Denver Urban Spectrum August 2016

Page 1

Black Philanthropy:

The Fabric of our Community...2 Photo by Flor Blake Photography


August 2016

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Earl Ofari Hutchinson Sydney M. Odion-Smith

Half Staff Flags

Recently, as we took a trip to the Post Office, my young assistant Melovy asked why the United States flag was lowered – unaware of the reason and why President Barack Obama had ordered the flags to half-staff. Although she is only 18 years of age, she is like a sponge absorbing knowledge and realizing what is happening in this country. As a native of Micronesia, she observes the United States through very precocious eyes, an intelligent mind and an open heart. This year she will have the opportunity to vote for the first time. I chuckled when she said, “this will be my first time to vote and look at my choices.” I knew what she meant, like everyone else, but because of the right to vote struggle of our ancestors, we must vote in their honor. There is a lot at stake with this election and I hate to see our First Family leave the White House but I am also happy to see them go. Our next president will follow in the footsteps of all past presidents. I hope they will take only the finest from each of them – starting with President Obama. This month we recognize those who give and why. Our cover story features EPIC – Elevating Philanthropy in Communities of Color and Black philanthropy. Read about the “Four T’s” and find out if you fit the bill as a philanthropist. Managing editor Laurence Washington met with Hassan Latif and shares how he gives through his Second Chance Center in Aurora. So in spite of all the taking (of lives), and other negative issues we see on a day-to-day basis, there are still good-hearted people in the world. After telling Melovy that the flags were lowered to honor the victims of the police officers in Baton Rouge, LA., I assumed from her surprise that that was not the case in her homeland. And hopefully that will never be the case – making so much more of a reason to adhere to Ted Cruz’s message of ‘Vote Your Conscience’ when you head to the polls in November.


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Bond Melovy Melvin Deborah Radman Laurence C. Washington ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix


MARKETING & SALES CONSULTANT Marie Weatherspoon DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2016 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

Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

On the cover: Cockwise from bottom left: Kathryn Kaiser, Kim Kaiser, LaDawn Sullivan, Nneka McPhee, LaRae Scott Jennings, Matthew Burkett, Khadija Haynes, Mary Haynes, Javon Brame, Denise Burgess, Wanda P. Jones, Elijah Ross, Al Cooper; Center, left to right: Myra Donovan, Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Eddie Koen


Justice Means Cleaning Up Denver’s Air Pollution Editor: Summer is here, and that means more poor air quality days brought on by summer ozone and wildfires. As a physician who has devoted my career to improving public health, I know that air pollution isn’t just a nuisance; it can be lethal. While higher levels of air pollution on hot summer days are harmful to everyone’s health, they are particularly dangerous for the nearly 13,000 children and nearly 44,000 adults in the Denver area who suffer from asthma. Air pollution can cause asthma attacks and can mean more trips to the hospital. What’s more, air pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and even early death. Low-income communities often suffer elevated rates of asthma, diabetes and chronic cardiovascular disease, making their disproportionate exposure to air pollution an additional severe strain on the ability to lead healthy, productive lives. I see the health impacts of air pollution often ranging from respiratory issues on days with high ozone levels to worsened asthma symptoms on days with severe particulate pollution. This is especially concerning considering the fact that climate change is already complicating efforts to reduce air pollution. High temperatures and dry conditions increase wildfires in Colorado, which increases particulates in the air, and warming temperatures provide ideal conditions for smog or ozone formation. Climate change also has a signifi-

cant affect on communities of color. A landmark survey conducted by the National Medical Association found that 88 percent of African-American physicians are seeing a sharp increase in patients from minority and lowincome communities with climaterelated health problems, such as injury, asthma, heat stroke, and cardiovascular disease. I’m not alone in my concern for the Denver-Metro area, which too often finds itself under a blanket of smog and soot without adequate protection. Many of my associates are profoundly distressed by the effect that air pollution and climate change have on human health. Although we now reluctantly prescribe more medication to patients who have allergies and asthma, an inhaler is simply not a sufficient weapon to stave off the harmful side effects of climate change. Despite the fact that significant progress is being made in Denver and around the country to clean up the air we breathe, more work clearly needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable among us. Our state leaders must take action today to ensure the air is safe to breathe in every community—especially if Governor Hickenlooper is committed to making sure Colorado has the cleanest air in the nation. This includes addressing climate change by supporting the Clean Power Plan, and continuing the cleanup of dangerous sources of air pollution by supporting the more protective ozone standard adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Both the Clean Power Plan and the more protective ozone standard will lead to less

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


soot and smog-forming pollution, improving health outcomes for everyone, including low-income families and Black and Latino children. Waiting to take action means more unneeded disease and death right here in our own backyard. This is not a risk we can take.

Sheila Davis Denver

Editor’s note: Sheila Davis, MD is a physician and Acting Director of the Healthcare Leadership Program at the University of Denver

Pro Athletes Need To Support Community

Editor: As a sports fan I have noticed that Black superstar athletes like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Von Miller and many others tend to be the main reason their teams have won championships for their cities. You also cannot ignore the hundreds of millions, if not billions, these players generate for their cities and surrounding areas. The economic impact from restaurants, bars and local stores is incredible. My question is how much of that piece of pie goes to any Black businesses? The Broncos have been a powerhouse in the NFL for a long time, but is any of that money generated for the city of Denver ever trickling down to any Black owned business in Colorado? Has the local NAACP, Black Chamber or Urban league ever discussed this concern? I had a friend who tried to do business with the NFL, but was immediately shot down and locked out by them. Just saying?

G.W. - Concerned Black American

Black Philanthropy:

Elijah Ross (2nd from left) with fellow nonprofit interns


lijah Ross may not be the first person to come to mind when you think of a philanthropist. At 19, the sophomore at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is just beginning his academic career. It will probably be many years before Ross has an established profession and a network that will allow him to make meaningful financial contributions to nonprofit organizations whose work he admires. He’s not a donor, yet. However, Ross is a philanthropist — among a new generation of leaders who carry on a long legacy of giving within the African-American community — in both old and new ways. What Ross gives is his time, his abundant energy. As a student at Eagle Crest High School, he was a member of the Kappa League. Today, he is a recipient of a scholarship from the Delta Eta Boule fraternity, a men’s organization, and serves as a nonprofit summer intern with The Denver Foundation. “I’m where I am, right now, because of all those who gave to me, many who are sitting right here today,” he says of the group featured on the cover of this month’s Denver Urban Spectrum. “I want to get to a place where I am able to give back and also help those who come after me.” August is Black Philanthropy Month – a chance to reflect on the legacy and impact of AfricanAmerican giving across the country


in Many Fabrics By Laura Bond

Photos by Flor Blake Photography

The Time Givers

and in Colorado. In Metro Denver, families, faith-based congregations, organizations, and generous individuals have kept giving traditions alive for decades. Denver Delta Eta Boule, which has roots that date to 1921, has distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships for rising AfricanAmerican men since 1998. The Denver Chapter of The Links, Inc., an AfricanAmerican women’s organization formed in 1952, has contributed more than one million dollars and more than 325,000 hours of community service to organizations and activities that work to enrich the lives of others. And the many African-American sororities, fraternities, organizations, and groups who invest countless hours, expertise and financial contributions for the betterment of the Greater Metro Denver community shows that Black philanthropy is alive, active, and expanding in traditional and nontraditional ways. Nationally, giving among AfricanAmericans is increasing among members of Generation X and Millennials as nonprofits and foundations learn to engage them in new, culturally relevant ways. Excitingly, the definition of what it means to be a “philanthropist” is broadening to include all of the ways that individuals and families make positive contributions to their communities – now and in the future. When you think of philanthropy, think of the “Four T’s.” There are four types of philanthropic gifts: Gifts of Time, volunteerism and service work; Gifts of Talent, mentoring, lending expertise, and nurturing leaders; Gifts of Treasure, financial gifts including donations, tithes, and investments; and Gifts of Testimony, sharing traditions and news about important work and its impact, calling others to action. Here, we celebrate individuals who exemplify the spirit and inclusive nature of Black Philanthropy in Metro Denver. Some come from families with established histories of giving. Others, like Elijah Ross, are helping to widen the gates of giving to all who have something to contribute.

In her 25 years as a financial planner, Myra Donovan has helped hundreds of African American clients manage and grow their money. A volunteer professional advisor to The Denver Foundation, Donovan gives by sharing what she knows — and leveraging assets for the greater good. Mary, Khadija and Happy Haynes with Denise Burgess (2nd from right)

For the Haynes sisters – Allegra, Khadija and Mary – giving through service is a family affair. Their mother, Anna Jo Haynes, is a member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, a founder of the Head Start program, and a legendary advocate for children in Denver. Today, her daughters contribute to the community in a myriad of ways. Allegra, better known as “Happy,” is a lifelong public servant with a passion for children’s issues. She has distinguished herself as a member of both City Council and the Denver Public Schools board; a cofounder of Mile High Youth Corps, and a Denver Link. She also served as a liaison to former Denver Mayor

has also donated time and expertise to the United Church of Montbello, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, Colorado Black Roundtable, Colorado Black Arts Movement, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Montbello Organizing Committee, and many more. For Mary, education is her focal point of service. A graduate of East High School and Stanford University, she helped first-generation college students get into and get through her Ivy League alma mater. She enjoys watching the successes of more than 3,000 Daniels Fund Scholarship recipients which she’s managed for 16 years. Mary has served on many boards including Metro Volunteers, Judi’s House, and the Mental Health Center of Denver. All of these busy women make time to serve; they are philanthropists.

The Talent Givers

In a giving circle, people with similar visions and backgrounds come together to amplify their collective impact. It’s a new trend in philanthropy — and it’s growing in Denver, thanks to the efforts of some very talented young leaders. Formed in 2012 in partnership with The Denver Foundation, Denver African-American Philanthropists (DAAP) is the largest men’s giving circle in the West. Each year, its members provide funding, mentorship, and support to organizations that support children and other vulnerable populations.

Eddie Koen and fellow DAAP members present grant check.

Federico Peña. Khadija has been involved with so many civic and community organizations that even the partial list is long. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Two of DAAP’s members — Javon Brame and Eddie Koen — share a brotherhood in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. This year, they also share Continued on page 4

Senators Bennet and Booker Meet with Denver Youth

Photo by Derek Dash U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

By Alexis Crews

In June, Senator Michael Bennet

traveled around Denver with New

Senators toured the gymnasium, the computer lab, and stopped by the reading room to participate in a reading of The Book Scavenger with the kids. Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver serves 2,000 kids on a daily basis and is comprised of 15 clubs. The Vickers Center opened in 2013 on the site of the previous Holly Square Shopping Center which had been destroyed by a gang-related fire in 2008. The club serves 250 youth per day. The Senators highlighted important community issues like gun reform, criminal justice reform, and access to education and housing.

