By JACKIE LOVEJOY
Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce President
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
— Abraham Lincoln
“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
— John F. Kennedy
We are at an American crossroads that I have witnessed as separate events through my life; some repeating as I could never imagine in one moment that we now share. From the 1960’s civil unrest to our protests today, the ’70s recession, gas lines, and the great recession, and never a health crisis of this magnitude.
I use the two quotes from past leaders to demonstrate there is hope in the face of the trials we’re enduring. Some of you may know I’m a bit of a science geek; we have the Vagus nerve which controls our flight or fight responses.
For example, if you faint at the sight of blood, or want to sleep and curl-up during stress, that’s your “Vagus response.” Or you could have a huge dump of adrenaline preparing to “fight.” Your body can be over-taxed with stimulus and you’re not fleeing a foe, or a dinosaur causing even more stress and distress.
I bring this up as we traverse these times to gently remind everyone to breathe or energize a bit. Give yourself the gift of patience and space in this time, and others as well. We can be weary, though we are a very resilient community. I’m reading and experiencing responding vs. reacting in my studies right now. Dig in, read up and forge ahead with facts.
The Chamber normally champions our business community, routinely “bringing your demographic to your door.” That’s been virtually over the last three months, and there is so much good news to share, large and small, it buoys me every day in my role.
We’re hosting a “join now pay later” program at the chamber to help shore up all businesses in these times, plus a new gift card platform that pays businesses upon purchase vs. redemption for all area businesses. Businesses please sign up at https://bit.ly/2MvojV8.
When the public buys a gift card to support a business (if it’s open or closed), that cash is infused to them on purchase. Check our website and social media updates as we go live on FB, and www.dearbornareachamber.org We are pulling together in these troubled times.
Nuggets of support and innovation are present every day. The Dearborn Education Foundation moved its dinner format to the “Green Tie Live” event June 2, spinning on a dime to still proceed in this unusual time.
The words from Robert Saleh as he congratulated grads inspired me. There are four types of growth and the last level quoted was the most motivating when you move into “you’re uncomfortable and positive during change.” We can face forward and keep trying.
Another great example is from Dearborn Federal Savings Bank which is extending the length of loans and mortgages to encompass these times, because that’s the rainy-day model they’ve prepared for over the years for crisis. DFCU Financial as well is supporting the education foundation, sending the chamber PPP inquiries and hosting a car parade to honor our first responders. Our local pillars are in this with us, and for us all.
We are amid times that truly defy description. We’ve witnessed our local heroes taking a knee with demonstrators across our state, ensuring their voices are heard. Eugene Robinson a Pulitzer Prize winner was quoted this week, “Good policing is something to be done with a community, not done to a community” as our own leadership has done since 9/11.
Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad has been flown around the world after 9/11 to share how we continue to build unity in our area, convening our citizens and Interfaith Council at regular Homeland Security sessions several times each year.
A health crisis, civil crisis, economic crisis and in many cases a mental health crisis are at hand. I had an article ready to go to support our businesses and consumer confidence during an existing shelter in place; I think we need to pause and applaud our area.
Our communities are cooperating, collaborating and pulling together, we need to be proud and supportive of our Dearborn area leaders and citizens here, in Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Wyandotte, Allen Park and our southeast Michigan neighbors who are working so hard together on so many issues.
Our southeast Michigan chambers work together during the norm, and during these times we rely heavily on one another for support and guidance including the Michigan Chamber and U.S. Chamber. Wayne County, our downtown development authorities, principal shopping districts, corridors and other neighborhoods are pulling up and pulling together.
Reach out, ask for help and let us know the issue. We have teams assembled across our region to help and guide our businesses.
Stay safe and please feel free to contact the chamber at 313-584-6100 with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help.