How will I stand up?

Many years ago I, like many of you, was moved to tears as I spent time at the Holocaust museum in Washington DC. During my first visit there, it was surreal to imagine that this event could have ever happened.  I knew it to be true.  I just could not imagine the circumstances that would result in that much hate.  That day I bought a post card with this quote on it that has stayed with me ever since.  first-they-came

This quote is well known and has been adapted to include many other groups over the years.  (You can read more about the original quote HERE)  Though I have loved the message of this quote for years, it is this week, yesterday and today at the start of a new presidency that I find myself so distracted wondering how I need to change where I invest my time, resources and energies moving forward.  I find myself distracted from wanting to think about math, math teaching, and so much more and instead worrying about my students, my neighbors and my friends.

I post this post today publicly asking you to hold me accountable in how I stand up on behalf of those around me.  There are so many others that have and will write things about what is going on in the world more eloquently than myself.  I thank them.  You move me to act.  I am simply stating to any of you reading this that I commit to stand up and speak for those around me who are being treated unjustly.  I am not sure what will be next in my journey.  I plan to spend time daily in prayer and meditation seeking truth and guidance as I move forward.  I am though also committed to action.  It may be quiet.  It may be loud.  It may be public or private – but all I know for sure is my silence and inaction is wrong and a sin.

I do not support the bans put in place in the last days.  I will not stay silent.  I will reach out to those in my community with love.  I will stand with them.  Thank you for listening to my public commitment.


Sara VanDerWerf

I am Sara Van Der Werf, a 24-year mathematics teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools. I have taught math in grades 7-12 as well as spent several years leading mathematics at the district office. I currently teach Advanced Algebra at South High School and I'm also the current President of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). I am passionate about encouraging and connecting with mathematics teachers. I'd love to connect via twitter.  Join the community.  Tweet me @saravdwerf.

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