CCED in a COVID World: Revisited

By John Melcher, Associate Director 

My recommendation for navigating the turbulence…  

…Double down on diversity, equity, and inclusion and sail the wind you got.  – John Melcher 


Spring 2021 finds Michigan’s residents and communities in the midst of reacting to COVID induced social, cultural, and economic upheaval. These forces intersect in unique and powerful ways, creating community turbulence, economic hardship, and personal misery. As individuals, families, and communities react to the ever-changing challenges of this pandemic they are confronted by the many weaknesses caused by entrenched prejudice, bigotry, and inequality.  

The challenge to react in the most appropriate way is confounded by the growing urgency to recover and return to more stable and predictable times. That is what I see and hear from communities around our state from the southeast to the northwest. Conversations are taking place on all levels of our communities about issues related to every aspect of our lives. We are having a real moment. 

How we handle this moment is crucial. How we assess the issues and opportunities, how we identify the problems and capacities and how we respond to the crisis depends on many things, not the least of which is whose voices we are listening to and whose voices are missing.  

In a culture and a society where systemic exclusion has led to tremendous inequities, where poverty and racism amplify profound flaws in our economic and social systems, it is crucial that we respond with clear intentions to reach out to all segments of our communities and seek their energy and voices to create a response sufficient to help our communities, families, and individuals to not only survive but to thrive. 

Now is the time to rethink what we do, how we do it and, most importantly, why we do it. Now is the time to preserve those things that give our communities resiliency. Now is the time to amplify the tools that give our families stability. And now is the time to create the tools we need to bring inclusion and fairness to our economy so we can all thrive. 

My recommendation for creating thriving businesses, communities, families, and individuals…double down on diversity, equity, and inclusion…and sail the wind you got. 

For more information contact John Melcher, Associate Director, Center for Community and Economic Development,  


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