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.