NEWARK—Since 1990—through the Director’s Community Leadership Awards (DCLA)—the FBI has publicly recognized the achievements of individuals and organizations like these who have gone above and beyond the call to service by making extraordinary contributions to their communities in the areas of terrorism, cyber, drug, gang, or violence prevention and education. And this year is no exception: this past March, nearly 60 individuals and organizational representatives—all 2011 DLCA recipients—gathered for a ceremony in their honor at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Director Mueller, who presented a specially designed plaque to each recipient, called the honorees “catalysts for change” in their communities and said that each one shared “a willingness to lead....a commitment to improving your neighborhoods...and a desire to make this country safer for your fellow citizens.”
The Newark Division is particularly proud to honor Dr. Joan Rivitz for promoting human and civil rights. In 2003, Dr. Rivitz was appointed the New Jersey commissioner of civil rights and serves as chairperson of the New Jersey Commission on Civil Rights. As a member of the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention, Dr. Rivitz has worked to end childhood bullying. She serves on the Bergen-Passaic County Board of the American Conference on Diversity and the Board of Education of the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey.
Dr. Rivitz’s humanitarianism is evident through her dedication to public awareness and education about the Holocaust. She is chairperson of the advisory board of the New Jersey Human Relations Council and is the associate director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. Dr. Rivitz served as the co-chairperson of the 58th Annual International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies Conference, which afforded representatives from around the world an opportunity to discuss human rights issues together. Dr. Rivitz has conducted sessions such as “Learning from the Lessons of the Past and Applying These Lessons to the Present Day” and has worked as a committee member of the New Jersey Summit Against Hate.
Dr. Rivitz serves as the coordinator and director of a financial grant made to the FBI National Citizens Academy and awarded to the Newark chapter. The America Healing: A Racial Equity Initiative, which was applied to the city of Newark, was made possible through statewide community outreach. Law enforcement officers, gang members, clergy, non-profit organizations, and community leaders worked together in an unprecedented effort to help Newark’s youth resist gang activity.
Dr. Rivitz’s name is inscribed on The Wall of Tolerance in Alabama in recognition of her efforts to take a personal and public stand against hate, injustice, and intolerance.
SAC Michael Ward remarked, “Dr. Rivitz’s contributions to New Jersey cannot be overstated. She has dedicated herself to civil rights issues, not only through words, but also through person investment and action. Above and beyond those contributions, Dr. Rivitz is also an active member of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni and helps provide guidance and consult in the Newark Division’s Community Outreach Program.”
Dr. Rivitz currently serves as the Regional Vice President of the National FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBICAAA) and a Board of Trustees member of the New Jersey Chapter of the FBICAAA. The FBI Newark Division Citizens Academy is currently in its ninth year and is scheduled to graduate its newest members on May 2, 2012 in Newark.
To see coverage of the ceremony and Director Mueller’s remarks, please visit http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/march/dcla_031612/dcla_031612.