uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

UUA trustee Christina Rivera (Nancy Pierce)

Rivera: Lack of diversity in UUA inspired her board service

Christina Rivera began her three-year term on the UUA Board of Trustees in June 2014.
By Elaine McArdle

Printer friendly version


Christina Rivera, elected to the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees in 2014 for a three-year term, was a pre-law student, home in Los Angeles on a break from college, when the earthquake of 1994 hit. “I was in a building that collapsed and really kind of reassessed what I wanted to do with my life,” she told UU World recently.

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).

Comments powered by Disqus

more spirit
more ideas
more life