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Look around and it’s not hard to find examples of tension in our world. But take a moment to look deeper and there in between you can find powerful examples of unity and equality in your own community.

In this American era of a country deeply divided, the courage and spirit of the 41st class of Michiganians of the Year remind us of the hope and inspiration among us.

There’s the near centenarian who still gets up every day to do things for other people, including donating $20 million to help build a cancer center, and the pastor who wants to get his flock to heaven but is first bringing them out of poverty by rebuilding his community through business creation and rehabilitating neighborhood homes.

There’s the breast cancer surgeon who raised money to help patients with rent, mortgage payments and utility bills during their treatments, and there’s the university president who launched a program that provides free undergraduate tuition to low-income students.

There’s the mother of two who looked poverty in the face and created a one-on-one tutoring program to address literacy, and a woman who brought Shakespeare to the Motor City and teaches students in the city’s schools about the art of theater.

Then there’s the president of the city’s orchestra who steered the organization through choppy waters to new stability and continued artistic excellence, and the professional athlete and his wife who are using their platform and resources to help vulnerable children in Africa grow up in a safe, nurturing place.

There’s also the former NFL player who created a foundation to help youths become high achievers in school and in their daily lives, and there’s the utility executive leading the electricity industry toward a greener energy future.

We salute these 2019 Michiganians of the Year.

Read their stories:

Matthew and Ashley Boyd: Using baseball to change lives

Jonathan Wolman: Journalism's champion

Reggie McKenzie: Giving youths tools for success

Dr. Mark Schlissel: Go Blue Guarantee helps low-income students

Gerry Anderson: Leader in a 'critical' energy future

Dr. Pamela Benitez: Foundation supports breast cancer patients

Mort Harris: Helping to improve care for cancer patients

Anne Parsons: Detroit Symphony Orchestra gets strong revival

The Rev. Barry Randolph: On a mission to bring people out of poverty

Pamela Good: Breaking the cycle of illiteracy

More: Sam White: Shakespeare added to Detroit's repertoire

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