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PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

August 2012


FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tabatha Deans Hugh Johnson Chris Meehan Martin J. Rios Shaughnessy Speirs Sheila Smith ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

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



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

To Serve and Protect...But At What Cost?

Again, Denver is at the forefront of national news. And unfortunately, it is because many lives have been lost. So many that this senseless act of violence has been deemed as the largest single massacre in US history. Many are asking why would anyone perform such a heinous act. I don’t think we will ever get a gratifying answer but we all know that suspect, James Holmes, is a very troubled young man and many knew it – including his mother. I only hope that lessons are learned from this act – from city officials to legal professionals; from politicians to clergy; from medical practitioners to parents. I hope there comes a day when an individual legally purchases a massive amount of firearms and ammunition the appropriate officials will be notified from a national firearms registry – better yet, let’s go global. I hope there comes a day when parents, friends, family members and associates will have a place to go and register the name of someone who maybe a threat to society. There is a list for registered sex offenders, why not a list for mentally unstable persons who walk this earth in the pursuit of depression. Maybe if it was in place, massacre suspect’s mother would never have had to say, you got the right person. I heard someone ask what kind of world are we bringing our children up in. I ask, what kind of children are we bringing up in this world. Parents need to be accountable and know what their children are doing. It’s not about being nosy; it’s about being a good parent. Like everyone, the Denver Urban Spectrum is saddened by this most unfortunate incidence. We send prayers and peace to the victim’s and their families. Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

This month, our cover story takes a look at Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and his first State of the City address – a review of what his administration has done and a preview of things to come, as well. He has been able to navigate the city through some tough times, including most recently the death of a police officer (Celena Hollis) and escalating gang activity, among other responsibilities and day to day challenges. This August issue is also dedicated to those who serve our city and protect our citizens. Several DUS contributors shared insight with officials from three very crucial city departments: Police, Fire and Sheriff. Please take a moment and read about Denver’s progression over the years, how it is progressing and plans for future progress. And find out who is making it happen! Sheila Smith Managing Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Stealing The Right To Read Is Just Down Right Wrong

as its investment to make the newspaper available was stolen, but even more so by a thief who stole the paper’s right to communicate with its community. When local prosecutors declined to prosecute the case because they said that no crime had been committed under Colorado law because they couldn’t establish a value for newspapers that were distributed to the public without cost, I knew something had to be done. Working with representatives of law enforcement, business organizations and newspapers, Senator Jack Taylor and I introduced House Bill 1057 in 2004. The bill made it a crime to steal newspapers for the purpose of depriving other people access to information. It passed the legislature by huge margins and was signed into law by Governor Bill Owens. I was shocked to hear earlier this year that a task force of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice was considering recommending doing away with the newspaper theft law and was even more amazed that the full commission has now recommended repeal to the legislature. It seems pretty simple to me. You don’t take things that don’t belong to you. But beyond that, we carefully crafted HB 1057 to only bring the law into these crimes when it could be proven that the theft took place to deprive other people the right to read

Editor: Sometimes when you see something that is wrong, you know you need to do something about it. Nine years ago, I was serving as the state representative in District 56, representing the people of Eagle, Lake and Summit Counties in the Colorado House of Representatives. Someone was upset about something written in one of the free distribution newspapers in my district and decided the best way to stop everyone else in town from seeing it would be to steal all the newspapers. The theft of those newspapers was damaging to virtually all of my constituents. The people who depended on that paper for news and information were victims as the thieves effectively violated their First Amendment rights to benefit from a free press when they censored that newspaper by stealing all the copies. The businesses that advertised in the paper spent hard earned money and made business decisions based upon the advertisements they’d purchased were hurt when the entire run of that newspaper was stolen for the express purpose of making sure that no one, including their customers and potential customers, would ever see anything printed in it. Finally, the newspaper itself was hurt. It lost financially

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


what was printed in the newspaper. If the legislature accepts this ill-conceived recommendation to repeal the law, it will create open season on a free press as stealing papers for the purpose of censoring information will be legalized in Colorado. I urge the CCJJ to reconsider its very flawed recommendation, but if it goes forward, the legislature owes it to my former constituents and all Coloradans to swiftly kill the bill and leave existing protections in place.

Carl Miller

Editor’s note: Carl Miller, D-Leadville, served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1997 until 2004. He also served as a Lake County Commissioner and as a member of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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Good morning, Denver.

Today, I stand before you proud

and humbled to be your mayor. It is truly an honor to serve this city, this city that raised and inspired

State of the City Mayor Michael B. Hancock Monday, July 16, 2012

South Atrium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

me. This city I’ve called home my

entire life.

Thank you for taking time to be here this morning. And thank you to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for hosting us. Would you also please join me in acknowledging my family: my wife, Mary Louise; my children, Alayna, Jordan, and Janae; my mother, Scharlyne; as well as my mother-in-law and my sisters and brothers who are here today. I want to thank them for the sacrifices they make each and every day so that I am able to serve. Thank you for standing with me. We entered this public office as a family, and I couldn’t be more proud. When I was a kid, Denver was a much different place. We were best-known as a cow town with never ending blizzards and a punishing Orange Crush defense. Today, the state of our city is safe, fiscally stable and growing. We’re emerging from this recession as a vibrant, world-class city that is attracting new residents, businesses and visitors. We’ve become a destination for our country’s young workers, consistently recognized for our healthy, progressive lifestyle. We are the finish line for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the host of this year’s first and most watched presidential debate. Through hard work and determination, we have turned our home into the city it is today. That’s what makes Denver so great. Some of us were born here, many were drawn here, but we all share that same pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit. That never satisfied, always striving to realize new possibilities, attitude. That “Denver spirit.” Our visionary leaders like former Mayors Federico Peña, Wellington Webb, John Hickenlooper and Bill Vidal delivered a better Denver with this same drive.

Photos by Bernard Grant

Today, we summon that Denver spirit again with a new group of leaders, including those on stage with me: Deputy Mayor Cary Kennedy, City Council President Chris Nevitt and the other members of Council, District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson and Auditor Dennis Gallagher. I’d also like to recognize the members of our state legislature. We will continue to stand firmly by your side, fighting for the same basic rights for every Coloradan to live, love and better themselves through education – fighting for civil unions and in-state tuition rates for undocumented children. It’s a privilege to serve with each and every one of you. Together, along with the residents of Denver, we’ve faced many challenges over the years – turning them into opportunities. But the tough times are not over yet. What lies before us is an opportunity to reshape what it means to be a 21st century city. In short, a smart city.

By listening to our residents, our businesses and our city workers, hearing concerns and addressing them head on, over the past year we’ve begun to deliver that city. We’re delivering safer streets, improved housing, parks, libraries and a multi-modal transit system that connects them all. We’re becoming a city government that provides the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost. We’re focusing on our kids and families hit hardest by the recession, paving a way home for our most vulnerable populations. We’re expanding vital city services for the homeless and declaring that it is inhumane to leave anyone on the street. We’re championing innovation. The newly announced U.S. Patent Office will keep us on the cutting edge of technology and help build an economy for the future. And we’re partnering with businesses to create economic opportunities and good paying jobs. Our new inter-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2008


national flights to Iceland and Tokyo will throw open the doors of opportunity to Europe and all of Asia. These flights are the trade routes of the 21st century, the foundation of a strong economy. We’re doing what Denver has done since the transcontinental railroad passed us by in 1867. We are delivering our own future. With boldness, leadership and determination, we are leveraging today’s successes into a brighter future, into a smart city for all of our residents. And we are not done yet. We have to think smart, we have to plan smart, we have to use our resources wisely and we have to take advantage of smart 21st century tools. Smart government works for its people by meeting them where they are, and people are more electronically connected than ever. That’s why Denver is leveraging its technology to lower costs and provide convenient customer service. Today, I am proud to announce the launch of “eDenver.” e-Denver is a new online initiative that will provide easy, 24-hour access to city services right from your office, your living room or wherever you are with your smart device. Our new website goes up today, and in coming months bold new features will be added. If you need to get a permit or license, you’ll be able to do that online. If you need to pay your taxes, you’ll be able to do that online, too. Want to see how the city is spending your money? Check online. “e-Denver” saves you time, it saves the city money. It’s simply smart business. And that’s just one example of the work we’ve been doing since my first day in office. On Day One, we launched our Peak Performance effort, asking city employees to tell us where they saw inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. We asked them how we could provide better service and get the most value from every dollar spent. Thanks to these employees’ efforts, the City of Denver will save $10 million annually by working to make each and every department operate at Peak Performance.

Continued on page 6

Five Points Light Rail On Hold

Revitalization and access to busi-

By Sheila Smith

nesses along the Welton corridor running through the historic Five Points is important. But any further development will be at a cost that the Regional Transportation District doesn’t have the money to do. The original plan was to expand the Central Corridor Light Rail along Welton Street by one mile from 30th and Downing to the Eagle Station at 38th and Blake and then out to DIA. Now with RTD having budgets constraints the project will be pushed back for 40 years, which isn’t making members of the Five Points community too happy. Tracy Winchester, executive director of the Five Points Business District, along with Phil Washington, general manager and CEO with RTD, met with members of the community about what is really going on with expanding the stretch of light rail along Welton Street. The Central Corridor on Welton Street was supposed to be part of RTD’s FasTracks program and key to making sure the community is connected, according to Winchester. Winchester also agreed that RTD should move forward with the $500,000 study to reassess the needs of having light rail or street car transit system running through Five Points. “RTD is not going to put this on the ballot if they know they are going to get a no vote to get public funding for this. So are they going to go to the ballot in 2014 or in 2016? she questioned, and “or we can get investors or the other option is to go after federal dollars once the project is approved by DRCOG.” The Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) is what approves the list of funded projects by RTD and is updated every year. But as Washington explained, RTD is going through some financial challenges with having $4.5 billion in projects still yet to complete. He also dis-

puted any rumors that circulated on delaying the development of the light rail along Welton for another 40 years. “We can’t take it out of our plans unless there is a vote from the people, but eventually we will connect 30th and Downing to the east line. But the market will dictate what projects we can do next,” Washington stated. “The community of Five Points also wanted to look at doing something different and that is why we are doing the $500,000 study. So we are committed and not trying to put this on the backburner.” U.S Rep. Diana DeGette has always been a strong supporter of develop-

ment in Five Points and light rail transit in Denver. “I have long advocated for a strong transportation infrastructure to bring access and opportunity to all Denver’s neighborhoods, connecting our community and stimulating our economy. That is why my commitment to FasTracks has been, and will continue to be, unwavering,” she said. “As such, I will continue to work to ensure that this project is a priority as federal transportation funds become available, as I did with the Eagle 3 project and other important infrastructure projects across our community.” John and Tai Beldock are business

owners of EricoMotorsports located on Walnut Street in the Five Points District. They attended the light rail meeting and shared their concerns about development along Welton. “I live two blocks from Welton Street and can’t eat on Welton or walk down Welton to do business. There is not enough full blown community here to serve the needs of the neighborhood,” John Beldock expressed. He further emphasized his point about not enough opportunities in the district, saying, “What I see are roadblocks put up by the community, and I see lack of movement by the community on the street.” 

Finding a “Safe” Alternative to Check Cashers and Payday Lenders


By Tom Spilman, President of KeyBank Colorado

If you’ve ever bought a money order from a convenience store or cashed a check at a check casher, you’ve used “alternative banking.” It may seem to be working just fine, until you realize these services can come with high fees or leave you feeling trapped in a cycle of borrowing. Unfortunately, they also can’t help you pay off your debt, start a savings account, or establish a good credit history. “But they’re so convenient and quick!” you might say. You may wonder where you would find a better experience. At Key, we offer the products and services you may be used to, at lower rates or for free. And you don’t need a bank account to use them. Our program, called KeyBank Plus, has helped more than 50,000 people, and we welcome everyone – customers or not. With KeyBank Plus, you can use our safe banking products to meet your needs. Then, when you’re ready, you can join our free financial education classes to learn important financial basics. Most importantly, we will never offer you a product or service, if you’re not ready for it. You might be surprised to learn that KeyBank has the following safe products and services, for everyone, in all of our branches, with our check cashing available in nearly 300 branches. We call them “safe” because they are designed to help you in a big-picture way, not make your current situation worse. The rates are low or free; the repayment terms are reasonable; some help you to repair your credit; they prevent you from overdrawing; and they’ll help you to build solid financial ground. See if any of the following are of interest to you:

• Low fee check cashing: KeyBank cashes payroll, tax, and government checks for both customers and non-customers at much lower rate than check cashers. Imagine paying $4.00 instead of $20 to cash a $400 check. • Loan Assist. What if you need a loan but have little to no credit history? Our Loan Assist program helps you build or rebuild your credit and makes it easier for you to get loans in the future. We can help you repair your credit without major fees. • Money Orders: Fee-free money orders are available to KeyBank Plus members – up to five money orders for each check you cash with us. • Checking account alternatives: Our KeyBank Access Account is for clients who need safe, easy access to their money without check writing. You’ll have control with a debit card and online access. It is a great alternative for individuals on ChexSystems. • Home ownership products: Our mortgage products can help people purchase, refinance, or improve a home in a responsible manner, even if they don’t have a long credit history. • Free financial education courses: Managing your finances can be a difficult task until you see exactly how banking, saving, and credit work. Our free “Learn and Earn” classes teach you how to keep good credit, reduce debt, budget, and move towards your goals. You can also spend time with a member of our branch teams who can help guide you on your personal finances. Essentially, your finances should be left in the hands of a bank that cares about you, your needs, and your goals, rather than a store that looks at you as a one-time profitable transaction. We’re here to help our clients and communities thrive, and that starts by meeting you where you’re at, helping you achieve financial stability, and then helping you grow. To learn more about our safe banking products, stop by a branch or visit to find a nearby location. We welcome you and look forward to helping you.

About the author: Tom Spilman is President of KeyBank Colorado and is committed to helping local residents achieve financial success.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


State of the City Continued from page 4 That means providing food assistance to families more quickly, getting more cops out from behind desks and out on patrol, and it means shorter wait times at the DMV. Now that’s smart. Please join me in giving a round of applause to all of our city employees. We’re also helping our start-up and small local businesses because a smart city needs a diverse economy in order to thrive. Just as we promised in our JumpStart2012 plan, over the past year we’ve made strategic investments in Denver’s local businesses and neighborhoods. Helping to retain and create jobs even in these tough times. There’s no better example than our partnership with Colorado Premium meatpacking to keep 185 jobs in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood and help build their potential to double in size in the coming years. Please help me in acknowledging the executive team from Colorado Premium here today. We’re going to enhance these kinds of public-private partnerships with Peak Enterprise, a new business toolkit to help small businesses and local companies compete and succeed. I heard the business community loud and clear when they said they need access to more startup capital. So we’re doing everything we can to bring more investment dollars to Denver’s innovators and entrepreneurs, including hosting a venture capital

roundtable with some of the nation’s top investors later this summer. We’re publishing a matrix that identifies over 100 lenders and investors that have provided capital to Denver businesses during the past five years. And later this year, in partnership with local micro - and traditional lenders, we’re launching a multimillion dollar fund to support local businesses and community development projects. This new Peak Enterprise toolkit will also offer an A-to-Z guide to help businesses navigate city paperwork and approvals, provide more workforce programs to our small businesses and improve customer service at our Business Assistance Center. A smart city relies on a diverse economy, so in addition to better supporting small businesses, we are strengthening Denver’s large employers and major business districts. We’re focusing on downtown Denver by expanding access to the heartbeat of our economy with citychanging projects like Denver Union Station. This project will transform our historic depot into a 21st century transportation hub. We’re also tapping the boundless potential of our $22 billion-a-year international airport. Progress is well underway on the South Terminal hotel project and the FasTracks East Rail line, which will create a vital transportation link between DIA and Downtown Denver.

