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Camelia Valdes overcame the barrier when she became the first Latina prosecutor in New Jersey, the first woman to become a Passaic county prosecutor – CBS New York


PATERSON, NJ (CBSNewYork) – In honor of Women’s History Month, CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock introduces us to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes, who has been taking on traditional male roles and wants to send a message to inspire inspiration for younger generations.

“As a brown woman from Newark who turned out to be poor, I didn’t realize I was poor until I entered college, what the world expected me to do was not what I could do. , ” Camelia Valdes Esq. to speak.

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Far from it. Valdes was the first Latina prosecutor in New Jersey, the first major Dominican prosecutor in the United States and the first woman to hold the title of Passaic County Prosecutor.

“After celebrating, you have this work. This job is difficult. This is not for the faint of heart, ”Valdes said.

She added, “To be able to be where the policy is being put … has been an extraordinary way to serve and really spend my career doing something I love.”

She says that making the lives of all law-abiding citizens better is something she has always done.

Valdes was born in the Bronx and raised in Newark. She said that as the daughter of immigrant parents, she played the role of an advocate coming early and often.

“I’m translating for everyone in the building, so when I was young, I learned the power of a voice,” she said.

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She graduated from Barringer High School in Newark and just sharing her story with current students to inspire and let them know there’s a world beyond her hall.

Through Zoom, she joined other women with the Spanish National Bar Association’s Latina Committee. The students asked questions.

“What motivated you to be great?” one student asked.

“I think it is pride. I thought it was, ‘Let me show you someone from Newark can do it,’ said Valdes.

“When did a professor or a colleague discourage you and how did you get over the situation?” another student asked.

“I have a mentor to guide… She said to me,“ You know, law is a male dominated field, ”Valdes said. “I don’t care at all.”

She has continued to build her own path of great success, breaking all barriers on every step.

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She wants people to remember, throughout Women’s History Month and always, “Women make every space better.”

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