Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Receives First Annual YWCA Changemaker Award

Rep. Giffords speaks to 400+ at the YWCA’s Women’s Leadership Conference at Loew’s Ventana Canyon

The YWCA Tucson honored former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords with the first Annual Changemaker Award yesterday at their 26th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, attended by more than 400 women. The YWCA established the Changemaker Award to honor those individuals whose courageous and concrete actions help build a world of peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Rep. Giffords, who was introduced by her mother, Gloria Giffords, inspired the crowd saying, “I’m still fighting to make the world a better place – and you can, too. Get involved with your community. Be a leader, set an example, be passionate, be courageous, be your best. Thank you very much.”

YWCA Tucson Board President, Cheryl House, told those gathered, “Gabby is an inspiration who has become known across the country for her courageous public service, resilience in the face of violence, advocacy on behalf of women and commitment to building safer communities for all.”

Earlier this month Rep. Giffords penned an opinion column for Time magazine celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and calling on Congress to build on the legacy and success of the Violence Against Women Act by closing the loopholes that let dangerous stalkers and abusive dating partners buy guns.

Kelly Fryer, Executive Director of the YWCA Tucson, explained the organization has been an incubator for change, empowering women to create the change they wish to see in their own lives, in our community and in the world since 1917. “The Changemaker Award is designed to honor those who, like Gabrielle Giffords, exemplify that work,” Fryer said.

As the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, Rep. Giffords represented her community in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005, and then in Congress from 2006-2012. She and her husband, Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions as a way to encourage elected officials to stand up for both the 2nd amendment and safer communities by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.

The YWCA Tucson serves more than 25,000 people each year at the Frances McClelland Community Center, located on the western edge of downtown, which houses the Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity and the Latina Leadership Initiative. The mission of the YWCA is eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. For more information call 520-884-7810 or visit www.ywcatucson.org.

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Photo (c) YWCA Tucson: Giffords with members of the YWCA Tucson after receiving the first Annual Changemaker Award, September 23, 2014.

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