LOS ANGELES — The father of slain Los Angeles High School football standout Jamiel Shaw II will be among the six guests seated with first lady Melania Trump for President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress today.
Jamiel Shaw spoke at several of Trump’s campaign events, including the Republican National Convention, where he praised Trump’s support of ending illegal immigration.
Jamiel Shaw II was shot and killed in 2008 near his Arlington Heights home by a gang member who prosecutors said mistakenly perceived him as a gang rival because he was carrying a red Spider-Man backpack.
Pedro Espinoza, convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced to death, was living in the United States illegally at the time of the killing. He had been freed from jail two days before the shooting without immigration authorities placing a hold on him.
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Other guests to be seated with Melania Trump will be:
• Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, widows of Placer County sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis and Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver, who were killed in the line of duty in 2014 by a man living in the nation illegally. Their husbands’ names are memorialized in the Davis-Oliver bill, which is aimed at increasing cooperation between federal and local officials to enforce immigration laws.
• Megan Crowley, who was 15 months old when she was diagnosed with Pompe disease, a rare inherited neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness. She was not expected to live more than a few years. Her father founded Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, a five-person startup that grew to a 100-person company. She is now a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Notre Dame.
• Denisha Merriweather, who benefited from a Florida program that awards scholarships to children of low-income families to attend private schools. After previously struggling with her coursework, she went on to become the first member of her family to graduate from high school and college.
• Maureen McCarthy Scalia, the widow of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The speech in the House chamber continues the tradition of presidents delivering a formal address to a joint session of Congress during their inaugural year. Trump will deliver his first State of the Union in 2018.
The speech will begin at 6 p.m. PST, with the theme of the renewal of the American spirit, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
“The president will lay out an optimistic vision for the country, crossing traditional lines of party, race and socioeconomic status,” Spicer said during Monday’s press briefing at the White House.
Trump will “invite Americans of all backgrounds to come together in the service of a stronger and brighter future for our nation,” Spicer said.
“You can expect a speech grounded firmly in solving real problems for every American -- how can we make sure that every American who needs a better job (gets) one, how can we get kids who are trapped in failing schools into better ones, how we can keep gangs and drug violence out of our neighborhoods and communities,” Spicer said.
“The president will address the Americans who have been waiting for help from their leaders for too long and let them know that help is finally on the way.”
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