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5 Inspiring Women Who Will Attend This Year’s State Of The Union As Guests

by Lydia Wang

Tonight, Trump will be giving his State of the Union address to members of Congress, and it’s bound to leave us with tons to talk about. Whether you have the emotional energy to sit through the speech, or you’ll just be reading the major points afterwards, one thing you should educate yourself on is the lineup of awesome women who will attend as guests of leaders like Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Kamala Harris. Some of these guests are better known than others, but all of them are using their voices to change their communities—and the world. 

1. Ana María Archila

Ocasio-Cortez’s guest is the New York activist known best for confronting Jeff Flake in an elevator after the senator stated he would support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. “He needed to understand that women feel incredibly enraged about the thought of our stories, and of our experiences of surviving sexual violence being dismissed, laughed at, disbelieved, and I think I just felt a great sense of urgency, and I think I saw in his face that he could not escape the emotion,” Archila told Anderson Cooper after the event.

“Her act of bravery elevated the stories of survivors across the country and had a profound impact, changing the vote’s proceedings and our national conversation around believing survivors,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram.

2. Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik

Kamala Harris announced several days ago on her website that her State of the Union guest will be an air traffic control specialist who lost her home in a California wildfire in 2017. “Since the tragic loss of their home, Trisha, [her husband], and their three children have worked diligently to bounce back and reestablish a sense of normalcy in their lives, even amidst an unnecessary government shutdown,” Harris wrote in her statement. (Pesiri-Dybvik’s husband, she explained, worked without pay for over a month through the recent government shutdown.)

“I am grateful to Senator Harris for inviting me to be her guest to the State of the Union this year and humbled to be the face of my fellow Californians who have been affected by the government shutdown and recent wildfires,” Pesiri-Dybvik said, also according to Harris’ website.

3. Consuela Barber-Lopez

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib shared on Twitter that she’ll be bringing a local organizer, Consuela Barber-Lopez, with her to the address. “From environmental and economic justice to stopping the deportation of our neighbors, Consuela is a driving force,” Tlaib said.   

4. Nicole Smith-Holt

Senator Amy Klobuchar will bring a Minnesota mother who lost her son in 2017; he had type 1 diabetes and died after not being able to afford insulin. Smith-Holt has since been advocating for affordable insulin for those living with type 1 diabetes. In a tweet, Smith-Holt wrote, “I am honored to attend the 2019 SOTU as Senator Klobuchar’s guest. Senator Klobuchar has been a supporter of #Insulin4All and is working hard to pass laws that lower insulin prices in the US to protect all T1Ds.”

5. Estefany Pineda

Rep. Ayanna Pressley will bring University of Massachusetts student and DACA recipient Estefany who, according to Senator Ed Markey on Twitter, came to the U.S. at nine years old to escape violence in El Salvador, and is currently studying International Relations and Public Policy.

“Estefany, I am so honored to have you join me as my guest today. Your advocacy on behalf of your community and on behalf of Dreamers, TPS and Asylum seekers everywhere inspires us,” Pressley shared on Twitter.

Top photo: Ana María Archila and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, via YouTube / popdemoc

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