Jersey Democratic Senator Cory

Booker to meet with local community members, visit a local elementary

school, and tour Vickers Boys and

Girls Club. The Senators began the day at Stedman Elementary School to highlight the school’s summer breakfast program and their work to ensure all kids have access to healthy meals during the summer months. The senators enjoyed a nutritious breakfast, complete with fresh fruit, with almost 100 students and their families. During the school year, programs like the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program provide healthy meals to more than 375,000 kids in Colorado and millions more across the country. However, in the summer, ensuring low-income kids have access to nutritious meals is more challenging. That’s why Bennet and Booker are both cosponsors of the bipartisan Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act. Their bill would improve summer child nutrition programs and help more hungry kids’ access summer meals by allowing eligible families to receive up to $30 per summer month to purchase food items and by giving states the flexibility to provide summer meals in certain areas without requiring kids to travel to a specific site or to eat the meal there. Many of the provisions based on the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act were approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee earlier this year. Following their school visit, the senators held a meeting with community leaders to hear about local concerns firsthand. They discussed important local issues including discrimination, social justice, and increasing access to capital for the minority business community. Later, Bennet and Booker toured Vickers Boys and Girls Club led by a group of young student leaders. The

Elevating Philanthropy in Communities of Color - EPIC The Denver Foundation is pleased to partner with the Denver Urban Spectrum to celebrate Black Philanthropy Month in its August issue. The Denver Foundation provides services and tools to support African American donors, helping their passions become realized through philanthropic gifts of time, talent, treasure, and testimony. Through EPIC, and with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, The Denver Foundation will continue its support of the existing and emerging acts of philanthropy in communities of color. EPIC Objectives:

• Recognize and grow philanthropy in communities of color • Connect philanthropists of color with tools, education, and resources • Bring together committed donors of color to build relationships and impact positive community change


Visit or call 303.300.1790 to find out how you can get involved.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Black Philanthropy

Continued from page 2 DAAP’s commitment to addressing systemic issues faced by Black males. The group recently awarded grants to the National Black Child Institute (Denver Affiliate) and Second Chance, Inc., which helps formerly incarcerated men and women find footing in society. Brame, a Denver native, is guided by a quote from Maya Angelou: “When you get, give.� Koen, a member of The Denver Foundation Board of Trustees, is an entrepreneur who uses his business savvy and his law degree from Harvard, to support a number of organizations including the Rocky Mountain Black Economic Summit and Denver Health. Nneka McPhee of SPIN and Eddie Koen of DAAP

When women come together in circles, powerful things happen. That’s clear from the work of Nneka McPhee, co-founder (with Tanaka Shipp) of Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs (SPIN), a women’s giving circle, also housed at The

Denver Foundation. Since its founding in 2014, SPIN has grown to 13 members and generated more than $5,000 in gifts for Florence Crittenton High School and families in needs. LaRae Scott Jennings, an educator with Girls, Inc. of Metro Denver and a graduate of Chamber Connect, is one of SPIN’s newest members. For their skill in building networks and collective impact and engaging more people of color in all kinds of giving, Brame, Koen, McPhee and Shipp are philanthropists.

The Testifiers

Boule Brothers Al Cooper and Jim Kaiser

Denver, Western Fantasy, Mount Saint Vincent, Denver Chapter of The Links, Inc., Delta Eta Boule, Executive Leadership Council, and The Denver Foundation’s Civic and Education Advisory Committee. The Kaisers give generously through a Denver Foundation donor-advised fund, and their daughter, Lauren, is learning the ropes. Born and raised in Five Points, Matthew Burkett considers himself a serial entrepreneur, a title borne out by the many businesses he’s developed in real estate, technology, and software through the Flyfisher Group. He put his business savvy to brilliant use in 2006, when he redeveloped Lincoln Hills, a historic African-American resort in Black Hawk, Colorado. Today, Lincoln Hills Cares welcomes 5,000 children to the property each year and provides $5 million in grants to youth organizations including Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, YMCA, cityWILD, and ELK. Over the years, Burkett has employed more than 800 people from the Five Points area, including 40 youth during the summer, and has donated $130,000 in scholarships. The White Rose Foundation is yet another powerful African-Americanwomen-led philanthropic organization supporting efforts in the Metro Denver African-American community. Founded in 2007 by the Denver Chapter of The Links, Inc., its current president Wanda Pate Jones was the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board for 27 years. “After retiring a year ago, I decided to dedicate a good amount of my time to the White Rose Foundation. I want to see the organization’s endowment grow so we can do even more,� Pate Jones says. For providing nonprofits, servMatthew and Priya ice organizations, Burkett and family and youth with funds to pursue their missions and dreams, and for passing down the importance of responsible sharing their treasure, Burgess, the Kaisers, Burkett and all members of the White Rose Foundation, are philanthropists.

Givers Of Treasure

For Denise Burgess, nurturing the next generation of philanthropists starts with her family. A member of The Denver Foundation’s Board of Trustees as well as a fund holder, Burgess is teaching her daughter, now a college student, about the responsibilities and rewards of being a donor and steward of charitable gifts. A former member of Jack and Jill of America, Denise supports STEM/STEAM education and programs for girls of color. Giving is also a family value for Kathryn and Jim Kaiser, who have made philanthropy and service a cornerstone of their 25 years in Denver. Between them, they have been involved with scores of organizations including the Assistance League of

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Al Cooper, as the president of Delta Eta Boule’s Denver chapter, has no shortage of stories to illustrate the organization’s work. Each of its 52 members is very active in the community, and serves as board members and volunteers for dozens of organizations. One of those success stories is about the Delta Eta Boule Institute for Professional Development, a program created by Al, in partnership with Jim Kaiser. Through the Institute, young men who receive four-year college scholarships are paired with Delta Eta Boule members, who mentor them over the four-years while preparing for the “world of professional competition.� This invaluable person-toperson mentorship not only supports the success of each young man, it creates a pipeline for leadership in philanthropy. LaDawn Sullivan spends most of her time speaking, thinking, writing and educating others about how to engage people of color in philanthropy — and how to celebrate African American philanthropy. Sullivan is the president of the Denver Chapter of the Links, Inc., as well as, Director of Community Leadership for The Denver Foundation, where she oversees the initiatives to expand inclusiveness and racial equity, the Strengthening Neighborhoods Program, and the EPIC Initiative to Elevate Philanthropy in Communities of Color. This month, EPIC’s funding has been renewed for three more years, by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In Sullivan’s words, this time will help EPIC “dispel the myth that people of color are only on the receiving side of philanthropy. We, too, are givers, and leaders in the supply side of philanthropy.� She says, “We need to elevate the vibrant history and tradition of varied ways giving happens within African-American communities. The ‘face of philanthropy’ is colorful and different from what many people think it is.� For sharing stories and powerful messages that invite dialogue and inspire action, Cooper and Sullivan, are philanthropists, too.


State of the City Community Letter

Over the past year, the city we are so proud of – our great city – has enjoyed significant success. Historic success. Denver employs more people than ever before. In five years, we’ve helped create nearly 60,000 jobs and lower unemployment to 3.3 percent. We’ve restored the fiscal health of our city and our reserves are now at a solid 20 percent. We’re driving improvements that will keep our city uniquely Denver – active and vibrant – for generations to come. We’re strengthening Denver as a hub of education, culture and tourism. And this is all while the metro region is growing by 4,500 new residents every month. Today, during my annual State of the City Address, I was pleased to report that our city has never been stronger. Over the previous 12 months, we have: 1). Increased mobility choices. With new rail lines, more bike lanes, additional on-demand car-and ride-share services, and the new Go Denver smart-phone app, residents now have more safe, reliable and accessible mobility options. 2.) Provided more affordable housing. Through investments, loans, mortgage assistance and a new construction defects ordinance, Denver is working to keep housing affordable. Since I issued my “3x5 Challenge” to create 3,000 affordable units in five years, more than 1,800 affordable homes have been built and 1,000 more are in the pipeline. 3). Improved services for those in need. The city debuted an innovative supportive housing program for 250 chronically homeless people, opened a day center for the homeless, and began teaming mental-health professionals with patrol officers. We also established the Office of Financial Empowerment to support low-income residents.4). Delivered on projects that will create thousands of jobs. We advanced several major projects that will provide thousands of local jobs for local residents and strengthen Denver for generations to come. These projects include the opportunity for new businesses at DIA, an expansion of the Colorado Convention Center, development of a nearly 300-acre National Western Center, and a reimagined downtown Performing Arts Complex. 5). Continued major law enforcement reforms. The Sheriff’s Department instituted major reforms and new policies and training for all deputies. The Police Department continued to reassess policies and procedures, strengthen relationships with diverse communities, and increase accountability by equipping all patrol officers with body cameras. But our work is far from over. For too many Denver residents, the benefits of a strong economy remain out of reach, and too many neighborhoods remain overlooked and underserved. To connect more Denver residents, businesses and neighborhoods to the prosperity that Denver is experiencing, we’ve laid out an aggressive agenda that focuses on connecting everyone to more opportunities and empowering all Denver residents to succeed: 1). We will establish a new Office of HOPE – Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere – to better coordinate city policies along the entire homeless to housing spectrum. With this new office and the city’s first permanent affordable housing fund, details of which will be announced tomorrow, we will maintain a laser focus on keeping Denver affordable and accessible for all. 2). The city will “ban the box” asking about criminal backgrounds on many job applications, start a work program for the homeless, and focus on connecting people to local jobs through workforce training and public-sector construction projects. I also am supporting a proposal that would increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. 3). With a goal of delivering mobility freedom to all Denver residents and neighborhoods, we will continue to improve transportation services and infrastructure citywide. This means stronger partnerships with RTD and CDOT, deploying new technologies to improve traffic flow, enhancing more crosswalks and sidewalks, installing more bike lanes, and increasing safety through our commitment to Vision Zero. 4). With a focus on West, North and Northeast Denver, my administration will work closely with many partner organizations to stem the tide of gentrification and displacement while continuing to invest in overlooked and underserved communities. To kick-start this work, we will create two economic opportunity zones that will strengthen our 21st century economy while providing local jobs for local residents. 5). Equipped with data that tells us where our families need more support, and through the work of Denver’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, we will provide tools that empower families to create their own path to success. 6). We will continue to win our future through two additional initiatives: the issuance of our next neighborhood-focused, citywide General Obligation bond in 2017, and the community-based Denveright effort to update the city’s land use, mobility, parks and recreation master plans. We must reach higher and dream bigger. We must aspire to help everyone, to knock down barriers and create pathways and opportunities where today there are only roadblocks and obstacles. That is the kind of city we must be. It’s the kind of city I know we can be. We will lean in. We will never give up. And we will succeed, all of us, together. Respectfully,

Michael B. Hancock Mayor

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016



Making a Difference Four years

By Laurence Washington

ago, Hassan Latif had a vision and a plan to help…no that’s not quite fair, to empower and shepherd former incarcerated individuals, such as himself to successfully transition themselves back into their communities. “I came out of prison not knowing what life could hold for me,” Latif says. “I was gone for almost 18 years.” Latif worked in the reentry field for Turnabout, an organization founded 25 years earlier as a homeless initiative, which eventually became a reentry program for formerly incarcerated individuals. “But the board decided to change direction as far as their community outreach,” Latif says, “so that program was going to be closed. A Brand New Day

Enter the Second Chance Center, 9722 E. 16th Ave. in Aurora, a nonprofit reentry program founded by Latif in February of 2012. Latif says during his tenure as a case manager for Turnabout, he observed too many people continually going back to prison. “Even though opportunity had been presented for training, and people had found jobs with sometimes a livable wage, they were still going back,” Latif explains. “I saw these gaps that I thought could be filled by doing things differently and improving the outcome for folks coming out of prison.” So Latif embarked on a mission to put together an agency and a team who could best address some of these issues. “The first year was spent in my car basically begging my way into halfway houses and groups for free, begging my way into prisons to do transition planning sessions with people who were preparing to come out.” On April 1, 2013, Latif was brought on as sub-grantee from a Department of Labor grant through It Takes a

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Village, another non-profit organization. Armed with a little financial flexibility, Latif was able to hire his first two employees Sean Taylor, who had caught a life sentence at age 17, and did 22 years before then Governor John Ritter commuted his sentence as the result of the work he was doing inside the prison, and Adam Abdullah, who did 33 years and three months consecutively in a federal prison. “So if you think people are wondering what is that guy up to when it was just me driving around in my car,” Latif says. “People were really wondering, what are those guys up to when the three of us got together.” For the first couple of years, Latif, Taylor and Abdullah did a lot of work in the Denver metro-area contacting employers and promoting their clients and the tax breaks employers would receive by hiring formerly incarcerated persons. “But we also wanted to find out what would make our people more attractive to employers,” Latif says, “so that we can adjust our job prep.” Under The Microscope

In just three years, Second Chance has grown to be the preeminent reentry agency in Colorado, with a staff of nine, according to Latif. He punctuates the point that Second Chance has been under a microscope since its inception. Underlining the fact that the benefit of such scrutiny affords organizations a chance to see what they do: •Job preparation – Vocational training and education assistance •Mentoring – Group and one-onone secessions help clients envision their future and what they can achieve •Transportation Assistance – RTD passes provided to get back and forth to work, to school and parole visits •Pre-release and Patrol Plan Development – Provide mentoring in facilities and assessment of the client’s risk •Cognitive Restructuring – Group meetings to help clients learn new skills and challenge criminal thinking •Addictions Counseling – Weekly group and individual counseling sessions So Does The Program Work? Latif says there are a lot of things to gage the effectiveness of their work. “The Department of Labor grant is primarily a vocational grant for folks who are still in halfway houses and people who are on intensive supervised patrol – which is ankle bracelets and those on house arrest. We call that BCPC (Break Through Path Ways Collaborative); we do that with a few other agencies in Colorado and the Denver metro-area. There’s a data system that collects all that information on those program participants.

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“We have a lot of people who fall between the gaps,” Latif says. “One grant is for those on parole, a medium to high risk. Another one is for men and women in halfway houses. But we have people coming out who are low risk and don’t fit either of those grants.” Latif adds Second Chance have people coming out of prison under mandatory release dates who are not going to halfway house, or on parole. So they do not fit either one of those grants. We have a larger number of people who are not grant eligible,” Latif says, “but we still find a way to service them. We are right around 2,000 people who have come through. We see about 900 people a month.” “As far as retention,” Latif says, “we’re looking for ways to continue to track folks – even after they don’t need our services. We think this is important. To that end, we invited a group called the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center, which was begun by the Anschutz Medical Center, to fund and evaluate our program with an eye towards replicating it in other communities of need.” Latif adds when it comes to retention numbers, Second Chance is tracking employment rates, of which they have the highest for its participants, and they are tracking recidivism rates, of which they have the lowest in the state. “Our recidivism rates are around 11 percent over the course of these last three years,” he says, “and we’re tracking the education, that’s GED or vocational training that result in a state or industry recognized certification. We’re doing well in those areas.” Latif says they are not framing the evaluation and are not involved with the process with the exception of making Second Chance’s data system and records available. “We want them to say what it is about our program,” Latif says. “We already think we know what works.

and half years. However, that all changed with the closing of Turnabout. “I started thinking, ‘What does that actually mean?’” Latif says. “Two things I came up with were, start writing this book and finish what you started. The second one was I had seen these gaps, and I had ideas as

Second Chance clients

We want some official entity to do that, and to tell the world basically what it is that’s working about this.” Latif adds, “We think what we do is quite a bit different. One of the biggest elements in the reentry program is our mentoring curriculum.” Second Chance’s mentoring curriculum is based on Latif’s book, Never Going Back: 7 Steps to Staying Out of Prison. “It’s also been adopted to supplement prerelease classes in DOC (Department of Corrections) in Colorado and in other states as well.” Own Your Own Crap Latif had started writing Never Going Back: 7 Steps to Staying Out of Prison four years prior to completing it, and hadn’t written a page in two

to what could be done a little differently, and so stop being afraid to do it and to step up and try to get it done.” The first step in Latif’s book is accountability – own your own crap. “In our population, a lot of times, that’s a big step,” he says. “It needs to be the first step. It puts an end to

blaming others for your condition. And it accepts responsibility for poor decision making. We think that is an empowering thing. If you messed your life up so bad with poor decisions, then you should have an opportunity to make it just that good, with a change in your decision making process.” Latif says what’s difficult for most people in general is the second step called Baggage Dump. He emphasizes those are the things people carry through life from one experience to another. It impacts how they process information how they interact in their relationships with others. “It’s life management stuff,” he says. “Each one of those steps requires a person to really dig, and to really make personal investments. The quality of someone’s transition is directly related to their personal investment. “When we started this program,” Latif says, “a lot of people were thinking it’s just a bunch of ex-cons coddling a bunch of ex-cons. “But we hold our folks accountable, because we know you have to walk this thing in a certain way to be successful. You have to be honest, you have to be accountable, you have to have some integrity about the things that you do. You can’t cut a lot of corners. And this is a lot of what our curriculum is addressing.” Editor’s note: Never Going Back: 7 Steps to Staying Out of Prison is available @ and from the Second Chance Center, 9722 E. 16th Avenue in Aurora.


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$ 49 Medium Iced Coffee Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Skip Reeves

Celebrates 10 Years of Funking It Up By Laurence Washington


&B has come back to Denver. Full Blown! One might say that Denverite Skip Reeves had more than just a hand in the genre’s second coming. “Being in Denver, you might remember the R&B music scene was virtually dead in town,” Reeves says. “Especially in the mid-2000s, it was just dead.” Reeves, a former drummer for old school artists such as the Drifters, Platters, Marvelettes, Buddy Miles, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, had an idea in the mid-90s to launch an unconventional R&B radio station in the Mile-High City. While traveling to gigs, Reeves would listen to R&B radio stations, and listen hard. “I started getting bored quickly with the radio stations,” he says. “It didn’t matter what city I went to, I basically heard the same old songs, same old format and same old personalities trying to sound like they were cool. I really got tired of it.” Reeves’ epiphany came in 1996 while traveling with the band Sundance and the Music and Blues, the rhythm section for the Marvelettes at that time. While driving from Denver to Las Vegas, Reeves as usual was listening to the radio thinking “Here we go with this old radio stuff,” but thought if he could ever do his own show, his playlist would expand three or five cuts deep into the releases, and stay away from the hits. “I’m going to play the cuts that everyone knows on the album, but you never hear on the radio,” he thought. “And I’m also going to add independent artists who never get an opportunity for airplay on a major radio network.” However, Reeves plans took a slight detour, as he ended up doing a community television children’s show called “Big Mouth and Knucklehead,” which admittedly had a pretty good run for several years. “I love to read,” Reeves says, “so we promoted literacy through our television show. When the television show ran out, somebody suggested I take our show over to Radio Disney.” The Disney gig lasted about a year as Radio Disney fell by the wayside.

However, working for Disney afforded Reeves the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scene in radio – and he liked it. So Reeves shopped his idea around to several local radio stations, who listened to his pitch. But with dusty memories of KDKO, Denver’s premiere soul radio station to rely on, they didn’t think R&B would sell again in Denver. In September 2005, close friend Charles Dotson asked Reeves if he listened to jazz on KUVO 89.3? “I said, ‘No, I’m not a huge fan of old jazz,’” Reeves says. Dotson told Reeves that KUVO does specialty shows on weekends and he should talk to them about his idea of doing an R&B show. “I emailed the music director asking to meet with him,” Reeves says. “I explained the format to him in detail, and he said, ‘Oh man that will work. But you have to get the support of the program director.’” KUVO’s program director and the general manager also agreed that the show would work. “In November 2005, KUVO agree to give me a show called A Funk

Above The Rest,” with a slot time from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday night,” Reeves says. He was told that it might take awhile to build up an audience, because his target listeners are probably in clubs or chilling somewhere. However, within a matter of months, A Funk Above The Rest gained momentum. Three weeks after launching the show, a friend told Reeves that he was single-handedly getting ready to reintroduce R&B back into the Denver market. “I said, ‘I’m just trying to play music I want to hear and music I know other people want to hear,’” Reeves replied. “There was a huge void of R&B and funk music in the air waves in this town.” “Once I started doing the radio show,” Reeves says, “I then started doing A Funk Above The Rest at Jazz@Jacks every Tuesday. Then I started reaching out to independent artists all over the world to play their music and do interviews on my radio show.” In 2009, Reeves brought the R&B group Slave to Jazz@Jacks. Feeling the vibe, Reeves asked larger music and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


concert venues to partner up with him to bring old school R&B bands to Denver, but was told there is no money in R&B. “So I hooked up with various other people, sought investors and started bringing shows to town,” he says. Reeves brought in Cameo and other R&B bands, but says his crowning achievement for he and his friend Cedric Pride was bringing Frankie Beverly to the Mile-High City. A lot of promoters tried to bring Frankie Beverly and couldn’t get it done,” Reeves says. With the success of Jazz@Jacks, Frankie Beverly and A Funk Above The Rest, Reeves started syndicating his show on internet radio in 2008. He then approached other internet stations. Friends and associates told Reeves he was wasting his time on internet. “Well, look where it is now,” he says. “There are internet stations now that have more listeners, than terrestrial stations. Currently, I have my show on 40 stations between terrestrial and digital. I’m heard all the way around the world.” Today, A Funk Above The Rest can be heard on public radio KGNU and digital radio KZKO. And if you miss his live show, listeners can download podcast. Reeves says one of the things that helped his station grow, was he played music by independent artists. “You play Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores and then you play an independent artist, then James Brown and Stylistics and then they, the independents, would promote me on their websites. This month Reeves is celebrating the 10th anniversary of A Funk Above The Rest on Aug. 20, with a concert at the Adams County Fair Grounds featuring The Whispers, The Dazz Band, Slave, Regina Belle and other old school artists. “Adams County Fair Grounds want me to do this every year,” he says. “They have already reserved a date for next year. Now I’ll be able to get some major companies to sponsor it.” Reeves admits that he’s had help and support along the way. “People told me that it wouldn’t work, but I always knew in my heart that it would.”

Why Black Lives Matter To Me There are deathbed con-

By Adam Vogal

versions. I was there for one. The day before he died in 2003, I asked my grandfather what was the greatest thing he had done in his 86 years of life. He thought for less than a second, and said, “I saved a Black man’s life in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” My grandfather was a Navy sailor during WWII and as far as I had always known, a lifelong racist. As he spoke, I was startled that he said, “Black man.” He did not use any derogatory phrases to describe the man he had saved nor the pilots who sunk his ship. The n-word and the term “Jap,” that I had been accustomed to him using all during my childhood, were missing throughout his entire description of his ship being sunk by Kamikaze pilots. But now he was facing his end. Things changed rapidly. As he described his part in saving the Black sailor when they hit the water, and the battle that led up to it, I could see the new pride he felt in his heroic actions. I could also see the acceptance that at the end of his life, he knew he had been wrong in his thinking about others. The greatest thing he did, in his entire life, was to save someone he despised only because their skin color differed from his. My grandfather, at that moment, became more of a teacher to me than he had ever been. I became my grandfather’s witness. Facing his own imminent death, he clearly recognized that the way he had chosen to be in the world was not the way he wished he would have been. I saw him comprehending that the choices he had made to create separation from other human beings were ones that he now regretted, immensely. In his words, I saw him trying to enlighten me to the importance of not having regrets about the way I treat other people when I come to the end of my life. Thanks to the instruction of my grandfather that day, I take up the cause of #blacklivesmatter today because I believe in the equality and equity of all human beings. I believe

that every person, without exception, deserves the dignity and restorative justice that will create the world we all deserve to live in. I believe that black and brown bodies are equal to white bodies and should be honored and preserved in the same way by a police force that takes an oath to do so. We can honor Black lives and honor white lives. We can respect Back lives, white lives, and the police officers that take an oath to protect them all. If you don’t think this is possible, I direct you to Wichita, Kansas, where Black Lives Matter and the police picnic together, reifying these very possibilities.

I offer this to you today because we need to do better as we act and react with one another in these uncertain times. Don’t wait until your deathbed. Be bold, be brave now. Editor’s Note: Adam Vogal, Associate Editor of PeaceVoice, is a Conflict Resolution master’s candidate at Portland State University.


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The Spirituals Project Has a New Home and New Leadership


Award-Winning Organization Joins the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music

amont School of Music director Nancy Cochran and The Spirituals Project founder and Chair Emeritus Arthur C. Jones have announced that The Spirituals Project will be moving to the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts where the award-winning organization will become part of the University of Denver’s nationally known music performance school. In making the announcement, Director Cochran commented, “We are delighted to have the Spirituals Project become a part of the Lamont School of Music. It will serve to increase our outreach into the community and enhance our ongoing initia-

tives to expand the horizons of our students and faculty.” This September, Arthur C. Jones will join the Lamont School of Music faculty after serving as chair of the Spirituals Project board, as a clinical professor in the university’s Psychology Department for 18 years, and subsequently as a clinical professor and associate dean at DU’s Colorado Women’s College for seven years. “I am thrilled by this development which advances substantially the University of Denver’s (more) commitment to diversity, inclusion and community engagement,” Jones said. “This also ensures the long term sustainability of The Spirituals Project, which is one of Denver’s treasured cultural resources,” Dr. Jones has presented solo concerts, lectures and workshops on spirituals throughout the United States, and he is the author of the award-winning book, Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals, now in its third edition.

Current Spirituals Project director Daryl J. Walker will turn over leadership of the Project to M. Roger Holland, II who was recently selected after a nationwide search and will also join the Lamont faculty. Holland is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City where he received the master of divinity degree and served as Artist-inResidence and director of the seminary Gospel Choir for more than 13 years. He received a master’s degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music and completed his undergraduate work at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where he majored in music education with a concentration in piano and voice. While at Westminster he founded and conducted a student group called The Collegiate Ensemble with a repertoire that included gospel music and spirituals. He has toured nationally and internationally with The Boys Choir of Harlem and has worked with them as a conductor, pianist, instructor, arranger, and as former director of

artistic education for their school. In 1998, The Spirituals Project was founded by Jones to preserve and revitalize the music and teachings of the sacred folk songs called “spirituals,” created and first sung by AfricanAmericans in slavery. The Spirituals Project is a past recipient of the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The Project has presented a wide variety of high profile musical and educational programs over the years, including a national conference on spirituals in 2013 featuring poet Nikki Giovanni as keynote speaker, and a historic concert in 2009 at Denver’s Ellie Caulkins Opera House in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 80th birthday featuring the renowned mezzo soprano Denyce Graves as guest artist. With the official transition of The Spirituals Project to the University of Denver, the 30-voice, multi-ethnic Spirituals Project Choir will present concerts in the Newman Center’s June Swaner Gates Concert Hall, in a variety of community venues, and will continue to present educational programs regionally and nationally. Editor’s note: For more information, and a complete list of concerts, master classes and events, visit the Lamont School of Music website at For updated weekly information call the Concert Line at 303-871-6412.

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Sitting In A “Spiritual Space” To Promote Healing...By Melovy Melvin

Rev. Quincy “Q” Shannon reflecting at the recent sit-in at the Civic Center

With what seems to be an every-

day occurrence and unfortunately “the new normal” of lives being lost at the hands of police, people question whether they should respect the badge or respect the gun? It is a strange time in this country and with the presidential election drawing near, people are coming together and are no longer just “standing up” for what is right but are now also “sitting in,” for what is wrong. On July 7, Black Lives Matter 5280 hosted a 135-hour sit-in in Denver in response to the recent rash and countless police shootings of Black men. The sit-in represented the 135 lives that had been loss by police this year across the country. Purpose of the sitin was to give people of color, especially African Americans, a space to process all the tragedies that have taken place and honor the lives that were lost. Hundreds of people attended and supported the movement. Reverend Quincy “Q” Shannon was among those supporters. Shannon recalls the movement as “powerful” and describes an encounter with a homeless man that left an impact on him. “The first night I was there, we had multiple interactions that involved him yelling and even moments where it felt dangerous because of his actions. As one of the men, I felt it was my duty to protect the women but knowing our movement, I also recognized the value of remaining nonviolent. We met him with love, instead of hate, and de-escalated the situation by treating him as a human. By the time our sit-in experience was over, he had joined the movement. He became a protector of our group, marched with us and felt

proud about being involved. His change touched my heart in ways that made it all worth it,” Shannon said. Despite a few negative responses that came from people screaming “All lives matter!” and racial slurs, hundreds of people supported the movement and with each hour, the 135 hour “sit-in for healing” opened up many conversations that attracted people to come together. “We had some people come up and share stories, some stopped to pray or meditate, and others asked how they could be involved or support the movement,” Shannon said. “It was really powerful to see the amount of high school students who came to share their frustrations and cried with us in ways that made them feel like family. Their reactions to me were the most powerful and why this experience was so necessary. There are times when they have not been given the opportunity to process and discuss things that have traumatized them.” Denver residents dropped off crates of bottled water and food. Candles were lit in remembrance of the lives lost and, names were written in chalk on the sidewalks in front of the City and County building to get the message across that black lives do matter and to call upon action before more lives are lost. Shannon said that the sit-in was a “spiritual space” and “Those moments under that tree changed me. Although the sit-in may not change any policy or make others join the movement, personally it was a needed step for my own healing. I had been jumping from heartache to heartache and I am so thankful. Space was carved out for me to mourn, process, discuss, and learn. It was transformative and an experience I will not forget.” Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


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Motivate Your Partner for an Outdoor Workout

By Kim Farmer

Are you looking for new and fun

ways to get your partner outside? There are a lot of ways to get your partner interested in joining you outside, even if they are not the biggest fan of the outdoors. By finding new interests you both like, you and your partner are sure to be adventure buddies in no time.

in your training and reach milestones along the way. Starting with a fun run is a great way to get outside, get your heart rate up and test to see if you like organized races or not. Tough mudders can be great for couples who have some frustrations to work out because mudslinging is welcomed! Another great option is entering a benefit walk or run. There are numerous studies of the health benefits of philanthropic work. Coupled with the benefits of exercise, you and your partner could be on your way to building a stable foundation for a very long life together.

Benefit of the Destination

It can be difficult to coax your partner outside the house when the rewards of a hard workweek could be easily in the form of ice cream and Netflix binges. If your partner is the type of person that is driven by reward upon completion, organizing a hike or biking activity that has added benefits may seem more enticing than

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It can be intimidating to join your marathoner of a companion for an afternoon jog or your semi-pro golfing buddy for a day on the green. Starting from a clean slate may allow your partner to feel more comfortable when pursuing new endeavors. Trying something new allows for exploring something together and building a partnership rather than a competition. Try taking a lesson of an outdoor sport that neither of you have tried. It allows for you to both experience the elements together and gain the ability to laugh at yourselves when you make mistakes.

Sign Up for a Race

Committing to doing a 5k fun run, tough mudder or even a marathon allows you to hold each other accountable. It can be a small event that you work toward completing together. It can give you and your partner a way to support each other as you progress

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


training for a marathon. Try planning a backpacking or hiking trip that ends at a hot springs or mapping out a bike ride through your town with the end destination being your favorite restaurant. If you are looking to create a little bit of competition, pack an airsoft gun and set up a shooting range at the summit of your next hike to see who has a better shot. Every city and town has a great place to watch the sunset from, seek that place out and pack a picnic to bring with you to enjoy after an afternoon of tennis. There are likely many additional ways to motivate your partner to join you, just don’t give up. The benefit of a reward is enticing so be creative based on what you or your partner. Have fun! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit or email

First Black Dispensary Owner and Cannabis Master Chef Scott Durrah Announces Summer Cannabis Cooking Seminars

Restaurateur, dispensary owner and cannabis edible maker Chef Scott Durrah is announcing his new cannabis catering and cooking classes, Simply Cooking. The Summer Cannabis Cooking Seminars will take place every Saturday morning in August from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each seminar will include recipes, coupon books and specially priced goodie bags. These seminars will lead up to the opening of Simply Cooking School in late fall. Cost of each seminar is $60. The opportunity to learn about cooking and healthier lifestyles with cannabis is Chef Durrah’s focus on these month long summer seminars and the focus of his new company, Simply Cooking “We get hundreds of requests every month for cooking classes. There is a huge outpouring of people asking for more information on how cannabis can be a part of their everyday lives. We are going to show them exactly how to do it – and do it safely. We are going to show them how to do it deliciously!” Durrah says. Beginning on Aug. 6, Durrah’s first Summer Cannabis Cooking Seminar will be, “Flavors of the Caribbean” with an emphasis on dosage and infusions. In this seminar, participants will learn how to make some of the Caribbean’s favorite dishes. They will learn how to make infused curry pastes and coconut oil that can be used in other recipes at home. Guest Chef Julie Dooley, from Julies Natural Edibles, will be teaching the proper dosage method for cooking with cannabis and sharing her recipes for healthy infused salads and side dishes. Also joining Chef Durrah will be Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the author of the Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, which features, Chef Scott extensively. She will be hosting a book signing at the event.

Participants in this first class will be treated the opportunity to learn how to cook and infuse the following dishes: •Infused Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk •Infused Curry and Garlic Paste •Curry Chicken and Shrimp •Rastafarian Vegetable Ital Simply Cooking’s other seminars include: August 13 – “Healing the Body with Cannabis Cooking” will focus on healing diseases, sports recovery and pain. In this seminar, participants will discover the delights of cooking healthy fresh quick meals and how to create several delicious dishes with coconut products such as coconut water, coconut milk and coconut oils. These are some of nature’s hidden secrets for great health that help with energy, endurance, cancer or pain. Apothecanna, who produces different types of cannabis infused tropical for pain and muscle recovery, will also be featured. Different meals will be prepared with fresh produce, proteins, spices and herbs. Joining Chef Durrah will be a surprise guest chef who has cooked for numerous professional athletes and President Barack Obama. August 20 – “Love and Romance with Cannabis” is all about love and passion with cannabis. Bring your love interest and learn how to create a romantic cannabis soiree for two. Your palate body and imagination will enjoy a fun and fulfilling ride. Coda’s Lauren Gockley of

Chocolatier of Coda Signature Truffles, who completed her studies at l’Ecole du Grand Chocolat in Tain l’Hermitage will she create delectable chocolate infusions. Participants will also learn about Foria Pleasure Sensual

Enhancement oil designed for women and their partners. August 27 – “Sun Splash - How to throw a 420 party!” will teach the trick of making great party treats for all occasions. Whether it’s for a wedding reception or Super Bowl party, participants will learn how to infuse many of the menu items directly or special infused dipping sauces. This seminar will teach you several cooking techniques using a variety of infused oils, butters and purees. The importance of dosing and safe consumption of edibles will be explained. O. Pen Vaporizers will be available to demonstrate how to use cannabis oil vaporizers for personal enjoyment or as a party favor for guests. Editor’s note: For more information or to register for a class, call 720-507-7873, email or visit

About Master Cannabis Chief Scott Durrah

Scott opened one of the first dispensaries in Colorado in 2009 which became known for its unique selection of edibles created by real local chefs. The demand for chef inspired cannabis food and not just sugary treats, lead Durrah to open Simply Pure Medicated Edibles in 2010. Last year, he and his wife, Wanda James, opened the Simply Pure Dispensary. A seasoned restaurateur, with five restaurants under his belt, including Jezebel’s Southern Bistro in LoHi, Scott’s spontaneous, easy style of cooking earned accolades from not only the Colorado Medical Marijuana community but from across the country after being featured on numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBS Sunday Morning Holiday Special, “Eat, Drink and be Merry,” CNBC’s Marijuana USA and the BBC. Chef Durrah has also been the personal chef for many celebrities and professional athletes including a number of the Denver Broncos. He has hosted cannabis cooking excursions to Jamaica and created some of the best dinner parties in Denver.

