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The Billie Jean King Congressional Gold Medal Act is introduced in US House of Representatives

With the endless barrage of frustrating and horrible news coming out of our nation’s capitol, this is a ray of sunshine.

It involves Billie Jean King, one of my greatest heroes and role models.

Congressmember Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) on Tuesday joined with House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14) to introduce the Billie Jean King Congressional Gold Medal Act in the House of Representatives to award King the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of her vast achievements and contributions to athletics, women’s rights, the LGBT community and American culture, according to Lowenthal’s office.

“Billie Jean redefined the very role of women in both sports and American culture,” Lowenthal said. “The word ‘icon’ is simply too small to capture the enormous impact she has had on not just tennis, not just on the United States, but on the world. She is a pioneer in athletics, a trailblazer in the fight for equality, a role model for women and the LGBT community, and an inspiration to every American. She has not only earned this honor– she deserves it for the ground she has broken and the paths that she has set.”

King, a native of Long Beach, won 39 singles, doubles and mixed-doubles tennis championships at the grand slam tournaments in tennis during her more than 30-plus-year tennis career, including a record 20 at Wimbledon. She is also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the nonprofit Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, home of the U.S. Open Grand Slam tennis tournament, is named in her honor.

“Time and time again, Billie Jean King has broken barriers,” Crowley said. “Among the numerous accolades she has earned over the course of her career, the Congressional Gold Medal would formally recognize King’s leadership in the fight for equality and her achievements in making professional sports more accessible to all Americans, regardless of their gender or identity.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is an award the U.S. Congress bestows to recognize an individual’s immense contributions to American culture. Along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which King was awarded in 2009, the Congressional Gold Medal ranks as one the highest civilian awards in the country.

“I am so proud to be an American, and it would be an amazing honor to receive the Congressional Gold Medal,” King said. “I fully appreciate the importance and the significance of this honor and to be considered is a privilege.”

USTA President and Chairman Katrina Adams said King is one of tennis’s all-time greatest champions who has used her platform of popularity to champion myriad important causes for the betterment of society as a whole.

“She is a pioneer in the truest sense, a tireless crusader for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and social justice,” Adams said. “She has devoted her life to leveling the playing field for all, and for that reason, the USTA wholeheartedly supports awarding this legendary champion and courageous crusader the Congressional Gold Medal.”

The legislation is endorsed by the American Association of University Women, Association of Title IX Administrators, Human Rights Campaign, Girls Inc., National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Youth Sports, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Women’s Tennis Association, Women’s Sports Foundation, and United States Tennis Association.

FILE UNDER: Awards, Icons

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One Remark

  1. BJK deserves every possible medal and then some for what she’s contributed to society.

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