What started out as a single day of commemoration has grown to a year-round commitment to public health. Following the tragic shooting on the morning of January 8, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ “Congress On Your Corner,” the Southern Arizona community spontaneously came together to honor, remember, and show solidarity for those that were killed, injured, or traumatized by the event.
As the first anniversary of the tragic day approached, family members of slain congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman saw an opportunity to not only pay tribute to their son and the other victims, but to provide meaningful activities for community members to reconnect with each other while participating in health-related outdoor activities.
In January of 2012, they launched the inaugural BEYOND event, which included as many as 36 individual events spread across the entire greater Pima County region on a single day—including hikes, fun runs, bike rides, scavenger hunts and outdoor dance opportunities. The annual tradition to help people be healthier physically and mentally and more connected as a community has continued each year thereafter.
Since that time, through the growing support and collaboration of its community partners, BEYOND evolved—literally going “beyond” its initial mission—and formed into its own 501c3 organization whose mission is to promote the use of good science and rational analysis to improve individual and community health.
A broad-based coalition of Southern Arizonans—including hospitals and health organizations, environmental advocacy groups, community centers, outdoor recreation groups, and others—worked together to define BEYOND’s year-round focus. What evolved from that collaboration was a unique health formula emphasizing four key pillars and related objectives that support optimum physical and mental health, forming the basis of Beyond’s mission.