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CANNABIS To Expunge or Not To Expunge.....................4 Discrimination Lawsuit Filed............................5 Business Opportunities & Stocks to Watch.....8 Profit Margin for African Americans..............10 Smoking in Senegal........................................11 The Road to Legalization...............................12

CORONAVIRUS Management…20 Prevention…22

Serious Fun with Aries Spears…6

Misconceptions…23


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

He’s slowing us down…and for good reason. Volume 34

Number 1

April 2020

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Ruby Jones COLUMNISTS Dr. Erynn M. Burks Kim Farmer Barry Overton FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Daryn Alexander Fouther Angelia D. McGowan Zilingo Nwuke Alfonzo Porter Thomas Holt Russell Jamil Shabazz Lauren Turner ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris MARKETING AND ADVERTISING Lorenzo Middleton GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar MSU INTERN Ashton Brown DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

Member 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 2020 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way... Even though, those words taken form Charles Dickens’s historical novel “A Tale of Two Cities” were written in 1859, they have resonated in my soul like he wrote them yesterday. His phrase points out a major conflict between family and love, hatred and oppression, good and evil, light and darkness, and wisdom and folly. And much like 1859, the world we know today is spinning out of control, headed for destruction and needs to slow down. A few weeks ago, it was the best of times. I would be celebrating my birthday with several close friends after being inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame the night before with nine other deserving women. Needless to say, that all changed and became the worst of times when ALL our lives were disrupted abruptly, and thrown into a tailspin because of COVID-19. News about the virus was alarming. People were dying and the virus was spreading. We soon learned the Coronavirus was real and did not discriminate because of race, gender or zip code, sending a global message for everyone to hear – but all are NOT listening. It has hit close to home and the Denver community is praying for the speedy recovery of Rev. Terrence “Big T” Hughes, and his wife Rachel, who are both under medical care for Coronavirus. Read what our experts are saying. We all know what we must do and as of this writing, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock has placed a Stay At Home Order for the City of Denver until April 10 to start flattening the curve before it inflates out of control. This order may be a difficult setback but it is necessary for the sake of the economy and humankind. We don’t know what the outcome will be or the overall effect it will have, but the small business community is facing serious challenges and support is needed now more than ever. This month is our 34th anniversary of spreading the news about people of color and we are proud to have served the community since 1987. We didn’t toot our horn but for the first time in eight years since cannabis became legal, we focused on this growing industry and its’ relationship to the African American communities. DUS Editor-in-Chief Alfonzo Porter has been examining this quandary for months. He has been working collectively with John Bailey and the Colorado Black Roundtable on several platforms to shed light on equity disparities pertaining to African Americans. He also had some serious fun chatting with comedian Aries Spears about his new movie 420.

As you peruse this issue and read these stories, take note of how many cannabisrelated businesses seized the opportunity to connect with the African American community. After numerous meetings with cannabis stakeholders, phone calls and email messages with an invitation to promote their business and reach another market (outside of Westword), how did we fair? To no avail – the response was nil. Not even a peep to say thanks, but no thanks. Where are Black consumers shopping for recreational or medicinal marijuana? Read Jamil Shabazz’s article and find out how African Americans are not profiting from this booming industry. It’s also time to do for self. Read Zee’s article on how you get a piece of the action in the cannabis business. It’s time to open our eyes, read and listen. Denver Urban Spectrum was not exempt from the recent hit with business loss; although no fault of anyone; several events were cancelled with no need to advertise. Much gratitude goes to some of our long-standing supporters like Mike Sawaya, the Center for African American Health and Census 2020 for helping us through the first stage of these trying times. Although painstaking and challenging, the “Preparation of Panic” brought families together. Concerned for their health safety and well-being, family members were running to the store to make sure their loved ones were secure. Phone calls were fast, furious and rampant, much like the virus. Being confined in the home, by choice or need, is a time to slow down. We have permission to rest and pray. We have time to love our families and take care of one another. It’s time to put the needs of others before your own. Help them and do not worry about tomorrow. Be patient and persevere; and purpose and priorities will overcome adversity. It’s time to teach our children what this life is really about. Why? Because this is His way of slowing us down. He is always in control. He is disappointed and angry and speaking to all of us through all of us. We have to listen. It’s time for everyone to reflect and spend some time with Him; but first slow down and then be still. He’s got this! Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10


tion introduced by State

Colorado Black Roundtable Presses for Records Expungement

Representative, Jonathan Singer (D) Longmont, which would provide for the expungement of the criminal records of those with low level cannabis offense that pre-date legalization. “We have a long way to from where we are today on expungements,” Singer said at a recent Colorado Black Roundtable Meeting. “Over the past eight years, I’ve work with both proponents and opponents in an attempt to understand both sides of this issue.” The larger question is whether records should be automatically wiped clean for activities that are now legal? With nearly 20,000 people in Denver and Boulder counties already eligible for expungement through an application process, most with records are either unwilling or afraid to go through the process. As of late last year, only 71 individuals succeeded in wiping their records clean. According to Singer, too many are still suffering the effects of having convictions on their records, “Many of those convicted pre-Amendment 64 continue to be negatively impacted by their criminal records, which can limit options for housing, school and employment,” he said. It was Amendment 64, also known as the Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment, passed in 2012 that amended the state Constitution to outline state drug policy for the use of cannabis for residents age 21 and over. An expungement this next year will follow on a 2017 bipartisan bill that is designed to allow people who were convicted of low-level marijuana offense to petition in Colorado to have their conviction records sealed. Opponents of the expungement measure, like employers,

Organization Wants Records Cleared for Petty Marijuana Convictions By Alfonzo Porter

A

s we rapidly approach the 10 year mark for legalized marijuana in Colorado, leaders in the African American community remain frustrated that officials continue to wrangle with issues such as the expungement of criminal records. The black population in Colorado stands at approximately 4% while the African

American prison population is approaching 20% of all adult inmates statewide. This vast disparity has many African American leaders demanding immediate reform. At issue is whether those convicted of an offense that is now legal should remain in prison or be denied a sealed record or have their records expunged completely? It may all hinge on upcoming legisla-

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insist that they need to know whether an applicant willingly violated the law in the past. But others argue that once an individual has paid their debt to society, they should not be punished forever with marks against their name. President of the Colorado Black Roundtable, John Bailey, agrees saying that it’s time to work to help those with low level marijuana offenses clear their names. “We need to create a bridge for them to get back into society,” Bailey said. “We are seeing a lot of activity around expungement. I think it is critical in helping those with records find a decent paying job.” A program launched in Denver last year seeks to do just that. The program, called “Turn a New Leaf” has been created to wipe away low level cannabis offenses. The program, introduced in January, allows thousands convicted of offenses that occurred before the passage of recreational-use laws can ask to have those crimes expunged from their record through the this new program. Because the state legislature has yet to enact laws that would automatically vacate low-level marijuana offenses, individuals can only obtain relief by filing motions in each case. The city’s program is designed to make that process simple and easy. According to a statement released by Mayor Michael Hancock’s office, the city continues to lead the way in helping to regulate legalized pot. “For more than five years, Denver has led the way in regulating legalized marijuana,” the mayor’s statement said. “This is bout equity for our communities of color and individuals who were disproportionately impacted by low-level marijuana convictions that are no longer crimes in Colorado.


Overturning these convictions is part of Denver’s multi-pronged approach to correct the social injustices caused by the war on drugs.” Denver’s District Attorney, Beth McCann, says that in the interest of justice and fairness, her office is prepared to provide assistance to those with marijuana convictions by providing options. “We have online and self service options in addition to holding clinics to make the process easier for these individuals,” according to McCann’s quote in the mayor’s statement. “Members of my office and the city attorney’s office are willing to meet with people who attend the clinics and get the process started.” The expungements of records cover convictions from 2001-2012. In 2017, Rep. Edie Hooten (D) Boulder, sponsored HB 171226, intended to seal misdemeanor marijuana conviction records. The bill “allows persons who were convicted of misdemeanors for the use or possession of marijuana to petition for the sealing of criminal records relating to such convictions if their behavior would not have been a criminal offense if the behavior had occurred on

or after December 10, 2013. The court shall order the record sealed after the filing fees are paid, the petitioner establishes the offense is eligible for sealing, and the petition is posted on the website of the state court administrator for 30 days.” Given that the somewhat convoluted legal jargon might prove confusing to many seeking a sealing of their records, the district attorney’s office indicates a willingness to help navigate the process. Perhaps the first step in the process would be to understand the differences between sealing of records and expungement. Sealing makes a person’s criminal record makes the record invisible during a criminal background check. The records are made unavailable but law enforcement and prosecution entities still have access. Expunging is actually the destruction of criminal records. In any case, a state judge will rule—often without a hearing— on the requests to vacate convictions. The process is reportedly complete within two weeks. For additional information on the city’s expungement program, log onto www.denvergov.org/anewleaf. What is clear as that by either sealing or expunging criminal convictions for low-level weed offenses, many will finally be able to rejoin the community, find meaningful employment and live more productive lives..

Black Entrepreneurs File Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Attorney General For Discrimination In The Legal Marijuana Industry Seattle, WA (BlackNews.com) – Members of a group called Black Excellence In Cannabis filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month against Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) for what they see as state officials running a corrupt and discriminatory licensing and regulatory scheme in the guise of a legal recreational cannabis industry. U.S. Attorney General, William Barr is also included as a defendant, as the U.S. federal government has been acting as an accessory by funding Washington State to enforce federal laws while regulators operate and profit from an illicit licensing and taxation racket at the expense of African Americans’ Constitutional Rights. Constitutionally protected Civil Rights at the center of this suit are; Title 42 US Code § 1981, 1983 and 1985. Plaintiffs Aaron Barfield and Peter Manning are turning to the U.S. federal courts for justice after years of working for inclusion for African Americans in their state’s lucrative recreational cannabis market. They have pled their case in administrative proceedings, meetings with WSLCB Executive Director Rick Garza and Board Members Jane Rushford, Ollie Garrett and Russ Hauge. Also, in meetings with multiple public officials and state legislators, at public hearings and finally granted an audience to plead their case directly to Governor Jay Inslee – all to no avail.

