Diane Guerrero: Moving Past Survival


 The “Orange Is The New Black” actress talksimmigration, diversity, and self acceptance to Colgate students.  

Sonali Byrd, Maroon-News Staff

Love Auditorium was completely packed with students and faculty excited to hear Diane Guerrero speak. Most famously known for her comedic roles on two hit TV shows, “Orange Is The New Black” and “Jane The Virgin,” Guerrero was an amazing presenter and speaker. She made a lot of jokes throughout her presentation, some at the expense of herself and others at those in the audience. She discussed the importance of education, which is something she was so grateful to receive growing up. In her opinion, people lack education when it comes to dealing with our history and showing empathy to others. Guerrero was critical of herself and often times repeated that she knows she is not going to be the smartest person in a room she walks into, but she knows she has a strong voice and that she matters. 

Guerrero is passionate about immigrant rights, a problem that has affected her personally. At age 14, Guerrero’s parents were deported and she was left alone. At a young age, she was forced to grow up right then and there, and she talked about how hard it was. If you google her name, before any articles about her accomplishments and achievements, you find articles about her parents being deported. Guerrero struggled with this because she wanted to feel like she was recognized for all of her hard work. Guerrero had huge life decisions to make regarding whether to work and make money or try to go to college. She loved education and chose to attend Regis College where she studied political science and communications. However, she felt like something was missing from her life: performing. By creating art through her acting, she feels she is able to represent her


community. She discussed how difficult it was to find acting work as a Latina woman, but she is grateful to have been given all of the opportunities that she has had. Guerrero says she is comfortable telling her story now and advocating for immigrant rights in the shows she works on because she is not a victim. While what happened to her was scary, she is a strong American and wants everyone to know that. She wants politicians advocating against immigrant rights to imagine what it would be like to be split from their families. 

Guerrero also discussed the lack of representation of people of color in Hollywood – whether it was in front of the camera or behind it – and really encouraged anyone interested to seek out those jobs.

Following her presentation, Guerrero was asked to comment on the current political system we are in, and gave a response indicative of Guerrero’s high spirit and infectious optimism.

“Out of a lot of crap comes a lot of beautiful things like mushrooms and flowers,”

Guerrero said.