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PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

January 2011


COLUMNISTS Towanna Henderson Earl Ofari Hutchinson Rhoda Johnson Deanna M. Hasira Watson-Ashemu

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Misti Aas Angelle Fouther Annette Walker Rita Wold ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte - The Creative Spirit PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cecile Perrin

ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Rodney Sturgeon Tommy Thomas CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Cecile Perrin WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR ConnectMe/SpectrumTalk Tanya Ishikawa DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2011 by Rolado, LLC. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

It’s all about the


As you flip the pages and look through this issue, I hope you notice something a little different and very exciting. It’s all in COLOR! To celebrate our entry into our 25th year of spreading the news about people of color, we wanted everyone to experience the beauty of color. Thanks to our advertisers and our newest member of the DUS team, Rodney Sturgeon, we were able to make that happen. But only with your help and support can we continue with this step of progress. In celebrating this anniversary month, we pay homage to veteran journalist and colleague Jon Bowman. Former DUS intern Rita Wold talks with Bowman about his career and wonderful life. Angelle Fouther shares her insight on the trials and tribulations of author and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant. Fouther also talks about an exciting exhibit coming to Denver that broke barriers in tennis history. And Misti Aas talks about the prospect of two new academies coming to Northeast Denver, especially for young males. But it’s that time again – Election Time – and we have the goods on eight of the 10 candidates running for mayor, and what they plan to do for and with the communities of color. In this special political section, read about the mayoral candidates and check out information on others vying for positions in Denver’s city government. And lastly, but certainly not least, you are invited to join us as we celebrate “Continuing Legacies – Celebrating Strength,” on Sunday, April 17 at the Kasbah. Check out the ad on page 17, as we pay homage to African Americans who are making a difference in our communities. So, take a moment and peruse this issue – because in more ways than one – it’s all about the color! Rosalind “Bee” Harris Publisher


Dever Public School Board President Speaks Out

The families in Far Northeast Denver have been craving higherquality neighborhood schools for years, and this plan is designed to give them exactly that: great programs at Montbello and very strong schools feeding into it.

Editor: Prior to the turnaround, Montbello High School’s performance was declining (based on School Performance Framework scores). It was the lowestrated traditional high school in DPS and one of the lowest-rated high schools in Colorado. Because of that dismal performance, many families in Far Northeast Denver choose to send their kids to school in other parts of the city, often an hour bus ride away. Just 57 percent of current high school students who live in FNE attend school there (more than 1100 leave for DPS offerings in other parts of the city). We’ve seen very successful turnarounds at MLK and Bruce Randolph, where the new programs were allowed to grow one grade at a time. Both of those schools graduated their first class of seniors last year, with nearly 100 percent of seniors graduating. At Montbello, just over half of the students graduate, and only six out of 100 go on to college without needing remediation. The families in Far Northeast Denver deserve much better options – right away! The turnaround plan dramatically improves and increases options, and the FNE choice numbers have been very encouraging. Recently, roughly 1500 families made choices for 6th and 9th grade programs and about 85 percent of those families making a FNE school their first pick.

Nate Easley President, DPS Board

Cheers To

Editor: I read Denver Urban Spectrum (online) and noticed you partner with several radio stations. I checked them all out and LOVED Cocktail hands down! It’s very different from the typical “smooth” jazz stations or other internet stations. It’s not elevator music and not top 40. It’s great to listen to at home or office. There is an incredible variety of refreshing music - with no repeated songs. Whoever is programming this station is the bomb! This is exposure to a huge amount of music! You won’t get bored. “Sessions” can be selected and replayed when I find anything I’m particularly fond of. Gary Ashton has done a wonderful job with his announcing on this site. The Cocktail Radio website has a clean and uncluttered appearance, focused on Jazz and R&B. Other internet radio sites seem busy and give me a feeling they are “casting a wide net”. That type of overkill (my opinion) turns me off. is consistent throughout, with classy upbeat music, classy appearance, and a classy overall presentation. I also appreciate that they don’t ask you to register or subscribe to the website. I don’t like giving up my personal information. This station has

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


filled a void and needs more exposure to the Denver community. I’ve read many interviews (very well written and informative) on your site, and I am wondering who is behind this (Cocktail Radio) and where are they from? Why hasn’t there been an interview with these guys? Good heavens, they devote part of the site to local musicians/artists and incorporate them into their sessions, who does that anymore? They are blowing away the smooth jazz site. I believe CocktailRadio is based in the Denver area and is different enough from other internet radio to be considered cutting edge. Denver might want to know about this form of entertainment enhancing Denver’s unique lifestyle. Please interview them, so we know more about Cocktail Radio. This is the ONLY hip, sophisticated, radio station in this region for adults.

Grace Lambda Internet Reader

Continued on page 37

Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

Publisher Editor News & Information

Advertising & Marketing Graphics & Design

Distribution & Circulation

Gunfire rang through the

Chicago block as Jon Bowman, then a college student, joined members of the Black Panther Party to feed breakfast to schoolchildren. The shots were one of many fear tactics police exerted to discourage the party’s social programs aiding Black communities. Events from the civil rights and antiwar movements have left Bowman, now a veteran journalist and reporter with Denver’s KDVR television station, with an unwavering sense for justice and public service. “I don’t think you ever lose that,” Bowman says about his inclination to dissent that stemmed from that era. “The stuff that we fought for in the ‘60s isn’t necessarily over. People would like to say it is, and it would be nice if it was.” When in 1989, he was booted from an anchoring and reporting position with Denver’s Channel 7, he transitioned into various news mediums and attempted a political career, while juggling a number of jobs to make ends meet. And though Bowman, 62, eluded the early career end, which is so common in television news, he’s still troubled by the low numbers of Blacks present in the television industry, and the overall trajectory of Black progress. “It’s a tough nut to crack, as to how we ever get to a point where everybody’s on equal footing, and you don’t have to look at race,” he says. “There is a bit of mobility (in the field of television news), but more of the mobility is not always for people of color, unfortunately.” He notes the few Black males present on Denver news stations, and says there’s a tendency for the industry to hire Blacks according to a quota system. Thus, doors only open when another Black person needs to be replaced. “I don’t know if that is attributable to hiring and firing. You hire who you know, and people who are more like you,” he says. In charge with hiring at news stations are news directors, who before attaining their positions are first producers and then assistant news directors. “But there aren’t very many Black producers either,” Bowman says, and so that path is rarely opened to Blacks. “I don’t know how the cycle ever gets broken,” he says. “You’d hate to think if you were a Black news producer, you would only hire Blacks. I don’t think that’s how it would work, but that’s kind of how it works now, but only the other way.” But his concerns go beyond that. Seated on a bench outside of a cafe in



Works on Creating a Wonderful Life By Rita Wold

Park Hill, wearing a green Syracuse cap and a sweatshirt, Bowman gazes into the distance, and fidgets with a grape juice bottle as he details the high statistics of incarcerated Blacks and Hispanics, and compares them to the much lower numbers of their Anglo counterparts. “I’m not saying anything; just look at the numbers,” he says. “I’m not by any means hating. These are just questions, and I’m trying to figure it all out.” Bowman’s television career began in Syracuse, N.Y. at the CBS affiliate WTVH. It was a combination of luck, tenacity, and his passion for making films that took him there. In 1971, under President Lyndon Johnson, government-funded workshops were introduced around the country, offering free media training to integrate the industry’s predominately white-male workforce. “Across the country, television stations were coming up with this line that you still hear today: ‘We can’t find Blacks who are qualified to work in this business,’” Bowman says. At the time, he was studying film at Columbia College in Chicago, while working for a film rental company. At night, he would use the company’s equipment to make short films on the South Side of

Chicago with his buddy Ike. Once, during the Chicago Football Classic, he and Ike crept on to the field, positioned themselves in the middle of Grambling State University’s marching band, and began filming. Fortunately, the large crowds made them impossible to identify, and later the film was one of three that won them recognition at the Chicago International Film Festival. “All we wanted to do was just make films,” Bowman says. Then, the only films targeting Blacks were coined blaxploitation films – criticized by some for perpetuating negative stereotypes, which included box office successes like “Shaft” and “Superfly”. “We were bumming around Chicago trying to figure out what we were going to do,” Bowman says. That’s when Bowman learned about the government-sponsored film program, and that the last position was in the process of being filled. Bowman immediately called the head of the program, Jim Taylor, saying, “Mr. Taylor, Mr. Taylor, I need to be in this program.” Bowman was in luck. It just so happened that his dad, a Tuskegee Airman, lent Taylor’s good friend, filmmaker and photographer Gordon Parks, his combat boots.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


“Any kind of opening I can get, I’m trying to take advantage of,” Bowman now recalls about his conversation with Taylor that led to a career in television news. Taylor offered to hold the position for another day but made no promises. “I said,‘Self, I’m going to go downtown and see this guy right now,’” recalls Bowman. He rushed to his car, ran up the steps to the building where Taylor was, and an hour later the position was his. Soon he began working for WTVH, while studying political science and drama at Syracuse University, where he later graduated. “I never thought of being a reporter, but in hindsight it couldn’t have been a better mix,” Bowman says. He planned on becoming a lawyer or actor, and so after five years of working as a one-man band—shooting, reporting, and editing his own videos, he gave the station an ultimatum to make him a full-time reporter, or he’d move to Los Angeles and pursue acting. As fate would have it, he became a full-time reporter and anchor, though he admits having “mixed feelings” because he and his wife, Jan Bowman, who is also from Chicago and a Syracuse’s alumni, had been preparing for L.A. He stayed at the station for five more years, where colleagues included Al Roker, now the weather anchor for NBC’s Today show. “The city council in Syracuse had a lot of phonies and politics, and Jon cut right to the chase,” says Benita Zahn, a former colleague at the station. “He had an uncanny sense for sniffing out the phony and making them responsible, which I think is what makes him such a good reporter.” Bowman then spent two years as a reporter and weekend anchor with WKBW, Buffalo city’s most viewed news station at the time. “After a month or two, everyone in town knew who we were. I never experienced anything like that,” Bowman recalled. Still, upon being offered a position with Denver’s Channel 7, he decided it was time to move on. He stayed there until the station’s low rating resulted in new management that sent many of the station’s staff members including Bowman out the door. When the doors of other stations didn’t immediately open, he was force to juggle various jobs before signing on with KDVR. Jobs included being a press aide to then-Mayor Wellington Webb; the community affairs director of TCI of Colorado, the nation’s largest cable company before being Continued on page 6

Increases In School Fees And Class Sizes: The reality Of Budget Cuts


By Towanna “The Mama” Henderson phrase “every little bit will help” is going to be an understatement for public schools in the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. From the typical fundraising efforts like Sally Foster catalogs and bake sales to the high-end efforts of golf tournaments and silent auctions, the schools will need to get more aggressive and creative when determining how to raise money to off-set their budget deficits. So, how will Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed budget cuts of $332 million in K-12 funding affect parent and student finances? For some school districts and schools, it will be through an increase in current school fees and new school and transportation fees. Adams County is proposing that families in the district contribute to paying instructional fees of $45 per elementary and middle school student and $30 per high school student. In addition, a $150 annual bus fee for elementary, middle and high school students attending their neighborhood schools is a possibility and a $175 annual fee for students attending options or choice schools. Students qualifying for federal lunch assistance would receive waivers of the bus fees. There is currently a fee to pay to ride the school bus but those fees could increase from $10 per month to $15 per month. Aurora public schools conducted a parent survey for feedback regarding where budget cuts and fee increases should take place. Most parents marked a reduction in sports activities, charging students for school transportation and an increase in fees for books and instructional materials as their “least favorable.” As a result,

REACHING HIGHER GROUND the Aurora Public School Board of Education did not present those items in their proposed budget last month. Although Denver Public School’sproposed $10 million in cuts to central services with schools receiving flat funding for the 2011-12 schoolyear, increases in fees could happen at the school level. I recently attended an all-school parent meeting at my daughter’s school to discuss the budget. Among the topics discussed were a $70 fee for arts programs, a “highly suggested” $70 fee for academics (not a requirement) and a $40 fee for tech-

nology. These fees were a result of the decrease from a $130,000 budget distributed to departments this year to only $13,000 for departments for the 2011-2012 school year. Fees are not the only thing increasing – an increase in class sizes appear to be the “packaged deal” of the decrease in education funding. Fewer teaching positions and reduction in courses offered would mean larger class sizes in several schools. If you have not attended a budget meeting at your student’s school, I suggest that

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


you do it soon. Most schools are being very transparent regarding the outlook for their schools in the fall. A goal of the transparency is to seek feedback and assistance from parents. Now, more than ever our role as parent fundraisers and volunteers is much needed in our local schools.  Editor’s note: Towanna Henderson is the parent representative for the State Council on Educator Effectiveness. She is active in the community promoting academic excellence and community service through the Asfaw Family Foundation International.

Jon Bowman Continued from page 4 sold to AT&T in 1999; and the program manager for Great Outdoors Colorado. Meanwhile, he held on to various media gigs, including 10 years in radio as a news and sports director for KDKO Radio and ESPN, among other spots; 10 years with Channel 12’s Colorado Inside Out programming; and writing for a number of publications including Denver Daily News as a sports writer. He was also news director and anchor for Consumer Advantage News, also known as CANtv, a syndicated program that played in big U.S. cities. Despite the program’s success, funds ran out and the show folded. “I’m not above anything,” says Bowman, a father of two, who at one point had to take a job at FedEx just to make ends meet. He unsuccessfully campaigned twice for the City Council seat for District 11– first in 1999, challenging would-be winner Allegra “Happy” Haynes, and again in 2003, rivaling Michael Hancock. “I always thought if I could help, I want to help,” he says about his decisions to run. Growing up in Chicago, often regarded as the most segregated city in the U.S., Bowman, said he moved to Park Hill because of the diversity. “It’s one of the most integrated neighborhoods in the country,” he says. And though never fully pursuing his acting aspirations, he’s had several movie appearances, including playing a referee coach in the in the 1992 film Ladybugs. Today, though, he still aims for his directorial debut, mainly recording Black history. He says Hollywood has neglected to tell Black experiences, and are not funding Black directors, with the exception of Tyler Perry whose films remind Bowman very much of blaxploitation films. To a large extent, though the digital world has transformed media, Bowman is back to where he started. Due to the revenue plunges of many news outlets, increasingly smaller workforces are converting many journalists into one-man bands—who today are being called backpack journalists. In addition, since Bowman’s early news days, coverage has evolved

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


from 30 minutes to 24 hours, with sports. “You have to be adaptive in this world,” he says, and advises that journalists learn to do everything, and never say they can’t do something. “The Jon Bowman whole world is Photo by Cecile Perrin about convergence now.” Bowman says broadcast television and newspapers responded too late to changes in the media landscape. And thus, cable and online carriers like AOL toppled broadcast stations and newspapers in ratings, readership, and eventually revenue. “They got behind the curve,” he says, and now many are playing catch up to make up for profit losses. “Now you see more ads then ever. Now the pop ups come up and you have to close them out. You can’t even get to what you’re looking for.” He’s been a longtime advocate of Black media outlets, but frankly, is discontent with their failure to be consistent in updating online content. Not that he’s oblivious to some of their funding woes. Bowman admits that mainstream media is generally guilty of overshadowing the good in human nature with the bad news. And this is often said to be true with their coverage of Black communities. Whether it’s less so or more so with other communities, he’s not certain. Still, his station sometimes falls under attack for being an affiliate of FOX network—commonly criticized for having a conservative bent, which distorts their coverage on Black people and issues. In any case, Bowman says corporate views don’t necessarily encroach on the integrity of journalists. “We are still individuals. I’m still a product of my upbringing and environment,” he says. Rather, he says diversity is the key to altering corporate views that may be tainted. But whether the news industry agrees with the need for more diversity, remains to be seen. “You got to have hope,” Bowman says. Regardless of everything, he says, “I have no complaints about anything,” he concludes. “I wish perhaps things were more fair. I wish I could do more to make them fair. (Still, for him,) It’s like the Jimmy Stewart movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’”

