Why Dascha Polanco signed 'Querida Familia Latina' letter, plus her fears for her family in US

The Netflix star revealed that she came to the US 'looking for secureness'

Dascha Polanco is just one of over 200 Latinx leaders who signed the “Querida Familia Latina” letter. While celebrating National Rum Month with the Bacardi Limited Premium Rum Portfolio on Friday, August 16, the Orange Is the New Black star candidly spoke to HOLA! USA about how the open letter came to fruition, and why it was important for her name to be attached to it.


Dascha Polanco talks open letter Querida Familia LatinaVIEW GALLERY

The actress opened up about signing in the "Querida Familia Letter"

America [Ferrera] reached out to me,” the actress, 36, revealed. “I’ve never met America, but that’s the first step. When you’re in a position that you’ve been in the industry for X amount of time and you’re in a leadership position that you open the door and you extend the invitation to your fellow community, whether it’s artistically, whether it’s politically, whether it’s organizing events, whether it’s something as simple as you know a letter that we’re writing for the masses.”

MORE: Read the “Querida Familia Latina” letter in full

After realizing America’s late night email to participate in the letter wasn't spam, Dascha emphatically lent her support to help send a message of solidarity to Latinos in the wake of the El Paso shooting and ICE raids in Mississippi. “I was like of course I will support. I’m always about supporting,” Dascha said. “Although we are going through hard times, I think it’s important for us to move forward, and how we’re going to move forward as a community is uniting.”

MORE: Dascha fearlessly shows off her 'ripples' in powerful body image post

Dascha Polanco talks open letter Querida Familia LatinaVIEW GALLERY

Dascha celebrated National Rum Day with the Bacardi Limited Premium Rum Portfolio at Las’ Lap in New York City

“I’m about my community. I’m going to stand up for my community. I’ve always been very vocal about embracing my blackness, embracing my Dominicanness, and embracing my roots, but also I’m about being executing. There’s a lot of us that we spend a lot of time fighting it, and fighting it, and speaking on the issues and yes that’s great, and yes, that’s the intro, but how are we going to execute,” she continued. “Although at times I may be quiet, doesn’t mean that I’m actually not executing. I’d rather move in silence than execute than anything else, but it’s important times. I know it’s moments that they seem fragile, but they’re moments that we have to go through. I truly believe that once we break down, and we’re able to like expose what the issue is we’re able to then say let’s restrategize and move forward.”

MORE: Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, more pen letter of support to Latinx community

Today's political climate has understandably made the mom-of-two fearful for her own relatives living in the United States. “There’s moments that we feel like we’re alone and I’ve felt it. There’s moments where I get scared for my family because we have extended family that are here on DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] that are here illegally and that they’re working their a-s off to contribute to this country. And not necessarily have to be the right way that they came in, but separating is not necessarily the right way to solve the problem,” she shared. “There’s a lot that I don’t say but that I feel like being an actress, being an artist and having a platform that I know when it’s right and when I have to put myself and I look up to people that do that who are in positions of power.”

Dascha Polanco talks open letter Querida Familia LatinaVIEW GALLERY

Dascha is one of over 200 Latinx leaders who signed the open letter to the Latino community

Dascha, who was born in the Dominican Republic, immigrated to the states “looking for secureness.” Her experience has admittedly been all about learning. “I grew up here and all I saw was white," she confessed. "White, white, white. And always trying to fit that. Not necessarily me trying to fit it but that’s, like when you tell me how does it feel to be like the nontraditional, no I am traditional. I am traditional.” The In the Heights star added, “I am a woman and I am what the world is.”

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