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Plaintiffs Aaron Barfield (left) and Peter Manning (right), members of Black Excellence In Cannabis

“What we have in Washington is a system where wealthy white men have performed a hostile takeover of our State’s entire cannabis market,” said Manning. Minorities and medical cannabis activists who are on the frontlines of the fight for cannabis legalization are almost entirely excluded from the legal market. “Washington has a strong and diverse cannabis community. Participation in the economic opportunities generated by the regulation and sale of cannabis should be inclusive and reflective of that community,” said Barfield, who also acts as the current director of Black Excellence In Cannabis. A Blacks were arrested at four times the rate of whites for cannabis violations yet only own and operate less than 1 percent of Washington’s licensed cannabis businesses. Many may be inclined to believe that the plaintiffs are just disgruntled failed applicants who were unable to transition from the unregulated world of medical cannabis providers, to the regulated, WSLCB, seed-to-sale traceability system and meet their compliance requirements. . Editor’s note: For more information about Black Excellence In Cannabis, visit www.BlackExcellence in Cannabis.com


Cannabis Comedy to Premiere Ahead of 420 Celebrations By Alfonzo Porter Comedian and actor Aries Spears Pre-Order For PICKUP Or DELIVERY CALL Or TEXT Your Order To

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his month, we would typically be in the throes of wild, freewheeling parties and events in celebration of 420 around the city of Denver and the State of Colorado. The air around town would undoubtedly have a strong aroma of a bouquet of cannabis strands wafting through the atmosphere as revelers rejoice, blazed and oblivious to the problems of the world. Because the vast majority of Americans are currently under a variety of state orders and decrees to “shelter in place,” most of us find ourselves in a state of involuntary hypnosis in front of our television screens. However, a soon to be released Marijuana comedy might help with our 420 party withdrawals by spotlighting one of our state’s favorite substances—weed. As part of our changing cultural norms, art is beginning to imitate life as well known comedian and actor Aries Spears announced the release of his new movie aptly titled, The 420 Movie: Mary and Jane. The comedic film is set to debut April 7 on most streaming plat-

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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forms such as Amazon, iTunes, DirecTV, Spectrum, Vudu, Hulu and others. Spears stars as the “hilarious, off kilter and totally unfiltered patrolman Watkins.” The plot takes place during the pre-legalization of marijuana and features two sisters, “Mary and Jane,” who concoct a scheme to create the first electronic blunt in order to save their father, Mayor Hightower, along with the city he loves from bankruptcy and a three foot tall Mexican drug lord. Spears stars alongside Daniel Baldwin, Keith David, rapper Aaron “Shwayze” Smith, Lindsey McKeon, Kelley Jakle and the late Verne Troyer.  “This movie takes a comedic look at marijuana,” Spears said. “However, when we consider this issue seriously, I think that everybody who has a marijuana conviction today should be set free and their records completely expunged. They are in jail serving time for what is now a legal activity.” Growing up in New York during the 1980s, Spears cut his comedic teeth at 14 performing stand-up at local comedy clubs around New York City. By 17


He has also been a constant presence on the small screen. In addition to his comedy work, he has acted in over two dozen television and film titles. Some of the TV series that he’s appeared in over the years include The Underground, Black Dynamite and The Boondocks. Aside from comedy, he has also been picking up a number of acting roles over the past several years. For instance, he has played various characters in the series American Dad!,

Aries Spears in The 420 Movie: Mary & Jane

he was a regular at well known clubs like The Uptown Comedy Club, Indigo Blues, and Tribeca Comedy Lounge. Since 2009, he has also made a number of appearances in the comedy series, Laugh Factory. His first television appearance was on Russell Simmon’s “Def Comedy Jam,” followed by “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” (1987). He moved to Los Angeles in 1992, landed a recurring role on “A Different World” (1993) and became a regular at The Comedy Store, The Improv and The Laugh Factory. Other television credits include “Crosstown Traffic,” “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” (1993) and “Soul Train.” At 16, Spears landed a part in the movie Malcolm X. Shortly thereafter, he was cast in a starring role opposite  Glenn Frey in South of Sunset  (1993). Spears’s other movie appearances include Home of Angels (1994), The Pest (1997), Jerry Maguire in which he played Teepee, brother of Rod Tidwell (1996), Out-ofSync (1995), and The Proud Family (2003). He is well known for his impressions of celebrities, including rappers Jay-Z, LL Cool J, DMX, and Snoop Dogg actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone Denzel Washington, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as fellow comedians Eddie Murphy and Paul Mooney.

TripTank, and The 5th Quarter. On the big screen, he has also appeared in the films Promoted, Hood of Horrow, and and The D. According to IMDb, he is also slated to star in an upcoming movie called Chase. Spears is the son of popular jazz singer, Doris Spears. He is the father of Jordan and currently resides in California. The 420 Movie: Mary & Jane will air on most streaming platforms beginning April 7..

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Alternative Ways to Enter the Cannabis Industry More than One Way to Profit from Legal Marijuana By Zilingo Nwuke

T he cannabis industry has become a very lucrative global market. Since the introduction of medicinal marijuana and the legalization of marijuana in multiple states, those who have taken advantage of the “need for weed” have made a killing. Everyone except for minorities; it seems. In fact, African Americans only represent one percent of business owners in the country when referring to the cannabis market. Considering African Americans dealt with the most backlashes before legalization, The legal cannabis industry has surged to almost $12 billion in revenue as of the end of fiscal year 2019. African American investors who are looking to capitalize on this financial windfall are advised to keep their ears close to the ground as the industry continues to develop. As with any new enterprise entering the marketplace, there are ups and downs— and for a substance still listed nationally as a Schedule 1 drug, the industry has experienced more than its share of challenges. For example, countless regulatory hoops, limitations on

•Marketing and Advertising •Printing •Product

that’s a hard pill to swallow. African Americans should be reaping the benefits of legalizing marijuana. High profile celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson and Wiz Khalifah are among some the most recognizable African Americans in the entertainment industry. They have also become well known in the cannabis business. With so much money being made within the cannabis market, how can more African Americans take advantage of this opportunity? As it turns out, there are many ways for African Americans to enter this burgeoning new world of legal pot outside of opening a dispensary or working in largely low-wage positions. For instance, ancillary services may prove to be the key to penetrating this illusive marketplace. There exists a need to provide support services for the industry. African American entrepreneurs would be smart to consider focusing on providing such services as foundational support for the industry. There are many opportunities for us to enter the industry in a very real, profitable manner. The following are some opportunities to consider: •Delivery Services

Sampling/Demonstrations •News and Information Services •Education and Training •Cultivation •Payment Processing •Security Services •Information Technology Support •Human Resources/Talent Acquisition •Social Media Management •Supply Chain Management •Cannabis Café/Spa/Beauty & Wellness •Branding •Construction •HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) •Packaging •THC Infused Edibles/Drinkables •Real Estate •Legal Services •Hemp Textiles/Fashion •T-Shirts/Caps/Apparel •Tourism The list is virtually endless. So while we may not be capitalized enough to qualify for a dispensary, there are clearly many other ways for African Americans to enter in Cannabis market. Time is of the essence

Cannabis Stocks to Watch Long-Term Investments That Show Promise in the Midst of Recent Industry Meltdown ... By Alfonzo Porter capital, a robust illegal marijuana market, and high taxes, ineffective internal and external controls, along with largely inexperienced management teams have caused this thriving industry to stumble throughout most of last year. However, as the industry looks to find its balance, many firms have launched aggressive initiatives to institute tighter cost controls, establish better management structures, improve products and present a better financial picture, the market is

slowly re-emerging as a professionally managed global industry. For the wise investor, the long-term outlook appears to be bright. Here are a few publicly traded cannabis stocks to watch as we move into the 2020s. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) is among the largest firms based on market capitalization. It is well financed with good production capabilities. It is a global player with effective consumer packaging operations. It’s abil

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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as national legalization appears to be on the horizon. For many who may possess the acumen to create a thriving business, the worry regarding background checks and past convictions or arrests is a real impediment. However, by providing a support service, this concern can be overcome. Your product or service is marketed directly to the business owner rather than the state. As the stigma of marijuana use continues to decline, African Americans stand to find our fortunes in a heretofore illegal activity. Black business leaders are now beginning to think ownership vs. employment when it comes to the pot market. Currently, African Americans represent only one percent of cannabis entrepreneurs but comprise the overwhelming majority of those languishing in prison for engaging in an acidity that is now legal in many states around the nation. Therefore, if anyone should be provided opportunities in the marijuana market, there is a convincing argument to be made that African Americans deserve representation. It is time to bring our considerable skills and talent to this budding industry.. ity to continue to lead the market and fatten up its product lines bolds well for those looking to invest over the longterm. OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ: OGI) is another solid long-term bet. While it occupies a somewhat middle of the pack position, it tends to perform well when compared to its larger competitors. Its cost controls belies high potential for profitability; and appears to be sustainable. It has an admirable growing operation and its cash position seems to be among the best Continued on page 14


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W elcome to the Cannabis centric edition of Denver Urban Spectrum. My esteemed colleagues Alfonzo Porter, Zee Nwuke and Thomas Russell have done a magnificent job exploring the business of marijuana from legislation, criminalization and commercialization. However, the bottom line for every business is profit, and with over a billion in revenue generated from the sales of marijuana in Colorado, business is booming. Questions remain around where the Colorado (and other US states) marijuana revenue goes and in a broader sense is the revenue directly benefitting the African American community?  In 2012 when Colorado Amendment 64 offered to legalize marijuana, I was largely ambivalent until I heard two things on the radio. 1) The amount of revenue sales tax on marijuana would generate for the state of Colorado. 2) A significant portion of that revenue would be invested in Colorado Public Schools. Historically communities with predominantly African-American and Mexican-American students have been drastically underserved compared to their white counterparts. So I was ecstatic to discover that some of the revenue from the sale of marijuana would be put back into these communities. However, eight years later the reality of the emphasized benefits is still a bit hazy. There are two ways marijuana tax revenue comes into the state’s coffers. Excise tax: 90% of the excise tax revenue collected or the first $40 million - whichever is greater, is credited to the state’s Capital Construction Assistance Fund, which funds the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program. 

How Does The African Americans Community Profit From Marijuana Revenue? By Jamil Shabazz

Sales Tax: 10% of the state’s 15% state marijuana retail tax revenue is allocated to local governments and distributed according to the percentage of marijuana sales within city and/or county boundaries. The remaining 90% of the retail tax revenue is distributed in the following manner: 15.56% will stay in the General Fund. 71.85% will be credited to the MTCF. 12.59% will be credited to the state public school fund and distributed to all districts. The rest is primarily divvied up between drug safety, abuse

• • •

prevention and treatment, mental health services and affordable housing. The influx and distribution of money from a new revenue stream is undoubtedly a positive step, but it does not fully address the racial disparities and financial inequality that some Colorado cities face. According to Census data, the AfricanAmerican population of the state of Colorado is 4.6%. The African American in the city of Aurora is 16%, and in the city of Denver, it is 9.8%. It is not out of bounds to say that, Denver and Aurora are the two most populous cities for African Americans in the state of

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Colorado. Denver Public Schools has one of the largest academic achievement gaps in the nation. The state of Colorado has a homeless population of close to 10,000, five percent of which are African American. The argument could be made that a larger share of the marijuana tax revenue should be allocated to Aurora and Denver, to assist with providing more access to better education, mental health care and affordable housing; especially considering the fact that Park Hill and Montbello neighborhoods are densely populated with dispensaries. Throughout America’s history, African-Americans have been systematically denied equal rights and opportunities. The effects of long-standing discrimination linger and perpetuate disparities in wealthy housing, criminal justice, and health care. With white corporate interests and predominantly white investors with deep pockets turning their attention to the budding marijuana industry there is historical evidence that the system is already rigged against AfricanAmerican entrepreneurs. On March 12, 2020, lawmakers in Mississippi proposed a marijuana bill that would limit the number of people who would be licensed to grow the product and open dispensaries in the state. Its passing would control who gets to profit from marijuana sales, while simultaneously constricting the amount of revenue that can be generated from the sales of marijuana. Since 2018 the state of California has had the Cannabis Social Equity Program touting “Equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities and to address the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs in those communities.” Continued on page 24


Yamba: Cannabis in West Africa

By Daryn Alexandria Fouther DUS International Correspondent (Senegal, W. Africa)

Senegal,

West Africa is known for its rich culture, beautiful beaches, stretched deserts, and welcoming locals. Located at the western-most point of the continent, Senegal is adorned with a multitude of terrains. Dakar, the country’s capitol, is exposed, on three sides, to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Travel east from Dakar and you’ll run into desert-lands, populated with the country’s prized baobab trees. Head north and you’ll find Saint-Louis, known for its French-colonial flair and historic roots. And if you head south, you’ll reach the Gambia known for its wildlife, including monkeys, leopards, hippos, hyenas and rare birds. When examining the color of cannabis, otherwise known as

“Yamba” in this country, there is not much to see, legally that is. All forms of cannabis are illegal in Senegal and there are strict laws and heavy police enforcement for usage of the substance. But, if you travel south, you’ll find a different scenario. Casamance is located in the southern region of Senegal, in between the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. It is home to the Casamance River that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Nikola-Kola National Park of Senegal. Its climate is more sub-tropical than the other regions of the country, resulting in more rainfall and lush greenery. Miles of rice paddy fields and palm trees line the outer portion of the city while swamps, forests, and mangroves line the inner. The majority of Senegal speaks and follows the language and customs of Wolof, but Casamance is different. It is a Diola (or Jola) country with

languages and a culture far from the Wolof. While many other Senegalese societies, like the Wolof, are hierarchical, the Diola society is egalitarian. They have no known history of slavery, no historical practice of Islam, and every villager takes to the type of employment they want or need. All of these characteristics of Casamance help explain how they create their own rules with regards to business and commerce. If you look deep enough through the swamp lands and forests of the city, you’ll find a village of 200 people living in virtual seclusion: the Kouba. Going against the vigorous laws of the country and practicing their own means of employment, and this village relies completely on the cultivation of cannabis for their livelihood. The village is inaccessible by road, and due to the distance and difficult nature of passing through the swamps (crocodiles, etc.) there is minimal contact with authorities. In fact, according to locals, not a single police officer has visited since the 1980s. In stark contrast to the thousands of tourists and expatriates Senegal brings in each year, the vast majority of the Casamance lives in poverty. For the Kouba villagers, cannabis is their only viable economic option. They are able to harvest and grow their own fruits and vegetables but do not have roads close enough to them to market such produce. Cultivating a kilo of

cannabis alone can garner them a return of 30,000 West African Francs (roughly 50 American Dollars), a figure much more attractive to the villagers when compared to the 500 Francs earned from selling a kilo of onions.  In order to grow enough of the plant to support their whole population, the village has numerous fields reserved solely for hemp. The fields have not been measured numerically but are much larger than any fields they have for their produce. Women are responsible for helping gather the hemp stalks from the land, separating the seeds from the stalks, and placing them on metal roofs, exposed to the world from above. Those who would like to purchase the cannabis from them spend hours travelling by canoe to reach the village. Villagers use this money to aide their construction and for the education of their children. While the Kouba villagers live without fear of repercussions, those who live outside of the village fear the 10-year prison sentence for cultivation of cannabis and the stigmas around drug use in the predominantly Muslim country. While this doesn’t stop the consumption of cannabis by many, it does motivate participants to be discreet in order to dodge arrest. On your next visit to Senegal I suggest passing up the jail house, however, and going for a swim instead!.

Helping you create wealth, protect wealth, and leave a legacy! Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP Financial Adviser

3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 - Denver, CO 80209 303-871-7249 - www.myradonovan.com

Call today for a free consultation! Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency. Financial Adviser for Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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The Legalization

Of Marijuana In America What’s In It for African Americans? By Thomas Holt Russell

Social norms can change

quietly. Less than a generation ago, tobacco companies embedded cigarettes in our society. Commercials highlighted the coolness of smoking, and celebrities (including sports stars), promoted cigarette use. Elementary school students made big, ugly ashtrays to present to their cigarette smoking parents, and we smoked on airplanes, in restaurants, in movie theaters, and schools. If someone takes out a cigarette now,

people look upon them as a pariah. Two generations before that, prohibition attempted to rid a corrupt society of alcohol, which people blamed for health problems, violence, and political corruption. Now we cannot even imagine a society void of alcohol. It is difficult to think of an event, no matter how small or big, without the presence of alcohol. It is part of our landscape and acceptable by even the most pious of our citizens. Our collective minds flipped our views and opinions on alcohol and tobacco, and now we are in the process of doing the same for marijuana. By the end of this year, there is a possibility that some form of legal marijuana will be present in at least 40 states. Presently 11 states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, 28 states have decriminalized marijuana, and 41 states allow some forms of medicinal cannabis. In 2012, Colorado and Washington

legalized recreational marijuana. Since then, Alaska, California, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont, have joined the group of states that are helping to change the outlook marijuana use (and make money). We have come a long way when you consider that only 11 years ago, no state allowed recreational marijuana. The spread of legally recreational and medicinal marijuana in America is undeniable. And it is simply not a matter of changing minds and laws. We have the messy business of expunging criminal records. In New York, most people agree that legislators should legalize marijuana. However, legal issues have made it necessary to hold up legislation that legalizes marijuana. Legislators must agree on how to come up with a plan that would benefit the people who have been disproportionately impacted by break-

ing marihuana laws of the past. But in the Midwest, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill that contained a significant justice component; hundreds of thousands of people that the legal system had convicted for marijuana possession will now have that criminal record expunged. In March of 2019, Black lawmakers in New York blocked the path to legalizing recreational weed. The lawmakers want to ensure that some of the billions of dollars that the marijuana industry will make should go to job training programs for minorities and minority businesses. These programs are needed and designed to help marginalized groups to enter the marijuana industry. To this date, not one of the 11 states that legalized recreational marijuana use ensured that minority communities participated in the economic life-cycle of the thriving marijuana business.

Make a Difference. Be Counted. Complete your 2020 Census now. It’s time to be counted. Remember, your info is yours and stays yours. Do it however you’re most comfortable— online or by phone.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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New York Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples said it best; “I haven’t seen anyone do it correctly. They thought we were going to trust that at the end of the day, these communities would be invested in. But that is not something I want to trust. If it is not required in the statute, then it won’t happen.” Even here in Colorado, Black business people were banned from receiving licenses for selling marijuana because they had been convicted of selling marijuana! A report pursuant to Colorado Senate Bill 13-283 indicated that Black people are arrested on marijuana-related charges three times the rate of white people. Yet, Blacks only make up a handful of dispensary license holders. According to Pew Research, two-thirds of Americans say that marijuana use should be legal. A whopping 91 percent say marijuana should be permitted when the option of medical use is added to the poll. With a growing industry that is popular among the majority of sensible Americans, and the potential to make an incredible amount of money, it is no wonder that the legalization of recreational marijuana use is growing even faster than the marijuana advocates thought was possible. Since Black people make up a substantial portion of the mar-

ijuana industry, their consumer power can be used to strengthen the position of thousands of Black entrepreneurs as the legalization of marijuana spreads through the nation. African Americans worked hardily on the illegal end of the weed business but are being regulated to the sidelines once weed became legal. This is a sort of financial gentrification. As the legalization of marijuana spreads across the nation, African Americans are currently in the sweet spot for joining an industry in its infancy to become significant players well into the future. Cory Booker, along with Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet and others, introduced S.597: Marijuana Justice Act of 2019. This bill will, “…end the federal prohibition of marihuana, sponge records and reinvest in communities most impacted by War on Drugs.” Cory Booker states: “The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs; it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.” This is a great idea, but

according to Skopos Labs, it only has a 4 percent chance of being enacted. That leaves the individual states to do the proper thing in order to make it right. The challenge is to get the proper legislation that will address this issue. Illinois paved the way to address this issue directly. New York legislators are correct in slowing down the legalization process until issues of expunging criminal records and ensuring just and fair laws are put in place. Legislators can ensure minority participation in the weed industry if the proper measures are addressed during the planning of legalization. It is easier to plan than to retrofit. We can only hope the new states that will legalize marijuana will follow the lead of New York and Illinois legislators and address the issue spreading opportunities for those that have been looked out of the legal business of weed..

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

kuvo.org

LOU DONALDSON Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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Your House is High on Marijuana The resounding effect the cannabis industry is having on the Colorado housing market By Barry Overton

T here is no doubt that the

legalization of marijuana has made a major impact on economic development and growth in the Colorado market. The largest development has been in the housing market itself. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000, but in 2014 the first recreational dispensaries opened. During that time,

Cannabis Stock To Watch Continued from page 8 in the industry. As a smaller player, it is not overly leveraged allowing it the space and time to grow as the industry matures. Aphria (NYSE: APHA) is perhaps the most attractive cannabis stock today. It has solid valuation and enjoys a muscular international reputation. Its production capacity is second to none and product quality is among the industry’s best. Its cash position is strong. However, bad decisions by past management have resulted in a 21% drop in share price thus far in the 1st quarter 2020. Yet, it is poised to make a come-back. It has a terrific outlook for the long-term and is a strong competitor. Cresco Labs (OTC: CRLBF) is a solid U.S. player. Its multi-state presence and

home prices increase 58 percent, going from $248,000 in 2014 to $391,000 currently statewide. Colorado has been on the top of the list as one of the fastest growing states in the nation due to the boom in the cannabis Industry. Look at the cities that have legalized dispensaries versus those that banned the sale of marijuana. The difference that cannabis is having on the housing community in those areas is evident. smart acquisitions has placed it in an enviable position. The company is poised to become a billion dollar player by 2022. It is financially healthy with a current market cap of $1.1 billion. The company has a firm footprint in the California market but with the state’s heavy taxes and licensing processes, it continues to be challenged by the illegal marijuana market—which makes the stock a bit risky at present. It is well positioned, however, if national legalization is passed in the future. As a community that has been negatively impacted by marijuana laws of the past, African Americans are now in a position to take advantage of the legal weed market in creative ways. Past arrests and convictions are of no consequence in seeking to make smart investments moving forward. .

