Mothers on the Move

Award Recipients - 1998

Mili Bonilla, Barbara Gross, Cofounders


In 1992, Mili Bonilla and Barbara Gross launched Mothers on the Move (MOM) in the South Bronx to mobilize parents to reform local public schools in an area facing enormous challenged.  The district has a predominance of failing schools with a high number of inexperienced and unlicensed teachers, resulting in some of the city’s lowest reading scores, escalated rates of school violence and chronic teacher turnover.  Outrages with the indifference into their children’s education, MOM created a membership organization that would bring about chance by engaging parents in strategy sessions and advocating for quality schools through public meetings, negotiations with those in power, press conferences, rallies and direct actions.

MOM emphasizes that community empowerment and representation as well as holding public officials accountable for their policies and practices are critical to effective change.  In 1993 and 1996, through their participation in school board elections, two South Bronx representatives won seats on the school board, which had been controlled by the Throgs Neck area, a more affluent, mostly White Neighborhood.  Today, MOM has about 700 dues-paying members – primarily women – and addresses a range of community issues such as housing, neighborhood safety, health and environmental concerns.

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