By Ashia R., Head Custodian of Raising Luminaries
What we do
Raising Luminaries helps caregivers and educators to raise the next generation of kind & brilliant humans.
Who we are
Members of the Raising Luminaries community (‘Incendiaries’) are of parents and guardians (caregivers), as well as teachers and librarians (educators), and any other grownups tasked with influencing and raising the youngest generation of humans (ages 0-10). See the Participants section of the Accountability Statement for more.
We are, in general, progressive-minded and liberal, with an emphasis on learning, listening, understanding, and inclusion. We do not compete with organizations and individuals whose missions align with ours. We collaborate.
How we do it
BFL focus on picture books for children ages 0-8 because books must be vetted by real kids, and mine are in this age range. By using picture books to make hard conversations easier and to introduce complex topics simply, we educate grownups, who then go on to have ongoing discussions with their littles and their wider community.
The objectives of Raising Luminaries, in order of priority:
To raise a kind and brilliant generation of leaders for a more inclusive world with less suffering.
Maintain free and publicly accessible resources where Incendiaries can find discussion topics, perspective, and tools to educate young children.
I’ve determined Raising Luminaries is the most effective method (within my personal ability) to fight injustice, mis-education, and suffering.
- See below for short-term objectives by year for 2014 through the present.
- By 2025: Work towards making a living wage to support my family through patreon support and while still necessary, affiliate income while dedicating all of my waking hours to supporting Incendiaries to smash the kyriarchy.
- By 2035: Raise kind & courageous humans who take responsibility for justice and inclusion.
- By 2082: Smash the kyriarchy.
- Sometime after 2082: Smash the sun into the moon (this anchors me and makes the other goals feel easier).
Objectives by Year
Maintaining all the same stuff as previous years, plus exploring praxis through the lens of demolition and positive destruction, including decolonized practices on working in seasons of growth, destruction, dormancy, and renewal, and anti-capitalism for the resources we create here.
We’re exploring ways to invite responsible member recommendations within the BFL Facebook group and exploring our complicity in capitalism and the attention economy on social media. This is when we’re shutting down the RL Twitter and Instagram account.
This year has been also a bit bumpy with some changes in plans due to the pandemic.
2019: Collaborative Action
Maintaining all the same stuff as previous years, plus exploring praxis through collaborative action in real life and our roles as RL members. This is when we kicked up the Student Ignition Society as an ancillary organization and the Moderators for Raising Luminaries group.
Our monthly themes were similar to previous years, with the addition of American Asian & Pacific Islander issues, Black futures, mental health, ageism, emotional labor, healthy masculinity, adoption & fostering, education rights, anti-capitalism, Latinx issues, digital minimalism, and decolonizing seasonality.
Maintaining monthly themed research, monthly curated book lists, praxis by taking on both local and online leadership responsibilities. Themes were similar to 2018, with the addition of body acceptance, wealth inequality, toxic gender roles, and death positivity.
Parenting-as-praxis: lead by example for my own children. My work supporting the Raising Luminaries community is within the scope of what I can do while raising two small children, while unable to work outside the home because of my parental duties and disabilities. This is when we kicked off the Luminary Brain Trust group for Luminary patreon community members.
Measurable financial objectives for 2018 included making RL financially self-sustainable to cover expenses and to reduce my workweek on RL stuff to under 30 hours. We did not reach these financial & hourly objectives.
2017: Website & Accessibility
Create a central website to make searching for and sharing our posts easier on the booksforlittles.com website by adding popular archived content to the website to make it easy to search and less labor intensive to respond to popular reader requests.
Choosing themes by month, we researched and highlighted books with positive messages and unpacked problematic tropes.
Maintain the the BFL Facebook group is where I tested out topics, book suggestions, methods of education, and public interest. It is also where I solicited feedback on what challenges parents and educators face, so I can learn what needs more research and what resources they need help finding.
- January: Activism
- February: Black history
- March: Women’s history
- April: Disability acceptance
- May: Understanding faith & religion
- June: Environmental justice
- July: Immigration
- August: LGBTQi2S+ family constellations
- September: Interpersonal & emotional skills
- October: Decolonization
- Intersectionality & privilege
- Topics by member request
2016: Social & Emotional Skills
Curate & recommend picture books that foster social-emotional support for children with social disabilities.
2014 & 2015: Expanding Complex Representation of Gender & Race
Curate and recommend picture books within the Books For Littles Facebook group with responsible representation across gender and race. Signal boost the work of #OwnVoices authors & illustrators.
How we measure success
This needs work, as I don’t have quantitative ways of measuring many of our objectives yet. I currently track the following to gauge the success of our topics and concepts. But ultimately, RL is designed seed its own destruction by rendering itself obsolete. (If there is no longer any oppression to write about, we have nothing to write about!)
- Website traffic
- BFL Facebook group anonymous parenting challenge new member questions, request posts, sharing, and commenting
- Raising Luminaries Facebook page follows & post activity
- Patreon poll results, contributions, post activity, exit surveys, comments, and message feedback
- Luminary Brain Trust activity: posts, comments, and initiatives
- Affiliate link activity (affiliates include Bookshop, Little Feminist Book Club, and Amazon)
- Critical feedback – both the feedback suggesting that what we do is immoral, and those that agree with the underlying values, but think we’re doing it wrong.
- My income & expenses running RL.
Members of Raising Luminaries [RL] and our ancillary organizations Books For Littles [BFL] and the Student Ignition Society [SIS], including our supporters, readers, contributors, and the founder of RL and author of this statement, Ashia R. are responsible for transparent and clearly stated missions, objectives, goals, and procedures in an effort to create kind and courageous spaces and resources.
Check out the Accountability Statement & Guidelines for more.
This document was last edited in June of 2020 by Ashia R.