It was September 2015 and Dr. Marie Friedmann Marquardt was at Little Shop of Stories surrounded by friends and children. Everybody was asking her questions about a love story taking place in Georgia. The story was between Alma, (a Mexican quinceañera very much aware that her ticket out of poverty was education and hard work) and Evan, the nephew of a senator with a passion for soccer and deep love for Alma. The story was in a book called “Dream Things True” and it was Marie’s first Young Adult publication.
“Dream Things True” had at its core the idea and belief that love is stronger than fear, something we can all understand and support; yet unapologetically also addressed the issues of undocumented immigrants, cultural competency, traditions, and stereotypes.
As people asked questions, Dr. Marquardt shared the book was inspired in her personal experience working with immigrant women. She recounted how generous and loving these women were and even though they had incredible challenges and limitations, these women still threw a baby shower for her. The baby shower cemented a love for our community that stayed with Marie forever.
Today, and 3 books later, Marie Marquardt continues writing, teaching at the Emory Candler School of Theology and also leads the Board of a hospitality ministry called “El Refugio” providing a safe space, warm meals, lodging and visitation to families with loved ones detained at Stewart Detention Center. El Refugio is run by an Executive Director, Amilcar Valencia, and a large group of volunteers committed to serving families with love, dignity and respect.
Marie is a prolific author, an engaging speaker and an advocate and believer in the role of religion in public life and social justice causes.
Through her books and the stories they tell, Marie intends to connect deeply with readers and provoke reflection on complex issues such as politics, immigration, detention, and justice.
The love of community and dedication to equity runs in the family. Marie’s children volunteer with a number of organizations and campaigns. Chris Marquard, Marie’s husband is the Chair of the Latin American Association and does volunteer work for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) an organization dedicated to represent pro-bono unaccompanied minors that crossed the border and are currently in Georgia.