In honor of the U.S. launch of her charity Lumos, J.K. Rowling lit the top of New York City’s Empire State Building on Thursday.
The building was lit purple and white, the emblem colors of Lumos. The charity seeks to end the institutionalization of 8 million children around the world, and this week, J.K. Rowling and Lumos C.E.O. Georgette Mulheir are in New York to launch the U.S. branch of the charity.
Before lighting the building, Rowling and Mulheir spoke to the press about the charity. According to Lumos’s press release, J.K. Rowling said: “Children need families, and families need their children and I believe it is entirely possible, with concerted effort, to help to transform the way the world cares for disadvantaged children. We owe this to the eight million children living in orphanages around the world, most of whom do have parents and families who, given the right level of support, could care for them at home.”
In her statement, Lumos C.E.O. Georgette Mulheir said: “The USA, its citizens and, indeed, the international community have a huge role to play to influence the agenda on children outside of family care. Foreign policy, development aid and individual giving can help shape the future for vulnerable children and their families in a sustainable way, ensuring that no child is denied the right to family life.”
After the lighting ceremony, J.K. Rowling visited the building’s observation deck. Below is a video by the Associated Press chronicling the experience, via SnitchSeeker.
“There are decades of research showing that institutionalizing children is inherently damaging,” Rowling said. “It’s damaging physically, it’s damaging psychologically, it’s damaging emotionally.”“America gives a phenomenal amount of money, and we would love to see that aid and that philanthropy channeled toward systems that support children within their families rather than the separation of families,” she said.
“I absolutely love writing for children, so I’m certainly not closing that door. I would love to do more,” she said. “It’s always been for me. When the idea finds me, I’ll do it.”
Rowling said she was also finishing the third book in her series written under the pen name Robert Galbraith. She was unmasked as the author after the first book came out, and said she worried briefly when that happened that another book would be somehow less enjoyable to write.
“I thought ‘This has blown it. It won’t be as much fun anymore.’ But actually it is,” she said. “I’m maintaining Robert. Robert is quite real to me as an entity, so I like that. I know it’s pretense. I know it’s make-believe, but it helps me to slip into that persona.”
As part of the U.S. launch, the Today Show interviewed J.K. Rowling, too, and the author wrote an editorial on her website in support of Lumos. Stay tuned for further reports.