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10 years later, Aurora honors theater victims with a celebration of healing

Community-centered events intend to reflect on the past and look toward a better future

AURORA, Colo. — A decade has passed since the Aurora theater shooting, and the 7/20 Memorial Foundation has planned a series of community events beginning Tuesday to honor all those affected by the tragedy.

The events will take place at the Aurora Municipal Center at 15151 E. Alameda Parkway in Aurora, across from the public library.

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The first event is the annual midnight remembrance vigil, which starts at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday with a candlelight procession at the entrance of the Aurora Water-wise Garden on the east side of the municipal center. 

The procession will be livestreamed and posted on the foundation’s website, as well as their Facebook

The foundation invites the community to visit the garden memorial on Tuesday. White crosses will be displayed after 8 p.m. and remain there until July 24 at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, July 23, is the all-day "Metamorphosis Aurora Theater Shooting 10 Years Later" event. It is designed to honor lives lost and those forever changed in 2012. The Foundation also aims to celebrate the community and strength of Aurora. 

The event is to be a day of healing and sharing.

It starts at 9 a.m. with a Heroes Run 5K. The race is organized by Zack Golditch – a former NFL player, current South Metro Firefighter and survivor of the shooting.

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D.J. Sinna-G with Mix 100 will kick off the event, where all proceeds go toward an athletic scholarship for an Aurora Public Schools student.

The formal Reflection Ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. 

The names of the victims will be read, and the Aurora Singers will perform with interpretive dancer Sister Felicia Burton. Both are meant to honor those who were involved in the response to the shooting and the aftermath.

Speakers for the event include Aurora Police Department Interim Chief Dan Oates, who was chief in 2012; former City Manager Skip Noe; U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper; Theresa Hoover, mother of A.J. Boik; and Joshua Nowlan, injured survivor.

At 3 p.m., the community is invited to a series of wellness booths dedicated to healing trauma in various ways. These include powerlifting, mental health, art and other organizations.

Lawn games, children's activities, the APD 5-0 gaming truck and Aurora Fire Rescue’s Big John will be part of the event. 

A beer garden led by Resolute Brewing and made up of 25 local breweries will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. Wristbands for the garden are available to purchase for $40 in advance or $45 during the event for unlimited tastings.

The band Brushfire will open and play from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Latin Sol then takes the stage from 5:30 to 7 p.m when the event ends.

Food trucks showcasing Aurora will be available, including Hip Hop Gelato, Fritay Haitian, Big Stuff and What Would Cheesus Do.

Over 25 chalk artists will be drawing live in the memorial garden throughout the community event, all focusing on the theme of metamorphosis and change. 

A memory tent will be set up for community members to record their recollections of the day of the shooting and other memories.

Beginning at 7:20 p.m. in the memorial garden is the immersive audio/visual event Metamorphosis, designed by Renee Leon. 

It is a 40-minute musical piece that will be performed live by Stratus Chamber Orchestra with dancers from LifeArt. It will open with a spoken word piece from Aurora Poet Laureate Assetou Xango. 

A corresponding video will be shown on two LED screens in different locations, one in the garden and one on the great lawn. 

The piece is meant to move through the horror of the night of the shooting, the following 10 years and ends with hope for a better future.

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Aside from the beer garden, all events are free. Donations for the foundation can be made here. All proceeds go toward upkeep of the memorial sculpture, Ascentiate, and furthering the values of the 7/20 Memorial Foundation. 

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Aurora theater shooting, 10 years later

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