BY TROY MASTERS | President Obama has personally invited Ryan Reyes, 33, partner of Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, the gay man who was killed in the San Bernardino terrorist attack in December, to attend his final national address on the state of the nation.
Reyes will be the only surviving family member from the San Bernardino terror attack in attendance at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
Ryan has been outspoken in his sentiments against the rise of religious intolerance in America. He will take a seat in the balcony at the State of the Union address, next to an empty chair that will represent Daniel.
Ryan penned an article for The Pride LA hours after the shooting in which he said:
“This tragedy was committed by a radical group.
We do not hold all Christians accountable for the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, so why do we blame all Muslims for the actions of THEIR version of Westboro? It makes no sense.
The twisted actions and beliefs of a few should not be used to view the majority.
Muslims are just as loving and caring as anyone else. It made Daniel sick and continues to make me sick, that Americans refuse to drop this way of thinking.
Muslim people are just as desperate to capture the radical groups as anyone else.
By joining forces and working together through love and understanding, we can defeat those that perpetrate these acts.
My heart and sympathy goes out to all Muslims that are not members of these radical groups. I am sorry that, for whatever reason, people cannot seem to understand that the radical groups and terrorists do NOT speak for all Muslims.
Just know that I do not blame you for this and I love you as my brothers and sisters in humanity, just as Daniel would.”
His message captured national attention at the time and also caught the eye of an appreciative White House. Since those words in The Pride LA Ryan has appeared on almost every news show in American talking about tolerance and love and memorializing Daniel.
When President and Michelle Obama visited San Bernardino in December he met with Reyes privately. Later during that meeting in an assemblage of all present family members the President invited people to ask questions and Reyes took the opportunity to express his sentiment that we must love and not demonize Muslim people. The President and Michelle both embraced Reyes at the end of that meeting and expressed their gratitude for his message.
The President also announced during that meeting that he would be taking some executive actions that he hoped would address the root of the gun violence in America.
Ryan told The Pride LA ,“I am honored to have been invited by President Obama because at the end of the day I consider myself a regular person. I am not a political commentator or leader of any kind. So to be invited because of what I consider to be my common sense view is nothing short of amazing. I am hopeful that this will create a change that unifies us more as a nation and as a species. Lately it seems like we have started to lose too much of humanity, and when that happens we are setting ourselves up for destruction of our own humanity.”
When asked about yesterday’s expulsion of a Muslim woman from a Donald Trump rally, Reyes said: “I commend her bravery for doing such a thing and having the belief that people are inherently decent. When it comes to Chump, I mean Trump, this is the exact thing I am speaking out against. As a possible leader that supposedly loves this country and wants to make it better,he should not be trampling on the rights that are granted to those that are legal citizens of this country.
His generalizations about all Arabs or Muslims being associated with ISIS not only further shows his bigotry, but also his downright arrogance and stupidity.
Rather than running on ego, ALL politicians and political leaders should be running with humility and appreciative of our differences; we are all still brothers and sisters in humanity.
Failure to see this will lead to our demise.”
Reyes will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama and other honored guests in the balcony. He says he will be thinking of Daniel.