On October 25, 2017, we lost our beloved colleague Camilla Roberson. Camilla led our Access to Health and Benefits Project, scoring many victories to improve access to care for thousands of low-income Marylanders. She compelled the State to eliminate a backlog of applications for Medicaid on the basis of disability and to start processing applications on time. She ensured that dental and health care providers arrange for interpreters for Deaf clients. As chair of the Governmental Access Workgroup, she organized state agencies, advocates, and providers to make sure that language is not a barrier to receiving public benefits and health care. As a member of the Workplace Justice Project, she worked to make sure that the Unpaid Wage Lien Law would be a tool for workers to recover their unpaid wages. She was also a champion of incorporating race equity into the work of the PJC and the Maryland Alliance for the Poor, a statewide coalition of anti-poverty advocates. Her life and work are celebrated in this tribute in the Baltimore Sun.
Camilla Roberson was a staff attorney working primarily in the areas of health rights and juvenile justice. Prior to joining the PJC, Camilla worked in a variety of settings, including three and a half years as a class action litigation associate at Schneider Wallace Cottrell Brayton Konecky LLP, a civil rights firm in San Francisco, California. She also completed a Skadden Fellowship as part of the Safe Families Project at the Legal Aid Society – Juvenile Rights Division in New York, where she represented child witnesses of domestic violence in child protective proceedings.
During law school, Camilla interned with the Legal Aid Society, the National Center for Youth Law, the Welfare Law Center (now the National Center for Law and Economic Justice) and Human Rights Watch – Children’s Rights Project. She also volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Brooklyn and trained as a community mediator. Between law school and college she worked at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Honduras; taught reading and Spanish in the Baltimore City and Baltimore County schools respectively; and taught English as a Second Language with EBLO (Education Based Latino Outreach).
Camilla was a Baltimore native and a graduate of Columbia Law School, University of Virginia, and the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore. She was also a supporter of ATD-Fourth World Movement, a human rights-based antipoverty movement.