Liliete Lopez overcame her disabilities and is pursuing her dream of becoming a member of the U.S. Congress.

Photo of Liliete Lopez Liliete Lopez completing the CUNY Malave Leadership Academy.

When Liliete Lopez moved to the United States at the age of 13, she was legally blind and could not read or write. Now, many years later, Liliete’s accomplishments are a remarkable tale of perseverance, courage and strength.

Born in Nicaragua, Liliete Lopez was unable to attend school because there were no programs available for people who are blind. In 1990, she moved to the United States with her mother, sister and brother. Understandably, she was tentative and insecure.

In 2002, she came to Lighthouse International and enrolled in GED classes and specialized courses on office technology, vision rehabilitation and computer training. “When I first started classes, I felt so out-of-place and scared [when] I saw how the other students could read and express themselves,” says Liliete. “My self-esteem went way down. But the people at the Lighthouse had a strong belief in me. They supported me so much that I began to believe I might succeed.”

As Liliete’s apprehension diminished, she overcame her fear of math, developed her writing skills and improved her vocabulary. After three years of hard work, she received her GED diploma.

With her newfound sense of confidence, Liliete enrolled at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) in August of 2006. She was a member of the Student Leadership Academy and was the first disabled student elected as a senator in the Student Government Association.

Lilete Lopez with New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo Liliete Lopez with New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, at the Model New York State Senate Project

She graduated from Hostos in January of 2010, and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science and urban studies at Queens College, The City University of New York, with the goal of becoming a member of the U.S. Congress. “[I want to] be the voice of people who have low income and are disabled,” she says. And she is on her way -- she was just elected as senator-at-large in the Academic Senate of Queens College.

Through persistence and hard work, Liliete has become an accomplished and inspirational young leader. She has continually defied the odds and exceeded expectations. “Before I was a person with no dreams, skills or aspirations,” she says. “With the support and help of so many people, today I have accomplishments and dreams. I feel blessed.”

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