Davila headshot

Emerson Fellow

Esther Davila

26th Class, 2019-2020

Originally from West Orange, New Jersey, Esther graduated with honors from Boston University with a degree in health science and a minor in sociology. As the daughter of immigrants, she has been motivated to volunteer and intern with organizations that serve immigrant and marginalized communities. Her passion for social justice and serving vulnerable communities solidified through her position as a Health Leads’ Patient Advocate at Boston Medical Center, in which she connected low-income and minority families to essential community-based resources. Along with her education, Esther’s personal and professional experiences have fueled her eagerness to work towards breaking barriers and building spaces to empower underserved communities.

Field placement: Just Harvest

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Esther completed her field work with Just Harvest, a nonprofit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dedicated to ending hunger in Allegheny county by increasing access to healthy and affordable food, connecting residents to public benefits, and engaging in advocacy at all levels of government. She worked closely on the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, a multi-year and partnered initiative convened by the Allegheny County Health Department and funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which aims to achieve better long-term health outcomes in minority communities. As part of this program, Esther focused on designing and implementing a long-term strategic approach to outreach in African American neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in order to build sustainable relationships that will help Just Harvest actualize its mission and expand its services in the target neighborhoods.

Policy placement: Center for Law and Social Policy

Washington, D.C.

At the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Esther worked with the Income and Works Support team on the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) campaign. Co-led by CLASP and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the PIF campaign is made up of hundreds of diverse organizations that strive to uplift immigrant communities and advocate for humane immigration policies. Esther helped develop and co-author a research brief that assessed the impact of the administration's immigration policies on families in North and South Carolina. The brief will help build evidence needed to justify the reversal of these policies and will support advocates' state and local policy efforts to mitigate harm and pursue immigrant-inclusive policies. Esther also engaged in documenting the accomplishments of 2019-2020 PIF subgrantees and in the process of selecting new subgrantees for the upcoming year.