By Emmanuel Ibarra, Impact Coordinator
The present is a product of the past. Present-day America is confused, angry, anxious, and exhausted. Many are confused about how to handle a conversation around race and systemic racism. Many are angry that in America entire communities face economic oppression generation after generation. Many are anxious for the future as we continue to navigate 2020, which includes an election, the Covid-19 pandemic, the potential collapse of the global economy, and of course climate change. And now, many of us are exhausted from pursuing a seemingly unachievable American dream that was supposed to include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
But there is hope for a better tomorrow.
All these issues are the consequences of a status-quo that has guided our nation for hundreds of years. The established social norms and the current economic system has traditionally rejected anything that threatens its control and profitability while ignoring calls for justice, harmony, and hindering our progress towards a better future for all. Yes, we’ve seen some progress for oppressed groups (women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community), but we have struggled to truly capture the attention of the masses to have a real hard look at our society and implement real solutions to make the American dream possible for all Americans. That is until now.
The Covid-19 pandemic paired with a reignited nationwide Black Lives Matter movement lays the perfect setting for Americans to finally confront its many faults both at a systemic and individual level. During the month of June, we want to celebrate the progress made by the LGBTQ+ community, but also acknowledge that (like the Black Lives Matter movement) there is still much work to be done to include these oppressed communities in economic opportunities and a chance to live safe and well in America.
Yes, in order to build a better world and help address these issues, we need to change policy. But even more so, we need an economy with proactive businesses who can use their resources and platforms to help find solutions to these issues and in doing so creating a regenerative and more equitable economy. We need engaged individuals who are conscious of the impact of their spending. What we need is a People First Economy.
By a People First Economy, I mean an economy that values its people as well as its profits. An economy that cares for and maintains the health and well-being of all its members. In this type of economy, people from all walks of life have economic opportunities that allow them to pursue happiness rather than just mere survival. Businesses would not be profit-generating machines for the few, but a wealth creator for the many. This economy would create opportunities that contribute to the well-being of natural ecosystems rather than the traditional destructive and extractive activities that exist today.
In a People First Economy, no one is left behind.
Good For Michigan was founded to create a better community by prioritizing people and creating local wealth through sustainable economic development. We believe that business can be used to solve the issues it helped create, which is why we will continue to advocate for a People First Economy.