About Simply Cooking

Simply Cooking’s goal is to inspire the evolution of cannabis through education, safe products, cooking and food with a focus on educating and inspiring. Simply Cooking Chef Durrah and partners are helping to create the standard for professionally run cooking schools and certification programs for cannabis culinary in the United States. Its model and curriculum is based on more than 20 years of professional cooking in restaurants and more than five years of cooking with cannabis with trained professional chefs from various culinary backgrounds.

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Black Lives Matters to Black Leaders

Editor’s note: This is an open community statement from the Colorado Black Leadership Caucus



he leadership of the African American Community in Metro Denver and Aurora are formally adding our voices to the compelling conversation toGooch’s address the un-natural and un-acceptable loss of Black Lives Transmission by the hands of law enforcement Specialist across the United States. The parade of recent shootings has the potential to off-set years of progressive civil rights accomplishments that were intended to unite a nation divided by race and economicMyron disparity. Gooch, Manager As a nation, find the clock 760we Dayton Street winding backwards Aurora, escalating CO 80010offenses between our303-363-9783 community and our government, resurging racial tensions betweenMaking blacks and whites, andwell exactransmissions erbating adversarial contentions for 22 years. between people of color and police. The leadership of Denver’s African American Community is not divided and stands in unison with Black Lives Matter 5280 on matters that raise the issue of un-fair policing standards. The past two years have shown us that unfair practices have led to unlawful profiling black men, women, and our black youth. We stand with Black Lives Matter 5280 on matters regarding the unnecessary use of force when engaging citizens of any race. And most importantly, we stand against opposed to characterizations

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in the media that the Black Lives Matters is a terrorist organization while dismissing the attention and defense the movement brings to the plight of Black People living in America today. We want to make it clear that while we seek justice on the issues as stated we do not condone any citizen taking up arms as a means of retaliation against police or our government. We do not condone aggressive actions that would promote separatist ideals. We do not condone violence in the place of advocacy for thoughtful resolutions. As stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that and hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Our ideals are driven by the light of justice that has no boundaries or borders but intrudes upon the darkness of injustice every- where. The leadership of African American community organizations, including Black Lives Matters 5280, city officials and our law enforcement officers must find ways to and common ground to prevent the unraveling of our working relationships that were hard fought to build by so many great leaders before us. We suggest an immediate sit-down with the Mayor, Chief of Police, Executive Director of Safety and Black Lives Matter 5280 leadership moderated by key leaders from Colorado Black Leadership Caucus (CBLC) and Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDM A) as a means to initiate immediate lines of communication. We suggest creating a Community Crisis Team from members of each of these groups after the initial meeting that will allow a channel of communication to remain open for ongoing conversations to stabilize

unrest now and in the event of future crisis that would impact the community. We suggest that a public statement would be presented to the media from the City, CBLC, GMDMA, and BLM 5280 after conversations to mediate issues of concern allow us to develop plausible outcomes for our community. We stand ready to work now, to insure that the people in our community will remain safe and that concerns of our community will be heard. •CBLC - Colorado Black Leadership Caucus, Convener – Pastor Del Phillips •GMDMA - Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDMA), President – Pastor Del Phillips •CBRT - Colorado Black Round Table, President John Bailey •NAACP - Denver/Aurora, President Sondra Young/ President Dr. Levester Lyons •UL - Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, Sean Bradley •CBCC - Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, Lee Kathryn GashMaxey •CBWPA - Colorado Black W omen for Political Action, President Halisi Vinson •NIC - Northeast Islamic Center, Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali •GDIA - Greater Denver Interfaith Alliance, President Dr. Carol Watkins Ali •FPBD - Five Points Business District, Executive Director Tracy Winchester •DDD - Diversity Dynamics of Denver, President Benzel Jimmerson •KS - K-Solutions, President Khadija Haynes •Forest Street Compassionate Care, Maya Wheeler

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Making transmissions

“135 Sit In” at Denver Civic Center

Making transmissions well well since 1983. for 22 years.

Photo taken by Rev. Quincy Shannon

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Dear Food Diary: The Importance of Recording Your Meals

By Sydney M. Odion-Smith


ocument, document, document! You might have heard this mantra stated when pertaining to work related issues, or legal cases. However, the act of documenting or writing down important information is also a crucial tool to use in our personal lives. Logging what you eat and drink for the day – every day – is a great way to start taking control of your health. A lot of people complain about not being able to lose weight; or, about gaining a considerable amount of weight in a short period of time – while still believing they eat a fairly balanced diet. Don’t be fooled. Eating fast food and eating out, are not the only ways to add on the pounds. Following poor nutrition habits at home can be just as damaging. You may not be aware of how many slices of bread you’ve devoured. Or how many glasses of juice you have guzzled down, until you have to record it. Food journaling enables a person to become aware of their daily eating habits; and then start to adjust them. In a study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reported by WebMD, a sample group of 1,685 overweight and obese adults, who ranged from the age 25 and older; wrote down what they ate for six months. WebMD states, “The participants were encouraged to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. They also met weekly in groups to share their food diaries and brush up on skills like how to judge portion size.” Participants lost an average of 13 pounds, and people who documented what they ate six days of the week, lost twice more than people who did fewer days. If you are wondering how to start a food journal, the good news is there are no criteria to follow. Food journaling is a private journey that can sometimes be difficult and emotional, but can also be very inspiring and reward-

ing. I keep a food journal to track each meal I have had for the day, and what time I ate. This allows me to make sure I am eating enough food on a consistent schedule, throughout my day. I also record how many cups of water I drink; I have a set goal of 10 cups of water per day. Others I know use their journals to record their fitness routines and the food eaten before and after a workout. This allows them to monitor how certain foods increase their energy levels, and replenish their bodies. If you are someone that takes medication or vitamins, it may be a good idea to write down this information in your food diary. Since a lot of prescribed drugs and herbal supplements have to be taken with meals already. Another reason to write down the foods you eat is if you are suffering from a medical problem that could be caused by diet. Recording what you eat and the symptoms you experience afterward can be a key indicator if you have an intolerance or allergy to certain foods. People with chronic conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol may find it beneficial to write down their daily meals, and share that information with a doctor or dietitian. This could help you and your health care provider better understand what foods are affecting your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. There are many different reasons and ways to keep a food journal. Aside from journaling in a traditional notebook, websites like allow you to log your meals online. Keep account for the number of calories you have eaten, and break down your foods by the grams of fat, carbohydrates, sugar, and protein. No matter how you choose to journal, the most important thing is too stick with it. And don’t be ashamed to jot down your bad days. If you ate a whole bag of chips, or had two helpings of birthday cake – write it down. Just like an actual diary, a food journal helps you look back and learn from your mistakes. Editor’s note: Sydney M. Odion-Smith is a student at Metro State University of Denver majoring in nutrition and the Diabetes Facilitator for the Center for African-American Health. She can be reached at Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Media Legend Cathy Hughes to Serve as Keynote Speaker at the Sixth Annual Women of Color Empowerment Conference

Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One, Inc., the largest AfricanAmerican owned and operated broadcasting company in the nation, will be the luncheon keynote speaker for the Sixth Annual Women of Color Empowerment Conference (WOCEC). The conference will focus on educating and motivating dynamic Women of Color to lead more effectively. The event takes place from Sept. 9 to 11 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, located at 321 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The weekend of the WOCEC seeks to educate, encourage, and cultivate women leaders of color. “We are delighted to have the incomparable Cathy Hughes address the conference attendees in a year where our theme is Media Images of Women of Color” said WOCEC Founder Burnadette Norris-Weeks, Esq. “Hundreds of America’s top women leaders of color will convene in South Florida for a weekend of enrichment, enlightenment and empowerment aimed at broadening their spheres of influence and strengthening their ability to effectively lead.” Cathy Hughes is a dynamic, media pioneer who demonstrates the power of one – one woman, one vision, one company - Radio One. Hughes’ unprecedented career has spawned a multi-media conglomerate that generates original content across the spectrums of radio, television and digital media. Her humble beginnings in Omaha, Nebraska, were not a deterrent to her success but rather part of the catalyst that fueled her ambition to empower African Americans with information and to tell stories from their perspective. In 1999, Cathy Hughes became the first African-American woman to chair a publicly held corporation, following the sale of 7,150,000 shares of common stock to the public. Since that time, she, along with her son and business partner Alfred Liggins, III, has grown Radio One, Inc. into a multimedia company that is an urban radio Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


market leader with 56 stations comprised of hip hop, R&B, gospel and talk radio formats. Radio One is the first AfricanAmerican company in radio history to dominate several major markets simultaneously and is the first woman-owned radio station to rank number one in any major market. Its success has earned Cathy Hughes hundreds of prestigious awards and recognitions including: the ADColor Lifetime Achievement Award, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Phoenix Award, the NAACP Chairman’s Award, the Giant of Broadcasting Award, the Uncommon Height of Excellence Award, the Essence Women Shaping the World Award, the Ida B. Wells Living Legacy Award, and induction into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame. Today, Radio One is the parent corporation of several subsidiaries: TV One, the premiere, African-American owned, cable television network in the country and current home of the hit shows UnSung, NewsOneNow, and the reality show R&B Divas; Reach Media, which presents syndicated radio programs like the Rickey Smiley Morning Show and the Tom Joyner Morning Show; Interactive One, home of several popular websites including The Daily Grind and Hello Beautiful; and One Solution, a marketing firm that allows advertisers to take advantage of all of the assets under the Radio One brand. Events planned for the Sixth Annual Women of Color Empowerment Conference include: Friday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. – Reception and Concert with Miki Howard, Avery Sunshine and the Alan Paul Band. Cost is $75 per person; $500 for VIP table of four with special gifts and adult beverages. Saturday, Sept. 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Empowerment Conference – A multitude of empowerment sessions and dynamic topics of interest for everyone; plus a powerful luncheon with media legend Cathy Hughes – Cost is $100 per person. Sunday, Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m. – Purses, Pearls and Slippers Sisterhood Breakfast – This breakfast overlooking the beautiful Fort Lauderdale Beach seeks to empower financially so that attendees can live their fullest life. Learn the 7 Steps to 7 Figures from global television business expert Deborah Owens – Cost is $50 per person. Editor’s note: For tickets, information on sponsorship opportunities, and additional information about the WOCEC, visit or contact Kathy Eggleston at 954-768-9770.

