Denver Urban Spectrum - January 2023 - DUS Countdown

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Volume 36 Number 9 December 2022 Valeria Howard-Cunningham The Greatest Show on Dirt Returns with the MLK Jr Jr. Rodeo of Champions...4 . Rodeo Happy Holidays A DUS Countdown to 2023: A Look Back at the Past Year...4 “THE HOLLY” Creates Award-W inning Buzz...8 “THE HOLLY” Creates Award-W inning Buzz...8 Master P Gets Real About Mental Health...10 M aster P Gets Real About Mental Health...10 Familiar Voice Joins Colorado Public Radio...16 F amiliar Voice Joins Colorado Public Radio...16

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2021 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permis sion of the publisher.

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We made it!

Give yourselves a hand! This transitional year from a COVID world to a post-COVID world has been trial and error in how to communicate in face-to-face interactions. But, I digress.

Our cover story for this final issue of the year features a recap of this year's triumphs and losses. Contributor Malcolm Quattlebaum shares some insight into mental health from hip-hop mogul Master P at his speaking engagement in Denver at an NAACP event. Contributor LaQuane Smith reveals some exciting news from RMES Communications about upgrades the company is making to its services at Denver International Airport. DUS staff gave an update on the award-winning documen tary about Terrance Roberts by Julian Rubinstein entitled: "THE HOLLY." We're happy to share an update on journalist Chandra Thomas Whitfield, a former managing editor for DUS, on her new role at Colorado Public Radio.

As you gather with family and friends this holiday season, don’t forget to acknowledge your own personal journey this year. Cheers! You made it.

Happy Holidays!

P.S. from Publisher Rosalind J. Harris

Yes, we made it but not without the help of our DUS team, advertisers, supporters and you, our readers. With the recent absence of my message and photo, I have been asked, “What is going on?” My answer: “All good things!”

After 35 years of spreading the news about people of color, we are growing and thriving. The DUS team is working hard to bring you news in innovative ways. After two years of uncertainty, we are extremely grateful for the growth and loyalty of our advertisers. We appreciate our supporters and the partnerships developed with COLab, Colorado Media Project and the Colorado Press Association, just to name a few. Because of the DUS team, our advertisers, and our many community sup porters, we were able to serve metro Denver communities for another year.

There is a saying that “all good things must come to an end.” At DUS, we don’t think so. All good things can last forever and we look forward to expanding on that narrative.

So as you settle in and prepare for the holidays (Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, etc.), we thank you and wish the most happiest of holidays for you, your family and friends.

And no need to be concerned - I’ll be around!

Love for all of God’s Children

My Statement on Club Q Mass Shooting (November 20, 2022)

Waking up this morning to hear that another LGBTQ+ night club, this time in my home town of Colorado Springs, was attacked by a heavily armed gunman has left me devastated and numb. I am sure fury and heartache will follow in the days to come.

To those impacted by this hate-motivated act of violencethe victims, their friends and family - we stand with you. Whatever you need, we are here to support you.

Last night, folks went to Club Q to be with their chosen family - a safe place to be who


they truly are and find connec tion with others. Our bars and nightclubs are often the only place where we go to find shelter from the fear and judg ment of those who wish us harm. It is not easy for members of our community to find such comforting spaces. To have it shattered by a rain of gunfire is unbearable.

It is not an accident that such an attack took place at the end of a week when we saw members of the LGBTQ+ com munity targeted for who they are and who they love. From students denied entrance in schools to employees told they could not act on same-sex attraction and must conform to their biological sex, this com munity - my community, our community - has continued to suffer the ravages of discrimina tion.

We must stop driving the hate-filled rhetoric that gives license to the dehumanization of our community. This mass murder represents just the most violent endpoint of a thousand seemingly small cuts suffered by the LGBTQ+ family. Such hate combined with laws that make access to firearms far too easy have only one result. I wish I could say it was unbe lievable, but that is not the case. Instead it is all too predictable.

I call on all elected officials, faith leaders, community leaders to put down their weapons of hate and stand together in love - love for all of God’s children.

Letters continued on page 26
Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 3 Volume 36 Number 9 December 2022
COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNIST Barry Overton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Angelia D. McGowan Malcolm Quattlebaum LaQuane Smith Tanya Ishikawa COLAB Tanya Ishikawa - Story Coordinator ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris OFFICE & PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cecile Perrin GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix SOCIAL MEDIA / DIGITAL MARKETING Melovy Melvin DISTRIBUTION
A. James - Manager
PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris
Lawrence A. James


January 2022

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This month we entered a new year and like years past, we celebrated and honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokes man and leader in the American civil rights move ment from 1955 until his assas sination in 1968. His famous “I Have a Dream Speech” was heard around the country. Spoken for the first time almost six decades ago, his words still resonate in the hearts and minds of so many people. Our cover story by contributor Angelia D. McGowan featured one such person: Valeria CunninghamHoward, pro ducer and CEO of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo. She and her late former husband, Lu Vason, had a dream and she continues to live it. Her story shows how she is continuing the journey, helping Black cowboys and cowgirls pursue their dreams through the spirit of Dr. King, not just in January but all year long. This issue also paid hom age to the late Dr. Sharon Ruth Brown Bailey, a scholar who used her qualitative research and public policy acumen to make the world and commu nity more equitable for all.

February 2022

Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achieve ments by African Americans and a time for recognizing their roles in U.S. history. This month’s cover story from con tributor Ruby Jones was on Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of Little Rock Nine. This year was the 65th anniversary of the day she and eight other courageous African American teenagers made his tory by integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In this DUS issue, we were also proud to be part of Theo Wilson’s journey as he soared to new heights, making history as the host of a new History Channel program, “I Was There.” Contributor Ruby Jones highlighted the author, actor, orator, activist and former DUS contributor. Each year we are proud to display the won derful work that local African Americans are doing in the community through our African Americans Who Make a Difference awards. This year 14 people were selected by their peers and community members who believe they are going above and beyond the call of duty to serve the Denver com munity. Contributor Melovy Melvin also highlighted Ben and Melissa Wilbourn – African

Lodge in Breckenridge. Other history-making stories in this issue included Judge Gary Jackson and his plans of pre serving his great grandfather’s land. This issue also celebrated the life of the late Odell Berry, former mayor, Denver Bronco and realtor.

March 2022

Can you imagine the world without women?

The vital role of women in American history has been cele brated with a national month of observation since 1987, which is the same year Denver Urban Spectrum became a Black woman-owned publication in the state of Colorado. Two years after the coronavirus pan demic drastically changed the ways in which we live, work and interact, many events that were postponed were finally being rescheduled. In 2020, Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher

Rosalind “Bee” Harris was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in honor of her life’s work of empower ing others through advocacy, engagement and publishing. As a result of the COVID-19 shut downs, the induction gala for the Class of 2020 was resched uled and was held on March 30, 2022. Contributor Ruby Jones also presented an interview with Stephanie Rance, co-

Vineyard African American Film Festival. DUS Editor-inChief Alfonzo Porter wrote about the tragedy of increasing African American male suicide rates, and Joshua Glenn reported on the Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund. DUS was thrilled to announce the recent award of Colorado Media Project’s Community News Network grant—with support from the Colorado Trust. The grant sup ports the timely expansion of the publication into exciting digital spaces.

April 2022

35 Years: Coral, Jade and Emerald

For 35 years, Denver Urban Spectrum has successfully shared vital news and empow ering stories. We remain thank ful for readers and supporters of the award-winning publica tion and look forward to build ing deeper relationships with the community as we continue to grow. This month we cele brated 35 years of spreading the news about people of color. Although it’s not an anniver sary of marriage, it is an anni versary of commitment to com munity, businesses, readers, family and friends. The tradi tional (coral) and modern (jade) gifts and gemstone (emerald) are associated with the 35th anniversary. They may not rep resent our communities of color but they definitely represent our beauty, spirit and strength Contributor Ruby Jones also

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 4

shared plans for the impending Expanding the Narrative pod cast that is still being developed to move into another stage of growth at DUS. Contributor LisaMarie Martinez looked at mental health and the stigma tism that follows this illness. Finally, we shared two stories from the Colorado News Collaborative on how an HOA was threatening foreclosures on homes over aesthetics and how inmates tell their own stories at a prison radio station.

May 2022

Commemorating Mother’s Day Mother’s Day – a celebration honoring mothers, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society – was the underlying theme of this month’s Denver Urban Spectrum. As we celebrate the his toric achieve ment of Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown, one indelible image for many of us was the photo of her daugh ter and the pride reflected on her face during her mother’s confir mation. Journalist Stacy M. Brown shared that historic moment on April 7, 2022, at 2:17 p.m. as Judge Brown entered the history books, becoming the first Black woman elevated to the position of U.S. Supreme Court justice. In this month’s issue, another special mother figure, former First Lady of Denver Wilma J. Webb, honored her husband, former Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, with the unveiling of the bronze statue created by Ed Dwight. This month we also payed tribute to the late Gloria Travis Tanner – a mother to many of whom she paved the

way for in the political arena. And to another mother, Cleo Parker Robinson, who bid fare well to her beloved husband, Tom Robinson, who passed away in April. We dedicated this issue to all mothers, living and those who have gone to be with the ancestors.

June 2022

Music Soothes the Soul

June is Black Music Month and Black folks can be found in

every genre of music. This month we paid tribute to an R&B band, a jazz musician and a very loved artist. Contributor Wayne Trujillo rejoined the DUS family after many years of absence. With a strong back ground and interest in music, he returned like gangbusters with three eloquent stories. He interviewed and shared stories about Soul School’s Tony Prince and Sethe Tucker, as well as the very talented guitar player

Gregory Goodloe. He also paid tribute to Andrew P. Woolfolk II, the famed saxophonist from Earth, Wind & Fire, who had recently passed away. As you could see in this issue, music was in abundance

Continued on page 6 Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 5

A Year In Review

Continued from page 5 over the next few months at fes tivals including the Juneteenth Music Festival, Winter Park Jazz Festival and Colorado Black Arts Festival, in addition to local venues. So whatever your mood was or what you were going through, there was something that could enhance your emotion and elevate your spirit – music in the Mile High City!


And Just Like That

The world is back open. While the world was deep in the throes of the pandemic, we all wondered when we would be able to gather with our friends and family, hanging out in person inside restaurants and at concerts. The threat was not completely over, but is any thing ever completely over. It was time. The crowds were back. The music was back. The fun was back. In this Summer

in the Rockies issue, we shined the light on some of our favor ite bands and musicians who took the stage at two long-held Colorado festivals. We enjoyed Lakeside at the Colorado Black Arts Festival. We had a host of musicians including KEM, R&B’s best kept secret, and Chaka Khan, one of the world’s most cele brated musicians, at the Winter Park Jazz Festival. Also, the African Leadership Group brought a touch of Afrobeat to its Afrik Impact gala to cele brate the impact of the African immigrant community in Denver. This issue also high lighted hard-hitting pieces from our COLab partner about the state of homeownership among residents in Colorado, as well as perspectives from University of Colorado Board of Regents (then) candidate Wanda James

on the intersection of the canna bis industry and racial justice.

August 2022

Moving Forward with Intention Denver! You were out in June and July as you could see in the Around Town section. DUS was able to capture those good times as well as some more serious affairs. In this issue, we shared Mayor Michael Hancock’s final State of the City address. As he prepares for his final year, he shared his administration’s

those who are under arrest can come into harm’s way just by riding in the back of a police van. Brodie also highlighted an event that honored one of the most legendary professors who taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. William King. In this issue, we also paid homage to the late Colorado Springs and Denver businessman Carl Bourgeois. We extend a sincere thank you to his family. During one of the most trying times of their lives while dealing with the loss of their patriarch, they found the time and grace to talk to us.

September 2022

Hustle and Bustle

Explore eleven museums and historic sites across Colorado, including the History Colorado Center in Denver. Join now and learn about the people and cultures that have shaped our beautiful state.
We Are Colorado Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 6
History Colorado

President Joe Biden about the possible cancelling of student loan debt. Education was on the table. DUS Editor-in-Chief Alfonzo Porter tapped into a local hot-button issue in the education arena, providing per spectives on the re-opening of Montbello High School with a piece entitled “What’s Old, is Apparently What’s New Again.” We also had a piece by Erica Meltzer of Chalkbeat Colorado addressing the shortage of teachers and bus drivers in Colorado. A lot was going on to create a welcoming environment for our youth to be successful in their educa tional journey. Education wasn’t the only topic creating a buzz in Denver, Colorado. DUS contributing writer Wayne Trujillo looked at the historical significance of when Black and Brown meets blue and orange in the historic new ownership of the Denver Broncos. DUS publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris was still on cloud nine after her performance in Dancing with the Denver Stars, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance annual fundraiser.

October 2022 Time

We won! Members of DUS attended the Colorado Press Association conference and awards ceremony in September. The staff took home 12 awards for various categories including storytelling, advertising, and design from 2021. More than that we had the opportunity to spend time with fellow journal ists – veterans and newbies. All trying to navigate how journal ism fits in today’s world of social media where everyone can tell their own story in their own way. In this issue, writer Wayne Trujillo shared his inter

view with astronaut-turnedsculptor Ed Dwight, whose life is on display in an exhibit at DIA (Denver International Airport). We also featured a couple of well-known fig ures — Terrance Roberts and Rep. Leslie Herod— Denver’s African American who have stepped into the Denver mayoral race. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we checked in with 19-year cancer survivor Jackie Wesley about her passion for highlighting and supporting women on their journey with the disease. Understanding that cancer can impact us in other ways, we also featured an article raising awareness for prostate cancer.

November 2022

A Season of Giving

We are nearing the infamous season of giving where acts of kindness and philanthropic efforts dom inate news coverage as if it’s the only time of year that it happens. We know that good work happens year round from all corners of society. For us here at DUS, we entered this season shining the light on faith leaders and the sacrifices they make 24-7, 365 days a year. In this issue contributing writer Brittany Winkfield penned a piece, “When the Pastor Gets Weary,” where heard from local pastors on how the pandemic impacted their lives. We are thankful that they stepped forward to put a voice on an experience that pastors around the country are going through but not talking about. Also in this issue, contributing

writer Michael Renee Giles shared her interview with Ron Thomas, Denver’s new police chief, and his goal to move for ward with community collabo ration in mind. We also shared words from Olympian Allyson Felix’ keynote address to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado annual luncheon held in October. Her journey from the track to advocate for mater nal protection is a story worth sharing time and time again.

December 2022

As we close out 2022, we look back at what has occurred in Denver and across the coun try with a recap of the year –which has been a lot. Enjoy these reflections and revelations as we ring in a New Year.

We look forward to serving and seeing you in 2023!

Happy Holidays from the DUS family to yours!

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f film festival audiences could vote in the Denver elec tions, Terrance Roberts would have a great chance to become Denver’s next mayor. Or per haps filmmaker Julian Rubenstein would get elected, based on the positive response to his documentary, THE HOLLY, about Roberts compli cated history with Denver’s gangs and law enforcement.

In November, THE HOLLY sold out two screenings during the Denver International Film Festival, showing first at the Denver Botanic Gardens and again at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The film earned standing ovations from both audiences and the 2022 festi val’s Audience Award.

Earlier this year, it won the Audience Choice for Best Documentary at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival and the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Santa Fe

THE HOLLY Receives Standing Ovations to Sell-out Crowds

Documentary about Denver gangs and police wins Denver International Film Festival award

International Film Festival 2022. Also selected for other film fes tivals outside of Colorado, the film has a companion book that was published in May 2021.

“The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun, and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood Hardcover,” written by Rubinstein, has 4.3 out of 5 stars

from 158 ratings and has been recognized as a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, 2022 Colorado Book Award winner for General Nonfiction, and 2022 High Plains Book Award winner for Creative Nonfiction.

“I grew up in what has been described as ‘Invisible Denver,’ the community of North East Park Hill. I could have never guessed I would have my life story be told, and we would sell out theaters and win numerous awards. It’s all really surreal to me at the moment; I’m still pro cessing everything,” Roberts said. “The support has been amazing and humbling.”

The documentary tells the story of Roberts’ activism and the repercussions from his 2013 shooting of gang member, who was paralyzed from the incident. Roberts, himself, is a former gang leader who served prison time, but returned home with a mis sion of developing the resources to keep young people out of gangs and end street violence. He founded a successful nonprofit, The Prodigal Son Initiative, and helped guide the redevelopment of one of Denver’s civil rights landmarks, Holly Square. But, as the redevelopment came fruition, he was confronted by Hasan “Munch” Jones, and saying that he feared for his life, shot him.

Rubinstein, who grew up in Denver, began looking into the case and said he found himself caught up in a world of gang members, activists, informants, cops, and developers uneasily coexisting in a rapidly gentrify ing community. That compelled him to write the book and make the documentary. His first book, “Ballad of the Whiskey Robber,” was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. He is a writer for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and others, as well as a visiting of the Practice in Documentary Journalism at the University of Denver.

Roberts also felt that it was time to tell the story “about the struggles our youth in Denver have to endure. There are worse cities, of course, but Denver is no playground for these children in the streets, our unhoused neighbors, or anyone in a vulnerable position. It’s expensive here, we get freezing cold temperatures, and it can be a dangerous place. We had 96 homicides last year alone, mostly young people of color, for various reasons, all poverty related.”

“Hopefully now we can begin to move past this political denial of these facts (unless

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 8
Photos courtesy of the Denver Film Festival

there’s a grant involved to “solve” it), and focus more on proper policing and community relations, youth violence reduc tion, housing our unhoused neighbors, etc.,” he added.

The film production team is working on getting The Holly on a national platform by February for Black History Month. No distribution deals have been closed yet.

As for Roberts, he no longer heads The Prodigal Son Initiative, which was renamed Impact Empowerment Group. The nonprofit has a new staff and its mission is “Strengthening and building community by equipping and empowering youth and their families with the skills and tools they need to succeed through economic development.”

Roberts works as a residential and commercial property inspec tor, and he said, “The last con tract I recently completed I per formed Educational Assessment and Safe Exterior Door eval uations at many DPS schools like McGlone Elementary, MLK Middle, East High, and Lincoln High schools.”

He still attends activities to support the community around Holly Square. Through Fontline Party for Revolutionary Action (FPRA) that he founded, he is organizing events and seeking justice for youth like Alexis Mendez-Perez, “shot in his back by a Colorado Correctional

Officer in Montbello in 2019, because he and his friends partied in a vacant house next to his.”

Roberts is also a candidate for the Denver mayor election in April 2023. He said the timing of the book and film release so close to the election was not planned, and that they were originally scheduled to come out months to a couple years earlier.

“However it falls together, or not, with my campaign and the election date (4/4/2023) is out of my control. Once I decided to run for office, I had no idea about the timeline of things, it’s taken years for this project to drop, and some things have taken only weeks or months lately now that it’s out and gaining momentum. I had to make sure my campaign got off of the ground professionally and correctly despite whatever happened with the book or film,” he explained.

“Now I am more ready than ever to tackle whatever issues or politics that have been hold ing up progress for us to address getting resources to people in Denver who need them. I am ready to have the much needed conversations this city needs to have to move for ward. Just like everyone who’s watching, I’m also wondering what else GOD has in store for me; it’s been an interesting and much appreciated journey.”.

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Denver Film CEO Kevin Smith, Terrance Roberts and filmmaker Julian Rubenstein

Master P Talks Mental Health

On November 10, legen dary Hip Hop entrepreneur and music mogul Master P spent the evening in the mile-high city. However, he didn’t take the stage to bust out some rhymes. He came to share his life experi ences in an attempt to de-stig matize mental health within the black community.

Percy Miller, the artist most commonly known as Master P, was the guest speaker in the Extraordinary Mental Health Series presented by the educa tion committee of the NAACP of Aurora, Boulder and Denver.  Held at New Hope Baptist Church, the event brought out more than 150 people included the likes of Mayor Hancock, Denver Public Schools board of education directors, and many everyday city residents. All sat in the sanctuary with one com mon goal, to raise awareness about black mental health and to stress the importance of nor

malizing the topic in the African American community. That began with a definition.

Rey Merenstein, the execu tive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Colorado, described mental health as a whole spectrum of where you need to be and where are you. He shared that it is when you’re not feeling well, whether it’s your brain, physi cal, the environment that you are in. He says that mental health is that journey which takes you on that next step in the journey of well-being. Mental Illness, however, is when doctors have diagnosed or found something that’s a challenge for someone and they have got to get you on that jour ney to mental health.

The topic of mental health is a topic that has recently gained prominence in Master Ps life. His daughter Tytyana Miller suffered from mental illness and this past May, she died from an accidental fentanyl overdose at the young age of 29 years old. Outliving his daughter is an indescribable pain that Miller deals with daily. He explained how difficult it was to come to peace with his daughter’s death and stop shouldering the blame.

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“We think we know what our kids are doing, but we don’t. We just keep on making excuses for them,” said Miller. “Parents, don’t be so hard on yourself, these kids need to learn how to take responsibility for their own lives.”

The death of his daughter may have been the biggest fac tor that inspired him to begin his black mental health cam paign. However, like most black folks, he has been battling mental health his entire life and just didn’t know it. It’s no secret that Master P grew up in some turmoil.

He was raised in the streets of New Orleans at a time when black men hoped to survive long enough to see their 26th birthday. Master P opened up about his childhood and explained how he was around death almost daily. He went on to explain how most of the dark cloud of death that followed him was due to black folks feel ing the need to be “real.”

“We always want to be real. What is real? Real is going to a funeral and seeing your brother in a casket,” said Miller, who lost his brother at the age of 19.

A teen at the time, he explains how the death of his brother completely shook his family to the core. His mom stopped talking after Miller’s brother died. Seeing his mom in complete and utter distraught motivated him to get out of the streets and become successful by doing things the right way. One of the most recurring themes of the event was trauma, specifically how trauma is so prevalent in the black community’s mental health.

Vice President of the Denver Public School Board Auon’tai M. “Tay” Anderson explained, “Our community has a lot of trauma that we need to be able to address. Our people since being brought over here, we’ve always had to deal with a men tal health crisis. When they

brought us over here it was not by choice it was by force and we were enslaved so this has been generational, we have been passing this trauma from generation to generation.”

The importance of mental health was evident during the event as Master P gave the audience an opportunity for the audience to ask questions for 30 minutes straight. They were locked in and highly engaged. One of the attendees was

Denver resident Otis Spears. When asked about the most impactful thing that he took away from the event, he responded:

“The people that came out. No one was judging each other and we all came together for one common cause, to really learn and understand what Master P was going to share about his per sonal experience. His personal experience tapped into everyone because we can all relate to some

thing or someone that is dealing with challenges. So I really com mend him.”

Spears continued, “Hopefully, this will put us in the proper direction to really create something that we can continue to do even without a celebrity present.”Y

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, call the Colorado Crisis Services: (844) 493-8255 or (844) 493-8255.

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RMES Communications Makes Upgrades at Denver International Airport

The benefit of using today’s tech nology is about more than making a phone call, according to Miles Malone, who considers himself to be both an inventor and businessman.

It was 20 years ago when Miles started working with his father, Herman Malone, at Denver International Airport. The trailblazing business leader had long been grooming his son to take over the family business

by having him manage major projects as he went into semiretirement. When Herman passed in April 2021, Miles assumed the role of president at RMES Communications. As 2023 approaches, he is prepar ing to launch his father’s dream from when he started the busi ness 48 years ago.

The African Americanowned business focuses on rev olutionizing the telecommuni cation industry in airports while at the same time building wealth in the community. The company installs and maintains digital kiosks that provide pow erful comprehensive advertis ing platforms to millions of travelers and thousands of employees.

Miles believes the industry has allowed him to be creative.

The internet kiosk, which was his first kiosk, was a booth where people could surf the internet and play games before the smart phone. The second invention was the free public

payphone, but the coin and debit cards were removed and the screen became the revenue. People were able to make inter national calls. The free public phone was to keep the public phone relevant.

Now the company is taking

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 12

out the old equipment and implementing upgraded services.

The company’s latest kiosk at the airport aims to provide passengers with a calming travel experience with less of the stress that often exist in busy airports. These state-ofthe-art, comprehensive kiosks provide passengers with additional information, helping them to independently navigate and move around the airport. Located at 50 gates across all three terminals at DEN, the kiosks will save passengers time.

RMES, which employs 11 people, is moving forward with Denver International Airport’s Vision 100 in mind. Vision 100 is the airport’s strategic plan that will enable it to prepare for and reach 100 million annual passengers in the next 8 to 10 years. The plan will serve as a blueprint to align decision-mak ing and enable accountability so the airport can thoughtfully prepare to serve passengers.

The company has a lot to offer in support of this vision considering it operates as a tele communications consultant business and in engineering, accounting, research, and man agement services.

RMES’ latest technology is a natural progression from its early days of calling card machines, vending machines, and free public phones. The kiosk’s unique features include TTY/TDD for video relay serv

ices for the deaf and hearing impaired, a multilingual chat room, DEN Eats Order and Delivery, DEN information access options, DEN online marketplace, and health and wellness check applications.

What may appear to be a simple offering can turn out to help in a big way. For example, food delivery service to the gate is critical to alleviating conges tion in the airport as it decreas es the number of passengers waiting in line in the concession areas. Offering services for those with disabilities can help them move more confidently and independently throughout the airport.

Miles can see this kiosk being of use in other places, such as the convention center and transportation hubs like bus and rail stations.

Generations of Malone family members are working with RMES and are primed to take the family legacy to the next level. Miles believes that a real-life Wakanda is possible in terms of technological improve ments and advancements.

He says that we are already on that path and speed that is going to be dictated when we are ready to use it. It is some thing that is going to allow people to utilize it like a blue tooth like a subscription or app. Those services are becoming more available and are letting people take advantage of the services without going to the kiosk.

RMES’ long-standing rela tionship with Clear Channel will provide businesses with services that give them oppor tunities to advertise in their net work at a lower budget, accord ing to Miles. He explains that the significance for Blackowned businesses is that it allows them the opportunity to gain access to an advertising market that until now has been competitively out of reach due to big corporations having a strong hold..

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 13 THE AURORA FOX ARTS CENTER 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010 Tickets: 303.739.1970 • NOVEMBER 25 – DECEMBER 18, 2022 THU.-SAT. 7:30 P.M. | SUN. 2 P.M. | TICKETS $20-$40
Written by Stephen Massicotte

Maintain Your Weight This Holiday Season

This is the time of the year when there is lots of food, especially the very yummy type that is rich in excess calories. From November through January, many of us will attend small gatherings and gettogethers for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve festivities. Unfortunately, if we aren’t careful, we will spend the next 9 months trying to take off the weight that could have been prevented. Here are some prac tical prevention tips for this sea son to help you avoid unneces sary weight gain this season:

•Eat before going out to celebrate. If you eat a decent snack before going to a party, you will be full and no longer be tempted by other foods. A small snack that contains pro tein can diminish the urge to overeat high calorie/low nutrient foods. Some of the foods that you can consider include veggies with higher protein content (i.e. broccoli, edamame, asparagus), lentils, quinoa and beans to name a few. This will help minimize your temptation to eat large portions at the gathering.

•Bring your own food. If you are worried about sugary and heavy calorie foods served at parties, take your own side dish. Of course you are always free to taste the food at the party but if there are no healthy options, then eat your own food.

•Take your time. One of the best ways to prevent overeating is to eat and chew slowly. This is a method of mindful eating, taking the time to really taste and enjoy each bite.

If you are making a meal for your family, avoid placing all the different dishes on the table at the same time. For example, if you have cooked turkey, ham, veggies, garlic bread, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a casserole, fill your plate in the kitchen and after your plate is clean, take a break and then decide if you want a sec ond helping. If you leave all the dishes on the table at the same time, chances are that you will continue to eat even after you are satisfied.

•Go small. Plate sizes have greatly increased over the past three decades and this has led to people eating huge portions

of food. So to avoid overeating, use smaller plates as this has been shown to make you feel fuller with less food. Similarly, use short glasses for your bev erages as you will drink less (unless it is water).

The most important thing of course is to enjoy your friends and family this season but please continue to enjoy your favorite foods in appropriate portion sizes, being mindful to enjoy each bite and paying attention to your body for feel ings of satiation. Remember that prevention is easier than reaction when it comes to your health, so plan ahead.

Thanks for reading!Y

Editor’s note: Contributor Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in home/virtual per sonal training, nutrition coaching and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

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Denver Sheriff Department Graduation Ceremony

Celebrating Sixteen New Deputies

Last month on Nov. 18, Executive Director of Public Armando Saldate and Sheriff Elias Diggins welcomed 16 new deputies to the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) at the grad uation ceremony for the second class of 2022, class 2022-2.

The new deputy sheriffs completed a very challenging sixteen-week academy and now join a public safety team com prised of dedicated public ser vants who play a vital role in maintaining the safety and

security of the individuals in their care within our jails.

The new deputies will begin their new assignments at the Downtown Detention Center and the Denver County Jail where they will be responsible for providing safe and secure custody for inmates. DSD is currently recruiting for the January 2023 Academy. Interested individuals can apply

Webb Named Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb was recently

named to the U.S. ExportImport Bank Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee. Webb will be representing trade and commerce on the advisory board.

Committee members advise EXIM on the development and implementation of policies and programs designed to support EXIM’s engagement in subSaharan Africa and boost U.S. exports and American jobs. The committee is comprised of 11 members with representation from a variety of fields includ ing trade, commerce, banking, finance and small business. The committee meets semi-annually and is mandated by Congress under EXIM’s charter. The chair and members are appointed to one-year terms.

Webb, who served as Denver’s first Black mayor from 1991-2003, has supported Africa in numerous ways during his more than 50 years in public office, including divesting state investments during apartheid and leading a trade delegation to South Africa as mayor. He also traveled to Africa with President Clinton.

Committee members advise EXIM on the development and implementation of policies and programs designed to support EXIM’s engagement in subSaharan Africa and boost U.S. exports and American jobs. The committee is comprised of 11 members with representation from a variety of fields includ ing trade, commerce, banking, finance and small business. The committee meets semi-annually and is mandated by Congress under EXIM’s charter. The chair and members are appointed to one-year terms.

Lead is heavy on our minds.

Though the water we provide is safe, clean and lead-free, lead can get into the water as it moves through customerowned plumbing. So we’re replacing customer service lines, one impacted property at a time. To find out if you’re one of them, visit our website.

Learn more at

HATS OFF TO Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 15

Q&A with CPR Host Chandra Thomas Whitfield

tion’s continued efforts to embrace diversity and attract new, diverse listeners. DUS recently caught up with Whitfield to talk about her life, career and covering Colorado –and to introduce her to readers who may not have crossed her path yet.

Tell us about yourself.

“I have been in Colorado going on 11 years now and one of my first stops (after chowing

Veteran journalist Chandra Thomas Whitfield is proud to call Colorado Public Radio her work home as the new co-host and producer of “Colorado Matters,” the sta tion’s daily interview-style pub lic affairs program.

