One of Kansas City's early advocates for children living in poverty will be in the audience tonight watching the President's State of the Union Address, combining the invitation with an opportunity to take her message to Congress.
Co-founder of Operation Breakthrough, Sister Berta Sailer was surprised at the call from Representative Emanuel Cleaver's office with the invitation and flew to Washington last night. She saw it as a chance to give members of Congress the story of how legislation affects the poor.
"It's an honor to be asked and it's a responsibility of ours as an agency," Sailer said. "We won't see, obviously, President Obama, but we will listen to him and we will be able to talk to people who are making laws that affect our families, some for really good and some that set them back."
Operation Breakthough has provided a range of social services for more than forty years, including daycare and after-school care, for hundreds of families.
Sister Berta Sailer and the agency's head of social programs, Kim Davis, will use the entree of Cleaver and Senator Claire McCaskill to tell elected representatives the laws they make can change cycles of poverty, and how they see it among families every day.
President Obama presents the State of the Union speech tonight. The President is expected to focus considerable time on his economic agenda. KCUR will carry special coverage from NPR including reports from Capitol Hill, expert analysis and the GOP response. Live coverage begins at 8 p.m. on KCUR and KCUR.org.