Tyre Nichols’ family will sit with First Lady Jill Biden to hear president’s State of the Union

Ryan Wilson/AP

The family of Tyre Nichols, who died after being arrested and beaten by Memphis police, will join First Lady Jill Biden Tuesday night to hear the president’s State of the Union address.

RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, and Rodney Wells, his stepfather, will sit in the box with other First Lady guests, including U2 lead singer Bono, known for his efforts to combat AIDS, and the Ukraine ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova.

Nichols was 29 when he was beaten after a traffic stop in Memphis on Jan. 7. He died three days later.

Nichols grew up in the Sacramento area. His family and friends gathered last week at the North Natomas skate park for a candlelight vigil to celebrate his life.

Guests will sit in the House chamber’s balcony, where other guests invited by California members of Congress plan to view the speech. President Joe Biden will deliver his address from the House podium starting at 9 p.m. EST.

California guests

California Attorney General Rob Bonta plans to attend as the guest of Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno. California Labor Federation leader Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher is being hosted by Rep. Katie Porter, D-Orange County.

Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, is hosting Rocklin residents Chris Didier and Laura Didier. They lost their son Zachary, 17, to fentanyl shortly after Christmas in 2020. Zachary thought he was taking a painkiller.

He was an Eagle Scout and soccer player with no history of drug use. His parents have become active in raising awareness of fentanyl’s dangers.

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Sacramento, has invited Mervin Brookins, founder of Brother 2 Brother Mentoring in Del Paso Heights.

“After making a series of poor decisions in his youth which lead to serving 21 years in prison, Merv has since committed his life to being a positive influence and role model for young people in Sacramento,” said Bera.

He called Brookins’ journey “a testament to making the most of second chances.”

Brookins, a Sacramento native and former high school and college football star, spent 21 years in prison. He went on to found Brother 2 Brother Mentoring, a nonprofit organization, to help at-risk Sacramento-area youth. It helps provide gang intervention and prevention.

California Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla will have as his guest Councilman Henry Lo, the former Mayor of Monterey Park from December 2021 until last month.

On Jan. 21, the eve of Lunar New Year, a gunman killed 11 people in a mass shooting.

Also attending tonight, and sitting in the First Lady’s box, will be Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the suspect at an Alhambra dance hall and prevented another attack that night.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, will host Enes Freedom, a former NBA center then known as Enes Kanter.

Freedom, raised in Turkey, has been outspoken against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Freedom and has been active in protesting China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims.