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Action Urged as Antidote to Despair in 2017

Harmony can be achieved among even the most extreme ideological viewpoints through respectful conversation. (Pixabay)
Harmony can be achieved among even the most extreme ideological viewpoints through respectful conversation. (Pixabay)
January 2, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – The United States begins 2017 somewhat divided, with emotions still running high over the pending Trump presidency.

But a Michigan faith leader is encouraging those in despair to turn it into action.

Randy Block, director of Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, says some people are frightened and concerned about potential changes in policy and attacks on progress made in recent decades on human rights, the environment, health care and other issues.

But he stresses that despair can be turned into action.

"We're seeing that the antidote to some of that depression and that frustration is to work with groups that are pushing back or resisting some of these potential changes," he states.

Block encourages Michiganders to look for ways to be in community with others and find alliances and networks organized around the issues that matter to them.

He notes Michigan parallels Washington, D.C. right now – with control held by one political party – and he says it's important to have all voices heard, not just those that are conservative.

Knowledge is power, says Block, and people cannot be successful advocates for change if they are fighting blindly.

He encourages respectful conversation between those with even the most extreme ideological viewpoints.

"You can retain your values but you need to be able to communicate with people who don't always agree with you or to at least to understand where they are coming from to more effectively communicate with the broader public,” he stresses. “Being a listener is an important part of being a vocal activist. "

In Michigan, advocates are joining together to work on water rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, and immigration reform in 2017.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI