Hispanic Heritage Month: Celeste Fernanda Rivas De La Cruz
Celeste Fernanda Rivas De La Cruz is a junior marketing and professional sales major from Reading who is a native of the Dominican Republic. In addition to serving as treasurer of the Student Organization of Latinos, she is pursuing a minor in Spanish.
“I'm originally from Santiago and moved nine years ago to the United States,” Rivas De La Cruz says. “That inspires me to bring pride to my country. I come from a very large low-income family from my mother's side, in which they showed me the beauty of the Dominican Republic and each story that represents my culture and me.”
As the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month continues, Rivas De La Cruz looks to shine a brighter spotlight on her culture and fellow Hispanic students on campus.
“Hispanics are a minority (at Bloomsburg) and not many know who we are and where we come from,” Rivas De La Cruz says. “For many of us, we’re just one more person of color in the class. We’re looking to take every opportunity to show what we are capable of and are also part of the university, not only as Latinos but as proud Huskies we all are.”
Rivas De La Cruz says she also takes pride in helping her culture overcome misperceptions.
“One thing that people overlook about Dominicans (in thinking) that they’re not smart and unnecessary,” Rivas De La Cruz says. “If you ask me, the Dominican Republic has an amazing intelligence and is very educated. One of these reasons is because our culture teaches you the importance of why going to college or taking a technical class can be of benefit.”
According to Rivas De La Cruz, there are 1.6 million people in the Dominican Republic with university studies, which represents 22% of the population who are 15 years of age or older.
“The reason why people see Dominicans in such a bad way is that when they arrive in the United States, most of them have to work in restaurants, factories, etc. for reasons of lack of proper documents like any other immigrant from another country and lack of knowledge of English,” Rivas De La Cruz says. “I’ve known doctors, nurses, lawyers, businessmen, and other professions who work in a job that’s minimum wage. We Dominicans are important to this country, just have to give us the opportunity to prove it.”
And Rivas De La Cruz is doing just that here at Bloomsburg.
“BU is the university for me, because it was the perfect place to make friends and discover adventures,” Rivas De La Cruz says. “I love every moment I go out with my friends, whether in the town or at the university. Bloomsburg is my home away from home.”