WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School (WOHS) Class of 2015 alumna Esther Davila has been busily at work during the global health crisis, providing COVID-19 information and ensuring the rights of immigrants over the last several weeks.
Davila graduated in 2019 with honors from Boston University with a degree in health science and a minor in sociology.
Both of Davila’s parents are Peruvian immigrants, which has motivated her to volunteer and intern with organizations that serve immigrant and marginalized communities. Her passion for social justice began at Boston Medical Center, where she served as a Health Leads' Patient Advocate, connecting low-income and minority families to essential community-based resources.
"As the daughter of immigrants, I have witnessed the hardships my parents have had to face," she said. “These experiences have shaped my passion for public service and commitment to helping others. By working closely on crucial social justice issues like hunger and poverty, I’ve learned the ability I have to uplift the voices of marginalized communities. I hope to take my fellowship experiences to continue finding ways of empowering these communities."
Davila is currently a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow through the Congressional Hunger Center. The 11-month program is designed to train and inspire new leaders in the movement to end hunger and poverty in the U.S.
"For the first half of the program, I worked for an anti-hunger, community-based organization called ‘Just Harvest’ in Pittsburgh, PA,” said Davila. “For the second half of the program, I'm currently working at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) on their Income and Work Supports team.
“My work at CLASP revolves around their Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign as I assist with ongoing projects related to the public charge policy. The campaign's mission is to keep immigrant families across the country well-informed about their rights as changes occur under the public charge rule.”
Part of Davila's efforts has been the creation of a COVID-19 informational flyer being shared among the Latino population.
"I'd be more than happy to connect with anyone who may be interested in the fellowship or campaign work," she said.