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Volume 27 Number 5 August 2013

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock

State of the City...4

Photo by Bernard Grant

Recognizing the Life of Trayvon Martin

“The Nation Responds�


August 2013

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Hugh Johnson Angelia McGowan Chandra Whitfield

Not guilty!

Not again was all I could think as the pain literally overtook my being. Those two words – not guilty – pierced my heart when my Mother’s accuser was also acquitted for her murder five years ago. Like Sybrina Fulton, those two simple words will change her life – as they did mine. Those two simple words will change many lives which have brought on so many unanswerable questions. The who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s and why’s? But we do know some answers. We know that Trayvon Martin was not guilty for walking to a nearby 7-11 to buy some Skittles and lemonade. We know he was not guilty for walking in the rain to his father’s fiancée’s house wearing a hoodie. We know he was not guilty for defending himself following a confrontation with someone who was following him. Little did he know that the world would be memorializing his life one year later after his untimely and senseless death. Little did he know on that very innocent night, it would be his last. And little did he know that because of a very flawed system his short life of 17 years would be an agent for change – and rightly so. We dedicate this issue to the memory of Trayvon Martin and the many voices who wanted to be heard and should be, locally and nationally, from President Barack Obama to Alex Fraser, who wrote a letter to accuser George Zimmerman, to Stevie Wonder and the entertainment community. We dedicate this issue to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Morgan for their strength and fortitude for family. We dedicate this issue to Jahvaris Fulton for his love of a brother. Trayvon Benjamin Martin has left this earthly life. It is those he left behind who are still in need and searching for answers. We’ll never find answers that will satisfy everyone, but at least the life of Trayvon Martin was a conduit to start change in search for a more peaceful world. We pray for them all.


GRAPHIC DESIGNER 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 2013 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


Closure Obstructed By Lies

in our nation that can only be healed when people realize that every human being should be treated with dignity and respect. A trial like this causes public debate, and people have forgotten what is right anymore. Now Trayvon’s tragic death is obscured and Mr. Zimmerman is a public spectacle. The lines of what is right and what is legal/lawful have also been blurred and this trial exposes that. We saw the same scenarios in the O. J. trial and the Casey Anthony case. There was reasonable doubt, no matter how minute the reasonable doubt proves to be. Even more recently, abortionists are butchering women in so called legal yet under-regulated facilities where in many cases no arrests are being made; with Kermit Gosnell’s case being a recent exception. In Chicago, where random killings are at an all-time high, a Black Woman, Tonya Reaves, was recently slaughtered and bled to death for five hours in a Planned Parenthood abortion mill and no arrests have been made. Now in the wake of Trayvon’s senseless death and Mr. Zimmerman’s acquittal many people are angry at the tragic loss of life and what some perceive to be a shun on the Black race. For the record, Acts 17:26 teaches that there is one blood and one human race, not multiple races, so racism is based on a lie! Others seem to feel a victory because certain constitutional rights were favorably argued and the question of reasonable doubt prevailed in this case. Yet it is important to also note that Zimmerman’s life is ruined too, and that the court of public opinion is not completely on his side.

Editor: I am in the process of trying to reach closure on the verdict of “Not Guilty” in the George Zimmerman trial. I feel that we have been struggling under an illusion for 17 months leading up to the trial; and, reinforced by the defense during and throughout the trial. From the beginning, Zimmerman has been viewed as the victim during the fight between him and Martin. We have heard Zimmerman’s account of what happened during his encounter with Martin. How many times have we seen pictures of Zimmerman’s wounds and his account of being struck by Martin initially – throughout the proceedings – and the animation in the defense’s closing? One of the witnesses for the defense testified that Martin was on top and hitting Zimmerman. At an unexpected “eureka moment” it occurred to me that I had been led by the illusion that Martin struck the first blow, thus giving him an advantage. All of Zimmerman’s wounds, and even the witness who said Martin was on top hitting Zimmerman – only proves that there was a fight – absolutely nothing about who struck the first blow! If Zimmerman lied about other things – why not about who started the fight?

Leon Willis Denver, CO

Grieved Over Strife Surrounding Zimmerman Verdict Editor: I believe that the verdict in the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Case further exposes a grievous and deep vein of disharmony and racial tension

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Rosalind J. Harris Publisher


Because of a reporting error, an article in the February 2013 issue incorrectly identifies Courtney Torres as one of three vice presidents for the NAACP-Denver Branch. Torres is the Education Chair. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

So in a way the blind scales of justice seem to have favored Mr. Zimmerman while Trayvon’s voice is silenced and his dream died with him. The Bible says mercy triumphs over justice: “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NKJV) And Micah 6:8 (NIV) says that we should add love and humility to justice. He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Love and humility are missing on both sides of this struggle! Continued on page 33 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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State of the City Address Mayor Michael B. Hancock July 15, 2013 Forney Museum of Transportation Photos by Bernard Grant

Good morning, Denver. Good morning neighbors and families. Good morning business owners and everyone who works to make this the best city in America! Governor Hickenlooper, Mayors Webb and Vidal, thank you for joining us here today. Denver has been blessed with such bold leaders, and I want to thank you for your constant support and guidance. To City Council, City Auditor Gallagher, Clerk and Recorder Johnson, District Attorney Morrissey and to all the Mayors and other elected officials from around the region, thank you for your partnership and presence this morning. We also have with us Pam Ryan, wife of a true Denver champion and our dear friend Paul Ryan, who passed just a few short months ago. Pam, we love you and we will never forget our golf-obsessed, Ralph Carr quoting, three-legged dog loving, phenomenal friend Paul. Pam joins my family here this morning. I simply couldn’t do this job without their love and support, and I thank all of you. My lovely wife, Mary Louise, regrets that she could not join us today. Her commitment to the arts is second to none, and she has taken her talents to Florida for a once-in-alifetime performance. I also extend my gratitude to the Forney Museum for hosting us today. Their exhibits pay tribute to the vehicles of our progress, to the connections we have made to one another, and to the rest of the world. I look around this museum and am reminded of the 19th-century Denverites who pitched in to link our fledgling city to the transcontinental railroad that was passing us by. We had the courage then, the “Denver Spirit,” to invest in ourselves and connect our city with a developing nation. From horse-drawn carriages to 21st century jet liners, Denver has grown from an isolated mining town to an up-and-coming metropolis. We are a smart, cutting-edge city linked by walking trails, bike paths, high-

ways, light rail, and nonstop flights that create bridges – connections – that open up a world of opportunities for our children, neighbors and businesses. Our challenge today is to take bold new steps to connect the city with the world, to connect Denver with its future. As your Mayor, I stand here today proud of the state of our city. Denver is strong – poised to get stronger – and primed to compete in the global marketplace. Construction and development are driving our economy forward, positioning Denver as the ideal place to start a business, build a career and raise a family. Over the past year, Denver’s economy added 15,000 jobs and 1,000 new businesses. Joblessness has dropped two points since 2011 and our housing market is one of the strongest in the nation. On top of that, we’ve created a solid foundation for our city by growing our reserves and maintaining our AAA bond rating. We will also fulfill our promise to be more transparent. In just a few short days, we will unveil an online tool that will show exactly how the city is spending your money. Through “Transparent Denver,” residents will have real-time access to view the city‘s checkbook and so much more. Last year, I pledged to eliminate the city’s budget deficit, a gap that forced us to slash $500 million in services during the recession. Thanks to your amazing support of Measure 2A last November, we wiped out our deficit and began restoring essential services such as street paving, park maintenance, library hours and public safety. I want to thank Denver voters for their investment in our great city. We must also recognize our city employees. By empowering them to innovate through Peak Performance, in just the first six months of this year, they have identified an additional $7 million in savings. We are delivering the highest quality services at the

lowest possible cost. Curt Pesicka, in the Office of Economic Development, embodies this innovative culture. Curt identified savings of more than $730,000 by streamlining processes and putting customers first. Some 1,500 city employees have gone through training to identify efficiencies and eliminate waste. All our city employees deserve praise for their efforts to make this city great. Thank you! I also want to thank members of the Good Government Committee, who have spent the past several months poring over the city’s charter and operations to recommend how we create a more nimble, 21st century city government. President Woodrow Wilson once said, “We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.” Denver, we are a global city. Starting tomorrow, we will welcome visitors from across the hemisphere for our second Biennial of the Americas, and today we are honored to welcome to this address nine dignitaries from Kenya. For nearly 30 years, we worked to secure the new nonstop flight to Tokyo. Now, we are connecting the Rocky Mountain West to the economic opportunities of the Asian continent. We’ve made great strides expanding international flights at DIA over the past two years by securing five new non-stop connections and three new airlines for tourism and commerce. But we know we must do more in order to compete in the global economy. I am pleased to announce today a new initiative that will strengthen the way we support international business, foreign visitors and immigrant residents. This new endeavor, the International Welcome Center, will open the city’s arms and establish Denver as a global destination for commerce, trade and culture. The Center, to be housed in the Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships, will coordi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2008


nate all departments’ efforts to help foreign entrepreneurs get local businesses off the ground; recruit skilled high-tech workers; strengthen ties with Denver’s Sister Cities and market Denver’s assets to boost tourism and economic development; and build bridges to Denver’s immigrant and refugee communities. Over the past year, Denver has demonstrated that the value of inclusion is more than rhetoric. We threw open our doors to Denver’s GLBT community and have already issued more than 400 civil union licenses. We strongly supported the new state law that provides students – no matter how they arrived here – with access to in-state tuition. I applaud our Governor John Hickenlooper, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Mark Ferrandino and the State Legislature for standing up for all our residents. And today, I challenge the U.S. House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will strengthen our economy and unite our families. Denver, just as every resident matters, so does every neighborhood. We must better connect neighborhoods to resources and opportunities, particularly those that are underserved and overlooked. By strengthening our neighborhoods, we strengthen our city’s global connectivity. Remember LoDo before there was a Coors Field or a Wynkoop Brewery? Remember Lo-Hi before the Millennium Bridge and the Confluence Park upgrades? That kind of bold, transformational change occurs when intentional public investment meets broadbased strategic partnerships. Right here in Elyria, Swansea and Globeville, we will reconnect these historic neighborhoods to a better future. With a coordinated push on six key projects we will vastly improve the health of the South Platte River; turn Brighton Boulevard into an inviting gateway to downtown; recon-

struct I-70 in a way that reconnects these neighborhoods and businesses; deliver more accessibility with new commuter and light rail stations; implement neighborhood revitalization plans; and partner with the National Western Stock Show to create a year-round destination. I want to thank the National Western Stock Show board, Chairman Ron Williams and CEO Paul Andrews for making a commitment to the Mile High City. We stand with you on this journey. I also want to welcome Colorado State University, which has agreed to join us in honoring our agricultural heritage while catapulting it into a new, global age. Thirty FasTracks stations across the region are strengthening our neighborhoods and providing access to jobs, healthcare, parks, culture and healthy foods. With the opening of the West Rail Line, Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood is ripe to receive significant investment – investment that will reconnect this area to the rest of the city and rejuvenate our most economically challenged neighborhood with new jobs, housing and riverfront projects. Soon, FasTracks will connect us all to our international airport. This will light-up development along the 20-

mile route, an area you might have heard me call the Corridor of Opportunity and aerotropolis. I’m excited about the potential along this new line. I am even more excited about leveraging the biggest economic engine in the region to drive job creation and growth on a globally competitive scale. Whatever you need in order to live a vibrant life should be a quick walk, bike, bus or rail ride away; this includes our international airport, jobs throughout the region and affordable housing. I have the audacity to believe that anyone who wants to live in the city should not be forced out because of cost. Yet 25,000 families in Denver need more affordable options. We want to give teachers the ability to live in the communities where they teach, officers the chance to live where they patrol. Last year, the city helped deliver 500 more units of affordable housing. We also launched two programs to assist people in achieving home ownership. But there are still too many barriers and too few options. Denver’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance has failed. Its unbalanced requirement of developers to provide affordable units is plagued with loopholes and inconsistencies.

We have begun to overhaul this broken ordinance, in partnership with the Denver Housing Authority and City Council. I want to thank Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech for her leadership on this important project. To sincerely address this housing gap, we need to build, rehab and preserve at least 600 units per year for the next five years. But we can’t do this alone. I am asking local nonprofits, private sector developers and the financial community to help the city deliver on the goal of three by five: Three thousand workforce units in the next five years. Through a public-private partnership already underway, we are delivering affordable rentals at Union Station in downtown. This is the kind of collaboration Denver needs to connect every corner of our city. Downtown now supports more than one-fourth of all Denver jobs and is home to 17,000 residents. By 2015, more than $1 billion in projects will open in this area, including Union Station. Multimodal transportation, diverse housing options and increased retail are set to draw additional jobs, businesses and visitors to our city core. To keep up the momentum, I have proposed significant investments to open additional access with two-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


way streets; improve parking accessibility; refurbish the now 30-year-old 16th Street Mall; and deliver a new school and grocery store for families. Sadly, not every Denver family has a place to call home, and that is simply unacceptable. Last year, when City Council passed the unauthorized camping ordinance, I signed it into law because we cannot as a civilized society – as a global city – allow men, women and children to sleep on the streets. Since last year, my team has been working hard to increase services for the homeless. Using Recreation Centers and other city buildings, we provided shelter for an average of 225 men and women on cold winter nights. We also connected 1,200 homeless individuals and families to service providers and resources. And we are diligently working toward realizing a 24-hour Rest and Resource station offering basic services. In addition, we have proposed an indoor/outdoor courtyard area to also serve the homeless. I want to thank Councilman Albus Brooks, who has partnered with us to deliver on these projects. We are taking critical steps forward in our plan to stem chronic homelessness and to address the changing face of home-

Continued on page 6

State of the City Continued from page 5 lessness that includes children, families and veterans. Thank you to all our public and private partners who have stood with us as part of Denver’s Road Home since 2004. But we can do more. We have to do more. I call on our entire community, including our regional neighbors, to join us as we work to ensure that every man, woman and child has an alternative to living on the streets. Denver, we have always faced our challenges head on. In the next 12 months, we will implement Amendment 64. Our challenge is to be more thoughtful than we were with Medical Marijuana. With planning, preparation and the proper resources to regulate and enforce this new law, we will protect Denver’s children and families and ensure the integrity of our neighborhoods. That is priority No. 1. We all want to live in a city that encourages community and brings people together. A place that’s connected and sustainable. I’m proud that we are striping our 100th mile of bike lanes this year, we’ve added 31 new B-cycle stations; and we are set to expand Denver’s urban park system by nearly 300 acres within the next five years. For the first time since 1989, we are working to strengthen Denver’s creative community, which is very much a part of our global competitiveness. The business of arts, culture and creativity helps define our city. It contributes $1.8 billion annually to our economy. Our commitments to arts and culture will be enhanced by a strategic plan, called Imagine 2020, to be released next year. Denver’s culture and our heritage should be celebrated. We honor ourselves and our Denver Spirit by remembering those who made our today and our global tomorrow possible. This year, we’re designating August 3rd-11th as Denver Days. I encourage every Denver resident to get out there to host a block party, remove graffiti, clean our parks and green spaces, or start a neighborhood watch group. Police Chief White likes to say, “There are 650,000 pairs of eyes and ears to help prevent crime and keep the residents of this great city safe.” Today, violent crime is down 13 percent, and we’re one of the safest feeling cities in the nation. I salute the chief and manager of safety for recognizing the value of community partnerships as we transform the culture of the police department. We are refocusing the police force on crime prevention, not just

Wellington E. Webb and Stephanie O’Malley

crime fighting. We restructured the department to get more officers out on patrol. We redrew districts to improve response times. We worked with the civil service commission to streamline our discipline process that is timely and fair for all parties. And again, thanks to our voters, for the first time in five years, we will hire 110 new officers. Denver’s fire department will also be hiring from the most diverse class in its history, and the Sheriff’s Department has implemented programs that are helping Denver inmates’ transition from jail to stable housing and jobs upon their release. Regrettably, these steps alone will not stop crime or violence. Five days from now, we will mark the first anniversary of one of the most heinous acts of violence in our nation’s history. We remember the victims of the Aurora theater shootings, embrace their families and recommit to addressing the disconnectedness so many young people feel today. From Aurora to the wildfires across the state, I cannot express enough the profound thanks we owe our first responders. They selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us all safe. I ask that all of our police officers, sheriffs, firefighters and first responders please stand up and be recognized. Thank you! Our kids need healthy, safe and engaging activities when school is out. Today more than 90,000 Denver children have free access to recreation centers, pools and libraries with the MY Denver Card. This is unprecedented support for Denver’s kids. As of yesterday, nearly 26,000 children have signed up for the MY Denver Care in just three short months. We said we would invest in our children, and that is exactly what we’re doing. From cradle to career, we are there for our kids. Just this past year we enrolled 5,400 preschoolers in the Denver Preschool Program; served 108,000 healthy snacks and meals; placed 2.3 million books and educational materials in the hands of students; registered 300 Denver 3rd- through 5th-graders in a free summer STEM academy; and connected 2,500 Denver youth with jobs.

Sheriffs Elias Diggins and Gary Wilson with Gov. John Hickenlooper

Unfortunately, all our children do not enter school ready to learn. So next month we will launch, as part of the Denver Education Compact, “Countdown to Kindergarten,“ with the goal of ensuring that every child gets a smart start. When we talk about creating a global city – a livable and connected city – we are really talking about the future we want to leave for our children. With your renewed commitment to our children, we are coming together to serve our kids like never before. I want to recognize some of those partners here today: Mi Casa Resource Center, CH2MHill, Boys and Girls Club, Revolution Foods, Denver Public Schools, and, of course, our wonderful Parks and Recreation and Library staff. In addition to preparing our future workforce, we must give our current workforce the skills to meet the demands of a globally connected economy. Earlier this year, a software startup that launched with 50 employees and $10 million in venture capital chose Denver because of our talent pool and our culture of innovation and productivity. Convercent – software company in the Golden Triangle – expects to double its workforce in the coming year, and they are just one of many such companies thriving here in Denver with the city’s support. There remains, however, a job-skills gap in high-growth industries. To address this, we are helping to train our workforce to fill those jobs. As Denver continues to embrace the startup culture, this past year we hosted our first and very successful Denver Start-up Week and recently we launched the 2nd annual JumpStart Biz Plan competition. Soon, the new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will open in downtown, bringing with it hundreds of jobs and another $440 million in global and domestic opportunities. And today, I am proud to announce, in conjunction with the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Colorado Technology Association, that we will be opening a new center for entrepreneurism and technology. This center is an investment in the ideas economy

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Mayor Michael B. Hancock with event attendees.

and will support emerging highgrowth companies with advisers, short-term leasing, and connections to create jobs and inspire innovation. With 90 percent of Denver’s companies employing fewer than 25 people, we’re working hard to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. In the past two years, Denver has created connections to funding with the Denver Capital Matrix; developed a fair contracting process and launched a mentoring program for minority- and women- owned businesses; and thanks again to Denver voters, we doubled the Business Incentive Fund and provided Denver businesses a new tax credit. Such investments are helping to grow companies like Internet firm Sympoz, which will double its staff, again, to nearly 300 employees. We have Patrick Quinlan and Philip Winterburn from Convercent and Karyn Miller and John Levisay from Sympoz here with us today. Please join me in thanking them for helping to grow our economy. Denver, this is our city. The place we call home. I played ball at Skyland Park, survived the Blizzard of ’82, cheered from the South Stands, and, yes, even led the cheers for the Broncos back in the day. I remember when they called Denver a Cow Town, when Downtown became a Ghost Town at 5 p.m. when the newspaper published weekly catalogs of foreclosures caused by the oil bust, by broken dreams and joblessness. Take a look around you. Our city has come so far, and our future is as bright as our determination is strong. In the words of the great Nelson Mandela, “There is no passion to be found playing small. In settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Together, we have connected ourselves to a world full of possibilities and opportunities for our children, our neighborhoods, our businesses and our city. We have committed to Denver’s prosperity, to Denver’s promise. The future begins now. Thank you all for being here. God bless you. And God bless the City and County of Denver. 

Miami Heat wear hoodies in honor of Trayvon Martin

Do you need help paying for

child care? Hairspray Auditions!!!

YYoung oung actors of color sought for The Venue’s Venue’s Venue’ inaugural production of Hairspray Hairspray,, directed by Nelson Conway. Conway.

America Has Given Up On Young Black Men, Like Trayvon Martin By Phillip Jackson The Black Star Project


rayvon Martin is more valuable to America as a dead young Black man than he ever was alive! As a dead symbol, the president can claim him as a son he never had, but as a living Black man, the American criminal justice system claims one out of three young Black men born after 2001. As a dead symbol, Republicans can claim that Trayvon deserves his right to live as an American; but many living young Black men, like Trayvon, are stripped of their rights every day because of harsh, racially-targeted and overly-punitive laws created by and pushed by Republicans. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, reminds us that more Black men are in prison today than there were Blacks enslaved in America in 1850. She suggests that we have not really ended Jim Crow, but have just given it another name - the criminal justice system. We can also call it the education system or the economic system, but they all equate to a new system of racial control of Black Americans, just like Jim Crow. America has given up on young Black men, like Trayvon Martin. As a dead symbol, Trayvon will spark a national conversation on race, but as a living young Black man, Trayvon probably couldn’t get a job at a fastfood restaurant. As dire as this crisis is, there are

CCAP Can Help 720.944.KIDS (5437)

solutions, but they are not in symbols or soul-searching. They are comprehensive and substantial efforts and actions to ameliorate this stain on America’s reputation for fairness and equality. Government, foundations, civic, faith and community organizations must: •Help rebuild Black families with fathers as an essential, prominent and functional component of the family structure. •Provide mentors, positive role models and viable paths for young Black men. •Ensure that all young Black men are supported to value education and to experience a globally-competitive education. •Teach young Black men to succeed in entrepreneurship, small business, cooperative economics and in the work world. •Encourage young Black men to be spiritually sound and to be of good character. •Establish rigorous efforts in the largest 300 cities in America that address the issues of education, family, imprisonment and employment for young Black men. •Establish a national commission to manage a comprehensive, coordinated campaign for Black male achievement, similar to the one created by Open Society Foundations. Addressing symbols is quite useful and practical when a society lacks the courage and integrity to deal with its disturbing realities. America loves Black men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass and even Trayvon Martin after they are dead. It is the strong, vocal, positive, everyday Black men that they have trouble with while they are alive! Editor’s note: For more information on the The Black Star Project, call 773-285-9600 or visit

The Denver Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps eligible families that are working, going to school or looking for a job afford child care. CCAP provides financial assistance for children up to age 13 and special needs youth up to age 19.

Looking for roles of ‘Seaweed’- late teens (will consider actors in early 20s), ‘Little Inez’- generally ages 10-14, & ‘Chorus’. Strong singing & dancing a plus. Also looking for an adult actor to play the role of ‘Motormouth Maybell’ Performance dates are three consecutive ZHHNHQGVODWH2FWRUWKH¿UVWZHHNRI1RY ZHHNHQGVODWH2FWRUWKH¿UVWZHHNRI1RY Auditions will be August 17th 9am-2pm The Venue Venue Theatre, Conifer TTown own Center Center,, 27182 Main Street, H125, Conifer Conifer,, CO 80433.

The Venue Venue is an educational tuition based theatre For information call 720-432-4452 or www.TheVenueTheatre. com

FirstBank continues to offer Free Checking to all. A few banks have decided to bring it back, but it never left FirstBank. We continue to offer the same no minimum balance, no monthly service charge Free Checking that we have since 2003. No asterisks needed. Go ahead, look for them. It’s truly free.

“Our Free Checking Account is just one of the examples of how FirstBank is a customer service oriented bank. We strive to do right by our customers and provide the most sought-after and convenient products possible.” Danielle N. Vaughan Vice President FirstBank Holding Company Community Reinvestment and Fair Lending 303.626.6713 Member FDIC

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Got Greens? T

Weekly Mo’ Betta Green MarketPlace Brings Local, Fresh Foods To Five Points

he sound of Mtume’s 80s hit

By Chandra Thomas Whitfield

Beverly Grant greeting customers.

“Juicy Fruit” is pulsating through the

Five Points community on a breezy Saturday morning. The soundtrack

seems fitting, as from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

on the first and third Saturday of each month, the RTD Park-N-Ride lot

(located at 2505 Welton Street) is home to plenty of locally-grown juicy fruits, savory vegetables, fresh-made-to-

order juices and natural body care

products sold at the Mo’ Betta Green MarketPlace.

The market is both the brainchild and “baby” of Park Hill bred Denver native Beverly Grant. As founder and “market mama,” if you will, of the urban cooperative economics market, she has since 2011 helped to bring more nutritious and affordable local food to the 14,000-plus households within walking and biking distance of the Northeast Denver community. The area is widely known as a “food desert,” a distinction given to urban stretches where low-income residents have to travel more than two miles to access the nearest grocery store. From high obesity rates to chronic health problems, experts say food deserts impose serious consequences on communities often already plagued with a myriad of societal problems.

ticipating in a free yoga class sponsored by the market. “I think it’s awesome; the spirit of the market, the juicing and the music,” says Brooks, while clutching a brown paper bag overflowing with the fresh Chioggia beets and Swiss chard that she’d purchased to cook for dinner. “I’ve tasted some amazing smoothies and taken advantage of some deals on local produce. I’ll definitely be back.” Support for the market has been somewhat inconsistent but building, as it gains some traction and name recognition in the historic community. “We’ve built it, now it’s a matter of drawing people out,” adds High. “Beverly’s doing a really good thing for the community.” Editors at the Denver-based Westword community newspaper apparently concur. They named it “Best Farmers’ Market for 2013” over several larger, more established ones in the city. Also this year, Grant added a location for the second and fourth Saturdays, at 20th and Ogden Street in the Exempla Saint Joseph Midtown Parking Lot (1960 Ogden St.) in Five Points. The markets run through October, along with a newly launched evening one on Mondays, held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Little Man Ice Cream Plaza (at 2620 16th St.) in west Denver. “It’s not just a farmer’s market; I love that Beverly’s so intentional

“Denver has very little organized, concerted effort centered around engaging our (Black) community in the green movement; it’s really tough,” says Grant, who contends that she’s faced some resistance from fellow “green/urban agriculture advocates” while in pursuit of support for her urban market. “I’m trying to use the market as a platform to create that outreach. Food has been my way of engaging people.” Artisan Products Vendor Curator Phaedra High agrees. “You can go to Cherry Creek and everything’s within walking distance; but we don’t have anything like that here (in Five Points),” says High, also a jewelry vendor. “We’re trying to do what we can to change that.” The overall goal, insists Grant, is to supply “traceable origin, organic and local food, while exposing nearby residents to urban growers, backyard gardeners, food educators and nutrition and wellness experts.” She also aims to provide resources, education and policy information. There are live cooking demonstrations, food tastings, music and arts each week. “Part of what I am trying to do is to inspire people to raise their personal environmental stewardship awareness,” adds Grant. Stephanie Brooks, of Denver’s Highlands neighborhood, ventured to the market for the first time, after par-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Photos by Lens of Ansar

about bringing quality food and health to a community that has not had this kind of effort put into it,” says Damien Thompson, the yoga class instructor. “It’s about development of a neighborhood. It’s about Beverly’s passion, because she cares so much about this community. On this particular Saturday at the Welton Street market, the crowd is sparse, but spirited. “Deejay S.D.” of the Soulstice Internet Radio station is spinning old school R&B tunes, while a graying bearded man dances a jig before him that can only be described as a cross between the funky chicken and the robot. Patrons browse through the dozen tented booths selling gourmet coffee, T-shirts and, of course fresh fruits and vegetables, as the light rail train whirs nearby. Grant, donning a straw hat and flashing her signature smile, proudly stands at the “blender-foods station” greeting guests: all the while blending up a special mix made up of bananas, blueberries, kale, (the herb) purslane, fresh mint, almond milk and ice. “What do you think,” she asks two first-time visitors, as they down their small samples. One of the women insists that she loves the refreshing flavor, while the other candidly responds: “It’s good, but I don’t do well with mint.” “Purslane has more omega-3 [fatty acids] than salmon,” Grant points out to them, as she hands a cup of the icy green drink to the next passerby. Grant presses on with her informal education campaign. After all, its part of her job as an ambassador charged with opening minds to healthier lifestyle choices. Five Points resident Santemu Aakhu says although she’d only heard about the market the evening before, it was important for her to visit. “If I know, I’ll show,” says the longtime denizen. “I wanted to come down and support them and set an example as an elder in the community. I think it’s great that they’re bringing awareness. We, as a [Black] people, need to get back to our roots, eating organic foods. This market shows that we can come together as a community.”

Prep time.

Grant says she has also made it a point to keep the vendor fees affordable, particularly for small business owners like herself. An entrepreneur for more than 21 years, she previously operated a 24-hour childcare facility and currently manages an established catering business. Now a resident of the historic Cole community, Grant says she decided in 2011 that it was her calling to create something substantial that could help address northeast Denver’s “food desert” problem. “A food desert is an area of lack; the problem (in this community) is that the lack is in the extreme,” says Grant. “The current built-environment infrastructure of Northeast Denver and the Five Points community does not allow for the development of a lot of new grocery stores and large-scale food businesses. So, it is ideal for little pocket markets to fill those gaps for residents.” Grant is right that the need is great. Northeast Denver, for example, reportedly has only one grocery store available to serve 55,000 residents. The neighborhoods, instead, are lined with fast-food restaurants, convenience

stores, liquor stores and gas stations — no grocery stores. Fortunately, there has been some progress, including the launch of the GrowHaus, a nonprofit urban farm in the ElyriaSwansea neighborhood. Grant serves on its board. Plans are also underway for a new Walgreens at East 35th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard to sell a selection of fresh foods (the first of the drug store chain’s stores in the entire Rocky Mountain region to do so). Self-proclaimed “hip-hop environmentalist” D.J. Cavem’s “Going Green, Living Bling” initiative, uses the musical genre to inspire Five Points residents to become self-sufficient through urban agriculture. His effort also seeks to help provide service-learning opportunities to students in neighborhood schools and to help build positive community relationships. Although Denver has previously ranked number five on Forbes magazine’s “Top 20 Healthiest Cities in America” list, reportedly one-sixth of its residents currently live in food deserts. Grant shakes her head at the information. It only inspires her to work harder at making her market a success. Along with maintaining current Facebook promotions, she hopes plans to launch an e-commerce website before the market season ends in October will help to increase turnout. Patrons would be able to shop from the vendors online and then pick up their orders at the weekly market. Grant says she’s open to all ideas that will help get more locally-grown, healthy foods accessible to those who need it. “I want to do more to educate people about how to use food, because food is medicine,” she says of her markets, which she hopes will eventually operate every week. “I am proud to say at the third year mark, we’re at three locations. I’m not quite at the accomplished phase yet, but I think for where I’m at, I’ve been very blessed.” Editor’s note: For more information, visit the Mo’ Betta Green MarketPlace page on Facebook.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


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Gigi Hill Is Heart of HOPE Winner By Heather O’Mara

ground in singing and choir work, so after gauging support from multiple Learning Centers, she helped found the HOPE Choir. In its first year, it included about 40 students of all ages. The group made their premiere appearance at HOPE’s graduation, and Hill envisions the choir could

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Academy Co-Op recently recognized a dedicated leader, Gigi Hill, with the annual Heart of HOPE award. The honor is given to the individual in HOPE’s community who enthusiastically brings hope, commitment and a sense of team to every relationship, task and activity. Hill is a HOPE Student Services Coordinator who works across 11 Learning Centers in metro Denver. Besides going above and beyond in her daily duties, which include attendance and discipline, she has a passion for developing extra-curricular activities based on students’ ideas and interests. A few examples include helping to start HOPE’s art fair several years ago, kicking off HOPE’s new choir this past school year, and pioneering multiple anti-bullying programs for girls. During the award nomination process, one of Hill’s colleagues heralded her for being “relentless in her efforts to make mathematics meaningful, and spending nights and weekends searching for creative projects to boost our students’ confidence.” Hill says her inspiration for this work comes from her students. “I like doing special projects, upon request by kids,” she says. “When you start to see what kids want and need, we make it happen with good vision and planning.” One of those “visions” that Hill made a reality is HOPE’s choir. Hill was a judge at the HOPE Talent Show earlier this year, where she says she noticed lots of students had strong singing talents. Hill explains, “Our kids are really gifted, and we needed more opportunities for their singing to get heard.” Hill has a personal back-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


have frequent concerts in the coming school year. It is this kind of vision, followthrough and passion for HOPE that merited Hill’s Heart of HOPE Award. Her supervisor Susan McAlonan, HOPE’s director of student services, says, “She is a rock star to students and staff. Her enthusiasm for education is catching. She promotes learning, teamwork and emotional and physical safety in all she does.” Hill received The Heart of HOPE award at the school’s graduation ceremony in late May. It follows a nomination process by HOPE’s staff, Learning Center employees and students. This year’s award was decided from 27 nominations and 19 nominees. HOPE’s Executive Vice President of Academic Achievement Sherida Peterson says, “The large number of people who participated in this selection process shows how passionate and connected our school community is. The staff here is not only dedicated to their own work but also feels a deep sense of teamwork and commitment from the others around them.” A lifelong educator, Hill left retirement to join HOPE in 2007. She says of the award, “It’s a recognition of my 6-year journey with HOPE. It is wonderful that we have the award as an organization, but it speaks to me because it came from the people who I serve in the field with. It is a high honor from them.” For the coming school year, Hill plans to expand her anti-bullying program for girls, which involves a partnership with her alma mater the University of Denver. She says she also expects to work on new projects based on new student interests and needs. “This is my way of leaving a legacy with HOPE’s students,” says Hill. 

Urban League of Metropolitan

Denver brought back its Whitney M. Young, Jr. Dinner to a crowd of close to 600 patrons on June 22. “Redeem the Dream,” marked the return of The League’s annual fundraiser, which was hailed as one of Denver’s premier African American event. Urban League President and CEO Landri Taylor

Urban League of Metropolitan Denver

Returns With The

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner By Wil Alston

Photos by Bernard Grant

This year’s event featured former Urban League president and CEO and now Mayor Michael B. Hancock, a “State of the League” address by current president and CEO Landri Taylor, the presentation of the McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Awards to several outstanding corporate and community leaders, and a Motown Tribute by local entertainers Julius Williams and Sheryl Renee. “It is so good to see the Urban League retake its rightful place as one of Denver’s premier community organizations,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “For years this organization led the work to empower the African American community and there is still a tremendous amount of work for them to do.” In 2008, the Urban League had to temporarily cease operations for a year due to a lack of corporate and community support and questions around fiscal mismanagement. As a result, the board of directors was reorganized and longtime Forest City executive – Landri Taylor took the helm as President and CEO. Taylor brought with him a vast network and strong corporate relationships that afforded him the ability to develop partnerships with some of the area’s most prominent corporations. “The community had, unfortunately, begun to lose faith in this great organization,” said Taylor. “But there were just too many others who understood its value here in Denver and worked to get it back on the right track. The turnout for the dinner simply reflected the fruits of that labor!” University of Denver’s Bob Willis and Loop Capital’s Rita Kahn were cochairs for the event and longtime community leaders Eula and Janet Adams served as honorary co-chairs. “Rita and I were quite honored to represent the board as co-chairs for

Mayor Michael Hancock

Pictured (left to right): Larry Borom, Rosalyn Carpenter, Michael Hancock, Landri Taylor, Annelle Lewis, Sharon Alexander Holt, Jerome Page Photo by Bernard Grant

this year’s dinner,” said Bob Willis. “It brought back a whole lot of memories when the Urban League dinner was the hottest ticket in town.” Rita Kahn added, “Our hope is that we can convince you again to appreciate the work of this very worthwhile organization.” On hand, as always, were members of the Urban League Guild as well as the Urban League Young Professionals who served as volunteers for the event. One of the high points of the evening was the presentation of the McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Awards. The award is The League’s highest honor and is given to organizations or individuals that exhibit strong commitment to youth, education, community, or the League in general. McKinley Harris was a prominent Denver businessman and one of the Black community’s most beloved business icons. He was a strong supporter of the Urban League and he dedicated his life to making Five Points a thriving business area. Harris’ widow, Gaylene Harris, joined Urban League leadership to present awards to: Christine Benero, President/CEO of Mile high United Way—who recognized the need and relevance of The League by lending her support to the organization and its work in the community. Jerome Davis, Regional Vice President with Xcel energy—who continues to be a tremendous asset and supporter to the Denver Urban League and to all of Colorado.

Valencia Faye Wilson Tate, Vice President and Director of Global Inclusion and Diversity for CH2MHill – who is an advisor on the Urban League’s President’s Advisory Circle where she provides valuable input and guidance around the mission of The League. Moses Brewer, Director of Multicultural markets for Miller Coors Brewing Company, was recognized for his strong support of the Urban League, both, locally and nationally and other African American organizations all across the US. In addition, President/CEO Landri Taylor, joined by Al Matthews’ widow Gayle Greer, presented the newly created Al Matthews Civic Engagement Award to former Board Chairman Morris Price and current Board Chairman Wayne Vaden. Both were acknowledged for their outstanding leadership of the board. The Al Matthews Civic Engagement Award goes to an individual who the League feels has gone above and beyond the call of duty –as was the case for Al Matthews when he supported the Urban League.

State of the Urban League

The other high point of the evening was the “State of the League” by Landri Taylor, where he boldly reported “the state of The League is good!” Taylor went on to say that, “Today, our organization is again relevant, fiscally stable, and growing. We have emerged from a very challenging period more vibrant, and more determined, and we’ve done so with bold-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


ness, strong leadership, and with the help of a whole lot of friends!” Taylor received a rousing applause for the organization’s success in workforce development and education, calling out key programs that include: the WIN, HOST, and BOLD Programs, the NULITE Center at Montbello High School, and their efforts to turn around poor-performing schools in northeast Denver. Taylor said he’s working diligently to create the Urban League of the future, saying, “This Urban League of the future is smart and relevant. It is ever-evolving to meet the needs of the people it serves. It advocates for anyone who can’t fight for themselves, and it shapes the broader policies that create good jobs, reduces poverty, and that leads to the education of more children – because it understands that education still is the great equalizer!”

What’s Ahead

The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver was recently notified that Denver would be the host for the 2016 National Urban League Conference, bringing close to 10,000 attendees to the Mile High City. In comparable cities, this annual conference has had an $8.5 million to $9 million economic impact, and the conference’s free Expo Hall gives local businesses the opportunity to showcase products and services, while individuals looking for jobs can take advantage of its employment and networking fair. More immediately, The League will be holding its 3rd Annual White Party on August 23. So mark your calendar for the ultimate white party and premier fundraising event of the summer. The event will again be at the Wellshire Event Center, 3333 S. Colorado Blvd, Denver. Join League members, corporate sponsors, business, civic, and community leaders as they celebrate accomplishments and raise critical program funds. Profit from the event will provide programming support for the upcoming year. Editor’s note: For more information on the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, visit or call 303-377-2790.

T he 29th Annual Genuine Jazz &

Wine Festival features renowned jazz musicians, an expansive collection of wines to sample, and a gourmet grill from August 23-25 in the Center

Village at Copper. The festival will include 3-days of jazz stars taking the stage in the intimate Copper Conference Center Ballroom. Featured talent includes internationally renowned and award winning Jazz stars Kim Waters, Rick Braun, Marion Meadows, Paul Taylor, Michael Lington and Elan Trotman. Last month, DUS readers were introduced to Waters, Braun and Trotman. This month, read about Meadows, Taylor and Lington.

Marion Meadows

until he saw the way audiences reacted to him and his fellow student performers in Holland, Italy and Austria. After studying jazz with Anthony Truglia, Meadows attended Berklee College of Music, where he majored in arranging and composition. He later went to the SUNY Purchase School for the Arts, where he studied under Ron Herder. Meadows first hit the airwaves in 1991 with For Lovers Only, but his career really began one day in the late ‘80s at New York’s Grand Central Station. One day, while waiting for a train, he pulled out his horn and began playing under the huge dome. His sweet sound caught the attention of fellow traveler and TV composer Jay Chattaway, who was so impressed that he hooked Meadows up with legendary keyboardist Bob James. James signed Meadows to a deal with his TappanZee label, and though Meadows’ first recording went unreleased, the experience put him on the road to his eventual success.

third album, Undercover, on Peak/NCoded Music in February 2000. Also in 2000, he toured as a special guest artist with the Rippingtons. Subsequent albums Hypnotic (2001), Steppin’ Out (2003), Nightlife (2005), and Ladies’ Choice (2007), all issued by Peak Records, figured high in the contemporary jazz charts, with Ladies’ Choice going all the way to number one. Peak released Taylor‘s eighth album, Burnin’, in 2009. Two years later, Taylor returned with the album Prime Time.

Michael Lington

Paul Taylor

Born in West Virginia, saxophonist Marion Meadows grew up in Stamford, CT, where he began playing clarinet and studying classical music at age 8. He naturally gravitated to the soprano sax in his high school years, and his passion for various types of music led him to appreciate numerous jazz musicians, including Stanley Turrentine, Sidney Bichet, Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins. Fortunately for the smooth jazz fans who have embraced his sweet and funky soprano sound over the past 15 years, Meadows took a few very important trips to Europe with his high school band during his junior and senior years. Originally planning to enter a college pre-med program (he had aspirations to pursue a career in veterinary medicine or zoology), he considered the saxophone a hobby

Paul Taylor grew up in Denver, where he took up the saxophone at the age of seven. He played in school bands, and in high school joined a Top 40 band called Mixed Company. Jazz keyboardist Keiko Matsui and her husband, producer Kazu Matsui, discovered him playing at the Catalina Island Jazz Festival and hired him to play in their band. He spent two years with them, and then Kazu Matsui produced his 1995 debut album, On the Horn, which reached the jazz charts and spawned a radio hit in “Til We Meet Again.” Pleasure Seeker, his second album, followed in 1997 and was equally successful. Taylor released his

record. He would have thought I was a lunatic.” A native of Denmark, Lington is the grandson of Danish band leader Otto Lington. He played in the famed Tivoli Boys Guard at early age, later playing for the Queen’s 50th birthday celebration. It was in 1990 that Lington moved to Los Angeles, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2008. He got his musical start in Bobby Caldwell’s band and later toured for three years with jazz and R&B legend Randy Crawford. The saxophonist has always been first-call for musical superstars. He’s opened arena shows for Barry Manilow and recently spent 36 months on tour with Bolton as his special guest. The tour exposed Lington to a new audience, as he played 300 shows in 45 countries in front of more than 1 million people. One of the tour’s many highlights for Lington was performing in London’s famed Royal Albert Hall and also performing and meeting former President Bill Clinton at a special show at the Kuwait embassy.

About the Festival

For his seventh CD, saxophonist Michael Lington returns to the basics for an organic, soul-jazz project that recalls the glory days of muscular contemporary jazz unburdened by pop constraints. In the process, Lington tackles his sax like never before on robust solos and memorable melodies, truly stepping outside the box. The result is Pure (Trippin N Rhythm, Feb. 14), a title that speaks volumes about Lington’s newfound purpose for 2012, which marks 15 years since he released his self-titled debut. The first single from Pure, “Roadtrip,” which is produced and written by Lington and Brian Culbertson, catapulted to No. 1 at contemporary jazz radio and has a guest appearance by Lee Ritenour, who lays down some searing guitars. The meeting of the two was more than 20 years in the making, as Lington met Ritenour at age 17 when the guitarist performed in Lington’s native Copenhagen, Denmark. “Here we are all these years later, and he’s recording on my album,” Lington says. “Imagine if I told him back then that one day he would be playing on my

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


An All-Shows Weekend Pass may be purchased for $88, with individual show tickets starting at $48. Several free outdoor performances will also be available as part of Copper’s Free Friday’s at Copper concert series. The wine tasting portion of the festival will feature nearly 20 wines, in addition to several cognacs and ports, available for guests to sample. This year’s wine collection has a unique ‘eco-friendly’ theme. Tasting packages, in which guests receive tickets redeemable for a sample of the wine of their choosing, may be purchased on-site. Guests will also enjoy the Gourmet Grill, which provides a taste of this summer’s freshest ingredients. Items available include a Grilled Salmon Sandwich topped with a Tomato Avocado Salsa or the Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich topped with spinach, tomato, fresh mozzarella, and a balsamic reduction. With the beautifully relaxing backdrop of Copper Mountain, festivalgoers can luxuriate in melodious jazz, outstanding wines and a delectable gourmet menu at this year’s Genuine Jazz & Wine Festival.  Editor’s note: For more information visit, and for lodging specials call 866-837-2996.



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Diamond Empowerment Fund Designer Ambassadors Launch New York Debut Of Empowerment Jewelry

Continuing the momentum generated by the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) at JCK in May, DEF is showcasing its new line of Empowerment Jewelry alongside each product’s Designer Ambassador. The New York City debut took place on June 20. Donna Distefano from Donna Distefano Ltd, Lita Asscher from Royal Asscher and Derrick Holmes from Banneker Watches shared their connection to DEF as designer ambassadors, showcasing the new jewelry and watches created as ongoing fundraisers for DEF, and sharing their vision for how they can further DEF’s mission. Co-founded by global business entrepreneur and philanthropist

Russell Simmons along with leaders in the diamond industry including De Beers, the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission is to provide higher education opportunities for youth in diamond producing countries in Africa. Donna Distefano presented her new line of “Illumination” bracelets depicting symbolic African designs in sterling silver with diamonds. Each bracelet represents core values of DEF: transformation, tranquility, and strength. Collaborating with Russell Simmons for the benefit of DE.F is a natural fit for Distefano’s business. Says Simmons, “I share these designers’ vision of transformation. It is important to support and encourage the youth of Africa to make a positive change in the world. DEF Empowerment Jewelry will contribute to this vision.” Lita Asscher of Royal Asscher presented the DEF Green Tsavorite and Diamond Pendant, part of the Shining Stars of Africa Collection by Royal Asscher. This stunning and unique pendant contains green tsavorite and diamonds encased in a fluid-filled natural sapphire dome allowing the jewels to fall freely like snowflakes in a snow globe. The design won ‘best in show’ at the world famous JCK jewelry show

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


and is an example of the Asscher family’s long-standing commitment to integrity, quality and giving back. With every pendant purchased, a $125 donation is made to the Diamond Empowerment Fund.

