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Anita Rivera



Recorded by

Annelise Finney


This remote interview with Anita Rivera was conducted on July 17, 2020. Anita Rivera is a Puerto Rican woman born in The Bronx, New York. She currently works teaching English Language Arts to 9th and 11th graders and English as a second language at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, NY. She also teaches an elective class called AVID that supports first generation students as they prepare and apply for college. Anita became a teacher after a few years of pursing art and working galleries in New York. She became disillusioned with art world and began teaching at the same time that she became engaged with social activism. After getting married and having two daughters, one with physical challenges, Anita moved to Bedford, NY in Westchester County to lessen her commute. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anita's routines with her daughters have become more relaxed. With her students, she has noticed attendance in her remote classes dropping. She has been seeing some of her students at a community garden that she runs. She is concerned about finding ways to engage a new group of students that she has not met in person in the fall, and she is concerned that teachers are not consulted about how the school is responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis. She wonders whether the flexibility that remote learning provides may better serve some students who juggle multiple responsibilities, like working while attending school.

This interview may be of interest to those who want to learn about changes to routines and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, experiences of people of color in Westchester County, community gardens, Puerto Rican political movements, Richie Perez, young adult literature that promotes racial understanding, and family life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviewer Bio:

Annelise Finney is a European American cis-woman, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently works as a radio journalist covering reparations in California and breaking news in the Bay Area. Previously she worked as defense investigator for public defenders offices in New York City and San Francisco. She is an alum of the 2016 Oral History Summer School. She is also an avid sewist, hiker and cook.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.