For Immediate Release: May 5, 2013
Further information: Rachel Flor (617) 514-1662, rachel.flor@jfklfoundation.org

Boston MA – Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was presented the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ today by Caroline Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in recognition of the political, personal, and physical courage she has demonstrated in her fearless advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence.

“Today, we honor a woman who inspires the entire world,” said Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “Gabrielle Giffords has turned a personal nightmare into a movement for political change. After an assassination attempt ended her Congressional career and left her with grave injuries, she fearlessly returned to public life as an advocate for new legislation to prevent gun violence. When others would have withdrawn from public life, she has challenged us all to reengage in the political process. When others would have given up hope, Gabby has been unwavering in her belief that politics can solve problems. When others would have looked for excuses, Gabby has inspired action. She perseveres not just for herself, but for Newtown, and Aurora, for Chicago and Tucson.”

“It is such an honor to receive the Profile in Courage Award from the Kennedy Library,” said Giffords in a statement. “I believe we all have courage inside us, even when it's hard to express. I want to keep working to make the world a better place, and I am so grateful.”

Gabrielle Giffords was elected to Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat in 2006, after more than five years of service in the Arizona House of Representatives and State Senate. In Congress, she quickly became a leading policymaker on border security, energy independence, and support for military families and veterans. In 2010, she was the target of death threats and her office was vandalized following her vote in favor of health care reform.

On January 8, 2011, Giffords and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting she was holding in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding the meeting, called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head at point-blank range before proceeding to fire on other people. After a year of rehabilitation, she resigned from Congress in order to focus on her recovery. On the second anniversary of the shooting, Giffords and her husband, retired Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to support measures to prevent gun violence and promote responsible gun ownership.

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions in the public interest without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the Profile in Courage Award™ in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. It is presented in May in celebration of President Kennedy’s May 29th birthday. The Profile in Courage Award is represented by a sterling-silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope. The lantern was designed by Edwin Schlossberg and crafted by Tiffany & Co.

This year’s recipient of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s prestigious award for political courage was selected by a distinguished bipartisan committee of national, political, and community leaders. Albert R. Hunt, executive Washington editor of Bloomberg News, chairs the 13-member Profile in Courage Award Committee. Committee members are Christopher J. Dodd, Chairman and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America and former U.S. Senator (D-Connecticut); U.S. Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-Maryland); Kenneth R. Feinberg, Chairman of the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; U.S. Senator Lindsey O. Graham (R-South Carolina); Antonia Hernandez, president and chief executive officer of the California Community Foundation; Elaine Jones, former director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Paul G. Kirk Jr., former U.S. Senator (D-Massachusetts) and Chairman Emeritus of the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Martha Minow, Dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Shari Redstone, President, National Amusements, Inc; John Seigenthaler, founder of the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University; David M. Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Tom McNaught, executive director of the Kennedy Library Foundation, staffs the Committee.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization founded in 1984 to provide financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service. For more information about the Profile in Courage Award and the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, visit www.jfklibrary.org.