Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords wowed a crowd of Democratic activists Tuesday evening telling the crowd gathered for an event for Emily’s List “it has been a long, hard haul, but I am getting better.”
“I am working hard, lots of therapy: speech therapy, physical therapy, and yoga too,” Giffords said with a laugh, before clearly urging those gathered to keep working hard and with a smile said she is “still fighting to make the world a better place and you can too.”
“My spirit is strong as ever,” Giffords said to a thunderous standing ovation. “Get involved with your community, be a leader, set examples, strong women get things done. Be passionate, be courageous, be your best.”
Giffords, addressed the group at an awards dinner for Emily’s List, an organization that works to elect female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. Giffords gave a “rising star” award in her name to Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
“It is reaffirming to know you have voices like Gabrielle Giffords out there that are speaking truth to power and saying that we have to make better decisions so I am deeply honored,” Abrams told reporters.
In early 2011, Giffords was shot and six others were killed in a massacre outside of a Tucson, Ariz. grocery store where she was meeting with constituents. Last year, she along with her husband Mark Kelly announced the creation of Americans for Responsible Solutions, to push for gun control on both the state and federal levels.
Tuesday night Giffords was introduced by two Arizona Democrats Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema. Kirkpatrick, noting her own rancher background, said she knows tough when she sees it.
“We know when someone’s got grit, we know when someone’s got guts and that’s Gabby Giffords,” Kirkpatrick said.
Other female Democratic leaders including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke and praised Giffords, calling her an “inspiration.”
The evening also honored Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, celebrating their long careers as well as their historic Senate run in 1992.
Feinstein also lauded Giffords for her “toughness and resilience,” as well as her “courage.”
“We will never forget, we will march on until one day this nation has a sane policy with respect to seeing only legitimate people are able to purchase weapons in this country,” Feinstein said. “Please pursue and we will follow. “
This was the Giffords’ first time addressing the Emily’s List dinner in person, but in 2012 she delivered remarks in a pre-recorded video.