Meet 20 Gun Violence Survivors, Advocates Attending Tonight’s State of the Union Address

Manuel Oliver advocates for stronger gun laws at a March for Our Lives press conference. His son Joaquin was killed a year ago in the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (Photo credit: March for Our Lives)

This post will be updated as more guest announcements are made. Last updated: February 5 at 8:30 p.m.

President Trump will likely ignore America’s gun violence crisis during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5. But gun violence survivors and gun safety advocates will be in the House Chamber to remind the nation of their loved ones and to remind us how urgent and personal this issue is.

Members of Congress are sending a message to the president—and to the country—that gun safety is at the top of their priority list.

Meet the gun violence survivors, families, and gun safety advocates who will be attending the address.

Fred Guttenberg | Parkland, Florida

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Fred Guttenberg will attend as the guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fred has been an outspoken advocate for gun safety after losing his daughter, Jaime, nearly a year ago in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“I am both honored and optimistic as gun safety will be front and center… I should be watching on a couch with my complete family, not sitting at The State Of The Union because of Jaime’s murder from gun violence, one of the 40,000 plus last year.” —Fred Guttenberg

Charlie Mirsky | Parkland, Florida

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Charlie Mirsky will also attend the address as one of Speaker Pelosi’s guests. Charlie is the political director of March For Our Lives, which he helped found after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Mattie Scott | San Francisco, California

Mattie Scott’s son was shot and killed in 1996. Her son’s death inspired her to begin advocating for gun safety laws, and she now heads the San Francisco Chapter of the Brady Campaign. She will attend the State of the Union as a guest of Speaker Pelosi.

Rhonda Hart | Santa Fe, Texas

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Rhonda Hart pictured with her children, Tyler and Kimberly.

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher invited Rhonda Hart, whose daughter Kimberly was killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas in May 2018, to be her guest. She’s become a leading voice in the fight for stronger gun safety laws—calling out Senator Ted Cruz for his inaction and demanding more from lawmakers.

“Glad to have Rhonda Hart as my guest at next week’s State of the Union. Her daughter Kimberly was a victim of the shooting at SFHS last year. She fights for gun violence prevention, and I’m proud to bring that fight to Washington.” —Rep. Fletcher

Michelle Roberson | West Chester, Pennsylvania

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Michelle Roberson (far left) attends a press conference for state gun safety legislation in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s State of the Union guest Michelle Roberson’s daughter, Bianca, was senselessly shot and killed in a road rage incident in 2017. Bianca had recently graduated high school and was planning to attend college on a full scholarship.

Cameron Kasky | Parkland, Florida

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Cameron Kasky and Kyrah Simon attend the Chicago Peace March in June of 2018.

Cameron Kasky was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when 17 of his classmates were shot and killed a year ago this month. He is a co-founder of March for Our Lives and has been a strong advocate for gun violence prevention. He will attend the State of the Union address with Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

“[S]omething changed after the Parkland tragedy. The surviving students used their voices to inspire change. That’s why my #SOTU guest is @cameron_kasky” —Rep. Swalwell

Margaret and Jeff Binkley | Tallahassee, Florida


Three months ago, Margaret and Jeff Binkley lost their daughter Maura in a shooting at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida. They have been invited to attend the address with Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath, who lost her own son Jordan to gun violence.

Mary Majok | Aurora, Colorado

Mary Majok, a Sudanese refugee, lost her son Potros Mabany last year to gun violence when he was just 21 years old. She will join Colorado Congressman Jason Crow at the State of the Union address.

“Mary Majok fled civil war in Sudan to find a better life for her four children. In March, she lost her son Potros to gun violence. He was just 21 years old. Humbled to have Mary join me at #SOTU2019.” —Rep. Crow

Dr. Joseph Sakran | Fairfax Station, Virginia

Dr. Sakran speaks at a press conference on gun violence prevention with congressional leaders and medical professionals.

A gunshot survivor and trauma surgeon, Dr. Joseph Sakran has been a leader in the gun violence prevention movement for many years. Congressman Mike Thompson of California invited Dr. Sakran to join him at this year’s address.

Lane Murdock | Ridgefield, Connecticut


High school junior, gun safety activist, and Giffords Courage Fellow Lane Murdock will join Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut at the State of the Union. Last April, Murdock organized the National School Walkout against gun violence.

Andy Pollack | Parkland, Florida

Andy Pollack has been invited by Florida Senator Rick Scott. Pollack has been vocal since his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was shot and killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Empty Seat | Las Vegas, Nevada

Rep. Dina Titus represents the city of Las Vegas. Her seat will sit empty to represent the 58 lives stolen in the deadliest shooting in modern history that occurred in October 2017 in Las Vegas.

“I’m leaving my guest seat open in honor of the victims of the senseless mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas over a year ago.” —Rep. Titus

Malcolm J. Yates and Beverly Wright | Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon has invited gun violence survivors Malcolm J. Yates and Beverly Wright to be her guests at the State of the Union. Malcolm was 9 years old when he survived a shooting at a candy store that stole the life of his 5-year-old brother. He launched a community center in his brother’s name. Beverly lost her son Emein to gun violence when he was 23 years old. She’s been a fierce advocate for gun safety reform and went on to help launch a support group for families affected by gun violence.

Tiphanie Carter | Birmingham, Alabama

Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell will attend the address with Tiphanie Carter, whose husband Sgt. Wytasha Carter was shot and killed in the line of duty just weeks ago.

Alexandria Goddard | Portland, Oregon

Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici invited Alexandria Goddard, a student advocate for gun violence prevention who was an organizer for the Portland March for Our Lives last year.

Manuel Oliver | Parkland, Florida

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Rep. Ted Deutch invited Manuel Oliver to hear President Donald Trump’s speech. Manuel started the non-profit organization Change the Ref in honor of his son, Joaquin, who was 17 years old at the time of the shooting.

Jami Amo | Pennsylvania


Jami Amo will be the guest of Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean. Amo survived the Columbine shooting and currently lives in Pennsylvania where she advocates for gun safety.

Judah Samet | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Judah Samet survived the Holocaust and narrowly escaped the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. He’s attending the State of the Union as a guest of President and First Lady Trump.

Joshua Quick | Tallahassee, Florida

Rep. Al Lawson invited Joshua Quick, who stopped the gunman in the shooting at the Tallahassee yoga studio.

“Josh is not only a survivor of gun violence, he’s a hero… As we work to prevent gun violence in our nation, having advocates, such as Josh, will help move this vital conversation forward.” —Rep. Lawson