Carmen Rivera: A fighter for the voiceless

Photo by Cate Dingley

Carmen Rivera Centeno was born in this country and raised in St. Croix.

Her volunteering as a young high school student in St. Croix and later in college where she established the first counseling club to assist students and parents with the home to college transition revealed the promise that later bloomed in her adult life.

Ms. Rivera Centeno has an academic background in business administration, psychology and social work.

For 11 years, Ms. Rivera Centeno has been working as a health care investigator for the FOJP Service Corporation.

“It was my brother-in-law, an OB/GYN who motivated me,” she says. “I worked in his office and saw how much time he spent with his patients. There were never any questions about what was going on. His patients really understood.”

She credits him as the inspiration to do something in the health field, a departure from her background.

As an investigator, she acquires all documentation in possible court cases. An impartial collector of information, she is situated in the middle between hospital staff and plaintiffs.

Ms. Rivera Centeno is the president of Local 107, DC 1707; the recording secretary for DC Local 1707 and chair of the Latino Committee. Her union work kindles her social justice flames. “We help protect jobs and careers,” she says.

Her director at the union G.L. Tyler wrote: She truly believes there is good in all people and she lives her life accordingly. And, she always volunteers and makes sure the work gets done.

Ms. Rivera Centeno’s Local represents many not-for-profit organizations. “My work with the union has inspired me to reach out more and fight for those who don’t have a voice.”

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