Fifteen Ways to Remember Martin Luther King Jr. in Metro Denver

Eyes on the Prize captured the civil rights movement.
Eyes on the Prize captured the civil rights movement.
PBS

Colorado was one of the first states to make Martin Luther King Day a state holiday, and Denver's annual march/parade in his honor — known as the Marade — is one of the largest commemorations in the country. The theme for this year’s Marade is “Remember, Celebrate, Act – A Day On, Not A Day Off: The Promise of Democracy.” And there will plenty of events honoring MLK today, not just in Denver but also in Boulder and Aurora. Here are just some of the ways you can honor Martin Luther King today and in the days ahead, presented in chronological order.

1. The Promise of Democracy: Breaking Barriers and Borders
Aurora Municipal Center parking lot
Monday, January 18
At 7:30 a.m. participants will gather at the east side of the Aurora Municipal Center and travel to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library at 9898 East Colfax Avenue for a wreath-laying ceremony, then head to the Marade start at Denver City Park.

2. Dr. Martin Luther King Annual Marade
City Park to Civic Center Park
Monday, January 18
Tens of thousands of people will march in the Marade, one of the largest events in the nation commemorating the civil rights leader; last year the event attracted 68,000 people. Activities start at 9 a.m. at the I Have a Dream Memorial statue on the south side of City Park near East 17th Avenue and the Esplanade, when students from Martin Luther King Jr. Early College will other pre-Marade events ranging from the running of the ceremonial torch to a performance by the Drumline and Step Team. Invocations from community religious leaders and welcomes from Colorado senators Michael Bennett and Cory Gardner will follow, and at 10:15 a.m., the Marade will travel down East Colfax Avenue, ending at Civic Center Park. Here's the Marade route.

3. Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center Rally
Boulder County Courthouse, Pearl Street Mall
Monday, January 18
At 11:30 a.m., the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center will hold a rally/march in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Martin Luther King Jr. after an arrest.
Martin Luther King Jr. after an arrest.

4.  District Attorney Forum and Community Discussion
Trinidad Methodist Church, 1820 Broadway
Monday, January 18 
Organized by the Denver Justice Project, the D.A. Forum immediately follows the Marade at Trinity United Methodist, 1820 Broadway; doors open at 12:30 p.m.; the program starts at 1:30 p.m. Four candidates for Denver district attorney will speak, and Alexander Landau of the Denver Justice Project says that he and other advocates of justice system reform "see this particular election as an opportunity to transform the Denver DA office into a vehicle geared towards community prosperity." The group is grieved, in particular, by the total absence of indictments of "law-enforcement personnel for felony excessive force or homicide" under the current DA, he says.

5. Groundworks MLK Day of Service Neighborhood Energy Outreach
Zion Senior Center, 5151 East 33rd Avenue
Monday, January 18
Groundworks is a local non-profit that focuses on energy efficiency and community development. For this event, volunteers will go door to door in north Denver offering to provide free, minor energy retrofits to homes — changing out old lightbulbs with energy and money-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, for example. Says Dele Johnson of Groundwork: "Shelter is considered a basic human right no matter what your race, creed, color, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. So when we do our energy outreach to offer residents our free services, we are working to help everyone we come in contact with save money on energy bills and keep their homes properly insulated, comfortable, and efficient." Volunteers who've signed up meet at 1 p.m. at the Zion Senior Center, 5151 East 33rd Avenue, and work until 4 p.m.

6. Showing Up for Racial Justice/1000 Voices Workshop
St. John's Episcopal Church, 1419 Pearl Street, Boulder
Monday, January 18
From 2 to 4 p.m., the Boulder Chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice and Nii Armah Sowah of the 1000 Voices Project will present a workshop on contemporary racial justice work; the event will feature African singing as well as discussion. 

7.  Dinner for Those Who Hunger
VOA Sunset Park Senior Center, 1865 Larimer Street
Monday, January 18
Drawing inspiration from King's 1966 speech at the Chicago Freedom Rally, in which he articulated his vision for the Poor People's Campaign, this service opportunity will provide meals for upwards of 20,000 people. A joint effort of the MLK Colorado Holiday Commission and Volunteers of America, this event starts at 3 p.m. at the VOA Sunset Park Senior Center. Register here.



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