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April 2012

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Ozor Cecile Perrin Sheila Smith ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte, The Creative Spirit Jody Gilbert, Kolor Graphix



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 2012 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 GLUE

I remember as a little girl and over the years, working with glue to fix something that had broken or simply repairing something that became loose and was in need of repair. Sometimes it was Elmer’s Glue, other times it was Krazy Glue, still at times I used epoxy glue or rubber cement. And for those of you who are as old as me, you might even remember that mucilage glue used during school days. In any case, whatever kind was needed, it got the job done. That’s how I feel about our cover story this month. As we celebrate our 25th year of spreading the news about people of color, I want to introduce you to the GLUE behind the Spectrum. And I could not be more proud than to be linked with the five individuals with me on this month’s cover – Tanya Ishikawa, Sheila Smith, Gillian Conte, Cecile Perrin, and my son, Lawrence James. Over the years and today, they have been my Elmer’s, epoxy, rubber cement, mucilage and yes, my Krazy Glue. Without them, I would not be able to invite you to join us this month for our silver anniversary celebrations. So, take a few moments and find out who they are and why I can say, they’ve got my back. I would be negligent not to extend a sincere thank you to all our supporters (readers, advertisers, sponsors, contributors, business associates, friends and family) over the last 25 years – and that includes you. We have lots of wonderful celebrations planned – and there is something for everyone. Last month we featured our Timeless Legends – 25 women who impacted the community and US. This month, read about others who will be part of our upcoming festivities. But, I must say as we enter this new era of the Spectrum, I can only thank and acknowledge that it is only by the grace of God, that we are here today. We are all His glue. As paths cross and when conversations are held and when smiles are shared and when hands are held and when hearts are touched – we are being fixed. We are all GODLY LINKED UNDENIABLY EQUAL. Peace and blessings...


The Historic Bond That Ties African-Americans And Independents Together

demonstration before. We added our voices to the call for an end to voter ID laws that suppress the full participation of all our citizens. Independents have experienced disenfranchisement ourselves. We know that when partisan interests wave a flag about so-called voter fraud in an election year, you can pretty much count on the fact that they’re doing it for partisan reasons, not to protect our democracy. Partisanship is destroying our democracy and making our government incapable of moving our country forward. I am far from alone in this concern. Right now, our Congress has a 97 percent disapproval rating. Most Americans look at Congress and see how partisan its behavior is and feel angry that our government is not working for them. We need to broaden participation in our democracy, not narrow it. We need to make sure that no American is turned away from the polls because they don’t have the right ID. And that means photo ID, State ID and political ID. In 26 states, independents are prevented from voting in primaries, not because they don’t have an ID, but because they don’t belong to a party! That’s just wrong. There is an historic bond that ties African Americans and independents together. That bond is based on our shared belief that our democracy must work for everyone, not just the powerful, not just the parties – but for the people!

Editor: Last week I joined Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network on the march from Selma to Montgomery. I am one of the 40 percent of Americans who are independent of both of the major parties. Back in the days of Ross Perot, the media called guys like me “angry white men.” Along the route, I spoke with many people and brought greetings from Dr. Lenora Fulani, the country’s leading African American independent with whom I’ve worked closely and from, the country’s largest organization of independent voters of which I am part of. I have been an independent activist concerned with voters’ rights for many years. In Birmingham, as chair of the Petitioners Alliance, I helped lead the first citywide Initiative and Referendum movement. With Senator Hank Sanders, one of the sponsors of this historic march, I wrote legislation to open access to the Alabama ballot. And with Rep. Demetrius Newton, I designed legislation for proportional democratic selection of presidential electors. As independents, we fight for reforms that not only protect the right to vote. They increase the power of the vote. For this march, I was proud to have fellow independents Mark Bodenhausen and Lorna Lindsey join me for the historic bridge crossing in Selma. Lorna had never been to a major

Bob Friedman Birmingham, AL

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Rosalind “Bee” Harris Publisher

The Death Of Trayvon Martin – A Vigilante Shooting

Editor: How can anyone use “Stand Your Ground Law,” in a self-defense claim when you are in fact the pursuer or the aggressor? George Zimmerman claims he shot Trayvon Martin in selfdefense during a confrontation last month in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman spotted Martin as he was patrolling his neighborhood on a rainy evening and called 911 to report a suspicious person (his perspective). This is the same person who has made more than 46 911 calls to the Police Department within the last year concerning mostly erroneous claims. Against the advice of the 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman then followed Trayvon Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store with a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea. Continued on page 34 DUS Email Addreesses Denver Urban Spectrum

Publisher Editor News & Information

Advertising & Marketing Graphics & Design

Distribution & Circulation

Denver Urban Spectrum Celebrates 25 Years By Sheila Smith

A clutter of papers, press releas-

Photo by Bernard Grant

es and printed out solicited stories to be proofread sit on the desk, another pile of invoices and advertising rate sheets, stacks of newspapers and

books have taken over the office, and

in the midst of it all sits Rosalind “Bee”

Harris. She is immersed in her work at the computer trying to crank out another edition of the Denver Urban Spectrum. She looks over what stories will run, designs each page with great detail and care, as any editor and publisher would. Cecile Perrin, 24, who has been helping out with the newspaper since she was a teenager, works beside Harris recreating sharper images of pictures through Photoshop and laying them out on the pages, in addition to placing what ads will run on the different pages. This ritual occurs each month in order to meet deadline and get the newspaper to the printer on time and delivered to all the newsstands around the city. People often stop at the office nestled in the heart of Five Points waiting in anticipation of when the new edition of the newspaper will be out, explained Lawrence James, general manager and Harris’ son. For the past 25 years, the Urban Spectrum has beat surmountable odds even when daily news publications folded. It has stood the test of time in being a minority-owned publication that continues serving communities of color. So this month, the Urban Spectrum shines as it celebrates a silver anniversary. The occasion will be commemorated with an array of events including a VIP kick-off reception at the Blair-Caldwell Library on Wednesday, April 25; A Time for Laughter Comedy Show at the Improv on Thursday, April 26; a special reception on Friday, April 27 for the Timeless Legends honorees; a youth rally featuring millionaire and motivational speaker Dr. Farrah Gray on Saturday, April 28; and for the finale on Saturday evening, the Timeless Legends Gala Dinner will honor 25 women who have made outstanding contributions to the community and been supportive of the Urban Spectrum over the years.

Pictured L-R: Tanya Ishikawa, Sheila Smith, Rosalind “Bee” Harris, Lawrence James, Gillian Conte, Cecile Perrin

Giving Birth to the Spectrum

owner) Ron Steele, who was known for his sharp eye for capturing captivating images. One spellbinding photo was of a white man with a sleeping baby in a carrier strapped to his back, and attached to the back of the carrier was a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Harris’ first meeting with Steel and computer programmer Robert Stewart was the spark that inspired her to start the newspaper venture. Harris forged ahead with limited finances and resources to put out a quality newspaper that has steadily grown ever since. Because of name similarity with another publication, the newspaper’s name was soon changed to the Urban Spectrum. As it gained respect and carried greater weight in the community, the newspaper became a platform for real issues in the African-American, Hispanic and Native American communities that the mainstream media had ignored.

When Harris first conceived the idea for a community newspaper, she admitted that the idea was suggested from her first partner, Robert Stewart. As a matter of fact, Harris said when she was a little girl growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich., just an hour and half away from “Motown,” she wanted to be a teacher. Instead of educating in a classroom, she found herself educating an entire metropolitan area through unique, significant stories. “It’s because of the support from the community and encouragement from family and friends that I have continued this journey,” Harris said, adding how there was a need to be a voice for the community and also to provide an avenue for journalists, photographers, and designers. Harris’ first publication was called The Denver Journal and made its debut on March 27, 1987. The cover featured businesswoman Sandra D. Bice, president of BJ Contract Services. Also highlighted in the first 12-page issue was Oprah Winfrey coming to Denver for a benefit for Passages Inc., a nonprofit organization that trains, counsels and provides career guidance to economically disadvantaged women. Some 18 years later, while Oprah Winfrey was on her “Live Your Best Life Tour” in Denver, she was later pictured in People magazine (May 2005 issue) holding up the article of her picture displayed in The Denver Journal (by this time was called the Denver Urban Spectrum). Something else special about the first issue was the eye-opening twopage spread of black and white photos by photojournalist (and then co-

The Other Power Players Behind the Spectrum

Lawrence James is not only general manager of the business but also the distribution manager. He worked at Lowry Air Force Base in the 1980s when his mother published the first issue of The Denver Journal. He helped solicit business owners to place the newspaper in racks at their establishments and deliver the newspaper to those businesses as well as other public locations around town. He has worked full-time for the Spectrum since 1999. “Certain things fell into my lap and because my mother couldn’t do everything, I wanted to help ease some of her load,” he said.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2008


He has supported his mother in moving the Urban Spectrum forward through the bad times and good, and has constantly had an eye on increasing readership in an ever-evolving society. “When I am out in the field delivering the newspaper, you see more and more people accepting the paper and can’t wait to read it. I hear it all the time, ‘Hey, am I getting it hot off the press?’” Cecile Perrin was a young middle school student when she got involved with the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation. At age 13, Perrin learned about writing, editing, graphic design and photography, which developed her passion for taking pictures. Now she utilizes those skills while working at the Urban Spectrum as a photographer and right-hand to the publisher. “I think it (the Spectrum) has grown a lot and changed to a global and digital entity since developing the DUS’s ePublication on the Internet,” Perrin said. “And there were a lot of things we did manually back then like filing information and pictures into cabinets, where now we just file everything on the computer because of the latest software technology.” “Working for the Spectrum feels like family because we are so close and I enjoy being part of such a laid-back atmosphere,” she added. Tanya Ishikawa first wrote for the Spectrum for several months before becoming the editor in May 2007. She vividly recalls the first article she wrote was about Wilma Mankiller, the former chief of the Cherokee Nation who was coming to Denver. “I remember attending a dance class at Cleo Parker Robinson and seeing my first copy of the Denver Urban Spectrum. It had a beautiful cover, all these great, colorful photos, and such different articles,” she said, adding that the newspaper seemed like an inside source of information on issues and events that she had not known about. “It provides unique coverage in Denver. You don’t see these topics or articles in most other publications,” she expressed. Ishikawa has been around during many changes that occurred with the Urban Spectrum in recent years – Continued on page 6

Medical Link Between

Periodontal Disease And Coronary Heart Disease

Your oral

By Dr. Collis Johnson

health is important, and learn-

ing how to pre-

vent serious oral

diseases could be

Editor’s note: Dr. Collis Johnson, Jr. has practiced dentistry for more than 30 years in the Denver area. He is a life member of the American Dental Association, Colorado Dental Association, and Metropolitan Dental Association; Past Member of the State board of Dental Examiners; Member of PEER Assistance board and serves as

circulatory system of the people with a family history of stroke, heart attack, and arteriosclerosis. Preventative measures such as proper brushing, flossing, waterpik, electric toothbrushes and dental aids can be used at home. If bleeding of the gums occurs and continues, it means that an infection is present and it should be treated. If uncontrolled bleeding continues, you should see your dentist immediately. Prevention is crucial and having routine dental visits – at least twice a year is recommended when it comes to preventing and controlling oral diseases.

Check out the

Who’s Who

Photo Gallery at

the key to

adding years to your life. You may be wondering, what is Periodontal Disease? Periodontal Disease is an oral infection of the gum and bone that surround the teeth. It is caused by a specific bacterial toxin and is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. Not only is it the number one cause of adult tooth loss, but it’s also linked to heart disease. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the African-American community. If you can prevent any disease that attacks the heart, you will add years to your life. The key to preventing periodontal disease and other types of oral diseases is to recognize the symptoms. Like any disease, there are certain stages that are important to recognize so that the disease can be prevented. For example, gingivitis is one of them. Gingivitis is the swelling and inflammation of the gums, and is the first stage of periodontal disease. The main cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of plaque, which is the sticky film of food and bacteria that form constantly on your teeth. If that sticky plaque is not removed each day, the bacteria in the plaque will invade the spaces between the teeth and gums and begin to produce toxins. These toxins irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to swell and bleed. But, Gingivitis is easily reversed if caught in time. It is speculated that a continuous long term exposure of oral bacterium and bacteria toxins induces immune response could contribute to coronary arteriosclerosis and inconjuction with other risk factors leading to coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the number cause of death in women, associated with high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, stroke and heart attacks. In recent research, there appears to be a correlation between the bacteria in the oral cavity and blood borne bacteria found in the


On March 5, 2012 Colo. 35 State Senate and 35 school principals celebrated its’ 2nd annual Goal Days for 5th grade girls who had an opportunity to be senators for a day. No Black girls were selected. Did they overlook your daughters, granddaughter, nieces and neighbors? Where are the parents? NO DIVERSITY. Wake up! These are our future legislators. But will your child be among the future law makers? For more details, write to GrandPa Pepper at Make sure to leave your number. Bless Trayvon Martin and his family and those who are killed unnecessarily. See you next month at DID YOU KNOW?

