Thursday, February 4, 2010

Step up for Haiti, but don’t back down from local issues

The earthquake in Haiti was simply awful. As is usually the case with any disaster, the aftershocks (actual and emotional/mental) have been just as bad and in some cases worse. I am always amazed at the world’s response to a disaster such as this and I am of course particularly interested in the generosity of our own Metro Detroiters. The local response has been simply unbelievable.

I am told that this has always been the case with telethons and the like (think Jerry’s Kids) and in an area hit by its own economic and political earthquake, I think, almost too good to be true. But it is true, and the Detroit area has answered the call to help – perhaps because this cause is event driven and donors can feel good for that moment when they contribute to a cause such as the one in Haiti, then put it behind them.

The conundrum for many of us in the Detroit area is that we have our own disaster right here locally every single day, right before our very eyes, and we are having a very difficult time facing it and changing it.

There are a lot of reasons for that, some understandable and some that need to be set aside. But I am certain of one thing – we need to be thinking locally at least as much as we are thinking globally. We need to buy locally, sell locally, create jobs locally, and GIVE locally. All of us – business, government, unions, schools, non-profits, individuals – need to operate that way every single day.

This metropolitan area must have that same (if not greater) support and change and effort that we give to an event thousands of miles away. Perhaps this sounds self-serving, but that single, hard driven focus is what Metro Detroit needs and will need for a very long time.

The crux of all of that is the creation and sustainability of jobs. That is what we do at Goodwill every day. Contact any of us at Goodwill to learn how you can help us combat the greatest problem plaguing our community today. Any one of us would welcome the opportunity to talk with you anytime and anywhere.

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