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Volume 28 Number 9 December 2014

Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous

New Year in 2015!

Denver Urban Spectrum Countdown to 2015...4


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MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR

Volume 28 Number 9

December 2014

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Angelia D. McGowan

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Wanda James Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks

It’s that time of year! The time when the Denver Urban Spectrum counts down to the New Year. Who better to help us capture the spirit of 2014 than someone eager to use the written word to document our lives? Ann Marie Figueroa, a college student and new writer with DUS, provides a snapshot of this year’s issues. This month, Charles Emmons provides insight into the construction industry through the eyes of Denise Burgess, owner of Burgess Services, LLC. James Ainsworth takes us on a journey from the projects to Paris in his piece, “John Toms: Art, The Projects, Paris and Liberation.” LisaMarie Martinez reminds us that Denver has a lot to offer budding musicians in her showcase of nationally-recognized artists – Kenya McGuire Johnson and Kloud 9. Denver Author Charlene Porter writes about the Slippers-n-Sliders’ work to introduce skiing to youth in the African American community. In her column “Blowing Smoke,” Wanda James shares how the National Football League has and will continue to address marijuana use by its players. And fresh from a trip to South Africa, Theo E. J. Wilson talks about why he believes there’s “no place for Blacks in America” unless certain steps are taken. In his column, Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks talks about beneficial viruses and the supplements that can boost our immune system. We also top off the year with a special section by from the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation new and summer participants. They have put in to practice the lessons they learned from the journalism camp this summer. Step by step they are becoming the journalist we know they can be. Last and certainly not least, this is also the time to thank our supporters – advertisers, sponsors, and of course you, our readers – for helping us and giving us a reason to continue spreading the news about people of color. We hope you enjoy looking back over this year as you prepare for the holiday season and a very Happy New Year.

FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS James Ainsworth Charles Emmons Ann Marie Figueroa LisaMarie Martinez ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Ann Marie Figueroa Cecile Perrin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lorenzo Dawkins Lens of Ansar

ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Robin James 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 2014 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 www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Spartan Parents, Community Partners and Supporters, and Friends

important it is to give back to your community and care for others with our young men. Additionally, we abandoned territorialism and ignored ego to focus on the work that needs to be done with our young men. Not only has it been gratifying and enjoyable, most importantly it has resulted in a better educational experience for our Fayola Men. Now it is my goal to build on these rich experiences and this model in another capacity. One that takes me away from the day to day operations and allows me become the biggest cheerleader for SimsFayola International Academy around the country with other young men and families in other Sims schools who will benefit from what we have done here in Denver together. Moving forward I am pleased to announce that, Mrs. Debbie BlairMinter, a long-time educator who has been successful in school leadership and community building will step in and take us to higher levels of achievement. I am committed to supporting a smooth transition with Debbie and will be available as the she and the board needs me. I have total confidence in her ability to lead our school in the spirit of which I designed it. Debbie has the same concerns about young men and our community as I have. In fact, she has served as a sounding board and mentor to me since I first came to Denver. The board is strong and the staff at Sims-Fayola International Academy is outstanding and ready to continue the mission. They are a cohesive team committed and dedicated to the work they do. Although I am leaving this position, I will continue to be a part of the work at Sims-Fayola International Academy-Denver. So, this is not good-

Editor: The last nine years of my life has been a time of great excitement, anxiety, fear, hard work, growth and satisfaction. I have treasured this time in every way imaginable. Today, though, I am writing to let you know I have decided to step away from the executive director position with SimsFayola International Academy and continue with the development of the national Sims-Fayola model, that includes international academies in Ghana as well as national ones like Atlanta. After what you can imagine was a long and difficult reflection process regarding my greatest value to this organization, I have concluded that I need to disconnect from the day-today operations of Sims-Fayola International Academy-Denver. It goes without saying that it is difficult leaving you and the wonderful work we do and have done together. What we have accomplished over the last several years in Denver as the first allboys public charter school has been nothing short of amazing. The difference we have made for the Far Northeast community and the families that chose to walk through our doors has been documented and is very tangible. For that, we can all feel proud of our work together. Sims-Fayola International Academy-Denver has fundamentally improved the way families and educators think about how to engage young men in the classrooms and in general. Together we have broken through low self-esteem, low achievement, and the lack of understanding of how

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

3

Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor

bye, but merely see you next time, albeit in a different capacity. Thank you for the opportunity to make history in Denver and now I will share our success and model around the country and the world! Sims-Fayola Denver will always be the flagship school of all schools developed around the country. We will be a part of the progressive education model that Denver is quickly becoming known for.

Dedrick J. Sims, Founder Sims-Fayola International Academy-Denver

Mitch McConnell, Change and Hurting America

Editor: Average America doesn’t feel better off today. More of us are feeling the pain of the new government healthcare laws. My personal medical insurance premium will increase in January. My deductible goes from $3,000 to $5,000 and my co-pay also goes up. Beginning in January 2015, my medical insurance will be the worst I’ve had in my life. I suspect that during this past election millions of Americans started waking up about Obamacare. The new Senate and House must edit the healthcare laws. Allow the very poor of America to be on Medicaid and those with preexisting conditions to buy into Medicare. Allow working Americans to buy and bargain for their own health insurance and allow us to do it across state lines. Thousands of illegals continue to come to America. Many of them are hard-working people. They Continued on page 33


Denver Urban Spectrum Countdown to 2015 By Ann Marie Figueroa

12-JANUARY

Nelson “Madiba” Mandela. The

Denver Urban Spectrum kicks off the year celebrating the life of Mandela with a special tribute issue. It includes a reflective piece by James Ainsworth that links Mandela’s life with Martin Luther King Jr. and highlights their successes in changing the world in a nonviolent way. The tribute includes perspective from former mayor of Denver, Wellington E. Webb, former first lady of Denver, Wilma Webb, local businessman Sid Wilson and

9-APRIL

Greg Moore, Denver Post editor and Rosalind Harris, Denver Urban Spectrum publisher share their views on the advancement of technology and its role in the evolution of the newspaper industry in the cover piece written by Angelia D. McGowan. In her article, “Entrepreneurs Aim to Educate Cannabis Consumers,” Tanya Ishikawa writes about Al Bowen’s vision of helping businesses connect with customers for safe recreational and medical marijuana consumption. Bowen and his partner Roland “Fatty” Taylor believe businesses like theirs enhance the state’s tourism industry. In her “Blowing Smoke” column, Wanda James points out that this was the first 4/20 since cannabis became legal for recreational use in Colorado. In “Renaissance Over Revolution: A Paradigm Shift,” Theo Wilson evaluates how human beings have the ability to cease the ugly in the world and start building one in which we want to live. In her piece, “Courageous Baking Promotes Support, Healing and Perseverance, LisaMarie Martinez writes a profile on Allyce Redwine, an advocate for sexual assault awareness and the founder and creator of Delicious and Divine, an exclusive catering business.

African American barbershops. Theo Wilson informs readers about the history and nightlife at Randall’s, formerly Pierre’s, as it faces possible closure.

10-MARCH

three students from Sims-Fayola International Academy. Chris Meehan writes about the MLK rodeo, a oneday event, produced by Lu Vason that celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday and the Black cowboy. Theo E. J. Wilson addresses the dangers Denver is facing with foreclosure. Through his piece, Adam Dempsey celebrates the life of Robert “Treebob” Williams who supported numerous community causes and events—his legacy continues through family.

11-FEBRUARY

In this Black History Month issue, a cover story written by Angelia D. McGowan highlights Landri Taylor, who has embraced several titles in his lifetime including entrepreneur, vice president, president, CEO, board chair, and board treasurer. Tanya Ishikawa announces the “ME & THE DREAM Exhibit” at Cherry Creek Mall being held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his visit to Denver. Presented by the Denver Urban Spectrum, the exhibit and program features activities, artwork and local heroes. The exhibit also hosts the DUS’ annual African American Who Make a Difference awards. In his article, “More Than a Haircut,” Charles Emmons expresses the importance of

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum showcases the diverse contributions of women, including J.D. Mason, who snags the cover, and rightly so. By the end of this year, the author of the popular “On the Eight Day She Rested,” will have 11 books published. She has signed a seven-book deal with her publisher and continues to be a strong African American voice in the literary industry. Charles Emmons takes a look at the role of beauty salons in the African American community, featuring interviews with salon owners Karen Hall, Judy Bunton, Rosalyn Redwine and Carrie McElroy. Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis and Dr. Terri Richardson, both with Kaiser Permanente Colorado, address how individuals can build healthier lives by partnering with their doctors. Writer Abby Angell directs the spotlight on

8-MAY

The cover story, written by Angelle C. Fouther, celebrates the life of Essie Garrett, a woman considered by many a superhero and one who touched the lives of thousands. The article follows Garrett’s life from the early years to her “generosity even in death.” In her column “Blowing

and her 90 years of grace, style and strength. Butcher is the founder of the Park Hill Tappers, a group of eight women, who entertained local schools and regiment homes for many years. Wellington E. Webb, former mayor of Denver, pens a column, “What Makes a Great City.” Harriet Butcher

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2008

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Smoke,” Wanda James writes about women in the marijuana industry, the medical benefits of marijuana for children, and a new cannabis oil, Charlotte’s Web that is produced in Colorado to benefit people battling illnesses. Angelia D. McGowan’s article, “Ministers Commit to Working for Policy Changes,” addresses the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance’s efforts to better understand the city’s disciplinary process and address concerns with the excessive force and law enforcement behavior. LisaMarie Martinez highlights the new president of a local chamber of commerce in a piece entitled, “Hispanic Chamber President Diedra Garcia Emphasizes ‘Outward Focus.’ ”

7-TheJUNE cover story by Angelia D.

McGowan focuses on the “jazzy history” of George Morrison Jr., particularly his experiences as the son of “Denver’s Godfather of Jazz,” how he charted his own course and the legacy he continues to share with his wife, Marjorie, and two daughters, Vicki and Trudi. Greta Gloven writes about the loss of civil rights activist Dr. Vincent Harding, recognized as an author, emeritus professor of religion and social transformation, co-founder of the Veterans of Hope Project and more. Also celebrated is the life of

Cornelius Ernest Jones, Sr., a veteran of the Korean War, who earned two Bronze Stars and a United Nations Medal. He was known as a humble friend, husband, father, grandfather and man who touched many hearts. In his column, Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks stresses the importance of magnesium in everyone’s diet and how the lack of magnesium is a major factor in many

Continued on page 6


The Mid-Term Elections 2014 After The Facts Now that the

By Wellington E. Webb dust has settled

after our nation’s 2014 elections

across the country,

here is my two cents worth of

thoughts about what I believe it meant

tion I was fearful that we were going to lose it all in Colorado. Our Democratic base did not vote its winning capacity, and the Republican ground game was also better than ours, and most of our astute political consultants and Democratic Party hired very few, if any, minority consultants to fill in their blind spots on data mining for voters. This same unsuccessful strategy model was applied on Amendment 66 in Colorado as well. Unfortunately, we Democrats had little to no respect for, and therefore almost invisible identification with the accomplishments of our president, President Obama, who possessed a

litany of successes for more victories than our resultant outcome of the mid-term elections. We, as Democrats, should have been proud of and owned up to our record of accomplishment from 2008 to 2014: Gasoline prices are down; unemployment is down; health care accessibility is available to all; and, we even justifiably assassinated Osama Bin Laden. Not once, did we mention one Democratic success. This omission was the most shameful outcome of this 2014 election. We ran away from our successes – and Republicans fought against them, even though our efforts improved the lives of Americans! We should have

been talking about increasing the minimum wage across the nation to fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security, and providing a national security plan to protect America , but we didn’t. Shame on us Democrats for our not amplifying our improvements to the country. Elections are cyclical, and if we don’t have a message which resonates at the national level, the state level, and to the legislative level, we, Democrats, will be a minority party and our nation’s minorities will be shoved back into the shadows of not mattering once again. The Democratic Party’s national leaders are going to Continued on page 7

as it happened during the last couple

of years, and what it means now. First and foremost, congratulations to the National Republican Committee. They had a 50-state plan, and they implemented their plan with dogmatic discipline and with little or no deviation by candidates, or state strategists’ preferences. During the election, I was in four different states and heard the same theme uttered from Republican candidate to Republican candidate in all four of them: “This Democratic candidate “X” voted 99 percent of the time with Obama. This Democratic candidate “Y” voted with Obama 92 percent of the time.” This theme resonated in every state that I happened to be in. It was clear that this strategy was initiated on the highest levels of the Republican Party and was expected to be carried out from every race in the country where there was a Republican candidate who had served in an elected position where there was an opportunity to line up on the Republican side of issues or on the “Obama” side of issues in the forefront of the American people. In my home state of Colorado I was afraid that we Democrats were going to lose the U.S. Senate race, the governor’s race, and the majority hold to both chambers of the Colorado legislature. My having served on the most recent Colorado Reapportionment Commission of 2010, where we crafted the districts based upon access to a fair process for candidates from each predominant party, I thought that the House and the Senate of Colorado were competitive but with a positive edge of advantage to Democrats in that Democrats had been at a disadvantage up to 2010. However, given the lack of passion for the principles for which many Democratic elected officials, candidates, and voters had victories on issues during the last six years, two days before the 2014 elec-

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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Countdown to 2015

Continued from page 4 health problems. “Blowing Smoke” columnist Wanda James delineates a musical culture which cannabis users, including Bob Marley, are tied together. This issue honors 10 African American men at the Denver Urban Spectrum anniversary event “Men of Distinction, Fathers of Wisdom.” LisaMarie Martinez shares the background of Linda Theus-lee, Ernest Washington and Cicely O’Kain in her article, “Spotlight on Musicians in Denver’s Local Music Scene.”

