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President’s Response to Racial Violence

Dear BBA Family,

I want to honor the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless others who have lost their lives to senseless acts of racial violence. My heartfelt prayers are with their families and communities. For several days, I have struggled to respond to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the resistance that has followed.

I have struggled because I am tired.

I am weary of the anti-Black racism running throughout every fiber of the world in which we live.

I am tired of the hashtags and demonizing of victims of state-sanctioned violence.

I am tired of watching the killing of Black people over and over and over again.

I am tired of “waiting on the facts” before arrests are made only for acquittals to follow those arrests.

Enough is enough!

While I am mentally and emotionally weary, my spirit remains strong. My spirit empowers me to continue to fight to be Black and live. I will resist the evil of anti-Black racism by fighting for justice. Though we may fight in different ways, what matters is that we resist. Wars are won by using multiple tactics. What matters most is that we unite and stand in solidarity in our fight against systemic racism, inequity and oppression.

Through our vision and mission, the Benjamin Banneker Association has committed to dismantling barriers that hinder all children – particularly African American children from having equitable opportunities to study and achieve in mathematics. Systemic racism and inequities are barriers that must be dismantled and can be through our collective actions. While we have made some progress, there is so much more to be done. As we move forward, let us act on the position shared in NCTM’s Statement on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Dr. Trena L. Wilkerson, NCTM President and Dr. Robert Berry, NCTM Past President, encouraged us to use mathematics as an analytic tool to challenge power, privilege, and oppression, to challenge systems of oppression that privilege some while disadvantaging others and to create socially and emotionally safe spaces for [ourselves], [our] students, and colleagues.

Let us also not forget to take care of ourselves. In the words of Audrey Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

In solidarity,

Crystal Morton

BBA President


Eight students from Ethel M. Young Elementary in Houston ISD were challenged by their instructor, retired mathematics specialist Mrs. Kay Perry, to complete the following Benjamin Banneker Math Puzzle:

“I used lunch time to have 3 groups of 5th graders to work out Benjamin Banneker’s Mathematics Puzzle,” said Mrs. Perry. “ALL three groups have successfully completed that puzzle.” This math puzzle is one of many mathematical puzzles developed by Benjamin Banneker, and is featured on the AP Central website as a problem given to tenth grade students!

The names of these students are Federick Johnson, Desmond Pullins, Keyona Egans, Corneshia Whitfield, Samantha Alvarado, Matthew Ray, Javeon Turner, Troy Grant.

The students were recognized on February 28, 2019 during their school Black History Month program. Congratulations to these students for their perseverance and success, and to Mrs. Perry, the administration, staff and community of Ethel M. Young Elementary for the great work being done to develop positive mathematical identities in the next generation!

Seven outstanding students from Orange County Public Schools (Orlando, FL) were honored for their hard work and accomplishments in STEM. The students were recognized at the OCPS school board meeting this month as Benjamin Banneker Association STEM Awardees, and also received gift bags and a $100 gift card from the local CFE Credit Union.

Pictured from L to R: Ms. Margaret Walker (Past President of BBA), Tanaiya Wilson, Nkosi Watts, David Jasmin, Henry Okonkwo, Payton Croskey, Ta’Neil Malcolm, and Racquelle Moxey

Here are a few of the students’ accomplishments which led to their being recognized with this award:

On February 9, 2019 the Benjamin Banneker Association in partnership with the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) celebrated Black History Month through the Spring Networking Conference.

BBA President, Brea Ratliff, was the keynote speaker, and Milby High School students created over 50 Benjamin Banneker clocks to recognize the outstanding work and contributions of the First African American Man of Science”.

View a video of the Milby High School students’ artwork here.


If a black student has just one or two black teachers in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to enroll in college, a new Johns Hopkins University study has found…[click here to continue reading this article]

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