Announcing the Working Group on Slavery, Memory & Reconciliation

September 24, 2015

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community:

I write to share with you an update on our community’s work to establish a dialogue on Georgetown’s historical ties to the institution of slavery.    

Earlier today, I charged a Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation. Fr. David Collins, S.J., Ph.D., a member of our History Department, will lead this working group.  He is joined by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other members of the Jesuit community. I am deeply grateful to Fr. Collins and the entire working group for their leadership on these very important issues.

I have asked this Working Group to provide advice and recommendations to me on how best to acknowledge and recognize Georgetown’s historical relationship with the institution of slavery; examine and interpret the history of certain sites on our campus, to include Mulledy Hall; and convene events and opportunities for dialogue. It is my hope that their work will assist our community in gaining a fuller understanding of the historical record and the contemporary aspects of race and culture in our nation.  

As I shared in my message in August, this is an occasion for reflection and deep contemplation about the history of our University, including those moments in our history that are challenging, complex, and that run counter to the values that we seek to uphold. We are at our very best when we support each other in the difficult work of confronting history and racism and when we engage the resources of our Catholic and Jesuit identity to provide a context and a foundation for our work. 

I wish to thank our community for the ways that you have thoughtfully and respectfully engaged these issues in these first weeks of the semester, and for your continued commitment to creating a better and stronger Georgetown community.

You have my very best wishes.

John J. DeGioia