This time last year, I was not feeling as hopeful as I am today. For months, families across Illinois were put in impossible situations to care for their loved ones during this pandemic. Even while facing such circumstances, caregivers used ingenuity every waking minute to protect, entertain, inspire and educate.
When autumn came, I felt my muscles tighten with apprehension. How would we make it through another pandemic winter? As if right on cue, good news came with the season of thanks: a COVID-19 vaccination was approved for children five years of age and older.
This ability to provide an additional level of protection for our children means something different to everyone. For those of us who spend our working hours serving our youngest (and, therefore, most vulnerable) population, it is hard to ignore the peace that accompanies this new moment for children’s health and safety.
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Parents have been forced to make unbelievable accommodations and sacrifices to ensure safety for their children. Our hands have felt tied, and our collective mental health has suffered. But with this tangible opportunity, we can offer a little of the intangible back to our children. We can give them some freedom, some space and ultimately some happiness with this vaccine — and nothing fulfills parents more than the happiness of their children.
I recognize how far we have yet to go, for the stress and trauma of this pandemic to be fully behind us. But it is worth celebrating successes. Each day, more adults choose to protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated. That this vaccine is now available for children over five years old is worthy of celebration. I have hope it will soon be available for children under five years old, too.
I encourage all of us in the nonprofit and service sectors to seize this moment to support vaccination efforts for children and families.
April Janney, president and CEO, Illinois Action for Children
Expand the Supreme Court
To protect our democracy, our freedom to vote, our reproductive freedoms and our civil rights, we need to expand the Supreme Court.
The Judiciary Act of 2021 would add four seats to the Supreme Court, bringing the number of justices to 13. It would help restore balance to a court that Mitch McConnell and others have packed with right-wing extremists.
I’m urging Congress to pass the Judiciary Act so we can create an institution that moves away from partisan politics and represents the good of all Americans.
Dalia Kisielius, Avondale-Irving Park
I went to the mall this past weekend and saw the man in the red suit chatting up the kiddies and handing out plastic-wrapped candy canes. He wore a mask, of course, and the crowd was informed that Santa was fully vaccinated.
If a man with magical powers needs all that protection, shouldn’t we get over our objections to mask mandates and booster shots?
Bob Ory, Elgin