In addition to DIA’s new Tokyo and Iceland flights, we’re pursuing new routes and new global economies in Central and South America. And together with our regional partners, we’re beginning to plan an Aerotropolis around the airport. If we do this right, and by right I mean smart, we will spur a new frontier of economic growth that will transform metro Denver. Developing the land inside the airport grounds will net us more than 30,000 additional jobs in the next 20 years. And the potential for new job growth outside those boundaries is staggering. Union Station and DIA will drive job growth in booming sectors such as aerospace, health care and clean energy, creating an unprecedented corridor of opportunity spanning from downtown to the airport. Being a smart city means being a connected city. FasTracks is making Denver a more livable city every day. In addition to working on the East Rail line, we will open the West Rail line’s new rail stations in early 2013. Walk, bike or ride, Denver is providing our residents easier access to the resources they need to lead vibrant lives right in their own neighborhoods. In partnership with the Denver Housing Authority, we broke ground on the South Lincoln Redevelopment project in April. These state-of-the-art homes will provide new access to healthy

food and large-scale workforce training, with transportation right outside And with Denver’s new Office of Sustainability, we will take this work to the next level. We will enhance bold environmental programs that have made Denver a national leader in sustainable practices and broaden this mission to include economic and social sustainability. Our Denver Seeds initiative is an outstanding example of this work. By strategically partnering with our neighborhood organizations and focusing on disenfranchised communities, we will grow jobs and improve access to healthy, safe and fresh food for all Denver residents. Now that is a smart city. FasTracks is just one example of how Denver voters have always been smart investors. The Better Denver Bond projects are another. Bond proceeds have helped build new libraries, parks and recreation centers throughout Denver. Stapleton and Green Valley Ranch have new libraries thanks to the bonds and Denver voters. And, for the first time in 30 years, Westwood will get a new park in early 2013. These investments have kept our city on the cutting edge by enhancing world-class facilities like the one we stand in today and like Denver’s new 60,000 square foot Crime Lab, which is helping us deliver swifter justice for victims of crime. Because we have never been afraid to make innovative and finan-

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


cially sound investments for our city, we have prospered even through the worst of times. We have repeatedly conjured our Denver spirit and forged ahead. Denver, we are currently facing another one of those pivotal moments. Throughout this recession, we have aggressively eliminated waste and reduced costs. We’ve worked to sustain our rainy day fund, maintain the highest possible bond rating and keep the City’s budget balanced, closing gaps of nearly $450 million over the past four years. But with another nearly $100 million shortfall looming next year, we must face reality. The time has come to deliver for our citizens a long-term, sustainable and smart solution. I will soon submit to the City Council and the people of Denver a balanced plan to fix our budget and get back on track. It’s not smart to rebate money while cutting basic services. We must remove the fiscal handcuffs of TABOR. By retaining revenue we already collect, just like hundreds of other communities and school districts in Colorado, we can make smart investments in our city. We can hire police officers for the first time in four years. We can repave the quarter of our streets that have not been fixed in two decades. We can restore library hours and create jobs by better supporting Denver businesses. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Denver, I ask you to join me in delivering a smart, sustainable and livable city for future generations we may never meet – a city that is built on a solid financial foundation with good jobs, healthy children, thriving libraries, convenient transportation and safe neighborhoods. There is no greater mission for a mayor than keeping the people of Denver safe, than fostering a strong relationship between our residents and our police department. And we are doing that. We are changing the culture at the Denver Police Department. By moving police officers out of the office and into neighborhoods, Chief White is working to get more than 60 percent of our officers back into our districts. Such moves will make the best use of DPD’s resources by assuring that our highly trained personnel improve safety by building relationships within our communities and understanding their needs. We have also flattened DPD’s leadership structure, eliminating the rank of division chief and empowering district commanders to make decisions that used to get handed down from headquarters. The commanders who are making decisions in their own communities are invested in their districts Commanders like Paul Pazen, who grew up in District 1, Lisa Fair, who comes from District 4,

and Tony Lopez, our District 6 commander and a Thomas Jefferson High School graduate. That’s just smart policing. Please join me in recognizing our commanders here today. Denver’s Manager of Safety Alex Martinez assumed his new post expecting to tackle tough issues. And he has met those challenges head on. The long and complicated process for resolving internal affairs cases has been cut in half. We’ve removed layers to help us achieve quicker resolution and accountability, and clarified the disciplinary code to help support appropriate outcomes. And we are not done yet. I want to thank the Civil Service Commission for coming to the table to help us make even smarter improvements in these processes. A smart city is one that strives to prevent crime. It’s personal to me to assure that as a city we have the best tools for our crime fighters and the victims of crime. Some of you may know that I lost my dear sister Karen to domestic violence in 2002. Today, in her memory and in the memory of far too many others, I am pleased to announce the creation of the Rose Andom Domestic Violence Center. We can and we must do a better job supporting victims of domestic violence by providing efficient and comprehensive services under one roof, including legal, protective and counseling services, options for shelter, resources for children and pets and medical care. I want to thank those who made this critical resource a reality. Generous benefactor Rose Andom, the CEO of Rosmik and a local entrepreneur, made it all possible with a $1 million kick-off grant. I also want to recognize Mitch Morrissey, Margaret Abrams, Steve Siegel and the whole team at the District Attorney’s office, former City Attorney Cole Finegan, the Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Director of Development Services Kelly Leid and Denver Public Schools for their work on the center. When the caring citizens of this community set out to make a difference, they accomplish amazing things. That’s our Denver spirit at work. Please join me in giving them all a big thank you. That same spirit was exemplified recently when DPD lost one of its finest officers, Celena Hollis. The support and care our communities displayed was inspiring. While we continue to mourn the loss of Officer Hollis, we cannot and will not allow the actions of a few to intimidate the citizens of this great city, to keep us from enjoying our parks and our public events, to tarnish our image as a worldclass city. We will not surrender to violence. I want recognize Officer Hollis’ daughter Amyre and her family here with us today. I want to thank you for your sacrifice. We will never forget Celena’s love and commitment to our city.

Denver stands united with you and your family Amyre. We will stand united against violence. And we will hold true to safeguarding our streets, neighborhoods and residents. And maintain the highest level of safety throughout Denver. We owe a great deb to our safety officers – to our police officers, sheriffs and firefighters – who embody that Denver spirit and put their lives on the line every day. Thank you to all of you. Denver, I believe there is nothing smarter than giving our children a strong start with healthy food to nourish their bodies, academic challenges to broaden their minds and strong families, neighborhoods and faith communities to feed their souls. There is nothing smarter than investing in our children from the day they are born to the day they are employed. And there is nothing smarter than delivering a world-class city filled with abundant opportunities so that all our children, all our children, can live up to their God-given potential. That is why my administration has focused so much attention on turning the former Mayor’s Office for Education and Children into a modern, focused, strategic and, yes, smart new Office for Children and Youth Affairs. To support the new office’s work, I am announcing a new Denver Children’s Cabinet to bring together senior leaders from all city departments to align and streamline city services for our kids. Cynics may claim that government reorganization and renaming of offices is all smoke and mirrors. To those cynics, I respond simply and forcefully with examples of our progress to date. This revitalized office is already getting tens of thousands of nutritious meals to Denver’s hungry children every day this summer. We are installing about 200 new computers in our public libraries, giving more of our kids the Internet access they need to compete in a global economy. And this fall, I am so excited to announce that we will pilot a new, enhanced student ID card. These cards will serve as a student ID, a library card and will provide free access to our city’s recreation centers. We will pilot the enhanced cards with 34,000 Denver Public Schools 6ththrough 12th-graders this coming school year. We also launched the Denver Education Compact. The Compact has convened Denver’s top business, higher education and nonprofit leaders with the City and school district, bringing new resources to address long-standing problems that need to be fixed now. With more than half of Denver’s students not reading at grade level by fourth grade, the Compact is working to ensure that we eliminate the achievement gap before it begins.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


The chances of a child reading at grade level by fourth grade are greatly improved when that child enters kindergarten prepared to learn. The Compact’s first goal is for at least 90 percent of DPS third-graders to be reading at grade level by 2020. We will achieve this goal by focusing on School Readiness, rallying resources for children ages zero to five to give all Denver’s children a smart start. Thanks to DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Donna Lynne, CEO of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, for their leadership and partnership as co-chairs of the Compact. I also want to thank Theresa Peña for the direction and inspiration she brought to the Compact. While much of the responsibility for educating our children lies with Denver Public Schools, as a city, we must take action together, to support all of their success from cradle to career. To that end, in partnership with Colorado Youth for Change, we are also launching Drop-in Denver, a webbased resource to provide at-risk youth with options and support to finish school. We are also thrilled to announce a partnership with the Community College of Denver in which certain libraries and recreation centers will host CCD classes in the community, improving access to job training and skills right in our neighborhoods. And I am so proud to recognize the First Lady’s initiative to “Bring Back the Arts” for Denver’s kids. This effort is working to boost access to art, music, dance and theater as well as to bring exciting activities to the City’s recreation centers very soon. The arts are critical to a well-rounded education. And bringing some fun and creativity to our children helps keep them engaged and coming back for more. We all know our future depends on our smart kids. And Denver, this is about our future. It’s about building a brighter tomorrow for all our residents. And we’re not waiting. With determination and collaboration, and with your help, we’re going to deliver a better, smarter Denver. We are building a strong foundation on which to deliver our future success. The region’s job growth, out of this recession, is one of the strongest in the nation. Our real estate market is rebounding. And we’re one of the top cities in which to build your business and career. But it’s not enough. Our great city always strives to be better. We never give up. Join me in delivering more opportunity for our kids, better jobs, stronger neighborhoods and safer streets. We can do this, Denver. We can create a smart city, a world-class city where every single one of us is valued, where everyone matters. The time is now. Thank you. And God Bless the City and County of Denver. 

Q&A With Rose Andom Domestic Violence Center Mayor Michael Mayor Michael Hancock lost his sister to domestic violence and Rose Andom lived through it from a former marriage. B. Hancock Experiencing severe verbal abuse, which she said was just as bad By Sheila Smith

as physical abuse, inspired Andom to donate one million dollars to the Mayor’s new project that will also bear her name, the Rose Andom Domestic Violence Center. “I had conversations with Mayor Hancock who mentioned he wanted to develop a domesRose Andom tic violence center. It struck a chord with me and I said I wanted to do something to help,” Andom expressed. “Because I was survivor, I wanted to support this with the Mayor and help women and children. It is for a tremendous cause,” said Andom, who is the main benefactor for the project. The city is acquiring a building that will be renovated for the domestic violence center in hopes of receiving more financial donors for the project. Andom is an entrepreneur who continues to give back to the community. She currently is the franchise owner of McDonalds at Denver International Airport, in Kansas City, Mo., San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif. She is the vice-chair for the National Black McDonalds Owners Association. Andom also previously worked as marketing manager for Hallmark and in district sales for Ford Motor Company. She received her B.A degree from the University of Kansas and an MBA from the University of Missouri.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock gave an epochal speech as residents, elected officials, City employees and others gathered to Mayor Michael B. Hancock hear the mayor deliver his first State of the City address on July 16, where he talked about the progress in moving the city forward. It appears that the majority of Denver’s Black, brown and white residents are pleased with the mayor’s performance since taking office in July 2010. For the most part they say, “The mayor is doing a good job.” But wanting to know more, the Denver Urban Spectrum questioned the mayor in a Q&A session after his address to the city. DUS - What do you think people are saying about your first year in office? Mayor Hancock - People have said to my face that they are either optimistic or pleased with my performance. So I feel good. People will have their opinions and thoughts but seem pleased with what we have accomplished. DUS - You mentioned what your administration had done to move the city forward. But what services do you feel you have been delivered and addressed concerning the Black and Hispanic communities? Mayor Hancock - We looked at how the achievement gaps and the young people matter in the Latino and African American communities. Students are reading below grade level. Having safer neighborhoods and creating jobs, is a high priority for the Latino and African American communities. DUS - You mentioned in your State of the City Address that your focus and heartbeat of our economy is projects like the historic Union Station depot into a hotel and 21st century transportation hub. Nearly 50 years ago, the Five Points District was thriving with Black businesses and entertainment. Where does the historic Five Points District fit into your plans? Mayor Hancock - I am working on a financial plan for Five Points, especially the Rossonian to open back up and again be a vibrant location. But we are looking at a financial strategy that involves getting investors. There

While Andum never had children of her own, she is the proud loving mother of her 6½ year old Bijan dog named Bentley. 

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are a lot of ideas out there about revitalizing Five Points. It’s important to me. Before I became mayor, I worked with city councilwoman Carla Madison on the redevelopment of Five Points, and we haven’t abandoned those efforts. We are even looking at putting in a TIF (tax increment financing) in the area, where tax credits would be available for investors. DUS - Safety in our neighborhoods is a big issue. With several shootings over the past few months including the shooting death of Officer Celena Hollis, people are concerned about this turning into another summer of violence like in 1993. You addressed the debt we owe to our police officers for safeguarding our streets and your plans of revamping the police department. You also got very emotional when talking to Officer Hollis family during your city address. Mayor Hancock - Yes I did. This was an officer, mother, sister and daughter who died because of some senseless act. This did not have to happen, knowing that her 12-year-old daughter (Amyre) will have to live the rest of her life without her mother. Let’s be clear, we have to be concerned about violence in those communities of color. And I am extremely concerned about these young people carrying weapons. The rate of young people unemployed is 30 to 40 percent. So you have a double-edge sword with kids needing jobs, at the same time adults have been unemployed and also need jobs. I get it. I am working hard in the private sector to help create those jobs, making the police department more accountable, and reorganizing the police department where we are not spending any extra money but reallocating those resources. DUS - Mayor Federico Pena began the implementation of a new airport (DIA); Mayor Wellington Webb helped finish it and complete it, besides making a historic mark on the city being elected as the first African American mayor; and for his business/marketing savvy decisions, Mayor John Hickenlooper was named among the top five “Big City Mayors” by Time Magazine among other contributions. So as each mayor has left behind some kind of legacy, what will be yours? Mayor Hancock - I will let others determine that legacy. Families pay a sacrifice for me to serve. It would be self-serving for me to say when all I can just do is my best. So I can’t say until the day I walk out of this office for the last time. Mayor Pena did not come into office thinking he was going to build an airport. So you don’t think about leaving a legacy behind. I am just here to lead as mayor of this city. 

Getting to Know the Denver Sheriffs, an Agency with Many Charges By Chris Meehan

You don’t see the Denver Sheriff

Department on the streets as much as police officers, fire trucks or ambulances but the department plays an integral role in the safety of Denver – from guarding courts to running local jails and recidivism programs, to certifying and coordinating joint efforts among first responders and protection agencies for major disasters and large events like the Democratic National Convention. In recent years, the department has come to reflect the growing diversity of Colorado’s Front Range as a number of its leaders are African American.

