Our brothers and sisters living in nursing facilities have been left alone, and many have passed away without the comfort of friends and family. Our only hope was that scientists would develop an effective vaccine.
On October 16, 1992, I began working at what was then called the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Since then, I have had the honor and privilege of meeting people with developmental disabilities and their families all over this state.
This edition of Making a Difference will introduce you to our council leadership team. You will note that GCDD Chairman Nick Perry has co-written this letter with Executive Director Eric Jacobson. This will be a regular column. Nick was appointed to GCDD in November 2020 and elected chairman in January 2021.
It has been over a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Since then, we have struggled with how the virus might impact us or a loved one. We’ve worn masks and isolated ourselves from others. When people got sick and went into the hospital, we could not visit them.
I am sure we are all happy to see 2020 leave and a new year begin. We have seen a virus take over our daily lives. Many Americans protested in the streets as Black men have been murdered by the police. People lost their jobs as restaurants and shops closed. And we experienced the most divided presidential election ever. It was a year of unprecedented strain, and I, for one, am glad it is over!
As we move closer to 2021, we can either look at this time with regret and sadness – or as a time of opportunity. Though battling COVID-19 has meant being away from friends and family, new technology allows us to be together even when we are far apart. We at the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) have learned so much from YOU, those who continue to participate in the bi-weekly Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network COVID-19 Zoom sessions or the weekly Community Strong virtual gatherings.
I hope that you are all doing well during this time of great change. Not only have we dealt with a global pandemic, economic chaos and a state primary election riddled with criticism – but now we are witnessing people in the streets asking for justice and equity. Never in many of our lifetimes have we seen an outcry of this scale in the United States. Indeed, this week, this month and this year have been difficult. Still, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) continues to stand in solidarity with those around the world who speak out against systemic racism.
At the time of this writing, the world has come to a standstill because of COVID-19. Over 10,000 Americans have lost their lives to this illness, and hundreds of thousands are sick. People with disabilities who experience health-related issues such as heart, lung or kidney disease need to take extra precautions because they may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and subsequently falling ill.
Hello, 2020! It seems like it was only yesterday when we were concerned about what would happen to our computers when the clock struck midnight of a new millennium in the year 2000.