On Friday, Aurora will raise the Pride Flag in downtown North Island Center.
Similar to what the city did with the Irish and Mexican flags, officials will raise the pride flag in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at One Aurora Plaza across from the North Island Center on Galena Boulevard.
In addition to raising the flag, the ceremony will include presenting the first-ever PRIDE in Excellence Awards to members of the LGBTQ-plus community, according to Clayton Muhammad, the city’s director of communications and equity.
He made the announcement during the Mayor’s Report segment of this week’s City Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday evening.
The city will also honor Aurora Department LGBTQ-plus police officers “for their work in the community,” Muhammad said.
While the event is considered part of the city’s work toward inclusion, it will not include Aurora Pride members — at least not officially — organizers of the Aurora Pride Parade scheduled for Sunday.
It was the decision of the city, led by Mayor Richard Irvin, after Aurora Pride asked police officers not to participate in the parade in uniform. The organization said they could march with banners, wearing identifiable T-shirts or other types of shirts, but not in full uniform with weapons.
The reason given by Aurora Pride was that some members of the LGBTQ-plus community are uncomfortable with uniformed officers due to a history of police involvement and abuse.
The city responded by removing its float from the parade, and Irvin said he would not participate in the event. They also said that Aurora Pride would not be officially invited to the flag raising ceremony.
Currently, the parade is in danger because too few police officers worked overtime to provide security during the event. Police officials said they worked with organizers to find enough officers to provide security.
But because the parade is privately run and not city-sponsored, police are working on security details in their spare time. The shifts are voluntary and the city cannot force officers to work them, police officials said.