Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation
January 8, 2011 is a tragic, unforgettable day in the history of our community, our state and our nation.
The shooting that occurred at Congresswoman Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner” event in Tucson wounded thirteen and killed six individuals who were participating in a fundamental act of democracy.
Our community came together in the days that followed to provide comfort and support to one another at three spontaneous memorial vigil sites: the Safeway where the shooting took place; the front lawn of University Medical Center, where many of the victims were treated; and at Congresswoman Giffords’ Tucson district office. Each of these temporary memorial sites were maintained for as long as weather permitted before the memorabilia was then carefully packed for safekeeping.
In the months that followed the tragedy a group of survivors, family members and community leaders began discussing the need for a permanent memorial to remember and honor those that perished or were injured as a result of assassination attempt against Congresswoman Giffords at the “Congress on Your Corner” event on January 8, 2011.
Tucson’s January 8 Memorial Foundation was formally established as a non-profit organization in February 2012 to provide strategic planning and financial support to develop the permanent memorial.
Board members of the foundation have been meeting regularly since its inception to begin the process of creating a memorial. To craft a vision for the permanent memorial, they held stakeholder meetings with survivors, victims’ family members, first responders and medical personnel, reviewed all of the public input received in the year following the tragedy and researched other memorial sites around the country.
While reflecting on the importance of the memorial, the board has continually returned to the core principles that inspired our neighbors to attend the “Congress on Your Corner” event that day. The important bedrock principles of a representative democracy require that citizens actively participate in their governance. Likewise, for our government to function properly, our elected representatives must be accessible and willing to listen to the concerns of their constituents.
Not all of those who stood in line that day agreed with one another on every issue, but they all cared so deeply about their community that they were willing to spend a chilly Saturday morning outside a supermarket, waiting to speak with their Congresswoman about the future of our country.
When people connect with their government, when agents of our government create opportunities for their constituents’ voices to be heard, this is our democracy at its best.
Therefore, the Tucson January 8 Permanent Memorial will be a place where citizens gather to reflect and remember; a placewhere citizens engage and exercise their most basic fundamental rights; and a place where we honor those that gave their lives in pursuit of a better democracy.
Please join us in creating this memorial.