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Who We Are: Participants in Raising Luminaries Spaces
by Ashia R., Head Custodian of Raising Luminaries
Who We Are As Participants
The topics within Raising Luminaries revolve around social systems – which means it’s not a question about whether you’re a participant – but how you’re participating.
For the purposes of Raising Luminaries articles & resources, we refer to all active members in the community of people who directly interact with RL content (visit, contribute, organize, create, share, comment, moderate, organize, and so on) as Incendiaries.
Where Our Guidelines Apply
Because our resources exist online and are used by broad intersecting communities, we refer to the digital places where we have the power to control our content as Raising Luminaries Spaces. This includes digital spaces such as the website, patreon page, our social media pages and groups, and sub-pages.
Within these spaces, Incendiaries (active participants) are expected to read and uphold the practices within our Accountability Statement & Guidelines.
Each space may have additional guidelines and policies on behavior, such as posted in group guidelines and announcement posts.
Anyone whose time, skills, labor, or resources support the shenanigans and functioning of RL.
[they/them or she/her]
Head Custodian of Raising Luminaries
Founder of Raising Luminaries, Books For Littles, The Luminary Braintrust & co-founder of the Student Ignition Society
Raising Luminaries was founded by and is run by me, Ashia Ray. I am a multiracial (culturally Chinese/Irish American) Autistic feminine-presenting person local to (born & raised) around area currently known as Boston, MA, USA, (traditional homelands of the Wampanoag and Massachusett people). I am the mother raising two children, one neurodivergent, the other neurotypical, co-parenting with a neurotypical white cishet partner. As the primary contributor of articles and research RL & ancillary spaces (unless otherwise specified) is filtered through my bias and perspectives.
- Contributions: I provide roughly 35-55 hours each week of research, screening, book analysis, writing, editing, coding, website maintenance, reader responses, responses, consultations, social media posts, comment moderation, membership moderation, post updates, collaborator consulting, Luminary Brain Trust open threads & series posts, problematic book video analysis, unpolished book lists, public book collections, article updates, archiving & maintenance, bookkeeping, fundraising, creating & editing toolkits, fielding messages and stuff, and probably some other things I’m forgetting toward the RL mission & objectives.
- Financial: I receive financial support through contributions from our Ko-Fi, Substack, and Venmo donations, along with membership and consulting fees and affiliate income and direct it to cover the expenses of running RL, choosing which #OwnVoices organizations we direct a portion of those contributions to. If contributions ever cover my out of pocket expenses of running RL and at least 10% of excess is redirected to #OwnVoices organizations, surplus will be accepted as personal income to compensate for previous years of unpaid labor in running RL in previous, and then to eventually raise enough for a living wage to support my living expenses and family. For more info on that, check out the Financial Disclosures.
- Benefits of participation: If all goes well, we will have smashed the kyriarchy by the year 2082. I personally benefit from this as an Autistic person of color in terms of opportunity and less risk as a target. You can find more details on this in the RL mission & objectives.
Shannon B. S. [she/her]
Quick Action Coordinator
Shannon is a climate justice activist, parent, and author of Growing Sustainable Together. She is a white (Polish/other Eastern European) autistic woman. She’s originally from upstate New York and now lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. in the traditional homelands of the Piscataway people. Her day job is as a science communicator and she lives with her two kids and husband.
- Contributions: Shannon researches, collates, and writes up our our monthly 1-minute calls to action guides.
- Financial: Shannon is a contributing member of the Luminary Braintrust and supported Raising Luminaries on Patreon from February 2019 through September 2022.
- Benefits of participation: My eternal gratitude, boosting visibility for issues she cares deeply about, the opportunity to infodump a little to people who actually want it, and the good feeling of knowing that she’s helping other people take action. She also hopes that she’s setting an example for her kids and building a better future by both tearing down the current systems and creating new ones. I also like to boost her fantastic book on how to integrate climate activism into her parenting and community connections.
Amanda J., [she/her]
- Contributions: Amanda proofreads 1-2 Family Action Toolkits a month to help keep our toolkits easy to use and accessible for our community.
- Financial: Amanda supported Raising Luminaries on Patreon from March 2022 through September 2022.
- Benefits of participation: Amanda receives free membership to the Luminary Braintrust in exchange for her proofreading awesomeness.
April B. [she/her]
Dean of Rebellious Educators
Co-founder of the Student Ignition Society (SIS)
April is a white (Polish/Irish/German) cishet woman raised in Saint Joseph, MI, and currently local to Austin, TX, after living and teaching in Placencia, Belize for five years.
- Contributions: April creates posts and moderates the Student Ignition Society Facebook group. She creates & edits SIS toolkits and coordinates efforts toward the SIS mission & objectives.
- Financial: April is a contributing Luminary Braintrust member and supported Raising Luminaries on Patreon from August 2018 through September 2022.
- Benefits of participation: “The benefit I receive from participating is being constantly challenged and called in by a community of grown-ups wishing to smash the kyriarchy. My learning (and fuck-ups, which… also learning) transfers to my interactions with my family, colleagues, and community and supports me in raising a kind and compassionate kid who will recognize their white privilege and use their voice to continue smashing the kyriarchy long after I’m gone. This is bigger than “just kid-lit or kid centered activities” ; it’s about leaving my kid the legacy of social justice & disability activism, interconnectedness, and the importance of fighting to decolonize our minds and the systems around us.”
Kerry P. [she/her]
Emissary To The Real World
Contributing member of the Student Ignition Society (SIS), Strategy & hijinks support for fffline Raising Luminaries initiatives
Kerry is a white (culturally Irish American) cishet Gen X woman raised on Long Island NY, and currently local to the Boston area, and the mother of two children.
- Contributions: Kerry supports Ashia as an allistic accomplice in real-world social interactions through networking and connecting with people offline and in real-world local organizing. She supports and contributes to SIS toolkits toward the SIS mission & objectives. She creates initial drafts and provides copy edits for emails and documents intended for offline use (mainly stuff that doesn’t go on the website).
- Financial: Kerry supported Raising Luminaries on patreon from May 2018 through October 2022
- Benefits of participation: “The benefit I receive from participating is the contentment that comes from collaborating with creative and passionate people who are making something useful and timely.”
Darian P. [he/him]
Interm Volunteer Coordinator
Volunteer task organizer, procedure creator
- Contributions: During the 2019-2020 academic year, Darian focused his capstone project on the bottleneck challenges of running RL with scarce resources, funds, or volunteers. He’s creating resources to make volunteer training & coordination less labor-intensive, and has created transcripts of videos & editing support for the Accountability Statement & Guidelines.
- Financial: Darian has been a patreon supporter of Raising Luminaries since April 2019.
- Benefits of participation:
Nathan R. [he/him]
IT Support, Errand Man
Confusing back-end website stuff helper & support human
- Contributions: Nathan does outside errands such as picking up library books because I am nervous the librarians will get angry at me for borrowing so many books. Nathan arranges the more confusing website stuff like hosting and email domain…stuff? Until we can afford childcare, Nathan is responsible the kids approximately 40 hours during the week so I can work.
- Financial: Since I don’t yet make a living wage running RL, Nathan has technically been the financial backer (via our family bank account) for RL since our inception.
- Benefits of participation: Since Nathan is my support person when I have an autistic meltdown (and has to deal with the surplus chores & childcare while I recover), providing these services reduces incidences of sensory and functional overwhelm so I have less of them.
Ad Hoc Contributors
Incendiaries pop in when available to help with initiatives and shenanigans.
- Student Ignition Society Toolkit Contributors: SIS members crowdsource resources, copy edit, and lay out SIS Toolkits. Each toolkit lists contributors at the bottom of the document.
- Facebook Moderators Elizabeth S., Alison S., Maura Kate M. & Carly H. help with tracking new member requests in the Facebook group to block trolls & bots and offer support & redirection to develop and uphold group guidelines.
- Transcription: Darian P. & Megan T. have volunteered transcription services for our problematic video analyses.
- Image Editing: Nicole S. volunteered design services to provide black and white and grayscale images of our logo for print.
Organizations that have collaborated with Raising Luminaries for experiments & shenanigans, both paid & unpaid. Contributions & benefits of participation vary depending on the project & organization and support needs. Whenever possible, I’m aiming for interdependent collaboration (support flowing both ways).
This is a non-exhaustive list. For more details, check out the Financial Disclosures.
- Little Feminist Book Club (that’s an affiliate link) LFBC is an Illuminati consultant and I help them choose their books in exchange for consulting fees, book boxes for my kids, and if people subscribe via my link, affiliate fees.
- Wee The People – We offer resources and boosts to support WTP in establishing the Decolonizing Childhood Coalition & May 2020’s #FamilyDayOfAction.
- Philly Children’s Movement – We offer boosting support in May 2020’s #FamilyDayOfAction
- Families Organizing For Racial Justice (FORJ) Newton & FORJ Countryside: We’ve created the website & mailing list, provided strategy consulting, sponsored an event, and offered in-person and digital resources for both the citywide organization and the local elementary FORJ, which Kerry and I founded in 2017.
- Story Starters Boston SS is an illuminati consultant and I help them with webinars and strategy consulting.
- Parenting Forward PF has hosted me as a podcast speaker and paid conference speaker.
- Raising The Resistance We collaborated on the Ending Police Brutality Toolkit
- Newton Free Library With a few rare and hard to find exceptions, this is where I get all of the books we screen through the Minuteman interlibrary network. We provide a small yearly donation in appreciation for all the books. The NFL stocks bookmarks in the picture book room directing patrons to talk about marginalized identities with a call to visit the BFL website.
