News & Blog

Opportunities to Support Communities in Michigan

Our ambassador Lauren Bealore shared this blog with Let’s Detroit on how to make an impact in the community and practice self care in these uncertain times:

Although historically pandemics are not new to this country, they are new to many generations currently facing the recent pandemic around COVID-19. Due to its unfamiliar nature to many people across the country, specifically the state of Michigan, it is hard to imagine this new normal of virtual communities. As someone who works in politics and policy, I see things from a slightly different perspective. I see this pandemic as an opportunity to expand on our innovation around communication and support as human beings. Unfortunately, Michigan has suffered a high percentage of cases compared to that of other states but our state’s leadership has provided opportunities for us to support different communities across the state.

For the business community, organizations such as ROC-MI (Restaurant Opportunities Center) which is an organization that works daily to improve the working conditions and raise wages in the restaurant industry, have put together a relief fund to support hundreds of service industry staff laid off in the state. There has also been a push for carry out and takeout from businesses such as Detroit Vegan Soul, a woman owned vegan restaurant that has used their e-newsletter to share information about their Detroit Vegan Soul Employee Relief Fund to support the staff of their two locations in Detroit. Then there is Live Cycle Delight, a  homegrown Detroit based cycling studio in West Village that has been offering virtual class packages for the public to continue health and wellness from home.

From the policy realm, we have seen action such as the Executive Order from Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and the Small Business Association of Michigan that allows businesses across the state to apply for $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration; but we also are witnessing a realization that community matters. At the heart of our state are communities. We need members of different communities across the state to continue virtual support. In education, we need to uplift the resources, support, advocacy and knowledge of the School Boards, The Skillman Foundation, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and private tutoring companies to elevate online learning programs so that our Michigan students feel championed and not lost during this time.

In business, we need to uplift the resources, support, and knowledge of the Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, New Economy Initiative, and Techtown. In politics, we need to uplift the voices of progressive advocacy groups like Mothering Justice still protecting pregnant mothers at this time as well as Clean Water Action and Sierra Club engaging constituents around advancements to water safety from the executive level. More importantly, we need everyday people to not just live through this pandemic but see the pandemic as an opportunity to lift the veil on issues facing everyday people in order to protect their futures. Every industry. Every community. Every person.

As much as I am using this time to be a community advocate for others, especially those experiencing loss, I also am using this time to be an advocate for my own self care. I am definitely someone that likes to find opportunities in every situation so here’s some things I participated in or created during this time to elevate my communication with others:

  • Created a group chat called “Quarantine and Chill”. I am someone that definitely likes to host and since I can’t host kickbacks to bring my networks together in person, I decided to bring some close friends together virtually. I highly encourage that people do this because people sometimes feel more comfortable when you put them in close settings; and what’s closer than your phone? In the group you can share virtual events taking place or have a random discussion about a show you like. Either way, it’s a great distraction from the madness that sometimes a 24 hour news cycle brings into your mental space through social media, radio, or television
  • Caught up on my podcasts. I typically listen to my podcasts on the road to the Capitol weekly but since the quarantine, I have had to schedule binge listening sessions for some of my favorite podcasts, which includes: The Read, Netflix’s Strong Black Lead, Serial, and NPR’s Code Switch
  • Binge watched documentaries and TV shows on Hulu, ESPN, and Netflix. From murder to marriage to mayhem, I have seen it all during self quarantine. I have enjoyed some recent ESPN 30 for 30’s that I was behind on, caught up on the ABC News docuseries Truth and Lies, and yes, I binged Love is Blind. All guilty pleasures.
  • Attended virtual concerts and house parties. Music is essential to the soul so I am so glad that so many DJ’s and music artists have been giving us a full show during this extra down time. From DJ DNice to PJ Morton to iHeart Radio to legendary music producers, I have enjoyed these virtual music festival line-ups for sure.
  • Virtual Conferences. Many national conferences were canceled due to the current state of affairs so I had the pleasure of attending QuanratineCon, a digital conference to bring together the world’s movers and shakers connected to listen to experts in different fields. Sessions included: The Next Era in Music, Creatives Need to get Creative, The Entrepreneur’s Mindset, and Growing up with the Internet. They are hosting more digital conferences over the next month.


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