President Joe Biden on Friday named 17 people as his first picks to receive the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Established in 1963, the medal is the top US civilian honor and is presented at the discretion of each commander-in-chief to individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
In a statement announcing the selections, the White House said Biden believed the 17 people exemplified the possibilities of the United States.
"They 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," the White House said.
The awards will be presented on July 7. Here are the recipients: