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Article posted: 2/10/2013 5:30 AM

Slain teen's mom Schneider's guest for State of Union

By Kerry Lester

The mother of a slain Chicago teen who has quickly become the face of gun violence will be a suburban congressman's guest to the State of the Union address Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Deerfield Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider reached out to Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, the mother of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, the King College Prep honors student and majorette who was shot to death in a Chicago park Jan. 29.

Services for Pendleton were held Saturday in her South Side neighborhood and were attended by a number of public officials, including first lady Michelle Obama.

Schneider's office Saturday said the idea stemmed out of wanting to help "highlight the need for action in enacting common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence."

On Jan. 31, he held a gun violence roundtable in Wheeling, with community members representing a variety of opinions on the issue.

"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 released to the Daily Herald. "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."

Democratic House members have been encouraged to invite guests affected by gun violence to this year's address, as part of the party's push for gun control legislation. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, is bringing Carolyn Murray, an Evanston mother whose son Justin was shot in November, as her guest.

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