Iyanla Vanzant

Oprah and the potential for a show on her network. She went on to create the “Iyanla” show with Walters, but it only lasted one season. After sending letters to Winfrey for 11 years with no response, Vanzant was invited on the show in February to clear up past perceptions and misperceptions. While the discussions on the first episode disintegrated in front of millions of viewers, the second resulted in a peaceable resolution. Vanzant says that her on air comment to Winfrey, “I thought you loved my work, but not me,” stems back to early abuse and one of the many lessons she learned from her tragically dysfunctional family life: men can like what you are serving up, while not caring a thing about you as a person. She admitted that despite the all the uproar that has been made about their reconciliation, she had never once had a one-on-one conversation with the talk show host until the recent televised appearances; all of their prior conversations were through executive assistants or with lawyers present. “I never knew how Oprah felt about me, because she never talked to me. That was part of my pathology. We all have our love languages, and mine is affirmation. I need to hear that I am appreciated,” the author stated, adding that Continued on page 8

Provides Inspiration Beyond The BrokenPieces

By Angelle C. Fouther


yanla Vanzant knows what it is to be on top. A New York Times bestseller, she has authored some 15 books, including “In the Meantime” and “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up,” with sales of more than 8 million copies worldwide. She has appeared in hundreds of speaking engagements, and at the height of her career, made over 20 appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Vanzant’s success is due in great part to the fact that she has always offered a rare level of transparency – openly sharing her personal stories of pain and subsequent healing. Through this practice, she endears herself to men and women alike, allowing them to find inspiration from her ability to rise above extreme circumstances, and meaning in even the darkest experiences. But the depths of the hell to which Vanzant had descended over the past decade were known to very few until the release of her new book “Peace from Broken Pieces,” and her recent and highly publicized appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. The author appeared in March at Mile High Church in Lakewood to discuss her book as part of a weekend healing workshop. Completely in her element, she captivated the crowd, consisting of men and women, weaving masterfully between gut wrenching tales of despair, abuse, and abandonment and testimonials of her newfound peace. She opened up the second part of the program to entertain questions and offer advice, leaving questioners in tears – a combination of laughter and revelation – brought on by a woman who has no doubt heard it all over the years, but who has lived it herself. The past decade of Vanzant’s life can best be summarized in the prologue of her new book: I am going to tell you the story abut how a New York Times best-selling author ends up flat broke, looking for a place to live. I am going to show you how a 37-year relationship ends in divorce by e-mail. I am going to share with you the intimate details of how an internationally recognized spiritual teacher ends up on the edge of the bed

Author and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant

in a million-dollar home slated for foreclosure, contemplating suicide . . . I want you to know what I have learned about personality flaws, human weaknesses, a corrupted mind, a broken heart, and a depleted spirit. She says these are pieces that led to the total collapse of her life but also that pushed her to recognize the power of friends, faith and self-love. Many pinpoint the beginning of her “downfall” with her departure from Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Productions. But Vanzant says, “My daughter dying didn’t have anything to do with Oprah Winfrey; nor did my husband leaving or me having a balloon mortgage on my house.” Further the author says that what has been referred to as a feud between her and Oprah, was more accurately a misperception. “When you are not confident in your self-worth, you begin to sabotage the good things that are happening in your life,” she says. Vanzant, who was among the ranks of other Oprah’s Change Your Life television regulars such as Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, and John Gray, found herself dropped from the show when she pushed to have a pilot for her own show created, citing another offer from “someone very big in the television world.” That someone happened to be Barbara Walters, and the offer (which wound up not being a solid one) severed the relationship with

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Continued from page 7 the take a way lesson for all of us in this is to go and find that person we need to clear the air with, and do so. It will allow you to move forward with your life. It was October 1999 when that split with Oprah sent ripples through the river of Vanzant’s life. But it was December 25, 2003, when the proverbial hurricane hit land. Her daughter Gimmia died of colon cancer on that day. “My daughter was dead, and that is unspeakable,” she says. “It hurts everywhere – your skin, your toenails, your eyelashes. There is no way to describe the pain. I have lost my mother, my father, my sister and brother. But this was mind boggling.” Vanzant never stopped working through it all. She did a reality show, “Starting Over,” which appeared on NBC. She also continued to teach at her Institute, Inner Visions Worldwide, but found herself unable to write after the death of her daughter. It was Tavis Smiley who encouraged her to pick up the pen again. “Tavis hosted a State of the Black Union telecast, and I spoke about my mortgage problems,” Vanzant states. “I was talking about the balloon mortgage before it really became a widespread problem.” After losing her house to foreclosure, Vanzant’s financial difficulties forced her to discontinue her health insurance in order to pay for her grandchildrens’ schools. Smiley had received a number of calls and emails about Vanzant’s on air confessions of financial challenges – challenges that mirrored those of a lot of Americans at the time, and he was convinced that she needed to write another book. “He said, ‘I will make you an offer you can’t refuse,’” Vanzant states. “And he gave me a lump sum along with monthly payments until I completed this book.” Vanzant says her new book is about healing the broken pieces of history and family. The connection between current pathology and family history was one she was forced to examine when she recognized the repeated patterns of suffering in her family. She recalls an incident where, at the top of her professional game, she took to the stage to collect her Award for Best New Fiction Writer by American Booksellers Association. Standing in front of some 1,000 people, she claims she felt completely numb as she thought about her two daughters who had followed in her footsteps to become teen mothers and her son who was incarcerated (she later wrote the book “The Spirit of a Man A Vision of Transformation for Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Black Men and the Women Who Love Them” with him in mind.) The fact that she had gone from welfare to law school and from self-printing her books to being a national bestseller hadn’t changed her family patterns. Her prayer: “Lord, what is going on? Why is this happening to me and my children?” brought forth a revelation: certain experiences were coded on a cellular level. That’s why even though her alcoholic mother had died of breast cancer when Vanzant was two, and too young to even have memories of her, Vanzant had spent her life repeating her patterns of self-abuse, neglect, and “addiction to suffering.” After her mother’s death, Vanzant and her older brother were left to be raised by their father, who happened to have several other children with his wife. Because the father would frequently leave home for long periods of time, she and her brother were left in the care of a series of relatives, including an uncle who raped her at the age of nine. By the age of 14, Vanzant had already had a baby, given her up to the foster care system, and come to learn of her subsequent death before reaching 6 months old. By age 21 she had three children and was living on welfare. To make a better way for her and her children, she went back to school at Medger Evers College, where she graduated Sum Cum Laude. She then went on to law school and became a criminal attorney, before realizing her calling in spiritual teaching. In the midst of this, she experienced three failed marriages – the first to an abuser, the second a heroine addict, and the third to an emotionally unavailable philanderer. The simultaneous and recurring themes of spirit crushing disappointment and phenomenal success have marked Vanzant’s life throughout. The author says at this time she does not have any plans to do another television show or write another book. But for now, the intensity of truth leaps from the pages of her most poignantly revealing book, offering the raw testimony from an admittedly flawed human being who has nonetheless found transcendence through a connection with God. Vanzant, who has the ability of reaching immediately into the suffering soul of another with just the right words – just the right prognosis –, will undoubtedly continue to find the strength to use this divine gift of encouraging healing in others. She, more than anyone knows of the ongoing journey that healing is, and will continue to put her own broken pieces back together. We may never understand the reasons for our pain and brokenness. “ace is my sufficiency,” she offers us. “Call your pieces into Grace.” 

Coffee At The Point – Five Points Newest Gathering Place C

By Annette Walker

offee at The Point has become the rendezvous point needed in Five Points for the informal, interpersonal co-mingling that strengthens communities. Located across from the historic landmark Rossonian, the coffee house opened in November 2010 in the space formerly occupied by Blackberries. The clientele ranges from coffee and tea connoisseurs to laptop communicators, small group meetings and larger organizational events. Live jazz has become a regular Wednesday evening feature beginning at 6 p.m. The first book-signing event occurred in late February. The gourmet fare includes vegetarian soups as well as chicken gumbo and chicken noodle, pastries and handcrafted sandwiches and burritos.

Only natural products are used in the gelatos (a reduced fat Italian ice cream), which come in tantalizing flavors such as lemon raspberry, Costa Rican vanilla, peanut butter fudge and cookies ‘n cream. Sorbets (non-dairy Italian ice) are available, also. There is a broad range of looseleaf teas, and the coffees include cappuccinos, mochas and lattes. Frequently, there are daily coffee specials, and a white chocolate raspberry latte was featured recently. TV Channel 2’s

Colorado Everyday Show applauded Coffee at The Point for “the best hot chocolate in Denver.” This coffee house, however, is not just about profit. It has a philosophy. “Integrity, leadership, compassion and community are the concepts that guide us,” said owner Ryan Cobbins. And the attentive and personable staff lives up to its creed. “It’s the service, not the hot chocolate that’s important,” he continued. Cobbins, who lives in Five

Minister And Author, Rev. Cynthia James, Shares Tools For Spiritual Freedom

Rev. Cynthia James offered a day long workshop in March at By Angelle C. Fouther

Mile Hi Church, as part of the weekend of healing. Rev. James is an author and spiritual teacher who has experienced and overcome many of her own painful obstacles very much like Iyanla Vanzant, who kicked off the weekend discussions. “I grew up in Minnesota to five generations of women who have been abused,” James states. Her mother married an alcoholic and remarried a man who was perverted and abused her. All through her twenties and thirties, she developed relationships that mirrored those. It was when she was invited to Guidance Church, under Practitioner Michael Beckwith, that she began to address her core beliefs. She subsequently completed two master’s degree programs in spiritual psychology and consciousness studies and began helping others by providing coaching and counseling for individuals, spiritual communities, and corporations. Rev. James’ book, What Will Set You Free, takes participants through a seven-week process, offering tools for meditation and spiritual practices to get clear about their thinking. “We are living in accelerated times, but the biggest barrier is we forget we have a choice,” James says. “When you remember that, you can say: I can open to new choice.” But many of us are too afraid to change. To that, Rev. James responds: “What keeps people from breaking out of old patterns is fear. But, people need to know that what we go through when we choose to stay stuck is far worse than whatever we will encounter when doing the work to make positive life changes.” . Editor’s Note: Rev. Cynthia James serves as the lead minister for Mile High Church’s Women’s Ministry, Music Ministry, Fine Arts Ministry, and GLBTF Ministry. She is an accomplished actress/performer and she and her husband, Carl Studna, a world renowned photographer, live in the foothills with their dogs Easter and Rusty.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Points, likes to emphasize local efforts, and when possible, uses Colorado and even neighborhood products. Therefore, he uses exclusively Novo Coffee, whose plant is located in the Five Points/Curtis Park area. Coffee at thePoint is also a wine tasting room, and the wine is from Cottonwoods Cellars with its vineyard in Olathe in southwestern Colorado. Photography and art grace the walls and although Cobbins will consider displaying the work of any artist, he is especially interested in reviewing the work of neighborhood and Denver metro creators. There is a lending library and customers are welcome to check out books. While many titles include management, leadership and organizationbuilding, other books in the collection include fiction by Shakespeare as well as African-American writers. “We’re planning to participate in the annual Five Points Jazz Festival held in May,” said Donovan Cobbins, general manager and Ryan’s brother. The small stage in the back lends itself to a variety of activities such as poetry readings. Coffee at The Point, 710 E. 26th Ave., is open Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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Two Proposed Boys Academies Seek Approval From DPS


By Misti Aas

larming statistics revealing the plight of our African American young men abound in the news, on the Internet, and from the words of educators across the country. Studies have found that minority boys are much more likely to be diagnosed with developmental disorders such as Autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As a result of these labels, they make up a large portion of all students in special education classrooms. And concern is continuing to rise surrounding the declining achievement and graduation rates for urban Black and Latino males. Many of the problem-centered approaches to school reform that have emerged to address these issues have seemingly failed to transform American urban education in a manner that promotes excellence among African American males. These measures are often based upon a jaded image of African American culture, families and children. This focus on the problems sometimes leaves out a discussion of solutions, and in turn can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of lowered expectations. Fortunately, a growing movement of empowerment-centered approaches to create change is emerging on the educational landscape. This increased effort to define African American male educational realities and experiences in terms of theories and actions that break free from the problem mindset encourages a balance between awareness of the issues and optimism for a solution. Awareness is also on the rise of the benefits of single-gender educational settings, for both boys and girls. Many supporters believe that biological differences between genders require different approaches to education. Teachers often report that students in single-sex classrooms are less distracted and participate more in class discussions. And evidence demonstrates that urban young men do better in terms of maturity and social adjustment. Three educators, all out of New Orleans, are proposing to bring empowerment-based, single-gender venues of education to Denver, through two separate all boys academies, Miller-McCoy Academy for

Mathematics and Business and SimsFayola International Academy. Both would be innovative charter schools, requiring uniforms of blazers and ties, and would be located in the far northeast Denver region. The academies are pending Denver Public Schools (DPS) approval in June.

Miller-McCoy Academy for Mathematics and Business

Dr. Tiffany Hardrick and Dr. Keith Sanders were both principals in Memphis, Tenn., when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans with its devastating wrath and fury. The two were part of a program called “New Leaders for Schools,” and were asked to travel to the ravaged city to speak to chosen candidates to be part of a new cohort in New Orleans. “After being here and talking about the need, we decided we would be the ones to re-locate and walk the walk ourselves,” said Hardrick, a cofounder of the academy. Miller-McCoy is named after Kelly Miller, the first Black mathematics graduate student who received a Masters of Arts from Howard University in 1901, and Elijah McCoy, a prominent inventor and businessman who developed approximately 57 patents. The school is in its third year of operation as an all-boys 5th-12th grade college prepatory academy – the only all boys public school in the city of New Orleans. “We have seen amazing student achievement rates over the last three years,” said co-founder Sanders. “We have really increased literacy levels and we’re doing a good job to make sure that every young man at the school is on track to go to college.” Sanders and Hardrick saw a need for a similar school in Denver, and have been impressed with the com-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


munity support and willingness to partner with charter schools. “Everyone we’ve come in contact with has been open to the idea of listening and sharing ideas that this model is needed because we’re losing young men and students every day,” expressed Sanders. “I think people have a sense of urgency around implementing a quality program that is

going to educate kids and add character development as well as the academic piece.” The proposed 6th-12th grade school in Denver will be based on the same model of the New Orleans campus. The academy will begin with 6th and 9th grade with 100 students at each grade level, building a grade of middle and high school each year, with an eventual targeted enrollment of 700 students. Its staff will be diverse with a mix of male and female teachers, and a low student teacher ratio. “The first thing we look for is teacher competency,” said Sanders. “It’s important that our mission is achievable, but we never discount the importance of having male role models.” The vision and belief behind MillerMcCoy Academy for Mathematics and Business is for urban male students to become critical thinkers, responsible citizens, and positive leaders in the community. The school leaders aim to nurture social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of male learners, while providing students the skills needed to be analytical thinkers, self sufficient and successful entrepreneurs, inventors, and positive contributors to society. In addition to emphasizing math and business, the New Orleans school includes science and technology, Continued on page 12

Spotting Child Abuse And Neglect By Kathryn Wells, M.D., Family Crisis Center, Denver Health


ccording to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, in 2009, there were an estimated 3.3 million referrals to Child Protection Services (CPS) agencies involving alleged maltreatment of 6 million children. One quarter of the CPS responses determined that at least one child was a victim of abuse or neglect for a total of 763,000 victims. Of these cases, more than 78 percent of the children were identified as victims of neglect, 17.8 percent were physically abused, 9.5 percent were sexually abused and 7.6 percent were emotionally maltreated. Sadly, Colorado is not immune from this problem with more than 71,000 referrals in 2009; 7,697 of which were substantiated to be victims of child abuse and/or neglect. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month which provides us the opportunity to take a hard look at something that affects every segment of our society. It permeates all ethnic and socioeconomic groups throughout every corner of the world. The most tragic consequence of child abuse and neglect is child fatalities. In 2009, it was estimated that 1,770 children nationally, and 36 children in Colorado, died as the result of child abuse or neglect. This is more than the annual estimates of children that die each year from cancer (1,545). Improved awareness and involvement of the public can play a critical role in transforming the future for children. The more that we can understand the factors that contribute to these situations, the better equipped society will be to change the future for many children that may be victimized. Much of this change begins in our own homes. Assuring that homes are safe and secure for our children is paramount. Homes should create healthy environments in which a child’s physical and mental health needs are met. Children need environments that are nurturing and contain loving actions and words. It is critical for parents to anticipate challenging times during parenting by creating a plan for dealing with these

inevitable situations. It is important to establish a list of safe alternative care caregivers for those times when a parent may be overwhelmed. This list should be kept and displayed in an easy to find area (such as on the refrigerator) for those times of greatest frustration. Also, parents and caregivers must realize that it is acceptable to take a break from a crying child if needed, especially once they have assured that any immediate needs have been met. Parents should talk with each other, and other caregivers, about consistent approaches to discipline and support for frustrating times.

