Nate Rivera: A bridge for Latinos

Growing up, Nate dealt with discrimination and saw the hardship his community faced. Now, he works to connect minorities with resources and services.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Kate Penn
Nate Rivera (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

As long as he can remember, Nate Rivera has built bridges by removing language and cultural barriers. 

It started with his father. 

Nate and his family moved from Puerto Rico when he was 2. He learned English, but his father struggled with the language. 

As a kid, he’d get pulled out of school to accompany his father to translate for him. 

It was uncomfortable and awkward at times — what 12-year-old wants to hear what his father discusses with his doctor? — but that’s just the way it was.  

There were no Spanish-speaking physicians, no 1-800 number to call for a translator. The courthouse, mayor’s office, really all the government agencies, were impossible to navigate if you didn’t speak English.

 

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Nate did his best to bridge the gap, but it wasn’t always enough to just speak English. 

He remembers the first time his family looked for a house to rent in York.  

They found a nice home in a good neighborhood. It seemed like a perfect fit — until the landlord told them it had sold. 

I was a bridge for my father in many ways, and I continue to be a bridge for a lot of people.

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Nate Rivera

Only, it hadn’t.  

“They just were not renting to Latinos in that area,” Nate says.  

It was devastating.  

The house his family ended up in was a dump, he says. They froze all winter, and the landlord took advantage of them. 

Nate saw the struggles of his family, and of the community as a whole. 

It made him want to be a bridge not just for his dad, but for all people.

 

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Today, Nate works with individuals and businesses, connecting them with services and making sure they’re supported. He also helps minorities connect with resources to start their own businesses. 

He wants to make sure families today don’t have to face the discrimination and struggles his family did. 

A photo of Nate’s dad sits on his desk at work. 

He thinks about him all the time — remembering his purpose.  

“I was a bridge for my father in many ways,” he says, “and I continue to be a bridge for a lot of people.” 

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