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Page last updated on September 7, 2021 at 1:08 pm

Hi, this is Mayor John Hamilton. It's Monday, December 28th, and I wanted to give my last public video message of the year. First, thank you all for those who follow this and are paying attention, and really, the first thing I want to say is what an extraordinary year it's been and appreciation for our community and all the members in it. We have faced unprecedented challenges, unprecedented for most of us with this once in a century pandemic that has challenged us as a community, and I'm very thankful for the way our community has pulled together, worked together, stepped up to get us through this. We're not through it yet, but it's been extraordinary. From frontline healthcare workers who've been on the job every day, 24/7 since March, when this really hit us, to today and beyond. To all the workers, who we so appreciate, I hope, in new and serious ways, the essential work that happens to help all of us get the food we need, get the transportation we need, protect the housing that we need to keep the employment going.

So many people, education, childcare, healthcare, all those things that are so essential, thanks. Our community's really pulled together in powerful ways, the stories are manifold of how that's happened. So the first thing, as we end this year, is just noting how much we should thank each other for how we helped us get through this. It's not automatic, some communities get quite divided and divisive and I really appreciate the way Bloomington has pulled together, all the institutions and people.

I think also it's worth noting here, at the end of the year, that we are still in a very serious pandemic, continuing to lose people to death in this pandemic every day on average here in our community, we're doing better than the state as a whole, the nation as a whole, but still, it's very serious and we're not out of the woods so continuing to remind everyone that these next couple, three months, maybe more, are going to be critical to keep protecting each other with masks, with physical distancing, with good hygiene, with not going to work or school or seeing other people, if you're feeling ill, but always protecting, assuming you might be transmitting a disease, or they might be so trying to take care in all those circumstances, we have a little ways to go. Yes, the vaccinations are here and hundreds, I think probably over 1,000 people now have been vaccinated, which is great and that's going to keep growing in numbers. But we're not there yet, so that's another really important point along with the thanks is stay vigilant.

And then let me also just say this year has probably reminded us how many challenges we have. We can rise to the challenges, we have with this health emergency. We've changed the way we live, we've changed the way we work, we changed the way we socialize, educate, operate altogether, because we've needed to. And it's probably a reminder that we can change and we're going to need to keep evolving. There are really big challenges in our community, still. We have major economic inequality and challenges. People struggling at the edge of existence for income, for housing, for healthcare, making sure we really take that seriously. Similarly, beyond just the health pandemic, we know we have racial issues that are front and center with us as a community and as a country to deal with. Maybe the pandemic teaches us we actually can change quicker than we thought, we can make changes more dramatic than we might think if we need to and make the decision to.

Climate change has not taken a holiday during the pandemic. It has been subsumed in some ways, but it is inexorably pressing down on us as a globe, as a country, as a community, and continuing to take steps together that make a more sustainable community, a more equitable community, racially, economically, environmentally sustainable with a high quality of life, those are challenges still in front of us. 2021, we certainly hope and expect will be a different year. It won't be magically different, it's going to take a little time, but we do hope the vaccinations will get us to a new place.

But those challenges are in front of us as we move forward and I'll be talking about more of those, I'm sure, in the months ahead, as we continue to address what's in front of the city. Lots of other issues we can talk about, I won't take time to do that today, but mostly thank you, everyone, for 2020 and the way you have pulled together, heroes all around us. Thank you for continuing to be careful as we go forward in the months ahead, and I look forward to working with you to get through this and to move into these challenges and continuing to create a great Bloomington community for all those who call it home from all walks of life, to address the challenges in front of us. So hope you have good holidays closing out the year. We'll look forward to 2021 together, and thanks again from Mayor Hamilton for all you've been doing.