Rep. Gabby Giffords reflects on her shooting at DNC 2020: 'Fighting makes me stronger'

"I’ve put one foot in front of the other. I’ve found one word and then I’ve found another," she said.
/ Source: TODAY

Nine and a half years after she was gravely injured in a mass shooting, Rep. Gabby Giffords addressed the nation at the virtual 2020 DNC to show her support for Joe Biden's candidacy for president.

The former Arizona House representative and gun control advocate, 50, took the stage on the third night of the Democratic National Convention, which also featured speeches from actor and activist Mariska Hargitay, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former President Barack Obama and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

In Giffords' speech, she referenced the January 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, which killed six and injured 12 others, and her recovery process since, including skull surgery and years of physical and speech therapy.

"I’ve known the darkest of days, days of pain and uncertain recovery," she said. "But confronted by despair, I’ve summoned hope ... I’ve put one foot in front of the other. I’ve found one word and then I’ve found another."

Giffords didn't personally address Biden's history of policy-making relating to gun safety. Instead, her remarks focused on moving forward and creating a safer America after overcoming great difficulty. She said she sometimes struggles to speak after her injuries, but "I have not lost my voice."

"America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words," she said. "We are at a crossroads. We can let the shooting continue or we can act."

Giffords, who first was elected to Congress in November 2006, announced on Monday on Twitter that she would be speaking at the 2020 DNC.

"Speaking is still hard for me today, but leading a room full of Democrats in the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2012 @DemConvention was a turning point in my recovery," she wrote. "I walked away that night with even more hope and optimism to move ahead. I’m excited to speak this Wednesday!"

Chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former House Rep. Gabrielle Giffords deliver the Pledge of Allegiance on September 6, 2012, on the final day of the Democratic National Convention.MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP via Getty Images

Giffords' emotional appearance at the DNC in September 2012 came eight months after she officially resigned from Congress to focus on her recovery.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords appears on stage at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on the third day of the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2016.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

She also spoke at the 2016 DNC in favor of that year's Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After being introduced by her husband Mark Kelly, who's currently running as a Democrat for U.S. Senate in Arizona, Giffords told the crowd, "Strong women get things done."

In March 2020, Giffords released a video endorsing Biden, saying, "I know Joe. He was there for me, time and time again. He will be there for you, too. He will fight gun violence. He will fight the (National Rifle Association). He will beat Donald Trump. He will lead with his heart."