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17 People Honored At White House As Recipients Of Presidential Medal Of Freedom

The Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda made its call and committed to its campaign of support in a letter delivered to the White House today. Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the letter at a climate change action event hosted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in his city on the eve of the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors there.

Director Steven Spielberg, conductor Itzhak Perlman, composer Stephen Sondheim and singers Barbra Streisand and James Taylor are among 17 people who will be honored at the White House today as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans,” President Barack Obama said when announcing the honors earlier this month.

The Medal of Freedom is presented to people “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.

Also among those who will receive the honor are Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress; Bonnie Carroll, founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which supports families of people who have died while serving in the military; and musicians Emilio and Gloria Estefan.

Former baseball players Willie Mays and the late Yogi Berra will also be honored.

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