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Homecoming

Suzanne Werner

Suzanne Werner

Fifty years is a long time. Enough time my life, for any life, to run its course through many zigs and zags, surprises, and long patches of humdrum.
In life after LFC, I acquired a family—a husband and two lovely daughters.  I was widowed. And most recently a granddaughter has come into my life providing endless joy. Over the years, I have managed to maintain a robust group of LFC friends.

But there is this other thread to my life.  I can trace it back even before my days at LFC, but it was certainly strengthened and directed during those crazy undergraduate days in the late 1960s.

On the last day of the last term of Artie Zilversmit’s American history class we discussed our final reading, Charles Silberman’s Crisis in Black and White.  Professor Zilversmit remarked on how Silberman had identified the problems in race relations. He left us with a charge: It’s up to your generation to fix this.

I think we all know our generation has done a lousy job of fixing this.

But the thread through my life has always wound tightly around notions of social justice. I have consciously made choices in my career, first to teach, and then as an elementary school  teacher, choosing the schools I wanted to work in.  Then I specialized in teaching math (I told you there were surprises!) because I believed math education was a social justice issue creating barriers for my students.

I chose where to live and raise my own children.  The schools they attended were chosen with an eye to giving them an opportunity to enrich their life experiences by knowing people who were not just like they were.

I really couldn’t fix our national stain, but I could live my life as if it mattered.

 

I have carried my commitment to social justice into retirement in my volunteer work with children—those who have a parent who is a victim of partner domestic violence and those others who are newly arrived from across our southern border without a parent.