The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) offers our deepest condolences and solidarity to the families and victims of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8).
Congresswoman Giffords and 19 others were shot Saturday outside a Tucson grocery store during her first event in district after being sworn into her third term. Six people are confirmed dead and Giffords is fighting for her life. Amongst those confirmed dead is Federal Judge John Roll, Rep. Gifford’s Director of Community Outreach, Gabe Zimmerman and a nine-year-old child.
We echo Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s remarks when he blamed the violence on the toxic political culture fueled by partisan media.
“We have become the Mecca of prejudice and bigotry,” he said after describing the shooter as an unbalanced person who could be easily influenced by vitriol spewed by pundits.
Giffords won another term in a narrow victory that reflected a tough campaign against the 29-year-old Marine Veteran Jesse Kelly (R). Congresswoman Giffords stood by women’s rights and also approached immigration in a nuanced fashion. Because her district borders Mexico she was concerned about the impact of drug smuggling violence and therefore requested additional border security from both the Bush and Obama Administrations. However, she also called for increased work visas and was a vocal opponent of SB1070, a state law that requires law enforcement to conduct racial profiling.
As a social justice organization NLIRH condemns all senseless violence, especially against women and children, as a threat to our democracy and freedom.