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Arias, Margarita "Rita"  
Margarita "Rita" Arias Margarita "Rita" Arias, loving mother, aunt, and friend to all passed way last Saturday at 82 years old. Mom was a native to San Bernardino, married Jesse Arias (deceased) and raised three children, Anna Maria (deceased), Marcos Jesus of Highland, and Stephen Edward of Long Beach. Initially, Rita became a hairstylist after high school and moved to Los Angeles where she was a beautician for some famous clients in Beverly Hills. After, Rita married in 1959 she moved back to San Bernardino, to raise a family and became very active in the late 60's and 70's with the Los Charos (a Latino horse riding club) as well as supporting migrant farm workers marching with Cesar Chavez and most of our community leaders to support the movement. Realizing her calling for social causes, Rita would include the San Manual Band of Mission Indians. Inviting the tribe and children in all of the outings and field trips she had as a youth mentor. Rita became employed by the county of San Bernardino's "Community Services Department" as an equal opportunity officer and co-founded "grass roots for women" helping women find jobs, affordable housing, food and other financial resources. In conjunction with her day job, Rita also co-founded several nonprofit organizations like the "drop-in" center at Casa Ramona for at risk teenagers and served on the board of directors for "Casa de San Bernardino", a drug rehabilitation and counseling organization. In the 80's Rita became a business owner of "Arias Employment Agency" and "Workforce Drug Testing" lab where she gained contracts from employers to provide the local community with jobs. Rita was very successful, she opened several offices during the fifteen years of business, and Rita also was elected the director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, served on the Grand Jury of San Bernardino. At the same time, Rita was elected to the 3rd ward City Counsel person. After she left office and sold her business, Rita continued to work on projects for the community of the Mt. Vernon corridor in the west side of San Bernardino, organizing a healthy Farmer's markets, fund raising for the CAPS Community Action Partnership Services (food bank), and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, San Bernardino Aerie 506.
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Published in San Bernardino Sun on July 27, 2016
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