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Volume 31 Number 1

April 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa

PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson Theo J. Wilson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Brother Jeff Allan ChristopherTellis ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2017 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

(I love you) more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow…

Many of you might remember that song, or even just the phrase, from 1969; performed by the spiral staircase and written by Patrick uptown. It’s been 48 years since its release, but those who remember the song, know the song. I had just graduated from high school and along with “Its My Party” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” I remember it well – even though I lived only two hours away from Motown which was in full swing with the sounds of Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross and the Supremes. With remembering it so well, it seemed ideal to serve as our anniversary theme this month as we celebrate 30 years of spreading the news about people of color…Power 30…More Today than Yesterday. But, how time flies wh en you’re having fun? And I must admit, although it has been challenging with ups and downs, rocky roads and roadblocks – it has been fun. During these last 30 years, it has been gratifying to serve the City of Denver under the leadership of a Latino, white and two African American mayors. It has been thrilling to meet national notables including Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Maya Angelou and Preside nt Barack Obama; and also so many of our local celebrities. It has been enjoyable working with fellow journalists who have utilized the Denver Urban Spectrum as a stepping stone to pursue other dreams. It has been rewarding to work with youth who are now grown with careers in journalism and some married with children. It has been flattering to receive accolades for a job well done from business ass ociates, peers, family and friends. I hope you take a few moments and read our cover story by Charles Emmons about the journey I have travelled, along with many others, since April 1987 and join us over the next six months as we celebrate DUS Power 30. So today, because of your continued support, encouragement and validation for the last three decades, all of us at the Denver Urban Spectrum love yo u more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow as we look forward to the next 30 years. Peace and Blessings “This issue is dedicated to life and memory of Mr. Morris Price Sr.”


Block the Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

•Promote stability in the market in order to help control costs. •Recognize that promoting access to care at the right time in the right setting by ensuring access to coverage benefits everyone, including the health care system, and keeps our economy stable. •Do not adopt strategies that shift costs from the federal government to state budgets without sufficient and sustained federal funding or creates an uneven playing field in the health care market. •Protect the most vulnerable populations that cannot afford high premiums and prevent them from using emergency rooms as primary care. •Empower rural communities so that they have access to health care policy options similar to urban areas without higher premiums. •Encourage health care transformation at the state and community levels with continued federal investment to lower the cost and improve the quality of health care with the use of disproportionate share dollars and Medicare and Medicaid enhancements. The Affordable Care Act has worked in Colorado and nationally. Tweaking policy once implanted is natural for all laws, however, partisan repeal is not what we need right now. I will join efforts to block the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I hope you join in my fight.

Editor: Congress must not repeal the Affordable Health Act, known as Obamacare. Engaging in efforts to repeal the law is nothing more than a waste of taxpayers’ dollars and political theatre. Health care is essential to everyone’s quality of life and a significant economic driver in Colorado and nationally. Consumers, businesses and governments all need the stability of understanding the federal framework in which they will operate going forward. Months of hearings, debates, and Congressional votes will no doubt throw those groups into a ball of confusion. Health care is a complex system that requires comprehensive policy solutions, and making piecemeal changes to select parts of the system can have repercussions throughout the different portions of the health care system and our economy. We have already seen tax dollars wasted and sheer confusion emerge from President Trump’s immigration executive orders. Can the GOP really look in the face of 16.9 million people benefiting from Obamacare and take their healthcare away? Congress will most likely engage in repeal efforts this year. My advice is that any new health care framework moving forward should reflect these policy principles: •Expand choice, affordability and competition in private markets, while maintaining consumer protections.

Wellington E. Webb Fomer Mayor of Denver Denver, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

The Republican Health Care Plan Would Hurt All of Us

Editor: The congressional Republican health care plan will be a disaster for working families. Their plan will take health care away from 24 million people across the country and impose painful taxes on working people. Budget experts predict that out-ofpocket expenses will skyrocket because companies will shift prices to their employees. That means thousands of dollars less in the pockets of working people. Their plan weakens Medicare. It takes three years off the life of the Medicare hospital fund in order to give a huge tax break just to people earning more than $200,000 a year. Their plan does nothing to deal with skyrocketing prices for medical care and prescription drugs. The people cutting America’s health care under the banner of reform have never had to worry about care for themselves or their families. CEOs, billionaires and right-wing politicians get the best care because cost isn’t a factor for them. The rest of us don’t have that luxury. Congress should focus on expanding coverage for more working people, not putting high-quality care out of reach.

Kenneth DeBey Denver, CO

Got Something to Say? Email your letter to the editor to

Denver Urban Spectrum 30th Anniversary, A Celebration of Caring, Loving and Informing the Community By Charles Emmons


Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris...Photo by Bernard Grant

his spring we celebrate as Denver Urban Spectrum marks its 30th year of publishing. Since its inception in April 1987, the newspaper has been the voice for Colorado’s communities of color. Rosalind “Bee” Harris has nurtured the Spectrum like a parent from infancy through adolescence into adulthood, always keeping its content relevant to its readers.


“I started the Urban Spectrum out of need, filling a void for the communities of color that were lacking a voice to tell stories that were not normally covered in mainstream media,” said Harris. “Originally, and for the first year, the Urban Spectrum was a ‘woman’ publication and featured women on the cover from the Asian, Native American, Hispanic and African-American communities. After the first year, and because those needs were met by other communities, the Urban Spectrum soon focused on the African-American community.” Thus the Spectrum began its evolution, covering important community issues of the time. Denver had elected Federico Pena, the first Hispanic mayor. Planes were still flying in and out of Stapleton International Airport, east of Northeast Park Hill. Denver International Airport was emerging. Light rail, which would impact numerous communities including Five Points, was in the planning stages. Wellington Webb after having served in Governor Lamm’s administration was the Denver City Auditor and perhaps considering his first run for mayor. Four years later, Webb became the 42nd mayor of Denver. The Spectrum was there as Denver’s first AfricanAmerican mayor began his term and throughout his two successive terms,

running the city and tackling the issues that impacted the community. “I believe that it was very important for me to get my story out to the readership of the Urban Spectrum, of a person that grew up in Denver with very little money that was running to be the 42nd mayor of Denver, which coincidentally happened to be an African-American, and the responsibility that entailed,” said Webb. “The Spectrum also had the opportunity to cover the successes as well as the blemishes of my administration, where it would go direct to its reader-

ship, which in some cases the major dailies would overlook.” Mayor Webb’s tenure had its challenges and controversies, significantly the concession contracting at the new airport and the summer of violence in 1993 that swept through numerous parts of the city. When a ricocheting bullet grazed a 6-month-old infant at the Denver Zoo, fired nearly a quarter mile away, there was growing alarm. Six-year-old Broderick Bell was shot in the head while riding in the car in Northeast Park Hill when he was caught in the crossfire of rival gangs

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


firing at each other driving down the street which drew national attention. “These kinds of brazen activities that were being printed about gave us the ability to solidify public support and for us to address those issues, capture the people responsible and send them to prison,” said Webb. “The Spectrum was instrumental, because people will talk about an issue that they will talk about in private or casual conversation. But once they see that conversation also in print, it has the ability to enlarge that conversation.” Political action has been essential to our community conversations, and numerous politicians and leaders have occupied the Spectrum’s pages. The publication has consistently illuminated the historic African-American leadership milestones and accomplishments in the law and policy arena. The newspaper’s success has come with strategic partnerships, and like any publication, it has relied on advertisers to keep the printer occupied. Harris and her son, General Manger Lawrence James, have found a way, through good times and bad. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 during the Carter Administration was helpful for bringing in advertising dollars for many years. The act sought to address shortages of credit and redlining, a common practice where banks refused loans to people because they lived in areas deemed to be a poor financial risk. The law led banks to spend money with community publications seeking to reach minority populations, but even after this activity subsided, the Spectrum managed to keep publishing and drawing advertisers, as well as turning into a news magazine with a glossy cover and adding online content. “The Spectrum is somewhat like the town crier of ancient Rome that gives a report of the significant happenings of the day, and allows you to continue to be informed of what is going on in the community,” said Webb. “For Continued on page 4

Annual Business Economic Summit Returns Bigger And Bolder

The 12th Annual Mountain Region Business Economic Summit (MRBES Success Summit) is scheduled for Friday, June 2 at the Denver Marriott City Center. The theme is Bigger BOLDER Business. The goal of the day-long Summit is to empower participants with the information, inspiration and connections needed for economic success. Attendees will represent a broad spectrum of minority and women business owners, professionals, community organization leaders and youth. The Success Summit, the only event of its kind in this region, brings together various financial, personal and business resources to promote economic self-sufficiency for Colorado’s economically disadvantaged people. More than 600 people are expected to attend. Longstanding events include the Legacy Awards Luncheon, featuring the presentation of the prestigious WiLMA (Women in Leadership & Management Award), named in honor

of former legislator and Denver First Lady, the Honorary Wilma J. Webb as well as two legacy awards. This premier networking luncheon, featuring author, entrepreneur and former Denver Broncos wide receiver and two time Superbowl Champion Rod Smith as guest speaker, is designed to inspire guests by honoring national and local people for their service and accomplishments in the economic advancement of people of color. This year’s awards and honorees include: National Legacy Award: Tim King, founder, president and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit organization operating a network of public col-

lege-prep boys’ schools in Chicago (including the nation’s first all-male charter high school) and related programs aimed at promoting college success. One hundred percent of Urban Prep graduates—all AfricanAmerican males and mostly from lowincome families—have been admitted to four-year colleges/universities. Local Legacy Award: Matthew Burkett for his philanthropy work with Lincoln Hills Cares, a non-profit that creates unforgettable Colorado experiences for youth by creating a connection to cultural history, science, technology, art and environmental conservation. The program imparts knowledge, encourages thinking and empowers youth who may not other-

wise have the opportunity, due to economic, social or family circumstances. WiLMA Award: Elbra Wedgeworth, chief government and community relations officer for Denver Health and Hospital Authority, recognized as a comprehensive, integrated organization providing level one care for all, regardless of ability to pay. As Colorado’s primary safety net institution, Denver Health has provided billions of dollars in uncompensated care. It is an integrated, efficient, highquality health care system serving as a model for other safety net institutions across the nation. Wedgeworth formerly served as a Denver City Council member for District 8, including a stint as its president.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Other events include the Success Pavilion for business-to-business and business-to-consumer product and service providers; Informative Workshops & Panel discussions where experts share best practices for growth and success in entrepreneurial and personal financial empowerment; and the Youth Program, where high school students learn about financial literacy, college planning and entrepreneurship, enabling them to sustain a responsible and independent lifestyle that will create and grow personal wealth and prosperity into future generations. . Editor’s note: For more information about the Success Summit and sponsorship opportunities visit

DUS 30th Anniversary

Continued from page 2 those who aren’t in the community, it gives them an eye into, and a glimpse of the community as a whole.” Because of its reach and large readership, politicians and businesses have used the Spectrum to get their messages out. According to Webb, its consistent reliability and relevance make it the goto venue. It has stood the test of time.


Eula Adams has been spotlighted in the magazine numerous times since he arrived in Denver from Atlanta to join First Data Corporation in 1991. Later, when Forbes named Adams one of the top 50 African-American business executives, the Spectrum covered his notable honor. As he entered a new industry, becoming the CEO of Neuromonics medical device company, the Spectrum shared the news of his transition to the company with a mission of helping customers get long-term relief from tinnitus, ringing in the ears. “I believe the Denver community is so blessed to have had Denver Urban Spectrum as our voice for 30 years. It is difficult for any business to survive for 30 years. And for a news or publication venture, which must depend on advertisers and other means of support to survive, it is certainly very difficult, particularly when you consider how easy it is for the media to alienate those in power,” said Adams. “Denver Urban Spectrum and Bee Harris have mastered the art of ‘getting the story right’ and not alienating the powerful to the point that would jeopardize their existence. I love the broad range of topics covered and the insight offered on our community that no other Denver metro publication provides. I salute Denver Urban Spectrum and wish them another 30 years.” “Not only is it relevant in the area of politics, it’s also relevant from the standpoint of sharing charitable news as well, and advertisements and news beneficial to the community or other aspects of the community such as the 100 Men Who Cook, or the bicycle giveaway by Geta and Janet Asfaw or functions by our local sororities and fraternities,” said Webb. “These are important as well. We can’t leave out the MLK activities and the rodeo.” The Spectrum has been at the forefront of covering the Martin Luther King Day Marade, after the holiday was officially declared in Colorado in 1986. Events by the late rodeo producer and entertainment promoter Lu Vason were annually on the cover as well as Black History Month events.

