Freedom of Speech

2e16431c804b869f5ca80ecca95267f6This is a post to say things I am finally “allowed” to say.  You may find it boring.  I am not going to make these statements to entertain nor to change minds.  I just finally feel that I can say some things out loud.  For years, I was told to be a representative of an agency. Which was fine.  For a while.  But as their values changed and mine also changed and it  became more and more difficult to share my points of view on social media (which for some may not be a big deal at all, but for me it felt like I was lying and compromising my values).  And maybe I wouldn’t have even shared a lot of things I was thinking, but it would have been my choice.  Not someone else’s mandate.  I want to fully be able to embrace and stand up for what I believe in, and I want to be trusted to know when it is appropriate and not appropriate to share with different audiences.

9fbeacb1633105e7f1bd45a70f9df3bfI am Sarah Zuidema, Social Worker before anything… all of my values of parenting, friendship, faith, justice, diversity etc all fall under this umbrella first.  And because of this I believe in Equality.  Equality of all people.  I feel that everyone deserves equal rights.  To marriage, to voting, to religion, to parenting.

f30bff2edbfbc203d8dcdd3eb3b2f45eBut what I have never been able to say “out loud” before on social media is that I believe same sex couples (or individuals) and than includes any person that identifies in any area on the LGBTQ “spectrum” deserves to adopt.  And I think any agency that uses the Religious Freedom act to not “Serve” that population (or others) is blatantly discriminating. They are hiding behind excuses of the way they interpret their faith.  (or how their donors interpret their faith).  And this does not just apply to adoption agencies, but to any organization, agency or person that refuses to serve a certain population based on their own biases.  Be it wedding cakes or snow removal or adoption.

I am sure anyone that knows me, knows this is my position, but for the first time, I feel I can say it in print. I am not saying this to inform.  I am saying this because I can. Not in hushed conversations behind office doors, or by “liking” or “sharing” someone else’s statement.  I am in no way saying anyone else has to feel this way.  I am not looking for criticism or arguments.  I am not trying to change anyone’s mind or make anyone feel guilty or defensive.  I am just FINALLY saying, that a value that is a part of the core of my very being, is that all people should have the opportunity to adopt from any agency.

There is one more thing.  Given Michigan’s governors recent statement about Syrian Refugees, and individual and organization’s positive responses to this statement, I believe that we as a country, a state and county etc, should take this opportunity to welcome refugees and immigrants into our state.  How will we ever get rid of the insane assumptions that all Muslims are extremists and all refugees and immigrants are terrorist?

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And now i have have peace in my heart for being free to speak my values.  I have peace in my heart that I no longer have to compromise my values for money.  And just to reiterate, this is about me being true to myself, not me bashing or disrespecting anyone else’s beliefs (although I am sure it sounds that way often).

I believe in equality for all.  I believe in social justice.  I believe in peace.

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