Online Community Network
For day-to-day casual communication, our 70+ members use an online platform called Mighty Networks to meet others, share articles, ask for advice, recommend books, and socialize. The platform works similarly to a Facebook group in that members create posts which show up in a feed and discussion is facilitated by asynchronous commenting. it also allows searching posts by topic and facilitates subgroups (e.g., by geographical location). Unlike Facebook, Mighty Networks doesn’t have ads or sell user data, and the interface is simple and clean. We realize some people may not want to join yet another platform, but we promise it’s easy to use and has a convenient mobile app! At least give it a try, you can always permanently unsubscribe any time.
Network not for you? Everyone is encouraged to join our DAIS Google Group/email list, which includes both disabled members and allies. This list is for things like posting announcements, looking for resources, and keeping up on DAIS activities. You can send to the group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To join from a non-gmail address, email email@example.com. Some institutional emails cannot be added this way- if you have trouble, email firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll add you from our end.
Who can be a member of DAIS?
We are inclusive of all people who identify as disabled, neurodivergent, or having a chronic illness/condition that are currently or formerly professionally associated with space science or a related field or profession.
What if my condition isn’t bad enough to be considered disabled?
Not sure if you “count” as disabled? Worried that you might be overstepping or taking someone else’s space if you use that term? If you’re asking this question, it seems like you’re interested in joining the group but unsure if you’d be welcome. Many of our members are still navigating what terms or labels they self-identify with, and not everyone uses the term disabled. And that’s ok! If you have an illness or physical/cognitive condition that creates personal obstacles and impacts your ability to function at work or at home, and/or if you have a condition which limits your access to certain aspects of society without accommodations, then you belong here regardless of how you describe it. There’s plenty of room for all of us 🙂
As you consider this, be honest with yourself about what aspects of society don’t seem to be set up for you- it might be lack of building ramps, concern over finding a public restroom when you need it, difficulty keeping focused on class or research, anxiety when navigating crowds at conferences, having to make excuses to colleagues so that you can step out to take medications, or creeping fatigue or pain during long meetings and workshops- there are many ways in which we’re affected by our conditions that our colleagues don’t realize and that accommodations could help alleviate. Each of our conditions affect us differently, giving us different needs and different life experiences. There is no minimum threshold to what must be considered disabling enough in order for you to feel welcome in our community. It is up to you as an individual to decide whether or not support from this community is something you can benefit from.
Can allies join the online network as members?
While we appreciate and are encouraged by the support of our friends and colleagues, our online network is not for allies. Discussing experiences with our conditions can be very personal and sensitive and it’s important to maintain an environment that is safe where people feel comfortable to be open without judgement. Mixing personal and professional life also means we have to be vigilant about potential harm to people’s careers that could result from allowing a membership that is very broad. Because of this, we are trying to maintain an environment that is “for us, by us” in spirit and respectfully ask people interested in becoming members consider their intentions in this context. If you have requested to join only as an observer, spectator, or ally wishing to show solidarity, then we respectfully ask that you do not join our network.
Allies are, however, welcome on our general email list, where you can keep with with DAIS efforts and events which you can participate in and show your support. To be frank, our group is very new and we’re still figuring out the best way to interact and engage with allies enthusiastic about our mission– please bear with us as we navigate this question internally and build pathways towards broader partnerships.
What if my spouse is disabled and we both work in the same field? Can I join the group as a caregiver?
At this time, the group has decided we aren’t ready to open up to all allies yet, and instead focus inward on supporting and learning from each other. However, we recognize there are people in caregiver positions where one person may not be disabled themselves but they may support, e.g., a spouse, in the same or related field who is. In these cases, it often makes sense to include both people in the group and we welcome such people to join the network. With families especially, everyone is affected by and lives with the disability of someone they care for. This is a an ambiguous gray area for which the group is learning to navigate the line. We just ask that you consider that the intention of the group is for disabled people to meet and support each other as you decide whether you feel it’s appropriate to join or whether you feel you’ll be able to benefit from and contribute to the group. If you are joining as a caregiver, please try to keep in mind that while this community is here to support you as well, it’s also important as an ally that you listen and make space for disabled members.
What fields and professions do members represent?
We welcome anyone currently or formerly professionally associated with planetary and space science, astronomy, geology, aerospace engineering, space and envirnmental law, science education, and other related fields. Our members are researchers, educators, faculty members, engineers, administrators, artists, science communicators, and more!