Hello 2021!

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!

At the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), we look forward to 2021. As you’ll notice, we’re kicking off the new year with a brand-new magazine platform! We heard from you all that you’re loving the interactive elements, videos and more that we’re producing in Making a Difference, and we hope this new site lets you enjoy our content in even more dynamic and accessible ways.

We’re excited to work alongside you during the legislative session to address a growing waiting list; to make sure inclusive postsecondary education programs continue to thrive and grow; and to encourage legislation that allows people with disabilities to live in their own homes, with jobs and with the supports necessary to have great lives. We hope that you will connect with your legislators and attend our Advocacy Days. You can read more about the legislative session and Advocacy Days in this edition of our reconceptualized magazine.

In addition to preparing for statewide advocacy, Georgians are also welcoming new faces to the US Senate. All eyes have been on Georgia as we completed the race for the runoff, and Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have been elected to represent us at the federal level. Read more about what that means for Georgians with disabilities in our legislative preview.

In 2021, GCDD will unveil its new five-year strategic plan. The plan will tell you what GCDD Council members and staff will work on the coming years.In 2021, GCDD will unveil its new five-year strategic plan. The plan will tell you what GCDD council members and staff will work on for the coming years. Don’t worry: GCDD will continue many of the great programs we lead. But this is also an opportunity to think toward the future and what we can do together to create a state where all people are welcome and supported to have the best life.

You will read in this edition about a new coalition of families that will work together to discuss issues and advocate for positive change. You will also read about Uniting for Change that brings together self-advocates to discuss what is happening in their lives and are working to change the system of services.

We also look forward to telling your story through our Storytelling Project. This includes the debut of the GCDD-produced documentary film, “6,000 Waiting.”  This film tells the story of three people who are on the waiting list for home and community-based services. We will let you know where you can view the film, and make sure to share it with your friends, family and legislators.

Most important to us at GCDD is that we hope to see you in person during 2021. We know that COVID-19 has left many of us isolated, unable to visit friends and family. Until the vaccine is readily available, make sure to join with GCDD and our partners every month on Zoom to talk about how COVID-19 is impacting your life. For more information, check GCDD’s website and join our advocacy network so that you can stay informed.

From the members and staff at GCDD, we wish you a happy 2021. We hope you enjoy reading this magazine, and we want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts by writing to Managing Editor Hillary Hibben at hillary.hibben@gcdd.ga.gov.

Eric E. Jacobson
Executive Director, GCDD


Tell us your thoughts about the magazine or what topics you would like to see addressed by emailing us at hillary.hibben@gcdd.ga.gov, subject line: Letter to the Managing Editor