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Tucson's largest picnic to promote togetherness

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Tucson's largest picnic to promote togetherness

Tucson’s largest community picnic will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon on the University of Arizona mall.

The picnic, hosted by the 2011 Greater Tucson Leadership class, is meant to bring the community together after the Jan. 8 shooting, said class member Romi Wittman.

GTL is dedicated to leadership in education, community development and civic engagement for the overall care and commitment to the Tucson community.

The event will promote volunteering, and foster a sense of community, but also include fun for all age, organizers said.

There will be music from Jovert, the Tucson Magnet High steel drum band, raffle prizes and activities for children.

Ben’s Bells will provide attendees with materials to paint tiles, which will be used in a "Commit to Kindness" mosaic mural somewhere in Tucson, Wittman said.

Six were killed and 13 others wounded in the attack, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in what authorities charge was an assassination attempt at a meet and greet with the congresswoman's constituents.

"Our goal is to continue to enhance the togetherness of Tucson while affording opportunities to get involved whether as a volunteer, community leader or a GTL class participant. We want to continue the community spirit brought about by the unfortunate events of January 8 to emphasize the positivity of Tucson and the many opportunities for all of us! We are continually finding positive ways for Tucson to move forward," said Kim Bourn in a GTL news release.

Ron Barber, Giffords’ district director, who was shot twice on Jan. 8, and Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of UMC’s trauma division and one of the surgeons who treated Gifford’s after the shooting, will speak at the event.

Barber will provide an update on the status of the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, which his family created in order to sustain and build upon the outpouring of good will, compassion and kindness that was the community’s response to the shooting, organizers said.

Rhee will speak about the needs and benefits of community volunteerism and leadership.

Attendees have to get ready for some fun, and bring a picnic blanket, Wittman said.   

Editor’s note: Romi Wittman has written for

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