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  • Writer's picturebrentforsberg

Are We Ready for Work?

Representative Julie Brixie stated Friday “Every industry is unique and requires an industry-specific plan to safely conduct business during the pandemic.” I know my industry has been working tirelessly for weeks on a safe at work plan. I know many others are doing the same right now. On Friday a major turning point in Michigan occurred. We saw the first steps in opening up the economy again. This brings great hope for many knowing they are going to have the opportunity to open their shops soon. Whether we agree with it or not, our societal structure is based on the economic output of our local people. I’m not talking about the aggregated GDP to see if we are “winning” against other regions. I’m talking about the support to fix and paint structures in our local parks, supporting kid’s sports and interests activities, providing the sponsorships for the events and festivals unique to our region, and makes Greater Lansing one the be best places to live in the country. Local business is the foundation of our quality of life.

As we figure out what our social normative’s will be to safely protect people from the pandemic, now more than ever it is important we focus on our local connections. In 2010, a report from MSU named “Why Buy Local” was published. You can find it here: It stated for every $100 spent at a local business, $73 stays in the community. Brian McGrain made a statement years ago at a conference, Lansing’s Strength is its grassroots ability to do things. I feel this applies to the entire region.

As we prepare to get the masks, sanitizer, and other items we need to get back to work, please reach out in your social media network and other local sources to see what we can get that’s made here first. There are lots of people I see making the masks from home. Buying masks from a sewer at home can help support their household. Our local distilleries are making sanitizer, and I am sure there are many others contributing to the effort. We will beat this thing, but in the meantime, while we are living with it, let’s give everyone we can here in our region the biggest boost possible supporting each other.

With all the uncertainty and pain that has come with this pandemic, I have seen some of the brightest lights of humanity shine as well. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”― Kahlil Gibran. There is no doubt the pain caused by the pandemic is going to leave a scar on those that lived through this. Our interconnectedness, our uniqueness that is humanity, was used against us to spread the disease. As we adapt to our new physical social response protocols, it is more important than ever we focus on the emotional connections that give us our common purposes. For me, it is seeing those around me thrive and feel fulfilled in their lives. If you have ever stuck a shovel through well-established sod, the term grassroots makes sense. The network of roots is hard to dig through, it binds everything in ti together and is hard to break apart without lots of force. Our region’s strength is all of us. I hope you find positives this week that brings you peace and joy. I appreciate all of you and look forward to a time we can meet in person again.


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