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Descendant leaders, Jesuits and Georgetown University representative at the ancestors' graves, Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery in Louisiana. Photo: Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Jesuit priests pledged Monday to raise $100 million for the descendants of people enslaved by the Catholic order as part of a new racial reconciliation initiative in the U.S., the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: It's one of the biggest moves by an institution to atone for slavery, and "the largest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to make amends for the buying, selling and enslavement of Black people," church officials and historians told the NYT.

Driving the news: Protests over systemic racism in the past year have pushed lawmakers and companies to make or consider making reparations for slavery.

Details: In a "first-of-its-kind partnership" among descendants of both the enslaved and enslavers, the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation was created by the GU272 Descendants Association and the Jesuits "in the pursuit of racial healing and justice," per a statement from the Catholic order.

  • The foundation is "rooted in the events of 1838, when 272 enslaved men, women and children were sold by the Jesuit owners of Georgetown University to plantation owners in Louisiana," according to the statement.
  • A New Orleans bank later acquired by JPMorgan Chase used these enslaved people as collateral. JPMorgan will be a co-trustee and provide services including planning and advice.

What to expect: The group aims to support educational aspirations of descendants for future generations and actively enage, promote and support programs and activities that "highlight truth, accelerate racial healing and reconciliation, and advance racial justice and equality in America," per the statement.

  • "The Foundation aims to develop a full understanding of, and reconciliation with, the numerous institutions of higher education and other entities that profited from slavery," the statement added.

Of note: The pledge is much less than the $1 billion called for by descendant leaders to the Catholic order.

  • But the Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, and Joseph Stewart, the foundation's acting president, told the Times this remains the long-term goal.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Go deeper

Updated 40 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
4 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.