mark! Lopez, Member & Executive Director of EYCEJ, is a community leader, a father, and the 2017 North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize. mark!, 31, was born and raised in a family of activists where community organizing is a culture. mark! attended his earliest protests and marches as a young child, along with his parents and grandparents. Family time often included door-to-door canvassing, community mural painting, and press conferences.
mark! temporarily left Los Angeles to pursue a degree in environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz—an arm’s length away from home where he gave himself the space to learn and sharpen the tools of the family trade. He remained active in community organizing on campus, where he advocated for service workers’ rights and pushed for student of color recruitment and retention.
Shortly after his return from college in 2008, during one of his regular visits to his grandparents’ house, his grandmother gave him a public notice that had just arrived in the mail. It was about an upcoming government agency meeting about the Exide battery smelter. She said, “Hey, you know, Exide is still right here.” mark! became the third generation in his family in the two decade Exide struggle, and the facility’s closure in 2015 ensured his daughters don’t become the fourth generation of his family in this fight.
mark! continues to contribute to the legacy of fighting environmental racism in his and our communities, and through EYCEJ he hopes to continue working with his community to push even further against the injustices we face. One thing mark! understands is critical now is community investment for community change.
So we ask you to please consider contributing to our fight, and donate to EYCEJ. Every dollar is invested in the continued education and leadership development of our members, supporting our community movement, and bringing resources to our neighborhoods through innovative programs.
mark! Lopez, age six, stands with his family in the struggle to protect our communities
Follow mark! and all of his work by following his work by looking at his public page here.