In January 1986, people across the country celebrated the first official Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But Colorado had already created its own holiday the year before, pushed by then-state lawmaker Wilma Webb, who announced that Colorado would hold the first-ever Marade, a combination march and parade, in King's honor.
On Monday, January 20, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission will host its 35th MLK Marade, with the gathering starting at 9 a.m. in City Park, then heading out an hour or so later for Civic Center.
See the complete Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission schedule here; keep reading for some of the highlights in the metro area. (And remember, since MLK Jr. Day is officially a holiday, you'll find some changes in RTD service...and you may want to take RTD to the Marade start. Find out more here.)
Aurora Motorcade and Wreath-Laying
Monday, January 20, 7 a.m.
Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 East Alameda Parkway
Gather at the Aurora Municipal Center to join the motorcade that departs at 7:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 9898 East Colfax Avenue. At 8:30 a.m., the group will head to the Marade in Denver.
Poor People's Campaign/Black Lives Matter
Monday, January 20, 8:30 a.m.
Thatcher Fountain, City Park (17th Avenue and the Esplanade)
This counter-event to the Marade will focus on a call for Denver to repeal its urban camping ban, among other actions. "The legacy of Dr. King has been co-opted by capitalism and corporatism; it's high time that changed. The Poor People's Campaign are bringing poor people back to the forefront with The Legacy Poor People's Hearing. Come out and stand with Colorado's 1.2 million poor; come out and make your voice heard!" say organizers. Find out more here.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Marade
Monday, January 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
City Park to Civic Center Park
For this combination parade/march, thousands of participants will congregate at the Dr. King memorial in City Park at 9 a.m. for speeches before the Marade heads out for Civic Center Park, cake and a rally. Find out more here.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Leadership Summit
Monday, January 20, noon to 4 p.m.
Manual High School, 2800 Williams Street
This Colorado Black Round Table program is designed for high school and middle school students, with discussions of black history, career options and civic responsibility. There will be a special session for parents. Learn more here.
Let's Talk: Brother Jeff on Facebook Live
Monday, January 20, 2:30 p.m.
Brother Jeff's Cultural Center
Former governor and current senatorial candidate John Hickenlooper will be a guest on Brother Jeff's Facebook Live show, which starts at 2 p.m.; Hickenlooper will be on at 2:30. To tune in, ask questions, or make comments, go to Jeff Fard on Facebook.
Martin Luther King Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions
Monday, January 20, 6 p.m.
Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Street
A large percentage of the cowboys in the West were black, and this rodeo celebrates their accomplishments...and also puts the spotlight on African-American athletes who excel at these traditional activities today. Get more information and tickets at nationalwestern.com.
The Other Slavery: Andrés Reséndez
Monday, January 20, 7 p.m.
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway
Andrés Reséndez, the author of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, will talk about his book, which discusses how between the year Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World and 1900, there were as many as five million Native people enslaved in America. He'll also sign copies and do a Q&A with Ernest House Jr., former head of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. Tickets are $7 to $11; find out more at historycolorado.org.
And a bonus:
Aurora’s Martin Luther King Jr. and Tallyn’s Reach libraries are showing a photo collage mural from artist Ariella Asher titled “Eye Dream” in commemoration of MLK Jr. The artwork will be on display at Tallyn’s Reach through January 31 and at the MLK Jr. Library until the end of February. Find out more at auroragov.org/mlk.
Do you know of other MLK events? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.