• Slide-1
    Educating Haitian youth about reforestation and sustainable farming.
  • Slide-2
    We serve those in need by working to build a world that loves more justly.
  • Slide-3
    Providing homes for families to combat the housing crisis in Nicaragua.

Solidarity and Friendship

A gathering of people who work and pray with laughter and who reach for the stars that seem too distant to be touched, or too dim to be worth the effort. We try to be friends with people in need and to celebrate life with people who believe that the struggle to be like Jesus in building a world more justly loving is worth the gift of our lives.

What We Do

Quest for Peace

Quest for Peace

Building homes for Nicaragua's poor.
Haiti Reborn

Haiti Reborn

Reforesting and revitalizing for the future.
InAlienable

InAlienable

Pursuing an inclusive vision of citizenship.
Catholics Speak Out

Catholics Speak Out

Working for a more inclusive Church.
Activist in Residence

Activist in Residence

Check out our new Activist in Residence Program.

Latest Blog Posts

In Memoriam: Barbara Cullom

On September 8, 2019, the Quixote Center lost one of its prophetic voices with the death of Barbara Cullom, who worked at the Center from 1983-1986. Cullom earned advanced degrees in theology including a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame and an M.Div. at Howard University School of Divinity.

At the Quixote Center, she worked on what was originally called the Theology Project and served as a bridge between the work of Priests for Equality and Catholics Speak Out. In her work, Barbara centered efforts to call out the sin of sexism and raise up the liberationist goals of feminism within a theological context. After moving on from the Center, she devoted much of her life to pastoral ministries and support to patients in hospice care.

One outstanding part of Cullom’s legacy is the Mary Canon, a liturgical text she co-authored with Dolly Pomerleau, a co-founder of the Quixote Center, which we include here:

Mary Canon

By Dolly Pomerleau and Barbara Cullom

We give you thanks, God of all, for Mary our sister.

We think of how she might tell us of her son’s life:

“While I waited with my cousin Elizabeth

I felt my child move,

felt him grow and kick and turn in my womb. I said:

This is the body of my body.

     This is the blood of my blood.

In Bethlehem, I held my newborn son,

keeping him close to me as he slept.

As I cradled my firstborn in my arms, I said:

This is the body of my body.

     This is the blood of my blood.

At Golgotha, I held my dead son,

feeling his brokenness and my own.

As I cradled his corpse in my arms, I cried:

This is the body of my body.

     This is the blood of my blood.

On Olivet, I held my risen son,

thrilled that he had triumphed over death.

As I held him in my arms, my heart rejoiced:

This is the body of my body.

     This is the blood of my blood.”

In closing, we quote Barbara’s own words from a piece she wrote for a Quixote Center publication titled Set My People Free: Liberation Theology in Practice, offering an eschatological vision of her work within Christianity – a vision that is still being fulfilled – and that now serves as a fitting way of capturing her memory and the fond memory so many hold of her:

We shall someday see the New Jerusalem, a heaven and an earth beautiful as one who is to be married, a place where there are no more tears. We shall see it, just as one day there were women and men who bore, touched, loved and struggled with Emmanu-el. I do not know when that day will come. But I do know that even now, women and women-children can sing in their souls: “I found God in myself, and I loved her, I loved her FIERCELY!!”

Daily Dispatch 11/21/2019: Take Action Updates!

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InAlienable
Daily Dispatch

November 21, 2019

Over the last couple of weeks we have put out some call to actions and discussed other items in the news. For today’s Dispatch, we want to simply update folks about these actions.

Defund Hate 

Last week we circulated an alert for the National Call-in Day in support of the Defund Hate campaign of the Detention Watch Network. As a coalition we are not real sure how many calls, tweets and other communications resulted, but a rough tally from a few sources suggest at least 1,000 people took part around the country. If you were one of them, thank you!!!

