On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump addresses Congress for the first time.
Though it’s technically not a State of the Union address (Trump will give his first of those early next year), as is tradition, First Lady Melania Trump will sit next to a number of selected guests that were personally invited by the first couple.
Megan and John Crowley
Crowley, 20, is a student at the University of Notre Dame. Diagnosed with Pompe disease, which damages the heart and skeletal muscles, she wasn’t expected to live past childhood. Her brother, Patrick, has the same disease, according to the Wall Street Journal. Inspired by his children’s plight, her father, John Crowley, started a pharmaceutical company in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease. The company, which started with just five people, has since grown into a 100-person operation.
Jessica Davis & Susan Oliver
Davis and Oliver are the widows of two police officers, Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, who were killed on the job in 2014. Their deaths prompted the introduction of the Davis-Oliver Act, which seeks to strengthen local law enforcement’s involvement in matters of immigration, and defunded then-President Obama’s executive actions concerning illegal immigration. The bill was introduced by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June 2015.
Merriweather is currently a master’s student at the University of South Florida. Like Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, she’s an advocate for school choice.
She’s the first member of her family to graduate from high school and, later, college. She did so after struggling with her academic work and frequently moving from school to school, before enrolling in Florida’s school choice scholarship program, the Step Up for Students tax credit.
“I don’t understand how anyone could object to giving disadvantaged kids more options so they are more likely to be successful,” Merriweather wrote in an article published on TBO in 2015. “Students in poverty need all the help they can get, and all tax credit scholarships do is offer them another helping hand.”
Maureen McCarthy Scalia
Scalia is the widow of Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court Justice who died last year. Her presence is undoubtedly an unspoken push from the Trump administration to the Senate to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch, who Trump nominated to fill Scalia’s seat on the bench in January.
Jamiel Shaw, Sr.
Shaw’s son, Jamiel Jr., was killed by an undocumented immigrant when he was 17 years old in 2008. Since then, Shaw has become an outspoken advocate for deporting gang members who are undocumented immigrants, and has tried to get “Jamiel’s Law” on the ballot . “Jamiel’s Law” seeks to deny sanctuary city protections to members of gangs, and to increase investigations into undocumented immigrants who are in gangs, according to their website.