Paola Aracely Ilescas is a Community Health Specialist at Vista Community Clinic, a non-profit health care center that serves the North County region. She currently coordinates a group of community leaders, known as Poder Popular, who spearhead advocacy work surrounding public health issues. She co-facilitated a curriculum focused on clarifying social inequalities that contribute to health disparities. With the curriculum completed, Paola was able to welcome and enlist a new set of community leaders that helped expand Poder Popular.
Paola assists in guiding the group to advocate for policy changes that enrich and support disenfranchised neighborhoods. Through this, Paola continues to investigate methods that capacitate Poder Popular in different realms, including negotiating, organizing skills, and leadership. Being first generation and Zapoteca, Paola continues to support her community outside her professional work. As a member FIOB, Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales, Paola documents the events and the work that is centered on the indigenous migrant experience and addresses issues pertaining to the community, such as interpretation and cultural revitalization.
She also works internationally with other bases in Mexico and is able to mediate meetings that ultimately serve to minimize the disparities in indigenous migrants’ experiences. As a resident and activist in Vista, she has observed that there are opportunities to expand the network and coordination in North County. She is excited to be part of a progressive group and of the 2018 SDLA cohort looks forward to her growth.