Candidate Statement for Vice President

My name is Jon Oaks, and I am running for TODOS Vice President. I have been a Professor of Mathematics at Macomb Community College in Warren, MI, since 2011. In addition to teaching, I am my department’s Adjunct Faculty Coordinator, and I serve on several college-wide committees, including the Macomb Multicultural and International Initiatives (MMII) Committee. As part of the MMII Committee, I have had the opportunity to work with students, colleagues, and community members on many “Math and Culture” events. These events include student-created displays, film and book discussions, and guest speakers.

I am proud to teach at an institution that has made an active commitment to allow space for dialogue to occur around the topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. However, my college is always striving to do more, as indicated by its new Strategic Plan, on which I was able to make sure my voice was heard that issues of equity should be addressed. My experiences at my college working with students and hearing their everyday struggles, listening to my colleagues, and interacting with community members during the math and culture events have had the most significant influence on my commitment to equity and access for the mathematics education of all learners.

As a Korean American adoptee who grew up in Flint, Michigan, I encountered many inequitable practices growing up, and I struggled a lot during my childhood. And now, more than ever, I believe I must do whatever I can to fight back against the many inequitable practices I experienced growing up myself. And as I have reflected and learned more about my past and continue to talk with others, I know that the fight for excellence and equity in mathematics for all learners is far from over.

So, if I am elected as TODOS Vice President, I will use my past experiences as a motivation to continue to move forward the mission of equity and access for the mathematics education of all learners, in particular Hispanic/Latinx students and other students from underserved populations. As an adoptee who has experienced having my entire past stripped away from me and then has struggled to regain what I lost – I understand the importance of not forgetting the past and using the past to help guide the future. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to carry out the vision and mission of TODOS.


Jon Oaks