Skip to content

Affiliate Lawyer Paola Camacho on how her Hispanic heritage has led to a profession of ‘serving to folks’

Information | September 21, 2022

The transfer from El Paso to Charlottesville for regulation college was actually a breath of recent air for Affiliate Lawyer Paola Camacho. Rising up on the US border with Mexico, she known as one of many nation’s most polluted communities house, and says this expertise is partially what fueled her need to “assist folks” by defending public well being and the surroundings.

Shortly after Camacho graduated from the College of Virginia Faculty of Regulation in 2020, she went to work doing authorized analysis and assist out of SELC’s Charleston workplace. When she’s not at her desk de ella, you would possibly discover her having fun with nature de ella together with her de ella two German shepherds, consuming vegan fried hen and waffles, or making artwork or do-it-yourself salsa.

Affiliate Lawyer Paola Camacho together with her German shepherds at South Carolina’s Folly Seaside.

On her drive again house to Texas, she’ll often take the great distance. That is as a result of essentially the most handy route winds by 1000’s and 1000’s of “ugly” oil fields — and their fuel flares and ugly odors that she’d moderately keep away from. “It is a good reminder of why I do what I do,” Camacho says.

Learn our full interview with Camacho beneath.

In 2020, the American Lung Affiliation ranked the El Paso space because the thirteenth worst within the nation for ozone air pollution. Inform us a bit in regards to the environmental issues you skilled rising up.

I grew up with bronchial asthma. I by no means obtained to take part in PE and I by no means actually thought of why so many different children in school had bronchial asthma. I began studying extra in regards to the surroundings and the results of air pollution later in life, and sooner or later, it clicked. I assumed, ‘Oh my gosh! There’s a whole lot of bronchial asthma in El Paso. I most likely obtained it due to the air pollution.’

A smiling woman leans over the shoulder of her grandmother, who is knitting in her wheelchair.
Camacho’s grandmother (pictured) and mom grew up in Terrero — a tiny, undeveloped city in Mexico. Camacho says they moved to the US “for a greater life” and watching her mother look after her grandma de ella in her last levels “was very impactful on my robust need to assist folks.”

Bronchial asthma will get lots higher while you breathe cleaner air. After I moved to Charlottesville for grad college, I used to be shocked by how properly I might breathe.

Day in and day trip, the US and Mexico share the air pollution of stalled autos on the border crossings. My neighborhood on the El Paso facet of the border is likely one of the most polluted in America, partially due to the visitors and industrial exercise — together with recycling amenities and main highways positioned proper subsequent to varsities — nevertheless it’s even worse in Juarez on the Mexican facet . Lots of people dwell with out heating and cooling techniques in Juarez, and over winter, there’s added air pollution from folks burning tires for warmth.

I skilled the air pollution as a toddler and realized extra about it once I was a regulation pupil and obtained to intern again house for a semester to assist our neighborhood battle again.

I fear about my household due to the acute warmth and lack of entry to water in Texas. Water is a supply of life. As for the warmth, El Paso goes to be the brand new Phoenix. We now have 110-degree summers and no shade so yearly it will get extra insufferable. It is even worse throughout the border in Juarez as a result of their infrastructure is not nearly as good — there’s a whole lot of concrete over there and no shade.

How conscious of those environmental points are the folks of El Paso?

Camacho hikes close to San Augustine, Texas, together with her German shepherds.

Lots of people are usually not conscious. Life is tough, particularly when you do not have the privilege of taking time to study issues like environmental air pollution. Lots of people are simply centered on elevating their children and serving to them with college. Some folks work greater than full time. It is even tougher with prices going up now — there are all these items which are extra urgent for lots of people.

On the finish of the day, they know they need their kids to breathe clear air, be secure, and properly fed.

Talking of recent air, what’s your favourite option to get exterior?

I am happiest seeing my canines Malala and Nymeria completely satisfied in nature. They’re why I really like the outside. For a very long time, I believed I could not do a lot bodily exercise due to my bronchial asthma. I obtained a German shepherd in 2014 and so they clearly need to go exterior lots. That is how I began mountaineering, discovering trails, and increase my well being. After I was in Charlottesville, I liked, liked, liked Shenandoah Nationwide Park.

It is Hispanic Heritage Month. Assist us have fun by sharing your favourite Mexican custom or option to honor your heritage.

Two Mexican women look into the camera with flower crowns and faces painted as skeletons for Dia de los Muertos.
Camacho and her sibling Ladle gown up as Catrinas.

I really like Day of the Useless. I discover it wonderful that Mexico retains some Aztec traditions. The Spanish conquerors tried to eradicate all the pieces in regards to the Aztecs, however in the present day Mexico cherishes its Aztec heritage with delight and holds traditions pricey — though it developed to suit the faith Spain set.

As an grownup, I really like the vacation for the resilience it represents, however as a child, for its colourful festivities. I bear in mind going to the crowded cemetery to go to my grandpa’s grave on Dia de los Muertos. There’s music and meals to honor our deceased kinfolk, and many sweet and face portray of the ‘Catrinas,’ (skeleton folks) for the youngsters.

Throughout public squares in Juarez and El Paso, you possibly can see extra elaborate altars. Nowadays, we make an altar at house with footage of our deceased household and canines and put a few of their favourite issues and tokens on there, just like the morning paper for my grandpa and a few kibble for our outdated canine. Typically we’ll gown up as Catrinas for the event as properly.

An altar including red flowers, photographs of loved ones, and small keepsakes including a sugar skull and angel figurine.
Camacho’s household makes an altar at house to honor deceased kinfolk for Dia de los Muertos.

What are your hobbies exterior of labor?

Apart from spending time with my canines, I additionally love artwork—principally portray and charcoal drawing. I have been portray since I used to be little. My fashion is someplace between realism and impressionistic. And I went by a part of baking huge fancy desserts!

what are you able to share about your position at SELC as an affiliate legal professional?

I present a whole lot of assist to the workers attorneys, like doing analysis, writing remark letters, submitting Freedom of Info Act requests, and reviewing 1000’s of pages of paperwork in litigation to search out essentially the most useful or related data for our instances. Now I am extra centered on increase future instances, like within the Charleston space the place we suspect there are a whole lot of polluting amenities not following allowing necessities. That is actually unacceptable for shielding public well being.

Be a part of our group to assist shield folks and the surroundings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.