2013 SafePlace Celebration
Presented by James Armstrong and Patti O'Meara
Victor Rivas Rivers
A veteran film star, best-selling author, former NFL Offensive Guard for the Miami Dolphins, and renowned advocate for violence prevention, Victor Rivas Rivers has achieved extraordinary success in numerous arenas. But given his violent upbringing, few of those achievements were ever likely. In fact, if not for individuals in his community who were willing to take a stand on his behalf, Rivers doubts he would be alive today.
At age 12, Rivers visited his local police department to report a lifetime of crime inflicted upon a child—himself—and upon his mother, siblings, and pets. Though the officers were horrified, they could do little to stop Rivers’ father. The torture perpetuated behind closed doors, they said, was a “private family matter.” Finally at age 15, Rivers took unprecedented legal action against his father and was allowed to go live with a series of foster families, who oversaw his transformation from rage-filled gang member to senior class president.
He chronicles his story of survival in his memoir A Private Family Matter. Many of his “angels” as he calls them were his educators and the high school coaching staff. His coaches refused to let him quit the team and drop out of school, ultimately giving him the confidence to earn a full football scholarship at Florida State University and a stint in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.
In one more unlikely turn, Rivers has since attained a global following with roles in over two dozen movies and television shows, including The Mask of Zorro, The Hulk, The Distinguished Gentleman, and Star Trek.
A masterful storyteller whose topics are as diverse as his background, Victor Rivas Rivers is deeply passionate about combating stereotypes and cultural prejudice. He is a spokesperson for the National Network to End Domestic Violence and serves as a community champion for the Verizon Foundation. Rivers shares his strategies for challenging these stereotypes with corporate and college audiences alike. A compelling, inspiring speaker whose hope, humor, and honesty shine through every presentation, he has been called “a big man – in heart and soul.”
For more information on Victor Rivas Rivers, please visit www.victorrivers.com
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