Its editorial calendar is inclusive of all communities of color. Whenever anyone has wanted to see what is happening in the Black community or who is attending a particular event, they have always been able to turn to the Spectrum. Since radio stations like KDKO and voices like James “Dr. Daddio” Walker have gone silent, the Spectrum has become an even more viable and vital connection to the community. “I think that the loss of the Urban Spectrum magazine would be devastating. Many people would not understand the loss until after it occurred, because of the value it has added to the community as a whole. It would be like the loss of other giant publications like JET, the Pittsburgh Courier, or the Chicago Defender,” said Webb. “These publications were special because they also provide news to our community, which we may not receive from anywhere else. If they aren’t publishing and we don’t have radio hours and TV hours, then our community becomes – if you allow me to be ethnically chauvinistic for a minute – we become deaf, dumb and blind. We’re relegated to Fox News.” Clearly our media landscape has changed, and although there is a dearth of Black community media in other parts of the country, the Spectrum has undergone changes, but it remains. In its second decade, it found an unexpected ally in the new editor of the Denver Post, Greg Moore, when he arrived in 2002. Moore has roots in community papers, and started his own paper in college. After graduation, he was employed by a newspaper in Dayton, Ohio, moved on to Cleveland’s Call and Pulse, then the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and eventually worked his way up to the managing editor position at the Boston Globe, before recruitment to the Post. During his tenure, the Denver Post was the recipient of four Pulitzer Prizes. Moore believes community papers are essential, because there can be gaps in coverage from major dailies. “My community paper was started when I was in college, but I think the objective and the reason is that communities of color, particularly poor people – more so back then but even today, weren’t being covered well, deeply and sensitively,” said Moore. “And I just think it is important to have an alternative to get your preferred message into the wider community, and community papers are able to do that in a really exceptional way.” From his position at the Post, Moore saw the Spectrum effectively

cover politicians, entertainers, and political activists like Brother Jeff Fard doing great things. “To chronicle Brother Jeff, you would be better off reading the Urban Spectrum over the last 20 to 25 years instead of the Denver Post. And politically it offers what life is like in our part of the city,” said Moore. “Mainstream media like the Denver Post and the [now defunct] Rocky Mountain News, they do a great job covering breaking news and issues, occasionally shining a light on community leaders and people that are making a difference at the grassroots level. But month in and month out, in the case of the Spectrum, they are there all the time. And there is an authority and authenticity that can’t be matched by the mainstream media.” Like former Mayor Webb, Moore sees the Spectrum as akin to papers like the Call and Pulse or the Pittsburgh Courier. When the staff and writers go into barbershops and stores once a month, we continue checking in to see what is happening. “The Call and Pulse was there – where Black people are, and we are very busy people. By and large where Black people are, the Urban Spectrum is there, it is there for us,” said Moore. “It’s chronicling our lives and chronicling our achievements, and our challenges, and it helps that it is writing in this space, because that is what a print publication does – ‘Oh let me take a minute to get connected.’ The Spectrum is special because of that and it’s very effective because of that.” The effectiveness and credibility of the Spectrum has informed its staying power and stature. The magazine has received numerous Colorado Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) Scribes In Excellence (SIE) Awards, where the Spectrum’s freelance writers are pitted against mainstream media reporters, who submit positive stories about the Black community. One of the award-winning writers, boldly featured by Harris in the Spectrum is cannabis industry entrepreneur, Wanda James, who periodically writes a column. Other award winners included editors, writers, photographers, graphic designers, and Harris for overall achievement. “Bee Harris is a community treasure,” said Moore. “I am sure it is not easy to keep a paper going for 30 years. Media publications, the Amsterdam News, the Pittsburgh Courier – some of them have disappeared. So I think some of us take the Urban Spectrum for granted that it is always going to be there. But it won’t always be here if we don’t support it, if we don’t nurture it and support Bee Harris. I think she has made a lot of sacrifices to keep that publication on counters throughout Denver. I just want to salute her for sticking to it and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


embracing the public trust that comes with running a print newspaper in these days and times, and it’s making a difference, and I hope that it goes for another 30 years. It would be a shame for it not to.”

Paying it Forward

Bee Harris continues to make a tremendous impact in Denver, earning countless awards for the Spectrum as well as for her contributions to the larger community. She has made a concerted effort to pay her success forward. The last two summers, in conjunction with the non profit Big Hair, Bigger Dreams, she revived the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation working with middle and high school students to seep themselves in journalism and write about issues pertinent to them and their community with a summer journalism camp. The program instills professionalism, self-confidence and real-world work experience that students can take forward into academia and careers. Some students out of this program are working media professionals. Julius Vaughns was co-editor of the Junior Spectrum in the summer of 2002. With a scholarship, and bound for the Pulliam School of Journalism at Indiana’s Franklin College, he was intent on becoming a reporter for the L.A. Times or New York Times. Vaughns recalled his summer experience at the Spectrum. “I learned several things. I learned how to work on a team of people that were all trying to work toward the same goal of getting this paper put out at the end of the summer. So I learned collaboration,” said Vaughns. “I learned – when I was 18 at the time – to be a leader, because of the students in the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation; Kia and I were the oldest. They were all several years younger, but there was that opportunity for them to all look up to us as peers. I learned a little bit of that leadership aspect.” “I learned how to be an editor of a newspaper. I had been yearbook editor, but the writing and the subject matter were different. It expanded my knowledge of newspapers, and it intrigued me even more to follow through with this in college. I was a member of the newspaper staff in college. It aligned well for me,” said Vaughns. Vaughns recently accepted a public information officer position with Aurora Water, after several years as a communication specialist with Aurora Public Schools. He is grateful that

Harris saw something in him and gave him his first shot. “That summer I learned how to interact with adults in the workplace. I learned how to be prompt and keep my word and do what I said I would do. Just getting all that exposure at a young age, I think helped me tremendously to become and do some of the things I have been able to do at this point in my life. It is just something that I look back on because I don’t know where I would be without that. So I am glad that I had that type of exposure at a young age, to show me how to carry myself, how to work in a newsroom – a lot of the things people in the industry might take for granted.” Kia, who Vaughns refers to, is Kia Milan, who until recently was a marketing associate with Starz. Milan was the editor of the Junior Spectrum from when she was 14 to 16 years old, and was the co-editor with him that summer. The values, lessons, skills and knowledge gleaned from her experience she has carried well into her career. She didn’t write for the school newspaper, because it could not be as fulfilling as the Junior Spectrum where she was able to tackle more controversial and meaningful issues. “I had a story, ‘Is Color Still an Issue?’ about colorism. And I don’t think that would have been a story that would ever have made it into my high school paper. But the Spectrum gave me that opportunity to write about something that I cared about. I remember that story very well. It was one of the ones that I won a CABJ award for,” said Milan. Nearly 150 students have gone through the summer program with the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation, and been exposed to numerous facets of and career paths in the media business. Many of them are journalists or PR professionals. Milan’s first job out of high school was as a production assistant with the Spectrum. “I contribute a lot of my professional success to the Spectrum, because I was given that opportunity at such a young age to feel comfortable doing those things,” said Milan. “So when it was time for me to walk into that entry-level position, I could stand a little taller knowing I had a strong foundation. And I thank Bee for that.” Seeing the impact it had on Kia, her mother got her brother Shane into the program as well. He did the graphics for the story on colorism and received a CABJ award for it as well. Today Shane Franklin, aka SF1,

is on 95.7 the Party and is well known in hip-hop circles. He has been considered for Grammys and has won the Westword magazine readers poll for best hip-hop artist or best hip-hop group three years in a row. Franklin came into the program in middle school, and said one of the most important lessons was deadlines and professionalism. He likes that he was able to write anything that seemed relevant to youth in the community. “I wrote everything from poetry to tackling social issues. One of my favorite articles I wrote was ‘What is an American?’ And people are like, ‘You are only in 8th grade; what do you know about this?’ I think that is what I enjoyed about the youth paper was that it was whatever we wanted; whatever we were facing as youth, we could put it in the newspaper, so that we were a voice for the youth in this community through the Urban Spectrum. Anything from social issues to poetry to music and the fun stuff that was happening; it was limitless for what we could do with that paper.” Whenever Harris puts out the call for support, Milan and Franklin are ready to respond. “I think Ms. Harris has been the backbone of the community for years, and has gone through a lot with this paper,” says Franklin. “There have been times when she could have said, ‘You know what, I’m done,’ or ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ or ‘I don’t have the passion,’ or ‘I don’t feel I have the support anymore,’ but she has always found a way to keep it going. And I admire that a lot. If I learned anything from her, it’s perseverance.” Perseverance for Franklin and resilience for Kia, they were inspired by those values to reach success. Inspiration is part of the mission of Denver Urban Spectrum. “Since we have been a monthly publication, our goal has always been to enlighten and inform our readers. We were never in the scooping business, so we have been fortunate enough to cover stories that have brought that insight to the communities of color since 1987,” said Harris.


Ryan Ross, Ph.D., started the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado for the purpose of encouraging more students of color to pursue higher education. For him, the Spectrum is an essential resource. “I’m a believer that education happens in a variety of ways. It’s delivered in a variety of manners. As a Continued on page 6

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017





DUS Anniversary

Continued from page 5 community, our truth is often only told in certain venues,” said Ross. “So for me it’s important to have a community paper like the Urban Spectrum to ensure that holistic education is told. It’s important that we get a true in depth understanding of the AfricanAmerican experience from a historical and contemporary standpoint and that paper is what gets that done.” Harris says the top five nationallyrelated stories for the Spectrum include a series of stories on President Barack Obama, profiles on First Lady Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey, and several features on the Motherland. A strength of the paper is its ability to frame the experience of local communities of color in the national context. She said, “It has consistently provided a platform for the general population and provided a voice for candidates, giving readers and the general public information to make informed decisions for the betterment of their future. And DUS has participated by sponsoring events that support the common good of the community.” Ross has used the Spectrum as a platform and his go-to tool to get the word out about what he is doing and what needs to be done. If there is no credible venue for these issues, these important conversations in the community don’t take place. “These conversations are important because they are the conversations that we want to hear. They are conversations we value. They are conversations that we think are really important, and so it is our place to have and tell that story,” said Ross. “It has also become a tool for our students to then take the paper, and take it to majority outlets or different conversations and be able to show that these different conversations are happening, and use it as a tool to get other people to see what is going on. So without that tool we wouldn’t have the opportunity to challenge people’s thinking, because those stories or details wouldn’t be listed or wouldn’t exist.” The Spectrum continues to inform, even as it adapts to new modes of digital delivery and reaches out to communities like Montbello with more focused publications like the MUSE (Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition) which she produces in conjunction with the Montbello Organizing Committee. “There is still a need for the Denver Urban Spectrum. And although many people get their news electronically on their phone, tablets and computers, many people still look forward to picking up, touching and feeling the actual printed publication,” said

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Harris. “Many of our readers enjoy reading the publication online and on our website and we are grateful for that.” The Spectrum has allowed Harris to meet celebrities and luminaries like Oprah, Desmond Tutu, Cedric the Entertainer and the Obamas. She is grateful for these interactions, but the biggest rewards come from continuing to do the essential work of the publication. “The biggest rewards for me have been to tell stories that really provide impact to our people and stories that people don’t know about. I always say we are a recorder of history,” said Harris. “One example is Leo Smith, who is originally from Cameroon. I have known her since 1999, and until recently, when she wanted me to help her prepare for an award she was to receive, I never knew she was the very first Black flight attendant for a major airlines. We were able to tell her story. That is just one of many.” After having shared thousands of stories and had untold impact in the community, she said, “I guess the biggest reward has been giving the opportunity to budding journalists to experience and refine their craft and to mentor youth through our youth foundation who pursued careers in journalism.” “Our 30th anniversary theme is “Power 30…More Today Than Yesterday.” The spirit of this theme is two-fold. One, we love and appreciate the support from our advertisers, readers, sponsors, family and friends, more today than yesterday. Two, and to show our gratitude, we plan to give and love so much more tomorrow,” she concluded. Congratulations to Denver Urban Spectrum on 30 years of caring and loving the community. And here’s to many more years of informing us about issues and significant events, entertaining us with articles about arts and entertainment, and inspiring us with news of opportunities and achievements. .


