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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Former President Obama Accepts JFK Profile in Courage Award

On Sunday, May 7, former US President Barack Obama visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which is located next to the University of Massachusetts Boston campus. The reason for this brief stop in in Dorchester was that he was honored with the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

In early March, it was announced that the retired leader of the nation had been chosen to be this year’s recipient for the prestigious award. The ceremony on Sunday marked the 27th time that this prize was awarded to a person or a group of individuals.

Originally, the award was established by several members of the Kennedy family in 1989. The first recipient, former Congressman Carl Elliott Sr., was selected in 1990. The Kennedy family established this award with the intention of honoring President John F. Kennedy, and to “celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.”

According to a press release that announced Obama as this year’s winner, “President Obama’s entire public life has exemplified the courage that John F. Kennedy celebrated.”

One major reason that contributed to him being selected for this prize was his commitment to the advancement of America’s youth.

“He picked up the torch from President Kennedy and has now passed it on to a new generation of Americans, inspiring young people across the country to enter public service, affirming our belief in an America that is more than a collection of Red states and Blue states, and reminding all of us that no matter what we look like, where we come from, or what faith we practice, we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.”

Before the introductory remarks by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the ceremony also featured a special performance by James Taylor, Kim Taylor, and Owen Young. Ambassador Kennedy, who is the only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier, presented Obama with the award, which always comes in the form of a sterling silver lantern. In her remarks, she reflected on the her father’s values of solidarity and his vision of a united American society.

During his acceptance speech, Obama addressed the events surrounding healthcare legislation of the previous week. He urged Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is most commonly known as “Obamacare.” The former president emphasized that implementing the Affordable Care Act was difficult, and that it was ultimately due to the elected officials in Congress, who risked losing their seats, by casting their vote in favor of this healthcare bill and thus showing political courage.

“These men and women did the right thing. They did the right thing. Theirs was a profile in courage,” said Obama.

Obama then called on all current members of Congress to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “It is my fervent hope, and the hope of millions, that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. That today’s members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth—even when it contradicts party positions.”
For the full video of the event and Obama’s acceptance speech, as well as more information about the Profile in Courage Award, go to profileincourageaward.org.