Homes affected by domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and untreated mental illness are at a greater risk for child abuse and neglect. If relatives, neighbors, friends or members of the public identify families struggling with any of these issues it is important to work to support them by encouraging the family to seek help for these issues. There are many resources available where the public can get more information on child abuse, including, and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Additionally, if someone believes that a child is being abused or neglected, is important that they quickly contact the appropriate authorities in order to avoid a potentially tragic situation. Anyone can file a report with their local Department of Human Services or Police Department who will then investigate the situation thoroughly and provide intervention and/or services as appropriate. We all need to work together to break the devastating cycle of child abuse and neglect in order to improve the future for our children, our families and our communities. 

Continued from page 10 music and arts, and a full athletic program. The core values of MillerMcCoy include Scholarship, Innovation, Vision, Results, and Heart. “We didn’t want the traditional words you often hear with character development,” expressed Hardrick. “With these words, not only being spoken, but lived every day, we reach our goals and outcomes.” One of the most meaningful rituals currently celebrated at Miller-McCoy is the academic awards ceremony for students. Young men who achieve a straight A, 4.0 grade point average, receive a gold tie. The third time this is accomplished earns the student a pair of gold cuff links. One of the proudest moments for the school was being identified as one of the positive and successful efforts of school reform on a national level in the documentary, “Waiting for Superman.” The journey of student Zachary Gibbs through the Academy is featured in the movie. Gibbs, now a junior, demonstrates a moving profile of inspiration and accomplishment. According to Sanders, the greatest challenge has been spreading the word about the success Miller-McCoy Academy has had in New Orleans, but further community meetings in Denver will be taking place soon. “Whenever you’re proposing a new school to a new community, it’s important to talk about your experience and what you’ve done, along with a proven success record,” explained Sanders.

Sims-Fayola International Academy

Sims-Fayola International Academy is the inspiration of Dedrick Sims, who has served in roles from teacher to department head, from curriculum director to principal, and everything in between. Fayola is an African word meaning “Good Fortune Walks with Honor,” and is a dedication to the core values of the proposed boys academy:

Dedrick Sims, founder of Sims-Fayola International Academy, pictured with male youth supporters and members of Project VOYCE, who supports Sims-Fayola, a grassroots organization that supports youth voice in education.

Discipline, Hard Work, Character, Commitment, and Vision. “We will intentionally develop a culture supported by our core values in every aspect of day-to-day life,” said Sims. The goals of the academy are to send 100 percent of its young men to college without remediation; for 100 percent of its young men to experience international travel; and for 100 percent of its young men to graduate bilingual and with credits towards college. An emphasis will be placed on kinesthetic, project based, hands-on learning. In addition to preparing young men for college, Sims-Fayola is committed to increasing the global competitiveness, intercultural understanding, and awareness of their young men through the IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma Program and an international studies curriculum. Learning experiences are designed that require students to complete projects with students from other countries. “In the 9th and 10th grades, our young men will collaborate with other young people from other countries in our 21st Century Global Leadership course to propose a solution to an international issue or crisis,” said Sims. “What’s happening in Egypt and Asia are great examples of the types of relevant crises that our young men will address. Our classroom

instruction will provide clear connections between the classroom and the world beyond.” Sims feels that the school model is relevant because it addresses the problem of low rigor, the lack of urban males taking advanced level courses, lack of global competitiveness, and ineffective instructional strategies in the classroom for urban males. “Low rigor in the classroom and the low rate of urban males taking advanced level courses contribute to the low competitiveness for college admission and successful graduation,” explained Sims . “Our ‘IB for All’ approach eliminates the ‘tracking’ of students that most schools with an IB program do by being the only academic path our young men can travel. With our program, we are helping families with the rising cost of college by preparing these young men with an educational foundation and credits.” The school’s vision is to prepare urban males to become creative and innovative thinkers and responsible world citizens through International awareness, competence, and a global perspective of excellence. Sims-Fayola will emphasize character development using a nationally recognized program called, Heart of the Champion. “Character Lunches” will be held three days a week led by the Dean of Students, as well as other community members.

“Our character education will be in your face every day and it will be woven throughout the fabric of the school,” said Sims. A holistic approach to health will be implemented at the school, with differential workout plans completed side by side with students and staff, from the administration to cafeteria workers, providing the added benefit of building positive relationships. Negotiations are in process with a food vendor to provide a healthy menu. “We want to teach our young men that being healthy and fit is not a fad; it’s a way of life,” expressed Sims. “To be global leaders and to keep up with the rest of the world, they have to be in good health in mind, as well as body.” “I come from a poor background myself, and I’ve seen many young men who have the drive and intellect to get out and do something, but have never had the opportunity, or someone to help them along,” added Sims. His mission and dream has been a grassroots effort that continues to grow as more people become excited about his vision as well. “President Obama showed that when you start from the ground up, it’s hard to stop,” said Sims. The greatest challenge the school’s founder has encountered is continuing to educate people on the single gender educational concept, which is still relatively new in our country. Sims is also working to overcome the added challenge of being from out of town. “I want to ensure the families of Denver that we are not a fly by night organization, and we do have their interests in mind,” expressed Sims. “Denver has rolled out the red carpet for educational entrepreneurs like myself, and it’s been an amazing process,” marveled Sims. “It just goes to show that we all want additional tools in our toolbox to serve our urban young men.” Editor’s note: Additional information and updates can be found on each of the proposed academy’s websites: and

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


DanceAfrica 2011

Comes To Denver With Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble


s part of the continuing celebration of its 40 anniversary season, Denver’s internationally renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, in collaboration with Dr. Charles “Baba Chuck” Davis, will present DanceAfrica: Cultural Connections – Honoring Our African Legacy. For two weekends only, in keeping with its long-standing history of 34 years in New York, Chicago and Dallas, DanceAfrica will feature performances by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and special guest companies Farafina Kan, Illstyle and Peace, as well as local area performers. In addition, there will be a cultural bazaar, workshops and exhibitions. All performances and related events will take place April 29 and 30, May 1, 6, 7, and 8 at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, located at 119 Park Avenue West in Denver. As the host company for DanceAfrica, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble will be performing the work Divinities which was set on the company for a World Premiere in 2003 by former company member Carlos dos Santos. As homage to the Orixas of the Afro-Brazilian conformable traditions, the ballet is inspired by West African Yoruba legends and explores the relationships that divinities have with one another, with human beings, and with all other living things. Performed to an original score, the work was critically acclaimed when presented at the Joyce Theatre in New York. Cleo Parker Robinson’s Ensemble will also perform Know Thyself by Roger Jeffrey. The work had its world premiere in 2005 and speaks to the spirituality of “the struggle to be who you are destined to be.” Jeffrey is a graduate of Julliard and has the distinction of being the first AfricanAmerican male dancer to work with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Farafina Kan (which literally translates to the Sound of Africa) will join the Ensemble as special guests for the first weekend, April 29, 30 and May 1. Based in Washington, D.C., this professional performing arts company is dedicated to maintaining the history

and integrity of traditional African drumming and dancing. Under the tutelage of international performing arts legends, Farafina Kan seeks to sustain the work initiated by these legends through professionalism, artistry, continual learning and proactive intergenerational transmission of African culture through music and movement. Farafina Kan is comprised of young AfricanAmerican artists who have been reared in various other dance companies including Memory of African Culture, Sankofa Dance Theatre, Kankouran West African Dance Company, Dono Drum and Dance Ensemble, Maimouna Keita West African Dance Company, and Wose Dance Theatre. May 6, 7 and 8, will feature Illstyle and Peace as special guests. As a multicultural, Philadelphia-based dance company founded in 2002 by Brandon “Peace” Albright and Forrest “Getemgump” Webb, the company creates work rooted in contemporary and old school hip-hop blended with an eclectic mix of dance and performance disciplines including tap, ballet, DJing and beat boxing. They have toured to critical acclaim nationally and internationally and are committed to delivering positive messages to all audiences. Cleo Parker Robinson is founder, executive artistic director and choreographer of Denver’s 40-year-old artistic institution, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. Mentored by both Rita Berger and the legendary Katherine Dunham, Parker Robinson became a pioneer of artistic and cultural diversity throughout the United States. As a master teacher/choreographer and iconic cultural ambassador she has taught and performed with her Ensemble worldwide, including the four regions of Africa, and numerous European countries. Parker Robinson is the recipient of the Colorado’s Governor’s Award for Excellence, Denver’s Mayor’s Award, the King M. Trimble Community Award for service to the Denver community and a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor during the

Center’s “Masters of African American Choreographers” just to name a few. She has been inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame and is recognized in Who’s Who in America Colleges and Universities. Parker Robinson has received honorary doctorates from Denver University, Colorado College and recently received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Regis University in Denver. She continues to be the recipient of honors and awards from civic, community, and artistic organizations around the world.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Charles “Baba Chuck” Davis is Founder and Artistic Director of the African American Dance Ensemble and the New York based DanceAfrica. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Davis attended Howard University and majored in Theater/Dance. Continuing his study in African dance under the guidance of Babatunde Olatunji, Eleo Pomare, and the Bernice Johnson Dance Company, his growing reputation was as one of the foremost teachers and accomplished choreographers in the traditional techniques of African dance. In 1982, the American Dance Festival of Durham, NC, recruited Davis as an Artist-inResidence, to organize and manage its outreach program. From this effort sprung the African American Dance Ensemble in 1984. Honored throughout the world as mentor, teacher and choreographer, Dr. Davis is recognizably a national treasure and cultural icon. 

Editor’s note: Tickets can be purchased at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance box office, 303-295-1759 ext 13 or online at (follow prompts to MindBody). Cost of tickets are $38 for adults; $33 each show for adults attending BOTH weekends; $33 for children, youth, students; and $33 for Seniors 62+. Groups of 8 and more are $33 for adults. All tickets and seating are general admission

A Tale Of Two Theatres W

By Karon Majeel

hen the terms of its lease in Aurora became impossible to meet, Shadow Theatre Company needed a venue for In Search of Eckstine: A Love Story, the third show of its 2010-2011 Sankofa Season. So on March 10, this story of star-crossed lovers, enchanted patrons featuring the music of the late Billy Eckstine as it graced the stage at Su Teatro at the Denver Civic; graciously offered by one friend to another. Hugo Jon Sayles, Shadow’s Artistic Producing Director and Tony Garcia, Su Teatro’s Executive Artistic Director, proved the show really would go on thanks to a friendship grounded in mutual respect and affection – and the shared desired to produce great theatre inspired by the experiences of people of color. “Presenting Eckstine at Su Teatro ushers in a new era of collaboration between our two companies,” asserts a delighted Sayles. “Tony and I have been friends and have performed together since the late ‘70s,” says Sayles. “We’d always dreamed of sharing the same theatre. We actually came very close to joining Su Teatro at the Civic before moving Shadow to Aurora.” That dream first became reality when Garcia invited Shadow to present The Life and Times of Ol’ Alfred at Su Teatro during the Biennial of the Americas in Denver last July. Moved to tears on Fathers’ Day by Sayles riveting portrayal of his great-greatgrandfather’s struggles from slavery to freedom, Garcia immediately suggested the play become part of the citywide cultural events. “Sharing our facility with Shadow, is an honor and privilege. When I see

Tony Garcia has been a member of Su Teatro most (left) of his life. He joined the company in 1972 (one year after its inception), while studying for his Bachelor of Theatre Arts at the University of Colorado at Denver, and became executive artistic director in 1989. Hugo Jon Sayles has been an integral part of Shadow Theatre Company since its inception by his best friend Jeffrey Nickelson in 1997. Sayles has authored, directed, and performed in numerous works at Shadow, including An Evening with Nina, Voices from the Soul and In Search of Eckstine: A Love Story.

their work, it reminds me of why I like theatre,” shares Garcia. “Our relationship goes back many years. It is based on respect and trust, and the knowledge that we represent more than ourselves, we represent our communities. Family is never a guest, they are home.” New Shadow board member, Omar Montgomery, Director of Black Student Educational Programs and Outreach at the University of Colorado Denver, sees the collaboration with Su Teatro as a natural partnership. “Both theatre companies use the arts to minimize the negative stereotypes expressed globally about Blacks and Latinos and to show the positive aspects of our experiences and contributions to American society. We’re also engaging diverse populations to share the story with us through our collaboration with Su Teatro.” Both Su Teatro and Shadow are committed to identifying, nurturing – and presenting – emerging young talents through their educational programs. Su Teatro’s Cultural Arts Education Institute provides ongoing opportunities for young Latino artists to cultivate their talents. Every summer,

Shadow holds a five-week theatre workshop, Creative Resources Uniting Neighborhood Kids (CRUNK), under the expert and eyes of Sayles, Operations Manager B. Arnold King, and past and senior CRUNK students. The workshop ends with an original production written and performed entirely by the students. The 2011 CRUNK show will run one weekend only in August at the Fox Theater in Aurora and has received funding from the Colorado Council of the Arts for the past 13 seasons. “We’re excited to be back in the city and county of Denver,” shares Herman Malone, Shadow Theatre Company Board President, “but we also appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the Fox.” Developing emerging talent is, and has been, a primary commitment of Shadow. Board Vice President Portia Prescott is passionate about continuing that commitment. “Shadow has a unique and longstanding history of motivating and engaging students to stay in school through the arts,” emphasizes Prescott. “Shadow has nurtured artists across generations.” Eckstine patrons witnessed that generational connection with ShaShauna Staton’s standout performance in Eckstine. The work was coauthored by Sayles and Staton’s father (Shadow Theatre Company founder) the late Jeffrey Nickelson. Shadow has a proud history of presenting original works inspired by the Black experience. “We’re telling our stories, rather than allowing others to define us,” explains Malone. “We’re very excited to exclusively present original works next season,” announces Sayles. “We do more than follow theatrical trends. We produce brand new material.” Audiences will get a taste of next season’s unique flavor in May, when Shadow presents, in association with DreaMaker Productions, Uncle Jed’s

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Barbershop created by Ken Grimes, David B. Wohl, and Susan Einhorn. The award winning musical (Director’s Choice Award, National Musical Theater Network) tells the story of a sharecropper and itinerant barber’s dreams to open his own barbershop and how he overcame the many challenges and obstacles of the Jim Crow South. Most importantly, Malone appreciates Shadow’s many friends and patrons, and encourages everyone to continue with their support. “Shadow is continuing to produce and perform quality theatre and we want patrons and performers to know we’re still here and continuing to build upon our robust history,” states Malone. Despite the challenging economy and a turbulent recent history, Sayles knows Shadow will persevere. “Shadow Theatre is a family of players and patrons and we are here to stay,” confirms Sayles. “We will continue to present live theatre “from the heart of the human experience through an African American lens” for many, many years to come.”  Editor’s note: For tickets and more information on upcoming events at Shadow Theatre Company, call 303-857-8000 or visit For information on Su Teatro at The Denver Civic, 721 Santa Fe Drive (in the Santa Fe Arts District) call, 303-296-0219 or e-mail

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War Drama Ruined Now Playing At The DCPA

Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize Winning Drama Premieres At The DCTC The Denver Center Theatre Company presents Lynn Nottage’s searing war drama Ruined, a look at the plight on women amidst the bloody conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Named Time Magazine’s #1 pick of top plays and musicals in 2009, Ruined plays the Ricketson Theater March 18 through April 30. Directed by Seret Scott in her DCTC debut, Ruined tells the story of Mama Nadi (Kim Staunton) who struggles to keep her small bar and brothel prosperous in the midst of the raging Congo civil war. By catering to soldiers on both sides of the conflict, she manages not only to keep her girls safe, but also discovers a romance of her own. Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama uses compassion, outrage and humor to explore what it takes to survive the devastating effects of war. Scott aims to pre-



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pare the DCTC cast with expansive and in-depth research on the real situation in the Congo to, as she puts it, “avoid playing a statistic on the news, but rather to put a face on the terrible things that are happening.” The cast of Ruined includes Kim Staunton (DCTC’s A Raisin in the Sun, Radio Golf, Doubt) as Mama Nadi, Joy Jones (Tantalus) as Josephine, Tallia Brincon (DCTC debut) as Sophie and Daphne Gaines (Gee’s Bend) as Salima. Longtime DCTC company member Harvy Blanks (A Raisin in the Sun, Radio Golf) returns as Christian and Sam Gregory (The 39 Steps, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) plays Mr. Harari. The cast also includes William Oliver Watkins in his Denver Center debut as Jerome Kisembe, Sheldon Woodley (A Raisin in the Sun) as Fortune and Keith Hamilton Cobb (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Commander Osembenga. National Theatre Conservatory students Maurice Jones and Biko Eisen-Martin play soldiers, and Ron McBee and Keith E Johnston are the show musicians and part of the ensemble. Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined also has received an Obie, the Lucille Lortel Award, New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play (Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre). Ruined is recommended for mature audiences. In conjunction with this production of Ruined, the Denver Center has partnered with the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF), a Denver-based non-profit that provides microfinance loans and education programs to women in northern Uganda who have been victims of conflict violence, much like the women in the play. Northern Uganda is also where playwright Lynn Nottage conducted much of her research, as she was not able to enter the Congo. Led by Denverite Karen Sugar, WGEF gives marginalized women the tools necessary to alleviate poverty, facilitating sustainable development and empowerment. WGEF also created and hosts a yearly drama competition in Gulu, Uganda, to address issues like HIV/AIDS, gender based violence and other women’s issues through original plays written by women in the region. The Denver Center sponsored this competition in October 2010. For more information, visit  Editor’s note: Single tickets for Ruined start at $10 and are on sale now. To purchase, call Denver Center Ticket Services at 303-893-4100. TTY (for Deaf and hard-ofhearing patrons): 303-893-9582. Groups of 10 or more, call 303-446-4829.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


This season the eyes are brought to incredible brightness with color mixing and the fullest lash possible. More is better when applying mascara. Lashes, eyeliner, and brows are 75 percent of the makeup look and are essential in “waking up” the face. Eye shadow always adds that special feminine touch and makes any woman look expensive. Don’t forget to pick up a few pairs of false eyelashes for those glamorous events, as they have become a makeup staple. My mother held up the birth of both of my children getting her false lashes on because she wanted to greet their arrival in glamorous fashion. Consistently in the makeup seminars, classes and private lessons I conduct, I notice that women don’t realize that they must build makeup wardrobes to accent their clothing wardrobes. Often my clients assume that one group of makeup colors and one style of makeup is to accent their casual, business and evening clothing year round. This is like wearing your favorite sandals all year with every outfit no matter what the occasion or season. This is a great time of year to do Spring cleaning and begin to put away your fall and winter clothing and accessories; this includes your fall and winter makeup colors. When applying spring’s soft and brighter colors use a lighter touch. Specific quality brushes are an important part of makeup that results in blended and long wearing placement of color. A few final notes for spring; as you add this season’s amazing offering of color and styles (dresses are the item to add), don’t forget to “make friends” with a new spring fragrance. “‘Long after one has forgotten what a woman wore, the memory of her perfume lingers.” -Christian Dior Editor’s note: Rhoda Johnson received her fashion degree from Brooks College in Long Beach, CA and is licensed to teach in California and Colorado. Rhoda Design Group makeup products are available at Hunters Beauty Supply. For more information, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum

presents “Continuing Legacies - Celebrating Strength”

Join us for an afternoon to recognize the 2011 “African Americans Who Make A Difference” and others who are making a mark in Denver’s communities.

Sunday, April 17, 2011 4 to 7 PM

The Kasbah 15373 W. 6th Ave. (at Chambers) Aurora, CO 80011 Admission is free

•Entertainment •Door Prizes and Giveaways •Dinner Tickets: $7 •Cash Bar

RSVP for attendance and/or dinner by Thursday, April 14 by calling 303-292-6446 or E-mail

About the Forum: This Forum is being sponsored by APRI and LCLAA to enhance the communication and educate the publc on issues of particular concern to the African-American and Latino communities of Denver. The forum panelist will include representatives from two of the most respected community oriented newspapers, the Denver Urban Spectrum and El Semanario. The forum will be moderated by Dr. Ramon Del Castillo

Scott Family Resource Center presents

“Jail Is No Place To Be Somebody” Fundraising Dinner

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Elsie Scott

President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc.

Dr. Scott has overseen the successful launch of several CBCF projects intended to broaden and elevate the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative and public policy arenas. She served as executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives for five years before being recruited for the position of Deputy Commissioner of Training for the New York City Police Department. She has held senior and supervisory roles in the police departments of Detroit and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has also taught political science, urban studies and criminal justice at several universities, including Howard, Rutgers, Central Florida and North Carolina Central. A native of Louisiana, Dr. Scott earned a B.A. from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, a M.A. from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. from Atlanta University. She has advised mayors, community groups, and police and other officials on matters involving crime and police and the black community, women’s issues, hate violence, management and training, and race and poverty. Dr. Scott serves on the Board of The John H. Scott Memorial Fund.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reception at 6 PM - Dinner and Program at 6:45 PM Scott United Methodist Church 2880 Garfield St. in Denver

Tickets: $55 per person. Tables of 10 - $500 For more information, call 303-322-8982 or Rev. Ronald Wooding at 720-3191491 or e-mail Funds generated from this dinner will be donated to the Scott Youth Group and the NAACP Youth Council and used to support the projects of the Scott Family Resource Center.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Denver 2011 Mayoral Candidates

The candidates as listed on the ballot for Denver’s May 3 mayoral election are: 1. Doug Linkhart 2. Carol Boigon 3. Chris Romer 4. Thomas Andrew Wolf 5. James Mejia 6. Jeff Peckman 7. Theresa Spahn 8. Michael B. Hancock 9. Danny F. Lopez 10. Kenneth R. Simpson Learn about the candidates’ ideas and positions on issues relevant to the Denver Urban Spectrum readership in these pages.

Carol Boigon (62); 720-515-5311 Profession: City Councilwoman-at-Large

“I'm running for City Council because of my passion for public service. I'm a combat veteran and a West Point graduate. I want to bring my leadership and business experience to City Council.” Visit us online at 720.663.7814 Paid for by Friends for Chris Herndon P.O. Box 390807 - Denver, CO 80239

Most recent public offices: City Councilwoman-at-Large, Director of Mayor’s Office of Education and Families, Appointed by Mayor Webb Most actively volunteers at: Great Education Colorado – Chair, Board of Directors; Denver Preschool Program – Member, Board of Directors; and Colorado Counties Inc. How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? The city faces $100 million deficit. As Mayor, I will review the budget line by line, and likely renew many of the $50 million in cuts from this year and another $50 million in new cuts. I would implement the Toyota Lean process, an employee-based, efficiency practice used by corporations’ worldwide that usually generates 5-10% savings. Dr. Gabow at Denver Health implemented it and saved tens of millions while improving patient outcomes and service delivery. I will do my best to make cuts that will have the least impact on Denver families. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? The city should carefully follow the State Constitution and new state law

to assure that medical marijuana is available to truly sick people. We have no duty to make it available for recreational use and should not. Our zoning and permitting should make sure dispensaries are allowed only where it makes sense: in business and industrial zones with appropriate separation from homes, schools, day care centers, and places where we encourage unattended children to gather. We should ensure all facilities are safe, meet fire code, follow safe medicine handling practices, file appropriate access plans with police/fire, and operate as good neighbors. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? The voters of this state approved medical marijuana for people with

serious illness, not for recreational use. I would not waste a minute of time working on recreational marijuana as an issue because there are so many more important issues, from the economy, education to health. However, if and when the voters approve recreational marijuana, I will work faithfully to implement the will of the voters.

What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? Too many people of color, especially young men, are incarcerated. One way to reduce incarceration rates is to change state laws for mandatory sentencing. As the largest city in Colorado, I believe Denver should take the lead on championing this legislation and when I’m Mayor we will. We also should strengthen our schools. Studies show a direct connection between literacy rates at third grade and incarceration so we must ensure that all children of any color are afforded a great education. I have a science-based plan to make that happen, posted on What would you like the city government to do about the homeless? I support the housing-first model of Denver’s Road Home. Its outreach services to the mentally ill and youth need to be improved. We have not met the needs of the hospitals for a discharge plan for the hospitalized homeless, and we still have too many of them in jail. We have housing providers who allow too much lawlessness in their facilities, make bad neighbors, so we need tighter standards and enforcement on the operators. We have a huge shortage in women’s shelters and protective housing. The plan is a good start but not yet complete, and as Mayor I will work to complete it. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them?

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Graduation rates, the pay gap, access to public contracts, and access to capital for small business for people of color are issues I will work on as Mayor. To improve graduation rates, I will partner with DPS to introduce a proven child-by-child instruction system. To address the pay gap, I will charge the Women’s, Black, Latino and People with Disabilities commissions to develop a proposal with concrete steps to find ways to achieve equal pay for equal work. A number of possible steps could be taken to assist with access to capital and public contracts. I will work with communities to explore these issues and arrive at appropriate next steps.

Michael B. Hancock (41); 303-3079891; Twitter: WeAreDenver; Facebook: Hancock for Denver Profession: Denver City Councilman

Most recent public offices: Denver City Councilman for District 11 – elected 2003; Denver City Councilman for District 11 – elected 2007 Most actively volunteers at: Deacon at New Hope Baptist, Board Member of Urban League, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? Serving two terms as City Council president, I know why we must restructure government and how we can bring spending in line with revenues. As mayor, I will re-evaluate city government’s core services and priorities. Implementing my goal-oriented Peak Performance initiative, I will eliminate repetitive or wasteful services and engage the public to make government more efficient and fiscally responsible. Pairing those efforts with strengthening the economy, creating new private-sector jobs and encouraging business growth will help close the short-term budget gap, eliminate the long-term structural deficit, and lead to sustainable fiscal health for the city. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? I respect the voters who passed the

2000 ballot measure enacting medical marijuana and appreciate the need to serve patients. However, I don’t believe voters intended to saturate our neighborhoods with a high-visibility retail marijuana industry. What we have now isn’t working and Denver’s leaders must continue to improve the regulatory framework to protect our economy, the public’s safety and quality of life. I will ensure the city monitors and regulates the industry just like any other industry. We will ensure business is conducted safely, responsibly and in a balanced fashion while allowing the industry to focus on patient wellness. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? Marijuana is not something to be taken lightly and can become a gateway drug if used for recreational purposes rather than to treat medical conditions. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? Denver spends more resources putting a disproportionate number of African Americans and Latinos behind bars than we invest in our education system and youth programs combined. I believe closing the education achievement gap and promoting strong families should be our first priorities to prevent the downward spiral

into poverty and crime. It is imperative that we acknowledge racial profiling is a real problem in some of our communities; we should address awareness and work with the judicial system and safety officers for the equitable application of the laws and enforcement. Further, we need to provide straightforward access to programs for those reentering society to succeed. What would you like the city government to do about the homeless in Denver? As mayor, I will continue to support Denver’s Road Home program. As the recession continues to take its toll, we must ensure our safety net is strong and we are doing all we can to prevent homelessness before it happens, and when it does that we are moving swiftly to get people back on their feet. As mayor, I will strengthen partnerships with the private sector to continue supporting Denver’s Road Home program. I also will continue to foster collaboration with faith-based and philanthropic organizations to provide these services. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? I believe all residents want the same from our city: safe and vibrant neighborhoods, excellent schools, and

high-quality services and facilities. However, some of our neighborhoods – mostly communities of color – have been overlooked and left behind. Many neighborhoods suffer from high crime, health disparities, failing schools and a lack of services and businesses. I have represented one of the most diverse City Council districts for eight years, where I fought to improve areas, eliminate imbalances and ensure equal services. As mayor, I will work to bring equitable city services to every community and partner with DPS to ensure excellent schools in every neighborhood.

Doug Linkhart (55) Profession: Denver City Councilman AtLarge

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Most recent public offices: Elected City Council Member At-Large, 2003present; State Senator, District 31, 1995-2003; State Representative, District 2, 1994-95 Most actively volunteers at: President, Colorado Municipal League, 2008-2009; Advisory Board, Mile High Montessori, 2008-present; Board Member, Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, 1991-94 How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? We cannot afford to keep cutting services that reduce our quality of life and cost more later. As a business economist and public servant, I have spent my career finding money during hard times. As Mayor I will focus on key investments that save us money later, as well as strategic budget cuts and revenue diversification. For example, as a Founder and Chair of the Council’s Crime Prevention and Control Commission, I helped us invest a fraction of our public safety budget in drug courts and mental health services, saving the city millions in reduced jail beds. I want to invest more in everything from libraries to energy efficiency and job training. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? As Mayor, I will always advocate

for small business owners and instill fairness at City Hall. My main priority is to create sustainable economic prosperity for our whole community. We can make Denver a hotbed of entrepreneurship and innovation by ensuring fairness and predictability for business owners. In this economy, the medical marijuana industry provides 4,000-5,000 jobs, approximately $200 million in investments, and $3-4 million in tax revenues. My priorities in this arena are to streamline regulations while protecting our kids and neighborhoods from any negative effects. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? As the Chair of City Council’s Safety Committee and a member of the Crime Prevention and Control Commission, I have always pursued common sense policies for criminal justice. As a community, we should invest in people through prevention and treatment programs, not locking people up for minor offenses. I am concerned about the growing rate of substance abuse by our teen population—and we need to protect against the effects of marijuana there, but the biggest problems for kids and adults come from alcohol and prescription drug abuse. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? The disproportionate rate of incarceration of people of color is not just a problem in Denver; it’s a statewide and national disgrace. As Mayor I will support efforts to investigate and reduce these rates, and have already done so as a legislator and Councilman. I want to reshape the public safety conversation. Getting a new police chief and getting tougher and quicker with disciplinary measures will be a top priority. Community policing should be done in partnership with community leaders, not by targeting neighborhoods with more squad cars. I will also support community-based re-entry programs that

help people start over upon release from jail or prison. What would you like the city government to be doing about the homeless in Denver? I will ramp up the work of Denver’s Road Home. We need to continue investing in programs that transition the chronically homeless off of the street, and we need to fund programs that prevent homelessness. When a family is one paycheck away from homelessness, we need to do as much as we can to keep them out of the shelters. Prevention programs are not just humane; they save money in the long run. That’s why I want to invest more money in programs such as substance abuse and mental health treatment. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? Many people of color struggle to achieve economic prosperity and find employment that pays a living wage. That’s one reason why a committee I chaired worked to locate the Economic Prosperity Center in Five Points. The disproportionate incarceration rates of people of color results in a disproportionate number of them needing employment and housing upon release from jail or prison. I want to address this. An inexcusable number of kids of color drop out of high schools. As Mayor I will support efforts to help these kids succeed in school. I will make recreation centers free to kids and keep libraries open longer. Police discipline issues will be resolved and officers held accountable for abusive behavior.

Editor’snote:The campaign office of Danny F. Lopez did not respond to the Spectrum’s questionnaire request, though contacted four times.

Good luck to all the candidates on May 3, 2011.

James Mejia (44) Profession: Founding CEO, Denver Preschool Program

Most recent public offices: Elected to DPS School Board in 1999; Manager – Department of Parks and Recreation; Deputy Director – Mayor’s Office of Economic Development Most actively volunteers at: Colorado Health Foundation Board of Directors – left to run for Mayor; Denver Preschool Program – left to run for Mayor How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? First I will review the city’s expenditures and look for inefficiencies and redundancies in and between departments. Simultaneously I will call for an audit of overtime paid to city employees and make necessary adjustments. I will reduce Mayoral appointments by 10% and will adjust pension contributions for new hires, as growing pension obligations are a systemic problem for employers in every sector of the economy. Ultimately the most important way to fix Denver’s budget issues is to grow the local economy by keeping our current employers and attracting new business to our city. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? We must treat the dispensing of medical marijuana with the same caution and protection that we provide our citizens when dispensing prescription drugs and alcohol. People who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


must rely on the dispensaries for medicinal purposes should have easy and affordable access to them and should be afforded a sense of quality control. I believe there is a sensible alternative between complete and open access to the public without limitations and restrictive control that shuts down the industry. The people of Colorado have spoken and Medical Marijuana is the law. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? As the father of three girls, each under the age of eight, I struggle with the message we’d send our children by legalizing marijuana. Ultimately this is an issue that the Federal Government must address. Different states laws are difficult to enforce. Currently the use and possession of marijuana for recreational use is illegal in the State of Colorado and under Federal law. However, if the people of Colorado vote to legalize marijuana, I would respect the will of the people. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? We should decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs and create more opportunities for drug courts and treatment. Penalties for drug offenses must be proportional to the offense and we must eliminate high sentences for simply possessing a small amount of certain drugs. We must provide mental health care and drug treatment to those who are incarcerated. We must provide training, education and job readiness to inmates. All roads ultimately lead to education. Our education system simply cannot continue to fail entire generations of children. What would you like the city government to do about the homeless in Denver? The current economic downturn disproportionately affects the homeless. In Denver 47% of the homeless are families and 40% are working. As Mayor I will focus on transitional housing for timely, direct support. I

will make adequate care for the mentally ill a priority. Today 1500 people in Denver are on lists waiting for mental health counseling, drug and alcohol treatment. I will examine resources available through the federal government to address the population of homeless veterans in our city. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? Denver’s Minority and Woman’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program ensures participation in the City’s contracting needs by people of color. As Mayor I will continue to fully support this program to broaden participation in City projects and as a means to help these businesses grow. In neighborhoods like Sun Valley and Five Points I will focus on economic development to attract businesses and create jobs in the neighborhood. The relationship between the Denver Police Department and people of color must improve. I will focus my efforts as Mayor on improving public safety for all Denver residents.

Jeff Peckman (57) Profession: Entrepreneur/Consultant

Most recent public offices: None Most actively volunteers at: None currently. My volunteer time has primarily been focused on my own community initiatives for public safety, safe food, education, clean energy technology, and economic development. Previously: Founding Member Committee for Progress in School Nutrition [under the direction of Jared Polis]; Director – Colorado Brain Fingerprinting Task Force; Committee for Stress-free Schools How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? Amazing solutions exist for health care, education, criminal justice, public safety, clean energy, and environmental quality. These are proven, affordable solutions that can help solve Denver’s problems while saving millions of dollars, balancing the budget, and creating new and better jobs. I propose using complimentary currencies, useable only in Denver, that keep more money and jobs in Denver and

reduce the fraudulent waste of our Federal taxes. Many of these solutions have been used for years outside of Colorado, but have been ignored by the same reactive, ‘narrow-vision’ state legislators and city council members now running for mayor of Denver. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? MMJ dispensaries provide the benefits of natural medicinal plants and should be treated like pharmacies. Denver should use this opportunity as a stepping stone for creating more locally-based health care that cultivates, processes, and uses many of the thousands of medicinal plants available. Ancient, time-tested, Indigenous health care systems can both improve health of Denver residents, and create thousands of local jobs while keeping more health care dollars in Denver. These health care systems use medicinal plants to more affordably and effectively prevent and treat a wide range of health problems that costly modern medicine has failed successfully address. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? There are risks from recreational marijuana use. MJ consumption would diminish if people knew of more natural ways to feel better and prevent the negative effects of stress. When people feel “stressed out”, it is natural to want to feel good. MJ gives them an artificial approach. I would enforce laws pertaining to recreational MJ use but would also introduce the general population to other ways to feel better naturally. Some of these can be done on a citywide basis. The result will be less or more moderate use of recreational substances in an upward spiral of feeling better naturally. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? There are multiple proven, costeffective, money-saving, and amazing solutions for reducing incarceration rates across all ethnic groups. Since age 21, I have been directly involved in some of these revolutionary solutions like: The Enlightened Sentencing Project (St. Louis), CIDA (South African College), Brain Fingerprinting Technology, better food in schools, and Metatron Technology. People of color, like everyone else, need a vision of how extraordinary life can be. I can offer them that vision. The world as we have known it is changing dramatically. People of color are critical to this successful transition. We must all rise in real freedom together. What would you like the city government to be doing about the homeless in Denver? Homelessness is a multi-faceted

problem. I have a multi-faceted list of proven solutions to help end homelessness. Some are described on my campaign web site. These include providing more nutritious food to homeless shelters, offering techniques to help the homeless deal with chronic and acute stress, promoting Chet Sisk’s “Sustainable Society Leadership Course Online”, and creating more affordable housing and jobs. It also includes ideas like producing building materials out of the stalks of medicinal marijuana plants and starting a hempbased economy to develop and market some of the 50,000 uses for hemp as Henry Ford proposed in the 1930’s. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? People of color have an above average amount of stress. Since age 17, I’ve been promoting stress reduction for students to reduce drug abuse and violence, and increase educational achievement. Russell Simmons of BET recently joined film directors David Lynch, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, and Martin Scorcese to raise money to teach stress reduction to at-risk youth, the homeless, Native Americans, and Veterans. I was an early (1999) supporter of CIDA [college] in South Africa which uses stress reduction. Denver can do this too. Oprah Winfrey gave CIDA $1 million in 2003.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Read about amazing CIDA on my web site.

Chris Romer (51); Profession: Former State Senator

Most recent public offices: State Senator, Senate District 32, 2006 – 2010 Most actively volunteers at: Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation; LARASA; KIPP Public Schools How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? We need to increase city revenues by recruiting and retaining good jobs. I’ve asked the Mayor’s deficit task force tough questions and I will lead the long overdue conversations we need to have about doing more with less at City Hall, including cutting red tape and reinventing parts of city gov-

ernment. I will make sure that every neighborhood has a voice in finding the savings – that no community bears unfair cuts and all Denver neighborhoods share in access to good jobs. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? We must enforce the strict rules governing dispensaries passed by the state last year to make sure that they are the highly professional, accountable businesses that Denverites expect. All dispensaries must strictly follow all rules and regulations in our city and I will ensure that our poorest neighborhoods are not unfairly impacted by dispensaries. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? There are more pressing issues for the next mayor like creating jobs and making sure that every child in Denver has access to a world class education. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? We must address the problem of high incarceration rates at their source: providing all Denver children the quality education they deserve. I’ve spent 22 years in education advocacy from founding the I Have a Dream Foundation, a premier drop-out prevention program, to serving on the

boards of numerous high performing public charter schools. As mayor, I will significantly raise the expectations and achievement of our schools and bring our community resources together in public-private partnerships to improve all our children’s education, because it’s better to build children rather than repair adults. What would you like the city government to do about the homeless in Denver? We must complete the vision of Mayor Hickenlooper to end chronic homelessness in Denver. Denver’s Road Home, the manifestation of that vision, must have the resources, community support and civic leadership necessary to complete its ambitious goal. Through effectively focusing the efforts and resources of our nonprofit, religious and governmental organizations, we can get men, women and children off Denver streets, into housing and on to a better life. I will build upon the framework of what the city has already successfully done to bring thousands of people off the streets, helping those in need and saving valuable city resources. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? Addressing issues affecting our communities of color like jobs, education and freedom from discrimination

must be a priority of the next mayor. We must increase access to capital for small businesses, especially minority and women-owned businesses that have been hit hardest by the economic downturn. Further, I’m going to take a hands on approach to public safety as mayor – we must have an effective, accountable police force keeping us safe. I will support business, education and non-profit leaders in communities of color to help find solutions to these issues, equalize distribution of services and balance representation in city leadership.

Editor’s note: Kenneth R. Simpson responded to the Denver Urban Spectrum, but was unable to provide answers by the deadline.

Theresa Spahn (52)

720-445-0854; Profession: Attorney

Most recent public offices: Founding Executive Director, Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative (March 2001 – November 2009); District Court Magistrate, 17th Judicial District, Brighton, CO (January 1994 – February 2001); Felony Deputy District Attorney, Mesa County District Attorney’s Office (October 1992 – January 1994) Most actively volunteers at: I actively volunteer for numerous organizations throughout Denver by catering and preparing meals. I have cooked for fundraisers and organizations like the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, Adams County Boys and Girls Club, Community Resources, Inc. and the Denver Urban Peak. In addition, I am a prime sponsor and fundraiser for the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, I help recruit attorneys to assist children from Bridging the Gap, a Mile High United Way non-profit, and I volunteer my time to local schools. How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? In the first 180 days it will be my duty to lead this city out of the budgetary crisis. My previous experience as the Executive Director of an $18.5 million agency that operated efficiently

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


will help me take a hard look at every agency to chart an efficient, new course. I’ve hired an economist to help address our structural budget issues and my experience as a District Attorney and Magistrate Judge will help me evaluate and find efficiencies in the Department of Safety, which comprises over 50 percent of the budget. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? Medical marijuana dispensaries should be held to the same high standard that we hold liquor stores. There should be a public comment process that addresses the impact of dispensaries on our neighborhoods during the permit process. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? Recreational marijuana use is illegal in Colorado and as an attorney I swore an oath to uphold the law. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? As a former Magistrate Judge, I have firsthand knowledge of the high incarceration rates that minorities face. We can start to address this issue by implementing safe pretrial release programs that are sensitive to individuals who do not have the financial ability to post bond. In addition, minority children are more likely to serve a commitment and carry a conviction on their records than their white counterparts. On the state level, I worked to address these inequities in our juvenile justice system, and as Denver’s Mayor, I will remain committed to reversing the high incarceration rates of people of color. What would you like the city government to do about the homeless in Denver? Denver must work to eliminate homelessness. I fully support Denver’s Road Home, and the Road Home and its partners have much to be proud of. Denver’s Road Home helps organizations throughout Denver combine resources and combat homelessness. The partnership with the Mile High United Way and various other organizations are key to the continued success of the initiative. I can assure you that I will be on the front lines helping to raise awareness and money for the initiative. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? There are many issues that must be addressed in our minority communities. We must raise minority graduation rates, lower minority overrepresentation in the child welfare system, and improve the health of our minority population. In addition, many victims of excessive force are people of

color and the Police Department’s issues surrounding excessive force must be eliminated. As Mayor, I will conduct a national search for a new Chief of Police and make the Chief a member of my cabinet. The Chief will report directly to me so that the citizens of Denver know the buck stops with the Mayor’s office.

Thomas Andrew Wolf (46) Profession: finance

Most recent public offices: none Most actively volunteers at: Museum of Contemporary Art|Denver; Montessori School Wash Park; and Mile High Squash How would you approach the city’s budget deficit issues? The breadth of our city services I think is analogous to a TV remote control. Originally it was effective for basic needs, but now it has 53 buttons, so its performance and utility have imploded. Engineers call this “feature creep”. As your next mayor I will right-size our government by shrinking it to the essential services that keep our city safe, clean, accessible and competitive. We need to define essential, set budgets, deliver, measure performance, mark-to-market when possible, and repeat annually. How should the city handle medical marijuana dispensaries? The same way they handle all other “vice” retailers, by defining zoning “use by right” areas, monitoring for health and safety compliance, and

then realizing sales tax revenue. What are your views on recreational marijuana use? For those of age (which I think should be 18 in this case, and 18 for alcohol as well) my view is live and let live. As long as laws are not violated: to each their own. My wife is Norwegian and her people use the saying, “the sum of one’s vices is constant.” I have found this saying to be pretty accurate on human nature and societal traits. Also important is a broad definition of vices: not only alcohol, nicotine, and THC, but caffeine, sugar, and fatty junk foods as well, just to name a few. What, if anything, should be done about high incarceration rates of people of color here? It starts with parents and then leadership or role models within society. When these fail, often educational opportunities are also squandered. The numbers show roughly 50 percent truancy by the age of 15 in our urban high schools, and for too many, incarceration is the next stop. So the cost benefit of educating versus incarcerating is obvious financially, and the humanity of education is even more compelling. As Mayor I will do all I can to elevate education as the only relevant path to these kids. What would you like the city government to do about the homeless in Denver? I applaud the moves the prior administration has made with the homeless issue, particularly with Road Home, but I think more proactive steps need to be taken with the chronically destitute that due to mental illness, addiction or both can not advocate for themselves. This is often characterized as intervention or tough love, but has to be deployed because as in the question above it proves out financially and more importantly as the purely humane course of action. Are any issues unique to people of color in Denver? How would you address them? We are one team all wearing the

same jersey, and have to work together for the team to win. As Mayor (head coach) my job is to equitably allocate playing time and opportunities, while continuously measuring cost and performance. The Spectrum staff thanks the following Mayoral candidate hopefuls who did not make it on the ballot for their time and efforts in answering our questionnaire: Paul Noel Fiorino, Marcus Giavanni, and Vince Macieyovski. Though there was not enough space in our printed newspaper for their answers, we posted them on SpectrumTalk under Local Opinions & Topics at

Other Candidates in Denver’s May 3 Election

While the Mayoral race pulled in several candidates this year, the races for City Council seats are much less contested, with the incumbents in districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 running unopposed. The candidates for other offices on the ballot are as follows. AUDITOR Dennis Gallagher Marcus D. Richardson Bill Wells

CLERK AND RECORDER Tom Downey Debra Johnson Sarah McCarthy Jacob Werther

AT-LARGE CITY COUNCIL Josh Davies Rich Gonzales Robin Kniech Deborah “Debbie” Ortega Jesse Kyle Shelmire COUNCIL DISTRICT 1


Larry Ambrose Katherine K. Cornwell John E. Haney Ken Padilla Samantha Padilla Scheitler Jeffrey Schitter Susan Shepherd

COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 Jeanne Faatz Edward S. Valdez

COUNCIL DISTRICT 5 Michele Fry Meredith Voigt Hartigan Steve Saunders Mary Beth Susman Ted Tompkins Leslie Twarogowski COUNCIL DISTRICT 9 Juanita Gable Judy H. Montero Michael P. Sanchez

COUNCIL DISTRICT 11 Chris Herndon Chris Martinez

15 Years of Experience in the Clerk & Recorders Office

“EXPERIENCE COUNTS” Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011

23 pres-

ents 2011 Colorado Jazz and R&B Lovers Festival, June 25-26 at Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado. Five of the featured artists are Pieces of a Dream, Nick Colionne, Joey Sommerville, Marcus Anderson and Tony Exum, Jr. Pieces of a Dream emerged out of Philadelphia’s music scene in 1976. Formed by keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon, their name is based on Pieces of Dreams, a cover tune by Stanley Turrentine that the group performed. Legendary sax man the late Grover Washington Jr., helped Pieces of a Dream become the internationally known stars they are today. While the group was playing at the Bijou (Live at the Bijou), he sat in with them to play “Mr. Magic.” From 1981 to 1984, Pieces of a Dream recorded three albums for Electra: Pieces of a Dream, We Are One and Imagine This, which included hits, “Warm Weather,” “Mount Airy Groove” and “Fo Fi Fo.” The group recorded seven more albums on EMI/Blue Note label. In 2001, Pieces of a Dream signed with Heads Up International and released one of their best albums, Acquainted with the Night, which featured guitarist Ronny Jordan, vocalist Maysa Leak, and saxophonists Gerald Albright and Kenny Blake. The follow up album Love’s Silhouette also reached Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart top 10 status. Their April 2004 release, No Assembly Required was also a hit. In 2009, Soul Intent was released. Nick Colionne, Chicago-based guitarist/vocalist, began learning to play guitar from his stepfather, at the age of nine. A professional touring artist by the age of 15, Colionne spent much of his time on the road with older musicians, often penciling in a fake mustache to fit in. However, his mother, Juanita, insisted he get an education. As a result, Colionne graduated from high school, went to college, and now finds himself – when he isn’t touring and recording – teaching and mentoring elementary school students in Elgin, IL. He’s released six albums; It’s My Turn (1994), Arrival (1996), Seduction (1999), Just Come On In (2003), Keepin’ It Cool (2006), and No Limits (2008). Atlanta trumpeter Joey Sommerville’s music stems from the Baptist church. “When I was a teenager, I would judge the caliber of my playing by the number of people in the congregation who ‘got happy.‘ If you aren’t touching the listener’s soul, then you aren’t really playing music.

Men Bring History To

Jazz In The City

Tony Exum, Jr.

Soul communication is the key.” He has performed/ recorded with artists from the jam-rock icon group Phish to hip-hop hit maker Jazze Pha. He was also the featured instrumental soloist on the Cirque de Soleil’s Grammy-nominated and Juno Award winning album, Alegria. In 2001, he scored a Gavin Top 20 Contemporary Jazz hit as a writer/producer with Bob Baldwin for the single “Business Call.“ In 2006, Joey took his turn as a featured soloist on Hidden Beach Recording Unwrapped Volume 4. In 2007, Joey started The Smooth Jazz After Dark Series at Sambuca Jazz Café in Atlanta. His 2007 musical offering, “ Like You Mean It“ is more than a title, “Whatever you do, do it like you mean it!” says Sommerville. The album is a labor of love, which

includes collaborations from notable artists: Wayman Tisdale, Mike Phillips, Marion Meadows, Phil Perry, as well as South African musicians and singers from Johannesburg. Sommerville’s new album, The Get Down Club is super fresh! Marcus Anderson, a South Carolina native, is from a large musical family of seven siblings, and was introduced to jazz by his father. Obviously talented, his parents nurtured his musicality and he began performing in church with his older brothers. After high school, he continued his jazz studies at North Carolina Central University. There, he was a member of the program’s world renowned Jazz Ensemble directed by Dr. Ira Wiggins. He studied with Branford Marsalis and Gospel

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Saxophonist, Donald Hayes for several years. Anderson has performed for Hillary Clinton and Jesse Jackson. 2009 Capital Jazz Fest Challenge winner, Marcus Anderson, electrifies stages with an unmatchable energy. The multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and vocalist recently released his second solo CD, From The Heart, a much anticipated follow up to My Turn – his stellar debut project. “I put all of my heart and soul into my playing, and that’s where music should come from!” says Anderson. Widely recognized for his natural ability to entertain, he quickly became a first call sax man to perform within groups such as Pieces of a Dream and Four 80 East. Marcus has also been invited to perform with or open for Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, George Duke, Everette Harp, Alex Bugnon, Nenna Freelon, Bob Baldwin, Ledisi, Layla Hathaway and many others. With the release of his new album, he is now packing out his own headlining shows. “For me, it’s about the crowd,” says Anderson, “I feed off their energy.” Tony Exum, Jr. hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and his uncle Larry Francis, Jr., a saxophonist in the Fort Carson, Colorado, sparked his musical interests. At age 18, Exum began studying music at the prestigious Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver under worldrenowned saxophonist M. Lynn Baker, M.A. and first call woodwind doubler Art Bouton, M.A. In 1996, Exum joined Fort Collins, Colorado-based band Meadowlark Jivin, a funky, jazzy, blues and soul outfit spearheaded by singer-songwriter Brian Hull. He toured with them for seven years recording two CDs in the process. Throughout this time with Meadowlark Jivin on the local Colorado scene he performed with and opened for such notable acts such as the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Chi-Lites, the Manhattans, WAR, Lenny Williams (Tower of Power), Chieli Minucci and Special EFX, Nelson Rangell and Andrew Woolfolk (Earth, Wind and Fire), and Dotsero. In 2006, Exum joined Denver’s Soul School. Exum released his solo debut album Finally in 2010. Independent Records, a Colorado Springs, Colorado music retailer of 27 years notes, “Exum’s display of stellar sax playing just might need a bigger spotlight...“ Music fans needs not to be concerned because as Grover Washington Jr.’s 1982 hit suggests, “The Best Is Yet To Come!”  Editor’s note: Tickets are available online at, and King Soopers stores or by calling 303710-3365.


Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams Excellent……………. Very Good………….. Good………………... Fair………………….. Poor………………….

    No stars

I Will Follow 

Bittersweet Drama Chronicles Day in the Life of GriefStricken Caregiver


or some reason, most movies aimed at African-American audiences tend to be either over-the-top comedies or morality plays too melodramatic in tone to be taken very seriously. Flying in the face of that trend is I Will Follow, one of those refreshingly rare treats which simply presents black folks in a recognizably realistic fashion, ala such similarly understated classics as Eve’s Bayou (1997), Nothing But a Man (1964) and The Visit (2000). Written and directed by Ava DuVernay (This Is the Life), the picture stars Salli Richardson-Whitfield as Maye Fisher, a successful makeup artist who put her career and her man (Blair Underwood) on hold to attend to a beloved Aunt (Beverly Todd) battling cancer. Amanda had served as an inspirational role model for Maye during childhood, which made it easy for the grateful niece to resolve to return the favor at her hour of need. The film unfolds in L.A. over the course of just 24 hours right in the wake of Amanda’s funeral. At the point of departure, we find Maye preparing to vacate the house she had rented for them to share since it had

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


always been her Aunt’s dream to live atop breathtaking Topanga Canyon. While packing up their belongings, the grief-stricken caregiver pauses periodically to reminisce about the fond memories triggered by this or that item she’s wrapping. However, between those evocative flashbacks, she has no choice but to attend to a variety of mundane matters like terminating the television satellite service and directing the moving men. Proving even more disruptive of Maye’s mourning process is the I Will Follow

arrival of Amanda’s absentee daughter, Fran (Michole Briana White), who only showed up to collect her inheritance and to blame her cousin for her estranged mother’s death. “She wanted trees. She didn’t want to fight, or chemo,” Maye matter-offactly,” responds. But her heartfelt explanation falls on the deaf ears of a witch who insensitively demands, “I want my mother’s stuff!” before storming out. At the end of the day, exhausted and drained, Maye finally finds a shoulder to lean on in tow truck driver, Troy (Omari Hardwick). And before the sun can set on this compelling, character-driven drama, she has to reassess her own relationship priorities as she contemplates dating a sensitive brother despite his modest means. Congrats to Salli RichardsonWhitfield for delivering a career performance, here, and to Ava DuVernay for shooting such a thought-provoking meditation on mortality in just a couple of weeks and on a micro budget. Unrated Running Time: 88 Minutes Studio: Forward Movement Distributor: African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) To see a trailer for I Will Follow, visit: Or,


ding crasher Elise Sellas (Blunt) sheepishly emerges from a stall, the two fall in love at first sight and proceed to lock lips until they’re interrupted by the Congressman’s Chief of Staff (Michael Kelly). Before separating, David takes her phone number, fully intending to call soon. However, “The The Adjustment Bureau Chairman” has already prescribed a The Adjustment Bureau preordained life for him as a promi nent politician, a path which definitely Mind-bending Sci-Fi Pits Free excludes Elise. Therefore, a dapper Will vs. Predestination quartet of ethereal emissaries sporting felt fedoras are dispatched to the planuring his brief lifetime, the proet to prevent the pair from seeing each lific Philip K. Dick wrote dozens of other again. science-fiction novels, plus well over a It takes a few years, but eventually, hundred short stories. And since his instead of a canine failing to howl, a untimely death in 1982, ten of his lackadaisical angel (Anthony Mackie) works have been brought to the big falls asleep on a park bench. That screen, most notably, Blade Runner, allows the frustrated lovebirds anothTotal Recall and Minority Report. er chance encounter which only serves The latest is The Adjustment Bureau, to reignite their passion. a surreal, psychological thriller co-starFollowing this incident, one of the ring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. guys in the funny hats introduces The movie is very loosely based on himself to David as his “case officer.” “Adjustment Team,” a short story pubArchangel Richardson (John Slattery) lished in 1954 which was more of a goes on to explain the function of the Cold War drama than a romantic Adjustment Bureau as enforcers of romp revolving around a star-crossed God’s master plan. He warns David couple. not to pursue a relationship with Elise In the original adventure, God disand that a failure to behave accordingpatches disembodied spirits to Earth ly will result in a lobotomy and a in order to ease East-West atomic tenreprogramming. sions. But then something as simple as David, not surprisingly, remains a dog’s failure to bark as scheduled determined to follow his heart, and sets in motion a destabilizing chain of what ensues is a special effects-driven events which threaten to destroy game of cat-and mouse pitting a pair détente. of hopelessly-smitten humans against For an insurance salesman who an army of angels with an array of failed to hear the hound leaves late for supernatural forces at their disposal. work and consequently shares someThus, the picture poses the basic questhing he witnesses with his wife. So, it tion: Which would win in a battle subsequently falls to angels to interbetween free will and predestination? vene to ensure that all still unfolds in Given that this flick is essentially an accordance with the desire of the old-fashioned, Hollywood love story, Creator. it’s easy to guess how the tale will Directed by George Nolfi, The turn out. Damon and Blunt certainly Adjustment Bureau, by contrast, is a generate plenty of chemistry along the revision which renders the source way as they elude their captors by material unrecognizable except for its dashing in and out of a dizzying numsupernatural elements. Now, instead ber of parallel universes. of being married to each other, the Unfortunately, their screen appeal is protagonists are an eligible bachelor undermined slightly by the leap of faith and a beautiful ballerina who meet the audience is expected to take by buyquite by coincidence in a men’s room ing into a concatenation of patentlyat the Waldorf Astoria. ludicrous, sci-fi contrivances employed Just past the point of departure, we to confound the Lord and his minions. find David Norris (Damon) practicing An entertaining, if blasphemous mindhis concession speech after losing a bender suggesting that love conquers race for the U.S. Senate. When wedall, even the will of God.

Rated: PG-13 for sexuality, brief profanity and a violent image Running Time: 99 Minutes Studio: Universal Pictures To see a trailer for The Adjustment Bureau, visit:

ter, from the breathtaking panoramas to the bombastic pyrotechnics to the eye-popping special f/x to the mob scenes of mass hysteria, this film is filled with fixings which just scream 4th of July weekend. And provided you’re prematurely Battle: L.A.


Battle: L.A.  1/2

Disgraced Vet Gets Shot at Redemption in Apocalyptic Sci-Fi


etween an apocalyptic plotline and a $100+ million budget, it’s no wonder that Battle: L.A. is being touted as the first summer blockbuster of 2011. Forget the fact that it’s still win-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


in the mood for such unseasonablyoverblown fare, Battle: L.A. won’t disappoint. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel), this high-impact, action flick revolves around the daring exploits of a rag-tag team of Marines representing the last hope for humanity in the wake of an alien invasion which is decimating the planet. Continued on page 28

Continued from page 27 As the film opens, we are introduced to Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) as he’s called on the carpet for his soldiers having suffered heavy casualties in Iraq. The humiliated platoon leader grudgingly agrees to retire, but not before first helping to whip their replacements into fighting shape. The new unit is a motley crew of readily-recognizable archetypes. There’s Nantz, the proverbial, battlehardened veteran who now has to report to an untested Lieutenant (Ramon Rodriguez). We also have a raw recruit (Noel Fisher) so young he had to get his parents’ permission to enlist; a corporal (Jim Parrack) suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder since his last tour of duty; a soldier (Ne-Yo) set to marry his sweetheart; another (Taylor Handley) who knows about Nantz’s checkered past; and the brother (Cory Hardict) of a G.I. who died overseas under the disgraced Sergeant’s command. You get the idea. This freshly-forged band of brothers is about to ship out when a mysterious meteor shower morphs into a lethal legion of hostile extraterrestrial armed to the teeth and bent on world domination. With the entire globe


suddenly under siege, instead of being deployed to the Middle East, our intrepid heroes are sent to the City of Los Angeles. While staging a last stand there, they join forces with Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez), a feisty Air Force Sergeant on a reconnaissance detail. Despite the film’s futuristic pretensions, Battle: L.A. is basically an oldfashioned war flick which unabashedly employs every cliché associated with the shopworn genre. For instance, the fate of apprehensive Lieutenant Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) is sealed, cinematically, the moment he sits down to write an ominous letter to his pregnant wife back home. Yet, the squad leader’s untimely demise does dovetail ever so conveniently with his replacement’s need for a shot at redemption. Like a kid operating a computer game joystick, Nantz proceeds to spearhead a strategic search and destroy mission for the aliens’ command and control center. The frenetic action consists of wave after wave of mindless mayhem intermittently interrupted by sentimental reminders that God is on our side and by simplistic sloganeering such as “Marines don’t quit!” and “Let’s go show ‘em how Marines fight!” With

no message deeper to impart, some might suggest that the film amounts to little more than a two-hour PSA for the U.S. military. On the other hand, the less cynical are just as likely to rally behind the defenders of Mom and apple pie, and to cheer their every kill with approving howls of “Hoo-rah!” (Marine shorthand for “Heard, understood, recognized and acknowledged.”) After all, you don’t have to be tiger-blooded Charlie Sheen to know what really matters most in a showdown with any worthy adversary. Duh? Winning!

