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Volume 33 Number 5 August 2019

The Honorable

Michael B. Hancock : Speaks on Last Term as Mayor of Denver…3 Photo by Bernard Grant

Native Americans Want Numbers To Tell Story...............8 Social Media Is The Real Bully....................................…10 Basketball Camp Dunks 12 Years Of Life Skills...........…12 Sudanese Community Speak Out For Justice...............14 Visions of the Colorado Black Arts Festival................…16


Rich diversity and so much more... Volume 33 Number 5

August 2019

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COPY EDITOR Ruby Jones COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Luciana Zilingo Nwuke Alfonzo Porter Stephanie Cross Annette Walker

This month’s issue presents a rich diversity of columns aimed at spotlighting the many concerns confronting our communities of color. It presents a tapestry of pieces that are uplifting and encouraging as we celebrate the beginning of Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s third term as Denver mayor. He promises to focus on some of our more urgent issues from addressing the intentional biases embedded in our criminal justice system, destigmatizing mental health, reducing our carbon footprint and addressing the ever increasing congestion on our streets. The issue focuses on our challenges as we provide a spotlight on the under-representation in our Native American community. It is expertly addressed in a piece by Mark Hedin as he discusses the impediments to ensuring an accurate accounting of that community’s population on a national scale as the 2020 census draws near. My Op-Ed this month focuses on the unintended consequences of social media and highlights our upcoming Educator’s Forum on Social Media’s Impact on our Students. The event is designed to bring about real solutions to the questions of hate speech, cyber bullying, online predators, internet addictions and misinformation online to name a few. Zilingo Nwuke provides a spotlight on the Simmons Foundation’s long-running Life Skills Basketball Camp. In this issue we also examined the decade’s long crisis in the Sudan in Annette Walker’s coverage of the Sudanese Community’s rally at the state capitol. While the government is now in transition following a military coup this past April, many Sudanese-Americans advise caution. The Sudanese population in the U.S. stands at approximately 200,000 with more than 5,000 calling Denver home. In her column, Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness discusses sleep deprivation on personal health and provides suggestion on how to improve your sleeping conditions for improved wellness. A retrospective on this year’s Black Arts Festival “Inner Vision...Outer Visions,” by Luciana confirms that more than 50,000 Denverites took part in this year’s three days of events. And Stephanie Cross provides a profile on the rise in popularity of the sport of volleyball among Colorado’s African American female athletes and East High School’s first appearance in the 5A Girl’s Volleyball Tournament highlighting standout players, Quairo Bentley and Morgan Browne. Alfonzo Porter Editor-In-Chief

ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR man appeared again and when they reported, the people were adamant and defended what they saw: “Are you blind?” “Do you think me a fool?” – And so on. On the third day they protested with signs saying: “White,” “Black,” “Light,” “Dark,” etc. When they reported this final time, there was the man. On one side he was white from shoe to hat and on the other he was black from head to toe. “Shame,” admonished the griot, “for not daring to cross the street and shame again for not setting foot on the road to get a full view!” In the July issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum, Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris wrote an op-ed entitled, “When They See Us With Closed Eyes and A Cold Heart,” about the aftermath of the Denver Mayoral Election. In it, she says “this is not to offend anyone this is just my observation and perspective.” From her perspective, she dares to step boldly in the road

Wise Truth Appreciated Editor: I had to take a moment to compliment you for your letter in the July issue. I love the way you spoke the wise truth. Kudos to you for another fine issue, and may God continue to bless you to keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us. Linda Bates Leali Denver

2019 Member The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2019 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

How We See Us Editor: After a time of concern, a griot decided to test the people. She instructed a certain man to walk down the middle of a certain road at a time when he would be seen. At the end of the day, she called the people before her and asked what they saw. On one side of the street, they said: “We saw a man made up in white and dressed from shoe to hat in the same color.” On the other side of the street they said: “We beg to differ, he appeared a shadow from head to toe.” On the second day, the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


to provide a fuller view. First, she asks us to look at the contender from both sides of the street, as more than a woman, a white woman, but from the content of her character and her qualifications. For me, beyond that, she is asking does history, race, and culture still matter? There have been 44 mayors before Mayor Michael Hancock. The Honorable Federico Pena was the forty-first and the first of color and the Honorable Mayor Wellington Webb was the first African American. Does that still matter? Continued on page 27 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum DenverUrbanSpectrum@urbanspectrum.net Publisher Publisher@urbanspectrum.net Editor Editor@urbanspectrum.net News & Information News@urbanspectrum.net Advertising & Marketing Advertising@urbanspectrum.net

Michael B. Hancock Sworn in for Third Term as Denver Mayor

Photos by Bernard Grant


n July 15, 2019, Michael B. Hancock was sworn in for his third term as Mayor of Denver on the steps of the City and County Building, along with new and returning members of City Council, Auditor Tim O’Brien, Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez and an audience of neighbors and residents. Delivering his final inaugural address, Mayor Hancock pledged that the next four years will be focused on solidifying Denver as the most equitable, modern and progressive city in the world. Denver’s 45th mayor presented a bold agenda to continue driving the success the city has experienced over the past eight years, while elevating the city’s efforts to ensure everyone has access to a home, a job and a future. Following is Mayor Hancock’s third Inaugural Address:

Members of City Council, Auditor O’Brien, Clerk and Recorder Lopez, Presiding Judge Spahn, honored guests and my fellow Denverites: You didn’t know you came to make a city, nobody knows when a city’s going to happen. Those are the words of Colorado poet laurate Thomas Hornsby Ferril, brought to life every day in every park, along every street and through every person in our city. 160 years ago, the first westward-bound settlers came to the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. They didn’t know they came to make a city – but a city was born. From those early beginnings, a city grew. A city that aspired to one day serve as Colorado’s capital. A city that built its own railroad so that progress would not pass it by. A city that welcomed new immigrants and new communities and new ideas. A city that has been resilient through every

boom and every bust, through every generational shift and through every change in our national consciousness. Today, we inaugurate a new city government by and for the people of this great city, and we affirm the trust that the people have placed in us to lead selflessly with integrity, civility and honor. There is no more humbling responsibility – a responsibility we accept with gratitude, with the love and support of our families and with the confidence of the people. We are called to make a city for those here today, and for the generations that will follow. Without question, these are challenging times. Our national discourse, once filled with hope and optimism, has been replaced with cynicism, hate and anger that stoke the ugly

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


politics of division. But here in Denver, we are steadfast in the conviction that our city’s strength comes from a fierce sense of unity, equity and inclusion. Ambition must never and will never be used as a tool to divide us. We may have disagreements, but our goals are aligned. We may have debates, but we all seek to do what is best for the people we serve. We may take different paths, but our destinations are the same. Consensus is always our aim. Consensus fueled an economic revival over the last eight years like none other in Denver’s history. Consensus brought us together to balance our budget, fix our mental health system and repair our infrastructure. Consensus is what brings us together to stand as one Denver in the face of bigotry and bias. And when we see children in cages at our southern border; when families are torn apart, and our community is targeted

for deportation raids; when our neighbors are forced to take sanctuary in churches – our resolve will only grow stronger. We will stand together as one Denver to shield our residents from being the targets of any radical and hate-filled agenda. Together, our determination is relentless. There is nothing we can’t do, nor anything that will stand in our way. Our economy is strong. Our neighborhoods are safe. Our people have access to unprecedented opportunity. Here and now, we are poised to do something extraordinary. Through bold, energetic and visionary leadership, we will advance the trust and the will of the people to solidify Denver as the most equitable, modern and progressive 21st Century city in the world.   We came to make a city where our success today means fortifying an economy for tomorrow, an economy that is built on equity, opportunity and social benefit for every resident, every worker and every family. We know that for our city to remain strong, our legacy must be an economy that works for everyone – where everyone has access to a home, a job and a future. To achieve that economy, equity in opportunity must be a guarantee. A good day’s work, no matter the job, should be rewarded with a livable wage. The ability to train for a good-paying career in the industries and fields that will define the future should be open to anyone who seeks it. Affordable childcare, affordable before and after-school programs, and affordable healthcare should not be the privilege of a few, but open to every family. And a child’s zip code should not pre-determine their future – it should only determine that their college acceptance letter makes it to the right address. Our public investments should be the vehicles to drive public good. Our projects will be rooted in our equity platform, and we will continue to create local jobs. We will sup-

ing the affordability of our homes is the guiding principal that informs and shapes all our work and our policies. The American Dream should be a dream for all, and when the market refuses to respond, we must step in to ensure that it becomes an attainable reality for all. And we will not rest until those who are experiencing homelessness can themselves rest with a roof over their heads. We will go beyond an

port our local businesses, especially women and minorityowned businesses. Our families and our communities will have access to the tools that will help them achieve economic mobility and build generational wealth. And our neighborhoods will be the beneficiaries of these investments. An affordable home is the social foundation that any family’s economic security is built on. Protecting and improv-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


emergency response, and pursue a rapid housing response, ensuring our residents are healthy, housed and connected. Our path forward will continue to be one of compassion and dignity for our most vulnerable residents; a supportive care system that addresses individual needs and experiences, and where all roads lead to housing first, achieved through every resource brought to bear. Continued on page 6

Inaugural Address Continued from page 5 We came to make a city that champions progress and progressive ideals, because those are the ideals that champion people, equity and social justice. We are resolved to correct, and correct now, the decades of intentional bias in our criminal justice system that trapped generations of families in a relentless cycle of oppression and poverty. We believe action must be taken at every level to address the decades of devastation the war on drugs and biasdriven incarceration have inflicted on our communities of color, and the insurmountable barriers they have left in their wake. It is not only an economic and social imperative, it is simply the right thing to do. And with that same resolve, we will pull back the curtain on the stigma of mental illness. There is not a single family untouched by the effects of this national crisis – including my own. We can no longer allow for our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues or our family members to suffer in silence. We can shatter that stigma with a community response that fortifies our collective efforts and meets our struggling residents where they are. Through new approaches and thanks to the people’s vote, now more than ever we have the means to help them – and we will. We will do what is necessary to protect the hard fought and

what affects the character and design of their community. And at the heart of our community are our parks. Why else would so many of our neighborhoods be named after them? If we truly are a city within a park, we must ensure that every resident, from our youngest to our oldest, lives within a ten-minute walk of a park; that our investments reflect the values of our city and neighborhoods; and that our natural places – our rivers, creeks and open spaces – are restored, protected and preserved. We also believe our mobility system should provide multiple ways to get around town for all people – that connects neighborhoods, provides access and not barriers, and creates unique places. Our streets must change to make way for more transit riders, bike riders and pedestrians. And we must continue to strive for greater safety, with more measures implemented to reduce speeds and reduce conflicts between modes, so fewer and fewer people, until we reach zero, are losing their lives on our streets. Growth must not only be smart, it must also be growth with equity and growth with justice. Our history is one of our most valuable assets, and it is irreplaceable. There is no equity if development does not embrace that asset and provide a community benefit. There is no justice if histories and cul-

hard won civil and equal rights of all our residents, and remain the welcoming city that we are. We will never allow the voting rights of Americans to be stripped away – here or anywhere. We will never tolerate the erosion of healthcare for women – here or anywhere. We will never stand for discrimination against our LGBTQ plus neighbors simply for living as who they truly are – here or anywhere. And there is a looming challenge that affects the equity of every one of our residents and neighborhoods. We believe in facts and science, that the effects of climate change are real, and that they are happening right now. In fact, many of us believe climate change is the greatest threat to the security and wellbeing of our nation. This is a time to lead, and our response must rise to the occasion of this challenge – reducing our carbon footprint, powering our city with 100 percent renewable electricity and safeguarding our most vulnerable communities from the health impacts of climate change. We came to make a city where each neighborhood can become complete, with libraries and parks, with good schools, with plenty of mobility options, and no shortage of affordable housing. We hold true that growth should be directed to where it makes sense, while empowering our neighborhoods to have a greater say in

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


tures and families are lost. We must channel our successes and our resources to fortify our communities and stem displacement. Our focus must be on the people who make this city what it is, on their contributions, on their successes, and on their unbridled possibilities. In the footsteps of our forbearers, we have come here today to make a city. Together, as one Denver, we are writing the next chapter in the history of our great city. What we write will be determined by our actions and by our common purpose. The oaths we swore carry an awesome responsibility, not just for us today, but for future generations. The full measure of what we do will not be counted in buildings built or dollars spent, but in futures secured. I will never cease to be amazed in our capacity to dream and in our ability to achieve. We are a city born, steeled and risen in purple mountains majesty, and because of that, it is easier for us to see new horizons and new possibilities. It is easier for us to understand that while we came to make a city, the very act of making a city is never finished. So, let us rise together to celebrate our purpose, face down our challenges and boldly seize the opportunities before us. Thank you. God bless you, and may God forever bless the City and County of Denver..

Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s Inaugural Address Highlights A city with an economy that is built on equity, opportunity and social benefit for every resident, every worker and every family •Creating an economy that works for everyone – jobs that pay a livable wage; training and access to higher paying jobs; affordable services that support families’ quality of life; and opportunities for Denver’s children to have a bright future. •Rooting our public investments in the Mayor’s Equity Platform to create local jobs, support local businesses and benefit our residents and neighborhoods. •Protecting and improving the affordability of our homes as the guiding principal that informs and shapes all of the city’s work and policies. •Pursuing a rapid housing response, ensuring our residents experiencing homelessness are healthy, housed and connected.

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A city that advances progressive ideals to champion people, equity and social justice •Pushing for action at every level to correct the decades of intentional bias in our institutions and criminal justice system that trapped generations of families in a relentless cycle of oppression and poverty. •Pulling back the curtain on the stigma of mental illness with a community response that fortifies our collective efforts and meets our struggling residents where they are. •Protecting the hard fought and hard won civil and equal rights of all our residents and remain the welcoming city that we are. •Addressing the equity challenges and effects of climate change by reducing our carbon footprint, powering our city with 100 percent renewable electricity and safeguarding our most vulnerable communities from the health impacts.

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•Directing growth to where it makes sense, while empowering our neighborhoods to have a greater say in what affects the character and design of their community. •Ensuring that every resident, from our youngest to our oldest, lives within a ten-minute walk of a park through investments that reflect the values of our city and neighborhoods and restoring, protecting and preserving our rivers, creeks and open spaces. •Delivering a mobility system that provides multiple ways to get around town for all people, connects neighborhoods, provides access and not barriers, and creates unique places. •Channeling Denver’s successes and resources to fortify our communities and stem displacement so growth is not only smart but focuses on equity and justice.

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We Need Numbers to Tell Our Story Reversing Census Undercount in Indian Country By Mark Hedin, Ethnic Media Services

James Ramos (D-San Bernardino), the first Native American elected to the California State Assembly, addressed a gathering of Native American media and state workers ahead of the upcoming 2020 Census at a meeting in the governor’s conference room on April 4. Photo by Lynn Chan, Ethnic Media Services


ith the 2020 Census approaching, California Native American media met with state officials in Sacramento to discuss ways to ensure a more accurate count. Fear, distrust and even anger at the federal government are among the obstacles the 2020 Census must overcome to reach an accurate count, especially of immigrants and communities of color, most experts agree. For Native Americans, the ethnic group with the highest undercount of any defined by the Census Bureau, these obstacles are compounded by diversity and isolation. So a group of Native American media representatives met recently in Sacramento with state officials, a Native American legislator and members of the governor’s staff to brainstorm how to reverse the undercount in 2020. Those media in attendance Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


were Hoopa Radio, Indian Country Today, Indian Voices, News from Native California, the Two Rivers Tribune, the Quechan Indian Tribe’s KUAV-FM, KPRI-FM from the Pala Indian Reservation and FNX-TV. Also on hand were state government officials and Ethnic Media Services staff. There’s no one-size-fits-all message on the census for Indian Country, Ditas Katague, director of CA Complete Count Census 2020, the state’s complete count committee acknowledged. She pointed out how in 2010, the Two Rivers Tribune had to reject two consecutive ads as culturally inappropriate – one showed Plains Indians walking through fields towards teepees, the other depicted an Indian man in front of a Los Angeles skyscraper. Two Rivers Tribune’s readership of Hoopa Indians has lived in the redwood forests of Northern California for 20,000

years. Native media embedded in their communities are key to customizing the message for each tribe, Katague pointed out. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The 2010 Census, considered the most accurate of any decennial census taken since 1790, still missed almost five percent of Native Americans living on reservations and almost 12 percent of those off the rez. As a result, the native community has lost out on at least 4.9 percent of its share of hundreds of billions in government allocations based on census data. The undercount has a national effect. George Washington University’s “Counting for Dollars 2020” study estimates that for the 16 large federal programs, together spend $589 billion annually based on census data, the loss comes to $1,838 per person. For California, the same study pegs that amount at $1,958 per person. Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, says for the Native American population, the number is closer to $3,000 each. “Indian Country is so diverse in general, but in California, the state with the largest population of Native Americans in the country, that diversity increases exponentially,” said Jourdan BennettBegaye, a reporter with Indian Country Today. “California has 109 recognized tribes, and there are so many more. Each tribe, each community, is different, with our own identities, our own ways.” Daniel Golding runs KUAV, the radio station serving the Quechan Indian Tribe in the southeastern corner of the state “California’s second-

largest tribe you’ve never heard of,” he joked. To underscore the diversity, he recalled seeing a coyote on the road while touring a different reservation. “For one tribe, crossing paths with a coyote brings bad luck. For my tribe, it’s a sign of good fortune.” The sheer isolation of tribal lands makes tallying people a challenge. Eric Ortega, of the Pala Indian Reservation in San Diego County, notes that just having a street address, instead of a post-office box, is a recent innovation. In 2010, the Census Bureau began community outreach efforts two or three years before census-taking started. That was very helpful, according to Brian Golding, Daniel Golding’s brother, head of economic development for the Quechan tribe. Local residents helped enumerators find where people lived, he said, and more importantly, worked alongside enumerators to mitigate a mistrust of strangers that might have led to fewer people being counted. That sort of outreach hasn’t been seen in the run-up to 2020, Golding says. “This go-round, right out the gate, is significantly weaker in outreach to Indian Country.” The Census Bureau has been underfunded throughout the 2010s, affecting its ability to do its typical preparations such as community outreach and thorough field-testing of proposed changes. And, in a new cost-cutting effort, the Census Bureau plans to have people complete their questionnaires online after getting a notice in the mail. But not everybody in Indian Country has ready access to a computer. “The online opportunity may be helpful,” Brian Golding says. “The younger population tends to have smart phones and is generally tech-savvy.” But

they also tend to be more mobile and less concerned about responding, he adds. “They’re more likely to use tech, but least likely to respond.” Fully 73 percent of Native people in California live in cities and smaller towns, presumably making them relatively accessible. But Lorenda Sanchez, who heads the California Indian Manpower Consortium in Sacramento, says it’s actually harder to count Native people in urban communities because they’re dispersed, not clustered in a homogenous community. This is particularly true in cities too small to have strong, sizable identity groups in their midst but large enough to be diverse. Sanchez, whose organization includes 104 of the state’s tribes and 68 community-based organizations, has worked on census matters for 41 years. She pegs the undercount for Native Americans in California at between 10 percent and 25 percent in urban communities, with the larger cities at the lower end of the range. The 2010 Census counted 723,000 Native Americans in California, almost evenly split between full-blooded and mixed-race. Los Angeles has about 140,000, the Bay Area about 75,000. The April 4 meeting, held in the governor’s conference room in the state Capitol, provided a call to action for attendees. “One of my takeaways was that localized media in each of the communities that attended are ready to raise awareness and address concerns in each of their regions,” observed Frank Blanquet of FNX TV, who is producing a segment on the conversation. “We all understand how the census affects us and our communities,” Bennett-Begaye remarked. “We’re figuring out

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


how to communicate that to our diverse audiences.” Allie Hostler, editor of the Two Rivers Tribune, says her major challenge is limited resources, a sentiment shared by virtually all attendees. For Terria Smith of the TorresMartinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, editor of News from Native California, which covers tribal news statewide, trust is the underlying issue Native media must address. “There is no trust right now for the federal government at all, as far as a lot of people go. Then you’re going to have to combat people’s apathy: What is the benefit of doing all of this?” “I understand people’s distress, but it also affects a lot of our federal programs,” BennettBegaye countered. “I’m also thinking about the younger kids. The number one population that’s undercounted is kids 0-5, and Native youth are our largest population in Indian Country.” “If we can get that message back to our people, and we can share that with them, they just may be better involved,” noted Joe Orozco, longtime station manager of the Hoopa reservation’s radio station KIDE, 50 miles north of Eureka. “So I’m looking forward to doing what I can do to make that happen. “Let’s give them some more numbers that they can count on, and just keep adding to our story,” he concluded as the convening ended. “That’s the only thing we have. We need the numbers to tell our story.”.

Addressing the Unintended Consequences of Social Media Join US at Our Upcoming “Educator’s Forum on Social Media’s Impact on our Students Op-ed by Alfonzo Porter, DUS Editor-in-Chief


n the early 2000s, social media platforms represented new and emerging technological advances that promised to provide news, information and entertainment at the touch of a button. Digital access was touted as the way of the future; presenting tools that would allow us to find and reconnect with lost friends and acquaintances, learn through do-ityourself videos on any topic imaginable, communicate seemlessly across multiple devices and market products and services all over the world at virtually no cost. However, as with any new creation and its abundance of positive attributes, there are many unintended consequences that accompany these ingenious innovations. While we can all point to the advantages of social and digital media, we are now beginning to realize the negatives aspects of this technology. As we continue to find ever more nimble ways to enhance these platforms, we must be mindful that these tools are also being utilized as weapons that are producing heartbreaking outcomes. Issues stemming from cyber bullying, hate speech, online predation, hacking, internet-addictions, and disinformation online are just a few of the devastating side effects of 24/7/265 connectivity. The crisis continues to vex parents, school leaders and policy makers alike. Today’s students are being raised as “digital natives.” In other words, they do not know of a world

where these tools and devices did not exist. Technology has been an important part of the lives of both the millennial generation and now the so-called generation Z (born after 2004). Since the inception of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there has been a significant rise in heretofore unintended consequences such as bullying behaviors, youth suicides, frauds and scams, the destruction of reputations, and a near total breakdown in personal security; to name a few. To add insult to injury, former Facebook executives now admit that they were aware that the platform could be weaponized in the ways that are now becoming apparent. In a CBS interview, former Facebook executive in charge of user growth, Chamath Palihapitiya said that, “we knew something bad could happen,” and the fact is that you are being programmed. “We have created a tool that is ripping away the social fabric of how society works,” Palihapitiya said. “Kids need a hard break from some of these tools. The dopamine, feedback loops are addictive and results in misinformation, less cooperation and no civil discourse. We have opened the door for bad actors to manipulate large swaths of people to do whatever they want.” In a 2018 Good Morning America interview, Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, also admitted that the goal was to get people hooked on the platform. “The site was built to intentionally hook people,” Parker said. “The goal was to consume as much of your time and attention as possible. The social validation feedback loop is

designed to exploit vulnerabilities in human psychology. We understood this consciously and we did it anyway.” With virtual reality and artificial intelligence now thoroughly integrated into the global economic ecosystem, the larger question becomes, how do we as parents and educators address the growing issues presented by this advancing technology? As an educator, we have become accustomed to hearing the familiar and inevitable refrain – So what are the schools doing about it?” Whether that responsibility may appear initially misplaced, it is what we educators do – we endeavor to address the social issues of the time in which we find ourselves. Not only are we responsible for ensuring a world class education for each and every child who walks through the schoolhouse door, we keep them safe and secure while helping them make adequate academic progress as they matriculate through our institutions and tend to their social, emotional and psychological needs while in our care. The phrase “in loco parentis” means in place of the parent. Every teacher recognizes and accepts this responsibility when they sign their teaching contracts each year. Therefore, it seems only fair to provide school and educators with the tools, resources and training needed to confront the problem head on. We do not retreat from the reality of social media’s influence on our students but if educators are being called upon to address the problems, policy makers and those who allocate financial and human resources must also recognize and live up to the part they play in delivering the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


resources needed to meet the challenges. School systems cannot afforf to operate in silos. There is an urgent need for a coordinated approach to addressing the issue of social media and its long term affects. Therefore, on Sept. 20, Denver Urban Spectrum in cooperation with Vertex Learning, LLC and its community based partners will host a “Forum on Social Media’s Impact on our Students,”at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre (119 W. Park Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Invited guests include Sen. Michael Bennet, Mayor Michael Hancock, Governor Jared Polis, Colorado school superintendents, principals, state and local policy makers, community partners, parents and student leaders. The event is free and will feature discussions and breakout sessions designed to build capacity towards solutions to the problems confronting our students along with viable tools designed to help address the issues from a curricular vantage point.. Editor’s note: Space is limited and RSVPs are requested. Call 303-2926446 or email editor@urbanspectrm.net. Editor’s note: Alfonzo Porter is the author of Digital Citizenship: Promoting Wellness for Thriving in a Connected World. It is a textbook designed for secondary students and aligned with learning outcomes of the Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE). It is curriculum that focuses on the social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of students as they seek to navigate life in a cyber reality. Porter is also a Journalism Professor at MSU-Denver.

HOME OWNERS: YOU ARE LIVING IN YOUR CASH COW! By Barry Overton The secret to building wealth with your existing home

The African

American Community has never been in a better position to make some of the biggest financial moves in our history, in this country. With better job opportunities, and entrepreneurial endeavors we are experiencing higher incomes than our parents. With positive gains in income, it becomes very important that we establish financial practices that create a larger asset portfolio for our families. Have you owned your home for four years or more? If, yes do you know you are sitting on a goldmine? What I mean by that is chances are you may have built equity of $100k or maybe even $200k. But here’s the thing, while it’s great to have so much equity, it is just sitting there. This is an opportunity to put your money to work. If I could show you a way to triple your earnings and equity potential on your primary residence would you want to know about it? Let me explain this unique method that many savvy homeowners are using to create wealth. If you have owned your home for four plus years, chances are you have experience 9-10 percent increases in values over the past few years. It would be safe to say you could likely have $150k-$200k of equity in your home. I will show you a way to access a portion that equity and use it to purchase additional properties. So, let’s say you access $100k of that equity. This can be done

easiest by establishing a home equity line of credit (HELOC) on your current home. The HELOC gives you access to your equity so that you can now do whatever you like with the cash. One of the smart moves would be to invest it in additional Real Estate. Here is a strategic plan to purchase investment properties. For instance, you can use that $100k equity to purchase two townhomes or condos. You can put a down payment of $50k on each of these two new properties. Now you own three properties two of which you are earning passive residual income from renters. For example, those two rental properties are now bringing an income say of $2000 per month each, but your mortgage and HOA payment only total $1500 per month on each property. Between those two properties you now have a positive cash flow coming each month of $1000. You just gave yourself a $12,000 raise for the year, just by accessing money that was already yours and putting it to work. And here is the best part. Remember that $150k-$200k equity you had in your primary residence? Well, you still have it. It’s just been disbursed into three properties instead of one. And you now have three properties appreciating in value instead of one. This is how so many Americans have started building Real Estate Portfolio. The blueprint for this success plan was laid out many years ago. So, it’s not a matter of reinventing the wheel. It’s simply a matter of taking what has already worked for others and applying it to our own financial portfolio.. Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate Agent with New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information, email barrysellsdenver@ msn.com. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Simmons Foundation Hosts 12th Annual Life Skills Basketball Camp By Zilingo Nwuke Campers take a break to take a photo with Coach Simmons, former Mayor Wellington E. Webb and First Lady of Denver Wilma J. Webb Photos by Zilingo Nwuke

From June 10 to July 3, the Simmons Foundation Life Skills Basketball Camp was held at East High School in Denver. In its 12th year running, the camp helps aspiring kids in developing basketball skills, but it also helps camp enrollees develop life skills that will help them on and off the court in the future. “The camp helps the kids in their basketball endeavors by just learning basic skills like dribbling, how to shoot, how to pass, but more than that it’s about life skills,” said Coach Alvertis Simmons and founder of the Simmons Foundation Life Skills Basketball Camp.

“That’s what’s more important to me. We teach the kids how to go into life with the tools of life.” The focus of the camp is to help keep youth off the streets while they are out of school for the summer. According to a recent Denver Post article, the city has witnessed the largest rise in violent crime rate last year compared to other large cities. Police suggests that gang activity is very real in downtown Denver and activities aimed at keeping the kids from venturing into the wrong crowd may prove helpful. The Simmons Foundation Life Skills Basketball Camp is one of the only free basketball

camps available in the region. Youth enrolled in the camp are able to stay busy and out of trouble even if they don’t have the extra money to spare. There are five basic principles of the camp that Simmons is trying to instill in his campers which are love, respect, selfesteem, self-respect and discipline. Coach Simmons feels that by making these five principles part of their everyday lives, the children will learn how to navigate through life. They will learn the respect and discipline that will help them get to where they want to go. “The camp teaches discipline and Alvertis really seems to hammer that home,” stated Sergeant Tad Davis, an officer who was present at the camp. Many special guests are invited to talk with the children and help them understand the core values Coach Simmons wants them to leave with. Speakers, politicians, community activists, business professionals, and mental health professionals spend time with the campers. This year, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and First Lady of Denver Wilma Webb spoke to the campers. They also have field trips. “This year, and which will continue, we provided a field trip to the Blair Caldwell Library, so the Black and Brown kids could learn their history. That was so enriching,” Coach Simmons proudly said.

