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Maria Rivera: A Positive Force for Central Falls and the Puerto Rican Community


When you’re in politics, you hear a lot of rumors. I had heard that the Central Falls City Council had some cool people on it and finally a good number of Latinos representing the diversity that is the city of Central Falls.

I kept hearing about Maria Rivera, and then I remembered meeting her at a celebration for the YWCA out at the botanical gardens in Roger Williams Park. She came across as strong and confident, smart and engaging. Funny how this works, but once you meet somebody you then start running into them everywhere. It’s like when you want to buy a new car. Suddenly, you set your sights on a certain make and model, and then you start seeing that car everywhere!

There’s no doubt about it, Councilwoman Rivera is very involved, not only in the Central Falls community but also in the larger Rhode Island community. She’s involved in the Latino community, and she’s very involved in the Puerto Rican community. I think it’s great that she is galvanizing the Puerto Rican community. Because Puerto Ricans are American citizens and here in large numbers, perhaps it is easier for them to assimilate? It’s great the Councilwoman Rivera seeks to bring Puerto Ricans together and serve as a voice with them and for them.

In a way, Maria Rivera is one of the reasons I wanted to start a local TV talk show. I always say, there are so many interesting, cool and dedicated people living and working among us and I get to provide a platform for them to tell their stories.

Maria’s family moved from Puerto Rico to New Jersey to Rhode Island and then back to Puerto Rico. No wonder she loves her island. We talked about the people the food, la fritura, el baile, la salsa: There is so much to love about Puerto Rico.

Tune in to “Que Onda Con Donna” to hear about why her family moved. We’ll hear about her beautiful mother, her adorable two children and how she sprang into action last August. Yes, Hurricane Maria met “tranquila Maria,” and both have left an indelible mark up on the island. Maria shares why she was so moved by the hurricane and the devastation it left on her island. Believe it or not, there are still people without electricity. It will take a long time for Puerto Rico to rebuild itself to pre-hurricane levels, but get there they will.

This next episode of Que Onda Con Donna is a show to watch because Maria Rivera is a woman to watch and Central Falls is a City to watch. When Mayor Diossa took over, the city was on the verge of bankruptcy, with its prior mayor in jail. The city certainly had reached a low point, but several years and several new faces later (like Maria Rivera), Central Falls is stepping up and stepping forward.

Central Falls is thriving with new businesses popping up, a transformational school system and an array of fun activities going on month after month. I can’t wait to attend one of their salsa nights on the bridge. Stay tuned over the summer to see this gringa try to strut her salsa stuff on the streets of Central Falls!

Sintonizen el próximo programa con mi invitada Maria Rivera para saber sus sueños, sus objetivos, sus planes y sus preocupaciones!

“¿Que Onda? con Donna” can be seen on YurView – Cox Channels 4 and 1004 – Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays at 8:30pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8pm.

The author, Donna M. Nesselbush, is a founding partner at Marasco & Nesselbush Law, a Rhode Island State Senator and Municipal Court Judge for the City of Pawtucket. She hosts a Spanish language Saturday morning radio show on Latina 100.3fm and now hosts the all new “¿Que Onda? con Donna” TV show.