Former Sen. Gabby Giffords made a short, emotional and powerful plea at the Senate hearing on gun violence on Wednesday.
"This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans," she said, speaking slowly and deliberately.
"Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important," Giffords said, with her husband Mark Kelly beside her. "Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children."
"We must do something," she said. "It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you."
The Senate is holding a hearing on how to curb gun violence, with gun lobbyists and gun control advocates both speaking their sides. The hearing comes roughly six weeks after the shocking and tragic shooting at a Connecticut elementary school which left 20 children and six adults dead.
More on GlobalPost: US Senate turns to gun control: Gabby Giffords to testify
Giffords' plea took on a sense of grim irony as reports also surfaced on Wednesday of a 15-year-old girl who performed at Obama's inauguration being shot and killed on Tuesday.
Hadiya Pendleton, who performed with the King College Prep School Marching Band on Pennsylvania Avenue last week, was gunned down in a park a few blocks from her school, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Pendleton and a 16-year-old friend got caught in the middle of a gang war at around 2:20 p.m.
The Atlantic tweeted a picture of Giffords' hand-written notes for her speech:
Watch Giffords' speech, courtesy of The Daily Beast: