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Biden awards Medal of Freedom to 17 people

By: Evan Yang

President Biden has recently named 17 people as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the United States’ highest civilian honor, bestowed upon those who have made significant contributions to the arts and sciences. It is also given to individuals who dedicated their lives to protecting the United States' prosperity, security, or values. A statement given by the White House says “These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation–hard work, perseverance, and faith.” The awards will be presented at the White House on Thursday, July 7.

The award was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. It has since been awarded to 28 people, excluding these 17. The award can be given while the recipient is alive or posthumously.

Some of this year’s notable recipients include:

Simone Biles

Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history, with a total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles has also advocated for the mental health and safety of athletes.

Sister Simone Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell is a member of the Sisters of Social Service, a religious congregation of social workers in the United States. She is also the former Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization. She also advocates for economic justice and healthcare policy.

Dr. Julieta Garcia

Dr. Julieta Garcia is the former president of the University of Texas at Brownsville, where she was named one of Time magazine’s best college presidents. Dr. Garcia was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president.

Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords is a former Congresswoman who is also the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate. She co-founded Giffords, an organization to prevent gun violence.

Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan is a Gold Star father and the founder of the Constitutional Literacy and National Unity center. He advocates for rule of law and religious freedom. He has served on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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