Over the weekend, over 700 planned protests for the Families Belong Together Rally cropped up across the country to vehemently protest the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that has forcibly separated hundreds of immigrant parents crossing the U.S. border from their children. At the 30,000-attended rally in Washington D.C., actress Diane Guerrero who is also the author of In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, and My Family Divided called for the end of the policy while sharing how a similar policy in the US inflicted trauma upon her family when they were separated from her at the age of fourteen.
In a speech delivered before thousands, Guerrero spoke of how similar U.S. policies have had damaging emotional effects on her relationship with her own family.
Tears dotted the “Orange Is The New Black” actress’s speech as she recalled the moment she “first cried out for my parents and they couldn’t answer.” During the rally, Guerrero admitted that she “wouldn’t have been so lucky if I had been among today’s generation of children who will be irreversibly damaged by our government’s actions. It’s a denial of children’s humanity to say that because they were born in a difficult or dangerous place at the wrong time, that they don’t deserve a second chance… Once my family was taken, I became fully aware that my community matters less to some people. That we are treated differently because of the color of our skin or where our parents were born.”
Guerrero has denounced the lasting impacts that deportation can do to families in the past.
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In 2014, American-born daughter of Colombian parents started to speak openly about the experience of being separated from her family after they were deported by the government when she was still a student in high school. In an interview with CNN, she recalled how her parents’ deportation negatively affected her relationship with her parents. “It’s tough,” she said at the time, “We’ve been separated for so long I feel like sometimes we don’t know each other.”
After ending her speech, Guerrero reminded those watching and attending the rally that they can still change the policies that separate immigrant families by going out to vote for the upcoming midterm elections in November.
“For our families and children, let us march and make our voices heard,” Guerrero said. “Remember this in November when we march to the polls.”