Derrick Holmes of Banneker, Inc. presented three new Benjamin Banneker watches designed to raise awareness and funds for DEF. These watches feature a Royal Asscher diamond at 12 O’Clock, green crystals on the face and bezel, and natural Ebony wood from Indonesia or Mahogany wood from Madagascar on the face and band. All Banneker watches contain real wood as a way of paying homage to its namesake Benjamin Banneker who, in 1753, engineered and built the first working clock in America constructed entirely from parts he carved of wood. Benjamin Banneker is an American Legend and these watches are designed to help educate about his numerous amazing achievements.

Editor’s note: For more information, visit

President Obama Rams The Issue Of Racial Profiling Back On The Nation’s Table


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

resident A year after Obama’s election in Obama moving 2008 New York Congressman Charles Rangel cracked that if Obama, that is spoke of the “pain” President Obama, strolled through most AfricanEast Harlem at nightfall sans suit presAmericans felt at the idential entourage and limo he could acquittal of George be shaken down, spread eagled and cuffed. Rangel took much heat for a Zimmerman. But seemingly impertinent and ridiculous Obama didn’t speak quip and walked it back but as Obama solely because he felt obliged to make a now strongly hints Rangel wasn’t too generic observation about the anger of far off the mark in zeroing in on the endemic problem of racial profiling. most blacks toward the verdict, or even Now that Obama has used the out of remembrance of the fight he led Zimmerman acquittal as the backdrop in the Illinois state legislature more than to make his toughest and strongest a decade ago to get a bill passed that you put leave frontal address to date on racial profil"When your job... ing, this further confirms that Rangel law enforcement on notice that racial don't leave your money behind!" may indeed have been on to someprofiling won’t be tolerated. It took thing. Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP many tries and four years to get the bill Much of law enforcement, a wide Financial Adviser finally passed. He spoke from a wellsegment of the public, and even some blacks vehemently deny that black documented personal experience. 3200 Cherry Creek Driveare South, #700 men systematically targeted for He bluntly noted in his 2006 stop, search and humiliation by cops Denver, CO 80209 book “The Audacity of Hope,” that he just because they’re black. One was not always a high-profile, respect- - 303-871-7249 Sanford police officer that took the ed and acclaimed public official, and stand as a prosecution witness during there was a time in the not so distant the Zimmerman was exception past that he suffered as he put it “the "Call Todaytrial for a no FREE to the rule. He flatly said that he didlitany” of slights and abuses that n’t thinkConsultation!" that Zimmerman profiled ranged the gamut. He ticked them off quickly: security guards tailing me as I Martin. Though he slightly walked it back under further questioning, he shop in department stores, white couwas credible because much of law ples who toss me their car keys as I enforcement has denied that profiling stand outside a restaurant waiting for exists. The Zimmerman jurors obvithe valet, police cars pulling me over ously didn’t disagree with that view. for no apparent reason.

This is not an academic point. The refusal to admit that racial profiling exists, not to mention the endless columns by conservatives that call racial profiling a flat out myth, has done much to torpedo nearly every effort by local and national civil rights and civil liberties groups to get law enforcement and federal agencies not only to admit that racial profiling happens but to do something about it. A perennial federal bill served up by House Democrat John Conyers to get federal agencies to collect stats and do reports on racial profiling hasn’t gotten to first base. The surging number of blacks in America’s jails and prisons seem to reinforce the perception that crime and violence in America invariably comes with a young, black male face. And it doesn’t much matter how prominent, wealthy, or celebrated the black is. Others go much further than calling it simply a case of fanning racial stereotypes and negative typecasting; they say that good police work is about the business of catching criminals and reducing crime. And if more black men are stopped in poor black neighborhoods or in any other neighborhood, it’s not because they’re black but because they commit more crimes. This is bogus on two grounds. In the overwhelming majority of stops of

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


black men by police under stop and frisk tactics in New York and other cities, blacks are not arrested or charged with any crime. Also studies have found that blacks are stopped in disproportionate numbers in predominantly white neighborhoods with the same result. They are not arrested or charged with any crime. Obama’s tick off of the ways blacks protest that they are profiled years after he first said that he felt profiled follows closely on the heels of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s blunt charge in his address at the recent NAACP convention that he too believed he’s been racially profiled in years past. Now that two of America’s most powerful and recognized officials saying the same thing about profiling, they’ve rammed the issue back on the nation’s table where it never should have left.  Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new ebook is America on Trial: The Slaying of Trayvon Martin (Amazon). He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter:

President Barack Obama Speaks On Race And

Trayvon Martin


Editor’s note: President Barack Obama made a previously unscheduled appearance Friday at the White House to make comments about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Below is a transcript of his remarks.


irst of all, I want to make sure that once again I send my thought and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to

remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it. The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal - the legal issues in the case. I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.


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The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries (sic) were properly instructed that in a - in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant. And they rendered a verdict. And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the AfricanAmerican community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and history that - that doesn’t go away. There are very few AfricanAmerican men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are probably very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me - at least before I was a senator. There are very few AfricanAmericans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. So - so folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it, or - and that context is being denied. And - and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is: Are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? I

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government. The criminal code and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels. Number three - and this is a longterm project - we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our AfricanAmerican boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them, and values them, and is willing to invest in them? You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some grand new federal program. I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I - I do recognize that, as president, I’ve got some convening power. And there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes and figure out, how are we doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that - and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed? You know, I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was, obviously, a tragic situation. And we’re going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long and difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union, not a perfect union, but a more perfect union. Thank you, guys.

One Million People

July 16, 2013 - As of Tuesday morning one million people have signed an NAACP petition asking the Department of Justice to pursue federal and civil rights charges against George Zimmerman after he was founded not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin. I knew I was not alone in my outrage, anger, and heartbreak over this decision. When a teenager’s life is taken, and there is no accountability for the man who killed him, nothing seems right in the world. But we cannot let these emotions rule us. Instead, in these most challenging of times, we are called to act. That begins with the pursuit of justice for Trayvon Martin, and it continues with a comprehensive campaign to fight the underlying problems factors that led to his death. The first step is clear: we must make sure that George Zimmerman is held accountable for his actions. The jury’s decision must be respected and the rule of law upheld, but that does not mean the investigation should be considered complete. The trial judge’s decision to discount debate about race or racial profiling in the courtroom leaves open questions about Zimmerman’s motivation and intent. The Department of Justice has the power to investigate whether Zimmerman’s actions constitute a hate crime under federal law. The Department has closely monitored the case since March, and only put their investigation on hold to respect the state’s trial. Since the verdict and the overwhelming response, Attorney General Eric Holder has agreed to re-open his investigation. As he told the Delta Sigma Theta convention, “We are determined to meet division and confusion with

understanding and compassion and also with truth.” This is the power of one million voices. One voice in angry protest can be ignored, but when one million people speak as one - and thousands more take to the street in peaceful protest, rallies and vigils - we can change the world. So what comes next? As we closely follow the Department of Justice’s investigation, we must continue to draw on our collective outrage and refuse to let the memory of Trayvon Martin fade from the hearts and minds of the nation. Trayvon Martin’s death did not occur in a vacuum. Ours was supposed to be the first generation of black Americans to be judged not by our race or the color of our skin. Instead, we find ourselves to be the most murdered generation in the country and the most incarcerated on the planet. Meanwhile, racial profiling continues to rear its ugly head in law enforcement and civilian life alike. At this moment we have a chance to address some of these societal ills. We have a chance to challenge racial profiling in all its forms, and to fight the underlying cause of violence in our communities - by the good guys and bad guys alike. This last year we have already changed the world. Not a single state in the continental United States has passed a “stand your ground” law in 2013 - the first time in eight years. And last month the New York City Council passed a strong bill banning the racially abusive practice of “stop and frisk” policing, after hundreds of thousands of people protested in the name of Trayvon. We have a choice. We can be felled by our sorrows over the jury’s decision. Or we can turn our frustration into action. We will demand the Department of Justice address the travesties of this tragedy. We will advance our movement to end racial profiling in America. And with one million people at our back, we will make sure that the memory Trayvon Martin never fades from the hearts and minds of this nation. Sign the NAACP’s petition at Ben Jealous President/CEO of the NAACP

Statement by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s President and Director-Counsel

July 13, 2013 – The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is deeply troubled by the jury’s verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Trayvon Martin’s tragic and senseless death was the direct result of Mr. Zimmerman’s false and offensive assumption that Trayvon was a criminal because he was African American. His unnecessary death exposes the entrenched nature of racial prejudice in our country and reflects the unfinished struggle to fulfill this country’s promise of racial equality and justice for all. LDF will therefore ask United States Attorney General Eric Holder to undertake a comprehensive federal review of Mr. Zimmerman’s conduct. LDF also expects and encourages Trayvon Martin’s family to pursue any and all civil legal action that is available to them. Regardless of the outcome of these proceedings, LDF hopes that this painful episode will inspire a much-needed and long-overdue dialogue around race and criminal justice in America. All Americans must peacefully mobilize and demand protection for our children. We must remember that it was the collective action of individuals and communities nationwide that spurred the arrest of George Zimmerman. Without the vigilance and vocal demands of people throughout this country, Mr. Zimmerman would never have been arrested or prosecuted. Now we must use that same power to continue our fight against racial profiling, and to demand that the lives of our children are honored and valued in society and our criminal justice system. By continuing to commit ourselves to this work, regardless of the outcome of any single criminal trial, we pay tribute to Trayvon’s life and guarantee that he – and the countless others like him – has not died in vain. These efforts, along with sustained community organizing, civic engagement, public education, activism, and advocacy are at the heart of the struggle against this country’s legacy of racism. Fighting together, we will one day achieve the moral and constitutional imperative of racial equality. And when that day comes, children like Trayvon will be treated as the teenagers that they are, regardless of their race, with the unfettered hopes and dreams to which all Americans are entitled.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


NEA President Urges Activists To Sign NAACP Petition To DOJ On Trayvon Martin

July 15, 2013 – In a letter to National Education Association members this morning, National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel said: To the NEA family, Trayvon Martin was a teenage boy with a full life ahead of him. Our job as educators is to nurture our students, to give them a sense of safety and normalcy, to provide a foundation of knowledge and never-ending inspiration to each and every child. We teach our students about perseverance. We tell them not to give up on their dreams. We as a society must not give up; we must respect the rule of law and never abandon the search for truth. While the criminal trial of George Zimmerman has concluded, our search for the truth must continue. NEA stands with the NAACP in calling for a full investigation by the Department of Justice. A full federal civil rights investigation is essential. As educators, it is our responsibility to our students to set the example by acting to seek justice, to teach fairness, and to provide comfort to students and families who grieve. For Trayvon Martin, for his family, for all parents and educators committed to ensuring all children grow up knowing their individual worth “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” we urge you to sign the NAACP petition to the Department of Justice:

Thank you, Dennis Van Roekel NEA President

Statement from Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League

July 14, 2013 - This is a sad moment for our nation. The not guilty

verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman has extended the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death to a travesty and miscarriage of justice. While we must accept the jury’s decision under the due process of the legal system, we want to make it clear that this is far from over. We are focusing on two important aspects of federal law which may have been violated by George Zimmerman and which should be investigated, with the potential to lead to an additional indictment and another trial. First, the National Urban League and Urban League Movement, along with the NAACP, National Action Network, the Black Women’s Roundtable and others, are joining to collectively ask the Department of Justice to pursue a federal criminal civil rights investigation. Our forward efforts will be to encourage the DOJ to proceed in conducting a thorough investigation of whether any federal laws were violated by George Zimmerman in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. From the very beginning of this case, if not for Ben Crump and the local community’s call to the civil rights leadership, this matter would have been swept under the rug. Our collective efforts stopped that from occurring last year. Today, we continue to send a strong message of solidarity with Trayvon’s parents and with his family. But we also want to send another message - this is not the end. The Civil Rights Movement in this country historically has been the hallmark of peaceful protest and expression, and for anyone to suggest otherwise is an effort to discredit the very issues at hand. As part of the civil rights leadership of the 21st century, we encourage people to express themselves with the discipline and responsibility that are consistent with our First Amendment rights and with

the traditions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Activists who are concerned that justice has not been met should absolutely continue disciplined and directed advocacy on behalf of justice for this family through elected officials, social media, organized protests and other appropriate means. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, we also encourage people of all backgrounds to join us on August 23-24 for another historic effort in Washington, DC - the “Drum Majors for Justice Summit: Redeem the Dream” and the “Civil Rights Continuation March.” In light of the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case and the recent Supreme Court ruling on voting rights - the civil rights continuation effort has a renewed vigor and purpose. The cause and quest for justice and civil rights in the 21st century continue. There is no victory in this case, but we will fight until the end for justice. This is not over.

Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law Issues Statement On The Acquittal Of George Zimmerman

July 15, 2013 – Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Issues the Following Statement in Response to the Verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial: “Saturday’s verdict represents a tragic miscarriage of justice. No matter how you look at this situation, if it were not for the actions of Mr. Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin would still be alive with his family today. While there is no doubt that this was a difficult case for the jury, the outcome is deeply disappointing. Yet, there is still the potential for justice to be served through a civil suit brought about by Trayvon Martin’s surviving family members, and also through civil rights charges being brought against Mr. Zimmerman by the Department of Justice. As the Lawyers’ Committee stated at the beginning of the trial, it is our hope that Mr. Zimmerman’s case will spark a much-needed conversation and effective policies regarding racial profiling, implicit bias and our broken criminal justice system. This trial has been characterized by racial overtones from the beginning and much more work needs to be done to stamp out the ugly face of racism that still prevails in America.”

