Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, Freedom for Immigrants Founders to Receive John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards

January 28, 2020

Media Contacts:
Matt Porter, JFK Library Foundation
(617) 514-1574

Kelsey Donohue, Institute of Politics
(516) 551-2783 

Washington Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, Freedom for Immigrants Founders to Receive John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards

Boston, MA – Washington State Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib will receive the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for his work on important issues for his constituents, including sponsoring bills that would guarantee paid sick leave for almost all workers and the Washington Voting Rights Act, which would prevent racially polarized voting systems. As Lieutenant Governor, he has made expanding access to higher education and economic opportunity the centerpiece of his office’s work. Freedom for Immigrants founders Christina Mansfield and Christina Fialho will also be honored with the New Frontier Award for their tireless efforts advocating for immigrants rights and protections. The awards will be presented by Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, during a ceremony on February 7 at 5:00pm at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

"The youngest man ever elected President, JFK led a generation toward a New Frontier and to answer his call to service” said Schlossberg, who is the Chairman of the New Frontier Awards Committee. “Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib has answered that call today, bringing the energy and optimism of his generation to the politics of Washington state. Christina Mansfield and Christina Fialho have done the same outside of politics with years of dedicated service and advocacy on behalf of immigrants and immigrant communities. Each of these three people embody President Kennedy’s legacy, and I’m honored to celebrate them with the 2020 New Frontier Award."

Created by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, the New Frontier Awards honor Americans under the age of 40 who are changing their communities and the country with their commitment to public service. The awards are presented annually to two exceptional individuals whose contributions in elective office, community service, or advocacy demonstrate the impact and the value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive this award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University,” said Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib. “President Kennedy was a bold leader who took us to the moon and put the morality of the civil rights struggle at the forefront of our national consciousness. I’m humbled to be counted alongside the distinguished past recipients of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, and I look forward to celebrating President Kennedy’s life and legacy in Boston next month.”

“For us, the New Frontier is a world where no person is imprisoned for crossing a border,” said Christina Mansfield and Christina Fialho, co-founders and executive directors of Freedom for Immigrants. “President John F. Kennedy inspired and challenged a generation to live the values our nation professes.  We are so honored to accept this award that uplifts President Kennedy’s legacy, as we continue to battle as he said ‘problems of ignorance and prejudice’ as well as ‘unanswered questions of poverty and surplus.”

For more information visit the Kennedy Presidential Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org or the Institute of Politics’ website at www.iop.harvard.edu.

The New Frontier Awards is open to the press, but space is limited. If interested in covering this event, please RSVP to Kelsey Donohue (Kelsey_donohue@hks.harvard.edu) by 5PM on February 6, 2020 at 4:00 PM EST.

View downloadable photos of honorees.

Cyrus Habib
Lieutenant Governor, Washington State 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Cyrus Habib moved with his family to Washington state at the age of eight. He grew up in east King County and graduated from the Bellevue International School before attending Columbia University, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School where he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is also a Truman Scholar and a Soros Fellow.

He went on to represent east King County in the Washington State House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he served as Democratic Whip and a member of the Democratic leadership team. In 2016, he was elected Washington’s 16th Lieutenant Governor.

A three-time cancer survivor, Lieutenant Governor Habib has been fully blind since age eight. His parents emigrated to the U.S. from Iran before he was born, and he is both the first and only Iranian-American official to hold statewide elected office in the United States.

Lieutenant Governor Habib has championed important issues in Washington throughout his career including sponsoring bills that would guarantee paid sick leave bill for almost all workers and the Washington Voting Rights Act, which would prevent racially polarized voting systems.


Christina Mansfield and Christina Fialho
Founders, Freedom for Immigrants Organization

Christina Mansfield is the co-executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, formerly Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), which she co-founded with Christina Fialho in 2012 to abolish immigration detention. Christina is a cultural anthropologist, scholar, and activist for social justice.

Christina has worked to introduce several laws in California focused on curtailing and regulating the private prison industry, such as The Dignity Not Detention Act, passed in 2017.  Christina has served as an expert witness before the Local Government Committee of the California Assembly and the Public Safety Committee of the California Senate.

As the granddaughter of immigrants, Christina’s vision for Freedom for Immigrants is shaped by her own family’s diverse immigrant history and her academic research on the criminalization of immigrant communities.  Christina believes that in order to abolish U.S. immigration detention we have to excavate the various histories that have led us to imprison human beings for profit.

