“No change can come if those who are impacted the most by discrimination are not willing to stand up for themselves.” ~Zainab Salbi
Native to Milwaukee, 26 year-old, wife and mother of 3, multi-talent artist, actress, musician and more — I am Leana’ C. Grimm, and I am honored to be your Mrs. Wisconsin America 2015.
My platform is centered around my deepest and darkest past: “Breaking the Silence: Ending Abuse, Poverty and Violence.” My plans are to share many of my stories of escaping from a childhood filled with physical and mental abuse, substance abuse as a teenager, homelessness as an early adult, a running rebel, and fleeing the pressures of society. I acknowledge situations that seem unreal that play hands in creating higher rates of lives ending with violence that our youth faces today. I know what it is like to be stuck as a teen, trying to get out. I fight the good battle to live a happy and free life. I am part of several major community programs in which I assist and am an advocate on behalf of.
I recently became the Creative Director of OutSquad Cheerleading Team of Outlet: Plugging People In, Inc., a Non-Profit designed to empower teens thru volunteerism opportunities throughout the city and with an additional, occasional cheer! I also work close with other non-profit organizations such as Pathfinders MKE and more throughout the state. I balance being a college student, who is going after a BA in Arts & Design with a minor in Politics and Community Leadership. I am also a Film Actress and a Musician with styles ranging from Opera to Jazz. I have an impressive resume as a freelance artist who loves painting, playing around with b/w photography, am a motivational speaker, activist, and volunteer. I am considered a “life coach” or advisor to the many individuals that I help, although I don’t like all the many titles.
My greatest passion is to work with youth of different backgrounds by sharing my creative skills and knowledge to promote turning negative experiences into growth and positive action. People who have suffered abuse and violence in their lives will relate to my personal stories of mental and physical abuse at home as a child until the age of 17. After that I was periodically homeless until the age of 23. I longed for a better life than my own childhood. Realizing that the world isn’t perfect and can sometimes throw curves balls of defeat, I decided to take a stand against my former existence and turn to God.
I read in the Bible, Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find it; knock and it will be opened to you.” But what did it really mean to walk in boldness and not as myself, someone who was still struggling with confidence, doubt and a dark childhood? With God’s help I have become an example for others of how to live a stable life, create a loving family life and help those in the community with a similar Life Stories.
I feel like the main and real reason I was chosen to represent more than the women and families of Wisconsin, is because of my funny sense of humor, how down-to-earth I am, how easy it is for others to relate to me and being from a culturally entwined family, that represents intelligence, traditions and the diversity that our modern America needs to see. I work hard not only for my family and myself but for a city and state in need of someone like me. I believe I have been called to Serve, Love, Exemplify and Give God Glory. If you turn the lights on then darkness is no longer dim — think about it and pass it on.