America’s Brok

Precludes Justic


By Hugh J

ot guilty. Those two words reignite the old fires of hatred and divisiveness in this country. As this nation explores the enigmatic details surrounding the tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the search for answers lead past George Zimmerman to Martin’s true killer: prejudice. This tragedy is not rooted in the actions of a single man but in the American public allowing ignorance to evolve into demagoguery. George Zimmerman is an example of prejudice full grown. To recap, Trayvon Martin was shot on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida while walking back to his father’s fiancée’s apartment after stopping at a local convenience store. Martin was walking through the Retreat at Twin Lakes gated community when he encountered then 28-year-old George Zimmerman. It was raining that evening so Martin wore a hooded sweatshirt. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch coordinator for the community, who was concerned about a series of burglaries that had taken place during the past year. Zimmerman called the authorities upon seeing Martin from his vehicle and asked for an officer to check out the situation. In the recording of the call, Zimmerman reported that Martin was acting in a suspicious manner. Partway through the call, Zimmerman reported that Martin began to run. Zimmerman then left his vehicle and began following Martin. Despite being told by the dispatcher that tailing Martin was unnecessary, Zimmerman continued to follow Martin. What happens afterward is unclear. According to Zimmerman, Martin attacked him on the way back to his vehicle and got the upper hand in the ensuing confrontation. After calling for help numerous times, Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense. However, Rachel Jeantel, a friend Trayvon Martin was on the phone with prior to his death, says she heard Trayvon ask someone why he was following him, to which she heard a man reply, “What are you doing around here?” Jeantel’s testimony of a conversation taking place seems to invalidate Zimmerman’s claim that he was ambushed on the way back to his SUV. The crux of this story is that a young Black man, carrying Skittles and iced tea, was killed on the basis of appearance. Before any action was taken, Zimmerman was wholly convinced that the only reason Trayvon Martin was walking through his neighborhood that night was to cause trouble. This warped perspective is evidenced by the comments he made to the dispatcher about Martin. “These assholes, they always get away,” Zimmerman said of Trayvon. 17 months later, Florida’s judicial system validated Zimmerman’s narrow-minded point of view. His defense attorney’s primary strategy was to convince the jury to buy into his logic, that Trayvon Martin was the defendant and Zimmerman the victim. The defense sought to convince the jury that Zimmerman was truly fearful for his life. Sadly, they succeeded and the country now debates how it happened. Some have taken issue with the near all-white jury that found Zimmerman not guilty. The jurors in Zimmerman’s case were all-female and all white except for one Hispanic female. In an article about how the jurors of the Zimmerman trial bought into the racial bias against Trayvon Martin, journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson referenced a study conducted by Duke University concerning race and conviction rate in Florida’s court system. The study looked at 700 non-capital felony cases in Florida from 2000-2010. When the jury was all-white, Black defendants were more likely to be convicted by a double-digit margin over white defendants. When just one Black juror was present, the rate of conviction was equal. Others believe solutions lie in gun control. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke out against Florida’s “Stand your ground law” which allows a person to defend himself without having to attempt to retreat from a confrontation. Holder believes the law may contribute to more violence than it intends to prevent. “These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” said Holder. “By allow-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


oken Promise

ce for Trayvon


ing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety... We must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent” Many people are still unsatisfied with the justice system and believe that Zimmerman must answer for what happened. No more than five days after the verdict, over a million people signed a petition to get Zimmerman tried on federal civil rights charges. Attorney General Holder vowed to pursue a civil rights inquiry of the incident. The collective clamoring for justice for Trayvon Martin is necessary to spur the American public into attacking the heart of prejudice but that clamor needs to extend past high-profile cases like this one and resonate in the everyday walks of life. Every person experiences and more importantly, carries their own prejudice. The current social and political climates feed off of the biases of the many. As a result, Americans think and behave based on what they see and hear. What this country needs is not more “us vs. the other” rhetoric that incites hate and division but reasoned discussion that cultivates a culture of inclusivity. That process begins with discussion and discovering the discrimination that people of varying gender and race experience regularly. Ask willing friends to share their experience of being harassed, profiled or discriminated against. It’s not about completely empathizing with every aspect of a race or gender issues but rather understanding that prejudice is wrong no matter the color or sex. Some people are catching on to the fact that the fight against prejudice must be a universal effort. Robert Seay, a music teacher for a school in Lamar, Colorado, wrote a letter titled “I am Not Trayvon Martin” on his Facebook. In the letter, Seay identifies himself as a middle-aged, middle class overweight white guy who understands that what happened to Trayvon is wrong. Here are some key points from his letter: “I have seen plenty of Trayvon Martins. More accurately, I have seen plenty of young men who fit the caricatured image that is being portrayed of this kid in the media, Left and Right. Fox News and MSNBC. I’m guessing that neither portrayal – saint or thug – is accurate.” “Here’s my point: You don’t have to be Trayvon Martin to know this is wrong. You don’t have to be Black, or young, or a “troubled student” or a pot smoker to know this was murder.” “Let me be more blunt: This type of injustice will continue until enough guys like me — guys who are not Trayvon Martin — have had enough of it and finally say “No more.” You don’t have to be Trayvon Martin. You just have to be human.” Seay’s final point about being human is key to understanding why prejudice happens. Prejudice creates a disconnect between oppressors and the oppressed. Those who discriminate cannot see the humanity in those they are oppressing. Although this notion may seem far-fetched and archaic, it still plays out in American society today. The death of Trayvon Martin is not merely a Black problem. The death of Trayvon Martin is not solely a gun control issue. The dehumanization of young males of color represents a fundamental flaw in American thinking. Like others, this tragedy should be a wake-up call to Americans as a whole. America has broken down the institutional barriers of discrimination. It’s time to break down the personal barriers as well. It’s time to fulfill the promise of racial equality that began in the civil rights era. America cannot keep that promise by simply allowing minority children into school, women in the workplace or meeting a diversity quota. America keeps its promise to Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Eleanor Roosevelt and now to Trayvon Martin by changing its heart.

ESSENCE Magazine Launches Special Social Media Campaign #Heisnotasuspect In Response To The Zimmerman Verdict

July 16, 2013 — ESSENCE, the preeminent lifestyle magazine for AfricanAmerican women, is launching #HeIsNotASuspect, a powerful social media campaign and movement in response to the George Zimmerman verdict aimed at stopping racial profiling of African-American males. The goal of this counter-stereotyping campaign, which launches today, is to declare to the world that young Black men are valued, loved and not to be feared. “ESSENCE editors have been flooded with responses ranging from anger to sadness over the Zimmerman verdict – especially from Black mothers who daily worry about the dangers their sons face when they are profiled without consequence,” said ESSENCE Acting Managing Editor Vanessa Bush. “ESSENCE’s #HeIsNotASuspect campaign is designed to challenge negative images of young African-American men. We also wanted to create a forum for mothers, grandmothers, aunts and everyone else to proclaim that young AfricanAmerican men are to be celebrated and not feared.” Readers simply need to upload to Instagram or Facebook a photo of themselves and a young Black man they care about – a son, brother, nephew, cousin, neighbor – and tell ESSENCE in a few words why he’s so much more than a stereotype, using the hashtag #HeIsNotASuspect. For more on this campaign, visit

The Black Women’s Agenda Responds To State Of Florida Vs. George Zimmerman Verdict

July 15, 2013 – Responding to the verdict reached this weekend in the case of the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman, The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) announced its intention to advocate for the development of “a uniform, national understanding of laws associated with vigilante conduct, the concept of stand your ground and gun violence.” In a statement released today from the organization’s headquarters, Gwainevere Hess, President of The Black Women’s Agenda, said: “African-American mothers, grandmothers and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


women of color across the U.S. shared the anguish of Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and our hearts sank a little deeper with the reading of this weekend’s verdict in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman. However, being depressed or angry by the judicial system does not address the larger issues facing our nation. “The death of Trayvon Martin and subsequent acquittal of his assailant should be a catalyst for us to collectively focus on the roots of this tragedy and develop solutions for preventing such incidents in the future. Mothers of color should not have to grasp for words to explain to our sons how the verdict in the Zimmerman case uniquely impacts them, or to prepare our children to deal with the unfortunate reality of racial profiling and people who would take the law into their own hands. “The State of Florida vs. Zimmerman is one case. Even if a violation of civil rights case is brought to fruition on a federal level, it will seek justice in this one case, this one time. The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. is advocating for a positive, actionable response to counter the visceral ill-omen feelings of hope deferred prompted by the Zimmerman verdict. We call for the development of a uniform, national understanding of laws associated with vigilante conduct, the concept of stand your ground and gun violence. This much we owe to Trayvon’s memory, our country, God, and ourselves.” For more information on The Black Women’s Agenda, visit

A Black Males Letter To George Zimmerman

Dear George Zimmerman, For the rest of your life you are now going to feel what it’s like to be a black man in America. You will feel people stare at you. Judging you for what you think are unfair reasons. You will lose out on getting jobs for something you feel is outside of your control. You will believe yourself to be an upstanding citizen and wonder why people choose to not see that. People will cross the street when they see you coming. They will call you hurtful names. It will drive you so insane some days that you’ll want to scream at the top of your lungs. But you will have to wake up the next day, put on firm look and push through life. I bet you never t/hought that by shooting a black male you’d end up inheriting all of his struggles. Enjoy your “freedom.” Sincerely,

Alex Fraser

A Black male who could’ve been Trayvon Martin

Together Colorado Faith Leaders Issue A Statement On Zimmerman Verdict

July 16, 2013 – Pastor Michael McBride who leads PICO’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign and Together Colorado issued a statement following the juror’s verdict of not guilty in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman case. As clergy and faith leaders, we acknowledge the deep pain that this verdict has caused and how it will exacerbate this pain among those most impacted from this incident. While many of us believe that justice was not served, we respect the jury and believe that together we must collectively pursue justice and truth. It’s not just the guilt or innocence of Mr. Zimmerman this jury decided. Ultimately we all stand in judgment for our collective guilt or innocence as nation – a nation that continues to target young black men as dangerous, criminal, and violent. On the count of marginalizing young black men the verdict is already in...and we as a nation are guilty. The persistent portrayal of Trayvon Martin and other black male youth by everyday Americans and the media as violent, dangerous and as the “other” has eroded the moral character of our nation and has left us unwilling and unable to see their humanity and care about their lives. At moments such as this, when our national attention is focused on the intersection of race and violence, our prayer is that we constructively channel our energies into solidarity around work that will demonstrate our capacity to dignify and value young black men. We call for organized and peaceful demonstrations of our collective outrage and pain from this verdict. We must channel ourselves into work that will create safer communities through sensible gun laws. We must channel

ourselves into work for sentencing reform and other measures to keep youth of color from filling up our jails and prison. We must channel ourselves into work to create more educational and employment opportunities. As voices of moral authority, it’s past time for clergy and religious leaders to move beyond simply encouraging their congregations to act, but to step down from the pulpit and lead by example to ensure all of God’s children are alive and free, whether they’re black, brown or white; wearing a hoody or a business suit. In the final analysis, it’s not about the verdict, it’s about our collective values.

A “Judicial” Lynching: What American “Justice” Is July 15, 2013 – A non-black vigilante is patrolling a housing project. He spots a young man in a hoodie walking in the rain. He finds him suspicious. He radios the police about him. The clerk – a woman – tells him not to get out of his car. He has a gun. He does get out of his car. He hunts for the young man. The young man is afraid of him. He tries to hide. But he is staying with his father in a nearby apartment. He is trying to go home. A confrontation occurs. There is a fight of some sort and the vigilante shoots and kills the young man. Under a new state law – “Stand your Ground” – if a person feels threatened (a nonblack person fighting a black person), then the former can kill the black person. The young man here was hunted as prey and attacked and murdered by a man with a gun. Who was threatened? Who was walking while black? The law about self-defense is clear. One must be attacked. One must not hunt an unarmed man with a gun. The unjust law in Florida is that if a man feels threatened, even one who hunts another man with a gun, it is permissible to shoot and kill the man who “feels” frightening to the hunter. This is making the young black man dangerous because, with vicious racist stereotypes propagated since the Founding, some non-black people (some middle class black people also) find young black men threatening. The American constitution has a

law that blacks count for 3/5ths of a human being in order to provide more votes for their “owners.” This law made slave-owners President of the Republic for 52 out of its first 72 years. This law gave enough representatives to non-black and non-red men so that the US government passed the Indian Removal Act against peaceful Native Americans in Georgia and Mississippi, who had settled and farmed, drove them, with many dying, along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. They were dangerous, these Indians, just like Trayvon Martin, walking with skittles, in the rain…

Alan Gilbert

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin Comment on President Obama’s Remarks About Trayvon Martin

July 19, 2013 – We are deeply honored and moved that President Obama took the time to speak publicly and at length about our son, Trayvon. The President’s comments give us great strength at this time. We are thankful for President Obama’s and Michelle’s prayers, and we ask for your prayers as well as we continue to move forward. We know that the death of our son Trayvon, the trial and the not guilty verdict have been deeply painful and difficult for many people. We know our family has become a conduit for people to talk about race in America and to try and talk about the difficult issues that we need to bring into the light in order to become a better people. What touches people is that our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, could have been their son. President Obama sees himself in Trayvon and identifies with him. This is a beautiful tribute to our boy. Trayvon’s life was cut short, but we hope that his legacy will make our communities a better place for generations to come. We applaud the President’s call to action to bring communities together to encourage an open and difficult dialogue. Our family is committed to this dialogue through the work of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. We seek a future when a child can walk down the street and not worry that others see him as dangerous because of the color of his skin or the clothes on his back. We seek a future where our children can grow up and become the people God intended them to be.

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Spoken Words Of Forgiveness To Trayvon OpEd by Theo Wilson

Please forgive us for letting the

deaths of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Paul Childs, Marvin Booker, and Alonzo Ashley go by without finding an effective means to deal with the beast that took your life. Forgive us for substituting protest for actual problem solving. For not knowing when our “goodness” becomes stupidity. For being afraid to rock the boat in a way that would wake-up its sleeping passengers. Trayvon, forgive us for Sleep-Walking. For not seeing when the fruits of our “Christian Kindness” ultimately add up to toothless-ness in the face of the real “Enemy.” Forgive us for misunderstanding the true nature of God. For not admitting when our righteousness is just fear of the inevitable confrontation when the illusion of freedom and safety falls apart. Forgive us for being addicted to entertainment, and not the attainment of knowledge; for being consumers of the filth of the Advertising Elite. For wanting big bank accounts more than big hearts. Forgive us forgetting that the values of the God we say we serve may involve laying down one’s life not just for your brother, but for the sake of future generations. Trayvon, forgive us for turning children into sacrificial lambs for the god of capitol. And Trayvon, finally, forgive your people, the descendants of American slaves. When our leaders were killed, and we failed to stand up, they effectively killed us, too. Forgive us for not

admitting that our need to assimilate was greater than our need for real freedom. It is an iron need, forged in the fires of the cotton plantation, where the seeds of our inner unworthiness were planted. Forgive us for masking our self-hatred with integration reform, fighting to love our enemy when we could scarcely love ourselves. A need which drove the wealthiest of us as far away from our people as money could buy. Yes, Trayvon, I ask you to forgive our elders, who chose to survive, but not take on full responsibility for the burden that survival entailed. In so doing, they proved why other peoples chose to die rather than live under American rule; the loss of identity, the loss of the self. Trayvon, we failed to learn from the Jewish People, who also chose to survive, but systematized their survival with Hebrew Schools, Traditions and Bar Mitzvahs to fortify their young against the mind-control of their oppressors. Not to leave their impressionable psyche’s open to MTV, BET, Toxic Rap Videos, Internet Porn, and a host of other exploitive factors that only take hold when parents fail to prepare a generation to survive. A generation that now rots in the belly of the largest Prison Industrial Complex ever known to man. These privatized prisons that happen to fatten private pockets and only serve as modern day slave plantations. Who‘s to say that the souls of the young

brothers who died in street-gang warfare weren’t sent here to die in the fight for our liberation? That those young Crip and Blood warriors weren’t born to pave the way for a self-determined future? Trayvon, we underestimated the enemy, and you are gone because of it! We let a President who resembles you symbolize progress that we as a whole did not make. It’s hard to tell who was more self-deceived; a country who won’t admit its race problem, or your people, who think income and not wealth equals freedom in the long run – a people in drastic need of selfhealing and self-reflection from undiagnosed “Plantation Sickness.” A people who let themselves believe that integration has added up to anything more than a creative marketing ploy. A ploy that has drained our communities dry, and left us defenseless against a monster who invests trillions of our dollars in its defense! We can no longer afford to forget that we are Black until something tragic happens. This government is far from color-blind. Ask the elected officials who continually attack Obama because of the color of his skin, and his wife for the African shape of her body. Ask the Cops who didn’t know they were racist until a Black boy lay dead at their feet. Is this tolerable? Were we born to live and die this way,

keenen ivory wayans oct 3-6 in living color DOWNTOWN IN LARIMER SQUARE Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


tragic, broken, and cliché while those who look like you wallow in learnedhelplessness? No, Trayvon, No. But Trayvon, I regretfully inform you that our denial issue will not be cured by your passing. This is because the loss of your life will not be enough to spur us into effective action. We still won’t face ourselves, the get healing we need, or find the courage to use a new way to assert ourselves. The American can dream is too sweet to wake up from, and there WILL be others like you. 

Aisha tyler

nov 15 & 16

host of the talk south at the landmark 5345 landmark pl greenwood village, co 720-274-6800

Eight Compelling Reasons For A Federal Prosecution Of Zimmerman The moment

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

the NAACP, the Reverend Al Sharpton and other civil rights organizations publicly demanded that the Justice Department conduct a federal probe into the Trayvon Martin slaying and George Zimmerman’s acquittal for killing him with a view toward bringing civil rights charges against him, volumes were written and spoken as to why the department supposedly couldn’t or shouldn’t prosecute him.

There’s one problem with all this. Most argue that charging Zimmerman with a hate crime in the Martin killing won’t fly because there’s no basis for that from the apparent evidence. But that’s not the only reason, in fact there are eight of them, the Justice Department can consider a “compelling federal interest” in prosecuting a defendant after a failed state prosecution, they are clearly spelled out in the Justice Department’s guidelines under the subsection: “Initiating and declining Charges—Substantial Federal Interest.”

1. Federal Law Enforcement Priorities. The Justice Department will prosecute only cases that it deems “are most deserving of federal attention.” A US attorney in a jurisdiction has much discretion as to the priorities for prose-

cuting a case and how a prosecution fits in with the department’s priorities. This means that Robert O’Neill, US Attorney for Florida’s Middle District that covers Sanford, Florida, has the leeway and authority to decide that a Zimmerman prosecution not only deserves federal attention but does not violate the department’s established priorities. 2. The Nature and Seriousness of Offense. The US attorney must consider the “nature and seriousness of the offense” in deciding whether to prosecute or not. The major factor that determines that is “the actual or potential impact of the offense on the community and on the victim.” The Justice Department spells out exactly what that means. It means economic harm to the community, physical danger to citizens, and erosion of citizen’s peace of mind and security. Zimmerman’s acquittal squarely fits each of these criteria in in terms of lasting damage to the community, erosion of confidence to secure that peace resulting from the state’s failed prosecution, and the danger of vigilantism in the Zimmerman’s jury’s upholding of an individual’s right to use deadly force solely because they presume that their life is in danger. Further, the rules spell out that the circumstances of the offense, the identity of the offender and the odious publicity in the case that create strong public sentiment in favor of prosecution must be weighed. The Zimmerman acquittal fits all three circumstances. 3. Deterrent Effect of Prosecution. The goal here is to insure that criminal conduct not be encouraged or furthered by a failed prosecution. The right to kill or maim an individual based on the perpetrator’s perception of danger as the department notes if unpunished would “commonly have a substantial cumulative impact on the community.” 4. The Person’s Culpability. The department must judge that the accused has some culpability in the commission of an act. The one indisputable fact in the Martin slaying is that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by targeting Martin as a “suspect” and then following him. This establishes Zimmerman’s clear culpability in the deadly train of events that followed. 5. The Person’s Criminal History. Zimmerman has a criminal history. Both of his arrests, for domestic violence and resisting a police officer, involved violence. Federal prosecutors are duty bound to consider that history in determining whether to initiate or recommend prosecution and most importantly does the prior violence have a relationship to the charged

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


offense. Zimmerman’s offenses involved violence and therefore that fits in with the rule that this past must be weighed in the decision to prosecute. 6. The Person’s Willingness to Cooperate. There is absolutely no hint that Zimmerman would be willing to cooperate in any federal probe into his conduct or actions that fateful night. His and his attorney’s public statements following the acquittal have been marked by defiance, baiting of the prosecutor’s case, and even gloating at the acquittal. 7. The Person’s Personal Circumstances. The circumstances that may preclude against a prosecution are youth, old age, mental or physical impairment. Zimmerman fits none of these personal circumstances. However, if federal prosecutors determine that the accused “occupied a position of trust or responsibility which he/she violated in committing the offense” this would be a strong factor in favor of a prosecution. Much was made that Zimmerman was at least at one time a sworn neighborhood watch captain and though his status as neighborhood guardian was dubious at best when he killed Martin, the strong presumption was that he acted as a neighborhood guardian— authorized or not. 8. The Probable Sentence. If Zimmerman had been convicted on any charge no matter how minor, federal prosecutors almost certainly would not consider a prosecution. It would not justify the government’s time or resources. But the fact is that he wasn’t. So this is a non-factor against considering a federal prosecution. The legion of Zimmerman defenders and legal naysayers of a federal prosecution have no need to read the actual federal guidelines that determine when federal prosecutors can bring a second prosecution because their goal is not to adhere to the actual provisions that govern a federal prosecution but spout their pro Zimmerman legal biases. Federal prosecutors, however, have that duty. And there are eight compelling reasons they have to prosecute Zimmerman. 

Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new ebook is America on Trial: The Slaying of Trayvon Martin (Amazon). He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter:

Longtime advocate for Denver and Denver’s youth Landri Taylor announced his candidacy for Denver School Board District 4, a position he currently holds. Taylor was appointed to the vacant seat in March of this year. “Whether through my work on the Board of the Stapleton Foundation, leading the community process to improve our schools in Montebello and GVR, as CEO of the Urban League, and as a lifelong community member, I have spent my career advocating for northeast Denver,” said Taylor. “Now, I am running for the District 4 school board seat because I want to ensure that every child in northeast Denver, every child in the city for that matter, has the chance to go to a high quality public school.” Taylor is an active member of Denver’s community. He is the president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver. As one of 114 affiliates of the National Urban League, the agency serves to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. Since joining the school board in March, Taylor has already set about to accomplish great things for northeast Denver. Taylor approved plans for 8 new schools in his region, providing equitable access for students and families in the Greater Park Hill Stapleton region. Taylor also approved a Bullying Prevention and Education

Policy, to combat the unacceptable bullying that often occurs in our schools. “Denver Public Schools must provide the best schools possible for all of our kids in all of our communities. We must have public schools that have a culture of high expectations and academic success, provide a rich curriculum that includes the arts, promote diversity, and have the best principals and teachers possible for our children. All of our schools must be centers of excellence so our kids are prepared for college and the workforce. They deserve no less,” said Taylor. Before his work with the Urban League, Taylor was the Vice President of Community Affairs for Forest City Stapleton, Inc., the development company that is transforming the former Stapleton International Airport into a community of 12,000 homes and apartments, 35,000 jobs and more than 1,100 acres of parks and open space. In that position, Taylor was responsible for small business development, job training and Minority-owned and Woman-owned Business Enterprise outreach. Taylor has served on numerous boards and commissions throughout the Denver area. Taylor served as board treasurer on the Regional Transportation District Board in 1994 and helped to spearhead the completion of Denver’s first light rail transit corridor. Taylor served on the board of Rocky Mountain PBS from 2003 – ’09 and its board chair from 2007-’09. Taylor’s community service and dedication to Denver also includes service on Denver’s Library Commission, Mayor’s Commission on Workforce Development and the Community College of Denver Foundation. In 2008, Taylor was inducted into the Colorado Black Hall of Fame. Taylor resides in Denver with wife, Gloria, and has three children, two of whom attended Denver Public Schools and are proud graduates of Montbello High School.

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Landri Taylor Announces Candidacy For Denver School Board

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Team Green...

Team Green


By Chandra Thomas Whitfield

akalah Emanuel, 19, remembers well her first day on the job as a member of Groundwork Denver’s “Green Team.” First, she was informed that she and her fellow youth “environmental associates” would be riding mountain bikes to the day’s assignment (it’s a requirement for all projects within 12 miles round trip of Groundwork’s home office). Then, after she’d huffed and puffed her way through the two-hour and 10mile – yes, 10-mile – trek beneath the beaming Denver sun, Emanuel, drenched in sweat, was also less than pleased to hear the details of the job ahead. “Here I was trying to look cute and I was soaking wet (from sweat); then they tell us that we’d be painting trees for a few hours,” recalls Emanuel, now a sophomore at the University of Northern Colorado. “I was like, ‘I rode all the way over here just to paint trees with sand and paint?’ Then my shoes got all messed up (from the paint) and it started raining.” Somehow she pushed through that arduous first day wet tresses (gasp) and all. Four summers later she’s among the youth leaders in the teen group of about two-dozen high school and college students employed by Groundwork, an environmentally friendly Denver non-profit. While most young people spend their summers flipping hamburgers or bagging groceries, these students get paid – some year-round – to work on a variety of environmental projects around metro Denver, including a “sustainability garden” in the heart of the Five Points area. The vast array of “green projects” of which members have partaken in include, maintaining community gardens and local parks, landscaping, repairing bicycles for neighborhood residents, stenciling storm sewers and educating community members on water quality. Not many people, let alone teens of color, can say that they’ve helped create a photovoltaic (a fancy word for solar electric) system or joined in lead poisoning outreach programs for schoolchildren and adults. Last summer, for example, team members wrapped up their service with a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado, where many experienced camping for the first time and helped the park service workers eliminate an exotic plant species that was endangering the area. The Green Team program is open to all local students ages 14 to 24 who maintain at least a 2.5 grade point

Program Provides Denver Youth With Environmental Work For Pay Photo by Lens of Ansar

average in high school or are enrolled in college. Applicants must submit a resume and complete a face-to-face interview for consideration. The racial diversity among team members though, Emanuel says, is often met by looks of surprise and shock: particularly when she and fellow AfricanAmerican team members show up for assignments. “I’ve never had a negative reaction (from people in the community),” she says. “It’s mostly been a lot of people stopping by asking, ‘what are you all doing’ and ‘how can I donate to this (effort)?’” The extreme reactions are par for the course, as a huge portion of Groundwork Denver’s mission is to get more young people, especially those of color, engaged in the environmental movement. “I think this is a great opportunity for the youth of Denver to learn about sustainable culture,” says Youth Program Director Shane Wright. “It’s a great way to bring the concept of urban agriculture into urban communities that haven’t been as engaged. By having youth at the forefront we are helping them grow into leaders of the green movement. They’re learning the value of hard work and becoming advocates for healthy eating and healthy living at the same time.” Along with providing invaluable hands-on educational opportunities, program administrators boast that the Green Team program also help its young participants earn while they learn. The youth are paid from $7.86 up to $14 dollars per hour (depending

on experience, commitment and leadership skills), thanks to the financial support of the National Park Service, Denver’s Youth Employment Program and a diverse mix of private, public and non-profit partners. Participants say the program has had a lasting effect on their lives overall. “I’ve learned so much about health and the environment since joining this program,” gushes Emanuel, while dragging black rope through rows of hay and dirt at the Five Points garden located at 26th and Lawrence streets. The fruit and vegetable garden also features low-impact housing demonstrations, an aquaponic greenhouse, a permaculture demonstration, compost and an event space run by RedLine art gallery and the Denver Housing Authority. Emanuel and a fellow team member were working on extending a trench that will allow more water to reach some recently planted alfalfa seeds. “I’ve shared a lot of what I’ve learned with my family.” Aurielle Thames, a junior at Career Education Center in Denver, can relate. “Let’s just say that since I’ve joined the team, Sunday dinner looks a little different,” quips Thames, 16. “We still eat greens and stuff, but now there’s also some fresh fruit or tomatoes on the table too. I’ve even helped my dad create his own backyard garden. He’d always wanted to do it, but he didn’t know how.” Second year team member René Garcia, of the Northeast Denver community of Swansea (a known hotbed of environmental justice battles), says

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


he’s also learned a lot about how to network and work with others. “It’s not just about working; it’s also about making connections and building memories with young people like yourself,” says the Bruce Randolph High School student. “I think I might want to pursue a career in this field; this program is giving me a head start.” First year member Agnes Mukagasana, 16, goes a step further, insisting that Green Team participation has the potential to change a young person’s entire life trajectory. “A lot of kids get into trouble because they don’t have anything to do with their time; programs like this help keep them away from drugs and out of trouble.” Mukagasana, an Aurora Central High School student, says she speaks from personal experience. “Last year all I wanted to do was hang out, I wasn’t doing anything productive at all,” she recalls. “This summer is very different. This program has helped me to become more productive and get involved in the community. I’ve learned a lot of things, like how to plant, how to take care of plants and hoe tomatoes. I feel really comfortable working with [my fellow team members.] We need more African-American students to get involved in programs like this.”  Editor’s note: For more information on the Green Team, visit or contact Shane Wright at

Moments Backstage At The Improv

Arnez J Jaylyn Bishop

Up Close With Arnez J And Jaylyn Bishop By Angelia D. McGowan

The Denver Urban Spectrum went backstage on July 6 at the Denver Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre to interview Arnez J and his opening act, Jaylyn Bishop. The former Coloradoans have blazed an impressive trail in the entertainment industry. Arnez J, who grew up in a military family and traveled often, was thrown a curve ball early in life when goals to become a professional athlete didn’t come to fruition. But that didn’t stop him from creating a whole new life. He became a flight attendant, and inadvertently honed his comedic craft by telling jokes to the passengers. Today, his credits include Comedy Act, Showtime Comedy Club Network, BET’s ComicView (performer and host), Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam, A&E’s An Evening at the Improv, and Comedy Central’s Make Me Laugh. Eager to continue learning in different areas, Arnez J also toured with actor Billy Dee Williams in a 2004 play called The Maintenance Man, playing a nightclub owner. He performed as an opening act for The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and even starred in the 2004 independent film Up Against the 8-Ball.

Talkin’ With Arnez J

DUS: How did you feel when you returned to Denver as a professional comedian? Arnez J: A little nervous. You want people who know you to be proud. (You want to be) good for the ones that didn’t (like you.) DUS: You’ve had a few ups and down in life. How did you keep going? Arnez J: I basically took it as it came to me. I looked at it as another chapter. DUS: What is your homework in preparation for the show? Arnez J: It’s the life I see every day, my life experience. DUS: Tell me about your experience working with Billy Dee Williams? Arnez J: Beautiful. It was my first play, and it was a draw-dropping experience that let me know thespians are a whole different breed. They have to study.

DUS: You don’t study? Arnez J: I tell it how it comes to me. You have to put in time. It (a joke) may not start out funny, but the next year it may be funny. DUS: Opening for Prince? Arnez J: Grateful (for that experience). That allowed me to add (another chapter) to my story. I watched him as a kid. I was amazed.

Opening Act

Jaylyn Bishop, the opening act for Arnez J, is famous in her own right. Bishop, at one point an investment banker, stepped boldly up to the plate to be a bouncer in a comedy club. Not yet a professional comedian, she didn’t hesitate to take that role in an effort to be in the same environment as the pros. Her goal was to be on stage. Also an actress, producer and writer, she has more than stayed on track. Also known as Just Jay, Bishop has created a launching pad for a dynamic career and for those who follow in her footsteps. She has served as the host of Loud Mouths On Late Nite on Mania TV, an internet TV political satire show. She was a finalist on Nick at Nite’s Search For The Funniest Mom In America 2 where she was affectionately known as Center of Attention. Bishop has opened for comedians Mike Epps, D. L. Hughley, Eddie Griffin, Mark Curry, David Alan Grier, to name a few.

DUS: Any favorite shows growing up? Bishop: Benny Hill. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. DUS: Were your family and friends surprised when you became a professional comedian? Bishop: They knew. It was a friend, a comedian, who signed me up for open mic. DUS: How did it feel being on stage? Bishop: (Being on stage) is like heaven. Nothing better than making people laugh. For the time I’m on stage, I lift you out of (whatever may be going on in your life). No drug in the world can match that. DUS: Thoughts about being a woman in this field?

Bishop: I look at women who have brought us to where we are now. Women like Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball and Sojourner Truth. There’s so much power in being a woman…If that’s (comedy) what you come to the planet to do, nothing can stop you. I don’t let anybody tell me I can’t do it. The only reason you don’t do something is fear. Arnez J and Jaylyn - providing laughs to the world. Doing Denver proud.  Editor’s Note: For more information on Arnez J and Jaylyn Bishop visit and

Dillon Garcia August 1 - 4

Talkin’ With Jaylyn Bishop

Special Event

DUS: You’re more than a comedian. You’re a writer, too? Bishop: I like writing. It helped me to understand rhythms to comedy. It helped me to understand who I was. You have to be you so people can relate to you. Others have ideas for who you should be. It took a long time for me to really be me. DUS: How do you approach material for shows in different places around the world? Bishop: Everybody is the same. Everybody has a grandma. Comedy is universal. It’s healing. It’s my ministry.

Guy Torr y

August 9 - 11

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Corey Holcomb Aug 29 - Sept 1


Absolutely Articulate Toastmasters New Club Officers For 2013-2014 Term (Left to Right): Michelle Bires Sergeant at Arms; Elinora Reynolds – VP-Education; Emma Smith – Treasurer; Betty Funderburke- President; Pamela Hertzog – VP-Public Relations; Ben Hoppin – VP-Membership and Flora Young – Secretary Dr. Annette Sills-Brown, VP Education Presents “Toastmaster of the Year” Award to Outgoing President, Frances Woolery-Jones

Toastmasters Welcomes New Officers

The Absolutely Articulate #1272692 Toastmasters recently installed its newest slate of club officers for the 2013-2014 term. Serving in the new leadership positions include Betty Funderburke, DTM(Distinguished Toastmaster), President; Elinora Reynolds, DTM, VP of Education; Pamela Hertzog, VP Public Relations; Ben Hoppin, VP of Membership; Flora Young, Secretary; Emma Smith, Treasurer; and Michelle Bires, Sergeant at Arms. The Absolutely Articulate Club also saluted outgoing president, Frances Woolery-Jones who was recently honored as “Toastmaster Of The Year.” Woolery-Jones is a native of Springfield, Illinois and received her Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of Illinois. She works as Secondary Special Education Director for Cherry Creek School District and has been married for 32 years to Steven L. Jones. They are the proud parents of two beautiful children, Lindsay and Matthew. Woolery-Jones is one of the co-authors of the recently published book, “Lift As You Climb.” Recognized as the world’s undisputed expert in public speaking, Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide net-

work of clubs. Visitors are encouraged to attend the Absolutely Articulate Toastmasters Club on any 2nd or 4th Saturday at 8:45 a.m. at the Garden Plaza of Aurora, 14221 E. Evans in Aurora. The Absolutely Articulate Toastmasters Club #1272692 was founded in 2009 by sisters Betty Funderburke and Elinora Reynold. For more information, visit or call 303324-5927.

Inaugural Class Of Project Greer Street Graduates With Distinction

The students of the inaugural class of Project Greer Street have graduated from high school with distinction. The class members are Leonard Davis (East High School), Jaycee Floyd (East High School), Malik Taylor (Montbello High School), Mark Dean, Jr. (South High School), Anthony Sanford (East High School), Maurice Diawara (East High School), Jabari Holland (East High School), and Ashi Geberkidane (East High School). The college acceptances for these students include Morehouse College, University of Colorado (Boulder), Amherst College, University of Denver, Pepperdine University, Harvard University, Duke University, Ithaca College, University of Oregon, University of Wyoming, Stetson University, Texas Christian University, Colorado State University, Indiana University, University of Kansas, Cornell College, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Baylor University, Emory University, St. Michaels College, Howard University, and St. Mary’s College of California. The students were awarded more than $250,000.00 in scholarships and institutional grants. For more information, email

Ronald Sally and Project Greer Street Class of 2013

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013




All you can eat Sunday brunch From 10 to 4 - $16



Colorado Black Arts Festival

Around Town


Denver, CO

July 2013

Hazel Miller at City Park Jazz Photos By Brother Ansar Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


M.O.D.E.L Men

Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams ExcellentEEEEE. Very GoodEEEE.. GoodEEEEEE... FairEEEEEEE.. PoorEEEEEEE.

    No stars

Fruitvale Station 

Bittersweet Biopic Recounts Final Hours in Oscar Grant’s Life


scar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) and his girlfriend, Sophina (Melonie Diaz), were returning to Oakland in the wee hours of the morning after attending a New Year’s Eve 2009 celebration when their crowded train was


stopped by police in response to a report of a disturbance. Oscar was among a number of male passengers ordered onto the platform at Fruitvale Station, where he was initially allowed to sit quietly with his back against the wall. However, he was subsequently ordered to lie on his stomach so that he could be handcuffed and placed under arrest. When he resisted, a struggle ensued during which Oscar could be heard begging not to be Tasered as a cop yelling “bitch-ass [Nword]” forced him to the ground. Another officer pulled out a pistol and proceeded to shoot unarmed Oscar in the back, prompting the mortally-wounded young father to exclaim, “I got a 4 year-old daughter!” The entire incident was captured on a cell phone by a fellow straphanger who posted the video on Youtube, thereby instantly turning the controversial slaying into an international cause célèbre. Had Oscar been callously executed or accidentally killed by a cop who had merely mistaken his .40 caliber weapon for his stun gun? Guilt or innocence, a matter ultimately left for a jury to decide, is not the primary focus of Fruitvale Station. Instead, this bittersweet biopic seeks to humanize the very colorful Oscar Grant by chronicling the serendipitous series of events leading up to his untimely demise. The film unfolds over the course of the last day in the charming 22 year-old’s abbreviated life, a period during which he interacts affectionately with Sophina, their daughter (Ariana Neal), his mother (Octavia Spencer), pals, strangers and other relatives. For instance, we see Oscar inform his disappointed girlfriend that he’s lost his job as a clerk at the local supermarket. Later, he tucks tiny Tatiana into bed and promises to take her to Chuck E. Cheese the next day. And he ominously takes to heart his mom’s erroneous presumption that riding the train would be a lot safer than driving to San Francisco that fateful night. Already winning awards at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals, Fruitvale Station marks the remarkable writing and directorial debut of Ryan Coogler. A recent USC School of Cinematic Arts grad, the gifted 27 year-old exhibits the talents of a seasoned veteran here, crafting a character-driven tale that’s touching and emotionally-engaging without resort to either sentimentality or melodrama. Some of the credit must also go to Michael B. Jordan for his compelling,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


warts-and-all portrayal of Oscar, a complicated soul with perhaps as many positive attributes as faults. The support cast deserves a share of accolades, too, for ensuring that the palpable production, one well-grounded in a sobering, inner-city reality, never hits a false note. Whether Oscar Grant deserves to be remembered as a martyr or a provocateur, this poignant portrait of him as a flawed free-spirit is moving enough to be remembered come Academy Awards season.

Unrated Running Time: 85 minutes Distributor: The Weinstein Company To see a trailer for Fruitvale Station, visit:


Speedy Snail Enters Indy 500 in Family-Oriented Animated Adventure


heo (Ryan Reynolds) is routinely ridiculed by his friends for entertaining what they see as the impossible dream of one day competing in the Indianapolis 500. Even his brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti), suggests that, “The sooner you accept the reality of your existence, the happier you’ll be.” After all, Theo is just your garden variety, suburban snail and thus so slow he can barely get out of the way of a lawnmower or a kid on a tricycle. But that hasn’t stopped him from permanently painting the number “5” and racing stripes right on his shell. Theo whiles away his days dining on tomatoes that have ripened on the vine and fallen to the ground. At night, however, he retreats to his lair to watch TV and see drivers like his hero, Frenchman Guy Gagne (Bill Hader), fly around racetracks at over 200 miles per hour. Everything changes the day Theo is inadvertently sucked into the engine of a passing automobile and accidentally injected with nitrous oxide. By the time he is deposited back on the ground somewhere in the inner city, the slowpoke slug has been transformed into the speed demon, Turbo, thanks to the luminescent laughing gas now coursing through his veins. Soon, the motoring mollusk

becomes the latest internet sensation and is welcomed to the ‘hood by a posse of streetwise slugs led by mellow Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg), trash-talking Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson) and flirtatious Burn (Maya Rudolph). He also finds human benefactors in the kindly co-owners of Dos Bros Tacos, a mobile Mexican restaurant. Not surprisingly, all of the above, including the food cart, make their way from L.A. to Indiana, with altruistic Angelo (Luis Guzman) and Tito’s (Michael Pena) life savings covering the Indy 500 entrance fee. At the track, it’s no surprise that the race ultimately morphs into an exciting showdown between Turbo and his idol, Guy. Marking the masterful directorial debut of David Soren, Turbo is a visually- captivating and inspirational modern parable guaranteed to keep the tykes perched on the edge of their seats for the duration. For, besides its uplifting, overcoming the odds message, the movie fills the screen with a memorable menagerie of colorful characters who keep the laughs coming en route to the satisfying resolution. A hilarious, high-octane variation of Aesop’s fable about The Tortoise and the Hare! Rated: PG for mild action and mature themes Running Time: 96 minutes Distributor: 20th Century Fox To see a trailer for Turbo, visit:

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain 

Hottest Stand-Up Comic Wows Sold-Out Garden in Concert Tour Finale

Move over Chris Rock, Eddie

Murphy, Steve Harvey and Katt Williams, the hottest black comic around right now is Kevin Hart. The diminutive, 5’ 2” funnyman has skyrocketed to the heights of showbiz ladder lately, making myriad memorable performances on both TV and film. This year on TV alone, he’s hosted Saturday Night Live and launched a sitcom spoofing reality shows called Real Husbands of Hollywood. On the big screen, he can currently be caught in the ensemble comedy This Is the End, which comes close on the heels of


hits like Think Like a Man and The FiveYear Engagement. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain is a concert flick featuring the best of his recent concert tour across North America and Europe, with stops at ports-of-call as far afield as Vancouver, Toronto, Oslo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam and Birmingham, England. The film opens at a Mix and Mingle party where a frustrated Kevin finds himself accused of letting success go to his head. That confrontation eventually dissolves into a series of post concert shots all over the world of fawning foreign fans with thick accents gushing about how much they enjoyed his performance. But the bulk of the material was captured on camera in front of a standing room only crowd at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, the final stop on the circuit. Kevin’s irreverent brand of observational humor involves opening up his private life for public scrutiny. Employing the recurring theme, “Don’t judge me, let me explain,” he reflects upon subjects ranging from being happily-divorced (“I cheated. Do I regret it? No!”), to whether he likes dark-skinned girls (Yes), to humping a bean bag while on Ecstasy, to dating advice (“The only thing you don’t want in your house is a female who doesn’t trust you.”). Be forewarned, Kevin curses liberally and gratuitously sprinkles in the N-word occasionally for further dramatic effect. The personal anecdotes he relates are routinely engaging with satisfying payoffs, the only disappointment being that the picture only lasts less than an hour if you subtract all the time devoted to audience reaction shots. Nevertheless, you know a comedian has indeed arrived when his punch lines are periodically punctuated by pyrotechnics on stage. And you know he’s still humble enough to remember where he came from when tears can be seen streaming down his face as he takes bows at Madison Square Garden. Rated: R for sexuality, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity Running Time: 75 minutes Distributor: Summit Entertainment To see a trailer for Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, visit: The Heat 

Bullock and McCarthy Paired as Unlikely Partners in Good Cop-Bad Cop Comedy


BI Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) has been dispatched to

So, don’t be surprised to shed a few tears as the curtain comes down on this two-fisted tale of female empowerment about a pair of polar-opposite lady lawmen who eventually set aside their differences to get their man while forging an enduring friendship worthy of a sequel.

The Heat

Boston where she’s assigned to apprehend a ruthless drug kingpin. However, her boss is concerned about the uptight, 12-year veteran’s horrible habit of rubbing her relatively-relaxed colleagues the wrong way. Sure enough, upon arriving in Beantown, the proper Yale grad manages to irritate her new partner even before they’re formally introduced, when the two have a spat over a spot in a police precinct parking lot. Sarah subsequently meets foul-mouthed Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a hard-nosed city cop working a beat on a rough side of town. They still grudgingly agree to investigate the narcotics case together, and it doesn’t take long for their contrasting law enforcement styles to generate a lot of friction. Nerdy Sarah tends to play it by the book while Dirty Harry-like Shannon could care less about following the rules or respecting suspects’ rights. Nevertheless, they’re soon following a trail of clues that takes them from a seedy nightclub to a rundown tenement to an abandoned warehouse along the waterfront. So unfolds The Heat, a good copbad cop comedy reuniting director Paul Feig with Melissa McCarthy, the relentlessly-raunchy scene-stealer who upstaged the rest of the ensemble in his equally-hilarious Bridesmaids. Here, McCarthy holds her own in a lead role opposite Sandra Bullock, with the pair generating just the right chemistry as terminally-mismatched partners. Though the talented supporting cast includes Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport and Jane Curtin, make no mistake, this flick is all about the witty repartee between the protagonists. Typical is this salty exchange coming in close quarters, where Sarah’s complaint “Your breast is invading my space.” is met by Shannon’s fair warning to “Keep your finger off my areola.” In another scene, Sarah blushes while Shannon plays a game of Russian roulette with a pistol pointed directly at a perp’s gonads. Despite all the bawdy jokes, The Heat is grounded by a sensitive storyline that actually has you investing emotionally in the characters.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Rated: R for violence, crude humor and pervasive profanity Running Time: 117 minutes Distributor: 20th Century Fox To see a trailer for The Heat, visit:

The Conjuring 

Paranormal Investigation Revisited in Fact-Based Horror Flick


n 1952, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) founded the New England Society for Psychic Research. Back then, the couple also began devoting a wing of their home to a museum of occult artifacts they would collect over the course of their long career. Lorraine was a celebrated clairvoyant and medium while her World War II veteran husband was the only nonordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church. As a team, they would investigate thousands of reports of haunted houses over the years, most notably, The Amityville Horror. The Conjuring, directed by James Wan (Saw), revisits one of the Warrens’ lesser-known cases. Set in 1971, the film unfolds in Harrisville, Rhode Island where they were summoned to the secluded, lakefront home of Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lily Taylor). The Perrons had recently moved into the old farmhouse with their five young daughters (Mackenzie Foy, Joey King, Hayley McFarland, Shanley Caswell and Kyla Deaver), initially ignoring several, telltale signs that the place had bad energy, such as their Continued on page 30


