12/30/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Thank You for being the Bright Spot of 2020

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Happy New Year!

As 2020 comes to a close, we look towards 2021 with optimism that the pandemic will subside and that we can begin the work of repairing and rebuilding. In the rearview mirror, I see many dark clouds, but I also see many silver linings. It is these silver linings that gave me hope and strength during these past many months. I have always had faith in the leaders, staff, and volunteers that power our human services system. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen this power proven as our system - against all odds -completely transformed critical supports and programs in days and weeks to ensure those we serve were served and cared for. You, we, IDHS, together are the silver linings.

Much has been said about how the pandemic has exposed structural racism, economic inequity, and health disparities; this is all true. The pandemic also exposed our strengths, our helping nature, and our humanity. Fighting the pandemic brought our IDHS team closer together. This fight revealed our relentless compassion, ability to accomplish the impossible, and fierce dedication to public service. We have shared moments filled with tears, laughter, fear, relief, sadness, and frustration. It has been the greatest challenge of our lifetimes, and I am grateful to be travelling this path with you and under the bold and compassionate leadership of Governor JB Pritzker.

Throughout the past nine months, we have shared Bright Spots of your remarkable work, highlights of human services champions in the community and in our system. Thank you for helping us live out our mission; your kindness and acts of courage sustained us.

We see a light at the end of this tunnel, but we must remain vigilant in our compliance with face coverings, social distancing, and limits to in-person gatherings. We have created a webpage with up to date information about vaccine distribution and invite you to visit it periodically as more information will be included in the weeks ahead. The webpage is: dhs.illinois.gov/covidvaccine

We are hopeful and optimistic that 2021 will bring clearer skies; nevertheless, we know that silver linings are here.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS