To say that the year 2020 has been a difficult year is understatement. The incredible loss of life due to this virus we are only now starting to understand is truly tragic. Millions of lives have been changed forever due to the after effects of this pandemic. Families have been separated. Small businesses have closed. People have lost their jobs.
So much negativity can be attributed to the year 2020.
For me, despite the anxiety and uncertainty, 2020 presented glimmers of hope. I witnessed the very best of people:
- Volunteers who stood side by side with us in our food distribution events that would not have been possible without the Salvation Army of Greater Newark and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey;
- Small businesses organizations, such as the Mt. Prospect Partnership and Bloomfield Avenue/Lower Broadway Improvement District, which partnered with us to offer financial support to local families impacted by the coronavirus and incentivize them to shop in our local businesses;
- Healthcare organizations like St. James Healthcare, which worked with our office and offered COVID-19 testing to our most vulnerable residents our homebound seniors;
- Local groups like Forest Hill Community Association, which decorated one of our medians to offer some holiday cheer and worked with us to organize fitting tribute to first responders;
- Front-line healthcare workers who saved lives every day at our local hospitals;
- Teachers and support staff who left the comforts of their homes and came out to their local schools to provide daily meals to kids and ensure that they had access to technology, among other supports;
- Grocery store and restaurant workers who risked their own lives on a daily basis to provide services to their communities.
The list goes on and on. I was fortunate to take part and participate in so many of these initiatives.
Like many others, the pandemic struck close to home for me. I had immediate family members, friends and co-workers who were affected and even some who lost their lives. 2020 taught me a lot about myself, those around me and those who are genuinely called to service when a crisis like this is upon on us.
The lessons learned in 2020 will certainly pave the way for better days ahead for us in 2021!
North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr.
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