Page 1


February 2011

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa

COLUMNIST Earl Ofari Hutchinson

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Misti Aas Hasira Watson-Ashemu Ed Augden Tanya Ishikawa Brother-in-Law

As we celebrate Black History, and recognize the countless contributions to society by African Africans, we must take time to pay homage to our ancestors. We must remember those who came before us and what they endured for us to be where we are today. We have made some headway, but there is still much to do as a people. The Scott Sisters were freed! Why and how? I’m sure it is something to shout about, but was it really justice? Read what NAACP President Ben Jealous and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson have to say about the sentence and the judge who released the sisters. This month, biographer Tanya Ishikawa takes us on a voyage from Ethiopia to the United States as she recounts the life journey – and the contributions – of the Asfaw family. Their story is truly African-American history, we are proud to tell. Take a look at our 2011 African Americans Who Make A Difference, read what they say are the challenges facing the African-American community, and discover their thoughts and ideas about what should be done to address each challenge. And, who doesn’t like Ronald McDonald? He is joined in this issue with some of the Black McDonald’s operators in our annual Color Me Proud activity for our young readers 12 and younger. So, this February, I challenge you to dig deep and explore some of the contributions from your own family. Black History is not part of the past, but part of our future!


GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte The Creative Spirit


ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Donald McSwain WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR ConnectMe/SpectrumTalk Tanya Ishikawa 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 2011 by Rolado, LLC. 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. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


Test and Punish Model Won’t Produce Needed Change

her expertise as a member of their faculty. But then she would have to publish her research findings, which would be subject to critical review and validation by her educational colleagues. (This is called peer review. What a novel idea! Maybe it should be considered in the tenure review process for public school educators.) I can’t remember a second or third year teacher who possessed the skill set needed to make a significant impact on students in general, let alone high risk students specifically. I doubt if anyone can recall an educator who made a positive impression on them who was a second or third year teacher. In the movie “Waiting for Superman,” one of the interviewees from New York commented that it took him five years to become a “Master Teacher.” Having been in education for over 25 years, I can’t remember an educator with what some would consider a shallow resume who was a master teacher, let alone the educational leader of a major school district. My final thoughts on her comments concern “how organizational structure” will affect the learning and teaching in the classroom. In your article, Ms. Rhee talks about “mayoral control” of the school systems and cites the cities of Chicago and New York where this structural change has taken place. She fails to mention that the standards were lowered to show achievement by the students in these cities. It seems many reformers think anyone can be a teacher and run a public school district. There have been exmilitary officers, corporate executives, former politicians and lawyers trying

Editor: After reading your article of Dec. 16 (Denver Weekly News by Roger Clendening) regarding the recent speech of Michelle Rhee to an “invited crowd” at the DAC, then reading an accounting of Ms. Rhee’s rise to stardom as an educational reformer from Diane Ravitch’s book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” I have to question how this person with only three years of classroom experience can be perceived as an expert on education! Her 13 years heading a teacher training organization, founded by her, may be questionable at best in legitimizing her credentials. She has only spent three and a half years as a chancellor of the Washington D.C. School District. In Ravitch’s book, Ms. Rhee claims that as a classroom teacher she was able to increase reading at grade level from 13 percent to 90 percent in her second and third years of teaching at a Baltimore elementary school. Her critics question this claim since the records of these students cannot be located. This seems to be consistent with most educational reformers that I’ve met who talk about reform with no creditable, evidence based information to support their assumptions about how education should be reformed. If Ms. Rhee was so successful increasing the reading level of her elementary students, why hasn’t she shared her teaching methodology with other educators? I’m sure there are numerous teacher preparation programs at accredited universities and colleges that would love to have

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

to provide educational leadership in these troubled times. Many of these professionals have performed well in their respective environments, but that does not mean they can transfer their specific knowledge to an environment where the students have multiple learning styles and where competent, well trained educators are needed who are able to work with this diverse student population. Education is not a production line. We are not turning out widgets. Applying a business model seems grossly inappropriate. I agree changes in our educational system are needed, but the “test and punish” model being proposed will be the least effective means of making the needed changes. How can the public be confident that these two and three year “wonder” teachers with a continuous turn-over rate and little formal training as an educator can meet the educational needs of our students today or tomorrow? The future of our city, state and nation depends on a well educated population trained to think critically and outside the box. Can we afford to invest in what may be termed Educational Bernie Madoffs? Will we come to realize down the road that we have been sold a bill of goods? As California has found out – $400 million dollars later – some of the proposed reforms do not come with a money back guarantee.

Glenn R. Hanley, Ph.D. Denver, CO

Editor’s note: Glenn Hanley is a community activist who tutors at East High, serves on the board of directors of Denver Area Youth Services (DAYS) and is active in community organizations seeking reform with equity in Denver Public Schools.

Asfaws Contribute To A Bright Future

Entrepreneuring Couple Share Success With Young And Old Geta Asfaw is always interested

By Tanya Ishikawa Photos by Bernard Grant

in a success story. The local entrepre-

neur and philanthropist loves to learn from the experiences of others, who

have worked hard to build their own

American dreams. “The people who have influenced me the most are anybody anywhere who started from nothing and made it big,” Asfaw says. “I read all those magazines and books when I see that kind of story. That always motivates me today, especially those who had no help but within one generation made it, whether it was educationally or financially.” His and wife Janice Asfaw’s own determined lives and outstanding career achievements make quite a motivational story. And, they continue to set great examples for their children and the world with their generosity in the local and international community. Both the Asfaws began life with great entrepreneurial role models, though they started out on different continents. Geta was born in Ethiopia, surrounded by Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and the Red Sea, in northeast Africa. Meanwhile, Janice was born and raised in Seattle, Wash. Geta and his two younger brothers and five younger sisters learned about hard work early, from their father who started working when he was 12 years old. His family lived in a major commercial center called the Merkato area in western Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. His mother’s relatives were from the Gurage culture, one of the country’s many ethnic minorities, whose people are known for their entrepreneurial tenacity. Though or perhaps because his father was not a descendent of the same culture, he worked very hard to develop his career. From laboring as a young mechanic’s apprentice, his business interests grew into a major transportation company. Meanwhile, the matriarchs of Janice’s family were working hard in Seattle. “My grandmother was a nurse and went back to school after raising her children to become a registered nurse.

The Asfaws: Elias, Desta, Geta, Janice and Abraham

She earned a good living and then gave back in her way. She used to make food and gift baskets for the needy around Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Janice says. “My mother was a beautician, and owned a beauty shop, where she rented out booths to about six other women.” While Janice was already being raised to have career aspirations, her young mother’s death when Janice was 16, made her even more of an independent, strong person. A few years later, she was attending Seattle Central College, studying culinary arts and working at a gourmet restaurant that featured national bands. That restaurant, the Hertitage House, is where she and Geta met in 1974. He had come to America in 1972, to study at San Francisco University to become a doctor. Though his plans were to return to his native country after graduation, a marxist coup in 1974 made it impossible for the 20year-old to return to Ethiopia, as well as cut off all financial support from his family there. Having to recreate his new, extended life in the U.S., Geta transferred to the University of Washington, which was located in Seattle where the cost

Photo by Bernard Grant

of living was more affordable. He switched his major from biology to political science, partially to be able to graduate earlier and in part to study about world issues like those in Ethiopia. He married Janice in 1976, and became a U.S. citizen in 1977. Both college students were “very involved” in activism for democracy in Africa, outside of their studies and jobs. Sometimes, he was working two to three jobs at the same time to support their family. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, and went on to earn a master’s degree in international relations. “When you’re young, you don’t feel it’s hard work. We wanted to do that before we had kids,” Geta says. “Once we had kids, we wanted to spend a lot of time with them.” Janice agrees, “You make sacrifices when you’re young, and save a lot of money so you can invest later.” They admit that the price of college and the cost of living today have risen so much that it’s harder for this generation, but they still insist that the path to success is “really just work and saving.” They saved enough to buy a 7Eleven Store, which they operated for

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2008


12 years. Along the way, they welcomed a son and a daughter. Then, one day, a McDonald’s representative came to a meeting of their grocers’ association to present on franchise opportunities. “A lot of the association members didn’t take it seriously – only two of us did,” Geta says. “I asked for the financials, and after the document arrived, I looked at it and saw it was a really good business, so I said ‘I’m interested.’” And, the rest is history – an important part of the Asfaw family history as well as the history of Denver’s business community. Following an intense training program and a highly competitive selection process, the Asfaws were offered a McDonald’s franchise at 6th Avenue and Broadway in Denver. After successful negotiations, they bought the franchise and moved to Colorado in 1991. As president and vice president of Addis & Company and Ababa & Company, Geta and Janice have managed to grow their McDonald’s operations into eight locations and plan to add more in the future. Their family also grew to three children, with the addition of a son born in Colorado. “They run fantastic restaurants. They keep them up to date in terms of equipment and how they look,” says Rose Andom, a close friend and fellow Denver-area McDonald’s franchise owner, who is the vice chair of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association. “Geta is the type of person who is an outstanding listener. He is a person that a lot of people call for advice, people within McDonald’s Corporation and others. They call Geta and ask him to talk to their people on various subjects,” Andom explains. “He always attends our national board meetings, though he’s not on the board.” “I would be hard pressed to find better people or better friends. They have just a tremendous family. Their children are all just fantastic,” she adds, noting that many of his siblings work with the Asfaws in their business. Continued on page 6

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


The Asfaws

Continued from page 4 In fact, all of Geta’s siblings but one ended up coming to America for an education and staying here. His mother is here as well, but his father passed away about seven years ago, though not before Geta was finally able to return to Ethiopia in 1997. Being able to return to his origins was significant, and he says he will always have Ethiopia in his heart. Still, he feels as if he has grown up in America, and after living here for the greater part of his life, the United States is definitely his home. Of Ethiopia, Janice recalls, “I loved the people. They are so warm and giving. They want you to be there. They want to see people there from other countries.” Their three children also visited Ethiopia, and are well-traveled overall, due to the Asfaws’ desire for them to respect all cultures. “Our goal has been: we want them to see the world as one,” Janice says. “If they see different things, they’re not accustomed to, we don’t want them to think it’s bad or be afraid. It’s just different.” Of his aspirations for and philosophy about raising his children, Geta says, “The first thing is really love. They have to love each other, and have a very strong family foundation. Anything you need is possible if you have that unity.” Secondly, “we want them to continue in education. An education is very important in order to be able to do something in the community. Always, their goal has to be really not what they achieve for self or family, but what they achieve for the community,” Geta says. Their 28-year-old son, Elias, graduated with a psychology degree from Colorado State University, worked for two years with an insurance company, and is planning to join the family company. Their 26-year-old daughter, Desta, earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Colorado, will graduate from the CU law school this May, and already received a job offer earlier this school year. Abraham, their 18-year-old, just entered Arizona State University, and has started with a political science major but is also interested in business. While the Asfaws see helping their children become successful and charity-minded as one of their most significant legacies, the family has a much broader legacy of contributing to the community. They give back as a way of expressing their great thanks for the friends, mentors, and customers who have been important along the way.

“Geta is the type of person who is an outstanding listener. He is a person that a lot of people call for advice, people within McDonald’s Corporation and others. They call Geta and ask him to talk to their people on various subjects.” - Rose Andom

“In education and business, people were always there to support us,” Geta comments. “Every opportunity we have, we give back.” “I learned a lot through this business. When you have a really strong community and city, you have a strong business. That really creates a win-win for everyone,” he says. The Asfaws have been giving back in the form of donations and nonprofit support, since the days of their 7Eleven. Early on, such organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Red Cross were the beneficiaries of their time and money. In Denver, their Park Hill neighborhood McDonald’s has served senior citizens a free Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings by candlelight and tablecloth for 20 years. Last year, an estimated 400 dinners were served and the total to date is more than 10,000 dinners served. “We have a large pool of volunteers,” says Janice. “Because of the time of year, everybody wants to give back something, from the city to the community, corporations, and employees.” In addition to their self-initiated efforts, the Asfaws receive a neverending stream of requests for financial

assistance from various nonprofits throughout the community. They support 30 to 40 organizations with financial and in-kind donations, banquet table sponsorships, and volunteer service. In 2006, the Asfaws founded the Asfaw Family Foundation International to focus their philanthropic efforts. The foundation’s largest annual event has been the “Arches of Hope.” In its fifth year, it provided 400 bikes, helmets, and Christmas gifts in December to fifthand sixth-graders who are eligible based on financial need, academic merit, community involvement, terminal illness, having parents in the military, or good citizenship. The giveaway is combined with a banquet and a motivational speaker, plus other role models from around the business and education communities. The foundation also awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to Colorado high school seniors—especially to African-American males. One of its newest projects is sponsoring uniforms, meals, and teacher salaries for an elementary school in Ethiopia, serving mostly girls. “Females control the households in many African countries,” Janice says.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


“So, if you invest in girls and women, it empowers the village.” While the Asfaws believe their assistance for senior citizens is critical and are planning new philanthropic activities for veterans, they say their most important contributions are those that make a difference for children. “We always believe the most important way to help children is to give them an education. It is a tool they use to be on their own and make something of their lives,” Geta explains. Through their own family stories and the stories of other successful people, they want their youth beneficiaries to know, “I was like you once, and I am like this now. I want to show them it’s really not where you are today; it’s where you’re going to be if you get an education and work hard,” Geta says. The Asfaws believe the biggest problem in the United States is access to education and educational funding. “The more education you have, you become more tolerant. You agree to disagree with respect,” states Geta. “As a democracy, you’re always going to have differences. If you have a lack of education, you tend to be very rigid, less confident, and it becomes a problem for the community.” Because much smaller and less wealthy countries than the U.S. better educate their youth, the Asfaws believe our country has the money as well, but chooses to direct it towards other priorities than education. In addition to the importance of an education, their advice to today’s young entrepreneurs is to find mentors in their fields of interest. “Talk to someone who knows the business you want to go in, and try to work in a similar business, so you can see what it is in the real world,” Janice says. “That’s true. They really have to study it before investing,” Geta adds, with Janice completing the thought, “They need to make sure it’s for them, and it’s what they thought it would be.” But, most importantly, “whether someone is an entrepreneur or not, success is really about saving,” Geta says. “If you study the histories of most successful people, it’s not that they were making a lot of money at first. They were saving.” “If they’re frugal, they’ll sleep at night and have no worries,” Janice elaborates. “Don’t use credit and go into debt by spending on things you can’t afford.” Geta concludes, “Postpone that gratification. There will be a time you can do whatever you want to do. First, save your money, and have your goal.” 

Denver Links Chapter Committed To Making A Difference

Santa arrived a little early this

year for the students and staff of Hallett Fundamental Academy – with a little help from the women of the Denver Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and Time Warner Cable. The two organizations teamed up to donate computers, printers and computer monitors to update current equipment, according to Ida Daniel, co-chair of the Services to Youth Facet of the local Denver Links Chapter. “Hallett students and staff are so very thankful for the 40 computers donated to the school by the Denver Links and Time Warner Cable,” said Charmaine Keeton, principal at Hallett. “Their generosity will make an immediate difference in the lives of Hallett students. The computers will allow each classroom to receive three additional computers. The Denver Link and Time Warner Cable are making a difference in students’ lives.” The donations included the computers plus enough printers to put at least one in every classroom as well as more than 50 new computer monitors to replace the school’s old CRT models. The computers came from the local National Division office of Time Warner Cable that closed earlier this year. The equipment was donated with the help of Linda Williams, a member of the Denver Chapter as well as Vice President of Human Resources for Time Warner Cable’s National Division. “Time Warner Cable’s national philanthropic program is called ‘Connect a Million Minds’ and it focuses on STEM-related efforts in the communities that we serve,” Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


explained Williams. “We know that by providing these computers and other equipment to Hallett, we are making a significant contribution to the science, technology, engineering and math experiences of the students. We are pleased to be a part of this meaningful collaboration with the White Rose Foundation, Links Inc. – Denver Chapter and Hallett Fundamental Academy.” The presentation was made on

Monday, December 13, during the intermission of the school’s holiday program – also made possible with the help of The Links. Daniel explained that the school’s budget didn’t allow for a music teacher at the school, but Link member Tina Walls secured the Colorado Children’s Chorale, which donated the time and talents of two musicians who began working with the third, fourth and fifth grade students in November to make the program possible. In addition, The Links paid for a music teacher from Denver Public Schools to work with the younger children (Early Childhood Education through second grade) so that the entire school could participate. During a break in the program, Denver Chapter President Rhetta Shead, JoKatherine Holliman Page, Daniel, Williams and other members of The Denver Links Chapter revealed the gift while also honoring the volunteers who had made the program possible. The computers will be used to supplement the school’s outdated equipment for the 380 students that attend Hallett Fundamental Academy. “Our philosophy in adopting this school two years ago was to help these students by giving them opportunities to enrich their lives, to know the possibilities that lie ahead of them and to encourage them to go to college,” Daniel said. Our program at Hallett “Stepping into the Future” was a perfect fit. The members of The Links support the school through the White Rose Foundation, Inc., the non-profit arm of The Denver Chapter. The group works with the entire school, but has focused their efforts on children in the fourth and fifth grades. 

Straight Outta’ Africa By Brother-in-Law


ho am I? That’s not important…But they call me brother-to-thenight and right now I’m the blues in yo’ left thigh, tryin’ to become the funk in yo’ right. Is that alright?” Darius Lovehall’s, “A Blues for Nina” from the movie Love Jones. I’m a 64-year-old American of African descent born in Los Angeles and raised in Compton, Calif. My parents, by the Almighty’s mercy and grace, are both octogenarians living in Compton in the same house I grew up in that they purchased in 1952. I’m anlicensed attorney in Colorado, California, and now Accra, Ghana. I moved to Denver, Colo. with my wife and children in April 1979. I have three children in Denver. My oldest son is the former owner of Blackberries Ice Cream and Coffee Lounge, my middle son recently began his medical residency in psychiatry at Meharry Medical College, and my baby daughter is preparing to follow in her dad’s footsteps and study law at DU’s Sturm College of Law. I recently divorced after 20 years of marriage, and now I’m spreading my wings and experiencing my roots. I wrote this piece in a small rural town in Ghana, West Africa. The name of the town is Tepa and it is in the Asante Region. The spelling “Asante” is the same and more correct spelling of “Ashanti.” Asante Region means the area of Ghana that is primarily populated by people of Asante tribal heritage. The Asante tribal group is the largest tribal group in Ghana. Their original ethnic grouping is termed Akan. They are the people who you often see in the Kente cloth garments with gold accessories. Ghana was under the British rule from approximately 1914 to 1966. During the colonization period this area of Africa was known as the Gold

Coast. That name resulted from the great amount of gold the British confiscated from here. There is still an abundance of gold in the soils of Ghana, and in October, I visited a neighborhood site where the residents mine for gold right in their ‘hood. Neighborhood mining is actually illegal but the government doesn’t provide monitors, so the people are left free to search for gold in their communities. The mining was being done in a very peaceful manner and no one seemed bothered by what was being done. Of course since most of the alluvial gold has been collected, mining has to be done by digging out areas and then processing the rock. It looks like hard work, but I know some gold is found because I’ve seen it with my own eyes. When I first came to Tepa, the chief or king took me to one of these neighborhood mining sites and I observed the process and the mined gold. There is a myth I want and need to dispel. The people of Ghana have shown me much love over the past year I have been in and out of the country. I have not experienced any dislike because I was born on the North American continent. The men and women have treated me as a member of the African family. Often in America I’ve heard that Africans on the African continent do not like Black Americans, or as I’m called “Africans born in America.” This has not been my experience. I am invited to people’s homes, provided meals, and treated with warm affection daily. The children treat me like a family member; because of my age I’m treated like an uncle or even a grandfather. Most of the children and young men and women refer to me as “dad.” It is as though I have come to a paradise owned by my family members, that I did not know or had forgotten existed. Africa is as Marcus Garvey said, “for Africans at home and abroad.” One reflects upon how this myth started that “Africans from Africa do not like Black Americans.” This kind of false thinking only benefits those individuals and collectives who desire to advance neo-colonialism. I want to tell you that Africans generally love African Americans and want us to return to this land of our origin. You won’t have to put on a loin cloth and hold a spear if you do return, meaning you won’t have to become primitive. Ghana is a very modern country on the brink of industrial development. Clearly it needs capital investment to move forward and this need prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to come here in July 2009 to spark interest in Ghana by Americans. Prior to his visit, traveling

here required flying to Europe then to Ghana. Now United Airlines provides daily travel direct to Ghana from Washington, Dulles. This interest in Ghana by Africans born in America goes far beyond returning to the historical slave dungeons from where our ancestors were shipped away to far lands in the African diaspora. I, personally, have refused to visit these dungeons of shame but there is no denying that they provide a source of foreign exchange because of tourism. This contemporary interest sparked by Obama and his family’s visit also goes far beyond the notion of hatred toward the former colonialist and imperialist who fostered the African diaspora. Africa is simply our home base of origin and is ready to burst onto the global scene with much innovation and development, needing only those who have the expendable income to spend it here rather than on depreciating, ostentatious consumption. Ghana, and Africa by extension, is modern. There are beautiful homes, cars, foods, and beautiful commercial facilities, which compare equally to any I have experienced in my travels to other African nations, the Caribbean nations, Mexico, Hawaii, Arabia, Israel, Europe and any other country I have visited. You won’t and don’t have to lower your standard of living to enjoy this wonderful oasis of life, love, peace, and harmony. Where is the starvation I see on television? Where is the warfare I hear about? Where is the “hell” I’m so often told about in Africa. Well, without trying to speak about the entire continent, I can say for sure its definitely not in Ghana. You might wonder how I got here. I came because of an invitation from some Ghanaian friends and officials, and because of the visit by Obama and his family. It seemed to me that our beloved president was sending an unspoken message that Africa in general and Ghana specifically holds keys

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


to global development and advancement in the economic sense. I came hear to see and experience for myself and I see what he was driving at. There is opportunity for unlimited growth, development, and advancement using prudent and intelligent application of the rules of business and social interaction. In the immortal words of Don Cornelius on Soul Train, “Peace, Love, and Soouull!”  Editor’s note: Brother in Law, a.k.a. Dr. W.A.M. Al-Haqq, Esq., is available for speaking engagements to provide firsthand information about traveling and living in Ghana and Africa generally as a Black American. You can reach him at

C & B Auto Inc. Nissan Specialist

Over 30 Years Datsun/Nissan Experts

Charles Stacks – Owner 428 Norfolk Street Aurora, CO 80011 (303) 367-4493 Factory Trained ASE Certified

Nissan Makes the Car We Make the Difference

Denver Public Library To Honor African American Community

Pictured at the 2010 Juanita Gray Awards: Shirley Amore, City Librarian, Leslie Juniel, 2010 Juanita Ross Gray Award recipient and Sid Wilson, Library Commissioner


he Denver Public Library kicks off a month-long celebration with the 24th Annual Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Awards on Saturday, Feb. 5. The Library’s annual award is named after the late Juanita Ross Gray, a former Denver Public Library staff member and dedicated community advocate. Each year, two awards are presented to African American men and women who have made an

outstanding contribution to the Denver Metro area and who exemplify the ideals and spirit represented by Gray’s commitment to the community. Winners will be announced and honored at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Ford-Warren Branch Library at 2825 High St. East 28th Avenue. This event is free and open to the public. The 2011 nominees are as follows: John Caldwell: John Caldwell initiated an employee training program within his business, John Phillips Printing, that drew from the surrounding community in Park Hill; teaching job and life skills to the unemployed/underemployed, as well as students. Through his business, he was also very active in the Denver Public Schools – (DPS) providing volunteers, in-kind services and supplies. He received the Colorado PTA Business of the Year award for his dedication to education. Ida S. Daniel: Ida S. Daniel served as the President of the Links, Incorporated, Denver Chapter from 2005-2009. As the co-chair of the Services to Youth Facet Committee, she has led the Denver Chapter Links to create “Stepping Into the Future,” a program originally intended for the two fourth grade classes of the DPS Hallett Fundamental Academy with a predominantly African American stu-

dent body. Within one year, the program expanded to both the fourth and fifth grade classes. For the last 25 years, she has given her heart and soul to Stanley British Primary School, an independent K-8 school in Denver. Loretta Richardson: Loretta Richardson has never turned down an opportunity to serve her church and her community. She is the epitome of volunteerism for church, community, and organization services. In 2009 she received the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary Silver Medal for her outstanding commitment and service to this noble organization. She received the President’s Award from the Colorado Black Women for Political Action and was recognized as an African Americans Who Make A Difference from the Denver Urban Spectrum in 2003. Neshea Evelyn McCabe (Youth Nominee): Neshea McCabe is a young woman who has given her time, talent, expertise, knowledge and personal funds to support her community. She has been an example of service learning. She has served as a leader in many community projects and committees and currently serves as a mentor to other youth. She is a recipient of the Mile High Scholars Award (2003), the Gold Scholar Commendation (2005), and the President’s Education Award Program (George W. Bush – 2005). Jo Ann Pegues: Jo Ann Pegues’ significant achievements and contribu-

tions primarily focus on her outstanding ability to successfully promote, persuade and train individuals, communities and members of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, to live “healthy lifestyles.” She encourages others through workshops and other presentations, as well as writing monthly articles in the Chapter’s newsletter. She is a founding member of Food & Culinary Dietetic Practice Group (DPG); past chair of Healthy Aging DPG; founding member of Weight Management DPG. She is also the past president of the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition (2003-2006). She was featured in AETNA 2008 African American Health calendar and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Gerontological Nutritionist Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. Monique Wortham (Youth Nominee): Monique Wortham is a young lady of outstanding principles, values and morals. She is a senior at East High School. She has been a member of the Billups-Porter Leadership Academy for the past eight years, is active in several community programs and is an excellent role model for other African American youth. She was the first place debate winner (2007-2008) and was a National Society High School Scholars nominee. She has served as a counselor with the Doulos Ministries Inc. 

Other Activities Commemorating Black History Month

The following activities will be held at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library located at 2401 Welton St., in Denver.

Feb. 4 – March 30: Coors Heritage Calendar Series Art on display Feb. 1 – Feb. 28: Works local artist and Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library’s signature artist Robert Evans will be on display in the Charles R. & Dorothy E. Cousins Gallery Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.: Crayons on the Canvas with Holly-Kai Hurd Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.: Live on the Canvas in the Charles R. & Dorothy E. Cousins Gallery. Special guest on the canvas to be announced, but it promises to be an Art Blaque love fest of creativity and fun. This event is free and open to the public but donations are welcome. For information, email Art Blaque at or call 720-364-4492. Feb. 19 at 2p.m.: Black History Live – Colorado Humanities honors Black History Month by sponsoring Black History Live, featuring Chautauquan Hasan Davis, portraying boxing great and American War hero, Joe Louis. Feb. 26 at 2p.m.: Book discussion and signing with Denny Dressman. Local journalist, sports writer, and author, Denny Dressman will discuss and sign his book Eddie Robinson, which presents Robinson’s extraordinary career in the history of college football, set in the context of the Deep South’s Jim Crow Era of segregation. Films: Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.: The Journey of the African American Athlete (1996) A documentary that highlights the rise of African Americans in sport. Running time: 119 minutes. Feb. 14 at 6p.m.: Joe Louis: America’s Hero Betrayed (2008). This in-depth profile of the boxing legend includes interviews with family, friends, fight experts and celebrity fans. Running time: 75 minutes. Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.: The Express: The Ernie Davis Story (2008). A biopic, The Express follows the inspirational life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Rated PG - Running Time 130 minutes. For information about the Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Award or the events, call Terry Nelson at 720-865-2404 or Hannah Miles at 720-865-2045.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Sarah Palin: Ignorance And Promiscuity: The New Cottage Industry


By Helen L. Burleson

tatistically, America is now number 23 in the world in educational achievement. Look to America’s fascination with Sarah Palin and how she has catapulted ignorance into a multimillion dollar enterprise. Americans on her level can’t get enough of her. The more she mocks intelligence and intellectualism, the more she increases her financial value. Not able to articulate a complete sentence, among her followers this is the new norm. As she sputters, sparks incoherent phrases of derision and mockery, the more they love her. She has become a household name, and has risen to the level of the people who are well known by just one name, like Cher, Oprah, Aretha, Bono, Heidi, Marilyn, Einstein, Ike, Mike, Teddy (both the first and the second – Theodore Roosevelt (also known as the rough rider) and Edward Moore Kennedy. Palin has produced two books written by others and she has traveled the country greeted with admiration as she grows richer and richer. They call it folksy. They call it relating to her base. The more inarticulate she is, the more they love her. Though she preaches abstinence, she is now the grandmother of a grandchild born out of wedlock, whose teen-aged mother is now capitalizing on promiscuity. On the speakers’ circuit, Bristol Palin can command in excess of ten thousand dollars telling teens that she made a mistake, and abstinence is the best policy. In other words, the old fashioned, don’t do as I do, do as I say you should do. This mother and daughter duo are charming the dollars out of the pockets of the lesser educated people who identify with their common touch. Together as a package or solo, they are gold, pure and simple. At a time when America is far behind much of the industrialized world, and learning and knowledge are the keys to responding to the technology era, the Palins are taking America back to the Stone Age. Remember the Stone Age when cave men were first learning how to use language, they spoke in sputters and single words and used body language to communicate.

We are in a knowledge-based race to develop and train a generation to get ahead in the age of technology and innovation. Perhaps we are on the wrong path. The Palins seem to have found the keys to the kingdom – ignorance and promiscuity. America seems to have an insatiable appetite for both. Today, the quitter governor of Alaska, whose only aim seems to be to spread ignorance and hatred for the Obamas, took a swipe at our First Lady, Michelle Obama. Adjudged the most powerful woman in the world, Michelle Obama, a Princeton University graduate, an attorney and a Harvard Law school graduate is a beautiful, well poised, articulate and gracious lady. Palin, by contrast took six years

and five colleges before she could earn a Bachelor’s degree in communications, is now the reigning queen of the trailer park crowd. Palin, also by contrast could easily qualify as the most ignorant woman in the world, yet she lashed out jealously at First Lady Michelle Obama. Palin’s status in life is solidified and personified as the new low in the dumbing down of America. Bristol Palin, a chip off the old block is doing what her mother should be doing. Sarah should be on the speaker’s circuit saying that American women should not do as she did, but should stay in school, get a good education and add to the body of knowledge as the scholarly First Lady Michelle Obama does. Bristol’s message of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


don’t do what I did is hollow. Her practice abstinence message would be more effective if she had practiced what she now preaches. The new cottage industry should not be ignorance and promiscuity because that only causes us to fall further behind in the race to the top for America to regain her position as the most admired and most imitated country in the industrialized world. The new cottage industry should be what President Obama proposes in his initiative to elevate the American standard of excellence with his “Race to the Top.” 

Editor’s note: Helen Burleson is Doctor of Public Administration and lives in Olympia Fields, IL. She can be reached bvy email at

Does Poverty Hurt Kids?

This nation seems to be having a

By Ed Augden

recurring argument. Do the effects of poverty handicap low income children, especially minorities, in achieving at the same level as their peers who come from middle and upper classes? Despite current and past studies, many politicians (especially conservatives), school administrators and others contend that poverty is used as an excuse by teachers to explain the failure of disadvantaged youth to score proficiently on achievement tests such as CSAP in Colorado. U.S. Sec. of Education, Arne Duncan, a product of the University of Chicago laboratory school system and Harvard, espouses that particular viewpoint. During his “No Excuses” campaign in 2009, he addressed students and teachers at Grady High School in Atlanta and told them that the major impediment to student achievement is failure of teachers to believe in them and that “bad teach-

ers” and “failing schools” (familiar right wing Republican rhetoric) rather than poverty were more significant to student achievement. One of the teachers, during a question and answer session following Duncan’s speech reminded the secretary that his 1986-87 Harvard basketball team, of which he was co-captain, had a losing 7-17 season and that the team lacked the ability to ever make the Final Four. The metaphor was apparently lost on Duncan because he persists in his belief that teachers are more influential to student success than an impoverished home and community environment. Such “educational reformers” ignore numerous research studies that contradict them and, instead, rely primarily on their personal opinion. According to a 2004 study on Connecticut’s school age children, poor children (those below the federal poverty line) are 1.3 times more likely to be developmentally delayed or learning disabled when they enter kindergarten or first grade. Malnourishment and other environmental factors associated with poverty retards physical, brain development and cognitive functions. Poor nutrition fosters low motivation, poor attentive skills and emotional expression. Such factors impact parent/child attachment and communication. Many poor, disadvantaged children, consequently lack self-confidence and are less able to form meaningful peer relationships. A poor child typically lags behind peers upon entering public school for the first time. More than one third of the nation’s poor children enter kindergarten already behind their peers and by fourth grade are more than fifty percent below grade level. At schools with more than fifty percent of its students on free lunch, the poor, on average, achieve lower than their peers. The dropout rate among low income families is six times greater than high income students. Poor students are more likely to be taught by inexperienced, unqualified teachers. Tina Griego’s series in the Denver Post highlighted the poverty in Sun Valley, the forgotten area just south of Invesco Field between Federal Blvd. and I-25. Familiar statistics abound in this poor, industrial neighborhood of concentrated public housing for the poor and diminishing single family homes. In 2008, for example, seven of ten births in Sun Valley were to single mothers, fifteen percent of those were teens and that statistic was fifty percent higher than the city average. Griego accurately portrays the condi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


tions that the poor in Sun Valley endure. Yet, I wondered if she and self-proclaimed “educational reformers” recognize how poverty handicaps a poor child in school, how segregation isolates them from mainstream students, contributes to the growing vocabulary gap between poor, disadvantaged students and their advantaged peers and how the conditions of poverty cripples those who are low income without the necessary vocabulary to achieve at the same level as their more advantaged peers. A 2010 Massachusetts study on student achievement concluded that student stress is higher among poor, disadvantaged, children, especially minorities and that this stress impedes learning. Stress, when included with other factors as family income, English language proficiency, etc., outweighed other factors such as quality of teaching. Despite the contentions (basically personal opinion) of Arne Duncan and Tom Boasberg, Denver Public Schools superintendent, highly respected studies conclude that poverty and segregation are more significant to a student’s progress than quality of teaching and that high stakes testing create more stress for poor students. Other authoritarian conservatives in the 1960s opposed Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty for similar reasons. They contended, as do Duncan and Boasberg, that poverty is only an excuse used to explain why poor people fail to achieve in school and in life. “Reformers” such as Duncan and Boasberg may view themselves as enlightened. Really, they’re part of the problem just as those who opposed the War on Poverty were part of the problem. By ignoring the terrible effects of poverty on student achievement, “reformers” such as Boasberg and Duncan may please their corporate bosses. Unfortunately, they appear to be building a bridge to the twentieth, nay, nineteenth century. Rote (scripted) learning to prepare for testing will only produce students who are good test takers, not critical thinkers. We’ll know they’ve successfully built that bridge to the past when little red school houses dot the land and students, as teachers, are “…seen and not heard.” Restorers of authoritarian rule in public schools are they, not educational reformers. When their ultimate, inevitable failure occurs, the public will accept “no excuses”!  Editor’s note: Ed Augden is retired Denver Public School teacher, a community activist primarily focusing on educational issues, and a student of tap dance. He resides in Denver, CO and can be reached by E-mail at

Man Up!

The State of Our Unions B

By Hasira Watson-Ashemu

elieve it or not ladies, your man wants to please you – desperately. I know, at times this may not seem to be the case, but trust me on this one – there is little else that matters to men than gaining the admiration and affection of the opposite sex. However, a woman, being the complicated creature that she is, makes this a task of becoming her Hero, a lot easier said than done. Therefore, it’s important that we men have the cor-

rect mindset to enable us to recognize the plethora of opportunities that exist in any given day to become our woman’s Hero. This is where the Preferences vs. Priorities Paradigm play its part. When we men enter into a relationship we must absolutely make our relationships our priority (single men of age need to make getting into a relationship their priority). We cannot let our personal preferences overshadow our primary responsibilities in our relationship or mistakenly think or behave like the relationship itself is merely a preference for us, instead of our priority. How do you know the difference between a preference and priority? This is simple. Priorities are centered in the long term vision of who, what and where you want to be in our life. On the other hand, our preferences are whimsical, change with the seasons and are centered in our selfishness. Again, the tricky part to this paradigm is that often time men mistake our preferences for our priorities and, of course, the greater society channeled through the media also assists in blurring this line in order to continue to feed their major corporate sponsors (alcohol, sports and cars). So the question begs to be asked once again – how are we to know the difference in any given instance whether we are

functioning from selfishness or selflessness, from preference or priority? Simple: We have constructed what we call the Man Up! Movement Map of the eight great areas that govern every aspect to a person’s life. We have listed them in hierarchical order so that you can at any moment place any of your dilemmas inside of this map to ascertain where this issue truly rests. The Man Up! Movement Map’s Great 8 areas are thus: 1. Spirituality 2. Marriage/Relationship 3. Family 4. Career 5. Finances 6. Health 7. Recreation/Fun 8. Community I have already let my pen flow on how many men are trained and conditioned from childhood to put Area 7 (FUN) above and beyond the six preceding areas. I have also witnessed these female-oriented reality shows, songs and movies that place Area 5 (Finances) above those preceding four areas. In conclusion, every moment of our relationship life should be constantly placed in this Man Up! Map so as not to run into unforeseen issues down the road. It’s important to understand that we need all eight areas to be truly fulfilled in our lives; however, the failure that many people face is due to the incorrect placement of their priorities.

The 2011 ‘State of Our Unions’ Challenge

For the year 2011, we are looking to make The State of Our Unions a priority. This is as true if you happen to be single at the time of your reading this. This challenge is for those who fall into one of these two categories: 1. Those who are married and would like to see a great improvement in the level of joy, intimacy and love in their relationships. 2. Those who are completely tired of being single or the dating game and would like to put themselves in a position to discover Mr. /Mrs. Right in the year 2011. Some may ask ‘how does a challenge that is meant for married folk work for single folk too?’ Good question. The answer is that most often the very issues that cause unnecessary conflict and tension in a relationship are the very same things that cause someone to be perpetually single. Single individuals often need Priority realignment as much if not more than someone who is married. Therefore, we welcome our single souls into the 12-month challenge and eagerly await the magical manifestaDenver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


tion of their deep desires for a loving, healthy and harmonious relationship – and to put a spin on the timeless saying for our single people, “when the student is ready, the soul mate will appear.” Ok. So now, each month we will start by focusing on one of the Great 8 areas for the full 30 days. We have created a Website where you can get more information throughout the month and we are looking to hold a series of seminars throughout the country during the course of the upcoming year. Visit our Facebook site by typing in the Facebook search: Man Up! w/ H-Soul (and click on Like) to find out which month we will be in your particular location so you can attend one of our magical relationship-shifting seminars. Let us start at the very beginning because it’s a very good place to start (forgive the Sound of Music reference). Some of you may have begun this exercise in January but for the Denver Urban Spectrum readers, what better time to begin than February for Black History by focusing on Area One: Spirituality. As you can see, we have broken the exercises down differently for men and women, married and single.

Area: Spirituality

It is a known fact that relationships that have a spiritual foundation are happy, healthier and have better chance of surviving. The Census Bureau states that unions that have spiritual foundation are 20 percent more likely to succeed. If you are not on firm footing with the Creator, how can you ever hope to engage the world without being swept away by the myriad of challenges? Without a firm rock to rest your union on, you will be extremely susceptible to the trials that life inevitably offers. If you are in a relationship that was begun without this as a rule – not to worry – it’s never too late to make spirituality your top priority. Spirituality is not to be mistaken for religion here. Spirituality here is defined as the active connection and communication with the Creator and the daily living of divine principles.

Married Men 1. If you haven’t done so already – create a daily relationship/family ritual and follow it religiously over the next 30 days. You can use the Lord’s Prayer at night or a solemn blessing of the food at the dining table. I know in todays fast pace world, it’s difficult for families to be in the same room at the same time; however, this is why this ritual is so important. For example, my wife and I religiously recite a family pledge that we created 10 years ago with our children before they go to

bed. Not only does this exercise inject a daily spiritual routine into your household, but it shows leadership and nothing makes women and children feel as secure, cared for and loved as consistency. Married Women 1. Aretha Franklin said it best – “I say a little prayer for you.” For the next 30 days you are going to take two minutes a day to say a prayer for your beloved. Try to do this before your other priorities kick in for the day (your morning shower is an excellent time to do this). I know it seems obvious but your prayer shouldn’t sound like “please help this crazy man see things my way!” or “give me the patience not to give him the Al Green Grits treatment today.” Instead, ask for understanding and love to flow into your union within the next 30 days and state it in the affirmative. Example: Thank you for giving me a supportive and loving relationship that continues to grow everyday in every way.” Single Men 1. Commit to read one book on spirituality over the course of the next 30 days. Any book of your choosing (we have a recommended reading list on the Web site). Single Women

Success leaves footprints. Women you are going to commit to identify and interview one woman who is in a relationship that you respect. This doesn’t and shouldn’t look like some formal interview but more of a casual session where you can ask her the following questions: 1. What role does your spirituality serve in your relationship? 2. What are the three most important things you did to prepare yourself for being married? 3. If you were me, what actions would you take to secure a loving relationship? There it is! Make sure you visit and register for the challenge at our Facebook page by typing in the Facebook search: Man Up! w/ H-Soul (click on Like). We look forward for you taking on this challenge as it is just the first step in reviving and renewing your relationships in this upcoming year.  Editor’s note: Hasira Watson-Ashemu (HSoul) is a radio host, relationship coach and is a syndicated columnist in N. America, Europe and Africa. He also has conducted relationship seminars and trainings for the past 15 years. You can follow him on his weekly BLOG at or contact him at

Little Known Black History Fact

The Negro Motorist Green Book: Guide For African-American Travelers

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a publication released in 1936 that served as a guide for AfricanAmerican travelers. Because of the racist conditions that existed from segregation, Blacks needed a reference manual to guide them to integrated or Blackfriendly establishments. That’s when they turned to “The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide by activist Victor Green and presented by the Esso Standard Oil Company. Originally provided to serve Metropolitan New York, the book received such an alarming response; it was spread throughout the country within one year. The catch phrase was “Now we can travel without embarrassment.” The Green Book often provided information on local tourist homes, which private residences were owned by Blacks and open to travelers. It was especially helpful to Blacks that traveled through sunset towns or towns that publicly stated that Blacks had to leave the town by sundown or it would be cause for arrest. Also listed were hotels, barbershops, beauty salons, restaurants, garages, liquor stores, ball parks and taverns. It also provided a listing of the white-owned, Black-friendly locations for accommodations and food. The publication was free, with a 10-cent cost of shipping. As interest grew, the Green Book solicited salespersons nationwide to build its ad sales. Inside the pages of the Green Book were action photos of the various locations, along with historical and background information for the readers’ review. Within the pages of the introduction, the guide states, There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States.“ The Green Book printed its last copy in 1964 after the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Following is a link to for a copy of the 1949 book in its entirety, Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011



West Hollywood By Regina Lynch-Hudson

City Smarts: West Hollywood is a small city located in the heart of the greater Los Angeles region, between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. With a population of 39,000 and a diverse, creative population, the city is home to a thriving interior design industry, major entertainment companies, and upscale shopping, dining and nightlife venues. The city was founded in 1984 from 1.9 square miles of unincorporated Los Angeles County land. The city’s three main districts include The Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard and “The Avenues” - a design, shopping and art district. The Sunset Strip is home to legendary music and nightlife venues like The Roxy, but also contains most of the city’s high-rise office buildings. Santa Monica Boulevard is the longest street in the city. The west side of Santa Monica Boulevard is the heart of the city’s gay and lesbian population and many restaurants, bars and retail. The eastern part of the boulevard is home to the city’s vibrant Russianspeaking population, as well as The Lot - West Hollywood’s only working TV and film studio, where hit shows are filmed. The third district - “The

Avenues” - is anchored by the landmark Pacific Design Center (PDC), a 1.2 million square foot office and design complex. The Avenues district also features high-end fashion designers, local boutiques, restaurants and art galleries along Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard. Top employers in the city include IAC (InterActive Corp, which owns Citysearch, Evite and other websites), Innovative Dining Group (IDG), and PR/advertising agencies such as PMK, Weber Shandwick, IDPR and Jack Morton.

Jetsetter: Celebrity sightings of jetsetting stars will be high on your list! You’ll spot oldies but goodies such as my cousin, legendary singer Freda Payne or her sister, Scherrie (former First Ladies of the Supremes) in the hotels, lounges, shops and restaurants throughout Hollywood.

Getting Around: Contrary to popular opinion, LA and West Hollywood have very respectable public transportation. West Hollywood is served by the LA METRO ( bus system. Of course, it’s even more convenient to get around by taxi. Survival Kit: LA is sunny yearround, so pack your favorite sunglasses. People in LA - and West Hollywood in particular - like to do business in style, and dress is usually business casual, but pretty much anything goes! Catching Zzz’s: Andaz West Hollywood is an upscale businessfriendly hotel that is part of Hyatt’s new Andaz chain of luxury boutique

hotels. The Andaz is in the heart of all the action of The Sunset Strip, and yet when you are inside the hotel it feels like a tranquil oasis. Be sure to check out the rooftop pool deck and the acclaimed RH Restaurant and Bar just off the lobby. Hotel guests can expect top-notch service and amenities. For more information: 323-656-1234, 8401 Sunset Boulevard, Power Lunch: Cecconi’s West Hollywood is a popular and chic Italian eatery from the people who own the famous Soho House chain of private clubs. Cecconi’s is open to the public but you’re sure to spot some Alisters and entertainment industry heavy-hitters making deals. For more information: 310-432-2000, 8764 Melrose Ave., Cultural Chow: Ravine Lal Hiranand, a transplant from Hong Kong, opened Fresh East on Santa Monica Blvd. at Robertson. Chef Jonathan Schwichtenberg whips up luscious but healthy fare, with a mix of salads, rice bowls, wraps, and specialties that look to India, Thailand, China, Korea, and Japan, and corners in between, for their inspiration. For more information: 310-859-9989, 8951 Santa Monica Blvd #G-1. Cyber Site: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at is the perfect spot to fire up the laptop and get onto the internet while enjoying a beverage. For more information: 310-859-6590, 8591 Sunset Boulevard, Networkin’: There is no better place to see and be seen in West Hollywood than the Palm. The Palm has been a staple with celebrities since it opened in 1975, when the Palm only had three other restaurants. Check out the all of Fame while there! For more information: 310-550-8811, 9001 Santa Monica Boulevard, De-Stress: A blend of old world traditions and modern luxury, Vodaspa is an excellent West Hollywood day resort. The perfect spot for total relaxation and rejuvenation, a visit to Vodaspa truly feels like a vacation from the frantic pace of the city. For more information: 323-654-4411, 7700 Santa Monica Blvd,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Footloose & Fancy-Free: Saddle Ranch Chop House is the place to kick up your heels! There’s scrumptious food, festive libations, and a laid-back atmosphere! You’ve seen Saddle Ranch and its legendary mechanical bull on countless shows including Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, American Idol, and numerous more! For more information: 323.656.2007, 8371 Sunset Blvd., Flight Time: AirTran Airways offers daily, non-stop flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and more than 71 destinations. For more information: 1-800-AIR-TRAN, West Hollywood is approximately 12 miles from LAX! Someone Helpful: Thanks to our friends at the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau for providing data, facts and figures for this article. For more information:  Editor’s note: Doing Biz In features continuously updated coverage of a full spectrum of top cities where readers conduct business. Publicist and travel writer Regina Lynch-Hudson has penned destination catalogs and articles for companies such as Vacation Express, AirTran Airways and North American Airlines. Along with husband, photographer Courtland Bivens III, she handles destination marketing for resorts, bed and breakfasts, and tourism boards. More information on The Write Publicist & Co. can be found at

Mail Made EZ

4860 Chambers Road in Denver 303-375-1683 - 303-375-1684 - Fax #1 In Customer Service UPS Drop Off Domestic & International shipping USPS Mailing Services Truck Rentals - Local and One Way 10-20% off

Faxing - Local and Long distance International Sending and Receiving Computer Time Rental and Scanning

Open: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm;

Sat 10am-2pm •Laminating •Copies •Keys •Business Cards •Post Cards •Notary Service •Binding Service •Mail Box Rental •Mail Forwarding

In business for 15 years!

Barbour’s Release Of Scott Sisters No Shining Example Of GOP’s Ugly Racial Past


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

AACP President Ben Jealous called Mississippi governor Haley Barbour “a shining example “of a governor following his approving the release of Jamie and Gladys Scott. The two sisters sentenced to life imprisonment and jailed since 1994 for an $11 armed robbery have been the focus of an intense and long term campaign by Jealous and the NAACP for their release. The sisters repeatedly declared their innocence. The praise from Jealous of Barbour as a “shining example” was nearly as stunning as Barbour’s action. Despite the national campaign for their release and a barrage of public

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

“Establishing relationships for more than 3 decades”.

appeals to Barbour for clemency for the sisters, the governor had given no indication that mercy for them was in the cards. The likelihood of Barbour showing mercy seemed even remote given the fire that he has drawn in recent months for foot-in-the mouth gaffes that praised Confederate History Month, the racist white Citizen’s Councils as good red blooded patriots and citizens that did the right thing to aid integration, and his downplay of any racial conflict in Mississippi during the turbulent 1960s. Barbour backpedaled fast on his Citizen’s Council tout, and blasted them for their defense of segregation, clammed up on lauding Confederate History Month, and praised the effort of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement for their role in smashing segregation in the state. The release of the Gladys sister fit in with the new script that Barbour is obviously rewriting for himself and the GOP. There are compelling reasons for his seeming about face. Barbour sniffs the presidency. The GOP field is wide open in 2012 and the candidate with the name, position, money, and most importantly political base has a huge leg up on the GOP pack. Barbour has all of the above. As one time Republican National Committee Chairman and current Republican Governors Association Chairman he’s raised tons of money for GOP candidates. He’s got name identification, and is a force in regional politics in the South, the white GOP South that is. The region is still a huge trump card for any GOP aspirant to the White House. It’s been the spark to reignite the GOP’s traditional conservative, lower income white male loyalists, and increasingly white female supporter. The 2008 presidential vote was ample proof of that. While Democratic presidential candidate Obama made a major breakthrough in winning a significant percent of votes from white independents and young white voters, contrary to popular perception, GOP presidential opponent John McCain (not Obama) won a slim majority of their vote in the final tally. Overall, Obama garnered slightly more than 40 percent of the white male vote.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Among Southern and Heartland America white male voters, Obama made almost no impact. Overall McCain garnered nearly 60 percent of the white vote. But an overreliance by the GOP and too narrow a regional appeal on the South is also fraught with political peril. The South, Barbour’s comments and the putdown of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on civil rights laws and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in his unrepentant praise of Confederate History Month still type the white South as a region that’s still chock full of unreconstructed racists and religious and social bigots. During the past decade, a parade of Republican state and local officials, conservative talk show jocks and even some Republican top officials have made foot-in-the-mouth racist cracks. Their response when called on the carpet has always been the same. They make a duck-and-dodge denial, claim that they were misquoted or issue a weak, halfhearted apology. And each time, the response from top Republicans is either silence, or, if the firestorm is great enough, to give the offender a much-delayed, mild verbal hand-slap. That history both past and present can do more harm than good to a Barbour presidential candidacy. But it also can do just as much damage to the GOP’s chances of bagging the White House. A near solid GOP South is not enough to tip the White House to the GOP any longer. Obama’s competitive 50 state strategy (thanks to Howard Dean) and his rev up of black, Hispanic, Asian, and young voters more than offset the white, male conservative Southern anchor vote for the GOP in 2008. Barbour’s release of the Scott sisters though layered with conditions such as one sister must donate a kidney to the other sister who requires daily dialysis must be placed in that light. The case was the perfect storm of race, gender, politics, medical compassion, and a racially skewered criminal justice system that came together to cry out for redress. Barbour deserves credit for taking the step to right a colossal legal wrong. But taking that step can’t absolve Barbour, the GOP and the white South of its ugly racial history; a history that is certainly no shining example of racial justice and fairness.  Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on and and internet TV broadcast on Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter:

Editor’s note: Each year during Black History Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum honors African Americans who are making a difference in the lives of others. In honor of our 24th year of publishing and based on past recognition, number of times nominated and questionnaire response, we have selected (from 27 nominations) 17 recipients as the 2011 African Americans Who Make A Difference. They told us about their achievements, what motivated them to become active in their community, suggestions to address the challenges facing the community, and how they would like to be remembered. Once you read their profiles, you will understand why they were chosen. getting. “I will also continue to advocate for African American Children for a quality education,” she said with a smile. Langley would like to be remembered as a human being who loved God, loved herself and loved others.


Retired School Teacher/Administrator Denver Public Schools

Dr. Alice Powell Langley was a teacher and administrator in the Denver Public School system from 1968-1998, and is best known for her continuous community service since her retirement. Over the past five years Langley has actively pursued roles on many different boards while continuing to mentor teachers in hard to serve schools as an educational consultant. When asked why she takes an active role, she said “It’s because she values helping and advocating for people who need someone to speak on their behalf. My parents were my role models as they were always reaching out with helping hands to members of the community who were less fortunate than us.” Langley feels that the biggest challenges facing the community and having a direct effect on our children are the failing economy, crime and health care issues. “We need to go back to the village having everybody as stakeholders, especially parents, in the education of our children.” In the future Langley would like to be a stronger voice for African American Senior Citizens to help them gain better access and become more knowledgeable about services rendered through agencies that they are entitled to, but are not always

ering administrators and faculty to center their attention on “doing what it takes” to raise academic achievement. “My life motto is an African Proverb which states, ‘You have no more worth than a penniless man, if you don’t give back to the shoulders upon which you stand,’” expressed Smith. He feels the biggest challenge in the African-American community is parental involvement with student’s education. Smith would like to accomplish systemic changes in education that are right for all students, especially African American males. He would like to be remembered first and foremost as a man of God, loving husband and a great father.


Principal Martin Luther King Jr. Early College

Allen Smith is recognized as an effective educator in DPS, innovatively working in schools with a significant population of African American students. Smith is happy to say his most notable contribution in the past year has been to successfully graduate 100 percent of Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College’s inaugural class of seniors and 100 percent were accepted into a two- or four-year college/university. “I encouraged the faculty and students – day -after-day – to focus on reaching their post-secondary goals. Together we overcame numerous obstacles and the outcome was in no way pre-determined. It took intensive effort in order to generate the 100 percent success rate.” He takes pride in feeling like he had a strong role in turning around a school that was considered to be one of the “worst in the country.” He considers his strengths to be motivating teachers and students, not accepting mediocrity, implementing systems that focus on success, and empow-

zations.” She chooses to take an active role because of her passion for excellence and great expectations for children. “I come from a loving family who focused on excellence, achievement and race pride – and that success was the only option.” White believes the lack of access to equal and quality educational opportunities from preschool to higher education is a great challenge of the African-American community. “Dr. King’s dream is not a reality at all. We must move forward to the unfinished task of eliminating racism to achieve a just and equitable society.” White would like to continue to provide experiences for children by writing books, talking to them about ways they can develop and grow to their fullest potential, and to continue to advocate for the betterment of the community and society as a whole. She would like to be remembered as a caring, creative, and innovative teacher for the children she taught.


In addition to being known as Mrs. Goober, Carneice Brown White is also a social and civil leader. White said, “God gave me this special gift to teach, and my life has been filled with much joy as a teacher of young children.” When asked about her most notable contribution over the last five years, she said “Campaigning for Senator Obama was one of the great highlights of my life. I give freely of myself and contribute financial support to several community organi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011



Founder/Choreographer Solid Confidence

DaShaud Perkins is the founder and choreographer of Solid Confidence, an organization providing students with academic support, as well as an opportunity to unleash their talents as performing

dance artists. “By providing a safe environment, outstanding role models, mentors and community leaders, we hope to impart invaluable wisdom that will assist the students in becoming respectful, competent and caring individuals,” Perkins said. His most notable or recognized contribution in the community this past year was helping to get young Black males and females into college and bringing BET’s 106th & Park’s Rocsi to host a talent competition held at George Washington High School in memory of Derrek Davonte Ward who was murdered in 2006. “I take an active role because I believe it takes a village to raise a child and I would like to be the difference that a lot of teens need in order to make their life count in a positive way,” said Perkins. He feels there are many challenges in the African American community including teen pregnancy, gangs, sex, drugs, and failure in school. The largest among these he believes is the lack of communication, support, and respect between parents and their children. When asked what he would like to accomplish in the future Perkins replied, “I would like to open up my own youth facility/dance studio continuing my mission at a massive level.” He would like to be remembered as a young black man who took a stand and became a voice for many young people, and making his life count by helping change the lives of all he encountered.

be successful on the field and win championships, but to be successful in their homes and in their community.” He takes an active role “Because God has helped me understand that the lost can be found. I want to give hope to the lost. I want to help make dreams and wishes into a reality.” Hill believes the challenges AfricanAmericans are facing today are false images, drugs, music, unemployment, peer-pressure, sex, and not having their parents in their lives. “Those issues can be resolved by first knowing who you are as a person and then allowing help to change you. We need more strong leadership and mentors to stand up and be good examples to the generations that follow.” Hill said “I would like to accomplish my purpose and calling in the body of Christ, I want to be a faithful husband and father to my kids giving them the world, and I want to have my own building to help young Black men and women with their purpose and calling.” Hill would like to be remembered as a strong and helpful young man that would give his last to make sure that others are happy and as a leader who didn’t give up on anything and fought for souls to be won for Christ. “I want to be a life changer,” he said.


Joseph Hill is recognized for his leadership as well as his caring and giving spirit. He is a head coach for a little league football team and the leader of Dare To Believe dance team. Two of Hill’s most notable and recognized contributions are building a youth department from the ground up and having his dance team perform at major shows, events, and church services while training youth and giving hope to their dreams. Coaching inner city youth and being a positive role model is a passion of Hill’s. “I not only teach them to

Office Manager Council Aide for Councilman Michael B. Hancock

In addition to serving as Council Aide for Michael Hancock, Julia A. Gayles also has worked with the original Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, the Mile High Bankers Consortium, and is as an active member of New Hope Baptist Church. As a Council Aide, Gayles said of her duties, “I work daily to resolve constituents concerns regarding neighbor disputes, code violations, elder abuse, housing, human service and many other problems.” Over the past 5 years she has also served as President of the Majestic Praise Choir at New Hope Baptist Church. “I choose to be active because no one can afford to witness problems in their community and wait for someone else to solve them,” said Gayles. She feels the

remembered as an unselfish person with a big heart, and for people, especially youth, to take advantage of every opportunity possible.


Assistant to the President Urban League of Metro Denver


Founder/Director, Community Ambassador Crowley Foundation


Youth Pastor, Head Coach, and Paraprofessional Aurora Public Schools

biggest challenge facing the African American community is reclaiming our young men and women, with the value and moral code that keep our community strong. “My future will be like my past,” expressed Gayles. “I will live life with joy, dignity, wisdom and be open to every opportunity to quietly observe situations and help when and where I can.” She would like to be remembered as God’s servant, a woman who helped people whenever and where ever she could – a person with wisdom, grace and humor.

Kenneth D. Crowley is best known in his role as founder/director and community ambassador, educating families about financial aid and various ways of paying for college by providing community service, workshops, college fairs and seminars. “The boys2MEN workshop has been our most recognized contribution to the community this past year. This workshop touched the lives of more than 150 young men in the Denver metro area and drew in several wonderful speakers from across the city and state,” said Crowley. “We all have God given gifts,” said Crowley. “I try to focus on mine so that God’s generosity can flow through me and I’m able to bless others. It is also important that my children see me active in the community, so they can value the importance of giving back.” Crowley believes that a lack of trust is a huge challenge facing the African American community. “While we all have similar goals and ideas, we sometimes forget what our focus is,” Crowley pointed out. He feels this can be resolved by working together and giving each other opportunities. In the future he would like to provide students with a “full ride” scholarship. “By staying active in the community, our organization plans to assist families while bringing this community together,” stated Crowley. He has always been humbled by the opportunity to serve and would like to be

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Latrice C. Norwood is a community connecter and is appreciated for her willingness to give back. Her most notable or recognized contribution to the African American community during the past year has been working to help re-establish the presence of the Denver Urban League in the Denver metropolitan area. Over the past five years she has worked to build Single Mother’s Of Color (SMOC), a resource that helps moms find and use information to improve the lives of their families through growth, education and career advisement, while providing a safe environment for single mothers to talk about parenting, society and the workforce. When asked why she chooses to take an active role Norwood answered, “To live in a community is to be part of a community and to see areas where my time and God given talents can make a difference. I can’t ignore the opportunity to get involved.” Norwood believes education and workforce development is the biggest challenge facing the African-American community is, and believes that one answer to the resolution is supporting organizations such as the Denver Urban League that give our community a voice to implement necessary changes. “In the future, I would like to continue working to help the community that has given so much to me over the past 23 years,” said Norwood. She would like to be remembered as a proud mother, devoted sister, daughter and friend, who stood on the shoulders of the giants before her and reached back to lift up those around her and to be an example of God’s word.


Director of Health Initiative Center for African-American Health

Lucille Johnson is best known in the Denver Community for working with individuals, churches, community-based organizations, health-care providers, academicians and other collaborative partners to raise awareness about health and to promote active and healthy lifestyle behaviors throughout the AfricanAmerican community. In the past year, Johnson was honored to be a member of the Center for African-American Health team responsible for hosting a unique breast health education event called Wearing a Crown for the Cure. When asked what has been her most notable contribution to the AfricanAmerican community over the past five years she replied, “I’ve been intentional about engaging opportunities to enhance my leadership skills in order to strengthen my work at the Center and serve as a valuable resource to our community.” She takes an active role in health education and promotion because complacency has proven to have very serious consequences and, in too many cases, results in premature death. She believes one of the biggest challenges facing the AfricanAmerican community is the state of our health, and that small changes can make a big difference. “I would like to be a part of a health movement in our community that would result in the reversal and ultimately the eradication of health disparities,” expressed Johnson about future endeavors. She would like to be remembered as a woman of faith, a loving mother, great friend, productive member of society, and an individual fueled by passion and purpose as she embraced her calling to make a difference in the lives of others.



Narcy Jackson is a community activist, mentor and football coach. Over the past five years Jackson’s most recognized accomplishments have included involvement in Girls Empowerment, Boys 2MEN, NCAA Eligibility Center workshops, youth football, basketball clinics and mentoring young adults. “I take an active role because I recognized a void and connection in Denver kids who are ‘athletes’ and kids understanding the concept of being a ‘student athlete.’ In suburban communities, attending college is expected for every kid and resources are supplied through their programs and schools to help those kids get into college.” He believes the biggest challenges facing the African-American Community is learning how to collaborate resources and failing to take ownership in our own actions or lack of action as a collective group of citizens. He believes resolution comes from personal accountability and action. In the future, Jackson would like to establish a scholarship fund for “Scholar Student Athletes,” as well as open a facility for Athletics & Beyond providing middle school and high school students with ACT and SAT preparation tutors. He would like to be remembered as a responsible man who “Walked the Walk” of making a difference, and lived life as part of the solution, and not the problem.

Dr. Robbie Bean is a retired educator and is currently best known for The Family Extravaganza, a family event that recognizes students and faculty achievement. This year also, Dr. Bean’s most recent contribution was serving as the membership chair of the reorganization committee for the NAACP Denver Branch. Other noteworthy contributions include In addition to putting on The Family Extravaganza Event which honors families, she provides the opportunity for senior citizens and young people to take trips to South Dakota. “I have been involved in the education of children, youth and adults and when they learn, I am thrilled to know that I have helped someone.” Dr. Bean believes education for our young people is critical and that parents and the community should offer the best environment for learning. “Curriculum should keep up with the newest technology to aid learning. Funds are needed to improve education.” Dr. Bean hopes to continue to impart knowledge and history of the American, especially the Black American. She also hopes to help all children because she strongly believes in diversity. “All children can learn and educators must use various techniques to make learning fun.” Dr. Bean wants to be remembered as a dedicated educator helping all to become well-rounded citizens in the future. “My volunteer work has always included education,” she said.


Martial Arts Instructor and Character Development Coach

Michael Giles is known for teaching character development, bully proofing, self defense and martial arts to the community. One of Giles greatest contributions to the community was to raise money for Haiti’s earthquake victims and also St. Jude Children’s Hospital patients. Giles also started a fund to help underserviced youth in the community learn the leadership skills of the martial arts. Six years ago Giles opened “Mike Giles Family Karate” and raised more than $10,000 for Denver Public Schools through after school programs. He said he is active because, “I have been given this opportunity to be a positive role model in kids’ and adults’ lives. I feel it’s my responsibility to create leaders that are pillars of our community.” Giles thinks it is vital to get more African Americans to look at martial arts as more than a recreational activity. “Martial arts is a way of life and promote discipline, character and confidence. These attributes are essential to our growth as leaders, but it is very difficult to convince African Americans of this. The concept of martial arts should be stressed in school as much as football and basketball,” says Giles. He would like to have martial arts schools and programs available in recreation center, assisted living facilities and daycare centers. “I would like to start a movement center that includes martial arts, ballet, and gymnastics in a non-profit format for inner city youth and adults.” Giles would like to be remembered as someone who taught as many people of all races, shape, and age how to know themselves better, find their voice and be able to defend themselves from harm – mentally and physically.

Accountant/Executive Director Athletics & Beyond

Retired Educator

For 24 years, the Denver Urban Spectrum has recognized individuals from the community as the quiet “movers and shakers.” You have been selected by your family, friends, and business associates as an unsung hero. We thank you for your contributions for making a difference in the lives of others.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011




Owner Randall’s and Bate’s

G. Rodney Bates is a youth director and business owner. He is the co-founder of the Park Hill Blackhawk’s Youth Organization focusing on high standards and teaching kids how to be student athletes and positive, productive citizens at home and at school. As a business owner he re-opened Pierre’s Restaurant and Lounge with Randall Borne. He also serves on the on the board of directors at Wyatt Edison charter school. “I was raised by my mother who taught me to give back and make a positive difference in your community, and to be a part of the solution,” are reasons why he chooses to take an active role in the community. He feels that the biggest challenge facing the African-American community is our young people. “We need more affordable programs and sponsorships to get these kids involved, and not just in sports. There are a lot of gifted and talented kids that just cannot afford to participate in programs that can expand their talents,” said Bates. One thing he would like to accomplish in the future is to try to acquire a recreation center that is traditionally closed in the evenings and on weekends, and be able to keep it open during those extra hours in order to better serve the community. He would like to be remembered as someone who cares and want to make a positive change in the community, as well as the city of Denver.

Most recently she has served the Denver community by promoting health and wellness through disease prevention, educational workshops and health fairs and while working at the Center for African American Health over the last five years, she coordinated and collaborated with health partners to ensure delivery of free health screenings and health education. When asked by does she take an active role, Reese says “The health issues in the African American community are rampant. Health disparities are the greatest challenges facing the African-American community. I choose to take a proactive role by educating and empowering people to live healthy lifestyles. According to the Office of Minority Health, African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined. Additionally, African Americans adults are 50 percent more likely to have a stroke than their White counterparts.” She feels that resolution should come through research, health education and disease prevention. Currently, as the Multicultural Outreach Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, Reese would like to increase awareness in the African American community by promoting brain health education. “Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging,” she said. Reese would like to be remembered as a child of God who loved her family, friends and community and served with integrity.


Founder Building Connections


Multicultural Outreach Coordinator Alzheimer’s Association

Rosalyn Reese is best known as a conscientious health educator, deaconess, community volunteer and photographer.

Sonya Police is best known in the Denver Community as the founder of Building Connections, a women owned company that supports and promotes local African American small business owners, entrepreneurs, community activists, local artist, DJ’s, coaches, and others who are not being recognized. Police’s most notable contribution to the African American community during 2010 was the inaugural Pink Luncheon in honor of breast cancer. “Purpose of the event was to provide hope, awareness,

education, emotional and social support to breast cancer survivors, their family members and the community,” said Police. She is proactive because she believes that if her generation can come together and serve, support and uplift one another, they can have a profoundly positive impact on their children and the community as a whole. “When you commit your time and effort to a cause you feel strongly about, the feeling of fulfillment can be endless,” said Police. Police feels that lack of unity in the African American community is the biggest challenge and in order to get past this obstacle we must help each other grow and prosper. “I would like to see more people getting involved. When a community is doing well as a whole, its individuals are better off.” Police would like to be remembered as a good mother, a loving person, and a true friend.

STEPHANIE HALL Sr. Credit Analyst Champion Bank

Stephanie Hall calls herself a 27-year professional volunteer and has provided her services to nonprofits, businesses, social relief centers, churches and other organizations that could use a helping hand. She is best known in the Denver community for her volunteerism – donating her time and talent to the community, her church, and her friends. “Although I live in Colorado Springs I continue to drive to Denver for church service and activities, volunteer opportunities, and Denver community events. In addition, my children are actively involved in youth activities of which I am their chauffeur. So I drive the difference to make a difference,” she jokingly said. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to provide referrals, resources, moral, financial and spiritual support to those in need. I believe my mission in life is to make life for others as comfortable as possible.” She believes the biggest challenge facing the African-American community is diversion of unity. “It appears there is a lack of cohesiveness, the glue that binds us towards specific goals. Through unity we provide solutions and power to sustain our community,” she said.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Her future desire is to see her children be positive contributors to society. Hall would like to be remembered as a compassionate, caring person who made a difference by positively influencing and touching the lives of others where ever she walked, challenging others to make their mark in the world of volunteerism and giving back to the community.


Business Owner/Photographer A’Star’s Photography and Printing

Vern L. Howard is best known as serving as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission Chairman and coordinator of the Colorado Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Marade, as well as the founder and president of the Municipal Chapter of Blacks in Government (M-BIG). During the past year, he has facilitated numerous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holidays and collaborated on numerous community events throughout the state of Colorado. His most notable contribution was creating and planning of the inaugural “I am Man, I am Woman We are People” Youth Leadership Conference and Banquet. Howard believes the biggest challenges facing the African-American community include unemployment/underemployment, education, AIDS, drug epidemic, incarceration, wellness, and identity. “However, resolution can be found through the pursuit of education on all of these issues,” he said. In the future Howard would like to help to bring about a society in which there is equal justice, equal pay, and equal opportunity. “I would like to be remembered as someone who tried to make a difference for all people and to help leave the world a better place for our children, grandchildren and future generations,” he concluded.

Congratulations to the 2011 African Americans Who Make A Difference

Urban Land Conservancy Brings Child And Adult Educational Services Back To Cole Neighborhood


fter a three-month closure to replace the roofs on the Phillips Center Building, four nonprofit organizations that provide important services to the local community moved back into the nonprofit center that sits on an entire city block of the Cole neighborhood. Leading the way are Early Excellence Program, a high-quality childcare program for children ages two to five, and the Denver Green Jobs Initiative, a career training program customized to help residents of the Cole neighborhood and surrounding communities launch careers in Colorado’s high-growth green industries. Other nonprofit organizations moving back into the Phillips Center are cityWILD and Civic Canopy. “The re-opening of Phillips Center, with the recent $500,000 of improvements to the buildings, is a long-term investment ensuring that important community services are available to the Cole neighborhood and other Denver residents,” said Aaron Miripol, President and CEO of Urban Land Conservancy. In 2010, $200,000 in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds from the Office of Economic Development (OED), City and County of Denver were awarded to the Phillips Center to replace the roof on the multifaceted structure. During the course of the external roof repairs, an internal ceiling tile fell in one of the offices in the building, triggering a chain of events that lead to the September 30, 2010 move out for all the nonprofits of the building while the roof repair and building upgrades were completed. While the tenants were out of the building, ULC spent an additional $300,000 in repairs and improvements.

An environmental site assessment funded by OED was completed, as

well as energy upgrades such as lighting, electrical and weatherization through a $100,000 investment by Energy Outreach Colorado’s Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP). “The Denver Green Jobs Initiative resumed our hands-on and classroom training at the Phillips Center on Jan. 3,” said Rick Lawton, Project Manager. “We hold an open orientation every Monday at 12:30 p.m., and we invite everyone in the community who is interested in learning more about careers in the new energy economy to attend.” “Being away from our school at the Phillips Center was a challenging experience for our families and our faculty,” said Jennifer Luke, executive director of Early Excellence Program. “Yet many community members stepped up to the plate to help us, and the exceptional amount of community collaboration that we received restates to us just how important, valuable and necessary high-quality early education

programming is to our Cole community.” ULC purchased the Phillips Center, located at 3532 Franklin St., with the support of the GaryWilliams Energy Corporation. The purchase preserved an historic asset, brought important services to the community and is a catalytic positive change in the neighborhood. ULC has invested over $700,000 into the Center since its 2007 purchase. During the recent repairs, ULC found temporary space for the tenants, paid those costs and suspended rent payments. Denver Public Schools (DPS) and Inner City Health Center were especially valuable resources for providing space at minimal expense. DPS provided space at Crofton Elementary for the Denver Green Jobs Initiative, and Gilpin Elementary for the Early Excellence Program; Inner City Health Center leased a former health facility to ULC on behalf of cityWILD and SOS Outreach at minimal cost. YouthBiz leased space to ULC for Front Range Earth Force, Civic Canopy moved in temporarily with the Piton Foundation, and WyattEdison Charter School provided classroom space for cityWILD and Focus Points Family Resource Center. Ultimately, Focus Points moved per-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


manently into the Cross Community Coalition space. “This has been a very difficult time, but everyone has worked together and I am thrilled the Phillips Center is again making a positive impact in the community,” said Miripol. 

About the partners:

Established in 2003, Urban Land Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that purchases real estate to benefit urban communities. ULC acquires preserves and develops land for urban assets such as workforce housing, nonprofit office space and schools. For more information, visit Early Excellence Program Denver is a four-star, Qualistar-rated child care and early education program that primarily serves children and families in the Cole neighborhood. The program offers high-quality educational services for 80 children two to five years old. For more information, visit The Denver Green Jobs Initiative provides free job training, supportive services and job placement assistance to help residents of the 80205 zip code launch careers in Colorado’s highgrowth green industries, including Solar Energy Technology, Green Construction, Energy Efficiency and Weatherization, and Green Jobs Administration and Sales. Mi Casa Resource Center is the lead agency on the Denver Green Jobs Initiative project, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information, visit cityWILD provides low income, culturally diverse youth with outdoor and environmental service learning opportunities. For more information, visit Civic Canopy promotes more effective ways to solve civic challenges through community dialogues, collaborative projects, and communication among network partners. For more information, visit

An Urgent Movement For Justice During the past two weeks, in

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

response to successful grassroots campaigns, two governors have released Black Americans who had been railroaded by our nation’s criminal justice system.

Together, these cases speak to the urgent need for the work the NAACP and our allies are doing to encourage more governors to use their clemency authority as our nation’s founding fathers intended by freeing more deserving people more frequently. The most recent victory is that of Jamie and Gladys Scott, two Mississippi sisters who have been imprisoned for 16 years on double-life sentences. They were each condemned to this extraordinary sentence as teenagers for a first-time offense in which $11 was stolen and no one was hurt. The Scott sisters were convicted of luring two men to be robbed by three teenage boys. The boys each received eight years and served less than three. Moreover, there are compelling reasons to believe the sisters are innocent. Their case has become increasingly tragic and urgent over the years. While in prison, Jamie has lost use of both her kidneys. At a recent press conference for the Scott Sisters, I praised Governor Barbour for his decision to release both sisters from prison: “This is a shining example of the way clemency power should be used. Governor David Paterson did it last week in the John White case – now Governor Barbour. We hope next will be the Governor of Georgia in the John McNeil case. These are important cases, and its important governors realize that they have a role to play in advancing justice.” As the Scott sisters’ lawyer Chokwe Lumumba has observed, we are further heartened that by indefinitely suspending their sentences Governor Barbour is taking the same first step he took in each of the cases he later pardoned. Many have objected to Governor Barbour attaching a condition to Gladys Scott’s release that she follow through on her promise, long blocked by the Mississippi penal system, to donate her kidney to her sister. We share these concerns. We would fight anyone who ever tried to activate such a clause and we would win. Attorney Lumumba has noted what many legal scholars have also observed: “We are much better off with Gladys out of prison on a condition that is constitutionally unenforceable than behind bars in a prison that repeatedly refused to let her help her sister. Not only has the Governor’s

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


office assured us that they will never enforce this clause; they couldn’t do it if they wanted to. Why he let them out is an argument for historians, getting people like them out is what we have to be about.” Our eyes remain firmly focused on the prize: assisting the Scott sisters in getting the freedom they have won, the health care they need, and the pardon they deserve. The victory of their release encourages us to press on in our nationwide efforts to convince more governors to use their clemency powers to free more people who desperately deserve it. Like the struggle to win justice for the Scott sisters, the struggle for full and fair usage of clemency powers is as urgent as it has been long. For more than a century, the NAACP has pushed governors and presidents publicly and privately to use their clemency powers to advance justice. Yet, the roots of this struggle go much deeper. Alexander Hamilton predicted in Federalist Paper number 74 that without “easy access” to clemency our nation’s justice system and democracy would not work properly. “The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel.” In addition to dealing with a justice system that has indeed become “too sanguinary and cruel” we are also confronting one that is grossly overcrowded with Americans of all colors (especially Black men and women), and leaders who are too fearful to do much about either aspect of the problem. Ten years ago, I played a small role in helping free Kemba Smith – a young Black woman sentenced to more than 20 years on drug conspiracy charges despite her prosecutor’s own admission that Smith had never used, sold, nor benefited from the sale of drugs. When I met with President Clinton about the case, it was clear he had studied her case and understood why she deserved freedom. He commuted her sentence a few months later as he left office. As Kemba Smith has often said, her case is remarkable not because there are so few “Kemba Smiths” in our justice system (there are thousands), but rather because there are so few commutations for people who deserve them. Gladys and Jamie Scott’s freedom is just as rare and precious. Let’s keep this movement growing by ensuring the pleas of others who deserve clemency are heard, and they are set free.  Editor note: Ben Jealous is president and CEO of the NAACP.

Tickets will be sold at El Chubbys Fresh Mexican Grill at 1191 S. Abilene St. in Aurora and at The ClimaxLounge on the day of the event. For more information, call 303-755-1414.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011



Wellington and Wilma Webb Receive Awards From Community College of Denver

On Tuesday, January 18, Community College of Denver (CCD) presented Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspiration awards to both Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, former Colorado State Legislator Wilma Webb. The awards honored the Webbs “for their tireless public service as trailblazers and their success in inspiring and motivating others for the greater good of mankind in the community of Denver, the state of Colorado and the nation.” In a special ceremony hosted in the Welcome Center on the college’s Auraria campus, CCD President Karén Bleeker presented the awards as part of the college activities surrounding Martin Luther King Day. Wilma Webb was recognized for the critical role she played in the passing of the legislation to make it an official holiday in Colorado. Guest of honor Wellington Webb was honored for his many contributions to Denver and Colorado which include three terms as Mayor of Denver. The Webbs were the inaugural recipients of the Inspiration Award which was created in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It recognizes outstanding contributions in service of the community and beyond.

The Denver Foundation Announces New Board Members

The Denver Foundation announces the election of three new members to its Board of Trustees. They are Virginia B. Bayless, Bayless & Associates, Inc.; George Sparks, Denver Museum of Nature & Science; and Christopher E. Urbina, MD, MPH, Denver Health & Colorado Public Health Association

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Bayless has over 25 years of investment banking, financial advisory and business evaluation experience. Currently, she manages a family office with investment, real estate and oil and gas assets. Bayless received an MBA degree from The Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College and an undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Professional Assist Corporation and is also president of the Board of Summer Scholars and a member of the investment committee of the Colorado Zoological Trust. Sparks has been the president and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since Nov. 2004. Prior to that, he was a management consultant with NorthStone Group in Louisville, CO. He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at HewlettPackard and Agilent Technologies. Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, Sparks spent nine years in the Air Force as a pilot and as an assistant professor of Aeronautics at the USAF Academy. Urbina is currently the director of Denver Public Health at Denver Health and the current president of the Colorado Public Health Association. Governor Elect, John Hickenlooper recently named Urbina to run the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment. A native of Pueblo, Colorado, he did his undergraduate work at Stanford University, medical school at the University of Colorado, family practice residency at the University of New Mexico, and his master’s in public health at Johns Hopkins.

Local Student Excels UAPB

Jasmine Williams a 2009 (CCI) Challenges, Choices, & Images Charter School graduate earned elite status on the Dean’s Hall of Fame List at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB). Williams, a current sophomore received an Academic Scholarship to attend UAPB and is majoring in Special Education aspiring to teach students in the deaf community by utilizing sign language and Braille. When home in Denver, Williams attends Leake Memorial Methodist Church under the leadership of Pastor John Conway III. She credits God, her family, the CCI family, and Mr. Whimper (UAPB) for assisting her in reaching her endeavors.

Color Me Proud! Ronald McDonald with Members of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association

Left: Geta Asfaw Right: Aaron Holland Center: Rose Andom and Bentley Name____________________ School___________________ Age______ Grade _________


City _____________________

Phone ___________________ Instructions: Color this drawing and receive a prize! Any child,12 and under, who colors and returns this drawing to the Denver Urban Spectrum, 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205 will receive prizes from the participating sponsors. All entries must be received no later than Feb. 28.

Illustration by Drew Mannie - Dropshadow Studios.

2011 Oscar Nominations

The King’s Speech Lands a Dozen Nominations; Mo’Nique Miffed by Snub of Halle Berry


By Kam Williams

he Oscar nominations were announced early Tuesday morning at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills by last year’s Best Supporting Actress-winner Mo’Nique (for Precious) along with Academy President Tom Sherak. The King’s Speech, the inspirational bio-pic about King George VI’s struggle to cure his stutter, has emerged as the early favorite in the annual awards sweepstakes, landing nominations in a dozen categories, including Best Picture, Actor (Colin Firth), Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Director (Tom Hooper) and Original Screenplay (David Seidler). This development should come as no surprise to anyone who recalls how fond the Anglophilic Academy has been of British costume dramas over the years, especially productions revolving around the Royal Family. For example, in 2007 Helen Mirren won for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, while Dame Judi Dench won in 1999 for playing Queen Elizabeth I. Judging by such a persistent exhibition of deference, one might think that America had never


declared its independence from England. In any case, The Coen Brothers’ True Grit (10) garnered the second most Oscar nominations, followed by The Social Network (8) and Inception (8), and The Fighter (7). As for surprises, Javier Bardem (Biutiful) ostensibly bumped out Ryan Gosling and Robert Duvall in the Best Actor category, a pair who had benefitted from buzz for their work in Blue Valentine and Get Low, respectively. Also snubbed was Paul Giamatti who just won a Golden Globe for Barney’s Version. As for Best Actress, Halle Berry had been rumored to be in line for a nod for Frankie and Alice, and that conspicuous omission prompted Mo’Nique to remark right after coming offstage that she was, “truly disappointed” because she had “really wanted to say Halle Berry’s name.” She went on to say she had been blown away by Berry, before saluting her for, “a great performance, sister.” Julianne Moore was ignored in the Supporting Actress category although her co-stars Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo were recognized for The Kids Are All Right. And Christopher Nolan (Inception) was overlooked for Best Director, despite the fact that the movie was nominated for Best Picture. Finally, the much-ballyhooed Waiting for Superman was left out of the Best Documentary category, perhaps because of a backlash against the public school education expose’s fervent anti-union stance. The 83rd Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, and will be co-hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech

Movie Reviews and


By Kam Williams

Excellent……………. Very Good………….. Good………………... Fair………………….. Poor………………….

The Fighter

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


    No stars

Colin Firth Delivers Nonpareil Performance As Reluctant Monarch With Speech Impediment


hen England’s King George V (Michael Gambon) passed away in 1936, he was first succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII (Guy Pearce). But Edward would abdicate less than a year into his reign, capitulating to the mounting public pressure to Continued on page 30

Continued from page 29 pick between the throne and his scandalous plans to marry his mistress, Wallis Simpson (Eve Best), a two-time divorcee’ and an American to boot. This development left Prince Albert (Colin Firth) positioned as the next in line, but the heir apparent was reluctant to replace his brother because of his own inability to control a crippling stutter. After all, he was well aware of radio’s rising importance as a means of communication, and that periodically addressing the masses on the air would be among his critical duties as a high-profile figurehead. Furthermore, having embarrassing himself in front of a large crowd in Wembley Stadium over a decade earlier, Albert had already consulted a world-renowned speech therapist for help with his condition. However, Dr. Bentham’s (Roger Hammond) best scientific efforts had failed, leaving the beleaguered Prince’s saddled with a lack of self-confidence and a disinclination to serve as monarch. Finally, a ray of hope arrives when word of an Australian rumored to be curing speech impediments reaches Albert’s supportive wife, the Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter). Adopting an alias, she surreptitiously


goes slumming around a seedy side of London in search of the highly-recommended Dr. Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). As animated as he is eccentric, the self-assured therapist confidently lays out his non-negotiable ground rules prior to agreeing to take on “Mrs. Johnson’s” mysterious husband as a client, including an understanding that all the sessions will be conducted right there on the premises in his modest home studio. And even after learning the identity of his new pupil, Logue insists on referring to Prince Albert by “Bertie,” His Majesty’s lofty stature outside the office notwithstanding. Although initially infuriated as much by the cheeky commoner’s presumptuousness as by his unorthodox methods, Albert gradually develops a grudging fondness for the foreigner when his stammer starts showing signs of dissipating. The arc of their strained relationship serves as the fascinating focus of The King’s Speech, a fact-based, historical drama directed by Tom Hooper (The Damned United). The film is reminiscent of The Queen (2006) in that it offers a plausible peek at the intimate affairs of

members of the Royal Family during a defining moment of emotional and political upheaval. In this instance, the period in question covers the turbulent years after Albert’s coronation leading up to England’s entry into World War II in 1939. The movie is at its best when highlighting the delightful badinage between Colin Firth as the recentlycrowned King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his not so humble servant, a charming rogue if there ever was one. Still, the sobering specter of Hitler looms over Europe, making Logue’s appointed mission to prepare Albert to deliver a rousing declaration of war without stuttering as much a patriotic duty as an individual achievement. Kudos to Firth and Rush for generating screen chemistry aplenty in inspired performances not to be forgotten during awards season.

Rated: R for profanity Running Time: 111 Minutes Distributor: The Weinstein Company To see a trailer for The King’s Speech, visit: Rabbit Hole 1/2

Kidman and Eckhart Co-Star in Adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play


ow long does it take to get over the death of a child? Maybe forever, suggests Rabbit Hole, a poignant meditation on mourning based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), the film revolves around the crumbling relationship of a grief-stricken couple struggling to find meaning in their shattered lives after the loss of their four year-old son. They both blame themselves for Danny’s (Phoenix List) untimely demise even though he was hit by a car after impulsively chasing his dog out into the street. The point of departure is eight months after the accident, which is where we find once happily-married Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) not only still inconsolable but now emotionally estranged to boot. The Corbetts’ problems start with their incompatible coping mechanisms, as her desire to eradicate any painful trace of Danny’s existence flies in the face of his inclination to take some solace in nostalgic, if bittersweet reminders. Consequently, Howie is bothered by Becca’s removing Danny’s photos from the fridge and by her donating 30

Rabbit Hole

his clothes to charity. Furthermore, he’d like to have another baby, but she has no interest in intimacy. In fact, she’s ready to sell the house. Even the bereavement support group they join just drives another wedge between them. For, as an atheist, Becca can’t stand the organization’s holier than thou moderator’s presumptuous references to religion. Embittered, she believes that, if there is a God, then he must be a ”sadistic prick.” So, she stops attending sessions, oblivious to the fact Howie has developed the hots for the married member (Sandra Oh) whose shoulder he’s been leaning on. But Becca has her own secret liaison, an unlikely friendship blossoming with the teen driver (Miles Teller) of the auto which killed Danny. As strange as the above scenarios must sound, credit Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and their talented support cast for handling such potentially melodramatic material in an appropriately subdued fashion. Though relentlessly-grim and given to the undeniably bizarre, this character-driven drama does convincingly convey a real sense of how easily a rock-solid marriage might be irreversibly ripped asunder by an unthinkable tragedy. A plausible portrait of what transpires when bad things happen to good people without faith in God or a lucky rabbit’s foot. Rated: PG-13 for profanity, drug use and mature themes Running Time: 92 Minutes Studio: Lionsgate Films To see a trailer for Rabbit Hole, visit:

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


True Grit 

Bridges and Brolin SquareOff in Remake of John Wayne Classic


rue Grit (1969) is a curious choice for a remake, since John Wayne won an Academy Award for the classic Western with a stellar cast featuring the likes of Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper and Glen Campbell. But that impressive pedigree did nothing to discourage the Coen Brothers from assembling their own A-list ensemble to mount a second screen adaptation of Charles Portis’ scintillating serial novel. In True Grit 2.0, Jeff Bridges recreates the iconic role of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, a fearless, former Rebel who lost his right eye to a bullet during the Civil War. The weatherbeaten veteran boasts of having ridden with William Quantrill, a real-life Confederate Captain famous for the 1863 massacre of a couple hundred citizens of Lawrence, Kansas in a predawn raid on an abolitionist enclave. This mythical tale of retribution and redemption unfolds in Fort Smith, Arkansas in the 1870s, where we find the film’s young narrator, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), eager to hire the meanest bounty hunter around to apprehend Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the killer who has just murdered her father in cold blood. Upon learning of Rooster’s reputation for ruthlessness, the spunky, 14 year-old immediately seeks to retain his services, matter-offactly introducing herself with the titular line, “They tell me you’re a man with true grit.” She goes on to explain to the grizzled gunslinger that she has good reason to believe the fugitive has joined a gang led by Lucky Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper) and fled on horseback into Choctaw territory. Eventually, Rooster, who’s ostensibly battling

booze, grudgingly agrees to track down Chaney with revenge-minded Mattie in tow. Before setting out, quite by coincidence, they cross paths with LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), a Texas Ranger already on Chaney’s trail for another slaying. Then, behind Mattie’s back, the two lawmen strike a separate deal to join forces, and they secretly start across the desert without her. But the headstrong heroine will have none of it. She catches up, and insists on accompanying the would-be double-crossers on the perilous trek into Oklahoma. The trio’s ensuing sojourn intermittently allows for lighthearted interludes of levity as a little comic relief, such as a tension-breaking spanking of Mattie’s bottom. Still, the plot does sober significantly, as it makes its inexorable march to a fateful showdown with Chaney. Jeff Bridges must be commended for his fresh interpretation of the roguish Rooster Cogburn as an endearing contradiction of machismo and vulnerability which actually enables you to forget about John Wayne after the film’s first five minutes or so. Kudos are equally in order for eight-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose sweeping, big sky panoramas are nothing short of spectacular. My only quibble, here, is with the Coen Brothers’ who have simply served up too tame an homage to the Western genre which fails to up the ante in terms of intensity, a disappointing contrast to the relatively-riveting 3:10 to Yuma. Now that bloody shoot ‘em up was truly no country for a young cowgirl. Rated: PG-13 for intense violence and disturbing images Running Time: 110 Minutes Studio: Paramount Pictures To see a trailer for True Grit, visit: 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011




Written By Peggy Lynne Elgin-Harper May 26, 1997

As your slaves, we’ve been your chattel And now we, as Blacks are still fighting the battle To gain racial equality We are tired of all the adversity We “mothered” your children and picked your cotton The cruelties you’ve inflicted have not been forgotten We were kidnapped and stolen from out Motherland And brought across the waters, your abuse to withstand Because of the morals the slave masters lacked There are many shades of skin that are still considered “black” We were robbed of our true identity By people that had the audacity To inflict on Blacks every atrocity That has caused racial enmity We’ve been “pimped”, beaten and raped And brutally murdered when we attempted to escape Whole families were separated As our African heritage was adulterated Our hard work and labor has never been appreciated And a lot of us were forced to live uneducated To all this and more, we had to succumb In our valiant attempt to grain our “Freedom” Our saving grace was spirituality It aided us in adaptability Helped us deal with our disparity And rise above this with dignity The Emancipation Proclamation was nothing more than a token A weak attempt to patronize and cover human laws that were broken The anger of this injustice rages in me like a fire For us to gain equality, what will that require? There is no race of people that deserve it more We’ve spent too many years comin’ in your back door I’m bringin’ it real and putting it in your face The pictures in our minds that time won’t erase You’re still giving us crumbs off the table as if you don’t know But like the Bible says, “You’ll reap what you sow” For these and more sins you will atone Because “God blessed the child that got his own!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Get The Most Out Of Your Gift Cards I

By Jason Alderman

f someone gave you a $50 bill, you probably wouldn’t just stick it in a drawer and forget it. But that’s essentially what happens to billions of dollars worth of gift cards each year – people either lose or forget about them, or never use up their balances. Here’s how gift cards work. There are two basic types: •Retail gift cards, used to buy goods or services at a single merchant or affiliated group of merchants. •Network-branded gift cards, issued by a bank and carrying the logo of a payment card network (like Visa, MasterCard or American Express) and can be used at any location accepting cards from that network. Account information is stored in the card’s magnetic strip. If you’re not sure of the remaining balance, ask the merchant to scan the card, call the tollfree number on the card or verify it on the card issuer’s website provided. Some store-branded cards can be reloaded; and most can be replaced if lost or stolen – although you may have to provide proof of purchase and pay a replacement fee. The 2009 Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act changed laws governing gift cards sold on or after August 22, 2010. It requires that: •Money loaded on gift cards must not expire for at least five years from date of purchase or after funds were last reloaded. •If the card expires but the underlying funds have not, you can request a free replacement card. •Inactivity, account maintenance and service fees may not be charged until after 12 months of inactivity; after that, only one such fee may be deducted from the balance each month. (Fees for activation or lost/stolen card replacement are exempt.) •Fees must be clearly disclosed on the card or its packaging. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your gift cards: •Use them quickly; the longer you wait, the more likely you are to forget or misplace them. •Treat them like cash; and write down the account and toll-free numbers to report lost or stolen cards. •Ask if the retailer will honor the card for online purchases, if that’s your preferred shopping method. •Be sure to use up the entire

account balance, or ask if a cash refund is available. You may be able to use multiple cards for a single purchase – say you have several low-balance Starbucks cards. If you don’t care for a particular retailer, consider trading gift cards with friends. Or check out some of the websites that have sprung up where you can buy, sell or swap certain kinds of gift cards, such as CardHub (, Plastic Jungle (, and ( Just make sure you understand any transaction or registration fees or commissions that may be charged. A few additional safeguards:

•If you have a retail gift card and the company goes out of business, you may forfeit the balance. •Be cautious when trading cards with strangers. For example, if using a third-party exchange site, ask about their verification policies and check with the Better Business Bureau ( for complaints. Avoid unsolicited offers for free cards that sound too good to be true. By following spam links you could jeopardize your personal information. 

Editor’s note: Jason Alderman directs Visa’s financial education programs. To Follow Jason Alderman on Twitter:

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011



writing, editing, social media, video & TV production

Tanya Ishikawa




Anthony Gilchrist

Dear Martin,

I too have a dream From which I wish To never wake.. For to dream Is to wake, Whilst the throngs Round you sleep.

I know why you dream. Liberation is a dream That shears the veil, Drawn neatly ‘cross Open eyes, You cannot kill the dreamer, As you cannot kill the dream. The dreamer is the dream And the dream, the dreamer.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


I know why you dream Why you fly – Across worlds. Stretch your hand. Open the door To freedom land. So dreamer Dream on The dream is true. Dream on Dreamer, The dream is you. Dream on, I see what you see Dream on,

The dream is me.


Around Town January 2011

2011 MLK Marade

Photos by Lens of Ansar

Humanitarian Award Honorees Photo by Pat Duncan

Center for African American Health 9th Annual Health Fair

Photos by Lens of Ansar

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Keeping Your Family Safe From The Silent Killer

By Eric Lavonas, M.D. Associate Director, Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center


or the past few years, the Colorado newspapers and airwaves have been abuzz with tragedy after tragedy caused by carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is second only to drug abuse as the leading cause of accidental death due to poisoning in the United States. Nationwide, about 450 people a year die from accidental CO poisoning, and about 50,000 survivors seek emergency care. None of us are immune. Carbon monoxide has no color and no

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


odor; it is called “the silent killer” because it sneaks into homes and snuffs out life. Everything that burns produces some CO. The more efficient the combustion, the less CO produced. Open flames, charcoal grills and singlestroke engines such as chain saws and lawn mowers produce large amounts of CO. More efficient devices like furnaces, hot water heaters, space heaters, stoves and propane-powered equipment, produce much less CO when they are brand new and perfectly adjusted. The problem with these devices is that they give no warning when they’ve gone out of adjustment, and can be producing harmful amounts of CO. The symptoms of early or minor CO poisoning are easily mistaken for something else, such as a viral infection, gastroenteritis or minor altitude illness. As the poisoning gets worse, victims can’t think clearly; they may not realize they’re in trouble, and don’t try to get out before they lose the ability to walk. Tragedy – often affecting an entire family – soon follows. What can you do to protect yourself and your family? First, don’t invite the silent killer into your home. Never operate a grill, generator, or gasoline- or propanefueled appliance inside your house or garage. Don’t use your oven or stove to heat your home. If you’re going to warm up your car for more than a minute or two, pull it out of the garage. Leaving the door open or cracking a window is not enough. Many people have nearly died from this mistake. Second, buy a carbon monoxide alarm. Do it today. They can often be purchased for less than $20. If you can afford a little more, get the kind that uses both AC power and a backup battery. Unlike smoke, CO levels are the same at floor and ceiling; it’s perfectly fine to plug a CO alarm into any electrical outlet that’s within earshot of bedrooms. Finally, keep your home in good repair. Having your home heating systems inspected every year or so doesn’t just save lives; it also saves money in the form of reduced heating bills. Replace the batteries on all your home smoke and CO alarms twice a year, when you reset your clocks. Your boat and camper need alarms, too. And, if your CO alarm goes off, get all people and pets out of the house, then call the fire department or gas company to check the air for CO. It may be the best decision you ever make. 

HBCU College Fair At East High School


The Ethnic College Counseling Center will host a Historical Black College Fair on March 5 at East High School from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be served to those who will be attending the workshops and the fair. Eighty-nine Historical Black Colleges and Universities will be represented. Students in 6th through 12th grades, parents, teachers and administrators are invited to attend. For more information and to register, visit www.ethniccollegecounselingcenter.or g or call 303-752-1345.

The Town Center Of Aurora Hosts Author Showcase

In celebration of Black History Month, the Town Center at Aurora (Aurora Mall) will host the African American Author Showcase which will bring together local authors for a collaborative book signing. The event will be held in center court of the Town Center on Saturday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more informatior to participate, E-mail


Denver Woman’s Press Club Unknown Writers’ Contest Cultivates New Writers

New writers can test their skills through the Unknown Writers’ Contest sponsored by the Denver Woman’s Press Club (DWPC). Contest judges will also give constructive feedback on the work. Only hard copy submissions will be accepted, which must be postmarked no later than Saturday, Feb.12. The three categories are: Fiction short story (no longer than 2000 words), entry fee $20; Nonfiction essay (no longer than 2000 words), entry fee $20; and Poetry (maximum of three poems, 100 words each), entry fee $10. Use a separate entry form and check payable to Denver Woman’s Press Club for each entry. The contest is restricted to Colorado residents, over 18, who have never been commercially published. Cash prizes will be awarded in each category. For more information visit or call 303-8391519 or go to

Pouring Tea at Colorado College

AARP Colorado Seeks Aspiring Video Producers

Because Life Happens Program Planned

It’s All Here In Black And White

Colorado College will be hosting a performance of Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales by Dr. E. Patrick Johnson. This dramatic reading is based on the oral histories collected in Johnson’s most recent book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South – An Oral History. The oral histories are from Black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South and range in age from 19 to 93. The performance will be March 10 at 7 p.m. in the Armstrong Theatre at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. This event is free.

Join us for a one-hour Because Life Happens program and discover the steps needed to transform your donation into life-saving products for a patient in need. These free sessions offer a behind-the-scenes tour of Bonfils’ laboratory facilities where blood is tested for safety and processed into multiple blood products, the opportunity to meet Bonfils’ leadership and hear from a blood recipient whose life was saved by blood donation. The programs will be held Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 12 to 1 p.m. and Wednesday, Mar. 16 from 4 to 5 p.m. at 717 Yosemite St. in Denver. For more information and to RSVP, E-mail or call


Every day, more than 6 million older Americans face the threat of hunger. In Colorado, more than 100,000 people are food insecure. AARP Create the Good and AARP Foundation are launching the Drive to End Hunger. The public is invited to shoot a short video that answers the question, What can I do in my Colorado community to drive away hunger? The first place winner will receive a $1,000 Visa gift card and an I-Pad for their project. The submission period ends Feb. 14. For more information, E-mail or

Tbellphotographic studio and gallery is hosting a juried photography exhibit in conjunction with Denver’s annual Month of Photography (MOP) in March and International Women’s Month. To celebrate both events, the show “It’s All Here in Black and White” will feature small works by women photographers. The show is open to all professional and amateur women photographers of at least 18 years of age, working with digital or traditional photography. The deadline for entries is Feb. 11 and the exhibit will be held March 4 through 27 at Tbellphotographic studio at 900 Santa Fe Drive in Denver. For more information, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011



Denver Urban Spectrum is looking for experienced advertising sales people. E-mail resume to

No phone calls please.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2011


Denver Urban Spectrum February 2011  

Denver Urban Spectrum, the premier publication about communities of color, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.