Whitfield, who has been in the position since June, has worked in a lot of journalism spaces from producing television news and covering breaking news at a newspaper to hosting and pro ducing “In The Gap,” her podcast about Black women and unequal pay. She has produced stories for a number of media, including National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Ebony and the Coloradobased Denver Urban Spectrum. She is also an alumna of a diverse mix of journalism fellowship pro grams across the country.

Not afraid to keep diversify ing and elevating her career, the award-winning journalist says it has been an exciting new chal lenge being a part of the sta

down on some of those awe some honey hot wings at Welton Street Cafe, of course) was checking in with DUS pub lisher Bee Harris. A journalism friend told me we just had to connect and they were so right. One of the highlights of my time here in Colorado has been writing several articles for The Spectrum, including two that won Colorado Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) awards. Bee also tapped me to serve as the managing editor for two editions of the publication. Bee and I attended several cul tural events, including floor seats to see Stevie Wonder in concert at the Pepsi Center. It was so much fun because Bee is like the second mayor of Denver. Everyone knows her and we were stopped by people saying hello every few minutes. Plus, did I mention floor seats to see Stevie Wonder live? A total dream come true!”

What about your personal life?

“I am a proud wife and mom of two rambunctious kiddos.

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They are serious scholars and athletes so that keeps me busy enough. I also somehow find time to be president of the PTO at my kids’ elementary school and support CABJ and the Denver Chapter of the Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association. Yes, I am a proud HBCU grad! Being a part of those organizations has helped me build relationships and make Colorado feel like home, which for me is actually New Orleans and Atlanta.”

You’ve presented to a lot of young journalists over the years. What does this chapter of your journalism career say about taking risks and trying new platforms?

“I would like to think that my career — the entirety of my career — is a testament to what it means to be truly dedicated to your craft and the big payoff you can experience when you invest into yourself fully and actually take risks. I have worked in just about every media platform at this point and radio has always been a secret passion of mine. So, I hosted and produced my award-winning podcast “In The Gap,” about Black women and pay inequity in 2020. Yeah, the crazy year. It got me comfortable speaking and helped me realize how much I enjoy hosting and producing. So when the opportu nity to do so at CPR came, I jumped at the chance and decided to embrace my passion.”

What are the names of some of the universities that you’ve presented to?

“Oh my, how much time do you have? I have been blessed to have had opportunities to pres ent and train at Clark Atlanta University, my alma mater, Spelman, Tulane, The Ohio State, University of Southern California, and I did careerchanging journalism fellowships at CU Boulder, Brandeis University and most recently Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.”

In the time that you’ve been in the position, what has been the most surprising for you as you approach your daily tasks?

“The funny thing is some times I am in the host chair cringing and thinking I sound totally unnatural. Then later I listen to the rebroadcast at 7pm and laugh and say, “hmmm, that wasn’t too bad.” I guess I am my worst critic. The team at CPR has cheered me on and been so supportive and encour

aging. I have been honored recently to illuminate many important stories in the Black community, including a show about CU Boulder’s new Center for African and African American History, a documen tary on Black people’s experi ences in Boulder, Lincoln Hills, the historic Black mountain resort in Colorado and Mayor Hancock’s “Black Health and Healing,” mental health initia tive. I also have covered memo

rials for esteemed Black Coloradans, including Denver businessman extraordinaire Carl Bourgeois and the late Wiley Daniel, Colorado’s first Black federal judge.” Y Editor’s note: Colorado Matters airs 9 to 10 a.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. MST weekdays on Colorado Public Radio and on the CPR smartphone app. Whitfield hosts Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, visit

Nov. 18 – Dec. 30, 2022

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 17

Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

Atlanta: A groundbreaking show ends appropriatelywith us scratching

our heads!

The surrealist television show is an instant classic and will be missed.

Watching the first episode of Atlanta hooked me. Two scenes reeled me in. From the very first scene, the confronta tion in the parking lot outside a nightclub between the three protagonists, Ern, Paper Boi, Darius, and a young couple. The character Darius, played by Lakeith Stansfield, interjects the surprisingly tense scene by pointing out that the situation they are experiencing has hap pened before, proving it by pointing to a stray dog he said should be there. And the second scene, toward the end of that episode, is when Ern (played by series creator Donald Glover) is riding the bus at night with his baby girl when a mysterious passenger dressed elegantly in a suit and bowtie confronts him. The stranger offers Ern unsolic ited philosophical advice and a bite of a jelly sandwich he just made on the bus. The man van ishes from Ern’s side but sud denly appears outside the bus, walking and disappearing in the woods (accompanied by a dog that suddenly appears).

Donald Glover, the genius behind the show’s success, served as the show’s writer, director, producer, and star, weaving a world, sometimes flinching social commentary grounded in surrealism. This approach allowed him to explore race, entertainment, crime, and especially Black cul ture in a way that illuminated

the conscious and subconscious, whether exciting or mundane, in a way that would make us second guess our outlook on American culture. His stories are a mix ture of Poe, Gabriel García Márquez, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Glover made every day experiences in the Black com munity sometimes bitter and sometimes funny as hell. I am familiar with many of the situ ations his characters experi enced, and I expect many other African Americans have experi enced many of the topics in his writing. The relatability of the characters wrapped in surrealist adventures made Atlanta so appealing. Like the saying, “Many a true word is spoken in jest,” many dreams are born in reality. From white people using the word nigger casually, or the barber that won’t shut up, or white people joyously celebrating African culture and Juneteenth to Black people try ing to support Black restaurants even if the service and food sucks, Atlanta is reality cloaked in a deliberately opaque dream. Glover also aimed at celebrities such as Tyler Perry and Michael Jackson, which is something Black entertainers do not do on such a popular show outside of YouTube and other social media sites. It was refreshing.

By delivering tales through the lens of surrealism, the viewer was allowed to look inwards toward our subcon scious and society. His Atlanta is filled not with real people but ideas of people; the record, pro ducer, the rap star, the business mogul, the white friend, the crazy aunt, all of whom Glover reveals to be something other

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Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 18

than what they appear. Most are either lonely, crazy, or all the above. Nothing ever happens the way it should, just like in a dream.

Glover described Atlanta as “Twin Peaks with rappers,” and the final episode exem plifies that by taking viewers on a psychedelic journey that leaves us wondering what was

real and what was a dream. The show’s last episodes are the perfect bookend to the first epi sode of season one, when the entire confrontation in the park ing lot may have been a dream in Darius’ head. We don’t know for sure, and I want to avoid getting a direct answer from Glover. I am content with living in the swirling world of avant-

garde, surrealistic dreamlike worlds where exact interpreta tions only lessen the story’s impact. Atlanta is a case where the journey is much more important than the destination. Glover pulled out all the stops in Atlanta’s last season, which took tremendous courage.

Most writers would have stayed in the lane of the com mercial template, i.e., a hefty dose of violence, sex, and baby mama drama. But Glover’s sometimes head-scratching epi sodes never fell into the usual tropes and veered directly into the cerebral instead. In a world where scripts are as commer cialized for the broad lowest common denominator, Glover stands out as an artist that gen uinely respects the intellect and taste of his audience. He does not explain or dumb things down. I appreciate that.

The cast was also part of the appeal. The characters always felt like real people instead of

“tv people.” Joining Glover and Stanfield were Brian Tyree Henry, who played rapper Paper Boi and Zazie Beets, who portrayed Vanessa Keefer. Ending the show in its fourth season while it is at the highest popularity is a good idea, and I hope it is never reimagined or revisited in any form. After this last season, there was no other place to go, and it seems that Glover wrote each episode with that in mind, and that is why he let it all hang out. He’s the retired slugger who hit a grand slam on his last at-bat.

Many people lamented the Beatles’ breakup, but did we want to see them hang around too long? Let’s capsulize this relatively brief show for what it was and leave it alone. This time is the perfect time to end the show, and I look forward to seeing what else Donald Glover and the rest of the writers have to offer us in the future. .



Posthumously awarded for their dedication to our youngest learners.

Geraldine “Gerie” Grimes Former President and CEO of Hope Center Dr. Rebecca Kantor Former Dean of the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
| 303-595-4DPP
Helping every Denver family access high-quality preschool.
about the Denver Preschool Program: DPP.ORG
Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 19

Aurora Poet Laureate describes poems as ‘snapshots of life’

Editor’s note: This story is brought to you by COLab, the Colorado news Collaborative

Honorary Aurora Poet Laureate, Ahja Fox, 25, is proud of being born and raised in the diverse City of Aurora.

Fox received her education from the University of Colorado Denver, where she received a degree in creative writing, and Arapahoe Community College.

And while Fox is quick to credit her caring teachers and mentors for instilling a love of poetry, what originally “started her pen” was seeing a collection of poetry next to artwork at the Denver Art Museum. Fox was inspired by this collision of two of her interests, and thus began her style: “ research poetry,” where she combines emotion and history in her work.

The importance of creative outlets

Fox believes that creative writing, music, and other arts are some of the most important things children can learn in school.

“We need to feel inspired to make it through life. And for me, even though poetry is what I write, a lot of music, a lot of movies, a lot of books, is what actually has actually molded my mind where I felt like I had the words to articulate what I wanted in my work,” Fox said, “So when it comes to young people, even older people, it’s important to have these creative outlets not only just to inform us but to also learn how to express ourselves.”

One of Fox’s first poet laure ate roles was reciting poetry at a recent naturalization ceremony at the Aurora Municipal Center.

“For me, that was such an amazing opportunity to have to see people coming into our community, especially Aurora being the most diverse city,” said Fox.

A love for her city

Fox was sworn in as the Honorary Poet Laureate on Aug. 8. She will serve a fouryear term through August 2026. Her duties in this role include celebrating the diversity in Aurora through community outreach programs and com memorating city and national events in a poetic format.

Fox said Colorado poets like Kathryn Winograd, Nicky Beer, Hillary Leftwich and Meca’Ayo Cole inspire her. She also named novelists like Steven Dunn and Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

“Aurora is super special to me not just obviously because I was born and raised here, but a lot of the connections that I have actually made here. The library itself, all the libraries in Aurora, are ones that I have vis ited and the material that I encountered is what helped mold me into who I am today,” Fox said. “But also a lot of my friends when it comes to the dif ferent schools in the commu nity, I still have those friends today and some of those are friends are when I was 10 years old. And so just knowing how robust and diverse we are here is something that I want to con stantly scream to the world.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 20
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Answering the unanswerable

Fox’s writing style stimulates the mind as well as the heart.

“I feel like my work usually delves into the different ques tions that are really unanswer able, so especially about life and especially about death,” Fox said. “A lot of my work has consisted of those hard traumas that some of us have gone through and it’s always me just trying to re-articulate what that might really mean and see it through different lenses and perspectives.”

Fox told Rocky Mountain PBS that she is currently work ing on a manuscript about the death industry. She explained that she recently discovered that the same mortician has been working with her family for generations.

“So I asked more questions to that mortician and found out that she actually knew a lot of my family as a child,” Fox said. “They grew up on the same street, and to me, that’s an inter esting story.”

The impact of family

Fox said her mother, Lacresha Duru, is a “really big inspiration” for how she got into poetry. Duru struggled with a learning disability, and reading was an “extreme strug gle” for her, Fox said.

Because of this, Fox said her mother told her that while she was pregnant with her, she would read to her every night with the hopes that her daugh ter would not have the same reading struggles.

“And it’s crazy because I ended up getting into poetry and now, I’m the poet laureate so she’s very supportive, very happy and she talks about it all the time, that she really believes putting that wish out there every day is what got me to where I am now,” Fox said.

Fox proudly said she recently gave birth to a little girl named Izzy, who is currently 11 months old. Just like her mother did for her, Fox reads to her daughter every night.

“My family is really a big drive to me when it comes to this career because I want to be able to show my daughter, for instance, that you can go for what you want,” Fox said. “There is something to go for when it comes to creative arts, and I just think that’s beautiful.”.

Editor’s note: Lindsey Ford is a multimedia journalist with Rocky Mountain PBS.

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Rev. Dr. James

Out with the old, in with a New Year

December…. a time of the year we get excited for family, gatherings, good food, giving back to others, and preparing for new beginnings. We often hear the expression “out with the old in with the new.” When it comes to real estate and the mortgage rates we experienced in 2022, for many people that phrase can never be truer. We are excited to leave behind higher interest rates.

Personally, as a real estate professional, I believe that the interest rate hikes are just what the Denver market needed. For the past few years, media news outlets have talked about how Denver has become unafford able. And most U.S. cities have experienced the same housing affordability concerns. With the ongoing increase in inflation, the federal reserve took the nec essary measures to start revers ing inflation. And while we’ve seen a reduction in inflation in the past few months, there’s

still the potential of an increase in interest rates in December, when the Federal Reverse meets again.

This would certainly put us in a place of wanting to be “out with the old” of 7 interest rate hikes in 2022, and “in with the new” of some better news going into 2023.

Expert opinions in the mort gage industry are certainly trending to the idea of interest rates getting back under 5% within the third or fourth quarter of 2023. It’s news like this that gets potential home buyers excited about getting back into the market at that time. We’ve all heard the term “timing is everything.”

This is the perfect timing for a home purchase for any buyer, while the interest rates are a lit tle higher. Because what we’ve experienced over the last six months, is with interest rates becoming higher housing prices have become lower and it goes back to that old business adage, buy low, and sell high. When the interest rate does go back

Are you ready to usher in a new year with better interest rates?
Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 22

down under 5%, what we are likely to experience is another hot seller’s market where prices will start to rise. And the win dow of opportunity that is cur rently open will have once again slammed shut.

So, the perfect timing consists of buying at a lower price poten tially having a higher interestrate, but within six months, being able to refi into a lower interest. In most current transactions, buyers are requesting that the seller pay closing cost and pro vide additional funds to buy down to lower interest rates at the time of purchase. Over the past eight years, in the real estate market, buyers have not seen the leverage that they have right now.

So, a part of the “in with the new” for 2023 has to be a new way of thinking. And that new thinking includes not allowing the media’s news story to become our sole representation of the facts. That mentality causes you to be paralyzed with

fear. It’s important to further investigate and have greater understanding of the current situation in the market in learn ing how to make that situation work for your benefit. This has been the strategy of the wealthy for years. You take a crisis situ ation and figure out how to monetize it. So while the masses are distracted by the cri sis, an ambitious few are work ing the angles, and looking for loopholes to further increase their wealth.

For more information on how to position yourself over

the next six months to take advantage of this opportunity presented, seek the advice of a real estate professional who can guide you through the process.

This will surely set you up for an amazing 2023, and even better years moving forward..

Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate eXp Realty, LLC. He has been an agent since 2001 and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more informa tion, email: or call 303-668-5433.

Jazz by Yaz


Making transmissions well since 1983.
jazz on alto
tenor sax for events and recordings.
— December 2022 23
Denver Urban Spectrum


Denver Preschool Program Recognizes Two Early Childhood Education Leaders with Inaugural Award

Geraldine “Gerie” Grimes and Dr. Rebecca Kantor

posthumously honored for their decades of work in improving the future of early childhood education

Geraldine “Gerie” Grimes, former President and CEO of Hope Center, and Dr. Rebecca Kantor, former Dean of the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver, have been posthumously honored with the inaugural Denver Preschool Program Legacy Award 2022 for their devoted leadership and impactful work in the local early childhood education (ECE) community.

The award was presented at the Denver Preschool Program’s Provider Appreciation Event on October 25 at the Rocky Mountain PBS Buell Public Media Center in Denver. The ceremony was attended by ECE teachers, directors, and commu nity leaders.

As a steadfast advocate for equitable access to quality pre school since 2006, and a sup portive partner to 260 preschool providers, DPP developed the

annual Denver Preschool Program Legacy Award to rec ognize and acknowledge local leaders who have devoted their careers to improving the future of early childhood education.

“Great strides have been made in early childhood educa tion over the past decade thanks to our dedicated community of preschool teachers, directors, and other leaders in this space,” said Elsa Holguin, DPP

President and CEO. “We’d like to celebrate these successes and honor those who have gone above and beyond to set the standard of ECE excellence with this inaugural Denver Preschool Program Legacy Award.”

Geraldine “Gerie” Grimes was the President and CEO of Hope Center, a local nonprofit providing early childhood edu cation for more than 60 years and is nationally recognized for its curriculum and high-quality learning experiences. As a fierce

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 24
Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, Kiko Grimes and Elsa Holguin Photos by Shameka McBoat

advocate for equitable opportu nities for the community and all families, Grimes provided pro gressive leadership for organi zations, including the Denver Early Childhood Council, National Black Child Development Institute Denver Affiliate, Mayor’s Early Childhood Education Commission, and the Denver Preschool Program’s Advisory Board. In 2018, Grimes was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame for her “Activism and Advocacy” in the community. Grimes passed away in May of this year after a 40+ year tenure at Hope Center.

Dr. Rebecca Kantor was the Dean of the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. She was a tremendous cham pion for the ECE community throughout her robust and impactful career as an early childhood teacher, researcher, professor of teacher education, education policy reformer, and public university administrator. With a passion for reimagining the future of education for young children, Dr. Kantor was an integral part of the local ECE community, serving on several boards and commissions, including Colorado’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission, and was a deeply engaged board member of DPP for six years. Dr. Kantor passed away in April of 2021..

About Denver Preschool Program

Denver Preschool Program is a non profit organization committed to improving the early childhood edu cation system by championing, funding, and increasing access to quality education for all of Denver’s young learners. DPP makes quality preschool possible for all Denver families with 4-year-old children through a dedicated sales tax first approved by voters in 2006 and renewed in 2014. DPP has provided more than $150 million in tuition support to help approximately 65,000 Denver children attend the preschool of their families’ choice, establishing each child’s foundation for lifelong learning and success. In addition, Denver Preschool Program was recently named Denver’s Local Coordinating Organization (LCO) for the Colorado Universal Preschool Program, which is scheduled to launch in the 2023-2024 school year. More information about the Denver Preschool Program is avail able at

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 25
Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, JaNet Hurt, Elsa Holguin and Lori Ryan

TILL: A Film of Struggle vs. Entertainment

The late activist, freedom fighter, intellectual, and revolu tionary Kwame Touré said, “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he has the power to lynch me that’s my problem. Racism is not a ques tion of attitude: it’s a question of power.” Touré’s quote pro vides a framework to discuss the recent feature film TILL.

Director Chinonye Chukwu and Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski deliver a rich visual palette telling the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for Emmitt Till, her 14-year-old son. Young Till was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. Danielle Deadwyler delivers an incred ible performance as Mamie TillMobley.

Black newspapers and jour nals throughout the country detailed the brutal murder of the teenager whose Chicago upbringing did not prepare him for the potential volatility of interactions between Black males and white women in rural Mississippi. Mamie TillMobley helped galvanize the civil rights movement by insist ing on an open casket and allowing photographers to show the nation first-hand the horrors of Southern lynching.

Despite the predictable notguilty verdict by an all-white male jury, the fact that people of color and conscience forced white supremacists to hold a

trial and answer questions was, to some, a victory. However, this is well-documented history, and the film’s journey to this point is a journey of agony.

One of the film’s significant storylines is the power of white supremacists and the constant indignities visited upon Black people. Many of these painful and persistent humiliating encounters with white power and injustice took place in pub lic spaces. In the film, as they are in life, the relentless verbal, physical, and psychological attacks on Black humanity are exhausting and traumatizing.

TILL was written, produced, and directed by Black people. It is incumbent on critical-thinking Black scholars, lay people, and anyone concerned about our col lective humanity to discuss the impact of the constant bombard ment of dehumanizing, degrad ing attacks on Black humanity portrayed in TILL. From the first act, when Mamie Till-Mobley sees Emmett off to Mississippi, her motherly anxieties take over. They continue throughout the film to the last scene defining the painful nature of Till-Mobley’s grief and loss, which dominates an end in which the murderers and accomplices are unpunished.

In the context of Touré’s quote, “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he has the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude: it’s a question of power.” Does TILL motivate viewers to struggle for power, or is it a film framing Black tragedy and oppression as for profit entertainment?

Dante J. James Dayton, OH

Editor’s note: Dante J. James is an Emmy winning filmmaker and the producer/director/writer of Our Home Too film project.

Message To our loving commUNITY!


When you think about sus tainability and legacy, you

probably don’t think about the Crowley Foundation. You hear names like the Denver Foundation, Rose Foundation and others… but for 13 years we have been able to remain a constant figure in the Denver community. I can remember how hard it was to try and col laborate with other individuals and organizations. I remember doors being closed in our face. I remember being turned down for funding. But we kept at it and we were very persistent. For years we would fund our organization with money from our own pockets just trying to figure it out. Escorting students to Colorado State University was our very first campus tour. From there we went on to visit multiple universities in Colorado as well as taking a group of students to Langston University. We held our first ACT practice test at Rachel B Noel Middle School, another small step toward the bigger picture. I also think about our very first boy2MEN Workshop held at Red Shield in collabo ration with Athletics and Beyond. There are hundreds of individuals and organizations that has supported us since then and many other collabo rations that we still maintain to this day. Overall, this journey has been very pleasing and pur poseful not only for me but also for my family. We are proud to have served over 20,000 stu dents and given away over $343,000 in college scholarships. Stay tuned for what the future

has in store as we look to expand into new markets and launch new programs! Thank you for your support.

There is no losing, only learning There is no failure, only opportunities There are no problems, only solutions

In wellness, Kenneth D. Crowley, Sr. Founder/CEO

You Want the Black Vote?

Must Have a Social Equity Plan Embedded in Your Vision for the City!


by John Bailey

First, on behalf of all the cit izens of the City and County of Denver; and specifically, the African American community, Colorado Black Roundtable and its many members, I’d like to start this conversation by thank ing Mayor Michael B. Hancock for his leadership, stewardship, guidance and service to our community and its diverse cit izenry.

Michael has transformed Denver into a global hub dur ing his tenure. Over the past 12 years he has been perhaps the most influential leader in our city’s history with his visionary leadership.

Our recent Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) Social Equity Summit heard from the entire local, state and federal del egation and listened to the prom ises of heightened support and advocacy. CBRT Gaining Ground in the Black Community

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 26

Social Equity Summit was held from Oct. 19 to 23.

The three-day gathering of Black community leadership, elected officials, thought experts and concerned citizens examined and updated attend ees on issues of concern to Black Colorado citizens for pur poses of looking at social equity efforts, positive change and progress in our city and state. Topics included housing, health care, education, public safety, business opportunities, energy, youth development and violence, leadership, the upcoming municipal election in 2023 and more.

While there were a number of ideas, action steps, recommenda tions for community action, a consistent theme throughout the weekends was that any and all action steps and positive change in the Black community in Denver and Colorado had to emphasize social equity and community benefits.

A major point in many of the presentations and discussions was using our history to guide our current situation and future opportunities for community development.

Thirdly, John Bailey, the event’s convener, suggests that in this Op-Ed is more of a state ment, “the reason we don’t know what social equity looks like in this country, is because we have never seen it!!”

Thus the primary reason why the Black community will step forward to discuss, define, interpret and demonstrate what social equity is and can look like in the City of Denver and the State of Colorado to us and that we expect every candidate running for office in the upcom ing municipal elections in April, 2023 and beyond to have thoughts about, if not an actual social equity plan for the city and state.

Your social equity plan should, in some detail, reflect the candidate’s specific position on:

•Economy [Cannabis, Community Development, Small Business Support, Programs for Families]



•Criminal Justice Reform

•Youth Development

Moving forward, there are and will be other issues that other groups and communities may have and raise through out this campaign.

