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Schakowsky State of the Union guest: Evanston's Carolyn Murray; son gunned down last year

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carolyn murray.jpeg Carolyn Murray. Photo by Joel Lerner, Sun-Times Media Group

WASHINGTON--Evanston's Carolyn Murray, whose son Justin was shot last year, will be the guest of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) at President Barack Obama's Tuesday State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

Schakowsky is throwing a spotlight on Murray as Congress is considering a variety of measures to curb gun violence, prompted this time by the Sandy Hook school massacre and Obama is expected to push the House and Senate to act in his address. Democrats are being asked to use their State of the Union guest tickets to bring victims of gun violence to the House chamber for the speech.

Justin Murray, 19, was visiting from San Diego when he was gunned down in front of his grandmother's Evanston home on Nov. 29, 2012.

As Schakowsky noted in a release, "as a prior Naval Reservist and longtime community activist, Ms. Murray began organizing a gun buyback program in the summer of 2012. She even organized an event held on December 15, less than three weeks after Justin's death, where nearly 50 guns were collected.

"Ms. Murray continues to take a stand against gun violence through her work as the Co-Chair of West Evanston Strategic Team and with the Evanston Community Foundation.

"I'm so grateful to welcome Carolyn Murray as my State of the Union guest this year. Ms. Murray has turned her pain into power through her tireless work against gun violence and she is truly making a difference in our community, preventing further violence and saving lives," Congresswoman Schakowsky said. "Our home district in Illinois has seen a great deal of gun violence already this year. It's crucial that we take action against gun violence, so that we can prevent the senseless deaths in the future."

"I'm very excited to join Congresswoman Schakowsky at the State of the Union Address in honor of my son, Justin," said Ms. Murray. "Too many young people have been killed by guns, and it must end. As the mother of a young victim, I'm committed to doing everything in my power to end gun violence. The time is now for Congress to act to save lives."

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