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- I wanted to document, somehow, the strength of those people that I had known . . . when the migrant worker was living without any kind of protection.
- On his novel . . . y no se lo tragó la tierra (as quoted in “Tomás Rivera: December 22, 1935–May 16, 1984”)
- When people asked what I wanted to be, I'd tell them a writer. They were surprised or indifferent. If people don't read, what is a writer?
- On his wanting to become a writer at an early age in "From Poverty to Power: The Inspiring Story of Tomas Rivera" (TeenInk)
- …And I was only concerned about the migrant worker, the people I had known best. I had been a migrant worker. So I began to see that my role—if I want to call it that—would be to document that period of time, but giving it some kind of spiritual strength or spiritual history.
- On writing about migrant workers (as quoted in “CUANDO LLEGUEMOS/WHEN WE ARRIVE: THE PARADOX OF MIGRATION IN TOMAS RIVERA'S "... Y NO SE LO TRAGO LA TIERRA")