On Wednesday, there were 21 recipients named by President Barack Obama for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The list of recipients included star of the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan and a Chicago attorney that chaired on the Federal Communications Commission, Newton N. Minow. The award is considered to be the highest civilian honor awarded by the nation’s president. The presentation for the awards will take place on November 22nd, at the White House.
Obama released a statement about the ceremony: “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor. It’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists. These 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.” Other individuals from the NBA that are honored is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and sports broadcaster, Vin Scully.
Entertainers that will be honored, include Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks. Philanthropist honorees are Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michael, Computer Scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, and Bill and Melinda Gates. A posthumous honoree is Elouise Cobell. Cobell was an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence. She was also a community leader of the Blackfeet Tribal. With her knowledge in accounting, Cobell was able to champion a lawsuit that led to a historic court settlement to restore the tribal homelands of her Blackfeet Nation, along with many other tribes. Cobell became the inspiration for a new generation of Native Americans, encouraging them to fight for the rights of others. She was also instrumental in helping found the Native American Bank. Cobell’s role as director of the Native American Community Development Corporation inspired other Native American women to obtain leadership roles within their communities.