One of the Bronx’s most dedicated women now has something dedicated to herself.
A corner on Prospect Avenue has been renamed after the late Lorriane Montenegro while a women and children’s facility has been subsequently renamed and opened in her honor as well.
Governor Cuomo cut the ribbon for the Lorraine Montenegro Women and Children’s Program Facility on Lorraine Montenegro Way on Tuesday, June 12.
The $12 million facility at 773 Prospect Avenue was funded by the state and now offers 38 residential treatment beds for women battling addiction in efforts to continue the groundwork started by Montenegro.
“A true fighter for the people of the south Bronx, Lorraine Montenegro devoted her life to helping the women, children and families of this community through her incredible social work,” said CouncilmanRafael Salamanca Jr.
“Ms. Montenegro embodies what it means to be a Bronxite – hard-working, community-focused and unrelenting in advocating for what’s right. I am proud to join the governor and OASAS commissioner today in opening the Lorraine Montenegro Women and Children’s Program Facility, a fitting name in dedication to a woman who has admirably served the south Bronx,” Salamanca added.
During the dark days of the ‘Burning Bronx,’ Montenegro formed United Bronx Parents along side her mother, Evelina López Antonetty. Her mother was better known as the ‘Hell lady of the Bronx’ because of her outspoken personality. That title may have sounded devilish, but the work that this mother and daughter duo did was angelic.
UBP was one of the first organized groups that fought to introduce English as a second language classes into public school curriculum in addition to school meal programs for impoverished children.
The organization also started a bilingual day care center, adult education program, youth leadership program, summer lunch program, and an AIDS outreach and education program in addition to much more.
Fittingly enough, just across from the new Lorraine Montenegro center and Way is a street named for the Hell Lady herself.
“It’s very humbling to see their names up there together,” said Joe Conzo, Jr., Montenegro’s son. “These women gave their lives to not only the Bronx but Puerto Rico as well,” he added.
Montenegro spent her final days in Puerto Rico before her passing in October during the wake of Hurricane Maria at the age of 74. Prior to that, Montenegro has also done a great deal of humanitarian and public service on the island as well.
Conzo, Jr. reminisced about everything that his mother and grandmother taught him.
He cited that his own public service, 25-years as a paramedic in the FDNY and union work, is ‘in his genetics’ passed down by his mom and grandmother.
Additionally, he is also well known for his iconic photography of the origins of hip-hop as well as capturing the south Bronx during its most brutal days.
Conzo, Jr.’s favorite shot he took is of a massive Puerto Rican flag hanging out of a burnt out building on Clarence Street in the south Bronx.
Part of the reason why he loves it so much is because his grandmother and mother would fight Paul Newman’s filming crew for Fort Apache tooth and nail whenever they would step foot in the area.