Continued from page 29 pet pooch’s refusal to enter the premises. In addition, the smell of rotting meat would periodically permeate the air, and they would awaken every morning to discover that their clocks had stopped running at precisely 3:07 AM. Nevertheless, as optimistic new owners, the Perrons did their best to adjust to the disconcerting disturbances, only to have the supernatural spirit gradually up the ante. Before long, it was shaking paintings off the wall, toying with an antique music box, and knocking loudly three times in the middle of the night, an ostensible insult to the Holy Trinity. Mr. Perron was particularly frustrated by these developments, given that as a truck driver he often had to be away from his family for as long as a week at a stretch. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back arrived when the evil escalated from annoyances to the demonic possession of a loved one. And when the Vatican dragged its feet about sending an exorcist to the scene, the Perrons enlisted the assistance of the Warrens out of sheer desperation. What ensues is a classic battle between God and the devil heavily laden with lots of Christian symbolism. Provided you aren’t offended by an obvious, faith-based agenda suggested by exchanges like “Are you baptized?” “No.” “You might want to rethink that,” this film otherwise proves to be a deceptively-frightening, old-fashioned screamer which does a masterful job of ever so slowly ratcheting up the terror. The most spine-tingling exorcist flick since, well, since The Exorcist! Rated: R for disturbing violence and scenes of terror Running Time: 112 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for The Conjuring, visit: Big Word 

Rap Group Reunites on 2008 Election Day in Dream Deferred Drama t’s November 4, 2008, and Brooklyn is bristling with anticipation about the impending election returns to see whether or not Barack Obama will be the nation’s first AfricanAmerican president. But the magic of the moment is pretty much lost on John aka MC Wordsmith (Dorian Missick), James aka Jay-V (Gbenga Akinnagbe) and


Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


Big Words

Terry aka DJ Malik (Darien SillsEvans), despite the fact that they’re black and hail from the ‘hood. Back in the early Nineties, the three shared a brief promising career as the Down Low Poets, a fledgling hip-hop group which produced a video, two singles and an unreleased album before disappearing from the recordbiz radar. The band disbanded, went their separate ways and lost touch entirely. Today, with Obama poised to make history, we find each consumed by a personal crisis. John has just been laid off from his job as an IT technician. James is now a book publicist in a stagnant relationship and considering seducing his handsome, young intern (Zachary Booth). Only Terry is still an aspiring rap star, and stubbornly refuses to see the handwriting on the wall after a couple of decades squandered desperately trying to make it in the music business. By a twist of fate, their paths cross at an election night party where Obama’s achievement only serves as a distracting backdrop. Proving far more compelling are the personal questions being raised. What are John’s chances with the stripper (Yaya Alafia) he just picked up at a go-go bar? Will out-of-the-closet James’ oncehidden homosexuality remain a block to repairing relationships with his former pals, especially his cousin, John? Will Terry drop the hip-hop moniker, pull up his pants, and get a real job? Written and directed by Neil Drumming, Big Words is a perfectly plausible, character-driven drama with only one glaring flaw. Why bother to set an African-American tale on Election Night 2008, if you plan to give Obama’s triumph such short shrift? A poignant portrait of a very eventful day in the lives of a trio too selfabsorbed to care about who was about to win the White House.

Unrated Running Time: 94 minutes Distributor: AFFRM / Twice Told Films To see a trailer for Big Words, visit:



City And State Leaders Gather To Celebrate Community Turning Point In Denver’s Historic Curtis Park

Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and District 8 Council Member Albus Brooks joined 500 other community members and business leaders to break ground on the site of what will be Mile High United Way’s new home in downtown Denver’s historic Curtis Park. Mayor Hancock heralded the groundbreaking as a “turning point� in the community, marking the beginning of a wider transformation that will benefit the neighborhood’s businesses, families, and residents. The new Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change – funded by a lead gift from the Morgridge Family Foundation – will be located on California St., between Park Ave. West and 24th St. The Anschutz Foundation and the City and County of Denver are among others that provided major gifts in support of the new building. Denver-based PCL Construction will build the new organizational workspace and collaboration center, which is being designed by Davis Partnership Architects, also of Denver. Construction is scheduled for completion in fall of 2014.

Joe Neguse Announces Candidacy For Secretary Of State

“All Colorado citizens have a stake in the direction of our state and each of our voices is important. The right to vote and to directly participate in our democracy is far too important to be a victim of partisan games. This office especially must rise above politics and serve all the people of Colorado,� said Neguse. “As Secretary of State I will work to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their vote and claim their stake in Colorado’s future, and will return transparency and accountability to the office.“

Denver Jazz Festival

Neguse currently practices law as an associate at Holland and Hart, LLP in Denver, where he focuses his practice on employment, commercial litigation and election law, and was selected for inclusion in the 2012 and 2013 Colorado Super Lawyers – Rising Stars list. In 2008, he was elected to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District on the CU Board of Regents. At a press conference, Neguse announced the support of elected officials and community leaders across the State, including U.S. Senators Michael Bennett and Mark Udall, Congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, former Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, Mayor Michael Hancock and Deputy Mayor and CFO Cary Kennedy. Neguse is a first generation American. His parents fled a war-torn country in east-Africa over 30 years ago and eventually settled in Highlands Ranch, where he and his sister were raised. As hard-working naturalized citizens, Neguse’s parents have long valued the freedom and opportunity this great country gave them and their children. Those same opportunities have inspired Neguse to give back through public service. For more information about Joe Neguse,

October 5, 2013 1:30 to 10 PM

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Find A Preschool With DPP’s Online Tool

The Denver Preschool Program’s online find a preschool tool at is a place where parents can check out over 250 preschools at different locations. Preschool descriptions include hours of operation, contact information and the quality ratings of participating preschools. All DPP preschool partners are licensed and undergo a rigorous quality rating and improvement process. All Denver 4-year-olds are eligible for tuition support from DPP, regardless of family income. Find out how much a family can receive with DPP’s online Tuition Credit Calculator. For more information, visit

CBWPA 34th Annual Tribute To Black Women Luncheon

CBWPA announced their 34th Annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon where six Black women and one youth will be honored in the following seven categories - arts, business, community service, education, legends, politics, and youth. Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and CEO of The National Association for Multi-ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC) the premier organization that educates, advocates and empowers for multi-ethnic diversity in the communications industry, will be the keynote speaker. The luncheon will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon, at the Denver Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec St. in Denver. Tickets are $65. For more information, E-mail,, or visit

CBRT Announces Losing Ground Campaign And Community Summit

On July 1 the Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) kicked off a Black community educa-

tion/information campaign on Losing Ground in the Black Community: Civil Rights Gains Lost. This community education effort includes church, business and community literature distribution, phone calls to citizens, mailings and E-mails to Black community organizations and churches, Black church discussions throughout the summer and a Losing Ground Problem Solving Summit on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Manual High School at noon. In addition, CBRT will present the CBRT Civil Rights Pioneer Awards to Wilma and Wellington Webb, Rev. James Peters, Carlotta Walls-Lanier, as well as, Drs. Vincent and Rachel Harding. For more information on the Losing Ground in the Black Community Summer Education/Information Campaign, the September Summit or the Colorado Back Round Table, call 303-745-9649.

Third Annual Urban League Summer White Party Planned For August

The Urban League of Metro Denver’s Summer White Party will be held at The Wellshire Event Center, 3333 South Colorado Blvd., in Denver from 7:30 p.m. to midnight, Friday, Aug. 23. The Summer White Party plays an important role in funding Denver’s legacy organization at the forefront of providing education and workforce development programs to underserved and economically disadvantaged communities. Proceeds from the event will help support Urban League programming for the coming year. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and music by Ron Ivory & Expressions and DJ Cavem. Attire is cocktail white. Tickets are $75 and $85 after Aug. 1. To purchase tickets visit and enter event code: White2013.

For more information on the Summer White Party event, ticket packages and sponsorships, visit or call 303377-2790.

Hope Communities, Inc. Seeks Sites And Volunteers for “2013 Hands For Hope Day”

Hope Communities announced that the 25th annual “Hands For Hope Day” will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21. This annual event attracts more than 100 volunteers who paint, repair and spruce up properties within the Five Points area. Primarily working on homes owned by low-income and/or elderly residents, projects have also included churches, schools, two museums and parks. Hope is actively searching for sites in need to work on. For more information, call Mary Dewey, Project Coordinator at 303860-7747, Extension 135, or E-mail

Family Reunion Event Debuts New Guide To African American Colorado Health Providers

Family fitness is the focus of the games and events of the 6th annual Colorado Black Health Collaborative(CBHC) Family Reunion on Saturday Aug. 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at General’s Park, 1561 Quentin St. in Aurora. Share the fun of small games and activities while enjoying food, music and fellowship along with a few words on keeping healthy and fitness. Health related organizations in attendance have the latest updated information available, to keep you in top shape and well informed on the new treatments, preventions and trends. The new 2013 CBHC Health Providers Directory will be introduced and released at the Family Reunion to those attending the Family Reunion. To insure proper quantities and your space at the free event, RSVP to

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


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Aaron Neville And MC Hammer To Perform At A Taste of Colorado

Grammy award-winning vocalist Aaron Neville will perform on the Main Stage at the 30th annual A Taste of Colorado on Sat., Aug. 31, at 7:30 p.m. Multi-award winning hip-hop artist MC Hammer will perform on the Main Stage at the 30th annual A Taste of Colorado on Sun., Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m. The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment Festival will take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. In addition to the Main Stage, four other entertainment stages located throughout the Festival will serve up a continuous menu of music. More than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments will be selling a wide variety of small portions to full meals. Festivalgoers can shop in more than 280 Marketplace booths. For more information, visit or call 303-295-6330.

Adrian Miller Celebrates Publication Of His First Book

Join Adrian Miller for a community celebration of the publication of his first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. In addition to a book reading and signing, each floor of the venue will have food, drink and music from different time periods in African American history. The event will be held Saturday, Aug., 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. at BlairCaldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton Street in Denver. Admission is free. Copies of Soul Food will be available for $25. For more information and to RSVP, visit or call 303-917-3864.

Continued from page 3 My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we must all learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish as fools. Too many people are dying today for too many reasons, and the race baiting and strife add fuel to the fire which grieves my soul. Again a young American man has perished, another is a public spectacle. Who wins? We must now use this controversy as an opportunity to help educate our future generations as to how to act and how to react in similar situations; then maybe young Trayvon’s death will not be in vain. A profound injustice has occurred in glossing over the death of this young man and the suffering of his family. The not guilty verdict violates the tender nuances of human suffering and the integrity of the criminal justice system in his community. It remains critically-important, however, that all protests against the verdict demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s precious life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced. Let’s face it. If both people in this tragedy were of common ethnicity, there would be no media feeding frenzy. The gun control debate is a smokescreen in that people do use guns to kill other people as Zimmerman did in this case. But guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Yes, sometimes they use guns, but they sometimes use bombs or knives too. We definitely need love control and heart control and nonviolence control. There are murders going on every day that the media overlooks. Remember Tonya Reaves. Millions of Black babies and many of their mothers are being slaughtered in abortion mills. Where is the justice for that? Obviously strife and struggle and conflict were at the base of this case. Two men alone on the street in the dark. A punch is thrown. A gun escalates the trauma and drama. We need a Beloved Community. We need nonviolence conflict resolution. Let us please give a nonviolent response to Trayvon’s family, to Mr. Zimmerman and to America to help to promote healing and to lay the foundation needed to repeal faulty laws that fail to protect our youth, and to further enact other reforms to prevent such tragedies in the future.” Dr. Alveda King Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life


At The Corner Of Justice Peace, Do We Sit Or Do We Stand?

Editor: There are very few tragedies more tragic than the loss of a child. The grief I would feel as a mother of a 28-year old son cannot come close to the endless grief felt by Sybrina Fulton, the mother of 17-year old Trayvon Martin. Despite the outcries for justice, despite the demonstrations and the outrage, and despite the booming sermons of Sunday preachers and the tear-filled wails of African American mothers who routinely feel the sharp pain of injustice, nothing could ever bring Trayvon back. It was this case in a small, stuffy Sanford, Florida courtroom that was supposed to have been at least a finger’s worth of soothing salve to help mend that gnawing pain. That didn’t happen. Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and mother Sybrina Fulton, are now left without any closure. They are left only with the piercing bullet of a bizzare verdict in which a frustrated gun-wielding neighborhood watchman is set free after killing an unarmed teen wielding nothing more than a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced-tea. As the mother of a black man and the aunt of a 2-month old nephew, I can tell you how this most ancient and primal fear sets in after a verdict like this. It is a fear far removed from politics or the pointed calls for civil and human rights. It is the fear of the world they are growing up in. It is a sharp fear we have felt for so many hundreds of years for our black sons, very much like mothers of sons at war who dread that fateful call or knock at the door. Clearly, this particular jury-composed entirely of women-did not imagine this pain. They chose to go nowhere near it, opting instead for the cold formula presented by George Zimmerman’s defense team. And even though it was their duty to apply the laws of Florida to determine this man’s guilt, it was their obligation as human beings to consider who was left alive and who ended up not. How did we suddenly regress as a nation, now in its 237th year and in a 21st century, where we reward shooters with acquittals and victims with either trivial prejudices or spiteful indifference? This is what disturbs me so deeply about the Zimmerman verdict and what it may symbolize about the world we live in today. What does it say about the value of a young black

man’s life? Is that it? Trayvon’s death by the hands of an armed and zealous watchman who had every opportunity to leave the scene is just...unanswered? Our laws and our democratic process demand respect, yet something is truly off when the innocent and unarmed are not afforded the same. How do we reconcile that? I mourn for Trayvon’s parents as a human being. I continue to love my son and cherish every moment with him as a mom....and yes, as a black woman. I pray for this country as one of its proud citizens who still believes in an American where dreams are not permanently deferred. And I cringe as an elected official sworn to protect the state of Colorado, the Constitution and my constituents from injustice. Somewhere in the valley of the shadow of death (that is this verdict) there must be an opportunity for healing. A moment where we can be honest with ourselves about what has happened, but compassionate with each other about how we move forward. We took the first step recently when hundreds of Denverites gathered at Denver City Park’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial statute to memorialize Trayvon Martin. We wanted to show that it really did not have to be in vain. The beauty was in the people from all walks of life: African-American, Latino, White, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Mothers, Sisters, Aunts, Fathers, Advocates and Youth of Colorado. We prayed for and rallied for justice. We talked about the need for EQUALITY in our justice system. We sought a plan to reverse the slow extinction of our African-American males. We charted a path to how we must really invest in our youth, and how we must hold our elected officials accountable. Most importantly, we talked about how we could not only do it peacefully and meaningfully-but we also talked about how we could do it effectively. A whisper in the crowd shrugged and sighed. “I thought we had finally turned the corner”. Instead, we find ourselves simply sitting at the corner of justice waiting for equal treatment. But it’s up to us to decide if we stay there. Angela Williams Colorado State Representative District 7

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013


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Zion Seeks A Church Pianist

Zion Baptist Church is presently seeking a Church Pianist. Must be a dedicated Christian with a strong walk with the Lord; committed to be a team player; reads music; plays gospel, and is comfortable with ALL church music. Must be dedicated to the Pastor, the Music Ministry, the church and most of all to God.

Anyone interested in applying for this position may submit a letter and resume to the church secretary, Sis Kathy Davis at 933 E. 24th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205. Zion Music Ministry Advisory Committee – Frank M. Davis, Pastor.

CCAP Can Help 720.944.KIDS (5437) The Denver Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps eligible families that are working, going to school or looking for a job afford child care. CCAP provides financial assistance for children up to age 13 and special needs youth up to age 19.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2013



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DUS August 2013  

Denver Urban Spectrum August 2013 Issue