The Honorable Wilma J. Webb gives life tips to the basketball campers

The camp is divided into two sections. Life skills are taught in the morning and basketball skills are taught in the afternoon. The goal of the camp is to make each camper a well rounded individual who can do more than just shoot a jump shot. Campers leave with knowledge that will help them even when they put up their basketball shoes for good. The Simmons Foundation Life Skills Basketball Camp could lead to a lot of misguided children finding their way in life. Not only does it help fine tune these aspiring athletes basketball skills, to help them achieve whatever it is they are

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As the old idiom says, “Idle times lead to idle minds.” Children need to stay busy even during the summer time. What more could a parent want for their child!? All for free. The camp is a blessing to the community and those enrolled in it. It truly is. “I love the basketball camp because this is the only camp in Colorado that you don’t have to pay, it gets you free food, free gifts, and more,” stated Timothy Austin, an 11 year old camper. “I just love it because we get to do all this stuff for free and he is helping all these kids out, so they are not bored, doing whatever they want. It gives us a safe place to be instead of just being in the streets.” Make a change for the better. Your kids will thank you.. Editor’s note: For more information or to enroll your child in the next session, visit www.simmonsfoundationfyc.org or call 303-521-7211.

Practice makes perfect The striving for, but it also helps fine tune their minds, so they can see the world in a different way and not make the same mistakes others have before them. Basketball isn’t everyone’s way to make a living. This camp helps campers see that there are ways to survive that don’t involve shooting a jump-

shot. There are other avenues available where they can still be involved in the sport without being on the court. The campers receive knowledge and discipline that will help them in the present and years down the road. It also gives them something to do during the summer and keep them out of trouble.



The Denver Preschool Program offers tools to help you find a quality preschool that best meets your needs and tuition support to lower your child’s monthly enrollment costs.

Get started now—spots are limited and filling up quickly!


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Sudanese Community Rallies Outside State Capitol The Struggle for Justice in their Homeland Continues By Annette Walker


everal hundred local Sudanese rallied on Sunday, June 30 at the Colorado State Capitol Building; organized by the Colorado chapter of the Sudanese-American Public Affairs Association (SAPAA), a national organization headquartered in Denver. Although SAPAA’s general mission is to promote and strengthen the well-being of Sudanese-American communities, the political situation in the Sudan was the motivating factor for the June 30 event. “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Sudan,” said Wafa Saeed, SAPAA’s Executive Director. “June 30 is the anniversary of the beginning of the 30-year dictatorship, and we wanted to represent our opposition to that,” she continued. Sudanese-Americans, in other parts of the United States and internationally, organized similar rallies. For the past few decades, the Sudan has received global attention for the massive displacement and death of hundreds of thousands of its citizens due to political reasons.  “Since its independence from Britain in 1956, Sudan has been

bedeviled by a succession of civil wars and political instability,” said Ahmad Sikainga, a native of Sudan and Professor of History at Ohio State University. “These conflicts can be attributed to the deeply rooted regional, political and economic inequalities that have persisted for decades,” he continued. Sikainga noted the role of government and the social elite in the continuing conflicts.  “These inequalities are exemplified by the political, economic, and cultural hegemony of a small group of Arabic-speaking Sudanese elites who have held power and systematically marginalized the non-Arab and non-Muslim groups in the country’s peripheries.” Until 2011, the Sudan was Africa’s largest nation in area.  Its regional conflicts have been serious enough to garner global attention. The northern region includes Khartoum, the capital city, and was always the center of power.  Over 90% of the inhabitants are Muslims and many are of Arab origin. Christians and practitioners of African indigenous religions inhabit the southern region.  Resistance to northern political dominance was continuous.  Tension increased after the 1978 discovery of oil in the southern region. Since independence from Britain, the idea of dividing the Sudan into separate nations was common and formed the basis of the establishment of various political groups in the South. The western region of Darfur has been a major conflict area. 

Ironically, many of the inhabitants are Muslims, and conflicts are related to resources and governance. On June 30, 1989, General Omar al-Bashir led a military coup against Sudan’s elected government. After eventually appointed president, he established a military government. In 2009, his tenure in power was so oppressive that he was among the first world leaders to be issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity; allowing accusers to them themselves into the courts. Al-Bashir refused, but ceased to join other world leaders at sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. Among the many atrocities of his government is that described by the United Nations in 2009 as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” at that time referring to the Darfur conflict in which more than 300,000 persons have been killed, and thousands displaced into refugee camps, often in neighboring countries, There have been periods when political parties were banned and when lifted, the Bashir government made life very unpleasant for vocal political opponents. In July 2011, South Sudan officially became a separate nation. In the Sudan (North Sudan), there was a steady increase in civil protests over a variety of

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


issues. The Bashir government responded with arrests and attacks on media coverage of events and general persecution of opposition politicians. On April 11 of this year, the military toppled Bashir in a coup and pledged a two-year transition to democracy.  Protests continued with demands for participation in the political process.  In July, the military agreed to engage in discussions with the prodemocracy movement. 

SAPAA Responds and Local Activities “SAPAA is cautious about the agreement,” said Wafa Saeed. “We are watching the process,” she continued. In honor of a young artist killed by government forces in early June, many wore light blue T-shirts, blouses and shirts at the June 30 event who used blue in his artwork and had suggested that it become the official color of the Sudan. In the meantime, SAPAA will continue its work with a Convention and Youth Summit in early August in Denver as one of SAPAA’s goals in to assist with the adjustment of Sudanese children and youth to U.S. society. SAPAA estimates that there are approximately 200,000 Sudanese residing in the United States. There are approximately 5,000 residing in Colorado, primarily in the metropolitan Denver area..---

The Importance of Sleep By Kim Farmer


leep has an essential role in our life for physical and mental health, yet many people struggle to get enough of it. Insufficient sleep is a medical problem which is known as insomnia or sleeplessness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, acute insomnia is brief and often happens because of life circumstances (like the night before you have a big test) whereas Chronic insomnia is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months. Acute insomnia usually goes away on its own while chronic insomnia may require treatment.

Why Sleep Is Important Sleep plays a critical role in all bodily functions, such as protec‐ tion from physical and mental stress. It also promotes healing and repairing of cardiac blood vessels. According to a recent

study published in the journal of psychology, those individuals sleeping less than five hours (the recommended amount is seven to nine hours for most adults) are at risk of developing sleeping disorders. A proper amount of sleep is crucial for maintaining your active lifestyle; poor sleep can lead to various health com‐ plications. Read the following list for some of the health advan‐ tages of sleep on your body and mind. Sleep reduces anxiety and stress: Sleep plays a vital role in reducing anxiety and stress. Various research studies have reported that sleep is one of the best and most effective ways to minimize the symptoms of anx‐ iety and stress. Sleep provides improved mental stability and relaxation since you will feel more rested, energized and ready to take on everyday challenges. Sleep improves focus and productivity: Sleep provides psy‐ chological and physical rest which gives you more mental energy for improved focus and productivity. Research studies

have revealed that quality sleep is vital for promoting concentra‐ tion at work and school. Seep boosts immune func‐ tions: Sleep has a close associa‐ tion with the immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that individuals who don’t get enough sleep (or quality sleep all night) are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Conversely, a lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. Sleep Improves memory: Sleep is also associated with improved cognitive functions and boosting memory. According to a recent study, after two different groups were studied, the group with proper sleep showed a sig‐ nificant improvement in recollec‐ tion of short and long term events. Sleep promotes weight loss: The amount of sleep you get directly affects your diet. People who are sleep deprived tend to

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


weigh more and have more trou‐ ble losing weight than those who get adequate rest, even when they follow the same diet. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body over produces the hunger causing hormone grehlin, causing you to feel hungrier during the day. Getting enough sleep or qual‐ ity sleep is very important as part of your overall physical and mental health plan. A lack of sleep can increase your appetite, decrease your energy levels and cause other adverse conditions, sabotaging your quest for improved health and wellness. If your condition is ongoing then it is chronic and you may want to speak with your healthcare pro‐ fessional. Thanks for reading! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers inhome personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com


his year’s Colorado Black Arts Festival, “InnerVisions… OuterVisions,” could not have been more appropriately titled. The theme which underscores an inward reflection of creative spirit and imagination which in turn is outwardly expressed through visual, performing, literary arts – proved true to its mission. Celebrating more than three decades of anything is a great achievement for anyone and the Colorado Black Arts Festival’s leadership is at the top of the list with 33 years under their belt of celebrating arts, culture and history. More than 50,000 people attended the three day event as first time festival-goers and regular festival supporters were in for a treat from Friday to Sunday with something for everyone and every age. In addition to mouth-watering food and African wares and artwork at the Watu Sakoni People’s Market Place, there was the very popular Boogaloo Parade, the Joda Village and the presentation of the Louise Duncan Award. Strolling through out the grounds of the historic Denver City Park, attendees enjoyed the Art Garden, Visual Art Row, and a host of pavilions including the Opalanga D. Pugh Children’s Pavilion for Art and Learning, the Health Highways Pavilion, a Film Pavilion and the Natural Hair Pavilion. The Youthfest presented DJ’s who took to the stage spinning some of the most soulful house music ever recorded all weekend long. This long standing event and the planning, displayed the strength of the organizers and its Founder and Artistic Director M. Perry Ayers who has been at the helm for 33 years. Organized by local performer Ron Ivory, the non-stop

InnerVisions…OuterVisions Presents True Testaments of Strength, Commitment, Courage and Grit By Luciana

Above: Colorado Black Arts Festival Founder Perry Ayers (center) with staff members. Below: National recording gospel artist – singer, musician and songwriter Le’Andria Johnson

live entertainment on the Kuumba Stage included local artists performing a wide range of genres including funk, hiphop, jazz fusion, neo-soul, contemporary jazz, soul pop and classic R&B. Highlighting the stage on Saturday was nationally recording artist - saxophonist, composer, producer songwriter and vocalist - Eric Darius. On Sunday, the Kuumba Stage was filled with gospel music, praise dancers and the special presentation of the annual Louise Duncan Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award ceremony. This year’s award honoree was Marilyn Joyce Robertson. Highlighting and closing out the festival on the Kuumba Stage on Sunday was

national recording gospel artist – singer, musician and songwriter - Le’Andria Johnson. Live entertainment does not always get the respect or support it deserves locally and also nationally. And true artists understand that challenge, but do not allow it to deter them from displaying their love of their talent when the opportunity presents itself. This weekend the performers rose to the occasion and proved their commitment to beautiful art of music. Planning festivals during the summer in the Mile Hi City is always concerning – hoping that Mother Nature will be on its side. And for the most part over the three-day festival it was. However, the weather did take its toll and rained on Eric

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Darius parade preventing him to perform on stage because of unsafe conditions that included lightening. But the scintillating performer who says, “The key to my success has been the five P’s: practice, persistence, perseverance, patience, and prayer,” did not want to disappoint his fans and leave them hanging provided a short impromptu performance in the VIP tent. He says, “Those are the five P’s that have really laid the groundwork for, where I am today,” but with the adverse weather conditions that were presented we can also add a “C” for courage. Lastly and certainly not least, for those who were not in attendance for the closing night performance of gospel music standout – you missed the highlight of the festival. The stage was already warmed up from the Restoration Christian Fellowship Church choir who had set the stage by the musical director Jeroan Adams and promoter Bernard Wesley. But for those who did not know the Gospel sensation Le’Andria Johnson, she took the audience by storm performing gospel greats such as “Exodus,” “Jesus,” and melody of some old Christian songs. Setting off her performance and her connecting with the audience was her revelation about her challenges with battling alcoholism and going to jail after reaching stardom. The Sunday’s Best Season Three winner announced she was eight months sober and had one more month to wear the ankle monitor (bracelet) visible on her left leg. She left the stage and walked through the crowd and while singing “Better Days,” she testified touching people in the audience – as many broke down crying, feeling the gospel and her spirit. As a woman who has faced adversity, Le’Andria Johnson sees “better days” because she has faith, gives love, and shows grit..

Rocky Mountain Public Media Launches THE DROP The People’s Station for R&B and Hip-Hop Listen now on KUVO’s HD2 signal, the KUVO app and digitally at thedrop303.org


ocky Mountain Public Media, Colorado’s largest statewide, member-supported, multimedia organization and parent of Rocky Mountain PBS and nationally recognized jazz radio leader KUVO, today announced the launch of THE DROP, a digital radio station featuring R&B, urban adult contemporary, rap and hip-hop targeting young, multicultural audiences in Colorado.

“Rocky Mountain Public Media is thrilled to unveil THE DROP and its innovative programming to Coloradans,” said Amanda Mountain, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Public Media. “With our primarily digital footprint, we are meeting audiences where they are in the shift to streaming and introducing public media to younger, more ethnically diverse listeners.” “We want to put radio and the subsequent music choice back in the people’s hands,” said Nikki Swarn, THE DROP’s content and program director. “There is a need to build with

our community a station that reflects the eclectic music values and tastes of this new Colorado. THE DROP is that station; it is built by the community for the community. We are excited to create a movement that is inclusive, exciting, dynamic and fresh. Plus, there’s nothing like shaking things up.” THE DROP is commercialfree and based on the needs of the community, including how it was named, which was by Coloradoans voting on social media. Much of the station’s content also will be curated by the Colorado music community and its consumers. If listeners want old school hip-hop, deep cuts or anything in between, the station will play those requests. It also will feature a regular rotation of Colorado independent artists. “Our Colorado independent music creators are starved for support and exposure,” Swarn said. “Through strong, respectful relationships with ALL of Colorado—not just Denver— THE DROP will have a hand in establishing a more developed sound for our state, which is a huge opportunity to align more fully with record labels, streaming and overall content providers.” THE DROP is supported by a $350,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to support the CPB mission to encompass a more diverse, younger audience. Two other cities with similar projects are Houston

and Norfolk, Va. Each station is working with Paragon Media Strategies to test and refine the format in their individual markets. “Many terrestrial stations struggle to maximize their streaming opportunities,” Swarn said. “As the top method for music consumption, streaming and the creation of an alldigital station complements KUVO’s terrestrial signal and allows for the entire KUVO brand to expand in ways that are new and innovative. We’re primed to incorporate and influence our local market and take on the national music industry at the same time.” Audiences can engage with THE DROP in several ways including the KUVO app; online at thedrop303.org; smart devices, including smart speakers; live performances in KUVO’s performance studio recorded for broadcast on KUVO and THE DROP, as well as on Rocky Mountain PBS’

weekly arts program, Arts District; and, four-hour daily broadcast set for later this summer in partnership with Denver Open Media’s radio channel on KOMF 92.9 and live performances on its all-access public TV channel. KUVO JAZZ’s daily broadcast channel on 89.3 FM Denver, 89.7 FM Breckenridge and 88.5 FM Vail will continue broadcasting jazz, blues, news and culturally diverse programming, with three hours of programming from THE DROP on Saturdays 3 a.m. – 6 a.m. and Sundays 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. “Our commitment to KUVO JAZZ and its rich cultural tradition is steadfast,” said Tina Cartagena, senior vice president of radio and new media for Rocky Mountain Public Media. “Along with that, we see THE DROP as an incredible opportunity to share an exciting new format and expand our public media offerings to our audiences.”.

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



Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Volleyball, Our Other Sport By Stephanie Cross

The game of volleyball has grown in popularity amongst Colorado’s Black female student athletes, and with increasing participation rates; many of Denver’s high school students are exploring the sport as a transfer or primary activity. Volleyball has been included in northeast Denver’s recreational programming for quite some time. For many years, Glenarm Recreation Center and St. Charles Recreation Center have featured team volleyball, and Hiawatha Davis Recreation has hosted volleyball in collaboration with the Denver

Volleyball Club, attracting student athletes to the fast-paced game that requires speed, power, and determination. For two of Denver’s high school student athletes, Quairo Bentley and Morgan Browne, volleyball has been a source of enjoyment and a display of athletic endurance. The young ladies, who graduated in the Class of 2019, worked hard to excel in the sport for the duration of their high school careers. As result, they will both be rewarded for their accomplishments with opportunities to play volleyball at the collegiate level this fall. Bentley, a resident of northeast Denver, started playing volleyball at a young age. She practiced at Glenarm Recreation Center with her older sister Amirah Bentley, who was an NCAA Division II recruit, and by the time she entered high school she chose volleyball as her full-time activity at Denver East High School. Recognized

Morgan Brown and Quairo Bentley with junior mentee Sydney Cross-Watts

as one of the top outside hitters in the state of Colorado, and identified as a Colorado Class 5A Girls Volleyball Leader by the Denver Post, Bentley helped lead Denver East High School to their first state tournament appearance in the history of the volleyball program during her freshman year. She has played club volleyball in Denver, Wheatridge, and Englewood, and her talent has been recognized on numerous occasions in Colorado and throughout the country. At the start of her junior year in high school, Bentley committed to play NCAA Division I Volleyball for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Initially, Browne was a threesport student at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado, participating in basketball, track, and volleyball before narrowing her sports activity down to volleyball after her sophomore year. At a towering six-foot tall, Brown is an outside hitter on the right side, applying the skills she mastered during her basketball and track careers to propel her athleticism. Accolades abound for Browne throughout the Jeffco High School League; she was identified as a Colorado Class 5A Girls Volleyball Leader by the Denver Post, and has been recognized as MaxPreps Athlete of the Week. Browne played club volleyball in Denver, Centennial, and

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Englewood, and she is excited to take her talents to the NCAA Division I volleyball team at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The club volleyball season, which ended at the end of April, was especially exciting for fans, as Bentley and Browne played on the same team for the first time in their career. Watching two top Black female volleyball high school standouts in the state play on the same court was a spectacular showcase of amazing talent. The girls, both highly recruited by colleges throughout the country, shined as they bumped, set, and spiked their way to victory. Shortly before high school graduation, Bentley and Browne granted Denver Urban Spectrum an exclusive interview, sharing details of their journey and providing inspiration to other Black student athletes who might consider playing volleyball. DUS: What got you into the sport of volleyball? QB: “My sister got me into the sport. She played at our local recreation center, Glenarm.” MB: “I have always loved playing volleyball. I started playing when I was in elementary school at the Harvey Park Recreation Center. As I got better at the sport, I started my club volleyball experience with Denver Volleyball, which practiced at Hiawatha Recreation Center.”

Quairo Bentley

DUS: Did you play any other sports? QB: “Yes, I played every sport the recreation center offered including basketball, softball, swim team, tennis, etc.” MB: “Yes, I loved all types of sports. I played basketball, softball, soccer, track and field.  As I grew older it became difficult for me to decide which sport to put all my energy towards.  My two best sports in high school were volleyball and basketball, but found that my true love was with volleyball.” DUS: How long have you played volleyball? QB: “I have played volleyball since I was five years old. To this day, it is about thirteen years.” MB: “I have been playing since I was around eight years old and started at various recreation centers around Denver.” DUS: What have been some of the difficulties, if any, in playing what some people might deem a predominantly white sport? QB: “I personally have not had many difficulties playing the sport. For most of my career, I have played on majority white teams at the various clubs I have played for, but I have never faced any discrimination from parents or teammates based on my race or demographic.” MB: “From the beginning, I always heard that I am playing a white sport – especially here in Colorado where it is very

rare to have more than one minority on a team. When playing in tournaments and games, I would be the only Black person on the court.  Sometimes I would feel like there was this big expectation from me; but most of the time I felt like I wasn’t getting the same looks and opportunities as Caucasian players.”   DUS: What have been some of the positives of diversifying the volleyball court? QB: “Being on a team with people of a different race or demographic allowed me to grow as a person; not only athletically as a player, but also as a person. Spending time with people that are different than you broadens your perspective and builds character, allowing you to understand how people are and why they are who they are. Playing the sport has given me a way to make many friends over the years, and I met my best friend playing as well. Playing exposed me to a different world of people and athletes in general.” MB: “Meeting people from all over the country; being able to travel to locations that I probably would have never gone to on my own; and learning how to be a good team member with all types of personalities. My lifelong friends are volleyball players.  It has been amazing to watch how much the sport has grown and all of the great athletes that participate.” DUS: What has motivated you to stick with playing volleyball? QB: “My primary motivation for playing was receiving a scholarship to college.” MB: “Early on in my club career, I was told by one of my coaches that if I put forward effort I could actually play in college. As I trained more, I began to get more positive feedback on my athleticism and ability to jump and score. I had very good coaches that taught me the techniques and skills needed to be a very good vol-

Morgan Brown and Quairo Bentley leyball player, which motivated me to stick with volleyball.” DUS: What would you like to share with Denver’s other Black high school female student-athletes who might follow in your footsteps? QB: “I would share that volleyball or playing sports in general has given me an opportunity I possibly wouldn’t have had, and it’s given me a chance to go to college where many people in my family haven’t. I would say that sports give you a better chance to reach the next level and it’s more accessible than people think. Also, connections mean everything and never be afraid to ask for help. Meet as many people as you can and play in as many programs as you can to get better and make connections.” MB: “When it gets hard never give up. Never get deterred if you love the game to change the demographic of sports. Find a club that fits your personality and volleyball strengths. Volleyball may not be as glamorous as basketball, but there are so many opportunities to stay involved in the sport of volleyball for many years.” DUS: I have a couple of fun questions: What was the last movie you saw? QB: “Captain Marvel.” MB: “Night School.” DUS: Who are your top three music artists? QB: “Young Thug, Billie Eilish, and Drake.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


MB: “Jacquees, Kirk Franklin, and J. Cole.” DUS: Again, congratulations and I appreciate you both for taking the time out of your busy schedules to share your experience and provide advice. Black female student athletes are changing the face of volleyball throughout the state of Colorado and across the United States, and it is exciting to see the transformation! Bentley and Browne are two young ladies who have fought through adversity, overcame the struggles facing every student athlete, and came out victories with college offers, scholarships, and opportunities to continue playing the sport they love. They stand on the shoulders of Colorado’s Black volleyball players who blazed trails into the sport that is starting to become more diverse. Bentley and Browne, like many others, have been playing volleyball in the shadows of more popular sports, but their accomplishments are bringing more attention and sparking the interest of future players. Bentley and Browne’s stories would be incomplete without expressing the adoration and support of their parents, family, and friends who have cheered them on and made volleyball a part of their lives. For those players coming behind, volleyball (whether indoor or outdoor) is not only a sport of opportunity, but a lifetime activity for all to enjoy..

Robin Givens: Bares Her Soul and Finds Her Purpose By Allison Kugel

Actress Robin Givens

has played many roles in her life; retiring wallflower not being among them. She burst onto the scene as the beautiful and brainy Darlene on Head of the Class, a sitcom that aired on ABC from 1986 to 1991. Those same years brought a media explosion as good girl Givens fell in love with, married and then divorced, boxing’s former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. The tumultuous pairing was brief and quickly devolved into a he said/she said of accusations about abuse and domestic violence, allegations which Tyson himself later publicly conceded to.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of OWN/Richard Ducree, Courtesy of OWN/Guy D’Alema, Courtesy of OWN/Peggy Sirota

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Robin Givens picked up the pieces with a string of film roles including A Rage in Harlem with the late Gregory Hines, Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover; Boomerang

opposite Halle Berry and Givens’ former flame turned colleague, Eddie Murphy; Blankman opposite Damon Wayans and Head of State with Chris Rock. Steady work came her way, while sealing her rep-

utation as the beautiful but dangerous femme fatale. The line between Givens’ public image and her film work continued to blur. During this time period, she became a mom to two boys and retreated from the spotlight, save for the release of her 2007 memoir, “Grace Will Lead Me Home,” in which she opened up about the issue of domestic violence, which she admits in the book had plagued her family for generations. This was the birth of Robin Givens, women’s advocate and outspoken crusader against domestic violence. Her speaking engagements culminated with one of her numerous appearances on the Oprah show in which she outlined her

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intimate journey with the issue. It is important to note that, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) more than 10 million women and men (at a rate of 20 people per minute) in the U.S. are subjected to domestic violence, making this an issue that does transcend gender (though women are more likely to sustain substantial physical injury at the hands of an intimate partner, at a rate of 1 in 7 women to 1 in 25 men) as well as socio-economic status. In the 2010s, Givens refocused on acting with roles on long running daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful, YouTube Red series Step Up: High Water (based on the film franchise), the CW’s Riverdale and ABC’s The Fix. On June 18, Givens shined as female lead, Stephanie Carlisle, in OWN’s newest drama series, Ambitions. Throughout our conversation, Robin Givens held nothing back and no question was off the table as she offered thoughtful, sometimes emotionally charged, humorous and reflective insights on her journey through womanhood and Hollywood. Allison Kugel: You took years away from the spotlight to focus on being a mom to your two sons. Now you’re back with two television shows, the CW’s Riverdale and the new OWN series, Ambitions. How did you come back with the thunder? Robin Givens: It wasn’t only taking a break to raise my kids. It was also a break for me. It’s true that you feel like you are going to maintain your place in line; like everything is going to stop and wait for you. I had to realize that it’s a process again. You have to enjoy the process and begin again, and I really fell in love with acting again. When I first started acting, it wasn’t really like that. Now I can go in a room and act and do my thing and enjoy the process for what it is. Water seeks

Ambitions television series

its own level. If you’re good, you’re good, and it all kind of begins again. Allison Kugel: Do these vixen roles find you, or do you seek them out? How do you always wind up playing that women? I don’t know how else to put it (laughs). Robin Givens: (Laughs) You’re right. There was a time when I was having these roles come to me and I remember saying to my agent, “I don’t want to do that women. I just did that woman.” I ended up turning something down because of it. I’m nothing like these women that I play, which is unusual and interesting for me. I always jokingly say, “I want to grow up and be them.” Where I am now in my life, emotionally, its like, “Okay, you want me to do that? Then I’m going to do it to death,” and then wait for the opportunity where I can do something completely different. Allison Kugel: Before I do an interview, I’ll ask people if they have any burning questions for the person I’m about to interview, and sometimes I’ll take people’s questions into consideration. I found out that a lot of men out there think you are that woman. Do you know that? Robin Givens: I think women think that too. I don’t think it’s

only men. Whenever I’m in hair and makeup, they’re always like, “My God, you are nothing like that person!” Me, Robin, I have a whole different rhythm. Allison Kugel: I was a bit taken aback when in speaking with some people before our interview, the general consensus was, “She did Mike Tyson dirty years ago.” Robin Givens: The only thing I did dirty was that I said, “I don’t want to be in a relationship where you tell me you are going to kill me.” I didn’t take one cent from my ex-husband. I left my panties there; I left my favorite teddy bear there. I left everything I had in that house. The rest is fake news. I said, “I want out of this relationship because I think you are going to do what you said, which is kill me.” When I see what happened to Nicole [Brown] Simpson and other women that I talk to, that is a very real thing. I am here, walking, living and breathing. Allison Kugel: You began speaking up about violence against women years before the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements took root. Robin Givens: I didn’t plan on speaking on behalf of women, but it really did become a part of my healing. My ex-husband had been on Oprah and he had

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


talked about hitting me in a cavalier way, like, “Oh, yeah I hit her,” and everybody [in the audience] laughed. I was somewhere doing a speaking engagement, and someone said to me, “Robin, you can’t take this!” I realized it was far bigger than me and I was told I had to do something, if not for me, then for all other women. One of the things I always say is, “My story is your story, and your story is my story.” Allison Kugel: That was when you had that sit-down with Oprah to air your grievances about Mike Tyson’s appearance on her show… Robin Givens: I sat down with Oprah to discuss her interview with my ex-husband, which was the last thing I wanted to do. She apologized to me. After the show, she came into my dressing room and she said “Robin, as it was happening I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do.” I think that sums up a lot. Not to put the weight of the world on Oprah. Certainly, she is an amazing, amazing woman. But if Oprah Winfrey doesn’t know what to do in these situations, the discomfort of it, then a lot of us doesn’t know how to respond to that. It’s much easier to put people in a box and say, “She must have wanted his money,” than to believe that somebody could punch a 105-pound woman. We saw it happen with (ex-NFL player) Ray Rice. Now you can’t pretend it away or give an excuse for it. Now we have a responsibility to not let certain things slide. We’re better than that and we’ve come too far. Allison Kugel: What are the biggest misconceptions about you and famous men, in general? Robin Givens: I met Eddie Murphy when I was in my sophomore year at Sarah Lawrence College. He had just gotten Saturday Night Live. He wasn’t the “Eddie Murphy” Continued on page 22

Robin Givens Continued from page 21 that the world now knows, at that time. He was an actor that was happy to get a job. It was the same thing with Brad Pitt. When I dated Brad, Brad couldn’t get a job. I was paying for all our meals and he was a struggling actor. We talked a lot about acting because we were in acting class together, and we loved acting together. When we dated, he literally couldn’t pay for dinner. At the time, I had already gotten the role on Head of the Class. It was a different dynamic, where I was the big deal to [Brad]. You know what I mean? I lived it all at a young age, thank God, and I get to have a good perspective on reality and how it can be changed. Allison Kugel: There was a pivotal moment in your life, when I believe you were studying at Harvard with the intention to become a doctor, before you decided to pivot and pursue acting. In retrospect, was this the right path?

Robin Givens:I was at Harvard Graduate School and I knew I was going to be a doctor, or so I thought at the time. By the time I got to Harvard I really wanted to pursue acting. If you asked me 10 years ago, I would have said I should have become a doctor. As a mom, I just came from visiting my son and saying to him, “Get a law degree! Get a law degree!” My mom was raised in the south at a time when, as a woman, she couldn’t go in the front door of a movie theatre. She could buy clothes at Woolworth, but she couldn’t try them on, and she couldn’t sit at the counter and eat. I think I grew up with the sense of, what she believed, which is that education is a great equalizing factor in America. I have a parent who, literally, just started leaving me medical school applications any time she’d come to visit. Up until recently, I knew there was an application to some medical school lurking somewhere in the house (laughs).

For more information, call 303.295.1759 or email info@cleoparkerdance.org.

Ambitions television series

Allison Kugel: Do you pray? If so, who or what do you pray to? Robin Givens: I have a great relationship with God. For me, that has been a very important relationship. He’s the only father I’ve ever known. I would often sit down with God and say, “I don’t want to have to go through this.” But it’s all gotten me to where I am, both as a person and as a mom with these two kids. I grew up Catholic with a sense of the ritual of Catholicism. Certainly, I have some questions about all of that now, and some misgivings. But it is something I still do [observe]. And I always say that my ex-husband [Mike Tyson] taught me, and gave me, a true relationship with God. Allison Kugel: Let’s dive into your character, Stephanie Carlisle, on Ambitions. Robin Givens: She doesn’t use any of the things I just talked about (laughs). What interests me about my job is the challenge to bring a character like Stephanie Carlisle to life. To get the role of Stephanie, I borrowed a dress from The Fix (ABC) for the audition. Once I read the script, I felt I could do this role better than anyone. I just needed to carry that energy into the room with me and believe it. Once I started to dissect her, I knew that I wanted

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


her to be more than what was on the page. I wanted to give her shades and dimensions, a heart, and make her real. She was written as an ice queen, but there is more to her. My interpretation is that she is a woman that has her own set of rules. She also has this sensibility that she is never going to live up to her father, and that’s where her wanting comes from. Allison Kugel: Why should audiences tune in to watch Ambitions? Robin Givens: I could describe it as a guilty pleasure, but someone once said, “There is no guilt in pleasure.” It’s going to be that kind of fun show where women gather around to watch with some wine and popcorn. Their husbands or boyfriends will walk by and probably join them. I think men will love it as much as women. . Editor’s note: Ambitions premiered on Tuesday, June 18 @ 10/9c on OWN. Follow Robin Givens on Twitter @therocknrobn and Instagram @robingivens. Editor’s note: Allison Kugel is a syndicated entertainment columnist, author of the book, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record, and owner of communications firm, Full Scale Media. Follow her on Instagram @theallisonkugel and AllisonKugel.com.


Dennie Simmons Celebrates A Century of Life with 100 Years

On May 21, family and friends joined to celebrate the 100th birthday of Dennie Simmons, who was born May 21, 1919. Simmons is a retired educator for Denver Public Schools. She began her tenure with Denver Public Schools in 1962 and retired February 23, 1983. The birthday celebration was held in the community room at Meadows of Montbello on May 21 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Girl Scouts Announces 2019 Denver Metro Women of Distinction 10 Extraordinary Women Honored This year’s honorees were selected by a committee of their peers led by Selection Chair Kim Bimestefer, Woman of Distinction ‘15, and chosen based on their contributions to the community, both professionally and personally. They are shining examples of corpo-

rate, civic, and philanthropic leadership and serve as role models for our female leaders of tomorrow. The Women of Distinction program brings together a group of women dedicated to raising support for Girl Scout leadership programs. The 2019 WOD honorees are Marti J. Awad, Founding Partner, Cardan Capital Partners; The Honorable Dianne L. Briscoe; Elycia Cook, President & CEO, FRIENDS FIRST, Inc.; Helen Drexler, President & CEO,

Dianne L. Briscoe

Jones, Senior Director of Marketing, Community Relations, Stapleton Denver, Mixed-use Development, Woman of Distinction ’15; and Michelle Lucero, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Woman of Distinction ’15.. Editor’s note: For more information or tickets, visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/woddenver, call Heidi at 303-607-4833 or email heidi.books@gscolorado.org.

Delta Dental of Colorado; Verónica Figoli, President & CEO, Denver Public Schools Foundation; Helen Young Hayes, Founder & CEO, Activate Workforce Solutions; Vanecia B. Kerr, Regional Executive Director, College Track Colorado; Theresa Szczurek, Chief Information Officer and Executive Director, Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology; Dr. Sarah Winbourn, Medical Director, Kids First Health Care; and Robin D. Wittenstein, CEO, Denver Health. Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomed the Class of 2019 honorees with a private reception in June. The celebration concludes with the Thin Mint Dinner on October 30 at Denver Marriott Tech Center from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event includes Thin Mint Cocktails and dessert made with Thin Mints, threecourse meal, and event program. Event co-chairs are Tasha Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Elycia Cook

Vanecia B. Kerr


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

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

Spider-Man: Far From Home lll By Laurence Washington


ne of the best things about Spider-Man joining the MCU is the storyline is consistent with the other characters and films in the Marvel Disney Universe. That being said, Spider-Man: Far From Home picks up where Avengers: End Game leaves off. However, there are consequences from those returning from Thano’s Snap. Some people have aged in the five years since retuning from dust, while others haven’t aged at all. Such as Peter Parker (Tom Holland), your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Parker is still a 16-year-old high school student with raging hormones hoping to gain the attention of Mary Jane (Zendaya) while on a class trip to Europe. In addition, Parker is also grieving over the death of his mentor Tony Stark/Ironman, even though the film has a lighter tone than the darker End Game. That being said, Parker’s school trip is interrupted by Nick Fury, (Samuel L. Jackson) the director of SHIELD, who Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


recruits Parker to fight a new threat caused by the Snap. Fury introduces Parker to Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a superhero from another dimension whose world was destroyed by huge creatures called the Elementals, who are now trying to destroy the Earth. Needless to say there are several plot twists, which should not surprise anyone well versed with Spidey’s rogue’s gallery.

What’s refreshing about bringing Spider-Man into the MCU are new villains and the absence of a tedious origin story. Last year’s Spider-Man: Home Coming was a much better constructed film. That’s not to say that Far From Home is a bad film. It’s not. It’s a terrific looking film, but the visual effects are too busy and overwhelming to the point that they become a distraction. As expected, there are two post credit scenes, which while exiting the theatre I overheard someone say, they were better than the movie. Admittedly, it’s hard to argue that fact.

Stuber lll By Jon Rutlege


tuber is an unlikely duo film that has all the right ele-

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM ments in the right places. Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani are a perfect combination of straight man and comedian. I appreciate the fact, that this film was not ruined by its trailer. There is a careful balancing act that needs to be managed when you make a trailer. Have enough information to bring people into the theater, but also keep enough surprise to give the audience something to learn. Stuber offers that perfect balance. Feel free to watch the trailer and then go see the film –you won’t be disappointed. Vic (Dave Bautista) plays a grizzled cop on the trail of a bad guy who has eluded him for years. In his pursuit, Vic is in a traffic collision and needs a ride. So, Uber it is. Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), his Uber driver, arrives and gets swept up in pursuit of Jeijo (Iko Uwais), Vic’s criminal arch nemesis. This hilarious symbiotic relationship between Stu needing five stars from Vic, and Vic needs to get from place to place, makes them a very unlikely, but funny paring.  Historically buddy films need two strong characters that play well against one another. They each need to be strong enough off one another, but still perform well on screen. Bautista and Nanjiani are a perfect pairing, with one being stoic and straight-laced and the other being sarcastic and funny. This makes watching them in more and more extreme circumstances enjoyable. I also enjoyed how the characters grew through the film. They each learned something from each other and are better versions of themselves by the end of the movie. They also have the perfect blend of action and comedy. Bautista and Nanjiani walk the fine line between the two, which is the mark of a great film team.  Michael Dowse directed this script from Tripper Clancy. I

have not seen any work from either of them until this film, but based on their performances here, I am going to be looking for more from them. Dowse has an eye for what plays well on the screen between the characters. He also shows that he can strike that balance between action and humor. If you have too much action, it gets tedious, and people start getting numb.

However, if you pop in those touches of comedy at the right moment, you can release the tension and build it again for another spectacular visual surprise. In this style of film, there are some standout films that define this genre. Anything from Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, or films like Rush Hour (‘98) or more recently Central Intelligence (‘16) comes to mind.

Stuber is one that rises to the top of that field. I have never been a fan of sequels to these films, and if they do make one, I will watch it. If on the other hand if these two want to work on another picture together that would be fine too. They have the on-screen chemistry that could pull of any film. No matter if you take a car, bus or...Lyft. Take sometime to enjoy this film..


50th Anniversary Celebration S u n d a y, A u g u s t 1 8 , 3 P M Doors open at 2 PM. Show starts at 3 PM

TRIBUTE BANDS Celebrate this once-in-a lifetime event! Live Recording




M Maasstteerr o off C Ceerreem mo on ny y:: Comedian Jimmy Abeyta

LaCur tiss LaCurtiss &C CO O (aka Daryl (aka Dar yl Smith) Smith)

Plays Plays Hendrix Hendrix

Soul S a c r i fi c e plays Santana

S P E C I A L G U E S T : To B e A n n o u n c e d

HANGOVER BAR HANGOVER BAR • 770 770 Sheridan Sheridan – Denver, Denver, CO CO Limited tickets available by PayPal

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Community Celebration Remembers The Life of Marcus Garvey Jr. The community is invited to celebrate African and Black awareness in honor of Marcus Garvey Jr. at a day filled with music, poetry, speakers, performances, food and more. Marcus Garvey Jr. was a self-educated, social activist, political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A), dedicated to promoting African-Americans and resettlement in Africa. Garvey was dedicated to Black empowerment, Black unity, PanAfricanism and knowledge of self. He born on August 17, 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica and is an important figure in

African and African American history. To remember his legacy, Sankofa and PMD presents the 5th Annual Marcus Garvey Day on Saturday, August 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at City of Axum Park, located at MLK Blvd. and Cherry Street in Denver. This free event is independently presented and funded by Sankofa and other Black community organizations and organizers are seeking community support for volunteers, vendors, entertainers, speakers and donations. Sponsorship opportunities are available for anyone who would like to be involved. For more information, email sankofahkp@gmail.com.

CBHC Presents “Laughter is Good for Your Health” Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC) will host their second annual Black and White Gala promoting health equity in the African American community on Oct. 13 by host-

ing “Laughter is Good for Your Health,” at the Marriot Hotel – Denver Tech Center. Actor and comedian Bill Bellamy will be the keynote speaker. Discussing health

issues that affect our community as he highlights the humor in our lives, Bellamy will encourage the community to take an honest look about their health. Colorado Black Health Collaborative provides community support through health outreach programs, expos, education forums and mentoring programs. The CBHC Black and White Gala will be held on Oct. 13, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Marriot Hotel, Denver Tech Center, 4900 Syracuse St. in Denver. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.coloradoblackhealth.org or call 720-999-6180.

Hope Communities Presents Annual Fundraising Event Hope for the Future, Hope Communities’ annual fundrais-

We are proud to welcome optician

Robert Bullock of

Bullseye Optical with his 30 years of experience to our team. Monday/Tuesday: 9 to 6 Wednesday:Closed • Thursday:10 to 7 Friday: 9 to 5 • Saturday: 9 to 1:30


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


ing event, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and will feature entertainment by Denver’s extraordinary Hazel Miller Band. The evening will also feature a silent auction. Tickets are $75 in advance by Sept. 12 ($90 after and at the door). New this year, a “young professionals” ticket for those who are 30 years old and younger is available for $40. All proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Hope Communities. Hope Communities, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, owns and manages nearly 300 rental units in four communities located in the Five Points, Northeast Park Hill and East Colfax neighborhoods. To ensure that Denver remains a city of opportunity where everyone has a safe, affordable place to live, apartments are rented to individuals and families based on economic capacity, targeting those whose income is below the Denver area median income (AMI). A large proportion of Hope Communities’ residents earn less than $20,000 per household per year. For more information about Hope Communities, visit hopecommunities.org.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 3 I believe it does. It’s a long path to travel to finally be accepted to manage the Mile High City and although it remains an even longer wait for women, she (Bee) was clear that qualifications and cultural competency matter at least as much as history, race, and culture. For citizens, beyond politics, it’s always about access. Who has and doesn’t have the Mayor’s ear? Whose community is benefitting most? Which races, gender, ethnicity, social economic groups, classes, ages, neighborhoods and on and on, are being given favor and who is missing out? As with President Obama, when he was given the task of leading, the so called, Western World, striving to be the leader “for all the people,” is walking a tightrope fraught with danger and absent a net. Complaints come whichever way the leader serves

and that’s especially true of people of color – we are always hardest on our own. Being hard is one thing but the real test is ultimately about integrity. Where does our loyalty lie? I may be naïve but I see it as becoming mutual strugglers on life’s road. Instead of focusing on mistakes, taking sides and establishing a culture of betrayal and selfism, let’s join as a collective and get our brother’s back. No doubt, we all make mistakes. For me, for us, that should spell opportunity. What if a coalition of critics and friends alike were brought together to make Hancock’s legacy our legacy? Our desire for a better life in a unique, singular city has always been in the best interest of “all the people.” It’s just that “all the people” has never been about homogenized societies, cultures, and communities catering to a very few influencing the most important

decisions because they have the most money. Instead of investing in a future of back biting and political game playing, we should be about healing, building upon strengths, and motivating achievements for the better good whether they can be attributed to us individually or not. Personal gain and dishonesty should never trump (pun intended) personal loyalties and making each other stronger. I know this is a tall order and the first barrier will be “I’ve already been doing that.” Maybe so, but it can be done better! Our legacy as individuals and as a people is always in how we see us and that should be as beings that are stronger as “us” than we are as “me.” I agree with Bee that we must always strive to come from “values, integrity…ancestral heritage…and ethically spirited eyes.” We’ve got to

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


dare to be different in our approaches, show the world that we are the light on the top of the hill or shame on us! Ken Grimes Denver

Park Hill Golf Course: Trees Vs Concrete Editor “A golf course might be green space but it is not open space. It is not space people can use,” said the developer who wants to turn the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course into a concrete jungle. If our forefathers would have had that attitude there would be no greenways in the city. It’s the mindset of developers that concrete is better than trees and grass. It’s the mindset that a parking lot brings more joy to a neighborhood than fresh open land. It’s the mindset that we shouldn’t care we’ve lost our skyline from Continued on page 29


City Council Approves Plan for Parks and Open Space Sales Tax Five-year funding plan propels the implementation of Game Plan for a Healthy City Denver City Council approved the five-year funding plan for the Parks and Open Space Sales Tax that is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of Denver’s parks and recreation system. The Denver Parks & Recreation 2A Five-year Plan includes investment in: •Acquiring additional land for parks, trails and open space; •Improving and maintaining existing parks, trails and open space, including Denver Mountain Parks; •Building and maintaining new parks and trails; •Restoring and protecting natural features such as waterways, rivers, canals, and streams; and

•Expanding the urban tree cover in parks, parkways, and public right-of-ways “I want to thank the community for providing their input during the town hall meetings and surveys held over this past spring. The people of Denver said yes to more parks in more neighborhoods, and this plan will help us take their investment and deliver on that promise,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “My goal is for every Denver resident to live within a 10-minute walk to a park, and with this strategy in place, we’re ready to move forward – especially in neighborhoods that don’t have equitable access to a quality park.” Last November, Denver voters approved Ballot Measure 2A, a 0.25 percent sales tax estimated to generate more than $37 million a year to support parks and open space. The sales

tax creates opportunities to ensure long-term economic and operational health of Denver’s park and recreation system. “Denver Parks and Recreation has inherited an extraordinary legacy of green space, including many of the city’s historic parks, civic spaces, parkway systems, trails and mountain parks,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks & Recreation. “This funding plan is based on maintaining the legacy inherited from our predecessors while extending the legacy for future generations. Today marks a milestone that future generations will recognize as a game changer for our park system.” The additional funds provided by Measure 2A, combined with existing city general funding, create new opportunities to realize Denver Parks and Recreation’s 20-year visioning document, Game Plan for a Healthy City, the strategic master plan providing a roadmap for the future of Denver parks, facilities, and recreation programs.  Many of the projects identified in the plan were developed from public input, unselected bond projects, and requests from city council members on behalf of their constituents. 

Denver Solicits Proposals for Neighborhood Services Projects City issues notice of neighborhood funds for 2020 Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) today announced that it has released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for neighborhood services projects to be funded in 2020. The city is soliciting proposals from organizations that Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


provide services in one of the following focus areas: ·•Nonprofit organizing for community capacity building to impact neighborhood       revitalization; •Economic development: business assistance for financial empowerment; •Youth and adult services focused on increasing self-sufficiency, including literacy, independent living skills, and job training; •Economic development: technical assistance for cooperative business models; and •Outreach efforts to promote available forms of assistance for economic evelopment, employment, housing services and technical assistance. Priority consideration will be given to applications that have a geographic focus on the East Colfax, Elyria/Swansea, Globeville, Montbello, Northeast Park Hill, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax, and Westwood neighborhoods. Programs must be ready to implement services in the first quarter of 2020. Selected projects and activities will be funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and awards are subject to the availability of funding. A general information meeting for NOFA applicants was held on July 29 at the Webb Municipal Building. The session included presentations from staff as well as an opportunity for questions and answers. Proposal guidelines, additional information, and the link to online applications in both categories can be found at Denvergov.org/economicdevel opment. The deadline to submit funding applications for neighborhood projects is Friday, August 16 at 4 p.m.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 27 the high rises popping up all over the city. He goes on to say; “I was born and raised in Denver, Denver is my home and I see this as an opportunity to do something great for the city that I love.” His PR lobbying firm should drop this line. Denver natives embrace open space. He pounced on this property as a business opportunity, period. If he really cared about his Denver roots, he wouldn’t replace trees with concrete. Denver residents aren’t gullible. His spin and message does nothing but rally the troops to fight any development. Will the mayor and 13 council members fall for this sham or stand up for their constituents? Or is this a sweetheart deal done before the election? Wellington E. Webb Denver

Medicare For All – Proven Good For All Editor: The 54th anniversary of Medicare affords an opportunity to evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the system of healthcare in America. I have worked in rural hospitals and clinics for 34 years and see Medicare as the shining example of an equitable and humane method of providing clinic visits, medications and hospital services. Once people enter their mid-60s they come to a clinic to

address the neglected health problems that they couldn’t afford before they qualified for Medicare. In contrast I see younger adults and families struggle and sacrifice to make the rising payments for insurance bills, cut back on medications which they can’t afford or wait to address medical problems till they become emergencies. A Medicare for All system would provide a proven system to allow these families to have the good health to remain the backbone of our social security system. Medicare for All would be especially beneficial to rural and other underserved communities. Many rural hospitals have closed in recent years, significantly overburdened by administrative strains - eating up more than a quarter (25.3 percent) of hospital budgets. Medicare for All would cut hospital administrative costs by funding them through global budgets, similar to the way we fund fire and police departments. Instead of billing hundreds of insurers, hospitals would be guaranteed stable funding to meet community health needs. The solution to our health care crisis has been here all along! Medicare, now 54 years old, is popular, efficient, and proven to improve seniors’ health.

Making transmissions well since 1983.

Joan A MacEachen MD, MPH joanphil4@gmail.com

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – August 2019






Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Inaugural Celebrations - Photos by Bernard Grant • Colorado Black Arts Festival - Photos by Lens of Ansar

Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum August 2019  

Michael B. Hancock is elected for a third term as Mayor of Denver. Read about his vision for Denver as he serves at the helm of the Mile Hi...

Denver Urban Spectrum August 2019  

Michael B. Hancock is elected for a third term as Mayor of Denver. Read about his vision for Denver as he serves at the helm of the Mile Hi...