Naperville Student Attends Joint Address

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Samia Abdul-Qadir, a junior at Naperville North High School, recently got the chance to see President Trump’s first joint address to Congress up close.

“I was invited by Congressman Foster to attend the joint session of Congress, which is basically the President’s first address to both houses in Congress,” said Samia Abdul-Qadir. “I was allowed to sit in the gallery seating and watched the whole speech go down.”

Congressman Bill Foster, who represents Illinois’ 11th District, first met Samia, who is Muslim, at a panel discussion he hosted in February at the Islamic Center of Naperville. At this meeting she described instances of discrimination she has experienced based on her religion and appearance, since President Trump was elected; something that left an impact on many.

“So I was blown away by Samia’s courage to stand up at our meeting and tell of her experiences,” said Congressman Foster. “I thought it was important for President Trump, when he looked up in the audience to see the faces of people who are affected by the message he is choosing to send out, because I don’t believe it represents what America should be.”

Beyond just the joint address, Samia and her mother got a tour of the Capitol and met with other members of Congress and their guests.

“It’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, I didn’t think I would ever be invited to the joint session of Congress and it was never something that I had thought about before, but getting that invitation definitely opened a few doors for me,” said Samia. “I had to find the silver lining in everything that is going on right now, and this is it.”

An experience that left Samia feeling more politically informed, and like her voice matters.

“I wanted to say thank you to Congressman Foster for actually giving me the opportunity to go, and for listening to my voice and letting my opinion be heard,” said Samia.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.