BOSTON (JTA) — Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Giffords, who has become an advocate for stricter gun control after being shot in the head in 2011, was recognized for the courage she has demonstrated in pushing for policy changes aimed at reducing gun violence.
The ceremony was held Sunday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Earlier this year, Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Gun Ownership, an organization that is lobbying for stricter gun control laws.
“Today we honor a woman who inspires the entire world,” said Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which gives the award. She commended Giffords for turning a personal tragedy into a movement for political change.
“When others would have withdrawn from public life, she has challenged us all to reengage in the political process,” Kennedy said.
“I believe we all have courage inside,” Giffords said at the ceremony. “I just wish there was more courage in Congress,” she added, alluding to the defeat by the U.S. Senate in April of a gun control bill that would have toughened background checks for gun purchasers.
“It’s been a hard two years for me,” Giffords said, “but I want to make the world a better place more than ever.”
The award, which is presented annually, is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Profiles in Courage.”
While in Boston, Giffords and Kelly visited victims of the Boston Marathon bombings at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.
Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish woman elected to federal office from Arizona.