As 2020 draws to a close, I sit and reflect on all we have faced, experienced, and accomplished together.
2020 was a year in which we used words like “unprecedented” and “impossible” to describe the circumstances of living through this global pandemic. We have all been stretched, challenged, and changed forever by what we have experienced over these months: professionally, personally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. We have experienced profound personal and societal losses: losses of life; a loss of a sense of safety and security; and losses of social connection and contact.
2020 was a year in which as a country we confronted race, racism, and racial injustice in new ways. The murder of George Floyd, and the resulting protests and violence in communities across Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, as well as across America, touched each and every one of our lives. It opened new conversations and deepened responsibilities to recognize and confront injustice.
Amidst these challenges and changes, 2020 was a year in which Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford continued to serve our clients, families, and communities. We stood together against racism and injustice. We stood together in support of communities. We stood ready to continue to meet the needs of the families, individuals, and communities we serve in these difficult times. We embraced the positive impact and influence we could have with those we serve in the extraordinary circumstances brought by 2020.
We were creative and selfless in our giving:
Easterseals’ programs continue to do critical work, in creative and valuable ways, and the service remains essential and exemplary. I cannot tell you how proud I am, how awed I am, by our leaders and staff at Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford. I want to share my heartfelt, sincere gratitude with all of our staff for the incredible and important services they have provided in 2020. Thank you for your courageous leadership and incredible contributions!
When we look back, 2020 will mark a time when we faced a global health crisis that brought with it challenges, uncertainty, crushing personal and societal losses, and anxiety and fear. 2020 will be remembered as a year when we confronted, as individuals and as a country, questions about race, racism, and racial injustice—a dialogue and a movement that still has a long way to go.
For Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, 2020 was a year in which we held steadfast to our mission and continued to serve. We served our clients despite the challenges and risks we faced. We evolved quickly to ensure that the services we were providing were relevant given the dramatically changed context and the radically altered needs of those we serve.
We could not have done it without YOU, our partners. Thank you for your relentless support of and commitment to Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford. We look forward to our continued partnership in 2021!
In the Work,
Sara Ray Stoelinga