The Rainbow Village at AAS: Junellie Gonzalez Quiles and the League of Underrepresented Minoritized Astronomers

Introducing the Rainbow Village: Supporting People of Color in Astronomy

Welcome to the Rainbow Village, a new initiative aimed at providing a gathering space for people of color at AAS meetings. This series of articles aims to introduce and promote this exciting new community-centered project. The Rainbow Village is designed to support, celebrate, and build a strong community among people of color in the field of astronomy.

At the heart of the Rainbow Village is the opportunity for individuals to connect with each other, share their milestones and achievements, and engage in exploratory discussions. It is a space where attendees can find camaraderie, support, and a sense of belonging. This series of articles offers a comprehensive overview of the Rainbow Village and the organizations involved in its creation.

In this interview, we speak with Junellie Gonzalez Quiles, the Coordinator for the League of Underrepresented Minoritized Astronomers (LUMA) and a PhD student at Johns Hopkins University. Junellie shares her personal experience with LUMA and how it provided her with the support and tools she needed during her graduate education. She expresses her gratitude to those who have built and nurtured such spaces and emphasizes the importance of creating an inclusive environment for people of color in astronomy.

LUMA, founded in 2015 by Prof. Catherine Espaillat at Boston University, is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive virtual community for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx women in astronomy, physics, and related fields. LUMA offers a range of programming, including a buddy system, accountability circles, workshops, and social virtual events. Their goal is to create a space where members can feel a sense of belonging and shine in their respective fields.

LUMA comprises a diverse group of individuals, including graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, and research scientists. With over 100 members from five countries and 63 organizations, LUMA has been making a significant impact in fostering a supportive community for underrepresented individuals in astronomy.

As the Coordinator for LUMA, Junellie is responsible for organizing and coordinating LUMA programming throughout the year. She also plays a crucial role in recruiting new members, managing membership, and ensuring that all members receive the support they need at every stage of their careers.

The Rainbow Village collaboration brings together four organizations: AAS CSMA, LUMA, VanguardTSEM, and Black in Astro. This partnership aims to provide a permanent gathering space for people of color in astronomy at AAS meetings. The Rainbow Village at AAS 243 will offer a dedicated space in the exhibitor hall where attendees can connect, receive support and encouragement, and access various resources. Daily discussion sessions and celebrations of scholars of color will also be held.

For people of color attending AAS 243 and interested in the Rainbow Village, there are several ways to get involved. They can stay connected and support people of color by signing up through the provided Google form. Additionally, if they are presenting at the conference, they can share their presentation details using the same form to be celebrated and recognized.

The Rainbow Village is an important step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for people of color in astronomy. By providing a space for connection, celebration, and growth, the Rainbow Village aims to ensure that all individuals can thrive and contribute to the field.

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