Home prices are actually higher in 60 Colorado cities where marijuana is legal as opposed to those that are not. In addition to that, homes in legal marijuana cities not only have more value, but they are appreciating at a faster pace than homes in non-legal marijuana cities. The values are increasing at about 12 percent year-over-year in legal areas versus only 9 percent in nonlegal areas – making a 3 percent difference per year. Hypothetically speaking, should you take those figures over a 10 year period would be a 30 percent difference and about $75,000 difference in appreciation value of a legalized marijuana home versus a home in a non-legalized area. Research has also determined that home values within 0.1 mile of a marijuana dispensary have increased more than 8 percent more than homes just slightly further away. So, while home prices are better in cities where marijuana has been legalized, it is also even better when a marijuana dispensary is within walking distance from the home. So what would we say is the biggest attribute to this increasing home value? It really comes down to a term that we’re all familiar with – supply and demand. In Colorado alone, the legalization of marijuana has created more than 44,000 jobs. All those employees need a place to live and being in close proximity to their job is always a benefit. These are jobs are fulltime, include medical and retirement packages and are typically high paying, which gives the employee the ability to afford higher priced homes. Two things I want to make clear are in order to afford a home now in Colorado does not require that you are in the cannabis industry. And number two, it does not require that you have a lucrative paying job. The most important thing that you can do now is embrace the fact

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that you live in a state where home prices are growing significantly and at a very fast rate, and then, find a way to become a homeowner at a price point that is comfortable for you. Many people, when purchasing their first home look at it as “the forever home.” I’m asking you to change that mindset and look at it more as “the get in where I fit in home,” suggesting if you can only afford 175,000 to a $200,000 one bedroom condo, then buy it. Even if a one bedroom condo does not fit your current personal needs, you could rent that property out and continue to possibly rent a home or apartment for your living needs. But the fact of the matter is you now own real estate that you are also renting out yourself. You have acquired a piece of real property that is growing in value, at a faster rate than most other properties around the country. Many people are taking advantage of this opportunity while there are several one bedroom and two bedroom units available anywhere from the $175,000 to 225,000 price ranges. Feel free to reach out to me or your real estate professional to get more information on how to get in to the real estate market at a ground level. You too can benefit from the growth that the cannabis industry has created in our market.. Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate Agent since 2001. He started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information, email barrysellsdenver@ msn.com.


E bony and Jet Magazine, once a staple on every coffee table and kept as keepsakes to preserve African American history, were a symbol of Black excellence and a showcase of Black culture and community. Both of these magazines were published by the Johnson Publishing Company, a company itself that was once one of the most powerful, influential publications that was ever African-American owned. Unfortunately, like many of their predecessors, they were not able to transition to the digital media space. The story of the once-legendary Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) starts with the company’s founders John H. Johnson and his wife Eunice W. Johnson. John Harold Johnson (January 19, 1918, to August 8, 2005) was born in Arkansas City, Arkansas to Leroy and Gertrude Johnson. He was raised by his mother and stepfather James Williams after Leroy died in a sawmill accident. Johnson loved education and attended an overcrowded and segregated elementary school; he repeated the 8th grade. Because of his educational challenges in Arkansas and after an illuminating visit to the Chicago World Fair with his mother, his family moved to Chicago in 1933 for better work and schooling. He attended Wendell Phillips High School, a school full of middle-class African Americans, a group of people that at the time were foreign to Johnson. He later transferred to DuSable High where he was surrounded by classmates who excelled, such as Nat King Cole, Redd Foxx, and William Abernathy, an environment that drove Johnson to excel as well. And excel Johnson did, while attending high school during the day and studying self-improvement books during the night, Johnson

JOHN H. JOHNSON:

The Rise and Fall of a Pioneering Media Magnate By Christian Glassiognon and Lynn Wilson was student council president and editor of the school newspaper and yearbook. He graduated with honors in 1936 and was offered a scholarship to the University of Chicago. After graduating from high school, Johnson went to work for the Supreme Life Insurance Company while attending the University of Chicago. While with Supreme, he was given the job of compiling weekly news clippings for his boss, which eventually gave him the idea for his first publication, Negro Digest in 1942. Johnson’s mom provided a $500 dollar loan and teaming up with Joseph Levy, a magazine distributor, Johnson began his first campaign. Using the Supreme Life mailing list, he mailed as many $2 mailing offers as he could and received 3,000 customers. He then used the money from his new customers to print the first copy of Negro Digest in November of 1942. By the next year, he would have 50,000 copies in circulation, a smashing success. Johnson also later became chairman and CEO of Supreme Life Insurance, where he had begun his career. Johnson then shifted his focus to covering African American communities, culture, and achievements and Ebony was born in 1945, eventually sun-setting the distribution of the Negro Digest. Jet followed in 1951 as the “Weekly Negro News

Magazine,” it focused on African American entertainers, community issues, public figures, and promoting African American women’s beauty. At Ebony’s peak, there were more than 1.3 million copies. JPC’s reach peaked from the ‘60s to the ’80s as they expanded into cosmetics, fashion, and media. The Ebony/Jet Showcase was a nationally syndicated show that captivated 73 percent of US TV households. It was by far the #1 Black-oriented interview and entertainment show at the time. A radio station was bought and renamed WJPC in 1973, and was the first Black-owned radio station in Chicago. Eunice Johnson, John’s wife, also organized and ran a traveling fashion show, Ebony Fashion Fair that funded scholarships across the United States and Canada. The JPC headquarters, 820 S. Michigan Ave., was as historic as the company itself. Designed by John Moutossamy, it was the first African American designed building on the Chicago skyline and the first African American owned building in the Chicago downtown area. John H. Johnson died August 8, 2005, leaving the company in the hands of his daughter Linda Johnson-Rice. Unfortunately, she and many other publishers did not antici-

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pate the rise of digital media and the changes that would need to be made in order to continue running a profitable business. In May 2009, R.R. Donnelley & Sons took a mortgage against the company’s headquarters due to its nonpayment of the magazine’s printing bill; the total amount neared $12 million dollars. Rice was forced to sell the building, but the JPC logo and its publication names have remained on the building and they are now apartments. Additionally, in 2015, the company began to sell the Ebony/Jet photo archives to relieve debt. In 2019, JPC filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, revealing that the company had close to 999 creditors. Mellody Hobson and her husband, Star Wars creator George Lucas, petitioned to take possession of the Ebony photo archives as collateral for the $12 million dollar loan..


Elycia C o o k How Elycia Cook Healed From Sexual Abuse

I

t was like a scene from the movie The Color Purple, says Elycia Cook of her departure from Detroit airport heading to Japan for a college student exchange program when she was just 21. About 15 members of her family accompanied her to the gate. And like the sisters Celie and Nettie in the movie when they separated, the tears flowed. Cook did not want to let go. On her first day in Japan, she experienced an earthquake, discovered community showers and was exposed to traditional Japanese meals, including fish with heads. Two months would pass before she stopped crying daily, and began to settle in to her new normal in the countryside of Shiga, Japan, realizing that this “is where she needed to be.” Today Cook is president and CEO of FRIENDS FIRST™, a Colorado-based non-profit with a $2.1 million budget and 22 employees. It was established in 1993 to serve students, their parents and communities by educating and mentoring teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships. The non-profit’s unique peer mentoring model matches high school students with mentees ages 11-14. As the FRIENDS FIRST staff mentor high school students, they in turn mentor younger students for the duration of the school year. National programming impacts nearly

5,500 students annually through its youth development programs and community trainings. Cook guided the organization through the process of trademarking MentorLife™, which means to always have someone investing in you and always invest in someone else. Today, its STARS (Students Teaching About Relationships and Success) peer mentoring program operates in 10 states, 40plus schools, and is one of the premier peer mentoring organizations in the country. A key distinction for the program is that they are not waiting on adults to be mentors. “A lot of mentor programs for youth have long waiting lists or only have available people from totally different backgrounds who may not look like you, or understand your unique challenges,” says Cook, who thrives on innovative and creative strategies. Cook, like any CEO of a nonprofit, appreciates federal funding to sustain its programming. But the cum laude graduate of business and marketing from Wayne State University found a way not to be shackled by it. She has marketed and sold the STARS program. This unique mentoring model using evidenced-informed practices is the organization’s greatest asset. For the past 12 years with the organization, Cook has overseen community collaboration and engagement, strategic partnerships, program development and fundraising. But had she not boarded that plane more than 30 years ago, her path could have been much different. Born in the Black Bottom impoverished community of Detroit, Michigan to a teen mom with a ninth-grade education, Cook became victim to years of physical and sexual abuse from her stepfather. Eventually she reported some of his actions to her mom. With the shock of such an accusation, her mother who had three children by the time she was 19, didn’t want to

face it. Or maybe she couldn’t as it was a matter of survival to have help supporting the family, Cook considers. At one point, her mom wanted to know what she was doing to provoke him. At 17, and unable to stay in her mother’s home after the accusations, she went to live with her grandmother. She stepped out of one rocky situation into another, moving into an overcrowded home and having money and personal items constantly stolen from her at the hands of a drug addicted live-in uncle. She also had to face her abuser at family functions. It is a circumstance all too many victims must navigate throughout their lives. Though this new living arrangement sheltered her from abuse as she entered college, new challenges coupled with dating a guy who dealt drugs, didn’t paint an optimistic picture. Fortunately, Dr. Vivian Carpenter, a business professor at Wayne State University, took note of Cook. She saw her potential, helped her apply for a Japanese immersion program and raise the required $20,000. Unable to see her own potential, Cook wasn’t sold on the idea and had no qualms about ditching the program for the only life she knew. Carpenter did not give up on her, introducing her to Susan L. Taylor, who at the time was Essence magazine editor-in-chief. Cook recalls Taylor advising her to go and experience Japan and that most of the people she was hanging out with will probably be doing the same thing when she returned. While in Japan, she reflected on her life and decided to write a letter to her mom explaining her feelings. Later she joined a church that helped guide her through a series called “Wounded Heart” to help with her healing. Through the church she came in contact with women from different cultures who also had experienced abuse. They bonded over this common experience.

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CO

H

st cou

By Angelia D. McGow Though Cook’s early days were ripe for a cautionary tale of statistics, she didn’t give up on creating a colorful story of success where she is the person she needed most as a child. When the married mother of two daughters received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the MENTOR organization in January 2020 at their 10TH Annual National Mentoring Summit held at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, she ended her acceptance speech with “I’m just getting started.” In March 2020 in Detroit, she reconnected with Taylor, now the founder and executive director of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, a pioneering, community-mobilization initiative dedicated to healing the effects of centuries of structural disparities that are destroying multitudes of Black children’s lives. Today, FRIENDS FIRST funds Detroit CARES STARS at University Preparatory Academy Antoinette Campus..


OLORFUL STORIES

See me Hear me

tories of tribulation, urage, and triumph

wan and Lauren Turner

Stephanie Mc-Coy Johnson Beyond Addiction: How Stephanie McCoyJohnson Recreated Herself

When faced with the

impact of her childhood trauma, Stephanie McCoyJohnson didn’t let it define her. What’s the earliest memory you have? Is it breaking your arm on your sixth birthday or when your younger siblings were born? Maybe it’s of your first pet or your first friendship, or maybe it’s of the first time you were punished for playing with matches and lying. For Denver native Stephanie McCoy-Johnson, her first memory is one that’s taken a lifetime to overcome. “I was four years old and asked my mom why there weren’t any baby pictures of me, but there were baby pictures of my sister,” Stephanie recalled on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. “I remember her saying ‘because you were an ugly baby.’”

This is the kind of thing Stephanie remembers from her childhood, and the exact type of thing she’s worked hard in therapy to put behind her. “That was the core of my trauma that dictated everything I did in life thereafter until,” Stephanie said. “The last time I saw or talked to my mother was 30 years ago when my son was two. But that’s her choice.” Understanding the root of her trauma came while in recovery from cocaine and alcohol addictions. “The first time I got clean and sober was in 1996 in Memphis, Tennessee, “she said while sitting on a plush chair with her small dog Lola on her lap. “I was in my addiction when I moved there and I thought that I needed a change of scenery. But of course, everywhere you go, there you are.” It was in Memphis that Stephanie got clean at a treatment program called Grace House. “I was clean and sober for nine years and a month after I celebrated my sobriety birthday, I relapsed.” Researchers estimate between 40 to 60 percent of substance abusers relapse annually, making it a common reality of treating addictions. Known to be the result of underlyingissues, Stephanie’s relapse was no different. “It was when I found out that my mother was talking to everyone in her family except for us kids,” she said. “It hit me like a ton of bricks emotionally. I tried to understand why it was bothering me so much especially since I did so much work during my first recovery on understanding my childhood trauma.” It took two and a half years for Stephanie to attempt recovery again. “When I got back into recovery, I knew there was something that I missed the first time,” she said. “I realized that even though I had gone through a lot of therapy regarding my childhood trauma, I didn’t know who Stephanie was. I understood all of these external labels

that were put on me, but I didn’t know who I was.” So this time, Stephanie entered her sobriety for herself. Stephanie received treatment in 2007 at The Haven’s evidence-based, gender-specific two-year programming in Fort Logan. Facilitated by CU’s Addiction Resources & Treatment Services (ARTS) program, the residential treatment opportunity was a major factor in her recovery. It was through the intense therapy provided by the Haven that Stephanie was able to see the truth. “I had an epiphany that I don’t have to be the tragedy of my childhood,” she said. “My childhood is what happened to me, but it doesn’t define who I am. That’s when I made the choice that I was no longer going to live my life based upon my trauma.” This is when the recreation of Stephanie began. “I decided that this work is what I wanted to do with my life because so many people suffer from trauma,” she said. “I’m a believer that underlying trauma is the underlying core issue of a lot of maladies. I just wanted to be able to help other people on their journey of healing.” To do that, Stephanie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, focused on Addiction Services from Metro and is currently working toward a Masters in Couples and Family Therapy at CU Denver. “I’d like to have my own private practice someday,” she said. Until then, Stephanie is lending her experiences overcoming addiction and trauma to Denver’s youth who are struggling. As part of the staff at the nonprofit CADREC, Stephanie works as an Addictions Counselor and Trauma Therapist with their adolescent programs. Short for the Community Alcohol, Drug, Rehabilitation & Education Center, CADREC has been in the Five Points/Cole neighborhood for more than 40 years.

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Providing basic addiction treatment services to adults, youth, and families on a sliding scale fee, Stephanie heads the adolescent programming. “When I first started working with the kids, I was trying to guide them to see the negative results of their behaviors,” Stephanie says. “But now, it’s just harm-reduction because we only have them a short time before they are back in the world.” Made up of primarily Hispanic and African American boys, Stephanie’s window of opportunity to make a change is short. “When I ask why they smoke marijuana, they say it calms them down. They have anxiety and stress, and that just breaks my heart,” Stephanie says. “Thinking about my childhood and what kids go through now, I wouldn’t want to have a kid in today’s society.” But that’s why Stephanie continues to act as a soundboard to the future leaders of our community. She’s honest with them about her experiences, giving them proof that they can open up to her and she cherishes their trust. “It’s not just a job that I’m doing. To me, it’s my ministry,” Stephanie said. “It’s what I was called to do. Everything that I’ve been through in my life is my testimony and has prepared me for my ministry.”. Editor’s note: These stories and others will be presented at Colorful Stories... See Me, Hear Me luncheon on Saturday, August 29 at the Renaissance Hotel. For more information, call 303-292-6446.


COLORFUL STORIES

See See me Hear Hear me

Denver Urban Spectrum presents stories of tribulation, courage and triumph Janet Buckner • Beyond Beyond Grief

eyond Domestic Abuse Rose Andom • BBeyond

Elycia Cook • BBeyond eyond Sexual Abuse

Stephanie McCoy-Johnson • BBeyond eyond Addiction

Melissa Martinez • BBeyond eyond Suicide

Simone D. Ross • Luncheon Emcee

Dr. Carolyn Love • Panel Moderator

Geta and Janice Asfaw Honorary Chairs

New Date

Saturday, August 29, 2020 •11AM to 2 PM Renaissance Hotel - Denver, CO Networking Reception -10:30 AM

For sponsorship opportunities, tickets and more information, call

303-292-6446 For more info: visit EventBrite.com or http://bit.ly/39mBAcA Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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MAYOR’S CORNER

DENVER Announces Initial Economic Relief Package for Businesses, Employees The City and County of Denver is committed to identifying, developing and implementing local programs, including financial and wrap-around services, to support Denver business owners and their employees affected by the city’s public health response to COVID-19. The city is creating an initial relief fund of $4 million to support small businesses during this time. The city’s primary goal is to help the people most directly impacted by the disruptions caused by COVID-19. These programs are aimed at supporting businesses so they can support their employees. •Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO) is setting up an emergency relief program to provide cash grants up to $7,500 to qualifying small businesses. The highest priority will be the industries most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, such as the food industry. These businesses may have had to temporarily close, are struggling with paying their rent and utilities, or have had to lay off staff. •DEDO, in partnership with CEDS Finance, will refocus an existing microloan program to support small businesses’ stabilization efforts. Current recipients of loans from DEDO will have the ability to temporarily defer loan payments, should they need to. •The city will be working in partnership with Mile High United Way and Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) to distribute the cash grants and microloan fund. The city and

DDP are also working together on expanding business relief funding and will be reaching out to the business community to amplify the impact of the small business support through donations. •Through the existing IMAGINE 2020 Artist Assistance Fund, Denver Arts & Venues (DAV) will award grants up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Denver whose incomes are being adversely affected due to cancellation of events, classes, performances and other creative work. The Artist Assistance Fund will be made available for, but is not limited to: •recouping financial losses due to cancelled events; •reimbursement for travel expenses related to creative work that was paid for by the artist; and •offsetting loss of income for teaching artists who could not teach during this time because of cancelled classes and school closures. •DAV is committed to the well-being of artists in our community and recognizes the serious financial impact the current health pandemic is having on their livelihoods. Applications from all artists living in Denver are welcomed and priority will be placed on lower income artists and artists who have no other source of income. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Funding will be determined on a first-come, firstserve basis and based on eligibility and level of need. •The Denver Department of Finance (DOF) will waive the 15 perxent penalty for late payment of February and March sales, use, and occupational privilege taxes due March 20 and April 20. The return must be filed and funds remitted within 30 days of the due date. DOF will evaluate extension of the waiver on a month-bymonth basis. •For the next 30 days, the Denver Department of

Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) will suspend enforcement of the following: •Parking meters (All meters will be free and without time limits.) •Time-limited, non-metered parking areas (e.g., 30-minute, 1hour, 2-hour, etc.) •Residential Permit Parking areas •72-hour parking limits (Residents and visitors can park their vehicles in one spot for more than 72 hours.) •Large vehicle parking (People can park trucks and other vehicles more than 22’ in length on the street.) •School bus loading zones •Booting •Denver’s street sweeping program will begin April 1; however, the city will not enforce parking restrictions related to street sweeping for 30 days. People who are able to move their cars on street sweeping day are asked to do so to allow street sweepers to reach the curb line and more effectively sweep. •The following enforcement activities will continue: •Fire hydrant zone clear areas (10 ft. clear around hydrants) •“No Stopping” or “No Parking” zones to promote safety •Loading zones – Passenger, Truck, Permitted, General, Temporary, etc. •RTD transit stops •Special parking permitted spaces, including accessible spaces, CarShare, church zones, fire zones •Blocked driveways and alleys •Parking in travel lanes, including bike and transit lanes •DOTI will evaluate an extension of the above enforcement changes on a month-bymonth basis. . For more information, and how to apply for the various relief funding opportunities, visit www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/news/coronavirus- info/support-services.html

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City’s COVID-19 Response Update and Stay At Home Order Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced a new Public Health Order with an explicit stay at home directive for the City and County of Denver that will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and continue until April 10. The Mayor is urging all community residents and businesses to escalate their observance of the previous stay at home guidelines amid the worsening COVID-19 epidemic and said that he expects other cities in the metro area to enact similar orders very shortly. The order requires that all people in the City & County of Denver stay home and businesses implement work from home policies and delivery of goods to the greatest extent possible. The order also calls for Denver Metro regional municipalities to follow the broad consensus among public health professionals that every effort should be made, by all persons, to conduct only those essential activities necessary to promote health and well-being, such as getting groceries, obtaining medical supplies or medication, and/or engaging in outdoor activities like walking, hiking or running, continuing the strict observance of physical distancing practices. “This stay at home order responds to the public health advice we have received as well as ongoing conversations with the Governor and metro mayors,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “People and businesses need to continue to take physical distancing seriously to make an impact on the spread of this virus. Frankly, voluntary ‘distancing’ is simply not enough.” To view the public health order for more information, including a full list of exceptions, visit www.denvergov.org.


How African Americans Can Stay Current and Manage Yourself For

COVID-19 By Dr. Johnny E. Johnson and Elesa Yihdego

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coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly evolving virus that accompanies a time of uncertainty. The fear of the virus is spreading faster than the virus itself. Remember God’s spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love and self-control. Although this pandemic has shaken us to our core, we can adhere to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s guidelines by exercising self-control. If we have been asked to shelter in place, self-quarantine, or keep a reasonable distance between ourselves and others then we should abide by those guidelines. The guidelines may change daily, but common sense directives remain the same. While this is a time of uncertainty, we should focus on what we know now, and what is best for the greater good by helping each other through this critical time. Coronavirus is a viral infection that has been around for some time. It infects humans and animals; typical coronavirus encompasses the common cold. The novel Coronavirus 2019 designated as COVID19 by the World Health Organization is also known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2. It originated in a food market in Wuhan City, the capital of the Hubei province in China. This

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strain is considered novel because we have never seen this before and it is able to infect everyone. Because we didn’t have prior exposure to this unknown virus, we were not prepared for it. This particular strain has been found in bats and potentially in pangolins but is now primarily spread through the community by person to person contact. Transmission occurs through respiratory droplets that that are ejected when people cough and sneeze. You may breathe in these droplets, or they may reach your nose, eyes, or mouth. Transmission may also occur from touching surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Coronavirus may live on surfaces from hours to three days. Symptoms may appear within two to 14 days of exposure and range from asymptomatic, mild upper respiratory symptoms, dry cough, and fever, shortness of breath to viral pneumonia with severe shortness of breath, respiratory failure, kidney failure and potentially death. While it is true, 80 percent of the cases are mild and people recover; 20 percent of the cases are serious. These tend to be found in older populations and people with preexisting illnesses like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, lupus and immunosuppressed states due to drugs or chemotherapy. The current pandemic is community spread. This is called a pandemic because COVID-19 was unable to be contained and spread through-


Following are other suggested recommendations:

ALL CAUSES HAVE ADVOCATES. BUT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV ONLY A CHAMPION WILL DO.

1. Postpone nonessential travel 2. Avoid contact with sick people 3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth 4. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds 5. Use hand sanitizer if washing your hands is not possible (60 percent alcohol) 6. Avoid traveling if you are sick 7. Social Distancing - 6 feet 8. Learn more about the coronavirus 9. Stay off social media related protocols or guidelines 10. Don’t listen to your friends about social media myths 11. Pray out multiple countries. Large gatherings are avoided at this time to help prevent the spread and help our most vulnerable population. Also, it is important to know people can spread the disease even when no symptoms are showing. Social distancing, by staying home or keeping a distance greater than six feet from people, frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, objects and respiratory hygiene; and covering mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing are all important to minimize spread of this virus. If you get infected or test positive with COVID-19, you must self-quarantine within your house for two weeks. This will help prevent the spread of the virus to your family. Your family should self-quarantine as well due to exposure. While it appears that children aren’t getting as seriously ill as older people, they are still capable of catching coronavirus and spreading the disease unknowingly. Young adults are rapidly becoming infected because they are failing to follow the instructions on social distancing. Many are following posts on social media rather than the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) healthcare professionals. Masks are not beneficial unless you are actively sneezing and coughing. Masks may help

minimize spread and lessen chance of infecting others, but spread also seems to be occurring before people show symptoms. Currently, we have a mask shortage which creates a risk of healthcare workers not adequately protecting themselves as well as the infected patients in their care. The general public does not need to wear masks but please have one available along with your hand sanitizer. To stay up to date and gain accurate information, visit the World Health Organization (www.who.int), the Centers of Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (www.colorado.gov/cdphe) as accurate resources.. Editor’s note: Dr. Johnny E. Johnson is the president of the Mile Hi Medical Society.  Elesa Yihdego is a third year medical student at RVU.

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8 Tips to Fight Coronavirus and Boost Immunity By Dr. Erynn M. Burks

In a matter of just a few weeks coronavirus has transformed American life. From the cancellation of all large gatherings to everyday items becoming near impossible to keep stocked in stores, nothing is the same. Schools are closed, our jobs have gone remote, and new hashtags urge us all to “FlattenTheCurve” and

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“StopTheSpread”. The world is at a standstill waiting to see what comes next, and although the prospect of what might happen is frightening and we have all lost a bit of control, there is still plenty we can do to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities during this time.

A Coronavirus Overview Close kin to SARS and MERS, the disease COVID-19 comes from a novel coronavirus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Despite the viral strain being new, coronaviruses have always existed and are a relatively common family of viruses found in people and animals. Since December, COVID-19 has been classified as a pandemic and is currently spreading around the world. As of the date of publication of this article, health authorities report that there are more than 150,000 cases worldwide resulting nearly 6,000 deaths. In the United States, the CDC reports cases in every state except West Virginia as well as cases in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam. There is currently no cure for COVID-19, although a vaccine is in research; if successful, sufficient quantities are unlikely to be available for another 12-18 months. For now, patients who contract coronavirus are given supportive care (e.g., fluids, cough suppressants, Tylenol, bedrest) to help their immune systems fight the virus naturally. COVID-19 is spread personto-person, although new research suggests that it can stay on objects and surfaces for up to three days. It is highly contagious and spreads rapidly through communities. The symptoms of COVID-19 appear approximately two weeks following exposure to the virus

and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms range in severity from mild to severe and carry a risk of death, especially in people over age 60 and those with compromised immune systems. Individuals with chronic disease conditions also appear to be more likely to experience complications like pneumonia and even die from coronavirus infection. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider immediately to receive further instructions on how to proceed with seeking medical care.

Prevention Tips for Yourself and Others COVID-19 is a serious illness, but we are not powerless against it. Use the following tips to help yourself and others fight coronavirus and boost immune function: 1. Wash your hands at regular intervals with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If there is no soap and water available and your hands are not visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol. Remember to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, after handling trash, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after caring for the sick, and before you eat! 2. Disinfect all surfaces and frequently used objects with a disinfecting spray or wipe at least once per day. Remember to leave the solution on the object or surface for the effective kill-time. If necessary, rinse or wipe clean using plain water. 3. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. 4. Only use facemask if you are sick or are taking care of someone who is sick. 5. Practice social distancing. Avoid gathering in groups as much as possible. If you are over age 60, have a chronic disease condition (i.e., diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, asthma, high blood pressure,

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cancer) or are have a compromised immune system (i.e., HIV, autoimmune disorders, organ transplant) stay indoors as much as possible in order to limit contact with potentially infected people, objects and surfaces. 6. Eat nutrient dense food. Try to consume more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. These antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods cannot prevent coronavirus infection, but they can help boost your immune system to help you recover faster. 7. Exercise regularly. Although gyms are closed, that does not mean you have to give up on fitness. Research suggests that exercise can improve immune function and reduce your chances of becoming ill. As the weather warms up, try to get outside for a nice walk around the block or the park. If you are in a self-quarantine period and cannot leave your home, a few sets of jumping jacks, pushups, squats, and situps can be a major help. 8. Manage your stress. A disease outbreak is stressful and being over-stressed has negative effects on immune function. Give your mind a break and immune system a boost by taking time away from news and social media, praying or trying mindfulness exercises, and connecting with family and friends over phone, video chat or text. By their nature, pandemics breed fear; however, the most important thing in this moment is to remain calm and follow the guidelines set by our public health authorities. For more information about coronavirus/COVID-19 visit the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization websites at CDC.gov and who.int.. Editor’s note: For more information about nutrigenomic testing – Dr. Erynn M. Burks, her services, location and hours of operation, visit MyCherryPointe.com.


Top 10 Misconceptions Many African Americans Have About Coronavirus

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Coronavirus, also known scientifically as COVID-19, has been a global nightmare. One by one, the virus has infiltrated nearly every country and about 10 percent of those who have contracted the virus have died. Sadly, there are many African Americans who still don’t fully understand what the virus is, and how to prevent it. Here are the top 10 most common misconceptions that many in the Black community have: #1 - Black People Can’t Get It: This is simply not true. To date, at least three African American NBA players have contracted the virus. In addition, several African nations including Rwanda, Nigeria, and Kenya have all reported individuals

who have tested positive for the viral. Therefore, Black people are not immune to the virus. #2 - Vodka Kills the Virus: Most vodka brands are only 40 percent alcohol, and that is not high enough to effectively kill microbes. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. #3 - You Need Health Insurance to Be Tested: Definitely not true. The U.S. government has mandated free testing to all individuals who have the symptoms of Coronavirus. All hospitals are required to comply, but not all hospitals may have enough test kits. In addition, there may be a long waiting line to get tested. #3 - You Should Call 911 If You Have the Symptoms: Unless you are suffering from an immediate life-threatening emergency, you should not call 911. You should, however, call your doctor and/or visit your local hospital’s emergency room if you are not feeling well. Those who have questions or confusion about the virus can also visit CoronaVirusHelpline.org or call the toll-free Coronavirus Helpline at (888) 581-5029 for more information. #4 - The Flu is More Dangerous: This also is not true. Although it is true that last year more than 60,000 people died from

the flu. The Coronavirus has been proven to be more contagious, more deadly, and also more misunderstand. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than 1 percent of people who typically contract the flu die from it, but so far, about 3.4 percent of those who have contracted Coronavirus have died. #5 - You Must Have Multiple Symptoms: This also is not correct. Many individuals who have tested positive for the Coronavirus have only been found to have just one of the major symptoms. According to the Washington State Dept of Health, those symptoms are shortness of breath, cough OR fever. #6 - Only Elderly People Die From It: While it is true that people age 60 and over are more likely to contract and die from the virus, younger people must also exercise plenty of caution. The truth is that many patients that are age 22-59 are also being affected. South Korea reported 2,718 cases among patients under the age of 30. #7 - All Chinese People Have the Coronavirus: Again, not true. It is true that the virus originated in China, but this does not mean that all Chinese people are infected nor does it justify any type of racial discrimination against people from China or Chinese-owned businesses. Remember that many Chinese Americans have never even been to China.

#8 - There is a Cure: Currently, there is no cure or medical treatment available for those who contract the virus. Depending on the location, if a person tests positive for the virus, he or she will be quarantined and/or sent home and encouraged to self-quarantine. Drinking plenty of water, eating healthy foods with high nutrients, and taking immunebuilding vitamins are encouraged. #10 - You Should Stock Up on Water and Toilet Tissue: No government agency has ever made this suggestion. This is a panic reaction from the general population. The truth is that by being inside a grocery store or big box retailer trying to hoard items like this, you are only increasing the chances of being exposed to someone who could be infected and may not even know it. #10 - All Travel Has Been Banned: As of March 16, 2020, no type of domestic travel has been restricted. However, the U.S. government has initiated several international travel bans to many countries in Asia and Europe. Most of these travel bans, however, do not affect American citizens but affect non-U.S. citizens.. Editor’s note: Those with more questions about the virus are encouraged to visit CoronaVirusHelpline.org or call the toll-free Coronavirus Helpline at (888) 581-5029 for more information.

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Marijuana Revenue Continued from page 10 The program, established by city of Los Angeles government was supposed to provide cannabis licenses to people harmed by the war on drugs. In reality, LA’s Cannabis Social Equity Program has been plagued by delays, scandal and bureaucratic incompetence. The social equity program that was designed to help minorities has ended up doing the opposite. African-American entrepreneurs have suffered irreparable harm through loss of time and revenue.  Recently the state of Illinois, lured by the potential for weed revenue approved legislation to make sales of Cannabis legal in 2020. Although, when sales began in Chicago, not a single person of color held a retail license, eliciting a strong rebuke from the city’s Black Caucus. Contrastingly, the Chicago suburb of Evanston voted to use the proceeds from marijuana revenue to spend up to ten million on a program to provide yet-tobe-defined assistance to Black residents in reparation for past discrimination. The Black community is anxious to see how this reparation initiative unfolds. The state of New Jersey has proposed a bill mandating that 25% of all legal licenses be set aside for people of color. Additionally, African-American legislators in New York have pledged to boycott all marijuana legislation efforts that do not include provisions to redirect some profits to communities of color. From Prohibition, to the tech startup era, individual(s) that are successful in commercial economic booms have access to multiple kinds of capital – financial, social and political. Lack of consistent access to these diverse kinds of capital, and the power they weld makes it nearly impossible for AfricanAmerican communities to truly profit from the revenue that marijuana generates. .

Montbello Organizing Committee Purchases Land for Cultural Hub, Grocery Store, and Affordable Housing Project

Pictured at the closing are MOC Representatives Greg Allen, Angelle Fouther, Mary Etta Curtis, and Donna Garnett, Khadija Haynes with Marcia Johnston-Walden of Colorado Enterprise Fund and Alexis Haynes and Willie Burgess of Burgess Services.

