March for Our Lives Activists and Stockton, California Mayor to Receive John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards


February 5, 2019

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

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

March For Our Lives Activists and Stockton, California Mayor
to Receive John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards 

Boston, MA – March For Our Lives organizers Edna Chavez, Ryan Deitsch, David Hogg, and Tyah Roberts will receive the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for their work to galvanize support and drive public advocacy for substantive changes to gun safety laws following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs, the youngest mayor ever to lead a city of more than 100,000 residents, will also be honored with the New Frontier Award for his innovative efforts to increase college enrollment and graduation rates, alleviate poverty, and reduce violence in the city. The awards will be presented by Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, during a ceremony on February 8 at 6:00pm at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

“With his vision for a New Frontier, President Kennedy challenged young Americans to take on great challenges, solve complex problems and work for a better future,” said Schlossberg, who is a member of the New Frontier Awards Committee. “The organizers of March For Our Lives and Mayor Tubbs have each answered President Kennedy’s call to action in our time, taking on some of the greatest challenges facing our country today. Their courage is a reminder that each of us can make a difference.

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.

One of the New Frontier Awards honors an elected official whose work demonstrates the importance of elective service as a way to address a public challenge or challenges. This award, called the Fenn Award, is presented to a young elected official in honor of Dan Fenn, the Kennedy Library’s first director and a former member of President Kennedy’s staff. The other New Frontier Award honors an individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have had a positive impact on a broad public policy issue or challenge.

For more information visit the Kennedy Presidential Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.orgor the Institute of Politics’ website at

The New Frontier Awards is open to the press, but space is limited. If interested in covering this event, please RSVP to Kelsey Donohue ( by 5PM on Thursday, February 7th.

Edna Chavez, Ryan Deitsch, David Hogg, and Tyah Roberts
March For Our Lives Organization

On February 14, 2018, a gunman shot and killed 17 people and wounded 14 more in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Like previous mass shootings, the tragedy that touched Parkland has shone a spotlight on the need to address gun violence prevention nationwide. But as media attention began to fade amid a climate of political resignation, the teenaged survivors, still reeling, resolved to make theirs the last school shooting in America. One week after the shooting, 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled to Tallahassee to lobby state lawmakers for stricter gun laws. Their plainspoken calls for action and fearless engagement of political opponents galvanized public interest and refocused national attention on the issue of gun safety.

Within a few short weeks of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 17 of their classmates and teacher, Parkland students joined with other youth gun activists to become the leaders of a national conversation about all types of gun violence in the United States. They identified a set of clearly defined, broadly supported policy goals; mobilized tens of thousands of their peers in a national school walkout; and conceived and led the March For Our Lives, one of the largest public demonstrations in American history. Since then, they led voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives throughout 2018, putting gun violence prevention on the ballot and on the agenda in state houses, city councils, and school committees across the country. Their unprecedented advocacy has sparked a generational movement whose biggest impacts may be yet to come.

Michael Tubbs
Mayor, Stockton, California

Born and raised in Stockton, Michael Tubbs wasn’t expecting to return to his troubled hometown when he left for college. But the murder of a cousin back home changed his thinking, and after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University, Tubbs returned to Stockton determined to make a difference in the city’s future.

In 2012, at the age of 22, Tubbs ran for and won a seat on the Stockton City Council, becoming one of the youngest city councilors in the country. On the City Council, Tubbs co-founded the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, a civic partnership aimed at addressing the root causes of intergenerational poverty. He also championed the creation of the City’s Office of Violence Prevention and, as Chair of the Audit and Legislative Committee, was part of the effort to lead the city out of bankruptcy.

In 2016, Tubbs, then 26, ran for and was elected mayor of Stockton, becoming both the youngest and the first black mayor in the city’s history. Since he took office in 2017, Tubbs has secured more than $20 million in philanthropic capital to launch Stockton Scholars, a scholarship program aimed at tripling the number of Stockton students entering and graduating from college. He also has led the effort to bring Advance Peace, an innovative violence prevention program, to Stockton. Now in his third year as mayor, Tubbs is deepening his commitment to addressing systemic poverty by implementing an experimental basic income program for city residents.  

About the New Frontier Awards

At the New Frontier Awards ceremony, Jack Schlossberg will present Tubbs and the March For Our Lives organizers 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 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; 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; U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; 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 Tubbs and March for Our Lives 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 2019 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards Committee was co-chaired by Steven Rothstein, Executive Director, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and Mark Gearan, Director, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School. 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; The Honorable William “Mo” Cowan, Vice President, General Electric Legal Policy and Litigation and former United States Senator (D-MA); Dan Fenn, former member of President John F. Kennedy’s staff and former Director of the John F. Kennedy Library; Tina Flournoy, Chief of Staff, Office of President Clinton, The Clinton Foundation; The Honorable Rachel Kaprielian, U.S. Government Relations at McDonald’s Corporation, former MA Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development, former MA state legislator, and past Fenn Award recipient; Steven Olikara, Founder and President, Millennial Action Project; Vivien Li, President and CEO, Riverlife, and former President, The Boston Harbor Association; Kristin McSwain, Executive Director, Boston Opportunity Agenda and former Director, AmeriCorps; The Honorable Doug Palmer, Former Mayor, Trenton, New Jersey; Aneesh Raman, Global Policy at Facebook, and former domestic policy speechwriter, President Barack Obama; Jack Schlossberg, grandson of President John F. Kennedy; T.W. Shannon, President of Bank2, and Former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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(IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy. The IOP’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 consider careers in politics and public service.  The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs. More information is available online at