OVNV was founded in 2015 with the mission of organizing parents to expand quality educational access for students in New Orleans. We needed to create a more equitable system and we needed to ensure that any reforms, recommendations, or campaigns we executed were grounded in what parents and communities identified as needs. In order to identify those needs, we needed to organize parents and hear their voices.
We started OVNV with just two employees all focused on organizing parents full-time. We worked car lines, conducted parent one-on-one meetings, and whatever else it took to build authentic relationships in the Latino and Black communities. We learned about the obstacles they (we) faced, and through our relationships, helped devise solutions to provide a better education.
The purpose of OVNV is not to set an agenda for parents to adopt, but instead to give parents the tools to set their own agenda for their communities, students, and schools. Collectively the OVNV team strives to:
BUILD the organizing capacity of parents
BUILD institutional capacity within schools and school systems
BUILD the case for continued engagement
We BUILD the capacity of parents in the greater New Orleans area to act as advocates in order to ensure educational equity for ALL students.
Our amazing team of organizers are dedicated to improving education.
Growing Authentic Organizing
We believe in the power of authentic organizing to change policies that impact the lives of Black and Latino communities. Authentic organizing means allowing an individual to be their full self, recognizing there is no one way to be an organizer or a volunteer. The strength of our organizing is directly related to how fully we embrace our identity and culture. In choosing to organize authentically, we create the space to have wins and losses while not losing hope. Our approach allows supporters, volunteers, and staff to hold on to something beyond a win: they are holding on to their communities and their culture.
Building Black And Latino Alliances
Black and Latino communities are growing and will soon be the majority in America. This is an opportunity to build a collective power, as both communities face similar, systemic challenges. In order to build this bridge, Black communities will need to be able to represent the concerns of Latino communities, and vice versa. We will have to have transparent and honest conversations about the structural barriers created to intentionally hinder our collective progress.
Dismantling Systems Of Oppression
American political, social, and economic systems have categorically and systematically disadvantaged Black and Latino communities. We must be able to organize to tear down those oppressive systems and concurrently develop the leadership to build new systems of governance that prioritize equity and justice. Organizing and leadership development, independent of one another, will not produce the transformative change our communities so desperately need.