Liderazgo para Servir... No para Ser Servido...
Leadership to Serve... Not to Be Served...
"y sin embargo (CLILA) se mueve..." Galileo Galilei
Desde 2006 * CLUB DE TAREA * CLUB DE PADRES * REFORMA MIGRATORIA * ACTIVISMO COMUNITARIO
* ASUNTOS DE DETENCION POR INMIGRACION * LIDERAZGO LATINO *CLASES DE CIUDADANIA GRATIS * CLASES DE INGLES GRATIS * PARTICIPACION CIVICA * Y MUCHO MAS
This is a recopilation of articles where CLILA is mentioned or featured in 2008
Diciembre 6, 2008
CLILA acude a reuniones sobre derechos civiles de latinos
Comunicado de Prensa- Diciembre 2008- Como parte de la misión de la Coalición de Líderes Latinos, CLILA, y de sus actividades en colaboración con otras organizaciones, dos miembros de su mesa directiva acudieron a la Reunión Nacional de Comunidades Latinas Emergentes, patrocinada por el Concejo Nacional de La Raza (NCLR), llevada a cabo en Jackson, Mississippi, del 2 al 4 de diciembre, en donde se dieron cita por lo menos 21 organizaciones de todo el país.
Y del 4 al 6 de diciembre otro de sus miembros asistió a la Conferencia Anual de la Red de Derechos de los Inmigrantes del Sureste, en la misma ciudad, con la presencia de por lo menos 27 organizaciones.
En las reuniones de NCLR, Azucena Rodriguez y Denita Dickson fueron en representación de CLILA, y acudieron a talleres sobre derechos civiles y de los inmigrantes, cómo participar en cabildeo, cómo mejorar la estructura y funcionamiento de una organización, y cómo establecer alianzas, entre otros temas. Otra actividad fue compartir canciones de la época del Movimiento de los Derechos Civiles durante los 1960’s, guiados por Hollis Watkins, uno de los líderes afroamericanos que comenzó su lucha desde entonces.
El evento concluyó con una marcha convocada por MIRA, una organización de Mississippi, hacia el Capitolio en Jackson para pedir que se deje de aplicar la ley SB2988 en ese estado, la cual convierte en delito grave el hecho de trabajar si la persona es indocumentada y también solicitaron que se ponga un alto a las redadas en el país.
Azucena Rodriguez afirmó “la conferencia fue muy interesante y educativa. Me impresionó ver que hay muchos latinos bien preparados, que se han organizado y unido con otros grupos étnicos para luchar porque se respeten los derechos civiles y humanos de los latinos y de los inmigrantes y abogar porque haya leyes más justas”
A lo que Denita Dickson añadió “aunque no soy latina, estoy emocionada de discutir asuntos de derechos civiles y humanos y explorar opciones de cómo asegurarse de que éstos se apliquen a todas las personas, independientemente del grupo étnico al que pertenecen”
La misma marcha mencionada anteriormente dio inicio a la Convención Anual de la Red de Inmigrantes del Sureste, en la cual América Gruner representó a CLILA y participó en sesiones de planeación de estrategias para el próximo año, para establecer acuerdos, para hacer un análisis legislativo de asuntos que afectan a la comunidad latina y explorar opciones de trabajo conjunto a nivel regional.
Gruner dijo “hay mucho trabajo por hacer y cada uno tenemos una tarea que cumplir, muchos ya lo están haciendo y a otros sólo les falta estar dispuestos. Los invitamos a participar con nosotros”
Para más detalles llame al 706-529-9216.
La Voz Chisme
Posted on 11-13-2008
El tan esperado 4 de Noviembre llegó y así los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos eligieron al que será su nuevo presidente, Barack Obama, sin lugar a duda fueron unas elecciones históricas tanto porque es el primer presidente de color que tiene Estados Unidos, como por la gran participación e importancia que tuvo el voto hispano en estas elecciones.
La organización CLILA (Coalición de Líderes Latinos) llevó acabo una gran campaña para ayudar a los latinos a registrarse para votar, esta campaña comenzó desde el 2006 logrando registrar a 130 latinos, en el año 2007 se lograron registrar 200 personas más y ya en el 2008 fueron 250 las personas registradas para votar, son en total 2600 latinos los que se registraron para votar en el condado Whitfield y esto gracias al gran movimiento y entusiasmo de grupo CLILA de ayudar y exhortar a la comunidad hispana a salir a votar.
