Women's LifeStyle June 2020 - Tina Freese Decker
Jun 01, 2020 08:17AM
By Elyse Wild
This past weekend our city was one of many in the nation in which citizens expressed their grief and pain through protest. Dismantling racist systems is urgent. My black friends and their black children live in a reality in which they must navigate the world to survive systems built against them. Yes, it hurts and it’s painful and it’s an issue that seems staggering, but I urge you not to turn away. If you can turn away, know that you must not. We are living in an age in which information is abundant; educate yourself. Our community is home to wonderful black owned-businesses, but many still struggle to survive; put your dollars where it matters. Many organizations are working to provide education and resources to recognize and dismantle inequitable systems that impact people in our community every day; get involved. At Women’s LifeStyle, we commit to helping you engage with these resources.
Earlier this week, Governor Whitmer rescinded the shelter-in-place order and our economy is slowly and safely opening back up. While we may be excited to return to the normal we’ve missed, we know there truly is no returning. Several beloved businesses in our community have closed for good, and vulnerable communities have been made even more so. On page 22, read about how women-founded and led Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network has distributed more than $54,000 to families impacted by the pandemic, with all funds coming from others who wanted to help. Learn about safely re-opening your business as restrictions are lifted (28), and Dr. Kate Sage gives insight into the life of a virus (32). In a special Her Legacy column, The Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council tells us about the role the Grand Rapids American Red Cross played in WWI (20). On page 18, we are inspired by the story of Christina Koch, a Grand Rapids native who was part of the first all-woman spacewalk earlier this year. As always, I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do, and I hope they inspire you.
We are experiencing a pivotal moment in history; the pandemic has at once exposed our deepest flaws and our greatest strengths. The events of this weekend echo across the landscape of our city, and it is my hope that our hearts hear it and hold it and act on it. As we rebuild our world, we must create a whole new one. I encourage you to recognize opportunities to do so in our own community in the coming days, weeks and months.