Obama team announces State of the Union guests

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chicago boy who got letter from Obama invited to State of Union address.

Former Cuba prisoner Alan Gross and astronaut Scott Kelly will be among first lady Michelle Obama’s guests at Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, the White House announced Monday. Michelle Obama invited college freshman Anthony Mendez, 19, to listen to the President’s speech at the Capitol with her — a tribute to the struggles Mendez overcame in high school.Malik Bryant, a 13-year-old Englewood boy made only one wish in a letter to Santa last year: “All I ask for is for safety, I just wanna be safe,” he wrote. The 22 guests also include students and educators, health care officials and recipients, government officials, and a wounded veteran who fought in Afghanistan. The list includes high-profile names such as astronaut and TIME magazine cover star Scott Kelly, who will spend a year in space, and the president and CEO of CVS Health, Larry J.

Others are people the president met over the past few weeks as he has traveled the country, playing spoiler to his speech, announcing initiatives such as a free community college plan, faster Internet service and paid sick leave. The ecstatic University of Hartford student said he was making dinner when he got the call that he would be a guest in the First Lady’s box Tuesday night.

During his freshman year of high school in 2011, his best friend, hoops talent Johnny Moore, was shot dead in Mott Haven in a feud that spilled over from a basketball game. He’s exemplifies Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” initiative, a program that encourages young people to take charge of their future by continuing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university. Mendez had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to make it on time from the shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant to the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports in the Bronx. “It was frustrating and hard to be in school and stay focused after (Johnny’s) passing and being poor and living in a shelter, not being able to buy clothes,” he said. At the end of the letter, he mentioned a scarf, gloves and school supplies — without saying he wanted or needed them, according to a reproduction of his letter in the Sun-Times.

Hermitage Ave. in Englewood and first shot to fame last month when he had received a letter from Obama in response to a letter he had written to Santa. Tingirides of the Los Angeles Police Department; Catherine Pugh, Maryland Senate Majority Leader; Kathy Pham, a computer scientist with the United States Digital Service; and Alan Gross, a USAID sub-contractor who was reunited with his family after five years of imprisonment in Cuba the same day the U.S. announced it would begin to normalize diplomatic relations with the country. He says he plans to study political science, noting that his skills as a public speaker and passion for helping other people might push him toward a life as a public servant. He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was 8 years old, at a time when most cystic fibrosis patients were only expected to live to early adulthood.

In a reply letter dated Dec. 22, Obama wrote: “Each day I strive to ensure communities like yours are safe places to dream, discover and grow. . . . In 2013, her guests included the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old drum majorette and honor student from Chicago’s King College Prep High School who was killed by gunfire not long after participating in events related to Obama’s second inauguration. He also interned for City Councilman Ritchie Torres (D–Bronx) last summer He’s certainly not nervous about meeting the President — and is ready to offer some advice from his own life if the leader of the free world needs help dealing with his own challenges. “Everybody hits a hard time (and thinks), ‘This is so hard,’ ” Mendez said. “They’re not sure how they’re going to get over it. As Michelle DiGiacomo, CEO of DirectEffect had said, “When I pulled this one letter from a seventh-grade class at an Englewood elementary school, I couldn’t stop reading it,” “All this kid was asking for was safety.

After relocating from Seattle to Minneapolis and a number of difficult jobs, Erler’s husband is now back in the re-modeling industry, gets home in time for dinner each night with their family, and is enjoying continued professional growth. Obama has read letters from people each night throughout his presidency as a way to stay connected with Americans and hear their hopes, fears, hardships and accomplishments. “It’s one of the most important things I do — it’s right there next to my national security briefing and whatever policy issues that we’re supposed to be working on — because it reminds me of why I ran for office,” Obama said in Denver in July. “And so I have a chance just to hear from people as they tell their stories.” The president spent the summer meeting with many of these writers, taking them out for dinner or coffee. Fugate first wrote to the president three years ago, sharing how he went from being an unemployed new father continuing his education to obtaining his degree and working with low-income patients to obtain medical care.

Growing up in South Florida, Hammer knows firsthand the impacts of climate change and sea level rise and is raising awareness to the disproportionate effects felt along the coast and beyond. This March, Kelly will launch to the International Space Station and become the first American to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory for a year-long mission. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could have refused treatment for her pre-existing tumor, but on Aug. 28 — now fully insured — she had surgery to remove the tumor. From Google to IBM to Harris Healthcare Solutions, she has designed health care interoperability software, studied disease trends with data analytics, and built data warehouses for hospitals. The south Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts has seen dramatic improvement in the crime rate since the area was tied to the eponymous race riots of 1965 and a spate of gang violence in the ’90s — and Tingirides has worked toward and seen a continued decrease in crime since the start of the Community Safety Partnership program in late 2011.

Shetty is the global emergency health coordinator for International Medical Corps, a critical partner in the U.S.-supported effort to bring the Ebola epidemic under control in West Africa. While serving a six-year prison sentence for robbery, Walker, now 27, vowed never to get caught in the revolving door of a life of crime and continued incarceration.

Working for the local school system, Woodward, 43, wasn’t making enough money to support herself and her three children, the youngest of whom has special needs. She started working for Chrysler in 2010 on the assembly line, and after doing both jobs full time, working 17 hours a day, Tiairris was in a position to move solely to Chrysler — a union job that makes her a member of United Auto Workers Local 7.

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