My name is María del Camino Lora, but everyone calls me – Mino! I was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic by a large and artistic family. I moved to the U.S. at 19 after receiving an academic scholarship to attend Manhattanville College, where I earned a B.A. in English Literature & Theatre. After graduating, I continued waiting tables at night and working as a theatre educator during the day. I later earned an M.A. in Peace Studies & Conflict Transformation from The Graduate Institute, and founded what is now the People’s Theatre Project as part of my thesis. At 34, a year after my first child was born, I became
a U.S. citizen. President Obama’s letter welcoming me as a citizen proudly hangs on my wall.
Mino's story is that of an activist,
a nonprofit executive, an educator, y una mamá.
Before I was born, my parents lost everything except the walls of our house to a hurricane. They raised us to be resilient, but their story could not prepare me for what Hurricane George revealed about the island. At 15 years old, I saw las Casuchas (tin houses) submerged in the Río Ozama. Family belongings floated off with the current. Hundreds of people died. Thousands more had their livelihoods destroyed. Witnessing the hurricane’s impact on children, many younger than I was, living in deep poverty broke my heart. Before the hurricane, daily life as a teen made it easy to overlook these families, something I came to learn was by design. Government failed them, and I’ll never forget the shock of realizing that was even a possibility. What I learned was a fundamental truth about my own nature:
In moments of crisis, I take action.