BALTIMORE, MD – The NAACP issued the following statement in the wake of the shooting in Arizona over the weekend:
The NAACP extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the six murdered in Tucson, Arizona, and offers its thoughts, prayers and well wishes to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her family as she attempts a brave recovery from the tragic shooting.
“Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a personal friend,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. ”Gabby, her husband Astronaut Mark Kelly and I served together as Leadership Fellows for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations from 2003-2005. They met on our first trip to China in 2003 and married in 2007. Gabby is an extraordinary leader and committed public servant. I ask every American to please keep Congresswoman Giffords, her family and the families of the other shooting victims in your prayers.”
“This senseless attack is a threat to democracy, and we must stand together to support Congresswoman Giffords, and all the victims of this tragedy,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Congresswoman Giffords never shied away from conversations with her constituents, as evidenced by her Congress on Your Corner community events. It is tragic that such willingness to talk about the issues of the day led to this deplorable attack. As we pray for a speedy recovery, we must heed Congresswoman Giffords’ call to ‘stand back when things get too fired up.’ Otherwise, we run the risk that the heated political climate will manifest itself in violence as it did on Saturday.”
Last July, at the NAACP Annual Convention, the delegates passed a resolution urging civility within the public discourse. Within that resolution, the NAACP called upon ‘all people to cease and desist in the use of violence as a means of political expression, as it has no place in a democratic society.’
“This horrific shooting occurred at an event as American as a Norman Rockwell painting, a meet and greet between Congresswoman Giffords and her home town constituents,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP's Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy.“This type of interaction is crucial for our democratic system, and we cannot let the attack prevent the continuation of such interactions in the future. As we try to make sense of this horrific act, the NAACP reiterates our call for civility in the public discourse. It is truly tragic that personal attacks, combative rhetoric and even deadly violence are dominating the debate and preventing average Americans’ voices from being heard over the roar of intolerance.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.