Each year at our Annual Reception, The Village honors leaders in our community who make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. This year, at our 184th reception, held on October 18 at the CT Historical Society, we honored Chris and Cathy Murphy as our 2018 Champions for Children for their courage, unflinching drive for equality and justice, and their clear expression of what they believe to help protect the children of Connecticut.
Chris Murphy has been a U.S. Senator from Connecticut since 2013. Previously, he served as a U.S. Representative from CT’s 5th congressional district and as a member of the CT General Assembly.
Throughout his career, he has championed a range of policies to improve the lives of children and families, including mental health reform and prevention of gun violence.Senator Murphy introduced the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act − signed into law in 2016 − which aims to build mental health treatment capacity, promote integrated care models, expand the mental health workforce and enforce existing mental health parity laws.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Senator Murphy became a leading voice in the movement to prevent gun violence. He supported numerous policies, including universal background checks and ending the ban on gun violence research at the CDC.
Cathy Holahan has dedicated her life to serve and advocate on behalf of children − especially for improved access to quality education for all children.
As a Senior Legal and Policy Advisor with EducationCounsel, she works to drive significant improvements in the U.S. education system. She provides guidance to organizations, with a focus on disability-related issues, special education, school climate and discipline, and the advancement of innovative strategies to improve student outcomes, particularly in high-poverty, low-performing schools.
Previously, she was the Managing Attorney of the Children-at-Risk unit of CT Legal Services. There, she led several initiatives that successfully changed state and district policies related to students with disabilities, school discipline and juvenile justice reform.
Chris and Cathy each received their law degree from the University of Connecticut, where they met. In addition to their work on behalf of children in CT and across the country, they are also raising their own two children.
In accepting the award (via video), Chris said, “Cathy and I are honored to receive the Champion for Children award. I work on so many of these issues in the Senate because Cathy tells me stories from her work about kids who need advocates and a level playing field. However, the people who really deserve to be honored are The Village staff who show up every day to make kids’ lives as whole as possible at crisis moments for them and for their families.”