We are almost midway through Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)! This month marks a national holiday in the United States that began as a way to promote the history, contributions, and culture of Hispanic-Americans. The month wouldn’t be complete without recognition, reflection, and celebration of the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx individuals in the mathematical sciences.
In last year’s post, A Tribute to Hispanic Heritage, I talked about several initiatives, articles, and blog posts that shared some of the history and the challenges still ahead for members of the Latinx/Hispanic community. This year marks the fifth anniversary of an initiative close to my heart, Lathisms (Latinxs and Hispanics in the Mathematical Sciences, www.lathisms.org).
“Since 2016, Lathisms has featured 122 diverse mathematicians, highlighting one per day during US Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated September 15–October 15. The website, which has been visited more than 250,000 times since its inception, also features some of the honorees in podcast interviews by Evelyn Lamb, and each honoree is featured in freely downloadable posters.”
I encourage you to read the profiles of each honoree unraveled daily on the website along with this AMS notices article five of this year’s honorees.
This year, I wanted to highlight another fantastic organization TODOS: Mathematics for ALL. As described in their website, TODOS mission is to advocate “is to advocate for equity and high-quality mathematics education for all students— in particular, Latina/o students”.
“TODOS: Mathematics for ALL is a professional organization that advocates for equity and excellence in mathematics education for ALL students – in particular, Latina/o students. Founded in 2003 and with over 800 members from across the country, TODOS Members know that Equity and Excellence in Mathematics Matter! We promote Social Justice in Mathematics education and provide high-quality resources to help reach our Mission and Goals.”
TODOS was established in the years 2000-2003 as a result of the Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee (EDAC) sessions at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) annual meetings. The themes of these sessions revolved around organized issues of teachers of Hispanic/Latino students.
The website of the organization is full of resources for mathematics educators, parents and families (in both English and Spanish), webinars, a podcast, a blog, and many more. In this tour, I give you a glimpse of some of TODOS blog posts. I’ve learned so much by reading these posts and found their resources insightful.
In this blog post by Carlos López Leiva, Silvia Llamas-Flores, and Kyndall Brown, the authors describe the importance of naming an identity, in particular the naming of the Latina/o community in the United States. They state very clearly at the beginning of the post that rather than propose solutions, they hope to open the conversation around naming identities.
Naming an identity is something many of us may feel strongly about, especially as it relates to our relationship with the United States. As stated in the post, naming my identity has been a way to name the community I belong to. However, as an identity that captures a group with a lot of diversity, we may never have a consensus on a single word that captures all of our experiences. However, the post highlights that naming those identities depends on the historical and current context in meaningful ways and that as educators we must acknowledge the identity of our students beyond mathematics as a way to make our interactions more meaningful.
“As educators, we must challenge places of marginality (Aguirre et al., 2013). We must also learn about, acknowledge, and nourish the intersectional identities of the students with who we work.
When we self-identify, we often make use of language to name those identities according to a context. In the case of Hispanic, Latina/o, Latin@, Latinae, and/or Latinx people in the U.S., the changes in these names or words have been linked to linguistic and political perspectives.”
These terms (Hispanic, Latina/o, Latin@, Latinae, and/or Latinx people) have changed as a way of challenging paradigms on many different axes of identity such as gender, race, land, residency status, language, among others. The authors conclude with a call to unity towards inclusivity and ask the readers to share with them which term is more relevant to identify this diverse group and what should that decision be based on.
In this post, Carlos LópezLeiva, Kyndall Brown, and Silvia Llamas-Flores, dive into the world of Ethnomathematics, as they define (and describe) it as,
“Ethnomathematics is a term introduced by Ubiratàn D’Ambrosio (1991) from Brazil to describe the techniques used to explain, understand, and cope with reality in order to survive across diverse communities. Ethno relates to the members of distinct groups identified by cultural traditions, codes, symbols, myths, and specific ways of reasoning and inferring (D’Ambrosio, 1985). So, ethnomathematics refers to the way that members of various cultural groups mathematize their own reality because it examines how both mathematical ideas and practices are processed and used in daily activities (D’Ambrosio and Rosa, 2017, p. 288).”
This definition blew my mind, especially as I think about how we engage with math and the world around us. The goal of this post is to showcase the relevance and practice of ethnomathematics in and outside the classroom. In terms of the first goal, the authors mention that ethnomathematics can help us engage with a culturally-responsive approach to teaching mathematics. They share great resources on mathematics community-based approaches in and outside the U.S. and works at the intersection of ethnomathematics and culturally responsive mathematics education. Some including the Navajo Nation Math Circles, Current and Future Perspectives of Ethnomathematics as a Program, Mathematics of the Americas, and Google site, lesson plans on ethnomathematics. I encourage you to take a look and explore all these amazing resources!
Finally, as the elections draw near, in their post, The Mathematics of Voting and its Consequences: Ideas for Mathematics Lessons, they present resources on the historic link between democracy and voting, current issues that relate to inequity in voting, and mathematics lessons on voting. For example, using mathematical modeling to explore the link between voting and the Common Core Standards of Mathematics.
Have an idea for a topic or a blog you would like for me and Rachel to cover in upcoming posts? Reach out in the comments below or on Twitter (@VRiveraQPhD).