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First Lady Michelle Obama Reserves One State of the Union Seat for Victims of Gun Violence

First Lady Michelle Obama Reserves One State of the Union Seat for Victims of Gun Violence

By Danica Lo

On Tuesday night, President Obama will deliver the final State of the Union of his administration from the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol at 9 P.M. ET.

The speech will be live-streamed online at as well as simultaneously broadcast on most major television networks and NPR. This morning, First Lady Michelle Obama released a list of guests who will be seated in a box with her and alongside Dr. Jill Biden, and Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett.

In all, the First Lady will host 23 guests — including non-profit founders, activists, veterans, small business owners, local government leaders, students, and even regular people, just like you and me. The White House's announcement explains:

For the President’s final State of the Union address, the individuals who will be seated in the guest box of First Lady Michelle Obama represent the progress we have made since the President first delivered this speech seven years ago — from the brink of a second Great Depression and two costly wars to an economy that is growing and renewed American leadership abroad. Their stories — of struggle and success — highlight where we have been and where America is going in the future, building on the best of what our country has to offer. The guests personify President Obama’s time in office and most importantly, they represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous.

But there will be one notable absence from the First Lady's box at the State of the Union. According to the announcement, the White House plans on leaving one chair empty — a symbolic seat for victims of gun violence in the United States.

We leave one seat empty in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice — because they need the rest of us to speak for them. To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence — survivors who’ve had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this.

Will you be watching the State of the Union address Tuesday night?

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Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images