With Kaine on the Ticket, Democrats Can and Should Put Race Back on the Presidential Table By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The hard and fast rule in presi-

dential politics since the 1960s is that you don’t talk frankly about race on the campaign trail. Presumptive Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine can break that rule. Kaine got his start as a civil rights lawyer, and indeed notes that as a point of pride on his political bio sheet. His relentless fights against discrimination in housing, the insurance business, and education in one-time arch segregationist Virginia are wellknown. He is not the LBJ of presidential politics, but he’s about as close as it gets to a candidate on the ticket with a Civil Rights pedigree that he doesn’t run from. The rule that has forbade Democratic presidential candidates to talk about racial issues that was put in place by the GOP four decades ago for one reason, and that was to insure its dominance of the White House and national politics. GOP presidential candidates set the tone for this during the Nixon years. He stood racial politics on its head with a hard court of Southern white males who were in apoplectic rage over Civil Rights. Nixon tarred Democrats as the party that supposedly pandered shamelessly to Blacks and minorities and ignored whites. The charge hit home. The message was that talking about Civil Rights was a sure fire prescription for defeat. At the same time, Nixon and subsequent GOP presidential candidates stole a huge page from the playbook of George Wallace and invented a spectacular array of wink and nod racially loaded code words and phrases to paint a horrific picture of Democrats supposedly giving the governmental company store away in run-away entitlements, massive spending on job, welfare and social programs to Blacks, and stocking the courts and administrative posts with Blacks and Hispanics—all, of course, at the expense of hard-working, over taxed,

and ignored, blue collar and suburban whites. The GOP doubled down on this by making crime, law and order, and tough military prowess, the center piece of their presidential campaigns. Trump follows pretty much the same script. His naked race baiting started when he piled in on the phony, fraudulent issue of Obama’s birth certificate in 2012. He picked up steam with his slur of Muslims, immigrants and Mexicans. He piled on even more with his broken record chant of the old reliable, arch race baiting code slogans, “law and order� and crime in the streets� and styling himself as the candidate who would clean up the streets. He has made it brutally clear that he banks on conservative, less educated, blue collar white males, and a wide stratum of fearful, angry, and supposedly marginalized suburban whites to propel him into the White House. Polls show that he has a top heavy bulge among these voters over Clinton. Race is never openly talked about as the reason for this. But it doesn’t have to be, it’s understood and it drives the fears and anxiety among Trump’s backers. Kaine has two qualities that can counter Trump’s blatant race baiting. One is he’s a white, male, and a Southerner. But he’s also a Democrat and a liberal, centrist, staunch civil rights proponent. This represents everything the Trump crowd loathes. These are assets. By talking proudly about his civil rights advocacy as an attorney, mayor, governor, and Senator, this would do much to insure that African-American and Hispanic voters turn Clinton’s White House bid into the same type of crusade that they did with Obama. This is not a small point. There is deep distrust and some anger among many blacks about Clinton’s supposed tout of hubby Bill’s crime bills, welfare reform, and GOP lite pander to white middle class voters with his big emphasis on whittling down government. This burst into a mini-firestorm at one point during her Democratic presidential primary joust with Bernie Sanders when Black Lives Matter protesters repeatedly confronted Clinton over her calling violent criminals “super predators� presumably meaning Blacks. The always volatile and chronic issue of

police violence and the killing of unarmed Blacks isn’t likely to go away, and each time the eyes of many Blacks will look to her to see what she has to say about it. This is their litmus test of a Democrat’s commitment to justice and Civil Rights. The residual suspicion is that Clinton in office would shunt civil rights to the backburner of her administration’s legislative agenda. Kaine can take that fear off the table by simply talking about his commitment to civil rights and acting as if he means to keep talking about and acting on it once elected. This could be the game changer needed in the three or four swing states that will decide the election, and where Black and Hispanic votes will be needed to offset Trump’s white fear driven backers. Kaine and the Democrats have a priceless opportunity to do something that presidential campaigns have routinely ducked and dodged out of fear and cowardice. That is put race back on the presidential table. Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of How “President� Trump will Govern, (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.






Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Boyz II Men, one of the most truly Best-Selling R&B Group of All Time Boyz

iconic R&B groups in music history, bring their superstar talent to the Main Stage at the 33rd annual A Taste of Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. with a concert presented by Jammin’ 101.5. This is the four-time GRAMMY Award-winning group’s second performance at the Festival since 2011. The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment festival will take place Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 through Sept. 5, in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. Since the early 1990s, Boyz II Men has firmly established itself as the most successful R&B group of all time with four GRAMMY Awards, five No. 1 Hits, 50 weeks at No. 1, and 60 million albums sold – and counting. Their accolades include nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards, three Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Beginning with their debut album in 1991, “Cooleyhighharmony,” which climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, Boyz II Men has had numerous hits, including “End of the Road,” the

II Men Headline A Taste of Colorado

group’s first single to reach No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart, and “I’ll Make Love to You.” Both of these songs won GRAMMY Awards. They also sang a duet with Mariah Carey on “One Sweet Day,” which remained No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks. Their most recent release was in 2014 with “Collide,” a landmark album showcasing a new and differ-

ent sound. Two of the tracks, “Better Half” and “Diamond Eyes” were featured on a special episode of ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelorette.” In 2014, Boyz II Men co-headlined The Package Tour with New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees. Most recently, Boyz II Men have made viral television appearances from their performance on Fox’s “Grease: Live” as the teen angels where they sang “Beauty

School Dropout,” the most tweeted about moment of the show to singing a parody Super Bowl song on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” Later in 2016 the group will make a much-anticipated appearance on ABC’s “Greatest Hits” and they also are working on a Doo-Wop project to be released in 2017. The trio of Boyz II Men – Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman – continues to bring their legendary act to stages worldwide, including a residency at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A Taste of Colorado draws more than 500,000 visitors annually. Five entertainment stages include national, local, and ethnic music in a variety of genres, children’s performers, and much more. Festivalgoers also can try a variety of culinary delights from more than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments, including a culinary showcase. Plus, visitors can enjoy the offerings of more than 275 marketplace artisans and vendors, as well as educational programs promoting the diverse cultural and Western heritage of the region. Editor’s note: For more information, visit,,, or call 303-295-6330.



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Mo’ Betta Green Farmers Market and Garden Swap Returns to Stapleton’s Conservatory Green Neighborhood

Stapleton Denver and Master Community Association to Offer Four-Week Gardening Series During “High Harvest”


or the second year, the Mo’ Betta Green (MBG) Marketplace will return to Stapleton’s Conservatory Green neighborhood this summer. Collaboration between Forest City Stapleton and the Stapleton Master Community Association (MCA), “The Exchange featuring Mo’ Betta Green” will be held on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. from Aug. 11 to Sept. 1 at the Conservatory Green Park Plaza at (49th Place and Valentia St. (across from the Northfield Shopping Center). Hailed as a unique, interactive and colorful community experience, the Mo’ Betta Green Marketplace will offer its distinctive mix of fresh, locally produced vegetables, along with a neighborhood veggie swap to allow gardeners to exchange excess produce with each other. Other activities will include live music and local disc jockeys, movement classes such as yoga and tai chi, “Iron Chef” style cooking and juicing demonstrations, onsite gardening tips, a children’s play area, community resource tables, giveaways, and participation from local libraries and other community partners. The event is free and open to the public. Stapleton’s weekly farmer’s market at Founder’s Green will continue to be held on weekends throughout the summer. “We are excited to continue this popular series to our roster of events this summer,” says Forest City Stapleton Marketing Director Tasha Jones. “Back by popular demand, Conservatory Green residents, and neighbors from other communities attend each Thursday, making it exactly the type of neighbor-to-neighbor event that appeals to everyone, extends Conservatory Green’s sustainable community brand, and connects us to our neighboring communities as well.” The Conservatory Green Park Plaza was recently awarded an ASLA Merit Award for its impressive public space, which includes a 2.5-acre outdoor public park, fire pit and community gathering area, and is considered an ideal location for this event. “It’s perfect for this type of programming,” says Stapleton MCA Community Director Diane Deeter. “It not only provides the space and freedom we need for the farmer’s market, it’s accessible and visible to everyone

because of the Northfield Blvd. thoroughfare. It’s a welcoming and convenient location.” Beverly Grant, proprietor of the Mo’ Betta Green Marketplace, is well known in the Denver area for her traveling farmer’s markets featuring 100 percent locally-grown organic produce, heirloom vegetables, and cooking demonstrations offered by local chefs and nutrition experts. As much movements as an event, her markets are designed to offer an alternative to fast food mentalities, highlight and

foster today’s garden-to-table concept, and encourage healthier lifestyles. “We’re dedicated to proving that convenience and healthy eating aren’t mutually exclusive,” Grant says. “It is also a way to empower residents to grow their own produce, even those who live in areas that don’t have Stapleton’s quick and easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables.” Located on the site of Denver’s former international airport, Stapleton is one of the largest urban redevelopments in the United States. The core

objective of the community plan is to create a living example of progressive, sustainable neighborhood design. With a walkable mix of energy-efficient new homes, retail districts, schools, offices and an extensive network of parks and open spaces, Stapleton is not only leading the way environmentally but economically and socially, too. This unique community is being developed by Forest City Enterprises, Inc. Editor’s note: For more information, visit

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Must See............ It’s Worth A Look..... See At Your Own Risk. Don’t Bother.....................

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Khaleel Herbert is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Laurence Washington is the creator of Like On Facebook, Follow On Twitter


Ghostbusters: Answer the Call By Khaleel Herbert

our friends, proton blasters, a car and, of course, ghosts terrorizing the Big Apple. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, that’s who!

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call follows the story of Physics Professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), who is questioned about her book on ghosts by Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.), the owner of the Aldridge Museum. To avoid risking her tenure as a professor, Erin says the book was just a joke. Ed doesn’t believe her and begs her to consider inspecting his haunted museum. After discovering that her book is available on Amazon, Erin visits her friend and co-author Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and asks why she put the book online. Abby says the people needed to know that ghosts exist. Erin tells Abby and lab partner, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), about a ghost haunting the Aldridge Museum. The trio goes to check out and potentially capture evidence of a “real” ghost. Sure enough, they detect Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge (Bess Rous). After getting kicked out of their respected colleges for believing in ghosts, Erin, Abby and Jillian move into an empty floor above an Asian restaurant and soon, the Ghostbusters are born. Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a subway station worker, joins the team after spotting a ghost when she followed a man talking in riddles down a subway tunnel (Neil Casey). She not only knows the ins and outs of New York City, but she also hooks the team up with a car that soon becomes the iconic Ghostbusters-mobile. Answer the Call has its similarities to the classic 1984 Ghostbusters film. Erin, Abby and Jillian get kicked out of their respected colleges because they didn’t support their pursuits of ghosts, just like Doctors Venkman, Stantz and Spengler. Erin, when she saw the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge, was sprayed with slime just like Dr.

