The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) joins the nation in remembering the 20 victims of the shootings in Tucson, AZ, on January 8. Initiated as an attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically injured, the violence took the lives of six people and seriously wounded many others. All of us at IWPR send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have died and hope for the full recovery of those who have been injured.

It is an unspeakable tragedy when the gifts and potential of human beings are taken from our community–from a federal judge who worked to uphold justice for many years to a nine-year-old child eager to learn more about government and how she might one day serve her country. We mourn with the victims’ families, as well as for the loss of future leadership.

In the weeks and months ahead, we must take the time to remember the many contributions of those who were killed and harmed, and to honor the courageous actions of the individuals who came to their aid. We must also keep in mind that there is much more work to be done to create a nation where women, men, and children of all backgrounds and viewpoints can enjoy safety, freedom, and the right to live in peace.

Some time ago, a similar act of violence involved the shooting of President Ronald 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.