Biden to award Medal of Freedom to 19 people, including Pelosi, Gore, Ledecky and Bloomberg

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun18,2024

President Biden will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 19 individuals on Friday at a White House ceremony, including stalwarts of Democratic politics like former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), former Vice President Al Gore (D) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).

The White House announced the recipients for the medal, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor given to those 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.”

Biden will formally bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the honorees during a White House event later Friday. Other recipients include actress Michelle Yeoh, Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky and activist Opal Lee.

Here’s the full list of those being honored on Friday:

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D), known for his time in politics and for his extensive background as an entrepreneur. Bloomberg ran a brief, unsuccessful presidential campaign in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Gregory J. Boyle, a Jesuit Catholic priest who founded Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention and rehabilitation program based in Los Angeles

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), a close Biden ally who has served for decades in the House, including for two terms as House Majority Whip.

Elizabeth Dole, who represented North Carolina in the Senate from 2003-2009. She also previously served as secretary of Transportation, secretary of Labor and head of the American Red Cross.

Phil Donahue, a media personality whose eponymous daytime talk show was the first to feature audience participation.

Medgar Wiley Evers, an activist who was murdered at age 37 in one of the defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Evers will be honored posthumously.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who was the Democratic nominee for president in 2000 and narrowly lost the Electoral College vote. Gore has since won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight climate change.

Clarence B. Jones, a civil rights activist and lawyer who helped draft Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

John Kerry, the former senator and former secretary of State. Kerry, who was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, most recently served as Biden’s special envoy for climate issues.

Frank R. Lautenberg, a former five-term senator from New Jersey who led the way on environmental issues and on consumer safety. Lautenberg will be honored posthumously.

Katie Ledecky, the Olympic swimmer and Maryland native. Ledecky has won seven Olympic gold medals and 21 world championship gold medals at age 27.

Opal Lee, an activist and educator who is best known for leading efforts to make Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday. She attended a White House event in 2021 when Biden signed legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Ellen Ochoa, an astronaut who was the first Hispanic woman in space when she was aboard the Discovery in 1993. Ochoa has flown in space four times, and she is the second woman to serve as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a hugely consequential figure in Democratic politics. Pelosi has served in the House for nearly 40 years, including as the first woman to ever serve as Speaker. She held the gavel during the first half of Biden’s first-term in office, helping guide major pieces of legislation through the chamber.

Jane Rigby, an astronomer and Delaware native. She is the senior project scientist of the James Webb Telescope, which is the most powerful telescope in the world. Biden in 2022 revealed the first full-color image from the telescope, which offered the deepest view of the universe ever captured.

Teresa Romero, president of the United Farm Workers and the first Latina woman to lead a national union in the United States. Biden has often boasted that he is the most pro-union president in history.

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, who was attacked and later died of his injuries in one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in U.S. history. Judy Shepard co-founded a foundation in her son’s name dedicated to protecting LGBTQ people and preventing hate crimes.

Jim Thorpe, a multi-sport athlete who played professional football, baseball and basketball and was the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal. Thorpe will be honored posthumously.

Michelle Yeoh, an Academy Award winning actress who in 2023 became the first Asian to win the Oscar for best actress for her work in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Biden to award Medal of Freedom to 19 people, including Pelosi, Gore, Ledecky and Bloomberg”
  1. Who decides the criteria for awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom and how often is it given out?

  2. I believe that President Biden’s decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to these individuals is commendable. They have each made significant contributions to various aspects of society and deserve this recognition for their dedication and accomplishments.

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