6-JULY

The July cover story by Charles Emmons highlights the importance and recognition of Buffalo Soldiers, celebrating their 148th anniversary in Colorado. Annette Walker addresses genocide and slavery in the Sudan. Denver is home to 1,000 Sudanese refugees—projects and organizations formed in response to high illiteracy rates, i.e. “Colorado Friends of the Lost Boys of Sudan” works to assist in general welfare, job training and more for Sudanese refugees. Emmons also writes about Principal Kalefe and his mission to motivate young boys to

stay in school through his motivational speaking. In this issue, the Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates its 27th anniversary. It was a special Father’s Day tribute honoring 15 Men, one

the Denver Art Museum. The mayor expressed an appreciation for Denver’s recent growth in opportunity and the successful future that several recent accomplishments promise. An article by Angelia D. McGowan recognizes the 29th anniversary of KUVO/KVJZ radio station, which has been playing jazz music and broadcasting news in Denver for nearly three decades. Fourteen year-old Aliyah Fard writes about a print and

being Denver Urban Spectrum publisher’s father, Doyle James. “Blowing Smoke” columnist Wanda James informs readers that Colorado and Kentucky are the only states where hemp can grow. Hemp exemplifies Colorado’s views on the environment and new forms of energy such as wind, solar and water. Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks advises readers to reduce greasy and spicy foods, minimize intake of carbs and refined sugars and add more cooling foods.

digital journalism camp organized by the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation, created by Rosalind J. Harris. In this issue, “Blowing Smoke” columnist Wanda James addresses the growth of the Colorado edible industry and stressed a lack of understanding by consumers. In his column, Dr. S. Abayomi A. Meeks recommends the Moringa seed, a natural multi-vitamin, noting its several health benefits. Theo E. J. Wilson’s piece expresses a

5-AUGUST

The cover piece features Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the publishing of his entire state of the city address, which he delivered in July at

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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desire to bring together all of the ethnicities and cultures in Colorado. This issue is dedicated to Carol Rinehart, the mother of longtime DUS supporter and former managing editor Tanya Ishikawa.

4-SEPTEMBER

The cover story “Gaining Ground by Being Involved” by Charles Emmons includes Dr. Sharon Bailey’s ideas to resolve disparity issues, the importance of financial literacy and higher education. Columnist Theo E. J. Wilson addresses a disregard for Black life—despite America’s progression (i.e. first Black president) Blacks are still victims of unemployment and economic inequality. Tanya Ishikawa writes about the “Latino Eco Festival Advocates for Environmental Justice across Borders” and includes important statistics and advice by festival founder, Irene Vilar. The piece reports 93 percent of Latino Americans believe in climate change. This issue also announces the building dedication of the Elbra. M. Wedgeworth Municipal Building in Five Points, named for the former District 8 councilwoman. Angelia D. McGowan’s article, “Health Industry Taps into


Convenient Places for Patient Care� explains that health professionals are stepping outside of the examining room and instead going to the patients. “Blowing Smoke� columnist Wanda James connects the use of cannabis to different religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Rastafarianism.

3-OCTOBER

The cover of the October issue features, “A Conversation with Wellington E. Webb� written by Charles Emmons. The piece taps into the knowledge-base of the former mayor and first black mayor of Denver to explain the importance of the mid-term elections. Webb emphasized the importance of voting in the mid-term and presidential elections. Angelia D. McGowan’s article, “HighProfile News Impacts ‘Everybody’ Battling Alzheimer’s� covers the success of the 25th Annual Alzheimer’s Association “Walk to End Alzheimer’s� on September 20. More than 10,000 people registered for the event that is gaining broader exposure with more and more people, including B. Smith and Denver Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen, fighting the disease. Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks writes about the power our emotions have to affect our bodies. He encourages methods like drinking purified water frequently, eating fruits and vegetables, meditation, drinking chamomile tea, and others that assist in detoxing bodies. “Blowing Smoke� columnists Wanda James writes about Colorado’s “Don’t Be a Lab Rat� campaign and how it not only is insensitive to those who need marijuana medically (i.e. those battling epilepsy and Dravet syndrome) but it is also racially insensitive, failing to address issues surrounding racial profiling and conviction of colored people. This issue also pays tribute to the late Honorable Edna Mosley.

2-NOVEMBER

This month’s cover story by Angelia D. McGowan recognizes the 50th anniversary of a Thanksgiving

Mid-Term Elections

food giveaway started by “Daddy� Bruce Randolph, and continued by the simple but monumental acts of countless people. McGowan’s article on the Global Down Syndrome Foundation helps to honor the work of supermodel Beverly Johnson, and her unwavering support of her niece, Natalie Fuller, who has Down syndrome. Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks address the importance of a strong immune system in fighting viruses. This issue includes

Continued from page 5 have to broaden their consultant base to include younger pundits and more minorities into their think tanks for successful elections in the future. Lastly, mail ballots work better for higher income level voters than for middle and lower level income voters. As George Will once asked, “In our democracy, is it too much to ask for voters to go to the polls to vote in person?� I think not.  Editor’s note: Wellington E. Webb served as mayor of Denver for 12 years, from 1991 to 2003.

Dr. Ryan Ross’ success story from

growing up in a neighborhood with gang warfare and drive-by shootings to being one of Colorado Biz Magazine’s 25 most influential young professionals. In this issue, we also pay respect to the late Honorable Regis Groff.

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This final issue of 2014 provides a highlight of articles and columns published in the Denver Urban Spectrum this year, including this month’s piece, “John Toms on Art, the Projects, Paris and Liberation,� by James Ainsworth. The article explores the coming of age experiences of the Denver-based artist and how his sons are carrying on his legacy of art in the digital world. Also in this issue, LisaMarie Martinez showcases two nationally recognized artists – Kenya McGuire Johnson and Kloud 9 – whose musical roots are embedded in Denver. Author Charlene Porter, who grew up skiing in Colorado, provides historical perspective on the sport, including the time when African Americans began skiing under formal organizations, such as the Slippers-nSliders. She also talks about their current program to engage underrepresented youth in the sport. In her article, “A Legacy of Achievement: Keeping the Dream Alive� Angelle C. Fouther announces that the Denver Chapter of Jack and Jill of America will present its 31st class of Beaus at the Annual Beautillion Gala. The celebration marks the culmination of a half-year journey for 26 AfricanAmerican high school male seniors, who follow in the footsteps of more than 800 Beau Alumni, keeping the legacy of achievement and the dream alive.

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7


John Toms on Art, the Projects, Paris and an Liberation

John Toms’ physical presence is

striking. At 6-foot-5, his dark, shoulder-length dread locks – with a little silver of age and wisdom – frame his body in a gracefully beautiful aura that is at once both imposing and inviting. At galleries, festivals and art shows in New York City, the Bay area, Atlanta, Chicago or Denver, Toms’ spiritual energy and charisma, much like his towering height, has a way of captivating everyone who is drawn to his fine art. His fascinating work ranges from acrylics, water colors and graphite drawings to highly original 3-D combinations of blended sculptures and paintings. Most recently the 57-yearold artist has been venturing into a brave new digital world that merges his intriguing fine art into phenomenally beautiful merchandising creations like coffee mugs, notecards, Tshirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. After more than 30 years as a fine artist, Toms is regenerating his career and finding new life and direction through his sons, Bryan Toms and Dante Toms, who are bringing computer graphics and online digital marketing skills to his life’s work. For Toms, the road toward becoming a nationally-known artist has been an unlikely path of adventure, self-discovery and emotional liberation. His art itself reflects a desire to share his African-American roots and culture in many expressions – sports, love and sensuality, family and children, with more abstract elements that are tied to broader social, spiritual and political questions. And yet Tom’s work is appreciated by people of all backgrounds and races, and that universal response leaves him overjoyed, perplexed and grateful – so much so that

By James Ainsworth Toms is reticent or unable to describe his creative work as “black art.” “I’m not sure I have an answer for that,” Toms says, with a genuine sense of curiosity. “I haven’t figured that out. What is ‘black art’? If what I do is ‘black art’, but Hispanics and whites buy it and love it, then I’m not sure if I should even call what I do ‘black art.’ “ John Toms’ mother, Geneva, moved his family along with her mother to the Mile High City in 1958, when he was only 1. Toms’ grandmother Hazel Goode was a very energetic and resourceful woman and opened a beauty salon in the back of their house on 34th and Vine Street. With just a few salon chairs, Toms remember a joyful home environment in Five Points where business was booming and life was full of colorful conversations from women who were constantly in need of his grandmother’s services. After graduating from high school in 1975, Geneva Toms pushed her son to make a choice between going to college, getting a job or joining the military. On a lark, Toms – who had demonstrated remarkable drawing and artistic talent at an early age – created some drawings for a fashion program at Barnes Business College, hoping to go on the school’s fashion trip to New York City. A counselor told him to apply to the Colorado Institute of Art, where the admissions office was impressed with his talent and he was immediately enrolled. Toms’ mother found a way to get grants and loans and suddenly Toms, at 17, became one of only three black students – and the youngest learner – on the school campus. “The other two students, they weren’t really black; they didn’t comprehend my experience from the hood,” Toms says, with hearty laughter. “It was a great school, and it

taught me some things. I was pretty much labeled a maverick and a rabble rouser during the time I was there, because I always went against the grain.” During his first year the institute started a study abroad program in Europe, and Toms was determined to be one of the first participants. The cost was $2,222, and Toms painted houses and took on odd jobs to earn the tuition he needed, and with help from his mother, he achieved his goal and left with the group in the fall of 1976. It proved to be a life-changing experience. Toms remembers dropping his jean jacket from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to see how it would fall. He also remembers climbing the Eiffel Tower, and hearing the words of his French teacher, Ms. Dillard at Manual High School, as they came back to haunt him. Ms. Dillard had warned Toms about failing his French class, but to no avail. Toms saw himself as a black kid from the projects with limited possibilities, and with plenty of rebellious teenager attitude, he pushed back, saying, “What am I going to need French for?” “John, one thing you always need to remember is, never say ‘never,’ ” Ms. Dillard replied. The ironies were inescapable. Two years later, Toms found himself standing on the Eiffel Tower, and all he could say was “bon jour” and “au revoir” and count to 10. As a light went on in his head, he felt like kicking himself; even 40 years later, Toms still regrets his narrow mindedness and lack of motivation. Ms. Dillard’s words left an indelible seed in Tom’s thinking that profoundly changed his outlook and approach to people and circumstances. “I was young and from the hood. Being young and from the hood and being young and from Cherry Hills

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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are totally different things,” Toms explains, with an emotional resonance that is still very much alive from 1976. “The person who grows up in Cherry Hills – he already perceives the possibilities of being over there (in Europe). A guy, black male from the hood – that isn’t even in his mindset.” The trip took place over three months, with time in England, France, and an entire month in Florence; after completing their projects, the students traveled to other countries and absorbed as much of the local cultures as they could during their free time. Toms had an epiphany at the Tate Gallery in London, when he saw “Autumn Cannibalism,” his first Salvador Dali painting; it forever transformed his orientation to art and his sense of his own creative possibilities. “After I saw that piece at 17, it blew my mind. I saw the “Mona Lisa,” the “David,” the “Pieta” and the Sistine Chapel, but that piece right there – “Autumn Cannibalism” – I’m done!” Toms says emphatically, adding that he bought a book – one of three he took home from Europe – about Dali. “Salvador Dali was the one that changed my life. Some Europeans will look at my stuff and they’ll say you’ve got some Dali influence. Reading that book, I learned not to take in other artists. I look at other artists, but I don’t break down their work or analyze them. My art, it comes right from my head and my heart. I just want it to be as raw as possible.” After returning to Denver with Salvador Dali and the flame of “Autumn Cannibalism” burning in his mind, Toms was determined to try his hand at fine art. His mother bought him some watercolors and introduced her son to Denver’s renowned black sculptor Ed Dwight, who had built his art studio in an airplane hangar. Toms


looked up to Dwight as a mentor, and watching him at work in his studio environment created an opening for seeing new possibilities. Toms organized his first art show a few years later, in 1980, at Rick’s Café. He sold 17 of the 22 originals he had on display, and he knew he had found his calling. In the coming years, when Toms needed money, he would do an art show. He learned some of the ins and outs of publishing fine art prints through from a local distributor, Keith Gold, while Larimer Square art dealer Chuck Butcher helped Toms organize his first gallery display in the early 80s. Through the 80s and 90s, Toms gradually built his reputation, traveling between Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, cultivating relationships with dealers and other artists, and participating in art shows and festivals whenever possible. As his artwork grew in popularity, Toms found many celebrities and collectors attracted to his work, including George Duke, Roy Ayers, Dianne Reeves, Al Jarreau, Howard Hewitt, Queen Latifah and the Du Sable Museum of African American History in Chicago. Despite frequently traveling back and forth between major cities and the fluid lifestyle of a fine artist, John

his own right. “It’s funny because we’re doing a lot of logos and book covers, children’s books. Dante is pretty amazing by himself, and I’m not just saying this because he’s my son. We take pride in our creativity, and it’s personal.” The merchandising side of Toms 3D Art was started in the spring of 2013, with help from Tim Mills, a photographer who attended Colorado Institute of Art with Toms during the 70s. Merchandising has proven to be a big boost for Toms; for events like the Taste of Colorado, Juneteenth and the Denver, Los Angeles and Atlanta black arts festivals, merchandising has surpassed Toms’ fine art sales in less than two years. With growing sales from the new e-commerce web site Dante created in July, Toms and his sons intend to sell and distribute large quantities of their products, in a way that will help bring the magical enchantment of fine art into ordinary homes.  Editor’s note: Toms 3-D Art coffee mugs are $10, T-shirts are $20 to $30, notecards are $3. Toms 3-D Art can be found online at http://www.jtomsart.com. Editor’s note: James Ainsworth is a freelance writer in Denver, and he can be reached through his web site at www.islandofspicemedia.com or on his blog, at www.aneyeonafrica.blogspot.com.

John Toms with son Dante

Toms always kept custody of his sons Bryan and Dante, and raised them as a single father. The bond they share is deep, as ancestral ties and family talent are evolving along with Toms’ art, particularly since Dante, who studied graphic design at Arapahoe Community College, took the initiative to transform Toms’ fine art digitally into new print products as well as coffee mugs, T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. “They’re taking my sundial mindset into the digital world!” says Toms, adding that Dante is a superb artist in

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Denver Urban Spectrum to Celebrate Black Inventors in February

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ME & THE DREAM...Inventing the Dream

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Cherry Creek Shopping Center For information or to participate, email tanya@batpr.com or angelia@batpr. For sponsorship opportunities email bee@batpr.com or call 720-849-4197.

2014 DUS African Americans Who Make A Difference

For the second consecutive year, the Denver Urban Spectrum newspaper is slated to present the ME & THE DREAM exhibit at Cherry Creek Shopping Center. It will be held Feb. 2-15, 2015. The inspirational and informational two-week exhibit at the center’s Grand Court promotes awareness of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through the display of a unique collection of photographs and memorabilia documenting King’s visit to Denver, as well as significant events leading up to the adoption of the official King holiday in the State of Colorado. The exhibit programming, which includes VIP events and free unique public programs, was experienced by an estimated 750,000 visitors, patrons and guests. “In our inaugural presentation of the event in February 2014, we were successful in commemorating King’s visit and highlighting some of Denver’s civil rights leaders, including Little Rock Nine’s Carlotta Walls Lanier, Dr. Marie L. Greenwood and filmmaker Adam Dempsey, “ says Rosalind J. Harris, DUS founder and publisher. “For 2015, we are excited to focus on Black inventors and are actively seeking members from the community to participate.” Through the 2015 theme, “ME & THE DREAM…Inventing My Dream,” DUS aims to not only share King’s legacy, but also to explore the invention process from the reason for the creation, to experiences with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and other related agencies, to the marketing and selling of their invention. Harris adds, “There are a lot of African American entrepreneurs and inventors around the world. We want

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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2014 ME & THE DREAM

to know their story, particularly if they are in Colorado, and then share with our readership the value of their experiences. We are hopeful that such an experience, through the lens of a Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative exhibit, will inspire them to invent something special or follow through on that life-changing idea that they had placed on the backburner.” Continuing the legacy of living the dream, the 2015 programming will feature presentations and discussion with contemporary Black inventors and talks by historians about significant Black inventors of the past. Some of the public programs will be free and offered in the comfort of the AMC Theatres, located inside the shopping center. Program attendees will have the chance to meet presenters and aspiring inventors: others with entrepreneurial dreams will be provided a one-of-a-kind experience and learning opportunity. Local students will also be recognized in an invention-themed competition, and can win a commemorative Banneker clock for their school. Special programs will include an awards ceremony to honor the 2015 DUS African Americans Who Make A Difference. Last year’s partnering sponsors were Kaiser Permanente, Colorado Access, Denver Water and the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. The exhibit and programming is produced by BAT PR & Associates, a Denver-based marketing and public relations firm focusing on startup, new and existing business with special attention to nonprofit organizations. To be considered as a featured speaker or panelist, email tanya@batpr.com or angelia@batpr.com by December 15. For sponsorship opportunities, email bee@batpr.com or call 720-949-4197.


Denver Roots Inspire Rising Artists, Kenya and Kloud 9 By LisaMarie Martinez

Kenya McGuire Johnson

Kenya

If it’s a soulful jazz voice you are looking to hear this holiday season, singer-songwriter Kenya McGuireJohnson, who was nominated for “Best Black Female ‘Rising Star’ in Jazz” by Black Women in Jazz, can deliver that for you. “Kenya,” as she is known in the music industry, has three recent singles “Be Here” featuring Kloud 9, “Wednesday Girl,” and her remake of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” are all included in her soon-to-be released CD My Own Skin. The CD is about the flavorful side of who she is as an artist and a woman. Her first EP/CD titled Starting Over was released in 2010, and her second EP/CD Jazz Made Rhythm, which was released in 2012, and was considered for a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” in 2013. The Denver native and George Washington High School graduate began her musical journey at the age

of eight listening to all kinds of music. During her teen years she learned to play the piano, the flute, and became involved with jazz choirs as well as musical theatre. After a long hiatus from music she spent the last four years taking leaps of faith and began formulating musical relationships which lead her to perform at venues such as Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver and The Soul Mountain Music Festival in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Kenya’s musical influences included recording artists Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway and Dianne Reeves, to name a few. Her mentors are her father, who is a percussionist, her high school vocal teacher Ms. Bennie Williams, who went beyond the classroom to help Kenya excel, her musical director in college Arphelius Paul Gatling, III who taught her focus and discipline. She also names her vocal coach Lyndia Johnson, who encourages her to achieve balance between her music career and family life. Kenya wants to convey to her audiences that to be successful in the music industry requires hard work behind the scenes. “A strong work ethic is what has made my music collaborations and relationships successful. Working with producer Kendall Duffie from Kloud 9 for more than a year has been organic, not forced, because of our similar work ethics,” she says.  Connect with Kenya at: www.facebook.com/kenyamjmusic Twitter & Instagram: @kenyamjmusic Website: www.kenyamjmusic.com

Kendall and Kelvis Duffie

KLOUD 9 With so many things to choose

from as stocking stuffers, it is possible to stuff one with ‘joy’ this holiday season. The upcoming release of their fourth album, Perfect, has Kloud 9 excited to be returning to the stage in 2015 and eventually to their Denver roots with their smooth R&B style of music. Much like in their song entitled “Dime,” Kendall and Kelvis of Kloud 9 love sharing their ‘joy’ of music with audiences. Their second album, entitled Yearning 2 Love won the ‘Best Duo of the Year’ category at the Soul Tracks Awards in Detroit, and their song entitled “Can’t Be Loved” was considered for a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. Kendall and Kelvis Duffie were introduced to music by their mother who not only was a church musician, but told her fraternal twins that she played the piano for them while they were in her womb. Their musical instruments of choice in high school were trombone for Kendall and tuba for Kelvis and later keyboards for Kendall.

While attending Montbello High School in Denver, music teacher Steve Gonzales became a mentor through his encouraging style of teaching. He would allow Kendall to direct the band at times. During this period of their lives Kendall and Kelvis also met producer Jerry Weaver, former producer of Janet Jackson’s first album; from whom they learned music production and how the music industry worked. Kendall and Kelvis have been working as record executives for more than 15 years, eight years of which have been with their own company called D3 Entertainment, formed with their sister Michelle. They have toured the world as Kloud 9, and recently performed at The Soul Mountain Music Festival in Beaver Creek. “It’s always a pleasure and joy to share the stage with my twin brother Kelvis,” says Kendall. 

Connect with Kloud 9 at: Twitter: @kloud9twins Face Book: Kelvis Clyde Duffie and Kendall Duffie Check out their music at http://m.reverbnation.com/artist/kloud9

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Talking to Kids About Race Workshops at History Colorado Challenge Many Assumptions and Stereotypes

The idea of race is a significant part of American culture. It affects many aspects of people’s lives: the places they live; the people they hang out with, date and marry; and the schools they attend. Because the idea of race is such a tangible part of American life, it is only natural that children will have questions. Parents are encouraged to take the time to answer kids’ questions and initiate open dialogues. But often that is easier said than done according to Dena Samuels,

Director at The Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion and also History Colorado’s family workshop facilitator. Samuels says, “we also know and are often taught to believe that if we don’t talk about race then racism will go away. This is known as colorblindness. Considered a form

of racism by many scholars, colorblindness has become a widespread method of letting ourselves off the hook, not having to deal with the huge systemic problem of racism – embedded in people of all ethnic backgrounds.” Samuels has been leading History Colorado’s interactive, self-reflective workshops – How to Talk to Your Kids About Race – for the past few months. These workshops challenge the notion of colorblindness, providing the opportunity to consider how families can break the silence with their kids and others to confront the

insidious system of racism that affects so many lives. Held at the History Colorado Center, these workshops begin with the RACE: Are We So Different? museum exhibit, and then proceed through a facilitated discussion of the legacy of racism in the U.S. and how it affects both the culture in this country and individuals. How do notions of race, unconscious biases, and learned stereotypes play out in people’s lives, and the lives of those with whom they interact? How can these notions of race be challenged to become agents of change, leading toward a more equitable world? And, what strategies can be considered for starting/continuing the conversation around race with kids and within families? “It is our goal to provide resources and suggestions for further self-reflection, contemplation, and action,” says JJ Rutherford, Director of Education at History Colorado. Children learn about the idea of race and to recognize physical differences at a very early age from observations and interactions with their parents, playmates, families, teachers and many others. Also, many young children adopt their parents’ ideas and attitudes about race and human difference. What children learn about the idea of race at home and from their family members often affects their attitudes and ideas about race as adults. “But I thought it wasn’t polite to talk about someone’s race; why are

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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you asking me to talk about it?” This is one of the many questions heard during the History Colorado workshops, often from both kids and adults, when it is suggested that talking about race to each other and especially to younger people is essential. Conversations about race bring families closer together and foster more open communication between parent and child. Conversations about race also help children better understand and appreciate the similarities and differences among people and can positively shape the way a child looks at and treats other people. Conversations about race during early childhood also promote positive, lifelong relationships as children grow into adulthood, which fosters better relationships among people in their communities, now and in the future. “We have been taught, erroneously, I might add, that speaking about race means we are judging people based on their skin color, but nothing could be farther from the truth,” says Rutherford. “Talking about it means we acknowledge that our experiences and the way we are treated in this culture may be different based on race. To pretend otherwise is simply to ignore the systemic reality of racism.” Some people, both kids and adults say, “I don’t see color. We’re all the same.” In fact, the actress, singer, comedian, dancer, television producer, and model Raven Simone was recently quoted in the news as saying something quite similar. The intent is honorable: not wanting to appear biased in any way on the issue of race. And it is true that underneath the skin, people are essentially the same. The stark reality, however, is that people do see color and do, even unintentionally, treat people differently based specifically on race. The fact that History Colorado is presenting the exhibit on Race is a meaningful step in the right direction to get these conversations started, and for some, to ensure they continue. As Justice Blackmun stated in his Supreme Court decision in University of California v. Bakke (1978) more than thirty years ago, “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way.” “Taking account of race” means thinking about how to engage younger generations on this topic. It is the only way to solve the problem of racism. Check out the exhibit, RACE: Are We So Different? which will run at the History Colorado Center until January 4, 2015.  Editor’s note. For more information visit, historycoloradocenter.org.


First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes Downtown Aurora Visual Arts As Top Creative Youth Development Program

Local nonprofit honored at the White House for generating positive youth outcomes through its Job Training in the Arts program Local eighth-grader Boris C. shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama today as he accepted a 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP Award) on behalf of Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the Aurora community through the arts, with a primary focus on youth engagement. Each year, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award recognizes 12 of the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. Chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists, DAVA is one of 12 organizations being honored. Specifically, DAVA is receiving this award for its Job Training in the Arts program. Youth in this program learn art, design, and computer fundamentals in addition to life skills, such as teamwork, responsibility, critical thinking, and practical problem solving. “It is an incredible honor to be recognized for this award, and we are proud to bring it home to our community,” says Susan Jenson, executive director of DAVA. “This recognition validates our efforts over the last 20 plus years to impact the economic vitality of Aurora by engaging youth in the arts and opening their eyes to a future of possibilities.” First presented in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The awards are presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment fo the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). “You can’t help but be moved by these kids, who show us the transformative power of the arts and humanities,” said Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “They are staying in school longer,

getting better grades, graduating from high school and going on to college at significantly higher rates than their peers. And they’re building skills that will last them a lifetime.” In addition to their recognition at the White House, DAVA will receive a $10,000 award and a year of communications and capacity-building support from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.  To learn more about DAVA, visit www.davarts.org.

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ON EXHIBIT Now through January 4

A Project of American Anthropological Association

This September, the History Colorado Center is proud to present the exhibit RACE: Are We So Different? Developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, RACELVWKH¿UVWQDWLRQDO exhibition to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural and historical points of view. Combining these perspectives offers an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States. »

How to Talk to Your Kids About Race: Adoptive Families | Saturday, November 1

»

FWD Series: Part Two: Economics of RACE/ The Health of RACE (Racial Disparities) | Tuesday, November 11

Learn more about our programs and events at

HistoryColoradoCenter.org

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

13


Denise Burgess,

Still Rising By Charles Emmons

D

enver’s jewel on the eastern plains continues to evolve. As Denver International Airport (DIA) is transformed with renewed vision, the City and County of Denver can be proud of the benefits it will bring to the metro area. The South Terminal Redevelopment Program (STRP),

which will add a hotel and light rail terminal to the existing terminal, is visionary and ambitious. Now with a reported budget of close to $600 million, it would seem that it is the next great economic engine. As Denver has developed into an enviable major metropolitan city, the construction industry has played a significant role in projects, including the RTD Light Rail, T-REX, DIA and STRP, which is an initial step in the development of the airport city. With millions of dollars being spent, sometimes with the help of federal funds, the design, development and construction of these projects for the public benefit are complex. Subject to rules and regulations, contractors of all stripes must wade their way through regulations and ordinances to secure work, participate, and gain from them as the developments evolve and move forward. These types of projects are common around the country, and the federal government has realized that not everyone has been a participant. As a result, the United States Small Business Administration has developed programs to foster the participation of groups that have traditionally been left out. Minority/Women’s Business

Enterprise (M/WBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) are some of the more common designations and associated programs aimed at helping historically disadvantaged groups across all industries, not just in construction. In numerous cases, minority and or women-owned firms enter the marketplace, intent on growing their influence and businesses. Denver based Burgess Services LLC is such a company. President and CEO Denise Burgess has been involved in the business since 1993 and became the president in 2001 with her father’s passing. Burgess Services in its present context is a mechanical construction management firm, but it started out in the 1970s as Burgess Mechanical. Her late father, Clyde Burgess, a decorated war veteran started Burgess Mechanical, and endeavored to build his business in an environment often rife with discrimination in contracting. Burgess has taken her father’s company to a completely new level. Her firm now focuses on construction management and quality control, after years of targeting projects to increase Burgess Services’ stature. She is a board member of the Denver Chamber of Commerce and a leader in the conversation for increasing

M/WBE construction contractor participation. Former Denver mayor John Hickenlooper selected her to the first Construction Empowerment Initiative (CEI) Committee, where she was cochair. Burgess Services has managed multimillion-dollar projects in Atlanta and Miami, as well as Denver, where in addition to DIA, Burgess Services was a construction manager (CM) for the Denver Justice Center. This growth in stature and influence has gained the confidence of prime contractors locally and nationally, and earlier this year it was announced that Burgess Services was awarded a $39 million contract, the largest amount ever awarded to an African-American woman-owned firm in Denver. The awarding of this contract is significant not only for the dollar amount but for the scope of responsibility and risk that it entails. Burgess Services is on par with other majority-owned contractors on the DIA/STRP project who have subcontracted with Mortenson Hunt Saunders (MHS). Her company has contracted with the tri-venture for the management and mechanical installation of STRP. Burgess Services is at risk for the entire $39 million contract. Her bonding company has guaranteed that Burgess Services will complete the job. Burgess’ goal has always been job

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completion using other M/WBEs when possible, but not to their subsequent detriment, and losing their bond. Construction out at DIA is a 24-7, high-stakes game with many nuances and layers of contracting and subcontracting. Parsons was selected by the city and County of Denver as the construction management firm (CM or GC), sometimes known as a general contractor. Parsons in turn hired the joint venture of MHS, which hired Burgess Services and other subcontractors to manage and complete other pieces of the STRP project. To get STRP completed, Burgess says that MHS management had to form teams of contractors with which they had little familiarity. She says that the three major prime contractors forming MHS had not worked together before. “So their management team came together and said the best way for us to do this is to make sure that we are all comfortable with whoever is doing the mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP),” says Burgess. “So let’s work with them, and see how it works. And if it works, we will continue down the path and then change order their contract. We had ours change ordered up to our $39 million and Sturgeon Electric had theirs change ordered to their final.” A change order is when the parties agree to changes in the scope of work in the original contract. In effect after the initial $187,000 design-assist contract was awarded to Burgess Services, Burgess says that throughout the change order process, they were still interviewing for the contract. Along the way, Burgess Services provided its bonding letters and bonding letters from their potential pre-selected team subcontractors, as required by the City, as the work at STRP progressed. In the last few months Burgess has been called out in various media for awarding a large chunk of the contract, $22 million, to RK Mechanical, a majority-owned firm. Dennis Gallagher, the Denver city auditor, even weighed in on the issue in a letter to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Burgess defends her decision because RK was qualified and had the bonding capacity to complete the job. RK was hired as a necessary anchor contractor much like Parsons hired MHS as an anchor to ensure the job completion. In the industry, contractors often mirror each other’s practices at the different levels. “And the big thing that sort of gets lost in the conversation is that Burgess Services is taking the entire $39 million risk. We are taking the bonding risk for the entire project. RK Mechanical is only taking their risk for

what they do. Construction is a risk business these days. That is just how it is. And its whose bonding company is willing to say ‘yes they’re good or yes they have the credit,’ the experience and knowledge that we say ‘yes’ to them for a certain amount.” According to Burgess bonding companies have become increasingly wary since the Great Recession, which the National Bureau of Economic Research defines as a severe economic downturn spanning December 2007 to June 2009. Surety bonds have protected the completion of federal construction projects since the Miller Act (1935), a federal law intended to protect contractors on public works projects. States followed with their own Little Miller Acts. The typical remedy for non-payment to contractors is the mechanic’s lien. But contractors cannot file suit against a state’s property, so bonding is required for public construction projects exceeding $100,000. In Colorado, according to the Colorado Public Works Act, most recently amended in 2007, bonding is required at bid time, and performance and payment bonds are required before work can be started. These are typically 50 percent of the value of the contract. Additionally a penal bond may be required of contracts $50,000 or less. Bonding capacity is built over time, so a good reputation as well as good credit is key to participation. Bonding guarantees the specific contractor will do the job for a certain amount or the bond is pulled. Burgess cited other team subcontractors that are at their capacity, NM Industrial, an M/WBE ($6 million), Colorado Mechanical Insulation, an SBE ($1.8 million). The recently renewed Construction Empowerment Initiative (CEI) ordinance has very specific requirements for outreach to find qualified minority and womenowned businesses. As Burgess prepared the request for proposal (RFP) for MHS and DIA, she says it was difficult to find qualified minority mechanical contractors. Qualified in this case doesn’t just mean the contractor has the knowledge to do the work. Contractors at this level must have not only bonding capacity, but also financing, credit, cash flow to meet weekly payrolls, and insurance. Frankly, Burgess says that some minority contractors that she approached didn’t want to enter into this system of the city. Given her diligence in staying on point to get the job done Burgess believes she deserves credit as an M/WBE for 100 percent of the value of the $39 million contract counting toward the overall 30 percent project goal. But the city disagrees.

“I think they have been burnt in the past. Paul Washington and I have had extensive conversations about this. I get their fear is a pass through. That can’t be because I’m taking a 100 percent risk. If it was a pass through, I would take no risk and just cash the check and have no one out there. But that’s not true. I’m taking 100 percent of the risk. We have five managers out onsite making sure it is getting done,” says Burgess when addressing the use of a pass through, which is essentially when the minority contractor fronts for a majority-owned contractor so that it appears that the minority contractor gets credit for their participation. She adds, “And I get in the past that really was how things were done but today that is not how it is done. You’re held accountable everywhere down the line. So I think that’s where our disconnect happens, because I think they look through a prism of 1980s contracting, but this is 2014, and things have changed considerably.” Burgess contends that her usage of RK Mechanical was always transparent and open and she has emails from a supervisor in the Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO) for the city from April 2012 indicating that her participation and contract value would be counted 100 percentage toward the M/WBE goals. As late as March 2013, when a new guaranteed

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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maximum price (GMP) amendment was signed by MHS and the city, Burgess was under the assumption that her contract and task would count 100 percent towards the 30 percent project goal, because the GMP stated this. But late in the summer of 2013 that changed. The city now contended that because she was only certified as an M/WBE in construction management, and in their view perhaps not self-performing the work, her contract value would only count 100 percent if she subcontracted all M/WBEs. By then the contract with MHS had already been procured and the work started. Since then Burgess has been fighting the battle for her reputation, even though in his final report to the mayor and the public in early October this year, Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development, found no impropriety by her actions, but there remains no resolution as to how similar contracts count in the future. “I don’t want any W/MBE to take a high stakes risk and lose their businesses because of it. And I’ll take the heat for not getting a goal. But that is heat I’ll take rather than have anyone lose their business. There are too many that did it during the Great Recession,” says Burgess. 


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Linda Theus-Lee

Diana Castro

A Holiday Celebration

Sunday, December 21 3 to 6 PM Jazz@Jacks

500 16th St. (Mall) #320 Denver, CO 80202

Buffet - Cash Bar

Tickets: $25 Advance $30 At the Door www.instantseats.com For more information: Call 303-292-6446 Email duc@urbanspectrum.net Proceeds benefit the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation

A Showcase of HOPE’s

Creativity

By Amanda Kalina, Communications Manager, HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op

H

OPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op held its annual Art Show on Thursday, Oct. 9, at its offices in Englewood. Nearly 165 pieces of artwork were submitted by students in a variety of mediums. “I’m enjoying the variety of colors and styles (of artwork),” said Mathaes, one of the attendees and artists. During the afternoon event, attendees, including the artists, their families, peers and HOPE staff, had the opportunity to mingle, view the artwork and leave comments on their favorites. Some of the artists also chose to sell their creations to interested buyers. “I watched YouTube to learn how to paint like this,” said Gianna, who won third place in the middle school division for her painting. Another one of the impressive pieces of artwork was a quilt created by 12th grade student, Jeremy, from HOPE at Front Range Academy – Broomfield. Jeremy recently started working with a family friend to learn how to quilt. “This is the third one I have made,” said Jeremy. “My favorite part of the process is finishing and seeing my final product.” Hailey, a 10th grade student from HOPE at Awaken Academy in Arvada, said she spent five hours on creating her drawing. “This is the first time I added color and pattern to my drawing,” said Hailey. Many of the artists gained inspiration for their artwork through personal experience. The creations for the Art

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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Show were also a great way for families to work together on a project. “I saw a stepping stone while walking down the street one day. Then I worked with my Grandma to put one together (for the Art Show). It took a whole week for it to set,” said one of the 4th grade participants. The Art Show concluded with a fall arts and crafts activity. Attendees painted pumpkins and made pipecleaner spiders. This year marks HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op’s 10th year of operation. Through the years HOPE has found that activities and athletics improve kids’ academic performance and their likelihood to stay with HOPE. For many of HOPE’s at-risk student population, these are events they wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in otherwise. In fact, HOPE underwrites the costs for most of these programs, making them very affordable to our families. In addition to the Art Show, HOPE has Field Day, a talent show, competitive sports, dances, a science fair, the persuasive argument competition, as well as arts, music and dance programs.  Editor’s note: HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op is a blended online/offline learning model that focuses on individualized instruction. This learning model is delivered through 34 Learning Centers throughout the state of Colorado by qualified teachers and mentors. HOPE serves nearly 3,000 students in K-12th grades. Class sizes average 20-25 and students attend Learning Centers for the full school day five days a week. For more information, visit hopeonline.org or call 720-402-3000.

CALLING ALL PISCES

For Upcoming Pisces Party! Call 303-292-6446 or email your name and birthday to duc@urbanspectrum.net.


Word On The Street

“Word on the Street”

Dear Readers,

Photo by Mary V. Benoit

I know it’s cliché to say, “When you do something you love you never work a day in your life. But it is true: When you do something you love, life gets to be a little bit easier and enjoyable. So I just want people to follow their dreams.” -Tika Sumpter Doing this magazine a second time around was an interesting process. I had a lot of things going on, the team got way smaller, and we had to learn to be more independent with this process. Thank God for Aaliyah Fard. If it wasn’t for her a lot of this would not have been possible. I learned a lot about myself during our holiday issue. I learned that everyone has more power than they think and sometimes you have to create your own opportunities. The road will be tough, but if you have a goal don’t just dream it, find the steps to do it. “When your heart is pure and true, God has a way of making sure everything is in your favor.” In this process, I tried to focus on the theme of giving this year and recognizing people who have given this year as well as in years past. Whether that has been giving their art, their talent, or volunteering in some capacity. I am pleased to announce that this issue of Word on the Street will not only be a bunch of articles, but will also include poems, art work and more photography. We hope you enjoy Word on the Street and all it has to offer this holiday season. Love always,

Kiana English

Word On The Street Editor

Winter 2014

Giving Heroes

you have enough to give back. That’s all it takes and that’s what most people need – your time and the ability to be compassionate towards their needs.” Another one of our giving heroes is the Creative Writing (CW) Outreach program at Denver School of the Arts. I had the opportunity to interview Nick Bridgeforth. CW Outreach was founded by Azar Kohzadi several years ago. CW Outreach works on multiple projects such as providing food, supplies and writing opportunities to the homeless youth at the Urban Peak Shelter, recording the stories of the elderly, and publishing the unheard voices of the Denver’s youth in an upcoming magazine. In the past they have also worked on providing hurricane relief and spreading awareness of the CW program. Bridgeforth states, “One of the coolest parts of servicing Urban Peak is getting to talk to the teens as they eat. Once they read some poetry. This experience was great.” Bridgeforth, the creative writing major decided it was time to make a difference. “With as many people that attend the Denver School of the Arts, we can make a difference.” Last but not least, my giving hero is Rosalind “Bee” Harris, founder and publisher of Denver Urban Spectrum. This summer I was blessed to attend the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation’s summer journalism camp that changed my life forever. We had the opportunity to create a magazine called “Word on the Street.” The outcome was wonderful. However, I do not believe that Ms. Harris was given her rightful acclamation. She gave unconditionally to youth in this community and she is the reason I want

By Kiana English This holiday season the focus will be on giving instead of receiving. At first, I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish this. I didn’t know if I was going to interview people in need or if I was going to volunteer at shelters, soup kitchens, and/or work at a food bank. I was at a lost. Then it came to me that I would love to give recognition to people who give back to the community. I want people to recognize the good in humanity and how much people are still willing to give back. It took some time, but I think I found the best giving heroes in Denver. Michael V. Short was selected as one of our giving heroes. Short retired from being a software conversion analyst and now owns two catering companies by the names of Smoke House Meats BBQ Catering and Novell-Bell’ee Fine Gourmet Catering. The reason he was chosen as one of our giving heroes was because not only does he has a catering business, but he caters to the people in need and the homeless. Short felt it was time to give back to the community when he knew it was the right thing to do. Short will never forget what it was like when he did his first turkey giveaway. He remembers a starving family that he helped. He said that he will never forget the look on the mother and her children’s face. He states, “What I do is miniscule compared to the overall needs that the community has.” I agree with this statement, but we can all agree that Short goes above and beyond for his community. Short’s advice to people who want to give back is, “If you’ve got time,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014 - Word On The Street

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to continue in the field of journalism. She is also the reason I believe in countless opportunities. Ms. Harris helps everyone in any way she can. I figured this out from our many lunch conversations and her allowing me to spend countless hours with her. I learned something every day and was exposed to endless opportunities. Ms. Harris continues to be a positive impact in my life and everyone around her. She is truly my giving hero.


