MAA Seaway Section Statement on Black Lives Matter

(adapted from the Michigan MAA Statement on Black Lives)

The Seaway Section of the Mathematical Association of America stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and with those protesting racial injustice.  Racial injustice is not limited to policing.  Systemic racism permeates all of our society, and mathematics teaching and research are not immune.  We stand united in calling for the systems of racism and oppression to be dismantled.  One year is too long, and four centuries is horrifying.

If you are wondering what you can do within your sphere of influence to fight for justice, here are some suggestions:

Make Your Classrooms Inclusive

  1. Start with your own implicit biases. Read implicit bias tests.  Commit to overcoming your implicit biases both in the classroom and out.
  2. Incorporate social justice into your mathematics teaching.  As a good first step, consult Gizem Karaali and Lily Khadjavi’s excellent volume of easy-to-adopt modules - Mathematics for Social Justice: Resources for the College Classroom.  A second volume is due out by the end of this year or early next year.
  3. Read the literature about the connections between pedagogy and equity.  For example, you could read the literature on culturally responsive pedagogy.  Rubel and Chu’s 2012 article “Reinscribing Urban: Teaching High School Mathematics in Low-Income, Urban Communities of Color” contains a nice introduction to a framework for culturally responsive pedagogy and cites foundational work on the subject.

Educate Yourself And Others

Read, organize a reading group, or participate in a reading group.  Some books to think about are:

  1. Books on race and ethnicity in mathematics:
  2. General books on teaching equitably:
  3. General books on race:

Join and Donate to Organizations

There are several organizations dedicated to racial justice and equity within the mathematics community.  Join them, donate to them, and convince your administrators to purchase institutional memberships.

Some of these organizations are:

  1. National Association of Mathematics
  2. Association for Women in Mathematics
  3. TODOS: Mathematics for All
  4. Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  5. American Indian Science and Engineering Society
  6. Spectra: The Association for LGBT Mathematicians
  7. Math Alliance

In addition, there are organizations dedicated to using data analysis to fight for racial justice.  One such organization is Data 4 Black Lives, to which you can join and donate.

Finally, you can join or donate to math-adjacent professional societies dedicated to justice.

Many of our suggestions are not easy, but doing the right thing is often difficult. Reach out to your colleagues, including those in the section and in the MAA. As a community, we can make the future better than the past.