Gabby Giffords, who narrowly survived being shot herself, unveils gun violence memorial in LA

EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Fighting is something former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona has been doing since she suffered a severe brain injury after being shot in the head while publicly speaking to her constituents in 2011.

At Exposition Park Tuesday, she unveiled a new memorial to bring awareness to the thousands of lives lost to gun violence every year. The display of well over 3,400 vases with white flowers represents a Californian who lost their life to gun violence in 2020.

Giffords, a passionate anti-gun advocate, reflected on how gun violence nearly cost her her life.

"I've known the darkest of days. Days of pain and uncertain recovery, but confronted by despair, I've summoned hope. Confronted by paralysis and aphasia, I respond with grit and determination," she said.

Giffords added that stopping gun violence takes courage, which is what fuels her passion for stronger gun control laws.

"Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone."

The former Congresswoman made the stop in California as part of a national tour featuring a gun violence memorial installation from state to state.

She unveiled a memorial at the National Mall in Washington earlier this year, which displays 40,000 flowers in remembrance of those killed by guns in the U.S. each year.

"What's happening with gun violence in our country today constitutes this country's worst nightmare," said LaWanda Hawkins, founder of Justice for Murdered Children, who lost her only son to gun violence.

"Our children are being gunned down on our streets every day. This year alone, in L.A. County, we have had over 500 gun-related homicides and that is heartbreaking and... unbelievable," she added.

Giffords said the country is at a crossroads.

"We can let the shooting continue or we can act. We can protect our families, our future."

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