January marked 40 years since the creation of Accion Comunal Latinoamericana de Montgomery County, better known as its acronym, ACLAMO.
Members and friends of the community came together all those years ago to form a grassroots initiative providing social and health services to Latinos and low-income residents in MontCo.
That work has proven itself to be more important than ever: According to the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the county saw a 124 percent increase in its Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010, now topping 34,00 people.
Nelly Jimenez-Arevalo, the executive director of the Norristown-based organization, couldn’t be more pleased with the work the organization has done since its inception.
“When I came on board, the directors wanted to keep the grassroots feeling that ACLAMO had had throughout the years, but they also wanted to make it a little competitive,” Jimenez-Arevalo said, “in terms of moving the organization forward, growing and extending our services, and having more structure.”
Based on the Spanish verb “aclamar,” which means “to proclaim, to shout forth,” ACLAMO wants its community to know that like anyone else, they, too, can achieve the American Dream — even with a Trump administration in full effect, Jimenez-Arevalo added.
“The community needs to know that we’re going to stay here and continue supporting them on all levels that they need,” she said. “ACLAMO has a lot of support from our local authorities. We work very closely with the police, the hospitals and county commissioner. So locally, we feel very comfortable and feel that we can handle it” — “it” being any federal policies that might be harmful to the local Latino community.
The organization is celebrating its anniversary this weekend with a “culinary celebration” at Montgomery County Community College. Here are the details for those interested in supporting ACLAMO’s next 40 years:
- What — Food, drinks and live music “with a Latino twist”
- When — Sunday, April 30, from 3 to 6 p.m.
- Where – Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa.
- How much — $85
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