Archive for August, 2017

New Staff at the Quixote Center

Hello everyone! My name is Jocelyn Trainer and I am excited to serve as the International Program Coordinator at the Quixote Center this year through Loretto Volunteers. As a Loretto Volunteer I will spend my year living in an intentional community, learning about social justice and simple living, as well as exploring spirituality. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue social justice issues targeting inequitable policies and promoting peace through the Quixote Center.  

In May 2017, I graduated from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles with a double degree in Political Science and Spanish along with a minor in International Relations. While at university I had the opportunity to study abroad and work in London, England as well as Cape Town, South Africa. In London I worked at an NGO named the Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organization, which was established to provide aid and representation to refugees and migrants who came to England from Latin America and Portugal. While working there I served on the voter registration campaign, with the goal to increase the Latin American voter turnout rate for the mayoral election. In Cape Town I volunteered as an English and math teacher for first and second grade Xhosa students with physical disabilities at Tembuletu LSEN school in the Gugulethu township.

I am originally from Boulder, Colorado and love to hike the beautiful mountains. In my free time I enjoy trying new foods, traveling, and exploring the great outdoors. It is my first time living on the East Coast and I looking forward to getting to know the area.

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Racism As a Social Sin: Excerpts from “Brothers and Sisters to Us”

“Brothers and Sisters to Us” is a pastoral letter on the topic of racism issued by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in 1979. Some sections of the document may now feel dated, rooted as they were in the language and the context in which they were prepared. But many passages bear the same prophetic weight today as they did in the year they were composed. Below are a few passages that seem timely, relevant, and continue to challenge the Catholic Church even today. Think of all the work these words suggest and how much of that work remains to be done.

– We do not deny that changes have been made, that laws have been passed, that policies have been implemented. We do not deny that the ugly external features of racism which marred our society have in part been eliminated. But neither can it be denied that too often what has happened has only been a covering over, not a fundamental change.

– Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.

– The sin is social in nature in that each of us, in varying degrees, is responsible. All of us in some measure are accomplices. As our recent pastoral letter on moral values states: “The absence of personal fault for an evil does not absolve one of all responsibility. We must seek to resist and undo injustices we have not ceased, least we become bystanders who tacitly endorse evil and so share in guilt in it.”

– At times, protestations claiming that all persons should be treated equally reflect the desire to maintain a status quo that favors one race and social group at the expense of the poor and the nonwhite.

– How great, therefore, is that sin of racism which weakens the Church’s witness as the universal sign of unity among all peoples! How great the scandal given by racist Catholics who make the Body of Christ, the Church, a sign of racial oppression! Yet all too often the Church in our country has been for many a “white Church,” a racist institution.

– Each of us as Catholics must acknowledge a share in the mistakes and sins of the past. Many of us have been prisoners of fear and prejudice. We have preached the Gospel while closing our eyes to the racism it condemns. We have allowed conformity to social pressures to replace compliance with social justice.

– Racism is not merely one sin among many; it is a radical evil that divides the human family and denies the new creation of a redeemed world. To struggle against it demands an equally radical transformation, in our own minds and hearts as well as in the structure of our society.

If you would like to read the whole document, you can find it here.

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Mending Our Broken Earth: FEDICAMP in Nicaragua

Even as I write this post, we are waiting to see if the White House will reject the findings in a report on climate change prepared by scientists from 13 federal agencies. This news comes on top of the U.S. official withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change agreement over the weekend.

You might be surprised to learn that Nicaragua never signed the Paris agreement in the first place. Whereas the U.S. withdrew because Trump wanted what he calls a “better deal” for American businesses, Nicaragua did not sign as a protest for the weakness of the Paris agreement, insofar as it lacked an enforcement mechanism. Rather than put their name to a document that only makes greenhouse emission goals optional, Nicaragua chose to take a stand.

Nicaragua may be a small country, but it is doing more than its share to reduce carbon emissions. The World Bank has called Nicaragua a “renewable energy paradise,”in which 58% of energy needs are met by renewable sources. On the front lines of climate change, Nicaragua experiences drought more years than not and the consequences include reduced crop yields and internal and external migration.

Our partners at FEDICAMP, a collaborative of 21 agricultural cooperatives of small farmers in rural Nicaragua, maintain hope that they can respond to these challenges, because they must. The solutions that FEDICAMP engineers and farmers are developing now offer a great hope for Nicaragua, but these strategies will surely need to be duplicated elsewhere in the near future.

In a conversation last month, Miguel Ángel Marín Vásquez, the agricultural engineer who serves as FEDICAMP’s director, made an impassioned plea for support to the Quixote Center. In response to a question I had about how the Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer) methodology works, he explained that farmers and engineers work together to “combine ancestral knowledge and empirical research” and peers train one another in these techniques to pass them along. Even this very efficient and culturally-grounded method requires both infrastructure and staff support.

Their ambitious plan includes creation of reservoirs to store rainwater and irrigation systems to use water most effectively. They will also expand seed banks and use ditches and barriers to conserve existing soil as well build as a tree-planting initiative to prevent further erosion. By engaging a broad network of farmers in training, they will have the opportunity to test out different methods in a sort of living lab of climate change adaptation strategies. If they can dream this big, we must dream with them.

Here is what we are doing: From November 7-13, we will be visiting Nicaragua and plan to spend a day with our partners at FEDICAMP. If you would like to learn more about how these dynamic individuals resolutely confront the challenges of climate change, get in touch by sending us an email at to join our delegation or learn more about the trip.

If you are moved by concern for climate change and would like to help to mend our broken planet, you could also make a gift to the Quixote Center, specifying that you want to support FEDICAMP.

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Meet Us in Philly

On September 9, from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., there will be a Quixote Center Garden Party in Philadelphia. We would love to have you join us!

We will be welcoming the Quixote Center’s new executive director, John Marchese, and you can also get to meet the whole board, including board president Nancy Sulfridge, co-founder Dolly Pomerleau, Frank DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, Brother Frank O’Donnell, SM, and our host Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.

Please contact us at or by phone at 301-699-0042 if you would like to attend and we’ll make sure you get an invitation.


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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 Baltimor 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 transortatin: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)