Christina Fialho is the co-founder/executive director of Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC), a national nonprofit devoted to abolishing immigration detention. Christina is an attorney, and she has spent over 15 years advocating for immigrants. She comes from three generations of immigrants from the Azores and Madeira Islands, autonomous regions of Portugal. While in law school, Christina started the first immigration detention visitation program in California with her co-founder, Christina Mansfield.  

Since then, she has worked with her team at Freedom for Immigrants to mobilize a network of watchdog community members that visit weekly at approximately 70 immigration detention facilities, while creating an alternative model to detention that that welcomes immigrants.

Christina also has drafted and passed several laws. In 2017, she helped draft and Freedom for Immigrants co-sponsored the first statewide bill in the country to put a moratorium on immigration detention expansion, the Dignity Not Detention Act in California.

She also helped introduce and pass AB 103 to give California’s Attorney General $10 million to monitor immigration detention facilities (2017) and AB 32 to abolish private prisons in California (2019). In addition, Christina and her team drafted the Detention Oversight Not Expansion (DONE) Act in Congress, introduced in both houses in 2018 and 2019 to put a federal moratorium on detention expansion and fund community-based alternatives. Christina also drafted a House budget amendment introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal that was approved in 2019 to prevent the diversion of funds from other government agencies to ICE for immigration enforcement.

Christina is a leading expert on immigration detention and appears frequently on national television and radio programs. She has been awarded the 2012 Echoing Green Fellowship, 2016 Ashoka Fellowship, and 2018 James Irvine Leadership Award in recognition of her innovation and entrepreneurship. She served as the first Social Entrepreneur in Residence at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, she was appointed to the California Bar Association’s first Civil Justice Strategies Task Force. In 2017, she was featured in Grammy-winning artist Miguel’s music video “Now” about immigration, and in 2019, her organization was featured in Season 7 of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.


About the New Frontier Awards
At the New Frontier Awards ceremony, Jack Schlossberg will present Lt. Governor Habib, Christina Mansfield, and Christina Fialho with a ship’s navigational compass in a wooden box bearing the inscription: “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier….I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier.”  – John F. Kennedy.

The New Frontier Awards are named after President Kennedy's bold challenge to Americans given in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention on July 15, 1960:

We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils -- a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats. The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises -- it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook -- it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security…. Beyond that frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. It would be easier to shrink back from that frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past, to be lulled by good intentions and high rhetoric…but I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier. 

Past recipients of the New Frontier Awards include Michael Tubbs, the Mayor of Stockton, California, Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Kirsten Lodal, Co-Founder and CEO of LIFT; Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York, Nina Dudnik, Founder and CEO, Seeding Labs; Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org; Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District; Cory A. Booker, U.S. Senator and former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach for America; and Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women for Women International.

A distinguished bipartisan committee of political and community leaders selected Habib, Mansfield, and Fialho based on their contributions to the public and their embodiment of the forward-looking public idealism to which President Kennedy hoped young Americans would aspire. The John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards Committee is chaired by Jack Schlossberg, grandson of President John F. Kennedy. Rachel Flor, Executive Director, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and Mark Gearan, Director, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School act as vice-chairs. Committee members are: Terence Burke, Vice President of Communications Strategy, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Carolyn Casey, Founder and Executive Director, Project 351; Samson Cohen, Project Manager for the CEO, Brunswick Group, and US Navy Veteran; Ranny Cooper, Senior Consultant, Weber Shandwick Public Affairs, and former Chief of Staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy; Hannah Drew, student at Harvard University, Dan Fenn, former member of President John F. Kennedy’s staff and former Director of the John F. Kennedy Library; Doug Heye, contributor to CNN and the Wall Street Journal, Fall 2015 Institute of Politics fellow, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; The Honorable Rachel Kaprielian, U.S. Government Relations at McDonald’s Corporation, former MA Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development, former MA state legislator, and 1999 New Frontier Award recipient; Vivien Li, President and CEO, Riverlife, and former President, The Boston Harbor Association; Carly Lindgren, MBA candidate at Harvard Business School, and policy advisor at the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; The Honorable Svante Myrick, Mayor, Ithaca, New York, and 2014 New Frontier Award Winner; The Honorable Doug Palmer, Former Mayor, Trenton, New Jersey; Aneesh Raman, Senior Advisor on Economic Strategy and External Affairs to California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics both have their origins in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Inc., a non-profit corporation that was chartered in Massachusetts on December 5, 1963, to construct and equip the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts.


About the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
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.

About the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School
The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School was established in 1966 as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The Institute’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to pursue pathways in politics and public service. The Institute blends the academy with practical politics and offers students the opportunity to engage on current events and to acquire skills and perspective that will assist in their postgraduate pathways.