The West Michigan Policy Forum took communicating messaging and actions very seriously from the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal first and foremost was to protect lives. Second, we needed to be an advocate for saving livelihoods.
Efforts included aligning with small businesses and their team members in West Michigan and around our state. Together with local leaders, hospital systems, and partner organizations, we promoted the safe reopening of businesses. This included restaurants, grocery stores, retail, schools, and more places of operation needed in our daily lives. We provided support for processes to put into place, how to pivot, such as offering curbside pickup, and how to communicate efforts to the public.
We asked the community to mask up to help open up, through use of our #OpenMISafely social media campaign. The Policy Forum shared the stories of businesses from Rockford to Wyoming and from Allegan to Holland. This new pillar became our primary focus of 2020.
Local leaders we connected with to amplify messaging through their voices were:
Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent, Grand Rapids Public Schools
Dr. Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College
Brian Calley, President, Small Business Association of Michigan
Bill Schuette, former Michigan Attorney General
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss
This work still resonates today as we continue to endure through the pandemic in the safest way possible. Our community will be forever impacted.
See these leaders discuss #OpenMISafely in their words on the West Michigan Policy Forum Youtube Channel.