Ukrainian President Zelensky receives John F. Kennedy Award for championing democracy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is among five people named Thursday as recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for acting to protect democracy.
Zelensky was chosen because of how he “brought together the spirit, patriotism and tireless sacrifice of the Ukrainian people in a fight to the death for their country” as Russia surges in troops and attacks cities and towns. villages, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said.
The foundation said four US officials were chosen for advocating for free and fair elections as the system is challenged like never before.
They are: Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Fulton County, Georgia, election worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss .
Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, will present the awards May 22 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The award was created by the late president’s family to honor public figures who risk their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good, and is named after Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Profiles in Courage”.
“There is no greater issue facing our country and the world today than the fight for democracy,” Kennedy said in a statement. “The war in Ukraine has shown the world that we cannot take freedom for granted, and the courage of our elected officials in the United States reminds us that as citizens, we each have a responsibility to protect our democracy and exercise our fundamental right to vote. .”
Cheney chaired the Republican House Conference before being ousted from her post last year due to her relentless criticism of former President Donald Trump and statements blaming him for the violence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The foundation said Cheney “severed with most members of her party, urged loyalty to the Constitution, and stood firm with honor and conviction”, and remained a “cohesive and courageous voice for the defense of democracy”.
Michigan was one of the battleground states where Trump allies demanded a closer look at the 2020 election. Benson defended certification of the results.
Protesters showed up at her home one evening in December 2020, angry at what they falsely said was election fraud that resulted in Trump’s downfall. The foundation said Benson stood up for the will of Michigan voters, repeatedly refused to relinquish the duties of his office, and continues to speak out against the risks to free and fair elections.
Bowers, a Republican, broke ranks with many members of his party in December 2020 when he rejected a request by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani for the Arizona Legislature to intervene and to replace voters legally engaged for Joe Biden with others who would support Trump.
The foundation said Bowers made a “conscious decision,” for which he endured persistent harassment and intimidation tactics from Trump supporters, and he acted again to protect the integrity of the election. in Arizona by stopping a sweeping election bill that would eliminate nearly all forms. early voting and require ballots to be counted by hand, though Republicans are still trying to push through those changes.
Moss has worked for the Fulton County Elections Department since 2012 and oversaw the mail-in ballot operation in the 2020 election. Trump allies have falsely claimed she engaged in voter fraud. The foundation said that “despite the onslaught of random, undeserved and malicious attacks”, Moss continues to do the “hard and invisible work to make our democracy work”.