CHICAGO (CBS) — Following a harrowing year in which the coronavirus pandemic changed life as we know it, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a New Year’s Eve message to Chicagoans Thursday night.

“2020 has been an extremely difficult year for all of us, but through it all, we never gave up on each other. Here’s to a new year of fighting for the values we believe in and striving towards a more inclusive Chicago for all,” the mayor tweeted.

In the video message, Mayor Lightfoot the pandemic “has changed us forever. Our sense of who we are as individuals; as neighbors has been changed by what we’ve endured; the fear and the uncertainty that has entered our lives like no other time before.”

But Mayor Lightfoot said Chicagoans have “risen” and come together as neighbors to “forge our way through.”

The pandemic, of course, will still be going on once the calendar turns to 2021.

“But there is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel, and I think we should reflect upon the numerous ways in which the courage of us as a city, but also as individual Chicagoans, has really shone through,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

The mayor also noted that 2020 saw a long overdue focus on systemic racism – particularly following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police in Minneapolis and Louisville, respectively.

“Each of us – particularly leaders of institutions – has to ask what more we can do. It’s not enough to have a mission statement or to say words. We have to make sure every single day, we are the living embodiment of fighting against systemic racism,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

Mayor Lightfoot said she approached 2021 with “hope and optimism.”

She said she hopes the coming year “brings us the opportunity to come back together as a city; to unify around a common sense of purpose.”

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff