Building on the theme of a safe, strong and proud America, President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress tomorrow, which among others would be attended by Sunayana Dumala, the widow of an Indian engineer who was shot dead in a hate crime. The State of the Union address is a traditional annual speech of the US president to a joint session of the Congress where he gives an account of the situation in the country. President Trump yesterday said he will focus largely on trade and immigration during his first speech. “It’s a big speech, an important speech, we covered immigration,” Trump said. “We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory, including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the theme of the address is, ‘Building a safe, strong, and proud America,’ which is exactly what the president has worked to do during his first year in office. It will be must-watch TV, she said as she gave details of the guests who will be sitting in the First Lady’s Box.
“Some of these individuals’ stories are heroic, some are patriotic, others are tragic. But all of them represent the unbreakable American spirit, and will inspire our nation to continue growing stronger, prouder, and more prosperous,” Sanders said. Ahead of the event, several Democratic lawmakers have said that they will not be attending the address in protest of Trump’s recent alleged comments on certain communities and countries. Trump and the White House have denied making those comments. Prominent among not to attend the State of the Union address include Indian-American Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal. “With other members of Congress, she will stand in solidarity with immigrants and reject the White House’s racism, sexism, and hatred. Together, they’ll honour grassroots leaders and lift up a common-sense progressive agenda that will serve all Americans,” her campaign said yesterday. However, the number of such lawmakers are not more than a dozen yet. A large number of Congressmen have invited guests from across the country to attend the event.
Sunayana Dumala, the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was shot dead in the hate crime by an American navy veteran at a bar in Olathe city last year, would be among those attending the event. She has been invited by Congressman Kevin Yoder. “Each year, I have the privilege of inviting one guest to attend the president’s State of the Union address. This year, I have invited Sunayana Dumala, widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian immigrant who was tragically killed in the hate crime shooting last year at in Olathe,” Yoder tweeted.
The Indian-American community has welcomed the move. Brijpal Singh, the chairman of the India Association of Kansas City, said this step will not only assure the Indian community but also send a strong message about the unstinted support from the elected representatives and administration towards the Indian community. “This further strengthens our belief and confidence in the American system and its Constitution where everyone is respected, loved and is welcome,” Singh said in a letter to Yoder. “I asked Sunayana to be my guest as a recognition for her tireless efforts to promote peace, and as a message to the Indian community that the US is a nation of immigrants and they are welcome here,” Yoder said.