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Hadiya Pendleton's Mother to be Schneider's Guest at State of the Union

Hadiya, 15, was a Chicago honors student who was shot and killed last month. Schneider invited her mother as his guest. She will now be sitting, along with Hadiya's father, with Michelle Obama during the president's speech.

Chicago shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton's mother will be Congressman Brad Schneider's guest at Tuesday's State of the Union Address, according to his office.

Hadiya, 15, an honors student at King College Prep in Chicago, was gunned down in a park last month about a mile from President Obama's Kenwood home. She had recently returned from his inauguration, where she had performed with her school band.

Schneider invited her mother, Cleopatra Cowley, to attend Tuesday's State of the Union Address last week. The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that Cowley and Hadiya's father, Nathaniel A. Pendleton, will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech.

Regardless of the seating arrangements, Cowley will be there as Schneider's guest, explained his spokeswoman Staci McCabe. 

“I am honored and humbled to be able to have Cleopatra Cowley, Hadiya’s mother, join us at the State of the Union address," Schneider said in a statement to Patch. "Her voice is a powerful and tragic new one joining the chorus of concerned citizens calling for sensible action to reduce gun violence in the future. Our hearts were broken by the sudden and tragic passing of Hadiya Pendleton. As a nation we can’t continue to watch as members of our community—children—are being killed day after day.” 

Michelle Obama was one of the many city, state and national dignitaries who attended Hadiya's funeral this weekend. Her death has come to symbolize the cost of gun violence for many.

The president will use the State of the Union address to press for new gun control measures, the Tribune reports. 

Neighboring Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky announced last week that Evanston resident Carolyn Murray—whose 19-year-old son, Justin, was fatally shot in November—will be her guest of honor at the State of the Union Address.

Silvio Dante February 13, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Agree 95% Ed...Yet, I do not think that any problem is too complex to be solved. It will take leadership and political courage to find a solution. Of course, that is something lacking in our nation on both sides of the aisle. You are right, it cannot be solved. lol Agree also that the upcoming "war on guns" will also prove a failure and just another thing that will divide us as a nation. The Chinese, along with the rest of the world, are laughing at us.
Sully February 13, 2013 at 05:13 AM
I tend to agree with both of you. The individual issues alone will never change as long as there is no cooperation in Washington, and when added up and put together, the combined problem will take generations to fix. Money is power and those that have the power don't care one bit about what happens to the rest of the country. Social Issues are not important to these people because they don't live in the same world. Mitt Romney was possibly the most out of touch presidential candidate this country has ever seen. As long as money controls, nothing will change. The partisan divide will get bigger and those at the top will watch and laugh as those below them fight each other and ignore those who are really responsible for the country's downfall.
Vicky Kujawa February 13, 2013 at 05:31 AM
Jeez, I am certain that those 500+ murders in Chicago last year were committed with legally obtained firearms owned by FOID card carriers........
Vicky Kujawa February 13, 2013 at 05:32 AM
....and Obama is 'in touch'? LMAO!
Sully February 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Wow, I never would have predicted that response, Vicky. You're just so clever.

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