As we process the tragic shooting in Arizona, read what members of the NCRW network are saying.
In a Women's Media Center exclusive, "Giffords Tragedy: What's the Message to Young Women?," Gloria Feldt writes:
The natural human tendency is to back away from public service after such a frightening episode. But the best way to honor the sacrifices of public servants like Gabrielle Giffords—as well as Judge John Roll who was killed in the attack and all the others—is to create a culture that lifts up and protects leaders who won’t be deterred by anti-government ranting.
If there is a lesson to learn from the horrible episode, it is less about decrying our declining civility and more about teaching everyone from their earliest years how a democratic government works. How to debate and discuss issues vigorously, how to embrace controversy in a positive way to elevate public awareness of the issues. To let the passion for public service that drives Gabby Giffords inspire us to emulate her leadership until there are so many of us we cannot be silenced. And to hold close the American values of tolerance and pluralism, of optimism that we can solve problems, and believe that though we are many, we can come together as one to do so. That we are the government.
The Ms. Foundation for Women has released a statement, reminding us that words matter:
We must once and for all reject the politics of violence, rhetorical and otherwise, because lives, we understand ever more profoundly today, are quite literally at stake.
In an e-mail yesterday, The White House Project wrote,
Now is the time for political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, to set an example for civic discourse that will tackle our country’s most pressing issues. They must be responsible for the power of their words. In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in divisive, unpunished language, where hate is an acceptable form of political discourse...We need, more than ever, a diversity of voices and leadership, acting in concert, collaboratively, and engaging in effective discourse with the best interest of our country in mind.
AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman also issued a statement, commending the service of our elected officials:
AAUW firmly believes that Capitol Hill leadership and staffers are hardworking individuals who under no terms deserve to be the targets of senseless violence just for doing their jobs. Instead, we need to commend their efforts to represent us and recognize the challenges they face every day.
In the days after this tragedy, AAUW hopes for peace, justice, reason, and most of all, healing for everyone who has been touched by this senseless violence.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research reminds that (unfortunately) this is not an isolated incident:
Some time ago, a similar act of violence involved the shooting of President Reagan's Press Secretary, a man named James Brady. We as a nation needed to choose a response to this tragedy and we ultimately passed  bipartisan legislation named for Brady, requiring background checks for gun purchases.
Today we face a similar challenge. It is time, once again, to come together in constructive, respectful dialogue in search of solutions that will build a safer world for all.
How are you processing this senseless violence? Please share thoughts and links to helpful articles in comments! Now, more than ever, it is important that we come together to support the daily work we do.