The parents of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendelton will attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday as guests of first lady Michelle Obama, according to local news reports. 

“It’s bittersweet,” Cleopatra Cowley told NBC News after she and her husband landed in Washington on Monday evening. “Because it’s as a result of losing my daughter, but it’s also exciting to have an opportunity like this.”

The White House hasn’t released the official list yet but several of her guest have confirmed with multiple news sources that they’ll be sitting in the House chamber as guests of the first lady listening to Obama’s State of the Union address.

The Daily Caller combed through national and local news reports to pull together a list of the known guests reportedly invited by the White House this year:

  • The parents of murdered Chicago teen, Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed with a handgun days after attending Obama’s inauguration

  • Desiline Victor, a 102-year-old Haitian-American woman who waited in a long line to vote in Florida


  • Louisville machinist Bradley Henning

  • Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber

  • Newly-minted Medal of Honor recipient and former Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha

  • Wisconsin police officer Lt. Brian Murphy, who was wounded by gunshots in the Sikh temple shooting last August

  • Lee Maxwell, a 22-year-old wind energy technician from Wilton, Iowa

  • Bobak “Mohawk Guy” Ferdowsi, an Iranian-American flight director from NASA representing high-skill immigrants

  • Las Vegas student [and undocumented] immigrant Alan Aleman, who has benefited from Obama’s “deferred action” program

  • New Glarus Brewing Company founder and regular Obama small business example Deb Carey

  • Dr. Peter Hudson, co-founder and CEO of iTriage, an iPhone app that helps locate doctors

  • Susan Bumgarner, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Oklahoma City

  • Two lesbian couples “fighting for immigration equality and extended rights for same-sex military couples”

  • Menchu DeLuna Sanchez, Filipino immigrant and nurse credited with heroism during Superstorm Sandy

The White House said the first lady’s guest this year “are Americans from middle class families whose day-to-day lives would benefit from the policy proposals the President will unveil, victims of gun violence, military families, people championing the cause of immigration reform, among others.”

The Las Vegas Sun confirmed Alan Aleman will be at Obama’s speech on Tuesday. Obama mentioned Aleman last month during the immigration reform speech he delivered at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas.

An excerpt of Obama’s speech is below:

And that’s still true today. Just ask Alan Aleman. Alan is here this afternoon — where is Alan? He’s around here — there he is right here. Alan was born in Mexico. He was brought to this country by his parents when he was a child. Growing up, Alan went to an American school, pledged allegiance to the American flag, felt American in every way — and he was, except for one: on paper.

In high school, Alan watched his friends come of age — driving around town with their new licenses, earning some extra cash from their summer jobs at the mall. He knew he couldn’t do those things. But it didn’t matter that much. What mattered to Alan was earning an education so that he could live up to his God-given potential.

Last year, when Alan heard the news that we were going to offer a chance for folks like him to emerge from the shadows — even if it’s just for two years at a time — he was one of the first to sign up. And a few months ago he was one of the first people in Nevada to get approved. In that moment, Alan said, “I felt the fear vanish. I felt accepted.”

So today, Alan is in his second year at the College of Southern Nevada. Alan is studying to become a doctor. He hopes to join the Air Force. He’s working hard every single day to build a better life for himself and his family. And all he wants is the opportunity to do his part to build a better America.

The White House is expected to release the official list of guests later today.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/02/hadiya_pendletons_parents_will_join_michelle_obama_at_the_state_of_the_union.html


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