Monday, 24 Jun 2024

Joe Biden giving Presidential Medal of Freedom to Steve Jobs, Simone Biles, more

President Joe Biden has named 17 people he is giving the highest civilian honor in the US to, including the late Steve Jobs, Olympic champion Simone Biles and actor Denzel Washington.

Biden on Friday announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is ‘presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors’, according to the White House.

Jobs, who died in 2011, is one of three recipients who will be recognized posthumously. As Apple’s co-founder, chief executive and chairman, ‘his vision, imagination and creativity led to inventions that have, and continue to, change the way the world communicates’, stated the White House.

Biles, the most decorated gymnast in American history with 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, ‘is also a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault’, according to the White House.

It was a reference to Biles last year testifying before Congress about alleged sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar.

Washington, a director, producer and winner of two Academy Awards, is also being honored for serving as the national spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than 25 years.

The late Senator John McCain, who died in 2018, will be recognized for his work as a public servant over decades. He was previously awarded a Purple Heart for serving in the Vietnam War.

Another Olympic gold medalist, Megan Rapinoe, will be celebrated for her accomplishments in soccer and being a ‘prominent advocate for gender pay and equality, racial justice and LGBTQI+ rights’, according to the White House.

Other recipients include former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, former Alabama State legislature member Fred Gray, former Senator Alan Simpson, and former AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who died in 2021.

Biden will also honor New York nurse Sandra Lindsay, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee founding member Diane Nash, Brigadier General Wilma Vaughtis, Gold Star father Khizr Khanis, Father Alexander Karloutsos, Sister Simone Campbell, the University of Texas at Brownsville’s former president Julieta García and civil rights advocate Raúl Yzaguirre.

The president will present the awards at the White House on July 7.

Honorees ‘demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith’, stated the White House.

‘They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.’

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