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Denver Urban Spectrum Turns Another Page

Brandon London Erica Cobb Al Jackson Daily Blast Live Photo by Bernard Grant

Black Excellence

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What’s Going On? Volume 33 Number 1

April 2019

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EXECUTIVE CONSULTANT Alfonzo Porter PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COPY EDITOR Ruby Jones COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ruby Jones Melovy Melvin Alfonzo Porter Thomas Holt Russell Jamil Shabazz ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix

Mother, mother; There’s too many of you crying Brother, brother, brother; There’s far too many of you dying You know we’ve got to find a way; To bring some lovin’ here today, “What’s Going On” is a very powerful political song performed by the late Marvin Gaye. The lyrics of the song are inspired by violence and police brutality in America. Singer and songwriter Renaldo “Obie” Benson of the Four Tops came up with this song. After the Four Tops refused to record it saying it was a “protest song,” he gave it to Marvin Gaye who was born on April 2, 1939. A man who sung about love and peace, ironically died at the hands of his father Marvin Gay Sr. on April 1, 1984 at the age of 44. In April 1987, Denver Urban Spectrum was born. This month we celebrate 32 years of spreading the news about people of color. The lyrics above, from the most famous protest songs of all time was released on January 21, 1971. With the rise of violence, police brutality and racism at an all-time high and blatantly displayed all across the country, they are as relevant today as the time when the song was released almost 50 years ago, . Since inception DUS has changed with the times, reflecting the current climate of our communities, locally and nationally. So, what’s going on? This month, Ifalade TaShia Asanti talks about the ugly snake that has hit the home of Devin Meade and Ken Jenkins, and how they hope their experience will promote change and educate the community on the harmful effects of racial prejudice. Jamil Shabazz painfully shares Part III of Our 400 Yearn Sojourn: 1619-2019 with The Lasting Injustice of Jim Crow. In partnership with the Denver Film Society’s Women+Filmfestival DUS will host Always in Season, a poignant film that sheds light on racial injustice and reconciliation on April 10 at the Sie FilmCenter,. Our cover story highlights three hosts, Al Jackson, Erica Cobb and Brandon London, from the daytime news and entertainment show Daily Blast Live. Ruby Jones shares their journey to DBL and how they share trending news of “what’s going on” as it happens around the country in real time. And to celebrate 32 years, read how we look forward to expanding our vision and spreading more words with a variety of multimedia platforms that will include interns, streaming and podcasts. So what’s “really” going on? Much of what was going on 400 years ago; much of what was going on 50 years ago; and much of what was going on yesterday, is still going on today. Too much crying and too much dying – we STILL just got to find a way, to bring some lovin’ here today. Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

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 2019 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 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Members of my congregation and my family knows all too well the realities of living in limbo and facing the possibility of being deported and separated from their families. None of these families, who have embraced Colorado, just as they fully embraced their faith in the Lord, should be forced to leave behind their homes and families and the community they have helped build in nearly 20 years. We cannot forget the words of Zechariah 7:9-10: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. There’s no question that our leaders in Congress need to answer to the call of their

Dream and Promise Act Could Provide A Solution Editor: “For nearly two decades, working immigrant Coloradans who gained an opportunity to live and work in our communities under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program have become our neighbors, friends, coworkers and fellow congregants. Unfortunately, just like Dreamers, the lives and future of TPS-recipients in the nation they call home can all be upended. Sadly, the Trump administration terminated TPS and the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected Dreamers and allowed them the opportunity to study and work. Right now they face an uncertainty, allowed to temporarily remain in the country because of federal court rulings.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


prayers. Today, there is a solution: the Dream and Promise Act of 2019. This bill is a glimmer of light at the end of a dark tunnel that would allow Dreamers and TPS-residents an opportunity to earn citizenship. Right here in Colorado’s 1st Congressional District alone, where our church stands, there are 5,000 DACA recipients and 2,100 more immigrant youth that are eligible. There are currently over 17,000 DACA recipients across Colorado, with 8,000 more eligible for the program. Meanwhile, about 1,400 workers in Colorado are TPS holders. They enrich our communities, care for our children, cultivate our food and pray in our pews. Nearly two million Dreamers moved to the United States as Continued on page 27

Daily Blast Live Hosts: Making Waves and Breaking Barriers By Ruby Jones

Daily Blast Live is a

groundbreaking daytime news and entertainment show that has captured the hearts and attention of viewers around the country with an innovative approach to social engagement and a spirited panel of hosts who deliver trending news as it happens. The nationally syndicated show, filmed at KUSAChannel 9’s studios, is the first of its kind, giving viewers a unique opportunity to share reactions and opinions in real time, and revolutionizing the use of multimedia in a changing social landscape. With round-the-clock streaming on digital and social networking channels, the Tegna broadcast television program is widely recognized as one of the hottest shows on TV. After a hugely successful first season with stellar ratings prompted by several segments going viral, the show’s syndication was expanded to 15 additional markets ahead of the second season premiere in September 2018. Peak viewership can be attributed to audiences’ ability to instantaneously interact with a charismatic cast who delivers the news, culture, sports, and entertainment stories that matter most. Daily Blast Live is changing the way we watch, but one of the most remarkable aspects of the show is the intentional representation of diversity, and the distinctive perspectives and opinions that make our society great. With a panel comprised of inspirational leaders from various backgrounds, the cre-

Daily Blast Live Hosts Al Jackson, Erica Cobb and Brandon London - Photo by Bernard Grant Above Photo: On the set of Daily Blast Live - Photo by Peter Ortiz

ators of Daily Blast Live made the landmark casting decision to break the trend of racially homogenous hiring practices. Along with hosts Beau Davidson, Jeff Schroeder, Sam Schacher, Stefanie Jones, and Tory Shulman, the sensational panel features Al Jackson, Erica Cobb, and Brandon London, three African American hosts whose enthusiasm and expertise are making waves in the media community. The monumental impact of Daily Blast Live’s inclusive hiring practices is a testament to the significance of African American representation in journalism and communications. With a long history of discriminatory work and educational conditions that can be traced to slavery and racial oppression, underrepresentation in mass media indicates a need for increased opportuni-

ties for people of color in fields that showcase the importance of storytelling, journalistic reporting, and media exposure. During slavery, the intellectual development of the Black community was suppressed with anti-literacy laws prohibiting slaves from learning to read and write, with restrictions that existed throughout the Jim Crow era. These restrictions resulted in colossal disparities in media representation despite growing interest and educational pursuits that could level the playing field. In a study published by the Columbia Journalism Review, University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. student, Alex T. Williams, reveals the continuation of these disparities in modern media, and suggests discriminatory hiring practices as a leading cause for underrepresentation. Williams notes that between 2004 and 2014, people

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


of color made up 21.4 percent of graduates with degrees in journalism or communication, but less than half of these graduates found full-time jobs in their field, while two-thirds of white students were immediately hired by media outlets upon graduation. Within the last 28 years, the United States has seen an increase of only seven percent in the representation of people of color in media; a figure that leaves Denver Urban Spectrum disPublisher Rosalind Harris, dis satisfied and dedicated to improving outcomes for African Americans interested in the field of journalism. As the celeBlack-owned publication cele brates 32 years of “spreading the news about people of color,” Harris is proud to announce the launch of an hisinternship partnership with his unitorically black colleges and uni versities that will provide hands-on experiences for students studying journalism and communications. As they continue to break viewing records and make strides in news and entertainment television, Jackson, Cobb, and London are providing an exclusive look at their inspirational journeys in journalism, and helping to celebrate Denver Urban Spectrum’s 32nd anniversary with the details of their delightful experiences as panelists on the wildly successful Daily Blast Live. ••• In a time of increased social and political unrest, there’s a thin line between humor and hysteria, but comedian Al Jackson has no problem finding the funny. Adding a spark of amusement to the daily trending topics, Jackson wins audiences over with his unique

Al Jackson

Photo by Bernard Grant

in Cleveland, Ohio, he traveled to the Deep South to attend his Tougaloo College, a private, hisout torically black institution just outside of Jackson, Mississippi. He studied biology for two years before transferring to the Ivy League Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, but attributes his initial experience at the HBCU for giving him the confidence to chase his dreams. “Tougaloo is the reason I’m here now,” he says. “That was the first

time I met guys my age who were already talking about becoming doctors; that gave me the confidence to apply to transfer to Brown. I would say that without the experience of going to an HBCU, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go to Brown and know that I could compete.” After obtaining a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Barry University, Jackson started his professional career

ability to tackle sensitive issues from entertainment to politics with cultured grace and playful charm, all while wearing his signature mega-watt smile. Jackson joined the cast of Daily Blast Live after a 13-year stand-up comedy career that has taken him around the world and allowed him to share the stage with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. He has an impressive list of acting, writing, and production credits, to include Last Comic Standing, BBC’s Officially Amazing, Upload with Shaquille O’Neal, several Comedy Central series, and he is anticipating the release of his first children’s book, adding the title of author to his extensive achievements. The handsome host has become a master at juggling the demands of his busy entertainment career; in addition to hosting the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom radio show on Thursday mornings, he co-hosts the podcast, Al & Frank Try to Be Serious, with famous impressionist, Frank Caliendo, and is preparing to add to his list of streaming credits a hilarious one-hour comedy special. When he’s not on-air, Jackson can be found on stage, encouraging audiences to lighten up and laugh about the hotbed issues that contribute to an increasing social divide. Jackson is a communication expert who soared to the top of his career after an unlikely start in entertainment. Born and raised Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


as a 7th grade science teacher, a job that prepared him for the challenging role of warming up comedy crowds with a commanding presence, and gave him the ability to entertain all ages. His first experience with stand-up occurred when he attended an open-mic night; he was an instant success, returning to the club with gut-busting material and eventually earning more than his teaching salary. Continued on page 6

Continued from page 5 A phone call from Comedy Central prompted Jackson’s relocation to New York, where he filmed his first half-hour special and started on the path to stardom. “From science, to science teaching, to comedy, and now communications,” he laughs. “It seems like vastly different things, but they’re not. When I’m talking to students about the construction of a cell, or talking to audiences about why relationships fall apart, or I’m sitting on a panel with Erica and Brandon discussing whether the president’s remarks are harmful, it’s all a form of communication.” In his earliest experiences in the entertainment industry, Jackson became aware of the startling lack of African American representation behind the camera. “I was the only Black writer in the room,” he recalls. “Black writers were nowhere to be found in Hollywood. I found that there’s

a pipeline set up from Ivy League schools where people are basically guaranteed jobs coming out of school. People who went to those colleges are already staffed on shows, so when graduates arrive in town, they have an in. You’re not going to find that same type of foundation already present for you when you’re coming from an HBCU or other schools.” Jackson attributes the limited number of African Americans in journalism to students feeling intimidated by their preexisting knowledge of the industry’s inequity. He remains hopeful that as power dynamics begin to shift, production companies will increase efforts to hire people of color, increasing representation and minimizing the competitiveness that is all too common among African Americans in communications. He encourages young people to work hard and learn to sacrifice luxury for any dream that’s worthwhile, a valuable lesson

that he teaches his own three children. “The biggest gift you can give to your kids, rather than taking them to a fancy restaurant, is letting them see an adult who is active in their life and passionate about what they do.” By using humor to communicate and drawing on his vast cross-disciplined knowledge, Jackson is showing audiences that conversations about serious issues don’t have to turn into heated arguments. He is blazing the trail for Black men and women to follow in his footsteps, and tackling tough topics with love and laughter along the way. ••• The gorgeous Daily Blast Live host who stunned the world with an exciting on-air reveal of her natural hair is inspiring women and girls to break down barriers in a bold and beautiful way. Erica Cobb radiates warmth and wisdom on screen and off, with confidence, charisma, and a keen sense of purpose that has won the hearts of viewers from coast to coast. Cobb, a seasoned professional with 15 years of experience working in Chicago, Sacramento, and Denver, constructed her plan for a career in radio at the young age of 12. The Chicago native earned a degree in Communications from DePaul University in 2004, and has maintained a strict focus and tunnel vision while achieving goal after goal on her way to the top. Cobb has refused to compromise her values or integrity, shattering glass ceilings along her journey in the restrictive communications industry. She attributes her unwavering confidence to the support of her loving family, who taught her that she could do anything. “I’ve been very fortunate to have Big Mama and my parents who, although they weren’t told that this was possible, absolutely told me that it was possible,” she says.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


Erica Cobb

Photo by Bernard Grant

As a Black woman in a white male-dominated industry, Cobb is no stranger to competition, but she leads with professionalism and the expectation that she will succeed, regardless of discriminatory hiring practices that often prevent women who look like her from getting highly sought-after media jobs. “I’ve walked into a room of 50 people, five of whom were Black, and instantly knew that only one of us would get the job,” she concedes. In all of her years in media and communications, Cobb cannot recall working in a professional setting with more than one Black person, especially multiple Black women, until being cast as one of two Black women in the first season of Daily Blast Live. Understanding how important and empowering it is for people of color to see her on the nationally syndicated show, Cobb takes her role seriously and puts forth great effort to set an example of excellence. “I go to work with an agenda, every day,” she explains. “I pray that God gives me the strength to help me help myself so that I can be an instrument to others.” Taking personal responsibility for the elevation of viewers who identify with her, Cobb approaches communications with a high

level of journalistic integrity. She says, “I believe that I have a responsibility to the truth, but I also have a responsibility to articulate my perspective from the way I see the world.” Cobb feels at home in her seat at Daily Blast Live, as opposed to jobs in the past where she’s been told that she’s “going a little afro-centric,” or “doing a little bit too much,” by production teams who were intimidated by her Black Girl Magic. She uses her platform to bring awareness to underrepresented communities, covering stories that spread messages of hope and positivity. “Interest stories are interests for our audience,” she says, “But I have such a personal investment in them, and they’ve had a very real impact on my life.” Cobb shines a spotlight on important guests such as Lola Ogunyemi, who starred in the racist ad for Dove body wash, the creators of Curlpop World, and founders of the Bonnti mobile app for natural hair, Maude Okrah and Simone Tetteh. She appreciates the ongoing support she receives from the Daily Blast Live production team for her community outreach work with organizations such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and A Long Walk Home, which provides services to young, sexually abused and neglected Black girls. Having experienced many pitfalls and setbacks throughout her life, Cobb is turning the recovery from some of her worst moments into an inspirational comeback story with Comeback TV, her personal brand dedicated to helping people overcome hardship. Comeback TV started as a YouTube web series, but is steadily evolving and will soon incorporate a podcast focused on helping others to recognize their innate gifts and maximize their potential. After moving to Denver in 2009, Cobb experienced several challenges as she

moved from morning radio, to a position with the Denver Nuggets as an in-arena host, to 9 News; at one point she felt like her life was falling apart. “I realized I was building a life to look like what I wanted it to be, as opposed to building a life to actually be what I wanted it to be,” she recalls. “So I had to tear the whole house down and start from the beginning to decide what kind of foundation was going to make it most solid.” Comeback TV is a testament to Cobb’s resilience and renewal, allowing her to reach back and uplift others with motivational content like her natural hair reveal that highlighted her authenticity and inspired other women and girls to see their natural beauty. Loved and respected by her co-hosts, Cobb provides reassurance and guidance while holding the role of “big sister” within the trio, and adding brilliance and beauty to the panel of the Daily Blast Live. She is breaking down barriers and creating a legacy of leadership that will be admired for years to come. ••• After a successful debut, Daily Blast Live kicked off its second season with the addition of retired football player, Brandon London, whose eloquence and youthful enthusiasm instantly charmed audiences and added a healthy dose of competition to the panel. London, known as the “Cultured Athlete,” has taken the world of entertainment by storm, devoting the same energy to the screen as he did on the football field and proving that a brilliant brain and magnetic brawn is a winning combination in any arena. London grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and took an interest in athletics from an early age, despite his mother’s prediction that he would someday be on television. His father, who worked as the first Black head football coach of the

Brandon London

Photo by Bernard Grant Suit by Grover and Grover

University of Virginia’s Cavaliers, fostered London’s love for the game from an early age, and taught him the skills that would help him earn a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he ranked third on the school’s alltime list in receiving yards and became the seventh player in UMass history with more than 100 career catches. London graduated with a degree in sociology in 2007, and immediately entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, earning a Super Bowl ring during his rookie year with the New York Giants. He later signed with the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Canadian Football League and playing for the Montreal Alouettes. Wanting to step out from under his father’s football legacy, London worked hard to make a name for himself in the league. “I’ve played around so many athletes growing up that were so much better than me, but would never outwork me,” he says. “They always had an

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


excuse as to why they didn’t make it, saying that I had more opportunities because my dad was a coach; but I wasn’t highly recruited. I just outworked everybody – that’s still my mentality, to try to outwork everybody.” While in Canada, London tore his meniscus and when he had to sit out of the games, he asked his coach, Mark Tressman, if he could enroll at the Montreal School of Performing Arts, following the path his mother had foretold many years ago. In the off-sea off-season, he traveled to Los Angeles for on-camera training, and eventually split his time between Montreal, New York and Los Angeles, trying to find gigs and gain on-camera experi experience. London retired from the Canadian Football League in 2015, leaving a guaranteed sixfigure salary to pursue his act acting goals full-time. He strug struggled to find jobs and wasn’t get getting any callbacks, but when everyone asked, “Why did you do it?” he just pressed forward, refusing to give up. “You’ve got to be willing to be laughed at for your passion,” London says, “Don’t limit yourself to what your surroundings or friends try to limit you to. You’ve got to feel comfortable breaking out of that box!” The humble, hard-working heartthrob turned his attention to modeling during his rookie year, signing a contract with Boss Models and participating in well-known fashion events like BET’s Rip the Runway. But when the renowned media coach, Marki Costello, caught wind of London’s on-camera presence, her advice inspired him to work even harder. “She told me, ‘you’re nice to stare at, but when you talk, everybody’s going to turn off the TV because you’re not bringing any substance,’” he remembers. “That was my first time being challenged when it came to providing substance, and I realized Continued on page 8

Continued from page 7 that I have a platform.” London began the quest of strengthening his vocabulary by reading more and learning to enunciate, extending the range that prepared him to discuss topics from health and fitness to politics on the Daily Blast Live panel. “I sit at my computer and research everything before I go on camera and open my mouth, because I want to be well-informed and give an educated perspective,” he says. No longer wanting to be complimented for his appearance, despite being adorned in the finest Grover and Grover menswear at all times, London prefers to earn compliments on his personality. He admits, “This gig has been a rebirth. I tell my mom all the time, I’m not the same person.” London uses his platform to inspire young people, sharing the wisdom that was passed down to him from his football mentor, Michael Strahan, who

often provided encouragement in his early days in the NFL. “I told him that I was approached to model and sign with an agency, and he told me, ‘Do it, but always make sure you take care of football first.’ That’s one thing that stuck with me. I take care of business first before anything else.” Acknowledging the importance of Black representation in media, London has grown more confident in his abilities oncamera, and takes every opportunity to give back to the community as a role model for young people, participating in the NFL’s Play 60 program, and pursuing mentorship and assistant coaching opportunities that allow him to inspire others. When he looks back at his unconventional journey to journalism, London says, “That wasn’t me, that was God.” ••• Recognizing the special opportunity to coexist on such a major platform, Jackson, Cobb,

and London exercise a superb level of camaraderie, inspiring each other and holding one another accountable for the continuation of excellence that has gotten them this far. They relate like siblings, putting each other in check and boosting each other up when needed. This display of authentic unity and on-camera chemistry helps to elevate the Black community, allowing audiences to feel the love radiating from their being. The beautiful display of friendship sets an example for people of all ages, who must work together to climb the ladder of success, in spite of disparities and obstacles in their path. The entire cast of Daily Blast Live panelists offers insightful contributions that make the show a stunning success, and the relationship between Jackson, Cobb, and London represents solidarity within the workplace and a collective responsibility for success within communities of color. Instead of inequitable hiring practices forcing us to be more competitive, we must take advantage of opportunities to reach back and help each other up; there is more than enough room for everyone.

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Daily Blast Live is a wonderful program that has been instrumental in supporting the individual interests and initiatives of each host, as well as raising awareness about important issues that are often unrepresented. Collaborative advancement through media representation allows audiences to see that their voice matters, that the topics that relate to them are valuable, and that there is no limit to the possibilities for young people who are interested in careers in journalism and communications. With the introduction of its journalism internship program, Denver Urban Spectrum hopes to open doors for thousands of students to explore the impact of media and offer thoughtful contributions with content that is relevant and important to a younger generation. By creating pathways to successful careers, Harris hopes to increase national media representation on a large scale, with the hosts of Daily Blast Live setting an example for professional excellence in journalism, and personal achievement. .

Al Jackson, Erica Cobb and Brandon London Photo by Bernard Grant

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“Current Denver Urban Spectrum contributors, including award-winning writers, photographers, videographers, graphic and website designers have joined the efforts of this endeavor,” says Harris. “Our very committed supporters look forward to taking DUS to the next level and supporting the students in furthering their careers.” Participants will research and develop content that will be widely circulated through print, social media and digital platforms, while abiding by the Code of Ethics adopted by the Society of Professional Journalists. At completion, students will have created a portfolio of their work and professional associations as strong and well-qualified candidates for employment, ready to represent for communities of color across the nation. In addition to expanding the Denver Urban Spectrum brand throughout colleges and universities, Harris plans to move forward with an extension of several multimedia platforms, to include a streaming online television newscast and a podcast featuring exclusive interviews with prominent entertainers, business leaders, and political figures. The “Urban Spectrum Vision” newscast will reflect the look, the feel, and the soul of Denver’s multicultural community, and will feature issues of interest from around the world, with diverse entertainment and information relevant to people of color. In addition to community news and roundtable talks, the show will shine a spotlight on national talent with segments dedicated to art, culture, and film, and advertisers will be able to provide practical tips for viewers regarding finance, business, health, and homeownership. Podcasts are an exciting new digital medium that allow audiences to tune in at their convenience, giving Spectrum Talk subscribers the opportunity

Interns, Streaming and Podcasts Boosts 32 Year Old Award-Winning Publication By Ruby Jones

Since 1987, Denver Urban Spectrum has been the leading voice for people of color in the Rocky Mountain region, spreading the news about underrepresented communities and sharing stories that highlight the magnificent works of men and women throughout Metro-Denver. To celebrate its 32nd year in print, publisher Rosalind J. Harris is thrilled to announce the launch of several significant and ambitious initiatives that will expand the Denver Urban Spectrum brand throughout the country. In an effort to increase the representation of people and communities of color in mainstream media, Harris is preparing to launch an enhanced internship program in collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) throughout the country, providing internship opportunities for students studying journalism, public relations, and communications. This program will train and develop up-andcoming academic leaders with opportunities to gain hands-on experience as writers, editors, photographers, digital content developers, and social media managers. By navigating the demands of a widely circulated online publication prior to graduation, participants will be prepared for success in competitive industries. “This program will give students the opportunity to have a voice, share their talent and gain experience as professional journalists that will be shared

nationally and collectively with other students pursuing a career in journalism,” says Harris. “As a unit, they will be able to connect communities across the country, sharing and reporting stories about their respective areas.” While the fundamental purpose of journalism and communications is to empower the public with accurate and reliable details about topics that impact their lives and communities, discriminatory hiring practices within these industries have resulted in a lack of representation in media, and subsequently an inequitable distribution of relevant and relatable information. A Newsroom Employment Diversity Study conducted by the American Society of News Editors in 2017, revealed that only 16.6 percent of U.S. newsrooms and 16.31 percent of daily newspapers are staffed by people of color, indicating a slight decrease from the prior year. These disparities can be attributed to low placement rates upon graduation, with less than half of people of color graduating with degrees in journalism or communications receiving employment upon completion (Columbia Journalism Review, 2014). By creating pathways to careers with this resume enhancing internship opportunity, Harris hopes to reverse the trend of media underrepresentation with richer stories, new voices, and fresh perspectives. Interns will have broad latitude in determining the topics covered, and will receive the support of the seasoned Denver Urban Spectrum staff in crafting relevant, newsworthy stories that increase the social capital of communities of color.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


to listen to riveting interviews with exclusive guests. The Spectrum Talk channel kicked off in March 2019 with an intimate talk with American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard, ahead of his “Ruben Sings Luther” tour dates in Colorado, and will pick up steam in the coming months as Denver Urban Spectrum contributor, Ruby Jones, asks the questions the community wants to know. Recognizing media’s power to shape the social and economic advancement of communities of color, Harris is excited for the expansion of the brand she has worked diligently to establish for over three decades. She remains dedicated to providing strong, positive representations of people of color with a robust body of multimedia services that will capture the attention of people young and old while increasing attention to the brilliant contributions from communities of color that often go ignored by mainstream media. Sponsors are invited to support the expansion of this multimedia venture, maximizing the impact of Harris’ vision and forging relationships with the award-winning publication’s loyal audience. By working collectively to increase positive associations with people of color through media on a national level, the integration of an internship program and expanded multimedia services will ensure the advancement of aspiring journalists and spread messages of encouragement and inspiration to underrepresented communities throughout the United States.. Editor’s note: For more information on the journalism internship program, “Urban Spectrum Vision” or Spectrum Talk, call DUS Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris at 303-2926446 or email

Racism... Rears its Ugly Head in Local Denver Neighborhood By Ifalade TaShia Asanti

In February 2019, pictures of a house in Denver that had been vandalized and spraypainted with racist epithets went viral. The house belonged to longtime Denver residents, Devin Meade and Ken Jenkins who live there with their two children. Painted with the infamous n-word, along with scribbled images of a person being hung by a noose, their home became a painful reminder that racism is alive and well in America. The incident drew the attention of numerous Colorado news outlets then went viral on social media with thousands sharing the pictures across the nation. Former Denver Mayor, Wellington E. Webb and his wife Wilma, personally reached out to the home owners. He and his wife were among the first people who offered to donate to help repair the home. “We are disappointed by such an ugly display of racism

Refusing to ever sit in his favorite porch chair again - where a noose loomed over it, Ken Jenkins stands supporting his wife Devin Meade after the graffiti was painted over on their home. Photos by Luciana

in Denver. We have to work harder to facilitate change and foster respect and understanding across ethnic communities,” Webb said. Meade and Jenkins have lived in their Denver home for nine years. Both were inside along with their two children when the hate crime was committed. Jenkins was the first to witness the highly offensive words spray painted in huge letters on the external walls of

their home. “When Ken came back inside, he pulled me to the side and told me not get upset,” Meade recalls. “He said there was something outside I needed to see. My stomach did a flip because he

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


had never said anything like that. When I saw the outside of our house, for just a minute, it took my breath away. I was especially afraid for my children. I mean, what kind of people would do this in broad daylight knowing the family is at home?” Meade believes the attack on her family’s home was the result of an ongoing conflict with a neighbor – although no charges have been filed as a result of the incident. She alleges that disagreements involving on-street parking sparked arguments where the issue of race became a central issue. The matter reportedly escalated over the course of a few months, according to Meade. “While I was in the hospital, my car was parked on the street in front of a neighbor’s home,” she says. “Shortly thereafter, my family

started being harassed including the expressions of negative, racial terminology. It was also falsely alleged that I had a gun and the police was called.” The couple is working with local law enforcement to get to the bottom of who committed the crime. Denver Police are in the midst of an in-depth investigation. “I would like nothing better than for us to peacefully coexist. But if that isn’t possible, I’ll settle for simply being able to use the street that I pay taxes for. To stop being harassed and discriminated against because of the color of my skin and for law enforcement to take proper measures to protect my family,” Meade said. Jenkins says that when he walked out onto his front porch he didn’t realize the graffiti was there. “I walked out onto the front porch and saw foot prints going in both directions and thought to myself, well that’s odd,” he said. “I turned around and saw the word “Nigger” painted on the front of my house along with the image of a noose. This is personal – it’s a death threat” Meade expressed her concern about the proximity of the crime questioning “how does someone get so close to my house with us being inside to do something like this?” Denver Police has reportedly assigned the case to detectives experienced in dealing with hate crimes and have also released photographs of the alleged perpetrator and the car they drove. “This is the kind of stuff you see in history books,” Jenkins expressed. “This is 2019 – and I decided to leave it up so that people could see it and engage in conversation and dialogue about racism. I won’t hide this from my sons because I want them to know how to deal with it when they encounter it.” The home has become somewhat of a tourist attraction with people said to be driving for

hours to see it and take pictures. Meade said that people start arriving as soon as the sun comes up and continue to arrive until the sun goes down. “In a weird way it’s good because it forces a conversation,” she said. Yet for both Meade and Jenkins, things can never go back to the way it was before. “We woke up to find that it had been painted over,” Jenkins

said. “But no amount of paint can conceal this problem. It will always be there and it will never be the same.” To date, no one has been charged with this crime and the larger question becomes how do we address the issues of racism and bigotry that exists within communities of color? And does today’s national political climate contribute to the problem?

