Eliu Rivera - Newark Public Library

Eliu Rivera

Eliu Rivera
Former Executive Director, P.A.C.O. (Puertorriqueños Asociados for Community Organization, Inc.)
Chairman, Hudson County Freeholder

Eliu Rivera

Eliu Rivera was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico in the 1940s and migrated to Jersey City, New Jersey with his family during his early teenage years. After graduating from high school, he spent time working for the Post Office and in the ports around New York Harbor. During the Longshoremen’s strike, Mr. Rivera was introduced to a number of community activists in Jersey City, where they discussed the need for an organization devoted to serving the needs of the Latino community. After conducting a survey of Jersey City residents to identify the greatest areas of need, the organization P.A.C.O. (Puertorriqueños Asociados for Community Organization, Inc.) was founded, with its initial areas of concern being the need for affordable housing and bilingual services for the community. Since its founding in 1970, P.A.C.O. has branched out into many other community services. Mr. Rivera served the community through P.A.C.O. since 1970 and he later became the Executive Director. He has also served the community politically as Deputy Mayor of Jersey City and Chairman of the Hudson County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders. In September 2017, he passed away in Aibonito, Puerto Rico at the age of 73.

Prepared by Elizabeth Parker, Associate Archivist.
Updated by Juber Ayala, Archivist (January 2021).


Hear Eliu Rivera discuss the first apartment he and his family lived in after migrating to New Jersey:

“We used to live in a cold [water] flat… And remember there was eight of us, okay. It [was] not easy. As a matter of fact, where we lived, it was like a four story apartment building… one apartment on each side[of the building]. The bathroom that you used was shared by the two families [in the two apartments], [on] the left and the right [sides of the building]. In order to take a bath you had [to use] one of those marble tubs, [which was] right there in the kitchen, okay. So, you know, it was a heck of an experience…”

Text edited for clarity. For a full verbatim transcript of the quote, please see p. 3 of the complete interview transcript.

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This project was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

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