Since then, there’s been a real change in leadership and diversity that stemmed from a number of things. “Had not the director at the time, John Simonet, have a penchant for diversity and had not people who came before us fought battles to make sure those doors were open, we would not be here, and so we owe a lot to John Simonet for having the vision to be able to open the doors to everybody and make the landscape even for everyone who came before us to really fight those battles,” Diggins said. Wilson, who joined the department in 1992, echoes the same sentiment: “We’re here because of other people’s efforts of breaking down doors, fighting against issues of discrimination back in the past, being the trend set-

While you might not see Denver Deputy Sheriffs every day, it’s the third largest criminal justice agency in Colorado. Its services include managing two jails, providing security to Denver’s District and County courts and the Denver Health Medical Center, state inmate transportation, extradition duties, fugitive and canine units. The department also manages a community corrections and work release facility. Today the department, with more than 900 employees, is supervised by Undersheriff and Director of Corrections Gary Wilson, while the County Jail Division is managed by Chief Elias Diggins. Both of them have been in the department since the 1990s, at a time when it was far less diverse. When Diggins joined in 1994, “Carlos Jackson was the highest ranking African American and he was the only person who was in administration. There were a few Black sergeants here and there, but it was most definitely different than it is today,” he said.

ters and demanding fairness in promotional opportunities.” He adds, “I’m humble enough to say that I’m giving credit back to anyone – whether they were Black, Hispanic or white, who fought for fairness and equality and for that reason we’re seeing what we’re seeing today.” While there’s been a change at the top, the same can’t be said for the makeup of those who are detained in the system. “If you were to ask me if there’s disparity in the races, my answer would be yes, absolutely. If you were asking me why that exists, I don’t have an answer for that,” says Wilson. “I would say that what I’ve seen is there’s always been a disparity. When you look at the jail population for minorities, specifically African American men, there is a huge disparity between the census in the community and the census inside the jail. And it’s been that way for years and it’s still that way today,” Wilson adds with some exasperation.

Director of Corrections Gary Wilson

Gang violence has been in the news of late, including the slaying of Officer Celena Hollis at the Jazz at the Park event in June which hasn’t led directly to more incarcerated gang members, according to Diggins. “There has been a lot of attention paid lately to some incidents and that’s good because we do need to focus on it and I think that helping people who are involved with gangs – while they’re incarcerated – is probably a good way for us to help the community to prevent gang violence.” While he says programs like the Ministerial Alliance, The Prodigal Son Initiative, Inc. and Open Door are helping to keep kids and adults out of gangs or get them out of gangs, Denver’s jails also offer an opportunity to get people out gangs. “We have the best opportunity in an audience that listens to what we say. When we offer resources, classes, and the opportunity to change their lives, we find that a lot of people do that while they’re incarcerated,” Diggins explains.

Director of Corrections Gary Wilson greeting festival-goers

Changes Among The Incarcerated

The makeup of people incarcerated in the jails has changed. “I think when you see the population today, you’d almost be amazed – it’s not like on TV,” Wilson says. “When I think back to the type of prisoners from when I was a deputy to what’s coming through now, it’s a different group,” Wilson says. “When we started I would say we were dealing with really criminogenic-minded people.” People are coming into the system for other reasons. “They’ve got other things that are driving them into the system. And if you fix those things, you may reduce the chances of them coming back. That’s why we have recidivism programs, because really you’ve got people who have these mental health issues and when they get unstable off their medications, they end up committing some type of crime that ultimately gets them in,” Wilson says. “The other increase I’ve seen of populations coming in is driven through addictions – persons who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


Chief Elias Diggins

may be committing crimes because of their addictions to drugs and/or alcohol. They’re committing burglaries and all these different types of thefts to feed their addiction. I would say that’s on the rise.” Such prisoners also react differently to care. “You go in there, you get them stable and get them where they need to be; they’re very nice people. You begin to understand very quickly that what’s driving their incarceration is not necessarily because they really have criminogenic mindsets, but they just have other issues bringing on that criminal activity,” Wilson explains. Part of the reason the jails are seeing more prisoners with mental health or addiction issues is a loss of funding for aid programs, according to Diggins. “One of the biggest things as far as the state of jails in general is mental health funding has been almost depleted by the state. The folks who would have gotten mental health help on the Denver level are now being funneled down to us. The impact of that has been tremendous on our funds to try to manage that population. It’s a very complicated matter,” states Diggins. The Sheriff Department has felt that pinch, too. “The city is facing about a $94 million budget shortfall. At the Denver Sheriff Department, we have a pretty large operating budget of about $103 million. And we’re being asked to cut $8.9 million from our budget,” Wilson says. That’s forced some streamlining within the department.

Working Well With Others

Beyond managing the jails and keeping the courts secure, the department’s primary priorities are serving as the certifying agency for all emergency and protection agencies coming into the region during major events like the 2008 Democratic National Convention in 2008. “When there’s a major event, many agencies are involved,” explains Captain Frank Gale, another African American in a leadership role at the department. As Continued on page 10

Continued from page 9 the department’s Public Information Officer and head of its Community Relations Unit, Gale manages the credentialing of those agencies. He also manages training and the department’s canine unit. “You have to have a system to determine who’s going to be on the scene, who’s utilizing different expertise and so forth, and we’re the ones that have to deploy that…and give people the credentials to come in and out of the scene.” The same holds true for disasters. “If there’s any kind of major disaster, and if it’s big enough for several agencies to be involved, we’ll do the credentialing piece,” Gale says. Thankfully the department hasn’t had to exercise the facility often for disasters, maybe two times for wildfires in previous years, according to Gale. Should a disaster occur - the department can act in numerous ways depending on the disaster type. “Generally we’re going to fall under the law enforcement branch, even though the Denver Police Department may be the primary group that’s out there affecting that law enforcement, we’re a support to the Police Department,” Wilson explains. However, it can also provide other services like emergency transportation. In cases where an event is too big

Chief Elias Diggins, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Director of Corrections Gary Wilson

that, too,” he explains. He distinguishes that their talents and training differ from the police’s SWAT unit because of the scenarios they’re most likely to face. “We also have canine units. Our canines are getting called out to events even outside of Denver. We have a drug sniffing canine and a bomb-sniffing canine,” Wilson says. The canine units are in high demand throughout the region. “All the canines in the metro area are working together on a lot of joint stuff. It’s just the need is so overwhelming. No one agency can support a fulltime, fully-functioning canine unit of four or five animals because it’s expensive to maintain them,” Gale explains. “We’ve got the narcotics canine doing a lot of work in the

for the police to handle, the sheriff’s office will back them up. The tables could turn and the Sheriff Department could need assistance from the police such as attack on the jail or one of the court facilities who are often targeted for terrorist attacks, as courts also fall under the sheriff’s jurisdiction. In such incidents, the department also maintains an emergency response unit (ERU). “Most people understand it more as a SWAT team, so if there was a special need for that we would be involved in that way,” Wilson says. “They’re trained to handle issues that we’re most likely to deal with within the Denver Sheriff Department. But they also have training to clear rooms, clear buildings also. If they have to rappel down a building they can do

schools and different jurisdictions and then obviously the explosives dog is being utilized in Denver and outside of Denver because most of the surrounding agencies don’t have an explosives dog,” he says. “The ones with the Denver Police are primarily detailed to the airport, so we get lots of calls for the explosives canine inside of and outside of Denver,” he adds. It goes to show there’s a collegial attitude among the various emergency agencies throughout the greater Denver area. “There’s an understanding of the end goal,” Wilson says. “What I’ve seen is all of us have been able to do very well and egos get put on the shelves. There’s an understanding that we’re talking about the issues concerning lives of individuals and that’s paramount. And when it comes to just working together, the DNC is probably the biggest example I can give, where I saw probably the largest contingent of officers coming together under one goal and being under one core. You literally had teams of officers with different patches on their shoulder just working arm in arm together,” he contends. “They understood the mission, understood what needed to be done. I have never seen a system that big come together with almost seamless issues. It was just absolutely great.” 

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The NAACP took a principled

NAACP Challenges Voter Suppression at 103rd Annual Convention

stand against voter suppression at their 103rd Annual Convention last month in Houston, Texas. The theme “Your Power, Your Decision – VOTE” was on full display as delegates heard By Ben Wrobel from Vice President Biden and to show a government-issued photo speech, saying that, “From the Senate Governor Mitt Romney and learned identification card. The Department of to the White House, Vice President about attacks on the right to vote in Justice challenged that law in March, Biden has had a strong value system states across the country. An estimatarguing that it violated the in line with the NAACP’s ed 8,000 NAACP delegates, members Voting Rights Act. NAACP President and historic mission. Today’s and supporters traveled from around In an important election CEO Benjamin speech revealed that he year, Vice President Joe the country to represent their local Jealous remains committed to proBiden and Governor Mitt tecting civil rights and prounits and set the NAACP’s policy Romney traveled to tecting the right to vote. agenda for the coming year. Houston to share their Governor Romney folNAACP President and CEO respective visions for the lowed in the tradition of Benjamin Todd Jealous set the tone during the convention’s first plenary session as he criticized voter suppression efforts. He said that the NAACP is dedicated to protecting the franchise, by fighting back against suppressive laws and registering hundreds of thousands of people to vote this year. “In the past year, more states have passed more laws pushing more voters out of the ballot box than at any time since the rise of Jim Crow,” he said. "When “The right to vote is the right upon you leave your job... Vice President Biden andbehind!" NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock which the ability to defend all our other don't leave yourJoe money rights is leveraged. We will ensure that our nation continues to practice and Myrafree Donovan, CLU, ChFC, nation’s future.CFP former fair elections even as we approach the Republican Financial Adviser The two candiday when people of color will be the dates offered nominees for majority in this country.” sharply con-#700 president by 3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, The NAACP’s “This Is My Vote” trasting mesaddressing the Denver, campaign features a website – CO 80209 sages about the NAACP, – with infor303-871-7249 -best way to despite overmation on voter suppression efforts revive the econwhelming and a form to register to vote. The omy and help AfricanNAACP has also set up a hotline, 1"Call Governor Mitt Romney American supthe middleToday class. for a FREE 866-MYVOTE1 (1-866-698-6831) which President port for Consultation!" helps people access registration forms. Obama also conPresident On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric tributed a video message to the crowd. Obama in 2008. He argued that his Holder referred to voter suppression Vice President Biden commended economic policies would be more laws as “poll taxes” in his speech to Attorney General Holder for his work effective than President Obama’s, and the NAACP crowd. Speaking in defending the right to vote, and called said that he would repeal the Texas’ largest city, he specifically critifor an end to racial profiling. NAACP Affordable Care Act. cized the state’s law requiring voters Chairman Roslyn M. Brock praised his “While we are glad that Governor

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Romney recognized the power of the black electorate, he laid out an agenda that was antithetical to many of our interests,” said President Jealous. “His criticism of the Affordable Care Act – legislation that will improve access to quality health care for millions – signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans.” The NAACP also used the week to introduce their five “game changers” issue areas that will guide the Association’s mission over the next several years. Each program held a “mini summit” on their respective issue area, and Chairman Brock spoke about their importance in her keynote address during the convention’s first open mass meeting. “Today, the enemies of justice are not lynching African-Americans and practicing Jim Crow laws of segregation,” she said. “They are more sophisticated. But they are equally sinister. They are erecting barriers to economic viability, educational quality, health care accessibility, judicial equity, and political opportunity. The opponents of justice are more refined, but they are equally threatening.” The convention, which ran from July 5-12, also featured the 34th annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition, which brought together hundreds of the nation’s most gifted young people to compete in the areas of sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business.  Attorney General Holder and NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock

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Denver Firefighters...Lacking With Color By Hugh Johnson

One of the issues plaguing

America’s black youth today is inadequate resources and support to fuel children’s ambitious dreams. Too often, a child’s excessive talent or brilliance is overshadowed by a lack of opportunity and leadership needed to cultivate excellence and induce growth. While the mayor, the president and other leaders around this city and this country are doing what they believe will make a difference, the most important step is one taken by members of a community. Gregory Smith joined the Denver fire department on a dare. A soldier in the Air Force in 1993, Smith was challenged by a friend in the Marines who told him he’d never make it as a firefighter. Smith happily tried his hand at proving his friend wrong. Nineteen years later, Lieutenant Gregory Smith rushes to answer calls with the same vigor and pride as when he first came to the Denver Fire Department. He is the product of a strong family upbringing that taught him to follow his dreams and to never let anyone tell him he can’t make them come true. His days of dares are long behind him. Lieutenant Smith fights to be a shining example to the youth of his community and his color. Though his accomplishments are laudable by any standard, they are strengthened by the fact that he has reached the rank of lieutenant as part of a demographic that makes up for only 6.1 percent of the city’s fire department, according to

Captain Tony Martin, president of the Colorado Black Professional Firefighters

an article released in 2009. Denver Fire Department’s 57 Black firefighters, again from 2009, is a notable improvement from seven years of not hiring a single African American to the force between 2000 to 2006. However, Denver’s is not the only fire department that struggles in recruiting African Americans and minorities as a whole. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Women, African Americans and Latino Americans only made up 21 percent of the nation’s firefighters in an average of statistics from 2006 to 2010. It comes as no surprise then that Lieutenant Smith and others across the country feel that there is a need to increase recruiting among minorities. Lieutenant Smith’s frustration with the numbers goes beyond the need to simply diversify the force but rather giving minorities, young and old, the chance to think differently about their beliefs, their futures, and their oppor-

tunities. A process the lieutenant calls stepping outside the paradigm. To illustrate the lieutenant’s point, there are a series of videos circulating the internet showing whole neighborhoods of people lining the sidewalks to welcome victorious firefighters returning from the Waldo Canyon Fire. The people bathe the fighters in shouts of approval and gratitude for their heroism and courage. Imagine what a sight like that would do for a diverse community with a diverse group of firefighters. Children seeing role models, heroes and men and women of authority not just in the aloof realm of politics and professional sports, but right in front of them in their own neighborhoods. It’s an image powerful enough to rejuvenate communities and renew people’s faith in them. “I think it’s important for youth to see people of color in positions of authority,” said Lieutenant Smith. “It’s important for them to see things they would not normally see. Most people think of firefighters as good guys, you call us and we come to help. I think if they got a sense of what it’s like to do something for somebody else it would help instill value in them. I feel like our youth don’t feel valued.” Lieutenant Smith decided to step outside his own assumptions after becoming a firefighter. His father moved his family from the Deep South to Chicago when the lieutenant was just a child. Growing up in an era of overt racism, Lieutenant Smith had very negative view of Caucasians. “I associated every bad thing that happened to me with white people.

Colorado Black Professional Firefighters Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


That’s just the way I grew up,” the lieutenant said. His view changed with time as he learned that in order to succeed he had to erase bigotry and trust those whom he saw for many years as the root of his troubles. His fair treatment and trust of his fellow squad mates enabled him to do his job well and elevated him to the position he currently holds. Today, he uses his mentality as a shield, to protect him from those who think he may be on a power trip as an African American in a leadership position. Since he holds everyone to the same standard, Lieutenant Smith can’t be seen as a biased officer. It’s the merging of the two worlds of being a respectable firefighter and being an African American, while trying to create an image that African American youth can believe in. It’s as a much a fight for stewardship and value as it is a fight against fires. When he goes out on a call, Lieutenant Smith fights for the happiness and pride of his community. “My job is to make sure that my folks get treated properly,” said Smith. “You get a sense for the difference in thinking when you work in a rich community versus a poorer community. When you look at a lower end community, the mindset is that the stuff doesn’t cost as much so we don’t have to worry as much. My job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Their stuff is worth a million dollars to them versus someone who actually spent a million dollars.” The lieutenant’s duty as an African American can be summed up the in quote “All that I am, I owe.” The fire department has enriched Lieutenant Smith’s life by providing a respectable position in which he can help others and make a living while doing so. Life as a firefighter also helped Smith overcome his own racial barriers and changed his mentality on how he should view and treat others. In the spirit of his own growth and change, he now owes it to help others change their views. “There was a time when Black folks could only work at Fire Station 3,” said the lieutenant. “I have stood on the shoulders of those men and even though I came to the fire department under slightly different circumstances, I have a debt of gratitude to them and to my community. I cannot be satisfied with the numbers because this is such a great job. When I speak to potential recruits I ask them to consider something outside their paradigm. It’s something that they can do. It’s not just about fighting fires; it’s about giving back to your community.” The lieutenant is not the only one working to repay his debt. Captain Tony Martin is a 20 year veteran of the

Denver Fire department and current president of the Colorado Black Professional Firefighters. Both Captain Martin and Lieutenant Smith believe the key to reaching the youth is through exposure and dialogue. Black firefighters need to go out into their communities and make their presence known. They need to meet with kids from churches, youth-centered organizations and other local entities, mentor them and present them with opportunities to serve the city as members of civil service. Captain Martin believes that the key to success is investing in Black youth to make sure that they are aware of the possibilities and have the resources to turn those possibilities into reality. Even in a tough economy, progress can still be made. “It’s not always about money,” said Captain Martin. “Sometimes we just have to be creative. We have fire stations around the city. We can go to high schools and mentor kids. We need to take advantage of opportunities to speak to our youth. At my church we have a first responder appreciation day where we have the chance to show others that people of color are accomplishing acts of heroism in the community.” The problem isn’t just an internal one however. Captain Martin believes that it’s essential to change the mindset of those outside the African American community as well as inside. Captain Martin focuses on the work of changing the culture of exclusion into a culture of inclusion. Though lack of a significant minority presence in the fire department may be a sensitive subject, it’s one that needs addressing. The frustration and sometimes outrage at the numbers is not birthed out of a hatred for the department but a sense of respect and disappointment. The values and the blessings that come with being a firefighter can save and empower minority communities across the city. Captain Martin’s and Lieutenant Smith’s points are simply that Denver’s leaders and Denver’s citizens both have to be instruments of change. “Denver has a lot to offer: the mountains, the weather, sport venues etc. it’s a place that has potential to draw different types of people but the commitment to do so needs to be made from the top down,” said Captain Martin. “Ethnic, gender and racial equality cannot simply be something talked about in the back rooms, it must be practiced on the front lines. It needs to be a priority for all of us. We need to ensure that our fire department represents the diversity of our city. I know there are struggles across the country but I don’t live across the country, so let’s fix it here.”

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Denver Police Officers: Committed To Community By Tabatha Deans & Sheila Smith

Commander Les Perry, Living His Golden Rule

Born and raised in Brooklyn, a young Les Perry did what many teenagers of his day did to maximize their candy-bar buying potential – jumped the turn-style at the subway on his way to school every day, saving his quarter to deposit in the vending machine instead of paying his transit fare.

Eventually his luck ran out when law enforcement officers stopped the young scofflaw. That was the day, Perry says helped shape his future. “They knew I was going to school every day because they saw me with my backpack. They asked me why I wasn’t paying my fare. One of them asked me ‘What do you want to do with your life?’” Perry remembers. Perry says the interaction with the officers was a positive one, and made him think he began thinking about becoming a police officer himself someday. Less than a decade later, at age 21, he was sworn in as an official law enforcement officer. Today, with 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, and as Commander of District 5, Perry


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is proud of the relationships he and his officers have established with members of the community, and says that is the secret to success as police officers. “I’ve re-written the golden rule. I always say don’t treat others how you would like to be treated, but treat them how they would like to be treated. Our community is predominately Latino with a Black culture, and everybody may not like my values. So we treat them how they want to be treated.” While Perry acknowledges that certainly, some people need to go to jail, but the charge for his 75 officers is one of education, prevention and involvement. Officers regularly work with local churches, business owners, schools and community leaders, and listening to concerns about what the community wants. The sense of community is never stronger than in times of tragedy, such as the recent shooting death of Perry’s friend and comrade, Celena Hollis. “The streets were lined with people waving flags and holding signs during the procession for Celena,” says Perry. “Kids, seniors, people in wheelchairs, veterans. There was a tremendous amount of support from the community.” The death of a fellow officer could easily invoke feelings of hatred and despair, but according to Perry, Hollis would have wanted her comrades to adhere to proven procedures throughout the investigation of the death of one of their own. “Like any other case, we need to step back and get the facts. A kneejerk reaction would make it easy to hate somebody, but being driven by hate…that’s not who we are,” says Perry. Perry says it’s frustrating to see circumstances of crime or violence perpetuated from one generation to the next, and has spent part of his career battling gang violence, from working with the Gang Bureau to mentoring and education programs. “A victim is a victim in any community. I certainly don’t want to minimize the problem, but I do want the gangs to know we’re going to manage it and not let it happen.” Perry encourages community members to gather for positive community functions as well as tragic events, and maintains an open door policy for himself and his officers.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012

4 5/8” x 5 ¾”


“It takes a collaboration of a community. We want to maximize our efforts, minimize liabilities and capitalize on every opportunity to help our community.”

Lisa Fair, A Proud Product Of Environment

District Four Commander Lisa Fair has fond memories of growing up in public housing in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver. The youngest of six children, with divorced parents, Fair says she was raised by her close-knit neighborhood. “It’s not all that easy to be a knucklehead kid when the whole neighborhood is keeping an eye on you,” says Fair. “The projects had a built-in support system, and I loved being part of that community.” At 10 years of age, Fair set her sights on becoming a police officer with the intent of giving back to the community she loved so much. Although being Black and a woman made her pursuit of joining the police force more difficult, Fair would never slowed down enough to realize it. “I always had the goal of becoming an officer. I really didn’t pay much attention to any challenges or discrimination that may have been there; I just worked hard and was determined to succeed,” she said. Her hard work and dedication paid off. Fair is in her 26th year of service with the Denver Police Department, still resides in the area she grew up, and is now the Commander of District Four. She is charged with not only protecting the citizens she’s grown up with but with educating them and establishing relationships between the community and her officers. “The answer is not always about arresting ourselves out of a situation,” she says. Fair has served in every district in the city and in various different capacities. Her favorite position was acting as one of the first neighborhood police officers under the “Weed ‘n’ Seed” program, which placed officers within the community to establish rapport and positive relations. Fair remembers serving a warrant on a suspected drug house, and how

troubling it was to find children in the home who watched her arrest their parents. “It was a bad situation, but I think they trusted me a little more because I was a young, Black woman they could relate to.” Interacting with community members is part of the job Fair loves. “It’s really rewarding to me to be an influence on kids. They still think we’re cool, and I honestly believe the kids are important.”

Tony Lopez, Remembering And Working His Roots

Tony Lopez, Commander of Denver Patrol District six in downtown Denver, knows well that a uniformed officer can strike suspicion and fear in the hearts of some of the Hispanic or Latino members of the diverse community his district serves. But nearly 27 years of law enforcement experience, combined with his heritage and his compassion, have helped Lopez and his officers establish good relationships within the minority communities. “I’ve been working within the Latino community for years,” says Lopez, who was born in Cuba and immigrated to Denver with his family when he was six years old. “I know what it is to be an immigrant, to be poor, to suffer. I’ve always appreciated my roots, and it’s important to never lose touch of who you are.” Cultural diversity is emphasized within the department, which includes about 175 officers working on the mounted horse patrol, the downtown motorcycle patrol, three patrol details, homeless outreach officers and several investigators. Officers deal with community members from all walks of life, of all nationalities and all economic genres. Lopez makes it a point to interact with businesses and individuals on a regular basis, and encourages his officers to do the same. “I love my job and working with the community. We’re all part of the same community, and we’re here to do what we can to make that community a safe place to live, play and work,” Lopez says. The “Taxis on Patrol” program is

just one example of how the district is utilizing relationships with community members to increase the safety of the neighborhood. Lopez was integral in reviving the program, which encourages taxi drivers to contact police with reports of suspicious behavior – anytime of the day or night – regardless of how insignificant the behavior might appear. Establishing relationships with people who are homeless, or spend a lot of time on the streets of downtown Denver is also important to Lopez and his team, not only to help protect the homeless, but also as extra sets of eyes within the city. Lopez acknowledges that being Latino naturally sets some people at ease, and encourages anyone with questions or concerns to call his direct line at 720-913-2900. “You can absolutely leave a message in Spanish.”

Michael Lemmons’ Journey Of Faith And Survival

Detective Michael Lemmons has seen a lot during his 21-year career span as a Denver police officer. He has dedicated his time in making sure there is diversity and recruitment within the Denver Police Department, as well as open communication with the community, which are things that haven’t always been an easy task. Wearing the blue uniform has made a positive impact on the community for Lemmons, who grew up in the Compton, Calif. area and became a juvenile probation officer. He said he didn’t like being confined inside a facility all the time and decided to take his then one-year old son to Denver, where his sister was living. He immediately applied and got hired with the Denver Police Department in 1991. Just two years later, he noticed in 1993 the increase of crime activities and blatant open drug dealing in the Five Points neighborhoods. After asking management at the

police station why so much drug dealing was going on? “The answer I got was Five Points has always been like that,” he said. Lemmons began to see things change with former police Chief Jerry Whitman who formed District 6 that included Five Points, Curtis Park, downtown, lower downtown and Capital Hill; and started doing more community policing and re-establishing a connection with the people. “He acquired more diversity in District 6 by utilizing officers to address the problems going on in those neighborhoods,” Lemmons explained. “And the number one problem was narcotics; the number two problem was narcotics and the number three problem was narcotics.” Lemmons is supportive of the changes being made under new Denver Police Chief Robert White and the direction he is moving the department. One of the things, Lemmons said, is how Chief White is restructuring the police department. “His desire is to put 70 percent of the police force out on patrol. I think his focus is establishing a closer line of communications between the community and police department, but also management and patrol within the police department,” he added. He sees a promising police department that is trying to keep up with the latest technology in helping transform the quality of life for Denver citizens. Over the years, Lemmons has also seen a change in the way the police department has tried to recruit minority officers. He said late 1980s to mid 1990s was the height of recruiting African American and Latino officers. “We still have to continue with that recruitment for diversity, we’re not as aggressive as we once were from 1989 to 1994 and that’s extremely important.” “When you don’t have a pool of officers on patrol, you can’t pull from

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


that diverse resource to spread throughout the department. And when you don’t have a diverse pool, the community loses people who look like them.” There is no disparity when it comes to discipline of officers, whether they are Black or white, according to Lemmons. But he was adamant in talking about former Manager of Safety Charles Garcia’s unfair treatment of all officers. “He had an agenda in targeting officers – Black, white and even Latino officers. Several of the decisions he made were overturned after further review,” explained Lemmons. Racism is across the board within various institutions – housing, banking, education, etc., according to Lemmons. “But, because the police department is more transparent and the public has access of information, it’s easier to highlight and focus on those problems and ignore the same problems in other institutions,” he said. Lemmons spoke out in his own defense of being suspended for 90 days for driving his motorcycle under the influence last year. “Three days later after the accident, I woke up in the hospital. So I didn’t have the capacity to do any test or agree to any test,” he said referring to reports saying he refused to take a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test. Lemmons stared death in the face during that accident. He said he almost died. “That accident changed my life forever in way I had not appreciated life before.” Even during tough situations out on the street, the veteran officer says that he and his fellow officers run across life and death situations all the time. “It’s not something in the back of our mind and don’t focus on because it will hinder the ability to do your job,” he stated. “I tell people all the time that I focus on what I am suppose to do and get scared later.” 

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here was excitement and buzz

inside the beige brick building at 31st and Downing streets at the recent

opening of the Five Points Obama for America community office. People

going in and out and loudly chanting

the words “Fired Up” spilled out into

the streets. It was all part of the grass-roots efforts of Obama for America’s statewide and national campaign to motivate the masses in re-electing the President. The new Downing Street location is just one of several campaign field offices to open around Denver. Regional Field Director Cameron Lewis, campaign organizers and supporters are pushing to make sure people are registered to vote and showing that Colorado has Obama’s back. “We’re opening offices across the state to provide a location for local residents to come together with their friends and neighbors to discuss the critical issues at stake in this election and work together to reelect President Obama. Coloradans have a clear choice in this election. While President Obama is focused on creating an economy built to last from the middle class out, Mitt Romney would raise taxes on millions of hardworking families while giving millionaires like himself more budget-busting tax cuts and gutting investments that grow our economy and the middle class,” stated Kim Parker, Colorado Press Secretary with Obama for America Campaign. As community leaders, elected officials and volunteers rallied on Downing Street they expressed their strong belief that President Obama is the right leadership for this country and focused on building economic security, creating American jobs and ensuring that everyone – from Wall Street to Main Street – plays by the same rules and pays their fair share. “President Obama is like a rock star to me,” said Lucy Emerson-Bell, a 26year-old white female, who was in the thick of the grand opening action at the Downing Street campaign office. She signed up to volunteer to help with the phone banks and voter registration. “I am part of that young generation that cares about climate change and the President has been a leader in addressing that issue. He already worked with the automobile industry in putting new fuel standards in place for better mileage for cars,” explained EmersonBell. “It was awesome what he did for student loans – there is more student debt than credit card debt.” “Obama is for the people. He is for real,” she added.

The Push To Vote In Re-electing

The President By Sheila Smith

Blacks, Browns and Whites for Obama

In the 2008 presidential race, Colorado became a Blue state with Barack Obama winning 53.66 percent of the vote or roughly 1.2 million people who voted for him. Those with the Obama for America are adamant Mitt Romney will only alienate Coloradans with extreme positions that disproportionately target Latinos, women and middle class families. State Rep. Beth McCann gave her support for the President at the new Downing office. “Progress is being made with all the things that President Obama has done in the past four years, she said to the crowd of volunteers and campaign workers, “from the automobile bail out, pulling troops out of Iraq and being successful as a world leader in the foreign policy arena.” Lewis’s ears perked up after he first heard President Obama talk about how every American deserves access to health in 2008. “I was a freshman at the University of Denver studying Sociology when then-Senator Obama came to speak in January of 2008,” said Lewis, who four years later continues to work for the Obama campaign as regional field director in Denver. But Lewis also has a personal stake in seeing President Obama elected. “My father suffered a stroke in 1997 and has had several health setbacks since. So, I know what it is like to live with someone who hasn’t always had access to affordable health care and how insecure life can be for someone who walks around with the label of having a “preexisting condition. President Obama pledged from the outset of his candidacy that he would fight for people who did not have access to affordable health care, and I am intent on having his back in that fight,” Lewis said.

President Obama already has his supporters enthusiastic about his new campaign slogan: “We’re not going back, we’re moving forward.” Sharon Tave, 69, is ready to move forward with the President. She has been working on the President’s campaign since February and volunteered on the campaign to elect Obama in 2008. “This man has just about done everything he promised,” she stated. “He did the Fair Pay Act, which I witnessed personally in seeing a female chemist get paid less than the male chemist. There continues to be that disparity when it comes to the pay of women.” As a Black woman, Tave witnessed history being made and is pumped up to see it repeated in having an African American president. “I don’t care where I am. I ask people at my church, the beauty shop, and grocery store if they registered to vote. But I have run into my own Black folks who don’t want to vote and said it won’t make a difference,” she said. She talked about running into an 18-year old Black girl who didn’t register to vote and said she wasn’t ready to vote yet. “These young people don’t have a concept of what our people have gone through to exercise our right to vote. Now they take it too lightly,” Tave said frustrated.

The Push to Vote

The question is will those minorities, women and young adults come through at the polls and vote in November for President Obama. College students are galvanized on local campuses in making sure they are registered to vote. Alex Freeman, 26, is an African American male who attends Metro State College of Denver. He is originally from Philadelphia and a registered voter. “Considering all that he (the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


President) had on his plate going in, all the resistance he has faced, I think he’s done a really great job. A second term might really be where he makes his mark and defines his legacy,” said Freeman. “I also got little kids and it’s all about them.” Dyann Hudspeth, 21, is biracial student at Metro State College of Denver. She too is a registered voter. “It’s my first presidential election that I can vote, so I am excited. I really want to get involved. I heard President Obama speak when he came to the Auraria campus in the spring and I really admired his words and what he’s trying to accomplish. Hopefully, he’ll get to see it through.” Quintell Simmons, 25, an African American male also attends Metro State College of Denver. “He’s done alright, you know how it goes. My dad is still shocked we got a Black president” he laughs. “I’m going to vote for him again though and see what happens,” said the St. Louis native. “Can’t go back (to Bush)… gotta keep moving forward.” Crystal Martinez, 28, a Hispanic female who attends Metro State College of Denver has not registered to vote yet. “I feel like my voice isn’t significant,” she said but added, “This election is going to be significant for students, healthcare and taxes. So it is still very important to me and people like me.” Nathaniel Madrid, 25, a Hispanic male who attends Community College of Denver, says it’s too early to determine what kind of job the President has done. “I know that there is so much more that he could do. The immigration issue is going to be huge. I am happy that all these wars are ending. My brother is in the military and he’s been through so much.” While Madrid has registered to vote, he further explained, “Obama is proof that your vote counts because I don’t know how else a Black man or any other minority would become President if the elections were staged like they are in so many other countries. The opposition was very upset about his victory. That’s a good thing.” However, Obama for America campaign volunteers see the challenges they face while going canvassing door-to-door and hitting the streets to get people registered – from many documented workers who are not citizens, those not informed of the changes in voting laws to felons not knowing they can vote if their sentence is completed and off parole. A lot more work still needs to be done with less than 100 days before the general presidential election. 

The 28th Annual Genuine Jazz &

Wine festival will be August 24-26 at the Copper Mountain Resort. This year’s event, featuring international and national artists with a stellar lineup of national and local jazz talent featuring Ronnie Laws, Paul Taylor, Nick Colionne, Alex Bugnon, Dotsero featuring Steve Watts, Julius, Greg Goodloe and Joel Rodney Siemion. Newly added to the lineup is guitarist Stanley Jordan. Jazz enthusiasts are sure to have a good time at this year’s festival. Attendees have the pleasure of enjoying a beautiful mountain resort as well as the music and presence of their favorite jazz musicians. In addition to amazing live jazz music, festival goers can sample some of the country’s best wines. Copper Mountain has gorgeous scenery and lodging and it is only an hour away from Denver. Concert attendees can expect a surprisingly affordable and relaxing scenic resort with a weekend of spectacular shows where they can be up close and personal and say hello to their jazz heroes. Last month, DUS showcased four the artist, this month, you can read about the others.

Paul Taylor

Pushing his personal artistic envelope like never before, Taylor follows the spectacular success of his 2000 disc Ladies‘ Choice—the saxman’s first ever number one (and number one debut) on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart—with a decidedly retro set that features him breaking creative barriers like never before. While tapping into an explosive array of old school soul influences, he stretches beyond his usual soprano and alto comfort zone and plays the lead melody on nine of the 10 tracks on the tenor sax for the very first time. Burnin’ marks the popular saxman’s remarkable fourth project fea-

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turing tracks produced by veteran R&B jazz producers Barry Eastmond (Al Jarreau, Peabo Bryson, Jonathan Butler, Anita Baker) and Rex Rideout (Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, Boney James and Najee). A native of Denver, Taylor has lived and worked in the thriving musical environment of Las Vegas since graduating as a music performance major from UNLV. He began playing sax at age seven and discovered his true calling while playing in a local high school garage band called Mixed Company, which played Top 40, funk and Crusader-styled fusion. Aiming to build his resume beyond the many dues-paying Vegas lounge gigs that marked his early professional life, he commuted often to Los Angeles and hooked up in the late 1980s with (his later producer) Dino Esposito. Taylor quickly found his own niche in the smooth jazz world, and his quick but well deserved popularity led Pleasure Seeker to the top of the radio charts. Although Taylor has since been one of the genre’s most popular live attractions as a solo artist, he eagerly accepted Russ Freeman’s invitation to tour with The Rippingtons as a special guest artist in 2000. He also toured as a featured performer with the all—star “Groovin’ For Grover” lineup including Jeff Lorber, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright. He’s hitting the road again this summer with fellow saxophonists Marion Meadows and Michael Lington, who collectively are launching an exciting new live urban jazz tour called Gentlemen of The Night. “I really love getting in the studio with Barry and Rex each time out and writing and recording,” he says. “It’s exciting when I can hold the CD in my hand and be proud of what we’ve created. It’s something I am so grateful for and never take for granted. But nothing tops the moment when I get a chance to connect with the audience. The energy between us is the whole experience. The music and melodies I play are a natural expression of who I am, and it’s always a privilege to bring the fans joy this way.” And, of course, to keep them Burnin’! For more information on Paul Taylor, visit

Stanley Jordan

Over the course of five major recordings and several smaller independent releases, Stanley Jordan has explored earthly and astral musical trail ways. Because of the extraordinary originality of his approach to guitar, Jordan has been looked upon first and foremost as a musical original, orbiting in an artistic universe without predecessor or immediate successor. With his ground-breaking new album, State Of Nature (his first mainstream release in over a decade, and his debut for the Mack Avenue label), Jordan makes another bold step by using his music to aurally illustrate profoundly unifying truths about man’s relationship to nature and humankind. It was a convergence of experiences that led Stanley down this thematic path. “Part of the reason that I made this album were revelations I discovered in my journey to try to become a better person,” he states. “The other reason is that I discovered some disturbing information about environmental issues such as global warming, the deterioration of our planet and man’s role in it. When I was a kid, my family lived in what is now known as Silicon Valley, which used to be a vast swath of open land with farms and orchards. People talked a lot back then about taking care of the environment, but fast forward to today and it’s still a problem. It made me wonder how humans can know about things like global warming and still not do anything. What is it about humans that makes us so intelligent and yet so unwise?”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


This thought process led to the underlying inspiration for the song structures and themes of State Of Nature. Stanley states, “The two main ideas that consumed my thoughts were these: Human beings need to get back to nature, which extends to the environment as well as our bodies the part of nature we carry around with us, and we need to evolve intellectually, spiritually and politically. Neither will work without the other. I believe that when we become more educated, we’ll be better problem solvers.” State Of Nature also includes a return to piano. That Stanley is also a pianist may be surprising, but it was his first instrument as a child because there was one in the house. To describe Stanley Jordan is to think of him as a world-class musician who marches in all aspects of his life to the beat of his own drum. He is a progressive thinker with goals and ideas that stretch far beyond record deals, fortune or fame. Passionately engaged in his train of thought, Jordan concludes, “If you think about space and how empty it is, here we are on a planet that is so nurturing to us. We need to get back to that. Look at the cracks in the sidewalk. The power of life is so strong that a little seedling can crack the concrete and come through. So at the end of ‘Steppin’ Out’ - like the end of a night on the town - we return to nature sounds. The urban and the natural can co-exist.” For more information on Stanley Jordan, visit

Nick Colionne Band

Red-hot guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne continues his blazing success into 2012. BET Jazz has described him as one of the most exceptional performers to come along in a long time. His latest CD Feel the Heat takes his unique combination of jazz, funk, R&B, blues and soul to new heights. Long known for his dynamic, musical-

ly eclectic live performances and his dynamic command of the guitar, rich baritone vocals and varied music styles, Nick Colionne is a true force when performing in concert. His long string of Top 10 hits is a testament to his musical talent and endurance. Nick was honored with the prestigious 2007 International Instrumental Artist of the Year Award at the Wave Jazz Awards, succeeding 2006 winner Chris Botti. He was nominated for this award again in 2009. He was nominated as Guitarist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year by the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010 and received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his ongoing commitment to mentoring children and his work in the community and nationally in support of breast cancer causes. Other honors include Artist of the Year at the 2011 Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival and Performer of the Year for JazzTrax Jazz Festivals in 2010 and 2011. For more information on Nick Colionne, visit

Dotsero Featuring Steve Watts

Dotsero lives up to their “something unique” legend, bringing style, energy, charisma, humor and most importantly spontaneity to each live performance. Dotsero is nationally known as a no nonsense sax and guitar driven thrill ride of contemporary jazz. They are as much fun to watch as they are to listen to. “When people come to hear Dotsero play, they are not only interested in hearing the music, they want to see the music through performance and feel something as well. Our goal is for our shows to be a total sensory experience,” says Stephen Watts, the bands sax player. The band has performed with a number of leading jazz acts over the years including Spyro Gyra, the Yellowjackets, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Sample, Dave Grusin, Richard Elliott, Nancy Wilson, David Sanborn,

the Rippingtons, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan and Jeff Lorber, among others. Whether at home in Colorado or on the road the world over, Dotsero takes pride in making their live show something people will remember. For more information, visit


With a voice that caresses like melted caramel and lyrics that touch the deepest recesses of your emotions, singer Julius proves that glowing, electrifying, talent only deepens with time. Familiar to music buffs throughout the nation, Julius is an extraordinary, charismatic entertainer whose renowned harmonious melodies are synonymous with packed houses and captivated audiences. The story of Julius, a Saint Louis born entertainer, whose performances are known for his flawless execution and strong delivery of songs from jazz to soulful ballads, as well as, contemporary R&B began at the tender age of seven. A truly gifted showman whose performances, whether experienced in an intimate up close and personal setting, or a concert hall, have held audiences in rapt attention, captivating them with his charismic charm and style. His style is simply unmatched. His remarkable ability to “feel” his audiences and they him is simply uncanny. Julius‘ has performed with such artists from Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, Will Downing, Najee, Roy Ayres, The Temptations, George Duke, Chuck Mangione, Phyllis Hyman, Patti Labelle, Fattburger Band, and Babyface. Julius, also known as the “The Man of a Thousand Voices,“ who recently made Denver his home, can be seen performing at a variety of entertainment venues in Colorado. For more information on Julius, visit Editor’s note: For more information on the Genuine Jass Festival, tickets, lodging and schedules, visit or call (970) 418-2121. Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


Supporting Denver’s Highest-Need Schools And Students

On August 25, 2011, friends,

By Thomas Dierkes

family members, and community leaders attended City Year Denver’s inaugural opening day ceremony in celebration of the launch of City Year’s 21st U.S. location. Standing in the Mile High city’s dry summer heat in the Civic Center Park Amphitheater, donning their Timberland boots and signature red jackets, 51 young leaders pledged to commit a year of their lives serving the most at-risk students in Denver Public Schools. Many of these individuals, known as corps members, moved to Denver from all over the country exclusively to “give a year, and change the world” as the organization’s tagline denotes. City Year is an education focused non-profit organization that partners with public school districts across the country to provide strategic intervention for students that are most at risk of dropping out. Now operating in 24 U.S. cities and two international affiliates in London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa, City Year’s targeted, research-driven strategy seeks to reach more students in more schools where the dropout crisis is most concentrated. “With only half of the nation’s African American students and barely two-thirds of its Hispanic students completing high school on time, building the urban graduation pipeline in America is an

economic, moral and civil rights imperative – City Year is all in,” said Michael Brown, CEO and co-founder of City Year.

Dexter Korto, a recent graduate of Miami University of Ohio, first learned of the organization from a college friend, who had done the program in New York. When Korto applied for a corps member position last spring, he marked on his application, “serve where most needed,” indicating that he was willing to serve at any one of City Year’s sites across the country. Korto’s commitment isn’t unlike any of his fellow 2,000 City Year AmeriCorps members serving in the nation’s highest-need schools. Corps members choose to serve where the need is greatest.

The key to City Years’ service lies in the work of the corps members, the service-minded young leaders that work full-time as tutors, mentors and role models helping students who need extra support and attention to stay in school and on track to graduate. Many corps members – aged 17-24 – have completed college and decided that they want to give a year of their lives to national service before entering the workforce. Virtually all of them find their year in service to be a career accelerator, putting them in a better position to pursue a meaningful career after having served. Korto moved across country to begin his service in August, and joined 50 other young AmeriCorps leaders to form City Year Denver’s Founding Corps in May 2011. During its first year, City Year Denver positioned teams of eight to 10 corps members in five of Denver’s lowest-performing public schools to support students on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring and after school programming. The five schools in which corps members served, identified by the school district, were Denver Center for 21st Century Learning at Wyman, Lake Middle School, Rachel B. Noel Middle School, North High School, and Montbello High School. Korto served on the Comcast team at Montbello High School in northeast Denver. “It was hard work, hard but rewarding,” he said of his year-long service. “From August until November I worked 12 or more hours a day. It took a while for the students to become accustomed to the new standards we were holding them to. As the year went on it was amazing to see students become advocates for their own success. Students who previously had attendance below 80 percent were after school every day seeking homework help. Seeing those same students improve their attendance, grades, attitude, and then become student leaders at the end of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


the year was amazing.” Corps members receive consistent professional development training throughout the year to ensure that they have the necessary skills to become effective leaders in the classroom and beyond their City Year experience. “City Year gave me an inside look at one of the lowest performing schools in Denver, and all of the education reform and turnaround efforts that were taking place,” Korto said. During his ten-month commitment, the 23 year old corps member met Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston, who attended a City Year school visit of Montbello. “He sparked my interest in education policy with a piece of legislation that he proposed and passed, and that I had seen implemented on a daily basis. I had a chance to interact with him and understand his reasoning behind pieces of legislation. I knew I wanted to get into education leadership, and through my interactions with Senator Johnston, I have learned that I can do that through policy or actual school leadership.”

After completing his year of service, Korto went to work with Senator Johnston doing community outreach and will begin a fellowship in the fall with the Donnell-Kay Foundation researching education policy. Through his City Year experience, Korto has been offered a principal/school leader-in-training fellowship at West Denver Prep and DSST Cole extended him the opportunity of a 7th grade social studies teacher. “I have no definite plans as of yet,” he said shyly, but his options are limitless. On Monday, August 27, City Year will officially kick-off its second year of service in Denver at its opening day ceremony from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Denver Art Museum with a reception immediately following the ceremony. The entire community is invited to join family, friends, and supporters of City Year as the city welcomes 70 new young leaders who will pledge to make a difference in nine schools in Denver.  Ediitor’s note: For more information, contact Managing Director Vanecia Kerr,

Our Children Are A Reflection Of Ourselves By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration

There was

Littleton’s Columbine, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech and now Aurora’s Century 16 Theater. Daily on the streets of Chicago and major cities throughout the U.S., children, especially boys, are killing each other. All of these tragedies have one thing in common – hatred and meanness. There is a culture of hatred within the fiber and fabric of America. Our children not only hate others, they hate themselves. This is the disease, hatred, that is so pervasive in America. Violence is a byproduct of hatred. Let’s get to the root cause. In order for the 1 percent to exploit all of us, Black, white, Christians and Jews, they have kept us separated for control over us. Scott Walker was caught on tape iterating their philosophy, “DIVIDE AND CONQUER.” As the venerable Nelson Mandela says, children are not born hating, they are taught to hate. When Senator Mitch McConnell says, “Our main goal is to make certain that Obama is a one term president” then we have to ask the question, Why? Racism is the underlying and root cause of the majority of hatred in this country; and, once a Black man or a mixed race man became President of the United States, all gloves were off. Just as LGBT people feel more comfortable coming out of the closet, the racists feel freer to express their racial hatred. What is the disease of racism that has affected generations of Americans – it is the illogical hatred of an ethnic or easily identifiable racial group of people. Whenever we exhibit or practice irrational behavior, the pattern sets in and is passed down from generation to generation as factual. Those in charge or control of the media, research and literature then start false, unverifiable theories attesting to the fact that that group is inferior and should be shunned and kept

apart from the rest of the people who have one thing in common – skin color. Despite the teachings and examples of their parents and older adults, many of the children are beginning to question these teachings because more of them are interacting with Black people, “the untouchable group” and find that they are no different from themselves or their families, they are challenging their parents and the establishment. Now it is not rare to see the mixing of the races in the open. Race mixing is as old as mobility. Once people were able to travel from one country or region to another, race mixing resulted. Many people in America are French/Irish, German/Italian, and African/Native American/Irish. Oftentimes these liaisons were not legitimatized by marriage. The reason why American Blacks are so varied in color is because of this mixing, often by force. After wars, many American military personnel come home with war brides and thus America has become mixed both religiously and ethnically. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Jew and Huma Abedin, of Pakistani descent, who follows the teachings of Islam, former Sec. of Defense William Cohen and Janet Langhart Cohen, Real estate magnate Conrad Cafritz and Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Justice Clarence Thomas and Virginia Lamp Thomas, law professor Peter Edelman and Marion Wright Edelman, Civil Rights Activist Frederick Douglas and Helen Pitts Douglas, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Columba Bush and are among some of the noted people in interracial marriages. The Chicago 7 were college students from wealthy white families who became anti-establishment. One was the son of the president of Commonwealth Edison, Williams Ayers, one was a descendant of the Rockwell Industries fortune, Rennie Davis, one became a venture capitalist, Jerry Rubin, one went on to marry Hollywood royalty, Tom Hayden and became a CA state legislator. These prodigal sons came home and later joined the establishment themselves. The Black youth in the inner cities, also disenchanted by the fate dealt them are also rebellious; but, they are neither equipped nor do they have the resources to act out the way the affluent white boys do, nor are they later embraced and incorporated into polite society. They are sent to prison. Both groups, filled with anxiety and disappointment leading to dysfunction, resort to a more antisocial form of behavior – wanting power over their lives, the Black youth resort to drugs and guns to assert their per-

sonhood, their manhood. By contrast, many of the privileged white boys get a gun and slaughter as many people as they can. When you look at their backgrounds, you wonder why would they turn to criminal, bizarre behavior – they feel unloved, devalued, manipulated and are guided by self-loathing and loathing for others. A brilliant medical student with a quality education, a lovely home, and a glorious future, yet he arms himself and goes into a theater to destroy and take as many lives as he can, thus James Eagan Holmes’ name will live in infamy along with Loeb and Leopold who murdered Bobby Frank and Bill Heirins who murdered Suzzane Degnan. The underprivileged Black boys, living in crowded undesirable worn out neighborhoods from which whites have fled, attending inferior schools until they are pushed out or are passed on to prison, feel the same emotions that the better off white boys feel and with their internal system on overload, explode and then turn on those closest to them, their competing gang bangers. The origins of this behavior are the same, external hatred that internalizes and becomes selfhatred, despair, disdain and emptiness. America has become an incubator

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


for this anti-social behavior based on hatred, contempt and isolating one group from the other. As Malcolm X says, “the chickens have come home to roost.” Another way of saying that is that we reap what we sow and America, especially, in the age of Obama has sown such ugly seeds of racial hatred, that our children have gotten off the track and are headed in the wrong direction. When Joe Wilson, hollers to the President of the United States, “You lie.” When illiterates Joe Walsh, Sarah Palin, and other racists call the President a liar, what are the children to think? We are the adults and are supposed to set the example. When the example is hatred and contempt, then that’s what the children learn. Visit any playground and you will hear name calling: fatty, four eyes, skinny – these are harmless names but still painful to the object of the taunting. When they hear stronger epithets at home, then children start using derogatory racial slurs. As they grow up and become older, the name calling and bullying become more hostile and aggressive. Until we in America get at the root cause, address the root cause and solve or eliminate the root, our children will continue to reflect what the adults do. “Children learn what they live.” 

of at-risk students.

needs of students with behavioral challenges, others with learning disabilities, still others with physical challenges and many whose family instability has seriously impaired their academic growth. Simultaneously, HOPE partnerships with community organizations and faith-based youth programs maximize drop-out prevention by academically leading organizations who already serve at-risk students. Finally, partnerships with institutions of higher learning and associations allow HOPE to share the opportunities of existing programs with HOPE students. These valuable collaborations require extensive logistical coordina-

“HOPE was founded on the principle of partnerships,” points out HOPE Director of Activities and Operations Melanie Stone. “‘Co-Op’ is part of our school name for a reason. We strive to spur cooperation between the classroom and the community.” Illustrating Stone’s testimony, community relationships mark the activities and programs that HOPE continues to expand in its blended learning model. Among them, Green Valley Ranch and Montbello’s Regional Athletic and Activities Program (RAAP), Colorado State University’s STEM Center, the National Center for School Engagement, All Sports and Metropolitan State College. Additionally, HOPE’s neighborhood Learning Centers reflect a broad spectrum of existing community-led organizations that HOPE supports through professional development, curriculum and technology. This cross-section of partnerships allows HOPE to extend educational achievement options in communities where a passion for equipping distinct groups of at-risk students with the tools for success already exists. Some Learning Centers, for example, are begun with a purpose to meet the

tion to serve the needs of thousands of students across many Metro Area, Northern Colorado, Colorado Springs and Pueblo neighborhoods. “Moving forward on behalf of HOPE students requires a lot of heart. It is a commitment to do whatever it takes to give real kids a real chance to finish school,” describes Stone. “We have to do it differently because we are not a school in one location,” she explains, “but we are confident that all our students benefit from our ever-expanding athletic and academic activities.” While Stone dedicates many hours coordinating programs that foster a strong sense of belonging among students, the HOPE vision is, ultimately, about academic achievement. “Our instructional team knows that when students stay with us a year, their attitude toward school changes. Our targeted instruction and partnerships with colleges and other educational and athletic entities broaden our students’ vision of their own learning capabilities.” Fittingly, Stone recently received the first “Heart of HOPE” Award, honoring a simple goal – to reach as many students as possible with the heart of HOPE.

Serving With A Heart of HOPE By Heather O’Mara and Ruth Márquez West


nline educational opportunities

have changed substantially over the last decade, but the heart of HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op

remains constant – leveraging community partnerships to improve the lives

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012



Students, parents and teachers in Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and Aurora now have a proven option when seeking quality tutoring. Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services opened a branch serving Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and Aurora, offering services to all private, public and home schooled students. Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services’ educational strategy is unique among tutoring programs. It offers one on one tutoring by highly qualified teachers at affordable prices right in the student’s home. Academic experts researched and concluded that students excel when they receive individualized instruction on a one-to-one basis with the instructor – the Club Z! model of tutoring. Cherrelyn Napue, co-owner and Area Director of the Club Z! (Far Northeast and E470) location, explains, “The added component of in-home tutoring affords students as comfortable and non-competitive of a setting as possible in which to learn, eliminating the pressure and embarrassment often times experienced in a traditional classroom setting.” Napue adds, “Inhome tutoring allows the student and tutor to focus on the lesson at hand, giving the student the individual attention he or she needs, and enabling Club Z! tutors to reach children more quickly and effectively.” Nationally known assessment tests used to monitor the effectiveness of the Club Z! tutoring program show marked improvement in students’ grades and comprehension after only a couple of months of tutoring. “Additionally, we have a study skills program that is second to none. Helping students to identity and gain an all-star attitude with skills such as time management, note-taking and organizational techniques are just examples of our proven 20-point indicators for academic success,” states Napue. And Napue is no stranger to education. Following a progressive 12 year career in higher education at Metro State University, Napue took a leap of faith leaving her Vice President role to personalize the educational experience for others. After witnessing first-hand ill-prepared high school graduates entering, and not succeeding in the college environment, she wanted to directly impact and witness success for students of all ages and abilities. When speaking about the connection to families and education, Napue’s eyes light up! “It is incredibly rewarding when a student increases their ACT score or a young child

learns to blend sounds for reading. As important, is seeing the relief of parents who no longer feel helpless in supporting their children with the new techniques used for teaching math.” Parents have great things to say about Club Z! One Aurora parent shared “Lisa is doing great; after tutoring she received the second highest grade in her AP chemistry class.” A Green Valley Ranch parent stated “Our son’s grades and confidence are improving. The tutor also facilitated between the teacher and us to create a team of support for our son”. In their first year, Club Z! of the Far Northeast and E470 Corridor has provided tutoring for over 60 students. “We know there is a huge need for one-onone support,” Napue stated. “Parents appreciate the flexible scheduling and convenience of in-home tutoring sessions, while kids thrive and build confidence thanks to reduced distractions, individual attention, and a secure, familiar environment.” Tutors are highly-trained, prescreened education professionals or experts in their subject area. Club Z! tutors are locally recruited, the vast majority of whom hold state teaching certificates and currently teach or have taught in public or private schools. Each tutor holds a Bachelor’s degree and in some cases a Masters or Ph.D. Many have specialized skills including expertise in teaching students with learning disabilities, as well as gifted students. Club Z! tutors teach the curriculum used in the classroom and do not introduce new curriculum or subject material that would further overwhelm students. Everyone is encouraged to work at their own pace. Club Z! offers tutoring in all core subjects – reading, math, science, language arts and much more. The program also provides tutoring in study skills, ACT, SAT, and other assessment tests preparation Club Z! provides services to at-risk youth through partnerships with various social service agencies and with the No Child Left Behind federal initiatives. This effort helps reach students and families who are most in need and least advantaged. To celebrate their first year anniversary, Club Z! will host a Back to School Bash on August 19 with tutors and clients. Guests are encouraged to bring new or gently used books and school supplies for children in need.  Editor’s note: To attend the Back to School Bash or if you are interested in tutoring or an interested student , call (303) 399-2582, or visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


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Not Too Late To Enroll In The Denver Preschool Program


By Gerie Grimes

t’s not too late for families with children in their last year of preschool to explore the wide array of preschool options available through the Denver Preschool Program. The program offers tuition support to all Denver families to help send their children to the preschool of their choice. Families can find descriptions and quality ratings for more than 250 preschools on the Denver Preschool Program website at The program’s website also includes a tuition credit calculator to estimate the level of tuition support your family can expect from the Denver Preschool Program. As they prepare for preschool, some parents tell me they want their young children to enjoy preschool before they go to “real school.” Others don’t want their preschools “wasting”

time playing games at the expense of learning. Neither should worry. Playing games is one of the ways young children learn, not just their numbers and letters but important social skills as well. Learning how to take turns, listen, follow directions and socialize with other children is essential preparation for future classroom success. As an early childhood educator, I would suggest that families prepare for preschool by arranging visits before school starts to help children become familiar with their classrooms and teachers. In the week preceding the start of school, I advise parents to talk to their child about what the first day will be like, and practice saying good-bye to each other. Children also like to practice wearing their backpacks, an essential school supply and a critical tool for shuttling notes back and forth between teachers and families. Leave the favorite toy at home – it might get lost. The mental, physical and social stimulation of preschool takes a good night’s sleep and a nap. Fouryear-olds need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day. I serve as chair of the Denver Preschool Program Board of Advisors

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


because I know high-quality preschool is a smart public investment and the place to start closing the education achievement gap. Preschools participating in the Denver Preschool Program are independently rated for quality so Denver families can choose the best preschools for their children. Over 90 percent of the roughly 800 African-American four-year-olds enrolled in the Denver Preschool Program attend top-quality preschools. On average, these families received $318 per month from the Denver Preschool Program to help offset the cost of preschool during the 2010-2011 school year. That’s a good investment since, according to an independent evaluation, the vast majority of children leave the Denver Preschool Program ready for kindergarten – socially, emotionally and academically. More information on enrolling your child in the Denver Preschool Program and preparing your child for preschool can be found at Editor’s s note: Gerie Grimes is executive director of the Hope Center, a Denver Preschool Program participant that provides early childhood services for children ages 2 ½ - 8 years. She also manages Hope Center’s Vocational Program serving adults with developmental disabilities.

Secretary of State:

OUR PEOPLE WILL VOTE! Over 100 gather at Let My People VOTE Rally outside of Sec. Gessler’s office during his Rule Making hearing today A passionate and energized crowd of diverse Coloradans circled and shouted to the Secretary of State’s office as they conducted a Rule Making hearing today on 1700

Gessler proposed that his office should not send ballots to those he deemed were “inactive voters” including Coloradans who did not vote in 2010 (this would disproportionately affect black and brown voters) – the court threw out Sec. Gessler’s case. Let My People VOTE is a statewide movement lead by African American

Broadway in another attempt to disenfranchise Colorado people who did not vote in 2010. All ages and races battled the heat to make their voices heard. By passers, community leaders and hearing attendees who wanted more information, quickly picked up ”Let My People VOTE” t-shirts and proudly joined the march. “If I choose not to vote, that’s my problem. Do not take away opportunities for me to vote!”

and Latino congregations and organizations and Together Colorado to make sure that all African Americans and Latinos who are eligible to vote are registered and vote. “Through the Let My People VOTE movement, African American congregations in Colorado are saying WE WILL not be silenced, we will vote in record numbers and our votes will count.” – Rev. Dawn Riley Duval, Shorter AME Church Minister of Social Justice and Together Colorado Community Organizer The rally followed a rigorous civic engagement effort this last weekend where we registered and re-registered just shy of 400 people who are eligible to vote in 8 African American and Latino congregations across Colorado! 

– Rev Tawana Davis Minister at Shorter AME Church

“Instead of doing the right thing, they want to change the rules of the game all together”

– Paul Lopez, City Council District 3

Last year Secretary of State Scott

Grab a part of Black history! Pick up a DVD with historic interviews of 25 of Denver’s most influential African-American women!

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


Why the Death Penalty Debate For The Batman Massacre Shooter A

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

rapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers raised eyebrows when she told reporters that convicting alleged Batman mass shooter James Holmes is not a “slam

dunk.” She raised even more eyebrows when she said that she would take weeks to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Holmes. Chamber’s caution on getting a conviction and the death penalty for Holmes could be chalked up to a prosecutor’s tendency to play it close to the legal vest in hyper inflammatory cases. The top heavy betting

odds are that Holmes will be convicted and he will get the death penalty. Chambers sought and got the death penalty for two people currently on Colorado’s death row. She is the only DA in the state to push for the death

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


penalty in a capital case the last five years. This doesn’t mean that the debate about the death penalty for Holmes won’t continue. There are troubling reasons why. One tip was a small poll in the on line publication, Encinitas Patch. It found that a significant minority of the respondents opposed the death penalty for Holmes on either legal, ethical, or pragmatic grounds. The legions of comments on what Holmes fate should be on blogs, websites, and in the press also show much ambivalence over whether the death penalty will mean much in Holmes’s case. Death penalty opponents and supporters pretty much agree on a couple of things. One is that the long time lag, the endless appeals, the stunning cost to work through a death penalty case, and the watch and wait agony of family members of the killer’s victim(s), render any deterrent impact virtually nil. The other is the seeming arbitrary, random, inconsistent, and patch work application of the death penalty has soured even the most enthusiastic the death penalty advocates on its effectiveness. Holmes is a good example of the problem. He’s accused of gunning down 70 persons. That makes him a multiple killer. But a high scorecard of victims alone doesn’t necessarily make him anymore a prime candidate for the death penalty than if he was accused of killing one person. The list of those who have committed multiple murders but didn’t get the death penalty is endless. It includes mafia hit men, wealthy celebrities, businessmen and athletes. There are roughly 9 to 10,000-plus homicides in America on average; only a few hundred of those convicted of murder get the death penalty. Legal experts and philosophers fiercely debate whether one life is more valuable than another, and there’s tacit recognition in American law, public policy and custom that some lives are, in fact, more valuable than others. Holmes’s alleged victims are a cross section of ages, genders, and occupations and most hail from solid working and middle class families. This makes it more likely that he will get the death penalty. The flip side of that is that if a killers victims are poor, young, minorities, and from inner city, neighborhoods, the likelihood of getting the death penalty is diminished. A decade ago in Washington, the so-called Green River Serial Killer, Gary Ridgway was convicted of nearly 50 heinous and grotesque rapes and murders during a span of years. The victims were poor, female, and many Continued on page 31

RTD Breaks Ground On Northwest Rail Line

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) broke ground last month the first segment of the Northwest Rail Line at the site of the future Westminster Station near 71st Avenue and Irving St. The Northwest Line is the third FasTracks commuter rail line to get underway as part of the innovative Eagle P3 Project. The first segment of the Northwest Rail Line will run for six miles between Denver Union Station and south Westminster. The Northwest Line, approved by voters in 2004 as part of the overall FasTracks system, will eventually continue through Westminster to Boulder and Longmont. The segment of the line from downtown to Westminster is part of the $2.1 billion Eagle P3 Project, a 34-year publicprivate partnership with Denver Transit Partners to build, operate, maintain and privately finance the FasTracks commuter rail system. It is under full construction toward a 2016 opening and includes the East Rail Line to Denver International Airport and the Gold Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. The start of work comes after RTD and the City of Westminster put the final touches on an intergovernmental agreement under which the city will


The groundbreaking included six members of the public planting garden stakes in the holes dug by the speakers (in orange vests). From left to right are: Phil Washington, RTD GM; Bob Eck, Design West Studio; Skip Fischer, Adams County Commissioner; Gary Shea, Westminster Progressive Homeowners Association; Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally; Phil Bryant, Qualimage; Skeet Hartman, Import Auto Care; Larry Hoy, RTD Director, District J; Greg Amparano, Denver Transit Partner Project Director; Jared Carlon, Norris Design; Kevin Smith, VP of Finance for South Westminster Arts Group; and John Tayer, RTD Director, District O.

invest additional money in the station area. Upgrades include a parking garage, enhanced accessibility and a community plaza.

CODE RED Voter Registration Initiative Set To Launch

Pastor Jamal Bryant and the Empowerment Movement is calling on the clergy, and concerned citizens to come out to the launch of CODE RED a voter registration initiative. The event will be held in Baltimore, MD, Aug. 16 through 18. CODE RED attendee’s will receive 2 1/2 days of intensive training, strategizing, and self-empowerment. The event will begin with a Town Hall Meeting, “What is at stake in the 2012 election, and what is expected of the President?” on Thursday. The goal is

to develop a platform to stand on through 2016 as a collective assembly of ecumenism. On Friday all attendees will be deputized as official Deputy Voter Registrar’s. All lay representatives will receive training in evangelism and witnessing. Activist Evangelism, which is a process that empowers the congregation and the community, will be introduced. Both evenings will end with a second revival. Saturday morning will begin prayer, then busses will be dispatched to win people to Christ and register citizens to vote. This application will be duplicated around the country. For more information, visit or

On behalf of the Center for African American Health and Destination Health co-chairs Happy Haynes and Haven Moses, we want to thank our sponsors, volunteers and participants for supporting the 2nd Annual Destination Health event.




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See you next year – July 27, 2013 - Save the date! Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012



Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams


Excellent(((((. Very Good((((.. Good((((((... Fair(((((((.. Poor(((((((.

    No stars

Madea’s Witness Protection

Madea’s Witness Protection 

Tyler Perry and Eugene Levy Make for Strange Bedfellows in Fish-Out-of-Water Comedy


Text the word SHINE and your ZIP CODE to 43549! Example Text: SHINE 80246 Entry Deadline: Monday, August 13

THIS FILM IS RATED PG-13. PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Text HELP for info, STOP to opt-out. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 8/14 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Wednesday, 8/15 at 7:00PM at a local theater. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Tri-Star, Screen Gems, Allied-THA, 43KIX,Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS


eorge Needleman (Eugene Levy) is so naive that he has no idea that his boss, Walter (Tom Arnold), is running a Ponzi scheme right under his nose. It only dawns on the terminally-nerdy CFO that something is awry when arrived at work one day to find all of his co-workers in the office of Lockwise Industries feverishly shredding documents. At that point, he’s belatedly informed by Walter that the Wall Street investment firm is about to be raided by the FBI, and that the only reason he’d been paid a million-dollar salary for the past seven years was to be the fall guy in the event of just such a collapse of the business. But after being arrested, instead of participating in the cover-up, George opts to cooperate with the authorities and agrees to testify against his former employer. However, because the company had also been laundering money for the mob, he soon finds unsavory characters hanging around his sprawling mansion. So, rather than take any risks, the prosecutors decide to hide

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


the whistleblower in the Witness Protection Program to makes sure he survives ‘til the trial date. In trying to decide the last place that anybody would look for a wealthy white family from Connecticut, the Feds settle on a humble abode in faraway Atlanta belonging to none other than Madea Simmons (Tyler Perry). The sassy granny jumps at the $4,000 per month compensation, unaware of just how much of a challenge she’s about to take on. For Needleman is a package deal who arrives with his family in tow, including his senile mother (Doris Roberts), a pampered trophy wife (Denise Richards) half his age, and a couple of spoiled-rotten kids (Devan Leos and Danielle Campbell). There’s friction right from the start when daughter Cindy complains “What, are we sharecroppers, now?” about living in a black community. Madea is concerned, too, asking, “How am I supposed to hide five white people in this neighborhood?” That is the promising point of departure of Madea’s Witness Protection, a fish-out-of-water comedy co-starring Tyler Perry and Eugene Levy. The movie makes the most of the theme, such as when the hefty heroine introduces the Needlemans to a skeptical visitor with, “These are my cousins and they done lost all their pigmentation.” Most of the fun flows from the tension between the hostess and her uncomfortable houseguests, although the ensemble does feature a motley crew of colorful characters, including Madea’s brother, Joe, and nephew, Brian (both played by Perry), a nosy neighbor (Marla Gibbs), and an impassioned pastor (John Amos) with a Prodigal Son in need of redemption (Romeo Miller). It’s just too bad the laughs aren’t as frequent as your typical Tyler Perry production. When all is said and done, the real purpose of this modern morality play is to enable Madea to right some wrongs and deliver a few well-timed sermons, whether she’s giving the Needlemans marriage counseling, teaching their offspring to appreciate their blessings, helping wimpy George develop a backbone, evening the score with a crooked corporate executive or scaring a juvenile delinquent straight. Madea goes mainstream! Rated: PG-13 for crude sexual remarks and brief drug references. Running Time: 114 minutes Distributor: Lionsgate Films To see a trailer for Madea’s Witness Protection, visit:

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises 

Batman Emerges from Exile to Battle Terrorist in Trilogy Finale


he Dark Knight Rises brings down the curtain on the brilliant Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. Each of the earlier episodes, Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), earned a spot on this critic’s annual Top Ten List, #s 9 and 1, respectively. Given how the late Heath Ledger played The Joker to perfection, delivering an inspired, Oscar-winning, career performance in the previous installment, you knew it would be hard for Nolan to find as compelling a character for his highly-anticipated finale. And if The Dark Knight Rises does have a weakness, it lies in the fact that its primary villain pales in comparison. Otherwise, the movie measures up to franchise expectations, though its convoluted plot and 2¾ hours running time is likely to have younger kids squirming in their seats. The picture’s point of departure is eight years after the end of the last adventure, when Batman selflessly accepted the blame for the untimely demise of District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). The broken, embittered vigilante has apparently kept a low profile over the intervening years, allowing the Gotham Police Department to fight crime on its own. But that’s only until the arrival in town of Bane (Tom Hardy), a card-carrying member of the association of assassins known as The League of Shadows. Although his speech is pretty much muffled by a Hannibal Lecter-like contraption affixed to his face, you don’t need to understand his


unintelligible mumblings to know that he’s a maniacal menace. The masked terrorist is hell-bent on blowing up the city with a nuclear device and of course it isn’t long before Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) needs help handling the mayhem. Meanwhile, Batman’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne already has his hands full with Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar he catches snooping around his mansion. Fortunately, Wayne still has loyal assistants in his butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and weapons/vehicle/gadgetry specialist Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). Plus, he forges a new friendship with John Blake (JosephGordon-Levitt), an idealist cop with excellent instincts who might be sidekick Robin should the series be spun off. Outfitted with a state-of-the-art motorcycle and hovercraft, a revivified Batman engages his evil adversary with an unbridled enthusiasm. And between purist Nolan’s loyalty to 35mm film and live action stunts, what’s served up onscreen proves to be nothing short of spectacular. A tip of the cap, or should I say of the cape, to a terrific trilogy for the ages! Rated: PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and intense violence. Running Time: 165 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, visit: Savages 

Rival Gangs Engage in Bloody Turf War over Control of California Marijuana Trade


f you’ve seen the documentary Cash Crop, then you know that violent Mexican drug cartels have already begun to muscle their way into the U.S. to stake a claim to their share of the lucrative Marijuana market. That eye-opening expose’ suggested that it’s only be a matter of time before the same sort of wanton violence being reported south of the border also starts erupting all across this country.

Although Savages is fictional, being based on Don Winslow’s best-selling novel of the same name, its chilling account of a California turf war is so realistically depicted that you easily forget that what you’re watching isn’t a true story. The movie was directed by three-time Oscar-winner Oliver Stone (for Platoon, Midnight Express and Born on the fourth of July), who crafted this cautionary tale with a highly-stylized flair akin to Miami Vice (the TV series) while grounding the grisly goings-on with a sobering gravitas reminiscent of Traffic (2000). The picture pits a couple of homegrown pot producers operating out of Laguna Beach against a ruthless Chicano gang that covets a piece of the action. At the point of departure, we find Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) living large at an oceanfront mansion with a view thanks to a crooked DEA Agent (John Travolta) and a very potent strain of weed that has made them millionaires several times over. The pair complement each other nicely, since the former supplies the brains, as a Berkeley grad who double majored in business and botany, while the latter provides the brawn, as a former Navy SEAL who served a couple of tours over in Afghanistan. The buddies even share the same girlfriend, Ophelia (Blake Lively), a tatted-up blonde who professes love for both of her beaus. The three share a hedonistic, if unconventional, existence until the day they’re paid a visit by an emissary (Demian Bichir) sent to the States by a brutal, Baja crime boss (Salma Hayek) to make the gringos an offer they can’t refuse. They grudgingly enter a partnership with the intimidating kingpin only to avoid the thinly-veiled threat of decapitation. What ensues is a gruesome game of cat-and-mouse where it’s often difficult to discern who’s got the drop on whom. Even when the smoke finally clears in this high body-count affair, anticipate a mind-bending twist en route to a rabbitout-of-the-hat resolution. Savages

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


Savages is an unsettling vision of America degenerating into a lawless dystopia like a latter-day Wild West.

Rated: R for nudity, drug use, graphic sexuality, gruesome violence, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity In English and Spanish with subtitles Running Time: 129 minutes Distributor: Universal Pictures To see a trailer for Savages, visit: pw&feature=watch_response The Amazing Spider-Man 

Andrew Garfield Stars in Reboot of Marvel Comics Franchise


hen Columbia Pictures first brought Spider-Man to the big screen in 2002, the Marvel Comics adaptation was such a box-office bonanza that it spawned a couple of equally-phenomenal sequels. Now, just a decade later, the studio has already seen fit to reboot the popular franchise. Although that might strike some as too soon to attempt to replicate a winning formula, director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) proves himself to be more than up to that daunting challenge. For The Amazing Spider-Man easily eclipses the earlier trilogy via a relatively-sophisticated combination of shadowy cinematography, edgier dialogue, seamless special effects and palpable romantic chemistry. The film stars Andrew Garfield as unassuming Peter Parker-turnedsuperhero Spider-Man, opposite Emma Stone as his love interest, Gwen Stacy. At the point of departure of this origins adventure, he’s still just a 98pound weakling being bullied in school and secretly harboring a secret crush on a cute classmate (Stone). We learn that Peter has been raised by his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) but remains consumed with solving the mysterious disappearance of his parents (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) years ago. So, he pays a visit to a former colleague of his father, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a leading research scientist at Oscorp, a biotech currently attempting to develop a revolutionary limb regeneration serum. Connors claims to be trying to create a world without weakness by splicing human genes with those of other species. But his interest isn’t entirely altruistic, since he also happens to be missing an arm himself. While snooping around Oscorp labs, Peter is bitten by a mutated spider which leads to his developing incredible strength as well as the Continued on page 30


Ice Age: Continental Drift 

A Frenetic Animated Adventure Strictly for Tykes


The Amazing Spider-Man

Continued from page 29 ability to climb walls and spin web like an arachnid. This evolution conveniently dovetails with his need for a new physique with which to impress Gwen and to settle the score with his tormentors back at Midtown Science High. Moreover, his uncle’s subsequent slaying by a mugger inspires the griefstricken lad to embark on a crimefighting campaign as a masked vigilante. That doesn’t sit well with Gwen’s dad (Denis Leary), an NYPD Captain opposed to citizens taking the law into their own hands. Nevertheless, the ante is only upped when an impatient Dr. Connors morphs into a formidable,

lizard-like creature after injecting himself with an experimental elixir. Worse, the drug leaves the powerhungry madman hell-bent on hatching a plan for world domination which the cops are ill-equipped to derail, but a challenge tailor-made for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. A spectacular, satisfying summer blockbuster offering the perfect airconditioned escape from the sweltering heat wave. Rated: PG-13 for violence and intense action. Running Time: 136 minutes Distributor: Columbia Pictures To see a trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, visit:

nfortunately, the brains behind the latest installment of this animated series abandoned the family-friendly formula which made it so popular with kids of all ages. Instead, they decided to produce a kitchen sink comedy more concerned with generating cheap laughs by any means possible than with spinning a coherent tale that might engage an adult. Besides an unfocused, scatterbrained storyline, Ice Age 4 features a plethora of preposterous anachronisms which suggest that pirates, togas and telephones existed in an age of prehistoric creatures. Plus, the picture makes a number of distracting allusions to everything from the movie Meet the Parents (“Why do males have nipples?” to Trix cereal TV commercials (“Silly Rabbit!”) to Homer’s Odyssey (seductive Sirens as characters) to the “Bible” (Book of Jonah). The upshot is a frenetic, attentiondeficit adventure apt to enthrall tykes at the expense of appealing to other demographics. In addition to the principals reprising their roles, noteworthy newcomers to the voice cast include Jennifer Lopez, Drake, Wanda Sykes, Joy Behar, Peter Dinklage, Nicki Minaj and Keke Palmer.