Venkman when he came face-to-face with the ghost at the library. Even some of the ghosts from the 1984 film appeared like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer, the fat green ghost. Ghostbusters fans will be happy to know that there are some appearances from the original Ghostbusters movies including Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts. Answer the Call was visually stunning and a joy to see in 3D. The ghosts hover and jump off the screen, making them so real that you can “touch” them. The orange blasts from the proton rays looked like they were coming right at you! McCarthy, Wiig, Jones and McKinnon had great chemistry with each other and had different personalities that harmoniously welded together like Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call is more than just a reboot. It’s a classic for the new generation of Ghostbusters fans while also paying homage to the original with a great cast, plot and visual effects worth watching in 3D.



Jon Rutledge

oald Dahl’s books have been the subject of films before, but none captures the essence or the fantasy as well as The BFG. This blend of live action and CGI gives the animated giant a realistic look next to the live performers. Steven Spielberg’s imagination breathes life into this film without corrupting the purity of the original story. This film could not have been fully realized before now: it wouldn’t have the same fluidity of motion or the seamless transition between the living and the animated. At its core a story about finding a connection and standing up to bullies resonates as well today as it did when it was first written in 1982. This kid’s film has a PG rating because we are dealing with giants that eat children and at times can be very intense for younger viewers. On the other end of the spectrum there are scenes surrounding Whizzpopping. (I will let you explore Google for a definition.) Suffice it to say this is definitely kid’s humor. The language in the film is very much like a Shakespearian play in that it takes a few minutes to calibrate to what the Big Friendly Giant is saying.


After a few moments you get the pace and rhythm of the speech as well as how they use some words wrong and invent new words for you to learn. Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a brave and determined little girl who doesn’t shy away from challenges. She stands up to adversity and encourages the people (and giants) around her to be better. Penelope Wilton (Downton Abby, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) plays the Queen superbly. Her royal demeanor and elegance are perfect for the roll. Jemaine Clement (Rio, Flight of the Concords) plays the evil giant Fleshlumpeater, his performance could be nightmare fuel for kids but he is over all more buffoonish than menacing. As the adult in the room, I found myself laughing right along with the kids. To truly enjoy this film you have to leave your grownup sensibilities at the door and view it like a child. Go in and just enjoy the wonder of this magical movie.

The Secret Life of Pets


By Jon Rutledge

he Secret Life of Pets has potential as a great franchise. It unfortunately has problems with over-stuffing the story with too many sub-plots. The numerous plot points competing for time give the film pacing issues. The production quality is outstanding and it has top-notch talent but it gets lost and can’t land on what is the main story. Voicing Max, a dog, is Louis C.K. (Louie, Stand up) he is accompanied by Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family, Almost Famous) as Duke, his new dog roommate. They are the rivals for the title of top dog in their apartment. Their feud overflows into the streets and they get lost in the city. They are rescued by a bunny, Snowball (Kevin Hart) (Get Hard, Ride Along), the head of a militant anti-human organization. Escaping from Snowball and his crew, Max and Duke get further lost but learn a lot about each other in the process. One of the subplots that needed more screen time was Gidget (Jenny Slate) (Zootopia, The Lorax), a Pomeranian, who has a crush on Max and leads their friends on a rescue mission. This really needed to be the main plot of the film. It was way more interesting and Jenny Slate could carry it. Her performance is second only to Kevin Hart’s maniac bunny. There is

another subplot involving Duke’s background but it’s not needed and slows down the film. There is no need to explain Duke’s past, his arrival is just the inciting incident. We can explore more of his story in subsequent film, if it takes off. As this movie has an engaging first half but loses its way on the second I

would suggest that this is a rental. The Illumination Entertainment Company has done some good films but recently they are in a slump. They have an excellent production company and as soon as it works out how to tell a story they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. Continued on page 22



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Urban Spectrum MON, 08/11/16 BLACK&WHITE

Continued from page 21 This one is aimed at the kids. Adults may watch it, but they are going to be thinking about a different movie.


The Shallows

Samantha Ofole-Prince

t’s a case of Jaws meets Cast Away in this survival drama, which finds a bikini clad Blake Lively battling a resilient shark on a Mexican beach.

With many far-fetched moments in this sea adventure, Lively plays Nancy Adams, a medical student from Texas seeking solace after the death of her mother. An avid surfer, she’s finally located a “secret” beach that was a special place for her mom. With her surfboard in tow, she sets out surfing, but finds herself stranded 200 yards from shore after she stumbles upon the feeding ground of a great white shark. It’s the old age story of man vs. nature as the resourceful heroine does whatever she can to stay alive. After getting a nasty bite from the great white, she uses her necklace and earrings as a stitching device to sew up the gnarly gash. 80% of her role is non-talking (aside from the lines she has with a seagull who stays by her side throughout the ordeal), and is mostly comprised of physical feats of survival.


Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Lively’s likeable enough in the role, but unlike Tom Hank’s character in “Cast Away,” it’s hard to feel an iota of sympathy for her character. She knows it’s dangerous to surf alone, but risks it, she’s also warned by a couple of local surfers Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo and Jose Manuel Trujillo Salas to leave at a certain time, but also ignores their wisdom. Sure it’s entertaining enough, but there are a couple of eye rolling moments. How she manages to find cell service on this remote “secret” Mexican beach beats me, but I guess it

makes sense since, as she tells the gentleman who drops off, she will call Uber to scoop her up after she’s done. If you’re looking for mindless entertainment, like to see a female heroine and love the idea of seeing a sexy Lively swim around in a gorgeous bikini, then this is certainly up your alley.

The Purge: Election Year


Samantha Ofole-Prince

here’s a deft mix of horror, action, thriller and an underlying political message in this 3rd installment of The Purge franchise. A provocative concept, where crimes are deemed legal for a set period each year, the prequels The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy, released in

2013 and 2014, respectively, earned $200 million at the worldwide box office. This sequel returns us to a dystopian future…this time in Washington, D.C., on the eve of a heated presidential election with the nation deeply divided between those who are proand anti-Purge. Just steps away from the nation’s capital, a revolution is brewing among protestors who believe The Purge is simply the leadership’s covert way of eliminating the poor and vulnerable to allow only the elites to thrive. With crime contained to just one night once again, this 12-hour of annual lawlessness sees political adversaries and revolutionaries ready to eliminate each other by any means necessary. Writer/director James DeMonaco is back at the helm of this drama and this time, it looks like he’s having even more fun exploring this new diverse group of actors. Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo of The Purge: Anarchy) is also back and now serves as head of security for Sen. Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). Part of the senator’s political campaign is to abolish The Purge, which naturally makes her a target. Refusing to go into hiding, as it would send the wrong message to her supporters, Leo hires several members of the secret service to protect her. When the security detail is compromised, they both end up on the streets, where they are rescued by Joe (Mykelti Williamson), and an inner-city deli owner who’s protecting his store since he can’t afford The Purge insurance rates. Along with Joe’s cashier, Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria), an immigrant from Mexico, and Laney (Betty Gabriel), a gang banger turned paramedic who drives a triage van on Purge

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


night; the unlikely allies team up on the mean streets of D.C. as they are ruthlessly pursued by a motley group of pro-purge supporters. They have one common mission —- to save the senator so she can get into the White House and abolish The Purge. Dante Bishop (Edwin Hodge of The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge) also returns in this thriller and is now a revolutionary leader hunting the proPurge presidential candidate. This film is hyper-violent, intensely gory, but excruciatingly entertaining as you watch the group trying to survive one grisly night of lawlessness. One woman kills her husband, because she “just got tired of looking at his face.” Another is intent on killing Joe and destroying his store because he caught her stealing a candy bar hours earlier. There are a few racial references mostly from Williamson. One line in particular comes halfway through the film when he sees a group of gang bangers heading towards them, he exclaims; “There’s a bunch of Negros coming our way and we’re sitting here like a bucket of chicken!” It’s a bold thriller that doesn’t sacrifice character development and DeMonaco gets kudos for sharing each character’s unique situation as Purge Night approaches. There are strong male and female leads that are not only fighting for survival, but fighting to take the power back from those who have abused it. If politics isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still plenty to feast on. Watching ordinary people trying to survive under extraordinary circumstances is relatable and believable and that’s what makes it so intriguing and entertaining.

The Gathering Place: A Refuge for Rebuilding Lives

The Gathering Place (TGP) is a community of safety and hope where positive relationships, choice and essential resources transform lives. The organization serves women, children and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty or homelessness. Underpinning TGP’s model is a fervent belief that hope is an important change agent. The organization promotes the power of community and for 30 years, this year, they continue to work to develop the deep meaning of community. From the minute you walk into their headquarters at 1535 High Street, The Gathering Place values are evident – recognition and inclusion, respect and trust, and unconditional acceptance. The organization celebrates its 30th anniversary this year culminating in its Helping Hands Around the Table Gala on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. The gala will be held at EXDO Events Center, 1399 35th St. (near Walnut) in Denver. “Every day, we fight indifference and insist on connectedness among the people we serve as well as the message we emphasize to the public and all our constituents,” says Leslie Foster, president of The Gathering Place. “We offer a comprehensive array of quality programs and services. Our members choose to participate in certain programs, which are thoughtfully designed to address their specific needs and issues.” TGP also ensures that best practices in working with homeless women, children and transgender individuals are applied. In 2015, TGP continued to emphasize the importance of providing trauma-informed services with the goal of providing programs and services that are voluntary, inclusive and welcoming. The numbers for FY 2015 tell the story: •56,852 different adults came to receive services •2,100 different children visited TGP 6,539 times •82 students attended 525 classes in pursuit of their high school equivalency •104 members attended 20 different job workshops •47,361 meals were provided to adults and 4,110 to children •272 counseling hours were provided pro bono by licensed mental health professionals

•119 artists produced and sold more than 17,000 cards through the Card Project The Gathering Place serves about 8,000 individuals per year and about half consider themselves to be home-

less. The other half is housed, but living in poverty and in need of assistance to make ends meet. It serves women, children, and transgender individuals (known as TGP members instead of clients) who are no or low income, with 47 percent who say they are homeless, 83 percent reporting an income of less than $800 per month, and 17 percent who state they are employed. All ages are served at The Gathering Place, with its oldest members in their 90’s and the Family

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Program serving members’ children (girls and boys, aged birth to 18). By race/ethnicity, 33 percent are AfricanAmerican, 29 percent are Hispanic/Latina, 26 percent are Caucasian, 9 percent are Native American, 1 percent are Asian, 1 percent Native Hawaiian, and 1 percent identify in a way not listed on our intake form. Also, diverse languages, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities are represented. For more information on how you can get involved with the Gathering Place, visit For more information on the gala, contact Events Manager Juliette Lee, at 303-996-9043 or email at


Montbello Community Turns 50

To celebrate 50 years as a neighborhood, the Montbello Organizing Committee is planning a communitywide celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Montbello Recreation Center. The all-day family event, Celebrating 50 Years of Diversity, will have live entertainment, vendors, food and activities for children. There will be a mainstage of entertainment featuring an array of performers, including jazz, reggae, Latin, rock and roll and R&B. First lady of Denver, Mary Louise Lee will perform with her band. The children’s stage will include Island dancers, a puppet show, and also hip-hop and praise dancers. Other festival highlights will include a parade, a carnival, a chili cook-off and healthy living activities. Volunteers, vendors and sponsors are needed. Organizers are inviting the community to help make this funfilled family event a success. For more information, to participate or become a sponsor, contact Chris Martinez at 720-251-6525 or email

