A gospel singer and civil rights activist known as "the Voice of Selma," the prime minister of Sweden, and a middle school teacher whose student loan debt was forgiven: these are some of the people who will be special guests at tonight's State of the Union address.

It's part of the annual tradition for the White House to invite guests who bring to life the themes of the presidential speech. Members of Congress have adopted the tradition, inviting their own guests to the gallery to highlight their legislative priorities.

Here are some of the people who will sit alongside first lady Jill Biden for the speech tonight.

  • Bettie Mae Fikes, a singer and civil rights leader who marched on Bloody Sunday.
  • Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden, whose country officially joins NATO on Thursday.
  • Keenan Jones, a middle school teacher in Plymouth, Minn. whose student loan debt was forgiven.
  • Jazmin Cazares, who became an advocate for tougher gun laws after her sister Jackie was killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Tex.

  • Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers, with whom President Biden marched on the picket line earlier this year.
  • Steven Hadfield of Matthews, N.C., whose prescription costs for blood cancer and diabetes were dramatically lowered by the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Kameryn Pupunu, a police officer from Lahaina, Hawaii who helped save people in the deadly wildfire in August, a tragedy that killed four of his immediate family members.
  • Rashawn Spivey of Milwaukee, who owns a plumbing business replacing lead pipes, projects funded by Biden's infrastructure law.
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