“I believe we all have courage inside,” Giffords said. “I wish there was more courage in Congress. Sometimes it’s hard to express it. I know. It’s been a hard two years for me. But I want to make the world a better place more than ever.”
In 2011, Giffords was badly injured during a mass shooting at a constituent event she held outside a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz., that left six others dead. Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, subsequently founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a political action committee with the mission to counterbalance gun lobby spending in next year's election.
At the ceremony, Caroline Kennedy said her family too was "still suffering the heartbreak caused by gun violence."
“No one should have to lose a husband, a wife, a father, a child to senseless murder,” Kennedy continued, according to the New York Times. “But as our honoree has shown, out of that pain and tragedy, we must find the strength to carry on, to give meaning to our lives, and to build a more just and peaceful world.”
Attendees at the event included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).