Celebrating our heritage is a year-round commitment. During Hispanic Heritage Month, LCF likes to doubly emphasize the work being undertaken that benefits our local community here in Georgia.
America Gruner founded the Coalicion de Lideres Latinos (CLILA) without any outside funds or employees; her goal was to help Latinx in her community in North West Georgia. At the time, the CLILA was the only organization in NW Georgia dedicated to helping our community. Since then, CLILA has created many programs and initiatives that have benefitted our community. Gruner’s up-bringing and her family both had a heavy influence on what would become her goals and motivations. She says, “they made me aware of the needs in our community and awakened my social and political conscience and made me sensitive to human pain”
CLILA’s goals are for an honest voice for the local Latinx community, not moved by personal or group interests. It also promotes cultural diversity and the social integration of our community into civic participation with the hopes of improving the quality of life of all Latinx people. CLILA also offers options for the development of leadership and motivates and supports economic advancement.
America Gruner is a graduate of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. Throughout her career, Gruner has won many awards including, the Premio Cesar Chavez from the City of Dalton, the Special Award from Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Personajes Destacados of 2013 from Mundo Hispanico. Despite her work and accolades, Gruner still holds many goals for her organization and her community. She hopes to turn CLILA into a sustainable organization and to expand its influence on human rights, political and economic aspects in her area with the direct involvement of people affected by the issues or challenges.
Gruner urges students and young professionals to “keep fighting for their dreams, but never forget where you come from and never forget the needs of the community.” This is a lesson she has most certainly held as a guiding force in her life as well. Growing up in Mexico City was “beautiful and challenging” for Gruner. Having witnessed and experienced injustice, poverty, and suffering, Gruner maintains her faith by remembering that “there is hope in God and the mission He gave us to serve each other.”