Place of the Month

United Bronx Parents

 

In recognition of November's designation as Puerto Rican Heritage Month, and in honor of the recent passing of United Bronx Parents founder Lorraine Montenegro, we are honored to feature United Bronx Parents are our featured site. 

Dr. Evelina López Antonetty and her daughter Lorraine Montenegro founded United Bronx Parents (UBP) in 1965. López Antonetty, who migrated from Puerto Rico in 1933, and Montenegro, a Bronx native, formed the organization as United Friends and Neighbors of the Bronx at 645 Union Avenue; a year later they were incorporated as United Bronx Parents (UBP). López Antonetty, who was raised in a family of activist women, founded the organization to fight for better education for Latino and African-American students. UBP and a number of other groups around the city mounted an extensive campaign to secure educational reform and train parents to take leadership roles in local education. 

UBP sought a comprehensive approach to reform in the Bronx. In addition to its educational work, the organization started a bilingual day care center, adult education program, youth leadership program, summer lunch program, and an AIDS outreach and education program. In 1979, López Antonetty took over an abandoned, city-owned one-story former Head Start building on Prospect Avenue. “La Escuelita,” which the organization later purchased, would serve as UBP’s headquarters for the next thirty-six years. 

López Antonetty passed away in 1984 and Montenegro, her daughter, became the executive director. Under Montenegro's thirty-year leadership, UBP grew from a small organization to one of the South Bronx's largest non-profits, with over two hundred employees and eight facilities located across five sites.

In 2011, UBP joined the Acacia Network—an integrated health and housing programs network serving Latino communities. Montenegro remained at UBP’s helm until 2014, continuing to provide a variety of social service and treatment programs to low-income people in its area. 

In 2015, La Escuelita was demolished to make way for the Lorraine Montenegro Women & Children’s Residence, a five-story residential facility serving forty homeless women and fifty-six children that was dedicated in the summer of 2017. Sadly, in October 2017, Lorraine Montenegro passed away in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. More than fifty years after it was founded, UBP is still helping its clients to face obstacles with dignity, now through Acacia. Montenegro's legacy of devotion to neighbors and community-building lives on in the myriad culturally-sensitive programs and services that she and Lopez Antonetty estabalisted, and the many Bronx residents whose lives they touched. 

 

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United Bronx Parents