Latina Matters: Introducing TOP’s Newest Column

latin american flags

By Carmen C. Rivera

Hello Oak Parkers and welcome to Latina Matters, my new column that will be featured in The Oak Parker online for 2015. The publishers and I hope the column will identify issues and will help bridge the cultural gap that many residents perceive in our very diverse community.

I have worked for more than 20 years as a multimedia professional and writer, and I have lived in Oak Park for over 13 years. I want to share my experiences – positive and negative – as a resident, a homeowner, and a Latina, in hopes that we can start a dialogue about living in our town.

The column is not solely for the Latino community, so please don’t let the name fool you. I named it Latina Matters because (1) I am a woman (therefore the feminine possessive term, Latina); (2) Latina (or Latino) matters affect all of our residents and (3); Latina matters matter to all of us because they affect so many aspects of our lives, from day care to retirement.

I can’t help it that I like to play with words. I hope my words can help us address mutual concerns and get to understand one another better.

If you, like me, have been wondering what is next for our community, please join in our dialogue. The leaders at The Oak Parker and I want to hear your thoughts, concerns and ideas on how to improve and unite our community.

Hopefully, we will learn that our differences are not that different and that our hopes and needs are really quite similar. This column won’t shy away from hot-button topics, but all of us can learn from open discussion of vital issues. Through that, we can learn from each other and grow as a community.

Let’s work together to make everyone proud to live in the inclusive, diverse and vibrant community that is Oak Park.

Next month’s column will tackle the question: Why Should I Care About The Growing Latino Population in Oak Park? This piece will try to explain how the influx of the Latino population will affect everyone in the community.

Please do send in your questions, concerns, hot-topic items, on this matter or an issue, you would like to see addressed to

Thank you for taking the time to check in, and best wishes for a happy, prosperous and enlightening 2015!

Photo: Flickr user Cliff