An Evening with Diane Guerrero

Hollywood was first introduced to Guerrero from her role as inmate Maritza Ramos on the critically acclaimed Netflix drama “Orange Is the New Black” and later played Lina Santillan on “Jane the Virgin,” opposite Gina Rodriguez. Her most recent roles in “Encanto” and “Doom Patrol” have earned her even more visibility. As her profile has risen, Guerrero has arrived at a place of ease and self-acceptance, and she’s exploring new facets of her identity. She’s repairing her relationships with her family. And she’s reexamining what it means to be successful.

Guerrero says the trauma of her parents’ deportation shaped not only her early life, but how she saw her career. This led her to be a passionate human rights activist and served as the host and executive producer of an NPR podcast titled “Yeah No, I’m Not OK,” where she candidly discussed mental health issues affecting communities of color.

Together in conversation with Chotsani Williams West MA ’07,  Diane hopes to continue to use her platform to inspire others, influence change, and push for immigration reform.

Guerrero urges all students, no matter their background, to get involved as best they can to create change in anything they believe in.

This is the time when your voice matters the most. Do what’s in your power, whether it is to vote or participate in discussion, and stay diligent.

Diane Guerrero Actress and Author

About the Speakers

Diane Guerrero

Diane Guerrero is a Colombian American actress and author. She is known for her roles as inmate Maritza Ramos on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and Lina on Jane the Virgin. Guerrero grew up in Boston and remained there after the rest of her family were deported to Colombia. She is an advocate for immigration reform. Her role on Orange Is the New Black has contributed to three consecutive wins for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Guerrero is the author of In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, a memoir about her parents being detained and deported when she was fourteen. She currently stars as Jane in the HBO Max action-drama series Doom Patrol. She recently starred in BLAST BEAT for Sony Pictures and recorded voiceover for the role of Isabella in Disney’s most recent animated feature, ENCANTO with Lin Manuel. A passionate human rights activist, Diane was also recently the host and exec producer of her NPR podcast “Yeah No, I’m Not OK”, where she candidly discussed mental health issues affecting the BIPOC community.

Chotsani Williams West, MA ‘07

Chotsani Williams West serves as the Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging for Adelphi University, while also leading the award-winning Mentoring Program as the inaugural Director. She teaches as an Adjunct Professor within the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Health Sciences. Chotsani obtained a Master’s degree from Adelphi in Educational Leadership & Technology in 2007 and holds professional certifications from Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City Center for Training & Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service: Skills to Mentor Youth and Mentoring Supervision.

In pursuit of her life’s work in education and social services, she made a purposeful career change from a thriving career in broadcast journalism and the television industry with Children’s Television Workshop – Sesame Street, Home Box Office (HBO), and Showtime Networks, to name a few. Through volunteerism for community-based organizations, she found her passion as a youth and social justice advocate. She has a fulfilling career spanning over 20 years in youth and professional development, mentoring leadership and school reform using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

As an equity-minded professional, with a flair and natural affinity as a skilled public speaker, Chotsani serves as a facilitator and coach to advance diversity efforts, with an emphasis in the areas of Implicit Bias, Microagressions, and antiracism practices. Lending expertise to panel discussions and radio programs such as 1240AM WGBB, she is a sought-after presenter and consultant. Her greatest joy is working with leaders and youth of profit organizations such as MENTOR New York, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York City, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and Successful and Victorious Youth (S.A.V.Y), as well as the Office of Mental Health (OMH), within a growing portfolio. Chotsani continues to coach and guide youth and adults on evidence-based best practices for mentoring and youth development programs with a holistic and bold approach.

Chotsani serves on the Board of Directors for the Southern Scholars Initiative, which ensures that college students in the rural south have a rewarding collegiate experience. She proudly leads their mentorship initiative training participants, guiding program implementation, and offering direct service support for Scholars. Chotsani is a Doctoral Candidate, in the Molloy University Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities Program, which focuses on the importance of diverse curricula, diversity, social justice and equity in educational spaces. Her research explores leveraging the power of mentoring relationships, access to education and equitable resources.

Married with two children, family life keeps her on her toes. Chotsani enjoys creative art projects: Exuberant Creations, LLC: About / Biography ( and spending quality time with family.

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