House Democrats to Celebrate Diversity at Trump's Address to Congress

Jan 30, 2017 Issues: Disabilities, LGBT Rights

To show support for marginalized communities, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), joined by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), are asking colleagues to celebrate diversity and inclusion at the President’s address to a joint session of Congress on February 28. Members of Congress are encouraged to invite someone who has, despite discrimination, made a positive impact on his or her community, exemplifying the ideals of our great nation.

The six Representatives also expressed serious concerns over President Trump’s history of divisive rhetoric targeting and alienating women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, and people of differing faiths.

“It is our hope that their presence in the House Gallery will remind President Trump that he is not the arbiter of patriotism. This country belongs to all of us, and his rhetoric of intolerance will not stand,” said the group in a letter to members of the Democratic Caucus.

“I was deeply disappointed that instead of dedicating himself to uniting the country, President Trump spent the majority of his campaign vilifying and alienating minority communities of all colors, genders, beliefs, abilities, and orientations,” said Langevin, who co-chairs the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. “Many of my constituents are afraid of what the next four years will bring, and I don’t blame them. Our guests embody the diversity that makes America great, and it is the very diversity that I hope President Trump will represent going forward in a way that is befitting of the honor and dignity of his office.”

“The United States is the greatest country in the world because of our diversity, liberty, and freedom. Our diversity is a strength, and it is incumbent on us to rise up and show President Trump that we will not back down from the values we hold dear as Americans. We will always stand by our brothers and sisters, and, on the night of the State of the Union, we proudly welcome Americans negatively impacted by Trump’s words and deeds into one of our most treasured institutions,” said Polis, who co-chairs the LGBT Equality Caucus.

“Mr. Trump’s attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, the differently abled, women, and many others have divided the country. Furthermore, his harsh and divisive words have actually made many less safe, fueling the stark rise in hate crimes we have seen since he started his campaign,” said Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Now that he is President, it’s time for Mr. Trump to start focusing on unity. He needs to know that any plans of his that further isolate or denigrate people in this country will not make us safer, but rather will put entire communities as risk. Bringing guests that reflect the true diversity of our country will serve as a powerful example that everyone is welcome here.”

“President Trump’s campaign for the presidency has left millions of American fearful of what his Administration will mean for their families and their communities,” said Cicilline, who co-chairs the LGBT Equality Caucus. “Unfortunately, his first decisions as President, including selecting advisors, picking a Cabinet, and signing divisive and potentially unconstitutional executive orders, have done nothing to reassure the American people that his Administration intends to respect our nation’s commitment to diversity and equal rights for all. Our nation’s strength lies in its ability to accept and celebrate the differences among us, and it is my hope that our guests remind the President that, no matter what, we will always stay true to our fundamental values.”

“No matter who is in the White House the United States must remain committed to the morals and values that have shaped our nation. Embracing our diversity makes us safer, more resilient, and puts us on the cutting edge of innovation. We cannot allow divisiveness and hatred to corrode our political discourse because it is the range of the American experience that makes us strong,” said Richmond, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus.

“President Trump, the American people have heard your comments about women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, and people of differing faiths, and are sorely disappointed,” said Lujan Grisham, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “Instead of building on the strengths of our nation and uniting us, your words and actions are tearing us apart. Our guests and I will stand as proud symbols of the rich diversity and unity that has for generations added to the legacy of America’s promise.”