Archive for December, 2016

Blessed be: Inclusivity

My head has been solidly in two zones this past fall: the election and the intensive revision of the Inclusive Lectionary Sunday reading series. Then the zones merged into one — the use of language, and how it can cause pain to “the poor, the lame, the blind, the deaf.” and so on.

The language of the campaign was crass, insensitive, and hurtful to so many people. It objectified them, denying them their dignity as human beings. “How can I insult you? Let me count the ways” seemed to be the mantra.  Group after group of people were insulted and mocked.15380834_1265155116879928_4280999973438698965_n

But, then, my spirits lifted when I read Matthew’s gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent. The translation was from the Inclusive Bible (courtesy of the Quixote Center). Instead of defining people by their physical challenges, here’s how the reading goes:

Jesus said to his disciples,

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see:

those who are blind recover their sight;

those who cannot walk are able to walk;

those with leprosy are cured;

those who are deaf hear.”

How refreshing! The physical, racial, gender or sexual preference of a person is not who a person is. Being inclusive in all our language and images is transformational.

From now on, lets talk about:

  • People who are poor
  • People who are blind
  • People who cannot walk
  • People who are women or men
  • People who are LBGT
  • People who suffer from…

And now a plug. Buy the Inclusive Bible. Buy the Inclusive Lectionary. Even if you’re not religious, there are deep insights within those covers.

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NICA Act: Perpetuating Suffering in Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act) is a congressional bill introduced in July 2016. The NICA Act focuses on limiting long term aid to Nicaragua from financial institutions such the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank due to the Nicaraguan government’s restrictions on transparent elections and limitations on political freedoms (i.e. political opposition parties).

The NICA Act (H.R. 5708) was passed in the House in September 2016 and is currently being reviewed in the Senate. The House sponsor for the bill is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Senate sponsor for the bill (S. 3284) is Senator Ted Cruz.

Adverse Impact

Many individuals are in support of the NICA Act without fully understanding the negative impact of this bill if passed. “Nicaragua is the poorest country in Latin America and second poorest in the Western Hemisphere.” (Foundation for Sustainable Development) Financial opportunities are rare to come by in Nicaragua because of the limited amount of job opportunities. On top of that, financial institutions i.e. banks, are extremely limited; throughout the country there are between 10 – 20 banks throughout the country.

The NICA Act is the United States’ solution to punishing the current Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. Although we do not agree with or condone Daniel Ortega’s approach to politics and human rights overall, the NICA Act is not an appropriate response. The reason being is because the NICA Act will perpetuate poverty within the country.  The NICA Act will also perpetuate the unbalanced relationship between the U.S. and Latin American countries by continuing to view the Latin American region as the “backyard” to the United States in which they can treat the people in this countries however they like.

By making micro loans impossible for the Nicaraguan people to attain with the presence of the NICA Act, the United States will be taking a strong hold approach to systematic change in the Americas. History is repeating itself with this bill because we have seen it before with the Cuban embargo. In an effort to punish the late Fidel Castro by banning trading opportunities to Cuba, the Cuban people suffered severely, not so much Fidel Castro. It actually gave more leverage for Fidel Castro to preach to the Cuban people more animosity towards the United States.

Change the Policies

At The Center we advocate for better U.S.-Latin American foreign policies that uplifts every country in the Americas. Therefore we are against the NICA Act because of the negative effect it will have on the Nicaraguan people and U.S.-Nicaragua relations overall.  We ask that you stand with the Quixote Center as we oppose this bill by contacting your state Congressional representative. Express to your congressman/woman that they have the opportunity to alleviate the suffering of the Nicaraguan people by not enacting the NICA Act.

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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)