As an American of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, Zoe Saldana and her Italian artist husband, Marco Perego, feel a special responsibility raising their twin boys.
"It is a necessity for us to raise our children with our roots so that they can communicate with their grandparents, but also so that they can create some kind of empathy for human beings that do not look like them, and do not sound like them and do not smell like them," the "Guardians of the Galaxy" star, 38, said in a recent episode of her YouTube series, "Rosé Roundtable."
Saldana, who gave birth to the twins in 2014, appeared in the video with sisters Mariel and Cisely, and three friends. The group was discussing the importance of their multicultural upbringings over dinner.
The actress recalled how in her early 20s she vowed to speak to her children in Spanish after her sister gave birth to her first child.
"We had made all these promises when we were growing up as first-generation Latinas that we’d speak Spanish the way we spoke Spanish," she said. "But, you don’t realize as you’re saying, ‘We’re gonna speak Spanish,’ you’re not saying, ‘Vamos a hablar español.'"
"Roots" was the main topic of conversation, but the "world" was a recurring theme.
"It’s very important for you to seek the world, to want to know what’s out there besides the comfort of your block," she explained. "That is the best way you can teach empathy."
Fortunately for Saldana, her career has allowed her to travel the world. But when she gets homesick, she yearns to return to America.
"America still holds the first spot in my heart," she said, adding that her husband recently obtained his American citizenship. "I love going back to all the routes that we are from, from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, going back to the Middle East. Knowing about our cultures in Africa and everything, but there’s something about landing through JFK, landing through LAX, that I just feel I'm safe and that there's hope and possibilities.
"And I'm really happy that my children were born her like I was. And that my husband is finally a U.S. citizen. Because no matter what happens I just feel we're going to be okay."