- Solidarity Machine David B. set up an online shop to support organizations like RL with T-shirt sales. (The site is currently on hiatus.)
Our Patreon membership closed on October 2022, and has been replaced with a group membership site on the Luminary Braintrust and Ko-Fi.
In order to keep our resources free and accessible, Incendiaries support my work running RL through financial contributions at a sliding scale of what folks can afford. Incendiaries who contribute financially are referred to interchangeable as ‘contributors‘ or ‘financial supporters.’
I direct a portion of these contributions to #OwnVoices organizations, but the rest helps me pay for my out of pocket expenses running RL, including stuff like website fees, book expenses, software, equipment, and childcare so I can work – there’s more details in our Financial Disclosures. If/when we have surplus contributions after that, it would go to living expenses and supporting my family so I can continue this work.
- Contributions: In addition to financial support, the monthly support of contributors offer a sense of solidarity and emotional support in knowing that the work we’re doing here matters to at least *This Many* people who are willing to give so that others can benefit – particularly whenever I get a sense of futility or hopelessness.
- Financial: Financial supporters contribute cold hard digital cash and sometimes they say nice things that cheer me up!
- Benefits: I guess I should ask them about this, too. Most contributors support altruistically regardless of reward, but we offer different levels of customized support based on tiers as a thank-you. Examples include Luminary Brain Trust membership, 1-on-1 consulting, polls, and access to material that isn’t quite ready to be published.
It is important to financially contribute to #OwnVoices organizations before I pay myself. We can’t escape a capitalist society – so by writing about this work, I indirectly profit off the existence of oppression. Without working to end oppression at the root, this work would be complicit in the cottage industry that promotes and profits off the thing we claim to fight against. Ew.
RL finances are an experiment in radical interdependence (which means a healthy cycle of collaboration, not forever amassing power). RL is designed seed its own destruction by rendering itself obsolete.
Sometimes I interview a book publisher, writer, illustrator, or activist and create a page on the website highlighting their work. These spotlights include and quotes and images used by them, with permission. Check out our Spotlights here.
- Contributions: Makers provide written answers to interview questions, images for use on the spotlight, and occasionally, free books for the purposes of review, which is always disclosed.
- Financial: Makers cannot pay to be featured, I don’t do sponsored posts, and I do not pay Makers to feature them.
- Benefits: Makers get free marketing and exposure for their work. We include links to show Incendiaries how to purchase their books or hire them for services.
For the purposes of this statement, ‘Readers’ covers everyone who consumes the content on the BFL, our Facebook groups, or social media pages.
- Contributions: Some readers signal-boost my work by sharing posts, commenting, or inviting friends to the group. Readers may choose to click through RL affiliate links. If they make an order, that creates financial support for RL.
- Financial: The content in these spaces are free, although some readers choose to become patreon contributors to keep the work going.
- Benefits: Readers get free posts multiple times a week, guides to handle current challenges with resources such as books, discussion suggestions, and articles to learn about topics outside the sphere of their own social justice work. Within the FB group, readers get a relatively safe, moderated spaces to solicit vetted books and resource sugggestions in the BFL group, opportunities to connect with other like-minded readers. From the RL Facebook page, readers get steps items and resources. All readers have public access to curated book suggestions and educational articles from the website and templates, and child-friendly activities from the SIS toolkits.
We hope to benefit the following groups of people. I mean – smashing the kyriarchy should benefit everyone in the world, but we’re particularly focused on the groups below – those who face systemic oppression and discrimination in our current systems.
I seek to do this by directing Incendiaries to listen to and support individuals and organizations within the following groups, and to educate ourselves on injustice, our shared history, and the cultures and lived experience of:
- Members of the disabled community, broadly speaking, and inclusive of those with physical and cognitive disabilities
- Mad and Neurodivergent folks
- People of color & targets of colorism
- Indigenous people, particularly those of Turtle Island
- People of faith, and particularly faiths targeted in North America, such as Sikhism, Islam & Judaism
- Members of the LGBTQiA2S+ community
- Women and nonbinary folks
- Those with bodies and appearances erased and shamed in traditional media, including (but not limited to) those with craniofacial differences, limb differences, alopecia, vitiligo and other stigmatized hair and skin types, people with Dwarfism and other height differences, and targets of fatphobia.
- Immigrants, refugees & third-culture families
- English-as-a-second-language speakers
- Financially insecure families
- People who have been culturally, economically, or otherwise systemically denied access to education, housing, and fair employment
- Survivors of abuse and violence
- Public libraries, public schools, and equity-seeking alternative education initiatives
- Authors, illustrators, and publishers who are making progressive work featuring a diverse range of characters – with a priority on Makers from the above list of targeted groups
This document was last edited April 2023 by Ashia R.