The fun starts when halfsquirrel/half-rat Scrat (Chris Wedge) accidentally triggers the continental divide of the planet while trying to bury an acorn in the frozen tundra. Elsewhere, Woolly mammoths Manny (Ray Romano) and his wife, Ellie (Queen Latifah), exhibit concern about their daughter Peaches’ (Palmer) having developed a crush on bad boy Ethan (Drake). Meanwhile, the smitten teen rides roughshod over the feelings of a secret admirer (Josh Gad) she barely recognizes since he’s just a nerdy molehog. Additional subplots involve sloth Sid’s (John Leguizamo) having to care for his sassy grandmother (Sykes) and, later, Saber-toothed tiger Diego’s (Denis Leary) pursuit of a love interest (Lopez). However, the film’s primary concern is reuniting families left separated from each other on different land masses in the wake of Scrat’s cataclysmic hijinks. Too bad the resolution of every piece of this cinematic jigsaw puzzle proves predictable. Sad to see a oncebeloved franchise jump the prehistoric shark. Rated: PG for rude humor, action and scenes of peril Running Time: 94 minutes Distributor: 20th Century Fox To see a trailer for Ice Age: Continental Drift, visit:



Ice Age: Continental Drift

BY TEXTING THE KEY WORD URBAN SPECTRUM AND YOUR ZIP CODE TO 43549! Example Text: URBAN SPECTRUM 80202 Entry Deadline: Sunday, August 26 Winners will be notified via text on Monday, August 27 THE BOURNE LEGACY has been rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13) for violence and intense action sequences. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Winners will be drawn at random and contacted with information on how to receive their prize. Each pass admits 2. Passes are valid Mon-Thurs & excludes holidays through the film’s run of engagement. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Universal Pictures, Allied-THA, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. NO PHONE CALLS!

IN THEATERS AUGUST 10 Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


The Colorado Trust Names Two New Trustees

The Colorado Trust announced the election to its Board of Trustees of Donald J. Mares, Esq., and Warren T. Johnson, MD. Donald J. Mares, Esq., is president and CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado where he leads statewide efforts to promote mental health and behavioral health services, mitigate the stigma around behavioral health and transform systems of health care. Previously, served as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Mares’ background also includes serving as special counsel with Fleishman & Shapiro PC; as auditor for the City and County of Denver; and seven years as a Colorado state senator and representative. Warren T. Johnson, MD, practices family medicine at Owl Creek Medical in Brighton. Johnson serves infants, children, teens, adults and the elderly. Previously, in Fort Lupton, he served migrant farm workers, rural families and suburban patients at Park Avenue Medical and the Salud Family Health Centers, where he also performed some 100 obstetrical deliveries annually. Johnson’s board and commission involvements include the Migrant Advisory Council of the Colorado Departments for Public Health and Environment, the state and national Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Directors of the Colorado Physician Health Program.

BOA Taps Gomez Howard Group For London 2012 Games

Jeff Howard, a senior media consultant for the Gomez Howard Group (GHG), has been tapped by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to implement a Managing Victory program for the National Olympic Committee’s athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic Games. In London, Howard will lead the BOA’s initiative for proactively directing the first 48 hours after an athlete medals. As the director of the managing victory program, Howard serves as the liaison between credentialed press


and athletes to ensure a coordinated media interaction. Howard has directed international sports public and media relations for five previous Olympic Games. In addition to several prior leadership roles at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), he has also directed public and media relations for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and began his career with the Denver Broncos Football Club.

ABTP Announces 2012 Scholarship Winners

Left to right: Lawson Williams, Nina De La Rosa, Nnaoma Agwu, Angela Norris-Hawkins (ABTP CO President), and Warren Mickens, (VP Wholesale Markets/ABTP Executive Advisor)

The Colorado Chapter of the Alliance Of Black Telecommunications Professionals announced the 2012 scholarship award winners who received a $750 award to continue their educational pursuits. The awards ceremony was held June 20 to celebrate their accomplishment. The 2012 award recipients are:Nnaoma Agwu from Regis Jesuit High School in Denver, CO; Nina De La Rosa from Rangeview High School in Aurora, CO; and Lawson Williams from Arizona State College in Tempe, AZ

Colorado C.O.G.I.C. Celebrates Mr. and Ms. Colorado 2012 Congratulations to Noah Jones and Alyssa Gillespie on winning the essay contest that was based on why you should be Mr. Colorado – Young Man of Valor and Ms. Colorado – Young Woman of Excellence 2012 as well as performance in school, community service, and involvement in the church. They both received recommendation letters.

Jabari Holland Selected For Sports Business Academy

Jabari Holland, a member of Project Greer Street and junior at East High School, has been selected for the Wharton Sports Business Academy (“WSBA”) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sponsored by the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton Sports Business Initiative (WSBI), WSBA is the preeminent summer institute that provides an opportunity for a select group of talented high school juniors and seniors to study sports business leadership. WSBA attracted more than 1,000 applicants for the program this summer.

Davis’ Team Wins Competition At JA Business Program

Leonard Davis, a member of Project Greer Street and junior at East High School, was a member of the winning team of high school students that created a new smoothie flavor for Jamba Juice and an accompanying marketing campaign. The competition was part of the Junior Achievement (“JA”) Business Week summer program. Davis was selected for the program from hundreds of high school student applicants from Colorado and Wyoming. In addition to the JA program for this summer, Davis was selected to attend Junior Executive Institute (“JEI”); a pre-college residential summer enrichment program for qualified high school students who are interested in studying business in college.

Malik Taylor To Attend Summer Business Institute At Northwestern University

Malik Taylor, a member of Project Greer Street and junior at Montbello High School, has earned a scholarship to attend the Summer Business Institute of the prestigious Leadership, Education, and Development (“LEAD”) program at Northwestern University. The national competition included more than 1,000 applicants for the program. The LEAD program is an innovative three to four week residential program hosted by some of the top business schools in America including Duke University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, and Dartmouth University. Last summer, Taylor participated in the Summer Link Program at the University of Denver.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


Why the Death Penalty Debate

Continued from page 26 were runaways, drug users or prostitutes. Their families were outraged at the snail’s pace of justice in the case. Yet, Ridgway was allowed to cop a plea and escaped execution. A CNN poll at the time found that most Americans were appalled by the deal and wanted Ridgway executed. There are countless examples where states have executed men and women convicted of a single killing while those that committed multiple killings escaped the executioner’s gurney and received life sentences. The Supreme Court rendered moot the debate over the proportionality of capital punishment when it ruled in 1984 that the Constitution does not require the punishment to always fit the heinousness of the crime. The Court did urge the states to prevent “excessive” or “disproportionate” sentencing in death penalty cases. Though not legally obliged, most states with capital punishment have set “mitigating circumstances”—age, mental capacity, abuse (sexual, drug and alcohol)—for judges and juries to consider in determining whether a death sentence is appropriate. Many studies have found that many of the death row prisoners have either been beaten, brutalized, sexually assaulted or are mentally retarded or sub-literate. The colossal frustrations, doubts, and anger over who gets the death penalty and who doesn’t along with the astronomical cost of it has fueled the clamor to either speed up the execution process, or scrap the death penalty completely. More states have done just that. The Colorado state legislature came close to abolishing the death penalty, but still keeps it on the books. It has used it in only one case during the past three decades. Holmes’s defense team will pull out all stops to depict him as deranged, tormented, and fantasy obsessed. That‘s not likely to fly very far given the passions and notoriety of the crime. But it will spark fierce legal and public debate over just why we still have a death penalty, and who should get it. Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Hutchinson on Twitter:


numerous hits, including “Yes We Can Can” and “I’m So Excited,” which peaked at #11 and #9, respectively, on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100. More than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments will be selling a wide variety of small portions to full meals. There will be plenty of music, magic, clowns, and puppets on the Comfort Dental KidzStage, and the KidZone features play equipment and hands-on craft activities. Kids and adults can also enjoy carnival rides and games Saturday through Monday. For more information, visit, o,, or call 303-295-6330.

The Pointer Sisters Bring Soul To A Taste Of Colorado

Grammy-winning R&B group The Pointer Sisters will take the Main Stage at the 29th annual A Taste of Colorado on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Since the 1970s, The Pointer Sisters have achieved worldwide success and left a mark on the American music scene. The group has mastered many music genres – pop, disco, jazz, country, soul, rock, and funk – and has had

Celebrate Musical Heritage

The Spirituals Project Choir sings a repertoire largely of the concertized and traditional arrangement of the authentic spirituals, the music of our ancestors; and is looking for sopranos, tenors and basses that are willing to sing music which is spiritual, not necessarily religious. Singers will be asked to audition and if chosen, must commit to a weekly rehearsal and several performances throughout the metropolitan area. It is not necessary to read music to participate in this choir,

but the singers must sing in tune and maintain a voice part. The Spirituals Project Choir is multi-racial, multi-ethnic and all ages are welcome. Auditions will be Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. at the First Mennonite Church on 9th and Elati. For more information, call 303-8717993, Bennie Williams at 303-757-5875, or visit

Senior Housing Options’ Driving Miss Daisy At The Barth

Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy in the historic lobby of The Barth Hotel is the fifth annual summer theater fundraiser for Senior Housing Options (SHO), a non-profit providing quality affordable housing and services for 500 older adults in Colorado. Former Broadway actor Billie McBride plays the Southern Jewish widow Daisy, whose son (played by Sam Gregory) insists she hire a driver (Dwayne Carrington), despite her rigorous complaints. “Driving Miss Daisy” performs in the historic lobby of The Barth Hotel, 1514 17th St. in Denver. The play runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. through Aug. 18. Tickets start at $25. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 303-595-4464.

Rising Star Missionary Baptist 49th Church Anniversary

Join Rising Star as they gather Wednesday, Aug. 22 through Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 for their Ministry Week at 7 p.m. nightly. Culminating the events will be Rev. Dr. Jules E. Smith, Senior Pastor of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, Sunday, August 26 at 7:45 a.m. and Rev. Robert Hargrove of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL as the speaker of the hour at 10:15 a.m. – both giving rich words of celebration to the Lord for 49 years of worship. Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church is located at 1500 S. Dayton St., in Denver. For more information, call 303-752-0546.

Support Cause For Children And Their Families

HOPE Center’s Annual 1K/5K walk and run-a-thon, a community event for children, families, friends and neighbors will inspire children and their families to support physical fitness and awareness and to live healthier lives supporting the First Lady Obama efforts. HOPE Center’s goals are to raise funds to help more than 200 children ages 2½ through 8 prepare for success in school by providing a top rated and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2012


accredited Early Childhood Education and Care program, support a high quality childcare program for working parents in the inner city, and continue to teach job readiness and socialization skills to our special need adult clients enrolled at our Vocational program. The walk and run-a-thon will be Saturday, Sept. 8 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Stapleton Central Park, 9651 E. Martin Luther King Blvd in Denver. Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children 6 to 17 and seniors 60 and over, and no cost to children age 5 and under (T-Shirt for 5 and under will cost $7). Registration is Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the HOPE Center, 3400 Elizabeth St. For more information, call 303-388-4801 or visit drunner.

Alzheimer’s Association Walk To End Alzheimer’s Offers Hope

Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association has mobilized millions of Americans with its annual Walk. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness for the disease and funds programs and services throughout Colorado offered at no charge to families. In addition the event funds research to find better treatments and eventually a cure. This year the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Denver will start and end in Denver City Park on Saturday, Sept. 15. Unlike many non-profit fundraising walks, this one doesn’t require a registration fee in exchange for tee shirts. This is a pledge event at which every person who walks is asked to make a personal contribution and ask family, friends and co-workers to support them with a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. Once participants reach $100 in pledges they receive a shirt. Other incentive prizes are offered as fund raising levels increase. For more information and to register, visit, email, or call the 303-8131669.

2013 Miss Juneteenth Pageant

Are you interested in becoming the next Miss Juneteenth or Miss Jr. Juneteenth? Do you think you have what it takes or do you know somebody that does? Organizers will need a completed application, head shot, unofficial transcript, essay submission, and talent performance at the 2013 Juneteenth Pageant For more information or to join the mailing list, email or

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Editor: I have very vivid memories of Ali standing his ground (conscientiousobjector), where he flat refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Ali, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I ainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.......No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.â&#x20AC;&#x153; His religious beliefs in Islam cemented his refusal to risk dying

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Muhammad Ali Stared Down Vietnam Draft: Bishop Mitt, Not So Much

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Editor: Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on families, friends, co-workers, schools and the entire community. Sadly, every minute of every day, someone attempts to take their own life and every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide. We need to know more about suicide and ways to prevent it. We also need to educate the public to recognize the symptoms of depression, especially in teenagers as they are a particularly vulnerable group. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is conducting one of their Out of the Darkness Community Walks in Highlands Ranch on Sept. 8 to raise much needed funds for prevention and education. Portion of the funds raised will support distribution of AFSPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new educational film More Than Sad: Teen Depression to area high schools to educate both students and teachers about teen depression and how to get help.

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from fighting in the religious (Buddhist) and racist Vietnam War. Bishop Mitt Romney must have shared some of Aliâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s religious views however, Mitt never publicly expressed his own refusal to fight in that war. When the stuff hit the fan in Vietnam, Mitt donned his beret, and scampered off to his racially-segregated Mormon mission (NAM sanctuary) in Paris, France. There he spent 30 months sipping vino and eating exotic cheeses. Some of the same can be said for other American Muslims, SeventhDay Adventist, Jehovahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Witness, and Scientologist too. I served in three deployments to Vietnam and I only served there with American Jews, Catholics, and Protestants. Draft-dodging is a felony-offense. So is knowingly-falsifying U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Again, we see Romney evading federal prosecution for his two felony-offenses. Ali lost millions of dollars (arrested too) when he refused to fight in Vietnam and he went all the way to SCOTUS, so he could stay out of federal prison. Additionally, during his four year fight for his constitutional rights, Ali also had his passport confiscated and during this four year legal battle, the USAG stripped Ali of the right to box anywhere on the planet. Bottom line â&#x20AC;&#x201C; felons (convictedcommitted) are strictly prohibited from seeking any public office. The expectation of all AfricanAmericans is that (R) Colorado Sec. of State Gessler will strip Romney from our 2012 ballot, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and U.S. Selective Service Boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s federal laws, should be his legal justification for Romneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s removal. I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be holding my Agent Orange-laced breath on this one.


Out Of Darkness Community Walk Benefits Suicide And Depression


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Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; August 2012




Photos by LaDorria Jones

Charlie Wilson

Warren Hill and Gloria Neal

David Sanborn and Brian Culbertson

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Eric Darius

Around Town

Tiny Tots Visting DUS Publisher, Bee Harris

July 2012 Denver CO

SIms-Fayola 5 0 0 f o r 1 0 0 R e c e p t i o n

Cleo Parker Robinson and Joe Keel

Children enjoying saxophonist Tony Exum

Claudette Sweet at the Fine Arts Pavillion

The Denver Black Arts Festival

Let My People Vote Rally


We are Proud to Support Local Farmers

DUS August 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum August 2012 Issue

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