Here we are in August.
As can be expected, life in Artspace has seen a dramatic improvement since the labour dispute has ended. We are slowly reclaiming our community and our sense of safety, and working to turn things around. Back to normal? No. Of course not. In truth, some of us may never find "normal" again.
While working on our healing, it's been made more difficult by having to deal with grief and loss. One of our long time members suffered several strokes and was hospitalized for several months. Then, just as we were expecting her to come home, we lost her. Personally, I have no doubt that the stress and trauma of what AUPE did to our community contributed to her strokes. We warned them as much, that their actions would contribute to the degradation of people's pre-existing conditions.
Another person who had been forced to go on short term disability during the strike is now on long term disability.
Other members have been in and out of hospital, some have become near recluses, and we have another hospitalization.
On top of that, we share the grief of supporters who have lost love ones recently. Our hearts and thoughts are with you.
Not too long ago, we had a meeting to discuss our plans for celebrating Artspace's 25 years. At some point, the conversation turned briefly to how much better it was now that we didn't have the picketers outside, and we could actually use our own space again. Pretty much everyone in the room concurred that they were still struggling in one way or another.
The labour dispute may be over and AUPE may have moved on to other victims, but for many of us living in Artspace, we are still trying to overcome the damage they did.
For us, it's still not quite over, and there's no way to know if it ever will be.
We may be exhausted, but we are not beaten down.
We may be struggling with PTSD symptoms, but we still stand and face the world. Together.
We have always been, and continue to be, Artspace Strong.