WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVB) — Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Tops shooting survivor Zaire Goodman, will be Senator Chuck Schumer’s guest at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Everhart gave a testimony before Congress in June 2022 and, along with other families, helped ensure the passing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, one of the most significant gun safety bills in the last 30 years.

“I am proud to announce that Zeneta Everhart will be my guest to President Biden’s State of the Union address. She has been an incredible force for improving the lives of people in Western New York for over a decade. There is no one who embodies ‘Buffalo Strong’ more than Zeneta. The bipartisan gun safety legislation we passed this past year would not be possible without the strength and resiliency from people like Zeneta, and the survivors of gun violence — families and advocates who turned their grief into powerful action and broke decades of congressional gridlock to finally pass commonsense gun safety laws. This long overdue and much needed step in the right direction has undoubtedly helped save lives. From her career in public service to distributing thousands of books to children across WNY, Zeneta represents the best of the City of Good Neighbors and I am honored that she will join me at the State of the Union.”

Chuck Schumer, on Everhart attending the State of the Union

Everhart was born and raised in Buffalo and is a graduate of Kensington High School, Villa Maria College and Canisius College, and has had a long history of advocacy. Along with her son, she started Zeneta and Zaire’s Book Club, a collection of children’s books about Black history and featuring Black characters, with the goal of distributing them to local schools and libraries.

In only a few months, they have collected over 17,000 books.

She also founded the Single Moms Club of Buffalo in 2018, which works to provide important information to local moms on community resources and help engage with elected officials and government agencies. 

It is an honor to join Senator Schumer at the 2023 State of the Union. The heartbreaking massacre on 5/14 took the lives of 10 beautiful souls from our community and seriously injured three others. My son Zaire and the community has been through so much over the last nine months and it brings me great joy to represent Buffalo on such a national platform. Senator Schumer has been there in our corner since tragedy struck our family. Not only has he gone to work in Washington to push for stronger guns laws that will protect Zaire and everyone in the country, just nine days after the massacre he was in Buffalo to help Zaire celebrate his 21st birthday. I am honored to be in attendance for such a momentous occasion, and look forward to hearing how President Biden plans to take this country into the future as a country that not only protects its citizens from the ills of the world; but also how the country will double down on being a place that is inclusive and welcoming to ALL of its citizens.

Zeneta Everhart, on attending the State of the Union