Colorado has had far more experience with planning public memorials than most states across the nation. The past two decades have brought the Aurora, Colo. Chuck E. Cheese tragedy in 1996, Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the New Life Church shooting in 2007 and most recently the Aurora movie theater shooting last year.
This Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora. On July 20, 2012, a gunman entered the facility shooting 70, ultimately killing 12.
The city of Aurora has planned a day of remembrance for those impacted by the events last year. The 7/20 Day of Remembrance events will take place this Saturday at the Aurora Municipal Center.
“We look forward to a multifaceted day of meaningful remembrance, continued healing and positive community actions,” said Lori MacKenzie, City of Aurora spokesperson.
Starting at 7:30 a.m., the city will host the public in a gathering at the Municipal Center, only one block from the theater.
“The day will begin with a community gathering and morning ceremony to honor and remember those whose lives were lost, survivors and their loved ones,” Mackenzie said.
At 9 a.m., healing activities will begin at the Municipal Center. The city will provide several sources to promote a calm and peaceful environment.
According to a press release from the City of Aurora, “Healing activities will include spiritual counseling, mental health counseling, art therapy projects, yoga, a nature walk and a poetry reading.”
Nature walks are not the only unique asset to the 7/20 Day of Remembrance. Aurora city officials have organized a city-wide program to bring in donations to foundations serving the public. One of the foundations accepting donations through the Day of Remembrance is the Colfax Community Network, a program that provides basic needs for less-fortunate children.
“Building safe community for children is our number one priority every day. The unfortunate events of last year bring more attention to that need,” said Jennifer Herrera, Executive Director at Colfax Community Network .
At the Colfax Community Network, staff members opened their doors to facilitate a comforting environment after the shooting.
“The morning after the Aurora shooting we opened up discussion for these kids to voice their concerns and questions. Most were very afraid for the safety of their families. We worked with them to explain how they can keep themselves safe in dangerous situations,” Herrera said.
Donations on Saturday will be distributed appropriately to the foundations by the City of Aurora. The Colfax Community Network will use their donations to aid the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
“Donations made will help to offer not only healthy lunches from Food Bank of the Rockies, but also community programming to local kids, giving them a safe place to eat and play each weekday,” Herrera said.
For more information on times and events at the 7/20 Day of Remembrance, visit auroragov.org.
Managing Editor Dillon Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.