BY ISN STAFF | September 18, 2023
On Saturday, October 28, 2023, Monique Trusclair Maddox, CEO of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation and Chair of the foundation’s Board of Directors, will present the opening keynote address at the 2023 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Trusclair Maddox is a descendant of individuals enslaved by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and sold in 1838 to save Georgetown University from financial ruin.
Trusclair Maddox is a fifth- and sixth-generation granddaughter of Isaac Hawkins and a fourth-generation granddaughter of Nace Butler, two of the 272 men, women, and children who were enslaved and sold by the Maryland Jesuits.
Monique retired from Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 2015 to found Macrame Technologies. She is active in the angel investment community. She is a native of Maringouin, Louisiana, and holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University. She currently serves as a trustee of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Trust, as a board member of Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, and is an active member of Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina, Minnesota.
The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation was established in 2019 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit partnership between the Jesuits and the GU272 Descendants Association. The Foundation works to mitigate the dehumanizing impact of racism on our human family while dismantling the continuing legacy of slavery in America through truth, racial healing, and transformation. It is the first organization of its kind—a joining of the hearts and hands of the descendants of enslaved ancestors and the present successors of Jesuit enslavers.
Trusclair Maddox’s keynote comes after a September 2023 announcement from the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation of $27 million in contributions to support the Foundation’s mission, which is to uplift future generations of Descendants of Jesuit enslavement while helping to create a world in which the false ideology of a human hierarchy value based on race no longer exists. The contributions include $10 million from Georgetown University, as well as $17 million from the Jesuits. This $17 million contribution from the Jesuits—which includes the estimated value of plantation land where many Descendants’ ancestors were enslaved, along with an additional $10 million—is in addition to the $15 million the Jesuits contributed when the Foundation was created. Georgetown previously provided a $1 million implementation grant to the Foundation.
“These contributions from Georgetown University and the Jesuits are a clear indication of the role Jesuits and other institutions of higher education can play in supporting our mission to heal the wounds of racism in the United States, as well as a call to action for all of the Catholic Church to take meaningful steps to address the harm done through centuries of slaveholding,” said Trusclair Maddox said when the contributions were announced.
“We are honored to welcome Monique Trusclair Maddox to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice mainstage this fall,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “The work of reconciliation requires deep reflection on the realities of the grave sins that have plagued our Church and society and the systemic impacts they have caused. We look forward to learning from the work of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation and Ms. Trusclair Maddox’s firsthand experience as a descendent of the Georgetown 272.”
Nearly 2,000 members of the Jesuit and broader Catholic network, including from high schools, colleges and universities, parishes, and other organizations, are expected at the 26th annual Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice in Washington, D.C. in October. The Teach-In is the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the U.S., and offers opportunities for attendees to learn, pray, network, and take action around a host of justice issues, including racial justice, immigration, ecology, and gun violence, culminating in an advocacy day on Capitol Hill.