BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNEwYork) — A Long Island mother whose daughter was beaten to death by alleged members of the MS-13 street gang has been invited by the White House to attend the State of the Union address.
Evelyn Rodriguez has been a persistent advocate for ending gang violence since her 16-year-old daughter was murdered not far from their Brentwood home in September 2016.
Rodriguez will also meet with the president before Tuesday’s speech.
Her husband and Mickens’ parents will also attend the speech.
Other guests of the president include Americans who have battled wildfires in California and flooding in Texas, as well as a soldier who re-enlisted in the Marine Corps to fight against the Islamic State group after losing his legs and going blind from a roadside bomb.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Congressman Albio Sires who emigrated as a child from Cuba says he is disgusted by the president’s comments about immigrants and will boycott the speech.
One of the president’s harshest critics in the Senate, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, said he’ll be there.
“It’s not about Donald Trump’s view of the country, it’s about our nation as a whole and I want to respect the office and respect our nation and show but I respect my colleagues who are making a different choice,” Booker said. “I’ll be there, I imagine there will be lots I disagree and lots I’m sure I’ll believe are mischaracterizations of the truth, but I’ll be in those seats representing the state of New Jersey.”
New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez has invited the wife of detained immigrants rights Ravi Ragbir to be her guest.
Also, liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a critic of the president, will not attend as she embarks on a speaking tour.
There will be an alternative People’s State of the Union gathering at Town Hall near Times Square Tuesday night. It will feature speeches and performances by several activists and celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie Perez, Alyssa Milano and actor Mark Ruffalo.