Maximino (Maxi) Rivera was born in Puerto Rico in 1950. His father was a cane cutter, and when he moved to 144th Street in Mott Haven in 1963 he and his brother were teased as jibaros, although their baseball skills helped them to make friends. He had eight brothers and sisters. As a kid he shone shoes at the Hub and worked in a grocery store, and he attended Elijah D. Clark Junior High School and DeWitt Clinton High School. He graduated high school in 1969 and was drafted that summer. He fought in Vietnam in the Marines, where he was radicalized by encounters with racism and colonialism.
When he came home to a changing neighborhood, he got involved in the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, and then in local housing struggles and electoral politics. He was on the school board, ran Puebla En Marcha for 24 years and in 2012 ran an unsuccessful campaign against Carmen Arroyo for State Assembly. Maxi worked in the post office from 1984 to 2010, where he was a shop steward and then elected the Bronx director of the New York Metro Postal Workers Union. He has 4 children, 5 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren, and now lives on 157th Street in Melrose. He remains active in progressive politics and recently began working in a the Rainbow Life on Earth garden on his block.
You can listen to Maxi’s full interview here.