ABC News, March 16, 2021
The Jesuit Conference of U.S. and Canada, an order of the Catholic Church, announced the goal of raising $100 million to benefit the descendants of enslaved people historically owned and sold by Jesuits.
The money will go toward a newly formed foundation, the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, that was created by the church in partnership with the GU272 Descendants Association, a group of descendants of enslaved people who were sold by Jesuits in 1838.
“Jesuits have always known our history of slaveholding, but it was not until 2016 that we met the descendants of Jesuit slaveholding and that completely changed our understanding of this historic sin,” Fr. Tim Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference told ABC News.
Kesicki said the vision is ultimately to create a “billion-dollar foundation,” and that the Jesuit network is committed to raising the first $100 million.
Joe Stewart, the acting president of the foundation, told ABC News that its goal “is to change the conditions related to race in this country, and our focus is on true racial healing and transformation.”
Stewart, who is a descendant of Isaac Hawkins, an enslaved man who was sold by Jesuits in 1838, told ABC News that the foundation has three main objectives.
“One is to support the educational aspiration of those descendants of people enslaved by the Jesuits, two is to pursue true racial healing and transformation throughout the United States through programmatic support and the support of organizations and individuals doing transformative work in that area,” Stewart said. “And three is to support the elderly and infirm descendants who are experiencing economic insecurity.”