Mikaela Lopez, a second-year student at the University of Houston-Downtown, is a student leader active in issues of social inequality. For the past four years, she has worked closely with impoverished communities. With the help of the D.O.Gs (Disciples of God) organization at her church, Mikaela regularly organizes events that allow families to come together and enjoy meals. She has organized "Operation Best Christmas Ever" and "Operation Turkey" and bought toys, shoes and clothing for children. Mikaela has been involved in political campaigns and has reached out to encourage people of all ages, with an emphasis on the younger generation, to use their voices and to vote. Her convictions to bring about awareness on issues like women's inequality, sexual violence, and incarceration of non-violent convicted criminals are apparent in the efforts she puts forth. She is currently working on animal injustices and exploring new possibilities to raise awareness about the issue of stray and unsheltered animals. With a new grant, Mikaela plans to create billboards and signage in low-income communities to get animals off the street and into safe environments. Her advocacy, dedication, and kind leadership have inspired others to get involved and work alongside her.
Pay it forward - one act of kindness leads to another. This is what drives me. I genuinely care for the wellbeing of others; I have worked on issues faced by people who live in impoverished communities by, organizing events to feed the hungry, driving those without vehicles, and providing other assistance. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, I regularly organize events to bring families together, and volunteer to shop for clothes, shoes, and toys for many young children. Through this work, I have realized that if we want true social change, it must come from a higher source. I work on political campaigns to learn about and highlight issues like, the environmental changes, sexual violence, inequality for women and other minorities, and the faulty criminal system. I have done block walks, phone banks, passed out fliers, and spoken with students to understand where they stand on issues and the political process. In the midterm elections, I engaged with over 600 people to get out and vote and engaged over 30 peers to do the same. I have written letters to our senator about inequalities in the community, and urged him to focus on setting policies to make life better.