A recent Pew Research Center study reveals that minority communities are feeling the effects of blatant discrimination. Meade says that she hopes that her and her family’s experiences will promote change and educate the community at large on the harmful effects of racial prejudice. “We continue to pray for peace,” she said. “We are determined to do everything we can so that racism doesn’t win this time.”.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


The Lasting Injustice of Jim Crow Part 3 of 5 By Jamil Shabazz


elcome to part three of the five part Denver Urban Spectrum series: “Our 400 Year American Sojourn” A Chronicle of Pain, Suffering, Struggle, Resistance and Ultimate Triumph. In parts one and two, Alfonzo Porter and Ruby Jones scribed magnificently about 1619-Emancipation and Reconstruction, respectively. Ushering in the next chronicle of our history is the Jim Crow era. An era best defined by pain, suffering and struggle.

The “separate but equal” narrative that is synonymous with the Jim Crow era of American history is only part of the story. The Jim Crow era and the racial segregation that underpinned it was not just designed to make African Americans feel inferior but the objective of was to legally strip away our humanity in every

quantifiable way imaginable. Jim Crow was a racial caste system, which operated primarily in the southern United States between 1877 and the mid1960s. It represented the legalization of Black oppression. In the south Jim Crow laws were a continuation of what was once known as the “Black Codes.” The codes were post-Civil War laws designed with the intent to restrict the rights, freedom and economic independence of African-Americans. The term “Jim Crow” derived from pathetic minstrel show performer Thomas D. Rice and his character “Jim Crow” which he performed routinely across the south in a popular song-and-dance act called “Jump Jim Crow.” Rice would don blackface and

gavotte about like a buffoon to the delight of White audiences in the United States as well as overseas. Because of his performances, Rice obtained a significant amount of popularity domestically, especially in the south where his comedic pejorative, “Jim Crow” went from being tongue and cheek to the law of the land.

Plessy v. Ferguson

The Plessy v. Ferguson verdict enshrined the doctrine of “separate but equal” as a constitutional justification for segregation, ensuring the survival of the Jim Crow south for the next half-century.

Convict leasing

In 1890, the state of Louisiana passed the “Separate Car Act,” which required separate accommodations for Blacks and Whites on railroads, including separate railway cars Homer Plessy, the plaintiff in the case, was seven-eighths White and one-eighth Black, and had the appearance of a White man. On June 7, 1892, he purchased a first-class ticket for a trip between New Orleans and Covington, La., Plessy took possession of a vacant seat in a White-only car. He was arrested and imprisoned; Plessy was brought to trial in a New Orleans court and convicted of violating the 1890 law. He then filed a petition against the judge in that trial, John H. Ferguson, at the Louisiana Supreme Court, arguing that the segregation law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbids states from denying “to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” as well as the Thirteenth Amendment, which banned slavery. The court ruled that, while the object of the Fourteenth Amendment was to create “absolute equality of the two races before the law,” such equality extended only so far as political and civil rights (e.g., voting and serving on juries), not “social rights” (e.g., sitting in a railway car one chooses).

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


The lasting vestiges of the Jim Crow era included numerous images of well-kept segregated restaurants, hospitals, and schools with “Whites Only” signs plastered everywhere. These photographs were often juxtaposed against “Colored Only” signs that hung above pictures of by comparison and were little more than spigots and shacks. While viewing the images is painful in and of itself, rarely do we ask how those structures came to be. Like most things in America, they were built on the backs of African Americans. It is a well-known but seldom discussed fact that Black people rebuilt the postwar south through convict leasing.

beautiful, Black people. Writing this section of the piece made my heart and eyes weep with deep sorrow because if history has taught us anything, it is that society views Black people as nameless, faceless and disposable. The only thing those socalled convicts were guilty of, was being Black in America – which ultimately cost them their lives.

“Black Wall Street” & “Rosewood” Convict leasing was a system that allowed private companies to lease felony prisoners from the state for a fee. “Slavery by Another Name: The ReEnslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War” by author Douglas A. Blackmon describes the practice: “It was a form of bondage distinctly different from that of the antebellum South in that for most men, and the relatively few women drawn in, this slavery did not last a lifetime and did not automatically extend from one generation to the next. But it was nonetheless slavery – a system in which armies of free men, guilty of no crimes and entitled by law to freedom, were compelled to labor without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced to do the bidding of White masters through the regular application of extraordinary physical coercion.” Between 1866 and 1928, every Southern state in America practiced convict leasing. A minor or fabricated charge could cost an individual life in prison. Approximately 90 percent of all leased prisoners were black men; three percent were black women. They built railroads, cut sugarcane, made bricks and mined coal. Convict leasing had an extremely clear financial incentive. Author and professor Talitha LeFlouria esti-

mates that on a national level, states that did not utilize the convict lease system earned only 32 percent of their overall expenses, while those that did exploit convict labor earned 267 percent. The African American convicts often suffered indignities that were not much different from slaves. They were beaten, raped and literally worked to death. Oftentimes once the “prisoner” died, they were buried in a shadow grave, disregarded like the piece of property the state considered them to be. As of 2018, they are still finding bodies of leased (enslaved) convicts, like the Sugar Land 95. In February 2018, the Fort Bend Independent School District was ramping up construction of a career and technical education center in Sugar Land, TX. While doing backhoe work, a construction worker unearthed what appeared to be human remains. During the next few months, the remains of 95 people were exhumed. An examination of the remains determined they were more likely Black convict leasing victims because the site was also once a Plantation as well. Unfortunately, the story of the Sugar Land 95 is not an outlier. The southern United States are filed with unmarried graves, populated with the remains of what were once

One of the hallmarks of Jim Crow era was the physical oppression of White people viewed it as their God given duty to keep “Blacks in their place” using violent action. The physical oppression was part of a multi-pronged attack to ensure socioeconomic suppression amongst the African American community. In a capitalist society economic independence, especially by a minority group represents a threat to those in power. During the Jim Crow era, White people were willing to scorch the nation to keep Blacks from economic independence.

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District was once dubbed the “Black Wall Street” in the early 1900’s. The centerpiece of that district was Greenwood Avenue, a 35square block district lined with hotels, restaurants, barbershops, and early 200 businesses total – all Black owned and operated, and financially independent

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


from White society. That changed dramatically during Memorial Day weekend in 1921. A race riot erupted, one of the most violent and destructive in American history. The entire community was burned to the ground in two days’ time. An estimated 300 African Americans lost their lives in the riots and about another 10,000 were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property ($32 million in 2019).

Two years later in 1923, the same thing happened in Rosewood, Florida. The events of the tragedy that occurred in Rosewood were made into a 1997 feature film by John Singleton. Rosewood, just like Tulsa was a thriving, self-sufficient, African-American community until the first week of January 1923, a “dispute” led to

a race riot and the town of Rosewood was burned to the ground. An estimated 100-150 Black people lost their lives and homes, the ones who did survive sought refuge in other nearby cities. While too broad to explore here, there was also the Red Continued on page 14

Our 400 Year Sojourn Continued from page 13

been deprived since the Jim Crow era from equal academic opportunities, because of Redlining. Established in New York during the 1930’s, redlining was (is) a discriminatory pattern of disinvestment and obstructive lending practices that act as an impediment to home ownership in certain neighborhoods, often neighborhoods populated by African Americans and other

undermine the development of the Black communities from both a housing and educational perspective. Since the funding of public schools is tied in part to local property taxes, homes in Redlined communities are at an instant disadvantage because they are undervalued. A recent study by the Brookings Institute shows that homes in Black neighborhoods are, on average, have values 25


minorities. The term came from the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC). Property appraisers would draw a red line on a map around less than ideal neighborhoods, a warning that the area should be avoided. Banks used the concept to deny loans to homeowners and would-be homeowners who lived in these neighborhoods. This in turn resulted in neighborhood economic decline and the withholding of maintenance and upkeep services. Since the federal government sponsored HOLC, the damaging impact of Redlining was felt across the United States. The decimating effects of which, continue to

percent lower than homes in White neighborhoods, even if the homes have similar characteristics and the neighborhoods have similar amenities, crime rates and resources. Furthermore, a 2019 study by Edbuild, a nonprofit organization that focuses on fairness in the funding of public schools, documented that public schools serving minority students receive $23 billion less in funding than schools that serve students a majority of White students. The study also highlighted the fact that the average minority school district receives $2,226 less per student than a White school district. Even

age done to the African American community from Jim Crow laws. The era was a multiphase physical and socio-economic attack; from housing to education to economic independence. Jim Crow laws sought to dehumanize, disenfranchise and immobilize Black people in America. But it didn’t work, undeterred by obstacles, and through pain unparalleled the African Americans of that era soldiered on, coping and adapting to survive. Whether it be 1619 or 2019 every era of our sojourn is threaded together by our collective resilience. .

though Redlining was banned five decades ago, the punitive effects of the practice still disproportionately affect African Americans and our youth. This piece has been difficult to write for a variety of reasons. I could write from now until the moment I draw my final breath and never completely articulate the breadth and dam-

Summer of 1919 where several race riots erupted in Chicago and Washington DC destroying several prominent, thriving African-American communities in the process.

Jim Crow lives on “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.” —Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is an inherent power system built into racism and segregation. Jim Crow laws codified and made institutionalized racism and discrimination acceptable. While Jim Crow laws have been repealed, the tentacles from the oppressive system that was Jim Crow, still has its hooks deep into many elements of the African American experience. Recently a college admissions scandal rocked mainstream America, rich White people had the audacity to use their resources to bribe, lie and cheat their offspring into prestigious universities. What the mainstream media neglected to report is how Black kids have

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


Get Funky Meets Work It In Colorado By Melovy Melvin


anky Tanky will bring to Colorado a fresh take on traditional American folk music on Friday, April 26 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Loosely translated as “Get Funky!” or “Work It,” Ranky Tanky is a band of South Carolina natives who keep the Gullah music tradition alive and fresh with a repertoire of playful game songs, heartbreaking spirituals, and delicate lullabies. “Gullah” is a West African word meaning “a people blessed by God,” and is a storied culture prevailing on the Sea Islands of South Carolina’s low country.

In 1998, four musicians (Clay Ross, Kevin Hamilton, Charlton Singleton, and Quentin Baxter) came together to form a seminal Charleston jazz quartet. Now, united after years apart and with a deeper understanding of home, these accomplished artists are joined by one of the low country’s most sought-after voices, Quiana Parler, to celebrate a “Heartland of American Music” born in their backyards

of Charleston, South Carolina. Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut on Oct. 20, 2017. By December of that year, their first full-length album release hit number one on the Billboard charts for jazz album and contempocontempo rary jazz albums. The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. Fresh out of college, trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton, and drummer Quentin Baxter originally worked together as an in-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


demand jazz quartet on the Charleston scene in the late 1990s before splitting off to each make their way as freelance musicians, working with names like Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista, and René Marie. Gaining years of valuable experience while developing a deeper appreciation for the South Carolina Gullah tradition they came from, the band reformed with the dynamic vocalist Quiana Parler to celebrate the bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues that mark the low country mainland and Sea Islands – music made by a self-contained culture of descendants of enslaved Africans that introduced such indelible parts of American songbook as “Kum Bah Yah” and “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore.”. Editor’s not: For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The Honorable Wellington E. Webb The Colorado State Legislature, 1972-1977 Editor’s note: Former Denver First Lady Wilma J. Webb’s latest project is commissioning a sculpture of her husband, Wellington E. Webb, Denver’s first African American mayor who served 12 years from 1991 to 2003. The sculpture, also being supported by Mayor Michael Hancock, will be placed in the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building in downtown to educate visitors about the city’s 42nd mayor. Over the next few months, we will chronicle some of Wellington Webb’s political career. Below is an edited excerpt from his autobiography, “The Man, the Mayor and the Making of Denver.”

Paul Hamilton decided not to seek reelection for House District Eight in 1972. I was the first to announce my candidacy. “I’m tired of seeing the same kind of candidates year after year making the same kind of promises that aren’t kept,” I said in my announcement speech. “Black people don’t need that kind of representation.” At the time, I had a goatee and an Afro and wore a black medallion around my neck. My campaign literature included: “We have been divided too long. We need community action through political power. United, we have that power.” A fundraiser dance took place on July 15, 1972 and I asked for a $2.50 cover charge as a donation for my campaign. I remember introducing Wilma and other political candidates at the fundraiser. I forgot to mention my grandmother, Helen Williams Gamble, who was active in local politics and was my mentor. “Don’t ever forget to introduce your entire family, and specifically me,” she scolded.

That never happened again. I won the election by 5,997 votes. During my first term, I was fortunate to be elected by my legislative peers to serve as House Democratic caucus chair. In my second term, Ruben Valdez, the first Latino Speaker of the House, appointed me as chairman of the Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions Committee. Holding both leadership positions was unheard of at the time, and still doesn’t happen much. The Democrats were not the majority in the House my first term, so getting bills passed was nearly impossible. I made my first attempt to get a bill passed that endorsed the federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Later, I would unsuccessfully try and get support for a state holiday recognizing Dr. King. That battle would be taken up by Wilma years later when she was elected to the legislature. My second term was different. The Democrats took back the majority of the House and elected a Democratic governor, Richard Lamm. While I supported Lamm, I and others were upset he had not appointed any African American to his cabinet. (Sadly, only one black is serving in Gov. Polis’ cabinet in 2019.) A group of legislators - Arie Taylor, Rich Castro, Paul Sandoval, Regis Groff – along with Denver City Councilman Bill Roberts, Wilma and our friend, Dan Muse – protested by walking out of Lamm’s inauguration. We raised money for a fullpage ad in the Rocky Mountain News to explain our actions. But having a Democratic majority allowed me to tackle some important discrimination issues.

At the time, banks would only grant credit cards and financial services to women if their husbands co-signed the accounts. I successfully passed a bill that allowed women individual bank services. I teamed up with legislator Jack McCroskey on other discrimination bills based on sexual orientation. This was 1975, and we were way ahead of our time. I introduced two bills prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment. McCroskey addressed public accommodations for and granting credit to gays and lesbians. I didn’t realize what a raw nerve I hit until the bills came up for discussion. Democrats wanted nothing to do with them. Members of the black community were shocked that I’d propose such a civil rights issue. I supported antidiscrimination laws for gays and lesbians because it is the right thing to do. I did it instinctively. I sponsored another bill prohibiting discrimination based on physical handicaps that was approved by the legislature. I tackled another issue that turned out to be controversial. Initially, I didn’t want to carry a bill that allowed adopted adults to find their birth parents because how it may disrupt families. “You keep talking to us like we are children,” said a woman

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


with Adoptees Search. “I’m 55 years old. I would at least like a chance to ask my parents if they want to see me, and if they don’t, they can tell me through the Department of Social Services

and then I’ll go away.” More than 300 people showed up for one hearing on the adoption bill, and the majority of the speakers accused me of trying to destroy families. I got my first death threat because of that bill, which was also opposed by the newspapers and died quickly. Thirty years later, Representative Fran Coleman, herself adopted, introduced a bill during the 2005 session to allow adopted children access to their parents’ medical records.

After six years in the legislature in 1976 I was asked to become one of only three African Americans in the country to help run presidential candidate Jimmy Carter’s

stituents to meet with me, which was eventually closed due to the lack of operating money. Bills for the poor: I successfully sponsored several bills that protected the poor, including: •HB-1340, which established a state program for persons who are needy, blind, elderly, or disabled and do not qualify for the federal Supplemental Security Income act. •HB-1310, which protected people who received more that the correct amount of public assistance from having to repay the money if the additional money was given by no fault of the receiver. •HB-1405, which provided additional funding to the City and County of Denver to support its welfare programs. The bill also raised the amount of money provided for funerals and burials for indigent people. Health Bills, including: •HB-1112, which mandates that insurance companies offer group insurance benefits for the treatment of alcoholism. •HB-1437, which required health insurance policies cover complications of pregnancy or childbirth for all women, regardless of marital status.

campaign. I ran the Colorado campaign, and a peanut farmer from Georgia landed in the White House. Other highlights of my legislative career: Community Office: first legislator to establish, at my own expense, a neighborhood office to make it more convenient for con-

Social Justice Bills, including: •HB- 1078, which allowed the legislature to award $15,000 to Kenneth Lee, who had spent nearly three years in prison for a crime the Colorado Supreme Court ruled, was never committed. . Editor’s note: This is Part II of a special six-part series recognizing the history and accomplishments of Denver’s first African American mayor, the Honorable Wellington E. Webb. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


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n May 7, we will vote for mayor, city auditor, city councilmembers and other key issues. On the ballot are proposals that require extra attention due to misleading or tricky wording. One of them is Initiative 300, which asks Denver voters to approve a proposal that would allow people to camp in Denver Parks and other public spaces but provides no real support for our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness. The words in Initiative 300 appear to be caring and generous, but when carefully read, it is crystal clear that Initiative 300 is nothing but a “feel good idea,” to authorize a “Band-Aid” solution to a lifethreatening high-risk problem that impacts all of us. I encourage you to join me, and others, by voting no on Initiative 300. The ballot language reads: “Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt a measure that secures and enforces basic rights for all people within the jurisdiction of the City and County of Denver, including the right to rest and shelter oneself from the elements in a non-obstructive manner in outdoor public spaces; to eat, share accept or give free food in any public space where food is not prohibited; to occupy one’s own legally parked motor vehicle, or occupy a legally parked motor vehicle belonging to another, with the owner’s permission; and to have a right and expectation of privacy and safety of or

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


in one’s person and property?” The very thought of closing the doors on our brothers and sisters and insisting they live outdoors or in cars is a disgrace and disregard for the value of life, human dignity and personal safety. Initiative 300 is a cruel, insensitive, inhumane and outright insane attempt to fool Denver voters into approving ineffective and risky policy. I compare the Initiative 300 approach to seeing a cold and hungry person shivering outside in a blizzard staring at me through a restaurant window as I enjoy the warmth and food, and then I react by telling my waiter to give them a good hot cup of coffee. So, yes, I ask the waiter to deliver the coffee and add it to my bill, but then I continue to enjoy my delicious meal of catfish, greens, macaroni and cheese, followed by a big bowl or peach cobbler topped with a scoop of my favorite ice cream. Yes, I did give the cold shivering hungry person a cup of hot coffee for warmth and to fight dehydration, but can I truthfully say that the coffee was the most and best I could do? We all know the shameful answer is no. While none of us would probably take the stranger home with us, we can all agree that we should and can take time to do more for the needy in our community. What if we needed that same help? Using this logic, I am asking my elected officials and community leaders to give more thought and time to implementing a better and more comprehensive plan to reduce Denver homelessness and hunger. Let’s use Denver’s talent and treasure to develop better programs and projects to address the human needs of the homeless and hungry in our midst. Why not use the abundant supply of available insight and information to reduce the need for help, including the possible use of marijuana tax dollars? I do not claim to have all the answers, but I am certain that collectively

we do have the brain-power and skills to do better than institutionalizing life on the streets. I call for government, citizens and non-profits to come together to find a better way to help the homeless and hungry. We must incorporate all the resources available at the federal, state, and city levels if we are sincere about a long-term plan to tackle homelessness, unemployment, and hunger in Denver. No, we can’t force everyone to accept decent housing or genuine help for their circumstance, but we can provide homes and other assistance to persons that need and want help as a “hand-up and not just a hand-out.” Permanent affordable housing and sustainable help for those in need must be our goal. We must be willing, as humans and God-serving people, to provide funding or support for affordable housing, shelters, outreach services, mental health counseling or job training for people experiencing homelessness. We must do more than give access to our open spaces for unregulated use that allows people to camp indefinitely in and around Denver parks, sidewalks, and alleys. Many homeless service providers in Denver have expressed their concerns, including: Catholic Charities of Denver, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Rescue Mission, The Gathering Place, Volunteers of America, Urban Peaks, The Salvation Army and other organizations that exist to serve the homeless and hungry population. These providers have released a statement to let voters know that they are concerned that “the passage of Initiative 300 will lower the prevailing standard of human welfare in our community potentially reducing the expectation of ‘need’ met by our human service organizations, community members and government. Instead the focus will be sheer physical survival in outdoor spaces that are not suitable for

human habitation. This minimal concept of ‘survival’ provided by the initiative offers little to improve the welfare or security of the unsheltered homeless community in Denver. Individuals experiencing homelessness will remain susceptible to volatility of life on the streets – exposed to extreme climate, violence, injury, exploitation, and even death. There are more narrowly tailored policy alternatives that

would protect individuals experiencing homelessness from discrimination, enhance their trust of law enforcement and service providers, and reduce interactions with the criminal justice system.” I agree with these established experts. The homeless community and service providers need more resources and Denver city government ought to lead the way on solutions for the health and safety of the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


entire community including the homeless, ill, hungry, and unemployed in our city. Initiative 300 is a bad choice for Denver. I urge all Denver voters to vote NO on Initiative 300 in May 2019. It’s the right thing to do for ALL the people of Denver. . Editor’s note: Dr. Syl MorganSmith is the founder and president of the Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame

Affordable Housing and Homelessness are Key Areas of Concern for City Council Candidates By Thomas Holt Russell

There are 65 candidates running for city offices in Denver’s May 2019 Municipal election. The national trend of women running for public office continues here in Denver. There are a total of 27 women running for office; 41 percent of the total candidates and a three percent increase from 2015. City elections seem less important than national elections – a smaller percentage of voters participate. However, city elections are the most important because local decisions affect the people the most. Denver is going through growing pains. Growth has added 100,000 more people in a little over a decade. Real estate development, homelessness, and transportation are significant challenges. While the area’s population is growing, there is a shortage of available housing, and as a result, prices are rising dramatically. Supply is not keeping pace with the needs of a growing community. The number of available housing is in short supply, pushing prices up. The average two-bedroom apartment is $1500, which is a price many working people cannot afford. Low-income people, young families, and single-parent homes are finding it difficult to make ends meet. This affects businesses as well. Employers are having difficulty hiring people because workers cannot find affordable housing in the areas that are doing the hiring. Companies are having second thoughts about relocating if

retaining a workforce would be difficult if their target employees cannot be hired because of transportation problems from where they live, to where they need to work. When a family pays more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing, they are considered rent-burdened. Denver has a large number of rent-burdened households; 87 percent of Denver renters earn less than $35,000 annually. In District 1, located in the northwest a Denver, many people running for the city council seat profess to have solutions to the problem. Rafael Espinoza pulled out of his reelection run, opening the door for nine other candidates to state their case. Scott Durrah, a marine veteran, chef, and marijuana dispensary owner, thinks that a rent-toown solution is viable. Durrah’s idea is to have a fixed rate, long term lease that evolves into a down payment, and the rental price then becomes the mortgage. Durrah plans on working with developers to put his plan into action. Durrah is also the first African American licensed dispensary owner. David Sabados, also running for Denver City Council District 1, believes the expansion of accessory dwelling units is the answer. His Web site says, “…work with developers before they start projects to ensure more afford-

able units and improve tenant/landlord…,” blah, blah, blah. You get the message. It seems that someone threw some canned responses on his Web site. There is no substance there that would give hope to those that are struggling with the high cost of living. Engaging developers at an early stage seems to be the theme of most candidates. Mike Somma, says we need to get Residential Neighborhood Organizations involved in the development process and make sure developing affordable housing are in their plans. Amanda Sandoval supports deposit limits and increasing notice of rent increases from 21 days to up to 60 days. She also recommends working with the Registered Neighborhood Organizations, just as Mike Somma. Victoria Aguilar has made affordable housing a top priority of her campaign. She points to rising property taxes as the cause of many displaced Denver residents and promises to create incentives that would ease tax burdens. Most of these ideas can help alleviate the problem – if they are actually executed. But there are too many moving parts to the city government to make an accurate prediction on what will work. There are other problems that are not a distant relative to the high cost of living in Denver. It is easy to see why homelessness is not directly related to the housing affordability crisis. However, the cost of living is proliferating, and there are not even enough units even for

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


people with the monetary means to pay rent. Lack of affordable housing is making the homelessness problem worse. Denver spends more than $40 million on homeless programs, and it is hard to imagine how much more desperate the homeless problem would be without the money. Mike Somma wants to increase the number of shelter beds, and he looks at best practices, especially those practices in Sam Antonio that practically eliminated homelessness. In San Antonio, the city dedicated an area of 22 acres to provide services and housing for the homeless. However, finding a place to put Denver’s homeless population does very little to solve the root cause of homelessness. And at this writing, I have heard minimal substantive ideas about easing homelessness from any of the new candidates for city council. Placing people in dedicated areas, out of the eyesight of people that are appalled by the presence of homeless people, does not address the root causes to homelessness. The out of sight out of mind idea is not the answer. Electing a person for the city council is like going to a new dentist for the first time; you don’t know how good they are until they actually start working on you. Most of the ideas from these candidates are cookiecutter; something safe that can hold back critics until they actually have to execute the promises they made. The standard solutions they give to solve problems of affordable housing and homelessness are far from new or innovative. Only Scott Durrah seems to have a unique solution to the problem with his rent-to-own idea. It may not be an idea that works, and it may even be a bad idea. But at least an effort was made to try and solve a problem with a little creativity. •••

Stacey Gilmore was elected to her council seat in a run-off election in June 2015 and is now seeking re-election in District 11, which includes Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and DIA. Much work has been done during Gilmore’s last four years to address affordable housing in the district. More than 7.5 million dollars was attained for affordable housing and resource programs, and a new affordable family development will be located in Green Valley Ranch with 252 units ranging between 40 to 60 percent of the average median income. Gilmore also supported an eviction defense fund to support renters in keeping their housing, which was Denver’s first ever fund of this type. She is currently working to help businesses that are impacted by rising lease rates. This initiative is in partnership with the Office of Economic Development. Gilmore gained national attention when she was presented with the Champion of Change Award at the White House from President. Incumbent Gilmore has challengers new to public office who wants to take her seat. Shayla R. Richard, a product analyst at Zayo Group, aims to give “an additional voice and view,” to a district she believes has been treated as a “stepchild” of the city for many years. And Christine Alonzo left her position as director of the Service Employees International Union to run against Gilmore. Alonzo is a long-time resident of Montbello, and working to improve the affordable housing

situation in her community is one of her primary focus points. ••• Incumbent Albus Brooks of District 9 includes some of Denver’s oldest Neighborhoods such as Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, Cole, Clayton, Whittier, Curtis Park, and City Park. Brooks cosponsored (along with city council) an Affordable Housing Fund; a set of fees and taxes that is predicted to raise $150 million in 10 years. This represents the most significant housing fund in Colorado. Brooks is trying to balance growth and preserving culture in a district that is the most diverse. He campaigned under the motto, “Connecting Diverse Communities.” His mandate is popular; in 2011 he defeated 38 opponents in a write-in campaign and won 68 percent of the vote in the 2015 election. Candi CdeBaca, the founder of the Cross Community Coalition, is running against incumbent Brooks. CdeBaca’s attitude towards gentrification and the affordable housing crisis can be summed-up best by her statement, “We try to teach them (students): you don’t have to do well so you can get out of the hood. Do well so you can take over the hood. This is your in-heritage, this is rightfully yours.” If she wins the seat, CdeBaca will make history by being the first LGBTQ Latina to represent Denver on the council. ••• Incumbent Chris Herndon has represented District 8 for seven years as council president and council president pro-tempore. His efforts in his leadership role included advocating for housing support at all income levels.

Affordable housing across the district has been added in the last few years to include locations such as Park Hill, Montbello, and future sites on East Colfax. Some of Herndon’s accomplishments include increasing the number of police officers in the Denver Police Department, making traffic engineering improvements across the district, and developing leadership initiative for teens through Northeast Denver Leadership Week, “Growing up in Montbello, you always wonder: Why is my community at a disadvantage? Why do we always get the short end of the stick?” These are the words of Miguel Adrian CeballosRuiz, one of the five candidates running against Herndon, a former officer in the Colorado Democratic Party who resigned from his position to run for the District 8 seat. However, like many challengers, Ceballos-Ruiz is far behind, and it will be a tremendous uphill climb to overtake Herndon. ••• Mayor Michael Hancock has achieved the position and status that many of the city council hopefuls and incumbents wish to obtain. City council is the traditional stepping stone for mayoral hopefuls. Hancock was elected to the city council in 2003, was re-elected in 2007. Hancock won the mayoral race in 2011 and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2015 with more than 80 percent of the vote. As far as fundraising, Hancock has raised

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


$1,502.127.41 as of March 5. His nearest opponent, Jaimie Giellis has raised close to $400,000 as of March 5. Hancock can point to many accomplishments during his times as mayor, including a thriving economy, improvement in transportation, modernizing city services and eliminating a $100 million budget deficit in the process. Voters will have to listen very carefully. They will need to investigate, probe and research to make an informed decision. Local elections are where the rubber meets the road. The significant changes that need to happen start in our neighborhoods and spreads out to the national level, not the other way around. Voting participation has increased due to a fired-up politicized population. There is a certain level of dread and desperation that is permeating the nation. However, if substantial changes are going to be made for the national political climate, it has to start with our municipal elections. .

For more information call, 303-292-6446

For nearly a decade, the Denver Film Society has welcomed the community to

Denver Urban Spectrum to Host Groundbreaking Documentary at Women+Film Festival

Women+Film, with this year’s

Always in Season

event taking place April 9-14 at

Sheds Light on Racial Injustice and Reconciliation

the Sie FilmCenter. This year

Past Denver Film Society Film Festival

the Denver Urban Spectrum is proud to host one of the festival’s most poignant films on April 10, Always in Season. The idea that racism is a thing of the past, in which we have overcome to live in a nation that embraces and accepts cultural differences, continues to be challenged. Today, racial crimes that once went unseen and unspoken are now being seen and heard in Colorado communities and throughout the United States. From homes being tagged with racial slurs and stick figures of lynchings, to videos of individuals conveying hate messages and symbolisms, we are once

again being reminded of our country’s history of discrimination and racial division. According to a study released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism last summer, “hate crime totals for the 10 largest cities rose for

four straight years to the highest level in a decade.” The report showed that raciallymotivated crimes comprise nearly 60 percent of overall crimes, and African Americans remain the most targeted group. Always in Season illustrates how history can impact the future. The film, which showed at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching nearly 5,000 African-Americans and connects this form of racial terrorism with the racial violence occurring today. Directed, produced and written by Jacqueline Olive, Always in Season tells the story of seventeen-year-old Lennon Lacy, who was found hanging from a swing set on August 29, 2014 in the small town of Bladenboro, NC. Despite inconsistencies in the evidence, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother, Claudia, believes Lennon was lynched. Always in Season follows Claudia Lacy as she moves from paralyzing grief to leading the fight for justice for her son. As the film unfolds, Lennon’s case, and the suspicions surrounding it, intersects with stories of other commu-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


nities committed to breaking the silence of their own recent histories and leading the way to justice.  When interviewed about the film and asked what she wants people to think about after viewing it, Olive said, “Ideally, audiences will leave fueled by their emotions to have discussions on the way out of the theater. These dialogues can lead to relationships that, with enough compassion and commitment, have enormous potential to develop into greater coalitions of people doing the work of ending the systemic racism that we all share a responsibility in.” This is just one of 15 thought-provoking, empowering and investigative films to premiere during the six-day Women+Film annual festival, showcasing stories from the lens of women directors from around the world including Emmy-winning filmmaker Abigail Disney, grandniece of Walt Disney. The film festival is sure to inspire all audiences – both male and female – who attend any of the scheduled shows. In addition to the films, the Sie FilmCenter will host a series of special events including a conversation with Gretchen Carlson, who will sit down with the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s CEO and President, Lauren Casteel to discuss her documentary Breaking the Silence, which uncovers and shares the untold stories of sexual harassment and abuse. Casteel has moderated important conversations with many prominent women including former First Lady Michelle Obama, award-winning actress Octavia Spencer and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland. . Editor’s note: Tickets for the Women+Film Festival are available at or can be purchased at the Sie FilmCenter box office.


City Council unanimously approved the proposal to set a $15/hr. minimum wage for city contractors and subcontractors. The approved proposal will mean a pay raise for thousands of workers employed through an estimated 300 contracts with the City and County of Denver. Mayor Hancock statement: “Wage stagnation and income inequality are part of a national economic challenge that has been decades in the making. The wage gap has kept people in poverty and threatens the ability of working families to meaningfully participate in the economic prosperity cities like Denver are experiencing. This proposal was a critical step we could take as a city to ensure all our residents has equitable access to opportunity in Denver. “I’ve been proud to stand with my fellow Coloradans on numerous occasions to support

measures to increase wages for our workers, as well as advocate for their passage. I’m prouder still that our city was able to take this step to create fair wages here in Denver. I want to thank City Council for their vote of support tonight on this vital measure, our city team who helped craft this proposal and our partners at UNITE HERE and SEIU Local 105 for standing with us to ensure Denver remains inclusive and affordable for everyone.” On March 7, the city’s Career Service Board voted unanimously to move the $15/hr. minimum wage for city employees on for consideration by City Council. City Council’s Finance & Governance Committee will take up the city employee proposal on March 19. Last week, Mayor Hancock testified in support of HB191210, the proposed Local Government Minimum Wage bill, at the State House Transportation & Local Government Committee..



Sweat by Lynn Nottage Directed by Rose Riordan




Illustrations by Kyle Malone

Mayor Hancock Celebrates Approval of $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Proposal

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019



Ground Rules Must See............llll It’s Worth A Look.....lll See At Your Own Risk.ll Don’t Bother.....................l

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

Captain Marvel lll By Laurence Washington

Tune in to Denver 89.3FM, Breckenridge 89.7FM, Vail 88.5FM or download our app today and listen anytime, anywhere.


Warning: Prepare yourselves. The Stan Lee cameos in Marvel’s latest outing, Captain Marvel will make your eyes tear up. So bring Kleenex, or your favorite facial tissue. OK, you’ve been told. That being said, Captain Marvel does not disappoint in terms of leading you into the much anticipated Avengers: End Game, which debuts in a month. But before that happens, the movie answers several questions that have been left lingering in the Marvel universe ever since these films started a decade ago. We find out how Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) lost his left eye. And it’s in a fashion that most wouldn’t think, and for that matter, CGI took 30 years off of Jackson’s appearance. He looks so fantastic that you forget that his features are computer enhanced.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


The same treatment was given to Clark Gregg, who plays the faithful Agent Colson as he begins his tenure with S.H.I.E.L.D. under Fury’s tutelage. We see the origins of the Avengers Initiative, which answers the question, how did Fury know about enhanced humans decades before assembling the Avengers team? Academy-Award winner Brie Larson does a good job in the title role of Capt. Marvel/Carol Danvers, and

audiences will root for her. However, in comparison to Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman (’17), she lacks the maturity and presence of Gadot. The filmmakers thankfully didn’t spend a lot of time laboring over Danvers’ origins. In a series of flashbacks, we discover Danvers is a fighter pilot who was exposed to an alien explosion that zapped her memories and gave her superhuman strength. To the film’s credit, there is a plot twist and a storyline among all the usual special effects and the busy Marvel eyecandy. Cat lovers will love Goose the cat, who pretty much upstages everyone and saves the day. Marvel’s first female led film is a solid entry into the MCU universe, and is ushering in a new phase of Marvel movies. And of course, there are the usual after credit scenes, so stick around for the five minutes of rolling credits.


The Highwaymen llll By Jon Rutledge

We sometimes get caught up with the big names in history, and we forget the names that are associated with them. Bonnie and Clyde were well known as bank robbers who grew a fan club of poor people, because the two of them robbed banks. People who were suffering under the depression saw them as heroes. The two men who were tasked with tracking and bringing a stop to their run were never really known. After two years of failing to capture Bonnie and Clyde, Governor Ma Ferguson (Kathy Bates) hires retired Texas Rangers Frank Hammer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) as Highwaymen to do whatever it was needed to end Bonnie and Clyde’s reign of terror. This film captures Hammer and Gault’s story completely. We rarely see Bonnie and Clyde as they are just siding characters in this tale. They only make brief appearances. This is an excellent way of telling the story. It provides us with a frame of reference, so we can learn about Hammer and Gault and the Rangers in an engaging way. These are men who have had a hard life, and doing ugly things that at the time needed to be done to keep the peace and protect the people of Texas.

shows me that not only does it belong in the same class, but if the studios want to continue to be relevant, they need to pick up their game. “Highwaymen” has something fresh and new on a subject that has been well covered. But now it's from a different point of view, and from a studio that seems to be dedicated to telling a good story than trying to keep a hold of an antiquated system that no one is interested in anymore. Costner plays a hard-hearted ranger who realizes he is too old for this kind of job, but he still takes it because it needs to be done. Costner plays this role outstandingly. He imparts a feeling of duty with a hint of regret. He has a dark past, but he stonewalls his emotions behind a dedication to doing his duty. Harrelson’s character has shared the same experiences, but caries the faces of the people he’s killed. Haunted by them, he survives by drinking not to forget, but to numb himself to his memories. “Highwaymen’s” cinematography is outstanding. The filmmakers capture the feeling of desperation of people surviving in a crippling economic depression. They walk through immigrant camps where people have pitched a tent next to their cars and try to survive. We see the throngs of people who idolize Bonnie and Clyde, because they stick it to the banking system that many see as the bad guys who have taken their farms and homes. I was surprised at the level of quality from a Netflix production. I don’t associate them with feature-length films. I know they do a lot of series and showing other studio’s films. I felt Steven Spielberg is right when he said, Netflix films shouldn't be in the same category when it comes to Oscar nominations. I was wrong. This

Third Time’s A Charm For PAFF Award Winner Julius Amedume By Samantha Ofole-Prince

Photo by Shola Orolugbagbe/Royalty Images

Julius Amedume’s sinister thriller Rattlesnakes took home the top prize at the 27th Annual Pan African Film Festival, which wrapped up in Los Angeles last month. Produced by Jimmy JeanLouis, who also has a starring role in the project, the film which is based on Graham Farrow’s 1997 stage-play received the Audience Award – Narrative Feature at the festival and, earned Amedume his third PAFF accolade. The Ghanaian-British filmmaker previously received a Pan African Film Festival award for Best Feature in 2007 for his gripping film A Goats Tail and in 2011, he also won

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


PAFF’s Best Short Film award for Precipice. “I have been here quite a few times before. This festival has been very supportive of my work and I am happy to have been able to come to America and share this feature film, and world premiere it here at PAFF,” said Amedume whose credits include The Phone Call which screened at PAFF in 2003. Fifty-two narrative features, 24 feature-length documentaries, 87 short narratives and 30 shorts from 38 countries in 28 languages were screened at the festival which kicked off in February with a screening of Aretha Franklin’s rare concert documentary, Amazing Grace. PAFF’s Best Narrative Feature went to Storm Saulter Helmer’s Sprinter, a Jamaican drama about a high-school kid with aspirations to become a first-class world athlete while Melissa Haizlip’s Mr. Soul! received the Best Feature Documentary. The PAFF Programmers’ Award – Narrative Feature went to the Nigerian drama Lara and the Beat directed by Tosin Coker and Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story received Best Documentary Feature. Other PAFF award winners included Best First Feature Narrative which went to director Adisa’s Skin in the Game, a film which explores the underground world of human trafficking..