omedian/actor Tommy Davidson’s fearless attitude has been on full display throughout his entire career, and has propelled him to be one of the most prolific figures in comedy over the last 30 years. Versatility, more so than any of his other traits, has been the key to his ascension in comedy, and his ability to be a substantial figure in multiple generations. When asked about his ability to stay relevant Davidson said, “The versatility that I have been blessed with has given me longevity, the Proud Family is a cartoon, Black Dynamite is a parody, then there are movies, then there are comedy specials. I’ve been able to do all those things and they’re different stages, so I’m just happy to be here.” Davidson, however, did not always possess that same love for comedy – especially in his younger days when he still preferred his music stylings to anything comedy related. “I didn’t like comedians as a kid,” Davidson admits. “I was into music – that was my thing. When I got into comedy, it was just because a friend told me to try it. I used to say something when I was a kid, and everybody would start laughing at me. So one day I pulled my mother to the side and asked her why everybody was laughing at me? She said, ‘They’re not laughing at you, you have a way of putting things that makes people happy so fast, they laugh.’” Davidson is aware that his voice takes on a heightened sense of importance in this current social climate, stating this when asked about the difference. “A solid sense of purpose, everybody has their thing that they do. This is real world that we live in people make bombs.” Davidson hopes to create an honest image of black life through his ability to use laughter to help shape perception. “Now what I’m able to do is, influence the way people think. Or I can take the way people think and give them my perception of what I think on it and they just laugh,” he says. In an era of increased hostility amongst racial groups, Davidson hopes to create a full picture of our humanity. Although his audience these days is quite diverse, he knows that the core of his audience is black, and he hopes to make sure we are included in the human landscape. “It is important to my audience, which is a core black audience, to let them know who they are from that standpoint. Because what we do is we create love, when you look at our contribution to the whole damn thing. My comedy stands for our humanity,

Tommy Davidson:

Flying Fearless and Using Laughter to Shape Perceptions By Alan Tellis

we’re not outside of humanity. We’re not some culture that exists as some damn zoo, like Africa is not outside of humanity.” Noting his power in shaping perception, Davidson explains, “When a white couple leaves the show and says damn he was right, it’s a lot more powerful than trying to tell them that.” Davidson knows that is important for the black community to maintain itself esteem as an example. “They make us think that somehow we come from poor culture even though we come from the richest continent.” Out of all of Davidson’s comedic talents, his favorite medium is standup because he is given more freedom there than in any other areas of his career. “My favorite part is just being able to go there, just thinking of what I’m going to and then taking it there,” he says. “In the business that I’m in, you have to depend on so many people… When I’m up there, I don’t have to depend on nobody else. I can just call it up and take it from the moment.” This freedom creates a powerful space for Davidson that allows him to feel comfortable speaking truth to power. Recently his fellow comedian Steve Harvey received immense backlash from his visit with President Donald Trump. Davidson, however,

felt differently from many that dragged Harvey. “Somebody got to talk to him,” Davidson says. “Usually when a Black man is talking to a powerful white man, it’s the white man’s idea. We’re the ones constantly infiltrated by their power systems. When a black man talks to a white man, everybody hears about it, but when a white man talks to a white man, you don’t hear anything.” “We’re in a war for resources,” Davidson adds. “They don’t call it the human race for nothing. We’re in this war, and we don’t even know it.” If the theory Davidson posits is correct, and we are in a cultural war for resources, it automatically becomes in our best interest to gain as much intelligence as we possibly can. “If you have intelligence over another,” Davidson explains, “you’re likelihood of victory is higher. So what is the first thing they attack, our intelligence, so we have to be smarter than that to attack each other, because we need intelligence.” Davidson noted the staunch difference in how the power structure approaches black communities, versus how black communities approach that same power structure. “When it comes to us, all of them get together,” he says, “we must be powerful. Instead of attacking him for talking to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


this cracker, let’s ask him how’d it go? What’d he talk about? If Donald Trump said he wanted to talk to me, I’d go talk to him, why not? He wouldn’t be scared to talk to me.” As well as gaining knowledge of the motives of the oppressing forces in the world, Davidson also believes it is essential that black people begin to gain a greater knowledge of self. He points out, “There’s this connection that we have that came out of slavery that makes us this global nation. The second that we realize that we take a real different power, because of them we are French, Dutch, Irish, a little bit of everything. We have a whole continent, a huge continent and everything in between. We can then use that power to create greater leverage when dealing with the state and putting us into a more powerful position.” Often being marginalized and disenfranchised has put us at the mercy of the state Davidson explains, “We don’t have any business relationships with the state…the only business relationship we have with the state of Michigan is the institutions where we’re in jail. We have the business of relationship of their drugs coming in, their guns coming and the taxes they take.” Davidson also identified one of the main sources of his fearlessness is rooted in a deep historical understanding. “I ain’t scared you know,” he says. “I talk you know. The most important for black folks is to understand we aren’t from fear, we’re from faith, and the concept of faith came from us. By the time we made our conclusions, they weren’t even writing yet. We have the answers, we have everything we need, and the thing that scares them most is they know it.” It is more apparent than ever that we must take ownership of our history and write the correct version of our narrative that has so often been skewed and shaped by Western oppression. “East Africa is important, make them think they poor, because they know how important it is,” Davidson says. “It belongs to us; all of our institutions are there. Our institutions are math, archeology, science, astrology and as long as we ain’t taking a look at it, we’ll never be able to connect it.” In the near future, Davidson is working on a show called Vacation Creation. “I take families around the world,” Davidson says. “I take them and show them the vacation of their dreams. The coolest thing about that is the CEO of Carnival and Ocean Corporation is black. All those ships in the world are from a Black man in Louisiana.”.

Their Future is Open, Taking Steps to Realize Their Dreams By Charles Emmons

With the rhetoric and proposed

new policies of the current administration, communities of color are taken aback, as the progress made in the last 50 years seems in peril. We must arm ourselves with knowledge for counterarguments, and be ready with resistance based on the strengths and values that have gotten us this far. This knowledge development and subsequent transfer to younger generations is critical, and it is never too soon to start. Self-reliance, self-improvement, following your dreams, and making a contribution are some of the values that drive us. But where does the exposure culminate? Where do we learn these? Is it the school’s responsibility to prepare our youth in this manner? Should it occur in the home? Sometimes we must look for some alternative sources for our inspiration, and Youth With a Future, a companion program to the private nonprofit organization, Transformational

Leadership Forum, continues to do that, and three students in the program are taking steps to ensure their futures. Earlier generations in Denver remember having public high schools named for the four compass points and a few presidents. Today, the city population has increased and educational philosophies and funding have changed, there are 39 Denver Public School high schools from which to choose, each offering their own take on education. Choosing is daunting for a student and their parents.

choose from in engineering. So I decided to be an engineer, but I didn’t know what kind, so I decided to be an audio engineer and producer someone who makes beats.” Youth With a Future played a large part in her decision to pursue this career. This past summer participants researched occupations they were interested in. This helped clarify her path. “I remember one day we had done our research on the occupations we were interested in. They also influenced me to call up the schools and ask a couple of questions.” AllenChatmon has applied to New York University, San Francisco University and several others. Calling up schools and asking questions about their programs - how many of us would have done that? Allen-Chatmon is taking steps to control her future, and she is intent on having an impact on others.


Neeliah Allen-Chatmon has attended DSST (Denver School of Science and Technology) Stapleton for seven years since the 6 grade and wants to be an audio engineer. “Engineers make things and I love making things. I loved making things as a child,” said Allen-Chatmon. “I loved building houses and whatnots out of Legos. And my mom also emphasized there are many different fields that you can

Allen-Chatmon is a senior this year, but has told her cousin about the program. A trip to Washington D.C. and the Smithsonian African-American Museum is planned, and she can barely contain her enthusiasm. “I know we are going to the African-American Museum, and I want to see that for myself, but I also want to help others experience it. Youth With a Future steeps these students in eight core values, mentorship of others is one, but for AllenChatmon the most important is family. “My favorite one as a priority is family. I remember they said what affects the household affects the neighborhood, affects the city, so of course it really had a huge influence on me, so I love the core values. I will always remember the core values.” Family helped Allen-Chatmon discover her path. Her first love is singing, but her family took her aside for an in depth discussion about behind the scenes in the industry. Thus she made a choice for plan B, an audio engineer. It may take a family’s nudge in discovering our passions, or we may discover them in solitary pursuits.


Deja’von Crittendon first started taking photographs with a small disposable camera, the kind passed out at



At participating McDonalds only. Price of required purchase posted on menu board.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


©2017 McDonald’s. LM8870

Introduce someone to your love of the Big Mac®.

8 Core Values -Youth With a Future and Transformational Leadership Forum

1. Choice of mentor 2. Passion for education and helping others 3. Visionary Leadership 4. Culturally relevant communication 5. Multiplication of leaders 6.Family as a priority 7. Integrity 8.Stewardship

wedding receptions. Crittendon’s subjects were family, the city and nature. A junior at Denver School of the Arts in Northeast Denver, he has since graduated to a Nikon DSLR and Canon EOS for his prolific work. Crittendon believes a keen eye will get him where he wants to go, which is eventually to other parts of the world. “I’m interested in pop and political culture, environmental and social issues, Crittendon said. “I enjoy doing research about different types of lifestyles and to have a better understanding about different types of living perspectives like from a first world to a third world country.” Although Crittendon has an interest in journalism, he is studying stagecraft at the school and is the vice president of the photography club. Crittendon’s portfolio of work on Instagram showcases his talents, and when he attended the monthly meeting of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) in March, the CABJ Oresident Gabrielle Bryant recruited him for a future digital photography workshop for its members. Perhaps he doesn’t know what he has gotten into, but he shows the confidence to complete the task. “I think it’s important to share my vision with the world because a lot of people have unheard voices, and they are not truly understood,” Crittendon said. “I feel like I am one of those people, so being able to showcase photography I am able to communicate to the world in a different way, my view and vision towards life.”

students are not getting it. Even with more school choices that have more specific missions, programs like Youth With a Future filla an important need, and seeing ourselves in the experience of others is critical. We can’t predict what they might glean from it. Brown, like Allen-Chatmon and Crittendon is excited about the prospect of visiting Washington D.C. to see the best of us at the new African-American Museum. “I really want to go on the D.C. tip and to the new Museum of AfricanAmerican History. It is so new and so big and is getting so much attention and African-American museums don’t get that much attention. People don’t give them the respect that they deserve,” Brown said. “This new one really intrigues me because of all it has to offer. It seems like our history only goes so far. I only know the basics that you see during Black History Month. Every Black History Month we talk about the same people and I think that’s great, but there is so much more


Visionary leadership is another key core value Youth With a Future has shared with these students. Exposure to every opportunity cultivates this. Chaya Brown attends Denver South High School, and wants a career in the arts. Last summer she was the youngest member of the cast in the Aurora Fox Arts Center production of The Final Fight of the Freedom Fighters, directed by donnie l. betts who found her in a showcase at the Colorado School of Acting where she takes classes. betts encouraged Brown to pursue her dreams and advised her that in film and theatre there will be more “no’s” than “yes’s.” “But he encouraged me to pursue at least one “yes” that will get me to where I want to be or to grow,” Brown said. Youth need someone in their corner to push them to their limits. “Youth With a Future helped me to envision what I want. I always knew I wanted to be a part of the arts and acting, but it really helped me set a focused path to get there,” Brown said. “I’ve got to always be focused on it. I’ve got to be doing well academically and as a person. I’ve got to be confident in myself and just not let anything get in my way from letting me feel like I can’t do it, like pushing myself and challenging myself to get there.” Youth With a Future fills in important gaps of experience and knowledge. Even though information is abundant and easily accessible, some

to know. And while I am in D.C., I want to see some of the historically Black colleges and what they offer. Even though I want to go to a big acting school, it’s important not to overlook the historically Black schools. “Youth With a Future has helped to plant nice core values for us, which includes value of our cultures. I go to South High School, which is one of the most diverse schools with a lot of students that look like me and people that don’t. It helped me see how to value other cultures around me, and my own culture and how to be strong in who you are, and how to lift up other people who are really strong in their culture as well.” Frequently, it takes the whole culture and community to lift up the next generation. These young people are moving into a better future. If you would like to get connected, offer support with time, mentorship and expertise, or with a donation to help them realize their trip to see history, visit, .

Town Hall Meeting

The Future of Blair-Caldwell Library and Upcoming 2017 Denver Bond Campaign

Thursday, April 13th 5:30- 7:30PM Blair-Caldwell Library

2401 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80205

Panelists Include State Representative James Coleman Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb President of the Urban League of Metro Denver Sean Bradley Program 5:30 - 6:30 PM: Meet and Greet 6 PM: Presentation from Denver City Librarian Michelle Jeske 6:30 -7:15 PM: Question and Answer Session 7:15 PM: Summation by Former Mayor Wellington Webb 7:30 PM: Adjourn

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Denver’s GRID Project Reaches 5th Year

Managing a partner network of over 400 law enforcement, community, non-profit, and faith-based organizations to effectively address gang activity in a large metropolitan city is no easy feat. But the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver (GRID) has been doing just that for over five years. GRID’s work focuses on creating, maintaining, and coordinating a large network of stakeholders to develop long-term partnerships and strategies that address gang violence on an ongoing basis. During periods of heightened violence, GRID helps focus resources on suppression efforts. During periods of low violence resources are focused on outreach, prevention, and intervention efforts. “Gang violence is dynamic and we need to be flexible and adjust our collective efforts as needed to effectively address the specific type of gang violence that is occurring,” said Paul Callanan, GRID’s director.” In some respects, GRID is part coordinator and part think tank. The

Strength. Resilience. Justice. The Center for Trauma & Resilience will be hosting the following events in observance of

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: April 3 - Community Yoga* - 6 PM

April 4 - Yoga para personas que hablan Español* - 6 PM

April 4 - Yoga hosted by Healthy Pursuits – a program of Auraria Campus* Times vary

April 5 - Strength, Resilience and Justice! Healing Ourselves and Our Communities. Shorter AME Community Church, featuring community leaders Lisa Calderon, MLS, JD, executive director of the Community Reentry Project and Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler, founder of The Equity Project - 6 to 7:30 PM April 6 - Yoga for seniors* - 11:30 AM

All events are open to the community and free of charge. Contact The Center for Trauma & Resilience for more information and to reserve your place:

(303) 860-0660 or

*First 20 participants at each yoga event will receive a free yoga mat.

24-hour hotline English (303) 894-8000, Español (303) 718-8289 available for support, assistance, information and resources.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Executive Director of Safety Stephanie O’Malley and others pledge to combat gang violence at the Impact Team press conference.

initiative researches best practices and programs across the country and advises its partners of proven gang violence reduction strategies. GRID helps organizations identify and implement effective programs and projects, and at times, provides technical support, training, or guidance about current gang activity. GRID began as a community gang reduction project that grew into a city program funded by a federal grant. Today, GRID is one of seven public safety agencies housed in Denver’s Department of Safety. “GRID has demonstrated its ability to really focus on gang related activity from a prevention, intervention, and suppression standpoint,” said Executive Director of Safety Stephanie O’Malley. “They understand the partnerships that are necessary to sustain the work and the importance of managing gang activity in Denver in a way that is acceptable and safe for the community.” Callanan credits Executive Director O’Malley and Mayor Michael Hancock for creating long-term sustainability around GRID’s work by transforming the program into a public safety agency. He also credits the mayor and his administration for taking an active role in helping to suppress instances of gang violence that have flared up in Denver. In 2015, Mayor Hancock assembled an “impact team” of city employees from various departments to explore additional ways to fight gang crime and keep Denver’s neighborhoods safe. At the time, the city was grappling with a cycle of gang retaliation that was putting the community’s safety at risk. The mayor and Executive Director O’Malley also issued a call to action to the faith-based community. According to Callanan, churches were very responsive to the mayor’s call and they stepped up to the plate in a great way.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


“Some churches held basketball tournaments or led prayer walks through the community. Others provided programming for youth and young adults. And several churches worked with us to make their existing efforts more effective.” Today, the faith-based community remains an active partner. They have been working with GRID to rollout a “safe haven” project this summer. The project is a partnership between GRID, mental health specialists, and 30 churches that have agreed to serve as safe havens in the community when a critical gang-related incident occurs. “Incidents of gang violence can cause secondary trauma and we recognized the need to create safe places throughout the city where community members can go and receive support services from mental health experts and trained church staff,” said Callanan. GRID is also working with the Denver Police Department to develop gang suppression and prevention strategies for specific gang activity occurring in individual police districts. Callanan has worked to address gang violence in other cities and says this collaboration isn’t always the norm. “When you approach police departments and ask them to share their data and work with you on effective strategies, they aren’t always receptive. We haven’t had that experience in Denver. From the very beginning, Chief White has been a big supporter of our work.” Chief White says he values the police department’s partnership with GRID and he has no problem sharing data and information with the agency. “GRID is a great thought partner and we’ve used several of their ideas to enhance our efforts to combat gang crime. We will continue to invite them to the table every week and do our part to support Denver’s comprehensive approach to gang reduction.”.

CPRD Presents Spring Concert Romeo and Juliet

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance ensemble presents two tales of iconic love and tragedy: the complete Romeo & Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev, and selections from Porgy & Bess by George Gershwin. Opening the concert will be excerpts from Cleo Parker Robinson’s Porgy & Bess, first premiered in 1995, using Charleston, S.C., in the 1930s as its setting. Performed with live music, CPRD’s interpretation of the timeless George Gershwin classic subtly balances passion and pathos. Presenting a dramatic retelling of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance has set the starcrossed lovers’ story during the end of 19th Century New Orleans against the backdrop of the city’s exuberant Mardi Gras celebration in this lush production. The work explores a clash of cultures and spiritual traditions, with Romeo’s Roman Catholic faith set up in stark contrast to Juliet’s traditional Yoruba beliefs. With beautiful

costumes and rich lighting, CPRD’s original choreography, and Prokofiev’s stirring score, it’s a spectacle not to be missed. “Spring bursts forth with love, romance, and tension in our upcoming concert, Romeo & Juliet, says Cleo Parker Robinson, artistic director and founder of Denver’s 46-year-old Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. “Our original choreography in this production blends Prokofiev with the iconic elements of Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy, and is updated with the

beautiful nuances of ritual and ceremony in a New Orleans Mardi Gras setting,” she said. Parker Robinson originally premiered her choreographed version of Romeo & Juliet in 2012 at Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in live performance. “We intrigue our audience with a unique pairing in Romeo & Juliet: a young man who is Catholic and a young woman of the African Diaspora from the Yoruba culture. Similarly, the power of Porgy & Bess sets the tone for a lively evening of dance and live music,” Parker Robinson said. All performances will be held two weekends at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre at 119 Park Avenue West in the historic Shorter AME Building in Denver. Six performances will be on April 28, 29, and 30; and May 5, 6, and 7 with 7:30 p.m. evening performances Fridays and Saturdays and two 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. All tickets are general admission: $40 for adults, $35 for seniors 62 and up, and $30 for children/youth/students and $35 for groups of eight or more. Parking is free on the street and the nearby Safeway parking lot.. Editor’s note: For more information, visit or call the ticket office at 303-295-1795 x. 13.

EVERY CHILD IN DENVER DESERVES AN EQUAL START Preschool empowers all children to reach their full potential. We can help you find a program near you—and pay for it.

Learn more at


or call

303.595.4DPP (4377) Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Friday, April 28

Registration: 10-11 am

Paper Session 1: 11:15 am - 1:15 pm Workshop/Lunch: 1:30 - 3:15 pm

Paper Session 2: 3:30 - 5:30 pm Conference Dinner: 6-8 pm

Keynote Speaker

Saturday, April 29

Registration: 9-10 am

Paper Session 3: 10:15 am - 12:15 pm Presentation/Lunch: 12:30 - 2:30 pm Keynote Speaker Kristie Dotson

Paper Session 4: 2:45 - 4:45 pm

Conference Banquet: 6-8 pm (Invitation only)

Sunday, April 30

Breakfast: 9-10 am

Paper Sessiom 5: 10:15 am - 12:15 pm Student keynote presentation and lunch: 12:30 - 2 pm

Kristie Dotson

Associate Professor Michigan State Univeristy

“Re-Introducing Idenitity Politics Thinking Black Feminist Decolonial Practices”

Registration: Includes 6 Meals and Presentations General Admission: $40 Students: FREE

For more information email and Sponsors:

American Philosophical Association MSU Denver Office of Diversity and inclusion

Denver-area Public School Officials Examine Strategies to Level the Playing Field


By Alan Tellis

he fight for access to quality education has been a cornerstone metric for progress in the black liberation struggle since the emancipation of the slaves, and more recently the desegregation of the school systems and the civil rights era. Unfortunately for us, however, experts at the Colorado Black Round Table believe that not only are we not gaining ground towards academic equity – we are losing it. If this trend continues, our children will find themselves in a worse predicament than the children who were born into the pre-civil rights era. Denver Public Schools has had to settle a multitude of cases involving racial bias, and by their own assessment, must continue to combat rampant institutional racism embedded in their system. During her address at the CBRT’s February community meeting and Black History Recognition, Dr. Sharon Bailey reflected on a moment in which, as she was fighting to bring racial equity to the school system, a judge told her that the situation would remedy itself as minorities would gain more political power and thus be able to reshape the structure of the educational system. This did not happen, and as Bailey said, “It’s a new century and Johnny still can’t read.” One of the most startling issues to be addressed is Colorado having the number one attainment gap between students from different socio-economic categories. Poorer students are having a much lower success rate than both their middle class and wealthy peers. This is only compounded by the fact that Denver is also in the bottom five in terms of school funding. None educational pressures, such as gentrification only exacerbate this issue as it creates heightened segregation amongst schools in wealthy neighborhoods and those serving disenfranchised communities. DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg pointed out the obvious issue this creates as a large portion of school funding is based off property wealth taxes.

Within the schools themselves, there seems to be a lack of culturally responsive teachers who are able help students have positive experiences with the district opposed to culture clashes between administrators and students. Bill Jaeger, executive director of the Colorado Children’s Campaign has proposed legislation that will mandate the district provides a high percentage of teachers that are well trained in cultural responsiveness. This approach should also serve to combat the culture of low expectations that is pervasive throughout the school district. Each and every member of the panel emphasized that our children are capable, and must be held to a higher standard in order to grow. In Dr. Bailey’s report, she offered that many employed in the district do not believe in the potential of students, thus stifling their academic growth from the beginning. Many of the experts on the panel believe that these conditions are the initial steps on the school to prison pipeline path. Echoing the sentiment of low expectations for poor and minority students, black students are suspended nearly 33 percent more of the time than their white peers. This type of punishment begins to occur as early as kindergarten which as Gerri Grimes, executive director at Hope Center explained, gives children a “negative perception of the school system that stays with them throughout the rest of their academic careers.” Grimes propositioned that it is of the utmost importance to start a positive connection with learning as early as possible in our children. Maisha Fields, executive director of the Fields Foundations, noted the need to also focus our efforts towards community action needed to support our children. She stated that many of the issues the Black Panthers outlined in their 10-point plan are still lacking implementation in our communities today. Fields felt that it will take the full effort of the community to remedy many of the issues our children face, regardless of institutional corrections within the district. Both Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools and Rico Munn, superintendent of Aurora Public schools were in attendance and gave reports of their district in light of the current “Crisis in Black Education.” Boasberg highlighted some of the fruitful efforts his district has implemented in order to give both Black educators and students a quality experience interacting with the school system. He noted that the graduation rate amongst African-American students is up 50 percent from 2006; simultaneously out of school suspension has been reduced 66 percent.

The Aurora Public school district has also improved its retention rate of African-American teachers to an alltime high of 88 percent. Although he acknowledges that the district has huge disparities to overcome, Boasberg remains hopeful that he will be able to continue to close the gap and offer all students equal access to a quality education. There are currently three times more African-American taking advanced placement and college level course work than there were 10 years ago. Boasberg also considered it his responsibility to make sure schools best serve the needs of “all of their students” noting, “Schools must be judged on how they serve their most in need students.” Superintendent Munn did make a distinct difference between the Denver Public School system and the Aurora Public School system, noting the differences in terms of history and demographics. Boasberg, however, does have similar issues to those posed by the Denver Public School District. APS has gotten their amount of principals that are people of color up to 30 percent from a previous low of 10 percent. Both superintendents noted that it is significant for children of all colors and genders to see people of color and women in powerful positions. They have also worked to reduce their expulsion rate 70 percent in the last four years while their graduation rate has increased incrementally in each of those years. Many of the panel experts offered steps the city can take in order to ensure the success of our students going forward. One of the key steps in this effort is to start early and create a very high ceiling for our future scholars. Things like the semi-annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities tour (HBCU) and fair have tremendous impact on student’s ability to visualize themselves excelling in high school and beyond. Paul Hamilton, former state representative, added how important it is to always challenge students and propel them towards their highest potential. In terms of higher education, Myron Anderson, associate to the President for Diversity, at Metro State University of Denver said one of the keys to creating a quality environment for all students to thrive is being intentional in the design of the environment. Metro State has a faculty that is composed 50 percent females and 30 percent people of color and that did not happen by accident. He stated that “Institutions must be deliberate about who they invite to fill powerful positions,” noting that if the applicant pool only includes white men there is no possibility that a white man will not be hired. If you, however, open the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


position to anyone qualified the competition itself is likely to diversify the faculty. Similarly Superintendent Boasberg stated that it is his duty, “To fight toxic culture ignorance,” by making diversity in leadership a cornerstone of his school district. Everette Freeman, president of the Community College of Denver, has taken CCD in a new direction and they are now offering their services to anyone that is willing to learn. They have stopped testing students and changed their admission requirements to essentially having an open door policy. What they have found is that most of the students are extremely capable once given the chance to do the work. This has shown that the kids are capable we just have to craft a situation where their potential is able to shine through. As John Bailey, the founder and director of the Colorado Black Round Table said, “Our kids are capable and our kids matter.” Some of the concerns from the crowd included parents wanting to be more involved in their schools and needing a platform to be created where their voices can be heard. The Denver Public School District is in the process of creating an equity agreement, which will hopefully create a level playing field for all of Denver’s children, because they deserve no less..

Racial Remarks Dog Colorado Democrats If the highest-

By Brother Jeff Fard


Designs by Vickilyn

562-381-0594 •

ranking newly elected official of the Arapahoe County Democrats is any reflection of state party leadership, then Black Democrats are in big trouble. When asked last week about a racial remark that has dogged the Dems for years, Arapahoe County Chair Mary Ellen Wolf answered, “I have no personal knowledge of this at this time. Moving on to our agenda.” Her dismissive response at the March 14, Arapahoe County Democrats executive session aggravates concerns held by many who wonder how inclusive the party is and whether Blacks are welcome. The “this” Wolf claims no knowledge of was an insensitive remark made in 2014 by then Secretary of the Colorado Democratic Party Carolyn Boller. “I don’t mean to be crass,” she told Naquetta Ricks, who was running for University of Colorado Board of Regents, following a Feb. 4, candidate training workshop. “They say, too many African-Americans are running for office in Arapahoe County.” Ricks and House District 37 candidate Marlo Alston were two Black women at the training seeking party guidance. “I was shocked and angry that such a racist remark would be made,” Ricks said. “A few days later, a small group of African-Americans confronted Boller at a county meeting. She made no apology and [then] County Chair John Buckley, who was present when the statement was made, said he did not remember the incident.” The group was told by the state party that it was working with the Black Caucus to resolve the matter. That was the last they heard of it. Alston was also shocked because Boller had always been nice to her. She even offered to support Alston in her race. The comment caught Alston off guard and she believed the others in attendance seemed unbothered by it. The political hopeful was given the impression that Black people, including her, were not welcome in Arapahoe County as candidates. “I was angry because we were in 2014 when I heard these comments, and I thought the Democratic Party

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


was a welcoming party, and no matter what your race, you would be helped by leadership,” Alston recalled. Yet, she [Boller] being a leader and associated with the party for years was the person who wasn’t welcoming everyone.” Alston was further disappointed when no apology came from anyone in county or state party leadership. Boller’s apparent racial intolerance surfaced the following year, insulting not only Blacks, but also people with disabilities while serving as House District 42 chair. The incident happened in April 2015 as Representative and now Senator Rhonda Fields was hosting a House District 42 meeting. By many accounts, it was praised as one of the most well attended Arapahoe County meetings in recent memory. But Boller was apparently displeased with who turned out. “Did you only invite Black people to the meeting?!” she said to Fields in a fit of anger about attendees. “Are you trying to stack the deck with only Black people?!” Making a bad situation worse, Boller apparently asserted that people in wheelchairs could not serve as a Precinct Committee Person, an elected party neighborhood representative. “How is that disabled woman going to canvass and go door to door?” a guest reported hearing her say. Sen. Fields is a fighter and the first Black to be elected in Arapahoe County. She is also one the highestranking Blacks in Colorado politics. Her tenacity led to the successful 2010 conviction of her son and daughter-inlaw’s killer. Turning her pain into policy, Fields became a victim advocate and elected official. This time, Boller’s intimidation and anger would not go unaddressed. At great risk to her political career, Fields filed a formal complaint with House District 42 Chair Patricia Shaver based on multiple rule violations of professional conduct based on cultural norms and respect for all races and those living with disabilities. “I forwarded the complaint to State Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio who said he would be required to convene a state central committee or a five member panel to address the situation,” said Shavers, the first Black elected to Arapahoe County chair. “Rhonda was asked how she wanted to proceed? Because the country was in a presidential year, and lots of party work was going on, she extended an olive branch and requested diversity training and an apology from Boller in front of everyone.” Arapahoe County Dems responded by holding a diversity workshop on May 16, where Boller apologized. Wolf was in attendance. However,

Carolyn Boller

based on her “no personal knowledge of this” response last week, Wolf seems to have forgotten about her colleagues demeaning behavior and racial remarks. Unfortunately, Boller’s combative behavior continued into 2016, causing Fields to file another formal complaint. At the Feb.9 Arapahoe County executive committee meeting, the report claims Boller used vulgar and inappropriate language directed at Fields and the committee as a whole while they were discussing a matter of caucus procedure. The report also claims Boller confronted Barbara Groves Jones for saying that she was out of order. Jones, a Black woman, was the state party 2nd vice chair. “The manner in which Carolyn confronted Barbara was threatening and inappropriate. After the incident, Carolyn stormed out of the room into the adjacent office, and continued to shout expletives that directly demeaned my character [Fields], the character of Barbara Jones, and the body as a whole,” the complaint reads. “As I hope you will agree, this type of behavior is unbecoming of a party officer, and should not be tolerated,” Fields wrote in her complaint. “This is not my first complaint against Carolyn Boller, and I encourage leadership, whether at the county or state level, to take appropriate action to address this inappropriate behavior.” Party Chairman Rick Palacio deemed the incident “deeply troubling” and promised to “deal with this appropriately.” Fields focused on her successful senate race while nothing came of the complaint. Colorado Democrats are currently completing their 2017 Party Reorganization and electing new officers to hold two-year terms. Boller was elected to serve on the central and executive committees. In her leadership capacity, her antagonism continues. At last week’s Arapahoe County executive session meeting, Boller’s racial remarks were a topic of heated discussion. Longtime party volunteer Bernie Rogoff, who also attended the diversity workshop, dismissed complaints about Boller’s remarks as hearsay.

“It’s not hearsay, it is real,” Fields told Rogoff. Then, turning to those in attendance, she said, “Don’t act like it doesn’t exist. It did happen. It happened to me. It happened in my House District. It happened to my neighbors and friends that showed up to a meeting. It happened. I didn’t make it up.” After being called out as the person behind the ongoing controversy, Bollar stormed to the middle of the room. “I am sick and tired of this rumor floating around. I’m done!” she shouted in a raspy voice insisting her words were instructive and not meant to be harmful.

Then came her latest offensive remark. “If you got anything to say to me,” Boller exclaimed while leaving though the back door, “by God pick up your balls and come see me!” The room fell silent and Wolf moved on with their agenda. “In my 50-years in the party I have worked to support diversity and will continue to do so,” Boller stated in a texted response following last week’s meeting when asked about her leadership, past remarks and formal complaints. “I gave my apology and stand by it.”.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


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Why the GOP Really Hates Medicaid #

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

45 Trump made news again when he abruptly switched gears and said that he wouldn’t keep hands off Medicaid as he kind of, sort of promised to do during the campaign. Now, says Trump, its fair game for a quick assault, namely, the part of the program that some governors, including GOP governors, used to expand coverage in their states. This was made possible under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Trump ignored the warning that by attacking Medicaid it could screw up the time table for the GOP congressional assault on Obamacare. This is incidental to the real reason Trump broke his promise and why the GOP’s manic obsession with savaging Medicaid. The GOP’s stock arguments

that reining in Medicaid is about cutting costs, federal intrusion in health care, and restoring health care to the states is hogwash. It’s the program itself, who it benefits, and what it means politically to the GOP. The root of the GOP attack and loathing of Medicaid starts with who created it and what it was created to do. It was a Lyndon Johnson era, Democratic Great Society, War on Poverty Program that was unabashedly aimed at covering welfare recipients, and the poorest of the poor. Though the outrageous, and very serviceable, myth that is still happily fanned by conservatives, and many in the media, that Medicaid is a gigantic taxpayer health care give-away to the black poor, the majority of Medicaid recipients have always been whites. In time, Medicaid was tweaked, reconfigured, and expanded to provide health care for millions more who had absolutely no access to affordable, if any, health care coverage. The greatest beneficiaries, though, remained the poor, and especially their children. Medicaid covers the cost of prenatal care and hospitalization. Medicaid has been wildly successful in controlling health care costs, providing the poor and working families with coverage unobtainable in the private insurance market, and in providing a brake on run-away medical

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care cost coverage in the states. Conservatives have seen deep political peril in this. And they saw even deeper peril when Obamacare expanded coverage even more and bumped the numbers of those now receiving health care coverage under the program to nearly 20 million persons. When conservative GOP governors such Ohio’s John Kasich publicly took the expanded coverage deal with Medicaid, and publicly said it was a boon to the state, the die was cast; Medicaid had to be assailed. The political horror to the GOP is that as long as Medicaid is seen as a Democratic measure, and more specifically an Obama measure, to aid the needy, the possibility is real that many of those millions of voters in crucial swing states such as Ohio, will began to connect the dots. The dots being that Medicaid is a health care program that helps families in need, the Democrats support it and fight for it, while GOP conservatives bitterly oppose it. Therefore, come election time, those families might, just might, cast a vote for the friends, not the enemies, of Medicaid. This is an especially fragile political proposition for the GOP given that Trump won by only the barest margin in a handful of states, nearly all of Congress is up for re-election in 2018, and GOP governors and legislatures have only tenuous control in several states. Medicaid, and the lies and stereotypes told about it, appear to be a tailor-made issue to rally conservatives, and hopefully keep the GOP political ducks in contested states in line. That’s only the start, since Medicaid, because of those lies and stereotypes, is regarded as the easiest of pickings to go after, if successful, then it opens the gate wide to the next two perennial right-wing targets, Social Security and Medicare. As with Medicaid, Trump claimed during the campaign that he wouldn’t touch Social Security and Medicare, but that almost certainly will go the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


way of his Medicaid hands-off promise. The two programs are, and have always been seen, as Democratic inspired and backed programs, and that has made them conservative whipping boys with the usual storehouse of lies about run-away costs, waste, and heavy handed federal intrusion. Medicaid then is the proving ground to convince the millions that benefit from these foundational federal programs; they aren’t really in their best interests. The GOP will try to pound home that there are better alternatives, and the GOP, not the Democrats, is the party that can provide those alternatives. Trump got that message and will take the point in trying to deliver it to those voters who have grave doubts about hacking away programs that have been lifesavers to them. For tens of millions, Medicaid has been at the top of that list of those life-saving programs. This is what makes it the enduring political target it is, or put bluntly why the GOP hates it. . Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of In Scalia’s Shadow: The Trump Supreme Court (Amazon Kindle). He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.







It’s not that Steve Bannon is a racist;

it’s just that his rhetoric enables racists – which is kinda racist. The accusations about Bannon’s racial politics have been a matter of controversy for some time now. Bannon, the former editor at Breitbart, an online publication, which only ‘happens’ to be popular with white supremacists, now sits on the National Security Council, rubbing elbows with generals and policy makers of the most consequential kind. Of course, this is no cause for alarm among black people, who have experienced horrific institutional racism since before this country was a country. If only there were a smoking gun to prove Bannon was a bigot onceand-for-all. Enter, the Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal and JM Rieger with the evidence. They compiled several voice clips of Bannon referencing the 1973 novel, “Camp of The Saints,” substantiating his alarm at the waves of immigrants pouring into predominantly white nations. In one clip, Bannon implies the novel was unjustly panned exclaiming, “People said it was racist and nativist,” as if he were in utter disbelief at this perception of the book. Now, it might help to illuminate that the full name of the Jean Raspail novel is, “Camp of the Saints: A Chilling Novel about the End of the White World.” There we go; clarity. Stephen Bannon repeatedly contextualizes the mass immigration of Arab and African people into the West as an invasion, not a refugee crisis. This is exactly what was described in the novel in question. In the story a horde of 800,000, East Indians invades France and begin to suck up resources, rape and denigrate the native French culture. Lead by a demagogic figure that Raspail names, “The Turd Eater,” these Indian immigrants begin to displace the native French population. The only solution is to literally kill them all. How refreshing. The book has made its rounds in the white nationalist underground, and Bannon seems to know it. His references serve as a dog whistle to the more hardened and overt race soldiers in the Alt-Right and other white power factions. Like Hitler’s “Mein Kamf,” it paints whites as a people backed against the wall with no other option than total warfare. “Camp of the Saints” is viewed as a prophetic literary work by the proponents of the notion called “White Genocide.” People like David Duke, Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer and their followers believe the white race is in crisis, and that dark-skinned people and liberals are to blame. At first

Steve Bannon and the Dangerous Myth of White Genocide By Theo E.J. Wilson

glance, this claim seemed absurd to me – genocide against white people? Really? Then I did some investigating, and here’s what I found: The definition of genocide is: “The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.” Sorry, Bannon. Nobody is doing that. Most white nations are nuclear armed, and no brown nation has the military might to accomplish this. However, census data from across the globe points to an interesting phenomenon; whites are in fact dying off faster than they are being replaced. Time Magazine published a University of New Hampshire study proving that white death rates outpaced birth rates in 17 U.S. states. The causes of death were not brown people, however. They were suicide, drug overdoses and natural causes like Alzheimer’s. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau published a study that said, Minority birthrates were far outpacing whites, and that babies of color made up the majority of U.S. births for the first time since the inception of America. Europe, Canada, and Russia saw similar trends of being outbred by the brownies. This, coupled with mass immigration seems to point to a population disaster to those who classify themselves as white. Notice I said, “Classify themselves.” Perhaps Bannon and the “AltRight” need a reminder that whiteness is something they invented. Like the idea of race itself, whiteness has undergone several revisions. These

include the inclusion of formerly nonwhite Europeans like the Irish, Italians, the Polish, Jews and the Turkish. Therefore, race is a convenient social construct (European in origin) that creates in-groups and outgroups according to what’s expedient. Perhaps tomorrow, certain Latinos will be included into whiteness to bolster their numbers and power. What’s interesting is that all of these ethnically white groups seem to be in decline. How could a social construct have biological consequences? Why are all these socially white groups experiencing actual infertility? Could there be something these groups all share besides common geographical origin? Well, yes. According to studies conducted at Harvard and the University of Washington published in New Scientist, modern Europeans inherited fertility issues because of their hybridizing with Neanderthals. The research says that Neanderthal mixture helped them survive outside of Africa, but that there are some lingering genetic defects and infertility is one. Sub-Saharan Africans, who have zero Neanderthal inheritance, are the fastest growing population on the planet in contrast. How’s that for Darwinism? But something is missing…the actual genocide. What we’ve outlined here is a die-off, a natural de-selection. In fact, the definition of genocide is, “The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.” So, the question is who is ‘deliberately’

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


killing white people? The answer is…white people. Per the Department of Justice, 83 percent of whites murder victims are killed by other white people. Across the world, it’s roughly the same. In other words, no non-white group is killing white people to the level that it can be called genocide. All these white nations are nuclear capable, so most brown and black nations are not. Therefore, no one could actually pull off a genocide against white people because they are armed entirely too well. So, what’s really going on? One word: Blowback. This is what happens when you spend centuries of imperialism making other people’s homes unsafe; they come to yours, eventually. For example, white people are not often told about the SykesPicot agreement in 1916. After defeating the Ottoman Empire, France, England, and Russia carved up the Middle East according to their own desires, irrespective of tribal boundaries. This fracturing of indigenous tribal lines that took millennia to draw caused a multi-generational fallout. From there, European and American powers interfered time and time again in the Arab world. Like Africa, they only wanted what was in the land, not the people who lived upon it. They toppled governments, propped up regimes, and extracted oil to enrich their own nations. Now, as Malcolm X said, the chickens have come home to roost. They wear hijabs and pray to Allah. They would have done this in their own land had Europe and America left them well enough alone. Now, contrary to what they want you to believe, xenophobic attacks are provoking Arabs and Africans into violence all over Europe. These same Europeans that wanted the bodies to stay buried are crying crocodile tears. Where were those tears during the cold war and operation Iraqi Freedom? Where were those tears when the Ottomans fell, and when they toppled Iran’s democracy in 1953? Their fears of genocide and invasion are only projections of what they’ve practiced for centuries on end. Here’s the danger of people like Bannon. If he successfully frames the blowback of the white population collapse as genocide and not a die-off, he will radicalize whites into violence. He will falsely invoke the divine right of self-defense, and dupe white people into going on attack…again. They will commit atrocities in the name of attacks that never happened against brown people only trying to survive their imperialism. With Bannon having the ear of Trump and several generals, we may be witnessing the rebirth of white tyranny. All we can do…is prepare..

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Pastor Terrence Hughes Installed as New GMDMA President

The Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDMA) installed the organization’s newly elected president, Pastor Terrence Hughes at a commemorative service on Sunday, March 19 at New Covenant Church Alpha and Omega Ministries, before an audience comprised of faith-based leaders, elected officials and community leaders. President Hughes was prayed over with the laying on of hands by various clergy. He then performed a symbolic foot washing as he prayed for some of the social ills impacting the communities. The official gavel of the GMDMA was passed from a few of the former

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


presidents: Bishop Acen Phillips to Rev. William Golson to Pastor Del Phillips to President Terrence Hughes. President Hughes then swore in and prayed over his Executive Team; then delivered his heartfelt Presidential Address. President Hughes stated that during his administration, our motto will be “Serving the Greatest by Serving the Least.” Editor’s note: The Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance is a 77 year old faithbased organization, whose mission is to minister the gospel to ensure that justice is served to eradicate racism, social injustice, and sectarianism in order to mobilize the Church to bring healing and restoration to the African American people within the Denver metropolitan communities

Brittany Guzman Taylor’s Fresh Approach to Makeup and Skincare

By Kavann Tok

Makeup has his-

We do skincare, makeup, and waxing and I’d say, so far, a pretty typical day has involved probably one of each service. It’s been pretty balanced.”

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line war paint to feminine glamour. At Limn Skincare, makeup is not only an asset –it’s a form of art. One’s face can be used as a canvas, refined in ways that brings out their fullest potential. Looking good can create confidence, which can lead to a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle. For Brittany Guzman Taylor, 33, owner of Limn Skincare, makeup has been in her blood since an early age where she experimented with bold expressions and body-paint. With a background in Theatre Design from the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Taylor became exposed to different methods of makeup that brought her to where she is today–a business owner with an emphasis on clean, safe makeup.

The Divine Beginnings

The requirements for makeup artists in Colorado changed around 2010, according to Taylor. That meant people going into makeup artistry must be estheticians as well. Estheticians are professionals specializing in skincare, nurturing and beautifying people’s skin. “That change worked out perfectly for Taylor, who wanted to implement clean, natural beauty products into her artistry. She has been an esthetician for four years while working in the beauty industry for 12 years. “I studied both makeup design and lighting design,” Taylor explains. “Having learned lighting definitely helps me as a makeup artist. It helps me to understand the planes of the face, as well as how it will photograph. It’s all much interconnected.”

Organic, Clean Products

Taylor specializes in all-natural clean and organic products. This means there are no synthetic fragrances or toxins. The two major lines carried in her shop are Dr. Hauschka Skin Care and Jane Iredale cosmetics. “Dr. Hauschka Skin Care is a very clean line out of Germany that I absolutely love, Taylor says. “It

respects your skin as an organ and assesses what your skin needs based on your individual lifestyle and moisture content that you have. It’s been around since 1965, and very few of the formulations have changed since then because it’s been so pure all along. The other major line we carry is Jane Iredale cosmetics. It’s from the US, from Massachusetts. It’s a really clean line again. They are pretty much formulated for the most delicate and compromised of skin so you can use it post-procedure. It was formulated to be used immediately after a chemical peel or a microdermabrasion in a dermatologist office.” Jane Iredale cosmetics have no fillers, binders or waxes. Taylor uses them on brides who particularly want natural makeup that photograph well. Other products that Limn Skincare carries are natural soaps and hand creams produced by Formulary 55, which are made from Pueblo, Colorado.

Encouragement and Influences

Taylor’s mentor, Susan Florence, ran her own business after creating a new baby product. In fact, Florence’s artwork hangs on the very walls of “Limn Skincare,” which is Taylor’s way of expressing her appreciation. Florence has given Taylor useful advice on starting up a business, and for that, she’s grateful. “My mother is my primary inspiration. She is a powerhouse who fought against so many things, to ensure that everything was available for me. Most importantly, she raised me to believe that no goals were beyond my reach,” Taylor recalls. “I was allowed to express myself through bright purple neon eyelashes that I’d wear to school

Photos by Duane Hirschfeld

and tons of glitter. She was onboard for that. She was definitely a major influence for me in achieving my goals and my way.”

Future of Limn Skincare

Taylor expressed interest in expanding her shop to a larger space with two treatment rooms. On the top floor, she would like to have a studio focusing on photography and makeup. Prior to opening her shop, she was traveling onlocation with her other business Guzman Taylor makeup, which focuses on bridal and commercial. “I primarily do makeup for bridal and still photography. However, I did work on an agency project, assisting the key artist for a Mercedes Benz Commercial. I’m trying to focus more on bridal, editorial, and commercial work. But it definitely stretches the full spectrum. I have done a lot of airbrush work for large groups, like dance troupes where they need body paint. That’s the more artistic end of my makeup spectrum. Here at Limn Skincare, it is very clean and natural.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Taylor believes we’re living in a unique time right now in terms of makeup. Before the advancement of technology, almost all makeup was something that was taught and handed down from woman-to-woman, such as from mother to daughter or from sister to sister. Now, people are venturing to YouTube for makeup advice. On top of that, the availability for professional techniques and products has changed the entire landscape. “There are the people who want to know how to do it in a way that they can apply to them every day,” Taylor adds, “which is much more of that traditional woman-teaching-woman makeup. We also have people who want to do that with a specific technique. Contouring is all the rage now. I meet a lot of people that are a little confused on that. Outside of a professional setting, contouring can be a little hazardous, if not done properly. Brows that are full and defined are really in right now. Lashes, of course, are seeing a rise in extensions and strips. What I like most [about the industry] is the creativity and collaborative side.” Taylor finds it rewarding to find out what people want and help them achieve it. After all, texturing and coloring someone’s face requires an artist’s touch. “Whether it’s a photographer who wants me to execute a design, or if it’s a bride who wants me to help her look radiant on her wedding day, it allows me the opportunity to help create something with someone else.”. Editor’s note: For more information, visit

Paul Washington to Step Down from Denver Office of Economic Development

Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced that Paul Washington, Executive Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED), will be stepping down to become market director of the Rocky Mountain Region for JLL, a Fortune 500 real estate professional services and investment management firm. Serving as the Mayor’s head of economic development since August 2011, Washington spearheaded the 2012-2016 JumpStart strategies that directly influenced the creation and retention of more than 30,000 jobs, while leveraging more than $818 million in private capital investment. “Without a doubt, Paul is the most effective economic development chief this city has seen and because of his clear vision and tenacity, Denver today offers our people a stable economy and a broad-range of jobs and


opportunity,” Mayor Hancock said. “We have taken a very purposeful and intentional approach to economic development that has not only spurred strong job creation and broadened the tax base, but has strengthened our communities and nurtured the uniqueness of our neighborhoods. “Since day one, Denver’s top priority has been 21st century economy and Paul has been a true partner as we strived to meet our call to action. He has helped set Denver on a successful path and I cannot think of a better, more well-deserved next step for him than to work for the JLL team,” the Mayor continued. During his time at the City and County of Denver, Washington has worked on many levels to improve the focus and drive of the Office of Economic Development, while providing a clear vision of where the city plans to direct its effort through the Jumpstart annual strategies. Washington led a multi-disciplinary team of 105 staff at OED dedicated to creating a local environment that stimulates balanced growth through job creation, business assistance, housing options, neighborhood redevelopment and the development of a skilled workforce. “History will be very kind to

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Mayor Hancock, one of the great mayors in this country. I am honored to have played a role in his administration, helping to shape a stronger community for our businesses, residents and neighborhoods,” said Washington. “This is complex work that has been incredibly exciting, and I will always cherish these years of service. I thank the Mayor for the honor to serve, and I leave the office in very capable hands that will advance this important work forward. I am also very excited to continue to contribute to the region’s business community through my new role at JLL.” As market director, Washington will oversee day-to-day operations for the Rocky Mountain region, including managing a team of more than 265 professionals and pursuing integrated business development opportunities across JLL’s business lines. JLL has an annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6 billion. The company has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. Highlights of Washington’s leadership included: •Successfully recruiting several large, international firms to relocate and/or expand their operations in Denver, including Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, Transamerica, SunRun, Optiv, Vantiv, Kinross Gold USA, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, NamJet, Sympoz, Signpost, Ibotta, WorldRemit and KPMG. •Leading a comprehensive study of Denver’s retail sector, and subsequently implementing a strategic retail plan to strengthen retail districts and curb sales activity leakage. Major successes have included the opening of a Costco Business Center to help revitalize the Alameda Square shopping center, as well as ushering the recent passage of an incentive package to support a projected new Target store along the 16th Street Mall.

•Implementing a series of initiatives to shape Denver as a leading city for entrepreneurship and innovation. Along with private partners, he led the establishment of the Commons on Champa, a public-private campus for entrepreneurship, as well as financing several other local innovation centers including Industry. Through small business plan competitions, new financing resources and publications, training programs for startups, and other efforts, Washington worked to elevate Denver’s position for attracting out-of-state venture capital funding opportunities for local firms. •Advancing Denver’s commitment to affordable housing through the creation of the city’s first-ever dedicated fund for housing, which is estimated to provide $150 million over the next decade. He also led the creation of Denver’s Revolving Affordable Housing Loan Fund, and the development of Housing Denver, the city’s first housing plan approved in more than a decade. In total, 2,686 affordable units were funded under his tenure. •Instituted a series of catalytic neighborhood investments throughout the city, and particularly in the Westwood and Five Points neighborhoods. •Established the OED’s new Economic Mobility Division, which focuses on responsible development, equity ownership and access to neighborhood programs and services for residents and businesses. •Launched a new workforce development delivery system to better serve the city’s more than 10,000 unemployed. Developed a series of summer job training and employment programs for Denver’s youth, including initiatives focused on entrepreneurship and technology. . Editor’s note: A recruitment search is underway to name his successor, and during the interim period OED Chief Operating Officer Amy Edinger will serve as acting executive director.

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Extra Support Helps Caregiver Be There for Her Mother

Annette Rucker and mother, Miss Alma Annette Rucker isn’t shy about

admitting her trepidation about coping with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis her mother, Alma, received 15 years ago. “I knew I was not going to be able to handle this very well,” said the IT professional. “I’m going to need support. I need it for me.” Rucker had seen the decline in her mother’s cognition over the years, but didn’t fully appreciate the gravity of the situation. Her mother would continually repeat questions, and the situation got worse over time. “We finally said,‘This isn’t funny anymore,’ and had doctors perform tests that showed she had Alzheimer’s,” Rucker said.

A Different Mom

After 15 years, the ravages of Alzheimer’s are undeniable. Alma is wheelchair-bound and doesn’t communicate in a way most people would comprehend. “She’s still my mom, but she’s a different mom,” Rucker reflected. “It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around this disease where you go from thriving to all the way in the opposite direction.” “Miss Alma,” as Rucker lovingly calls her mother, isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her daughters have each adjusted as the disease has progressed. Rucker’s sisters each take their own approach to their mother’s Alzheimer’s. One spends time with Alma every evening. The other can’t bear the thought of seeing her mother essentially incapacitated. For Rucker, as difficult as it is to see the changes in her mother over the years, there is no choice to be made. “One day, she just quit walking. Then she stopped feeding herself,” said Rucker. “But she’s my mom. I have to see her.” Mother and daughter have settled into a routine based around mealtime, which Rucker finds is the most rewarding because it’s a bonding

moment. “She doesn’t talk anymore and doesn’t know me, but she’s still alive and I get to see her. I get to connect with her by feeding her. It’s really more for me.”

Sharing her Experiences

While the past 15 years as a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s has had its share of challenges, Rucker has chosen to share the wisdom she’s gained. She serves as a volunteer for the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association at health fairs, the annual Denver Black Arts Festival and, of course, at the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which has become a “must do” event for her. And she continues to expand her knowledge base with the variety of educational programs offered through the Colorado Chapter. Since her introduction to the Association more than 10 years ago through a free, introductory program at the senior housing where her mother was living, Rucker has participated in support groups and other programs ever since. “They (the Colorado Chapter) have resources you’d never know about on your own,” Rucker said. “I learned about resources for those who want to keep their parents at home, memory care facilities and more. You need information to decide what works best for you and your family.” But it was the caregiver support groups that resonated the most with Rucker. That’s where she was able to connect with people in the same situation as her – and some who had already lived through extremely challenging times. “People in support groups get it,” she said. “You really don’t have a clue (about the effects of Alzheimer’s) unless you’re going through it with someone. We can sit and laugh - and cry - about things. They understand.” Annette’s advice isn’t surprising find a support group, and take advantage of resources offered through your church.

“You may think you do, but you don’t really know what you’re getting into (with Alzheimer’s),” said Rucker. “For the longest time, it was difficult for me to cope. People at work could tell by my face that I had been to see my mom. Now, I’m at the point where I can leave her after a visit and still be

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


a happy person. Now, I’m just glad she’s still alive. There’s no cure, but they’re working on it. And I get to see my mom.”. Editor’s note: For more information call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 bilingual Helpline at 800-272-3900, or visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Emmy Award-Winning Indie Black Filmmaker to Release Two New Film Projects

Emmy award winning independent filmmaker, Dante James announced the formation of Black Pearl Media Works, LLC (BPMW) to produces artistic, entertaining, profitable media that explores humanity through the lens of Black cultures worldwide. “It has taken many years to marshal my own resources and cultivate a relationship with an investor who understands the importance of resources from Black financiers,” said James in discussing the challenges facing Black filmmakers. “We believe this approach will shield projects grounded in our history and culture from the filters that often come with resources from entities outside of our community. “For many years, I made films for PBS,” he said. “However as a Black man, independent filmmaker and activist coupled with the challenges Black people face, I’m committed to making the strongest and most creative statements possible in my films, which was not possible with PBS. Artistic and editorial control is a prerequisite.” The multi-media production company has received partial financing for two projects; a feature length documentary, God of The Oppressed and a series of dramatic short films, In Our Own Words. In Our Own Words presents a creative chronicle of the AfricanAmerican experience through short stories by iconic and lesser-known Black writers, some of whom could not get past the publishing filters they encountered. The concept for the series is grounded in self-definition paired with concerns regarding the degrading, shallow images of African Americans that are too prevalent in corporate controlled media. With new means of distribution, liberated Black filmmakers have opportunities to redefine the images of Black people. “Too often the view of Black life is demeaning and perverted to the point that it has become the perception of who we are and that perception is literally and figuratively destroying us. More accurate definitions of who we are can be found in our literature,” James said. Black writers have defined their own world, moving beyond the traditional definitions often imposed on


them. The short stories of In Our Own Words will be selected by outstanding African American literature scholars, Maryemma Graham, Ph.D. and Joycelyn Moody, Ph.D. The first film of the series, The Doll, based on a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt was completed several years ago. It was awarded best dramatic short at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Through stories of Nat Turner, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Traci Blackmon and others, God of the Oppressed will explore Black Liberation and Womanist Theology. Stories, characters and gospel music will celebrate and frame a perspective of God within the context of an oppressed people. Prof. James Cone, author of the book, “God of the Oppressed,” will serve as chief academic advisor and Rev. Carl Kenney, a Black liberation theology minister will be a co-producer. God of the Oppressed is an extension of James’ work as the executive producer of This Far By Faith, the final series from Blackside Films. Both projects will begin pre-production immediately. However BPMW is seeking additional investors/partners who recognize the profit potential, appreciate Black culture/literature, and are concerned about the interpretations of black experiences. For more information, call 919-4759879, email or visit .

Sims-Fayola Foundation Seeks Scholarship Applicants

The Sims-Fayola Foundation announced the Ellis-Wade Scholarship for Young Men, the Terrence Mixon Scholarship for Young Men, and the Sims-Fayola Foundation Scholarship for Young Men to be awarded in May. The Sims-Fayola Foundation will award three $1,000, scholarships. The Ellis-Wade Scholarship for Young Men is available to graduating high school seniors residing in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Terrence Mixon Scholarship for Young Men is available to graduating high school seniors residing in Mobile, Alabama. The Sims-Fayola Foundation Scholarship for Young Men is available to graduating high school seniors residing in the Denver or Atlanta Metropolitan areas. For more information or to apply, visit or call 720-557-8443. Deadline is April 15.

DFL Hosts 24th Annual Furry Scurry Dog Walk

The Dumb Friends League (DFL) is hosting its 24th Annual Furry Scurry dog walk on Saturday, May 6 in Denver’s Washington Park to raise money for homeless pets and horses.

Activities include a two-mile walk around Wash Park, refreshments, food trucks, contests, dog demonstrations and more than 150 petrelated vendors at the Flealess Market. Registration is $50 per person and $25 for youth 14 and younger, and includes a Furry Scurry event Tshirt. Participants can register as an individual, or form or join a team online or at one of the DFL shelter locations, or on event day starting at 7:30 a.m. The walk begins at 9 a.m. For more information, visit, or call 303751-5772.

Call for FPJF Volunteers

On Saturday, May 20, Denver will celebrate the 14th annual Five Points Jazz Festival with music and entertainment, food, and a community come together to celebrate historic Five Points. The Five Points Jazz Festival is seeking energetic and enthusiastic volunteers. Opportunities include set-up, greeting attendees, stagehand help, and clean up after the event. For more information, to register or to volunteer, visit or email or call 720201-1481.

When You Kill Our Children You Kill Our Dreams

The 8th annual Denver NAACP Youth Council and Battleground Ministries Mother’s Day Solidarity Dinner, honoring Mothers (and fathers) of murdered children will be held on Saturday, May 13 at 4 p.m. at Church in the City, 1580 Gaylord St. in Denver. This free event honors deceased victims of violence, their parents and families. This year’s event, “Building For Tomorrow - Unity” is to call attention to the impact of violence on families and show solidarity for parents of victims and will include a guest speaker, entertainment, dinner and a video presentation. Names for honorees are currently being accepted. If you or someone you know, are parents of a child taken by violence and would like to participate, call 720-252-5362 or 303-588-7296. Fmore information and reservations, email by April 15. Seats are limited with preference given to honorees and family members. Reservations are required and will be available to the general public after April 19.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017



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’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Khaleel Herbert is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Laurence Washington is the creator of Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter


Life l

By Khaleel Herbert

group of characters, an isolated location and, of course, the monster that attempts to kill all the characters are the key flavors of a horror film, right? Life follows this recipe and tastes stale.

him and Hugh starts getting attached to the creature, calling him Calvin (a name coined by an elementary schoolgirl). One day, while shocking Calvin, it takes hold of Hugh’s hand. The grip is cute at first, but gets tighter and mangles his hand! Roy and the other scientists save him. Calvin breaks out of its glass cage and runs loose on the ship, becoming an octopus. As Calvin grows, this space trip becomes a constant struggle for survival as the scientists try to kill it before it reaches Earth. I haven’t seen a lot of horror films, but Life is a predictable horror film. Just as you think the characters escape the monster; it comes back with a vengeance. Certain scenes made me jump, but overall it was the same mediocre horror film. The only difference was that instead of taking place in a laboratory or haunted house, it happens in space. The scientists could-


Life begins in medias res with five scientists in outer space retrieving a satellite with samples from Mars. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) is the first scientist to get one-on-one time with an organism containing nerves and a nucleus. The organism moves and Hugh says that this is a discovery of life beyond Earth. Each scientist has his/her own job on this intergalactic adventure. Roy Adams (Ryan Reynolds) is the repairman. Kat (Olga Dihovichnaya) is a doctor that tends to the other scientists. Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada) tends to the core parts of the ship, and David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a man who’s been in space for over 400 days and doesn’t want to return to Earth. For 25 days, Hugh watches over the creature that soon grows into a sperm-like specimen. It responds to

n’t even defend themselves. Even the ending was predictable! There was a lack of character development. Some scenes revealed things about the characters, but we didn’t know how they were chosen to go into space. The beginning should have showed them all leaving their families, getting on the spacecraft and blasting off into space. Some visuals of the spacecraft and Earth in space were beautiful. Reynolds gave his comedic performance similar to Deadpool. As an Rrated movie, I felt there should have been more blood and gore. Life should’ve taken notes on Logan and Underworld: Blood Wars. People may adore Life if it’s their first horror film. Otherwise, it’s just a repeat of horror films that take place on Earth.

