Christina Rivera began her three-year term on the UUA Board of Trustees in June 2014.
She joined Hanna-Barbera Productions as a liaison between movie productions and artists who create movie-based consumer products. She worked on The Lord of the Rings and other blockbusters, traveling worldwide. While this was “really exciting,” she said, it bothered her conscience to be creating trinkets that ended up in landfills.
In 2004, when her husband, Christopher Young, inherited his family’s farm in Virginia, they relocated with their twin sons, Andreas and Miguel Rivera-Young. Seeking community, Rivera—raised Roman Catholic faith but introduced to eastern religions by her father—joined the UU Fellowship of Waynesboro, Va., where she now serves as part-time director of religious education.
While she loves rural Virginia, it has brought challenges. “They have very little experience of Latinas in professional roles,” said Rivera, who also runs her own IT business to support the family. (Her husband recently became disabled.) “I’ve been asked if I’m a maid three times, and asked if I’m my children’s nanny six times.”
Rivera, 44, ran for the UUA board because “I really felt very strongly that the current makeup of Unitarian Universalism and its lack of diversity requires those of us in marginalized groups to serve.” It concerns her that she’s the only person of color on the board. (The Nominating Committee’s slate of new candidates for election to the board in June 2015 will include two people of color.)
“With the skills and resources we have, and the plethora of really good people who are very well-intentioned, the fact we have not come further just boggles my mind. Whatever I can do to find out the why, and be a non-anxious or anxious presence for the fix, is important.”
Photograph (above): UUA trustee Christina Rivera, June 2014 (© 2014 Nancy Pierce/UUA).
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.