During the Spring Break of Service in St. Louis, our team got to meet withMichael and Maria Lanahan. Michael and Maria are alums of the school and are associates in law firms. Michael is also involved in the Ferguson Commission, particularly in supporting small businesses in Ferguson.
Michael said that he was focused on building relationships amongst various people in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area. Policies and ideas are important, but building connections is valuable as well. It is one thing to advocate for a policy that may affect some faceless “community members.” It is another to know that it will affect Jasper, Michelle, or Sam and their families.
Difficult problems will not be solved simply by relationship. We will likely not reach consensus on intractable social problems by proximity to others. Yet if the goal is to understand each other, then we need to get close.