Volume 28 Number 1
African AmericansDenver, Colorado
Who Make a Difference
Mile High City
NewsViews Urban Spectrum Community Flickr
NotesInternetYouth Foundation FourSquare
25th Anniversary: Google
Letters to the EditorSocial Media
25 Timeless LegendsVine Texting
Hats Off To.... Message From the Publisher
Global Rosalind “Bee” HarrisInstagram ActionDigital Publishing
1987 - 2014
Cover design by Lorenzo Dawkins
Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes...
MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR Volume 28 Number 1
PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris
GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Angelia D. McGowan
CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson Wanda James Theo Wilson
FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams BlackFlix
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS LisaMarie Martinez Angelia D. McGowan Tanya Ishikawa ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cecile Perrin GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lorenzo Dawkins - Intern
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Sweetz Photography
ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Robin James DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch
The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2014 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.
Please join me in saying “Happy Anniversary!” to the Denver Urban Spectrum. This month marks 27 years since Rosalind “Bee” Harris founded the publication with the intention of highlighting the great works of African Americans and people of color in the Denver community and throughout the U.S. Positive stories and tidbits of countless people and events have graced the pages of the Spectrum, including filmmaker Lee Daniels, actor Bill Cobbs, Quincy Jones, Cleo Parker Robinson, Oprah Winfrey, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, The Asfaw Family, Lu Vason, the late Opalanga Pugh, KUVO’s Florence Hernandez-Ramos, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama – and the list goes on. Most recently, I think of the Spelman College Glee Club that honored more than 400 people with a concert at New Hope Baptist Church in March. I think of the well-deserved recognition for Denver’s share of Tuskegee Airmen over the years. In the not-so-distant past, I think of the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the African Americans it steered toward the Mile High City. It is in this anniversary issue we plan not to miss a beat in our broad range of coverage. This month’s cover package looks at how digital publishing impacts the newspaper industry and how etiquette is important for social media users. To acknowledge Sexual Assault Awareness Month, contributing writer LisaMarie Martinez shares Allyce “Ally” Redwine’s story of survival and entrepreneurship. On that note, Tanya Ishikawa looks at how two local entrepreneurs are investing in the cloud of Colorado’s distinction in the retail cannabis industry. We also take a look at tinnitus, defined as the ringing, buzzing, hissing, humming, roaring or whistling that someone hears when there is no external noise. The Denver Urban Spectrum is honored to continue reporting positive and informative stories about issues that impact communities of color. Spreading the news about people of color since 1987 has been a journey, but would not have been traveled without the support of our family, friends, readers, contributors and advertisers. With deep gratitude, we thank you! Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
A+ Denver Announces 2013 Game Changers
Former DPS Board Member Nate Easley led redesign efforts in far Northeast Denver despite having to make some politically difficult decisions. He supported both district-managed and charter schools, and often insisted on facility sharing in underutilized buildings. As a board member, Easley put the interests of kids before those of adults, and his leadership resulted in hundreds of new seats being made available across the district.
Editor: While we often talk about how Denver schools need improvement, we also happily acknowledge that there are incredible developments underway. Our game changers are individuals who, in 2013, led many of these efforts. Those who we are recognizing this year stood up against tall odds, sometimes took unpopular stances to retain a focus on kids, and ultimately laid the groundwork for future educators and policymakers. The four A+ Denver 2013 Game Changers demonstrated excellence in practice, politics or policy.
Marcia Neal, vice chairwoman of the Colorado State Board of Education, broke from a number of party-line votes to stand up for school and district accountability in the interests of low-income and students of color. Neal is a consistent and strong voice for high standards, ensuring that Colorado’s students are prepared for work, college and life. We thank these individuals for being an inspiration to us and for being true champions for kids in Denver.
Keith Mills, principal at Green Valley Ranch Elementary, and his staff have quietly taken GVR from “Yellow” to “Blue.” His highly-structured and seasoned approach has led to exceptional school performance and growth. It is great to see a districtmanaged school become an exemplar for other Colorado turnaround schools and we hope to see its practices replicated. Meanwhile, North High School’s Nicole Veltze and her staff have not so quietly made comprehensive and positive changes to North High School. She has focused on instruction and development of a school culture focused on learning. North has thus far shown student growth and we applaud Veltze’s tenacity and vision. We look forward to an increasing number of North students demonstrating college readiness.
A+ Denver Staff
Editor’s note: The mission of A+ Denver is to harness the power of Denver’s civic leadership to build public will and advocate for the changes necessary to dramatically increase student achievement in public education in Denver. It is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization working to bring the power of Denver’s citizens to the effort of school reform. For more information, visit www.aplusdenver.org.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Message to the Community
Editor: The Black American West Museum & Heritage Center Board of Directors would like to congratulate the newest members of our board. We are excited to have their skills and talents as we shape and forge new and exciting programs that will enhance our beloved museum. As with many other grassroots community organization, there are challenges, supporters, as well as detractors. The latter being the cause of recent media coverage about the museum. The Board has taken measures to rectify the situation and improve our internal business systems. We have a great team of talented and dedicated individuals that contribute thousands of personal hours and their own resources to support and advance the museum’s mission. We invite you to join in, and actively participate as we have embarked upon an exciting new year of events. The museum appreciates your visits, participation in our special events, volunteerism, membership, and prayers. Look for our grand-reopening spring 2014.
Black American West Museum & Heritage Center Board of Directors
Homosexual Civil Rights Is an Oxymoron
Editor: What happened to religious liberty and a church or business reserved right to “refuse service to anyone.” Businesses that refuse service to homo-electives, even on religious grounds, are being sued successfully Continued on page 30
n the last few years, the newspaper industry has reached a critical juncture — evolve with the latest technologies or risk dying. The cover story of the Aug. 24, 2006, print edition of The Economist asks, “Who Killed the Newspaper?” The 2008-09 recession pounded the nail in the coffins of many U.S. publications that fell victim to the predictions outlined in that article, namely decreased advertising, increased use of the internet and the inability to reach the younger generation. Reports from the Newspaper Association of America show total advertising revenues plunged from $49.3 billion in 2006 to $23.9 billion in 2011 — a 51.5 percent drop in five years. Cautionary headlines like “Newspaper Jobs Shrink 40 Percent In 10 Years” from Media Daily News on Sept. 19, 2012, warn journalists of the changing landscape. The numbers painted a dreary picture for those wanting to enter or maintain a long-term career in journalism. For those who survived to tell many more stories, including the Denver Urban Spectrum monthly newspaper, the learning curve has been rocky. DUS Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris says, “People are finding more ways to get the news through the internet, the advancement of technology – phones, tablets, internet, etc. – which undoubtedly, has caused a decrease in newspaper readers and subscribers. It has been a continual work in progress for us to serve our readers and our advertisers.” She adds, “Our advertisers’ goals are to advertise their product, service or event and our goal is to help them make that happen.” To keep up with the readers and advertisers, a revamped DUS website is slated to launch this spring as the publication heads into its 28th year of “spreading the news about people of color.“ Once a website is up with the bells and whistles, how do you make it work for you? Greg Moore, editor of The Denver Post, says, “The Denver Post (website) has more than five million monthly unique visitors and averages two million page views a day.” He says the challenge and difficulty lies in how to make money with that audience. “Retail advertisers are not flocking to the digital platform the way some thought they would and consumers are not all the way there yet in their willingness to pay for news,” he notes. “The industry is trying a number of
Staying Alive To Tell Your Story, By Angelia McGowan
things: creating specific products that people will pay for, such as apps for ski lovers or for those who love gardening, or for those who are intenseRosalind “Bee” Harris ly interested in their DUS Publisher football team.” Same Mission, Different Format Whether you are a daily, weekly or monthly publication, recouping your dollars is possible, but not easy. Moore says, “It has been demonstrated that people will pay for that specific content. They are trying other things such as custom content where advertisers are in control of the content they want their products to be associated with, casting their businesses in a good civic light.” On Feb. 25, 2014, the Michigan Free Press Association posted on its website this response to a competitor’s headline about the death of newspapers: “But newspapers aren’t dying. They are evolving. Just like the record industry. Just like the financial industry. Just like the travel industry. Just like the phone industry. Just like the retail industry. The internet has transformed these industries. It won’t stop with them. People still buy music... they just don’t buy it in record stores as much. People still talk on the phone... they just don’t use land lines like they used to.” The MFPA post goes on to report that people still read newspapers in print and digital formats — 77.1 percent of adults (that’s 5.3 million) during an average week in 2013. “Newspapers are adjusting their business models to account for this,” the reports states. For entrepreneurs in the news industry, the challenge of evolving the business model to survive in the digital age is all about discovering new revenue streams and keeping up with technological change. Rather than seeing the societal shift to online news gathering as an obstacle to profit and innovate, publishers are adapting to new social media and internet platforms to offer new advertising opportunities and more convenient, personalized ways to access information. Many industry experts have looked at different ways newspapers are dis-
covering new revenue streams, including the Pew Research Journalism Project, which produced a report on Feb. 11, 2013, called Greg Moore “Newspapers Turning Denver Post Editor Ideas into Dollars.” It looks at how newspapers are implementing a number of strategies from restructuring its sales force to rebranding the print product to web consulting for local merchants. Other strategies according to Moore can be found in the nonprofit sector. “Nonprofit foundations are financing partnerships with established news organizations and supporting independent digital operations such as the investigative news site Pro Publica out of New York,” he says. “So there are things the industry is doing to retrain consumers to pay for information and to give advertisers more control over their message. I am sure other methods will be embraced in the years ahead to generate revenue to pay for good journalism.” Covering Today’s News Now Moore says, “Our digital platform allows us to be more immediate in the coverage of breaking news such as floods, fires and shootings. We have more tools at our disposal than ever before — photo galleries, video and short tweets that are in effect the old AP news bulletin. That is exciting because we no longer have to wait until the next day to tell you what happened today. “We are also able to collect eye-witness accounts much faster and publish them in real time with Storify, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” he says. “It is an exciting time and a good one for journalism. More people than ever before are reading our work all over the world.” Though not covering daily issues, the Denver Urban Spectrum is covering news relevant to the African American community and to communities of color all over the globe. “Accessibility and the ability to reach the masses and going global has been a plus for digital publishing,” Harris says. “It’s a great feeling to view our stats and know that friends as far as Africa are
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
reviewing and reading the Spectrum.” Tanya Ishikawa, DUS contributing copy editor, points to the online Around Town Gallery as one of the innovative digital resources DUS has in place for readers. “In addition to providing a viewing portal for out of town family members, it provides access to photos that are in the newspaper as well as those that don’t make it in the publication with the option to purchase copies for themselves,” she says. The new technology also enables news media to reach youth – one of the challenges of antiquated distribution channels – i.e. hard copy. According to Moore, “Digital publishing and social media has really allowed legacy news organizations, especially newspapers, to reach a younger audience that gets its information primarily over their telephones and tablets. Without these digital platforms and Facebook and Twitter I am not sure we would be reaching this young audience the way we are now.”
Perspectives On The Life of Community Newspapers In the journalism profession for nearly four decades, Moore believes, “Community newspapers should have a long future as larger metro operations are much more affected by changes in technology and markets. Community news organizations are closer to ground zero and know their communities best and what they care about. And they are the best avenue for those local businesses to reach customers. I see them as remaining viable for a long time - so long as they are well run and relevant.” Harris agrees but concedes the print format is a dying breed and will be extinct one day even though today DUS print copies are in high demand, disappearing from stands almost immediately. “It’s just a sign of the times and technology is changing almost everything daily, literally. And the newspaper industry is no exception,” she says. After pushing through any number of challenges for more than a quarter of a century, Harris knows how to move to the next level. She says, “With almost everything, and without challenges, technology has helped and enhanced businesses to move to the next level. In order to survive and meet those challenges head on, businesses must step up to the plate and educate themselves in order to ‘keep up with the Jones’ of business, so to speak.”
LEGAL LINES: Recreational Marijuana Laws Question: “Can I lose my job
Answer: Yes, you can lose your
over recreational marijuana use?”
job because of the use, possession, sale or distribution of marijuana on the job.
While companies can choose to have different policies, many of them choose to have a “zero tolerance” policy. Many companies have zero tolerance for employees who sell or distribute marijuana at the worksite, and many have policies stating that possessing it on the job is also grounds for discharge. Likewise, you might assume that using it on the job, even on breaks, can get you fired. But what about just having it in your system when at work? What if you used it the night before, or the month before, and it’s still in your system when you are drug-tested? That’s a question that Brandon Coats learned the hard way. Coats was a medical marijuana user, who, according to the facts laid out in a recent decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals, Coats v. Dish Network LLC, had never used marijuana while at work. Still, he came up positive on a drug test and was discharged. The Colorado Court of Appeals held that nothing in Colorado’s medical marijuana statute gave him a right to use marijuana, at least not as to his employer. Rather, Colorado’s medical marijuana laws create a limited exception to criminal enforcement. On Jan. 27, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of Coats’ case. While some lawyers think the Court of Appeals got it wrong, and indeed one judge dissented, the decision is consistent with precedent and finds its roots in the undisputed principle that marijuana was and remains a federal controlled substance, even in states like Colorado that have now passed not only medical but recreational marijuana laws. Colorado’s medical and recreational marijuana laws have language saying they do not apply to employers, and while some attorneys believe that language should be read more narrowly than the Court of Appeals has, however it is read, whatever Colorado law might say, it remains federal law that marijuana is a criminally controlled substance.
So at this point in time, you clearly can lose your job because of marijuana use. This could eventually change, as a decision from the Colorado Supreme Court is expected later this year. Editor’s note: The Colorado Bar Association welcomes your questions on subjects of general interest. This column is meant to be used as general information. Consult your own attorney for specifics. To submit general legal questions to the CBA, email Courtney Gibb at firstname.lastname@example.org. About Legal Lines: Legal Lines is a question and answer column provided as a public service by the CBA. Attorneys answer questions of interest to members of the public for their general information.
About the Colorado Bar Association: The Colorado Bar Association is a voluntary bar association with more than 18,000 members — almost three-quarters of all attorneys in the state — founded in 1897. The bar provides opportunities for continuing education, volunteering and networking for those in the legal profession while upholding the standards of the bar. The bar likewise works to secure the efficient administration of justice, encourage the adoption of proper legislation and perpetuate the history of the profession and the memory of its members. For more information, visit cobar.org.
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ou’ve kept up with the latest technology trends by jumping on the social networking train and signing up for accounts with sites consistently ranked among the most popular social networking platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your passport to the infinite joys and woes of the world is at your fingertips. You can join a conversation, share a photo, retweet an interesting nugget of information, connect with peers in your industry or look up a childhood friend. Some people have attended training classes on how to navigate this new world. But many have picked up the “do’s and don’ts” by trial and error. A range of social media experts, entrepreneurs and bloggers have been referenced to provide tips on social media etiquette for parents, job seekers and the general population. These tips serve as only a reminder to some, but for others this list will serve as a heads up to avoid awkward or embarrassing moments as you grow in this ever-evolving social media lifestyle. Act the way you’d want to be treated: If you care about people crediting you, credit other people. If you care about being polite and responding to people on Twitter, respond politely to them. If you want to have people leave insightful comments (and not just promotions) on Facebook, do the same for them. Actual conversations: Have you ever worked with someone who refuses to pick up the phone, insisting that everything can be solved through email or texting? We all know the types of misunderstandings that occur with electronic communication. It’s difficult to convey intent and tone through a text message or email. When you can, opt for a phone call. Be accountable for your actions: Because of the anonymity the Internet allows, there is little to no accountability online. People say and do whatever they please without facing any repercussions. Don’t be that guy. Instead, try to be honorable by taking responsibility for your actions online. Be aware: Don’t ignore people who take the time to interact with you. Work with whatever feedback you can get, respond to it, and build relationships based off mutual understanding. Be knowledgeable and up-to-date about the political climate surrounding your industry. Be a thought-leader in changes taking place in your field. Being offensive/inappropriate: An illadvised joke or offhand comment
A Social Media Lifestyle: Do’s and Don’ts By Angelia D. McGowan
could tag you with an unintended and unfair bias if seen by the wrong person. Consider who might potentially see your words. Before you click “post,” think about your boss, your co-workers and the next company for which you hope to work. Be strategic (in business) with your content: Share articles, videos, blog posts and other content that people in your target industry, or at your target organization(s), will find useful. Build quality relationships: People are more willing to help those who they really know. By building quality relationships with other users, you’ll always have someone in your corner to back you up. Remember, relationships require the participation of both parties; so, always be a good participant in your social media relationship. Choose your friends carefully: Forget about trying to control the people who follow you, and focus on one thing you can definitely control — who you choose to follow. Don’t friend, follow and collect contacts indiscriminately. Haphazard hoarding is ineffective and tends to cheapen the solid contacts you make. Comments follow you: Much like comments on a website, comments, responses, likes, dislikes, rants, pictures and hashtags are, for better or worse, forever. Because social media feels like a place where people can just
be themselves and say things off the cuff, people often say things they wouldn’t typically say in public. But unless all your accounts are private, what you’re saying is most definitely in public. Consider the tone: Humble-bragging, outright bragging, constant complaining and endless rhetorical questions never go over well with readers. If you find your tone slipping into these territories, it may be time to consider whether this is the right outlet for you. Create a presence: Post regular updates on what’s happening in your biz. Don’t disappear for huge stretches of time – your followers might just forget about you completely. Don’t assume everyone is on your level: Be sensitive to the varying perspectives of visitors to your page. Explain your reasoning, cite your sources, and tailor your rhetoric to the individuals you interact with. Don’t be a keyboard gangsta: Probably the worst thing about the Internet is the keyboard gangstas…They sit at their keyboard talking trash to everyone they encounter. They say things online that they would never have the nerve to say to a real person’s face. Facebook over sharing: Don’t overshare on Facebook. Though you are sharing with your friends, no one wants to know the minute details of your life. Before you post something,
Top 5 Social Networking Sites & Wikipedia Definitions
Most popular social networking sites (as of March 2014) as derived from eBizMBA Rank (ebizmba.com), which is a constantly-updated average of each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.
1. Facebook is an online social networking service. Founded: February 2004.
2. Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Founded: July 2006
3. LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded: December 2002
4. Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. Founded: March 2010
5. Google is an American multinational corporation specializing internet-related services and products. These include search, cloud computing, software and online advertising technologies. Founded: September 1998 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
ask yourself whether you would talk about the content of your post at a crowded cocktail party. Falling Victim to “Tagging”: If you are social media friends with some lessthan-discreet people who go taghappy after a couple of drinks or have a tendency to toss “inside jokes” out where they don’t belong, you need to protect yourself. In addition to asking them politely not tag you in potentially humiliating photos, you can also adjust your settings so that anyone who tags you in a picture has to ask for permission first. Get in the game: Some people are so afraid of damaging social media mistakes that they avoid the whole scene altogether. But that can be costly too, as social networks have become prime recruiting territory… At the very least, maintain an updated business profile on LinkedIn. It’s the first place many employers go to check you out, and if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile it likely sends the message that you’re not current. Give more than you receive: If you want to receive attention from others online, you have to be willing to give it first. It’s the old “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” routine. You can’t bust onto a social media site with a sense of entitlement thinking you should be a top user immediately. You have to earn respect from others. Listen to others: Your first reaction whenever someone disagrees with you online is probably to tell them how wrong they are. Instead of constantly fighting back, take the time to listen to what they’re really saying. Listen to the people commenting on your blog or tweeting at you. Understand where they’re coming from. Maintain your accounts: Update daily, if possible. But don’t update so much that your posts become white noise. Not everything is personal: I have friends who seem to live and die by Facebook. If someone doesn’t friend them, they think there’s secretly a huge war brewing between them and this now former friend. But sometimes it’s not about you, Facebook or any perceived slight. Sometimes someone missed your request or just isn’t signing on as much. Either way, if you truly feel you’ve been slighted by someone you know well in real life, send them an actual email to ask. Pay attention to the purpose: If you find your favorite Internet personality has a private personal Twitter feed and a public business feed, which is the right one to contact about work? Yep, the last one….Most people have
websites with submission or contact forms. Use those rather than constant tweets and updates. Pin what you have permission to pin. I know this is probably archaic and old-school of me, but I genuinely hope people respect photographers, stylists and content creators and can credit them as often as possible. Pushing the envelope: One of the fastest ways to alienate people online is to constantly flood them with requests for helping you out. Whether you’re constantly shouting your content or always tweeting asking people to comment on your blog, eventually, everyone will lose their patience with you. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. People will tune you out if you’re constantly pushing the envelope. Questionable connections: Treat invitations to connect on LinkedIn like introductions at a networking event. You wouldn’t approach a stranger at an event and open with, “Can you help me get a job at your company.” So, don’t do it on LinkedIn. Remember whom you are “talking” to online: On Facebook, for example, you are sharing information with everyone that you have added as a friend. On Twitter you are sharing information with everyone… period. Twitter is a public network. Retweet regrets: …retweeting or
Having coffee with friends.
sharing posts you haven’t actually read is risky… Headlines rarely reveal the whole story. If you’re an online influencer, your audience counts on you to be a valid source of information. So before you attach your reputation to an article or photo link, make sure it’s what you think it is. Skip the call-outs: Let’s be honest. As fun as it can be to discover internet gossip (I’m pretty sure there are enough sites devoted to that), it’s more fun to avoid the hurt feelings, damaged reputation and upset readers that come with calling people out, vaguely or directly… Talk to that person privately or just let it go. The grandma test: Do not post photos that you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. Furthermore, make sure you are aware of all of the photos you are tagged in and make sure they pass the same test. Think social butterfly: Engage your peers, both current and future. Ask and answer questions, join conversations and groups, comment on others’ updates, retweet, etc. Too Negative: Gut-check your clever comments to see that they do indeed come off as “clever” rather than silly or snarky. Be engaging and encouraging of others. Your online showcase should include the successes of colleagues, not just promotions of your own.
Editor’s note: This section references a March 20, 2014 blog, “Social Media Etiquette for Parents,” by Julie Fison at JulieFison.com
6 Tips for Parents
•Avoid posting embarrassing pictures of your teen on social media. Teens are no different from adults. No one likes a bad picture being posted for everyone to see. I check with my sons before putting their pictures on Facebook. \
•‘Befriend’ your teen early on. If you are going to be friends with your teen on Facebook, do it as soon as they join up. It will get harder as they get older and value their privacy more.
•Don’t forget to update privacy settings regularly. And make sure teens are familiar with how to keep themselves safe online. They should avoid giving out personal information and be aware that there are predators in the virtual world.
•How to “like” on your teen’s page. Social media is mostly about validation and popularity for teens (and some adults) so a ‘like’ is a ‘like’ even if comes from a parent. At that point you’re a statistic not an embarrassing contributor. But as I have mentioned, it is apparently not appropriate for a parent to ‘like’ a teen’s friend’s post. That is just awkward. •Observe but don’t contribute to a conversation on your teen’s Facebook page. Even if you are itching to correct their spelling, point out grammatical errors or offer unsolicited advice, your views are not welcome.
•Set time limits on social media. Get the smart phone out of your teen’s room when they are meant to be doing homework to avoid social media distractions.
R e s o u r c e s :
•Debra Donston-Miller, “Social Networking Do’s and Don’ts,” TheLadders.com •Eric Brantner, “The 11 Rules of Social Media Etiquette,” Digitallabz.com •Fiona Severson, Feb. 10, 2013, Getting Social: The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Marketing, Business2Community.com •Grace Bonney, Feb. 8, 2013, Modern Etiquette: Social Media Do’s & Don’ts, DesignSponge.com.
The day that
feared may have finally arrived.
Cheering on your team.
Out on an intimate date.
•Heather Dugan, Nov. 8, 2012, “11 Social Media Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making,” Huffington Post. •Laura Hale Brockway, Feb. 23, 2013, “What Would Jane Austen Do? A Guide to Social Media Etiquette,” http://www.entrepreneur.com •Rebekka Goldberg, “The Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Students (Applying to College),” March 13, 2013, edsocialmedia.com
A day at the beach.
Having dinner out with your friends. Having a conversation with your BFF. A visit to the museum. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Enjoying the sights.
living in a 5,000 square foot home with a three-car garage, having luxury items, such as a boat and a Mercedes, to having $34.17 in her bank account, unemployment and divorce. She was fully convinced a greater purpose lived within her. To create income she started cooking for her friends. She started a concierge service and went grocery shopping for her girlBy LisaMarie Martinez friends. She prepared meal plans for them, packaged the food they requested, and prehe price of sented the food however they wanted happiness, Allyce it. The level of happiness she gained ‘Ally’ Redwine diswas as authentic as the blue eyes she had inherited from her Irish greatcovered, translates grandfather. She was happy whether into the exposure of she was paid a lot, a little, or not at all her hidden pain, for "When you leave your job...that she providfor the food services the purpose of helped. don't leave your money behind!" ing others. Her passion to create the best As the founder her enjoyment Myra Donovan, events, CLU, ChFC, CFP in making and creator of hand-made invitations, and her love Financial Adviser Delicious and of serving and entertaining for others Divine, an exclusive led this mother of three children – Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 catering3200 business of ages two, three, and four – to return to Denver, CO 80209school in 2005. She became a certified homemade quick 303-871-7249 -event www.myradonovan.com breads and desserts, Redwine forges planner by 2007. Being a finanahead with the unique purpose of cially-stable single mom was imporstanding and baking against childtant to her. "Call Today for asheFREE hood sexual trauma. Her office In the spring of 2009, experiopened on Nov. 8, 2013 in Cherry enced aConsultation!" sexual assault at the hands of Creek North. someone close to the family. Because Prior to the formation of Delicious of this, she could not sleep for days, and Divine, she went from receiving a and she temporarily lost custody of six-figure income as a fraud investigaher children due to being initially tor for 22 years in the insurance indus- viewed as having a psychiatric conditry, being married with three children, tion as opposed to someone who
Courageous Baking Promotes Support, Healing and Perseverance
Alexa Priddy, MA (Director of Training & Communications, CCASA) and Allyce Redwine
experienced trauma from a sexual assault. Although she was able to forgive her violator in a face-to-face meeting to start the healing process, she quickly learned the task of forgiving herself, as a sexual assault survivor, was inconceivable at that time in her life. She also learned that not everyone closest to her would support her, much less believe she was sexually assaulted. Accepting her long-term need for treatment from the sexual trauma, she began receiving treatment at Kaiser Permanente, which helped in her healing process as well as her children’s healing process. What she learned through this treatment was that she was inappropriately touched as a child, as a preteen, as a teenager and as an adult.
A Sense of Normalcy
In her desire to continue providing vacations for her children she worked a part-time job in the airline industry at the airport in 2009. With her coworkers she discussed her visions of having a virtuous house where others could come and share their emotional wounds, their traumas, and childhood healings; the subject matter of which she knew all too well, but just did not know how to put it all together. One day, a supervisor suggested she put together brown-bag lunches as a way to talk to other people at the airport about her visions. She did. This was
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how she met a man named Cole. Redwine baked cookies and brownies for Cole. Creating recipes became her healing process. Every payday he would give her money and ask her to bake him something sweet, which she did. In turn, Cole told others about how ‘there’s this woman named Delicious (‘Ally’), because everything she makes is delicious.’ As a result when she walked through the airport with a basket in hand of baked goods for Cole, others would call out to her saying ‘hey Delicious, what do you have in your basket?’ She credits Cole for the creation of Delicious. Although she was experiencing some level of happiness in her life, she had an odd moment while at work. While going outside to a dumpster to throw away some trash, her thoughts were consumed with doubt and confusion about her purpose in life. She found she had no answers for herself, despite being college educated and having a certification in event planning. It was at that moment Cole’s voice called out to her saying ‘Delicious, you have anything for me?’ Her immediate response to him was, ‘I have some Divine for you.’ Cole said, ‘Okay Delicious and Ms. Divine I want my stuff.’ From 2011 through 2013 Redwine met with Elena Vasconez, the director of the Women’s Business Center at Mi Casa Resource Center, and began developing Delicious and Divine
through a business program she enrolled in (and is now a graduate) at Mi Casa and through the support of Metropolitan State University of Denver. Mi Casa is a non-profit organization which offers youth development, career services, and services for small business owners of any ethnic/gender background, who want to start and grow their business. Dateless on Valentine’s Day 2013 she decided to research online for organizations to join which shared her vision of helping others with sexual trauma. It was on this day she joined the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) and its Survivor Task Force and committee for planning the Sexual Assault Awareness Month of Colorado for 2013. She also donated baked goods for the volunteers and their kick-off event, and signed up for fundraising events such as CCASA’s Denim Day. CCASA is a statewide membership organization which promotes safety, justice, and healing for survivors of sexual assault as well as working toward the elimination of sexual violence. Its members consist of a wide range of backgrounds: community members wanting to give back, counselors, mental health professionals, businesses, law enforcement personnel, district attorney offices, and community-based rape crisis centers. Through her commitments to CCASA that spring she met Alexa Priddy, MA, director of Training and Communications at CCASA. She informed Redwine that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. April 12, 2013 became Redwine’s ‘coming out’ day of publicly speaking about the history of sexual trauma in her life. As a new member of the Survivor Task Force last year, she allowed her ‘eye’ to be photographed and mounted onto the ‘Eye of Survivors Ribbon’; an art exhibit which consisted of a collection of stone-mounted photographs of other Survivor Task Force members’ eyes, placed in an awareness ribbon format. It symbolized the magnitude
Cecile Perrin 720-436-9822 firstname.lastname@example.org • sweetzphotography.photoreflect.com facebook.com/sweetzpics
of sexual violence in Colorado. Priddy felt sexual assault survivors within the African-American community (and other marginalized communities) could have difficulty coming forward to seek services due to the discrimination and oppression the AfricanAmerican community has been subjected to surrounding this matter. She viewed Redwine’s decision to come forward regarding her sexual trauma, her decision to use Delicious and Divine to increase sexual assault awareness, and her partnership with CCASA as a beginning in her lifelong healing process. It would enable her to regain her personal power and be an inspiration to others within the African-American community and other communities.
Betrayal of Trust
Redwine strives to remind others that sexual trauma not only affects those who were violated, but also those around them such as family, significant others and friends. Also, that the majority of sexual violence is perpetrated by someone the person knows, someone they trust, and/or someone the family trusts. This betrayal of trust is what can increase the trauma experienced and greatly impact the survivor when others tend to support the perpetrator rather than the survivor in these circumstances. This is why she believes the assault continues and why survivors do not come forward and seek treatment services. They do not feel others will believe them. Consequently it can make it difficult for them to form relationships. Redwine also emphasizes, from her experience, the need to protect children who have experienced an act of sexual assault, and to support them in their healing process. She said one way of showing support of these children’s healing is by being aware of the potential exposure to their violators during holidays, weddings, or funerals if the violators were family members or close to the family.
SUITE PORGY AND BESS SUITE ANDREW LITTON, CONDUCTOR/PIANO YUMI HWANG-WILLIAMS, VIOLIN SILVER AINOMÄE, CELLO COLORADO SYMPHONY CHORUS, DUAIN WOLFE, DIRECTOR
MAY 16-18 FRI & SAT 7:30 SUN 2:30
FEATURING VOCALISTS: JANICE CHANDLER ETEME, SOPRANO (BESS) KAREN SLACK, SOPRANO (SERENA) HOWARD HASKIN, TENOR (SPORTIN’ LIFE) GORDON HAWKINS, BARITONE (PORGY)
BEETHOVEN CONCERTO IN C MAJOR FOR PIANO, VIOLIN, AND CELLO, “TRIPLE CONCERTO” GERSHWIN/LITTON SUITE FROM PORGY AND BESS
Take a trip to Catfish Row, home to the cast of characters who populate Gershwin’s beloved folk opera, Porgy and Bess. Music Director, Andrew Litton will conduct his own edition of this American classic, which is as famous for its historical significance as for songs including “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Loves You Porgy.” With world-class vocalists and the Colorado Symphony Chorus, this production will make you rise up singing.
Upcoming Events: Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault Kick-off Event for Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Tuesday, April 1, noon to 1 p.m. at the State Capitol of Denver in the old Supreme Court Chambers. On Friday, April 25, Delicious and Divine is sponsoring an open house presentation at Mi Casa from 6 to 8 p.m., which will include food prepared by a chef, a wine and cheese fundraiser and a silent auction. The proceeds will go toward a scholarship to enroll another student into the business program at Mi Casa.
TICKETS COLORADOSYMPHONY.ORG CALL 303.623.7876 BOX OFFICE MON-FRI 10 AM - 6 PM :: SAT 12 PM - 6 PM STUDENT $10 TICKETS DAY OF WITH VALID STUDENT ID WHERE Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex
Editor’s Note: For more information on CCASA, email email@example.com or visit www.ccasa.org; Mi Casa visit www.MiCasaResourceCenter.org; Delicious and Divine, call 303-337-5280 or visit www.deliciousanddivine5280.com,
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Entrepreneurs Aim To Educate Cannabis Consumers
As the recreational marijuana
By Tanya Ishikawa
industry in Colorado grows, local entrepreneurs are on the leading edge of cannabis tourism. Denver restaurateur and political consultant Wanda James and retired real estate and mortgage broker Al Bowen share a vision of helping businesses connect with customers for safe recreational and medical marijuana consumption. “Colorado needs to be a voice for moving forward,” says James, who operates Jezebels Southern Bistro + (Whiskey) Bar and formerly ran 8 Rivers Restaurant. “This is an important industry. There’s been minimal crime at Denver’s dispensaries – much less than at local banks and pharmacies. We’ve received no help from our elected officials, especially the ones from the African American community, yet this industry thrives here in Colorado.” A report by the state’s Department of Revenue shows the combined taxes collected from recreational and medicinal marijuana businesses statewide were $2.9 million in January. Just 59 businesses that filed returns contributed that amount, which includes the 15 percent excise tax, 10 percent special sales tax and 2.9 percent sale tax on recreational sales, as well as the 2.9 percent sales tax on medical sales. The amount did not include any additional taxes charged by cities or counties. The figure indicates the total sales by all current businesses may have been more than $10 million for the first month that both recreational and
medicinal cannabis were legally operating. And that figure is bound to multiply dramatically as another 101 recreational marijuana businesses are licensed but not yet operating. “As a race of humans, we have always done something to change our perspective,” says James. “We have always been a society that looks to plants to help us relax, such as wine, alcohol or chamomile. Cannabis is straight from plants, straight from nature, straight from God.” James and her husband, Scott Durrah, opened one of Colorado’s first medical marijuana dispensaries in 2009, and Simply Pure Edibles producing edible cannabis products in 2010. However, they shut down both businesses in 2012 when Wells Fargo closed their bank accounts due to fear of federal enforcement. “We got frustrated,” she explains. “Owning a cannabis business was a political move on my part because of the number of African Americans who are incarcerated due to cannabis laws,” she says, adding that cannabis prohibition created the most racist laws ever.
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Education, Entertainment, and Enjoyment
James is now a managing partner with her firm, Cannabis Global Initiative. Started with business partners, including California attorney and former Kush magazine publisher Bob Selan in October 2013, CGI works with municipalities to “usher in the age of legal cannabis. We help them create the legislative measures to legally regulate and tax cannabis in way that works for businesses, patients and recreational users,” she adds. CGI has plans to work with Florida, Michigan and numerous islands in the Caribbean.
“We’re trying to bring a whole new industry to Detroit, and fill the empty car factories with cannabis and hemp,” she notes. The firm is already working with Jamaica, and has plans in the Caribbean to open the first resort of its type to teach people to cook with cannabis and use it for ailments. In Denver, the Simply Pure School of Cooking will open with the same purpose.
Colorado that include a dispensary visit and guidance on how to include recreational or medical marijuana into a vacation in the metro area. “When I sat down with a staff member at Crowne Plaza Denver to discuss ways our guests could enjoy a 420-friendly tour, she said the hotel has already hosted some cannabis tourists,” Bowen said. “She said they were easy-going, well-behaved and returned to the hotel hungry, so food sales at the restaurant and on-site shop went way up.” Mile High Classics Tour includes air fare between Denver and cities like Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. After stepping off the airplane, guests are taken by bus directly to a tour of Medicine Man dispensary and later to a welcome buffet dinner party at Classics Events Center. The rest of the tour includes a lot of free time where guests can enjoy the city as described on the tour company’s website and with links to online resources. An optional day trip to the Black Hawk and Central City casinos is also offered. The plan is to fill each tour with 100 guests from one or two different cities. “Right now, it’s a business of opportunity for local entrepreneurs. Cannabis is a hot subject. People are interested in it for a lot of different reasons. Some people are just coming here to enjoy it.
“I think that Colorado has an amazing opportunity to grow its tourism with cannabis,” James says. “Denver is constantly promoting the alcohol and bar industries. Meanwhile, during the Great American Beer Festival, the number of assaults and rapes in Lo Do went up tremendously. That’s something you don’t get with cannabis. People are finding out that cannabis is a much safer alternative to alcohol. Cannabis doesn’t make you aggressive, mean or want to beat up your girlfriend.” Bowen, the chief operating officer of Mile High Classic Tours, agrees that cannabis tourists are a great market. He recently began promoting tours to
Some people know it will eventually come to their states so they are looking at us from the business side,” says Bowen His business partner is Roland “Fatty” Taylor. They believe businesses like theirs enhance the state’s tourism industry, which already has so much to offer. “Our focus is educational first, then entertainment and enjoyment. We educate people about the industry and the laws. When they see and tour Medicine Man, they get to see firsthand what’s needed to grow and sell a safe, controlled product in a safe, state-inspected environment.”
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Weighing the Scales of Color, Cannabis and Justice
By Wanda James
times in history, people of color
miss the opportunity to benefit
from progress. As our state embraces the impact of medical breakthroughs
and record-high revenues from
cannabis, many of us are still begging law enforcement to continue the war on our children, completing the pat-
tern of racism which began in 1937. Welcome to “Blowing Smoke.” We say someone is “blowing smoke” when they try to pretend like they know something they really don’t understand. Each month, “Blowing Smoke,” will be the place to begin to understand the plant, we call marijuana, weed, pot…..cannabis and all of the issues, concerns and politics that comes with it. As we celebrate the first 4/20 since cannabis became legal for recreational use in Colorado, let’s talk about why this is significant for people of color. In 2012, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and the Drug Policy Alliance endorsed legalization and released the study “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” based on FBI crime data for the last decade in Colorado. In it, the FBI reported 86 percent of the people arrested for cannabis possession were 34 years or younger and people of color were clearly targeted. The study also found: Colorado arrested Latinos for marijuana possession at 1.5 times the rate of whites, and arrested Blacks at 3.1 times the rate of whites. Yet Blacks and Latinos use marijuana at lower rates than young whites. Latinos represent 19 percent of Colorado’s residents, but they represent 25 percent of the people arrested for marijuana possession. African Americans and Latinos are less than a quarter (23 percent) of Colorado’s residents; they made up more than a third (35 percent) of the
people arrested for marijuana possession. In Denver, Blacks were almost four times as likely to be arrested for lowlevel marijuana possession, even though they are no more likely to use marijuana than whites. However, there is some great news for Colorado. Legalization was passed by a political landslide, garnering a 10 point victory with 53,000 more votes than President Barack Obama. Since then, arrests have dropped 81 percent according to the Colorado Judicial Branch.
“The origin of the
term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20, has long
been forgotten as to why it is an event.
na laws that no longer exist, according to the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling and galvanizing The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, said it best, “There are important victories in legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington, in Holder speaking out against mandatory minimums and felon disenfranchisement, in politicians across the country raising concerns about the size of the prison state for the first time in 40 years, but much of the dialogue is still driven by fiscal concerns rather than genuine concern for the people and communities most impacted, the families destroyed.” Now that cannabis is legal, I would imagine that as good stewards of our tax dollars, we would demand an audit of any police agency spending more resources on marijuana enforcement after an 81 percent drop in arrests. Have a happy, legal and safe 420. And we are not blowing smoke.
“The decline is most notable for charges of petty marijuana possession, which dropped from an average of 714 per month during the first nine months of 2012 to 133 per month during the same period in 2013 - a decline of 81 percent.” So why are some of Colorado’s highest ranking politicians and law enforcement speaking poorly about cannabis? It appears to be based on the money lost by law enforcement since they can no longer make cases against cannabis possession. And that amount of money lost is huge. According to a letter from the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police to the governor’s office, they want a larger amount of the estimated $133 million tax revenue that legal pot sales are expected to generate in 2014. They apparently don’t feel like the $3 million that is proposed to be spent on law enforcement and public safety is adequate. However, the savings from legalizing cannabis has to be taken into consideration. Since pot was legalized in Colorado in 2012, an average of 600 fewer people have been arrested per month on possession charges. Colorado spent $1.3 billion per year enforcing marijua-
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Editor’s note: “Blowing Smoke” is written each month by Wanda James, managing partner at the Cannabis Global Initiative and a leading advocate in the cannabis industry. She worked with the regulatory process to bring medical marijuana to fruition and was appointed to the Colorado Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force Work Group. James’ political and professional work on cannabis reform has led to her being featured in numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on CNBC’s Marijuana USA. She and her husband Scott, also own Jezebels’ Southern Bistro + (Whiskey) Bar in Denver. Send any questions or comments to Wanda@NoBlowingSmoke.org.
Immersive Program Teaches HOPE Students About The Arts, Multiculturalism
For many students, learning in a traditional setting can be difficult. HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op’s unique approach to education recognizes that for at-risk students to be successful, establishing a sense of belonging and affiliation is just as critical as providing high-quality curriculum. In its continued effort to provide a diverse variety of activities that encourage student engagement, HOPE partnered with Arts Across Cultures to provide an immersive arts curriculum to students – including a rigorous dance, music and visual arts program that explore various themes of multiculturalism. Through the program, students not only discover the arts, but also begin to see the many similarities and connections among different cultures. “Art creates something so exciting for the kids, and they look forward to it,” said Kenny Passarelli, Arts Across Cultures music director. Over the course of the school year, HOPE Students from Awaken Academy, HOPE at Hillcrest and I AM Learning Academy have been working to create a comprehensive arts production, titled “The Tree of
HOPE at Hillcrest Students construct the Tree of Hope with artist mentor Beatriz Gomez
Kindergarten students from Awaken Academy paint instruments at the Denver Art Museum
HOPE.” Students are creating artwork with recyclable materials, writing original songs about the environment and learning traditional Mexican choreography. Their efforts will culminate in a performance at the Denver Art Museum’s El Día Del Niño celebration on April 27. Students in the program get the opportunity to work with professional artist mentors. For example, HOPE students recently visited the Denver Art Museum to work with resident artist Beatriz Gomez to create percussion instruments for their production. “All the materials used in the set design are recycled materials, so now the students are beginning to see trash differently,” said Gomez, who previously designed sets for David Copperfield. “Suddenly a rock can be made into a face, and a piece of paper can become a flower. We want to give them new eyes to see through world
around them, and they have been very responsive.” And while the artist mentors lead the instruction, it is the students who are actively involved in creating. “I like dancing and making music, but for me, the best thing about this program is that I get to make things,” said Kameron, a HOPE fifth grader from Hillcrest Learning Center. “Right now we are making a tree for the set out of chicken wire and twigs. It’s really cool.” One of the most important aspects of Arts Across Cultures is that the program is free to HOPE students – arts programs can often be costly for parents, so high-risk students sometimes miss out on such opportunities, and therefore the associated benefits. “It is no secret that arts education improves learning across all academic areas,” said Janelle Ayon, the Arts Across Cultures Artistic Director.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
“We’ve been able to track some of the students who have participated in the program for the past few years; Not only are they re-enrolling, but their test scores are improving. It is truly amazing. I attribute that to the strength of the academics at HOPE. The two — arts and academics — really play off one another.” Arts Across Cultures exposes students to experiences and art forms they may not have experienced before. For example, Dawnielle, a third grader at Hillcrest Learning Center, said she has become very interested in dancing through her participation in the program. “Ms. Janelle taught us to salsa dance, and now, when I watch ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ I know that I can learn those dances too,” she said. The Denver Art Museum’s El Día Del Niño celebration will take place on April 27, with HOPE students taking the main stage at 1 p.m. Family and friends of all ages are encouraged to attend. The museum will also offer free admission during the event from 12 to 4 p.m.
Editor’s note: For further information on HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op, call HOPE’s founder and CEO, Heather O’Mara at 720- 402-3000 or email info@HOPEonline.org.
Eula Adams Heeds His Next Call to Solve the Tinnitus Crisis By Kurt Holzberlein Eula Adams
Eula Adams sits in his
Westminster office contemplating something that heâ€™s been hearing
about since last December when he
took on the CEO role at Neuromonics, Inc. Itâ€™s that, according to the U.S.
Department of Defense, 34 percent of
all veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from tinnitus â€“ the ringing, buzzing, hissing, humming, roaring or whistling that someone
hears when there is no external sound around them. In other words, the
quiet becomes loud. With more than 50 million people in the United States alone suffering from tinnitus, itâ€™s not a problem restricted to the military. â€œWhile Iâ€™m concerned about all cases of tinnitus, the figure among veterans is amazing,â€? says Adams. â€œThereâ€™s another, unofficial number Iâ€™ve heard, which is that 170,000 veterans have experienced hearing damage. It is a rough, unofficial estimate, but it underscores the severity of the problem.â€? Itâ€™s a large number, but hearing damage may not be as startling as the loss of limbs, sight or burns that have occurred and occupy nightly news reports. So why is Adams so concerned? â€œPeople arenâ€™t taking this as seriously as they should,â€? he says. â€œMany people experience tinnitus symptoms after exposure to loud noises from machinery, or at a concert or sporting event. But the symptoms go away
quickly. In some cases, though â€“ such as with many veterans â€“ the symptoms are permanent, and worsen. The constant aggravation can be debilitating to the point where it seriously interferes with peopleâ€™s lives. Some sufferers even consider suicide. â€œOur service members have already sacrificed enough for this country,â€? says Adams. â€œNow to endure a life of constant noise, often accompanied by anxiety and depression, is too much. Itâ€™s not something I take lightly.â€? Doing what he can to better the community is something that Adams has never taken lightly. He credits many mentors and role models throughout his life for helping to foster a sense of leadership, and encouraging him to do what he can to improve both the African-American community and community at large. â€œAll along my educational and career path, Iâ€™ve never forgotten what these great individuals have shared with me,â€? says Adams. â€œInitially, the idea of being a positive role model for people of color was most important to me. But as I have matured as an executive, it has expanded to being a role model for people who come from very modest or meager beginnings, and particularly those who came from families in which they were the first to go to college.â€? Since receiving his undergraduate degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Adams has excelled in many roles. He earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School. When he joined Touche Ross (now Deloitte), in Atlanta, he worked his way up to becoming the companyâ€™s first AfricanAmerican partner. At First Data Corporation, he led worldwide teams, serving as senior vice president. At Sun Microsystems in Broomfield, he was a senior vice president, managing critical components of the companyâ€™s core mission. â€œWhen I sit in senior-most positions, Iâ€™m ever-mindful of what the people around me and beneath me have to endure, and have had to endure, to get to where they are today.â€? His business success has inspired plenty of professionals, but his philanthropic work â€“ for the military and for the African-American community â€“ is something of greater pride. â€œNow with Neuromonics, I can combine my professional work with my desire to make a difference.â€? Providing help for tinnitus sufferers Adamsâ€™ latest professional calling has him leading Neuromonics, a global company that develops, manufactures and markets medical devices to treat tinnitus. Each looks like a small, digital music player that fits comfort-
ably into the patientâ€™s lifestyle. While the patient listens to soothing music, thereâ€™s a special tone embedded that works to retrain the brain on how it responds to the tinnitus sound. Since the early 1990s, Neuromonics has helped thousands of people around the world find relief from their tinnitus. He says, â€œIâ€™ve seen some amazing results. I know that we can make a difference for those who suffer from tinnitus.â€? Since the first invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and then Iraq in 2003, the incidents of tinnitus have skyrocketed among military veterans. Tinnitus knows no color barriers, either, in the general population and among the military. Approximately 18 percent of all service people in Iraq and Afghanistan are African American. Using the unofficial number of 170,000 cases of hearing loss as a result of the conflicts, about 29,000 African-American veterans suffer from varying levels of tinnitus. â€œA small number of audiologists at veterans administration hospitals across the United States have already been using Neuromonics devices to successfully treat vets with tinnitus,â€? says Adams. â€œBut I want to see more. More audiologists in the VA network need to see and understand what Neuromonics can do.â€?
Adamsâ€™ concern extends to the full African-American community and to tinnitus sufferers of all kinds throughout the country and world. To African Americans in Denver, his message is one of being proactive with their health care. â€œJust as it is important to take care of vision, dental and overall physical health, itâ€™s important to attend to hearing. We are all susceptible to tinnitus, and we all have a responsibility to take care of this important sense.â€? Editorâ€™s Note: Learn more about Neuromonics at www.neuromonics.com or call 866-606-3876.
Lost Your Joy?
Find it again at the
United Church of Montbello! Come as you are and get connected to your best self through great fellowship and the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday Worship: 8:00am (Traditional) and 10:30am (Gospel) 4VOEBZ4DIPPMBNr8FEOFTEBZ#JCMF4UVEZQN
Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070 http://ucm.ctsmemberconnect.net
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Denver Urban Spectrum â€” www.denverurbanspectrum.com â€“ April 2014
It’s Time to Reform Colorado’s Telecommunication Laws By State Representative Angela Williams
e are nearly 20 years behind schedule. It’ time
to move Colorado forward to the 21st century. In 1995, Coloradans communicated on landline phones at their home or place of work. If they were at the grocery store and couldn’t remember what to buy, they’d put a quarter in a nearby payphone and call home. If they hit a message machine, they might have rung their spouse’s pager and punched in the payphone’s number. A select few could afford to use cell phones, a new device that looked like a brick and performed like one. These pioneers were the first to utter, “Can you hear me now?”
We’re all glad those days are behind us. We would be even happier if our telecommunications regulations weren’t still stuck in 1995. Back then, voice landline service was the only game in town, and a Bell monopoly was the only place to buy it. The Colorado legislature understood, at that time, that they wanted to ensure that traditional phone service be available and affordable to all Coloradoans. In addition, the legislature recognized that new developments for voice communications – something better than those clunky cell phones – were on the horizon.
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Along with the rise of email, they knew Colorado communications were in for big changes, and the biggest was competition that would destroy telephone monopolies. That’s why the legislature created a mechanism that allowed a process for the incumbent phone provider to seek relief from regulation as the voice market became more competitive. At that time, the policy seemed progressive and a failsafe that would ensure that all Coloradans had quality, affordable service. While they could see competition coming, there was no way they could envision the dramatic, rapid technological changes we have witnessed since then. Today, we can access the Internet from a telephone network, cable and Wi-Fi. We can still talk on landlines, but we can also utilize cell, Internet VOP, and cable. These technologies allow us to communicate in ways we never dreamed. We text, email, snap chat, tweet, Instagram, and Skype on a phone that’s obviously much smaller, and as we know, much, much smarter. So in 2014, consumers have many more choices in how they access our vibrant, fiercely competitive and everchanging telecommunications environment. Unfortunately, environment would be even better if our antiquated regulations didn’t give some competitors an unfair advantage simply because of technology they offer. This session, I am sponsoring a number of telecommunications reform policies that reflect today’s communications reality. We must make sure that all voice communications competitors – regardless of the technologies they offer – can compete on a level playing field. By doing so, we can make sure that all of us continue to benefit from more competition and more choices. In addition, the bill will also help ensure that rural Coloradans have the same choices as those in metro areas. It’s far more expensive to serve rural areas, but my bill ensures that the Public Utilities Commission will continue to provide support for building and maintaining services to rural areas. By weeding out these 20th century telecommunications policies, telecommunications will be able to invest more in our communications infrastructure which will, in turn, benefit all Colorado consumers and businesses. Editor’s note: State Representative Angela Williams (D-Denver) is a member of the Colorado General Assembly and represents House District 7.
Renaissance Over Revolution: A Paradigm Shift Op-ed by Theo Wilson
reat news: You’re going to die one day. Therefore, life can’t be but so serious. No sense trying to be the king of a waiting room you’re destined to exit. Why stack up a bunch of toys you have to leave behind? Even the great pharaohs’ ‘belongings’ ended up in a museum. Planet Earth is a library; you’ve got to give it all back, and even your body’s elements are borrowed from this storehouse. Yet our powerobsessed culture lives in denial of that very fact. We get seduced into games of ego-survival and territory-marking like dogs trying to claim the biggest fire hydrant. So, what happens when seven billion human beings are scrambling to strip the library of all that it’s worth? Well, it starts to crumble and fall down around us. Now, it’s not just the books. This game has got us ripping the copper from the pipes and wood from the doors. There’s just one problem: the door is locked and no one leaves here alive. This, my friends, is the state of the planet right now. The United States still leads the world in military and cultural domination, and if change is going to stick, it will likely start here. Irony: The United States slaughtered the Native Americans and built an iron-clad, gas-guzzling war obsessed, capital-driven empire on their bones. Now the only way to save this abomination is to make this culture think, behave and recycle like the Native Americans. Too bad this world is going to crash before we get to apply these
solutions. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) just funded a research project conducted by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. They studied the collapses of the Mayan and Roman societies and their common causes. Safa Motesharrei was the chief mathematician during the study, and found that elite’s inability to share resources until nature was tapped out lead to their collapses. We are on track for this on an unforeseen global scale. Sorry, revolutionaries, nature’s gonna blow this Popsicle stand before you can lock and load. They found that technology will not only fail us, but expedite the problem. Our technology, as awesome as it is, only accelerates the consumption of resources. In other words, the Mayans crashed doing only about 20 miles per hour. We’re in a rocket-car pointed at the wall! Other forces like overpopulation, carbon emissions, and our global connectedness making us ever riper for a global pandemic plague only exacerbated the data, bringing the mathematic likelihood of collapse closer to our doorstep. The rich and their blind, entitled arrogance has apparently been a recipe for apocalypse since the time of Caesar. Who knew? Each time, they think they outwit it, and each time, they’re wrong. They’d rather blame the poor and have us butchered by the millions than admit that they’re the problem. Ironically, Africa may be one of the best places to be during the collapse. They already live free from our technology addiction. In fact, Africa already endured an apocalypse via European Imperialism. Our societies were destroyed and now we’re picking up the pieces. When looking at the poverty of places like Burkina Faso, you can see how it’s actually a post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s like a modern dark age. Africa has much to teach us about the resilience of the human spirit. When Rome fell, Europe went through the Dark Age followed by the Renaissance. However, the seeds of
the re-birth were planted before the fall, and that’s just what may be happening to us now. Human beings have almost run the gamut when it comes to finding the limits of our destructive capabilities. The nuclear bomb literally destroys the boundaries of destruction. Our self-esteem as a species hit a new low as the mushroom cloud breached new heights. Now that we know this, the time has come to restore what has been lost, not only in the world out there, but the world within. My belief is that one reason collapse is eminent is because nobody’s happy with this rat race to the graveyard. We’ve exported our collective misery right along with blue jeans and globalization. America may have the worst work-life balance in the developed world aside from Japan, where people working themselves to death became an epidemic in the late 90s. A crash may be just what the doctor ordered. How many people do you know never smelled the flowers until they got fired and couldn’t race by them to work? Our higher consciousness suffers when we cram our Godgiven potential into a 9-to-5 time box if we were born for other things. This repression of passion may be the main psychological factor leading to this cancer pandemic we are facing. Imagine a whole society duped into a manufactured survival pursuit, chasing a ‘success’ that won’t fulfill them once obtained. Buddhist philosophy states that nothing that we want is ‘out there.’ That’s why it loses its luster when we grasp for it. We don’t really want the ‘thing,’ just the feeling we’ll get once we obtain it. Therefore, restoring our selfworth as a species may be the redemption of the whole world. The time has come for us to chase the limits of our divine creator-powers. There are people who have left us examples of the awesome power we possess to create new life. Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai found her revolution through renaissance. After horrific deforestation destroyed the Kenyan habitat, she started the
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Green Belt Movement. She literally replanted entire forests along with a coalition of Kenyan women and the government. She restored with human hands in one lifetime what would have taken nature eons to regrow. Imagine cloning, restoring our over-fished oceans. Imagine genetic technology returning the tiger to the wilds of Siberia, the mountain gorilla to the forests of Rwanda. Imagine food-forests restoring the scorched mountains of California to re-green and feed the people at the same time. What if this is the natural course of any civilization destined to populate the stars? What if we were supposed to destroy the world just to learn how to give it life? Science fiction films talk about this idea called “terraforming.” This means taking a barren planet like the moon or Mars and making it produce life. Let’s start with Earth. Sounds dreamy, right? I say it’s our only option left. We’ve already choked on the blood of our fellow men, and know the taste of war. We already know what it’s like to see one noble species after the next vanish from the face of the Earth. We could take up arms and overthrow a government only to build one even more repressive. Lord knows there are enough guns here in America to do it. How would that heal our wounded psyches? How would that correct these false, unnatural ideas in our heads like “turning a profit” or “interest on the dollar?” How would that insure that your great-grand child knows what elephants look like in real life, and not just in a history book? My father told me to ‘learn to swim when the water is low.’ Our window of time may be short if NASA’s calculations are right. Maybe the time has come to stop fighting the things we don’t want, and start building the things that we do. It’s a paradigm shift for me too, especially being warrior-minded the way that I am. But if the best way to change the world is to change yourself first, you’ve just read the words of a new man.
Must See............ It’s Worth A Look..... See At Your Own Risk. Don’t Bother.....................
Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is Blackflix.com’s Senior Critic-at-Large. J.R. Johnson is a Journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Blackflix.com’s intern.
Lupita Nyong’o Says Oscar Win Is Overwhelming
believe this is in my hands. I’m just I’m really overwhelmed,” Nyong’o told reporters backstage at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. The Yale Drama School graduate has won a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award as well as a number of regional accolades from critics associations and was a favorite to win the Oscar by many including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who sent her a good-luck message earlier in the week. “I know that my country has been extremely proud of me and I know I mean a lot to my countrymen. I am so grateful for that kind of support and the fact that I won in so many people’s hearts is incredible. I am so grateful for that,” she said. Nyong’o also gave credit to her parents who she called “phenomenal” and responsible for keeping her grounded. The actress who was clearly emotional told Blackflix.com backstage she intended to celebrate at the Governor’s Ball, the Oscar’s official after party with her fellow cast members. “It hasn’t sunk in that I’m holding this thing. It’s in my hands, but I haven’t wrapped my mind around it yet. You hear people wanting you to win and predicting you’ll win and everything, but it’s just not real until you hear Christoph Waltz say your name. I’m so happy to be holding this golden man.” 12 Years a Slave was named Best Picture and earned script writer John Ridley an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Dallas Buyers Club won three awards, including two in acting categories: best actor for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for best supporting actor, but “Gravity” won the most accolades of the evening winning seven Oscars, including an award for director Alfonso Cuaron.
Lupita Nyong’o became the first
first leading role on the big screen after his outstanding run on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Paul does the best he can with a movie that seems like it was rushed (forgive the pun) into theaters. Paul hops behind the wheel as Tobey Marshall, a street racer with a gift for driving, but he channels his passion into working under the hood at his father’s auto shop. A former rival comes into Tobey’s life with a once in a lifetime deal he can’t pass up. However, the deal ends with Toby in handcuffs and framed for the murder of his best friend. After serving his time, Tobey is hell-bent on earning his long overdue revenge. A simple plot isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Need for Speed is almost too basic, and the chore of waiting for the unsurprising finale is forced upon the audience. A one-way road to revenge, with a taste of some halfhearted secondary character introspective, feels like it was molded by a Bgrade action movie cookie cutter as most of the movie’s filler. When it comes to the metal beasts carving up the pavement, it’s almost as good as it gets. From cars you’ve never heard of, to exploits you’ve never seen, Need for Speed doesn’t disappoint. Nice cars, ridiculous stunts that utilize the 3D awesomely, and a few pretty girls can only take the movie so far – and it’s well short of the finish line. Need for Speed runs out of gas long before it really gets close to the finish line.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
African to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 86th Academy Awards. The Kenyan thespian who took home the Oscar for her role in the gripping drama 12 Years a Slave beat out fellow nominees Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and June Squibb (Nebraska) to snag the golden statue. “I’m a little dazed. I can’t
Need For Speed
By J.R. Johnson
eed for Speed is exactly what it advertises, fast cars and that’s pretty much it. In this high-stakes, tire-peeling thriller, Aaron Paul takes on his
By J.R. Johnson
ooks targeted at young adults have found huge success, but also huge failures. For every Harry Potter or Hunger Games, there are dozens of popular books in line hoping to swim their way into the live-action realm of cinema. But when they arrive, they sink. Divergent, the film-adaptation of Veronica Roth’s popular novels, is the latest to make the jump to the big screen in hopes of triumph.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Divergent follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), and her journey in a dystopian world divided into special factions based off of the merits of humanity. A specified test is used to place the future generations in the divisions. But for Tris, the tests are inconclusive, making her a divergent and a threat to the new world’s vision that must be eliminated. Tris attempts to hide in one of the many factions before she’s discovered. For a film intertwined with a heavy layer of science fiction, Divergent turns to a road filled with missed opportunity and dullness. It requires a forgiving audience to imagine and interpret this post-apocalyptic future. The story is telescoped, and it suffers deeply along with its relatively strong cast. Imagination is almost a requirement, which is unique for a big budget movie, if you want to sink into the essence of this film that is sorely absent. Divergent is certainly not the Hunger Games usurper many had predicted to be. If anything, there are many familiar places where you can tell it gets its inspiration from, but it barely finds a way to tailor itself into its own. Divergent’s first step is more of a stumble, nearly a fall. Fortunately things can only go up from here. Roth has already completed her series, and the two films following Divergent are already on the way with their production wheels in the midst of turning. However, their accomplishment is forced to climb a mountain instead of a hill to prove itself. If the first attempt to bring the adaptation to life is any indication, there is a lot of work to be done.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
By J.R. Johnson
r. Peabody & Sherman have been around for over five decades, entertaining people with their misadventures into the past exploring some of history’s greatest events and crossing paths with many important individuals. Thanks to the help of modern age technology, the old animated show has experienced an exciting revival. In their most recent incarnation, the core mythos of the characters remains the same. Mr. Peabody (voiced of Ty Burrell) is a beagle that just happens to be the most intelligent being on the planet. His adopted human son, Sherman (voice of Max Charles) and their ridiculous time traveling exploits are the center of the story.
M. Peabody & Sherman Mr. Peabody has devoted his life to educating Sherman in a way that no one else could with his invention of the WABAC, an incredible time machine. Together they have walked through Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop, witnessed the French Revolution and listened to the wise words of Gandhi. But there’s one place Mr. Peabody can’t go with Sherman, school. As Mr. Peabody realizes Sherman is growing up, he understands no matter how much he tried to prepare for school it won’t be easy to let Sherman go. As for Sherman, he realizes life without Mr. Peabody isn’t as easy as he thought. The new age version of the old Peabody’s Improbable History, definitely revitalizes the characters in modern fashion, making them totally accessible for new audiences and fans of the old show. It’s smart and the jokes roll out at a rapid pace. The film’s ideas thrive in a digital world, giving the characters to do things their cartoon counterparts only dreamed of. Mr. Peabody & Sherman have a lot to offer for the whole family. It’s even better if you know your history.
amazing effects too 300 (’06), the silver screen adaptation of Frank Miller’s infamous graphic novel of the same name, the bewilderment was undeniable. Tactlessly, 300: Rise of an Empire doesn’t have the same compelling effect the second time around. 300: Rise of an Empire picks up exactly where 300 conclude with Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) swinging an axe at the head of Leonidas. As the rest of Greece prepares to battle the Persian Empire, the origin of Xerxes’ hate for the country is revealed. But Greece will not fold easily. Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), a legend in his own right, prepares the Greeks to face a tidal wave of vengeance against the Persian navy and reclaim the freedom of his country. Like its predecessor, 300: Rise of an Empire lives off distinctive visuals – it’s really only strength. The slow-motion effect that was mildly used in 300 as awesome aesthetic decoration becomes an overused device that distracts from what little substance the film has to offer. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing,” and 300: Rise of an Empire makes that obvious. Of course these films don’t invite people in for a riveting narrative, they’re filled with hacking, slashing and gallons of blood for a reason, but the trail blazed by the first of its kind left little room for improvement. And in the end, the sequel falls short of success.
300: Rise of an Empire
By J.R. Johnson
ome things can only be done once and maintain that same essence of astonishment and marvel that wowed its audience. When Zack Snyder brought his unique style and
By J.R. Johnson
iam Neeson has become a sturdy fixture in the action movie genre. You’d be hard pressed to find him in a
movie without a gun hunting down terrorist these past few years, however, Neeson has finally hit a bump with the high-flying thriller, Non-Stop. Neeson plays U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks, a tarnished man haunted by a dim past of alcoholism and depression. During what seems like a routine flight, Marks receives a text message on his cell phone from a mysterious blackmailer onboard who’s threatening to kill a passenger every minute until he receives a $150 million. As Marks runs out of time, he turns the plane upside down in hopes of uncovering the person behind the threat. Non-Stop is a claustrophobic plane ride where the characters have to do all of the heavy-lifting, but not everyone pulls their own weight except Neeson – who relies on his commanding presence to carry the film. The characters have the substance you would expect in most fast-paced films, but they are just devices used to set the audience up the next surprise instead of adding more honest elements to the panicked passengers. It’s hard to find any real sense of panic in the film, and the pacing is the other half of that problem. A slow build up is used to create the story, and then there is a burst of sensible narrative at the end to bring the story full circle. The plot uncoils in consistent framework hoping to keep audience guessing, but it hardly succeeds and builds into more of an unsurprising scheme with a faint pulse of excitement. Non-Stop took a shot at a very eccentric idea, but it missed entirely.
By J.R. Johnson
t’s been years since I’ve played with Lego building bricks. Other than stepping on stray blocks peppered across my little cousin’s house, which send me leaping into the air in pain, I never thought I would touch them again. But after watching The Lego Movie, amazingly shot in digital 3-D animation, the first thing I wanted to
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
do was buy a set for myself. Emmet, voiced of Chris Pratt, is the hero of this ambitious story. As a pretty mild-mannered guy, Emmet finds joy in everything – from waking up for breakfast– to spending all day at work. A smile is permanently engraved on Emmet’s face. It’s like that every day — in fact, it’s like that for everybody in the Lego city Bricksburg. Bricksburg works like clockwork, thanks to the strict rules placed by Lord Business (Will Ferrell). This never-ending routine is all Bricksburg citizens know, until a ripple emerges to interrupt their mechanical way of life. Suddenly, Emmet finds himself recruited into the Fellowship of Strangers to save the Lego Universe –a familiar and yet refreshing plot device. The amazing voices of Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson and many other A-listers punctuate this wonderful film. They provide a fun, comedic and consistently entertaining atmosphere that never lets up. Laughs are seconds apart. The Lego Movie is a surprisingly enjoyable film. The writing deserves most of the thanks for that. The directing and writing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) collaborated for a third time on the big screen, combining a unique and adventurous vision. Watching the Lego character’s stiff gestures as they pop and lock across the screen feels genuine. There are no false moves. Lord and Miller perfectly use 3-D processing, which has become so pop-
ular in Hollywood these days, and has become annoying in many films. Not here. Accompanying the amazing visual execution, The Lego Movie delivers a message that transcends any age. It’s filled with extraordinary heart and sincerity. Smart and inventive, there is something for everyone.
What’s Next Arrest in the Womb? Black Students Under Fire By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
ago the U.S. Dept. of Education found black students were getting the boot far faster and in much bigger numbers than white students. While blacks made up then less than twenty percent of the nation’s public school students they comprised nearly one out of three students kicked out of the schools. Things were so bad then that the NAACP held public hearings nationally on the racial disparities in school discipline. The hearings were timely and needed but they didn’t change anything. The recent Dept. of Education survey on racial disparities in public education found that black students were still getting the boot from schools faster than any other group and that
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included black females who were disproportionately suspended and expelled than white females from schools. But it also found that the students were getting suspended in astoundingly disproportionate numbers even before they ever set foot in a regular school classroom. According to figures, nearly fifty percent of preschoolers that received more than one suspension were blacks. This was double that of white students though blacks made up less than 20 percent of public school preschoolers. No matter what age they were suspended or expelled, the students were for more likely to wind up in police stations and courtrooms after removal. This cast an even harsher glare on the stiff punishment school officials routinely dish out to black students who allegedly misbehave. It’s no overreach or apology for misconduct to say allegedly about the reasons for their suspensions, expulsions, and often arrest. Teams of academics closely examined the notion that black students were more violent, disruptive or menacing than white students. They found that the disparities in suspensions didn’t result from blacks “acting out” in the classroom more than whites. The heavy-handed oust of black students from schools is also a major factor in the grossly high dropout rate of black students from many inner city schools. Many teachers and administrators expel and suspend more black students than white students, and school officials and DAs prosecute them in greater numbers, because of racial fear and ignorance. When some young blacks turned to gangs, guns and drugs and terrorized their communities, much of the press titillated the public with endless features on the crime prone, crack plagued, blood stained streets of the ghetto. TV action news crews turned into a major growth industry stalked black neighborhoods filming busts for the nightly news. The explosion of gangster rap and the spate of Hollywood ghetto films convinced many Americans that the thug lifestyle was the black lifestyle. They have ghastly visions of young blacks menacing their neighborhoods. In addition, school principals have near dictatorial power. They set the standards of what is acceptable behav-
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
ior or not, and once that’s done and a student is deemed a discipline problem, there isn’t much parents can do to reverse a decision to suspend or expel. In fact, studies have found that poor and minority parents are less likely than white, middle-class parents to challenge school officials’ decisions to suspend or expel their children. There are two other reasons that school officials grossly overreact to the real or perceived bad behavior of some black students. The federal GunFree Schools Act, passed in 1994, requires that states order their schools to kick students out for weapons possession in order to qualify for federal funds. (School officials later expanded the list of violations for student expulsion to include fighting and other violent acts.) California’s zero-tolerance school laws, for instance, mandate that a student be expelled for one year for infractions that include drug sales, robbery, assault, weapons possession and fights that cause serious physical injury. The only exception is if the student that caused the injury acted in self-defense. The horrific stories of students wielding guns and knives on campuses and assaulting and terrorizing other students have deepened public panic that murderous youths are running amok at schools. School officials zealously enforce get-tough policies to prove that they will do whatever it takes to get rid of disruptive students. The danger is that school officials that reflexively view young blacks as violence-prone, menace-to-society thugs have turned zerotolerance into a repressive tool that victimizes black students. As the survey shows, the quick trigger suspension and expulsion of black students from schools at the drop of a dime has reached down into pre-schools and preconditioned far too many teachers and principals to regard black children who are barely removed from the crib as classroom dangers. The end result is that the school to prison pipeline has become even more unyielding and socially damaging because it starts at an even earlier age. This will end only when school officials stop the racial profiling of black students, and that first and foremost now includes black children. Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson
Wil Haygood, Author Of “The Butler” To Headline 2014 Economic Success Summit One-Day Summit Promotes Financial Literacy to Communities of Color
“Connect2Success,” this year’s
Mountain Region Black Economic Summit (MRBES) will be information packed for professionals working to position themselves for the lifestyle they want. An award-winning author, an attorney-turned “face reader” and a host of accomplished business leaders are slated to share their keys to success with more than 500 to 750 attendees at the 9th annual MRBES Success Summit & Expo on May 30, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Marriott DTC in Denver. Presented by the MRBES, the event has been labeled “the premier multicultural business leadership conference in the West.” It features a fullday economic empowerment summit comprised of workshops and panel discussions designed to promote financial literacy and stimulate action toward building and sustaining wealth in the Black community and communities of color overall. Attendees include business owners, legislators, corporate professionals, organization leaders and youth from all over the region. This year’s luncheon guest is Wil Haygood, author of “The Butler: A Witness to History” of which the movie, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is based. Greg Moore, editor of the Pulitzer Prize- winning Denver Post, will interview Haygood during the luncheon, the first such format for the Summit. “Wil Haygood is a great fit as our luncheon speaker,” says MRBES Founder Carla Ladd. “He’s a professional journalist employed by a major
newspaper who has been able to turn his passion for writing and history into a multi-faceted successful business. aWhat he will share with fellow journalist Greg Moore promises to be fascinating and revealing.” The Summit’s learning modules include, “Make Your Money Work For You: Beyond the Basics” and “Creative, Cost Effective Ways to Grow Your Business. Mac Fulfer, an attorney who initially became interested in face reading for the purpose of jury selection, will share how professionals can use face reading to establish deeper communication with every person they meet. The author of “Amazing Face Reading” has presented more than 1,500 talks on face reading to Fortune 500 companies, the American Bar Association, doctors, psychologists, teachers, the military, social workers, auditors and realtors, to name a few. During the Summit’s networking events and expo, corporate buyers and procurement specialists will also have the opportunity to tap into the vast entrepreneurial pool of minority businesses in Denver and the Rocky Mountain region. Other prominent professionals have headlined the MRBES in past years, including Dennis P. Kimbro, author of Think and Grow Rich, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Farrah Gray (the youngest African-American to earn one million dollars and author of Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from The Inside Out), Ed Gordon, formerly of BET and NPR, and former NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison. Editor’s note: for more information on being a sponsor, vendor opportunities, tickets or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-924-1254.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Tax Time: A Dozen Dos and Don’ts
It is the best of times and it is the
By Paul Thrower
worst of times. It is tax time. And for many, this is the hardest time of year, the drudgery and stress of gathering all your financial information, taking it to someone and waiting for them to tell you if you win or lose the “IRS refund lottery.” It’s a roller coaster ride for millions, and after more than 20 years of preparing taxes, I can say every return is unique. Here are my tips, much of which can be further explained at irs.gov or healthcare.gov, for preparing your 2013 Tax Returns. Healthcare, ObamaCare and the ACA: For most people, the Affordable Care Act has no impact on their 2013 federal income tax return. Yes it’s true. After the hype and the looming deadline, the tax effect doesn’t kick in until next year. The individual shared responsibility provision and the premium tax credit do not affect your 2013 federal income tax return.
However, for some people, a few provisions could affect their tax returns, such as increases in the itemized medical deduction threshold, the additional Medicare tax and the net investment income tax. Deductions: You can deduct the cost of medical insurance premiums that surpass 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, even if you are covered in an employer plan. For those who are self-employed, the 10 percent threshold for health insurance premiums is removed. Keep careful records of the cost of medically necessary improvements. To the extent that such costs – for adding a wheelchair ramp, lowering counters, widening a doorway or installing hand controls for a car — exceed any added value to your home or vehicle, that amount can be included in your deductible medical expenses. Include travel expenses in medical deductions. In addition to the cost of getting to and from the doctor, you
can deduct up to $50 a night for lodging if seeking medical care requires you to be away from home overnight. The $50 is per person, so if you travel with a sick child to get medical care, you can deduct $100 a day. Starting in 2013, you get a tax benefit only to the extent your expenses exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income or 7.5 percent if you’re 65 or older. If you count yourself among the millions of Americans who are unemployed, make sure you keep track of your jobhunting costs. As long as you’re looking for a new position in the same line of work (your first job doesn’t qualify), you can deduct job-hunting costs including travel expenses such as the cost of food, lodging and transportation if your search takes you away from home overnight. Such costs are miscellaneous expenses, deductible to the extent all such costs exceed two percent of your adjusted gross income. Filing Requirement: If you do not have a tax filing requirement, you do not need to file a 2013 federal tax return to establish eligibility or qualify for financial assistance, including advance payments of the premium tax credit to purchase health insurance coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace. W-2 Reporting of Employer Coverage: Certain employers are required to report the value of the health insurance coverage they provide. The value of health care coverage as reported by your employer in box 12 and identified by Code DD on your Form W-2 is not taxable. Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014 began Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. When you get health insurance through the marketplace, you may be able to get advance payments of the premium tax credit that will immediately help lower your monthly premium. Premium Tax Credit: If you get insurance through the Marketplace, you may be eligible to claim the premium tax credit. You can elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your 2014 tax return, which will be filed in 2015. If you’re already receiving advance payments of the credit, you need do nothing at this time unless you have a change in circumstance.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Change in Circumstances: If you’re receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for your insurance coverage, you should report life changes, such as income, marital status or family size changes, to your marketplace. Reporting changes will help to ensure you are getting the proper amount of advance payments. Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, you and your family must have health insurance health care coverage, be eligible for an exemption from coverage, or pay a fee when you file your 2014 tax return (in 2015). Many people are already covered by a qualifying healthcare plan and will not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage throughout 2014. Sweet Charity: Everyone knows you can deduct charitable contributions, but not work you do for charity. But did you know you can deduct the cost of transportation to a charitable event? Heading to a fundraiser? Keep track of your mileage and deduct it at tax time. Keep track of what you spend while doing charitable work, from what you spend on stamps for a fundraiser, to the cost of ingredients for casseroles you make for the homeless, to the number of miles you drive your car for charity (at 14 cents a mile). Add such costs with your cash contributions when figuring your charitable contribution deduction. Part Timers: For most people, the costs they incur heading to and from work every day are not deductible. For part-time workers, however, if you work two jobs, you can deduct a portion of the costs of getting from one job to the other. Moving?: Lucky enough to find a new job, but upset that it’s in the next state? You can deduct what you spend packing and moving your belongings as well some costs for storage, insurance, transportation and lodging associated with the move. There’s no limit to the deduction, but your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your home than your old job. Payback: Don’t listen to family and friends who say, “I’ll pay you back when I get my income tax refund.” Don’t believe it. Our legal advisor Judge Mathis says, “That is the oldest scam in the book. Don’t loan that person any money. Just don’t do it!” Editor’s Note: Paul Thrower is a tax accountant with more than 20 years of tax return preparation experience specializing in individuals and small businesses. He is the owner of Total Tax Service LLC and Thrower Tax Service. He can be reached at 303-353-0880 or by visiting www.TotalTaxService.com or www.PaulThrower.com.
Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT Program Brings $5.65 Million to Boost Denver Homeownership
Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America® and Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (CRHDC), joined Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock to announce the Denver Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT program, an initiative offering $5.65 million from Wells Fargo to boost homeownership and strengthen neighborhoods in the city’s low- and moderate-income areas. “This public-private partnership has the potential to make a significant difference for Denver families and neighborhoods, by making homeownership more affordable for people who want to live here,” says Mayor Hancock. “Teachers should have the ability to live in the communities where they teach, officers the chance to live where they patrol.” Of the $5.65 million committed by Wells Fargo, $4.5 million will go toward down payment assistance grants and program support to help potential homebuyers overcome the barrier of making a sufficient down payment. Down payment assistance grants of $15,000 will be available for eligible homebuyers with annual incomes that do not exceed 120 percent of the Denver area median income – which is about $92,050 for a family of four – with income maximums varying depending on family size and type of loan. To be eligible, homebuyers must meet criteria including completing an eight-hour homebuyer education session with CRHDC or another HUDapproved counseling agency. “Like many cities, Denver was significantly affected by the housing crisis,” says Frank Newman, Wells Fargo’s lead region president for the Rocky Mountain Region. “While mortgages are available at relatively low-interest rates, many families are unable to buy a home because they struggle with making the down payment. The NeighborhoodLIFT program can help local mortgage-ready homebuyers realize their dreams of owning a home.” To receive the full grant amount, participants buying homes with LIFT program down payment assistance grants must commit to live in the home for five years and qualify for a first mortgage on the property. The down payment assistance grants may also be used to buy a home that needs improvements with a new mortgage purchase 203k renovation loan. In addition to providing down payment assistance for homebuyers, Wells Fargo will donate $500,000 to support stabilization efforts in Denver neighborhoods.
Registration now open for free event
The Denver NeighborhoodLIFT® program will begin with a free homebuyer event on April 4-5 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center located at 700 14th Street. Prospective homebuyers can register and learn more about the program at www.neighborhoodlift.com or by calling (866) 858-2151. Pre-registration is strongly recommended for an opportunity to reserve a $15,000 down payment assistance grant, although walk-ins will be welcome while funds are available. “This innovative collaboration between NeighborWorks America, our network member CRHDC, and Wells Fargo will put more Denver families and individuals on the path to homeownership,” says Gary Wolfe, regional vice president for NeighborWorks America. “The required housing counseling and education classes, provided by certified professionals, have been shown to help homebuyers achieve successful and sustainable homeownership.” Denver NeighborhoodLIFT® program down payment assistance grants may also be combined with other down payment assistance programs to provide additional financial benefit to qualified buyers. For example, the City and County of Denver’s Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus program or the Denver Mortgage Credit Certificate program can be layered with the LIFT program grants. Information regarding these other programs will be available at the April 4-5 event. Participating homebuyers can obtain mortgage financing from any qualified lender and CRHDC will determine eligibility and administer the down payment assistance grants. Approved homebuyers will have up to 60 days to finalize a contract to purchase a home in Denver to receive a grant. “If your goal for 2014 is to buy a home in Denver, the opportunity is now. Families need to register and get prepared to work with the CRHDC staff to be first in line to access the down payment grantsm”says Al Gold, executive director of CRHDC. Denver is the third city in 2014 to receive the NeighborhoodLIFT ® program, and is now one of 25 housing markets across the country that will benefit from a total of $195 million Wells Fargo has committed through its LIFT programs. Since February 2012, LIFT programs have helped create 6,072 homeowners in housing markets where the programs have been introduced. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
The 3Ts: Every Word You Say Builds Your Child’s Brain By Cassandra Johnson, Sena Harjo and Dorothy Shapland
Language is exciting! It is the
Do you need help paying for
child care? CCAP Can Help 720.944.KIDS (5437) DenverCCAP.org The Denver Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps eligible families that are working, going to school or looking for a job afford child care. CCAP provides financial assistance for children up to age 13 and special needs youth up to age 19.
link that connects our thoughts with our actions and our people. Giving our children the love of language is the best gift we can give to them when trying to prepare them for the future. So exactly how do we give the gift of language? On March 14 and 15 educators, child advocates, parents and early childhood specialist from different counties across the state of Colorado gathered at the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference. Saturday’s keynote speaker was Dr. Dana Suskind, the director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program and founder of “Thirty Million Words Initiative,” an evidence-based intervention to help all children reach their full listening and spoken language potentials. The initiative was founded on a world-famous study. Researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley in 1995 found that some children heard 30 million fewer words by their fourth birthdays than others. The children who heard more words were better prepared when they entered school. These same kids, when followed into third grade, had bigger vocabularies, were stronger readers, and got higher test scores. The bottom line: the kids who started out ahead, stayed ahead; the kids who started out behind, stayed behind. This disparity in learning is referred to as the achievement gap. (excerpt from TMW). The Nest Matter’s exist to share the latest research that impacts your early learners and wants your child to be better prepared when they enter
school. We are sharing only a piece of TMW’s curriculum known as “The 3T’s” to motivate you to engage and talk more with your child before their fourth birthday rolls around. Let’s start talking! Tune in by paying attention to what your child is focused on or communicating with you. The signals your child gives will change rapidly since her attention span is short while she’s young – staying tuned in is a dynamic activity! Talk more with your child using lots of descriptive words to build his vocabulary. Think of your child’s brain like a piggy bank – every word you say is another penny you invest. There’s no limit to how many words you can invest to fill your child’s bank and build his brain! Be as descriptive as possible to build your child’s vocabulary. Take turns with your child by engaging in her conversation. Your child is never too young to have a conversation with you. Respond to your child’s signals to keep the turns going. Children in the zero-to-three age group are super-absorbent sponges and their development is heavily impacted by their surrounding environments. Here are some things you can do with your child to get the ball rolling. •Use new and interesting words in natural conversations. Try this at mealtimes or when presenting a new toy. For example, it’s easier for your child to learn what a ukulele is when they can see and hear it as well as listening to you say the word. •Use gestures and facial expressions to help your child make sense of new words. For example, when introducing the word joyful, you might smile and wave your arms about to convey what it means. This can be an opportunity to explain emotions and give words to feelings. •Sing with your child and recite poetry and rhymes to playfully introduce vocabulary.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
•Talk with your child. Keep the conversation going by asking questions, making comments and inviting your child to think and share their ideas. •Read to your child daily, taking time to go over new words. Look for books with illustrations that provide clues to word meanings. Let your child read the book to you through their own eyes. Even if they are not reading every word, let them describe the pictures or create a storyline that can work with the book or moment. Think about new vocabulary words that might come up when you are out. A trip to an art exhibit could introduce the word landscape, while a trip to a pizza restaurant might introduce kneading dough. •Give your child ample time to learn the meaning and uses of new words before moving onto other words. (NAEYC: Teaching Young Children TYC Vol. 7 NO 3) Parent talk is the most powerful tool for building your child’s brain and sending them to school ready to learn. Language is a game changer for everyone. Learning the ‘ins ’and ‘outs’ of one language can inspire and prepare children to learn multiple languages. Take the time to expose your child to language and enjoy the sharing, the effort will pay off.
Editor’s note: The Nest Matters (TNM) is advice from “egg to flight” from early childhood educators and leaders. TNM focuses on early child development from prenatal (the egg phase) through the stages of tweens when children prepare to leave the nest (the flight phase). For more information, visit www.thenestmatters.blogspot.com or email email@example.com. Like us on Facebook. The Nest Matters is looking for parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, early childhood specialist individuals and groups that would be interested in joining our Interest Group to acquire Denver Affiliate Status of the National Black Child Development Institute. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
D R E W MANNIE I L L U S T R AT I O N
STORIES THRU IMAGERY email@example.com • 720-621-6336
Henry Resigns As Office Of Human Resources Executive Director For Denver
DaVita Encourages Those At Risk For Kidney Disease To Make New Resolution
March was National Kidney Month and DaVita, a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. and a leading provider of kidney care services, is encouraging people who are at risk for kidney disease to make a new resolution to learn and understand their risk. One in 10 adults age 20 or older in the U.S. has kidney disease, but many people don’t know they have it or that they are even at risk because the disease is often symptomless. Kidney disease is one of the few chronic illnesses that can be slowed down or in some cases even prevented when caught early enough. To learn your risk for kidney disease, take a short quiz at DaVita.com/LearnYourRisk. In addition, minority populations are often at a higher risk for kidney disease. Those at risk include individuals with diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as older adults, Hispanics, African-Americans and American Indians. Other risk factors for kidney disease include cardiovascular disease, obesity, high cholesterol, lupus and a family history of the disease.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: •One in three people with diabetes has kidney disease. •One in five people with high blood pressure has kidney disease. •African-Americans are about three and a half times more likely to develop kidney failure than whites. •Hispanics are one and a half times more likely to develop kidney failure than non-Hispanics. The first step in managing kidney disease is to know the risk factors. For those at increased risk, a simple blood test from a doctor can confirm the disease. For more information, visit DaVita.com/WorkingBenefits.
member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. In 2013, AARP Foundation TaxAide’s 35,000 volunteers at nearly 6,000 sites provided 2.6 million people with free tax help. Taxpayers who used AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received $1.4 billion in income tax refunds and more than $244 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). For more information and to locate an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site, visit www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp or call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-2277669).
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Provides Free Tax Assistance
This year, AARP Foundation is again providing free tax assistance and preparation for taxpayers with low to moderate income through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, in its 45th year, is the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service, giving special attention to those 60 and older. You do not need to be a
The City and County of Denver’s Office of Human Resources announced that Executive Director Dr. Nita Mosby Henry departed the City and County of Denver on March 28. She will join Children’s Hospital Colorado in April as the Vice President of Human Resources. Henry, joined the Office of Human Resources in 2012, and immediately spearheaded a major agency re-organization which focused on delivering a dedicated HR Service Delivery team for each City agency. Prior to joining the Office Human Resources as executive director, she served nine years as a member of the Career Service Board for the City and County of Denver. In her new role, Henry will help develop implement and champion the Human Resources strategy for Children’s Hospital Colorado.
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The Invisible Man “He is missing from the health care
system. He is less likely to hold a job that
provides health insurance. Otherwise, he
is underinsured. Despite chronic poverty
that cries out for relief, he often slips
through the cracks of a frayed social safety net. Medicaid, focused on pregnant
women and children, rarely includes him.
He bears a disparate burden of disease. He
dies early and struggles frequently against structures that render him invisible.”
That reflection, delivered by
Keith Elder, flows from the shared
mission he and his colleague Keon
Gilbert have embraced: bringing Black men into public conversations about
health, health care, and health reform.
They say their goal is to spotlight the
dire need for more resources focused
on Black men. Elder, PhD, MPH, chairs the Department of Health Management and Policy at Saint Louis University’s School of Public Health. His work moves beyond disparities and dysfunction, expanding the research to expose the breadth and depth of Black men’s health issues from cradle to grave. Gilbert, DrPH, MPH, MPA, an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, focuses on outreach, education, and interventions that increase Black men’s access to social capital in order to improve overall health outcomes. Gilbert’s goal is to redefine Black men’s health—and not just as wellness, illness, or an absence of disease. “Black men should embrace the broadest definition of health, including how health can fuel their educational and economic ambitions, their dreams, and their wellbeing,” he says. They are co-authors of two recent studies: “Men’s Health Disparities in Confidence to Manage Health,” published in the fall 2013 issue of the International Journal of Men’s Health, and “Trust Medication, Adherence and Hypertension Control in Southern African American Men,” which appeared in the American Journal of Public Health in December 2012. They both credit New Connections—a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) initiative that works to expand the diversity of perspectives informing RWJF program strategy—with helping to enhance their research agendas, and deepening
their network of scholars and support. Elder (a 2009 New Connections alumnus), whose research marked some Keith Elder, PhD, MPH, MPA of the seminal data on Black men’s health status, encouraged Gilbert to seek RWJF support. A current fellow, Gilbert is using his New Connections grant to engage Black men around access to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The goal is to understand how to help those without insurance obtain it, and to persuade those who have it to use it more often by seeking routine and preventive health care services.
Black Men Missing From Health Care Conversation
One of the first hurdles confronting Black men is health coverage. Second, and more fundamentally, many Black men do not readily access health care even when they are insured. Elder notes that Black men with health insurance are two times less likely to use it than other groups. “Black men are one of the hardest groups to reach. No one is looking to engage them, and they are just not plugged into the systems,” says
Gilbert. Education and outreach, vital to improved health status, are not isolated from the other challenges to Keon L. Gilbert, DrPH, MA, MPA advancing Black men’s health. “We have to expand the science when it comes to a myriad of processes, from access to health care outcomes,” says Elder. His New Connections research focused on predictors, perceptions, and evaluation of health care quality by Black men in non-emergency medicine. “Our published research is important, but the people we need to reach aren’t in the academic world,” says Elder. “They are in the barbershop, on the basketball court, and in communities that are medically underserved.”
Health Disparities’ Effect On Black Men
The health disparities suffered by Black men are stunning: The death rate from heart disease is 30 percent higher than that of white male counterparts; from stroke, it is 60 percent higher. The diabetes death rate is 200 percent higher for Black men, and the death rate from prostate cancer is more than 200 percent higher.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Gilbert notes that the disparities exist in specific outcomes, such as chronic disease and unintentional injuries. “These are the barriers men face starting early in life, when those diseases begin and then manifest over time,” he says. “The question becomes, what can we do in the realm of prevention? And what can we do to address social determinants that may limit opportunities for access to care, education, and quality employment?” He suggests that encouraging young men to complete high school and go to college may be one answer. Paying attention to their health at an earlier age is another solution. Gilbert points out that another impediment comes from Black men’s sense of self, perceived masculinity, and gender identity. He adds that they are not socialized to go to the doctor on a regular basis: Research shows that men younger than 18 tend to go to the doctor when prompted by a parent, or because they are active in sports, but after the age of 18 health care utilization drops off dramatically. Moreover, says Gilbert, there is a history in America of rendering Black men invisible, which puts them at greater risk. He believes engagement has to start on parallel tracks, in small, incremental, and systemic measures. “When men have the opportunity to talk about things that are important to them and participate in decision-making, it almost always makes a difference. It increases their engagement and the chances of improved outcomes.” This spills over into policy as well. Gilbert notes that the states choosing to expand Medicaid provisions under ACA now include people with felony convictions, who previously were ineligible for Medicaid coverage. This provides an important opportunity to introduce and expand access to a large segment of the excluded and marginalized population.
Familiar Settings, Fresh Dialogue
Gilbert says men have to be part of the discussion in varied situations. “The conversation has to happen at the dining room table…in churches, barbershops, fraternities, and other settings. There’s a need to really focus and dig deep, to expand the definition of manhood—your need to be healthy, eat a good diet, and get exercise and health screenings. It’s not just taking care of your families and communities, but understanding that you must be a healthy participant in your family and community.” Elder underscores the importance of access, coupled with trust in the Continued on page 26
Continued from page 25 medical system. “From a medical encounter and management perspective, we need to make sure the experience is good and fruitful. That’s what the Affordable Care Act can do. Men need a good medical home.” According to Elder, a good medical encounter includes every interaction. “From the time they enter the door, with the first person they meet, that first interaction has to be positive. The encounter with the physician should be participatory,” he says. Elder explains that physicians should offer information, but also listen and engage the patient, adding that patients need to be active in the encounter. “I know I have to take the lead in my health,” he says. “I take a detailed approach during my doctor visits, and I always plan to do a lot of talking and ask questions during the medical encounter.” He emphasizes the importance of recognizing that good health practices needn’t be restricted to a doctor’s office. “We have to manage the prevention and self-care for ourselves.”
Ending Disparities, Building A Culture of Health
Elder believes the answer is to take steps in the right direction. “Health
disparities are not going away in our lifetime,” he says. “Even men who know better don’t do better. Black men still don’t have a 100 percent adherence rate to medical advice.” The challenges can be combated by a national and sustained commitment to researching Black men’s health throughout the lifespan. No one has really taken a systemic look at Black men. Gilbert adds, “The majority of research is focused on cancer, violence, or HIV.” Elder advocates for more funding and support at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This will build a pipeline of students who will increase their educational achievement and expand the cadre of scholars devoted to Black men’s health. “If we don’t have the science, we can’t change the policy and how we deliver care. Who are you going to compare Black men to?” Elder asks. Both Gilbert and Elder conclude that Black men are not monolithic, but have too often been reactive: waiting for a health crisis to arise before taking action. Engaging Black men more directly through peer and family networks can empower them with the skills and resources to attain better health.
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HATS OFF TO...
NCNW Presents Living Portraits of African American Women
The Denver Section National Council of Negro Women annually celebrates International Women’s History Month with the Living Portraits of African American Women program. Honored this year were: Ruth Tsige (Youth Leadership), Rosalyn Reese (Community), Tajinae Turner (Youth Leadership), Valorie Yarbrough (Government), Helena Haynes-Carter (Business), and Dr. Carolyn Love (Business). The program was held on Saturday, March 22 at the Denver Central Library.
University of Denver Names Chrite As New Dean for Daniels College of Business
The University of Denver announced the new dean of the Daniels College of Business. Dr. Elrie LaBrent (Brent) Chrite has been selected following an extensive nine-month search led by the Korn/Ferry International search firm. He will begin work on Aug. 1. Chrite comes from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, where he has served as both dean and professor of management and international business for the past four years. As the academic and administrative leader of the business school, comprised of more than 2,200 students and 85 full time faculty members, Dr. Chrite helped create programs producing graduates prepared for the 21stt century job market. . Originally from Detroit, Dr. Chrite earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, his M.S. at the University of Missouri, and his bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University.
Hope Center’s Grimes and Bankston Receive Awards
President and CEO of Hope Center, Gerie Grimes, received the Colorado Non Profit William Funk Award for Building Stronger Communities on March 7 at the Denver Marriott City
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Center. This event included nearly 1,000 nonprofit, business, and government leaders. ECE lead teacher of Hope Center, Shirley Bankston, received the Early Childhood PK, ECE Educator of the Year Award at the Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship & Award Gala on March 7 at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel Denver. This was an event to honor Black Educators in the State of Colorado who exemplify high standards of excellence in education.
MSU Denver President Jordan Scores Community Hat Trick
As a recognized leader in higher education locally and nationally, Metropolitan State University of Denver’s President Stephen Gov. John Hickenlooper presents Jordan scored a MSU Denver President Stephen hat trick receiv- Jordan with the Colorado Association's Nonprofit ing three major Nonprofit Impact Award on March 7. awards in recognition of his community leadership and educational advocacy. Under his leadership, MSU Denver has achieved university status, launched its first master’s degree programs, attained record undergraduate enrollment levels and built two new university buildings. The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education presented Jordan with the Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education Award. The Latin American Education Foundation presented Jordan and MSU Denver with the Sol Trujillo National Lifetime Leadership Award. The Colorado Nonprofit Association presented Jordan with the Nonprofit Impact Award for his work with local area nonprofit groups.
MSU Recognizes “Hope for the Future” Noel Award Recipients
Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Rachel B. Noel committee recognized community champions the Honorable Wilma J. Webb and Gloria Neal in February with Hope for the Future awards, presented at a community lecture delivered annually by the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Professor. Wilma Webb has helped the city by working tirelessly on anti-drug abuse
HATS OFF TO...
programs and also helped create the Denver Art, Culture and Film Foundation as Denver’s first lady. Her husband Wellington Webb was elected mayor of Denver in 1991. She was the first minority woman on the Colorado Joint Budget Committee and became a member of the Colorado General Assembly in 1980. She sponsored numerous bills. In one of her hardest battles, Webb fought for four years before Colorado adopted the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. Award winning multi-media broadcast journalist Gloria Neal is most recognized for her work with CBS4 and AM760. As an active member of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists, she has covered historical events, including both inaugurations of President Barack Obama; she traveled to Belize to interview Prime Minister Barrows; and accompanied the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to China on an economic trade mission. Neal is well known for her philanthropic and communitydriven causes. She is actively involved with the Rose Andom Center for Domestic Violence and the Mile High chapter of the American Red Cross.
