Mary Moran is the co-founder of Our Voice Nuestra Voz (OVNV), a parent organizing start-up in New Orleans. OVNV works to build the capacity of parents in the greater New Orleans area to act as advocates in order to ensure educational equity for all students. Mary’s passion to empower under-resourced communities came from her experience as an Afro-Latina attending schools in South Los Angeles. Mary has 15 years of experience in organizing, teaching, grassroots leadership development, elections, and lobbying.
Mary began her organizer career at Catholic Charities in 2003. There she learned the practice of organizing, resulting in the first high-quality school option for students in Alum Rock Unified School District. She later joined Parent Revolution, where she organized a successful in-district turnaround campaign at Lennox Middle School. Later, as Regional Campaigns Director, she directed grassroots strategies and coalitions to pass education legislation in seven states.
Since Mary co-founded Our Voice Nuestra Voz in 2015, the organization has established a base of more than 2,500 members with over 200 active leaders. OVNV partnered with Recovery School District, Orleans Parish School Board and two charter networks to develop the first ELL guidebook in Louisiana. Members also mobilized and won an equitable district funding formula for ELL, SPED, and over aged students. Through OVNV’s #ItsYourRight campaign, members successfully passed policies that limit law enforcement actions and bolster the protection of immigrant students at schools in Orleans Parish. In response to the White House’s announcement to rescind DACA, OVNV organized a protest where over 300 people flooded the streets. In addition to developing OVNV she also provides strategic and tactical development on issues and local political campaigns in Louisiana.
Mary has also participated in a number of international research and organizing efforts. She served as a training fellow and organized youth within the Navajo Nation. Mary also served as a scholar activist for children with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. Later, Mary was as a research assistant in Tanzania focused on micro financing, and organizing. She also studied in Cuba informing a comparative analysis of the education systems in Cuba and the United States.
Mary and Our Voice Nuestra Voz have won many awards including the Committee for a Better New Orleans’s Diana Lewis Citizen Participation Award, the Alliance of Diversity and Excellence’s Advocacy Award, and The Links Incorporated’s Champion for Change Award.
Mary sits on the City of New Orleans Library Board, the Broad Community Connections Board, and the IDEA Public Schools Board.