Rated: PG-13 for profanity, scenes of destruction and sustained, intense violence. Running Time: 116 minutes Distributor: Columbia Pictures To see a trailer for Battle L.A., visit: The Lincoln Lawyer 

Disgraced Attorney Seeks Redemption in Riveting Crime Thriller


f you enjoy trying to solve a cerebral, multi-layered mystery, then get yourself to a theater to see this cleverly-concealed whodunit before anybody has a chance to spoil it for you. Based on Michael Connelly’s best-seller of the same name, this intricate thriller was directed by Brad Furman (The Take) and stars Matthew McConaughey in the title role. He plays the sort of down on his luck attorney audiences just love to root for, an empathetic underdog in need of redemption reminiscent of the recovering alcoholic Paul Newman portrayed in The Verdict in an Oscarwinning performance. McConaughey’s character, Mick Haller, is a likable lush whose driver’s license was suspended for operating under the influence. But because his Ford Lincoln functions both as a means of transportation and as an office, he now has a delinquent client (Laurence Mason) chauffeuring him around L.A. as a way of paying off the debt. Besides booze, he’s battling his ex-wife, Margaret (Marisa Tomei), not only because they have a child (Mackenzie Aladjem) together, but because, as a criminal prosecutor, she works on the opposite side of the law. As a defense attorney who makes “house calls” right on the street with the miscreants he’s stuck with representing, mobility is critical to Mick. Given that low grade of clientele, he thanks his lucky stars the day he’s told by a bail bondsman (John Leguizamo) that Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe), the son of a

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


The Lincoln Lawyer

Beverly Hills real estate tycoon (Frances Fisher), wants to hire him. Mick learns that the 32 year-old heir has just been arrested for the attempted murder of a badly-bruised woman (Margarita Levieva) he picked up at a nightclub. In a meeting behind bars, Louis claims that he’s being framed by a money-hungry liar who staged the attack with a couple of confederates. According to his version of what transpired, someone standing behind the alleged victim’s apartment door knocked him unconscious as soon as he entered, and then planted a knife and her blood on him. Seeing Louis’ as his ticket to a higher tax bracket, Mick arranges for his release on a million-dollar bond, insisting on a six-figure retainer for what he reasonably expects to be an open and shut case. His clean-cut client’s alibi is subsequently essentially corroborated by a key piece of evidence, the bar’s surveillance videotape showing the accuser slipping Louis her phone number on a napkin on the night in question. But when the assistant D.A. (Josh Lucas) sticks with his plans to put the defendant on trial, Mick asks his trusty private investigator, Frank (William H. Macy), to dig a little deeper. Soon, the plot thickens deliciously in myriad ways which it would be unfair to divulge. Suffice to say that what ensues is a deceptively-complex game of cat and mouse that’s a pure delight to observe as it unravels. Easily, the best blockbuster of the year thus far!

Rated: R for violence, sexuality and profanity. Running Time: 119 Minutes Distributor: Lionsgate Films To see a trailer for The Lincoln Lawyer, visit: colnlawyer/ or: =PPkw=the%20lincoln%20lawyer

The Family I

By Hasira Watson-Ashemu

am clear! This column may not win me any male fans this week based upon the subject matter that we will be addressing. Those of you who follow the column know that this month we are due to discuss the third principle in our power eight program which is the principle of Family. “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” - Confucius This month has been a particularly challenging one to write this column due to the subject matter that I knew we would be discussing. As if on cue, I have received the news that three married couples that I’ve known over the years are now divorcing or have already divorced. The universe is a splendid thing. If you have followed my column, then you know that there is no such thing as an uninvited experience in your life. Only children believe in “accidents.” All experiences are given permission by us either consciously or unconsciously (as is the case with divorce) to enter into our lives through our thoughts, choices and actions. What was particularly striking in these three marital circumstances is that in each and every one it was the “man” who left the woman and in each case there were children involved in the separation. This dynamic has reaffirmed to me that the work of Man Up! is monumental and desperately needed in our communities. Now, I want to say something here that most women don’t know and most men cannot properly communicate and that’s this: When Men become separated and splintered from, or are ignorant of, their MISSION they become likely candidates for not only divorce, but a host of other societal ills. When you see a man walk away from his family, what you are essentially witnessing is someone who is disconnected from his purpose, his mission, his higher calling. He’s become frustrated and distracted. Symptoms of male distraction syndrome can appear as one or more of


the following: we become womanizers, sports fanatics, alcoholics, drug addicts, liars, thieves, pimps, players, hustlers, gamblers and gamers. You must understand that as MEN, our deepest desires rest in becoming a Hero. As MEN, we have a deep desire to ‘save the damsel in distress, instinctively we have to kill the lion and slay the dragon – it’s in our collective DNA. In our personal lives, this means that we have to feel like we are actively in the process of fulfilling our innermost blueprint/vision that was implanted in us and if we are not working towards the fulfillment of that blueprint/vision or if we are ignorant of how to manifest that blueprint/vision, we become frustrated and distracted and prone to idiotic ideas and behaviors. Compounding the issue of male frustration and distraction is the all too familiar trap that men are consistently falling into which involves running into the arms of a new woman. Many men foolishly believe that they will somehow be shielded from their past ‘failures’ by starting over new again. This is incredibly shortsighted and shallow on our part and must be discarded as a means of achieving what we truly desire. Yes, maybe initially, this new feminine figure sensing his injury will refrain from holding him accountable to his greatness but sooner or later this “new” woman will emerge from beneath her cloak of babysitter and with her magical mirror she too will reflect and remind him of his mission. At this point he again is confronted with two choices: 1. Return to his mission or 2. Hop to the next lily pad and repeat this process. Some men never mature and remove themselves from this childish cycle and they continue

moving from one “pad” to the next perpetually. However, as the musical sage of the 70’s warned us “you’re running and you’re running, but you can’t run away from yourself.” Ladies, you must understand that most men in this society have been trained to view these Goddess reminders as simply “nagging.” Conversely, a real man knows that his woman is there to keep him on point, to cheerlead and support him on his mission. And even if at times her cheers sound similar to the language of “nagging,” he reminds himself that she is simply reflecting to him that he is out of harmony with his mission and he shouldn’t run away from the messenger because of the message. This is not to say that women themselves are not in dire need of instruction in the areas of rebalancing and reaffirmation of their feminine. Many women themselves have fallen pray to the mass media ideas that overvalue masculine qualities and dismiss the feminine as the weaker of the two and thus a quality less desired. However, in order for a woman to be a woman, a man must first be a man. Therefore, the onus of the burden for reclaiming our families lies squarely on the shoulders of us men and no amount of finger pointing and whining on our part is going to alter that reality. We as men must make our mantra that ‘when we fail our families, then we have failed our mission.’ Henceforth, we will no longer allow mass media to mislead us into believing that we can somehow substitute money, power and prestige for fatherhood or husbandry. We as men must deeply etch into our souls the paradigm that informs us that if we fail to protect, maintain and foster our family units we have failed – period.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Therefore – WE MUST NOT FAIL. After all, what is a lion absent of his mate and without his active participation in raising his cubs but a flea-ridden ostracized ‘has-been’ wondering around the jungle waiting for and indeed looking for death? Have you ever seen an old lion who has outlived his usefulness in the lion community? It’s quite a pathetic sight. Have you seen what is currently passing for manhood in communities across the country? It’s quite a pathetic sight. I’m just saying. Men must be taught how to discover and dedicate themselves to their missions. This crucial piece of the puzzle is overlooked and thus absent in both our formal and informal educational systems. It is the mission of this column to help provide that crucial piece towards the betterment of our families. Let me leave you with a few quotes from MEN. “Acting is just a way of making a living; the family is life.” -Denzel Washington “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” -George Moore “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” -Lee Iacocca Man Up!  Editor’s note: Hasira Watson-Ashemu (HSoul) is a radio host, relationship coach and is a syndicated columnist in N. America, Europe and Africa. He also has conducted relationship seminars and trainings for 15 years. Follow him at or email

Breaking Barriers Comes to Denver:

Exhibit Highlights the History of African Americans in Tennis By Angelle C. Fouther


n every field of endeavor, there have been those African Americans who have blazed uncharted trails to alter the face of U.S. history. Hollywood had Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier. The world of Opera had Marian Anderson; Civil Rights - Rosa Parks; Literature Gwendolyn Brooks; and the Supreme Court - Thurgood Marshall. In the world of tennis, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe broke through the racial barriers, changing the game forever. Gibson attained the world No. 1 ranking and became the first AfricanAmerican to compete in U.S. Nationals and to win major tennis titles – the French Open and Wimbledon tennis championships. Ashe was the first African American to capture a Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open in 1968. In addition to his 13 titles and US Davis Cup play, Ashe was a humanitarian, leading efforts to address the many issues of the underserved. Both Ashe and Gibson were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. While Gibson and Ashe may be the most well-known African American barrier-breakers in tennis, many other African Americans have played a role in the history of the game, both on the courts and behind the scenes. To highlight that narrative, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) of Colorado, and the Blair-Caldwell African American Library are partnering to present the Breaking the Barriers exhibition. The Exhibit, which was featured at the 2007 US Open Tennis Championship in New York, spotlights the American Tennis Association (ATA), the earliest African American sports organization. Founded in 1916 by a group of African American businessmen, college professors, and physicians, the ATA organized competitive tennis opportunities for black athletes, encouraged player development, and fought discrimination in the sport. When the International Tennis Hall of Fame began developing the exhibit, they were quickly pointed in the direction of Art Carrington. Carrington, who was ranked #1 at Hampton University, has been teaching since 1969 at his own a tennis

City Park,” Charles Henry is a long time tennis advocate, who at 77 still plays the game regularly. He says that when he came to Denver in 1955, City Park was the first place people directed him to. “I have played at other places in Denver, but City Park has been the most welcoming. People at City Park— white, black, or otherwise—are just interested in playing good players.”

Charles Henry

academy in Amherst, Massachusetts. He also has one of the largest collections of tennis memorabilia and archival materials in the country. A great deal of the content for the Breaking the Barriers exhibit comes from Carrington’s collection. “I fortunately live in an area of the country where tennis is part of the culture, and many Blacks play,” Carrington states. “When my motherin-law passed away, I got to talking to her best friend, who’d just celebrated her 100th birthday. She shared with me a great deal of history and memorabilia she had collected from the early years of the ATA—between 1917 and 1925.” The picture painted of the early era of the ATA is a rich one. “We have come to know more about the Negro Baseball League and how organized they were,” Carrington stated. “But the ATA was better organized. They maintained the history, the records, and organized the circuits in an exemplary fashion.” The first generation of Blacks organized the circuit for recreation only – originally Black doctors, lawyers, and the upper class, who usually picked up tennis at college, played without any aspirations of professionalism. It was the second generation who were the ones that took it to a professional level – the Althea Gibsons and the Arthur Ashes – although they still experienced segregation, each of these individuals at least had mentors from the first generation of players, and the support of the ATA. The ATA Nationals were like a

social extravaganza. Celebrities like Joe Lewis and Black socialites would come down for the games, which took place on the Black college campuses such as Howard, Fisk, Morehouse, and Hampton. These schools would all vie to get the Nationals to be held on their campus, as the economic benefits were great. The tournaments were also an opportunity for Black players to get to know one another and to develop their skills and network with others. “I played on those college campuses since the age of 12,” Carrington states. “That solidified that I was going to college – seeing a lot of successful Black men – doctors, lawyers, school teachers, preachers – there with their families, helped me to know it was possible. I knew that was for me. I saw it.” The Breaking the Barriers exhibit will no doubt inspire a host of Colorado’s tennis hopefuls, and remind all of us to embrace the many possibilities available when we push past established barriers.

Local Barrier Breakers

The Breaking the Barriers Exhibit will also highlight the stories, photos, and historical experiences and contributions of local past and present pioneers of tennis in Colorado. A short documentary, titled, Crossing the Net: Denver City Park and the Black Tennis Experience, captures the spirit and passion for the game of multi generations in Denver’s own City Park, and will spotlight Denver’s own pioneers such as Melvin McCurley, Bonnie Champion, and Frank Adams. Lovingly known as the “Father of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Henry also said that seeing players such as Arthur Ashe and Zena Garrison allowed him to believe that he and others in his circle could have success. “We might not reach their level, but we could be successful. We knew it was a sport for life. I still play in tournaments often. I don’t win a lot, but I play.” Melvin McCurley got involved in tennis in the 1970s at age 15, when players like John Newcomb, Arthur Ashe and Rod Lavor were in full swing. He was the first African American to win a Colorado State Open Championship. “I think it is fantastic that we are bringing the exhibit. It’s long overdue,” McCurly states. Even after McCurley won the Colorado State Open in the early 1980s he still faced challenges with regard to interacting on the Country Club scene. “I remember applying for the tennis pro job at Cherry Creek Country Club, and the guys kept talking about the restaurant. They were convinced I was applying for a job at the restaurant.” McCurley, who has coached several local young players, says, “When I talk to kids, I always say you don’t have to be a pro tennis player—that doesn’t need to be the goal for everyone—but do get good enough to get a scholarship. You may want to be an architect or a teacher, and you’ll have your education for free.” “Althea Gibson was my main role model,” says Bonnie Champion. “She was the only black person playing at the time, and she brought tennis to life for me.” Champion, who was the first African American female umpire has, herself, helped to bring tennis to life

for many who have followed. At 72 years old, she’s ranked #1 in the National Senior Women’s Tennis Tournament in Colorado.

Bonnie Champion

Champion acknowledges that she grew up playing tennis on the streets because blacks weren’t allowed to play on the courts in Missouri where she lived. “When I got to Colorado, doors had been opened for us. Barriers had been broken because of the guys that’d been going down to City Park. I knew what these guys had done, but our kids need to know that they are not just entitled to step right in—that there are barriers that have been broken, and those folks need to be recognized.” Frank Adams, Past President of the USTA ITA and current Delegate for USTA Intermountain Colorado, says he got involved with tennis in 1974 in Philadelphia. “I played with the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) back then,” he shares. “I remember folks like Arthur Ashe and Charlie Passerel coming into the inner city to encourage kids to pick up the game. I was one of the kids who took it up.” Adams says that the role of the ATA was critical. “It offered us an alternative, when other folks would not let us play. And I think that’s an important thing about City Park, is that it represents a gathering point,” he states. “It’s the one place that you know if you are African American, that it’s a safe haven. Frank has also been instrumental in encouraging and training a new generation of players, like Jessica Mozia. Jessica started playing at the age of three when she would hit with a sponge ball. By the age of seven she began playing in tournaments; and now at 17, she’s a highly ranked national player who won the State last


year, explains her father Pius Mozia, a former tennis and soccer pro who moved to Colorado from Nigeria in the 1980s. Players like Jessica have more opportunities today, because they stand on the shoulders of people like Adams and the legion of others who persevered through discrimination. But while the barriers of racism are no longer the prevalent issue, there are still obstacles that exist for Black players – mainly economic ones. “The biggest barrier for Blacks in this country right now is the inability to get sponsorship. It’s not lack of talent,” says Pius. “Sending them to tennis academy can cost $50 – 60,000 a year. Someone needs to pick up the tab, and most African Americans do not have that kind of money. These are the modern barriers.” Pius says that both of his kids have sponsorships – Jessica with Head Racquets, and her brother Matthew, a college tennis player in California, with Prince. But sponsorships are competitive and predicated on results. To get one and keep one you have to be serious about the game and continuously move up in rank. Jessica, who has had the joyous experience of playing with her idols Venus and Serena, is serious about the game and plans to play college tennis. She also has plans for medical school. She undoubtedly, also, will belong to a new generation of superstars who, having broken past the racial and economic barriers, will inspire the talented players that her follow to hit even higher marks. 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Inform Your Vote And Meet All The Candidates On Denver 8 TV

With Denver’s Municipal Election fast approaching and the ballot set, Denver Decides, a community partnership for accessible and transparent election is announcing its lineup of neighborhood based candidate events. The public is invited to attend and inform their own votes as they will have an opportunity hear directly from the candidates at these events. The Denver Decides partnership furthers its access to candidates by sponsoring free TV time for all candidates. Each candidate was given the opportunity to record an unedited campaign message addressing Denver voters. These two-minute introductory speeches will also be shown on Denver 8 TV. For more information, visit or

Call AWC Matrix Foundation For Nominations

Do you know of an outstanding woman communications professional who has applied her skills to advance and preserve our First Amendment Rights? Or a media professional who, despite personal or professional challenges, has achieved distinction by focusing attention on First Amendment rights in a way that improves the lives of others? Nominate her for either of two awards sponsored by the AWC Matrix Foundation: The Edith M. Wortman First Amendment Award or the Helen Duhamel Achievement Award. The winners will be honored in October at the AWC National Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Candidates can specialize in any field of communications, and selfnominations are accepted. Nominations must be received by April 25. For more information, visit

Rocky Mountain MSDC’s 2011 Business Opportunity Fair

The Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council (Rocky Mountain MSDC announced its annual “Business Opportunity Fair.“ This event will be held at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street in Downtown Denver on Wednesday, April 20. The program is from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call Belinda Hooks at 303-623-3037, e-mail, or visit

Doorways Poetry Series Slated For April

Metropolitan State College of Denver (MSCD) Department of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Chicana/o Studies, Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) program and the Colorado Folk Arts Council (CFAC) have teamed up to present one of the most innovative and unique tributes to National Poetry Month. The Mauricio Saravia “Doorways Poetry Series” will feature four community events during the month of April. These events will bring together Metro area non profits, spoken word artists, youth (from college, high school and grade school) and professional writers in a city wide celebration dedicated to the art of word crafting. For more information, visit or call 303-556-3032.

