Sunayana Dumala, the widow of an Indian engineer who was shot dead in a hate crime in US, would be among several guests to attend President Donald Trump’s first formal State of the Union address on Wednesday. Trump’s speech would be around the theme of a safe, strong and proud America.
The State of the Union address is an annual speech of the US president to a joint session of the Congress where he gives an account of the situation in the country.
On Monday, President Trump said he will primarily focus on immigration and trade during his first speech. “It’s a big speech, an important speech, we covered immigration,” he said. “We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory, including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut.”
The theme of the address is, ‘Building a safe, strong, and proud America,’ said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, asserting this is exactly what the president has worked to do during his first year in office.
“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 while giving details of the guests who will be sitting in the First Lady’s Box.
Meanwhile, several Democratic lawmakers have expressed their disinterest in the address, in protest of the US President’s recent alleged comments on certain communities and countries. However, Trump and the White House have denied making those comments.
Indian-American Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal would be among those not attending the address. “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 Monday.
Despite this, guests from across the country have been invited by a large number of Congressmen. Sunayana Dumala, the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was shot dead in a hate crime by an American navy veteran last year, would also 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 move has been welcomed by the Indian-American community. “This further strengthens our belief and confidence in the American system and its Constitution where everyone is respected, loved and is welcome,” said Brijpal Singh, the chairman of the India Association of Kansas City, in a letter to Yoder.
The Congressman said that he invited Sunayana 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.”