Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook Chief Operating Officer, opened up about her Jewish family history yesterday because of the recent immigration ban Donald Trump ordered. While Sandberg is upfront about her Jewish ancestry, she explained how her great-great-grandmother left her home in Lithuania to escape religious persecution.
Sharing her story is powerful, not just because Sandberg is allowing herself to be vulnerable to the public (since Trump’s ban totally disrespects any person whose family emigrated), but shows the values America was originally founded on–and held true for so long. Sandberg wrote:
“My great-great-grandmother, Chana Bassa, left her home in Vilnius, Lithuania, to escape religious persecution. She arrived on Ellis Island in June 1889.
If Chana had not taken that difficult journey, I would not be here today – my family would almost certainly have perished in the concentration camps of World War II. Her courage – and the fact that this country welcomed her – created my family’s future.
The Executive Orders issued over the past week defy the heart and values that define the best of our nation. Families have been separated. Frightened children have been detained in airports without their parents. People seeking refuge have been turned away and sent back to the danger they just managed to flee. This is not how it should be in America.”
She went on to say how these immigration laws are particularly unfair for women and their children, stating:
“Something that hasn’t gotten enough attention is how this harsher immigration climate is particularly unforgiving for women. Anything that pulls families apart and traumatizes kids has a huge impact on women and their children.
When the United States turns away people fleeing violence or seeking new lives for themselves and their children, I can’t help but think of the girls and young women whose dreams and futures and safety hang in the balance – young women like my great-great-grandmother Chana.”
I myself can completely relate to Sandberg’s post. My own family has only been in the U.S. since the 1920s on both my maternal and paternal side–and if they hadn’t been able to legally come into the country, I wouldn’t be here right now.
Read her entire post below: