Please take care of yourselves

Good afternoon comrades,

I find myself writing this email for myself as much as I write it to you. It has been a horrible few days. We have watched with dread as countless families in occupied Palestine are terrorized with impunity by a brutal regime.  The news from the inquiry into the death of Joyce Echaquan has revealed what many of us have long known – that racism, both individual and structural can be deadly.  We marked the one year anniversary since we all watched as George Floyd’s life was squeezed out of him under the knee of both a murderous police officer and a corrupt ‘justice’ system. And now today we are learning more details of another brutal and murderous institution in this country – the Indian Residential School System. 

First, let me say to my Indigenous family members – you are not alone, you are entitled to your sorrow or your rage or any range of emotions in between. Please, please take care of yourselves.  Rely on our teachings. Rely on the wisdom of the Elders. Rely on our medicines. Rely on our ceremony.  Let the tears fall if necessary. Tears are medicine too.

To other members of our Local, know that the coming days will be difficult ones for some of your co-workers.  As we learn more horrific and horrifying details of the lives and deaths of our relatives, both past and present, we may be less patient, we may be less present, we may be quieter, we may be louder, we may be very, very different.  We need time to process. I’m not sure we have ever or will ever truly heal.

I wanted to make sure that you all know that if you need help, you can and should ask for help. I have attached an extensive and very helpful list of resources that you can avail yourself of if need be.

The Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is always at your disposal. You can contact them at at 1-800-387-4765 or

For survivors of Indian Residential Schools or their family members , you can seek help here:
1-866-925-4419 The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her Residential school experience. For more information on the program, please refer to the FNHA website.

Again, I remind you that you are not alone. Please take care of yourselves and each other.

In Solidarity and rage,
Denise Hampden
President, Unifor Local 2025

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