Best, Brightest and Most Beautiful 2005: Rina Risper

Rina Risper, Coordinator of the NuPoets and President and Publisher, The New Citizens Press

  Rina Risper is the publisher and owner of The New Citizens Press.   She grew up in New York: St. Albans, Queens; East New York, Brooklyn; Bay Shore, Long Island;  Flatbush, Brooklyn; and Harlem.  She received her B.A. in Sociology in four and a half years, with honors, from City College of New York (CCNY) while working full-time.
Over the years, Rina has worked for a law firm, the United Nations, a bank, the Michigan House of Representatives and an insurance company.
Her main job responsibilities all had to deal with inidividuals and the way that they interact with one another.
She started The New Citizens Press from scratch in February of 2002, and has not looked back since.  The New Citizens Press is a  multicultural newspaper.  It is published and distributed every two weeks and has a readership of more than 40,000 in nine states, with a concentration  in Lansing, Jackson and the surrounding areas.  It is also distributed to the Michigan National Guard offices and The Michigan Department of Civil Rights offices throughout the state.
The newspaper is availabe at the State of Michigan Library and Michigan State University’s library.  It is also a member of The Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Michigan Press Association.
Rina loves volunteering and poetry.  If there are any opportunites to promote poetry, she is the first person to offer her expertise in the
Rina has been very active in the community and has served on several boards, including Council Against Domestic Assault (now E.V.E.– Ending Violent Encounters) and Insurance Women of Lansing.   Currently, she is a member of the Lansing Jaycees and the United Nations Association and  she sits on Ingham Regional Medical Center’s Prostate Cancer Committee.
She credits her mother, Kay A. Carrington, for showing her the power of believing in people.  Her mother came to this country speaking no English.  She is from Curacao, which is in the Netherlands Antillies (the Dutch West Indies).
“I remember my mother telling me that when she moved to Harlem the other school children bullied and teased her because of the way she dressed and her foreign language.  It was hurtful for me to think that my mother was discriminated against by other children.”
Rina credits her ability to deal with so many  cultures because of her mother taught her not to view people by color or culture but by content of character.  Armed with that advice, she sought to bring understanding of other cultures to the forefront in The New Ctizens Press.
Rina said, “Living in the Mid-West and being Carribean-American was difficult.  When I first arrived in Michigan from New York, it was strange. I did not know much about the South and did not realize that so many people migrated to Michigan from the South to find jobs.  I thought that society only had to deal with race issues, but we are also geographically challenged.  The ideals of someone from Los Angeles is definitely different than someone from Boston or Austin, Texas.”
She firmly believes that people should be supportive of one another, especially those who are working on issues that better the community.
She stated, “We have a long way to go, but hopefully we will become more concious and start eroding the effects of colorism and classism in the Black
community.  Even though it goes on in other communities, we must try and change our mindsets to be more supportive of one another.”
Rina of course enjoys poetry, gardening, remodeling and traveling. She is currently writing a book of poetry titled “Somewhere In Between.”  She resides in Lansing, Michigan, with her supportive family: husband Frank; their three children Gianni, 13, Anissa, 4, Amir Moses, 2; and their dog Sissy.
Rina said, “Without my nuclear family and very few friends, I would not be able to do what I do.  My husband provides me with spiritual strength on a daily basis.”