Welcome 2021, a year we start with hope and caution. First, hope. On Dec. 14, 2020, Governor Newsom announced the Vaccinate all 58 campaign. In the press release, he said: “Hope is here. As our first doses of vaccine arrive, the promise of ending the pandemic is on the horizon. By taking collective, inclusive action across all 58 counties to get people vaccinated, we can get through to a healthier future for all.” So, yes, there is hope on the horizon. Vaccines are on their way. But distribution across the state and across the country (and the planet) is the single largest, logistical challenge countries have ever faced. It will take time, and some of us will be waiting for months. It is a long horizon.

Now, caution. There is a danger—some might misconstrue hope in the future for safety in the present. But we are not there. While we wait, it will be critically important for us to continue to wear masks, socially distance, and isolate as appropriate. On Dec. 16, two days after the press release, there were 3,000 deaths in America due to COVID-19. I spent 15 years living in Lodi, CA, which has a population of about 60,000 people. 3,000 deaths today would wipe out the entire city every 20 days.

One of the primary goals and purposes of the Association is to help you connect with each other. Staying connected to each other has been essential these last nine months. It’s how we celebrate, support and inspire one another to stay healthy, keep moving forward, and keep smiling.

Staying connected also means staying connected to sources of trusted information so that we can continue to be trusted messengers. Head Start leaders, staff, and parents are trusted messengers in the community. We demonstrated that during our Census work, ensuring our communities participated in the 2020 Census. We’ve already demonstrated for nine months in 2020 that the Head Start community has been a part of the solution to the COVID-19 challenges we all face.

Head Start California will continue to strive to make sure you’re connected to each other and to trusted information so that you can continue to be trusted messengers and a beacon of hope in the community at large—to all our brothers and sisters.

Christopher Maricle
Executive Director
Head Start California



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