La coordinadora del grupo CLILA América Gruner nos explicó que no fue fácil lograr que la comunidad quisiera registrarse y participar en las votaciones pues muchos sentían que su voto no contaba y no era importante o por miedo simplemente, no querían envolverse en la política, pero gracias al arduo trabajo y esmero con el que trabajaron día con día, los resultados fueron muy claros y más de 2000 latinos en el condado whitfield salieron a votar el pasado 4 de Noviembre.
“Dimos un paso muy grande” dijo América Gruner pues la gente latina ya no tiene miedo y esta más interesada y motivada por formar parte del cambio y del futuro de este país.
Los latinos que vivimos en el condado Whitfield ya hicimos nuestra parte al salir y votar, ahora solo nos queda esperar que el nuevo presidente Barack Obama tome el mando de este país y comience a trabajar en el cumplimiento de sus propuestas.
Hispanic activist (America Gruner) leaving DaltonMonday, April 28, 2008
“Locally, we didn’t have anybody to speak about (immigration) without attacking anybody,” she said. “People ... felt their voices weren’t being heard.” She started the Coalition of Latino Leaders, or CLILA, to nurture Hispanic leaders.
Now, Ms. Gruner is stepping down as CLILA president to work with a national organization in Atlanta
. Under her leadership, CLILA has registered voters, organized community forums and English classes and held citizenship drives.
Jerry Gonzalez, of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, described CLILA as the central organization here that immigrants can trust. He also described Ms. Gruner as “the most important Latino leader in Dalton.”
But over the weekend, Ms. Gruner left CLILA — and Dalton
— to work with the National Council of La Raza.
NCLR bills itself as the U.S. ’s largest civil rights group for Hispanics.
Ms. Gruner will work as a coordinator for the Southeast region, working in nine states and guiding about 20 Hispanic community organizations, including CLILA.
Ms. Gruner’s day job in Dalton was with the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, directing the Promotora Project for Hispanics. But her volunteer work with CLILA also captured the attention of many community members.
Grocery store owner Francisco Palacios recalls Ms. Gruner setting up voter registration tables at the city’s soccer fields early in the morning. Ms. Gruner stayed by the soccer fields well into the evening, registering Hispanic citizens to become new voters.
Before the mayoral race here, CLILA ramped up its voter registration efforts. The organization — and Ms. Gruner — didn’t officially endorse any of the mayoral candidates, but a “David Pennington” sign now hangs in the CLILA office.
Mr. Pennington won the mayoral runoff with nearly 58 percent of the vote. He praised her registration drives. “She sees the big picture,” he said. “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”
Ms. Gruner isn’t without her critics, though.
She has received e-mail messages accusing her of registering noncitizens to vote and of racism. Anti-illegal immigration activist D.A. King describes her new employer, the National Council of La Raza, as a racist organization.
“The National Council of ‘The Race’ says it all,” Mr. King said, referring to the translation of the name. “I would defy any other group from any other ethnicity to label themselves (the race) without criticism.”
For her part, Ms. Gruner said La Raza is a civil rights organization and not in favor of opening the borders. And she doesn’t respond to inflammatory e-mails. “Our philosophy is just be positive and focus on our mission,” she said.
Maria Guijon, 20, will continue that mission as CLILA’s next president.
Ms. Gruner has known Ms. Guijon since she was 14, teaching her how to involve Hispanic immigrants in the greater community.
Dalton Community Center Director Tom Pinson said Ms. Gruner has taught Hispanics to have a stake in the city.
She encouraged Hispanics to join organizations, vote, take an interest in their children’s schools.
“I think she was the first person who really started to step out and let people realize that they weren’t second-class citizens,” Mr. Pinson said.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
DALTON, Ga. -- On Sunday, about 85 Hispanic residents called the Coalition of Latino Leaders’ office, asking its president, America Gruner, if they should stay at home from work this week to avoid immigration raids.
Hispanic residents began calling again at 6 a.m. on Monday.
“It was out of control,” Ms. Gruner of the spreading rumors.
It was not hard to figure out what might have started the rumors.
About 200 Homeland Security agents are staying inDalton for training, according to Steve Peluso with the city’s office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He didn’t release details on the exercise, where agents are staying or why the training is being staged in Dalton
Mr. Peluso stressed, however, that the agents aren’t here this week to round up illegal immigrants. He was not surprised that rumors took off.
“People are naturally worried,” he said. Fear of raids has spread in Dalton before.
In May 2007, ICE deported three illegal immigrants from Dalton causing a “big furor,” Mr. Peluso said.
Carlos Calderin, an immigration lawyer here, remembers the climate of fear in the city after those deportations. Many immigrants didn’t go to work or take their children to school.