So what does it all mean? The goal for the campaign is cutting Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection’s budgets as a means toward reducing – eventually eliminating – the incarceration of immigrants. That message has been received loud and clear – though remains a highly partisan frame. A proposed budget (not yet voted on in the House), for example, reduces daily average of people in detention to 34,000 from the current 45,000 budgeted for FY2019 (though ICE is holding 50,000 and wants capacity to hold 52,000 a day next year). The Senate proposal is higher, largely giving in to ICE’s demands for bed space and border agents (and funding for the wall). There is a big fight looming once these proposals hit the floor for debate in each house, and then have to be reconciled. We are not there yet.

We are now in the Continuing Resolution (CR) phase of the budget cycle. That time of year when the government is out of money because no budget has been passed, and in order to avoid shutting down, Congress passes CRs to keep the government funded at its current rate. So, the goal at the moment is to make sure the CRs are not padded with extra money for immigration enforcement. ICE and other agencies would love to get extra funds this time of year as a way of boosting their overall budget, and, in theory, give them leverage for even larger sums of money in the fight for FY2020.

A Continuing Resolution was passed in the House this week – and there was no extra money added for ICE or CBP – which means ICE and CBP must continue to operate, on a prorated basis, under the same budget as last year. The Senate votes today and is expected to support the House version of the CR. There is money for the wall in there – because there was funding for the wall added to last year’s budget. But no new money for detention or enforcement, which is a success. The CR runs until December 20th, at which point a budget will need to be passed, or another CR passed, or the government (more likely specific departments) will be forced to close again. This last option is actually likely as the CR will end during the most likely week for an impeachment vote in the House….

For now, keep up the pressure on Congress to cut funding for ICE and CBP in FY2020! We’ve made this case several places – most recently here. And no new funding in any future CR.

Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act – New cosponsors, need more

A couple of weeks ago we put out a call to action to encourage folks to contact members of Congress to request they become co-sponsors of the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act. We spend a lot of time talking about the problems with immigrant detention – the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act actually offers most of the solutions we want, at least what we can get out of legislation (more details here). The general consensus is that the bill will not get a vote this year, but that we need to use co-sponsorship as a means to build momentum for action next year (and a lot of this depends on the outcome of the elections).

You can still ask your member of Congress to do what they can to move it out of committee!! This probably won’t happen, but it is still a message they need to here.

You can still take action HERE!

Check the current list of cosponsors first. If your member of Congress is already here, thank them! And then ask them what they can to get it to a vote. Let us know what they say!

Scott Warren Acquitted!!

Scott Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths, was tried for a second time, charged with harboring and trafficking. Scott was tried back in June for the first time, with the result being a hung jury. Federal prosecutors dropped conspiracy charges, but chose to retry him on another charge. We have reported on his trials here and here

This week he was acquitted!! Great news for Scott and for everyone doing what they can to accompany and provide assistance to people risking their lives to cross the deserts in Arizona and Texas. One day, this work will be unnecessary. Until that day comes, we are thankful for the courage of Scott and other volunteers, who continue to be harassed by federal authorities.

SaveAsylum – Keep the calls coming!

Finally, Tuesday we put out a call to action along with LAWG, WOLA, Alianza Americas and other organizations. The goal – get congress to stop (and defund) the Remain in Mexico policy. This call to action, though more specific, is very much in line with the Defund Hate actions we’ve been involved in. We hope you have a made a call. If not, get the details here, and make a call.

Family separations and U.S.-sanctioned trauma are not new
Sketch of a slave auction. (Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture)

This week hundreds of emails by Stephen Miller, senior immigration advisor to the president, were unveiled and we discovered what many of us knew already – Stephen Miller is racist. Big surprise. CNN states:

In the emails, Miller promotes a notoriously racist French novel that paints a dystopian picture of immigrants as subhuman hordes. He encourages a Breitbart reporter to emphasize stories about crime by  immigrants and non-whites. He expresses dismay that Amazon had stopped selling Confederate flags after the 2015 Charleston church shooting.

