CAP water board member discusses education, outreach efforts to Latino community
Ylenia Aguilar, member of the Central Arizona Water Conservation Board, discusses her previous experience as a member of the school board for the Osborne School District. She also describes her work for CAP to help increase water conservation efforts in Latino communities.
Do you ever sit and process all you’ve been able to do in just a short amount of time?
Aguilar said she hasn’t had much time to reflect on her journey.
“My story isn’t unique. There are millions of undocumented immigrants, and the fact that I was able to gain a path to citizenship was something that I didn’t anticipate, and as I did gain my status, and I did run for my first election, which was school board, I haven’t stopped since then.”
“I am grateful. However, I do feel like it’s just moving so fast and there’s no stop, because during my school board, we had a pandemic, and now we’re facing a water crisis. So there really isn’t a lot of time to stop and reflect, there’s just a lot of, you know, taking action.”
Tell me about what it’s like for you to be on the water conservation board as a lifelong environmentalist.
“It definitely is more in line with my academic passion, and I do believe that as someone who is indigenous of Mexico and my grandmother and my ancestors, we’ve always believed in protecting the planet and taking care of our water and resources. They’re finite, and if we aren’t protecting them, we are going to continue experiencing the climate change disruptions that we are experiencing, currently.”
“But actually advocating for things I really care about like water and the environment really makes me feel like I’m fulfilled, I’m living the dream, and very lucky to say that. Going from being undocumented to a path to citizenship, to actually working in green tech and advocating for the environment, specifically the Colorado River. It’s definitely something I don’t take lightly.”
Tell me about how you plan to use your position to bring awareness to the Latino community, particularly when it comes to building that deep connection and awareness of the environment and water conservation.
“I want to make sure that we don’t just translate our website, but we’re also creating videos and education in a campaign that educates about conservation. And what does it mean to conserve at home? And for most of us coming from Latin American countries, conservation is something that we’re familiar with. In our developing countries, we don’t get to just turn on the tap and waste water. That doesn’t happen. It’s not something that’s unfamiliar to us, but we need to go back to those practices that we had in our countries and apply them here, because we want to ensure we have a planet for our future generations.”