In late September, as senators deliberated about whether or not to proceed with Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, a sexual assault survivor confronted Senator Jeff Flake in a now-viral video. She urged Flake to vote against Kavanaugh because of the allegations of sexual assault against him, and her emotional plea resonated with countless other survivors. Now, that activist, whose name is Ana Maria Archila, will be Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s guest to the 2019 State of the Union address.
In addition to being one of the representative’s constituents, Archila is a community organizer and co-executive director for the Center for Popular Democracy Action. She’s also an immigrant, and she has spent 20 years advocating for immigrant rights—so her attendance at the State of the Union sends the message that Ocasio-Cortez prioritizes sexual assault survivors and non-native citizens. Speaking to The Intercept on February 4th, Archila said,
The admiration appears to be mutual. In a February 4th tweet, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that Archila is “living proof that the courage within all of us can change” the world. She attached a video from the Center for Popular Democracy that featured the two women talking about the upcoming address.
On February 2nd, the NY-14 representative hinted at her guest’s identity. She shared an image of a pin that said, “Well behaved women rarely make history” and wrote that she’d bought it for her guest.
Archila tweeted that she was “filled with hope by @AOC’s fierce spirit & her relentless belief that we all deserve to live in dignity & share in the abundance of our country.”
As The Intercept notes, all members of Congress bring guests to the State of the Union, and Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only one to make a statement with her invitee. According to HuffPost, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will bring Navy Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann, who is transgender. Dremann’s invitation comes after the Supreme Court voted to temporarily uphold the Trump administration’s ban on trans people serving in the military.
USA Today reports that the State of the Union will air on February 5th at 9 p.m. ET on all major cable news channels, broadcasting networks, and C-SPAN.