The Inclusiveness Project of


Understanding the Unconscious Side of


Professor john a. powell Nationally recognized authority in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, and issues relating to race, poverty, and the law.

Incarceration and high school dropout rates have soared over the past few decades for people of color, especially Black and Brown males. These phenomena are especially difficult to understand because during this period of time, the nation has elected an African American President, and Denver has had the leadership of one Latino and two African American mayors.

Monday, April 30, 2012

5:30 pm - Reception (drinks & hors d’oeuvres) 6 pm - Lecture & Community Dialogue

Other factors are clearly at play. Professor john a. powell explains how the unconscious mind, which accounts for 98% of our cognitive and emotional processing, plays a role in the perpetuation of racism and marginalization in our society. Join us for this fascinating and provocative lecture and community dialogue.

Admission is FREE (RSVP required) Special thanks to our Sponsors and Partners:

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2000 Buchtel Boulevard Denver, CO 80210 Free parking available Contact Holly Kingsbury at Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


DUS Celebrates 25 Years

Continued from page 4 including the reduction in the number of pages of the monthly publication due to less advertising revenue which is going to the Internet. “I believe the Black press is a valuable asset to the African-American community by providing news and information on community events and issues, in many cases not covered by the mainstream media. Given the fact, the community lost its music station KDKO, which was another news source, Urban Spectrum has become even more valuable today. I hope it continues to be a relevant source for the future as it has been in the past.” WELLINGTON WEBB

Former Mayor of Denver

Yet, she said, “The one thing I can say about Bee is how she always let the writers write as much as they wanted to tell the story, which is wonderful to have those in-depth stories. But, nowadays, there’s more short articles to follow the trend of the readers wanting news and entertainment in smaller bites.” Graphic designer Gillian Conte, who has her own business, The Creative Spirit, felt delighted to be able to work with Harris and produce the Urban

Spectrum along with other community-related projects. “I always knew that if I was working at 2 a.m., so was Bee. And she would always be available for me to get critical information or to answer last-minute questions. I really felt like part of the team and was proud to be included,” she stated. Conte also appreciates the fact that the publication offers so many services that are geared toward communities of color, opportunities for networking, access to information on health issues, recommendations for recreation and entertainment, political commentary, and more. “Since 2005 when I started working with the Urban Spectrum, the paper has become more user-friendly, incorporating cleaner, tighter layouts, adding color, upgrading the quality of the paper stock and casting a wider net for contributors to write stories with greater appeal and perspective,” Conte added.

Since then, several mayors and numerous celebrities have graced the front cover of the Spectrum. “My favorite person would have to be Oprah in June 2005. I’m also happy to have had on the cover my friend and actor Bill Cobbs (from the movies New Jack City and The Bodyguard to name a few) and Farrah Gray, who I consider my third son,” Harris said with a big smile. Unfortunately, the newspaper industry nationwide took a beating due to a drained economy that led to a recession and caused many to shut their doors (including the former 100year old Rocky Mountain News). Harris doesn’t deny the past couple of years especially have been tough for the Urban Spectrum. “With everyone going to high tech devices like I-phones and Mp3s to get their news and music, the Internet has definitely affected our advertising dollars and been a real challenge,” she explained. “But, we continually work to make the paper more appealing,” Harris commented. In addition to the full-color printing, the Urban Spectrum underwent a makeover by being printed on a glossier stock – enhancing the covers, photos and advertisements – which definitely has been eye-catching for our readers who rave about the new look.

Overcoming Obstacles

Looking back over the past 25 years, the Urban Spectrum went through some highs and lows. It literally rose from the ashes after a devastating fire consumed the offices in Five Points on December 31 in 1989. The community rallied behind Harris and had fundraisers to help the Spectrum get back on track.

“I congratulate Bee and the Urban Spectrum. Over the years, I have appreciated the Urban Spectrum as it provides a platform and voice for so many important issues, events and activities that take place in our community. Reflecting back, I have always been a regular reader of the Urban Spectrum and come to find it an institution here in Denver – it’s not so much about surviving all these years but about thriving in our community.” GRANT JONES

Executive Director for the Center of African American Health

A history-maker and first AfricanAmerican teacher in the Denver Public Schools, Marie Louise Greenwood, even stated, “The Urban Spectrum stands out first class. It just gets better and better…like a miniature Ebony magazine.” Many honors and awards over the years have been bestowed on Harris and the Urban Spectrum for providing a necessary service to the community. Earlier this year, she received a Growing the Dream award that included a signed congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama for her commitment and service to the community. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


“My hat is definitely off to any business that has operated continuously for a quarter of a century – a genuine milestone. That means that the owner has acquired a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge in navigating the many landmarks that accompany the business’s survival. The Urban Spectrum, under the steady leadership of Rosalind “Bee” Harris, has weathered the storms and that is uniquely special in such a competitive environment that exists today. As someone who personally witnessed the formation of the Urban Spectrum, the informational, educational and inspirational news that it has provided our communities over the years, has been nothing short of phenomenal.” HERMAN MALONE

President and CEO of RMES Communications

Also, two monumental and special honors meant a lot to Harris and that was receiving the MLK Humanitarian Award and the Social Responsibility Award from the Denver MLK Commission. As Harris summed it up in an editorial at the end of last year, “Since 1987, people from all walks of life have touched my heart, broadened my mind and even at times – put a smile on my face.”

Managing Editor Sheila Smith’s Note:

As a journalist having worked for the Black media in Denver during the 1990’s, I couldn’t have been more pleased and proud to see how far the Urban Spectrum has come as a premier newspaper catering to people of color in our community. I remember the pride I felt traveling to Philadelphia, Pa. with publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris and covering the Women Million March in 1997. It was a highlight in my life to say I represented a Black publication from Denver, Colo. at a national event. Bee and I had the time of our lives. Of course, I was gone for nearly 11 years working at a daily newspaper in Illinois and returned home last year. And who did I run into at a Juneteenth event and welcomed me back with open arms and asked me to work for her again – Bee. The Urban Spectrum for the past 25 years has become the epitome of what a Black publication should be about – educating, entertaining, enlightening and making people think differently about the community they live in. Happy silver anniversary Bee and to the Urban Spectrum, which I can only see a brighter road ahead. God Bless You.

Bayard Rustin (center) speaking with (left to right) Carolyn Carter, Cecil Carter, Kurt Levister, and Kathy Ross, before demonstration / World Telegram & Sun photo by Ed Ford.(1964)

Remembering The Legacy Of A Civil Rights Pioneer By Wade Henderson and Joe Solmonese


ne hundred years ago, on Saturday March 17, 1912, an unsung hero of the civil rights movement was born. Bayard Rustin’s contributions to the world far outweighed his credits – and his 100th birthday is an opportunity to appreciate how his lifelong fights for equality live on today. Rustin was the key strategist in every campaign waged by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the architect of the 1963 March on Washington for jobs and freedom, and a passionate advocate for pacifism, workers’ rights, and freedom for marginalized peoples around the world. There is not one American movement for social change that his leadership did not touch. Rights to vote, to join a union, or to marry the person one loves are today at the forefront of the struggle to build an America that reflects its ideals. And Rustin was reliably positioned at the vanguard of these battles from the 1930s until his passing in 1987. So it’s only appropriate that we take this opportunity to pause and reflect on where our movements have traveled over the past 100 years and look ahead to our future. Today, we work to stop the rollback of voting rights happening across the country, which rights Rustin helped to secure through indefatigable organizing in the civil rights movement and his mentorship of Dr. King. Today, we work to end discrimination and advance marriage equality for gays and lesbians. We do so in Rustin’s footsteps as one of the first openly gay activists. Today, we advance global and domestic human rights alongside civil rights – because Rustin broadened the conversation to speak out against South Africa apartheid, anti-Semitic Soviet power, and British colonial power in India.

Rustin saw social change in a plan broader than political organizing. He was active in the Quaker church and in the arts. He was a prolific doodler, a vocalist, a writer, and an accomplished chef. Rustin would exhort activists to speak up from all corners, saying “we need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” His inclusive, coalition-centric approach is so effective because it wasn’t just about work – it was about finding joy in activism and ensuring that every community can reap the benefits of equality’s march forward. Rustin’s philosophy personifies the shared goals we all have in our work, whether we’re fighting for LGBT rights, working to protect our country’s laborers, or advocating for the civil and human rights of society’s most vulnerable populations. We saw this brand of coalition building just this year in Maryland, where people of faith, AfricanAmerican communities, LGBT advocates, and fair-minded supporters of basic human and civil rights came together to achieve a historic victory for marriage equality in the free state. It sent a clear message that social justice wasn’t a gay issue, or a black issue, or a woman’s issue: rather, we can and must continue to work together to ensure that all members of our society achieve the rights, dignity, and respect they deserve. As we celebrate Bayard Rustin’s 100th birthday, we must do more than just look back on his life and his contributions. We must draw inspiration from his brand of inclusive social activism as we gear up for future fights, from protecting women’s health to advancing LGBT equality. We still have much to accomplish, but Bayard Rustin has left our united movement a strong foundation on which to continue building.  Editor’s note: Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. Joe Solmonese is president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Some are old

The best overall comedian who comes to Smith’s mind is the late, great Flip Wilson. She said her first memory was of him dressed as Geraldine and hearing that voice say, “The Devil made me do it.” She also loves Carol Burnett, Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor, Roseanne Barr and Wanda Sykes. Everyone has a funny moment in their life and Smith is no exception. She is a riot when it comes to some of the things she has done and said. Especially one incident, as she explained, seeing this woman in a dress and an electronic ankle monitor on her leg and didn’t know what it was. “I thought it was a cool coin purse from NIKE,” she said. An East Texas girl who has resided in Denver for the past 23 years, Smith only lives by one philosophy - live well, love much and laugh often.

A Time For Laughter:

pros while others are still very new at the game of making people laugh. It can be a hit or miss opportunity as a comedian. And it’s not an easy task by any means. Many believe you have to be born with that natural funny talent. Even studies show that laughter lowers the stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Sixyear-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day, while adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day. The Denver Urban Spectrum wants to put a smile on your face and help relieve some of your stress and worries of the day. In celebration of 25 years of spreading the news about people of color this month, the fourday anniversary celebration of events includes, “A Time For Laughter” at the Improv from 8 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. The comic line-up features some of Denver’s outstanding talent – September Brown, Jason Keyes, CJay Smith, Jimmy Abeyta, Stephen Agyei and newcomer Napoleon Wilson – but we must warn you might “bust a gut” from laughter.

September Brown, who will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event, is considered a veteran on stage and a very funny lady who has been making people laugh for years. She actually started performing in 1988 when she took a dare from friend Rosalind “Bee” Harris, publisher of the DUS, and went on stage for the first anniversary of the Spectrum. “I didn’t earn a dime, but I was good,” she said and how it was the best decision she ever made to step into the comedy arena. Brown has been mistress of ceremony for a number of comedy shows, fundraisers and other events in the Denver area. She currently does shows at the Improv, Comedy Works and Soiled Dove Underground, as well. She also has been on stage with some heavy weights including Denver’s own Louis Johnson and Darryl Collier, Thea Vidal, Simply Marvalous, Jamie Foxx, Bruce Bruce, T.P. Hearns and others.

“Crackin’ Up With the Locals” By Sheila Smith And she enjoyed having the privilege of opening for other entertainers like Brian McKnight, India Arie, Stanley Clarke, Chuck Mangione, Freddy Jackson, the O’Jays and Mel Waiters. Brown was born in Kansas but later as a child moved to Chicago. Her parents eventually came to Colorado, where she went to school and spent time during the summers going back to Chicago. Brown is looking at doing more comedy venues in and out of the state and hopes to have the same success as her favorite comedians - the late Bernie Mac, Eddie Griffin, Mike Epps and Katt Williams.

as this sharp, edgy, observational humorist. He has been doing comedy for the past two years at the Comedy Works, Improv and Wits End. When looking back, Keyes said one of the funniest moments in his life comes out of a comic’s joke book. “I should be ashamed of telling this story. But me and a friend were checking out this girl who was dressed to the nines. She was in the passenger seat of this car with another girl who was driving. She had on these big hoop earrings, hair and make-up did. She was slightly turned, so we just saw the back of her silhouette. Everything looked good from that angle. So we crept forward trying to get a better look and when she turned it was a him! We laughed so hard for about 20 minutes. All we could say was, ‘Yea, yea, you got us.’”

Jason Keyes said he never expected to do comedy. It sort of became part of his quarter-life crises at the ripe age of 25, while searching for what he wanted to do in life. “I have always been intrigued by comedy and the stand-ups, where they had the ability to talk about what they were thinking and feeling. So for about six months, while I was out of work, I began writing - believing my dream was to write a book. So then one day out of the blue, I thought stand-up is a way to get my ideas out to the public and get that immediate reaction,” Keyes said. “After I discussed it with a few people, I jumped on stage and have been doing it ever since.” Keyes is along for the comedy ride for as long as it takes him. He also would love to get into movies. But he added, “I always want my focus to be stand-up, because I got into the business to say something. Hopefully, I will have something worthwhile to say and be worthy of a legacy.” He looks up to comic geniuses like the legendary Richard Pryor and Chris Rock. He also likes other comics who have paved the way such as Bill Cosby, Dave Chapelle, Bernie Mac, Robin Harris and Sinbad. A southern charmer who was born in North Carolina, Keyes sees himself

CJay Smith declares that she came into this world funny. And the chances are she will leave the same way. “If I had a penny for every time someone called me crazy, I would be rich,” said Smith who uses her humor as a coaching and empowering tool with her business Different by Design Inc. Her business has a simple and profound basis: All people are different, yet the same, and possess different God-given gifts and talents that once recognized, can uplift and enrich their lives and others in ways they never thought possible. Smith is a multi-faceted person who is witty, charming, intellectual and energetic. She uses visualization and humor to deliver refreshing real life, every day situational conversations that inspire, uplift and educate. While comedy may be hard to break into, Smith sees the opportunities as limitless. “I totally leave it in God’s hands. Radio, TV, film, stage, writing, directing… whatever the medium… I see myself entertaining and making people laugh on some level. Laughter is universal,” she expressed.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Jimmy Abeyta is a long standing household name around Denver. He did two world tours entertaining the troops, a television special with comic powerhouse, George Lopez, and has appeared on BET’s Comic View. At age 4, Abeyta got in front of 100 strangers wearing a construction hat and boots and did the “cha cha” dance. Of course, his mother told him that was all he was wearing while dancing before all those strangers and making them laugh – the beginning of his comic reign. A native of Denver, Abeyta is trying to get as much exposure as possible in taking his comedic talent to the next level of fame and fortune. He was once quoted by the Rocky Mountain News as being a mixture of “Rick Shelton and Paul Rodriquez” because of his Latino flavor of comedy and the facial expressions that he does. “I have experienced a lot of different audiences and have become like a chameleon. I adjust to black and brown audiences, church-goers, families and the elderly,” Abeyta said. “However, the toughest audience is the teenagers. They think they are too cool to laugh. But they will laugh when you pick on one of their friends or someone they know.”

A Time for Laughter Thursday, April 26 6 to 8 PM Improv @ Northfield Tickets: $15/person or $20/two

For info call: 303-292-6446

Abeyta admires comics like Robin Harris who did a lot of one-liners, Foster Brooks from the 1970s, and Jerry Lewis’ brand of slap-stick comedy. Funny things do happen to people who are funny. Abeyta can’t forget what happened to him while entertaining the troops overseas in Korea. He went to this market and saw a woman skinning some type of small animal. He moved closer to take a picture of it and she threw a dish towel at him and cursed him out in Korean. “The funny part was that she threw the dish towel so hard at me that it knocked the camera out of my hand. I heard they didn’t like their pictures taken. I just thought it was interesting seeing this woman skinning an animal… and I think about how funny the whole thing was,” he said and still laughs about it today.

He has already opened for Wil Sylvince from HBO’s Comedy Jam and BET, Kyle Cease with Comedy Central and other well-known comics. Agyei’s habitual line-stepping approach combined with silliness brings a fresh perspective to comedy. This random, raw talented young comic will have you clinging to your seat or falling out of it from laughter.

Stephen Agyei is bringing back what is truly funny. The Denverite took command of the classroom at a young age with his likeable personality and sense of humor. He said he always wanted to do comedy but never knew how to get started in the business. He ran track while attending the University of Colorado in Boulder. During his junior year in college, he began thinking about what he really wanted to do and that was stand-up comedy. He refocused his direction on school and music and making his dream to do comedy a reality. After seeing a flyer in Boulder advertising a comedy show on campus, Agyei went for it. His favorite comedians are Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle and Louis C.K. “They push the boundaries of what people are normally comfortable laughing at and make it funny,” Agyei said. He hopes to take his talent as far as he can and that includes writing TV shows and movies.

Napoleon Wilson is the new youngster on the comedy block who has never performed on stage. Although Wilson used to work at the Improv for five years, waiting on people and observing a lot of comedians, he’s taken many clues from them. “I like making people laugh and making sure they are having a good time,” said Wilson who was always the classroom clown in school. “It’s hard to get into comedy. But my goal will be to get up on stage and see if I like it and want to pursue it.” He admires the king of comedy, Cedric the Entertainer, and queen of

comedy, Sammore. He added that his other favorite comedian is Kevin Hart. As Wilson reflects back on something that happened to him, he definitely has one funny story to tell. “I was living in San Diego and caught the bus that is an hour long ride from Oceanside to Del Mar. A bunch of kids got on the bus and I realized that they were Special-Ed. This one boy walked to the back of the bus where I was sitting and sat next to me. He kept scratching himself,” Wilson explained trying not to laugh. “And then I don’t know how it happened, but the next thing I remember is, I was on the floor scrapping with this kid. He had his arm around me in a head lock and was choking me. And he wasn’t even that big. I am thinking to myself, is this shit really happening, and did I just get punked by a strong-ass Special-Ed kid. Eventually a teacher came back and said something to him and he stopped.” Well this time Wilson will be battling it out on stage and showing people how funny he really is.

Editor’s note: For more information on the Denver Urban Spectrum’s 25th anniversary celebration events, call 303-292-6446 or visit

The leading resource for disease prevention, chronic disease management programs, and health education for African Americans in metro Denver. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012



My Fruitful Journey From US YF To DUS Eleven years

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ago I was one of the participants of a group of teens and pre-teens in the first Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation’s Summer Journalism program. During a seven-week curriculum we learned how to design and produce our own publication. By the grace of God I’ve evolved into a young, but much more mature woman, who is now the publisher’s assistant of the Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) – and a protégé of publisher, Rosalind “Bee” Harris. The Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation started the summer of 2001 and was created to teach innercity youth skills in producing a newspaper, as well as skills that could be applied to their daily lives. I remember the first time I stepped foot into the DUS building, which was on 24th and Washington St. at the time. I was just a kid who was naive to the business world beginning my journey through the program – a program that paved the path that led many of the young participants to a destination of success. Our classes consisted of writing, editing, graphic design, advertising sales, website design and photography which helped us obtain the skills to create the Junior Spectrum – a Colorado Association of Black Journalist award-winning newspaper created by the USYF participants between the ages of 11 and 18. Our leadership and career development classes brought mentors and community leaders in to give us lessons on life that helped with selfesteem, healthy relationships, avoiding peer pressure, and other teen issues. To add to the already great experience, we also went on educational field trips including visiting the Dare To Believe


Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


printer, The Garden of the Gods and to the office of the former mayor of Denver, Mayor Wellington Webb. The Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation provided me with valuable experience that helped me to achieve my goals and prepared me for obstacles that life threw at me. Now, as a 24 year old portrait and event photographer (in addition to the production assistant of DUS), I’m very grateful to have acquired the many skills from USYF. I now apply the things I learned in the program to all aspects of life. As the publisher’s assistant my duties include, but are not limited to formatting and preparing articles for press, creating the layout of the newspaper, bookkeeping, and photographing for the newspaper. Needless to say, I‘m proud to serve on the DUS 25th anniversary celebration committee. DUS will be present several events in April. Geared entirely for youth, the Educational and Health youth rally, will be held at Montbello High School on Saturday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are honored to have author, the self-proclaimed “Reallionaire,“ Dr. Farrah Gray as the guest speaker. Dr. Gray is a 27 year old, accomplished businessman. He became a millionaire at the tender age of 14 and is CEO of the Farrah Gray Foundation and Farrah Gray publishing. He is also a philanthropist, syndicated columnist, and motivational speaker. There will also be live performances during the rally, including DJ KTone, Dare To Believe, Extreme Heat, the Montbello Drumline and special guests, Nubian Gents and Feminine Fire. Healthy snacks will be provided. This is a free event that the entire family will enjoy! In addition to the youth day rally, DUS will also have a VIP kickoff reception, a comedy night and a black tie dinner honoring 25 powerful women well known for their legendary acts in serving and providing for the community. Extreme Heat

Sarah Lee Foster

was born in April 1929 in Holly Grove, Ark. to J. L. Shelton and Jennie B. Grimes. After graduating from Holly Grove Vocational High School, she attended Shorter College and Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Ark. After moving to Denver, Colo., Sarah was united in holy matrimony to Kenneth Foster in 1951. She and her husband had a son, Coral LaVern Porter. A graduate of the Bonnie Beauty School and the Mile Hi Beauty School in Denver, Sarah was one of the most experienced cosmetologists and hair stylist in the Denver area. Sarah lived a life of servitude that was evidenced by her commitment to making valuable and meaningful contributions to society by working with people and organizations. In 1962, she went back to her roots to encourage the citizens of Holly Grove. to take pride in their home and community. Sarah founded the Holly Grove Home Coming Club and served as chairperson for 26 years. Natives of Holly Grove, who live in other parts of the United States, also participate in clubs in their respective cities and return to Holly Grove every 4th of July to celebrate “Homecoming.” Among many contributions, the Club developed an eight acre City Park and Community Center in Holly Grove. The 50th anniversary will be held in July 2012. Sarah devoted her entire life to working with city officials in Denver to bring people together to celebrate community pride. For two decades, from the 1970s through the 1990s, Sarah helped organize the Denver Juneteenth celebration in Five Points. More than 100,000 people attended the annual three-day celebration and Sarah was the first woman to serve as president of the Five Points Business Association. During Roy Romer’s tenure as Governor of Colorado, Sarah created the Five Points Coalition for a Drug Free Colorado (Red Ribbon Celebration), hosting an essay contest for students to write, “What It Means to Be Drug Free.” The project is now in its 19th year. Sarah helped organize Safe Night Colorado and served as chairperson for seven years. Safe Night is an annual event that allows families, elected officials, policemen, firefighters, and sheriffs to come together for a night of fun and to acknowledge Safe Night’s Motto: “No Drugs, No Weapons, No Alcohol, and No Arguments.” The event is the prelude to having a safe summer. Sarah organized the Ivy Street Neighbors Association and canvassed the Ivy Street residents to have Neighborhood Watch signs posted in the 3600 block of Ivy Street, where she lived. Other projects include hosting Night Out, where area school children and their parents attend an evening of neighborly socialization where children receive school supplies, parents and neighbors receive gift bags, and city officials are on hand to discuss neighborhood concerns. A graduate of the Denver Police Citizens Academy and a member of their

The Denver Urban Spectrum has been “Spreading The News To People Of Color” for 25 years and will continue to inform, entertain, and recognize the black community. I thank God for bringing me such a Montbello Drumline

alumni association, Sarah served as parliamentarian and by-laws chairperson. She was also a graduate of the District Attorney’s Citizen Institute. Sarah has been a devoted member of Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church for more than 50 years and served as a class leader for 30 of those years. A member of Kappa Omega Chi Chapter of Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity, Inc., she has served as Basileus, 2nd Anti Basileus, and Grammateus. She was also the national coordinator of Civic and Community Action. Sarah was the recipient of numerous awards, that included: •National Holly Grove Home Coming Award for Community Leadership •Governor Bill Clinton’s Arkansas Travelers Ambassador Award •Five Points Business Association Dedicated Service Award •Five Points Business Honorary Juneteenth Coronation Award •Honorary Mayor of Five Points Award from Mayor Federico Pena •Colorado Black Chamber’s Black Leadership Award •Denver City Council Community Development Award •Colorado Black Women for Political Action Business Award •Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Honoree •Awarded the Denver Police Department’s Honorary "When Lieutenant Badge #208 you leave your job... •Denver Police Department District #2 Appreciation awardbehind!" don't leave your money •Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Denver 150 Year Birthday Celebration Honoree •“Look Good Feel Better” 2008 Volunteer Award for 18 years of service. Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP •Urban Spectrum’s “Turning Page 20” Life Time Achievement Award Financial AdviserBill Gross 2008 Memorial Award for •Inter-Neighborhood Corporation’s Outstanding Community Service

A Life of Love and Service

3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, #700

After retiring as a cosmetologist in 2009, Sarah moved to the San Antonio, COgranddaughter, 80209 Col. Carol Anderson, Texas area to live with her Denver, devoted 303-871-7249 - grandson, Kelvin Anderson, and great grand-children, Kelvin Anderson II and Kennedy Anderson. While in San Antonio, Sarah quietly bid farewell and transitioned to God’s "Call Today a FREE celestial shore and with those loved ones who preceded her infor death: her parents, husband, son, and grandson (Kenneth Porter). Consultation!" But her legacy will live on through her brothers Reverend Willie Parks (Daisy) of Holly Grove Ark. and Roosevelt Shelton (Inez) of Little Rock, Ark.; sisters, Joyce Harden and Verna Shelton of Kansas City, Mo; granddaughters Zedora PorterBarnes of Los Angeles, Calif.; Col. Carol Anderson of San Antonio, Texas and Angela Love of Lynwood, Calif.; seven great grandchildren and a host of other family and friends.

long way within the company and in life overall. I intend on fulfilling my dreams and aspirations by striving to reach the highest level and putting God first in everything and doing what he has called me to do.

"When you leave your job... don't leave your money behind!" Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP Financial Adviser

3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 Denver, CO 80209

Nubian Gents and Feminine Fire

303-871-7249 -

"Call Today for a FREE Consultation!" Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


1206_KSURB P1

The Best Beef in Town

Mental Health and the African American Community: Contradiction or Opportunity? By Herbert Merrill II, Ed.D. and Mary Canty Merrill, Ph.D.


ne of the greatest and most under-treated threats affecting today’s African American community is mental illness. According to research, only onethird of Americans who suffer from a mental illness seek care. Yet, the statistics are even more daunting among African Americans. This is especially troubling since African Americans are disproportionately exposed to social conditions considered high-risk factors that negatively impact psychological well-being, such as violence, lack of education, limited access to quality healthcare and poverty. Consider the following statistics from the Bureau of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Institutes of Health and other mental health research studies: Poverty increases the risk of developing a mental illness. African Americans living below the poverty level, when compared to those over twice the poverty level, are 4 times more likely to suffer from psychological distress. Exposure to violence and victimization increases the risk of developing a mental illness. Blacks in urban areas and households with lower incomes are at a greater risk of violence. Also,

while African Americans comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population, they are victims of 15 percent of non-fatal violent crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault) and nearly half of all homicides. Homelessness increases the risk of developing a mental illness. African Americans comprise 40 percent of the homeless population and only 13 percent of the U.S. population. Incarceration increases the risk of developing a mental illness. Nearly half of all prison inmates in the U.S. are African American. African Americans in the U.S. are less likely to receive mental illness diagnoses than their Caucasian counterparts, because of our differences in expressing symptoms of emotional distress. Somatization – the manifestation of physical illnesses related to mental health – occurs at a rate of 15 percent among African Americans and only 9 percent among Caucasian Americans. Children in foster care and the welfare system are more likely to develop mental illnesses. African American children comprise 45 percent of the public foster care population. African American die by suicide a full decade earlier than Whites. The average age of Black suicide decedents is 32 as opposed to 44 for Whites. It is estimated that 4 percent of African American teen males and more than 7 percent of African American teen females will attempt suicide before age 17. African American adolescents reporting parental conflict were 6.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who did not report parental conflict.

While more research needs to be done to understand these mental health disparities, many African Americans underestimate the impact of mental illness and the value of mental health care, so continue using destructive coping strategies such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, violence and overeating to sustain them through hardships. The stigma surrounding mental health disorders, a mistrust of the health care system and a lack of understanding about what constitutes mental illness are all factors that contribute to these maladaptive behaviors. Research on mental illness has traditionally focused on Caucasian and European populations so have not integrated an understanding of ethnic beliefs, values and traditions. Culture is an important aspect of our ethnic communities and African American communities are more culturally diverse than ever before. Consequently, cultural competence and understanding of the role that culture and experience plays in mental health disorders is crucial to improving mental health awareness, access to and utilization of services and effectiveness of treatment in the African American community. As an inclusive community, African Americans often turn to family, the church or the community rather than health care professionals for emotional support when encountering stressful situations beyond their control. To build hope, support and community connectedness, which have been shown to help protect African Americans from self-limiting and selfdestructive behaviors, New Hope Baptist Church is seizing the opportunity to heighten awareness and provide education about mental illness. With proper education, diagnoses and treatment, African Americans can increasingly manage their mental health needs and lead more healthy, productive and satisfying lives. 


Turning Point Launched

On Saturday, April 14, from 8:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd, Denver 80205 presents Turning Point, a conference on Behavioral Health in an effort to collaborate with local churches and community groups to provide mental health awareness, understanding and access to care for individuals and families. Local mental health professionals will conduct workshops on stress, depression, bi-polar disorder, post-partum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and a “Check Your Head” workshop for youth ages 13-18 will be held. This event is free and open to the public. However, early registration is strongly recommended since space is limited. For more information or to register, call the church at 303-322-5200.

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Distrust Amongst African American Community And DPS Stagnates Student’s Academic Momentum...By Chris Ozor


he African American community recently came together at Manual High School to address education. A morning session hosted by the Colorado Black Roundtable focused on Denver Public School outcomes and included DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, Mayor Michael Hancock, school board members, and other administrators. Dr. Sharon Bailey moderated a panel highlighting, lack of adequate funding, dismissal of experienced African American teachers, DPS unilateral approach to education, and overactive disciplinary action against African American students. A white teacher (who didn’t want to be identified in this article) asked Boasberg how DPS is dealing with the issues of equity – how white teachers look at the test scores of minority students and try to consider how they can help those students differently – erroneously assuming that minority students do poorly on tests? She asked

what DPS is doing regarding issues of systematic racism. “We, (specifically, white people) have to take time to unpack our years of comfort – living in the status quo. We must acknowledge our privilege simply based on skin color, and dig deep into our assumptions and practices. This is how we’ll make a change. I know very well that white people, for the most part, are not consciously or intentionally acting in racist or discriminating ways. It’s the unintentional, the underlying thoughts, behaviors and actions that are the face of racism in this country today,” she lamented. Rita R. Lewis, Esq., first vice president of NAACP Denver Branch, stated to Boasberg, “There seems to be a trend at charter schools of admitting African American students then systematically weeding them out.” She then asked “How do you monitor these charter schools and do you believe (in retrospect) that the closure of several schools in Far Northeast Denver was the right thing to do?”

Boasberg responded that several parents and students have praised them for closing those non-performing schools and the only thing he would do differently is give concerned citizens ample time to comment on the school closures. In a written response, Boasberg stated: “The status quo was not working in Far Northeast Denver for far too many of our kids. We had hundreds and hundreds of families who were choosing to put their kids on a bus for an hour-long ride each day to a school across town because they weren’t satisfied with the schools in their own neighborhood. And, the academic results for those kids staying in the region were far from where they needed to be. We felt it was important to change the status quo, even in the face of lots of political resistance, and bring high-quality schools to the Far Northeast families and community. We have an obligation to provide our families in every neighborhood with great educational opportunities close to home for their kids. As a result of the changes, over 500 more families this year than last chose to keep their kids in middle and high school in the Far Northeast. With the success of the new and turned around schools, we anticipate this number going even higher next year.” Another concerned citizen wondered why there’s an element of distrust between DPS and the community and why African American students are treated differently and singled out at the Denver Language School. A member of the panel responded, “We will do whatever it takes to include all concerned parents to meet and have conversations about issues such as retention, faculty, graduation rate and turning the corners on institutional racism.” Responding to the issue of distrust amongst the community and DPS, Yana Smith, chief community engagement officer for DPS, stated that the communication between DPS and parents must improve. She clarified that the Northeast schools were never closed. “For Northeast, they complained that the schools (elementary, middle and high schools) were failing their children. The buildings were renovated over the summer and they are now open. The solutions lie in the ‘push and pull’ in supporting our kids. I see those schools as turn-around-schools,” she expressed. Another concerned citizen asked about the dismissal of African American teachers with more than 20 years experience and having no negative or performance issues on their records. Smith further explained that no particular classification of teachers based on race or gender were unfairly

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


targeted for dismissal. “DPS believes in building an infrastructure to support school programs,” she said. “Hypothetically, if you have four English teachers, and four Math teachers, and if art is your focus, it would make no sense in having all eight teachers teach art. Human Resources provide resume assistance and works with teachers, depending on their contracts and labor agreements. DPS shows compassion and empathy to its teachers.” Superintendent Boasberg also added that DPS had removed the Johnny “racist” logo and replaced it with Griffin (a legendary creature with the body of a lion and wings of an eagle. Responding to why DPS allowed the logo to exist for 50 years, Boasberg said, “I grew up on the Mason-Dixon Line and understand the meaning of this symbol. The community voices are being heard and DPS made the decision to replace the logo. The logo was offensive.” Supporting the importance of community involvement in the academic lives of our children, Geraldine Passmore, added how churches, individuals, and DPS must bond together in finding the educational system that works for everyone. She said schools must stop the practice of overactive disciplinary action against the students. “Students should be moved to other schools where they can see students who look like them and maybe they can learn, Passmore said, “Change the school, don’t change the children.” Eric Owen, a tutor, echoed the same sentiments. “I heard about this conference from a teacher friend of mine. In the entire history of the nation, there hasn’t been quality education for African Americans. While living in California, I learned that Black children are five times more likely to go to prison than college. As a white man, I want to be part of the change that reverses that statistics. It’s everyone’s responsibility to provide education that values equity.” The afternoon session, The State of Black Colorado: Are We Making the Grade?, was convened by Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center with a statewide focus highlighting best practices from Early Childhood Education, special education, community/parent involvement, cultural competency, and education leadership. Harvard graduate Dr. Frank Tuitt, a tenured professor at Denver University talked about how he overcame stigma. “Growing up, I was put in programs that were supposed to remediate me even though nothing in my academic background required remediation. But my mother taught

me to have passion – and with passion I excelled at school,” he said. “With the illusive nature of stigmatization, it’s important we give our students the tools they need to drive themselves. Stigmatization could be subtle – it can be seen in a facial expression – or heard in a tone. It can even be masked in the praise one hears, “Johnny, that 88 percent is a good score for you; I’m proud” Meanwhile, the teacher tells another student that they should be getting 95 percent.” Dr. Felicia Clark, a member of the panel, shared a book titled Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict In The Classroom (2006). Clark explained that the majority of teachers are white females who are middle class and Christians. She added that most of these teachers believe that inner-city, poor African American males are the opposite of themselves and that they (African American males) have to be re-culturalized in order to “fit in” before they can excel in school. Clark concluded that the ultimate result of such mindset is self-rejection and failure from school. In exploring selfhatred taught by schools, Clark said the self-hate phenomenon is a universal mindset that shows up in every education system where teachers of a dominant class who view themselves

as superior are taxed with the responsibility of educating students who once were legally and systematically subjugated. “Specifically, in the United States, African-Americans, Latin-Americans, Native Americans, and Hawaiian Americans show similar patterns of school failure and self-rejection in culturally destructive schools system. These four groups were conquered into becoming Americans and then legally oppressed,” Clark said. Brother Jeff commented that the goal of the cultural center is to generate positive community activity and when there is a problem with African American education, he says there are also, many success stories from Early Childhood Education (ECE) to the PHD level. “We must learn from our successes. For every failure, there are 10 success stories,” he said. “Such as the Watch Care Academy students and take a look at Ginnie Logan, assistant principal at West Denver Preparatory Charter School. These are models of success. If we can reestablish respect for our elders – amongst our community – many our problems will dissipate.”  Editor’s note: Chris Ozor can be reached at 303-242-4413 or at

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Giving Small Businesses The Tools They Need  


ByCongresswoman Diana DeGette

mall businesses in Colorado have an extraordinary impact on our economy, providing almost half of our jobs and making-up nearly 98 percent of the state’s employers. Strengthening small businesses is key to our recovery, and understanding what they need to succeed helps all of us grow the economy. I have been meeting with small business owners to learn firsthand about the challenges they face and what Congress can do to respond to their needs. In nearly all of these meetings, I heard one common refrain: small businesses badly need increased access to capital. This echoed my own experience many years ago when I started my own small business, and struggled to get even the most basic of loans to get things off the ground. Unfortunately, all these years later, too many small business owners face similar difficulties accessing the advice they need,securing the financing necessary to grow their own business and creating jobs for our community. Not only have I brought their stories and challenges back to Washington; I have been helping them with new ways to access resources here in Colorado. Last month, I was pleased to host a Small Business Finance Forum designed to help local small businesses improve their access to capital.

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The forum brought together resource providers for small businesses with owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance. Panelists included organizations dedicated to helping Denver-area businesses succeed, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE and others. They encouraged businesses to explore opening a line of credit to establish a banking relationship so they are prepared for their future credit needs and seeking a detailed explanation for a denied loan or lost contract opportunity so business owners don’t just take “no” for an answer, but find out why it wasn’t “yes.” If you or a business owner and were unable to attend this terrific event last month, please visit and click on “Small Business” to find links to the organizations that joined me at the Forum, as well as other resources available to help Denver-area small businesses succeed. Without a doubt, entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. While unemployment numbers recently moved in the right direction, there are still too many people looking for work and too many families facing an uncertain future. I will continue working for you, supporting our small businesses and getting our economy back on track. 

Restore Integrity To Foreclosure Filings

In order to win a

By Beth McCann

case in court, a party must prove through documentation or witnesses that he or she is entitled to win. Not so with respect to foreclosures. It is good enough if the lender’s lawyer says it is so. Many Colorado homeowners know from firsthand experience (and many more know from growing national media coverage) that the country’s mortgage crisis is out of control. Not all of the problems stem from illadvised subprime mortgages that inevitably end in foreclosure. Many other homeowners are finding themselves in an unbelievable morass because of problems with the Colorado foreclosure process. One disturbing fact in Colorado is that banks and lenders do not need to provide clear proof that they are, in fact, the owners of a note or mortgage before they are allowed to foreclose. Since 2006 in Colorado, a lawyer representing a lender can simply sign a certification during the foreclosure process that the lender owns the mortgage and is entitled to foreclose. The lender does not need to provide any other documents showing the chain of title that proves the lender is the real party in interest to foreclose. Mortgages often are sold by banks to other banks, or to a firm that will “securitize” or bundle the mortgage with other loans, changing hands a number of times, often without proper documentation. The “robo-signing” scandal that has engulfed the foreclosure world shows that this process is broken. In a recent study of San Francisco foreclosures showed 84 percent of the files contained what appeared to be clear violations of law. The five largest foreclosing banks recently struck a $25 billion settlement with federal agencies and many state attorneys general in an attempt to remedy numerous foreclosure abuses. The Inspector General of HUD has released a scathing report regarding improprieties by the top 5 banks. I have heard from many Colorado citizens who are shuffled from lender to lender – some of whom are out of business – when they attempt to modify a loan. They want to make payments, but no one can tell them whom to make payments. They make a payment to one company only to be told

they should pay another one, and their payments do not get credited. A bill I sponsored, House Bill 1156, would have required lenders to provide documentation proving that they hold a debt and have the power to foreclose before they take someone’s home. Sadly, the bill was killed in committee on March 14. I am committed to bringing this issue back to the General Assembly next year to restore integrity to the process and protect Colorado consumers.  Editor’s note: Beth McCann is Colorado State Representative, House District 8. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 303866-2959.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Ice Cube Brings A Bit Of The ‘Hood’ To 21 Jump Street Re-Make By Sheila Smith

Pictured with Ice Cube: Donald James and Rosalind ‘Bee’ Harris DUS Publisher

Probably one of the funniest lines

by Ice Cube in the new movie 21 Jump Street, “I know what you are thinking: Angry, Black cat. It ain’t nothing but a stupid stereotype. I am Black but I work my ass off to be the cat.” That cat who rolled through Boyz n the Hood in 1991 wore a gangster style bandana and was also the angry young Black man has come a long way in his new feature role as the hard-nose police captain in the R-rated action-comedy 21 Jump Street. Ice Cube likes to keep it real as with most of his street savvy characters portrayed in movies such as Friday, Next Friday, Friday After Next, Torque, Trespass, Barber Shop and others. Elevating the role of an over-thetop angry police captain, Ice Cube plays Captain Dickson, a tough captain who likes to yell at his young police recruits who are on an undercover drug sting at a high school. While in Denver promoting the movie last month, Ice Cube shared his insight into his latest movie, 21 Jump Street. Although he did not direct the movie or even help write it, there are a few comical similarities of how people react in situations much like in his Friday movies. “The script was pretty tight. I adlibbed a little and tailor-made my character (Captain Dickson),” he said. “It seems like ever since that first Friday movie came out, I can see this movie and others that are similar. But that is OK. You look at the Friday movies, and you will see similarities to the Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby movies. That is what film is about, taking those influences from other filmmakers and making it your own.” Ice Cube, of course, had fun playing the role of a cop. “We have seen this type of character for every angry Black cop. But to get to play it and not

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Photos by Sweetz Photography

commentate on it, it would have been an injustice. The whole movie was saying, Yo, we basically are doing what you think we’re doing.” And it was “dope” he said that some of the soundtrack from NWA played in the movie. The controversial rap group NWA helped launch Ice Cube’s career in the music industry from 1986 to 1991 – later transitioning into film and generating more than a billion dollars at the box office from his movies. With a reputation of having an intimidating persona, Ice Cube joked that there are only a few people who intimidate him. “My mother intimidates me; my wife also. She is a demanding woman and demands her respect,” he said about his wife of 19 years. “But if you are trying to figure out how to treat someone, understanding what they will and will not allow is a good start.” Becoming a father of four children definitely changed his perspective on life. Ice Cube sees things differently from his former younger days as a rising rap star in the hip hop music industry to being married and having a family. “It just made me want to become a more serious entertainer, and I wasn’t

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worried about what would happen after the work,” he said. Mr. NWA never imagined that he would be where he is today. “As a youngster,” Ice Cube added, “I would have probably looked at what I am doing now and tried to figure it out, and say, wow how did you flip that from this to that.” “Even when it came to movies and I was a member of NWA, I always watched different kinds of movies, from family-friendly movies to Scarface. As a youngster, movies were part of the fun and a get-a-way to sidestep all the bullshit. “ Another reason for being in the movie business is the ability to be creative, according to Ice Cube. “It’s like having that three-dimensional canvas or molding something from clay.” When Ice Cube was on the set of Boyz n the Hood movie, he always wanted to be in the edit bay – wanting to help edit the movie and learn more about the filmmaking process. And he has never really paid attention to what box office ratings showed when it came to his movies. Instead, he said, “I go off peoples’ reactions, if people watch the movie more than once and thought it was enjoyable,” he stated. Hollywood, however, still has its barriers when it comes to showing all Black-cast movies on theater screens across the country. “It’s a people game,” Ice Cube explained. “You have to go and communicate face-to-face and get business done. There are reasons why a lot of Black movies don’t get made and it’s because of the money they are bringing in. If you don’t get the number of theaters you want to compete, then you won’t be part of those box office numbers. Black movies don’t always register in the foreign markets, which are now the lion’s share of the (movie) business.” As everything else in this fading economy, Ice Cube further added how the movie industry isn’t making money like it used to. It has become a

Derrick Holmes, CEO of Banneker Clocks and Watches, presents a gift to Ice Cube during his visit to Denver

real problem as copies of boot-leg movies are being sold on the streets and more people watch movies on their computers rather than going to the movie theater. But Ice Cube isn’t worried and continues riding that Hollywood road of success; seeing where it takes him. He is currently in the studio working on his latest projects which are another Friday movie and the NWA movie. Other cast members in 21 Jump Street include Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Rob Riggle. who were also in Denver promoting the movie. Hill is the executive producer of the film and plays the nerdy character that becomes a cop and goes undercover at a high school. He also was the 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moneyball. Channing Tatum plays the undercover cop and side-kick to Hill’s character. He recently starred in the romantic comedy The Vow and spy thriller Haywire. Rob Riggle gets big laughs on the screen with his role as the gym teacher, Mr. Walters in 21 Jump Street. He is best known for his role in the movie the Hangover. A dedicated man of honor, Riggle, is also an active duty Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. He serves his country first and then makes people laugh with his comedic wit and charm second. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


World’s Greatest Parents Are Far From Perfect Submitted by the Denver Human Services

It’s heartwarming to see a child

pick out a greeting card with a gold trophy on it that reads ‘World’s Greatest Mom or Dad’. Knowing that kids see put their parents on a pedestal one day and in an abysmal pit the next is typical in the parenting world. While there isn’t an instruction book for how to become the world’s greatest parent, there are proven methods for how to deal with your child’s temper tantrums, sleep issues, authority matters and bonding. The keys are resilience, education, a supportive circle and willingness to ask for help. “One of the best parts of my job is seeing parents learn and grow… we come into contact with so many par-

ents who don’t know how to handle a difficult situation,” Toni Rozanski, Director of Child Protection at Denver Human Services says. “With a little coaching, it’s amazing to see parents transform and their relationships with their children grow.” Just as kids go to school, it’s equally important for parents to learn and grow with them. To keep pace with your child’s development, read books, take a parenting class or search the web to learn about your child’s development or seek child rearing advice. The information you learn becomes a powerful tool when addressing tough matters with your child. These tools have a positive impact on the way your child respects you. As role models, it’s critical we help children develop emotionally and socially. These foundation skills help children identify their feelings, clearly communicate and problem solve. Even more, the strongest families are those who are resilient and able to adapt to an ever changing environment. Parents must also surround their family with a trusted group of helpers such as a babysitter, friends, trusted neighbors and loved ones that you can turn to for advice or simply when you need a break. Being a good parent is

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


knowing your limit and when to turn to others for support. “Often times we see families who do not have a strong network of support. Some of the families we meet must leave behind their networks of support due to domestic violence or other home issues. One of our roles is to help parents build those networks of support, so they have someone to turn to when we’re not there,” Rozanski says. Finally, parents need to remember that it’s O.K to ask for help. There are an abundance of child professionals that can offer guidance and support. Teachers, day care professionals, doctors or other child professionals are there for you. Parents deal with a multitude of things on a daily basis. It’s important to remember to keep your cool when your child acts out. And, as a community, we must remember that it takes a village to raise a child. If you see a parent in need, ask if you can lend them a helping hand.  Editor’s note: For more tips and resources, visit To report suspected child abuse or neglect in Denver, call 720-944-3000. And, be sure to look for blue and silver Prevention Pinwheel Gardens throughout the month of April in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention month.

This Is My Story Bone Marrow Needed In The African-American Community By Darlene Ashley Jenkins

If someone would have told me 10

years ago that I would be happily married to the love of my life, I would have said “no way.” If someone would have told me 10 years ago that my husband and I would be fighting the fight of our lives I would have said “no way.” My husband and I met in September 2007. At that time, our lives merged; we became a family and things couldn’t be better. We were working, vacationing and making plans to expand our family. Mark knew then that he had a high platelet count but didn’t know what that meant. We were both shocked and confused when his doctor sent us to the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center to meet with an oncologist. Within a year, he was given a diagnosis that we had never heard of – Essential Thrombocytosis – a bone marrow disease in which your body produces too many platelets. Mark was put on several medications and it seemed to help some of the symptoms, but unfortunately, his illness progressed and became more life threatening. During the next few months, Mark had experienced a Transient Ischemic Attack (mini stroke) and underwent two bone marrow biopsies, as the second revealed bad news. It was very difficult to hear when Mark informed me that he had been diagnosed with Myelofibrosis – a chronic leukemia type of cancer that affects the bloodforming tissues in the body. Cancer? But Mark is a soldier, he is healthy, he eats right, he runs three miles at least three times a week, and he’s in the best shape of his life. Myelofibrosis is a serious bone marrow disorder that disrupts your body’s normal production of blood cells. The result is extensive scarring in your bone marrow, leading to severe anemia, weakness, fatigue, and often an enlarged spleen and liver. Talk about confusion. Why was this happening to him and to us? Our lives were turned upside down. Plans were put on hold – so many unanswered questions. To make matters worse, the cancer continued to progress and his

doctor recommended that he be assessed for qualification for a bone marrow transplant. So off to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas we went. And it was confirmed. In Mark’s case a successful bone marrow transplant would provide a cure. After much deliberation, Mark decided to move forward and take the first steps to have a bone marrow transplant, which was searching the National Bone Marrow Registry for a donor. Bone marrow transplant is a lifesaving treatment for people with blood cancers. The first part is finding a donor match, and the second part is patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then a donor’s healthy blood forming cells are given directly into the patient’s bloodstream to function and multiply again. For a patient’s body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. Seventy percent of patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find an unrelated bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood. Once again, we were met with another challenge as no donor match was made, so the transplant couldn’t take place. This was quite a blow. I can honestly say that I never would have thought this would be happening to us, but the reality is that Myeliofibrosis is real. If someone had asked me 10 years ago what Myelofibrosis is, I would have said “I don’t know.” If someone were to ask me today, I would say, Myelofibrosis is a form of chronic leukemia type cancer of the bone marrow. I would say that it’s a life altering and debilitating illness that strikes few, but strikes hard. I would say that it’s an illness that nearly broke my spirit but has become my life’s challenge in spreading the word about the importance of giving, being a bone marrow donor and saving a life. Yes, my husband needs a donor match and so do many others. I hope my story brings awareness and that you choose to take the steps that might possibly save someone’s life.

Community Bone Marrow Drive

A community Bone Marrow Drive will be held on April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Off Broadway Cafe, located at 6810 N. Broadway, Unit E, in Denver, CO. For more information call Darlene Ashley-Jenkins at 303-503-1789 or e-mail

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may be eligible to join the Registry, a computerized database of more than eight million potential donors. So spread the word there is a need for Bone Marrow Donors. For more information contact the Colorado Marrow Donor Program at 303-3632345 or 800-619-1099. 

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Solomon Temple M.B.C. of Denver Named Church of the Year By DeNesha Tellis

There are some days that are des-

tined to go down in history. When

those days occur, they are earmarked in the memories of everyone present.

In terms of a church family, those special events bring the members even

closer together. February 12 turned out to be one of those days for the church family of Solomon Temple Missionary Baptist Church located in Denver. Solomon Temple was honored as the 2011 Church of the Year at the Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame’s 41st Annual Gospel Music Festival and Awards Ceremony. “Although we don’t do our work with the hope of being awarded for it, it is an honor for Solomon Temple to be recognized in this way,” said Pastor John L. Tellis Jr. “We are so grateful that our peers in the Denver area

appreciate our church’s efforts to serve others in the name of our Lord and Savior.” Rev. James D. Peters, pastor emeritus of New Hope Baptist Church and a respected staple in the community, presented the award to Pastor Tellis and Evangelist Mary Tellis, who both accepted it on behalf of the entire church family. Solomon Temple has seen tremendous growth in membership over recent years. Peters remarked that the church leadership has embraced and utilized technology to help facilitate growth and communication among the church congregation. This type of innovation is the embodiment of ministering in the 21st century. Pastor Tellis has been leading the congregation of Solomon Temple for six years. This is the first time in the church’s 41-year history that it received an award of this type or magnitude.

Solomon Temple’s active, visible outreach ministries, offering spiritual development forums geared to each demographic within the church, and fully embracing its responsibility of being a part of the Denver community, are among the reasons it was chosen as the 2011 Church of the Year. Members were elated of the news, including Evangelist Mary Tellis, associate minister and supportive pastor’s wife. She is also a ministry and mission coach for the Metro Denver area of the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains. “It is both a blessing and a reward to see an American Baptist Church answering the call that has been laid before it,” Tellis said. “Solomon Temple is not only carrying out the mission of the church, but doing it with such excellence that external audiences are taking notice.” The Honorable Mayor Michael B. Hancock also joined the Solomon Temple Missionary Baptist Church congregation as the keynote speaker during the church’s celebration.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


As the second African-American mayor to be elected in Denver’s history, Hancock was an ideal choice to speak to the congregation about perseverance in the midst of obstacles. Sharing his personal story of how he beat statistical odds to find personal, educational and political success made Hancock a real-life example of the concepts he spoke about. He proclaimed his belief in the gospel of Christ and the power of faith. The mayor also acknowledged Solomon Temple’s longstanding, significant role in the Denver community. In 2011, the church received commendations from Mayor Hancock’s office and the City of Denver, as well as from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. These recognitions were for outstanding work bringing together multiple nonprofit organizations and thousands of volunteers across the city of Denver for a common day of community service. The Gospel Music Academy, founded by Dr. Syl Morgan-Smith, recognizes leaders from various disciplines who give back to the people of metro Denver and contribute to the community’s growth. The Hall of Fame awards are co-sponsored by the McDonald’s Corporation. Honorees represented fields in medicine, music, volunteerism and business.

Team Lessons By Heather O’Mara and Ruth Márquez West

When Hope Online student

Tercel tells others that he plays on the

basketball team for his high school, he

may draw a few quizzical glances.

Nonetheless, Tercel is garnering atten-

tion for his dedication and team play as he embraces this new opportunity to prove himself on the court as well

as in the classroom. As traditional extra-curricular opportunities are increasingly available to them, a growing number of Hope Online students are participating in activities that encourage them to stay in school. For Tercel and 30 of his Hope Online classmates from Learning Centers across the Denver Metro area and Greeley, their foray into league basketball culminated in an exciting charter school league tournament on “Court of Dreams” at the Pepsi Center on March 19th before the Denver Nuggets took on the Dallas Mavericks. The tournament, coordinated by the Academy of Urban Learning and the Denver Nuggets would be a dream come true for just about any high school basketball player. Yet, for Hope Online team members, it is a reality – a reality symbolic of the against-the-odds triumph of those students who could have easily dropped out of school before finding Hope Online. “We believe in our students who work so hard despite the many challenges they face, and we understand the power of inclusive experiences to keep students engaged in school and present for learning,” points out Hope Online Executive Vice President of Academic Achievement Sherida Peterson. “Mindful of this, we are regularly adding enriching activities such as spring formal, dance, art, music, PE, special interest clubs, ping pong tournaments and academic contests to our solid curriculum and classroom support.” As a result, Hope Online students are staying in school, expanding their horizons and feeling more empowered in greater numbers each year to graduate from high school, apply for college and consider career options. Reiterating Ms. Peterson’s reflections, Hope Online’s Melanie Stone asserts, “Hope Online’s participation in this basketball league is just another example of our commitment to making an excellent education, and a positive educational experience, a reality – Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Ms. Amanda Cancino encourages her student Matthew, a Spartans team member

not just a dream – for every student in Colorado. I hope that others will see Hope Online students playing in the ‘Court of Dreams’ and see that they belong there too.” From Tercel’s perspective, that positive experience included, the sheer joy of being applauded for the first time in his life. “It was so cool to have people cheering for us from the stands,” he shares, “I had never had that happen before. It was amazing… it made me want to play harder for our fans to earn their support.” Tercel’s mentor, Ms. Amanda Cancino, noticed the effort that Tercel and his teammates put forth in the classroom too, since league play started this season. “I can certainly attest that these young men worked hard to be eligible to play. The Hope Online learning model offers tremendous opportunities for individual progress and now these students get to be part of a team as well. For many of them, this is a completely new experience.” Hope Online Teacher and Spartans Coach Brian Culhane elaborates, “This was an extraordinary chance for our students to learn about team play. Hope Online has always benefitted from collaborative partnerships. Through this league our students worked together alongside students from Learning Centers in other neighborhoods toward a common goal. For all of us involved, this was a rare privilege. The majority of our students have faced a lot of adversity without a lot of support. So, while enjoying the great game of basketball, this was also a chance to build trust and move forward in life.” “It was also an opportunity for me to help players discover their unique contribution and how it supported team success,” Coach Culhane continues. “It has been awesome to watch these guys work together when, just a few months ago, they didn’t even know each other. You just can’t put a value high enough on that kind of learning.” 

Hope Online student and Spartan team member Tercel appreciates his teacher and coach, Mr. Brian Culhane

Jasmine In Bloom

The October Baby interview with Kam Williams

Born in

Boston on March 10, 1962, Jasmine Guy is a Renaissance woman with dancer, actress, singer, director, and writer on her resume. She performed in the Broadway productions of The Wiz, Leader of the Pack, Grease, and Chicago, and she has also served as a stage director and choreographer on numerous occasions. Still, the versatile entertainer remains best known for her work in television, especially for creating the iconic character Whitley Gilbert on A Different World. Her other TV credits include recurring roles on The Vampire Diaries, Fame, Touched by an Angel, Melrose Place and Dead Like Me. On the big screen, Jasmine appeared in such movies as School Daze, Harlem Nights and Stomp the Yard 2. She is the author of “Evolution of a Revolutionary,“ a book about the life and journey of Afeni Shakur, and she released an eponymous record album on Warner Brothers Records in 1990. She is currently producing director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta, where she resides with her daughter. Here, she talks about her new movie, October Baby, a faith-based morality play inspired by the true story of a troubled teenager who discovered she survived an attempted abortion as a 24 weekold fetus. KW: Hi, Jasmine. Thanks for the time. JG: Thanks. KW: Did you do anything different to prepare for this role? JG: I knew Nurse Mary. There was little to prepare, just my own experience lent myself to the character. KW: Was there anything different about working on October Baby from other films you’ve done? JG: The cast and crew were very positive, warm, and inviting. I felt comfortable and embraced in set. KW: What attracted you to October Baby? JG: I was attracted to Nurse Mary because she was older and alone, full of stories to share and secrets she had harbored for many years

KW: What’s your secret to embodying memorable characters? JG: I always try to honor a character by being honest and truthful to who they are, in spite of my own personality and beliefs. I also like to embody them physically and remove my own thoughts, walk and mannerisms from their portrayal. KW: What message do you think people will take away from October Baby? JG: I think people will be reminded to be safe and thoughtful in their intimate relationships and not just use sex for recreational purposes. KW: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier

says: I love your work. I am an AfroCanadian who used to dream of attending an African-American college when I watched A Different World. Studies mention that when the show was on TV in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, it created a positive impact on the African-American community in terms of college enrollment. In addition, it was the first time in American TV history that young AfricanAmericans were showcased in a college environment. What is your assessment of today’s images representing the African-Americans in the media? Do you think that there is a need to have more TV shows and

movies which present Black people in intellectual settings? JG: I’ve always known the greatness of Black people. We come from intellectuals, philosophers, educators and activists. We are not a monolithic group of people bound by color. It is up to us as individuals, parents, teachers and communicators to teach that to our people and our broader community. I think it’s dangerous to depend on the media or the entertainment industry to facilitate that knowledge. KW: Thanks again for the time, Jasmine. JG: Thank you, Kam. 

Brother Jeff

Founder/Executive Director of Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center The State of Black Colorado Education: Are We Making the Grade? initiative

WE ALL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BRIGHTEN A FUTURE. This year, more than 1 million kids will drop out of high school—many of them right here in Denver. Without a diploma, these students are robbed of promise, opportunity and a bright future.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. KUVO/KVJZ is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative to address the high school dropout crisis, made possible by the Corporation for Public

Broadcasting (CPB). As part of American Graduate, KUVO/KVJZ is connecting volunteers like me with


graduation. Critical, trusting relationships are built. Kids are engaged in school and see a path for success ahead. Our community grows stronger. Visit to learn more about how you can help. If we all do our part, the future will look brighter than ever. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012





Movie Reviews


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21 Jump Street

Jesus crucifix dangling over the altar. There, short-fused Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) reassigns baby-faced Schmidt and Jenko to work undercover at Sagan High School in order to crack a drug ring disseminating deadly narcotics. The disgraced officers leap at the opportunity to make amends for the bust gone bad, unaware of how hard it will be to pass themselves off as students. Not only do they look older, but

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21 Jump Street

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opular jock Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and social outcast Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) had nothing in common back when they were in high school, besides their both missing the senior prom. And even that was for very different reasons, since the former didn’t attend because of poor grades while the latter simply couldn’t find a date. But seven years later, the pair’s paths have crossed again while attending the Police Academy. This time around, academically-challenged Greg and out-of-shape Mort bond helping each other pass the written and physical portions of the final exam. Upon graduating, these polar opposites launch their law enforcement careers as partners, patrolling a downtown park on bicycles uneventfully until the day they fail to read a perpetrator his Miranda rights. They are called on the carpet and ordered to report to 21 Jump Street, a clandestine detective unit run out of an abandoned church with a dusty, Korean

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


the culture has substantially changed since they left school. So, they soon discover that, nowadays, macho misbehaving and bullying are out, while studying, drama club, and caring about the environment are in. Even being gay is considered very cool thanks to the television show “Glee.” This upside-down reality sets the stage for the awkward scenarios which abound in 21 Jump Street, a hilarious and charming action comedy co-starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. What makes the film so endearing is the camaraderie the leads cultivate once the script is flipped, in the wake of the role reversal which has the handsome hunk suddenly relying on the goofy geek to figure out how to fit in at school. While the movie might technically be a screen adaptation of the ‘80s cop drama of the same name, this raunchy teensploit actually amounts to more of a reboot of the franchise than a remake. To its credit, the picture does pay homage to the classic TV series, as it features cameo appearances by three of the original cast members: Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson-Peete. Nevertheless, provided you approach this laff-a-minute, slapstick adventure as a franchise overhaul rather than as homage, you won’t be


A Thousand Words

funny line (“White people sho’ is nice!”) was spoiled by the trailer and isn’t even delivered by Eddie, but by an aging vaudevillian (John Witherspoon) doing a cringe-inducing impersonation of Stepin Fetchit. Makes The Adventures of Pluto Nash look like Beverly Hills Cop.

Rated: PG-13 for PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and drug-related humor Running Time: 91 minutes Distributor: Paramount Pictures To see a trailer for A Thousand Words, visit:


annah (Rachel Hendrix) has suffered from a host of afflictions over the course of her childhood, including asthma, seizures and multiple hip surgeries. Besides her physical ailments, the poor girl has unfortunately been haunted mentally by a nagging sense of feeling unwanted, despite being raised by a couple of very loving parents (John Schneider and Jennifer Price). Everything comes to a head during her freshman year in college, after she collapses on stage while performing in

October Baby

Rated: R for violence, drug and alcohol abuse, coarse sexuality, crude humor and pervasive profanity Running Time: 109 minutes Distributor: Columbia Pictures To see a trailer for 21 Jump Street, visit: A Thousand Words No Stars

Eddie Murphy Gives Audience the Silent Treatment in Ill-Conceived Sitcom


hether starring in a buddy comedy (like Trading Places and 48 Hours), a kiddie flick (ala Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle), a standup concert (such as Raw and Delirious), or in an animated adventure as a donkey (Shrek) or a dragon (Mulan), Eddie Murphy’s best movies have invariably featured him talking trash. Even his only Oscarnomination (for Dreamgirls) came for playing a jive motor-mouth, a character ostensibly inspired by the equallyirrepressible James Brown. Given the readily-identifiable thread running through that string of box-office hits, you really have to wonder how a project like A Thousand Words ever got off the ground. For, not only does the film fail to take advantage of Mr. Murphy’s trademark loquacious tendencies, it actually goes to the opposite extreme by buttoning up his lips for most of the movie. The studio might have suspected it had a lemon on its hands, since it let the picture sit on the shelf for four years before finally releasing it. In any case, the movie marks the third collab-

oration between Eddie and director Brian Robbins, along with Norbit and Meet Dave. A Thousand Words revolves around a familiar anti-hero archetype, the backstabbing, corporate conniver sorely in need of an attitude readjustment. When we’re introduced to Jack McCall (Murphy) at the point of departure, he’s still a high-powered, Hollywood agent smugly sitting atop the showbiz food chain and living in the lap of luxury in a sprawling, mountaintop mansion with a pool and a view. The insufferable bully takes pleasure in intimidating everyone he encounters: his sycophantic assistant (Clark Duke), his deferential spouse, Caroline (Kerry Washington), and perfect strangers to boot. But karma catches up with the Machiavellian manipulator the day he lies to land his latest client, a popular New Age guru (Cliff Curtis) who has just written a self-help book. Abracadabra! A magical tree that sheds a leaf for every word Jack speaks suddenly materializes in his backyard. And so few leaves are left by the time he figures out that he will die when the last one hits the ground that he is left with no choice but to take a vow of silence. Mute Jack is soon beset by a host of woes of Biblical proportions, including the loss of his job and the love of his wife and toddler Tyler (Emanuel Ragsdale). At this juncture, the picture turns to heavy-handed sermonizing in lieu of humor, as our humbled protagonist learns a big lesson about what really matters most in this world while on the road to redemption. You know you’re in trouble when an Eddie Murphy comedy’s only

October Baby  1/2

Abortion Survivor Searches for Birth Mom in Modern Morality Play

a school play. Her parents rush to campus where they inform her doctor (Lance E. Nichols) in the infirmary that their daughter has considered committing suicide. Continued on page 28


by texting the word GAME and your ZIP CODE to 43549 Example Text: GAME 80237 Entry Deadline: Monday, April 16



shocked by its relentlessly-irreverent brand of humor. Think Superbad meets Revenge of the Nerds!

