Ron Barber was one of the 19 people shot during a "Congress on Your Corner" event that would become one of the saddest days in Arizona's history.
One year after the shooting rampage that claimed six lives, Barber is joining forces with community members and organizations to commemorate January 8th, 2011 with a series of events focused on healing and hope.
Barber has returned to work as the district director for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured in the shooting, although he still has to cope with physical and emotional trauma. He hopes the commemorative activities will serve as a unifying force in the community, he says.
"I'm very grateful to have a second chance at life and want to make the most of it," he says in an Arizona Illustrated interview. "It was a tragic day in every way and our community was shocked by it and people who were there did a wonderful job of trying to help us. And what happened afterwards I think really defines who we are, and as we go into the first anniversary it will again define Tucson as a very compassionate and caring and kind community."
These include a vigil on the University of Arizona Mall that Giffords and husband Mark Kelly are scheduled to attend.
The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is managing several funds that arose in the wake of the tragedy, including the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding established by Ron Barber and his family.
Clint Mabie, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, had only been on the job for six months when the shooting took place. He and his family had moved from Chicago to Tucson when he was hired for the position.
"It's been extraordinary and humbling to be part of this community," he tells Arizona Illustrated. "To come in and see the response and see the cohesiveness of the community. There hasn't been any time where we've had to reach out to the community in this past year where the answer hasn't been 'yes.'"
Find a list of commemorative events here.