Beauty and The Beast


Beauty and the Beast lll By Samantha Ofole-Prince

prinkled with music, romance, stunning scenery, sentiment and comedy, this nostalgic tale is certainly one worth retelling. Directed by Dreamgirls, helmer Bill Condon and based on Disney’s Oscarnominated 1991 film Beauty and the Beast, it’s a live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic about a young woman who warms the icy heart of a beastly Prince. The story remains rather faithful to the original narrative and stars Emma Watson as Belle, a bookish young woman from the small village of Villeneuve, whose father (Kevin Kline) is locked up in a lavish, remote castle by a heinous Beast (Dan Stevens), after he’s caught stealing a rose. A former Prince, the Beast has been cursed and condemned to a decaying castle where he and his staff have been transformed into furniture. When Belle discovers her father has been held captive, she offers herself in his place, which delights the castle’s magical inhabitants – including Lumiere the candlestick (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth the clock (Ian McKellen), Mrs Potts the teapot (Emma Thompson) and Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a maid turned elegant feather duster. Given Beast and Belle’s conflicted relationship, which is rife with animosity and resentment, romance appears out of the question, but Belle inspires him to become a better person and despite the chaos that ensures when Gaston (Luke Evans), a shallow and arrogant villager intent on marrying Belle shows up, everything works out and everyone ends up living happily ever after. Josh Gad plays Gaston’s trusty assistant LeFou amusingly well and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


the rapport between the pair deliver the film’s comic relief. There’s awesome mountain scenery of Watson singing, which is reminiscent of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, and this version offers a glimpse into the Prince’s life before he became the Beast and also expands on Belle’s life before she goes to the castle and meets the Beast. It has enduring charm and its empowering message that true beauty comes from within is firmly still in place. The musical numbers from the animated film are there, plus new Alan Menken and Tim Rice songs added to the original Menken and Howard Ashman animated film score. Appealing to the whole family, it gives the cast a chance to sing and perform charmingly, adding the direction is excellent, as Condon, a fan of musical theater who is familiar with the songs and musical references, keeps his cast on the move throughout the slightly less than two and half hour performance. If there’s one drawback here, it’s the running time and the film would benefit by being 45 minutes shorter.


Kong: Skull Island lll By Jon Rutledge

his is less a reboot of the King Kong story and more a launching off spot for a shared Kaiju (giant monsters) franchise. This is a great start to the MonsterVerse there are hits we can expect to see more. This film brought me right back to being a kid watching on Saturday morning creature feature. It has fun, great characters as well as being balanced in story and plot. The effects surrounding making giant monsters fight alongside live actors is seamlessly done. I loved it. In 1973 an organization known as


Monarch asks the government for support in exploring a new island with a military escort. Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Cory Hawkins) head the expedition with Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a photo journalist, and James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a survival expert and former member of the SAS. They get support from Lieutenant Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his team to get them to and from the island after doing a survey of the land. In their adventure on the island they run into Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) who crashed on the island during WWII and survived. In the classic films the good ones had a lesson about man grappling with humanity while giant monsters did battle on the screen. I am glad they kept this same format we see two different kinds of people dealing with this unusual situation. We have the military minded person who sees Kong as an enemy to kill and we have


Kong: Skull Island

the scientists who see him as something to study. They fight for control as they also struggle to survive in an environment where they have more than just Kong to worry about. Samuel L. Jackson plays a military man who uses his fight with Kong as a method of working out some internal strife with his work in the military overall. Jackson embodies the metaphorical fight with Kong being a fight for his own self-worth. His death wish and drive for revenge blind him to the fact that they are the intruders on the island and Kong is defending his home. The other great character was John C. Reilly. He absolutely steals every scene he is in. The touches of crazy that show through his performance are excellent. Reilly does fun and quirky crazy really well. The setting is the 70’s so we see the struggle between the two cultures the peace loving counter culture and the military establishment. Lt. Col Packard’s military mindset and inflex-

ibility stand perfectly against the more open and flexible view of the Weave the photo journalist. Jackson and Larson become avatars for each side of the social struggle played out not only in the war but also on this struggle on the island. What Iron Man did to herald in the Marvel Universe, Kong: Skull Island does for the Monstervers. It will be nice to see a solid set of films that are made by people who understand all of the nuances of these kinds of films. It’s not just monsters fighting the screen it’s much larger than that. This franchise is going to be big especially if they keep producing quality films that teach as well as entertain. You might even say they are going to be gigantic?


Logan lll

By Khaleel Herbert

ugh Jackman unsheathes his claws for the final time in Logan. It’s 2029 and Logan a.k.a. Wolverine (Jackman) works as a limo chauffeur. While sleeping in the backseat of his limo, he’s awakened by Mexican thugs trying to steal his tires. He politely asks them to back off, but they shoot him. Uh-oh! Angry Logan slices, dices and dismembers them. While attending a funeral, Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) a Mexican nurse, asks for the Wolverine’s help. Logan shrugs her off and heads to a desert area near the Mexican border where an old Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and ex-mutant hunter Caliban (Stephen Merchant) reside.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Xavier has Alzheimer’s and occasional epileptic seizures that cause earthquakes. Logan is also sick on the inside. The adamantium in his body is slowly deteriorating his healing powers and immortality. He unwillingly helps Gabriela and her patient, Laura (Dafne Keen), a child who is a lot like him in demeanor. She even comes with her own set of metal claws. When Gabriela is murdered by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), a lackey for a government agency that wants to exterminate mutants, Logan, Laura and Xavier hit the road. Destination: Eden in North Dakota, a place rumored to have more mutants like Laura. Jackman gives his all as the rugged don’t-f-with-me mutant. He delivers a brooding Wolverine, similar to his performance in The Wolverine, when he battled his guilt of killing Jean Grey. Thanks to Marvel making Logan rated-R, Wolverine’s filter is off the hinges, allowing him to drop f-bombs anytime he wants. F-bombs are completely natural for Wolverine. Keen gives a superb performance as Laura. She’s as ruthless as Logan in battle, repeatedly stabbing and flipping baddies over with her legs wrapped around their necks. She stayed silent for half the movie. She should’ve kept quiet until the scene where she calls Logan, “Daddy,” which would have made the scene more emotional. Some holes in the film appear. How did Xavier get Alzheimer’s? Where did Caliban come from? Another issue was Laura and other characters speaking Spanish without subtitles. That’s a bit cumbersome for non-Spanish speakers. Logan, is a movie for all the adult Wolverine and X-Men fans. Like Deadpool, it doesn’t disappoint in delivering sweet bloody violence. Hugh Jackman hanging up his claws for good is as sad as when Tobey Maguire hung up his Spidey-suit. But Jackman shall sit in the Marvel superhero movie hall of fame next to Tobey Maguire and Robert Downey Jr. .


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017






Pisces Extravaganaza With Bee Harris & Friends - March 19, 2017

Kasbah Night Club in Aurora Photos by Ron Washington, Charles Doss and Norma Paige

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2017


Remembering...Morris Willie Price I love you more…There came a point with Dad, during his three year battle with leukemia, when you told him that you loved him, he responded “I love you more.” Morris Willie Price, husband, father, veteran, community leader, and friend died peacefully in his sleep on March 1, 2017 surrounded by his wife, Joyce Ann Price, his three children, Velva, Morris Jr., Marlene Price, and close friends. His bright smile, warm personality, brilliant mind, and commitment to the community will be missed by all.

When Dad passed, one of the many wonderful comments I heard was "I know you and your father were close. I know he meant a great deal to you and your sisters but for you in especially; I suspect he was your best friend." But let me be clear, Dad was not my best friend. He was a loving husband. He was a Father and he loved us more. He was born on May 28, 1939 in Plaquemine (Seymourville) Louisiana to Jewell Tillman Price and Albertha Jackson Price. He was the sixth child of 10 children, and is now with all of his family in heaven. He graduated from Iberville High School in 1958, and joined the United States Air Force the same year, due to the limited options that were available to African Americans in the segregated south. Morris knew education was the key to a better life and emphasized this belief for his children, not just with his words, but with his deeds. He enjoyed reading and was always learning. He obtained both a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Columbia College, and a Master of Arts in Human Relations and Management from Webster College, while he raised a family and worked full time.

Dad was a giver and insisted on celebrating every holiday, birthday and the special moment of our lives even from the hospital bed because he loved us more. When he saw the ‘love of his life’ Joyce Ann Woods in high school, Morris told his friends that she was going to be his wife. They married on July 11, 1959, and continued the love affair until his death. Together they traveled all over the world with their children, Velva, Morris Jr. and Marlene. It was a deliberate decision of Morris and Joyce Price that the family stay together and never be separated during his multiple tours of duty that allowed them to live in Colorado, California, North Dakota, Spain, California, Kansas, Germany, South Carolina, then returning to Colorado. Morris Price retired a decorated veteran from the Air Force in 1980 at the rank of Master Sergeant (E-7) at Lowry Air Force Base located in Denver, CO. After retirement, he worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and then the U.S. Department of Labor; he then retired from public service in 1996.

Dad was an exceptional Father. He was our mentor, tutor, and driver. He was our motivator, provider, career coach, protagonist, editor, listener, advisor, and financier. He was my Cub Scout, webelow, Boy Scout leader and Little League coach. In all we did, he was our subtle critic and biggest supporter. And he loved us more. Although Morris enjoyed his work, his heart and pride was with his family and working in the community. He was the embodiment of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” He served as the Illustrious Potentate of Syrian Temple #49, Prince Hall Shrine and Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 21. He was a proud life member of the Retired Enlisted Association, American Legion, National Urban League, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was appointed as a Commissioner to the Denver Council of Aging by then Mayor John Hickenlooper. Morris volunteered as an academic coach and mentor with the Daniels College Prep and Scholarship Program, AARP Safety Driving Instructor, served on the board of the Far North East Neighborhood Association and the Far Northeast Newspaper.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” When we feared what was ahead, we would always have a home to come back to because…he loved us more.

In addition, he was a substitute teacher for both Denver and Aurora Public School Systems. He was ordained as a Deacon at Peaceful Rest Baptist Church by Rev. Charles Survine in December 1995. For all of his activism, he was honored as a Montbello leader in 2016. He was a thoughtful man who overcame many obstacles, and always saw the good in others and in our world.

When we doubted ourselves…he loved us more. There was no doubt that his expectations of being our best was as high as his support was strong; even when we slipped and failed…he loved us more. Morris leaves to cherish his memories: his loving and devoted wife of 57 years: Joyce A. Price, Denver CO; his three children: Velva LaSha Price, Austin, TX, Morris Willie Price, Jr., Denver, CO, and Marlene Yevette Price, Charleston, SC; sister-in-laws: Patricia Mitchell, Inglewood, CA, Edna B. Price, Baton Rouge, LA and Dianne W. Price, Baton Rouge, LA; brother-in-law: Larry Woods, Baton Rouge LA; many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

He gave his heart to his family, his resources to his community and his soul to the people he cared about. Dad…loved us more.

Preceded in death were his parents: Jewell and Albertha Price; four brothers: Clyde A. Richardson, Jules T. Price, Jr., James A. Price, and Lionel Price; and four sisters: Thelma Price Thomas, Lillie Mae Price Angrum, Edna Mae Price LeDuff, and Dianne Price

…..and I loved you more; rest in peace Daddy, Morris Price Jr.


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Denver Urban Spectrum April 2017  

During these last 30 years, it has been gratifying to serve the City of Denver under the leadership of a Latino, white and two African Ameri...

Denver Urban Spectrum April 2017  

During these last 30 years, it has been gratifying to serve the City of Denver under the leadership of a Latino, white and two African Ameri...