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Local Opinion: The virus is still a threat, but youth will save us | Local Editorials and Opinion

In scenes straight out of Hollywood, armed demonstrators try to intimidate elected officials into changing virus protocols, a store clerk is shot for asking customers to wear masks, others are attacked for not social-distancing and Asians are assaulted for supposedly causing the flu. We are better than this.

Clearly, there are different ways to lead effectively, but in times of crisis, we need collaborative, inspirational, evidence-based leaders. Unilateral decisions against expert counsel show poor leadership and lead to missteps.

As challenges and inequalities multiply, we need leaders to heal and unite us across the aisle and across the world.

Essential workers affected by systemic inequities need careful attention from strong leaders. Many lack medical coverage, a livable wage or hazard pay in our hospitals, grocery stores, fields and food production. They need support regardless of country of origin, immigration status, ability, language, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

We can all learn from young leaders fighting for a better world. Greta Thunberg, a disruptive leader at 15, used clear, compelling data to lobby the United Nations. She inspired 85 countries to unite for the largest demonstration recorded worldwide.

Mari Copeny, aka “Little Miss Flint,” a collaborative leader at 8 years old, united her community around Michigan’s contaminated water. She requested a meeting with President Barack Obama, and the community received $100 million in grants to repair the water system.

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