City Maker Ana Rivera Unifies Lakeland’s Hispanic Community
Get to know October 2017’s CityMaker
Inspirational. Vivacious. Activist. These are words that describe this month’s CityMaker, a woman who has made it her mission to celebrate culture, creativity, art, and diversity within our community. Ana Rivera is deeply passionate about her home country, Puerto Rico, and as a CityMaker has brought that passion to Lakeland, helped support important causes, and inspired change and diversity in the city that we love. It is this passion that has empowered others who share a love for the Hispanic cultures represented in Lakeland together as a strong, unified voice.
Ana has lived in Lakeland since 2002. She and her husband, David Ramos, had been visiting Florida on vacations, coming down from New York City, and after 9/11 they started to reconsider life in the city. During one spring trip down with her husband, mother, and son, the family began to seriously consider relocating to Florida. They began to come down more frequently, visiting Tampa, Orlando, and Lake Placid, among other locations. During one trip, while traveling between Tampa and Orlando, they stopped in Lakeland. A real estate sign caught their eyes and they decided to investigate buying a home here. Ana and David found a home they both loved, put a down payment down on the spot, and came back in April 2002, for the closing. In October they finalized their move and became permanent residents of Lakeland. Since then, Ana and David have woven themselves into the community fabric of Lakeland.
Ana was born in Seilas, Puerto Rico, and raised in the Bronx, New York. She graduated from the High School of Art & Design before going on to study fashion design, and eventually became a children’s wear designer. She’s also worked in retail and wholesale environments, giving her a strong business background. Ana and David have one son, A.J., who has grown up in Lakeland. He attended St. Anthony Catholic School and Harrison School for the Arts before going on to graduate from Polk State College and Southern Technical College. “This is home for us,” says Ana, her voice filled with pride.