Exploring the Cultural Richness of Aurora with Omar Montgomery

Omar Montgomery
Omar Montgomery is President of the Aurora NAACP, Director of Black Student Services, and Adjunct Instructor in the Political Science & Ethnic Studies Department at CU Denver.

Leader and local often go hand-in-hand. Aurora NAACP Chapter President, Omar Montgomery, offers his take on what makes Aurora an outstanding destination through his community roles, local experiences, and the delicious eats he can’t get enough of.

Uncovering the soul of a destination is an easy process if you know where to look. Montgomery’s Aurora journey began in 2002 when he moved from Los Angles, immediately attracted to the city’s diversity, economic opportunities, and hometown feel. “When I visit places in the city, people just seem happy and, more importantly proud, to be living in Aurora.”

As his career developed, Montgomery took the opportunity to explore Aurora and become an influential leader in the community. As Chapter President for the Aurora NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Montgomery builds connections, empowers young leaders, and pushes for civil rights. This year, the Aurora NAACP Chapter celebrates 30 years of social justice and advocacy impact.

“Our job is to uplift the community through economic development like providing people with information on how to buy a home, and making sure people just feel about good living in the city of Aurora,” explained Montgomery.

“This includes not only starting Black businesses but maintaining them and making sure BIPOC are part of state and city contracts.”

And Montgomery knows the value of local businesses. Every shop, every restaurant, every gathering place adds authenticity to a city. “You might be able to find a handful of unique restaurants in one city, but Aurora has many corridors for community and international diversity,” said Montgomery. And in Aurora, he has taken the time to dine locally.

With so many places worth mentioning, Montgomery said, “if I’m starting my morning off, I’m headed to Endless Grind Coffee, Mojo Coffee, or Coffee Canaan. They’re in different parts of Aurora and Ethiopian-owned with that hometown feeling.”

If dinner is on his mind, Montgomery is stopping by Hungry Wolf BBQ, a new addition to On Havana Street’s ever-diversifying list of international eats. CoraFaye’s Café serves up soul food like yams, catfish, and greens on Colfax Avenue. The Nile Restaurant is also at the top of Montgomery’s list for Ethiopian eats. If Montgomery is entertaining, he also frequents Stanley Marketplace for various restaurants all in one location.

“Experiencing the culture is different, and it’s what we have here,” said Montgomery. “Aurora has the ultimate experience for diversity in Colorado.”

If you’re serving delicious eats in Aurora and he hasn’t heard of you, rest assured, you’re on his list.

Great food and local businesses are the heart of authentic destinations. As Aurora continues to grow, the city will host more convention and leisure travelers. Montgomery believes that the most significant selling point for Aurora is its access to diverse experiences.

As he explained, hosting a conference at one of the many hotels and event venues allows for unmatched access to all things Aurora, including restaurants, coffee shops, public art, and more things to do.

Montgomery can’t quite contain his excitement for Aurora’s growth in the next decade. “More businesses are coming here, which means opportunity for a livable wage. And the education options in public schools, technical training, and higher education,” he said. The NAACP also has its sights set on job training designed to benefit employees in a post-COVID workforce. This includes digital platforms training, video conference knowledge, and more.

“We want you to enjoy the richness of our city, the diversity of our city, and the opportunities of advancement you can find here.”

Montgomery’s list of businesses doesn’t end here. Explore his list of local recommendations:

CME Catering, Event Planning & Meal PrepHomecooked meals right to your door with special dietary needs and event planning.
Dope Black Thought
Multimedia news company interviewing national and local leaders while talking about social justice and more.
Glenn Smile CenterA community-loved dentistry owned and operated by a Black husband and wife dentist.
The Crowley FoundationYouth-focused non-profit for young men and career opportunities.
The Dayton Opportunity CenterFounded by State Senator Ronda Fields, a community-led training center for career development and services.
Village Exchange CenterImmigrant and refugee community gathering spot for movie nights, food banks, and cultural immersion.
Aurora Fox Arts Center & The People’s BuildingTheatre spots for performances, music, and live competitions.
Restoration Christian Fellowship, Living Water, and Harvest ChurchPlaces of worship and welcoming in Aurora.
Saddle Rock Golf Course, Springhill Golf Course, Murphy Creek Golf Course, Meadow Hills, and Aurora Hillsperfect Aurora locations for hitting the links, challenging your game, and gathering with old or new golfing pals.