Diane Guerrero Shares How She Stays Connected To Deported Family

“It means I get to see my roots, I get to see where I came from. It reminds me of who I am.”

“Some people travel for vacation, to get away from it all. I travel to get to it all,” Diane Guerrero says in a video for Marriott International’s #LoveTravel campaign.

The “Orange Is The New Black” and “Jane The Virgin” star is just one of the many faces included in the hotel giant’s new video ads which aims to show how travel can be a way to connect cultures, careers and families. The campaign features individual video interviews with Guerrero and others Latino stars, which they edited together for the campaign's most recent video (above).  

Guerrero shares why immigration reform is so personal to her and how traveling connects her with the family she was separated from due to deportation.

“My family is in Colombia. They’ve been there since I was a kid, so when I get to see them, it’s special because I don’t get to see them often,” the 29-year-old actress said in a separate video for the campaign. “It means I get to see my roots, I get to see where I came from. It reminds me of who I am.”

Last November, Guerrero wrote an emotional op-ed in the Los Angeles Times describing the day she lost her parents and older brother to deportation when she was only 14. The New Jersey-native was allowed to stay but became dependent on friends to get by.

“And then one day, my fears were realized,” Guerrero wrote. “I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn't there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.”

Her emotional plea for immigration reform in the op-ed quickly went viral, particularly after she broke down in tears during a CNN interview discussing how hard growing up away from her family has been.

As part of the #LoveTravels campaign, the actress and activist -- who is also currently writing a memoir about her family’s immigration struggles -- not only mentioned her visits to her family but that she also travels to support organizations who are pushing for immigration reform across the country.

"I am passionate about human rights, in particular immigration reform and the non-separation of families. It’s so personal to me,” Guerrero says in her #LoveTravels video. “Being a Latina and an American, for me it’s all one. I am a Latina all the time and I am an American all the time. There’s never a separation there.”

That dual identity is something Guerrero shares with actor Diego Boneta and YouTube band Boyce Avenue, who were also featured in the #LoveTravels campaign videos. 

“My home and my heart is in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel American that I can’t relate to Americans,” Boneta says in the video. “I think it’s one of the biggest blessing that I have in life. To be able to understand, connect and not necessarily be one or the other [but] be both.”

Watch Guerrero, Boneta and others discuss how their travels connect them to their heritage in the campaign's most recent video above.

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