Ramonita Rivera, Civic Leader

Mrs. Rivera was a passionate civic leader helping to organize several organizations in her community. Her steadfast dedication brought much needed services to an area that was impoverished and underserved in the Northeast area of Philadelphia mainly made up of a mixed population of Latinos and Afro Americans.

Ramonita, as her community lovingly addressed her, was born July 23, 1944. She arrived in Philadelphia in 1960 from Puerto Rico as her comadre and friend Sra. Miriam Solar shares in an article published La Actualidad newspaper. She was an exemplary student and graduated from Temple University. By 1963 she married Jose Rivera, but she was also engaged to the community that grew to love her because of her unfaltering support and trust. Mrs. Rivera always took the time to help someone in need learning how to resolve issues within the limited services in the community, but at the same time learning how she could organize her social circle. Joining the Concilio de Organizaciónes Hispanas, it motivated her to initiate the Damas Auxiliares of the American Legion, which she led for 17 years. She was also co-founder of Centro Norte de la Sociedad Americana Contra el Cáncer, and Co-Founder of El Institito de Ciencias y Educacion Comericial in 1986-87.

As a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (Northeast Philadelphia), she was a trailblazer for women in business. She, along with her two brothers Domingo and Felix Negrón, had a business, which gave Mrs. Rivera the experience that she could share with other women interested in starting their own businesses. However, her real passion was in the cultural education of the children. This inspired the weeklong Puerto Rican festivities in Philadelphia as well as Mrs. Rivera being a consultant to the festivals in Trento, Wilmington, Camden, Chester, Allentown, and Bristol. The festivals offer plenty of food and various presentations of art, music, and dance. Celebrating Puerto Rican culture this festival is held every year in September. 

Mrs. Rivera received awards by the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations; Philadelphia, PA 1988. Puerto Rican Week Festival of Philadelphia, 1982, 1984, 1990, and 1993. The CONCILIO organization 1982. The American Legion Auxiliary for 17 years of service 1994. El Desfile PR de Wilmington, Delaware 1988 and the American Cancer Society – 1982 Volunteer Achievement Award. Other recognitions are from the Taller Puertorriqueno, Legion Americana, Escuela Dental de Universidad de Temple, Canel 6, Panorama Puertorriqueno, Museo del Pueblo Los Amigos, Camden; Festival PR de Trenton, LULAC Young Readers Club, Lighthouse, Camara de Comerical Hispana de Feladelfia and the Asociación Iberoamericana.

Edited from an article written by Madaly Rodrigues, La Actualidad, May 5 0 11, 1994.

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