York honors Rivera family for dedication to Latino community

Hispanic Heritage Month

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – The City of York dedicated the 200 block of Princess Street to the late Dr. Edwin Rivera and his wife Delma Rivera Sunday.

Rivera was the first Hispanic doctor in York. He was also a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War and served in the National Guard.

Mrs. Rivera was an educator, activist and civic leader.

The couple moved to York from Puerto Rico, expecting to only stay for a while, but they fell in love with the community, and the community fell in love with them.

“He’s a hero in my eyes,” said Luz Colon of the Pennsylvania Commission on Latino Affairs.

“Word got out to Spanish-speaking patients and it was often just standing room only there,” said Delma Rivera, Dr. and Mrs. Rivera’s daughter.

“If it weren’t for Mr. Rivera and Mrs. Rivera, Dr. Rivera, my father wouldn’t be alive today turning 83,” said Jose Santiago of the Latina Amigos of York.

“They served wholeheartedly,” said Ricardo Quintero, an executive administrator with the City of York.

It wasn’t long before the two realized the city needed more than medical care.

“His office filled the need for some of the issues that affected the Latino community, but dad and mom quickly saw the need for other services,” said Delma Rivera. “They saw racism and discrimination as Latinos attempted to rent apartments and sought employment.”

So they founded the first York Spanish American Center and dedicated their lives to making sure Latinos had equal opportunities.

They spent decades volunteering with the First Presbyterian Church, and served on countless boards, like those of the American Cancer Society and the United Way.

Sundays, the community said thank you.

The entire York City Council was at the ceremony.

The Rivera’s sign stands proudly near that first Spanish American Center, and the groups new, bigger building.

It’s a way for people to reflect on what was and what will be, all because of Dr. and Mrs. Rivera.

“I know you’re looking down on us right now feeling the love of this amazing York community,” said Dr. Rivera. “May this tribute be an inspiration to everyone who passes by this beautiful sign…that we can all make a difference.”

Dr. and Mrs. Rivera both received several community and civic awards. Mrs. Rivera also served on the first-ever Governor’s Council for Latino Affairs.

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