Montbello’s 50th Anniversary Kick Off Celebration Sept. 23

Steps to Success and the Montbello Organizing Committee are partnering will host a community awards night as part of Montbello’s 50th Anniversary celebration. In keeping with the value of recognizing both youth and adults who live, work, or positively influence life in the Montbello neighborhood, nominations are sought for the Montbello’s 50th Anniversary Celebration kick-off on Friday, Sept. 23. Awards categories include: •Past Leader: This award acknowledges the Montbello foremothers and forefathers who blazed trails to create the foundation of this diverse community. •Present Leader: This award acknowledges those that are currently rooted in the work of uplifting and influencing Montbello community change. •Future Leader: This award acknowledges young or emerging leaders who are beginning to sow the seeds of change in the Montbello community. Deadline for nominations is Monday, Aug. 22. To nominate someond, visit

CBWPA Accepting Nominations Annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon Awards Ceremony

Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) is requesting nomi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


nations for the annual Tribute to Black Women luncheon and awards ceremony, “From Eve to Today, Celebrating Generations.” Keynote speaker will be former Ohio Senator, Nina Turner. Award recipients will be honored at CBWPA’s 38th Annual Luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Renaissance Hotel, Denver. This year CBWPA will honor families and youth who have made an impact on the community in Colorado. Nominations requested include: Families/Generations, including strong women/females, which have had an impact within the community in the following areas: business/economics, cultural arts, spiritual growth, philanthropy, education, politics, or community development. Female youth (ages 16-19) within the community who may be considered “unsung” heroes, displayed leadership skills, overcome adversity, and excelled as an African American youth. The deadline for submissions is August 22. For more information, email Nominating Committee Chair Cleo Breeze, at

BUFCO Relaunches Organization and Commitment of Service to Community

Black United Fund of Colorado (BUFCO) announced a relaunch of the organization and its commitment to service of the community. Initiatives include education, health and cultural literacy. The official BUFCO relaunch/reintroduce will be Aug. 13 with a community fair and back to school block party at the City of Axum Park, located at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Elm St. This event will include music, food, health screenings, cultural arts, trivia contest, prizes and school supply giveaways. There will performances by local artists. BUFCO’s platform is dedicated to the uplifting the African/African American community and its culture and is in the process of collecting donations of school supplies for youth in need at the fair and block party. Tax deductible donations of school supplies can be dropped off at the following locations: BUFCO Office, 929 29th St. Suite B in Denver; Supreme Styles Barber Shop, 7520 E Colfax Ave. Unit B in Denver; AfrikMall, 10180 E Colfax Ave. in Aurora; Blair Caldwell Library, 2401 Welton St. inDenver; and the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, 3091 California St. in Denver. For more information, call Shelly Allen at 720-298-3076.

Landri Taylor to Lead Stapleton Foundation


Civic leader Landri C. Taylor has been named the new chief executive officer of The Stapleton Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities. The Stapleton Foundation advocates for, and works to sustain and realize, the principles of the 1995 Stapleton Development Plan, which was created by the citizens of Denver, Aurora and Commerce City to transform the former airport into a new urban community that has earned national and international acclaim. Taylor served on the Board of The Denver Public Schools from 2013-2016, a period of time in which he worked effectively with parents and students to address the changing needs of public education in northeast Denver. He played an important role in championing high-quality school choices for northeast Denver, including the communities of Montbello, Park Hill and Stapleton.

From 2009 to 2014, Landri Taylor served as the president and chief economic officer of the nonprofit Urban League of Metropolitan Denver where he succeeded in turning a struggling affiliate into one of the premier chapters of the national civil rights organization. He is a past vice president with Forest City Stapleton, Inc. where he placed an emphasis on workforce development. Taylor’s community leadership has helped to shape numerous boards and commissions, including the Mayor’s Commission on Workforce Development, the Denver Metro Leadership Foundation, and the Foundation for Educational Excellence, where he was a founding member and a board chair. In 2008, he was inducted into the Colorado Black Hall of Fame, and he currently serves as Board Treasurer of the Bair Caldwell African American Research Library. He is a 1974 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. He and his wife, Gloria, have three grown children and four grandchildren.


Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

United Church of Montbello! Come as you are and get connected to your best self through great fellowship and the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday Worship: 8:00am (Traditional) and 10:30am (Gospel) 4VOEBZ 4DIPPM BN r 8FEOFTEBZ #JCMF 4UVEZ QN

Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070


Sandra “Sandy� Wolder

September 30, 1953 – June 24, 2016

Sandra “Sandy� Wolder passed from this life on June 24th during an afternoon rafting accident at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado. Sandy was born in Perry, Iowa to Andrew Wolder Sr. and Mary Lou (Terry) Wolder (deceased). She was raised with her three younger siblings, Andrew Jr., Michelle, and Natasha. Sandy was 11 when she lost her mother and was very protective of and loving with her two younger siblings. She attended college at Southern University Baton Rouge Louisiana and Weber State University Ogden Utah. Her father states, “She knew she wanted to be a nurse because her passion was helping people.� Sandy became a Registered Nurse and was a Diabetes Educator at Presbyterian St. Luke Hospital in Denver, where she touched the lives of staff and patients. She loved the solitude, quiet, isolation and the spiritual healing qualities of what park rangers call the “center of the universe.� Echo Park (located in Dinosaur National Monument) is the area where she always returned year after year. She now is at Echo Park in spirit forever. Sandy loved nature and the outdoors as an explorer and adventurer, who skied, camped, backpacked, climbed 14er peaks, scaled cliffs, enjoyed spiritual/healing retreats and snowshoed. She was one of the founding board members of the James P. Beckwourth Mountain Club/Beckwourth OutDoors and a member of Slippers & Sliders Ski Club. She will be missed by her father, siblings, stepmother (Helen), nieces, nephews, family, and friends. In memory of Sandy, the Memorial Scholarship for Sandy Wolder will present three book awards on June 24th of each year to three deserving high school senior, African-American women who will matriculate at a college or university in health sciences from the Aurora/Denver area. Donations can be sent to Drifters Denver - 10940 Unity Parkway Commerce City CO 80022 (reference Sandra Wolder Memorial Book Awards). Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016


Revolutionary Mothering: Love On The Frontlines A book review by Ifalade TaShia Asanti

Prices and participation may vary. A la carte only. ©2016 McDonald’s. M 55401.21

“Revolutionary Mothering: Love On the Frontlines” edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens and Mai’a Williams (PM Press) chronicles the beautiful, raw, painfully gritty experiences of motherhood that are rarely written about in books or seen on the big screen. Praised by iconic writer, Alice Walker, as, “juicy, gutsy, vulnerable and brave,” “Revolutionary Mothering” is a priceless diamond among literary compositions centered on mothering. “Revolutionary Mothering” gives voice and visibility to mothers who’ve been silenced and often made invisible by mainstream images of what the world says mothers should be. Queer mothers, butch mothers, trans mothers, spiritual, non-biological mothers who fiercely love, raise and care for children every day, often without recognition. Mothers who are sometimes abandoned and rejected by the very children they’ve sacrificed so much to raise. “Revolutionary Mothering” also shares the stories of mothers who have the freedom and resources to be fully present while mothering. It speaks to how mothering as a whole, healed and affirmed how human beings can positively impact children and families. Revolutionary Mothering bravely tells the stories of mothers who might not have had a place to sleep some nights. Mothers who took care of their children while fighting poverty, mental health challenges, addiction issues

and even domestic violence. “Revolutionary Mothering” is an initiation into the secret thoughts, fears, joys and pain that mothers feel from the moment of conception, in the midst of childbirth, through the ascension of their children into adulthood. From Loretta Rosses’ preface about being a feminist mother to Alexis Pauline’s Gumbs’ essay titled, “Black Queer Feminist Genealogy For Radical Mothering,” this incredible collection opens a window in mothering history that can never be shut. I was elated to find pieces of my own mothering experiences on the pages of “Revolutionary Mothering.” The stories I and others in my circle have lived and somehow survived, but never have spoken of now speak in this biblical quality mothering anthology. I found that I could not read the pages of “Revolutionary Mothering” without crying. I cried because someone finally wrote a book about motherhood that isn’t pink bows and blue blankets. Finally, a mothering book that speaks to the excruciating, sometimes devastating, life changing challenges many mothers go through – mostly in silence.

I love the chapter in which Estel Juarez Boyd writes about the advantage given to her by her elders, citing it as “consciousness” - knowing who she is and the greatness she comes from. Juarez Boyd says that same consciousness is the source of power that gives her the ability to fight back when her experiences as a mother are trivialized, oppressed and attacked. Another contributor, Cynthia Dewi Oka, wrote a moving poem with a line that says, “all I had was a grenade in my mouth,” reminding me of how Black mothers are sometimes viewed as being loud and verbally aggressive with their kids. And some are - with good reason. For many Black, Latina, Asian, Queer mothers, the only weapon they have and had to protect their children was their mouths. For me it was my mouth and my pen. And Dewi Oka’s poem proves just how powerful our voices and pens can be. Contributor Victoria Law writes about being forced to choose between mothering and activism. Some readers may view this as a negative, but just the fact that Law had a choice, in my opinion, is a sign of progress. This book reminded me of an Urban Spectrum interview I did with Ramona African, spiritual mother of the Move Organization when she shared her experience of mothering while police fired 10,000 rounds of ammunition into her home. Even in the midst of brutal racism, she saved a small infant’s life through ‘revolutionary mothering.’ Ramona Africa like many other mothers had no choice but to fight. Taking a break from the battle could’ve jeopardized her and her godchildren’s very survival. As I read Ana Onifrio’s poem, it nearly immobilized me early one morning. Onifrio writes: How many meetings can I make How much anger can I take How much pain can I hold How many people can I hold down

While being held down While lifting you up To dream, to be Seen and heard and whole....

Onifrio’s poem speaks to the metaphorical weight mothers often carry and the fact that children, friends and even mates are often oblivious to how heavy that weight is. Just reading Onifrio’s words was healing because it teaches us that we are not alone in our mothering struggles. And last, but certainly not least, “Revolutionary Mothering” speaks not only about the journey of mothers but also of their children – that special breed of children born to revolutionary mothers. The daughters and sons of activists, organizers, independent business women, healers and spiritual leaders; the children of mothers who are transforming societies while nursing their newborn; the children whose journey is different than those who have parents with traditional nine to five jobs; the pressure to measure up to semi-celebrity moms; the empty kitchens and long separations between mother and child; the silence and secrecy about family struggles; and the mother’s struggle to balance career, caring for a community and being a biological mother. These are just some of the unique aspects to being a child of a revolutionary mother. “Revolutionary Mothering” is a mothering masterpiece. It should be required reading for anyone considering motherhood. Revolutionary Mothering is also a healing salve for every soul who has already braved the rough and rugged yet joy-filled terrain of parenting. Editor’s note: Ifalade TaShia Asanti is the spiritual mother of a national Ifa community and is the biological mother of a revolutionary daughter. She is also a proud revolutionary grandmother of four amazing Godsons and stepmom to three revolutionary sons. More about her work can be found at

Bold. Rich. Brewtiful.


$ 49 Medium Iced Coffee Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016






2016 Winter Park Jazz Festival

Photos by Brittany Winkfield Back2Basics Magazine

Black Lives Matter 135 Hour Sit-In Denver, Colorado

Photos by Quincy Shannon, Eric D. Nelson, Direct Autonomous Media and Black Lives Matter 5280 Denver Urban Spectrum — – August 2016



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