9Health Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Health in Colorado 9Health Fair celebrates 40 years of providing Coloradans access to preventive health screenings and education with 100 health screening locations across the state this month. Each health fair offers affordable lab screenings, and many locations offer additional health screenings at no cost such as hearing, vision, body mass index and more. This year, 9Health will offer two new screenings, High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (heart health) and Blood Type along with its standard offerings. Health care professionals are on-hand to offer assistance and advice. Each 9Health Fair also offers a variety of free screenings such as blood pressure, breast exams, prostate/testicular, oral, hearing, foot, skin and more.

9Health Fair locations, times and screenings can be found at

Breakfast Speakers Discuss Economic Justice and Family Incomes Many Coloradoans have not recovered from losing homes or jobs since the great recession and 21 percent of American children live in poverty. On Palm Sunday, April 14 at 9:30 a.m. at Montview Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St. in Denver, Rev. Bill Kirton will discuss the Biblical basis for economic justice. Halisi Vinson will describe how workers can build wealth by forming cooperatives to market a service, such as child care, catering or language translation. Kirton, a retired Methodist minister, helped found the Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center and Vinson is the executive director. The

Now Hiring Management Trainees! Leadership

Business Development

employee ownership center offers workshops on how to set up a workers’ cooperative, including how to write a business plan, licenses needed and how to market a business. Kirton has more than 40years of experience in community-based, organizational development and is a founder of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. Vinson, who is also president of Colorado Black Women for Political Action, brings knowledge and skills in business development, marketing and consulting from fiveplus years in the venture capital industry. For more information, visit

Women’s Visions Presents Prophets Call Conference The New Life Beginnings Ministry will be hosting a free two-day conference on Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sunday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DoubleTree By Hilton at 3202 Quebec in Denver. This event will aide to support the homeless with food and clothes and a location to go to for assistance, prayer and peace in partnership with Denver Rescue Mission. To register, visit

Colorado Photographer Hosts Book Signing

Customer Service FirstBank is an EOE/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or any other applicable status protected by state or local law. Member FDIC

Denver native Patrician Duncan formulated historical document, “Defining the Time – Barack Obama,” chronicling the rise of the first African American president of the United States. This historical account begins in Aurora, in 2006, four months before - thenjunior U.S. Senator Barack Obama - delivered his announcement speech in Springfield, Illinois and ending with his tenure as president. “Defining the Times,” has been inducted into the collection at the History Colorado

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


museum and cultural center and the Denver Public Library main branch in downtown Denver. The book signing will be held on Saturday, April 27 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. in Denver. For more information, email

The Black Educator’s Network Literacy Festival Celebrates Its 6th Year The sixth annual Black Educator’s Network Literacy Festival, a family event that integrates literacy, leadership, science, technology, engineering, art, math and music will be held on Saturday, May 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The festival will include interactive activities and sessions for the entire family. Secondary students are invited to tour the campus and residential housing. There will be free books, raffles and a continental breakfast in the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Dwire Hall at 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs. For more information, email, Theresa Newsom at or BlackEducatorsNetwork@gmail .com or call 719-282-0194.

This Land is Our Homeland Celebration This Land is our Land will be held on Saturday, June 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Rising Star Missionary Baptisit Church gymnasium, 1500 S. Dayton St. in Aurora. This pastor’s aid ministry will celebrate people from all over the world with an afternoon of food tasting, performances, prizes, fun and fellowship. Donations are $20 for adults; $10 for children 12 and under. For more information, call Fairy Hanley at 303-261-5086 or Cora Hampton at 303-550-5088.

Letters To The Editor Comtinued from page 3 children, many of the more than 300,000 TPS holders have lived in the United States for decades and have strong community ties. Of the 1,400 TPS holders in Colorado, 1,600 U.S.born children depend on them. These families are facing impossible circumstances where parents must decide between being separated from their children or taking them to countries that are facing extreme violence, dangerous conditions, and lack of resources. This isn’t a decision they should have to make after decades of contributing to our communities. Having been witness to the pain of these harsh realities, I know firsthand the toll this takes not only on families, but the people around them — from the caring neighbor to the employer. It’s time for our legislators and leaders to come together and provide the relief these hardworking families have been hoping for by passing the Dream and Promise Act. 

speak in every way your great ears know how to hear. Let your imagination guide you to the best you can find.  You will find your voice is the best around. When you sing, sing loud and clear so the whole world can hear. If you have a problem, tell the folks who care, and if you can’t find folks who care, keep looking. The world depends on you to be everything you can be, so

always look to find better ways to express the best you’ve got. We are depending on you. It is your job to find happiness, so start looking. Someday, we want to see you marching with folks who think like you, who want the best for themselves and others, so that our world can keep making wonderful people like you. Michael G. Sawaya Denver, CO

Marcus Doe Liberian US Citizen Pastor, Providence Bible Church

A Message to Today’s Children Editor: Look in the mirror and see what you see? The color you see is the best color to be. Always remember that. The way you look is the best look to see. Always remember that. We can please other folks on some things, but who we are is something we can only please ourselves. Be proud that you have a name and always say it with pride. Be proud of the race you come from, because that is one you have and it is amazing. If you have two feet, be proud you can walk on them. If you have two hands, be proud you can hold things with them. If you have a tongue, learn to speak the best you can. Let it Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


Smooth Jazz and Musicals – All the Way “Live” This Spring In Denver By Adam at KUVO Jazz89.3


Temptations Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations may be grabbing the buzz in New York, but the stages of Denver theaters and music venues are also alive with a schedule of musical performances and smooth jazz artists – not seen like this in a long time. The pop-culture singing divas of the 60’s are the focus of

Beehive, The 60’s Musical, playing April 3 to 13 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, just southwest of I-25 South and Lincoln Avenue. Hits by the Shirelles, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, the Supremes and many others form the score for this production, directed and choreographed by legendary actress Candy Brown with musical director Dr. Michael Williams. With an all-women cast, it tells the story of six ladies coming of age during an era of mini-skirts, transistor radios, and endless national challenges. The touring production, Trav’lin – The 1930’s Harlem Musical will roll into town to the mainstage of the Arvada Center on April 9 to 28, located at 6901 Wadsworth St. in Arvada. It’s a romantic evening of 1930’s jazz by Harlem Renaissance composer J.C. Johnson; forming the score for three couples striving to stay committed to each other in their relationship. Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald are among entertainers who have performed some of J.C. Johnson’s music. Three select performances will include a talk-back with cast and crew members, or attendees can join them in a special happy hour on April 17. Also this month, the Curious Theatre Company will present the dramatic production of Skeleton Crew. As the Great Recession hits Detroit and rumors abound about a factory closing, a make-shift family of

three auto workers face tough choices regarding their future. In this turmoil, their foreman must decide where his loyalty lies – with his team or his personal career. Recognized playwright Dominique Morisseau, who also wrote the book and script for the new Temptations musical in New York, tells this tale of blue collar America on stage through April 13. Although not being marketed as a festival, the smooth jazz artists schedule at the Soiled Dove Underground in Lowry for five of six weeks in May and June could be termed just that. Dates to cue-in begin on May 17 when Sax to the Max takes the stage teaming the trio of Vincent Ingala, Michael Lington and Denver native Paul Taylor. A week later, James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon of Pieces of a Dream hits town with their 40th anniversary tour on Saturday, May 25. Take a week off to get set for Boney James for two nights on June 7 and 8, chased by Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers on June 14. The six weeks caps off on June 22 with Brian Simpson and Jackiem Joyner. As warm ups’, Keiko Matusi graces the stage for a single performance on Friday, April 12 and Selena Albright performs Saturday, April 20. The only upcoming free event you can’t miss during this spring season period is the swingin’ Five Point Jazz

Festival on Saturday May 18. The Denver Botanic Gardens welcomes Ziggy Marley on July 1 and Michael McDonald on July 18. The Double Vision Revisited tour, presenting the legendary Bob James (who is still jammin’ at age 80) and David Sanborn with Marcus Miller, will perform in a rare Monday evening event on August 5. And while we’re at it, Winter Park presents the 37th annual jazz festival on July 20 and 21 at the Rendezvous Event Center. Saturday’s headliners include Kirk Whalum; the Sax Pack with Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and Steve Cole; and R&B group Boys II Men. The Sunday line-up includes the Dave Koz Summer Horns Tour with Koz, Gerald Albright, and Rick Braun; multi-talented vocalist Kenny Lattimore; saxophonist Darren Rahn, and Adam Hawley and Marcus Anderson performing as a duo. Additional performers will round out and complete both days. Look for summer events coming in upcoming Denver Urban Spectrum issues. Until then, its live performances this spring – theater and music heaven!. Editor’s note: Adam hosts Smooth Jazz Saturday from 8 to 10 p.m. on KUVO Jazz 89.3. He will also host the multicultural musical theater special “Jazz in the Footlights” on June 8 before the Tony Awards.

We are proud to welcome optician

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


New Life Christian Center


Seeking Renters

In Montbello For more information: Call 303-373-5200 E-mail Fax 303-373-1908


African Bar and Grill Serving: Jollof Rice, African Beer and, Specialty Dishes from Africa 18601 Green Valley Ranch Blvd. Denver, CO 80249

720-949-0784 or 303-375-7835

Making transmissions well since 1983. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019




DUS 2019 African Americans Who Make A Difference

Happy Bir thday! to DUS GM

Lawrence Photos by

February 28 @ Kasbah

Lens of Ansar

Manual High School Varsity Basketball High School State Champions are celebrated with “Thunderbolts” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the Honorable Wellington E. Webb, Syl Morgan Smith and City Councilman Albus Brooks...Photos by Lens of Ansar

Happy Birthday Velois Raush March18

Bee Harris March 19

Theodora Osei-fordwuo March 20

3rd Annual 2019 International Women’s Day A Celebration of Women by Women from the African Diaspora Photos by Harvey McWhorter

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2019


Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum April 2019  

Denver Urban Spectrum April 2019