Mt. Pleasant Woman Reflects on Experience at State of the Union Address

Melissa Isaac, a Saginaw Chippewa tribal member from Mt. Pleasant, and an educator focused on improving schooling and mental health for the state’s indigenous people, was one of First Lady Jill Biden’s honorary guests for the State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

Isaac wasn’t given much time to prepare. She was first notified last Friday she was invited, one of eight special guests of the First Lady to watch the address together from the gallery.

“It was a real shock and it was a real honor,” said Isaac. “I’m very overwhelmed by it it’s pretty amazing.”

Tuesday’s State of the Union Address wasn’t the first time Melissa Isaac met first lady Jill Biden.

Back in Oct., Biden came to Mt. Pleasant as she was looking to highlight programs focused on improving student mental health.

“But she chose ours and it was just a real honor and a real surprise and that’s why she came to visit so that we could have a listening and learning session,” said Isaac.

That impression on the First Lady earned Isaac an invite to Washington D.C for the address.

“Then we were shuttle to the White House for the reception, I can’t believe I’m saying this it’s so unreal,” stated Isaac.

Isaac was at the reception with the other guests, all with a different story and reason they were chosen by the First Lady.

“It was all great and it was all amazing but that might’ve been my favorite part was meeting the other change makers powerful people who are working from the heart and have these experiences that they are trying to change the world make their communities better,” explained Isaac.

And of course the speech itself, highlighting some of the work she is focused on back at home.

“Was great to hear in the speech the mental health priorities great to hear about education and community colleges,” Isaac said.

And through it all, after the address, the response she has gotten from indigenous people from across the country made it all worth it.

“The comment that meant the most to me was I saw myself through you at that event and that just meant the world to me,” said Isaac.

It was a quick turnaround for Isaac as she was back home in Michigan earlier Wednesday afternoon.