(WASHINGTON) -- Addressing the crowd at the EMILY’s List dinner Tuesday, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords told attendees she is, "still fighting to make the world a better place." After being aided onstage by two Arizona congresswomen, Giffords received a standing ovation from activists attending the event. EMILY's List supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office.
Giffords was shot in the head in January of 2011, at a meet-and-greet in Tuscon. Six people were killed and 12 others were injured in the shooting spree.
In November of 2012, a federal judge sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to life in prison without parole for the 2011 shootings. He was ordered to serve seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison.
"It has been a long, hard haul, but I am getting better," Giffords said. "I am working hard, lots of therapy: speech therapy, physical therapy, and yoga too. But my spirit is strong as ever."
The former congresswoman encouraged audience members to become involved in their communities and set leadership examples. "Be passionate, be courageous, be your best," she added.
During the awards dinner, Giffords gave a "rising star" award in her name to the House Minority Leader in the Georgia state legislature, Stacey Abrams. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein were also honored at the event, with Feinstein acknowledging Giffords' work for gun control.
"We will never forget," Feinstein said. "We will march on until this nation has a sane policy."
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