OVNV was founded in 2015 to organize 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 focused our initial efforts in the Latinx community given it was the community with the greatest need. By approaching parents in car lines and conducting one-on-one meetings with parents, we set out to build authentic relationships in the Latinx and Spanish speaking communities, learn about the obstacles they faced, and devise solutions for providing a better education for Latinx learners.
Since our founding, OVNV has started breaking new ground by expanding the scope of issues organizing to be cross-cultural and include the voices of both Black and Brown families. Acknowledging the intersection of issues we have also expanded our work to focus on criminal justice and immigration in addition to education. Black and Brown 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. Our strategy focuses around empowering communities through direct action organizing, capacity building, centering identity and culture, and collaboration with institutions, stakeholders, and policymakers. Through this we will build the cadre of leaders who will create self-determined Black and Brown communities and a new future in New Orleans.
Our Voice Nuestra Voz (OVNV) is an issues organizing effort in New Orleans. We build the capacity of community members to act as advocates in order to create a more equitable city. While focusing primarily on education, we recognize the intersectionality of issues and work in other areas that also affect our community such as criminal justice and immigration.
We envision a world where Black and Brown people live without harm, practice liberatory education, and restorative justice. Through community organizing, we dismantle systems of oppression and develop self-determined communities. We work to identify, recruit, and develop community leaders while also setting the stage for Black and Brown people to build a strong and active political identity. With this, we pass policies and increase our representation. We measure our success through the number of community leaders we have developed, the number of wins for our community, and our ability to fully fund our efforts. These efforts help to end the lack of agency and self-determination that Black and Brown communities in New Orleans have experienced due to systems of oppression that have been in place for centuries.