A Chicago youth, who wrote a poignant letter to Santa over the holidays, will be among 21 people invited to sit in first lady Michelle Obama‘s box Tuesday during President Barack Obama‘s State of the Union address, according to a White House statement.
Thirteen-year-old Malik Bryant (pictured), of Chicago’s South Side, is one of eight people who wrote letters to the president. His heartfelt letter to Santa over the holidays resonated with the the first couple, which also hails from the crime-torn city. The seventh-grader, whose favorite subject is math, lives with his mother, Keturah, and his two sisters.
“All I ask for is safety,” Malik wrote to Santa. “I just wanna be safe.”
Instead of mailing the letter to the North Pole, a non-profit organization – moved by Malik’s plea for the fundamental right to feel safe in his community – redirected the letter to the White House, the statement says.
President Obama responded to the child, saying Malik’s “security is a priority for me in everything I do as President.”
Other invited letter writers include 39-year-old Astrid Muhammad, who obtained insurance through the Affordable Care Act and had a brain tumor removed, the statement says. She wrote a letter to the president last year and thanked him for the health care law.
Prophet Walker of Carson, Calif., was invited to the address after turning his life around. He served a six-year prison sentence for robbery, got out and became a construction engineer, the statement says.
Watch video of White House staffers calling letter writers: