Promoting Social & Environment Justice: The Ravens Crossing & Amanda Corlies Sandos

Welcome to a guest blog by IMA graduate Amanda Corlies Sandos

How do we get young adults interested in reading? Are there innovative ways to keep them excited about it? Would making reading interactive via gaming and the internet be effective? What key issues are most important to young adults today? How do we effectively address these issues? What do young adults want to read? What do they find lacking in their current books?

These were the kinds of questions two Goddard alums and a whole group of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College graduates were asking each other over coffee at our weekly writer’s meetings. Amanda Corlies Sandos, a recent graduate of the IMA program, and Andi Lea Miller, a former student of the same program, began these discussions several years ago. Last year, published author West Thornhill, professional editor Jessica Samuel, web designer Poet Rae, JD and numerous other content advisors of all ages joined these discussions to help us brainstorm.

What was born of our brainstorms is TheRavensCrossing (TRC). It’s a young adult, LGBTQIA, online, interactive, sci/fi, fantasy adventure. The website and its stories have become a labor of love to Team TRC. We provide completely free and age appropriate reading, though people of all ages are enjoying the stories. The three authors post 1000 words of flash fiction six days a week in a round robin style. Each section stands alone, but also works within the overall story arc.

The Ravens Crossing is set in the fictional neighborhood of Wildwood, within the real Iowa City. Since the stories are just beginning, we don’t want to risk too many spoilers, but suffice it to say, the fictional world considers an alternate human evolution. Environmental and social justice themes are carefully crafted throughout the writing in an effort to create a completely new and innovative online reading experience. You can find all the information about the project and links to all of the stories on ourFirstTimeHere?page.

When polling a diverse group of young adults on what they found lacking in fiction, we were not surprised to hear a repeated disquiet over the marginalization of LBGTQIA characters, because they are rarely allowed lead roles or any kind of happy endings. Therefore, our mission is to promote the reading, writing, and publishing of positive, young adult, LGBTQIA literature. At The Ravens Crossing, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and enjoyable entertainment experiences in LGBTQIA genre fiction for young adults on the internet.

We want to offer the simple and powerful experience of reading about diverse main characters that many can identify with. We also want to create a safe place for everyone to come enjoy an escape, create community, interact, and easily connect with important resources. As the website grows, more gamification theory, opportunities for interactive participation in the stories, and online chatting will be added. We want readers to feel comfortable interacting with each other and Team TRC.

The Ravens Crossing (TRC) has partnered with YALGBTBooksatGoodreads, offering behind the scenes peeks of the series and exclusive “members only” content. The Ravens Crossing is also a supporter of TheMakeitSafeProjectwhich provides YA LGBTQ books to school libraries and community centers who do not have the funds or support for purchasing YA LGBTQ literature.

TRC is a community oriented project. We need your help to spread the word. Please feel free to contact us with your feedback and suggestions. They are most welcome. In addition, we are working towards forming partnerships with a number of advocacy organizations. We welcome your ideas. We hope you will visit http://www.theravenscrossing.org and tell your friends where to find us, particularly those who may be in need of support. Team TRC provides opportunities for internships to those interested in furthering a career in editing, website development and management, or public relations and marketing. Use the ContactUs page on the website, and we will be glad to provide you with more information.

-Amanda Corlies Sandos

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About Individual Poet

I'm the poet laureate of Kansas; a poet, writer and author; a faculty member at Goddard College and community writing facilitator; and lover of the writing life.
This entry was posted in Creativity & Imagination, Environmental, Sustainability & Place Studies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Promoting Social & Environment Justice: The Ravens Crossing & Amanda Corlies Sandos

  1. Annie says:

    I’ve bookmarked this page, and look forward to sharing it with my tween daughter. I am so encouraged when I overhear my daughter and her friends talk about “shipping” different characters. They pay no attention to the sex of the character, but rather match up pairs that have common interests. They “genderbend” characters too, and find it perfectly normal for two girls or two boys to be paired together. Their ideas about sex and relationships are still rather juvenile (or perhaps I’m not aware), but I love that they are open to any relationship… regardless of the gender of their characters. Times are changing, and to me this is such good news all around. I love that the younger generation sees that love is the only necessary ingredient for a relationship. Thank you for your work on this topic. I look forward to reading more!

  2. Annie,
    It’s fantastic to hear this about your daughter and her friends. I had a friend’s daughter recently tell me, “Gender is irrelevant, love is all that matters,” and she is only twelve. I was really encouraged to hear this from her, too. I take this as a sign that things are moving in the right direction even as I know we still have so much work to do. I’m glad you have bookmarked our page and feel encouraged to know you want to share it with your kids. This makes my day. Thanks for helping us spread the word!
    Big hugs!

  3. Andi Lea says:

    Thank you so much Annie! I have found the same with my own kids, who also offer content consulting on this project. The don’t look at gender as a barrier at all. The future for our children is quite promising as my kids prove to me daily with their belief in human rights and environmental responsibility.

    Often, I just find myself amazed that I had some hand in helping them become the individuals they are. It’s humbling and inspiring. For us, at The Ravens Crossing, the young adults involved are our biggest fans. It has been such an amazing journey so far.

    Cheers~
    Andi Lea

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