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Remembering Jan. 8

Tucsonans celebrate health, healing, unity

Community urged to hit the trails and experience Southern Arizona

Tucsonans gathered Saturday morning at Reid Park’s DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center to commemorate the victims of the Jan. 8 shooting and to celebrate health and unity — the goal of the BEYOND: Commemorate, Celebrate, Commit main event.

The communitywide group of events was organized by the Tucson trails tribute, which was set up by Gabriel Zimmerman’s family, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' aide who was killed during the Jan. 8 shooting.

BEYOND was created to motivate people to become physically active and to connect with other community members, said Ross Zimmerman, Gabriel's Zimmerman's father, while addressing the crowd of roughly 300 people.

Tucson is surrounded by more trails than any other city and Southern Arizona has the highest biodiversity in the nation, he said.

“We feel strongly that getting people out of their houses, and doing things is healthy,” he said.

Throughout the event attendees were able to enjoy dance performances and a steel drum band.

“The method is healing through dance and music,” said Uzo Nkem Nwankpa, the founder of the Uzo Method, an alternative healing group.

There were six activity stages present in different corners of the park where people could participate in bean-bag toss games, or making bracelets through the non-profit organization Ben’s Bells.

At each station a letter is given that when going to all stations spell out ‘BEYOND.’

The prize for participating in all six-activity booths is half-price admission to the Reid Park Zoo.

This event reflects what Gabriel Zimmerman would have wanted, said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

“Tucson is known for its wonderful weather, or its outdoors,” he said. “Tucson should also be known as a community of civility, respect and understanding."

This weekend isn’t only about Jan. 8, 2011, but also about bringing the community together, he said.

“It just really makes me appreciate more every day, it can be gone in a second,” said Tucsonan Andrea Lopez.

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

Tucsonans participate in a dance at BEYOND's main event Saturday at Reid Park.