What began five years ago as a goal to secure a simple community amenity of a full-service grocery store, has grown into a community vision for so much more. Convened by Montbello Organizing Committee, Montbello residents have organized around the lack of health food, spaces for engagement, and affordable housing. The result was a vetted plan for a grocery store and cultural hub with 96 units of affordable housing – known nationally as the Montbello FreshLo project. Montbello FreshLo, which has already garnered generous local and national funding by foundations, including the Kresge Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, and The Denver Foundation, has now taken the next step toward actualization. In February MOC purchased land that was the former Montbello Park and Ride for “the Hub,” clearing the pathway for construction. The Montbello team has engaged 2,500 residents to provide input and guide the project. A draft plan was created, and in 2018, 118 stakeholders participated in a week-long process with a

national panel of experts through Urban Land Institute to vet and flesh out the plan. “It feels like it’s been a long journey to this point,” says MOC President Chris Martinez. “But we are very proud that this project is being envisioned by the community and that it will be owned by the community.” The property, which was purchased from RTD, is located in the heart of Montbello on Albrook Dr., near Peoria Street. The acquisition was secured with the support of Colorado Enterprise Fund and Denver’s Office of Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO). MOC won the bid for the land and has completed two required environmental assessment scans. “The community will continue to be involved in this process,” says Donna Garnett, Executive Director of MOC and Manager of the FreshLo Initiative. “We will be holding community engagement meetings over the next nine weeks throughout Montbello to gather additional input.” The Hub, which is estimated at $40 million, will be funded

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through grants, investments, and loans through the LowIncome Housing Tax Credit and New Market Tax Credit programs. Groundbreaking is projected for early 2021 with occupancy beginning in 2022. “For a couple of years, we’ve had potential investors and funders express great interest in this project, each saying ‘let us know when you acquire the land,’” Martinez says. “Well, we are very happy and proud to let them know: we’ve got the land!” MOC is planning a site acquisition celebration to mark the milestone with community members, project partners, and officials.. Editor’s note: For more information about MOC, Montbello FreshLo, or the Hub, call Donna Garnett at 720-810-5475 or email montbellofreshlo@gmail.com. About the Montbello Organizing Committee: Galvanizing Montbello residents and providing them with the tools and resources necessary to develop their leadership skills so that they can proactively address the issues affecting their community and quality of life. For more information, visit montbello organizing.org.


ScienceBacked Ways to Stay Motivated on Your Workout By Kim Farmer

Inactive people may not work out because they don’t see it as a fulfilling or satisfying leisurely pursuit, unlike other pastimes like gaming or watching TV. Unsurprisingly, if you treat exercise like a punishment, you’re only setting yourself up for an unnecessary struggle. Working out is great for your body and mind, so treat it like a form of self-care.

Set concrete goals

W

hat do you do when your alarm goes off at the crack of dawn, signaling you to get out of bed? Do you get up immediately and start your morning jog, or do you — like too many of us — hit the snooze button for “just five more minutes� of sleep until the entire morning has passed you and your running shoes by? We’ve all been there, and are guilty of staring down at our gym bags and putting off commitments, without a single clue as to where all our motivation had gone. In this regard, Pinterest quotes and an excellent playlist can pump you up. But for times when they can’t, know that there are actually sciencebacked ways to motivate you so you can keep on track with your fitness goals.

Don’t make it feel like a punishment First things first: you can’t talk hate about what you’re doing and expect good results.

Sometimes, baby steps are the best steps. In a study entitled Goal Setting in Sports, establishing objectives were found to be the most popular sport psychology technique and an integral part of any mental training program for maximizing athletic potential. You might have ambitious dreams like wanting six-pack abs or a bikini body, but unless you have a concrete action plan, it’s hard to follow through with them. Instead, focus on smaller, more tangible goals like being able to do a proper push-up or increasing the number of reps per session. It may not sound like much yet, but these little victories do add up, and you’ll reach your big goals before you even know it.

from good marketing. This phenomenon is called “enclothed cognition,� which refers to the sudden change in perspective when you put on certain clothes — whether it’s a fancy suit, a beautiful dress, or workout attire in your favorite color. Research from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reveals that clothing can influence behavior and subconsciously alter our attitudes. This is due to the symbolic nature of the clothes we wear. So go ahead and buy yourself those new sneakers. But of course, you shouldn’t compromise comfort for style. A workout is still a workout, and you’ll need the right kind to perform your best. That means snug shirts for yoga and comfortable leggings for leg days. When you feel unmotivated to do your next workout, remember that you are doing it for yourself so that you will be able to continue to do the things

you love to do as you age. Exercise positively affects your mind and body and when you set goals, dress for success and hold yourself accountable; you are more likely to stick with it. Thanks for reading! . Editor’s note: Contributor Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness. .

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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 www.ucmontbello.org

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Have a little healthy competition

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You don’t have to be a naturally competitive person to reap the benefits of a healthy match with a running partner or gym buddy. Not only will competition give you a significant boost, but it will also make you more accountable. You’re less likely to flake on your workout knowing it will earn you the “quitter� or “loser� title by default. On top of this, it’s just a lot more fun having a workout buddy who will wish you good luck all the same.

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REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM

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

Editor’s note: Samantha OfolePrince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is Blackflix.com’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Laurence Washington is the creator of BlackFlix.com. Like Blackflix.com on Facebook, follow Blackflix.com on Twitter

The Hunt

lll By Samantha Ofole-Prince

T

welve strangers wake up in a field, gagged, unarmed and with no clue where they are or how they got there. But as the day progresses, they discover they have been chosen for a very specific purpose — to be hunted and killed by a group of elites with a grudge. That’s the premise of this satirical horror flick, which has action, suspense and drama and is a great cautionary tale of how wrong first impressions can be. Riveting from the first scene to the last, it’s an action-thriller-suspense movie with a very high-violent body count that explores conspiracy theories. The brilliance of The Hunt is that it’s not immediately clear what the strangers have in common with each other, and that makes it harder

to understand what the agenda of those hunting them might be, which nicely drives the story. Directed by Craig Zobel and produced by Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions (The Purge, Get Out), most of the hunted strangers are nameless and meet violent ends, but there’s always a hero and she’s Crystal, played by Betty Gilpin (Glow), a menacing, unstoppable assassin who remains stoic and steadfast throughout the film in her pursuit of those hunting her, methodically killing each one off, one by one, till she gets to the ringleader Athena (Hilary Swank).  Unlike almost all genre films, the two principal roles of The Hunt, villain and hero, are both women who ultimately face off in a battle of brains and brawn with a brilliant fight scene where kitchen gadgets, appliances and utensils are turned into weapons. It’s a lengthy fight scene reminiscent of the one between Vivica A. Fox and Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film Kill Bill. In a digital age, with the dissemination of fake news, an assumption, accusation, email, text or message can be the spark that ignites a controversy, destroying reputations and wrecking lives – and that’s ultimately the frightening and dark premise of The Hunt.

The Invisible Man lll

shared universe that Dark Universal started with the Mummy should have started with The Invisible Man. This picture would have given the filmmakers the momentum to start building a franchise worth seeing. The whole idea of an invisible force that you know is there, but no one else can see, or understand what you are going through. The script does an excellent job of bringing us along with the main character as she struggles to make everyone understand what she is going through. The filmmakers employ the philosophy of Alfred Hitchcock in sharing with the audience all of the information they need to create their own feeling of suspense. Writer/Director Leigh Whannell creates as close to the perfect cinema experience I have had in a long time.  Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) plays a woman who escapes an abusive relationship. Her husband takes his own life, but now she’s free only to be harassed by a monovalent being. That is more of a slug line than an outline. Trust me; it’s for a good reason. There is a fresh connection between the trailer and the movie. I suggest watching the trailer right before you see the film.  There are no a bad performances in this film. Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures, Leverage) proves his screen presence in this film. His long career in television is exceptional, but he needs to

pulls it off, she takes us along her treacherous path, and you feel every spine-tingling step. What makes this a good film is how they develop the characters, and the effects are seamless. The mark of a great movie is how the story outweighs the technical aspects of the film. Forest Gump had a lot of special effects that were utterly overlooked as effects elevated the story. The same goes for The Invisible Man. The invisible entity affects the real world, and that presence enhances the performances and the story.  Universal has learned the wrong lesson from the shared universe stories from Marvel. It’s not that all of the stories interact with one another, and they all share the same space. It’s that each individual story stands on its own, and just happens to share the same space. We did not arrive at End Game because it was all effects and characters crossing into each other’s films. We grew to love the characters individually; each character has to stand alone. The Invisible Man could be the cornerstone of that same kind of magic. There are some intense emotions in this film. The journey that Cecilia takes is profoundly emotional and, at times, hard to watch. You won’t be able to close your eyes, but you also won’t see what is coming next. 

Blue Story llll By Samantha Ofole-Prince

T

By Jon Rutlege

T

his current revision of The Invisible Man is a prime example of the winning strategy at Blumhouse Productions – it’s freaking outstanding. The failed

spend more time on the big screen. He could carry a film. Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) is so strong in this film she carries an entire scene with no other actors on the screen. She

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here’s a scene in Blue Story, where gang members argue over the avoidable death of one of their own who has just been shot by a rival gang. “What are we even fighting for?” One angrily exclaims, “A postcode that we don’t even own?!” It’s the dialogue in this film about gang rivalry in South East London, which sets the stage for writer/director Rapman’s tragic tale of brother-


REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM

Writer/director Rapman

hood, rivalry, romance and gang violence. For its star Stephen Odubola, it is one of the most powerful scenes in this moving drama. “It wasn’t in your face, but it was posing the question of what the violence was really about. You have people fighting for an area they don’t even own, and one questioning whether it is worth your life.” Stephen Odubola (Timmy) and Micheal Ward (Marco)

Filled with details of daily life, rap music and street lingo, Blue Story follows two high school boys from warring zip codes that form a firm friendship which is tested when they wind up on rival sides of a street war. There are good directorial touches and earnest playing by a fresh-faced cast that includes Odubola as Timmy, a smart, naive young boy whose character goes from sweet to savage as the film evolves on the streets of South London. “The film shows how certain circumstances can make friendships go wrong and it is for people to see that gang life is not worth it and for people who are not aware of that life to be educated so they won’t get caught up in it,” says Odubola.

Karla-Simone Spence plays his love interest, Leah, the central narrative to this tragic tale, Micheal Ward (Netflix’s Top Boy) is Timmy’s (Odubola) best friend Marco and Eric KofiAbrefa wraps up the main cast making a strong impression as Marco’s older brother Switcher, and the leader of the Peckham gang who ignites the war between the two best friends. “It shows different versions of love. Brotherly love, romance love and the love between two best friends,” adds Spence, who admits she was initially skeptical of making the movie. “I wasn’t sure it was a route I wanted to go down. People say, ‘There’s a lot of hood movies out, make something new.’ But when I read [the script] I realized it was something different. Usually with films like these females are sex symbols and stereotypical, but Leah was completely different. She was innocent, had ambitious and is the moral compass of the story. Their love drives the narrative all the way to the end and I really liked that. It’s very authentic and it’s shining a light on what is actually happening today. It depicts what actually goes go on in London. American audiences will be able to relate to it because it’s so universal.” For Odubola, a Rapman fan, joining the cast was a no brainer. He was very familiar with Rapman having seen the YouTube short film version of Blue Story years ago. “When I heard he was casting for it, I instantly wanted to get involved as I was already familiar with the story. Timmy is not too far from myself in the sense that I was raised by Nigerian parents and grew up in South London and aware of all the things that were happening around me and so I used all those things to get into my character.”

