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RAYMOND LUKE JR. PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS. ALL OTHER PHOTOS BY ANDREW ECCLES.

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MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR

Volume 29 Number 1

April 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James

GUEST MANAGING EDITOR Chandra Thomas Whitfield

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS K. Gerald Torrence Dedrick Sims Theo E.J. Wilson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Angelia D. McGowan Chris Meehan Annette Walker Chandra Thomas Whitfield ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lorenzo Dawkins

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cecile Perrin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lorenzo Dawkins Lens of Ansar

ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Robin James Byron T. Robinson 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 2015 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

When I moved to Denver from Atlanta a few years ago, I was desperate for community news and local happenings, particularly as it related to the African-American community. What concerts are coming to town? Where can I get my hair done? Who are the Black doctors in town? Where are the kid-friendly events? Those were just some of the questions I threw out to my fellow media cohort and friend Ron Childs, whom unbeknownst to me had grown up in the Mile High City. “Well, you just have to pick up a copy of the Denver Urban Spectrum,” he shot back, matter-of-factly. “Bee, knows everything and everybody.” Boy was he right! I grabbed a copy and have never stopped. That said, you can only imagine how honored I felt when I was asked to serve as the guest managing editor for this month – the 28th anniversary issue at that. As a veteran journalist, who, like many of my colleagues of color got my start in the Black press, I’m an ardent, lifelong supporter. I know firsthand the critical need for it here and beyond. It is up to us, as a community, to make it a priority to support DUS and similar publications with our readership and advertisement dollars. If we don’t, who will keep what unfortunately has become a dying breed nationwide alive? Thanks to you, our loyal readers, DUS appears to be going strong and thriving after nearly 30 years of service to the community. It’s still the “go-to” publication for metro Denver’s communities of color. In this issue alone, you’ll learn about an African-American owned eatery expanding dining options in Northeast Denver, get some insight into the critical issues in the upcoming elections, get a preview of the acclaimed Motown - The Musical show and enjoy a front-row seat (well, actually 10th row) to musical legend Stevie Wonder’s Pepsi Center show. All of that, plus as my cover story explains, now you too can take my buddy Ron’s advice and “pick up” a copy of DUS on your Smartphone or tablet thanks to the newly launched app. Yup, now there’s an app for that too!

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Your Interest Is My Interest

Chandra Thomas Whitfield DUS Guest Managing Editor

•Services for children and families •Development of more affordable housing •Economic diversity and workforce development •City and school district partnership •Support for our seniors •Advocate for more youth programs •Focus on community beautification and quality of life •Enhance the availability and efficiency of public transportation and resolve our growing traffic issues We have a chance to elect a councilperson who understands our community, always willing to listen, someone who is visible and someone who will always work on your best interest, regardless of the political challenges. My only interest is yours, nothing more and nothing less. Let’s go and do this together and let’s continue to make the most diverse district and the fastest growing district in Denver – THE BEST DISTRICT IN THE CITY! I cannot do this without you and I humbly ask for your vote, your financial support but most importantly, your prayers. Visit us at Bradleyfordistrict11.com or call me at 303-333-4356 and I will call you back.

Editor: The future of Denver is closely tied to the future of District 11. Although our accomplishments are many, we cannot afford to ease our determination to create a community in which all can fully participate and prosper. Part of our challenge will lie in the ability to create choices and opportunities for citizens related to housing, schools, jobs, our seniors, traffic, grocery options, health care facilities, and more. The diversity of the district is also reflected in our thriving businesses and neighborhoods. The businesses along with DIA are the economic engine of the region and our community. We must strive each day to create public – private partnerships that will provide benefits to all residents of District 11. The stakes are high for continuing to shape the Disrict into a healthy, vibrant, and livable neighborhood in Denver. Through valuing and embracing our ethnic and economic diversity. I believe we can find common ground that will be the foundation of a stable and sustainable community. If elected to city council, I will be a change agent and an advocate for my neighbors, institutions, business and every single resident of the district. We cannot continue to try and lead in our community with anger nor can we continue to lead with fear but through leadership. I offer that to the residents of Green Valley Ranch and Montbello. We need: •Effective and efficient responses to constituents •A Safe Neighborhood

Candidate Sean Bradley Denver City Council District 11 (Green Valley Ranch, Montbello and DIA)

Opportunity, Equality, and Prosperity Is Needed For All

Editor: I served as Mayor of Denver from 1991 to 2003 and was the only mayor

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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in U.S. history to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and the National Conference of Black Mayors. Through my experiences, I have seen Americans go through hard times, but I have also seen the power that strong economic policies that drive investment, create jobs, and bring hope to Americans can have on our communities. A recent jobs report showed that more jobs were created last year than in any year since 1999, when our country was experiencing the broad based prosperity resulting from President Clinton’s economic policies. Our economy has recovered significantly from the failed policies of the Bush administration that led us into recession, but most people have not yet begun to feel it in their pockets and in their daily lives. Once again, the economy is set to be the prominent issue in the next presidential election. Our next president will need to offer an agenda to reduce inequality, create opportunity, and expand on the economic growth we are already seeing. Last year the Clinton Global Initiative came to Denver, where the creation of Job One for America, a program to help young people find jobs, was announced. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton penned an op-ed on the program in the Denver Post where she wrote, “No matter who you are or where you come from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to build a good life.” Hillary Clinton believes that everyone deserves a fair shot at achieving Continued on page 28


There’s An App For THIS!

DUS Celebrates 28th Anniversary with Launch of New Mobile App In numerology, every number has

By Chandra Thomas Whitfield

an inherent meaning, a certain

essence. Overall, the numerology

number 28 represents a composition containing the ideas of: •Self-determinism •Independence •Relationships •Diplomacy •Business

The number 28 is synonymous with self-determination; it’s primarily focused on itself, its independence and self-sufficiency, while keeping the welfare of associates in mind, especially those it has close relationships with, according to the website affinitynumerology.com. There’s some attention on building a business. The inherent meaning also contains the ideas of exploring new locations and methods, companionship, diplomacy, business and a powerful initiative. How fitting that the Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) is celebrating its anniversary this month, fully embracing all 28 of its years covering communities of color in Denver and beyond. And many members of the community insist it’s marking this milestone embodying all that the number 28 represents. “It’s been a labor of love, but we’re so proud to mark yet another year of service to the Denver community,” says publisher and community ambassador Rosalind “Bee” Harris. “We look forward to serving this wonderful, vibrant and amazing community for 28 more years and beyond.” Harris is proud to announce that the publication she started with a clear vision nearly 30 years as a platform for “spreading the news about people of color” is commemorating its anniversary with the launch of a custom-designed mobile application created by an African American-owned technology company. The app, she contends, will bring DUS to your smartphone or tablet whenever and

wherever you need it to be. “We want our readers to know they can read us wherever they are – on their iPhone, their Android wherever,” she says. “A lot of people are going mobile now; everybody may not be on our website, so this allows us to be wherever you are.” In addition to the news and feature stories that readers have come to expect each month, she says, “this is going to provide an opportunity for our audience to connect with those businesses that advertise with us and stay connected to community events and allow them to read about local, national and international news. Even if you’re a fan of the website, now you can take it to another level and go mobile!” The DUS app, available at no cost from the app store, was created by the CEOs of Total Reach Technology and Wireless 1, college buddies Robert Ferguson, a nationally acclaimed fitness guru based out of Los Angeles and his Indiana University classmate Simon Bray, of Indiana. The company recently designed apps for R&B singer Toni Braxton and rap group Wu Tang Clan. “It’s a win-win situation; now reader can follow DUS and easily share the articles with others,” says Ferguson. “You can read the entire magazine – zoom in and zoom out. You can subscribe to and receive the Spectrum’s newsletter and learn

about events happening around town.” The app features news and feature stories, a community calendar of events and a photo gallery, all easy to read and accessible on mobile devices. “So you can be in the barber’s chair getting a haircut and reading the Spectrum at the same time,” adds Ferguson. “We’re so proud of Bee for staying up with the times. Not having an app in 2015 is like a company not having a website in 2000!” Gerie Grimes, president and CEO of the Hope Center pre-school program says the app’s launch is merely a testament to Harris’ innovative leadership and longstanding commitment to the community. “She’s certainly a woman and a Black woman with a vision that she has made a reality based on her own hard work and following her gut,” says Grimes who has also led the Holly Area Redevelopment Project. “Sometimes she’s been standing out there by herself fighting to keep her dream alive. Many times “the establishment”stands in the way of people getting the financial resources necessary to keep things going, but Bee took on the challenge and hasn’t stopped. The reason that the Spectrum is still in existence is because she’s a fighter. She wouldn’t let go of her dream.” Grimes, admits that she’s “old school” and will likely stick to reading

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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a hard copy of the publication, but she believes the app will help the Spectrum expand to new audiences. “I think that’s going to work out well for Bee,” she says. “When I think about my grandchildren and others in the upcoming generation, I know it’s going to be a good resource to keep them engaged. They won’t have to wonder about, ‘how do I keep up with the community?’ It’s going to be on their phone!” Former DUS Managing Editor and Contributing Copy Editor Tanya Ishikawa could not agree more. “It’s so great to hear that they’re updating themselves with technology; I’m glad they’re taking advantage of it,” she says. “The whole purpose of a community publication is to be accessible and this is just making it that much more accessible to people who want to get their media and information that way. It’ll be interesting to see how community adapts to this new option.” Perhaps Pastor Del T. Phillips, president of Greater Denver Ministerial Alliance, sums it up best. “As we look back in history – journalism here in Denver, this is the ‘goto’ publication for our community,” he says. “For the Urban Spectrum to have lasted 28 years is a signature event. We’ve had other papers that have started here and they have not been able to continue on. I’m glad that we can add the Spectrum to a long list of African American publications that have survived. We’re excited and we look forward to getting the Spectrum to its 50th anniversary.” Editor’s note: Guest Managing Editor Chandra Thomas Whitfield is an awardwinning multimedia journalist whose work has appeared in People, Essence, Ebony and Jet magazines, along with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on Time.com. The Atlanta Press Club recently named an award-winning feature story she penned for Atlanta Magazine one of “Atlanta’s Top 10 Favorite Stories of the Past 50 Years.


