From prison jumpsuits to academic regalia: Diane Guerrero’s many roles

Diane Guerrero is an actress and advocate who speaks all over the United States about immigration reform and her personal connection with those who live here without being documented.  Guerrero has spent the last few years making a name for herself as an educator and activist for immigration and immigrant rights and reform in the U.S. After a breakout role in the 2013 Netflix hit series, Orange is the New Black, Guerrero used her growing platform to tell her story.

Her story of family and immigration

In a much talked about 2014 LA Times Op-Ed, Guerrero bravely outed herself as a daughter of undocumented immigrant parents that were deported when she was just a teenager. Born in New Jersey and raised in Boston, Diane Guerrero was the only American-born child in her family. When she was 14, both of her parents and her brother were deported back to Colombia. Guerrero stayed in Boston after moving in with other Colombian family members to finish her education in the States. In the same editorial piece, she also reveals that the US government never bothered to check up on her, even though they essentially orphaned her as a child.

Diane Guerrero

In 2016, she released her book “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided”, which further accounts her personal and familial story of being undocumented in the U.S.  Guerrero expresses her feelings of isolation and depression that occurred after her family was separated. Guerrero talks about putting herself through school, her (at times) estranged relationship with her parents, as well as finding herself through art and acting.

She talks about her longing to see someone like her who could relate to her struggles. Now, she works to be a voice and an ear for those currently having a difficult time dealing with immigration policies or family separation like she did. Guerrero often travels to universities and conferences to tell her story in person and to call for change. She does appearances, Q&A’s, and commencement speeches, all while acting and volunteering for immigrant’s rights groups.

Telling other people’s stories through acting

Guerrero is best known for playing Maritza Ramos in Orange is the New Black. She has had numerous roles in films as well as a recurring role in the critically acclaimed TV show, Jane the Virgin. She is currently slated to co-star in an upcoming pilot, DiStefano, by the same creators and producers behind How I Met Your Mother.

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