Richmond youth invited to President Obama’s State of the Union address

Washington, DC – Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) has invited a young man from Richmond, CA, who serves as a Senior Fellow as part of the city’s Operation Peacemaker to be his guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight in the U.S. Capitol.  

According to the City of Richmond, the primary purpose of the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) Peacemaker Fellowship is to save lives. The fellowship is designed to create a viable space for selected individuals ages 16-25 to contribute in a real way to building and sustaining community peace, and community health and well-being, with the express purpose of eliminating gun violence in Richmond.

Each member of Congress receives one ticket for a guest to sit in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Representatives to watch the speech.  Miller has met with Richmond’s Peacemakers during their visits to D.C. in 2011 and is impressed by the work the young men do to develop a life path forward and mentor other young men in similar situations.  After learning that the Peacemakers were going to be in Washington this week for the National Mentoring Summit, Miller extended an invitation to the organization.  The group selected D’vondre Woodards, a 22 year old who grew up in Richmond, to attend the address as Miller’s guest.

Woodards has been involved with the Fellowship program for more than a year.  He has already achieved Senior Fellow status as a result of his willingness to work with rival neighborhood individuals to create peaceful resolutions to existing conflicts.  He attends school and works. Raised in Richmond, his parents were largely absent as he was growing up.  Woodards said he credits the power and impact of the Fellowship opportunity and mentoring for his personal transformation.  He said that he now mentors young men in his community as a result of his appreciation for those people who mentored him at critical times in his life.

“I am glad to have the opportunity to share this unique opportunity to attend the President’s State of the Union speech with someone from my congressional district who has dedicated himself to making our community a better place to live,” said Miller. “The President’s speech will focus on making America a better place for all of us to live in and I know that Mr. Woodards and I will be listening closely to this important address.”

More information and photos of Miller and Woodards will be available later this evening.  

NEWS MEDIA: News media interested should contact Amy Peake at or at (202) 262-2980.

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