Each pass admits two. One pass per person. While supplies last. No purchase necessary. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 4/17 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on 4/18 at 7:00pm at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Screen Gems, Allied • THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. NO PHONE CALLS!


Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Urban Spectrum-PROMO AD SUN 04/01/12

Continued from page 27 Hannah’s dismay upon learning that her folks had invaded her privacy by reading her diary is forgotten as soon as they proceed to make an even more shocking revelation. For not only do they subsequently announce that she had been adopted, but that she had miraculously survived an attempted abortion when her mother was only 24 weeks pregnant. That bombshell triggers an explosion of emotions inside Hannah ranging from bewilderment to desperation to rage. But at least she finally has an idea why she’s been so sickly and saddled with emotional trauma all her life. Next, the understandablyanguished teenager demands a copy of her birth certificate before deciding to track down her biological mother over Spring Break. And, accompanied by her supportive best friend, Jason (Jason Burkey), she sets out on a spiritual sojourn via Volkswagen bus to Mobile, Ala. in quest of self-discovery and perhaps closure. This is the compelling point of departure of October Baby, a modern morality play co-directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin. The brothers, who admittedly “never knew there was such a thing as an abortion survivor,”


The Velvet Elvis were inspired to make the movie after learning about the real-life ordeal of Gianna Jessen. While I suspect that the Erwins aren’t the only ones previously unfamiliar with the phenomenon, their moving tearjerker will undoubtedly go a long way towards spreading the word. The principal cast is comprised mostly of relative unknowns, as well as a couple of familiar faces from TV – John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard)

Enter for the

and Jasmine Guy (A Different World). Though unabashedly pro-life in point-of-view, October Baby is nonetheless an apolitical coming-of-age adventure apt to touch the hearts of audience members on either side of the abortion issue. A faith-based parable bringing to mind Psalm 139:16’s sobering message: “You saw me before I was born.”

Rated: PG-13 for mature themes Running Time: 107 minutes Studio: Provident Films Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films To see a trailer for October Baby, visit: ui4o The Velvet Elvis

chance to win

Black Elvis Impersonator Moonlights as Demon Hunter in Hilarious Horror Comedy

an admit 2 pass

Ordinarily, the term “Velvet

to the special advance

© 2010 GNDHDDTW © 2012 GNDHDDTW (c) 2012 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

screening of

Text the word NATURE and your ZIP CODE to 43549 Example Text: NATURE 80246 Entry Deadline: Thursday, April 12


There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Text HELP for info, STOP to opt-out. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 4/13 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Monday, 4/16 at 7:00PM at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theatre. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Disneynature, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!


Urban Spectrum SUN 04/01/12

Elvis” conjures up images of those cheesy paintings of Elvis Presley which were popular briefly back in the ‘70s. But for the purposes of this hilarious horror comedy, the phrase refers not to a tacky eyesore on Black velvet but to a Black Elvis impersonator outfitted in The King’s trademark pompadour, muttonchops and TCB sunglasses. Nicknamed Velvis (Kirk Ponton), he’s been doggedly pursuing his dream of superstardom in a Hollywood which looks suspiciously like Trenton to this former resident of New Jersey’s capital city. At the point of departure, we find our hero doing his best Elvis impression until he’s driven offstage by a merciless heckler (Kurt Tazelaar), a cruel reminder of why he still pays his bills by moonlighting as a pistol-packing demon hunter.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


He is assisted in both endeavors by his trusty agent/manager Samael (Kevin Ridgeway), a sidekick who seems to have more luck locating monsters than landing gigs. Equipped only with a .357 magnum and the head of a vampire stashed away in a bowling bag, the dynamic duo is presently perambulating Tinseltown’s ugly underbelly in search of Seth (Michael Markiewicz), a simpleminded serial killer doing the bidding of a sultry, if bloodthirsty, disembodied specter called Lamia (Jensen Bucher). So unfolds The Velvet Elvis, a genredefying splatterflick directed by Jeff Stewart. The movie marks the sophomore offering of the promising Temple Film School grad who also shot his first picture, The Reunion, on location in his hometown of Trenton. Anybody lamenting the lack of diversity of roles for AfricanAmerican thespians ought to credit this up-and-coming Black director to be reckoned with for the colorblind casting of a brother as his title character. For the talented Mr. Ponton proves not only entertaining but oh so convincing in his capacity as a sepiaskinned Elvis. The film also features praiseworthy support performances by Michael Markiewicz, Kevin Ridgeway, Jensen Bucher and Kacie Marie, as well as a couple of memorable cameos by Scott Miller as a deferential “john” with a masochism fetish and Lawrence Greenberg playing a proverbial dead guy. Serving up as much mirth as mayhem per minute, better brace yourself for a rollicking, non-stop, roller coaster ride that won’t end until Velvis has left the theater! Unrated Running Time: 112 minutes Studio: A Different Path Films Distributor: Amazon Studios To see a trailer for The Velvet Elvis, visit:

Ballet Nouveau Colorado Rock Ballets

Ballet Nouveau Colorado (BNC) presents, Garrett Ammon’s Rock Ballets with

Damien Patterson

Performances are April 13-15, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School 1001 W. 84th Ave. in Denver. For information or tickets call 303-466-5685 or visit


Landri Taylor Appointed To Association Of Public Television Stations Board Of Trustees Landri Taylor, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver will join the board of trustees for the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS). Taylor served on the board of Rocky Mountain PBS from 20032009 and was board chair from 20072009. APTS is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to conduct advocacy, planning, research and communication activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advance digital services for the American people.

Ken Grimes Selected As Colorado Cultural Arts Leader

As a part of Black History Month, The Prescott Group (TPG) presented RISE, an evening of entertainment featuring local artists displaying spoken word, poetry and music. The evening paid tribute to Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti, Spike Lee and President Barack Obama. Highlighting the event was a presentation of the the first Colorado Cultural Arts Leader Award, - given to someone who works tirelessly to implement and support multi-cultural arts, projects and efforts. This year’s recipient was Kenneth Grimes, co-creator of the stage play, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, which touches on the issues of diversity. Grimes has been involved and supported the Denver community for many years and is recognized for presenting thought-provoking plays. Portia Prescott, TPG’s president, designed the Colorado Cultural Arts Leader Award to recognize community leaders who actively participate in the support and sustainability of cultural arts.

Safety Department Announces New Deputy Manager Of Police Discipline and New Commander Of Internal Affairs Manager of Safety Alex Martinez and Deputy Manager Ashley Kilroy announced Jess Vigil as Deputy Manager of Police Discipline for the Department of Safety. The position is

responsible for reviewing investigative files, making recommendations, and overseeing disciplinary proceedings and other administrative matters for the Police Department. In addition to the Deputy Manager of Police Discipline’s oversight duties, Vigil will prepare and present public reports on uses of force and other disciplinary actions, develop, implement and maintain training programs related to Manager of Safety’s responsibilities. Vigil will begin in April. Vigil has over 20 years of judicial experience, including seven years on the Adams County Court and 13 years on the District Court for the 17th Judicial District. He was also a member of the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, the Colorado Judicial Department Board of Personnel Review, Co-Chair of the Colorado Judicial Department Court Improvement Committee, and a relief judge for several municipalities. Additionally, Chief of Police Robert White today announced Chief Mary Beth Klee as the new Commander of the Denver Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Chief White has empowered Chief Klee with the authority to select the investigators who will serve under her leadership, a new ability afforded to the position. Chief Klee will work closely with Vigil and brings extensive law enforcement experience to the Commander position. She has worked for the Denver Police Department since 1983, most recently as Division Chief of Special Operations. During her time with the Department, Chief Klee served as an Internal Affairs Bureau investigator for two years before being promoted to lieutenant in 1992. She was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1998, appointed Division Chief of Special Operations in 1999, and then appointed Deputy Chief of Administration in 2000. In 2007, Chief Klee was appointed to the position of Division Chief of Patrol, making her the first female officer to hold that position. After running the Patrol Division for three years, Chief Klee returned to the Special Operations Bureau in 2010.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012



Urban League Celebrates Debut of Yves Saint Laurent Exhibition

The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver is hosting a unique opportunity to view Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective on April 13. Presented by the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, the exhibition is a dazzling overview of the designer’s 40 years of creativity. Yves Saint Laurent was one of the first designers to employ black models, challenging conventional standards of beauty. He set the stage for models like Mounia, Katoucha Niane, Naomi Campbell, Iman and Jourdan Dunn, to shine. Mounia was the first black model Yves Saint Laurent used in his haute couture shows, and was widely considered the French couturier’s favorite model. For more information, call Latrice Norwood at 303-377-2790.

Langley Family Charitable Trust Accepting Applications

The newly formed nonprofit, the Langley Family Charitable Trust (LFCT), is accepting applications to award scholarships to high school students. LFCT is a scholarship program to help increase the number of African Americans and/or at risk students enroll in community colleges and universities. Colorado males and females are eligible to apply. Students must be a high school senior; have a 3.0 grade point average; be involved with community; have a career goal to make a difference in the quality of life for self and others in the community.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Deadline to receive completed applications is April 20. For more information or to get and application, call 303-694-3126.

Black Male Initiative Summit

The 3rd annual Black Male Initiative Summit, “I am the Master of My Fate – Inviting Young Black Males to Lead,” will be Friday, April 6 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at DU. The ultimate goal is to cultivate the leadership potential of your Black male students. The summit will provide participants with the tools to empower and enable their leadership skills by modeling the attributes of successful students and leaders. This event will be at the University of Denver in Sturm Hall, 2000 E. Evans Ave., in Denver. For more information, email or call 303-871-2780. To register, visit

Success Summit Will Empower Small Business Owners

On Thursday, June 7, the 2012 Success Summit: Critical Connections for Business Success will be at the Colorado Convention Center. Presented by Mountain Region Black Economic Summit (MRBES), this multifaceted day-long event offers minority and women business owners a bevy of valuable resources in one place. Nationally renowned speaker George C. Fraser will provide the keynote and will participate in a business plan competition. This year the MRBES Success Summit Biz Plan Competition will be held. Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and early-stage companies can submit an executive summary and a two-minute video pitch by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 20 for a chance to win cash and prizes valued at over $20,000. For contest details, visit For more information on the summit, visit or email


McDonald’s Contest To Reward Top Kids’ Stories On Nutritious

Through April 18, McDonald’s Happy Meal Chefs contest is seeking top inspiring stories from parent-andchild teams who enjoy cooking with wholesome ingredients at family mealtime. Ten kids will win a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of McDonald’s Global Champions of Play program where they will join kids from around the world to celebrate balanced eating and fun play. Two grand prize winners will become honorary “Happy Meal Chefs.” Parents or legal guardians with kids eight to 11 are eligible to enter online at the Happy Meal Chefs contest page. For more information, visit m/rules or

Ministers’ Wives And Ministers’ Widows Hold Conference

The Colorado Sisterhood will host the 2012 IAMWMW Mid-Northwest Regional Conference April 20 and 21. All conference activities will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Renaissance Denver Hotel. The conference luncheon will be Saturday, April 21 at noon. The 5th International President, Dr. Shirley Alexander Hart will be keynote speaker. A pre-conference welcome night program and musical will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 and a communion service will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20 at the Unity COGIC at 2428 Ogden St. Denver. For more information, e-mail or call 303-587-3790.

