Lawmakers Intro Bill to Award Aretha Franklin Congressional Medal of Honor
Lawmakers are paying homage to Aretha Franklin with legislation to posthumously award the "Queen of Soul" a Congressional Gold Medal. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Gary Peters (D-MI), and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) on Wednesday introduced the Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act. The measure would honor Franklin’s role in shaping the nation’s culturally and socially relevant discography and highlight her life as an example of how one person’s talents can make a difference in the lives of millions of people across the globe. Franklin’s music served as a 1960s call to action that inspired thousands to join civil rights movements and still maintains a social context that resonates across these movements today. “Aretha’s songs were the soundtrack of my childhood, from listening to ‘Mary Don’t You Weep,’ to standing in the living room dancing to ‘Rock Steady’ over and over again, to hearing from the Queen herself how lucky I was to be young, gifted and black,” said Harris. “Aretha was simply a legend. Her work and impact will be felt for generations to come, and it’s long past time Congress honors her with the Congressional Gold Medal.” Beyond her contributions to music and arts, Franklin was a philanthropic individual who supported causes related to civil rights, human health, and gender equality, in addition to causes within the creative arts. “Aretha Franklin was soul personified and she gave us the gift of her voice, her truth and her unapologetic passion to demand compassion, love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T for women everywhere,” said Lawrence. The R&B icon died last August at the age of 76. Read the bill here.