Miller’s white nationalist ideology explains why he and this administration have been so draconian in their immigration policies, specifically the explosive detention numbers, family separations and the number of children detained in the U.S. The Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border led to the incarceration of at least 3,000 children in the spring and summer of 2018. Some of these children have yet to be re-connected with parents. Over the course of FY 2019, the Office of Refugee Resettlement held 70,000 children. At the beginning of the fiscal year as many as 14,000 a day, and for an average detention of 93 days! These policies shocked many in this country, and probably more than any other development, energized a grassroots backlash to the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Today’s Daily Dispatch: “Stephen Miller Must Go”

However, as we in church circles like to quote from the Bible, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Family separation, the criminalization of self-determined people seeking a better life, and the gross abuses of enslaved and indigenous people have been around since the founding of this country. These methods of oppression and disenfranchisement are as American as apple pie.

Africans who were enslaved by the founding fathers and colonizers were ripped away from their countries, religion, culture and families by the millions. The threat of having their families sold away was a regular torture tactic used by slaveowners to keep enslaved peoples in line. Those who are familiar with the history of indigenous people in the Americas know that many of their children were ripped away from their families and forced into boarding schools for assimilation. From the article, “Slavery and America’s Legacy of Family Separation:”

Harriet Mason remembered her mistress forcing her to leave her home and family in Bryantsville, Kentucky, to work in Lexington as a servant at the age of seven. She remembered, “when we got to Lexington I tried to run off and go back to Bryantsville to see my [mother].” The grief of a childhood spent away from her family at the whim of her owner led her to suicidal thoughts, “I used to say I wish I’d died when I was little.” Even in her old age she was firm that, “I never liked to go to Lexington since.”

Her recollections capture the cruelty of family separation and underscore how children were big business in the history of slavery. They were laborers and valuable property. They could be hired out just like Harriet Mason. Slaveholders borrowed against their human property. They gifted enslaved children to their white sons and daughters as children, upon their marriages, or as they struck out to begin their slaveholding legacy. And of course, slave children could be sold down the road and down the river. Children knew that at any moment this could happen to them.

The separation of Black families didn’t end with Emancipation. The “Black Codes” and Jim Crow ensured that Blacks would not have equal rights and resulted in uneven enforcement of laws and sentencing, which in turn, made their families more susceptible to forced separation. Malcolm X describes in his autobiography how the foster care system removed him and his siblings from their mother’s care after his father’s murder. More recently, studies have shown how the U.S. welfare system and prison industrial complex have separated families and instilled intergenerational trauma into Black families. The “man in the house” rule is a primary example of how the U.S. government has been intentional in destroying families. The North Carolina Law Review states:

Under the type of state welfare regulation popularly known as the “substitute father” rule, children otherwise eligible for benefits under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children’ program are denied assistance if their natural parent maintains a continuing sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex. This person is deemed to be a non-absent parent within the meaning of the Social Security Act, thus rendering the family ineligible for AFDC payments. Whether this person is legally obligated to support the children is irrelevant; whether he does in fact contribute to their support is also irrelevant; eligibility under such a rule is determined solely by the relationship between the parent (usually the mother of the children) and the “substitute” (usually an unrelated male).

Children in poor families would not be eligible for welfare benefits if there was a man living in the home – whether that man was financially supporting the children or not. This forced many fathers to leave their homes and encouraged the explosion in Black children born in single-parent households. This was by design. One of my favorite movies, “Claudine,” with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones, shows how the welfare system was design to keep families separated, keep fathers out of the home, and keep Black and poor families trapped in poverty.

Stephen Miller’s emails and his position in the Trump administration confirm what we already knew about U.S’ immigration policies and many of the other unjust systems in this country. They are rooted in racism, and if do not force a change of course, generations of people will continue to suffer.

More information:
‘Barbaric’: America’s cruel history of separating children from their parents
The Racist Roots of Welfare Reform

Keep up to date on our latest actions

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)