Former Mayor and First Lady Honored by Community Colleges, Denver Health and Curious Theatre

Wellington and Wilma Webb honored for more than 40 years of public service

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma, a former state legislator, will be honored in three upcoming events by the American Association of Community Colleges, Denver Health and a onetime performance of an original Curious Theatre play. Wellington Webb will be honored at the Denver Health Gala on April 18 for his support for the hospital during his 12 years as mayor. He convinced the city to create the Denver Health Medical Authority in 1997, which eliminated a $39 million deficit. Additionally, he pushed for $290 million in voter approved bonds for improvements at the hospital. “Every great city needs a great public hospital and I am proud that Denver Health serves that role,” Wellington Webb said. “It is a great honor for Wilma and me to be associated with the hospital and its staff.” The couple also will be recognized for their contributions to the Wellington E. Webb Distinguished Chair in Community Health, which has raised $1 million. The endowment was created the same year the hospital named a new 75,000-square-foot building the Wellington E. Webb Center for Primary Care. On April 21, the couple will travel to San Antonio, Texas where Wellington Webb, a Northeastern Junior College alumnus, will be recognized as one of six people nationally to receive the 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He was nominated for the award by NJC President Jay Lee. Wellington attended the college in Sterling, Colo., in the early 1960s and was a standout on the college’s basketball team. He and Wilma have sponsored a yearly scholarship for NJC male and female athlete students the last few years. “It is our great pleasure to help remind the education community, on

years of public service for Colorado and the country. The 10th Annual Denver Stories at 7:30 p.m. June 3 is written, produced and performed by Curious Theatre members. Proceeds benefit the Curious Theatre Company. “The Webbs capture the essence of what we seek to achieve with Denver Stories each year,” said Chip Walton, the company’s producing artistic director. “Bringing their collective story to our stage is an honor. Denverites – all of us, really – are impacted daily by their contribution to the community over so many years. We look forward to highlighting their lasting impression on the city.”

a national level, of the tireless work you have done to make very significant contributions to your city, your state, your nation and your world,” Lee wrote. On June 3, Denver’s Curious Theatre will honor the couple with a one-time showing of an original play based on the couple’s more than 40

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

5

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Get Your GRUB ON!

Far Northeast Denver Location Fits Black-Owned Eatery To A ‘Tea’

The first floor of a glass-mirrored

office building in an industrial zone isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find a restaurant that’s raking in rave reviews on Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Facebook and similar websites. After all, the first thing you hear about real estate, no matter if it’s residential or commercial, is it comes down to three things: location, location, location. That’s why at first glance The Grubbery, tucked away on the ground level of the Scott’s Liquid Gold building in Northeast Denver, might not seem like an obvious place for a restaurant catering to all manner of folk — from businesspeople to truckers to third-shifters and families. On second glance it’s pretty easy to get to,

By Chris Meehan

in a part of Denver that isn’t exactly teeming with the hottest brunch spots, nightclubs and the hipsters scene. “We want this breakfast, lunch and dinner space to be indicative of its name,” says owner Wy Livingston, who also owns and operates her own fine tea business, Wystone’s World Teas. She took ownership of the restaurant in November 2014. “You come in to really have a good meal— that kind of stick-to-your-ribs food with a healthy flair to it.” Maybe she’s on to something… While some entrepreneurs might consider the restaurant’s unconventional location an insurmountable challenge, Livingston only sees opportunity. “This type of restaurant doesn’t exist over here, but there’s a lot of opportunity because of that,” she says. “We’re off Havana and I-70. So we’re great for folks coming and going to

the airport, great for folks that live in Aurora or Park Hill or Stapleton. We really have a great location and because we’re in the industrial complex and all these businesses can benefit from the kind of menu that we serve.” Her optimism isn’t naïveté. Ever the smart businesswoman, she did her homework first. “I looked at the demographics and looked at the area and it became pretty evident this was an underserved market on this side of town and the kind of food that I wanted to serve,” she says. “I thought this would be an opportunity to hit it out of the park.” It looks like it’s starting to happen already. Livingston is preparing to put more of her company’s signature stamp on the restaurant as it expands its menu. “Our brand new menu is coming out April 1st,” she says. “That’s going to be a creation of our new chef, Chef Donald James, along with myself. We’re adding about 20 menu items, expanding the appetizer section, adding some additional salads to the menu, but also having a featured section where there are some specialty items like shrimp and grits with andouille sausage and chicken and waffles, but with a red velvet waffle with a mascarpone cream sauce.” The existing Wystone’s store in the Belmar Center is still open, but now the restaurant now serves as a conven-

Photos by Lens of Ansar

Owner Wy Livingston and Chef Donald James

ient second pick-up location where customers may purchase her products by the ounce. “We pulled 40 of our best-selling tea products and they can purchase them at the Grubbery,” she explains. Livingston also leases space in the Scott’s building for blending her gourmet teas. Owning a tea company along with the restaurant, she says, has also helped her to blend two of her favorite passions. “We consider ourselves first and foremost experts at cooking with teas and blending liquors with teas,” Livingston says. “So we have a whole cocktail menu of tea-infused cocktails.” Partnering with a chef that embraces working with tea as a spice and flavor has been beneficial too. Tea shows up in other menu items, like genmaicha tea infused in the vegetable soup chicken and beef dishes marinated in teas. “We make a carrot cake and the carrot cake has our African Rooibos tea in it—not just in the batter, but also the frosting,” Livingston

Dr. Ryan Ross and wife Simone enjoy Sunday Brunch with children.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

6


Michele Miller and Greg White enjoy Sunday Brunch.

says. The restaurant already has a diverse menu that spans the day — from breakfast and brunch on Sundays to lunch and dinner. “We have everything from your typical classic breakfast to pancakes, we serve buckwheat pancakes as well and blueberry pancakes. We do all kinds of Benedicts and a breakfast burger. It’s really what strikes your fancy in terms of meal preferences, sandwiches and salads, a menu for just about everyone,” Livingston explains. “We also have a southern flare to it. Many people come in and are like: ‘Oh my god, grits!’” Just since November, The Grubbery has expanded its breakfast hours to attract more business clientele. “We used to open at 7 a.m., but if you’re trying to have an hour-long meeting 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. doesn’t work since most people have to be at work by 8, so we open at 6:30,” Livingston says. That’s helped attract more business meetings from companies like Kaiser, which recently held a meeting there. Likewise the Sunday brunch has been a rousing success too, because let’s be honest, everyone in Denver loves brunch. “Brunch has grown from a

few tables on Sunday when we started doing it in early December, to a sellout crowd,” she asserts. With the ability to accommodate more than 150 people The Grubbery also is pretty ideal for hosting events ranging from wedding showers to graduation parties. “We did Canvas and Cocktails on Feb. 13,” Livingston says, emphasizing her ongoing quest to use the space in innovative ways. “That also introduces people to the restaurant and bodes well for repeat customers.” The event sold out and the organizers have already inquired about hosting a Mother’s Day event. “We’ll probably do one event with them every quarter,” she says. Still, Livingston sees more opportunities to grow the business. “We have an intense guerrilla marketing campaign going on to let the business community know [we’re here],” she says. “There are literally thousands of people in the area who have never graced our doors because they do not know we’re here.” Maybe it’s not always about finding the “location.” Perhaps, as in the case of The Grubbery, it’s sometimes about making the location a destination.

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#lovestapleton


The Man Who

Stevie Wonder Takes The Mile High Even Higher Would be With His ‘Songs In The Key of Life’ Tour

Marvin Gaye

Photos by Lorenzo Dawkins

An Interview with Jarran Muse About His Role in Motown - the Musical

As if the Mile High City weren’t

high enough, master songwriter, singer and entertainer Stevie Wonder sent Denver fans soaring to new heights with his melodic music during his March 17 stop at Denver’s Pepsi Center. Donning his signature micro braids, sunglasses and a sparkly emerald green suit (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day), he shared his playful side telling the audience, “I didn’t smoke none of your good grass,” joking about Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana. “Like my blind friends say, ‘you need to smoke some to see more clearly.’” With his gorgeous daughter Aisha Morris at his side, the father of nine, yes nine, encouraged the crowd to pull out their “iPhones and asteroids” to capture an important announcement he would make later in the show. “Androids, dad, androids,” corrected him, with a giggle. “It must be the grass I did not smoke,” he shot back, without missing a beat. At times the show felt more jam session and talent showcase, as he invited several up and coming singers in his 30+-member entourage to belt

By Angelia D. McGowan

Jarran Muse is Marvin Gaye in

out some of his signature tunes and later when veterans Gerald Albright, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea joined in surprise performances. He ended the night announcing his plans to donate $150,000 earned from his tour to the anti-gun “Stand Up To Stand Your Ground Laws” campaign,

an initiative created to fight the Stand Your Ground laws that he says contributed to the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. “Superstition,” “Living For The City,” “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Village Ghetto Land” were crowd pleasers, while others like “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” “Ribbon In The Sky,” and “Happy Birthday” were, well, no shows at his show. Either way, any opportunity to hear a man so vibrant and gift still left the crowd “Overjoyed.”

– Chandra Thomas Whitfield

Motown - the Musical, set to take over Denver, March 31 to April 19, at the Buell Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Motown - the Musical is filled with back stories of legends such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and a whole host of the motor city’s favorite stars. The uplifting show about how Motown broke down barriers for the nation follows writing impresario and Motown label founder Berry Gordy as he fought against the odds to turn his improbable dream into an all singing, all dancing reality. Adapted from Gordy’s own 1994 autobiography, “To Be Loved,” this two-and-a-half hour walk down memory lane features more than 40 classic songs. Muse has worked on Broadway and in New York City-based shows like Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Dreamgirls, as well as international tours for American Idiot, Dreamgirls, Hairspray and 42nd Street. The New Jersey native is one of the few touring members of Motown who also had a chance to get his feet wet as part of the original Broadway cast, where he had a swing role playing more than one star. The Denver Urban Spectrum caught up with the six-foot singer who earned the coveted role of bringing the songs and persona of one of the worlds most prolific and powerful singers and storytellers to life - no

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Many locations open 24 hours. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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of my time was waiting tables, being a banquet server at different parties. You do the job to stay focus, keep money in your pocket. DUS: Everyone thinks they know how to move like the Motown greats. How did you go about perfecting your Marvin Gaye? Muse: We have Mr. Gordy. This is his project, his baby. He has knowledge. I haven’t seen Marvin Gaye live, but growing up in America you know. I talked one on one with Mr. Gordy and he left me pick his brain. Then add on the layers of videos and interviews I watched on YouTube and the archives. ..I listen to [Gaye] in my preshow routine in the dressing room. I feel connected to him. DUS: On your résumé your list of special skills includes stage combat, and salsa and languages and accents from conversational Spanish to Jamaican and Indian. Is this skillset part of your life or did you make an effort to learn for certain roles? Muse: I’ve always had the skills and joked around with them. I didn’t realize these special skills until trying out [for roles]. There were certain auditions you would get immediately [if you have certain skills]. DUS: When did you know that performing would be your profession? Muse: When I was a kid – 7, 8 and 9, I always saw myself in the

Jarran Muse

small feat in the world-wind tour the cast is now experiencing. The show is booked through June 2016 – for now. DUS: What was your reaction when you learned that Motown - the Musical was going on tour? Muse: Complete excitement. I was excited and hopeful [to be part of it]. DUS: What did you do when you learned that you landed a lead role? Muse: In the Broadway cast I was a swing. My contract said you’re going to cover everybody from Marvin Gaye to Smokey Robinson. The buzz about [a possible] tour was going around for about a year. I didn’t get the role until February or March, just two or three weeks before rehearsals started. DUS: How do you compartmentalize your roles and not bring out

Marvin Gaye at your family reunions? Muse: I definitely feel that Marvin Gaye is part of me. It’s the actor in me that I can turn off. At the end of the day I’m just Jarran. DUS: You’ve had various roles over the years, what has been your longest break? Muse: About five months. I was getting a little nervous. Some people have even larger breaks. You never know. You don’t really know where the next [show] is coming from. You continue to pray. You [hit] the pavement, audition. It’s important to save money so that when you’re not working, you’re not worried about food - just the next show. At the end of the day it’s an easier struggle. I did work as an extra or background in TV and film. A large chunk

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Mouseketeers, Barney show. I didn’t know performing was a career option until high school when my teachers told me. DUS: What was your first paying gig? Muse: My first gig was in Florida at the regional Stage Door Theatre. I was the immediate replacement for one of the tap dancers. That role lasted for three to four months. Then I was on a cruise ship for about a year and a half performing. It just kept going. Now this is my fifth national tour. DUS: So you tap dance too? Muse: Yeah. I should list that as one of my special skills. DUS: If you weren’t a performer, what would you do for a living? Muse: I’d probably be a chef, massage therapist or a personal trainer. DUS: What’s the coolest place you’ve visited while on tour? Muse: Tokyo. I’ve been there twice while I was in Hairspray and Dreamgirls. I had so much fun and I am a huge fan of Japanese culture, technology, the temples, the people and the food. In the U.S., it would Montana for its Glacier National Park. It’s picturesque. That’s big for me coming from Jersey.

Editors note: For tickets visit www.denvertheater.com/theaters/buell-theater/motown-the-musical.php.


White people don’t panic. It’s not

about you owing us, personally. It’s

about the U.S. government owing us the debt stolen from our forefather’s labor that benefited White peo-

ple...which you benefited from, per-

sonally. “Friendship” with you is difficult because of this. Race relations today boils down to the dominant community’s “compassionate” refusal to give back what’s owed, let alone talk about the debt. Now, Blacks have to be “okay” with these false terms of friendship while our children go hungry in the process. We are called “divisive” and “troublemakers” when we reject this putrid agreement of social amnesia. We live in the cold shadows of a golden empire built from our unfathomable misery and watch the grandchildren of the Klansman and European immigrant franchise Starbucks in our communities. They build dog parks where affordable housing used to be. They never have to question where the seed money really came from, but you’re free to buy from them as “equals.” Black people “equality” is a fool’s

Reparations or Exodus! The End-Game of Black Lives Matter By Theo E.J. Wilson

game. Raise your standards, or call it quits in the fight for freedom. Equality and “progress” are too low of a target. A knife in your back nine inches deep pulled out to six inches is not progress, though you’ve accepted it as such. The knife removed would be equality, but you need something deeper to heal the wound and must demand it. You need repair stitches, a blood transfusion and time away from your assailant to heal, lest they stab you again. So, what happens when the assailant keeps attacking, and has built industries to catch your spilling blood? When the Department of Justice finds widespread corruption in Ferguson’s police department, you’d think that would settle the argument. Eric Holder made it clear Ferguson was not the only place where police are fleecing African-Americans for profit, but the denial still continues. This is because a system fundamentally designed to promote one race and ensnare the other cannot easily relinquish the habit. “But, how bad can the situation really be? How much money are Black people really owed as a result of their enslavement?” Well, a tally of the stillexisting and recently defunct corporations and businesses that profited from slavery is staggering. The Atlanta Black Star newspaper listed that JP Morgan Chase, AIG, Norfolk Southern, Brooks Brothers, USA Today, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, as well as Harvard University, Yale, Penn State, Columbia, Rutgers, Brown and Dartmouth Universities can all trace their fortunes, or the fortunes of companies they acquired, directly to the slave trade of Africans. Imagine the combined fortunes of these institutions being paid out as restitution for the crime of slavery. Many would find that idea objectionable. This author finds it too small by a long shot. It’s

because we’re only talking about the current fortunes and not the money made along the way. Consider this – We‘ll never be able to fully calculate the missed opportunities, every broken family, every dollar owed, every never-to-exist empire that could have come about had that money been invested. And there is one more incalculable variable: The pain and suffering. The murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alone caused a psychic wound in the Black community worth the combined wealth of the aforementioned institutions. Consider that the U.S. Government has already been found guilty of his murder and we’re talking one more tool for us to leverage what we’re owed. It’s not just a matter of justice, or equality, or fairness. It’s the fact that inherited wealth matters in a capitalist society. The Pew Research institute found that the average asset wealth for a White family in America was $141,900 in 2013: conversely it was $11,000...that’s it. That’s down from $19,200 in 2007 before the financial crisis. This is a dismal 1/13 the wealth for Blacks than Whites. That number factors in Oprah, Bill Cosby, Jay-Z, Bob Johnson, Dr. Dre and every one of our shining examples of Black wealth. In a monopoly game, starting off with even twice as much as your opponents almost guarantees a win. A Black child starts off at a 13:1 disadvantage in this country and we are the wealthiest Blacks on the planet. This gap persists regardless of education and income. The question is this: Can you raise a child in a world where they start off at such a steep disadvantage and still call yourself a good parent? The wealth that we are owed from slavery is still in the hands of those who always had it, so why aren’t we fighting for it? How can we continue for

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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another generation at such steep disadvantage? Let’s face it; equality is a lost cause with odds like this against you. Here’s an even deeper truth; getting what we are owed monetarily may not be a buffer against White supremacy. In fact, it has been the successful among us that have been targeted and taken down by the system. It was the Black business man who got lynched more often than the beggar, who got chain-ganged for Negro vagrancy. Success and wealth may actually make you more of a target for White rage and fear than you were when you were broke. This reality leaves us with one option: Exodus. Perhaps it’s time to take what little you have and invest it in some place where you can see the return in your lifetime. Why continue to play with such sick, backwards and violent people at the helm of the institutions you depend on? Who are you to leave your offspring in the line of fire because of a dream that was clearly not for you? Hasn’t this system proven itself criminal beyond repair? What a crappy destiny for a race of people to be trapped on the hamster wheel of proving their humanity to a bunch of criminals who outlaw resistance to their crimes! How irresponsible would we be as parents to continue another cycle of poverty and want in a land that knows nothing of justice, regardless of what it professes? What the DOJ found in Ferguson may be the beginning of what we need. Let’s win the case there for reparations there and set a legal precedent in Ferguson. Then, our case must go international if it is to gain enough momentum. The Fox News loving majority in this country has a denial complex too deep to keep this fight domestic. This is how you make Black lives matter; by making them matter to the whole world. You make Black lives matter when Black people stop settling for a penny less than what belongs to us by birthright. We cannot wait any longer, because the momentum is with us now. We are owed the world because we built it. Let our children call us the greatest generation. Let them say that we struck while the iron was hot and forged a mighty sword of power. They’ve run so much game on us, by now, we should be undeceivable. May the truth of your blood right guide you to victory here, or in our motherland that birthed us all. 


Author, Activist Dr. Howard Fuller Recounts Black ‘Struggle’ and ‘Progress’ At Blair-Caldwell Library Presentation “No Struggle, No Progress,”

the title of Dr. Howard Fuller’s new book, is a metaphor for his 50 years of organizing for social justice in the African-American community. He was inspired by the words of Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.” “So struggle we must,” Fuller said at a recent presentation held at the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library. “Understanding the relationship between struggle and progress is what propelled me down dark alleys and dirt roads in some of North Carolina’s poorest communities in the 1960s and pushed me into the bush, mountains and war-torn villages of Africa nearly a decade later,” he stated, at the event sponsored by Democrats for Education Reform. “It is what pushes me still in the fight over one of the most contentious education issues of this era: parental choice.” Fuller also founded Malcolm X Liberation University in 1969 and was a Black power advocate with an African name: Owusu Sadaukai. “I got involved in the African Liberation Movement in the early 1970s and later even studied Marxism as a union organizer,” he said. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana who grew up in Milwaukee, Fuller resolved to dedicate himself to the African-American struggle for social change as soon as he graduated from college in 1962. The Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, but he had unconventional ideas about the path to social change — ones that never allowed him to become merely a careerist. Although he decided to pursue social work, he was not interested in the traditional curriculum of casework and group therapy. “I viewed those areas as helping people manage oppression and I wanted no part of that,” he writes. “I wanted to help end oppression.” He chose Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland because it offered a new area of social work that correlated with his vision: community organizing. Throughout his life Fuller frequently has had to make decisions to change jobs and projects to be able to pursue his social justice vision.

By Annette Walker

Author and Activist Dr. Howard Fuller

While in Cleveland he had two experiences that profoundly impacted his thinking and future work: First, he participated in a peaceful demonstration and sit-in at the school administration building. The police came and he, along with others, was beaten, taunted and charged with misdemeanors. Secondly, a few weeks later he went to hear Malcolm X speak about the future of the civil rights struggle, a talk that became known as “The Ballot or the Bullet”. “And from the moment he opened his mouth, I was transfixed,” Fuller wrote. “The man was bold. There was a raw honesty and bravery about Malcolm. He not only made perfect sense to me, but he connected to something deep in my soul,” he continued. One month after X’s talk in Cleveland, Fuller finished his master’s degree. His scholarship stipulated that he spend one year working for the Urban League, so he accepted a position as an employment relations specialist at its Chicago office. “I had much respect for the League and the role it played in the broader community, but it became clear to me that it would not provide the platform for me to do the kind of community organizing I yearned to do,” Fuller said. In the mid-1960s there was a vast expansion in the United States of programs and projects aimed at quelling the discontent in the African American community. Fuller accepted a coordi-

Photo by Evan Semón

nator job in a North Carolina anti-poverty program, Operation Breakthrough — a position that would become the first of many leadership roles. Fuller was troubled by living conditions for African Americans in Durham, North Carolina. “Though I’d grown up in public housing and spent my earliest days in a poor southern community, I’d never seen poverty and neglect like this,” he recalled, “Dirt streets in the middle of town! That was incomprehensible to me. Shotgun shacks were everywhere and some of them had no running water indoors. My heart hurt when I saw how my people were living and how they had accommodated themselves to survive under conditions that no human being should have to endure. Anger burned deep inside.” A potent, but rarely-discussed line in Section 202 of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act prompted a “eureka” moment for Fuller. “The provision said to me that poor Black people, who had long been dictated to even by well-meaning whites, should play a major role in determining what they needed and how they should get it,” he reasoned. He and his team went to work. His style of community organizing consisted of going to churches, barbershops, pool halls, restaurants and homes. “We got started simply by knocking on doors to get to know the people we were serving,” he said.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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From that moment in 1965 until the present, Fuller has sought to involve the people who are being helped in determining their needs and strategies for solutions. Sometimes this method was criticized by the power structure, elected officials, donors and the media. For example, once a White North Carolina Republican Congressman attacked both Fuller and Operation Breakthrough at a press conference, calling for the program’s suspension and Fuller’s firing. Although that did not happen, the Congressman did succeed in banning decision-making powers from the people served by the program. Fuller resigned two years later, but he left having created at least a dozen programs created by those being served. In the early 1970s he spent time in Africa and even went into “the bush” with freedom fighters of FRELIMO, the armed units in Mozambique, seeking an end to Portuguese colonialism. When he returned to the United States, he went to Milwaukee to complete a Ph.D. and began directing education programs. In the early 90s he was appointed as the superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. His ideas about education reform, including vouchers, clashed with some school board members and the teachers union. “Just putting Black faces in high places will not change things because often institutional arrangements will not allow that,” Fuller said. He no longer had faith in major change, so he resigned. However, as in the past, when one door closed, another opened. In 2000 he became the first president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), the first Black-centered parental choice advocacy group. As he looks back over the past 50 years, Fuller admits that there has been progress for some African /Americans, but he is concerned that some segments of the community remain trapped in poverty. “When I first landed in North Carolina 50 years ago, I truly believed I could help end poverty,” Fuller wrote in his book. “That youthful naïveté vanished long ago,” he continued. “Education does not alter the fundamentals of the economic structure, but we hope that by educating kids, they will be in a position to have an impact on making structural changes in this country.”


Beyond Selma: Vote in May‌It Matters!

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DUS Updates Community On The Mayoral, City Council Races By Charles Emmons

t‘s early spring. Just over 30 days out from the Denver Municipal election and there is a smattering of political yard signs everywhere. If this were November the byways would be covered too. Just because Barack Obama is already president and this is a local election with less fanfare and political ads on the television, does not mean you shouldn’t make voting a priority. March 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the marches in Selma, Alabama. Even President Obama went there with his family to observe this important anniversary recently brought to the forefront of popular culture in the film Selma. Although few dispute it as an ugly time in our nation’s history some discount its rele-

vance today. However, we must never forget the men and women who were beaten on “Bloody Sunday� and during other similar demonstrations fought with courage, persistence and tenacity in the pursuit of the basic civil right to vote. President Obama’s message, and that of Georgia congressman John Lewis, resonated with many but there is still much work to be done. Although poll taxes and literacy tests are no more, other forms of voter suppression continue to threaten our democracy. Denver may seem far removed from the Jim Crow south, but African Americans and Latinos have been protesting and fighting for equal employment in the Mile High City since the 1960s. The Keyes desegregation case that a Park Hill resident brought against Denver Public Schools

We are working hard to keep our promises to you. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Re Elect Working to Connect OUR Diverse Communities in District 9 Former Mayor Wellington Webb Says “Three years ago, I endorsed a young man who I thought would bring new young leadership and compassion to the most diverse district in the city. He has undertaken the tough issues and not ducked any controversial topics. He has brought new development and sense of community to the entire district with residents feeling that everyone counts. I am proud of the job he is doing as our councilman.�

AlbusBrooksforDenver.org Facebook/CouncilmanAlbusBrooks Twitter@AlbusBrooksD8 Paid for by Albus Brooks for Denver. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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Sponsored & Co-Sponsored Numerous Events in Northeast Denver D Celena Hollis Memorial D Annual King M. Trimble., Esq. Tea & Roses Senior Social D Annual Hiawatha Davis Jr. Senior Luncheon D Safe Summer Safe Holly Park Hill Festival D Imagin8 Neighborhood Tour: My office embarked on a strategic visioning tour, bringing every neighborhood together to share ideas about challenges and opportunities in our district.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT D Established Welton in Five Points as an Urban Renewal Area D Partnered with the Office of Economic Development (OED) for the Welton Street Design Challenge D Changed the name from Welton Street Cultural Historic District to the Five Points Historic Cultural District (Official in the fall of 2014) D Future development of the Central Denver Recreation Center D Grocery stores working to eliminate the food deserts in NE Denver: Sprouts Farmers Market, Colfax & Garfield, and Walgreens, 35th & Colorado Blvd.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT D Partnered with OED to provide intensive training to over 70 young men & women of color who live in District 8 and have been involved in the justice system. D Upon completing the training, the young adults attended a job fair. Over 40 employers participated: 550 job opportunities were available.


District No. 1 went before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973. Although the city has had its trials and triumphs, it is perhaps the growing independent character of voters that has allowed for the majority of the city’s successes. Denver’s first Hispanic mayor Federico Pena coined the phrase, “imagine a Great City” and he funded Denver International Airport (DIA) and built a new convention center. Wellington Webb, Denver’s first African American mayor, completed the airport. The second African American and current mayor, Michael Hancock imagines even greater things for Denver and DIA. Mayor Hancock has had a successful first term. He has forged the requisite partnerships with the business community to bring jobs and investment and has worked with the educational community to help ensure that an educated workforce is ready to take the jobs that are being created. A review of his 2014 State of the City report reveals many of his accomplishments. If fundraising wins elections, it appears that he will easily earn a second term – even with the likes of Sauk’, Paul Noel Fiorino and Marcus Giavanni having been officially certified on the mayoral ballot. He has raised more than a million dollars for his campaign. Mayor Hancock has also taken Mayor Webb’s walking of Denver neighborhoods to another level. While leveraging social media, he is out and about in the community. Photos on his Facebook page from St. Patrick’s Day reveal he may even have a bit of the Irish in him. Still, effective governing is not fun; it is hard work and Hancock, like many of his colleagues on city council, is aware that not all neighborhoods have been a part of Denver’s success. For example, in 2014 he focused his attention on slighted neighborhoods like Westwood and Five Points/Welton Street. The Five Points neighborhood recently received $150 million in funds for redevelopment. It was thought in the early 1990s that light rail would boost the area’s economic standing, but that did not pan out – and the stark contrast is quite apparent when driving in from a new and vibrant downtown onto Welton Street in Five Points. Fortunately, the rehab and redevelopment of such historical landmarks like the Rossonian Hotel are helping the vision change for the area. District 8 has many changes. Albus Brooks represents the economic engine of downtown and has frequent interfaces with business and organizations like the Downtown Denver Partnership. His Integr8 program in partnership with the Denver Office of

Economic Development placed nearly 30 at-risk youth in gainful employment. These were youth on the margins that had committed felonies or misdemeanors. Brooks is just one of the young councilmen who are making a difference in Denver’s communities of color, while at the same time making a mark as good policy and law makers. During a conversation with him last fall he told me: “The city is what changes your life most immediately. The city is where I have the opportunity to make a decision on Monday and it affects someone’s life on Tuesday. People don’t understand that 90 percent of our GDP (gross domestic product) is generated in cities. We have so much influence and power on a city level to change the welfare of individuals. So it is extremely important for African Americans and Latinos in this city to begin seeing the advantage that they have in their elected officials at the city level and seeing that the power they can bring at the city level.” Brooks is running for reelection. He will represent the redrawn District 9. Another young councilman and current council president Chris Herndon has moved out of District 11 and is running in District 8, which now includes the Stapleton neighborhood. His latest accomplishment is getting the Punch Bowl Social restaurant into the old control tower property in Stapleton and he, like Brooks, is focused on programs that help break the preschool to prison pipeline for youths, particularly ones of color. His successful Northeast Denver Leadership Week slated for June 1519, will focus on providing young people with career alternatives and leadership opportunities. Redistricting happens in Denver every 10 years. The boundaries were redrawn in 2012 to go in effect for the May 5 election. District 9 will include Five Points, Cole, Elyria Swansea, Coors Field and the Pepsi Center. District 8 will include Park Hill, Stapleton, Northfield and parts of Montbello. District 11, one of the most competitive races, will include parts of Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and DIA. According to the denvergov.org website: Current City Council members will represent constituents within these boundaries until July 20. 2015 City Council Districts: These boundaries will be used to determine voter and candidate eligibility for the May 5 General Municipal Election and any election thereafter. Representation for these boundaries will go into effect when newly elected City Council representatives are sworn into office on July 20. Chris Herndon’s departure from

District 11 leaves an open seat. There are now five candidates vying for his spot – Sean Bradley, Shelli Brown, Stacie Gilmore and Tea Schook (candidate Tim Camarillo is also on the certified ballot, but he has not reported any campaign contributions). Here’s some of what they had to say when I reached out to them for comment on the pressing issues and their candidacy. DUS: What are the major issues facing Denver and its communities?

Sean Bradley Particularly out here in our neighborhood it’s growth. There are 12,000 people moving into Denver every year and we are seeing the effects of that in Green Valley Ranch and Montbello. Growth is really happening. Traffic is really a problem here. The other thing is that we have some real challenges with safety. We have had enough shootings that have taken place in our community, that now people think we should be that much more alarmed. Because that was during the cold months of the year, just imagine what could potentially happen during the summertime. Continued on page 14

Being your Mayor has been the greatest honor of my life. Together, we are making this city a better place for your family and for mine. HANCOCKFORDENVER.COM Paid for by Hancock for Denver; Joshua J. Widoff, Treasurer

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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Beyond Selma...Vote in May

Continued from page 12 And so having a safe environment and a safe community to raise a family and for seniors to continue to live out their lives, that is a real challenge for us out here. And then the third thing I would say are the grocery options that we don’t have for our community are real and legitimate. But we do have economic development challenges. We do have senior transportation challenges. We need to make sure that RTD is running full services throughout our neighborhoods so that seniors can get to their prescriptions and get to their doctor’s appointments and then get back home.

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Shelli Brown It’s growing pains. We are a city that has grown tremendously and District 11, in particular as it is now, has seen 75 percent of the growth across Denver. We are trying to figure out how to accommodate all that. Whether that means housing, whether that means amenities and services that match all these developments, in different parts of the city we are hearing the same common theme, just maybe a little differently. I would also say our public safety department is going through some changes. Our sheriff’s department was highlighted (for use of excessive force and officer misconduct) over the summer and our police department has had this issue come up more recently. So that is a citywide issue and something that we need to that we need to kind of think through so that the folks in charge of keeping us safe and managing our safety are really making the best decisions possible on our behalf, and with us, if that makes sense. Those are the two big things that come to mind. Stacie Gilmore The three most important issues facing the city are 1. Denver is under retailed, with revenue seepage to other municipalities 2. Lack of affordable housing: and 3. Investment in infrastructure, including roads. The issues facing our community in District 11 are the need for 1. Youth and adult training programs, with an emphasis on jobs leading to livable wage careers with benefits: 2. Healthy food options: and 3, addressing transportation issues with our roads that create traffic flow bottlenecks.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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Tea Schook How to balance the needs of residents with growth – managing growth – with balancing the desire for safe neighborhoods and city with fears of police overreaction, getting basic maintenance like streets, lights, traffic management, sidewalks and code enforcement in District 11. Jumping into the public sphere to tackle these issues is a daunting task, especially considering the fact that some have lingered for more than 25 years. Bradley moved to Denver 11 years ago and has worked on Capitol Hill and with state legislatures, but he says his grandparents, mother and aunt (who were precinct judges and spent time registering people to vote in rural Texas respectively) inspired him to pursue public service. “They were registering people to vote, they were encouraging people to go to the polls. And so to get a chance to see that really showed me how impactful you can be in the community – if you vote, you participate and get involved.” Brown, a licensed counselor who has lived in Green Valley Ranch since 2001, works as the site manager for a violence prevention youth program in Montbello. “I think in the capacity of this job and position my eyes were opened to the possibility of leading the community in a different way,” Brown said. Gilmore has run a successful environmental education nonprofit for 20 years. For her it is about quality of life. “I love our community. I am passionate and committed to making sure it is represented on all issues affecting our quality of life. We deserve to live in a community that has smart and sustainable economic growth, jobs that lead to careers and a beautiful neighborhood where the quality of life supports our family’s health and wellbeing.” Schook has been a community and political activist all her adult life. She says she worked under and was mentored by Mayor Webb, Cathy Donohue and Cathy Reynolds. “City council is the form of government that is closest to the people governed and is the next natural step in a lifetime dedicated to bringing power to the people.” DUS: Why do you think you are the best public servant to address some of the critical issues? Bradley I think because of my experiences. I’ve worked on the federal government level; I’ve worked on the state government level [and] I’ve worked


on the local government level. I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector and as the president of the Denver Urban League. My wife and I started our own business, so my wife and I are small business owners. We live in the neighborhood. We know these issues. Having political experience allows me to maneuver through the weeds and get things done on behalf of the people in this community. We have a significant amount of support in the neighborhood and throughout the city, so I am not just thinking we can do this work. I know we can do this work.

Brown Because I work hard: because I am not in it for anybody else but the community. I feel that I can be a strong advocate for the families that are in far northeast, because it is something that is natural for me. I have been living out here since 2001 raising my family. Our district includes most of Montbello, Green Valley and DIA. I don’t want to discount DIA which has a pretty large impact over the whole city, but in terms of keeping my finger on the pulse of really what is going on in the community itself, I feel I am the strongest candidate to be that voice. I am the one that is most embedded in this community and the one that is doing this community work every day. Far northeast Denver is essentially the center of my world because of the fact that I do live and work here. So I really do have a stake in seeing this district represented well. Gilmore The role of an elected city leader should be to listen first, do their best to thoroughly understand an issue, gather information from content experts and then be able to make a decision based on that information. I have been doing this throughout my 20 years of work in the community and I will continue this through my public service. I will stay true to my work for the past two decades in

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which I champion children and families to succeed, making sure we have a fiscally responsible government, economic opportunities and a high quality of life to ensure our citizens have every chance to succeed in life.

Schook I bring experience to the role; I have worked for the city of Denver nearly 18 years. I managed the relationship with the restaurant owners at the airport as food and beverage manager and now as land manager I work with our external tenants – the rental cars, the gas station, and the pet boarding facility. I have worked with businesses of all sizes to create successes for them and for local government. I wrote Denver’s AntiDiscrimination Ordinance, a law protecting all people in the city, and I pulled together a coalition of religious, racial, business and social entities to lobby the city council for its passage, which was accomplished in 1990. I bring passion, experience and commitment to the job along with the desire to make something good into something great. These candidates give voice to many of the issues on the minds of many in the metro area and they want you to know they are passionate about running and resolving them. Last October former Mayor Webb told the Spectrum that you always vote for your interests. Everyone has an interest in a good job, good schools for their children, infrastructure to support your daily commute and a safe environment to raise a family. We have a responsibility to participate in the process and let them know what we want. Engage and investigate all of the candidates online and with social media, but also in person at town halls, neighborhood meetings and when they knock on your door. Tell them what you want and need and validate that by casting you’re on May 5th for the one you feel most likely to get it done for you.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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Center for Urban Education


By La Toya S. Petty, MNM

Development Director, Families Forward Resource Center

Y

ou are probably thinking, “this will never happen to my family” or “I’m healthy, educated, a career woman and I have a good doctor so… I have nothing to worry about.” It’s time to become more aware of the health of our community and children. Not only is infant mortality real, but Denver’s African American women are three times more likely to lose their babies to miscarriage or death in the first year of life compared to a non-Hispanic white woman regardless of socioeconomic status including education and income level. Our babies are dying at an astonishing rate and we cannot turn a blind eye. In Far Northeast Denver and Northwest Aurora, there were approximately 750 births per year to African American women from 2011-2013 and the infant mortality rate during that 3year period was 9.8/1,000 live births. In contrast, the average infant mortality rate for the same 3-year period was 3.7/1,000 live births for non-Hispanic white women for 720 births. Women, you are not at fault. This uphill battle is a consequence of stressors and negative experiences across generations resulting from prolonged exposure to racism. The phrase “lived experience” has been used by medical professionals to describe the racial disparity across generations. Factors of life that have become generational stressors for African Americans like education, family dynamics, past experiences, socioeconomic status, and simply feeling like there is no sense of belonging

Is Real

Infant Mortality can have lasting consequences on a woman’s ability to have a healthy pregnancy and infant. The most disturbing fact is that 80 percent of Denver’s African American deaths could have been prevented last year. Families Forward Resource Center (FFRC) has the solution. Through our Healthy Babies, Strong Families Program (HBSF) we are fully prepared to address Denver’s disturbing infant mortality rate. Shawn Taylor, HBSF program manager, and her team of HBSF Advocates work with families that are planning to have a baby, currently pregnant, and have recently given birth. Each HBSF Advocate is uniquely qualified to support families through their pregnancy. They go through extensive training and have valuable life experience that helps families embrace the pregnancy journey. African American and Bi-Racial families are eligible for this free program. FFRC believes babies are precious and deserve a healthy start so we welcome all family structures. HBSF will address infant mortality by providing direct support to families at three different levels. 1. Individual Family Level: Family development delivered through Home Visitation, Parenting Education, Health Programs, Resource Referral, Infant Resources, Counseling and Family Planning. 2. Group Level: Trainings and class-

es: Resiliency, Mindfulness, Yoga, Birthing, Mental Health First Aid, Walking Club, Fatherhood Support Group and Teen Parenting Solution Group. Other social connections such as breastfeeding workshops, expecting mom’s day out, chat and chew social groups and mom-tomom mentoring are also available. 3. Community Level: Far Northeast Health Alliance is a Community Action Network (CAN) that coordinates with other initiatives and engages participants to work on social determinants. The CAN also works to ensure medical homes for participants in local communities. Through the HBSF program FFRC aims to reduce African American infant mortality by improving women’s health, promoting quality services, strengthening family resilience, achieving collective impact and increasing accountability through quality improvement, performance monitoring and evaluation.

Get Involved!

•Individuals/Families: FFRC will connect you with a HBSF Advocate and get you started in the program. If you need any other assistance your advocate is there to help you with whatever you need! •Social Groups: If you are currently part of a pregnancy or social group, HBSF advocates will come to you and provide classes and resources for your

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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members. •Schools: HBSF advocates are prepared to conduct an introductory HBSF Program Orientation with school staff in addition to hosting our Teen Parenting Solution Group at the school. •Organization Referrals: Organizations that are currently working with eligible cliental can refer them to the HBSF program by visiting our website and filling out the “sign me up” form on the HBSF webpage. We can also work out a formal referral process for larger entities. •Fatherhood: This program supports Fathers also! Fathers are welcome to participate in all the classes with their spouse. FFRC also has the Today’s Fathers Program which helps men maneuver and embrace family life. Editor’s note: If you would like to join the FFRC family, there are plenty of opportunities in 2015. Contact Shawn Taylor, HBSF Program Manager. Call 303-3862915 or sign-up online www.familieforwardrc.com. Visit our website for more information about the community events, fundraisers and programs. Donations are appreciated to our Annual Strong Families, Strong Communities Fundraising Campaign that help save babies. Mail checks payable to Families Forward Resource Center to 4800 Telluride St. B5-162 Denver, CO 80249.

Upcoming Events Kite Festival May 30th - 10 to 2 p.m.

Infant Mortality Summit June 13th

Kathy’s Kamp (Summer Enrichment Camp) June 8th – July 25th 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

FFRC’s 6th Annual “Get on the Green for Good” Golf Tournament July 10th at 7:30 a.m. Strong Families, Strong Communities 5K Block Party August 1st at 7:30 a.m.

Kathy Hill-Young Community Spirit Awards Celebration December 5th at 7 p.m.


Depression:

What You Need To Know By Drs. Herbert & Mary Canty Merrill

D

epression is a mood disorder that causes an overwhelming and persistent feeling of sadness. However, some depressed people do not feel sad at all—instead, they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic and some may even feel angry, aggressive and restless. Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life

and interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep and have fun. These feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief. Depression can be attributed to a number of causes that include, but are not limited to: certain medical conditions, sleep problems, drugs and alcohol and stressful life events such as death, divorce, abuse, neglect or abandonment. Depression distorts how we view ourselves, others and our environment. Depression comes in many forms and different types of depression have unique symptoms, causes and effects among various cultural groups. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms and obtain the most effective treatment. Also knowing how depression is perceived within your community or cultural group can become a major asset in finding solutions or effective means to resolving problems.

Three Primary Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

(Clinical Depression) While we all feel sad or blue at some point in our lives, major depression is characterized by a lingering inability to enjoy life and experience pleasure. The symptoms range from moderate to severe. Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months. Some people experience only a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but more commonly major depression is a recurring disorder to those who have been traumatized. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44. It affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in any given year. While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 and it is more prevalent in women than in men.

Dysthymia

(recurring, mild depression) Dysthymia is a chronic but milder form of depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last much longer. Some people also experience

major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as “double depression.� The symptoms of dysthymia may include: lack of energy, irritability or excessive anger, a change in sleep patterns, trouble concentrating and making decisions, over or under eating, avoidance of social activities, hopelessness, low self-esteem, pessimism, or feeling incapable of achievement. Dysthymia symptoms can come and go or change in intensity over time. If you suffer from dysthymia you may feel like you have always suffered from depression or you may think your continuous depressed state is “normal.“ The good news is that dysthymia can be treated, even if symptoms have gone untreated for an extended period of time. Gone untreated, dysthymia can progress into major depression.

Bipolar Disorder

(Manic Depressive Illness) Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder characterized by a mood cycle that shifts from severe highs (mania) or mild highs (hypomania) to severe lows (depression). These moods swings can occur gradually or abruptly and causes unusual and intense changes in mood, energy and function. Bipolar disorder can result in poor job and school performance, damaged relationships, insurmountable debt and even suicide. Bipolar disorder tends to be hereditary, so some people are more likely to develop the illness than others. However, genes are not the only risk factor for bipolar disorder – social and environmental factors are also involved, although research has not fully determined how these factors contribute to the illness. The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder may include: a long period of feeling overly happy or overly sad, extreme changes in sleep, activity and energy patterns, extreme restlessness or irritability, being easily distracted, talking fast and jumping from one idea to another, problems with concentration, memory and decision-making, an unrealistic belief in one’s abilities, impulsive engagement in highrisk, pleasurable activities, hallucinations or delusions, alcohol and/or substance abuse and thoughts of death or suicide. Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime, although medications can help control symptoms and support normal day-to-day functioning.

Stigmas Surrounding Mental Illness

The stigmas (or negative attributes) that surround mental illness can be attributed to private and public shame and is the primary reason that many

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

18

do not seek help for their condition. It has been reported that some 42 million people who suffer from mental illness do not seek help because of negative cultural sanctions, myths and media stereotypes, which can lead to further complications. Stigma can lead to blatant, subtle or unintentional negative attitudes and discrimination towards those who suffer from mental illness. Stigmas associated with mental illness include, but are not limited to: loss of spouse, judgment from friends and/or community, exclusion from social circles, employment discrimination and limitation of professional advancement. As social beings, no individual wants to believe that they are markedly different from their peers or be viewed in a negative manner, so they will often continue living in silence until their condition becomes overwhelming. Here are some steps that you can take to help cope with the stigmas associated with mental illness: •Reach out to a trusted individual who can help you get the treatment you need. •Don’t equate yourself with your illness. •Understand that your illness is not a sign of personal weakness. •Educate yourself about your condition to overcome destructive selfjudgment and low self-esteem. •Join a support group •Don’t allow fear and judgment to prevent you from getting the help that you need. Learning to accept yourself in all of your beauty and complexity and recognizing what you need to treat your condition can significantly increase the quality of your life. Editor’s note: To learn more about enhancing mental well-being and to gain access to valuable resources, New Hope Baptist Church will present the second annual Mental Wellness Conference on Saturday on April 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free event will be held at 3701 Colorado Blvd., in Denver. For more information, call 303-322-5200.

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

United Church of Montbello! Come as you are and get connected to your best self through great fellowship and the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday Worship: 8:00am (Traditional) and 10:30am (Gospel) 4VOEBZ4DIPPMBNr8FEOFTEBZ#JCMF4UVEZQN

Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070 http://ucm.ctsmemberconnect.net


The Effect of the School Environment on the Learning Experience By Dedrick J. Sims, CEO Sims-Fayola Foundation

Creating an

environment that is considerate of cultural influences is very important to conveying core subject information and motivating minority students. This kind of environment (aka “school culture”) can assist in transcending the negative effects of the dominant teaching pedagogy. Not seeing one’s history, culture or background in the textbooks (or when that information is distorted) causes students to want give up on education because they don’t feel that it’s relevant to their lives. Additionally, non-academic factors also play a role in motivating these students academically. School culture can sometimes perpetuate feelings of low self-worth and low levels of motivation among students of color by indirectly fostering an environment of isolation toward students who are failing academically. Their predicament is exacerbated when cultural tools are not employed to assist them in the learning process. Scholars say teachers and parents worry that students are unmotivated, but in reality they are highly motivated to protect their sense of self-worth. There are organizational features, academic routines, qualities of leadership and staff support that, if followed, will end in high achieve-

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ment for minority students consistently. For example, when the staffing pattern of the school, all teachers and the principal are White and only the janitors and cafeteria workers are persons of color, it is hard to see yourself in another capacity. They need to have models of success who look like them. Students will think, ‘if they can do it, so can I.” One of the most effective avenues for improving student motivation is a school’s culture. According to some scholars, school culture can be embodied and transformed through channels such as shared values, heroes, rituals, ceremonies, stories and cultural networks. Some suggest using a wide variety of activities and symbols to communicate motivational goals. “Visible symbols,” some say, illustrate and confirm what is considered to be important in the school. School newsletters, statements of goals, behavior codes, rituals, symbols and legends should be employed to convey messages of what the school really values. Staging academic awards assemblies, awarding trophies for academic success and displaying them in trophy cases, scheduling motivational speakers and publicizing students’ success can help them see that the desire to be successful academically is recognized and appreciated. A culturally relevant school embraces the idea that there should be at least one institution in American society that provides a common experience of citizenship and equal opportunity, regardless of birth. Culturally relevant teachers show students the importance of their connection to a wider community and make once left behind students lead the way. They will then by prepared for higher education and ultimately will have the skills necessary to function effectively in today’s labor market. We must create an educational environment that not only celebrates diversity, but also equips children of color with the skills they need to survive in this society and contribute to its creative environment. 

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19


legislation that she says would transform the federal drug approval process getting us closer to cures for chronic diseases like cancer, sickle cell and Parkinson’s disease. Shortly before her annual “African-American Community Leadership” breakfast held March 20th at the Park Hill Golf Club, she spoke to DUS Contributor and Guest Managing Editor Chandra Thomas Whitfield about her latest initiatives.

A Conversation with Rep. Diana DeGette C

Congresswoman Diana DeGette takes time to meet, greet and chat withe breakfast guests.

By Chandra Thomas Whitfield

hief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette is serving her 10th term in Congress as a Democratic Representative for the First District of Colorado. As a member of the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce, an exclusive congressional committee with vast jurisdiction over health care, trade, business, technolo-

gy, food safety and consumer protection, she is widely considered one of the leading voices in the healthcare debate in this country.

As lead whip, she played a vital role in the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, has fought for tough food safety legislation and was a key player in crafting a comprehensive consumer product safety bill. Rep. DeGette is also the chief architect of legislation to expand stem cell research, which has been passed twice with broad bipartisan support in Congress. In keeping with her self-described commitment to improving health and wellness opportunities for all, she has set her sights on helping draft new

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Fracking (hydrolic fracturing) remains a top concern. We’re getting ready to introduce the “FRAC Act” again – which stands for the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act – with the overarching objective of ensuring safe drinking water for all. The FRAC Act has two different provisions: one requires oil and gas companies to publicly disclose exactly what chemicals they’re using in their fracking fluid. The other provision would subject the oil and gas industry to the Safe Drinking Water Act; we have anecdotal evidence of contamination due to fracking. Right now companies are required to report in Colorado, but it’s not required nationwide. The fact of the matter is that aquaphors don’t stop at state lines. Since reporting hasn’t been required, in those cases where these chemicals are believed to have seeped into and contaminated water supplies, it could not be proven due to this lack of reporting. This measure will help hold companies responsible. It’s going to be a tough fight, but we have bi-partisan support for the bill. Finally, you’ve also been an outspoken advocate fighting against domestic violence in professional sports – particularly following the videotaped incident involving former Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice. What’s the latest on that effort? I’m a part of a congressional subcommittee looking into domestic violence issues in pro-sports. In fact, we recently met with Major League Baseball officials about putting some more rules in place in regards to that. We’re definitely keeping a close eye on that issue and working to put more provisions in place. We all need to work together to send the message that domestic violence will not be tolerated. Recently fellow congressional member Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia and President Obama joined thousands in commemorating the 50th anniversary of a 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. What did you take away from the anniversary event? It was beautiful. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend, but I was much honored to go on the first congressional pilgrimage to Selma that Rep. Lewis hosted almost 20 years ago. I think he has a very important legacy to uphold – but there’s also the ongoing challenge of ensuring that the fight for equality and voting rights continues. I take inspiration from the Freedom Riders and the marchers from way back when. In light of what’s happened recently in Ferguson (MO) – and even some of the issues we’ve had in Colorado – it’s even more apparent that we need to continue to fight for voting and civil rights in this country.

FINAL 3 WEEKS A “DECISIVE KNOCK-OUT” — Variety

that imagines the night CASSIUS CLAY spent with singer SAM COOKE, activist MALCOLM X, and football legend JIM BROWN ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… By Kemp Powers

Illustration by Kyle Malone

States. Right now there are a lot of barrier to expediting research; we’re trying to speed up the way that information gets from the research lab to the clinic. We’re trying to involve government agencies like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and NIH (National Institutes of Health). The way they are currently structure often slows down the process of getting us closer to finding critical cures. Why this legislation now? Every American has some connection to health conditions like diabetes, types 1 and 2, cancer, ALS, sickle cell and other chronic conditions. The 21 Century cures legislation is about revamping the entire process we use in this country to approve medical cures and treatments, to figure out how we can maintain quality, but speed up the process. The NIH and FDA are involved in giving suggestions and feedback. I support patient privacy and HIPPA laws, but I want to look more closely at it, in regards to the idea of creating a collective database that researchers could use to get us closer to critical cures. Our goal is to provide avenues for medical care providers to be able to provide more personalized medical care for the patient. There’s a lot that has to be addressed to make that happen. We know that many advancements in science and technology have been made that can lead to more successful developments of treatments and cures. As we learn more about the science, we can target potential treatments and cures more effectively on impacted populations. Speaking of “impacted populations,” as you know DUS is a publication aimed at “spreading the news about people of color.” How is this legislation relevant to our audience, in particular? For one, I know that diabetes tends to disproportionately affect communities of color; it’s becoming an epidemic. One of the things that this legislation will do is focus on coming up with more ways for more appropriate and higher quality treatment. I’m also a co-chair of the Diabetes Caucus in Congress. What we’ve done is brought together the Asian-American, AfricanAmerican and Hispanic caucuses in congress – we call it the tri-caucuses – to draft a Minorities Disparities Bill. We know that minority communities are disproportionately affected and our goal is to explore strategies for prevention and treatment. We’ve introduced legislation for several congresses now and we’re getting ready to introduce more again. You’re also a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, what’s topping your agenda in regards to environmental issues?

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REEL ACTION BY BLACKFLIX.COM Ground Rules

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

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Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is Blackflix.com’s Senior Critic-at-Large. J.R. Johnson is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Blackflix.com’s intern. Laurence Washington is the creator of BlackFlix.com.

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the film never threatens to outstay its welcome. The events take place within a 24-hour period as a split-second event triggers the life-and-death chase to stay alive. The action is plentiful with a subway chase, a dramatic car chase, a shoot out and a manhunt that takes place in a massive multi-level complex. The performances are richly conceived, the editing is sharp, the tension is taut and the violence sudden and foul. There are moments in the film that are absolutely chilling – as when Ed Harris, who wanted to be at arm’s length from the crimes committed for his profit – finds that he has to personally kill someone he loves. With several A-list actors in leading roles, there’s no reason to fault any of the acting. Neeson and Harris each command a powerful presence, and together they really ratchet up both the drama and the action, but it’s Common’s frightening performance that achieves standout prominence. He makes his presence known as a violent assassin as he relentlessly pursues Mike and Jimmy. A testosterone-fueled thriller directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Nonstop) the film is a satisfying action-drama that revolves around gangsters and bent coppers. This bleak tale of retribution, regrets and redemption may not stray too far from familiar territory but its engaging and well worth the theater ticket price.

Focus

 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

Irish mob stories have been the

source of countless motion pictures for there’s nothing like a gritty gangster flick to get the adrenaline flowing. A crime thriller that’s a joy to watch, at the heart of this film is Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson), a Brooklyn mobster and prolific hit man once known as ‘The Gravedigger’ who has seen better days. The longtime best friend of mob boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), Jimmy, now 55, is haunted by the sins of his past – as well as a dogged police detective (Vincent D’Onofrio) who’s been one step behind him for 30 years. Lately, it seems Jimmy’s only solace can be found at the bottom of a whiskey glass, but when his estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman), becomes a mob target, he’s forced to face off with his former mob boss in order to protect his son. At 1 hour and 54 minutes in length,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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H

ollywood’s favorite movie star is far too affable and charming to be a con artist, but in his latest role Will Smith plays just that. In Focus the new Warner Bros. film, Smith stars as a seasoned con artist who becomes romantically involved with another grifter. A romantic heist thriller, which jets from New York to New Orleans to one of South America’s most exquisite cities, Buenos Aires, it’s written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love). In this predictable but pleasant film, Smith plays Nicky (aka Mellow), a suave, stylishly clad gentleman who is clearly one of the best in his business. A third-generation hustler, he runs a tight team of talented thieves – a motley crew of characters who can pick pocket just about anything from anyone without their knowledge. A well-oiled machine, they steal watches, jewels, electronics and anything they can off unsuspecting individuals. One day he meets a fellow con artist


Focus

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called Jess (Margot Robbie). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame – now an accomplished femme fatale – shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of his million dollar con deal and throws his plans for a loop as he realizes that, not only has he never really gotten over her, but that she has clearly moved on. She is now romantically involved with the very man that he is getting into business with – the millionaire Spanish racecar team owner Rafael Garríga (Rodrigo Santoro).

Up Close and Personal with...

SuCh

Smith sizzles as the leading man in his stylish suits and coiffed look. Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) is also a delight to watch as the inexperienced, sort of a diamond-in-therough robber who is introduced to new things and there’s great chemistry between the two. But alas, pretty people, jet-setting locales and a lively dialogue isn’t enough to keep ones focus on this thinly veiled heist caper. It’s just simply too predictable and implausible with certain inconsistent scenes and events which lack credibility. There’s enough to entertain but little to engage in this one.

Sunday, April 12 3 to 6 PM

Buffet - Cash Bar

Jazz@Jacks 500 16th St. (Mall) #320 Denver, CO 80202

Tickets: $25 Advance, $30 At the Door - www.instantseats.com Door Prize Drawings for Advance Ticket Holders For info: Call 303-292-6446 or E-mail duc@urbanspectrum.net RSVP Required for Buffet Ticket Proceeds benefit the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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Chappie

 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

It’s questionable what Neill

Blomkamp was thinking when he came up with the idea of directing a movie about a childlike robot that becomes a gangster. A film, which floats between a PG and an R-rated drama, cobbling bits from films E.T., Robocop and Short Circuit, Chappie is disappointing.

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In yet another futuristic film, Blomkamp returns to his hometown of Johannesburg, the setting for his breakthrough film, District 9 to bring us a drama about a robot that can think and feel for itself. Set in the future, the crime-ridden city of Jo’burg is now patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force called droids. The film begins with several news reports (CNN’s Anderson Cooper makes an appearance here) and interviews with scientists and observers in South Africa, each of whom are talking about Chappie, the central charac-

Chappie

ter. It then cuts to 18 months earlier and introduces us to Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) a nerdy engineer who is

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

24

working on creating the world’s first indestructible robot who can not only think, but create, paint and recite poetry. Unfortunately for Deon, there’s another engineer Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) who would like his own creation ‘The Moose’ on the forefront, and two gangsters Ninja and Yolandi (actually played by Ninja and Yolandi Visser from the South African rap duo Die Antwoord), who have a 20 million debt to a cocaine drug lord. When the gangsters kidnap Deon, he trades his release with Chappie, a child-like robot, who he says can be utilized for their own purposes once trained. The cartoonwatching piece of metal is soon adopted by the motley duo. Calling his captives mommy and daddy, he is shown how to car jack, shoot, rob stores and jive talk while being prepped to pull off a major heist. It’s hard to overlook its numerous deficiencies and there are plenty of bones to pick with Chappie for Blomkamp’s shifts to obvious fiction are jarring – in one scene, Chappie perches on a stool and paints on a canvas. In another lunatic sequence Yolandi becomes angry and tries in vain to protect him from harm. “He’s just a child!” she screams while cuddling the metal hunk, “Don’t hurt him!” In a third, she reads him bedtime stories. The one about the black sheep happens to be Chappie’s favorite. Sigourney Weaver makes a few appearances as the engineering corporate overlord and Sharlto Copley plays Chappie. For those seeking action, there’s enough to satisfy with freeway chases and shootouts as Blomkamp collaborated closely with stunt coordinator Grant Hulley, who served in a similar capacity on District 9. A film which begs the philosophical question; ‘can a robot ultimately replace a human?’ Chappie remains largely a noisy action picture, barely different from all the other action stuff being churned out. With a possible sequel, we are likely to see much more of this soul-searching piece of metal in the not too distant future.


Léo Smith with world friends Ruth (Belize born) and Jim Nagenda (Uganda born) stand before the display of the Denver Urban Spectrum March issue featuring Léo.

HATS OFF TO

Left to right: Dr. Larry H. Borom, Christine De La Luna (scholarship recipient) Bettye H. Ellis, ULG President, Jamil Shabazz (scholarship recipient) and Terry E. Manns

DUS Cover Story Subject Recognized as World’s First Black Flight Attendant

The Black Flight Attendants of America, Inc. and the City of Los Angeles presented Léopoldine Emma Doualla-Bell Smith, who graced our cover in March, with a “Certificate of Congratulations,” a bouquet of flowers and a string of pearls for being “The World’s First Black Flight Attendant, Air France.” The March 14 ceremony at the Flight Path Museum at Los Angeles International Airport also honored other pioneering “firsts” in the world of aviation, including African American flight attendants, passenger services and ground personnel workers, as well as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Deputy Wins Prestigious Award for Saving Inmate’s Life

Denver Sheriff Department deputy, Gregory Liggins, has won a prestigious 5281 Award. He was one of only five Denver City workers to receive the award at a luncheon and ceremony March 4. Deputy Liggins was recognized for saving the life of an inmate in October last year, who was trying to hang himself. Liggins lifted the inmate up with one arm and used his other arm to reach for his radio and call for help. The 5281 Awards are organized by the Office of Human Resources and are given to city workers who exemplify the city’s values, support sustainability practices, and help to deliver a world class city. Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins said Deputy Liggins went above and beyond his duties when he saved the inmate, and served as a proud example of the important function sheriff deputies carry out.

Andrew Romanoff Named President and CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado

Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC), the state’s leading advocate for mental health, has named Andrew Romanoff as its new president and CEO. He will begin his new position on April 1, replacing Donald J. Mares, who was appointed Denver’s Executive Director of Behavioral Health Strategies by Mayor Michael B. Hancock in December 2014. Romanoff won election to four terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, including two terms as Speaker of the House. He earned bipartisan recognition as one of the most effective legislative leaders in America. Romanoff will lead MHAC’s efforts to end the stigma of mental illness and to make Colorado a national leader in addressing mental health and substance use disorders. The organization’s programs include pro bono counseling and referrals, youth education, Mental Health First Aid, and public policy advocacy.

pursuit of degrees in Africana and African American studies and to emphasize the continuing need for the research and study in the history, culture, and experiences of African descendants in the Americas. This is the third year of awarding these scholarships. The Urban League Guild of Denver raises the funds to

make these scholarships available through community events and special fund-raisers. The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver is an auxiliary to the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and support programs of the Urban League through volunteer activities and community relations.

Urban League Guild members attend scholarship presentation celebration.

Urban League Guild Presents Scholarship To Awardees

The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver presented book scholarships to students of Africana Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver on February 18 at St. Cajetan’s Church Auditorium on the Auraria Campus. The Urban League Guild presents the annual awards to students selected by the faculty of the MSUD Africana Studies Department for their commitment to Africana studies and participation in the department. This scholarship which is eagerly sought by students is intended to encourage the Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

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Black Women’s Symposium Scheduled For April

Black Women’s Resource Symposium is an open forum for Black women in Colorado to discuss areas of growth and progress in education, politics, employment, housing and health. The goal is to increase awareness regarding status and connect to support systems within Colorado designed to positively impact the status of Black women in the selected areas of discussion. It is a celebration of strength, moving forward, and optimism for the future. The event will be held Saturday, April 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Urban Education, UNC Lowry, located at 1059 S. Alton Way in Denver. For more information, call Deborah Sims Fard at 720-234-4994 or email dsimsfard@aol.com.

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COMMUNITY NOTES

ruptcy and foreclosure. The clinic is open to the public. For more information, call Jill Dorancy at 303-522-8803 or email socialjustice@samcarybar.net

“Jail Is No Place To Be Somebody” Youth Conference

The Denver NAACP Youth Council, Battleground Christian Outreach and the George Washington Black Student Alliance have united to bring awareness on how to avoid the juvenile and adult justice systems. On Saturday, April 18, these dedicated service organizations will sponsor the Gooch’s seventh biennial “Jail is No Place to be Somebody” Youth Conference for Transmission ages 10 to 18, parents and youth workSpecialist ers. “Our Lives Matter” is this year’s theme. The conference will be held at George Washington High School from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s partners include Denver Branch NAACP Myron Gooch, Manager (adults) and New Bethel Christian 760 Dayton Street Church. Aurora, CO workshops 80010 Several informational are designed to303-363-9783 help youth avoid the pitfalls of the juvenile and adult justice well systems.Making Special transmissions morning workshops for 22 years . have been planned for parents. All attendees will be served a free continental breakfast and lunch. Entertainment and door prizes will be available for participants. The “Jail is No Place to be Somebody” Youth Conference is free to all attendees and participants. Families, individuals and youth groups are encouraged to preregister. For information and registration, visit www.denvernaacpyouth.net, email denvernaacpyouth@comcast.net or call 720- 451-1341 or 720-234-7952.

Transmission? We have your medicine!

Five Points Legal Clinic

The Five Points Business District and Sam Cary Bar Association have partnered to start the Five Points Legal Clinic. The Clinic is held the last Tuesday of each month at the Five Points Business District offices located at 2444 Washington St. in Denver. The April topic is debt collection, bank-

Sick

Transmission? We have your

medicine! Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783

Making transmissions Making transmissions well 22 32 years . wellforfor years.

National Council of Urban League Guilds Participates in National Health Awareness Day

In partnership with Lupus Colorado, The Denver Urban League Guild presents, a health awareness education program: “Lupus and the African American Community.” The purpose of the National Health Awareness Day is to make the public aware of the symptoms and treatment of Lupus, demystifying the disease and providing useful information on managing one of the most rapidly increasing health concerns in America, especially within African American communities. The event will be Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the BlairCaldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St., in Denver. This event is free to the public and serves to meet the criteria of the National Council of Urban League Guilds.

For more information, call 303-3772790, ext. 5 or email Bellevents@msn.com.

The 25th Annual Love Our Children Luncheon

The Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth presents The 25th Annual Love Our Children Luncheon Friday, April 24th at the Denver Marriott City Center Hotel, 1701 California St. Keynote speaker is Ricky Williams, former Miami Dolphins star running back who in 2004 lead the NFL in rushing, was a Hiesman Trophy Winner, in the Texas Longhorns Hall of Fame, and a holder of 20 NCAA Records. Special guest is actor and writer John Amos, who starred in Roots and Good Times. The luncheon will include comments from Don Mares, Executive Director, City & County of Denver, Office of Behavioral Strategies and comedian Shed G. For more information, email info@shaka.org, or call 303-337-2515.

7,000th Home Will Be Painted This Year By Brothers

In its 37th season of the Paint-AThon, Brothers Redevelopment is on pace to paint Home No. 7,000 this year. Last season, 127 homes in 19 cities across seven counties were painted. The average age of the homeowners is 72. The average monthly income is $1,540. Brothers plans to paint more than 100 homes this year. Senior homeowners are encouraged to apply. Friends and family of metro-area senior homeowners who can benefit from having their homes painted – free – are encouraged to nominate a homeowner. To qualify, individuals must be 60 years or older, own and occupy their own home and plan to live in it at least one more year. Seniors must have a limited income and be financially unable to hire a house painter. The home can’t be taller than 1½ stories and must be in need of painting. Senior applications are due by May 31. For more information, an application or to volunteer, visit www.brothersredevelopment.org, call Chad Nibbelink at 720-339-5864 or email chad@brothersredevelopment.org. To become a sponsor call Cyndi Goodman at 303-685-4208 or email cyndi@brothersredevelopment.org.

Xicanindie Film 17 Denver’s Latino World Cinema Festival 2015 Lineup

XicanIndie Film Fest XVII (Chee Kahn In Dee), Denver’s prominent and prestigious four day festival dedicated to Latino World Cinema

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

26

announced the 2015 lineup via website and Constant Contact. Su Teatro’s XicanIndie Film Fest (Chicano Independent Filmmakers Festival 17) now in its 17th year features films from throughout the US, Mexico and Latin America. The XicanIndie Film Festival 17 (XIFF XVII) will feature the best in film screenings, performances, receptions, parties, awards and panels with visiting filmmakers. All events will take place at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Dr. in Denver. The XicanIndie Film Festival 17 (XIFF XVII) will take place April 9-12. For more information and the XIFF lineup, visit www.suteatro.org. Tickets are $10 and $7 for AARP members.

Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics Returns

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) announced that Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics will return for another season of provocative programming. Beginning in April, MCA Denver will present the four-week series of lectures and creative programs addressing issues related to women and gender. This year will include evenings featuring top female chefs in Denver, new perspectives on marriage and infidelity, an evening on women and the military, a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, and a performance by artist Andrea Moore. As in past Feminism & Co. programs at MCA Denver, men drink free. The series begins Thursday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at MCA Denver with “Star Chefs,” a conversation about Denver’s culinary golden age featuring four top chefs in Denver, all of whom happen to be women. The series concludes on April 23 with Big Woman, a cabaretstyle performance by poet and performer Andrea Moore, who explores what it means to be an unapologetically large woman living in America. The programs take place Thursday nights April 2, 9, 16, and 23. The lecture starts at 7 with a cash bar at 6:30 p.m. in the MCA Café. For more information, email sarahb@mcadenver.org or call 303298-7554.


Do Your Part: Help Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect – Throughout April, organizations

Wear a Blue Ribbon By John Faught

across the country recognize National

Child Abuse Prevention Month. While eliminating child abuse and neglect may seem insurmountable, data indicates child abuse and neglect prevention efforts are working. The US Department of Health and Human Services recently released its Child Maltreatment 2013 Study. The study found nationally there were 23,000 fewer victims in 2013 compared with 2009 – despite population growth. Still, there were 679,000 child victims nationally, and more than 10,000 of those children were from Colorado. April is a time to shine a spotlight on the importance of families and communities working together to put an end to the abuse of children. One organization advocating for children is Kempe. Kempe, based in Colorado, is recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of child abuse and neglect. Kempe helps children and families through it CARE programs: Clinical Care, Advocacy, Research and Education. “Everyone can play a part in keeping our children safe,” says John Faught, President and CEO of The Kempe Foundation. “Small gestures like asking a parent how they are doing and just being available to listen, or helping care for a child when a parent might need a little break goes a long way towards caring for children.” It is also important to recognize the warning signs of child abuse and neglect. The following are all potential signs of child abuse and neglect: a child who has repetitive bruises or injuries, sudden changes in behavior,

Staff from Children’s Hospital Colorado and Kempe form a human blue ribbon in recognition of child abuse prevention month.

regular nightmares or trouble sleeping, is frequently late or absent from school, or is obviously unhealthy most of the time. Because a child who is

being abused or neglected often does not know how to ask for help, it is important to speak up on their behalf. In Colorado, anyone can call 1-844-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

27

CO-4-KIDS with concerns and let a professional decide how best to help the child. There are also resources available for parents who are looking for ways to soothe a baby, ask for advice on handling a child who is acting out, or determine if a child is on the right development path. CalmACryingBaby.org includes solutions and resources for parents and community members to safely address crying babies, toddler tantrums, temper issues and child discipline. The Kohl’s Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Campaign, led by Kohl’s Cares, Children’s Hospital Colorado and Kempe, also includes a series of public service announcements that can be shared via social media. Finally, individuals can participate in the Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse by wearing a blue ribbon. The campaign started as a Virginia grandmother’s tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. Now, people and companies across the country recognize the blue ribbon as a symbol of child abuse prevention. “I encourage families, friends and neighbors to join Kempe in showing how much they care about children by wearing a blue ribbon during April,” Faught said. “Together, we can improve the lives and children and families in our community.”  Editor’s note: To learn more about ways to get involved in child abuse prevention month, visit www.kempe.org.


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Continued from page 3 the American dream and throughout her career she has proven that she has the experience and vision to help make that a reality. As a U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton cofounded the bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus and fought to bring manufacturing technology to small businesses. She has taken steps to eliminate tax breaks that promote outsourcing of American jobs and led efforts to expand job training opportunities for workers. Hillary has also consistently supported raising the minimum wage, fought for equal pay for equal work, and supported progressive tax policies that require millionaires to pay their fair share. In Denver we have seen the impact progressive policies such as these can have on our community. Through investment and expanding access to the middle class we were able to create sustainable economic growth and currently experience a lower unemployment rate than the national average. During my 12 years as mayor we helped drag the city out of the economic doldrums of 1991 to an investment of $7 billion in infrastructure by the time I left office in 2003. A major part of this investment came from the completion of the $4 billion Denver International Airport, where we were able to give 85 percent of the construction and opening airport concession bids to all Colorado-owned businesses, including those owned by women and minorities. Because of the opportunity and growth we were able to create here in Denver, particularly for women and minorities; our city is the only city to be cited for five consecutive years as “One of the Top American Cities” in Fortune Magazine’s annual “Best Cities.” Through strong leadership we can replicate and expand upon the successes we have seen here in Denver to help create a better future for all Americans. To do so, we must elect leaders who have the vision and agenda necessary to bring greater opportunity to the middle class. Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime advocating for the middle class. Should she run for president, I know that Hillary will offer a forward looking agenda focused on bringing opportunity, equality, and prosperity to all. Wellington E. Webb Denver, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2015

28

Son Appreciates Tribute To Father’s Legacy

Editor: What a stunning obituary to my late father in the DUS March 2015 issue. And you included that wonderful photo I took of the Nuggets mascot “Rocky” clowning around with Daddy when we encountered Rocky as we were leaving a doctor’s appointment at P/SL Medical Center not that long ago – just the perfect example of the “lighter side” of the often-stern Dr. Gipson Sr. I also tried to convey my perspective, as his son, on that “lighter side” of Daddy in my remarks on the dais at New Hope during his glorious home going service on February 6 and when I appeared on Dr. Daddio’s radio show on 760 AM KKZN the Saturday after my father passe. And I’m so happy, especially now, that you honored our Gipson patriarch as a DUS Father of Wisdom Men of Distinction honoree last spring. Thanks again for such a superb tribute in DUS.

Bruce E Gipson Denver, CO

Pardon Warranted For Senegalese Prisoner

Editor: Governor Hickenlooper should pardon, or at least commute the sentence of Mr. Samba Kane, a 57-yearold Senegalese immigrant who was wrongfully convicted of murder and unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole in 1999. Mr. Kane has since served 17 years in state prison, with a perfect record of good behavior. Mr. Kane was arrested in Adams County after being forced to defend himself by shooting a Nigerian man who had attacked him, after Mr. Kane walked into his own bedroom and caught the Nigerian man having sexual relations with his wife. His wrongful conviction was the result of poverty, racism and a poor understanding of a confusing foreign system with a different language. A pardon would allow Mr. Kane, an honest hard-working immigrant whose American dream turned into a Kafkaesque nightmare to return to his home county of Senegal, Africa. I urge all Americans to call Governor Hickenlooper at (303) 8662471 and tell him to pardon Samba Kane.

Rev. Eric Hafner Boulder, Colorado


WWW.DENVERURBANSPECTRUM.COM

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Special thanks to my girls!

Photos by Lens of Ansar

Thank you Wy Livingston and Chef Donald The Grubbery!

Love to my Omaha family!

You ALL are my latest and greatest inspiration! Thank you First Lady

With much gratitude...

DUS Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris Birthday Celebration

“49 and Holding” - 3/20/15

Thank you Denver! Family and Friends

Rossano, Shelton and Ron! You guys ROCK!

THANKS KASBAH!

Thanks Sandy!


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Denver Urban Spectrum April 2015  

Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication that has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.

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