Hundreds of people walked roughly two miles from a north-side park to U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords’ office Sunday to come together as a community in the wake of last week’s shooting.
“I wanted to show everybody that there’s still decency in this community,” said 20-year-old Amanda Hutchison, who organized the “Walk for Peace” event with her friend Amanda Lopez, 23.
Sunday’s walk started at McCormick Park, near East Glenn Street and North Columbus Boulevard, and ended at Giffords’ office.
It’s on the southwest corner of North Swan Road and East Pima Street.
At the congresswoman’s office, a steady stream of people continued to stop by an impromptu memorial to drop off flowers, cards, stuffed animals and other tokens.
Hutchison and Lopez, who met while working at a local call center, announced the “Walk for Peace” on Facebook and handed out 1,000 fliers at local grocery stores and at Wednesday’s tribute to the victims at the University of Arizona.
Hutchison didn’t know any of the victims, but “I had to do something,” she said. “I just wanted to get the community together and show people there’s still decent people in the world.”
The event started with a prayer from the Little Chapel of Hope’s Rev. Brian Kelly Fox.
Fox said in part: “We welcome those who come in Your name and bring blessings of healing, hope, love, unity and peace to Tucson, Arizona. We ask for the pure white light of God to form a ring of protection around this gathering, this community and those affected by Saturday’s (Jan. 8) events.”
Maria Burton and her daughter, Jazmin Reece, walked to Giffords’ office to support the community they call home.
“I’ve lived in Tucson for 35 years, and I felt it was important to be out here,” Burton said. “It’s a good feeling to see people come out. It’s amazing.”
Leah Bronberg, 12, and her father, David, live across the street from McCormick Park and didn’t want to miss taking part in the walk.
“I felt bad for the victims and Gabrielle Giffords. I thought it would be nice for everybody in the community to come together and support them,” she said.
David Bronberg said Tucson is large by population standards, but is still such a small town where it’s not hard to find a connection with other Tucsonans.
Bronberg and his former wife were married by Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, who is Giffords’ rabbi at Congregation Chaverim.
“This points out to me how interconnected we all are,” he said.
Kelia Gallagher, 14, held a sign at the walk that offered people free hugs.
“A lot of people are really sad and everyone needs a hug, especially now,” she said. “It seems like the right place and a good time for hugs.”
Contact reporter Andrea Rivera at email@example.com or 807-8430.