This last week in class we covered sequences and series. This is a strange unit: It looks little like anything else students have seen, yet mathematically it resonates not only with many things we’ve learned, but with many things we could only dream of ever teaching in a high school class bounded by deadlines and curricular standards.
If you’ve ever counted or made a to-do list or put things in order, you know innately what a sequence is: it is merely a list of numbers, with a specific order: 1 2 3 is a different sequence than 1 3 2. Some sequences seem patternless (sunshine Monday, snowstorm Wednesday, downpours Thursday, a blizzard today) while others are so set in stone we hardly take notice: Sunday always precedes Monday, and April follows March.
Now suppose you look at that to-do list you made and count all the things you’ve got to do (that infinite list that seems to always grow two more items when you knock off the first–how hydraen life tends to be!) then you know, too, how a series differs from a sequence: simply take all the things and add them together. No more complex than that.
But what does any of this have to do with identity or politics?
I was once told the best way to lose your job is to lie on your resume, so this weekend at the Teach for America 25th Anniversary Summit, when people asked why I chose to join the Milwaukee 2016 Corps, I couldn’t do anything but tell them the truth.
And the trust is that I didn’t choose Milwaukee at all.
I think I’ve been seeing fireworks on the Fourth of the July for as long as I’ve been alive–that’s 26 years. Like most children, they startled me when I was younger, but I’ve come to love the dancing lights and the thrashing thunder that follows every burst. As I watched the fireworks this year, behind a hotel in Cookeville, Tennessee, on my way home from my brother’s wedding in Texas, I began thinking of the daily freedoms I have because I’m a U.S. citizen: I can travel freely almost anywhere in the world, I can go to school and get a job doing anything I want, and for the past week and onward, I can marry anyone I please and have our marriage recognized throughout the entire country.
I will no longer address you as my representative. In voting to override Governor McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2, making it legal for magistrates to deny to marry same-sex couples who have the right to marry in North Carolina, you have not only voted against the wish of thousands of North Carolinians, but blatantly voted against me.
Today’s Independence Day. To celebrate our freedom, I’ve been planning to write a piece about self-determination, celebrating the power we each hold as individuals in the United States and encouraging people to embrace this power–to take charge of their lives, and more importantly, to take charge of their country.
But self-determination is a privilege of the modern world, and the freedom we have today came at cost far greater than any one of us could ever imagine–certainly far greater than even I could conceive.
I recently wrote about three myths of marriage I’ve heard in the LGBT community that suggest the movement is moving away from what’s currently our biggest victory. These feelings appear to be held by only a small number of LGBT individuals–but the movement away from marriage is hardly as contained. Instead, a second, more imposing message is causing young members of this group to especially rebel against marriage rights: It’s not the most important issue, they argue, so why are we fighting so hard to win it?
In many ways, they’re right (there are issues more important than marriage), but these issues shouldn’t detract from our fight for marriage inequality–and I believe if we allow them to, we’ll only slow the progress we’re making. Therefore, I’d like to share five reasons why marriage still matters–and why this empowers the LGBT community to turn the marriage battle–and its inevitable victory–into the all out war for equality we deserve.
Today marks the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling in the U.S. v Windsor, which struck down the section of DOMA that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. I can easily recall sitting in the same chair I’m sitting in now, waiting for the decision to be announced. It was such a hopeful moment, and with the victories we’ve gained since then, equality seems closer than ever before.
However, there’s a movement within the LGBT community that’s tainting this cause for celebration and making me angry: As equal marriage advances in the country one vote and one verdict at a time, there’s a small but growing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals complaining about the heteronormativity of marriage–that is to say, they claim, the institution of marriage is a construct of straight culture.
And therefore, they go on, we should have no part in it.
But this thinking makes me mad. So very, very mad.
I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned and rolled about, as wide awake as ever. I considered getting up to get a drink. To watch the news. To play around on a design app my sister recommended, but I vowed to be in bed, and I wanted to keep to that goal. And at long last, sometime in the middle of the night, sleep overtook me.
This morning, around six, I began breaking from these binds in small bursts, wanting to sleep more but unable to coerce my mind into crumbling. Finally at nine I jumped from my bed, opened the SCOTUS blog for livefeed of the day’s events, and began my cardio workout.
It didn’t do much, though; my heart was already racing.
My greatest vision has always been a world without discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. This hope brought me to discover my own potential for leadership, and this compulsion has enabled me to push myself further from my comfort zones and make the greatest impact than anything else.
In part it’s probably obvious why I care (indeed it would be a greater mystery if I didn’t care), but in the spirit of the week–my vision quest–it seems only fitting to dig deeper.