“One day kind of froze a little bit in Dalton,” he said.
These rumors spread periodically, Mr. Calderin said, when agents deport one or two illegal immigrants. But immigration agents usually conduct large-scale raids only when employers flagrantly are violating the law, he said.
The last large-scale deportation in Dalton that Mr. Peluso recalls was in the 1990s, when agents rounded up about 100 carpet-plant workers who were in the country illegally.
“They were hiring illegals. We would go in and find the illegals,” he said.
A decade later, anxiety persists. Grocery store owner Francisco Palacios said that many Hispanic immigrants — especially undocumented immigrants — fear being harassed by immigration agents.
“They feel like (immigration agents) are always persecuting them,” he said.
For his part, anti-illegal immigration activist D.A. King hopes the fears are realized.
“I hope there are raids all over town,” he said, noting that ICE agents in Dalton should not concern documented immigrants who obey the law.
January 31, 2008
Dalton, GA- The Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), based here in Dalton, sponsored 30 students from Dalton High School to attend the Latina Leadership Conference at Georgia Tech last Thursday Jan 31. The theme for the day was "Latinas in the 21st Century." This day changed the lives of the young students as they were exposed to opportunities and information about college and leadership.
The 30 students from DHS joined 400 girls from other 30 schools, and they took part in presentations from current Georgia Tech students as well as successful adult Latinas from around the country. The conference was targeted to Latina students who needed to be inspired, motivated, and/or are leaders of their peers.
“The reason CLILA decided to sponsor them is the need of finding solutions to the alarming dropping out and teen pregnancy rates in our area. We want them to believe they can be successful leaders in the community”, said América Gruner, CLILA’s president. “Students need positive role models to inspire them to value higher education, who are successful in life, people who represent them and motivate them to go further. We want college to be a reality for them”, Gruner added.
This is a collaborative effort between DHS and CLILA. Sonia Rodriguez, graduation coach for Dalton High School, learned about this excellent opportunity and took the initiative to identify students with strong leadership potential, as well as those who are at most risk of dropping out; and saw the need to support them to reach the next level of academic and life success. She also worked diligently to find the resources for the girls to attend the event. Along with Ms. Regina Ragon, teacher in charge of the International Club, who supported the effort; both coordinated the logistics. Also Mr. Roberto Rojas helped to find options for the students.
The Conference is designed to address the underperforming and underrepresented percentages of minority and at-risk children in our schools. The Conference was born out of a necessity to build the pipeline of future leaders, inspire, challenge and motivate our young people, and to plant the seeds of college in their minds. The Conference gave young people in 9th – 12th grade an opportunity to meet successful university students and adults from the community who resemble and represent them while they gather critical life-changing information.
We’re so thankful to Ms Debbie Freeman, DHS principal for allowing these students to take part in this unique opportunity.
Jan 14, 2008THIS IS A NOTE WE SENT TO THE REPORTER ON AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON DAILY CITIZEN, (see the article below)
— A beloved place of worship was torn to the ground after the discrimination against those who worshipped there continued to escalate.
But the discrimination wasn’t because of their religion or what was taking place at the simplistic outdoor chapel — consisting of an altar, benches and tables — where Mass had been celebrated for 20 years.
It was because the people worshipping there were Hispanic migrant workers.
No, this didn’t take place in Dalton, or even Georgia. It happened in San Diego and was recorded in the documentary “The Invisible Chapel,” which was shown publicly by the Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA) at Dalton State College on Sunday evening, with approximately 100 people, mostly Hispanic, attending.
Even though the discrimination shown in the documentary did not take place locally, a discussion in the college’s auditorium following the film, proved that many people — Hispanics, whites and blacks — are tired of seeing and hearing of discrimination against Hispanics.
“I for one welcome them, and I hope others will,” said Paul Zock, a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. “It’s criminal to criminalize someone for trying to better themselves,” said Zock, echoing a sentiment expressed in the film.
Bobbie Warmack, with the Latinos for Education and Justice Organization (LEJO) based in Calhoun, said “what we’ve seen in the film is happening here.”
“Houses without windows are being rented here” to Hispanics, she said. “Living conditions are terrible.”
John Carlos Frey, who directed the documentary, lived with the impoverished, Hispanic migrant workers in “little houses” made of tarps, without running water or bathrooms.
Frey watched the migrant workers get paid minimum wage for working in the surrounding communities on farms or in factories, hoping to achieve the “American dream.” And he watched as neighbors and the media began targeting the migrant camp, including the beloved church that remained invisible to so many people previously.
