Archive for June, 2015

Our Common Home

pope&ban ki moonThis week, the pope’s encyclical on the challenge of climate change was leaked by the media. While the final version will be formally shared on June 18, the content of the draft is certainly indicative of the Pope’s tone in addressing this global issue. He acknowledges that most of climate change is caused by man’s actions, and calls on all people, regardless of religion, to share the responsibility of caring for the earth, “our common home“.

What is especially encouraging from this plea is the links Pope Francis draws between the economic culture of over-consumption and its impact on the poor. By framing this in both an economic and social justice context, the need to resolve this issue takes on greater significance. The document even specifically discourages the carbon credit model of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, as it unfairly advantages wealthier nations and does not lead to an overall reduction in emissions.

The Vatican has said that the release of the encyclical was timed to have maximum impact on upcoming visits by the Pope to address the US Congress and the UN. Since the document clearly scolds climate change deniers, it will be interesting to see how American representatives who are both Catholic and vocal climate change deniers, respond to this position. When the Pope addresses congress later this year, we can certainly expect him to raise these issues. Your move, John Boehner.

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Stronger Together

One of the great strengths of the progressive movements in the 1960s was their willingness to collaborate and work towards a shared goal. It was no coincidence that the civil rights movement celebrated many wins, alongside progress in the women’s rights and gay rights movements. The victories gained by all these groups actually resulted in the neo-liberal pushback that sparked in the late 1970s and continues to the present.

However, there is some awareness rising that in order to push forward progressive movements, we need to collaborate. Over the past several years, the deaths of unarmed men of color at the hands of police has resulted in the Black Lives Matter movement. The rise of social media and the attention given to the repeated deaths of individuals in contact with police has sparked a national conversation about racism in not only the police forces, but also our country in general. Most importantly for the structural shift needed to actually address this issue effectively, is the discussion around the overwhelming inequality that divides the haves and the have nots which is at the root of these community tensions.

Issues such as a living wage are being raised, as are practices and policies within the criminal justice system. Serious dialogue about the “war on drugs” and its impact on poor communities have resulted in reforms for decriminalization of marijuana.┬áPart of the success of that campaign has been framing the issue not as a drug question, but as a criminal justice – and even an economic – question.

The recent success of campaigns to raise the minimum wage have gained a lot of traction, and they are doing well to collaborate with other movements. Over the Quixote Center’s long history, we have often collaborated with partners. We attribute a lot of our success to these collaborations and the understanding that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

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Contact Us

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

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)