Gene Rivera, José Feliciano to speak at Lorain International Festival kickoff breakfast
June 4, 2009 · Print This Article
Eugenio “Gene” Rivera and Jose Feliciano will speak at Lorain International Festival’s kickoff breakfast. The breakfast, 8 a.m. Monday, June 22, is held at DeLuca’s Place in the Park, 6075 Middle Ridge Road, Lorain. Cost is $10.
Rivera’s talk will focus on looking back at the Puerto Rican community’s history, and Feliciano will talk about looking forward.
Rivera was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and raised in South Lorain. He attended Lincoln Elementary School and Whittier Junior High School High School. He has a master’s degree in social work from the State University of New York.
Rivera served as Director of El Centro and was a member of the Lorain Board of Education from 1980 to 1988. He has also served in the boards of the Puerto Rican Education and Legal Defense Fund, the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights and the National Institute for Latino Policy. He served on the board of the Puerto Rican Home and is former C.Y.O. President at the Sacred Heart Chapel.
Currently, he is a clinical social worker at Riverview Hospital in Middletown, Conn. Rivera has published articles about Lorain’s Puerto Rican Community and Puerto Rican children in New Haven, Conn. In 2006, Temple University Press published “The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Historical Perspectives.” The book includes Gene’s chapter “La Colonia de Lorain, Ohio,” a history of the first Puerto Ricans to settle in Lorain.
Feliciano was born in Yauco, Puerto Rico. His mother, Doña Cielo Feliciano, was from el barrio Rancheras in Yauco and his father, Santiago Feliciano, was from el barrio Duay in Yauco. He worked at White Motors Corp. in Cleveland for thirty years.
Feliciano came with his family to the United States in 1952. He gew up with his two brothers, Santiago Jr. and Roberto, and sister, Libertad, on the near west side of Cleveland on Whitman Street. He did not speak English until he was 6 years old. The Cleveland Public Schools said he was educably mentally retarded. He graduated from Chanel High School and was the first member of his family to attend and graduate from college. He received his bachelor’s from John Carroll University, his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and his MBA from Cleveland State University.
He was a professor at John Carroll University and became first Latino chief prosecuting attorney for the city of Cleveland in 1980. He was appointed a White House fellow during the Reagan administration. He joined the law firm of Baker and Hostetler as a partner in 1984.
Feliciano has been active in his professional field and in civic and social service organizations. He is currently vice chair of the board of John Carroll University, on the MWV Pinnacle Capital Fund advisory board and the executive committee of the Commission on Economic Inclusion and is chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable.