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Volume 30 Number 7

October 2016

Blessed,

Talented and

Skilled Malik Beasley -

Denver Nugget First Round 2016 NBA Draft Pick...Page 2


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MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER Volume 30 Number 7

October 2016

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James

MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington

PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Earl Ofari Hutchinson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Donna Garnett Sydney M. Odion-Smith Allan ChristopherTellis Laurence Curtis Washington

The New Normal

A previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.

When I wake up each day and turn on CNN, I am bombarded with “new normal” news including another Black man being shot for being just LWB - Living While Black. Or I hear bickering from the highest officials candidates who are running to be the next POTUS. Or how terrorists are terroizing our country with no regard to humanity. Unfortunately, our children and grandchildren are growing up in a world where the new normal, in reality, is far from normal. Many do not feel safe and many feel frightened. And this is not normal. This month, several readers agree with Colin Kaepernick and feels his stand not to salute the American flag to protest the many unfair and unjust killings of Black men is, indeed, normal. What may not be normal is recognizing those who are doing positive work in the community and making a difference in the lives of others. There are many unsung heroes and sheroes in the community. Our cover story features a humble young man who because of his work ethics, humbleness and faith, was a first round draft pick for the Denver Nuggets. Read about him and his supportive parents who he considers his personal “hero and shero.” Contributor Charles Emmons talks about Youth With a Future, an urban leadership development program based in spiritual and Christian values. And Allan Tellis shares what he learned at the Colorado Black Round Table’s community discussion panel on the findings of Dr. Sharon Bailey’s report about the experience of African American educators and students within DPS. So if you are like me and like to see what’s going on in the world by watching the news, do like I “normally” do these days - turn it off. Enjoy this issue and all the unusually normal stories we bring to you each month.

ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

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 2016 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Home of Ancestors Might Be An Option

talking – not giving – they whole “speak with forked tongue” thing. Who spoke with a forked tongue? The serpent that’s who. It is time for African American to look beyond America and seriously consider going home. Home? Yes, the home of our ancestors. Yes, there are major problems on the African continent. I can’t think of a better reason for the “chattel” scattered around the globe by the evil known as the slave trade. Okay, we are victims of the diaspora. Our ancestors were kidnapped and sold, strewn if you will around the world. I believe there is a higher reason for this. I see the diaspora as a period of tribulation where the sons and daughters of Africa were brought low by the enemy. That was the beginning of the cycle. It is time to complete the cycle by leaving America and returning to the land of our

Editor: Hilary Clinton is a bigot! Donald Trump’s words. “She won’t do anything for African Americans; she won’t do anything for Hispanics!” Trump failed to include Native Americans in the list of those who will not be helped. I defy anyone to cite an administration that has helped people of color – specifically black people. History chronicles the actions of the ruling class- centuries of global empire building. Hilary is no different. For black voters to continue to vacillate between Democrats and Republicans suggests they expected white folk to take care of them like they did on the plantations. Folks, that’s just not going to happen! Have you not noticed their M.O. is Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses

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Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

ancestors (a land we should embrace) by the way, using our experiences and talents as fuel to develop Africa, so she can take her rightful place in the world. Out of the darkness into the marvelous light. Are you up to the challenge? You have the choice of remaining and having a questionable future on departing and having the future that comes with selfdetermination. Antonius Aurora, CO

Vietnam Vet Supports Colin

Editor: As a Vietnam Combat veteran who served with the 101st Airborne, I support Colin Kaepernick and Brandon Marshall. We fought for the freedoms that the American Flag is supposed to stand for: freedom of speech and expression, equal rights and opportunity, service to others and understanding. I support Kaepernick and Marshall’s efforts to use their platform to make America and the ideas it was founded on accountable. I believe that when they kneel that they should bow their heads in prayer and pray for this great nation of ours. The American Flag should not be a symbol for racists and others to promote their ideology. It is symbol of unity and respect for all people regardless of race, natural origin, and beliefs. Maurice Wade Denver, CO


Malik Beasley:

“I’ve made such a journey” By Laurence Washington

What would you like to be known for? I’d like to be known as a great player on the court and a better person off the court… and just a very nice person. — Malik Beasley

After undergoing minor surgery

to repair a stress fracture in his right leg, Malik Beasley, 19, worked hard relentlessly with doctors, strength experts, skilled trainers and physical therapists to recover from his injury. But his most important work out was with his father. “I went to the gym practically every day around about 6 p.m. with my Dad working on things I needed to improve,” says the former Florida State shooting guard, now a Denver Nugget. “We made the shooting drills real hard. Whenever I missed, he didn’t want me to shake my head or show any emotion. That was the main focus of that workout. I think that really helped me a lot.” Beasley’s father, actor Michael Beasley is no stranger to playing pro hoops. Back in the day, Michael played basketball overseas in Argentina and in the Dominican Republic and several other countries. The younger Beasley gives a wry smile and agrees basketball is in the genes. “A little bit,” he says. “I put a lot of reps in – up at night and early in the morning, that way it’s easier in the game.” First Round Draft Pick The Denver Nuggets drafted Beasley, a deep range shooter in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft. At 6 foot 5 inches, Beasley can accurately shoot the rock from anywhere on the court – a sight far too familiar to unsuspecting opponents. In the tradition of recent Golden State Warrior guards, Beasley can stretch the floor –something the Nuggets desperately need. “I have a few spots where I know for sure it’s going in,” Beasley says, “because I have a better feeling of that. For me, I can shoot from different places. It really doesn’t matter.”

Beasley says the 2016-17 season is going to be a special year for the Nuggets with several new players coming in and the veterans returning. “We really want to change the profile of the team,” he says. Getting drafted by the Denver Nuggets was one of the highlights in Beasley’s basketball career. “That was special,” he says. “Right after that was deciding what college I was going to attend.” Some of Beasley’s favorite NBA basketball highlights are memories when New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was a Denver Nugget. Beasley says the Nuggets want to bring back the winning tradition they had with Anthony and recent basketball Hall of Famer inductee Allen Iversen. “I really think it’s going to be a sensational season,” he says. “I want some sold-out games this year.”

Even though Beasley left Florida State after a stellar freshman season, he’s still pursuing his educational goals, online with a degree in business and finance. “I promised my Mom that I would get my degree – regardless of whether I stayed in college or left to play basketball,” he says. Beasley explains that many people might not realize that Florida State still pays for his education. And the university is one of the few schools that offer that particular incentive with its scholarships, if you leave school and turn professional. “I’m glad I chose Florida State,” Beasley says. “I just started a new class yesterday.” Beasley underlines the point that his former model mother Deena and his father are his heroes. Deena and Michael Beasley are considered “The Power Couple of Hollywood South.” “We’ve been through a lot,” he says. “Even though they have been actors growing up and professional basketball players, we still had to go through a lot of adversity. Those are my two heroes.

Flourished at Florida State As a Seminole last year, Beasley averaged 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds a game – punctuated by 49 percent from the three-point line, 87 percent from the field and 92 percent from the free throw line. Beasley was named Freshman AllAmerican, All-ACC Freshman Team and All-ACC Honorable Mention. Oh yeah, Beasley who is an extraordinary leaper – if left unchecked, will dunk on defenders.

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Growing Up With Actors Moviegoers might recognize Deena from such films as the Hunger Games: Catching Fire (’13), Mystic Rising (’13), Barbershop: The Next Cut (’16), several commercials and short films. “I just finished shooting a movie with Ice Cube and Charlie Day called Fist Fight, Deena says. “It should be out in a couple of months. My husband is shooting in Atlanta right now on “The Originals” TV show – a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries. He really stays busy.” Deena says Atlanta is the next biggest city for actors. To punctuate the fact, the Beasley’s have a film studio in their home. “Atlanta has very good tax incentives for movies. And when the writer’s strike occurred in LA six years ago, everybody went to Atlanta, and Los Angles lost a lot of its business,” Deena explains. “So now, people are coming to Atlanta to shoot movies and TV shows,” she says. Keeping with the family tradition, Malik Beasley has dabbled in acting himself with small parts in commercials and in the motion picture Diary of a Mad Black Woman (’05). However, the main goal for the Beasley’s acting careers is LA. “So we are even closer to LA now,” Deena says. “And the fact that Malik is a Denver Nugget works out just fine for us.” Rounding out his impressive family tree is his grandfather, the recognizable freckled-face character actor John Beasley, whose film and TV credits include Walking Tall (’04), The Sum of All Fears (‘02), the Purge (‘16) and the television series “Everwood,” and “Soul Man.” Continued on page 4


Commemorate the Good September 11 By Tom H. Hastings

Here it comes –

the marking of another year living with the memories and influences of September 11, 1906. Excuse me? 1906? Don’t I mean 2001? Indeed, when we say “September 11” in the US, it is shorthand for the heinous attacks on that day in 2001. However, September 11 means something special and good in the annals of my field of Conflict Transformation. It’s the day strategic nonviolence began its assault on the institution of war. On September 11, 1906, Mohandas Gandhi stood to speak in the Imperial Theater in white-ruled South Africa, a society completely grounded and awash in blatant, “legal” racism. Gandhi – those old enough to have seen the 1982 Hollywood version of his life may remember the scene – stood in a crowded theater and explained the new odious racial laws that ruled Hindu marriages void, that allowed police to enter the home of any Indian without a warrant or permission, and that required each Indian to carry a pass at all times. The theater erupted into shouts of defiance, including threats to kill any policeman who so insulted a Hindu wife. Gandhi expressed admiration for such determination and willingness to fight for justice. Then he said that this was a cause “for which I would die, but there is no cause for which I would kill.” That vow guided his movement to victory in South Africa, then to the liberation of India, and it became the discipline for the decolonization of British Gold Coast (which reverted to Ghana), as well as Zambia (formerly part of Rhodesia), then the Philippines in 1986, the Velvet Revolution in Eastern and Central Europe, and the “colored revolutions” to Arab Spring and we see thousands of other such campaigns around the world ever since Gandhi first identified it as a method of insurrection. Nonviolent insurgency succeeds faster and twice as often as does armed rebellion, and obviously with a tiny fraction of the costs in blood, treasure, and ecological damage. So it has been 110 years – why has-

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n’t war ended if nonviolence is so effective? Since we’ve been studying nonviolence approximately one percent as long as we’ve studied war (which archeologists tell us began approximately 11,000 years ago with the first walled cities as a result), let’s marvel rather at how quickly nonviolence has proven itself superior – much more gain for much less pain. And let’s hope future insurrections are waged with the methods from 1906 rather than 2001. Editor’s note: Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

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Malik Beasley

Continued from page 2 Enjoying Life On the court heroes, Beasley says look no further than retired Los Angeles Laker’s Kobe Bryant, Memphis Grizzlies Vince Carter, who he says he watched a lot growing up, and of course Cleveland’s LeBron James. “I’ve played against LeBron already,” Beasley says. “I went to his academy camp when I was in high school. Playing with those guys is going to be pretty special. I’m on the court with them now.” When he’s not shooting hoops, Beasley spends most of his free time with his sister and family. He also enjoys playing golf. “I don’t get out enough to have handicap,” he says, “but when I play, I do pretty well. It’s a mental game, it’s tough. And that’s why I do it, because it makes you stay calm, stay patient.” And then there are video games, which Beasley loves to play at least four hours a day. “It’s enjoying life – whatever it is,” he says.

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Good Work Ethic But it’s not all fun and games. Beasley has a strict exercise routine he executes before the start of any basketball season, which includes running and biking, and of course eating healthy. “That helps me be in the best shape,” he says. “Even though I have a contract, I’m going to work hard anyway. It’s not easy. My main goal every summer is to be in the best shape possible, so that in the fourth quarter, I’m still going strong while others are tired.” This summer is probably the last time Beasley will be able to go to a local restaurant, movie or night club and not be recognized by Nuggets fans. “I was thinking I won’t be able to do those things because of what’s about to happen,” he says. “But I believe even once it happens, I will still be able to go out and have dinner with my family. If people want to take pictures, I’ll take pictures with them. I want to enjoy life just like a regular person off the court,” he says.

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Destiny Beasley says he’s played basketball since he was a baby, playing at the local Y.M.C.A. and recreational leagues. By the 11th grade, Beasley knew he was destined to play in the NBA. Today, he carries a picture of himself and his brother sleeping with a basketball on his smart phone. “When he was in the 9th grade, he was not a starter,” says his mother Deena. “But he earned his spot. He developed a chip on his shoulder because there were players starting

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before him. That actually made his game better. He started getting rebounds averaging 9 to 10 a game.” At Florida State Beasley lead the Seminoles in minutes played – 29.8 minutes per game. So what about starting with the Nuggets whose season begins Oct. 3, against the Toronto Raptors? “This year?” Beasley says, “Probably not in the beginning. We have established players. I really don’t know. But anything can happen.” A shade more optimistic, Deena says Beasley is preparing himself to start. And it’s a fight to get into the NBA with just 30 teams. “He’s very blessed, talented and skilled to be able to enter at such a young age.” “She’s the one who brags. I just have to keep my body healthy,” Beasley says, “stay humble and just wait my time. Everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer of that. As long as we’re winning – I’m good.” Beasley says the transition from college hoops to the pros has been tough already, but he has a good staff, a good family and support. “That helps me a lot,” he says. So what about a girlfriend? “No girl friend,” Beasley says. “I’ll know when I’m ready. I’m not ready right now. I’m ready for the season. I’ve made such a journey.”


Denver Public Schools Dedicate Campus in Honor of Longtime Denver Educator

Ceremonial ribbon-cutting for Regis Groff Campus in Far Northeast Denver

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Denver

Public Schools (DPS) leaders, city officials and community members officially dedicated the school campus in Far Northeast Denver named in honor of the Honorable Regis F. Groff. Family members of Groff, a DPS teacher, university professor and Colorado state senator were on hand for the dedication, ribbon cutting and campus tour. Regis F. Groff was a DPS teacher of American History, United States Government and African-American History. He taught at Smiley Junior High School, Lake Junior High School and East High School. His legacy continued as an instructor of AfricanAmerican History at the University of Denver, University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Metropolitan State College. Groff retired from Denver Public Schools in 1992 after serving as the DPS Intergovernmental Relations Specialist and Community Affairs Coordinator.

He was elected and served on the Colorado State Senate from 1976 until

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1994. Known as the “conscience of the Colorado Senate,� Groff became the

state’s first African-American to hold the leadership position of Colorado Senate Minority Leader in 1980. The campus’ construction, design and engineering were supported by a diverse group of contractors – 34 percent or $8.3 million was paid to minority- and women-owned businesses. Through the 2012 bond funds, DPS continues to create new facilities and renovate buildings across the city, including phase one of the Regis F. Groff Campus. The ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted the school campus, which opened their doors last school year. Speakers and attendees at the Regis Groff ribbon-cutting ceremony included Superintendent Tom Boasberg; Peter Groff, son of Regis Groff and former Colorado State Senate President; Callie Groff, widow of Regis Groff; Denver Board of Education members Rachele Espiritu and Happy Haynes; and students and school leaders from STRIVE Prep – RISE and KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy Editor’s note: The Regis Groff Campus is located at 18250 East 51st Ave. in Denver.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Youth Finding a Future with Spiritual Guidance

spiritual and Christian values. Youth With a Future mentors understand that our cities will need effective leaders in communities in order to keep moving forward. Urban youths face challenges-in schools, at home, from their peers and on the streets. At-risk young people often have no place to turn to for positive guidance. There are great mentoring programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters – which can take youth out of negative environments. However, few may offer spiritual guidance to reinforce their positive experiences. Most participants this summer were selected from Denver Kids, Inc., an established mentorship program that in 2016 marks 70 years of helping at-risk kids navigate their way through school and life. Youth With a Future needed great kids to start with, and executive director, Dr. Robert Fomer knew they could be found in the program where his wife, Dr. Margaret Fomer was a past executive director. In the five-week program, students learned about values, ethics, making the right choices and working in the real world. Part of the curriculum was to spend a week at the Cherry Creek Apple Store where techs taught them about technologies that can enhance careers and communication skills. If the students successfully complete the five weeks, they may keep an iPad mini that they have been using throughout the summer to complete their assignments. Seven students satisfactorily completed the program, and entered into paid internships with Youth with a Future, where they were paid $100 every two weeks. Dr. Bob, as he is affectionately and respectfully called, knows the value of technology to these kid’s futures, and leverages it in facilitating the communication for the classes. Three out of every four African-American teens use a mobile device as their primary access to the web. “They didn’t know each other,” explained Natalie Allan, lead creative at the Cherry Creek Apple Store and Manual High School alumni. “It allowed them to start opening up to

By Charles Emmons

C

lasses are back in session. Across the country students have written about or discussed, “What I Did on my Summer Vacation.” Some may have been fortunate to go to camp, or some had part-time jobs to occupy those spaces in time when they would rather be playing video games, shooting hoops, roaming the malls with

friends or binge watching reality programs. But how many actually had the chance to learn something with lasting effect and impact for the rest of their lives? Enter Youth With a Future, an offshoot of the Transformational Leadership Forum, an urban leadership development program based in

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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their peers. They also got to explore some of their goals and how to pursue their goals in the sense of one student who wants to be a microbiologist to create her presentation on what she would need to do in her own life. I think we played a small part in giving her tools to discover what that story was – being able to see the kids transform over the week, exploring where they are, where they are going to be, and how to get there, and being able to express that.” To start participants are given the rules of engagement and challenged to embrace eight core values. •Friendship with a Mentor •Passion for Purpose and People •Visionary Leadership •Culturally Relevant Communication •Multiplication of Leaders •Family Values as a Priority •Good Stewardship •Commitment to Integrity These core values are discussed and facilitated through programming, workbooks, and film illustrating the value. Afterwards they discussed how the clip relates to their value topic. Throughout the program, students used their iPads to complete relevant research and assignments. During the week at the Apple Store, participants capped off their experiences with presentations on their iPads on which they began to map their futures. Each student was tasked with completing four slides in their talk: •My past and what got me here •My goal •Steps on reaching goal •What my reality will look like in five years. The young people in Youth With a Future have big dreams, but without the toolbox to reach them, they may not be fulfilled. After the last day at the Apple store, they adjourned to the Oleta Crain Enrichment Center, 2102 Marion St., for their final session on core values and integrity. After lunch and a round of musical chairs, they settled into discussions about their experiences in which they showed integrity and instances where they did


not. They ranged from owning up to damaging or returning personal lost property to shoplifting and food fights. Eventually the group fleshed out their working definition of integrity as “Doing the right thing when no one is looking.” Dr. Bob re-focused the students on a recent field trip to the courtroom of Judge Wiley Daniel. A young man was on trial for possession of a firearm, and the judge asked him five times, “What would you do better?” Dr. Bob’s re-iterated Daniel’s point, “What do you do in 10 seconds?” What decisions do you make? Those decisions can change a life.” This program is intended to change lives with new perspectives on opportunities and choices. Young people have more disparate challenges today, and the school to prison pipeline affecting African-Americans is real in many neighborhoods and families. New visions and outlooks are necessary to break the cycle. Youth With a Future allows students to map their own course, with the aid of their iPads. Their workbooks as iBooks allow them to interact and keep on track of their goals and map their futures. As interns for the summer, these students helped build a new website, created a magazine illustrating their experiences, and blogged for the program. Dr. Bob invoked sprinter Marion Jones when he addressed them about their responsibilities for roles for what was ahead. “We can accomplish what we can accomplish, but we must play by the rules.” Those students who completed the program received their iPads at the last session at the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership, 1220 E. 24th Ave., in the Whittier neighborhood. Guest speakers who gave them bearings for a brighter future included Dr. Will Miles, former sports clinical psychologist, University of Colorado Boulder,

Patricia Raybon, award-winning author and Mary Louise Lee, entertainer and First Lady of Denver and. Dr. Miles talked about working with CU’s football players who struggled to find respect during the Bill McCartney era. “Who you listen to, what you listen to is critical to who you become,” he told the students. He related an old African saying, “I AM because we ARE therefore I AM.” His point – no one makes it on their own. “The better I do, the better we feel.” Raybon urged the students in this 24/7 news world, to step back and have the truth and courage to tell another story. “We have the right to speak our story,” she said. “I am African-American, but I am a lot of other things. Respect comes from the Latin root to look again.” The students respond differently to what is told to them, but no one could argue with Mary Louise Lee as she awed the participants with an acapella version of “Believe in Yourself” from the Wiz. “Don’t let anyone take your joy away,” Lee said. When Neeliah asked her for advice about a singing career, she told her, “Don’t limit yourself. Know the whole spectrum, learn all aspects.” This advice given by these elders, mentors, experts and shining examples in their fields will long resonate with these young people. Youth With a Future demonstrates what is possible with sorely needed educational enrichment programs that will help and develop young leaders. Dr. Bob makes this program work, with four Denver-based program workshop facilitators, while commuting back and forth from Dallas to Denver, and Skyping when needed. He says “there is an interest in developing a model and partnership with other corporations on a national level.” Editor’s note: For more information or to support Youth With a Future, visit www.ywfleaders.com.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Black Hawk Jazz & Wine All Star Line-Up

Jazz enthusiasts are in for a treat at the second Black Hawk Jazz & Wine Spectacular as they relax in the beautiful backdrop of the Colorado foothills at the stunning Ameristar Casino Resort & Spa, as stars from Smooth Jazz and Fusion to Mainstream Jazz delight their senses. This year’s line-up includes Marcus Anderson, Euge Groove, Kim Waters and special guest Eric Darius who joins the All-Star Jam on Sunday, October 9. Capital Jazz Fest Challenge winner, Marcus Anderson electrifies stages with an unmatchable energy and an intoxicating sound that stretches the definition of jazz; Steven Eugene Grove, better known as Euge Groove, is an American smooth jazz saxophon-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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ist with a strong Top-40 background; after over two decades as a music superstar with 16 Top Ten and 14 #1 singles, four #1 CDs and sales in excess of a million album units, Kim elevates his already luminous career profile to an even higher pinnacle with MY LOVES, his 19th solo album and major label debut; and from playing at local clubs and hotspots in his native Tampa to wowing the crowds at the JazzTrax Catalina Island Jazz Festival, life for 27-year old Eric Darius has changed dramatically in just a few years. Editor’s note: For tickets and more information, call 970-444-2202. Special discount lodging is only $99 for Sunday night deluxe room and $179 for Saturday night deluxe room (must mention code BHJJ16A). For lodging reservations only, call (855) 888-7282 or http://www.ameristar.com/?aspxerrorpath =/Hotel_Reservations.aspx.


Never Judge Your Book by Its Cover Most people

By Rudy McClinon Jr. B.S., CFT, PT know me as the fitness guru or Mr. Rudy of R-U-A PRO FITNESS. I frequently get flattering compliments from both men and women about my physical appearance and how good I look for my age. And in return, I always say thank you. Little do they know I feel better spiritually and mentally than how I look. Since my recovery in 2000 with my personal bout with chemical dependency, I’ve never been sick or taken any prescribed medication. God has given all of us spiritual gifts and talents and many of us have tapped into them. I am using the gift of exhortation to help people improve their quality of life. In early 2015, I was training for my participation in the Rocky Mountain Senior Games which is held every year in Greeley, Colorado where I hold a few records in my 60-64 year old age group. While training, I noticed a sharp pain in my lower back and went to my primary care physician to find out what was causing it. He diagnosed it as a muscle strain; and rest would help heal it. A few months went by and the pain persisted so I went to my doctor again at which time an MRI was ordered. The day after the MRI examination, I received a call from the doctor advising me to come to the office that day. Upon my arrival with my wife Elissa,

I was expecting to be told that I had a lower back problem stemming from my athletic days. WRONG! The look in the doctor’s eyes and the tone of his voice delivered a totally different message as he said, “You have cancer in your spine and bone marrow.” My first thoughts ranged from not me because I’ve done everything to make sure that I was healthy – it was just a bad joke – who is going to take care of my wife and children to how long do I have to live? The room was silent and my dearest friend, my wife said, “We will get through this.” After visiting the oncologist and having a bone biopsy performed – the news didn’t get any better. The diagnosis was I had Multiple Myeloma and it was in over 70 percent of the bone marrow in my body and at high risk or stage 4. According to webmd.com/cancer/myelomaoverview, multiple myeloma is a rare type of blood cancer. It starts in your bone marrow (the spongy tissue inside bones). This is where your body makes blood cells, including a certain type called plasma cells. These cells can grow out of control and crowd out the normal, healthy ones in your bone marrow. When they build up, they form a tumor. The name “multiple myeloma” means there is more than one tumor. Things that make your risk go up include: •Age. Most people with multiple myeloma are 45 or older. More than half are 65 or older. •Race. The disease is nearly twice as common in African-Americans. •Being male. It’s slightly more common in men. •Being overweight. •Other family members may have had multiple myeloma. You’ve had another plasma cell disease After a few weeks of being totally depressed and dealing with the chemotherapy treatments, I decided to

I found out that keeping a positive attitude, lots of prayer, good eating habits, exercise, a great reduction in chemo treatments, holistic health modalities and a great support system from my wife and children, I felt better about myself. In early January of 2016 I was inducted into my high school Athletic Hall of Fame in Cincinnati Ohio and that was a feel good moment. After I returned home I had my second bone biopsy to find out the status of the cancer. A week later I visited the oncologist for my results. She came into the room with a big smile on her face and in sheer amazement said, “You are in total and complete remission” and I said, “Thank You Jesus”! After only five months of being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I was cancer free and remain cancer free to this day. I’ve continued my journey to help others as Christ did. In closing I want to leave you with this message: Pease listen to your

fight back the only way I knew how and that was to continue to help others. I didn’t miss a class at the Zion Senior Center, Sable Ridge Residences, with our personal training clients or with the organizations we volunteer for. I have always remembered to put God first, then family and to help others.

body, manage your health, trust in the Lord and help others. You never know when someone is going to need you.  Editor’s note: For more information on RU-A Pro Fitness and Rudy McClinon, visit www.ruaprofitness.com or call 720-3232239 or email rmc_ruaprofitness@yahoo.com.

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CBRT Discuss DPS African American Educators and Students By Allan Christopher Tellis

On Sept. 17, the Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) conducted a community discussion panel on the findings of Dr. Sharon Bailey’s report about the experience of African American educators and students within DPS. The meeting, in a relatively full room in the Hiawatha Davis Recreational Center, was organized in order to give the community a chance to hear directly from Dr. Bailey, and respond to the report which is aptly titled “An Examination of Student and Educator Experiences in Denver Public Schools Through the Voice of African American Teachers and

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Administrators.” Along with Dr. Bailey was a panel composed of several community leaders who have an especially vested interest in correcting the troublesome, systemic issues exposed through the report while also mitigating the consequences for current students and employees who still have to work and learn while navigating through these problems. Tom Boasberg, DPS superintendent, was also present and expressed his desire to hear directly from the community in order to better understand the needs of African Americans within the district. Beginning the meeting, CBRT Director John Bailey helped contextualize the reason the meeting had been organized and what he hoped would be accomplished by creating an opportunity for the community to respond to the report. He noted how important it was to discuss the problems of the district within the framework of a national landscape that includes many major city school districts facing many of the same problems. “These problems, if not adequately and immediately addressed, could have the disastrous consequence of eroding the progress already made by African Americans and may even cause the African American community to be worse off in terms of education heading into the future,” he said. Bailey remained hopeful, however feels that members of the new DPS regime have the capability and the aptitude to reverse the direction of the district and allow both African American faculty and students to have a fulfilling and beneficial experience with DPS. He also thanked his wife, Dr. Sharon Bailey, for giving the community the data in order to validate many of the frustrations that have been voiced, yet unheard for many years. Dr. Bailey began by giving an overall summary of the findings in the report and describing how the research was conducted. She made clear to mention that she was not only a researcher but indelibly tied to the fate of the school district and that simply conducting the research took her through a full range of emotions from pride all the way through pure disappointment. She said, “The struggle for access to quality education has been quintessential to the advancement of the Black community since our inception as citizens into the framework of the country. In many cases, education is the only vehicle for African Americans to experience social mobility.” She also advocated for stronger parental involvement in the schools, anecdotally reminiscing on the impact that her involvement in the schools had during her children’s tenure in the district. “All too often problems in

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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the district go unchecked because there is a lack of accountability where there is a lack of parental involvement. While the district has much culpability in reference to the problems in the report, the impotence is still on parents to ensure that their child receives a quality education,” she said. Dr. Bailey was sorely disappointed by the lack of progress that had been made as she referenced a bill she put on the table more than 30 years ago that was meant to remedy many of the problems we see compromising the quality of the district today. “Colorado has one of the highest attainment gaps between Black and white students in the country and did not reach this point over night. DPS has an extended history of racist practices and is also one of the most poorly funded major school districts in the nation which only exacerbates the problems faced by African Americans in the district currently,” she said. Dr. Bailey lauded current employees mentioned that she admired the fortitude and talent of many of the young African American employees, because they are able to not only survive but also thrive despite the way DPS is currently constructed. The research was curated through Dr. Bailey conducting more than 40 individual interviews with employees and conducting several focus panels in order to get a comprehensive view of their experiences in the district. Through this research, she was able to identify “Dominant Themes” which she categorized as themes that pervaded throughout the majority of interviews and focus panels. One of the most readily identifiable issues was the further marginalization of Black students due to a decreasing enrollment in the district. While much of this declining enrollment is due to outside forces such as gentrification and lack of transportation, it is easier for the district to quell the complaints of the community if they are seen as a small part of the overall system. Along with declining enrollment, African American employees feel that they are underrepresented in the district and spread out so thin that at times they can be the only Black employee in the entire school. This creates an opportunity for a host of issues including being given an “invisible workload” due to the perception that it is that employees appointed duty to deal with any and all issues relating to Black students: to being afraid to speak up in fear of being labeled as the new angry Black person, especially in the case of Black women. There is also a concern that the low expectations of non-culturally component teachers hold for Black students is creating a vicious cycle of a negative

Continued on page 22


Hit Your Stride: Transforming Your Relationship with Running W

By Kim Farmer

hen it comes to running, if your mind is saying yes, but your body says no, it’s time to transform your relationship. Instead of focusing on how difficult running can be at times, find aspects that attract you to it. Here are some suggestions to help you find your stride to transform your relationship from hate to love. Find a Buddy It’s always easier to start a new workout regime with a buddy who has similar goals. Not only will you keep each other accountable to the running schedule, it’ll be fun to chat with someone at the end. If no family or friends want to join you, don’t fret. Your dog can be an excellent running buddy. Dogs never complain and can keep up with your pace. They’re also extremely happy while running and their excitement might rub off on you. Discover a New Path Perhaps you hate running because of how boring your route is. The same houses, the same trees, the same neighbors. Consider switching up your route to keep things exciting and new. If you’re looking for a completely different path, consider running through the vast array of local hiking trails here in Colorado, or around a neighborhood lake or reservoir. Find the Right Gear Having gear that you feel and look good in – while keeping you comfortable – is crucial to your enjoyment of running. Your shoes are the most essential gear to the sport. Consider visiting a running store where a trained sales associate will help you find the perfect fit. If that’s not enough, invest in a few running ensembles that are your favorite colors or styles to keep you confident and looking good. A great pair of sunglasses – that adjust to your activity of choice while protecting your eyes – is also important. You’ll be surprised by how often your new snazzy outfit and sunglasses will get you running. Reach for a Goal Set a reward for the end of your run to keep you motivated throughout. Maybe you’ll look forward to a glass of wine with dinner or going out

to a movie. Whatever motivates you – visualize it during your run – then treat yourself after you’ve accomplished your goal. Run to Your Favorite Jams Keep your music updated and fresh to stay motivated during your run. Try to organize your music with slower-paced songs in the beginning leading up to your favorite songs that will keep you running when you hit your wall. If you’re not into music, find an audio book or podcast that keeps you engaged, allowing you to lose yourself and forget that you’re actually on a run. Utilize Social Media and Blogs Follow running-oriented companies, groups or people on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. They’ll

provide inspiration while keeping you up to date on the newest running news, races, workout schedules and even trendy outfits and shoes. Sign Up for a Race Event If you really want to kick start your running regime, sign up for an event, like a 5k or a full marathon, depending on how ambitious you are. Next, find a progressive training schedule that works up to your goals rather than pushing your body from the start. For beginners, start with one to two weeks of run/walk combination workouts leading up to short runs ranging between one and three miles. Each week, increase your mileage by no more than 10 percent to decrease your chance of injuries and to avoid developing a hatred for running.

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Don’t forget to rest at least once a week or as needed. Avoid Injury! If you stopped your running routine due to an injury, once you are recovered start slow by power walking and build up to jogging then running. Stretching while your muscles are warm is necessary to prevent injury and keep you healthy enough to run. Incorporate strength training 1 to 2 times per week to keep your muscles and joints strong, viable and able to take on the challenge.  Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com


Voting the Ballot Measures, a Cheat Sheet A

Op-Ed by Adam Dempsey

t least 39 initiatives were filed for spots on the 2016 ballot in Colorado. Only nine statewide ballot measures are certified to appear on our ballot on Nov. 8. Voters should also receive the Colorado Blue Book with both sides of the ballot measures as well. For now, the following in partnership with assistance of Ballotpedia are a few recommendations. Amendment T would remove an exception to the prohibition of slavery that allows individuals to be held in involuntary servitude if convicted of a crime. As a practical matter the State will utilize prisoners as they see fit, no matter what we care the label the practice. The State has been paying prisoners for work for decades and that is probably not going to change as they kept paying them through the years when state budgets were being cut by the recession. Therefore, nothing changes there. However, the term slavery is a leftover in need of a cleanup that we need to do. Vote yes to remove it from the constitution Amendment U would grant a property tax exemption for possessory interests whose value is $6,000 or less.

State revenue will take a small hit here, but nothing marijuana can’t make-up and will. In any case, a little tax relief for citizens is always welcome. YES is good to go here. Amendment 69 would create ColoradoCare, a new state healthcare system. The opposing Amendment 69 commercials poking fun at politicians creating healthcare are funny but don’t get carried away with them. The politicians have been creating the regulatory frameworks for all of our health care systems including Medicare to the Affordable Care Act. None-the-less, I recommend a NO vote here for more practical reasons. A single payer system does have some clear advantages however; we’d be going it alone. Although single payer activists are working in at least six other states, Vermont the only state thus far that had enacted a similar law then tried to put it into place, until its then Democratic Governor closed it down in 2014 due to the heavy cost burden. You will hear some argue to let the free market decide what to do, however it’s the free market that has us in this health care mess in the first place. Just look at prescription drug costs. The free market via Republicans prevents the government from negotiating lower drug pricing and prevents citizens from obtaining the same drug at a lower cost, even from Canada – so much for free market solutions. Yet on this same ballot in Amendment 70, we are being asked to raise the minimum wage in Colorado to a livable wage, only to turn around and negate it by using it for another health insurance system. Voting NO now gives time for single payer to work out its cost and operation impacts so it comes back better for another vote later. We’ll still need it. The Amendment 70 would increase the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020, and annually adjusts it thereafter for

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cost-of-living increases. Some will argue where the minimum wage has been increased, jobs have been lost. However, there is always job turnover and business churn that affects job gains and losses more than managing minimum wage increases. The Amendment 71 would require that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot. Although I’m not a big proponent of government by referendum because everything just does not belong in the Constitution and the petitioners who sign for referendums are not around to clean up the mess some of these initiatives may bring with them. The grow houses, transients invading Colorado, and driving while high surrounding marijuana is a recent case in point. However, when politicians place their political careers and party activism ahead of the needs of the people, having an accessible referendum process as a check and balance is necessary. Although it can lead to a ballot like this one, I’d can still decide the questions rather than not have them at all. A NO vote is necessary here. The Amendment 72 was designed to raise the tax cigarettes by $1.75 per pack of 20. Vote your own interest on this one. Smokers will vote no, no matter what I write and non-smokers having no skin in the game will probably say yes. I’m one of the latter. The Proposition 106 would make assisted death legal among patients with a terminal illness who receive a prognosis of death within six months. Do we really need to discuss this? This is not differences of opinion regarding the yet to be born. This is regarding adults making choices affecting their own lives. Although death may not be generally palatable to most of us, it is inevitable for all of us, and how we exit can be just as important as how we live. Colorado has long had issues with suicide, however this is not assisted suicide as this proposition has parameters that dictate its use. For those terminal ill, this is a needed option. A YES vote is my opinion. The Proposition 107 would restore presidential primary elections held before the end of March and make them open in Colorado. Currently, Colorado utilizes a closed primary system, in which only registered party members may participate in a party’s primary. However, unaffiliated voters may choose to affiliate with a party on Election Day in order to vote in that party’s primary.

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So we want to change the system so some people will not have to stand in a line when you have a popular election cycle. You do not see this clamor during non-Presidential cycles. As an example, I can enter your church or organization, tell you whom to select as your Pastor or Director, and not have to join, work nor contribute funds to your group. This is in essence the effect of an open primary. In this era of Citizens United and unlimited money another party can send its money and minions to vote and influence the selection of their competitors’ weakest candidates in a primary which will make them easier to defeat in the general election. This is tailor made for Republican shenanigans to insure money really influences elections. Should an independent really want a say-so, the option is there to affiliate even on Election Day. Those in a party tend pay more attention to candidates than television soundbites so better candidates are chosen. Let keep it that way. This is no-brainer NO. The Proposition 108 would allow unaffiliated electors to vote in the primary election of a major political party without declaring an affiliation with that political party and permit a political party, in some circumstances, to select candidates by committee or convention, rather than through a primary election. This is a NO vote as well. Political parties can already establish vacancy committees and tend to currently select most candidates via assemblies and conventions. Ours is not a California initiative ballot yet, but this is double what we’ve had previously. However, it is the price of citizenship that will be mailed to your door. So vote the full ballot, seal it up, stamp it up, and mail it back, all without probably leaving home. Democracy just doesn’t get any easier, so get your part done by November 1; to issue it arrives in time.

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ULMD Presents The 2016 Whitney M. Young Jr. Annual Gala

Over 500 members, supporters, and community leaders gathered at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for Performing Arts to support the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver’s (ULMD) Whitney M. Young, Jr. Annual Gala held on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Highlights of the event included vocal performances by the newly formed Urban Legacy Ensemble, a tribute to the honorees, and entertainment by The Motones who featured Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee. The Mistress of Ceremony for the evening was Independent Journalist—Tamara Banks.

2016 McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Award Honorees

Hon. Michael B. Hancock, Mayor; City & County of Denver Mayor Hancock is Denver’s 45th Mayor and Denver’s 2nd AfricanAmerican Mayor. He is a rare Denver native and a former Urban League

Sarah served as Chairs of the event, along with Co-Chairs Robert Willis, associate vice chancellor at the University of Denver and Rita Kahn from Loop Capital. The event took on a new format this year that took a page from the Kennedy Center Honors where the awards were presented at a smaller and earlier VIP dinner for honorees and top sponsors and then the gala served as a tribute to the honorees. (LtoR): Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Greg Moore, Patrick Hamill and Gayle Greer

President/CEO. As Mayor, he has led the effort to further make Denver one of the nation’s most desirable cities. Gayle Greer, Retired Executive; Cable Industry Gayle Greer’s career in cable television made her one of the country’s most prominent business executives. In 1998, Gayle retired from Time Warner Entertainment. Also a former Urban League President/CEO, she is an active volunteer and an advisor to several small start-up companies. Patrick Hamill, Founder/CEO; Oakwood Homes Pat is the founder and CEO of Oakwood Homes. It is the largest pri-

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vate builder in the Denver metropolitan area and is ranked third in market share. Pat is a relentless community steward and cares deeply about access to homeownership for all. Gregory Moore, Retired Editor; Denver Post Greg is the former editor of the Denver Post. During his tenure there, The Post won four consecutive Pulitzer Prizes. With a total newspaper career spanning four decades, Greg was firmly committed to “getting the story right,� and established himself as the guardian of the type of journalism the country needs. Kenneth Fisher, executive vice president with Noble Energy and his wife

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The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, under the direction of President/CEO—Sean Bradley was established in 1946. Since that time it has worked to assist AfricanAmericans and others of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds in need who reside in the greater Denver metropolitan area with securing a first class education, achieving economic opportunity, and obtaining equal respect of civil rights by providing programs and services. The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910, it is and headquartered in New York City.

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Colin Kaepernick Makes Me Wanna Holler and Throw Up Both My Hands By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw

I am not going to equivocate my thoughts about these United States of

America. Amerykah - as the artist Erykah Badu has called it – is hands down the greatest country in the world. Like most citizens, I love America and so does Colin Kaepernick, the once beloved and now embattled quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand while the national anthem was being played during a recent pre-season game. His refusal to stand was his expression of the frustration he felt as a Black man, a citizen living in America, observing the lack of racial equality for people of color. Kaepernick made it perfectly clear that his act was his decision and it was personal. We got to witness an act of protest protected by the First

Colin Kaepernick, #7 of the San Francisco 49ers

Amendment to the United States Constitution. You know the document that begins with We the People...� And then it happened... we the people (Twittersphere, sports fans, a whole lot of folks) lost their figurative minds and let him know (as was their right), how they felt about his act. Some said he was a coward and that it wasn’t the right time or place for a protest although protest, no matter the form is never convenient. It was astounding to me that some said he showed disrespect to the men and women who served in the military and more than a few of our loving citizens strongly suggested that he find another country to live in. It was as if this millionaire athlete could not and should not have a conscience and that

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he absolutely could not exercise his right to object to the playing of a song that has a known racist history. Not all Americans agreed. Some applauded his right to protest and wondered if Americans would really hear his heart. Some said it was madness but magnificently so. I immediately thought of the late Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all times was once called a traitor and draft dodger for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army. He was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title and not allowed to box in the US for many years. Ali lost millions but it seemed that his soul remained intact. He showed us by his personal act, that our worth is not determined by green backs and coins but by the tenets of our hearts and those valuable truths that we would willingly sacrifice our lives for. It was Ali who told the world that he would not put on a military uniform and journey thousands of miles away to drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while Black people were being treated like dogs right here in the streets of America. Ali unapologetically said that the real enemy was not Vietnam but the good ole USA. It was Ali who said he would willingly go to war if he thought it would bring freedom and equality to Black people. For Ali, the real test was whether he would stand up for his beliefs while facing the possibility of jail. In the end, Ali reflected that he really had nothing to lose if he went to jail because we (Black people) had been in jail for 400 years. Like Ali, Kaepernick did not wince with his words when explaining why he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick said he could not stand up and show pride for a country or a flag that oppresses Black people and people of color. He said the oppression that he witnessed was bigger than football. He spoke of the bodies lying in the streets. Kaepernick knew he might pay a heavy price for his beliefs but he set down anyway. If they take football

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right, Kaepernick said. Sound familiar? Kaepernick, a Black NFL quarterback was once chastised by a reporter for wearing his cap backwards. Turn your cap around and act like a professional quarterback the reporter wrote. I guess that reporter was blissfully unaware that White NFL quarterbacks also wore their caps backwards. Or, what about the reporter who loathed the tattoos on his arms comparing Kaepernick’s look to that of a prisoner who just got paroled. It didn’t seem to matter to that reporter, that under Kaepernick’s leadership, the 49er’s earned a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. But I digress... Is it possible that Kaepernick was asking how could the United States of America, home of the brave and land of the free, the great variegated country who promised that all men were created equal impinge upon the unalienable rights of its citizens of color... the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? He wanted to know when justice for its citizens of color would be congruent with the type of justice experienced by its white citizens. He did not disparage the brave men and women who serve or have served in the military or the police who bravely seek to make the streets safe for all citizens of this great nation. He did question the system that allows some to escape the consequences of their misguided actions. After all, aren’t all citizens innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? Colin Kaepernick simply spoke of his disappointment in a country that is better than what we at times exhibit. He said what you and I know that we can and must do better. It is a courageous act to speak truth to power. It’s not for the faint at heart and Colin Kaepernick makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands. Editor’s note: Dr. Valerie Wardlaw is a writer and psychologist from Los Angeles. For more information, email vwardlaw@gmail.com or visit www.drvalerie wardlaw.com.


Protest and Disrespect: America in Black and White This country

By Laura Finley

was built on protest, or so we are told. Americans fight for what is right, to correct injustices and to secure the freedoms and liberties we wish to enjoy. We teach our kids to admire Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the many others who organized nonviolent protests like sitins as a tool for challenging deep inequality. We talk about the importance of allies, or those who stand up with the oppressed, even if they themselves are not. Yet when a well-paid professional athlete elects to use that same strategy we allegedly admire so much to call attention to the continued oppression of black people in this country, he is critiqued for his privilege and denounced for being unpatriotic. As has been widely reported, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been refusing to stand for the national anthem, saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” What really seems to be at play here, then, is not that Kaepernick’s cause is unjust or his strategy unsound. Rather, it is that Americans want their athletes, especially those on the new plantations that are our football fields, to do as they’re told. Just stay in your place and all will be fine. It’s also interesting to juxtapose the reaction to Kaepernick’s protest with the reactions to Donald Trump, who wants “make America great again,” which of course implies it is far from great right now. It can’t be, as some have said, that Kaepernick’s salary with the NFL makes his complaint less legitimate, since Trump makes a crapton more than Kaepernick will ever

dream to. Trump slings all kinds of criticism and hate in a far from peaceful fashion, yet is not told to “find a country that works better for him,” as he recently recommended to Kaepernick. The reactions of Trump, his political toadies, and a host of others (generally white) are the very real manifestations of white privilege. And they are further proof that we want to enjoy our brutally violent football without the bother of confronting anything more serious than when to grab the next beer and how many wings to eat. When other black athletes have shown solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, supported justice for Trayvon Martin, or engaged in a host of other nonviolent protests in recent years, they too have faced such criticisms. In sum: Rich white men can complain. Black men should not, income regardless. The New York Giants’ Justin Pugh, in the very city where Eric Garner and, before him, Sean Bill, both black and unarmed, were killed by police, used Kaepernick’s protest to pledge support for “different opinions,” but most importantly for the military who risk their lives for the flag. What Pugh sees as an issue of opinion is unclear; it is undoubtedly true oppression of people of color remains a problem in the U.S. This is not Kaepernick’s opinion. It is fact. Minnesota Viking Alex Boone called the protest shameful and denounced it for being disrespectful. Yet, as others have noted, Boone did not call out the “disrespect” of the Minnesota police who killed a black man, Philando Castile, during a traffic stop. Former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh also referred to Kaepernick’s protest as disrespectful; later claiming it wasn’t the position but rather the action to which he disagreed. New Orleans Saint Drew Brees commented similarly, despite playing in a stadium close to where Alton Sterling was killed by police and in a state that is generally considered the most unequal for people of color. And his coach Sean Payton’s assertion that they have “more important things” they are working on within the stadium is not at all minimizing or disrespectful? An NFL executive has claimed that he hasn’t seen this much dislike for a player since Rae Carruth, who is incarcerated for hiring someone to kill his pregnant girlfriend. Wow. Truthtelling is not the strong suit of the NFL, it seems, if a peaceful protestor is being compared to a convicted violent criminal. Many others have supported

Kaepernick, thankfully. White female soccer player Megan Rapinoe knelt during the playing of the national anthem before a game on Sept. 3. She explained, “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.” Veterans are not all uniform in their response, of course, but the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick makes it clear that some are not at all disrespected by his action, seeing it instead as precisely what they fight for. And, in an interesting turn of events, sales of Kaepernick’s jerseys have skyrocketed since he began the protest. Maybe there’s hope he can make Trump-like money after all, and therefore be his criticisms of the U.S will be more widely applauded.  Editor’s note: Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by www.peacevoice.info.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Renowned Ballerina Misty Copeland Inspires Colorado Women’s Foundation T

By Donna Garnett

he room filled with more than 2,000 attendees, listened in awe as Misty Copeland told stories of her childhood that preceded her skyrocketing journey into fame as the first African-American woman promoted to principal dancer for the prestigious American Ballet Theater (ABT). Misty Copeland was the special guest at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s annual luncheon on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Colorado Convention Center. Luncheon goers were treated to a live-interview conducted on stage by Foundation President and CEO, Lauren Y. Casteel as she talked with Misty Copeland about her experiences growing up in chaotic family circumstances, her racial barrier-breaking accomplishments, and her advice to young girls and their parents. Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California, Copeland began her ballet studies at the late age of 13. At the time, she was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. Through her par-

Photo by Flor Blake Photography

ticipation at the local Boys and Girls Club, she joined a ballet class. From those humble beginnings, she soared to new heights that most young ballerinas can only dream of. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. At 15, she won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards. She studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National

Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Misty joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000, joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001, and in August 2007 became the company’s second African-American female Soloist and the first in two decades. In June 2015, Copeland was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history. “Misty danced right through the racial, economic, and body image barriers that keep many women from pursuing their dreams and reaching their full potential,” said Lauren Casteel in her introduction of the ballerina. “Despite messages that she did not fit the mold of a traditional ballerina, she persevered and has become a symbol of hope, possibility, and perseverance for women and girls everywhere.” Throughout the interview, Copeland inspired the audience with her grace and passion – her passion for her art as well as her passion to speak on behalf of all girls and women living out their dreams and in giving back. She has worked with

many charitable organizations and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. In 2014, President Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Recently, she inspired a new Barbie doll in the “Sheroes” collection that honors female heroes who break boundaries. An important part of her message is that ballerinas are athletes who work long and grueling hours to hone their bodies into performance ready mode. One need only to look at her lithe, muscular physique to imagine the hours she puts in everyday to maintain a body that can stand up to the rigors of performing classical roles such as Firebird, Romeo and Juliet, and Nutcracker. “It is time that ballerinas get the opportunities for branding and endorsements that their fellow athletes in other disciplines experience,” she tells the audience. Through it all, her hope is that she can promote exposure to classical ballet. Editor’s note: For more information regarding Misty Copeland’s life and accomplishments, visit www.mistycopeland.com.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Black Girls Don’t Do That

Unmasking the silent struggle African-American women have with eating disorders

F

By Sydney M. Odion-Smith

or many years, and still today, eating disorders have been pegged as a white woman’s problem. There seems to be a nescient belief that Black women and girls, are unaffected by the overwhelming societal pressures to be thin. Some would even state that our culture is more accepting of bigger frames, or larger women. However, many Black women can attest to the falsehood of this argument – though the AfricanAmerican community might appreciate a more curvaceous female body type. There is still a strong emphasis in our culture on a woman being fit and “physically appealing.” The truth is eating disorders are just as much a Black woman’s issue. Unfortunately, because of the persistent myth that Black women are not susceptible to eating disorders, little research has been done on the subject matter. Many times, African-American women and girls are not even considered for studies done on eating disorders. In addition to this, health professionals may misdiagnose or ignore a Black female who reports, or shows symptoms of an eating disorder. And finally, many Black females are afraid to seek help for their disordered eating because of the psychological stigma; or the myth that it is not common in their culture. But there is data to

Sick

shows that this issue has been affecting our Black women and girls; for quite some time. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) recounted data from a 1994 Essence Survey on Eating Disorders in Minority populations. According to the survey, AfricanAmerican girls aged 11 to 14 consistently scored higher than white girls of the same age on all Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) scales measuring features commonly associated with eating disorders. The survey also found that, Black girls may be especially vulnerable to developing eating disorders with binge eating features. And the survey reported that AfricanAmerican women feel tremendous pressure as role models, and as a result, (makes them) feel they must be perfect in order to counteract negative stereotypes. Since this survey was taken, there has been a rise in both awareness and evidence of Black women with eating disorders; but there still is a long way to go. First off, there needs to be a basic understanding of what an eating disorder is. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) explains that, “Eating disorders-such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.” NEDA states that, environmental factors, sociocultural factors, and genetic factors may be reasons why a person would develop disordered eating. In fact, the National Eating Disorder Association theorizes that, “Sociocultural factors, including the pervasive media images that embrace a narrowly defined conception of beauty, may be particularly disturbing for some women…people furthest from the (dominant ideal of beauty), specifically women of color, may suffer the psychological effects of low self-esteem, poor body image, and eat-

Transmission? We have your medicine!

ing disorders.” This information supports some findings which suggest that assimilation into white culture makes a black woman or girl, more likely to adopt an eating disorder. However, eating disorder is an umbrella term. If you are afraid someone in your life is suffering from disordered eating, it is important to be aware of the different types. The most prevalent forms of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa,

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and binge eating disorder. Psychology Today gives a summary of the key behaviors for each disorder, “Both anorexia and bulimia are fueled by an obsessive desire for thinness, which results in dangerous behaviors, such as repeated vomiting and/or self-starvation, to reach the person’s subjective ideal. People who engage in binge eating may or may not be excessively concerned with their appearance. People with binge eating disorder may overeat when they feel distressed; (or) they often feel powerless to stop eating, which is why binge eating disorder is also called compulsive overeating.” There is research to suggest that African-American women deal more with compulsive overeating. However, eating disorders do not discriminate. These disorders can be life-threatening and need to be treated with the utmost concern. We as a community cannot risk overlooking, writing-off, or judging our sistas, who suffer from a type of disordered eating. We have to be the voice for many of these women and girls who have become voiceless.  Editor’s note: For more information on eating disorders, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org. Editor’s note: Sydney M. Odion-Smith is a MSUD Nutrition Major and the Diabetes Facilitator for the Center for AfricanAmerican Health.


Business Coach Darieth Chisolm Brings See and Be Seen Workshop to Denver

On Friday, Oct. 22, multiple Emmy Award-winning television personality, former NBC news anchor, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and life and business coach Darieth Chisolm will present her inaugural “See and Be Seen” workshop in Denver. Her unique, intimate workshop helps aspiring, new and existing business owners, speakers, coaches and authors in four main areas to get to the next level in their respective fields. While in Denver, Chisolm will also serve as the keynote speaker for the Women’s Ministry Task Force for Prayer’s 15th anniversary celebration luncheon, Uniting in Prayer for Our Families, Communities and Nation, on Saturday, Oct. 23 at the Renaissance Hotel. The See and Be Seen workshop will be held at the Courtyard Marriott in Denver from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Space is limited. To register, call 412-983-3447 or email info@DariethChisolm.com. For information on the Women’s Ministry Task Force for Prayer luncheon, call 303-343-3146.

A Sky Full of Stars Gala Benefit At-Risk High School Youth Programs

Prices and participation may vary. A la carte only. ©2016 McDonald’s. M 55401.21

Colorado Youth at Risk (CYAR), a Denver-based nonprofit organization comprised of young professionals, high school youth on the verge of not recognizing their potential, and invested members of the Denver community, will host its annual gala, A Sky Full of Stars, on Sat., Oct.16 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver. Funds raised from past galas have

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helped CYAR develop and expand programs; increase the number of youth served, and, helped CYAR launch two Steps Ahead programs in one year. Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased at www.skyfullofstarsgala.com. For more information, visit www.coyar.org.

More Than A Conqueror Celebration Supports Disabilities

Spiritual Connections presents the fourth annual “More Than A Conqueror” celebration of different abilities on Friday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Peak Community Center, 3401 S. Chambers St. in Aurora. The annual event celebrates the resilience of persons with disabilities. Performances by honorees and awards will be presented. For information, call Minister Lynne Rawlins at 303-263-1891 or email sconnections1@hotmail.com.

600 Volunteers Needed for Project Homeless Connect 15

Denver’s Road Home is issuing a call for more than 600 volunteers for the annual Project Homeless Connect. Project Homeless Connect 15 is a free, one-day event that is open to people of all ages who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless. During the event, volunteers are paired with individuals and families to help ensure the participant is able to access all of the resources available (at the event) such as basic medical or dental exams, legal help, employment advice, food, medical and other assistance benefits, hygiene bags, haircuts, clothing, school supplies and other communityprovided services. This year, the event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.bit.ly/denverphc.

CBCC Presents 2016 Ascension Awards Dinner

The Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), a premier business organization that supports the success and viability of Black businesses in Colorado, to announce its 2016 Ascension Awards Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, 1849 Curtis Street in Denver. The event kicks off with a reception and silent auction at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner with keynote speaker, Stacey A. Campbell, J.D., principal at Campbell Litigation, P.C. A business awards ceremony will honor companies and individuals for their achievements. Dinner sponsorships are available. For more information, email staff@coloradoblackchamber.org or call 303-831-0746.

DCPA Workshop Production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill Features Mary Louise Lee

The Theatre Company at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) announced a workshop production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill featuring Mary Louise Lee. Lady Day will run for three performances only, October 28, 29 and 30 in The Jones. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill tells jazz legend Billie Holiday's troubled life story through the songs that made her famous, including God Bless the Child, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, Strange Fruit and Taint Nobody's Biz-ness. Set in Philadelphia in 1959, Holiday’s performance at Emerson’s Bar & Grill was one of her last, and Lady Day is not just a memorable tribute to the singer, but also a moving

portrait of her struggles with addiction, racism, and loss. Tickets start at $25 and available at denvercenter.org.

Learn About all the Issues on the Denver Ballot

League of Women Voters of Denver will present the background and then discuss the pros and cons for each ballot issue from information solicited from both the proponents and opponents of each. Meetings will be Monday, Oct. 6 (Pros/Cons on all State and Local Ballot Issues) and Monday, Oct. 17 (Ballot Issue on Minimum Wage Presentation). Both events at Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church will begin with light refreshments at 5:30 p.m. followed with a 6 p.m. program. For more information, call 303-6290614 or email Marcia Verba at mverba1@msn.com.

Pastoral Anniversary Planned for Rev. Dr. Jules E. Smith

Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church is celebrating 30 years of leadership under Pastor Jules E. Smith. Nightly services include: Thursday, Sept. 29 at Potter's House of Denver; Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Central Baptist Church/New Hope Baptist Church; Thursday, Oct. 6 at Ebenezer Baptist Church/St. Stephen Baptist Church; Friday, Oct. 7 at Abundant Life Baptist Church/Trinity Baptist Church; Saturday, Oct. 8, the Pastoral anniversary luncheon at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Aurora at 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 9 at Greater Union Baptist Church/Berean Baptist Church of Philadelphia. Nightly services begin at 7 p.m. at 1500 S. Dayton St. in Denver; Sunday services at 7:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. For more information, call Fairy Hanley at 303-261-5086 or the church office, 303-752-0546.

Bold. Rich. Brewtiful.

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$ 49 Medium Iced Coffee Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Rep. Beth McCann to Receive the Dale Tooley Democrat of the Year Award

The Democratic Party of Denver announced that Rep. Beth McCann will receive the Dale Tooley Democrat of the Year Award at the 2016 Edward M. Kennedy Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 1. “This award is especially meaningful to me because Dale Tooley hired me as a deputy district attorney. He was a mentor and role model for me during my time there,” Rep. McCann said. “His philosophy was that our job was to do justice, not just to seek a conviction, which is an approach that will guide my decisions as Denver’s next district attorney.” The Dale Tooley award is given out annually by the Democratic Party of Denver to honor a Denver Democrat who represents hard work and perseverance and promotes the values and goals of the Democratic Party. The award is named for Dale Tooley who was Denver’s District Attorney from 1973-1983.

HATS OFF TO

CBWPA Announce Honorees for 38th Annual Tribute to Black Women Award Luncheon

Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) announced the honorees for the 38th Annual Tribute to Black Women luncheon, "From Eve to Today, Celebrating Generations." This year’s luncheon on Oct. 8 will feature keynote speaker, nationally-known, former Ohio State Senator and Secretary of State Candidate, Nina Turner. CBWPA will recognize three generations of women and three families who have had an impact on the Denver community and Colorado and have displayed superior leadership skills, overcome adversity, and excelled in the categories of education, politics, cultural arts, philanthropy and community service. The 2016 individual honorees are Naomi Alvarado for the Youth on the Move award; Alexis Crews for the Rising Star award; and Carol “CJay” Smith for the Change Agent award. The 2016 Families Making An Impact award recipients are Janet and the Buckner Family, Anna Jo and the Haynes Family; and Loretta and the Richardson Family

The CBWPA Tribute to Black Women luncheon and awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Renaissance Hotel Stapleton, 3801 Quebec St., in Denver. The event starts at noon; doors open at 11:15 am.

Girl Scouts of Colorado Honors the 2016 Women of Distinction

The annual 2016 Women of Distinction dinner will be held Thursday, Oct. 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse St. in Denver. Keynote speaker is Sarah Greichen, Girl Scouts of the USA National Young Woman of Distinction and recipient of Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence. This year’s honorees are Rose Andom, President and CEO Rosmik, Inc. and the Rose Andom Charitable Foundation; Nikki Cady, Founder, Heart and Hand Center for Youth and Families; Stephanie Donner, Galvanize Chief Legal and People Officer; Kim Easton, CEO, Urban Peak; Jena Hausmann, President and CEO,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Children's Hospital Colorado; Gloria Higgins, President, Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC); Brook Kramer, Vice President and Relationship Manager, First Western Trust; Christine Marquez-Hudson, President and CEO, the Denver Foundation; Cheryl Ruiz-Lucero, Director, Capital Campaigns and Major Gifts, Denver Health Foundation; and Mary Noonan, Board Trustee, Delta Dental of Colorado, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation and the Center for Women’s Health Research at CU Anschutz Medical Campus. This year’s honorees were selected by a committee of their peers led by selection chair Gin Butler, and chosen based on their contributions to the community, both professionally and personally. They are shining examples of corporate, civic and philanthropic leadership. The event is presented by co-chairs: Jandel Allen-Davis, VP Kaiser Permanente Colorado Region, Woman of Distinction ’12; and Kristin Richardson, Philanthropist and Community Volunteer, Woman of Distinction ‘13. For more information, call Heide at 303-607-4833 or email heidi.books@gscolorado.org.


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Ground Rules

Must See............ It’s Worth A Look..... See At Your Own Risk. Don’t Bother.....................

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is Blackflix.com’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Khaleel Herbert is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Laurence Washington is the creator of BlackFlix.com. Like Blackflix.com On Facebook, Follow Blackflix.com On Twitter

the chilling reenactments of the forced water landing. Maybe it’s the skill of the performances and the direction, or maybe it’s both. Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and his copilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), are forced to make an emergency landing after a bird strike takes out both engines. With time running out they realize they are not going to make it back to any of the local airports and Sully decides the safest place to land in the heavily populated New Your City is on the Hudson

Tom Hanks again shows off his ability to hide so completely in a character that we can lose sight of him and only see who he is playing. When Captain Sully gets the news that all 155 people were saved the silent relief emanating from Hank’s performance can be felt in the theatre. There are no villains in the film; the whole story highlights our humanity by showing how we can come together in a crisis. Everyone in evolved in the landing and rescue exemplifies our strength. This exceptional film should be on your list to do’s this weekend.

Usher Sacrifices Much To Play Sugar Ray Leonard By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photos by Rico Torres

P

B

Sully

1/2 By Jon Rutledge

iographical films are self spoilers. If the movie mirrors actual events you already know how it’s going to end. Clint Eastwood’s master story telling engages you with the characters and makes you question if they are going to survive. Tom Hanks embodies the modest hero and shows us the struggle in the aftermath of his astonishing accomplishment. Maybe the fact it actually happened adds to

river. Making a forced water landing on the Hudson he is able to control the landing and safely bring home all 155 passengers and crew. The story tells what happened during the investigation that followed. We see the actions on that fateful day in flash back and through the eyes of Captain Sully. During the intense investigation Sully starts to wonder if he did do the right thing. In the film The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has data that the plane was not as damaged as the pilots claimed it to be. The tension of the film comes from the investigation.

laying the sports icon Sugar Ray Leonard in the boxing biopic Hands of Stone was no easy feat for Usher Raymond IV. There were grueling workouts, dietary restrictions, daily sparring sessions and several sacrifices, but looking back, the Grammy Award winning artist would do it all over again if he had to. “I turned down so much business,” says Usher, who we caught up with at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. “I pushed back an album; I turned down tours and turned down going back to The Voice, which I really did enjoy. I had all these obligations I had to meet, but I really wanted to do the film as I felt that it was a great story.” For the eight time Grammy Award winner, the role not only offered a chance to hone his acting skills, but the opportunity to tell the story of one

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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of the greatest boxers of all time. “I am all about making sure we preserve the essence of our icons. It’s great that our icons are able to see their legacy and see their work. Muhammad Ali had that and Ray Charles had a chance to feel that and now Sugar Ray would get a chance to feel that,” adds Usher, who says he immediately sought the boxer’s blessing once he was offered the part. “I was mindful and did want to get his blessing before I took it on and I wanted to be prepared. I asked if I could sit with him and ask questions and he made himself available.” Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, Hands of Stone is based on the true life story of Panamanian boxer Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran, and although the film’s primary focus is Duran’s rags-to-riches story, it explores the infamous rivalry he had with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, when Duran gave Leonard, a reigning champion, his first defeat. Their notorious rivalry in a rematch became one of the most infamous fights in boxing history. “The movie is not necessarily just about Sugar Ray Leonard, it’s Duran’s movie, but Sugar Ray has a big part in the story,” continues Usher. “I loved every aspect of preparation from getting to know the character and standing toe to toe with amateur boxers in preparation. In doing that, I was probably in the best physical shape of my life and reaped the benefits of it.” With notable performances from its leads, Robert De Niro stars as the legendary trainer Ray Arcel, who was the first boxing trainer to be elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame, while the role of Duran is brilliantly played by Edgar Ramirez. “You really have so many shots to tell the right story about who you are as a creative person,” Usher adds. “I am willing to make the sacrifices necessary to play the right role.” 


Nate Parker Casts Another Ugly Glare on Bad Behaving Celebrities Robert

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Mitchum, Rip Torn, Nick Nolte, Hugh Grant, Roman Polanski, John Travolta, Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery, Rob Lowe, Kelsey Grammer, Tim Allen, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Downey, Jr., and of course everybody’s favorites Woody Allen and Bill Cosby. They all have three things in common. They are rich, famous and Hollywood celebrity big shots. They all were either accused of or convicted of sex related crimes or other assorted crimes. Hollywood and the film going public never turned its back on any of them. They are lionized for their films, acting roles, and hailed as influential art, entertainment and even cultural standard bearers. Now we come to Nate Parker. The 17-year old rape charge, trial and acquittal of him has been debated endlessly, with some even going so far as to slap the word “rapist” over promotional posters for his film, Birth of a Nation, and hinting at or outright calling for a boycott of his much acclaimed film based on Nat Turner’s slave rebellion set for an October release. The American Film Institute, however, did take action and postponed an originally August screening of the film until later in the year. And yes, the Parker controversy does and should force another hard look at the still much too lax legal treatment that rape and sexual violence gets. Even so, Fox Searchlight Pictures, the film’s backer, says the film is still a go, and legions have rallied to Parker’s defense. They should because: A. It’s an old case B. He faced the charges and was acquitted and C. the timing of the allegation being played up almost two decades after the case is suspect given that it’s raised on the eve of the release of his much anticipated and welcomed biopic on Nat Turner.

The Parker flap raises another question; as is the case with all the Hollywood and historic artistic bad boys. That is, can the artist and their art be separated? It can and is. Composer Richard Wagner was a raving, unabashed, anti-Semite, Hitler’s idol, notorious sexual philander, and bigamist, and fugitive. Yet no one would dare suggest stop staging. Conducting, or playing or listening to his towering operatic works that defined and redefined the operatic genre, and are the universal standard in opera and classical music. Ernest Hemingway was a world class boozer, womanizer, and sexual abuser. Yet no one would dare suggest that his works which define the best in American literature stop being read, filmed, and enjoyed by millions. Then there’s Allen and Cosby. They are near universally reviled as sexual reprobates, and one has a heavy duty criminal cloud hanging over him. Yet, no one would dare suggest that their films and albums should not be watched and listened to. The Parker controversy also casts an ugly glare on the notorious celebrity double standard. The celebrities that have found themselves plopped on the legal hot seat have a huge advantage that the average Joe could-

n’t even begin to dream of and would likely face long prison terms for. It’s not just the ability of celebrities to cast their spell over a fawning public that gives them a colossal edge over the average working stiff when they are hauled into court. It’s also their deep pockets. They can afford to hire the top legal guns, crack private investigators, and publicists. This more than levels the legal playing field for them and enables them to go toe-to-toe with

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prosecutors. Prosecutors know that every legal move they make against celebrities will be intensely scrutinized and more often than not criticized, and second-guessed by the media and the public. More likely they will see them as victims of a vengeful, and jealous legal system bent not on prosecuting their heroes for alleged crimes committed, but on persecuting them because of who they are. This was not the case with Parker. He was hardly a known Hollywood or fan quantity when he was charged. He was a college guy then. But he’s moving in the film big leagues now and that will serve him well before, during and after Birth of a Nation hits the theaters. Whatever benefit he gets from the celebrity attention and treatment – god and bad – will be no different than other celebrities ripped for their bad behavior have gotten.  Editor’s Note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a consultant with the Institute of the Black World and an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio-one. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Denver’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s (Saturday, September 17, 2016)

Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s, among the 5 largest Alzheimer’s Association Walks around the country, had a fundraising goal of nearly $1.4 million to enable the organization to continue to provide at no charge education, programs and services to more than 67,000 Coloradoans with Alzheimer’s, as well as to support national research to find a cure. Alzheimer’s is growing at a dramatic rate, with Colorado cases expected to

CBRT Discusses DPS

Continued from page 10 self-fulfilling prophecy. It was noted, “If the bar continues to become lower and lower, there will be no need for its existence and the community might as well accept doom for the district and the Black students within it. Many of the faculty members feel that many of these issues can be resolved by making sure teachers are culturally competent and having more Black leadership at the top of the district would be a route to facilitate that. There also is a clear gap between how the district has prioritized providing English Language Learners (ELL) with the proper accommodations for academic success, while simultaneously putting no such efforts forth in the direction of Black students as well. This has caused an unnecessary strain and tension in the district because every child deserves to have the proper tools to receive a comprehensive and quality education and should not have to compete with other demographics in order to receive it.” One of the changes faculty feels should be made is to allow the curriculum to be more culturally inclusive and not force students to learn through a purely Eurocentric lens. This will allow many students, specifically African American students, to engage with the material and the district in a more mutually beneficial way. There is also currently a lack of access to programs that would allow students to further develop their interests and talents through the district that may be non-academic. Furthermore many of the programs in

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Team Kickit

top 92,000 by 2025 - a jump of more than 37 percent. The AfricanAmerican community is at higher risk for Alzheimer’s - two-times as likely as whites to be diagnosed with the disease, which is the only leading disease without prevention, treatment or cure. The Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is still short of its 2016 fundraising goal. Donations to the organization can still be made at www.alz.org/co/walk. For more information call 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org/co.

existence are too expensive for parents to afford making them essentially non-existent. Dr. Bailey raised concern about the narrative that we currently prescribe to African Americans in education, citing that we oftentimes hear of the failures of our community and education but rarely the successes. “This can only be accomplished through persistent effort on the part of the district and by parents involving themselves with the district. That would allow for there to be progress made between the community and the district, thus, creating the possibility for a better relationship between the community DPS serves and the community itself,” she said. The members of the panel gave a response to the report along with how they plan on helping to reconcile many of the issues raised in the report. Del Phillips from the Greater Ministerial Alliance emphasized how indicative the issue was that the community even has to gather to remind the district that our children deserve a quality education. He also said, “The alliance is working on a coalition to strengthen the link between church, the community and the district.” A representative of the NAACP mentioned an initiative they have started to get parents more involved with the district. And Cherrelyn Napue, owner of a local independent educational service, said “Oftentimes African American students are under prepared to be able to excel academically” but she will continue to serve in an effort to allow children to be in a competitive academic place.


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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2016

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Enter Today... for a chance to win

Two Tickets to 100 Men Who Cook

A Black Tie Fundraiser

Saturday, November 26

Check it out at www.100menwhocook.co MC COMEDIAN A-TRAIN

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Congratulations to DUS September winner of two tickets to Black Hawk Jazz - Pamela Wooden! October winner will be selected on October 17 and announced in the November Denver Urban Spectrum


Denver Urban Spectrum October 2016  

This month, our cover story features a humble young man who because of his work ethics, humbleness, and faith, was a first-round draft pick...

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