What I Notice... By Aliyah Fard

I’ve noticed that there appears to be a lot of homeless people in Denver. I wondered just how many people were homeless, and what the causes for homelessness were. I found out that the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative conducts a survey every year to assess the number of homeless people in Denver. The last survey was taken in January 2013. The results stated that 11,167 people were homeless in Denver, 43 percent were women, 62 percent were adults with children, and 25.4 percent of the individuals were homeless less than a year; and their first time experiencing homelessness. The most common causes for becoming homeless are: loss of a job, housing costs, some kind of illness, drug abuse, and lost attachments to family members. Usually, when we think of someone homeless we think of the people holding signs on busy corners, or people sitting in front of stores. Of course this is true, because we see it, but that is not every homeless person’s experience. Some homeless people have completed high school and some have graduated from college. There are homeless people who you would never have known that they were homeless. I recently experienced holding a sign that said “Anything Helps” or “Please Help” while standing on a corner. While holding the sign, people who stopped didn’t even look me in the eye. They didn’t acknowledge that I was there. Most people are rude and indifferent to homeless people. It didn’t feel good to be ignored or rendered invisible. I now realize that sometimes the homeless just need a kind gesture like a smile or a wave to make their day. Someone that does something kind can make them feel like a person, and that they matter. With all of the new technology in the world and our busy schedules, we do not pay attention to what is happening here in our own community. On the trip I took, I saw people fighting, and a homeless person getting arrested, just because he was trying to sleep in the grass. I made a goal for myself that day, to be more observant of what is happening. Even in this great city, there are a lot of problems and if you look closely you can find them, and try to make positive solutions. My challenge for you is to do this as well, and be thankful for everything you have, and do not take anything for granted. Some do not have anything at all.

Holiday Entertainment

Movies to Watch

By USYF

Frozen (2013) - We all agree that frozen was the best family friendly movie to see this holiday season. They bring a light spirit and a totally different take on what a princess should be and avoid all norms. Best Man Holiday (2013) - Get your girlfriend or just your buddies and take them to watch this heartwarming movie about coming together with friends and family. The Preachers Wife (1996) - This is a good movie to bring your whole family too and really know the reason for Christmas. This Christmas (2007) - The famous blacktors and blacktresses come together in this movie giving you a reminder the true meaning of family values.

Music to Listen To

Tamar Braxton: Winter Lovers Land (2013) Tamar explores all different aspects of the holiday with a mixture of romantic songs. Justin Bieber: Under the Mistletoe (2011) - Justin Bieber talks about teenage love but still keeps you in the holiday spirit. Christmas Hits (2013) - If you are looking for a good mixture of holiday songs and not just the same person. Christmas Hits is a bunch of songs we all know, but sang by popular artists of today.

Editor’s note: Care.com provides you a list of a fun bucket list for the holidays.

SirDevon

Black Artists

What do you aspire to be? “The BEST that I can be - period.” How long have you had this goal of being a singer? “I’m not a singer, I try to be sometimes but that’s not my gift...I rap and write music, I can hit notes no doubt but as far as runs and high notes, I can’t do that. But the goal still remains the same because I’m an artist that writes his own stuff since the age of 7.” How do you want to be remembered? “As an artist and performer. I feel like music is a way I believe I can leave a mark in this world and when my time comes my voice can still be heard when I’m not here. I want to inspire and uplift others to wake up like a king.” People always say that having a dream so big you need a backup plan. Do you feel the same? If so, what is yours? “Yes I agree. I’ve always had a backup plan with everything I do. I have a business called Wake Up Like A King and Wake Up Like A Queen production. It‘s basically a movement and/or motto from T-shirts to music. Its motivation tells people to wake up for who they truly are which are kings and queens every day. As for school I would like to go to college for audio/video engineering and business/producing.”

Michael Board

What do you aspire to be? Anybody can say, Oh, I aspire to be an actor. But the word aspire means you are not there just yet. All of the greats in every field WERE exactly what they wanted to be before they were noticed by the world. Therefore, I am an actor. I do not aspire, but I am inspired by the world around me to become a better actor every day. I believe if you want to spend your life doing what you love, you can’t wait until you’re noticed. You must start now. How long have you had this goal of being an artist? I was introduced to art a young age. My Dad had this huge collection of films that his Dad had started before him. My pops went to school for film and television so I would read all of his books and ask him questions like, “Does the director really say action or is that only on TV shows?” I became really obsessed with cameras when I was seven - always recording stuff. But I wanted to be the one getting recorded. That’s when my love for acting truly began. How do you want to be remembered? Great question - above all I want to be remembered as the guy who changed the game. Legends are LEGENDS because they had the courage to defy the norm. I take originality very seriously. The worst thing we can be in life is LIKE someone else. When a famous painting is scanned and copied for public distribution, it is the original painting that is in the glass box at the museum - NOT the copy. People always say that having a dream so big you need a backup plan. Do you feel the same? If so, what is yours? Being a performer is not a line of work for me. It is why God put me on this earth. It is my main source of happiness. There is no second option when you truly love what you do. That’s passion. A good friend of mine told me this quote, “If you plan on doing something else, don’t plan on doing this. –Unknown. So back up plan? No. I believe what I do is mission accomplished. And if we are being totally real, I’d rather be a homeless man performing monologues for coins, than lading in a safety net. Life is all about risk. Those who live safely never truly lived at all.

Jeremy Willis

What do you aspire to be? I aspire to be someone people look up to. I aspire to be someone who always has ideas and always keeps his mind open. I aspire to be someone who has goals and wants to reach them. I aspire to be one of the few Black African-Americans in the business to give back to the community. How long have you had this goal of being an artist? I really wouldn’t say being an artist is my goal, I would say that it is more my passion. It can’t be a goal because my passion is my art. It’s been there since I was in 8th grade and did my first performance and I realized this is what I wanted to do. How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as someone who knows what he wants, someone who knows where he wants to go in his life. I want to be a person people look up to and say I want to follow that exact same path that he went through because of where he is at now. People always say that having a dream so big you need a backup plan. Do you feel the same? If so, what is yours? I think everyone SHOULD have a backup plan but following your dreams is your first priority. No one should tell you that you should have a backup plan. If there is that one thing that you really want to do, there is a possibility. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, that exact job, there is something that that job can offer you. No one can take away your opportunity. Believing in yourself is that easy where you can accomplish anything.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014 - Word On The Street

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Female Athletes Need Support Also

Leaping Filmmaker

By Aliah Humphrey

March 2012. The Lady Raiders hit the floor for the State Championship. The game is getting ready to start and tipoff is about to begin. The players look up into the crowd and all they see is their family and the 15 students in the student section. The question often comes up why don’t people go to girl’s games? “I feel like people are more willing to attend boys’ games than girls’ games,” Diani Akigbogun said. Take a football game and the stands are overcrowded. Take a girls’ game and the fans are nowhere to be found. As a school that believes in the sisterhood and brotherhood of one another, doesn’t that include support? Geoffrey Kelly, a power forward Junior on the boys’ basketball team says that being a supporter is much more than just a fan cheering loud. “Being there to support your friends isn’t just about recognizing the hard work and effort they put in day in and day out. Being there to support other sports just shows the relationship between brothers and sisters,” Geoffrey Kelly said. The question about female athletes rises even professionally. Andy Betts, a coach on the boys’ basketball team played professionally in Europe. “When I played in Greece during the league finals, we played in the Olympic stadium which holds 20,000 and it was always full. The atmosphere was incredible. Having someone wear your jersey or hold a banner with your name on it feels great and makes you want to perform even better for them,” Betts said. That is something you don’t ever see at a female sporting event. When asked what he does as a coach to try and get fans to support the female athletes he said he pushes for them to come but it is difficult because they too have to focus on their own athletics. Girl’s athletic director John Koslosky believes sports are more of a social event rather than an actual love for the sport. “Girls like to be where the boys are and the boys don’t attend our games in any mass numbers, so the girls would rather go to boy’s games like football and basketball so the fans want to go to where the social aspect is high and not just for the game,” Koslosky said. At the end of the day, as sisters to the athletes, the girls need to realize that having fans at their games is much more than just for the cheering. It helps the athletes feel better and perform at an incredible rate. The girls’ basketball team was ranked 3rd in the nation last year. This for a girls’ team coming out of Colorado, was extremely impressive. Yet, they still could not get fans. When looking back at her years playing at Regis, Diani recalled the lack of fans. “People don’t realize it but the energy and the support from the crowd makes a world of difference when you’re playing. To hear people cheering for you and wanting you to succeed makes playing your sport all the more worth it; it’s like you’re playing for something bigger than yourself,” Diani said.

By Nadiya Jackson I unexpectedly realized that I wanted to become a filmmaker in the middle of my sophomore year in high school. It was exciting! At the time I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The funny thing is I didn’t know much when it came to the process of making a film. So I did what everyone should do when they want to be educated on something they aren’t informed about: I spoke to people who were seasoned in the knowledge of filmmaking, read a bunch of books, watched movies, read screenplays, and studied one of my favorite filmmakers, Spike Lee. After a while, I wanted to use this newly discovered information. I wanted to start making my own short films. I became aware of the linguistics of the process, but I didn’t know where to start. When I was in Harlem, visiting family, I met a filmmaker who was the assistant director on the movie School Daze. He told me something that made me understand that you always have to start small. He advised that I start with my iPhone to film and find friends that would be willing to help me. I took his advice, and I began to constantly think about preparing for the next steps. I struggled with the first step. The first step required faith, and a sense of fearlessness. Fear has a way of preventing us from stepping out of our comfort zone. Failure is something that everyone dreads, however, failure is part of the journey. Being an artist has its perks and cons. One of the many cons is that we put so much pressure on ourselves to make quality art on the spot. I have to start allowing myself to make “bad” art instead of no art at all. I rather get all of my “crappy” pieces out of the way, make my mistakes, and move on so that I can improve. I have gained a good amount of knowledge about filmmaking in the past year. My surroundings and circumstances have given me the chance to learn things as I go. I discovered this fascinating new way of learning and collaborating. I have always enjoyed working with other people on different types of art projects. It’s a refreshing way of learning; I’m learning from people who know things that I don’t know and I’m teaching them as well. While we are learning something new, we ARE making art that we can be proud of. I realized that it doesn’t have to all be on me when it comes to making a short film. I have acquired skills in directing and screenwriting my next task is to find someone who has skills in producing, cinematography and the same passion about filmmaking as I do. I’m ready to make that leap of faith and make my first short film. Exposure and networking will guide me to the right people who will then, hopefully, support and encourage me on my journey of becoming a filmmaker. I’m equipped with the faith, desire, motivation needed to make this happen.

Sade’s Art Studio

Word on the Street - 2014 Winter Edition Contributors Kiana English - Editor, Reporter, Graphic Designer Aliyah Fard - Assistant Editor, Reporter Aliah Humphrey - Reporter; Nadiya Jackson - Reporter Sade - Freelance Artist; Mary V. Benoit - Freelance Photographer AMINAH FARD and ONYX - STEM Reporters

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014 - Word On The Street

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STEM

Science Technology Engineering Math

The Justina Ford Stem Institute is a math and science program for girls in grades 3 through 6. In this program, we learn about math, science and participate in many programs to get noticed. We have a science camp where the girls get to experiment with all types of fun things and go on field trips. We have even learned how to make silly putty! We have gone to the pool, and have had engineers visit us and tell us what they do in their field of science. To me, the program has made an impact on how I do in school and I really enjoy participating in it each year. -Aminah Fard (6th Grader)

Hi there! My name is Onyx and I am a member of the Dr. Justina Ford STEM Institute and I want to share with you a really cool water trick you can try at home. Follow these 4 easy steps and you will be minutes away from creating crazy bubbles!!

1: You need a bowl with water and dish soap 2: You will need a cloth or a sock 3: You need a rubber band 4: You need a half of a water bottle First you get the half water bottle and put the sock or cloth on the water bottle then you put the rubber band to tighten it. Then you put the sock in the water with soap and then you have to blow into the bottle and watch the bubbles appear! To add more fun to this trick add food coloring to the water.

Five Facts About the Water Cycle By Deneen Smith (5th Grader)

1. Condensation, Evaporation, Water Vapor, Precipitation, and Water bodies ensure an unlimited supply of water on earth. 2. Clouds are condensed water droplets which gather together. It takes two droplets to from a cloud. 3. There is water vapor present in the air. This is why we have tiny water droplets on a cup of a cold drink. This is also why you find dew on plants 4. 97% of the water on earth is undrinkable. Only 2.5% of water is fresh. 5. 2/3 of our bodies are made up of water. Cool right!

WATER CYCLE C I G Y C L W NJ W Y N F M C E O V G R T M OA B D G A Q R R S N Y L F Q TK X B X F S E E P U V C U E RE V I R U T L W W I O E R F RC R D F N T C E P H P H R J ME A R F W N Y S S L X E D S TR M Q J A E C P X I A E SA A L A Y F T ML F P S P N W X LT K H V E T D H L I L E T H ZC I O H R A I J P Z T L Y S TN E O A S E W F C S H U M A NJ U A N O R G K A L E S S H OO X R F U T S W L J L B L L KZ K Q U C I J F U D O W O X IS T M L E U G CONVERSATION CYCLE HARMFUL HOUSE HUMAN LESS PIPED PIPES PLANTS RIVER SEWER TREATMENT WASTEWATER WATER WATERSOUCE

Poem by Hannah

I’m trailing my observance Releasing control The realm is continuously unfinished time is added Choose not to become peaceful with the route of power For authority can merely be measured by your outlook She feels indebted to superior command because of what she reflects as herself The verses used can only be profound if you create it in that tactic I stay more than the girl in question Yet the ones who ignite her vigor see less of that what really is What you accept as true is what you are Disputes don’t distress you if you don’t obligate your sense to take in the disapproval Break saying I require the equivalent hungers I want what transports me to near contentment What you believe you were is deteriorated by the weight conveyed through change Yet you still meditate that you remain

Photo by Mary V. Benoit

Mary V. Benoit

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014 - Word On The Street

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Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble Celebrates its 23rd Holiday Season of

Granny Dances To A Holiday Drum

A Timeless Denver Holiday Favorite Celebrates the Spirit of the Season with Dance and Music From Around the World

For more than 20 years, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble has been blending dance, live music, spoken word, and seasonal celebrations from around the world into a memorable holiday tradition like none other. A Denver original, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is a family favorite that inspires patrons of all ages to celebrate and honor the holiday traditions of cultures around the globe. The story: Granny’s memories are her gifts to those she loves, but she has forgotten many of her stories and the magical dances she’s seen and performed in her lifetime. In her youth, she danced in winter festivals honoring the birth of Christ, the African Harvest, the Native American Winter Solstice, the Celtic Yule Time, Las Posadas in Mexico, Kwanzaa in the United States, the ancient Hebrew Festival of Lights, the Chinese New Year, and the Caribbean’s Junkanoo. Now Granny seeks to relive these memories of rich cultural traditions, bringing them alive again for her grandchildren through dance, live music, and storytelling. What’s new this year: The 23rd Anniversary Season of Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum features an opening processional that previews the “Granny” story through multiple cultural and traditional representations. An audience favorite is the Celtic scene, sharing the ancient roots of many of our most beloved holiday symbols. This same scene moves from the ancient to the modern, showing how the traditional rhythms of Ireland and Africa converged into the unique American art form of tap dance. The expanded Native American and Las Posadas scenes, guided and supported by Denver’s indigenous and Hispanic communities, is also significant, showing the spiritual and cultural commonalities between Native American traditions and both the African and Spanish influences of Mexico, including the honoring of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Queen of the Americas. This little-known historic relationship between escaped African American slaves and the indigenous nations which helped them reveals a legacy of struggle that oftentimes resulted in merging family units, ushering in the birth of new cultural traditions. As spry as ever, this year’s “Granny” promises to once again

dance its way into Denver’s hearts, reigniting the magic that has made it one of the city’s most beloved family traditions; a festive celebration of the spirit of the season, inspiring audiences both young and old. Cleo Parker Robinson, who portrays the Angel Shakti, is the acclaimed artistic director, dancer and choreographer, assembling a stellar cast and production team and showcasing some of Denver’s finest professional actors and musicians. The members of her internationally acclaimed Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Cleo II (her second company) and students of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Youth Ensemble and School are also featured. This 23rd Anniversary production of Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum welcomes Margarita Taylor as “Granny” for her seventh season, with 23 year “Granny” veteran Vincent C. Robinson and Ensemble member Chloe-Grant Abel joining Ms. Parker Robinson as the three “Angels of the Rainbow.” Ensemble members Roxanne Young and Edgar L. Page portray Granny’s loving grandchildren. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) is now celebrating its 44th anniversary season, serving the artistic needs of the community. CPRD was founded with the belief that the language of dance transcends the boundaries of culture, class, and age. This institution is committed to bringing dance into the lives of diverse people. CPRD is composed of a professional modern dance ensemble, year-round dance school, two-hundred forty seat theatre, in-school lecture demonstration series, international summer dance institute and outreach program for at-risk youth. CPRD is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, multi-cultural performing arts organization in Denver, Colorado.

Music by henry Krieger Directed by Keith Rabin Jr.

Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen Music Direction by Trent Hines

December 27, 2014 - January 18, 2015

IGNITE THEATRE

AT THE AURORA FOX ARTS CENTER

9900 E. COLFAX AVENUE AURORA, CO

WWW.IGNITETHEATRE.COM - BOX OFFICE: 720-362-2697

Editor’s note: Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum at the Byron Theatre Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver at 2344 East Iliff (Iliff and University Blvd). Opening Saturday December 6 and running through Sunday, December 21, performances are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday including matinees. To purchase tickets online, visit www.newmantix.com/cleo, by phone, call 303-871-7720 or visit the Newman Center Box, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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A Legacy of Achievement: Keeping By Angelle C. Fouther

O

the Dream Alive

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

n Dec. 21, the Denver Chapter of Jack and Jill of America will present its 31st class of Beaus at the Annual Beautillion Gala, held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. As in past years, this event will be a festive, magical community celebration which rivals all others (if you’ve never attended the Jack and Jill Beautillion, it is something to behold). But even more than the tuxedos, top hats, and gowns, the celebration marks the culmination of a half-year journey for 26 African-American high school male seniors, who follow in the footsteps of over 800 Beau Alumni, keeping the legacy of achievement and the dream alive. Each Beau is nominated by their high school counselor, and then submits an application to Jack and Jill Denver Chapter. After attending an interview with Jack and Jill moms, Beaus are selected. Long before Beautillion night, they attend workshops on subjects such and sexual health, time management, and criminal justice – very important, because by age 23, 49 percent of all American black men will have been arrested at least once, according to national survey data from 1997 to 2008. Beaus met, once again this fall, with fifteen Beau Alums in a mentorship workshop, where Alums shared stories about the ins and outs of life after high school. Beaus also connected in smaller groups with the mentors to discuss everything from college and career choices to advice about dating. This type of leadership and community service is indicative of Jack and Jill values, which are further integrated into the Beautillion experience through a mandatory community service project. This year, Jack and Jill Denver Chapter partnered with the Hope Center in Northeast Park Hill. Led by Executive Director, Gerie Grimes, the Hope Center provides educational and vocation programming for individuals pre-school aged to adulthood. The 2014 Beaus hosted a Project HUGS Literacy night at Hope Center, after two months of collecting over 200 HUGS packages (Hats, Underwear, Gloves, and Socks) to distribute to preschoolers ages (2-5) along with a multicultural book. Items were presented at the Hope Center in a standing room only presentation.

The 2014 Jack and Jill Denver Chapter Beaus

Beaus and Beau Alums at 30th annual Beautillion

“We are so very proud of our Beaus for their leadership with the HUGS project,” stated Robin Lawson, President of the Denver Chapter of Jack and Jill. “It was heartwarming to see them share with the children, the items they’d worked so hard to collect. They even spent time reading to the kids. I don’t know who was happier about the exchange, the preschoolers or the Beaus.” Beaus are required to write an essay about their community service experience, and essays will be ranked by a neutral committee—the top ones will receive financial awards. These awards are often used to offset the escalating costs of college. They have another opportunity to receive funds for college by applying for College Expense Awards, which are presented at the Beautillion Gala. Last year seven Beaus received awards, ranging from $500 to $1,000. The top award of $1,000 was matched with a $500 donation by Beau Alum Javon Brame. Brame, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs at Community College of Aurora, is one of the 2014 Beautillion Masters of Ceremony, and has offered a $1,000 challenge to fellow Alums and community members to offer funds to support college expense awards for this year’s Beaus! Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Senior Pastor and Teacher of the United Church of Montbello, is also a Master of Ceremony for this year’s Beautillion presentation. Dr. Kimberly Campbell, Regina Edmondson, Heather Johnson, and Deirdre Wilson are the 2014 Beautillion Chairs. Twenty six young ladies participate as Beautillion escorts this year. Each

Beaus at HUGS project

has volunteered to spend time learning dances and attending workshops over the past several months as well. They are an integral part of the celebration as are all you – the community! Editor’s note: For more information about contributing to College Expense Awards to purchase tickets to Beautillion, visit www.jack-and-jill-denver.org.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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• Alfred Kenechukwu Agibim, Rangeview • Reginald Alan Ausler, Jr., Hinkley • Pryce Salvant Batey, Colorado Academy • Daylen Isaac Bowen, Denver East • Kameron Desmond Brandon, Cherokee Trail • Isaiah Matthew Brown, Grandview • Jaron Isaiah Brown, Hinkley • Julian Rhamone Carey, Denver East • Morgan Bielo Flowers, Denver East • Derek Eugene Hawkins, Denver East • Rico Terrell Henderson, II, Denver East • Jeremiah Joshiah Aaron Hodges, Cherokee Trail • Isaiah Frank Jones, Denver East • Noah Juwon-Porter Jones, Colorado Academy • Nasir Malik Little, Denver East • Steven Malik McAlester, Eaglecrest • Okiefe Onoriode Ogbe, Grandview • Elijah Quentin Randelle Sanford, Regis Jesuit • Rayvon Ahmad Solomon, Regis Jesuit • Darnell Keith Steel-Tyler, Denver East • Leonard Kenard Steel-Tyler, Denver East • Noah Christian Tate, Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College • Justice Nathan Taylor, Regis Jesuit • Darian Jamal Turner, Eaglecrest • Timothy Steven Whitlow, Grandview • Arsean Marquez Wilbon, Cherokee Trail


Slippers-N-Sliders Share Rich Ski History with Black Youth By Charlene Porter

S

lippers-N-Sliders know. Is there any more incredible view from Metro Denver than the skyline of the Rocky Mountains? According to many, yes. From atop the peaks of those mountains. Some reach those peaks by air lift, hiking or mountain biking. Numerous more however reach them by way of chair lifts and gondolas. Once disembarked from their ride up, they ski or snowboard a few feet down to gather their thoughts and/or to await friends who are also on their way up the mountain. The moments provide a panorama of other mountains, landscapes, and beauty that inspire awe and faith. Then comes the moment of setting one’s skis or board in a particular direction, and swoosh, heading down the mountain. All the way – the speed, the turns, the scenery, the sometimes jumps, the challenges, the friendly races, the new trails - it’s Yes! Yes! Yes! And back to the lift up as quickly as possible. At lunch time, it’s happy exhaustion, meeting friends in the lodge for an hour of refueling and tales of morning adventures. Then its boots re-buckled, helmets back on, and out for more of the mountain’s magic for two or three hours. The smart ones stop for the day before they’re exhausted and injury prone. The fortunate ones will be able to return – or seek out another of Colorado’s nearly 30 ski resorts – tomorrow. Alas, if you haven’t experienced it, there’s really no way to adequately convey to you the sense of freedom, challenge, joy, exhilaration, and just plain pure fun of skiing or snowboarding. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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Slippers-N-Sliders, Denver’s African American ski club, is an excellent source of information, well-organized ski trips, lessons, fellow-skiers, year-round outdoor activities and gatherings. The club is rich in doers, starting with its hundred-plus members. The club’s mission – to identify, develop, and support under represented youth interested in participating in winter sports – is exemplified by the tireless work of its board members, including Michael Moore, who serves as president.

He points out, “It’s truly a team effort. For example, Armand Dilworth, who serves as youth program director, and those who work with him tirelessly volunteer their time, energy, and resources to help build the skiing and related skills of our youth. Their contribution is vital to increasing African American involvement in winter


sports…one of our club’s foremost goals.” A commitment by a collective of professional African American Coloradoans to assure that the opportunity to experience and enjoy skiing is available to children of every background and circumstance is exemplified in the 2014 season of the Slippersn-Sliders Ski For Kids program. Melodie Brooks, a native Coloradoan, graduate of George Washington High School and University of Denver, and longtime Sn-S member, has volunteered as the program’s director for 20 years. “I’ve loved every moment,” Brooks declared while managing this year’s registration evening at Park Hill United Methodist Church for 50 eager boys and girls and their families. Now even Brooks’ family – husband, son, daughter, sister – pitch in…along with a cadre of additional Sn-S volunteering members. With the assistance of local ski areas and businesses, such as Winter Park, S-n-S sponsors and funds Ski For Kids with fundraisers, such as the recent Parade of Elegance tea and hat fashion show at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. It was produced and hosted by club board member Bonnie Smith, and her husband, Charles Smith, the club’s historian. All of the ski wear and equipment is loaned to the children at no cost. They all also receive round-trip transportation to and from the slopes, on the group bus, each of the programs’s six consecutive Saturdays; the six intensive yet fun-filled Saturday lessons and lunch. The end-of-the-skiseason awards banquet recognizes the youths’ achievements, and celebrates that since 1974 the Slippers -n-Sliders have introduced more than 1,400 inner city youth to the joy and accomplishment of skiing. Ski For Kids participants are 7 to 11 years old, and referred to Slippers-NSliders by local agencies such as Red Shield Community Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, elementary schools, churches and by concerned individuals. The size and viability of this important Metro-Denver endeavor “to give something back” is directly dependent on the amount of financial support it garners from supporters.

African Americans and the History of Skiing

Skiing – traveling over snow on skis (ski…from the Old Norse word “skio” meaning stick of wood or skis) – may have been practiced as early as 6000 B.C. in the northernmost area of what is now China. Modern skiing has its roots in Scandinavia, as a means of transportation and pursuing game (hunting).

