I have being reading many posts this week by writers who are saddened by what happened in Orlando this week and discouraged by the political climate of our dear country. One of the questions that keep repeating is what can be done? I would suggest reading about Gabrielle Giffords and checking out the organization she has founded, Americans For Responsible Solutions. What follows is her biography that is posted at her web page, americansforresponsiblesolutions.org.
For more than 15 years, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has dedicated herself to public service.
As the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, she represented her community in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005, and then in Congress from 2006-2012. Her success was credited to her reliance on kindness, candor and hard, grueling work.
In Congress, Giffords represented a diverse area that covers 9,000 square miles including a 114-mile border with Mexico. She quickly became a leading champion of border security, energy independence, and the needs of military families and veterans. Consistently ranked as one of the most centrist legislators in Congress, she is a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship, and government accountability.
Congresswoman Giffords, who was first a registered Republican, considers herself a moderate Democrat.
On January 8, 2011, at a “Congress On Your Corner” event in Tucson with her constituents, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head from near point-blank range. In stepping down from Congress in January 2012, Congresswoman Giffords said, “I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.”
In 2013, Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions as a way to encourage elected officials to stand up for safer communities. Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly will not allow leaders across the country to forget that Americans are demanding responsible solutions to gun violence.
A third generation Arizonan and long-time gun owner, Congresswoman Giffords believes in the constitutional right of all Americans to safe and responsible gun ownership.
Congresswoman Giffords holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.A. from Scripps College, where she was awarded a William Fulbright Scholarship to study for a year in Chihuahua, Mexico.
She resides in her beloved hometown of Tucson, Arizona.
What follows is Gabrielle Gifford and her husband, Mark Kelly’s open letter and call to action –
IN WAKE OF COUNTRY’S DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTING, NATIONAL LEADERS RELEASE OPEN LETTER CONDEMNING HATRED & GUN VIOLENCE, CALL FOR COMMONSENSE CHANGE
Jun 13th, 2016
June 13, 2016 – Following the deadliest shooting in American history on Sunday morning at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, national leaders have released an open letter condemning hatred and gun violence, and calling for commonsense change that makes our communities safer from gun violence.
The full letter is here and follows below:
Dear Fellow Americans:
We write to you in shock and grief – and to ask for your help.
Many of you reading this letter know our names. You’ve opened emails from us, called on our leaders to enact responsible change with us, worshipped with us, wept with us, knocked on doors with us. We have relied on the strength and energy of individual Americans to help achieve the goals we all work toward – from women’s rights to civil rights to LGBT rights to worker’s rights to veterans’ rights.
Today, we are coming together not as individuals, but as one voice to condemn the violence and hatred that reared its hideous head in Orlando. We call on the powerful advocates who have known both the debilitation of hatred and the tragedy of gun violence – be it public violence or private, a arass shooting or a stray bullet, murder or suicide – to join with us in condemning the hatred and gun violence that threatens not only our families, but who we are as a country.
We’ve seen too much in the past twelve months: from Americans murdered at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, to labor union members killed at a holiday lunch in San Bernardino. Young and old gathered together in prayer in Charleston, only to be gunned down in hate. Women – mothers and daughters and sisters – hurt or killed in a relentless drumbeat of domestic violence made deadly by firearms. And now, LGBT Americans, celebrating Pride month in the most joyously American of ways – by dancing – hunted like animals. We know that hatred directed toward a person for one reason today will be hatred directed toward someone else for a different reason tomorrow.
Today, we come together to say ENOUGH, and to pledge to stand together against violence and hatred. Our America is one that, despite the odds, is always moving forward toward a more perfect union, celebrating our differences and from them, building strength. We celebrate each other’s labor, love, and patriotism, and together we believe that we have a responsibility to leave a country for our kids and grandkids that is more fair, more just, and safer.
Whether you are young or old, white or black or Latino or Asian or Native American, working in a factory or a field or a call center or a hospital or an elementary school, whether you go to church or temple or a mosque or nothing at all, we are all Americans. We stand for diversity that makes us stronger, and for a belief that we can make our country safer.
It is not written in our Constitution that we must live in fear of each other and of troubled individuals with guns. We can do better. Some states have already made progress – they show us that when we put aside our incidental or momentary differences and stand shoulder to shoulder, we have enormous power.
A famous scholar said hope was made of two powerful ingredients: anger at how things are, and the courage to change them. We will not be driven backwards to live in isolation from one another and in fear of violence. And together, with millions of Americans who share our values of pluralism, liberty, and neighborly care, we will stand strong and work toward a safer nation for all of us.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions
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