Freelancing and freedom

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

The 4th of July celebrations this past week, along with a prompt from NAIWE executive director April Michelle Davis, got me thinking about the connection between freelancing and freedom.

The link between my areas of expertise — writing, editing and proofreading — and our country’s role as an exemplar of freedom is easy to make: I live in a country where I can express what I believe and want to say, and edit or proofread materials that relate to my beliefs and perspectives. I can accept assignments that are consistent with those beliefs and perspectives, or turn down assignments that go against my principles and beliefs. I can even use my skills, as well as the income those skills generate, to support causes I believe in. I can set my own schedule and fees. I am not just a freelancer; I am free.

That freedom is invaluable, and not something I take for granted. I’m the daughter of Holocaust survivors (yeah, it happened). I’m a member by birth of a religion that is still stigmatized and under constant attack even these days — and sadly, even in my own country — and by choice of one founded on principles of freedom. I see examples of the lack of freedom in the headlines every day. Both in the USA and beyond, there are many, many people who cannot claim the luxury of living in a country or community where they are free to do the work they love, be with the people they love, or simply enjoy comfort and peace on a daily basis.

I am very lucky.

My country is not perfect, and certainly is seeing an unprecedented level of hostility and threats to our freedom in the current political realm. But it is still a, if not the, leader of the free world. Most of us are still free to express our beliefs and advocate for what we think is right and fair. We owe it to ourselves, our families, our histories, our futures to use our communications skills to keep it that way, for all of us.