The members of this partnership are bound by a moment in history: the enslavement and sale of our ancestors for financial gain. Despite the end of slavery, the legacy of racism has ensured that our paths remain diverged since 1838.
While the Jesuit mission in the United States has flourished into 27 institutions of higher education and 80 secondary and pre-secondary schools with billions of dollars in net worth, the median net-worth of descendants’ families today is only 10 percent that of their white counterparts.
The wounds of slavery remain open and raw in America, and the members of the Foundation—after a deep process of truth and reconciliation ourselves—understand that there is a path forward whereby we can achieve, with open hearts and joined hands, the racial healing that has remained elusive in our country for 400 years.
Never in history has there existed such a partnership between the descendants of the enslaved and the descendants of the enslavers. Each of us is called to this work by our ancestors, and we are guided by their wisdom as we work diligently to create a model for racial healing—not because our shared history gives us no choice but because we choose, this time, to ensure that the seeds of our bond grow and bear fruit for the world.