Standing for Equity and Social Justice

My family, as is true for most Americans, is a product of immigration.  My great grandparents left Ireland because of the prejudice and fear that permeated that country in the thousand years for which it was a possession of another.  The people of Ireland were treated as sub-human, criminal, and left to starve. And so they left.  They came to America.
This is my country.  My country, of which Emma Lazarus wrote:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The events in Charlottesville and elsewhere paint a different picture, a picture of a country riddled with hate, with white supremist attitudes that are both born of and belied by history, science and good will.
As mathematics educators we are beholden to the children under our care and our tutelage.  Their dreams of the future are the hope of the future of this country and of the world.  Their dreams have been the dreams of each generation and always we, the educators, have the responsibility to equip them with the tools to achieve these dreams. 
In the words of Brooks & Dunn in the song, Only in America,
“Only in America
Where we dream as big as we want to
We all get a chance
Everybody gets to dance
Only in America”
 The vision of America in the songs that have defined the United States for generations is again slipping away. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law over 150 years ago, Rosa Parks sat down on that bus over 60 years ago, and over 50 years ago, César Chavez went on his hunger march  and Martin Luther King was murdered. Yet still we do not match our picture of ourselves. In this county, not everybody gets to dance. What can we, as members of TODOS, do to actualize the vision of America as a place for ALL people?  Taking the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution and drawing on the essence of the NCSM/TODOS position paper on Social Justice we have the following:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” {Constitution} …Do agree to treat each other with respect, educate each and every one of our children for their future through acknowledging the wrongs that have been done, taking action to ensure that these wrongs will not recur and hold ourselves accountable for supporting and incentivizing mathematics teachers and leaders to live the words of this message.
Without our commitment to this work, the dream of America will fail.  Our children are our future.  As children watched the events in Charlottesville, what conclusions did they reach?  What is our response as educators to their confusion and uncertainty? As the President of the Benjamin Banneker Association, Brea Ratliff, has stated, “They need to know that we will always stand up for what's right.” TODOS commits to this.  Integrity matters, social justice is about the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society. It is not about financial gain or professional advancement or putting oneself before the good of others.
As schools start up for another year of hopeful progress, let each of us commit to turning the tide, to working within our classrooms, schools, districts, counties and states to advocate for each and every child, for each of them represents the future of America. The TODOS Advocacy Committee will be working on this and other issues in the coming year.  Please stay tuned and become involved in the rebuilding of the dream.
Diane Kinch