CBRT Hosts African Americans in Higher Education and Women’s History Celebration
As a part of the Losing Ground Community Education Project, the Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) held a community discussion of “African Americans in Higher Education: The Colorado Landscape.” African American faculty, staff and administrators from Colorado colleges and universities participated in a panel discussion to share their views on issues, concerns and opportunities in Colorado’s higher education system. As part of the recognition of Women’s History Month, CBRT also recognized Black women who have made outstanding contributions to a better black community as well as outstanding educators who have made significant contributions to higher education in Colorado. CBRT Blacks in Higher Education honorees were: Dr. Everette Freeman, Community College of Denver; Dr. Percy Morehouse, MSU Denver; Lonnie Porter, Regis University; Dr. George Junne, University of Northern Colorado; Dr. H. Malcom Newton, Denver Institute of Urban Studies; Dr. Tim Gramling, Colorado Technical University; Dr. Brenda J. Allen, University of Colorado-Denver; Dr. Frank Tuitt, University of Denver; and Deborah Hollis, University of Colorado.
The 2014 CBRT Women’s History Month honorees were as follows. Honorees for the Arie P. Taylor Political Award were, Happy Haynes, Denver Public Schools Board of Education and Rep. Angela Williams. Honorees for the Rachel B. Noel Humanitarian Award were Denver’s First Lady Mary Louise Lee; recording artist Diane Reeves; and Cleo Parker Robinson. Honorees for the CBRT Chairwomen’s Recognition were Stephanie O’Malley, Department of Safety, City and County of Denver and State Rep. Rhonda Fields. Honorees for the Strong Black Women “Who Get It Done” Community Recognition were, Charleszine ‘Terry’ Nelson, BlairCaldwell Library; Maya Wheeler, Colorado Black Women for Political Action; Kim Desmond, City and County of Denver, Women’s Commission; Rosalind Alston, City and County of Denver; Dr. Dorothy Hayden Watkins, University of Phoenix; Dr. Terri Richardson, Kaiser Permanente; Helena Haynes-Carter, Minority Business Development Center; Deborah Fard, North City Park Civic Association; Callie Groff, Denver Public Schools; Dr. Marjorie B. Lewis, MBLewis Enterprise; Kim Farmer, Mile High Fitness; and Michele Wheeler, Northeast Parkhill Coalition.
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Project Greer Street Students Selected As Panelists for Conference at Harvard
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Daylen Bowen, Ray Pryor, and Derek Hawkins, members of Project Greer Street, have been selected to headline a presenting panel at the 12th Annual Alumni of Color Conference at Harvard University hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Bowen, Hawkins and Pryor are the leaders of the Angels for AP Excellence Club at East High School that was founded to encourage more students of color to take advanced placement classes in high school. The students will be featured at the conference addressing this national issue. Project Greer Street, a groundbreaking educational enrichment program for African-American males. For more information, email email@example.com.
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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
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Denver Urban Spectrum 2014 African Americans Who Make A Differernce
“Delta Support” Special Guest Speaker Honorable
Wilma J Webb
ME & THE DREAM EXHIBIT AND PROGRAM Cherry Creek Shopping Center
AAWMAD honoree Caroline helping honoree Chuck!
Presenter: Filmmaker Adam Dempsey
Barber Shop Talk current and past AAWMAD honorees
ME & THE DREAM Organizers with 101Year-Old Educator, Dr. Marie Greenwood Sims-Fayola Students with Dr. Marie Greenwood
Presenter Little Rock Nine’s Carlotta Walls LaNier with MLK Organizers
Photos by Bernard Grant and Sweez Photography
Sculptor Ed Dwight with MLK Exhibit Attendees
Former Warden to Speak On Anti-Bullying
Bullying, gangs, drugs, and staying out of jail will be the topics of conversation on Thursday April 3, and Friday April 4 for several community discussions. Presented by the Simmons Foundation and sponsored by Dr. Pepper/Snapple, the event will feature special guest speaker Howard Robertson, former warden of Rikers Island, one of the country’s most notorious and violent prisons. Robertson in warden of Rikers Island for more than 20 years and has written a book that centers on anti-bullying solutions. Robertson will speak at several schools in Denver and Aurora and at Metro State University of Denver. For more information, call Alvertis Simmons at 303-521-7211.
22nd Annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz & R&B Festival Planned
The 22nd annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz & R&B Festival will be Friday April 25, Saturday, April 26 and Sunday April 27 at the Government Amphitheater in Las Vegas. A special Friday night show will present KEM and Chrisette Michele from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday’s day and night event from 1 to 10 p.m. will feature Boney James, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown and Rick Braun performing as BWB; and Nick Colionne, Everette Harp and Althea Renee. The R&B festival portion on Sunday, from 2 to 10 p.m., features 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Kahn, and also Joe, Raheem DeVaughn, Leela James and Eric Roberson. Tickets are on sale through Las Vegas ticket outlets and Mr. Bill’s Pipe and Tobacco Stores (cash only) and the festival website at www.yourjazz.com. For additional information, visit www.yourjazz.com.
Doors Open Denver – A Look Inside Denver Buildings
Come celebrate neighborhood architecture at the 10th anniversary Doors Open Denver weekend event April 12 and 13. This free event is an invitation to explore more than 70 of Denver’s most interesting buildings, from the very old to the latest in green architecture. Urban bike tours, historic tours, a photography contest, pop-up entertainment and fun architectural talks will be spread throughout 12 neighborhoods. Event information, maps and tour tickets will be available at 1801 California St. both days from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.doorsopendenver.com.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Goldie Hill to Celebrate 90th Birthday With Family
The family and community of Goldie Hill announced her 90th birthday on May 5. Goldie was born in Mobile, Alabama and moved to Chicago, at the age of three. Goldie came to Colorado in 1984 and became very active as a Democratic precinct person in Aurora until she retired in 2004. She has resided in Heather Gardens in Aurora since 2004. A celebration will be held on May 3, at PAPPADEAUX seafood Restaurant, 7520 E. Progress Place Greenwood Village, in Denver.
Application Period Opens for Summer Youth Employment Program
With the summer job season quickly approaching, the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) is now accepting applications for its Summer Youth Employment Program. The program provides job training and paid work experience to Denver youth age 14 through 21. To be eligible, youth must be Denver residents or enrolled in foster care within the City and County of Denver. Priority will be given to low-income youth that face barriers to school completion or employment. The program connects youth with up to 160 hours of employment with businesses, nonprofits and government organizations. Youth will work within a variety of job types among industries targeted by OED, including accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, professional/business services, retail and skilled trades. Applications will be accepted through April 30. For more information and an application, visit www.denvergov.org/youthservices or visit 1391 N. Speer Blvd., Suite 520, in Denver.
The Piton Foundation Sponsors Annual “Invest in Kids” Gala
The Piton Foundation will serve as the presenting sponsor for the Sixth Annual Invest in Kids Gala, on Saturday, May 3 at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. The event will feature a live auction, entertainment and food provided by Denver’s top restaurants, including Elways, Vesta Dipping Grill, Linger, and Barolo Grill. Proceeds support Invest in Kids, a non-profit organization that improves the health and well-being for thousands of Colorado families and their young children. For information, call 303-839-1808, ext. 106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stanley Film Festival Is Now Casting Volunteers
The Stanley Film Festival is now casting volunteers. The film festival will be held at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, on April 24 to 27. Meet fellow horror and film fans while being a part of this special community event. Positions include street team, guest relations, special events, hospitality lounge, transportation, production and theater operations. For more information and to register, visit www.shiftboard.com/denverfilm/reg ister.html
Summer Learning Loss Program DPS parents and families are welcome to attend this event to educate on summer learning loss and how to prepare students for success. It is a free, one-day learning opportunity about summer learning loss and resources. Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia and his wife, Dr. Claire Garcia, will be delivering the keynote address The event will be at North High School, 2960 N. Speer Blvd. in Denver, on Saturday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.face.dpsk12.org or call 720-423-3331.
Free Financial Counseling
Mi Casa’s Innovation Lab in Northeast Park Hill has partnered up with mpowered, a local nonprofit that specializes in individual coaching, debt management plans, credit checkups, and bankruptcy counseling. The mpowered finance coach, Olga Salazar, is offering one-on-one sessions every 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, between 1 and 5 p.m., located at the Vickers Boys & Girls Club, 3399 Holly St., in Denver. For more information or to sign up, call 303-478-7801.
Free Tutoring In Reading
Does your child need extra help with reading? Children’s Literacy Center offers free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. Children are matched with trained volunteer tutors from the community. Tutoring is held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in Aurora, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or call Sierra at 719-471-8672.
Lowry Speaker Series Presents “Lowry Air Force Base”
The Lowry Speaker Series presents Jack Stokes Ballard, John Bond and George Paxton, the three Colorado authors of “Lowry Air Force Base” on
Tuesday, April 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eisenhower Chapel, 293 Roslyn St. in Denver. Admission is free. The authors will discuss highlights of the Base’s distinguished history. Their book, “Lowry Air Force Base” (Arcadia) will be available for purchase. For more information, e-mail Karen House at email@example.com or call 303-757-7658.
Cherry Creek Shopping Center Kaiser Permanente Colorado Access Denver Water
Civil Technology First Bank Webb Group International Wells Fargo RTL Networks ARC Thrift Store Barry and Associates RMES Communications The Langley Foundation
Donate And Save Lives
Become a member of the Marrow Donor registry, make a monetary contribution or get information by walking-in on Saturday April 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Central Park Recreation Center, located at 9651 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd in Denver. Be a blood donor by scheduling an appointment with the Bonfils appointment center at 303-363-2300 or visit www.bonfils.org For more information, call Lizzette Sauque at 303-363-2351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CABPES To Host 33rd Annual Awards Banquet
The Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES) will present its annual awards banquet on May 10 at 6 p.m. at the Auraria Campus Gymnasium, 988 Larimer St. in Denver. This year’s event will feature an evening filled with demonstrations from aspiring engineers and scientists, dinner, and a silent auction. Keynote speaker will be Denise Burgess, president/general manager at Burgess Services Inc. Tickets are $60 per person and $100 per couple. For more information, call 303-2265470 or email rsvp@CABPES.org.
Black Education Impact Conference Planned
Parents, educators and community have an opportunity to participate (in person or via webcast) in The University of Colorado Denver Inaugural Black Education Impact Conference: “No Limits; No Boundaries” on May 12. The Black Education Impact Conference is to provide an education impact conference designed to achieve the following outcomes: elevate promising practices associated with enhancing our youth’s educational experience, build a network of support for our youth’s success, engage students, families, and educators/administrators, and provide scholarship and funding resources. For more information and to register, visit www.bei.ucdsehd.net. If interested ask about webcast participation. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Dr. Marie Greenwood Carlotta Walls LaNier Adam Dempsey Landri Taylor Wilma J. Webb
ACW Marketing/Cheryl Carter Bernard Grant Photography CJay Smith Classics Event Center/ Roland “Fatty” Taylor Coloured Glass/Marlina Hullum CPSI Sales/Otis Jackson Ed Dwight Studios Flava/Sandra Hullum Hapa Sushi Homare Ikeda Largressa Munnerlyn Lawrence James Linda Theus-Lee Pit Stop Catering/Donald James Quincy Hines Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr. Sweetz Photography/ Cecile Perrin Theo Wilson The SoBo Four Tonia Garner-Washington Two Sistahs Urban League Guild Adventure Golf and Raceway Colorado Department of Transportation Denver Botanic Gardens Kona Grill McDonald’s The Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills Walmart King Soopers
Letters tothe Editor
Continued from page 3 in some states for door-closing amounts of money by homo-electives that, by definition, do not qualify for minority class protection from discrimination; as homosexual sex is noncompulsory in that one can choose to abstain from sexual relations just as one can choose what kind of sex to engage in and with whom or what within the law (children should never be an option although pedophilia is next on the ACLU list for sexual orientation normalization). On a recent trip to Houston, my wife used a hotel restaurant women’s restroom. She was shocked to see a urinal in there. The way things are going, I imagine a business owner will soon be sued for not plumbing a urinal in the ladies room! The LGBT (Love Gone Bad Today) think Transgenders and Transsexuals are wildcards from Transyltopsyturvia that legitimize their cause with even more confusion. Transgenders and Transsexuals are just homoelectives that have taken their homosexuality to the next level of perversion (sinful inequality). “Homosexual Civil Rights” is an oxymoron. It is morally wrong to give legal rights or discrimination protection to those that choose to practice homosexual sex for a multitude of rea-
sons that are consistent with the Constitution of the United States of America and the preservation of it, and in turn, our country. Like a drivers license, a marriage license is a privilege, not a right under the 14th Amendment. Some restrictions apply in all states such as age, blood health and type compatibility, relative consanguinity, number of spouses and gender of prospective spouses and their mental competency. As recently as 1986 homosexuality was regarded as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. For all are subject to the Law of the Harvest; reaping what is sewn, and homosexuals sew their seed in stony ground. California farmers and ranchers know what I’m talking about. Abraham Lincoln warned us that: “As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” Before supporting legal rights or discrimination protection for homoelectives, one should ask him or herself two questions: Was I better off before homosexuals became “gay” and prideful?; and: Can I afford another year of gay pride? I think everyone should have an emblazoned “Love Gone Bad Today” t-shirt in their closet where homoelectives should be.
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Michael W. Jarvis Salt Lake City, Utah 84110
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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2014
Image by SOM Architects
big. bold. modern. transit. An architectural icon, RTD’s new Union Station Transit Center will offer fast, fluid connections, enhanced services, and easy access to all modes of transit under one roof. Arching high across LoDo, this world-class transportation hub officially opens on May 9 with a new 22-gate underground bus concourse, within steps of light rail, SkyRide, the new Free MetroRide, Amtrak, and (in 2016) commuter rail. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s modern, and it’s all yours.
see it 5.9.14
Denver Urban Spectrum April 2014