Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

Happy Holidays! Normally, around this time of year, my entire team is preparing to welcome you to the DC Armory for a day of festivities — celebrating all the extraordinary things that you’ve accomplished and the many ways you show us how to live boldly. But these days are anything but normal. Instead of getting together for fellowship, dancing, and sharing a holiday meal, we’ve had to put our annual celebration on hold to keep each other safe and help flatten the curve.

This year has been challenging in so many ways — not being able to see your grandchildren, spend time with friends and family, or even hang out at one of our wellness centers. Like many of you, I’m tired. I miss seeing my family and friends. I miss seeing your faces out in the community or at one of our many events throughout the year. I miss dancing with you and learning new things about our great city from the many talks we’d have in person. But even though it’s been a hard year, I know some of you can remember a time where things were much harder. And through those hard times, you managed to remain resilient, find joy, and stay hopeful.

Today, we look to you as our example for what resilience means, for finding joy, and for having hope. And during these challenging times, you continue to remind us of who we can be — individually and together. You’ve raised families at a time when our country was in turmoil and our city was struggling. You’ve weathered through crises, recessions, and hardships, showing us how to keep ourselves and our communities strong and healthy. You’ve rebuilt communities, served our country, and instilled our DC values into generations of Washingtonians. You’ve seen this city through its highs and lows, and managed to make it the Washington, DC we all know and love today.

Because of your faith, strength, and joy, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful for what 2021 has in store for all of us. And it’s going to be new and bright for so many reasons. We have a new President coming to the White House, making history with the first woman and woman of color as our vice president-elect, Sen. Kamala Harris. We have a possible COVID-19 vaccine coming, helping us get closer to putting an end to this pandemic. And we have the opportunity to continue to learn new and exciting ways to connect with each other – and that’s a real gift!

Sometimes, when we’re forced into situations like the ones we’ve experienced this year, we learn something really powerful – we learn the power we have within ourselves and the power we have through our connection with others. And as 2020 comes to a close, I can truly say what I’m most grateful for is my connection to you. That makes my world so much brighter.

Thank you for being a part of my world. Have a safe and prosperous new year.

With Gratitude,
Laura Newland

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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