Much of the film’s strength comes from the actors and the rap narration by Rapman adds a symphonic touch. Tautly paced with a powerful climax, there’s plenty to create a boxoffice stir in Blue Story which tells the story of a never-ending cycle of gang war in which there are no winners only victims.

Burden

llll By Laurence Washington

I guess love conquers all.

Well, at least in writer/director Andrew Heckler’s racially charged film Burden. A true to life story that explores the question: “Can a Klansman forsake the Klan, to be with the love of his life?” Enter Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund), a rumpled mumbling redneck, who spits tobacco and seems angst all the time. Burden was raised by the town’s head businessman and chief racist Griffin (Tom Wilkinson), who enjoys agitating Black youths and reminiscing about the good old days of lynching. Forest Whitaker stars as South Carolina Revered David Kennedy, who leads a peaceful protest when a museum opens in his town celebrating the Ku Klux Klan. The museum, dubbed The Redneck Shop, offers assorted trinkets, T-Shirts and bobbles featuring the Klan and the Southern states stars and bars. So be prepared, because Burden is layered with

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the squirm factor. In fact, you can’t throw a rock in this town without hitting a good-old cross-burning, a hooded Klansman or the N-word being bantered about in everyday conversation. But alas, Burden meets Judy (Andrea Riseborough) who does not tolerate any of his racist views. Suddenly Burden’s simple life becomes complicated. Judy tells Burden to choose between her and the

Klan. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Burden’s Klan buddies, or with the town’s Black citizens who say Burden can’t quit something that is born within him. Burden becomes persona non grata by the town’s white and black citizens. Rev. Kennedy is the only person who, at the risk of alienating family, takes Burden and Judy into his home protecting them from the Klan. Whitaker leads an inspired cast, including Usher Raymond and Crystal Fox who should have had more to do in the film. It’s never fully explained why Burden changes his ways, but the filmmakers want us to go with love. So let’s run with that; I guess one can say Burden is about racism. But pealing away the layers, the film punctuates social conscience and one’s integrity – standing up and being willing to change your position and take responsibility for things you have done. .


NEWSVIEWS

Discrimination Based On Hair Is Banned In Colorado The CROWN act which prevents discrimination against hairstyles associated with a racial identity received its final signature from Governor Jared Polis on March 6, making Colorado the fourth state, behind California, New York, New Jersey and Virginia. Colorado’s CROWN – Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair – Act (House Bill 1048) bans discrimination based on a person’s traits that are historically associated with race, specifically hairstyles such as afros and braids, in employment, education, housing and public accommodations. “When we look at how we can end societal, legal discrimination against marginalized communities, especially communities of color, it’s important to know that discriminating

against people’s hair has often been a stand-in for discriminating against their race,” said Polis. “We’re proud to say that today that will no longer occur in the State of Colorado.” Sponsored by Representative Leslie Herod, Representative

Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) and Senator Rhonda Fields (DAurora), the signing of House Bill 1048 comes on the heels of nationally publicized incidents of hair discrimination including New Jersey student-wrestler Andrew Johnson, who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks to compete. “The CROWN Act will right a decades-long wrong: forcing people across the ethnic spectrum to make their hair look and feel a certain way to succeed,” said Representative Leslie Herod (D) Denver. “This bill is for every person who has damaged their hair with a relaxer or burnt their scalp with a hot comb, for those who have spent countless hours and dollars to conform to euro-centric beauty standards. Everyone should be their true beautiful selves, feel proud of their culture and heritage, and be celebrated for their self-expression.”

Families of Four-YearOlds: Save Money on Preschool Tuition The Denver Preschool Program (DPP) is a local nonprofit that helps all families living in the City and County of Denver save money on the cost of preschool. DPP makes quality preschool possible for all Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – April 2020

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Denver four-year-olds by lowering tuition costs for families and investing in quality improvement resources for approximately 250 local preschools. Through a dedicated city sales tax, funds are available to support every Denver family with a child in their year before kindergarten, regardless of income. As part of a pilot program, DPP is now able to provide three extra months of tuition support (up to 15 months total) to children who will turn four years old on or before Oct. 1. Families can save money on preschool tuition as early as June 1, through the end of August 2021. “We’re so honored to be able to offer this additional tuition support to our community so that families can start saving on preschool costs earlier than ever before,” said Elsa Holguín, president and CEO of DPP. “Families should start their preschool search soon to have the best chance of finding a spot in a school that fits their and their child’s needs.” As the cost of living in the City and County of Denver continues to rise, increasing the amount of preschool tuition support DPP provides to parents and caregivers is one way the program helps ensure that families of all socioeconomic backgrounds can continue to afford to live in Denver’s beautiful, vibrant city. Any family in need of a summer or fall preschool spot for their child can visit www.dpp.org to utilize DPP’s “Find a Preschool” tool to search for preschool programs. In addition, they can take advantage of DPP’s online “Tuition Credit Calculator,” which allows parents and caregivers to estimate the amount of monthly tuition support they may be eligible to receive to lower the overall cost of preschool.


IN MEMORY OF...

Landri Cortez Taylor

August 17, 1950 ~ February 26, 2020

L

andri was born on August 17, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois to the late James LaVelle Taylor and Naomi Ruth Jones. He passed peacefully on February 26, 2020 surrounded by family. At an early age, Landri dedicated his life to Christ. He attended elementary school in Oakland, CA. He then attended Lowell High School in San Francisco and graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 1974 with a degree in biology. He moved to Colorado in August 1979 where he met his wife, Gloria. They were united in marriage for 40 years. Landri was a dedicated father, avid golfer and skier. He enjoyed traveling with his family and listening to music. And you could always find him enjoying the sunsets with Gloria after a day of work. He also was a devoted member and trustee of New Hope Baptist Church. Landri served as chief executive officer for The Foundation for Sustainable Communities. He was previously employed as the president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, and vice president of community affairs at Forest City Enterprises. Landri served on many boards throughout his career but was most proud of his service on the RTD Board and the Denver Public School Board. His other board and profes-

sional affiliations include: Colorado Open Golf Foundation, Blair Caldwell African American Research Library (board treasurer), Latin American Educational Foundation, and Stapleton Foundation. His survivors include wife Gloria, son Stephen DeNeal, Chula Vista, CA; daughters, Kimberly Catrice (Christopher) and Kristol Camille (Marcus), Aurora, CO; mother Naomi Ruth Pierce, San Francisco, CA; brother James Pierce (Angela), Oakland, CA; sister Shari Taylor, San Francisco, CA; grandchildren Lauryn, Savannah, Dalila and Dominic; four sister-in-law’s; three brother-in-law’s; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and many devoted friends.

Christel

“Queen Elizabeth” Gayles

March 26, 1967 ~ February 19, 2020

Christel began her work journey at US Bank from 1987 to 2000. She drove for Fifth Avenue in Style Limousine from 2000 to 2003 and in late 2003, Christel began working for the Transportation Department for DPS as a bus driver, later becoming an athletic and excursions supervisor. For a woman who never married she had a husband, her childhood friend Sammie Gaskins. They declared their marital status as husband and wife when they were children. For a woman who never gave birth to a child, Christel had many children. She loved children and they loved her. Family was priority for Christel. She was very close to her mother, who she referenced as her best friend. They spent a lot of time together traveling, laughing, attending events and sharing life. A little over 10 years ago, Christel met her younger brother and after connecting, she and Christopher Elliott Hall became very close. Christel was preceded in death by her father Robert Gayles and Godson Paul Ferguson. Left to cherish her memory is her mother Julia Gayles, her brother Christopher Hall, stepsister Tiffany Bramwell, Dallas, TX. Godparents Wilma and Wellington Webb, and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives, and loyal friends.

Winston Kenneth Walker

O

n Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967, Christel Elizabeth Gayles was delivered to Robert and Julia Gayles. She was educated in the Denver Public School system and a graduate of Manual High School. She was interested in her family history and discovered that her maternal great grandmother’s name was Queen. She legally added Queen to her name. Serving God was an important part of Christel’s life from an early age. She was raised in the Christian faith at New Hope Baptist Church.

J. Todd Walker in Washington D.C. on June 12, 1948 as the couple’s first-born. Two siblings, Nadine Walker, M.D. and Keith Walker (deceased) joined him. Winston was blessed with a loving family, who he loved fiercely. He met educator Marcia Love who became his “great love.” They married in 1980 and raised three children, Wendell, Trevonne, and Tamila. He immediately fell in love with the mountains when they moved to Colorado in 1989. He took a position with Storage Technology Corporation and found the perfect environment for those who enjoyed the natural beauty of the outdoors. A talented photographer and an avid outdoorsman, Winston committed his adult life to ensuring that everyone especially African Americans discovered a love of the outdoors. In 1993, he cofounded the James P. Beckwourth Mountain Club to honor the pioneering Black mountain man. Winston personally led groups on white water rafting, camping, cross-country skiing, and walking tours. Up until his passing, Winston was leading walking tours and taking and posting photos of his adventures. He was also the only male member of Black Girls Hike. He supported the Black America West Museum, was active with the Hampton Alumni Chapter and supported his wife’s (Marcia) Wa Shonaji Quilt Guild which highlighted Black heritage through quilting. He left behind his wife Marcia Walker, sister Nadine Walker, M.D. (Washington D.C.), children Wendell Walters (Wichita, Kansas), Trevonne (Chris) Marshall (Shreveport, Louisiana); Tamila Cooper (Lowell, Massachusetts); numerous grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.

May you all, June 12, 1948 ~ December 16, 2019

Winston K. Walker was born to

Claude G. Walker, M.D. and Maude

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Rest In Peace


AROUND TOWN •

WWW.DENVERURBANSPECTRUM.COM

• PHOTO GALLERY • AROUND TOWN

DUS 2020 African Americans Who Make A Difference February 27, 2020 @ The Kasbah ... Photos by Lens of Ansar

49th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame’s Music Festival Awards The Crown Act • Bridge Speaker and Rachel B. Noel Professorship Joy-Ann Reid

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2020 Census Events at CAA Health

Celebrate Being Counted! WHEN to attend! Thursday, April 16 from 3–4 pm Saturday, April 18 from 12–1 pm Tuesday, April 21 from 12–1 pm Saturday, April 25 from 12–1 pm

SIMPLE | SAFE | SECURE

WHERE are the events!

Due to COVID-19, dates are subject to change.

CAA Health 3350 Hudson Street Denver, Colorado 80207

WHAT to expect at events!

Parking is available on at the north and south ends of our building (next to playgrounds) and on Hudson Street between us and the US Post Office.

Learn more about the 2020 Census! Complete the 2020 Census! Enjoy chances for prize giveaways! Visit our new Hudson St. Location!

FOR MORE INFO

caahealth.org / (303) 355-3423 / info@caahealth.org

-JHIUTOBDLT BUBMMFWFOUT  XIJMFU IFZMBTU

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