LatinXcellence: Zoe Saldana, Big-Screen Icon and Activist
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with People CHICA's LatinXcellence series, spotlighting the incredible people who are changing the world through their work and activism. Today we focus on actress Zoe Saldana, a passionate advocate for immigrants and women.
Here at People CHICA we celebrate our Latinidad 365 days a year, but during Hispanic Heritage Month, we go extra hard. Established in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month (also known as Latino Heritage Month or Latinx Heritage Month) recognizes the generations of Latinos who have positively influenced and enhanced our society. All month long, we'll be celebrating with a series called #LatinXcellence, highlighting people who are making a difference in Latino culture today through their art, work, and activism.
Zoe Saldana doesn't let fame and success blind her. "Power is best enjoyed when it's shared," she says. The Hollywood star has not only opened doors for other women of color on the big screen but has used her fame and influence to become an advocate for the rights of DREAMers and immigrant families. The activist has also spoken out about women's rights, equal pay, defending the Time's Up movement, and the importance of voting in the 2020 election. "If we don't make ourselves count, we don't exist. Please vote," she urges the Latino community. "We have to vote because if not we won't be responsible for the positive change in this nation."
The proud Afro-Latina — of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent — will return to the big screen in 2021 for Avatar 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in 2022. The actress, 42, recently covered People en Español's Most Influential issue and spoke to the magazine about what it means to lead by example and teach her sons to fight social injustice and help others in need. "I want the boys to know that we've been active and involved in our community," she says about Zen, 3, and twins Bowie and Cy, 5. "When we see something wrong, we do say something and we do something about it."
On Instagram, where she has over 7 million followers, she speaks up about racial injustice and the cruel treatment of immigrants at border detention centers, among other social issues. She also founded the media platform BESE to amplify the voices of communities that have been left out of mainstream discourse, promoting diversity and inclusivity. "The moment that something good comes to your life and helps you and makes you grow," Saldana emphasizes, "share it, pay it forward."