DENVER (CBS4) – People gathered around the nation to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for civil rights.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan led the wreath laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King library on East Colfax Avenue. In Denver the annual Marade was held Monday morning. While thousands marched in honor of King, a small group carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs marched separately.

The celebration marked the 31st time Colorado has recognized the national and state holiday. The message is important for many reasons, but one common theme was children and why it’s important to get children involved. CBS4’s Jamie Leary talked with Gov. John Hickenlooper, who brought his son Teddy, just before the parade.

“A big part of having a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is so that people hear about him and get inspired by him, but it’s also to make sure that the next generation understands the value of service, sacrifice,” Hickenlooper said. “Everybody deserves a fair shot at the American dream, so I’ve been encouraging everybody to bring their kids and Teddy wanted to come.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Many religious, political and youth leaders from all backgrounds spoke Monday on unity. Police chiefs from Aurora and Denver laid a wreath at the foot of the MLK memorial in City Park showing that the day is a joint community celebration.

“Seeing all these different people from different walks of life gathering together is a wonderful thing,” Marade participant Roosevelt Hope said.

Hickenlooper said standing together is one way we can end the assault on American civil rights, and that while sometimes we don’t agree with each other, our power is in our unity.

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The Marade was led by the MLK Jr. Early College Drum Line and carried a united front from the MLK monument to Civic Center Park. Organizers say it’s the only event of its kind in the nation.

The Black Lives Matter group of protestors were given the mic from the Marade leaders. A woman named Amy Brown called out Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and and city leaders about affordable housing, homelessness and a slew of other issues. They let her talk at the podium for about 10 minutes.

The events winded down at approximately 1 p.m. with the annual signing of the MLK yearbook at the state Capitol.

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