These CBRT Black commu nity issues reflect on-going social equity, community con versations on Black community benefits, remarks and responses from CBRT Summit attendees, national Black community development updates and the Gaining Ground in the Black Community research.

The Black community must

no longer settle for less or having others using our historical Black misery as social equity talking points. We will define who we are, why we are here, what we are going to do and when we are going to do it on our own terms—with the support of allies.

The Black community going forward and in the spirit of self-determination and authen tic social equity engagement with the business community, educa tional institutions, government and candidates seeking Black community support will engage in a smart, thoughtful and pur poseful approach approach and discussion to social equity in Denver and Colorado through collaboration, engagement and accountability – The Time Is Now!!

Editor’s note: John Bailey is the Chair of the Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) and the Founder and Lead Convener of the Black Cannabis Equity.

2500 18th Street, Denver, CO 80211 (303) 954-0896

December 2022 27

Colorado State Board Passes Inclusive Social Studies Standards

Editor’s note: This story is brought to you by COLab, the Colorado news Collaborative

Colorado social studies les sons must include the experi ences and contributions of diverse groups: Latino, Indigenous, African American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people.

In a series of 4-3 party line votes Thursday, Democrats on the Colorado State Board of

Education approved social studies standards with an expansive view of the American story and who has a place in it.

The decision restored many specific references that had been cut from the draft stan dards in response to negative feedback from conservatives. And the board also voted unan imously to make changes to standards that guide instruction about the Holocaust and geno cide, clarifying that the Nazi Party was fascist, not socialist, and adding historic and con temporary atrocities to the list of what students should know. The decision moves Colorado in the opposite direction of states under Republican control that are passing laws to limit how teachers can talk about race, gender, and sexuality and also to limit how they can sup port students.

The State Board heard months of debate and received hundreds of emails about the standards. Conservative parents said the standards would

divide students by race and eth nicity and introduce ideas about sex and gender at a young age, potentially in viola tion of parents’ values. Republican board members largely agreed.

In response, a standards committee made up of teachers, community members, and other experts stripped out many spe cific references in favor of terms like “diverse groups” and “marginalized perspectives.” After those changes, other groups including parents, stu dents, and teachers, rallied in defense of the more inclusive and specific version of the stan dards. They said students would benefit from seeing themselves in the curriculum and in American history.

In particular, queer youth said they would have understood themselves better and feared less for their futures if they had learned about gay or transgender people living full lives and con tributing to their communities. They also want their peers to understand them better.

“My existence is not politi cal,” said Reina Hernandez, a trans Latina student at Cherry Creek High School. “It’s simply been politicized to pursue a political agenda. Will you sup port my right as a student to exist publicly?”

Approved standards name groups, require specifics

The State Board restored most of the cut material Thursday, with some format ting changes to reduce repeti tion.

In preschool, rather than ask ing students, “Why is it impor tant to hear and share multiple diverse perspectives?” a teacher would ask, “Why is it impor tant to hear what friends from different backgrounds (cultures, races, languages, religions, family composition, etc.) have to say?”

In eighth grade, rather than ask students to “analyze evidence from multiple sources

including those with conflicting accounts about specific events in both Colorado and United States history,” the standard names the perspectives that should be considered:

“Indigenous Peoples’, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and African American perspectives on Western colonization and enslavement, Asian American and Latinos’ perspectives on immigration, the Indian Removal Act, the Buffalo Soldiers, and the Sand Creek Massacre.”

Republicans focused their concerns on references in early grades to LGBTQ people. One preschool standard says stu dents should show interest in interacting with and developing relationships with people from a range of backgrounds, and names LGBTQ people among other groups.

Democratic board members said this would look like chil dren sharing freely about their families and bringing in family photos, whether they have a mom and a dad or two dads.

Republican board member Steve Durham countered with the example of drag queen story time sessions held at some libraries.

He described the standards as “anti-parent,” and some par ents in the audience agreed. Mary Goodley described teach ing her toddler to sit, then walk, then run, and said teaching younger children about the con tributions of members of the LGBTQ community would be like asking them to run before they could sit. She imagined her child entering school, learning about a notable leader in the LGBTQ community, and then wondering what LGBTQ means.

“I don’t want my child’s first grade teacher to introduce him to these vast sexual complex ities,” Goodley said. “Teaching children about particular sex and gender notions is a clear violation of parental rights … and decreases trust in the pub lic education model.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 28

And parent Janelle Rumley said the idea that students need to see themselves in the curricu lum disturbed her, because it suggests white children like her own couldn’t learn from or be inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. or Harriet Tubman.

But other parents said with out specifics in the standards, their communities’ history just doesn’t get taught.

Maria Guadalupe Cardoza said she has nine children in the Boulder Valley school district, and “the only thing my chil dren learn about our history is from people of their same color.”

Hernandez, the Cherry Creek student, has been working to develop a class that would cover LGBTQ issues and ethnic studies. It’s been hard to convince admin istrators the topics are as impor tant as other academic subjects, she said. Having social studies standards that list by name the groups whose stories should be told would help students make their case.

“For a very long time, I was scared of who I was,” she said. “With education, it helps.” Standards will shape instruc tion, but not dictate it

Colorado does not set curri culum or choose textbooks at the state level. That will be up to school districts. The stan dards lay out what students are supposed to know, and school districts usually try to pick cur riculum that aligns with state standards. However, there is lit tle enforcement, especially in subjects like social studies.

The State Board was required to update the social studies standards to comply with several new state laws that require the inclusion of more diverse perspectives in social studies, call for more robust civics instruction, and make learning about the Holocaust and genocide a graduation requirement.

All three requirements became politically contentious. Republican board member Deb

Scheffel wanted Colorado civics standards to be based on the conservative American Birthright standards, an idea Democrats rejected. And Durham shaped the standards around the Holocaust and genocide to associate Nazis with socialism and emphasize the dangers of left-wing gov ernments, leading history teachers, Jewish groups, and others to call for changes. Also on Thursday, the State Board voted unanimously to

make changes to the genocide standards before finalizing the social studies standards. After reading out a quote in which Hitler attacked Jews for being capitalists, Durham voted with other board members to add the word fascist to the descrip tion of the Nazi Party at the suggestion of board member Rebecca McClellan.

Board members also voted unanimously to restore refer ences to Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur that had been lost and,

at the suggestion of Board Chair Angelika Schroeder, added a requirement that stu dents learn about the Sand Creek massacre as a genocide. “I don’t want people to think with all the -isms that this only happens in other countries,” Schroeder said.Y

Editor’s note: Bureau Chief Erica Meltzer covers education policy and politics and oversees Chalkbeat Colorado’s education coverage. To contact Erica, email

Urban Spectrum — December 2022 29

We are so excited to host a new service partnering with Postpartum Support International for expectant and post-partum parents at our community hub.

The 昀rst step is easy! PSI can do a 20 minute call with you and a team member to learn more about you, your family, what you need, and how they can help.

Childcare and snacks will be provided.

(2) a group led by a local mental health provider where you can receive therapeutic support in a group of other local moms and birthing parents.

We o昀er anity suport group spaces for Black and Latino/a moms and birthing people in Spanish and English.



Denver Urban Spectrum — December 2022 30
We o昀er two types of groups in the Denver community: (1) a group led by a trained peer facilitator (another local mom or birthing parent) where you can share your experiences and get support to help cope with your feelings /
Experiencing emotional distress during pregnancy or after the birth of a baby is extremely common. Finding a therapist can feel impossible. Sharing your feelings can be dicult, but the Birth Squad and the Denver community are here for you.
to save
afternoons at the Center
The Birth Squad
a seat for Birth Squad on Wednesday
for African American Health 3350
St., Denver, CO. Virtual Options Also Available.
One caramel 昀avor. Any kind of co昀ee. At participating McDonald’s. ©2022 McDonald’s Hot Caramel McCafe Co昀ee McCafe Caramel Frappe Iced Caramel McCafe Co昀ee