Some neighbors, who had spoken out against the camp, visited it to tear the tarp homes with knifes or razors. Many of the clothes in the homes were also cut, and the homes were raided of what little personal items they contained, according to the documentary.
“My purpose was to show a human side of the story ... more importantly, these are hardworking individuals of faith,” said Frey, speaking first in English, then repeating himself in Spanish to those in attendance at the college on Sunday. “This is a portrayal the media in this country does not show.”
If a black church had been burned in the South, or if a Jewish synagogue had been defamed with graffiti, “we would have learned about it, but because this was a church of migrant workers whose church was taken apart, you didn’t,” he said.
The documentary showed members of a local Catholic church who were presiding over Mass celebrations and were helping the migrant workers with many of their immediate needs, such as fresh water and food, as well as teaching them English. Many people attending the viewing on Sunday, said they wished more individuals, especially Christians, would help Hispanics.
“What kind of nation are we?” asked Jerry Gonzalez of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO). “We talk a lot about this being a Christian nation. What side would Jesus be on? It’s a national disgrace to be treating fellow human beings the way we are. We must speak out. Our responsibility as a Christian is to speak out.”
Gonzalez said “minutemen” like the ones who persecuted the migrant workers in the documentary exist in Georgia as well.
“We must do something,” he said. “Registering to vote is very important. We must engage our communities of faith on this. It’s important to raise a voice of conscience in this debate.”
Carlos Castro said he thinks the message of acceptance and helping one another presented in the documentary is one that needs to be shared “with our community.”
“I hope God gives us the way to open the minds of American citizens,” Castro said.
The persecution shown in the documentary seems like something that would have taken place a long time ago, Zock said.
Tommy Pinson, director of the Dalton Community Center, agreed. Pinson said the type of persecution he sees of Hispanic people is much like what he and other black people experienced decades ago.
“What I’m hearing is very similar to what we heard in the 50s and 60s with blacks,” Pinson said. “We had churches burned. We had people held in jail unjustly. Be a civil rights movement. It takes everyone here to make a change. When there’s injustice, don’t be silent. Work as a group and things will eventually change.”
Others encouraged people attending the viewing not to be discouraged.
The film showed that even after the chapel was torn down, the migrant workers found other places to worship. One man named Generoso, which translates into ‘generous’ in English, donated $1,000 to construct a new, more permanent chapel.
For Generoso, $1,000 is more than a month’s pay, according to a female member of the Catholic church who spoke several times in the documentary.
“He chose to continue living like he did so a chapel could be built,” the woman said.
In the film Generoso says he won’t be deterred by discrimination because “there’s only one God and we’re all children of God.”
Sunday, March 30, 2008
“Gangs are something that’s come on in the last five, six, eight years here, in Dalton,” Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said. “We do have them.”
On Saturday, the Coalition of Latino Leaders, or CLILA, held its second awareness forum on gangs in Dalton for parents and teens. CLILA President America Gruner said, “We want to show that Latinos are part of the solution.”
Fifteen-year-old Christian Mercantety attended the forum to “keep ... focused on good things.” Christian, who wore his long, curly hair in a ponytail, said, “Young people in Dalton, they think they’re cool because they’re in a gang.”
Last year, five Hispanic men were charged with gang crimes in connection to the shooting death of 16-year-old Andre Johnson. District Attorney Kermit McManus revealed in December that Andre had “claimed” the Crips gang. A rivalry between the Crips and the Hispanic Tiny Winos gang spurred the shooting, he said.
In recent years, North Georgia has seen a proliferation of Hispanic gangs, said David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. He attributes this growth in part to the region’s burgeoning immigrant population.
“Immigrants don’t have deep community ties, and so their children are more susceptible to the lure of gangs,” said Mr. Nahmias, who prosecuted Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian immigrant gang members in the 1990s.
He said that young teens with nothing to do after school are particularly vulnerable to gangs.
On Saturday, Dalton Mayor David Pennington sat on a panel at the forum. He has emphasized the need to engage the city’s Hispanic community and provide young people with activities that will keep them away from gangs.
Mr. Pennington is working to rebuild Dalton’s Community Center, in part, to tackle the gang issue.
Still, gang prevention can also start with parents, said Mary Colon, a 35-year-old mother who attended the forum. Ms. Colon’s 14-year-old son Eddy was recruited by the Bloods and then threatened when he tried to leave the gang.
“He wouldn’t trust me to tell me he was in trouble,” Ms. Colon said.
She urges other parents to take the time to communicate regularly with their children, and to earn their trust. Ms. Colon knows parents are busy, she said.
But, she added, “This has got to be a priority.”