On January 23, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Committee on Diversity presented Jenny Rivera ’85 with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, one of three Diversity Trailblazers awards given this year. A professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law, Rivera is the founder and director of the Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality (CLORE), which focuses on issues impacting the Latino community in the United States with the goal of developing progressive strategies for legal reform. Rivera was the first Latina administrative law judge of the New York State Division of Human Rights, and she also served for a term as the Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights under then-New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
During her years as a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar at NYU Law, Rivera was an articles editor of the Annual Survey of American Law and a co-chair of the Latino Law Students Association. Following her graduation from NYU Law, Rivera worked at organizations including the Legal Aid Society and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, and also clerked for then-district court judge Sonia Sotomayor.
In a previous interview as an NYU Law Alumna-of-the-month, Rivera, who is a native of New York City, reflected on her work on behalf of the Latino and Latina community. “Growing up, my mother would bring me with her to picket housing projects that were closed off to Latinos,” she said. “At an early age, I understood that we didn’t have access to all the opportunities in the City because we were Latino. That really affected me.” In looking back at her career, she said, “teaching students to use the law to foster social justice gives me hope and inspiration about the future.”
Posted January 30, 2012