it honors leaders who are committed to bringing about social change. We can definitely agree that Rowling is one of them.

This prestigious award has been awarded to other famous leaders, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former United States President Barack Obama, actor George Clooney, former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and singer Harry Belafonte. Rowling was one of four honorees this year, and when she made her acceptance speech, everyone could see why. This award was very special to Rowling because Kennedy is actually one of her heroes. In fact, Robert Galbraith, the pseudonym under which Rowling writes the Cormoran Strike crime series, was a name chosen in honor of Kennedy.

In her acceptance speech, Rowling explained why Kennedy was, and still is, her hero.

Robert Kennedy embodied everything I most admire in a human being. He was morally and physically courageous – and I believe, as Churchill did, that courage is foremost among virtues, because it secures all the others.

She added that she admires Kennedy for bringing about real change during his lifetime, for being a man who embodied both empathy and action.

He helped bring about real change and he continues to inspire people way beyond the country of his birth. I’m not sure we can ask much more of any politician, or indeed, human being.

Rowling also said that this award is one of the highest honors that has ever been bestowed upon her, which is no surprise. Receiving an award for displaying qualities like that of your real-life hero is pretty amazing.

Speaking of which, December has been a good month for Rowling. She also attended the Finding the Way Home premiere on December 11 and met up with Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) on the red carpet. This event once again showed why Rowling was chosen for the Ripple of Hope Award. Finding the Way Home is an HBO documentary inspired by Rowling’s charity, Lumos, which focuses on deinstitutionalizing children and helping them regain a family life.



We’re super proud that Lumos is getting its own documentary and of Rowling for receiving such a prestigious award. Which award that Rowling has previously received are you most proud of? Tell us in the comments.

Marica Laing

Growing up, I was a massive fan of Harry Potter and my love for the stories grew as I got older. It’s no surprise then that I love writing about all things Potter related. When I’m not writing about all the magic, you’ll find me reading (probably something Harry Potter related), listening to music, or writing some songs.