Schyla Pondexter-Moore divorced her husband, the father of her kids, in part because he didn't understand the importance of the work she was doing.

Pondexter-Moore works as a community organizer with Empower DC. There, she advocates for affordable housing and fights gentrification and displacement in largely African-American communities.

It's a job she takes incredibly seriously. But she said her ex-husband would often tell her, "You care more about the community than you care about your own kids."


What he didn't get was that, for her, there's no separating the two.

"As a mother, number one, if you're going to fight for something, always fight for your children," she said.

For Pondexter-Moore, the long hours she spends battling real-estate developers and other outsiders not only ensure the preservation of her community — the home she and her kids love deeply — they also help instill the values every parent wants their children to inherit.

"As a mother, I want my children to know their worth, to know they don't have to settle for less," she said. She wants them to know they're strong. To stand up for themselves. To know that anything is possible.

To her, the easiest way to teach those virtues is to live them herself.

Learn more about Schyla Pondexter-Moore's advocacy work and what her kids think of having an activist for a mom.