Archive for July, 2014

Rally Report

Last Friday the Quixote Center joined several other local organizations at a rally in front of the White House. I was honored to be joined by several people from the Quixote Center network. Thank you! We chose the time and location because of a high level meeting between President Obama and the Presidents of the three Central American countries from which most of the recent wave of migrants originated: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Our message was clear: children fleeing violence in Central America deserve the rights and protections given to refugees. While we rallied, Congress worked to advance the HUMANE Act. The HUMANE Act is anything but, and would strip away the rights of migrant children to a hearing before a judge, and fast track their deportation to the homes they have fled in fear for their lives. The children shipped back to Central America face a dire situation, and one that failed policies from Washington, DC have helped to create. If you haven’t already, take a moment and sign the petition to oppose the HUMANE Act here. There are also planned vigils for the children refugees on Monday nights at the White House.
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Rally to Protect Central American Children

On Friday, July 25 at 3 p.m. there will be a rally in front of the White House. Please join us to add your voice as we call on President Obama to uphold and defend the legal rights of the migrant children, ensure that families can be reunited and protected here in the United States, and to change the policies of militarization that have helped fuel the crisis. Please let us know if you will be able to attend. On Friday afternoon, the Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will be meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the dire situation facing refugee children who have come to the United States from Central America. Since June, the United States media has been focused on the influx of children and adult migrants from Central America. Many of the migrants, and especially the children, are fleeing the violence, fueled by the drug trade, that has swept through Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Presente.org reports, “The House and Senate are ramming through a bill, deceptively named the ‘HUMANE Act,’ that would speed up the deportations of refugee children back to Central America.” Our hope is that President Obama will reverse course and keep his pledge to protect the children by not signing the bill that would send the children home to the violence and destabilization from which they fled. Whether or not you can join us on Friday, be sure to sign the petition against the HUMANE Act and ensure that children fleeing violence in Central America do not have their legal rights taken away in an effort to expedite their deportations.  
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Delegation: September 21-28

You are invited to join the Quixote Center as we visit our partner organizations in Nicaragua. participants will see first hand our projects of human development, undertaken in partnership with the Institute of John XXIII and the Federation of Campesinos (FEDICAMP).

The price for the delegation is $950, and includes all in-country transportation, food, translation, and housing while in Nicaragua. You are responsible for your own travel to Nicaragua. Below are more details. Contact Andrew Hochhalter for more information and to get your application [andrew@quixote.org or 301-699-0042].

Community Development in Nicaragua

Institute of John XXIII Our partners at the Institute of John XXIII in Managua have been working with us for more than twenty five years. During that time we have developed a nationwide network of community pharmacies, provided material aid to victims of war and neoliberal economic policies, and worked in partnership with local governments to improve the quality of public education for the rural poor. The Institute maintains several nationwide programs of human development, and participants will learn about their history, programs, and incredible accomplishments. For the last decade the focus of our work together has been to develop a program to address Nicaragua’s debilitating housing shortage. Approximately 1 in 6 Nicaraguans is either homeless or living in unsafe housing. After ten years of development, the Institute has become the leading builder of social housing for the poor. During our trip we will learn more about the challenges of building homes for the poor, and visit building sites where the Institute is putting theory into action. Federation of Campesinos (FEDICAMP) Global climate change is altering the landscapes and lifestyles of agricultural communities in Northern Nicaragua. The intensity and pace of these effects is projected to increase in the coming years. The towns and villages of the North are also at the forefront of the country’s increasing global and trade liberalization brought about by CAFTA and increased foreign corporate investment.

Witness first hand how rural communities in Northern Nicaragua are organizing to preserve their ecological integrity, food security, and community strength in this dynamic environment. Delegates will have the opportunity to meet with Quixote Center partners at the FEDICAMP, an organization with local affiliates in eighteen rural communities across Nicaragua.

The trip will give delegates the tools they need to be reliable witnesses to the situation in Nicaragua, and to advocate in solidarity at home. We hope that knowledge from the trip will be turned into action at home, and Quixote Center staff will be available to assist delegates who wish to organize their friends, community associations, and faith institutions for social justice in Nicaragua.

Please contact Andrew Hochhalter (andrew@quixote.org or 301-699-0042) for more information and to complete the application to reserve a space.
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The Hobby Lobby Verdict

Perhaps I am an incurable optimist, but it never occurred to me that the Supreme Court might side with Hobby Lobby. I didn’t believe that their argument stood a chance, but the Court has taken the side of those who would deny a woman her agency and control of her own body. Now we have been given a ruling which will have far-reaching implications and a host of unpredictable consequences. As we try to make sense of it all, the path forward is not entirely clear. There are calls for boycotts, but for those of us who have never shopped at Hobby Lobby before, this feels like an empty action. Have you heard of or been involved with any campaigns in response to the ruling? If so, I would be interested to hear about them. In the meantime, check out this blog post from Maureen Fiedler, long-time Quixote Center ally and the host of the NPR radio show Interfaith Voices. This post originally appeared on the National Catholic Reporter website.

Hobby Lobby: Political Hypocrisy

The Catholic bishops and right-wing Catholics might be cheering the ruling in the Hobby Lobby case on June 30 … but they should temper their rejoicing — fast. (In this case, the Supreme Court — in a 5-4 decision — said that for-profit companies do not have to provide contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds.) There are game-changing, under-reported facts about Hobby Lobby. According to Petula Dvorak in The Washington Post, and Mother Jones (April 1, 2014), “Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).” These are some of the very contraceptives to which Hobby Lobby objected in this Supreme Court case. Talk about hypocrisy! There are plenty of investment firms that screen out such holdings, but apparently, Hobby Lobby did not choose to use them. Interestingly, the Vatican (which officially opposes all birth control) also did not screen investments to meet their own moral pronouncements, and it was found to have invested in contraceptive manufacturers in 2009. So, we are left with the question: what’s the real reason for the Hobby Lobby suit? Was it financial? Did they not want to pay for contraceptives? Was it political? Did they want to “score one” against Obamacare? Was it patriarchal? Did they want to put up obstacles to women making their own reproductive decisions? (Incidentally, Hobby Lobby’s health plans will continue to cover vasectomies and Viagra!) When you think about it, this was a ridiculous Supreme Court decision. Since when can profit-making companies claim a religion? Or religious beliefs? Whatever the Supreme Court says, corporations are NOT persons! For the record, polling done on this question weeks before the decision shows that all segments of the U.S. population (except white Evangelicals) opposed the substance of this decision. That includes Catholics, especially Catholic women (who, as anyone who reads polls knows) use artificial contraceptives at the same level as women of other religious traditions. And although Justice Alito (who wrote the majority opinion) tried to limit its scope, it raises questions about other medical procedures to which some people have religious objections: vaccines, blood transfusions, etc. This decision may have opened Pandora’s box for other lawsuits.
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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)