In the United States the first skier of record was a mailman originally from Telemarken, Norway and “Snowshoe” Thompson, who, beginning in 1850, delivered mail by skiing from northern California to Carson Valley, Idaho through 20 successive winters. In Colorado, where by the late 1800s the mountains were bustling with miners, skiing provided a way to town for supplies, to school, and to visit friends. The first major ski area in Colorado was Winter Park, dedicated in January, 1940. In 1941 the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division (combat skiers) was stationed at Camp Hale, near Leadville, Colorado. The 10th’s World War II tour of duty in Italy led to the Germans’ surrender. After the war many 10th Mountain soldiers returned to Colorado and opened ski areas or helped to operate them. Over time skiing has evolved into competitive sports, businesses, and an array of recreational choices. The first African American ski club – Jim Dandy Ski Club - was founded in 1958 in Detroit, Michigan. At the same time a group of African American Denverites – including Bryce and Felda Parks, Floyd Cole, Val and George Tanaka, Floyd Jackson, James and Bernice Jenkins, and others - were also skiing here in Colorado. They dubbed themselves The Sippers and Sliders. Cole, who taught dry-land ski classes during the early 1960s at the Glenarm YMCA, extended an invitation to the Jim Dandies. As recollected in the Jim Dandy history, “By train, the Dandies arrived in Denver, Colorado on December 26, 1964. This is the first documented organized gathering of African American skiers in the United States. There were 40 to 50 participants who skied at newly opened Vail, (also at) Winter Park, Loveland, and Berthoud Pass. Continuous social activities consumed the evenings.” In 1972, 13 African American ski clubs came together to form the National Brotherhood of Skiers. The resulting historic gathering took place in 1973 in Aspen, Colorado, attended by more than 350 skiers. Today the National Brotherhood of Skiers is the umbrella organization for more than 60 African American ski clubs with a growing membership of 3,000 black skiers. The two Colorado clubs are the Ski Ambassadors in Colorado Springs, and the now Slippers-N-Sliders in Denver.  Editor’s note: Learn more about Slippers-nSliders at www.slippers-n-slidders.org; Ski Ambassadors at www.skiambassadors.org; and the National Brotherhood of Skiers at www.nbs.org. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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No Future for Blacks in America

V

By Theo Wilson

oting has

become a crutch that makes lazy peo-

ple feel like they contributed. If all you did was read up on some candidates, stand in line for an hour, fill in some

bubbles and go back to your life, don’t call yourself part of the solution. Our problem as a people is we vote, then

that’s it. Our participation in our community, and democracy for that mat-

ter, has been reduced to an hour every

two years, and we get to stay on our

high-horses and call ourselves “honor-

ing the legacy” of our ancestors. Our issues are so much bigger than a few minutes every couple of years can overcome. We vote, and then complain about Black-on-Black violence, police brutality, the spread of AIDS, poverty, education, and other issues that would be solved if we invested more of the other 17,519 hours in those two years actually involved in our communities. None of those problems can be solved by a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green-Party Member, or Communist. All of these are solved by us: a unified community with agency over our children’s minds, economic sovereignty, physical safety, and international destiny. Without those things, we have no future in America. The powers that be are forcing us to contemplate life post-Obama two years earlier than we wanted to. Anybody who was aligned with him is in the crosshairs of this newly empowered Republican Party. Mark Udall paid the price as did other democrats whose heads rolled on Nov. 4. The Grand Old Party is ready to make Obama fight for every scrap of progress this last bit of his term. In the same way that anybody associated with the Prez is catching repressed vengeance, so it will be for those of the president’s ethnic group. The Ku Klux Klan and all the rest of the ‘repressed’ majority’s thunder are all too ready for a return to the status quo. So what

does that look like for you and I on the ground in real-time? Let’s do the math. You actually can predict the future to some degree by looking at the past and the present for trend analysis. For example, The Black Wall Street era of the 1920’s was predictable in the “Do For Self,” Booker T. Washington ethos at the end of the 19th century. The civil rights movement was predictable. All that Garvey energy in the 1930s had to go somewhere. Enough Emmitt Tills, burned churches and bus segregation, along with the solidarity of our people overall foretold a mass movement was eminent and unavoidable. Likewise, our rise in the 80s to public cultural prominence was predictable if you looked at the seeds sewn during civil rights. All that energy had to amount to something, and for a while, we made gains toward that which was denied us for so long. Similarly, the drug epidemic that got started in the late 70s and 80s beneath our cultural prominence made itself visible by the utterly destructive gang violence that emerged in the 90s. Now, let’s look at the dominant society. You could see that White America could no longer make pretense toward the façade of democracy with us getting bitten by dogs and lynched all over television. Therefore, a shift was imperative toward the end of putting a band aide on America’s bruised international image. Integration, or at least the illusion of inclusion, benefited America’s international marketing machine, especially during the Cold War. We needed to be better than those ‘fascist soviets,’ so surface amends had to be made to the Black community. Similarly, the Clinton-era three strikes, zero-tolerance legislation 20 years ago could have predicted this prison industrial complex we see today. The deregulation of the bank-

ing industry by Clinton in 2000 foretold the collapse of the financial system eight years later. The saying, “When White America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu” makes sense when you look at our unemployment numbers. They’ve gone virtually untouched, despite Obama’s overall progress with the issue. Now let’s look at the incubating seeds of today. We have a narrative demonizing Black men all across the country. With Ray Rice’s elevator incident to Bill Cosby’s sex abuse allegations, to the supposed “strong arm robbery” Michael Brown pulled before his shooting in Ferguson, it’s easy to put a target on people who fit Obama’s description. Chicago is virtually in a constant state of emergency because of the violence. All over the internet, videos are uploaded of Black depravity and public indecency. In other words, the propaganda is being laid out to make the case for us being unnecessary to the welfare of the American public. Never forget, this government of ours was once in the business of making people disappear. In fact, the history of Europe’s imperialism is awash in the blood of entire races no longer alive to tale. The question is will we, en masse remember this fact in time? The message could not be clearer from the dominant society, as a whole, telling us that we’re no longer necessary at this party. Even culturally, why have a Black singer when Adele, Justin Timberlake, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea have all the soul you need? Most rap is bought by Whites, the record industry is owned by them as well. In fact, your record deal is contingent on whether you resemble the Platinum Pickaninny thug caricature of today. So, is this a global issue for Blacks? Not necessarily. I recently returned

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

26

from South Africa, and what did I see? A first-world nation of Black people who had no intention of being anything but number one across the entire world, that’s what. I was immediately welcomed as a brother into a 20 year old nation. I saw green technology at work in even the roughest parts of the city of Johannesburg. I saw a population who was politically aware on all levels of class and race. No one stuck their head in the sand about politics until election time. Everyone was committed to the betterment of the nations, and saw a way that they fit into the entire nation. Were there problems? Yes. They still struggle with the scar of Apartheid in the form of townships and a wealth gap-created crime rate. But one thing was for sure; everyone cared about fixing it. It dawned on me that this was the answer; an all-hands on deck approach to address the problem (which first must be acknowledged). In short, we need community. I realized that oppression is like a liquid that exploits the gaps in the fortress of community. Where we are no fathers, the system will be father. Where we are not teaching youth our truth, they will teach the youth their truth. We have to start addressing our own public indecency. We have to start actually being a village. As simple and plebian as this sound, they are where the bonds are made to create the collective strength to address our larger issues. No more going for self and career at the expense of our neighbors. The few remaining hinges cannot bear the rattling of selfish ambition. No more leaving our baby’s minds open to systemic miseducation. Teachers will never be adept at the job that God appointed to you. So, I should have a caveat: There is no future for Blacks in America…unless: Unless we develop our own business sector; unless we seize control over the narrative of our people via education; unless we do the work necessary to set our babies up for success before we conceive them – these are what are in our hands, and time is running out. If Ferguson is any indicator of what’s in store for the rest of us, we’ve got quite the mountain to climb. Strap on your shoes, get in gear, and get moving!


African-Americans Who Make A Difference

NEWSVIEWS

Tanzania Ambassador Encourages Investment Opportunities To Denver

Her Excellency Liberata Mulamula, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United States, visited Colorado Nov. 17 to 20. She met with staff and volunteers at Project C.U.R.E., which donated medical supplies to the country. She attended a networking event at the Posner Center with 28 non-profit organizations based in Colorado doing work in Tanzania. She gave presentations at Regis University, Denver University, and Colorado School of Mines. Her final event was at the World Trade Center Denver, where she met with businesses to discuss opportunities for trade and investment in Tanzania. Her visit was arranged by Friends of Tanzania, an NGO that began 22 years ago in Washington, DC, with about 450 members across the United States and its mission is to help support small community development projects in Tanzania. For more information on Tanzania, visit www.FOTanzania.org.

The Denver Foundation Receives HUD/USDA Secretaries’ Award

Across the nation, community foundations, private foundations, and corporate giving programs work to improve neighborhoods and the lives of the people who live in them. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Council on Foundations announced the 2014 winners of the Secretaries’ Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.

The Denver Foundation earned the award for their outstanding partnership with the public sector. The foundation made significant improvements in housing and neighborhoods, transportation, sustainability, and economic development in urban communities in the Denver Region. The awards were presented at the Council on Foundations’ Fall Conference for Community Foundations in Cleveland on Wednesday morning, Oct. 22. The Secretaries’ Awards were given to place-based funders for completed or ongoing initiatives that are executed in partnership with a local, regional, or federal government agency.

The Denver Urban Spectrum is requesting nominations for the

African-Americans Who Make A Difference. The honorees will be featured in February’s 2011 Black 2015 Black History Issue.

Criteria include • Demonstrating service to the community • Serving as a role model for youth • Upholding standards of excellence in professional and personal life • Maintaining high moral and spiritual integrity If you know someone, or you are someone, who exhibits these qualities: CALL: Denver Urban Spectrum at 303.292.6446 FAX: Denver Urban Spectrum at 303.292.6543 MAIL: African-Americans Who Make A Difference PO Box 31001, Aurora, Colorado 80041 EMAIL: Editor@urbanspectrum.net DELIVER: 2727 Welton Street in Denver’s Five Points Community DEADLINE: Friday, December 12, 10, 2014 2010

National Urban League Welcomes New Board Chair

All call-in nominations MUST include a current phone number for the person being nominated to be eligible. Michael F. Neidorff, the new chairman of the National Urban League’s Board of Directors (center), with National Urban League President & CEO Marc H. Morial and John Hofmeister, immediate past board chair.

ALL NOMINEES will receive a questionnaire that must be returned to the Denver Urban Spectrum by Friday, January 9, 7, 2011. 2015.

At the National Urban League’s 58th Annual Equal Opportunity Dinner on Nov. 12 in New York City, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial welcomed the new chairman of the National Urban League, Michael F. Neidorff. Neidorff currently serves as chairman, president and CEO of Centene Corporation. Neidorff, who will immediately begin his term as the 21st National Urban League chairman, has served as chairman, president and CEO of Centene Corporation since 1996. Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to the rising number of under-insured and uninsured individuals. Neidorff has also served as a trustee of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and as a member of the boards of trustees for Webster University, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the St. Louis Science Center, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and the National Children’s Cancer Society. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League is a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization dedicated to economic empowerment in historically underserved urban communities.

Name:

Nomination Form

Street Address: City/State/ZIP: Phone:

Nominated by:

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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COMMUNITY NOTES

Annual Toys And Books For Kids With Santa Event

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library and Greater Park Hill Sertoma Club will host the Toys and Books for Kids honoring GPH founder Mr. Omar Blair on Saturday, Dec. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. Santa will give books and toys at this free event and take pictures. The kids will also be encouraged to use the library. Kids ages 3 to 12 are invited and must be accompanied by an adult at the BlairCaldwell African American Research Library 2401 Welton St. in Denver. Refreshments and snacks on the first floor will be available. Donations are requested by Dec. 15 to help with expenses and supplies for refreshment, new and used toys and books. For more information, call Dr. Faye Rison at 303-773-6852 or email drfaye@comcast.net.

Ignite Theatre Presents Award winning musical Dreamgirls

Winner of six Tony Awards, Dreamgirls is set in the fabulous 60s when dancing was to the new beat of countless girl and boy groups like The Supremes, The Marvelettes, The Temptations and The Shirelles. During this revolutionary time in American musc history, three friends form The Dreamettes and learn hard lessons about love, trust and the changing tastes of the American public. Dreamgirls features the unforgettable hits “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “One Night Only” and “Listen.” Ignite Theatre presents Dreamgirls Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $27 for adults, $19 for students, and $24 for groups of 6 or more. For information, call 720-3622697 or visit www.ignitetheatre.com.

