5th year anniversary of “Beyond” on Jan. 9, 2016


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We committed to be better.
To be better together. (from Beyond website)

To spend more time with those we love,
and to reach out to those we don’t yet know.

To get outdoors and enjoy nature’s beauty, 
and to fully embrace all that life has to offer.

To push ourselves beyond our normal boundaries,
and to strive for that next peak on the horizon.

We will commemorate those we lost on January 8, 2011, celebrate the spirit of togetherness we felt in the days and months following the tragedy, and recommit ourselves to building a stronger, healthier future.

As this community-wide outdoor festival enters its fifth year, we will continue our journey BEYOND – towards a fresh set of challenges and new adventures!

For 2016, Beyond is moving beyond a single day of activities. We hope you joined us at one of the Beyond events on January 9, 2016.

For Beyond events from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. all over Pima County:

Check our event calendar for additional events during 2016.

Carolyn’ note:  It’s been 5 years since that fateful day of the Tucson mass shooting at the Safeway at Oracle/Ina.  6 innocent people died and 13 were wounded by a mentally ill, lone gunman, including former CD 8 Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.  How much has changed since then regarding gun safety?  And how many more mass shootings have there been since then? Answer: too many, including that one on  Dec. 14, 2012  at Sandy Hook Elem. School when 20 young children and 6  adult staff were shot & killed in Connecticut.  I cry too thinking about that horrific event, but let us move on beyond as well for gun safety.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


    • Yes, that was a very touching letter by Gabby. Hope she is able to overcome her disabilities and continue to inspire us.

  1. Message from injured ex Congresswoman Gabby Giffords about this 5 year anniversary of her shooting:

    “The New Year is a time of optimism and new commitments. For me, it’s a very powerful time: on January 8th, I think about how close I came to losing my life on a bright January morning five years ago, when a would-be assassin opened fire on me and my constituents, injuring 12 others and taking the lives of six.

    Even though I was shot in the head from three feet away, somehow I survived. And I made a decision that my new life would be lived as my old life was: in service of our country. One thing that means for me today is using my second chance to do everything I can to make this great country safer from the kind of gun violence that took the lives of those around me, and changed others’, and mine, forever.

    Instead of focusing on what I cannot do, I’ve tried to live without limits. I’ve set myself tougher and tougher goals. I’ve learned and delivered speeches. I jumped out of an airplane. I spent the night on one of our United States Navy’s aircraft carriers, the USS Carl Vinson. I’ve taken my French horn out of its case for the first time in years. This November, I rode 40 miles in Tucson’s annual charity bike ride, El Tour de Tucson.

    And along with my husband Mark Kelly, I have fought to make sure our leaders finally do something to save the lives of the 33 Americans who are murdered with a gun every day.

    Today, five years after I was shot, we are making progress. As Congress refuses to act, leaders in the states are embracing commonsense change that keeps guns out of the wrong hands.

    This week, we made even more. In the face of Congress’ inaction in addressing our country’s gun violence crisis, President Obama announced his administration is acting to significantly narrow the loopholes that let people buy guns without a background check. It is the right, responsible thing to do.

    The president’s reasonable proposal addresses a lethal problem: People in the business of selling guns avoid the current requirement to conduct background checks on their potential buyers by claiming not to be gun dealers, who are required under the law to do background checks.

    Go to a gun show, for example, and in the booth right next to these licensed gun dealers whose customers have to undergo a background check you will see people who operate outside of the rules, selling dozens or hundreds of the same guns each year without a background check because they can.

    The steps announced earlier this week will narrow those gaps by requiring anyone who sells a significant number of guns or operates like a commercial dealer to get a license and require their buyers to pass a criminal background check. Truly private sales, like simply selling a gun to a neighbor or a friend, will not be affected. But millions of firearms transactions that currently happen with no questions asked will now be subject to a background check.

    The president’s proposal makes another key improvement: it addresses the weakness in the background check system that allowed a dangerous man to buy a gun and murder nine innocent people in a Charleston, South Carolina church. It does this by increasing the number of background-check examiners by 50 percent, overhauling the system itself, and revealing which states do and don’t report essential background check records to the FBI.

    Other important provisions will require gun dealers to report lost and stolen guns, making it easier for law enforcement to crack down on the illegal gun trade, and to grow investment in gun safety technology and mental health treatment. This is just common sense.

    Almost three years ago, when a minority of United States Senators caved to their fear of the corporate gun lobby and blocked sensible, bipartisan background checks legislation, I said that those Senators had failed their constituents, and with every preventable gun death, made shame their legacy.

    Many of those same Senators, along with a lot of other elected officials and other candidates for president, will be quick to haul out the talking points the gun lobbyists in Washington gave them and attack the president’s reasonable action.

    They will warn of dire consequences.

    They will willfully spread misinformation.

    The truth is this: These new steps will hurt no one, but they will protect many.

    Around mile 32 of the bike ride I did this November, I almost gave up. I’m mostly paralyzed on my right side, and even though I’d been training for months, my body was tired and it was hard to keep going. But I remembered my goal. I had a team of friends and supporters with me, so we just kept pedaling together. And then we crossed the finish line.

    Reducing the number of Americans murdered or injured by guns is also not easy. Like I always say: it’s a long, hard haul.

    But we cannot falter now, and we cannot wait for a Congress in the gun lobby’s grip to prevent some of the 12,000 gun murders that happen in our country every year.

    That’s why I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with other responsible gun owners, with moms and teachers, with law enforcement, with veterans, and with the president in support of commonsense change that makes our country a safer place to live.”

    – Gabby Giffords

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