Jessica Hiemstra
Toronto Artist. Writer. Designer.


With Regards to the Canada Post Strike

Postal workers were forced back to work this week--and I have to say I feel a bit heartbroken about it. What's happened is people have been forced back to work because getting presents is more important than workers' rights, and people's right to protest, and I think that's so appalling. And I sure don't agree.

Anyways--today I went to mail a book to one of our customers, and there's usually a huge line-up--usually a line up of people with slips and package and complaints and confusion and children with one mitten and coats undone and done-up too tight. My post office is a little one on Bloor--a small post office run by a husband and wife. She's always helping kids find protractors and post-it notes. They're just lovely.... and today there was no line! So! I took a minute to tell the man who usually helps me that I'm so thankful for him--he's always always so kind and courteous and efficient. He is caring and careful with every single person in line. And he and his wife are also ALWAYS so nice to each other.

Anyways, we talked about the strike and I talked to him about appreciating him and the conversation ended with me taking a little picture of the two of us and all the boxes he's dealing with and we said goodbye to each other with our hands on our hearts. And together we sent a little book off to someone in Idaho. There are so many hands involved in making something, in bringing it here and there. And I never want to forget about those hands.

Then, on the way home, I saw two postal workers. I went up to them to say hi! And to offer some solidarity. I was like - hello - excuse me, can I talk to you a sec? And they looked at me a bit skeptically--because, well, the strike! And who the hell knows what would come out of my mouth! (I mean, I usually don't know!) Anyways, they said yes--and I said to them that I just wanted to say I appreciated that they were working and I was sorry that they were forced back to work and that I have a tiny business and we appreciate what they do but that I feel their being treated fairly is much more important than the mail going through and that I'm ready to be inconvenienced so they can strike for their rights!

I wish I could be more eloquent about these encounters.

Mostly I just have bad photos of me with a postal truck and a letter carrier and a bad picture of me and a wonderful man at my local post office. And I have bad hair and pink sweatpants and a big puffy coat. The truth is I'm thinking about capitalism and failed revolutions and what it means to love and be kind and what it means for our world to be fair. And I know my pink sweatpants are bad. But I have a pretty ok heart. And I want to send love out to the postal workers who should be treated well. No justice, no peace.

Jessica Hiemstra