Saturday, July 16, 2016

What I Learned at Twitter Math Camp Today (and it had nothing to do with math)

Today our youngest son leaves for the Middle East via Paris. He is 26.  He is an archaeologist and will be doing a dig in Israel.

 I am in Minnesota at Twitter Math Camp, he is in Massachusetts.  I had to say goodbye to him two days ago.

I am fearful for him.  Horrible things have happened in France.  Horrible things have happened in the Middle East. I shed a lot of tears last night after I called him, and again this morning when I listened to a "theme song" he posted on Facebook about heading to the Promised Land. I am afraid for his safety.  Europe and the Middle East are NOT a safe places for Americans and if I had my druthers I would beg him not to go.  

But that is no way for either of us to live.  

This afternoon I had the opportunity to hear Jose Vilson, keynote speaker at Saturday's TMC16.  His talk was titled "Race, Math, and What We're Not Talking About".   There was SO much about his talk that is important, but what really hit me, what really knocked the wind out of me, was this:  

Jose's wife was fearful for his safety.  She was fearful of him coming to Minneapolis, the place where a black man, Philando Castile, was shot by police just a couple of weeks ago.  She was fearful for him, a black man, coming to this city because horrible things happen to black men in Minneapolis.  I am guessing if she had her druthers, she would beg him not to come here.

But that is no way for either of them to live.

And this is what I learned at TMC16 today:  While I have been shedding tears for my handsome, smart, clever, youngest son who will be traveling OUT of the safety of the United States of America, other mothers and wives are shedding tears for their sons and husbands because they are not safe IN the United States of America.  

Tell me, where is the justice in that?

This is no way for anyone to live.  

Now I have more that I need to figure out.  Things that are MUCH more important than how I will teach quadratic functions to sophomores.  I am hoping that this community which is so passionate about math and the teaching thereof, will help educate me. I am hoping that we can join together into a larger and larger community which will create a place where people of all colors and all religions are safe, and where mothers and wives will not have to shed tears because they are fearful for the safety of their sons and husbands.


  1. I thank you for this reflection. Something worth pointing out too is that everywhere is Minneapolis for me right now. That's how I convinced Luz to let me go. If we don't go, then evil wins.

    1. Thank you for enlightening and educating us. When I got home several days later, I opened up Time magazine: it fell open to p. 31, "Letters: A black father and his son". It made me weep all over again.

    2. It was the July 25, 2016 edition.