Actor Denzel Washington, Apple creator Steve Jobs, the late Congressman John McCain, activist Raúl Izaguirre, soccer player Megan Rapinoe and gymnast Simone Biles will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, it was announced this White House Friday.
They are among 17 Americans honored by President Joe Biden for “outstanding contributions” to American prosperity and values, world peace or other important projects, according to a statement.
Denzel Washington, a two-time Oscar winner, is known for his roles in “Malcolm X” and “Philadelphia.” He recently starred in “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” released in 2021, which earned him another Golden Statue nomination.
Megan Rapinoe, star of the United States women’s soccer team, is “strongly committed to equal gender pay, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights,” the note states.
Among those chosen also stands out Simone Biles, “the most decorated American gymnast in history” and “great defender” of the mental health of athletes and victims of sexual assault, the White House said.
She is one of the victims of Larry Nassar, a former American women’s gymnastics team doctor convicted of sexually assaulting more than 250 gymnasts, most of them minors.
John McCain, presidential candidate in 2008 and Republican congressman for decades, who died in 2018, will be honored posthumously, as will Steve Jobs.
Former government official Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting survivor who has campaigned for strict gun regulation, will also receive this prestigious award, at a time when the Biden administration tries to fight the killings in the country.
Also on the list is Raúl Yzaguirre, an activist who presided over the National Council of La Raza for decades and was ambassador to the Dominican Republic under former President Barack Obama.