Spring Beauty Trend Seminar

The NAACP Education Committee will host the Spring Beauty Trend Seminar on April 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at Hunters Beauty Supply, 7235 E. Colfax Ave., in Denver. Seating is limited and a ticket for $30 is required

in advance to reserve a seat. For more information, call 303-333-0223.

Academics And Activists Celebrate Social Justice

Collective for Social Change (CSC), a student group at Auraria campus is hosting Art of Social Justice, a free conference at the Auraria campus April 10-12. The keynote speaker, renowned author and provocative democratic intellectual Dr. Cornel West will be highlighting three days of workshops, exhibits, performances, and panels discussing the intersections of social justice issues. Open to the public, people from all walks of life are invited to attend. For more information, email or visit and theartofsocialjustice/facebook.

Fine Art Auction

The Sankofa Lecture Series

Artist and Hip-Hop icon, Talib Kweli Greene, is Sankofa Lecture Series spring 2012 keynote speaker at Metropolitan State College of Denver. The core intent of the lecture series is to make known and address social inequities in society. Talib Kweli will discuss the historical and current importance of Hip-Hop as a site of cultural resistance, and the use of HipHop culture in pedagogical practices. This free public event will take place at Noon on Friday, April 13, on the Auraria campus in the Tivoli Student Center, Turnhalle. For more information, visit our website:

Featuring Buffalo Soldier and other Black art by

Lawrence Harris

The Great Western Art Gallery - 1455 Curtis St., Denver, CO

Friday, May 4 from 2 to 6 PM Saturday, May 5 from 11 AM to 4 PM

About the Artist: Lawrence Harris was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1937. As a self-taught artist, he began painting at the age of 12 and was full-time artist for more than 30 years specializing in the portraying the Buffalo Soldiers. He combined the abstract with realism and a touch of surrealism “to create a spiritual feeling” and hopes to transmit to the viewer. The dramatic use of color is his gift from God that makes his work exciting. He was selected as one of the Top 100 Artists of 100 years of painting in the Pikes Peak Region Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center “A Show of Color.” Harris passed away in 2011. His collection was donated to Victorious Youth of America, a nonprofit organization in Denver.

Iowa-Colorado Club Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Proceeds from the auction will benefit Victorious Youth of America - Dedicated to preventing young individuals and parents from becoming victims of chemical dependency, gang violence and AIDS.

The Iowa-Colorado Club is celebrating its 30th anniversary Saturday, April 28, 2012. The dinner, dance and fundraiser will be held at the Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 East 35th Ave., from 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets in advance are $25 or $30 at the door. For more information contact Mike Burrell at 303-589-8784.

For more information, call William Harris at 303-388-2304.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012



Mayor Hancock Launches New Website To Gain Input On Denver’s Financial Future

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Mayor Michael B. Hancock launched a new website to gain additional input from the public on ways to help Denver eliminate its persistent budget gap. The new site, located at, is part of the Mayor’s broader effort to create a financially sustainable Denver. The new site will give Denver residents the opportunity to learn more about the budget challenge, weigh in on important questions regarding the future of the city, and share their own ideas on solving Denver’s budget challenge. The information collected from the new site will be used to inform the Mayor’s decisions on the action he will take going forward.

Western Tiger Salamander Bill Is Signed By Governor

A bill designating the Western Tiger Salamander as Colorado’s state amphibian was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. HB12-1147, introduced and sponsored by Rep. Angela Williams and Sen. Joyce Foster, was initiated by students across the state who are tiger salamander enthusiasts. The students have been actively involved in every step of the legislative process to make sure this bill passed. Many children testified in support of the bill, noting the tiger salamander is found in all 64 counties of Colorado.

Williams Applauds Grant For Foreclosure Counseling Program

March 17 - April 27 2012 Experience a Distinctive Exhibit at RedLine that Celebrates People and Diversity. Johnson Legacy presents

Floyd Tunson: Colorado African American Artist

April 26, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM Redline Art Gallery - 2350 Arapahoe St. in Denver Admission is $10 For information, call 303-360-0128 or email or 720-301-1883 or email Willie Birch | Man with Dog | 1999 | acrylic and charcoal on paper

Rep. Angela Williams was delighted that $5.6 million from a $25 billion nationwide settlement with big banks accused of abusive loan servicing practices would go to Colorado foreclosure prevention counseling programs to help homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. Colorado’s $204 million share of the nationwide settlement is being managed by Attorney General John Suthers. The first allocation of the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012

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state’s share, $51.2 million, was announced today by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Suthers. Rep. Williams sponsored a bill in 2011 to expand an existing housing counseling program with a general fund appropriation. The allocation makes such an appropriation unnecessary.

Help From LEAP Is Still Available

Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) has helped nearly 90,000 Coloradans pay their heating bills this winter, but there are still hard working families eligible for the program. LEAP encourages those in need of financial assistance with home heating bills to take advantage of the program and its newly increased benefit amount before the April 30 deadline. LEAP eligible households may also qualify for the Crisis Invention Program (CIP) and the Governor’s Energy Office’s Weatherization Program. The CIP operates yearround and provides assistance with a home’s primary heating source such as a furnace or wood-burning stove. The Weatherization Program improves the energy efficiency in homes throughout Colorado, thereby permanently reducing heating costs. To find out more, call 1-866-HEATHELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit

HUD Awards $201 Million For New Local Homeless Programs

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan awarded nearly $201 million to support 731 new local homeless programs across the country. This funding provides critically needed emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent support for individuals and families and is a significant part of the Obama Administration’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.

HUD Awards $366,000 In Counseling Grants

As part of its continuing effort to help families’ find decent housing and to prevent future foreclosures, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $365,933 in housing counseling grants to 18 organizations in Colorado. As a result of this funding, Colorado households will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep their current homes. In addition to the funding to these state and local agencies, HUD is awarding $29 million to national, regional and multi-state counseling agencies that may also have an impact in Colorado communities.

Springs (UCCS). The poet and author is regarded as a leading scholar of the Cuban diaspora, and her work bridges art, litNEWS erature, literary criticism, creative writing and history. She partners with Housing counseling grants will local libraries and schools in developassist families in becoming homeowning writing and art programs. ers,Thomas many forHuber, the first time,professor and Ph.D., of remaining after their geographyhomeowners and environmental Studies purchase. They also provide assistance at UCCS. An alumto renters and the homeless, and offer nus of the University financial literacy training to individuof Colorado Boulder als and families. (CU-Boulder), he has worked on such New Grants ToprojSpur ects as habitat mapEducational Programs For ping of the Prebles People With Down Syndrome meadow jumping Global Down Syndrome mouse in Eland PasoNational County,Down vegetation Foundation mapping of large portions of Colorado Syndrome Congress announced the establishment of new grants intended to spur educational programs for people with Down syndrome. Five grants, up to $15,000 each will be offered to National Down Syndrome Congress affiliates over the next year. The grant applications are available and Deadline to submit the application is May 3.

Grant Awarded To Provide Energy Saving Improvements To Low-Income Homeowners

Denver Urban Renewal Authority announced its receipt of $250,000 from the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships to support energy effi

Warren Library, and mentoring girls at the Gilliam Youth Services Center and the Jefferson County Correction Facility. Angie White, M.A., doctoral candiVdate IEWS in the Department of Communication at ciency efforts She benefiting Denver resiCU-Boulder. dents atissues or below 300 percent of the studies of comfederal level, which generally munitypoverty building, coincides with 80 percent of HUD area experiential education median income levels. and poverty. Her The funds will used in conjuncresearch explores be how tion with improvement communication strate- efforts currently underway through gies may be used to DURA’s Single Family Rehabilitation and help people in poverty(SFR) empower Emergency Repair (EHR) loan themselves Home and move toward self-sufprograms. ficiency. For more information, visit a Honorees have demonstrated commitment to the advancebilitation, or calleducation, DURA at 303-534ment of higher a deeply 3872.

MHDSA Receives Grant To Support Its Programs

Deputy Manager of Denver’s Department of Finance. As Deputy Manager, Hollrah will be responsible for managing the Finance Department’s review of development proposals and for recommending public financing opportunities that maximize efficient use of city resources. She is also charged with leading a team dedicated to developing new strategies that leverage both city and non-city funding sources and facilitating the sound growth and development of Denver. Hollrah assumes the position after serving for four years in the Department of Finance as the City’s Capital Program Manager. In this role, Hollrah developed a new performance and accountability system for the allocation of capital funding

Mile High Down Syndrome Association has received a $60,000 Daniels Fund grant to expand its existing programs into rural areas, and to launch much-needed new programming that serves the needs of adults with Down syndrome. For 31 years, MHDSA has been serving Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, providing support to expectant parents, family members and caregivers of children with Down syndrome. For more information, call 303-7561699 or visit

Bell has worked in the mental health field, serving first as a registered nurse at Malcolm X Mental Health Center and going on to found and serve as executive director of Community Health Education Services, a nonprofit organization that provided education on reproductive health to youths in Aurora and Denver Public Schools. Wheeler-Bell is a graduate of the University of Colorado’s nursing school. She has served as a behavioral health nurse case manager for HCA Presbyterian/St. Luke Medical Center. Continuing her passion for adolescent reproductive health issues, she is also a certified trainer with the Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education. In 2009 Wheeler-Bell was honored for her work by The Black Professional Women’s Association.

2100 York Street - Denver, Colorado 80205 - 303-333-5077 s i m p l y f l o r a l b j @ a o l . c o m - w w w. s i m p l y b e a u t i f u l c o l o r a d o . c o m

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2012


Learn to Live Well with Diabetes An Evidence-Based Approach to Diabetes Self-Management The Center for African American Health offers FREE diabetes self-management training for those living with diabetes, at risk for diabetes and those caring for someone with diabetes. Participants will gain skills and support needed to improve their health-related quality of life and lessen the complications of diabetes. For a schedule of classes or for more information about diabetes, contact the Center for African American Health at 303-355-3423. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2012


Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 The 911 taped calls to the police department in Sanford suggest Zimmerman followed Martin despite no evidence that the teen was doing anything wrong, and Zimmerman ignored the warning to stay away. Based on whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s publicly known about the case, Michael Siegel, a former federal prosecutor who now directs the Criminal Justice Center and Clinics at the University of Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s law school, said it appears Sanford police were too quick to decide whether Zimmerman should be charged. If the evidence is murky, he said the usual practice is to make the arrest and let the court system sort it out. The Justice Department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation, and the local prosecutor has convened a grand jury for April 10 to determine whether to charge Zimmerman. This is the proper course of action since the Police Chief has stepped aside in order for this investigation to continue in the interest of the family, community and country. Lee has said the evidence in the case supported George Zimmermanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s claim that the Feb. 26 shooting of 17year-old Trayvon Martin was selfdefense. Sanford Police Chief Bill Leeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stepping aside while this investigation goes forward is window dressing, his resignation is a requirement. In the mean-time, someone (with the police department) has to explain to Trayvon Martinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family how a person can claim self-defense when they are pursuing (chasing) this young man and Zimmerman is in possession of a gun. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stand Your Ground Lawâ&#x20AC;? is a derivate of Broken Window Policing initially instituted by James Wilson and George Kelling in New York City with the approval of NY Mayor Giuliani and later within most police departments in the United States to include Denver, Colo. where over


policing and vigilante justice toward minority men is the norm.

Ted Moore, Aurora, CO

Time To Make Financial Change

Editor Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re at the beginning of an election year. If we want change nowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the time to make it happen. An example of what we have in Washington right now is the whole Congressional Insider Trading scandal. It has been going on for decades â&#x20AC;&#x201C; on both sides of the aisle. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not aware of how Congress has been lining its pockets with insider knowledge, just do an internet search. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be disgusted. They didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to change this great loophole for themselves, until they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar by some news services. Now, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re dragging their feet to change it. Obviously, they hope weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll forget about it, and they can continue making money in ways that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illegal for anyone else in the country to make money â&#x20AC;&#x201C; except for them. This is yet another example of all the unacceptable things going on in Washington. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s get together in November and change this!

WINDRUNNER is a romantic suspense novel by Lee McQueen. A cross-country chase carries Tolly Henry and Scott Windrunner on an adventure from Midwest rolling prairies to southwestern Rocky Mountains. ISBN 978-0-9798515-7-5 Available Spring 2012 at Independent Recording Artists

Trumpeter Doug Jackson & The DJQ Upcoming Performance Dates:

The Tennyson Tap, 38th and Tennyson 4/14/12, 9 PM to1 A.M. The Kasbah, 6th and Chambers in Aurora 4/27/12, 6:30 to 9 P.M.

Available for all Holiday Events, Special Occasions and...

Ozeme J. Bonnette The Christian Money Coach

303.355.4979 P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239


STORIES THRU IMAGERY â&#x20AC;˘ 720-621-6336

Transmission? We have your medicine!


Goochâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783 Making transmissions well for 22 years. Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; April 2012



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DUS April 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum April 2012 Issue

DUS April 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum April 2012 Issue