Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was named the 2016 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ for courageously defending the U.S. resettlement of Syrian refugees amid security concerns following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and personally welcoming a family of Syrian refugees to New Haven after they had been turned away by another state.
The prestigious award for political courage will be presented by Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on May 1, 2016.
Dannel Malloy began his second term as governor of Connecticut in January of 2015. Later that fall, extremists carried out a series of coordinated, violent terrorist attacks in Paris, France. The attacks inflamed public fears of terrorism in the U.S. and sparked a wave of anti-refugee and anti-Muslim proposals by local, state and national politicians. More than half of the nation’s governors declared that in the current security climate, Syrian refugees would not be welcomed in their states.
“As half of U.S. governors, leading presidential candidates and countless others across the country voice support for a ban on Syrian refugees from entering the United States, Governor Dannel Malloy took a stand against the hateful, xenophobic rhetoric,” said Schlossberg. “In doing so, he put principles above politics and upheld my grandfather’s vision of America that ‘has always served as a lantern in the dark for those who love freedom but are persecuted, in misery, or in need.’”
Malloy could have chosen the politically expedient course and remained silent on the highly charged, controversial issue of refugee resettlement and national security. Instead, just three days after the Paris attacks and in a direct challenge to those calling for the U.S. to close the doors on Syrian refugees, Malloy announced that Connecticut would continue to accept refugees from Syria. Two days later, he personally welcomed a family of Syrian refugees to New Haven after the governor of Indiana turned them away.
Malloy has remained unwavering in his commitment to those fleeing persecution in search of freedom, saying, “If refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific, war-torn country – seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut.”