— Elizabeth Mallory (@Eliz_Mallory) November 21, 2014
This week, fans of the popular Hunger Games series relaunched a campaign called “Odds in Our Favor” to draw attention to economic and social inequality. The campaign asks fans to “fill the gap” between the social commentary of The Hunger Games and the world fans inhabit by sharing their stories of economic inequality with the hashtag #MyHungerGames.
The result has been an outpouring of personal stories about hunger, poverty and healthcare inequity.
Small biz owner dad couldn't afford health care. Dad died at 49 w/problems that could have been helped by regular dr visits #MyHungerGames
— Steph Anderson (@TonksNtheAurors) November 17, 2014
When my neighbors banded together and donated food to my family for the entire three years my dad was out of work. #MyHungerGames
— Kait Kolodziejski (@Kait_tofit1291) November 21, 2014
The #MyHungerGames hashtag is inspired in part by Donald Sutherland, the actor who plays President Snow in the Hunger Games series. Sutherland, who is 79, toldGood Morning America that he chose to be a part of the series because he wanted to end his life being “part of something that I thought would maybe catalyze and revolutionize young people.”
Sutherland said he hopes that young people will answer the call like the character Katniss Everdeen does in the films. “We’ve wrecked this world and, if you’re gonna fix it, you’ve got to do it now,” he said.
The Hunger Games series has been a powerful source for activists around the world. The Harry Potter Alliance, a network of politically active fans, first launched the “Odds in Our Favor” campaign in 2013, in an effort to highlight the discordance between the film’s social and political messages about inequality and hunger and its marketing tie-ins to fast-food restaurants and beauty products.
In 2012, the Harry Potter Alliance teamed up with GROW—a project organized by Oxfam to fight hunger by supporting small-scale farmers—for a campaign called “Hunger Is Not a Game,” which sought to fight systematic injustices in food distribution throughout the world.
The political nature of the Hunger Games series has appealed to street activists as well. In June 2013, protesters in Bangkok, Thailand, used the three-fingered salute—an outlawed gesture of solidarity in The Hunger Games—as a symbol of resistance to a military government takeover. As in the film, the gesture was outlawed in Thailand.
Paul DeGeorge, executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance, thinks that The Hunger Games has a special case to make to audiences, which is part of why the film galvanizes so much activity offscreen.
The series “may be dressed up as a dystopian fantasy,” DeGeorge told me. But for an ever-increasing number of people, “It’s a portrait of the oppressed that can be hard to watch … because it feels so real.”
This article originally appeared at YES! Magazine.