(Photo provided by Diego Camacho)
Northwood High School

Citizen of the world: Diego Camacho works toward a politically engaged population

Moving to a new area exposes you to perspectives that you wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to. You might become more reassured in your own viewpoints or could be challenged to learn about others. 

For Diego Camacho, a rising senior at Collegiate Charter High School, it was the latter. 

He thrives off of nuanced understandings. Even though Camacho was born in Mexico and lived in Texas, Indiana and Utah before his family settled in California, he has recognized that there is one part of him that never changes, no matter where in the world he’s planted: his interest in politics. 

“Moving around a lot let me see a lot of different systems. Being exposed to different environments has opened me up in a socially conscious way,” Camacho said. “I’ve learned that our involvement in politics is the only thing that gives us a say in what happens in the government. If we don’t get involved, we’re giving our freedom away.” 

Being both politically informed and active is advice that Camacho gives to high school students like him, no matter where they are in the world. He advises that people should get involved in their governments as soon as possible because historically, rights have been taken away out of fear or for the sake of expediency.

In order to prevent this from occurring again, Camacho believes that people should constantly claim their rights in order to maintain them. 

“Politics is so connected with our everyday lives that to not be politically active is to not practice your rights as a human being,” he said. “Someone who isn’t politically informed is always going to be at a disadvantage compared to someone who is.” 

However, being politically active and not politically informed is something he feels isn’t healthy. 

“You’re going to end up creating more problems if you don’t understand the nuances of the topic you’re approaching,” Camacho said. “At the end of the day, being politically active is the moment you step outside of just feeding yourself information to now trying to communicate that knowledge onto other people.” 

He has connected with both those who challenge his views and those with views that align with his own. 

Javier Rivas, a rising senior at University High School Charter, describes Camacho as a best friend that he can bond with over a wide range of activities. They both enjoy writing stories about dystopian animal societies to playing the video game “Team Fortress 2” to discussing the state of humanity. 

It’s one thing to remain friends with someone you lived across the street from your whole childhood, but it’s another to stay friends with people you’ve moved away from multiple times. Camacho and Rivas have maintained a friendship of over nine years that was sustained over online interactions. Rivas describes Camacho as a “creative, hardworking and committed person who likes to create stories.” 

Camacho’s personal expression includes writing about STEM, economics and politics related stories as well as science fiction. At the Los Angeles Times High School Insider internship, Camacho hopes to write about topics close to his heart. 

“I want to learn, become a better writer and a better journalist. I hope to write about issues that are overlooked, relevant and important,” he said. 

He also hopes that he can encourage others to become more politically informed. Camacho emphasizes that it’s important to understand politics in a way that isn’t immediate. He hopes that it’s his lasting impact as a journalist. 

“The people you grew up with are going to shape the way you see things,” Camacho said. ”But being politically informed is to have the most nuanced, most realistic understanding of politics and systems of governments.”