Members of the Lakota tribe participate in the kick-off ceremony Jan. 9 at the Aurora Municipal Center for Aurora's weeklong series of events commemorating Martin Luther King. Courtesy Photo Vikki Migoya

AURORA | For more than three decades, the celebration of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in Aurora has involved far more than just the third Monday in January.

Since 1986, city officials have organized a bevy of events throughout the weeks surrounding King’s birthday on Jan. 15. And this year — the city’s 31st annual MLK Day celebration —  is no different.

Using the theme “Crossing Over, Moving Forward,” the city is slated to host several events throughout January to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy.

New this year are events featuring Native American and Jewish themes, as well as a special film showing for veterans, according to Barbara Shannon-Banister, manager of the city’s community relations division.

There will also be a new discussion on race led by Katheryn Russell-Brown, a law professor at the University of Florida.

View the full list of the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day events below.


Candlelight Vigil and Proclamation
6 p.m., Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy. Free.
Charles Gilford III, president of Denver Urban League Young Professionals, will make opening remarks at this multi-faith service. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan will continue the event with the reading of a city proclamation at the 7:30 p.m. council meeting. Both events are free and open to the public.


Educational Forum: Run, Hide, Fight, Treat
6 p.m., Aurora Municipal Center, City Council Chamber
Officials from the city’s Office of Emergency Management will walk attendees through a slew of best practices regarding active emergency situations. The event is free, but an RSVP is required.


“A Conversation on Race” 

2 p.m., Jan. 11, Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy. City Council Chamber. The event is free, but an RSVP is required. A second lecture will be held at 6 p.m. at The Forum Fine Arts Building CCA Campus, 16000 E. Centretech Parkway. The Forum in the Fine Arts Building. An RSVP is required.

It may be a tough subject, but nearly everyone has something to say — and learn — about the topic of race in America. Attendees will be able to do both at a pair of upcoming lectures led by Katheryn Russell-Brown, a law professor and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida.


“Empowerment” Youth Forums
9 and 11 a.m., Aurora Municipal Center, City Council Chamber
Topical discussions catered to Cherry Creek School District and Aurora Public Schools students.

AuroraTV Forums
6 p.m., Comcast Channel 8 and
A discussion on voter rights, the First Amendment, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and immigrants and refugees will be broadcast on Aurora Channel 8, the city-sponsored news channel.

6 p.m., Aurora Municipal Center, City Council Chamber
The Mizel Museum’s Miryam Brand Holocaust Film Project will present the films “Surviving Skokie” and “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.” Both films will be shown free of charge, but an RSVP is required.


Aurora Community of Faith Breakfast
8 a.m., Aurora Municipal Center, Lobby
City and community leaders will discuss how to improve the relationship between police and city residents over breakfast. The event is free, but seating is limited and an RSVP is required. Call the city’s community relations division at 303-739-7580 or Pastor Reid Hettich at 303-870-6055 for more information.

Film for Veterans
11:30 a.m., Century Aurora, 14300 E. Alameda Ave.
The city is presenting a free screening of the Golden Globe-nominated “Hacksaw Ridge” for veterans at the Century Aurora theater. There are 285 seats available, and tickets will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The first 100 veterans to register will be provided with a  voucher for a free soda and popcorn. An RSVP is required.


Aurora Celebrates More Love & Kindness
5 p.m., Heritage Event Center, 14401 E. Exposition Ave.
The event will feature performances by local choirs, soloists and cultural groups. No RSVP is required.


Interfaith Service
4 p.m., New Nation Church, 2001 Jamaica St.

Join partitioners for a special interfaith service Sunday night. For more information, call 303-360-9728.


Motorcade, Wreath-laying and Marade
7:30 a.m., Aurora Municipal Center
Attendees should meet at the Aurora Municipal Center at 7:30 a.m. Participants will then caravan to Fletcher Plaza, 9898 E. Colfax Ave., for a wreath-laying at Aurora’s statue of Martin Luther King Jr. at 8:30 a.m. Participants will then caravan to the state Marade at Denver City Park. No RSVP is required.

African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions
6 p.m., Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., Denver. National Western Stock Show
Tickets are required at can be purchased at Prices range from $19 to $40. Call 303-373-1246 for more information.

The National Western Stock Show parade may have be cancelled due to snow, but the event is once again in full-effect at the Denver Coliseum. And the MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo is returning to the event for the 10th time this year, featuring the Frontier Airlines Mutton Bustin’ and the Westernaires. There will also be a special tribute to Lu Vason, founder of the bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo.


MLK Dedication Luncheon
12 – 1:30 p.m., Community College of Aurora, Centretech Rotunda.

Join campus and community partners for a discussion and reflection on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. over lunch at the Community College of Aurora. An RSVP is required.