[Editor’s Note: Last evening we received from Ancestry’s public relations department, a copy of the following email sent to all Ancestry.com employees by its CEO Tim Sullivan.]
The last 48 hours in the U.S. have been both heart-breaking and outrageous. Of immediate importance is the status of our Ancestry employees and/or their families. We do not believe that any of our employees are currently affected, but if we are wrong, please let us know immediately, and we will do everything we can to help.
Our company values decency, works hard to embrace diversity, and is very familiar with the difficulties that families all over the world have endured for centuries in their attempts to stay together and to improve the lives of the next generation. We are a company that lives history, so we’re familiar with the ugliness that we’re witnessing right now. We’ve seen how families were impacted by the quotas on Chinese immigration less than a hundred years ago, by the refusal to accept Jewish refugees fleeing the horror of Nazi Germany, and by the absurd detainment of Japanese Americans during that war. Today, it is broadly understood that these policies each left a black mark on our history and ran counter to the fundamental values of openness and inclusion that are our country’s strength.
Ancestry is stronger due to the diversity of our employee’s personal and professional experience, so we have a clear business interest in not seeing America’s doors slammed shut to those that desire to come here and to contribute to our national strength, regardless of religion, race, or national origin. Ancestry is also a company whose values are on display every day, and I’m proud to be part of a company that strives to have a positive impact on people’s lives, respects every person’s story, and celebrates the diversity of everyone’s ancestry. So I want to clearly affirm that the content and intent of President Trump’s executive order on Friday, as well as the disturbing actions that were unleashed by this order, represent the total antithesis to the values of our company.
No one can ignore the stories of people stranded or detained and refused re-entry into a country they considered home and not feel real empathy. Because I am also writing to you not just as CEO, but as a person, I will be honest and say that I am personally horrified and angered by the ignorance, hate, and xenophobia that have precipitated this shocking weekend, and that I think this is something that we all are going to have to confront and denounce.
Again, please let us know if you know of any employees that are personally impacted by the current situation.