Declaration of GU272 Descendants
WHEREAS, we are the direct descendants of 272 members of the Georgetown University family who for decades were enslaved for the benefit of the entire Georgetown Family; and who for the financial salvation of Georgetown University were sold in 1838 to plantations in Louisiana; and whose sale also helped sustain the Jesuit Order in pursuing its honorable mission to advance education and social justice;
WHEREAS, our 272 ancestors did not, as was reported, quickly succumb to fever in Louisiana and perish without so much as a trace; rather, the rich black Louisiana soil that covered their calloused feet; the same soil that supports strong and healthy sugarcane crops; was even more supportive of their strong-willed souls; their tenacious desire to be free; to be equal; to be, and be recognized, as equally valued members of God’s one human family;
WHEREAS, today in 2016, some 178 years later, what started in 1838 as 272 unshakable enslaved people is now more than 10,000 steadfast and determined descendants worldwide. Our ancestors did not perish in Louisiana! They flourished!
NOW THEREFORE LET IT BE KNOWN, that after the passage of 178 years, we descendants have finally learned the true fate and plight of our ancestors, and we choose to pursue the reconciliation of their enslavement as an important and defining part of the history of our Georgetown University Family. Today, and all days forward, in honor of these 272 lives and their contributions to our one humanity, we will join hands with all members of the Georgetown University Family. We are determined to turn the insistent survival of our ancestors into an unwavering commitment within the entire Georgetown Family; a commitment to promote and facilitate a safe and effective pathway to a Common Good for our family, our country and our humanity.
AND LET IT BE FURTHER KNOWN, that we, descendants of the 272 Georgetown enslaved people, are committed and determined to organize and involve all of our Georgetown brothers and sisters in an effective and sustained movement to reconcile our Georgetown Family, our nation and our human family from the legacy of slavery. Our goal is to unshackle the hearts and minds of those who were never physically in bondage, but who nevertheless live and work under the vestiges of our nation’s legacy of slavery. Though we may be different fibers, our destiny is in fact woven together into a single garment. The Georgetown Family has demonstrated its willingness and intention to embrace the reality of our one destiny, and WE therefore renew our commitment to the uplifting of humankind.