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Biden presents the Highest Civilian honor to 17 people

By: Ruyi Wang

On the 7th, the White House gave out the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 people, including an actor, a gymnast, the Arizona Republican senator, and a nurse.

Biden's list of recipients includes both alive and departed honorees from the fields of Hollywood, sports, politics, the military, academia, and civil rights and social justice advocacy.

The White House said that all the honorees are the people who “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."

Biles is the most accomplished gymnast in the history of the United States, winning 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. She is an outspoken advocate for personal problems to her, such as athletes’ mental health, children in foster care, and sexual assault victims.

Lindsay, a New York City nurse, was the first one to "roll up her sleeve" and receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

McCain, a "dear friend" of Biden and a "hero,” spent more than five years in imprisonment in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Navy. He later represented Arizona in both houses of Congress and was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2018 due to brain cancer.

Washington is a victorious actor, director, and producer. He has received Oscar Awards, the Tony award, two Golden Globes, and the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also been an ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for a long time.

The other 13 medal recipients are:

Sister Simone Campbell, an advocate for rebuilding the immigration and health care systems. She is the former executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization, and a member of the Sister of Social Service.

Julieta Garcia. García was the first Mexican American woman to preside over a university.

Gabrielle Giffords. A former U.S. House member from Arizona and the founder of, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing gun violence. She was shot in the head in 2011 in an attempted assassination.

"There has been no shortage of setbacks as I relearned how to talk and how to walk, just as there has been no shortage of setbacks in the fight for gun safety that I've dedicated my life to. And yet I've never lost hope," she said.

Fred Gray was one of the first Black members of the Alabama Legislature after Reconstruction. He was a well-known civil rights lawyer who represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder, chief executive, and chair of the electronic devices company, Apple Inc.

Father Alexander Karloutsos. Karloutsos is the assistant to Archbishop Demetrios of America. According to the White House, Karloutsos has advised several U.S. presidents.

Khizr Khan is a Pakistani immigrant who gained national recognition, and became a target of Donald Trump's fury, after giving a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Diane Nash has organized some of the most significant 20th-century civil rights campaigns and worked with King.

Megan Rapinoe. The Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women's World Cup soccer champion captains the OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League. She is an important advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Alan Simpson was an American politician and member of the Republican Party, who represented Wyoming in the United States Senate. He has also been an advocate for finance reform and marriage equality campaigns.

Richard Trumka is an American attorney and organized labor leader. He was also a former president of the United Mine Workers.

Wilma Vaught, a retired American military leader, was the first woman to deploy with an Air Force bomber unit, and the first woman to reach the rank of brigadier general from the comptroller field.

Raúl Yzaguirre. A civil rights promoter, president, and CEO of the National Council of La Raza for 30 years. He served as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic and worked under our former president, Barack Obama.

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