12th Anniversary Family Extravaganza Planned

The 12th anniversary Celebration of Families-Student Inc. Family Extravaganza will be Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m. at New Hope Baptist Church Family Life Center 3701 Colorado Blvd in Denver. Families and Greek organizations will be honored on Friday and the student creative writing contest winners and Special Teachers will be honored on Saturday. For more information, call Dr. Robbie Bean at 303-321-3995.

Young Egyptian Activist To Recount Details Of Revolution

Twenty-four year old Egyptian activist Gigi Ibrahim will deliver a plenary address at this year’s Conference on World Affairs. Ibrahim was a leading organizer and activist leading up to and during the revolution. All Conference on World Affairs sessions are free and open to the public. The conference will be held in Macky Auditorium on Thursday, April 7 at 3 p.m. For more information on the Conference, visit

Vail Soul Music Fest Youth Day 2011 Is Music And Mentoring

Vail Soul Music Fest’s Youth Day Music and Mentoring Program on August 20 is designed to create the space for younger souls to have an enriching soul music experience through interactive, hands-on opportunities. Youth Day plans to serve 150 multi-cultural and under-served young music enthusiasts who are currently entering the 6th through 9th grades. Students will participate in music workshops designed to promote social responsibility, self-esteem and cultural awareness. Students interested in participating are encouraged to apply on or before April 29. Students will be supported by 50 adult mentors and chaperones from


various mentoring organizations, businesses and community groups. Youth Day is looking to for adult mentors. Mentors are encouraged to apply on or before April 15. For more information visit,

Dare To Believe Ur 4Given Showcase

Montbello High School along with DTB LLC presents Dare To Believe Ur 4given. The show will include krumping, stepping, dancing, singing, and acting with special guests. This showcase will be Friday, April 8, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Montbello High School. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free but donations are appreciated. For more information, call Pastor Joseph Hill at 720-775-2760 or email

Smart-Girl Sheds Light On The Teen Brain At Annual Luncheon

Smart-Girl, the Denver-based nonprofit organization that empowers preteen and teen girls to make smart choices and become confident, capable, selfreliant young women, will present its annual fundraising luncheon. The keynote speaker Craig Knippenberg, LCSW will discuss impulsivity, emotional overdrive, shirking responsibility, risky behavior executive functioning, frontal lobe development, social processing and the effect of hormonal changes in both females and males. Smart-Girl’s annual luncheon will be held on April 27 at Infinity Park in Glendale. Tickets are $75 and are available at For more information, call 303-8151921 or visit

All About Acting Workshop

The All About Acting Workshop presented by Black Pearl Entertainment, Inc. is for beginners or the professional performer that has started booking paid jobs and wants a few more tools to sharpen their skills. The workshop includes an acting intensive class, an acting reel on CD, a professional photo shoot on CD, and a business course. Workshop fee is $150 or 50% for two registrants. The workshop is Saturday April 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Shaka’s Place in Denver. For more information or to register, call 720-422-0135 or e-mail

One Book, One Denver Selects “Is Your Mama A Llama?”

The Denver Preschool Program (DPP) and the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) have announced the selection for Preschool

One Book, One Denver 2011. Beginning April 15, many of Denver’s preschoolers will begin reading “Is Your Mama A Llama?” by Deborah Guarino. The 2011 program will run thru April 30 culminating in a final reading at the Children’s Museum of Denver. The official launch event will be held at the Colorado Convention Center on April 15th at 5:30 p.m. The Denver Public Library will host “Llamapalooza” at the main branch on Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m. For more information, visit

Words From The Heart: Writing Your Personal Story

The Denver Woman’s Press Club Spring Seminar 2011 Writing from the Heart is a writing seminar that will teach how to tell your story and find the right market for your work. Come for inspiration and leave with solid ideas for crafting and selling your stories. The seminar will be held at the Denver Woman’s Press Club, 1325 Logan St. in Denver Saturday, April 16 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit or call 303-8391519.

Walk – Run – Learn At Destination Health At City Park

Destination Health, a 5K Walk/Run and Expo, is a half-day event providing opportunities to participate in activities promoting active and healthy lifestyles. The event is spearheaded by The Center for African American Health and is being held at Denver’s City Park on July 30. Designed as an intergenerational event, Destination Health will feature shorter routes; the Health Learning Expo; and a Children’s Health & Safety Area. The event will conclude with a “soulful” celebration and cool down by the Mary Louise Lee Band. For more information or to register, visit or call 303355-3423. To volunteer, e-mail

Great Western Art Show

Great Western Art Gallery will host an Art Show featuring painted copper plates by Shohini Ghosh through April 29. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Friday, April 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the gallery at 1455 Curtis Street in Downtown Denver. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 303-3692787 or visit Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Parenting 101: Eighteen But Not Ready For The World M

By S. M. Smith

any parents believe because a child turns eighteen that means their parenting days are over, but the opposite is true! The reality is our children need us more than ever as they enter the adult world. Whether it is helping

them figure out a relationship with the opposite sex, managing their finances, maneuvering their campus life in another state, or dealing with work politics on a new job. They need our advice and guidance on the adult choices they have to make, and they also need greater understanding within a nonjudgmental parent-child relationship. A woman I used to work with who was having a lot of trouble with her seventeen year old son, once said to me, “I only have a few more months of this craziness, he’ll be eighteen soon, and he won’t be my problem anymore!” That evening I kept running her statement over in my head,

and two questions kept coming up, whose problem does he become? And what responsibility does she have as a parent? During the time my coworker was dealing with her son’s mishaps I was faced with my daughter’s struggles on a college campus over 2,000 miles away. I too just one-year prior, felt that once my daughter turned eighteen and left for college many of my parental responsibilities would be successfully completed or greatly minimized. I was wrong. I discovered that I was putting as much or possibly even more mental and physical energy into helping my daughter navigate her newfound world. I wanted to tell my

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


coworker that our children turning eighteen was just a new phase of parenting; a different and in some ways more challenging responsibility. Sure raising a child is serious business, and we as parents throughout their young lives are faced with some difficult situations and tough decisions. It is our responsibility to equip our children with the tools they need to survive the adult world, and to also navigate their way to success. Turning eighteen is certainly a rite of passage, and by government standards a child is considered an adult, and yet the reality is that many young people at this age are ill prepared to take even their first steps into adult society. As parents it is critical that we not view turning eighteen as the final curtain call on parenting. We have miles to go on what we can still teach our children. I discovered this fact recently in my own life. My daughter who is now twenty and who returned home this past year from school after completing her junior year, came back filled with uncertainty and depressed not knowing which way to turn. She ultimately decided to take a year off, work and figure out what she wants to really do after switching majors, and still feeling unsure. It is through my daughter’s own self discovery I have learned that at eighteen she did not feel equipped enough to go out and handle the big adult world, and as a result she literarily crashed and burned out. She had spent the last two years playing the adult woman while still feeling like a child dressed in her mommies grown up clothes. Sure life takes practice and we must allow our children moments of failure, but as parents we have the opportunity even when are children are eighteen, with patience, understanding and with no judgment to help them gradually move into the adult world. Providing them with a toolbox of strategies, words of wisdom and lessons learned to prepare them for adult life. Consider this advice the next time you are counting down the days until your seventeen year old turns eighteen, instead ask yourself what can I teach him or her today about becoming a responsible, happy and healthy adult?  Editor’s note: Shannon Michele Smith, a freelance writer; a Denver native; a black single mother, former Care Counselor on Residential Child Care Facility, Comitis Crisis Center, former Program Manager, After School Initiatives, Mercy Housing, and former Southwest Regional Program Coordinator, YouthAction (Albuquerque, NM); currently a junior at the UNC’s Center for Urban Education pursuing B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies with an English concentration, and elementary education license, K-6.


The evening also included inspirational songs by choirs from the Spirituals Project, Metropolitan State College, and the Shorter AME Church.

Noel Award Honors Five Community Media Leaders

Five community leaders who have contributed greatly to Denver’s and the world’s media landscape were presented with the 2011 Rachel B. Noel Awards at the Distinguished Visiting Professorship community event on March 1 at Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church in Denver. Honored at the event, organized by Metropolitan State College, were Tamara Banks, veteran radio and television journalist; donnie betts, producer/director, No Credits Production; Ashara Ekundayo, owner/creative consultant, BluBlak

Media; Rosalind “Bee” Harris, owner/publisher, Denver Urban Spectrum newspaper; and Bertha Lynn, anchorwoman, 7News. The five community leaders were celebrated with a featured speaker, Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professor Judi Hampton, who presented a talk on Inclusive Excellence: A Foundation for the 21st Century. Hampton is the president of Judi Hampton Public Relations, and serves as President of the Board of Directors of Blackside, Inc., which has produced “Eyes on the Prize” and other awardwinning documentaries on American historical and social issues for public television.

Odell Barry Assumes Role As CBCC Director Emeritus

Richard Lewis, chairman of the board of directors for the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, announced that Odell Barry has assumed the status of director emeritus. Active in the community, Barry has been a Charter member of the Northglenn -Thornton Rotary and a board member for the Denver Broncos Alumni for 15 years. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. In 1964, Barry was drafted as a receiver and return specialist for the Denver Broncos, from Toledo, OH where he attended Finlay University (OH). Married 45 years to Glenda Barry, he and his wife have two chil-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


dren, Jay and Damon Barry. They have also four grandchildren, Jaydyn, Jay Jr., Jiselle, and London.

Hearing Her Voice, Telling Her Story

In recognition of Black History Month, Theta Zeta Sigma Chapter presented a fundraising luncheon, Hearing Her Voice, Telling Her Story. Keynote speakers included Attorney Samantha Halliburton, Marianne Clements (mother of the late Lena Gibbons) and publisher of the Denver Urban Spectrum, Rosalind “Bee” Harris. More than 75 attendees listened to inspirational stories. Theta Zeta Sigma Chapter Chairperson Ollie Smith and Chapter Basileus Tracey Drayton presented Certificates of Appreciation to the speakers for their contribution towards implementing Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. National Project Black History Observance.

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Don’t Overlook The Election of Denver’s Clerk & Recorder

Editor: In Denver, this important office is where Denver keeps track of all its promises and commitments, including many of yours: like your marriage license, your mortgage, and now your vote. The office administers our election process to ensure the opportunity for every neighborhood to be included and actively engaged in the governance our city. By administering fair and open elections, this office of Clerk & Recorder protects the single most important individual activity in a democracy — your vote – and ensures it is counted. For 100 years Denver elections were administered by an Election Commission. After long lines plagued the November 2006 election, former Mayor John Hickenlooper and then City Council President Michael Hancock convened a panel to recommend a different method for administering Denver elections. In January 2007, a special election was held abolishing the Election Commission and placing responsibility for elections under the authority of an elected Clerk & Recorder. In May 2007 Denver citizens voted for the first elected Clerk & Recorder. Regrettably, only 22 percent of regis-

LETTERS AND OPEDS TO THE EDITOR tered voters cast a ballot in this election, and even fewer voted for this new office of Clerk & Recorder. Offices of the clerk have a long history in western civilization, dating back to 1272 A.D. in England. The title “Clerk” comes from the Latin “clericus” and came to mean a scholar with clerks often serving as notary, secretary, accountant and recorder. The office of clerk was one of the first established by early colonists in America. In 1639, Wethersfield, Connecticut appointed their town clerk to “keep a record of every man’s house and land.” A recorder appointed by the first settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts kept birth, death and marriage records for the church, as well as the records for appointments, deeds, meetings, and the election of officers at the annual town meeting. (Source: West Virginia Municipal Clerks and Recorder Association) Municipal clerks are the direct link between the residents of their community and their government. This “behind the scenes” job is not spectacular work but requires “versatility, alertness, accuracy, and no end of patience” as stated in 1934 in one of the first textbooks on municipal gov-

ernment administration. Professor William Bennett Munro wrote then, “The public does not realize how many loose ends of the city administration this office pulls together.” (Source: West Virginia Municipal Clerks and Recorders Association) This May 3rd (mail ballots available the week of April 15) four Denver residents are vying for the office of Denver’s Clerk and Recorder. From public meetings, it is clear each of these candidates cares about Denver and the well-being of its residents. However, with so many other candidates on the ballot this year for Mayor, Council-at-Large, and in several council districts, this quietly effective elected office is likely to be overlooked. Of the 22 percent of the electorate who voted for mayor in 2007, far fewer marked their ballot for a candidate for Clerk & Recorder. Let’s make the 2011 election different. Take a good look at the four candidates and pick the one you think will be the best to continue the good job done by Denver’s first elected Clerk and Recorder, Stephanie O’Malley. Remember, your mail-in election ballot will arrive around tax day, April 15, and it will be a long one! Take

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some time to mark your vote for someone in every office (and two marks for Council-at-large candidates). Your completed ballot can be mailed back to the Clerk and Recorders’ office or dropped off at one of 13 service centers or at the Election Divisions office near the City and County Building. Please don’t forget to mark you ballot for a candidate for Clerk and Recorder, too. Be part of 800 years of history. Your vote counts, but only if you cast it!

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Macedonia Baptist Church Pastoral Search Committee is accepting resumes for the position of Senior Pastor. Please address information to: Macedonia Baptist Church Pastoral Search Committee P.O. Box 8399 Denver, Co 80202

Musical Director

Exciting Part-Time Position Are you seeking to lift God's people with your contemporary praise and gospel skills? Do you play the keyboard and are you willing to direct a gospel choir? Call Rev. James Fouther at the United Church of Montbello, 4879 Crown Blvd. Denver at 303-373-0070 with your inquiries about pay, availability and any recommendations. Be an answer to prayer for the Lord!

Public Affairs Manager/News Host

KUVO seeks an experienced news host/reporter with ability to manage public affairs. This is a full time position, information at KUVO.ORG click on About Us/ Opportunities KUVO is an EOE, minorities encouraged to apply.


Zion Baptist Church is seeking an Anointed, Committed, Energetic, and Loyal Director/ Accompanist to work with the Children’s Choir, ages 5-12. Qualifications:

•Have a heart for God and His children •Read music and play by ear •Attend rehearsals on Saturday (Sept-the first half of June) Minister three Sundays per month (there will be special/seasonal ministries) •Team Player •Collaborate with fellow choir leadership on decision making matters.

For more information, please contact: Church Secretary at 303-861-4637.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2011


Denver Urban Spectrum April 2011  
Denver Urban Spectrum April 2011  

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