Jan 8th memorial fund asking for community help - Tucson News Now

Jan 8th memorial fund asking for community help

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A news conference Monday morning asked the community to help the January 8th memorial fund to more forward financially.

Crystal Kasnoff, Executive Director of Tucson’s January 8th memorial foundation, said this was the first time some survivors and first responders were united since the tragedy.

They are coming together to ask for the community’s and the nation's support in funding the memorial, which is slated to cost $5 million.

In a setback late month, the foundation found out they were not going to get $2.5 million from the state despite overwhelming support.

The bill, HB 2436, was passed unanimously through the appropriations committee, passed the house 45 yeas to 11 nays but came to an abrupt halt in the Senate.

Southern Arizona lawmaker Gail Griffin, the Senate Majority Whip, held the bill up in committee and it failed for lack of a vote.

In a press release, Griffin said the decision was in "no way a partisan or a political stance."

Sen. Griffin Memorial Letter 4-26-17 by Tucson News Now on Scribd

It has been argued that the Memorial has become politicized.

During a recent minor bookkeeping item on the county agenda, the board erupted into a partisan debate over gun violence.

The Executive Committee members are sensitive to the debate going on right now.

"If you want to make it political, that's your choice," said shooting victim Ron Barber, who was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Chief of Staff at the time. "But we say it's not political and anything you say to that effect is wrong."

It's likely fund raising would be easier if the memorial could extricate itself from the gun debate but it's difficult because they seem to be inextricably linked.

"This is not political," said Kasnoff. "This is about bringing the community together."

Barber says the issue of gun rights never comes up at its monthly meetings.

"We never talk about gun issues or gun laws," he said. "We talk about it being a remembrance." 

READ MORE: JANUARY 8TH MEMORIAL BILL STALLS, FOR NOW

They started a GoFundMe account to raise part of the money for the project but they need help.

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Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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