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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Ohio Faith Leader: Rely On Community in Uncertain New Year

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Monday, December 27, 2021   

The new year is just around the corner, and one Ohio faith leader is asking folks to find comfort in community during uncertain times.

With the Omicron coronavirus variant surging, some folks may begin to feel isolated from their friends and loved ones.

Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches, said relying on people in our community can be a powerful tool.

"I think it's important, especially now, during this era of COVID, that each of us lives as a continuing education student of life and the beautiful array of people who live on this Earth alongside us," Sullivan urged.

The pandemic has exacerbated mental-health concerns. In a November Gallup poll, only 34% of respondents said their mental health was "excellent," a 21-year low.

For those who need additional support, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services offers a 24/7 toll-free emotional health hotline.

As part of building community in 2022, Sullivan advised people to speak out against hatred and divisiveness, and to go forward into the new year with a mindset of love and cooperation. The Ohio Council of Churches has several resources on its website for combatting racism and hate.

"We must be willing to avoid cooperating with hate and injustice and indifference, and instead cooperate and project love and peace and justice in the world and our communities," Sullivan contended.

Sullivan added community connection does not necessarily need to be in-person. Connecting virtually can also be a powerful tool for combatting stress and anxiety over challenges in the new year. For those who do meet up in-person, public health officials recommend wearing a mask, social distancing and getting vaccinated and boosted.

Disclosure: Ohio Council of Churches contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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