Autistic Fashion Designer Launches Crowd Funding Campaign

Brian Nemeth, who goes by Scoop, is working hard to beat the odds. Despite dealing with Asperger’s syndrome and having no family support, the 33-year-old college student, TV producer and entrepreneur is working on his bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan State University of Denver and pursuing his dream to produce a commercially viable line of apparel. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with Asperger’s have difficulty socializing and communicating effectively and typically have an all-absorbing interest in specific topics. “I’ve encountered social difficulties, especially when making business decisions. I’m always trusting in people, who are taking advantage of me, and I don’t even know it,” Nemeth says. Yet, he persists in his creative pursuits. His first career passion is broadcast journalism, but realizing the intense competition for jobs at Denver television stations, he is also striving to get his apparel business off the ground. “I want to support myself and pay back my student loans, and not have to rely on monetary assistance from the government,” he says. His SWIMMERCISE apparel line, which features the ONEderkini, is a stylish reinvention of the sports bra and a bikini bottom set, which was inspired by women’s beach volleyball. In creating his designs, he found a balance between what makes a woman comfortable in a functional design and what is attractive. Nemeth’s biggest point of pride is his efforts to add to the small business economy, instead of being absorbed into a larger corporation. But being local can be a struggle because large chains such as Sports Authority and Swim n Things only carry brand names made outside the United States, such as NIKE and Adidas. One of Nemeth’s planned competitive edges for his line is to have on-site seamstresses, producing the apparel right in the retail store where it is sold. Customers would see the goods made right before their eyes as they are able to watch the seamstresses at work on one side and the creations on sale on the other side. He says, “I really want to create an impression on the customers with my unique line of Denver-made ‘swimmercise’ (swim and exercise wear) clothes.” Nemeth launched a crowd-funding campaign to help raise money for the start-up of production for his active wear line. He is accepting donations of all sizes and will reward donors. For more information, go to http://www.gofundme.com/coloswimmercise. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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BLOWING SMOKE

Headed for a Touchdown, but Still Just Fumbling E

By Wanda James

VERY player in the NFL has a certifiable need for medical marijuana. The game we celebrate creates a life of daily pain for those who play it. Some players choose marijuana to manage this pain, which allows them to perform at a high level without sacrificing their bodies or their minds. Currently, many players medicated with marijuana for most of their career. And they need the medication. Broken bones, dislocated shoulders, broken fingers and ribs, and most concerning, brain trauma from concussions. Most players have similar medical charts. And every one of them needs the medicine, we call cannabis. Standard pain management in the NFL is pain pills and pregame injections. But not all players favor the pill and needle approach. From what I am hearing from interviews with numerous current and former players, many prefer marijuana. The attitude toward cannabis in the locker room mirrors the attitude in America at large. It’s not a big deal. Players have been familiar with it since adolescence, and those who use it do so to offset the brutality of the game. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is known for being a strict disciplinarian, and the league goes to great lengths to project a “family-friendly” reputation. Which is clearly a farce given the situations of domestic violence that are handled with a slap on the wrist. Many were outraged at Ray Rice’s two game suspension for punching and knocking out his then fiancé, compared to the much harsher punishments for smoking cannabis. Denver Bronco’s own Von Miller, who was suspended for four games in 2013

after testing positive for marijuana, is a good example of the prejudiced policy of the NFL. Other NFL players, who received harsher punishments than Rice, would include: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns: As a repeat offender (he tested positive for marijuana earlier in 2014), Gordon’s second positive test led to him being suspended for the entire 2014 season. (The NFL will usually suspend first-time offenders for four games, while second-time offenders can get a year and multiple offenders can get banned for life.) Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals: Suspended for the 2014 season after testing positive for marijuana. Walter Thurmond, Seattle Seahawks: Suspended for four games in 2013 after testing positive for “substance abuse” (NFL’s term), with the substance in question likely marijuana—also legal in the state of Washington. Brandon Browner, New England Patriots: Suspended for all of 2013 and for four games in 2014 for testing positive for marijuana, and was threatened with a lifetime ban. Will Hill, New York Giants: Suspended for six games for 2014, and suspended for four games in 2013 after testing positive for “substance abuse” (again, almost certainly marijuana). However, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. The NFL has adopted new rules surrounding cannabis testing. Under the new rules, players still will be screened and punished for using marijuana, which remains a designated “substance of abuse.” However, pot-induced suspensions and banishments will require a higher number of failed tests than other substances, and the threshold for a posi-

tive marijuana test – how much of the drug needs to be in a player’s urine to trigger a red flag – will more than double, though remain lower than thresholds used by Major League Baseball and the World Anti-Doping Association. It’s a small win for common sense. The NFL’s War on Cannabis is increasingly out of step with both medical science and the culture at large. By relaxing its marijuana policy, the NFL is better aligning itself with contemporary America. With all of that said - if the NFL truly wanted to be progressive – or just plain smart – it would be better off ending its marijuana prohibition entirely. Just Say Yes! An enthusiastic embrace of cannabis to rival the sports world’s longstanding love affair with alcohol? That might be premature. But a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell attitude coupled with the careful adoption of medical marijuana? That would be better for the league’s public image, and better for the health of the athletes who make professional football possible. And once again, we are not blowing smoke… ABOUT BLOWING SMOKE - We would like to answer your questions. Please send any questions or comments to Wanda@NoBlowingSmoke.com. Blowing Smoke is written each month by Wanda James who is the managing partner at Cannabis Global Initiative and a leading advocate in the cannabis industry. James worked with the regulatory process to bring medical marijuana to fruition and was appointed to the Colorado Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force Work Group. Her political and professional work on cannabis reform has led to her being featured in numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on CNBC’s Marijuana USA. She and her husband, Scott Durrah, also own Jezebel’s Southern Bistro + Whiskey Bar in Denver.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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“sick” bacteria, which help maintain or establish gastrointestinal health. Microbes, including viruses, can favorably affect inflammation and repair metabolism. Furthermore, scientists are looking into using viruses as medication. The idea of using viruses as anti-cancer agents has been around for nearly a century. Also, viruses are involved in eradicating cancer cells. Virologist, Curtis Suttle, Ph.D. states that “healthy people are full of viruses.” Viromes (virus groups) vary per individual but are more diverse than bacterial communities in the same

What are Viruses? (Part 2)

By Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks D.Ac., L.Ac., B.S.

T

his article is the follow-up to last month’s article which described viruses. This month I will focus on some beneficial viruses and supplements we can use to help boost our immune system functions.

Let me begin by stating that many trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganism make up the body’s “microbiome”. All of these organisms play a role in good health. Some microorganisms typically considered “bad” can play a role in maintaining good health. Bacteriophages, for example, are the most common viruses in the gut and help get rid of

Join us for

The 31st Annual

Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Denver Chapter Sunday, December 21, 2014 4 pm Ballroom Doors Open 5 pm Doors Close - Presentation Begins Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel 1550 Court Place, Denver, Colorado Plaza Ballroom The Masters of Ceremony: Mr. Javon Brame Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr. For tickets: Jack-and-Jill-Denver.org For info: beautillionpayments@gmail.com No tickets sold at the door

Formal Attire Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

30

individuals. In fact, there is a symbiotic relationship between the microorganisms within our bodies and when they are balanced they work together in harmony to produce a diversity of healthy organisms which enhance our immune system. Now I will digress by stating that antiviral drugs do not destroy viruses; instead they inhibit their development. The new scientific view of our immune system is that it responds to danger or damage to the body. However, it will only do so when in a healthy state. For example, excessive stress increases our susceptibility to illness because it suppresses our immune functions. The same is true of malnutrition or excessive exercise or physical activity, and inadequate sleep. In addition, exposure to toxins and pollutants, serious disease or traumas are equally damaging to immune functions. Therefore, balanced living is key to establish and maintaining good health. Adequate sleep and exercise, with proper amounts of pure water, organic fruits, vegetables and proteins on a daily basis are foundational. The following is a partial list of some important nutrients shown to help prevent or treat illnesses attributed to “pathogen” such as viruses, they are: Protein – aids white blood cell production Zinc – aids maturation of T-helper cells Copper – works with zinc to increase pymphocytes or neutrophils Vitamin C – enhances immune system broadly Iron – enhances power of phagocytes (kills cells that eat bad germs) Selenium and Vitamin E – deficiency reduces immune functions Vitamins B & D – both act as immune system regulators and thymus integrity Essential fatty acids (EFAs) – affect white blood cell function Probiotics – improve systemic and mucosal immune capacity (70 – 7 percent of immune function originates in our intestines) Calcium and other minerals – are first responder to cellular damage Herbs – Echinacea, garlic, licorice, ginger, cayenne, elderberry, horse radish, etc. This is my short list. There are many more powerful nutrients at our disposal to enhance our biological terrain and immune system. So, put in the work and you will get the benefits. Editor’s note: Dr. Meeks can be reached at 303-377-2511 or visit his website at www.LifeHealingDoctor.com or email at Dr.Meeks@netzero.com.


REEL ACTION BY BLACKFLIX.COM I Am Ali

I Am Ali Is Stunning Candid By Samantha Ofole-Prince

When they are done right, they

can make you feel you know a famous person intimately. Such is the case with I am Ali. A revealing and intimate feature documentary on one of the most recognized sports figures in history, it’s a well edited and engaging piece that features previously unseen family photographs and private tape recordings. “He always thought the children would love to hear themselves when they are older and knew this was going to be history one day, so Muhammad Ali made these tapes of his children at home on these little cassettes,” shares director Clare Lewins who collaborated with Ali’s daughters to produce the piece. “People would ring him and he would tape record it. He was just like a little operator recording them on the answer phone.” A personal account of Ali not just as a fighter but as a father, husband, brother, friend and a man who stood up for what he believed in, it’s a collection of tapes that brings back memories for Maryum and Hana, Ali’s daughters (he has nine children) who fondly recall several of the conversations featured in the film. “I just remember those conversations very clearly,” shares his eldest daughter Maryum whose playful and candid conversation with her father opens the film. “He let the kids be around him. We were like daddy’s girls and went everywhere he went.” Stunningly candid, emotional and tremendously entertaining, I am Ali is also mixed with clips and photos from his career. We see “the greatest” who initially retired from boxing in 1979 at the age of 37 (he came out of retire-

ment in 1980 to fight Larry Holmes) at his highs, pulling punches, sharing jokes and spending quality time with his children. “Daddy was like a big kid,” recalls Hana who is also penning a book on her legendary father. “He woke me up to kisses every morning and his door was never closed. It didn’t matter if he was talking to the President of the United States, he gave himself and his time and made me feel like I was the best little girl in the world.” Filmed in 20 days, each story reveals a different aspect of Ali’s character with several touching interviews and testimonials from his inner circle of family and friends that include his daughters, son Muhammad Ali junior, ex-wife Veronica Porche and brother Rahaman, who was at his side throughout. Boxing legends Mike Tyson, George Foreman and business manager Gene Kilroy are also featured amidst a soundtrack that includes music by Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and Aretha Franklin. There are several documentaries of the boxer, but I am Ali stands apart with its unique approach and it’s this genuinely incisive portrait that makes the film truly revelatory. “Listening to these recordings I am learning the memories that I don’t remember having,” continues Hana. “I want people to take away the incredible human being that he was, the love that he had for his children and people and his incredible spirit.”

Jimi: All is By My Side

make a biopic on one of rock n’ roll’s legendary characters without a license to play his music? Knowing that he couldn’t chronicle the entire career of the greatest guitarist in the history of rock music, Ridley was inspired to do something different, which was to focus on a year in Hendrix’s life. As a result, what we get is a decent, but unsatisfying biopic. It’s not that Ridley doesn’t deliver, but there’s something innately moving about hearing the familiar work of a great artist within the context of their life.

With André Benjamin (André 3000 of Outkast) starring as Hendrix, Jimi: All is By My Side focuses on the year 19661967, before his ultimate success at the Monterey International Pop Festival in California on June 18, 1967. Ridley’s version opens at New York’s Cheetah club where a nonchalant Jimmy James (as he was called then) is spotted by Linda Keith (Imogen Poots), girlfriend of Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards, while strumming his guitar on stage. She sees something in him no one else Continued on page 32

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Jimi Biopic Hinges On Casting Not Content

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hen writer/director John Ridley decided to make a movie about Jimi Hendrix, he was faced with a pretty big question. How do you

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Continued from page 31 does and becomes determined to thrust the lackadaisical lad into the limelight. Fast-forward a few scenes and Keith finds a willing audience with Animals bassist Chas Chandler who she invites to see him in action. Chandler quickly became his manager and convinces him to relocate to London. There, Hendrix absorbs the burgeoning British psychedelic movement, adopts the name Jimi, gets a glimpse of black life in Britain, forms a trio with two British musicians and becomes an instant sensation. The film then wraps just days before he is set to fly to California for the pop festival that literally ignited his career. If you’re expecting to hear Jimi’s jams from “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze” or any of his major hits then you are in for disappointment for this isn’t that kind of biopic. What Ridley delivers is a glimpse into the man behind the music. What you see is the time he spent as a young musician trying to make it on the streets and in the clubs of London, England and an occasional glimpse through a photograph or two flashed on screen of a lonely and not so idyllic childhood. Benjamin gives an absolutely astounding and genuine performance that captures the spirit of Jimi as well

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and embodies his mannerisms. His portrayal of the frequently misunderstood, shy and introverted young man is certainly commendable. Ridley also taps into 60’s Black Briton, which was a time of turmoil for many Blacks from the Caribbean and West Africa who had arrived in small groups as wartime workers. As a first generation Brit, growing up, I was regaled with tales of the first wave of immigrants to the U.K. who came on the Empire Windrush cruise boat, and their struggle to fit in which is something Ridley touches on. Kudos to Ridley and Benjamin for

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giving us a glimpse of this fascinating guitarist and introducing him to younger generations, but watching Jimi: All is By My Side will inevitably feel unsatisfying for you’re left wanting more than just a peek into the life of rock n’ roll’s greatest guitarist.

Channing Tatum: Foxcatcher is the Most Painful Movie I Have Ever Done By Samantha Ofole-Prince

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e’ve seen him strip down to his undies in Magic Mike, protect the President in White House Down and play an undercover police officer at a college in 22 Jump Street. In Foxcatcher, a psychological drama directed by Academy Award nominee Bennett Miller (Moneyball), Channing Tatum plays Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz. Based on actual events, the film follows Schultz (Tatum) who is summoned by eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move to his lavish estate and train a newly formed ‘Team Foxcatcher’ for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Schultz, who is struggling in obscurity and poverty in Wisconsin despite winning a medal in 1984, sees the opportunity as a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and accepts the assignment, which ends in tragedy. With several wrestling scenes in the gripping film, Tatum, who isn’t a skilled wrestler had to learn the signature stances, moves and styles of Mark Schultz and was subjected to grueling training sessions that often continued into the night after long days of filming outside Pittsburgh.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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“I challenge anyone who thinks their sport is harder to come and try it,” says Tatum. “This has been the most painful movie I have ever done. I never want to wrestle again.” Tatum, who has established himself as one of the most sought-after leading men was the only one of the three lead actors who had to perform in front of the real-life person he was playing. Schultz, now a wrestling coach based in Oregon was often on set during filming and Tatum says it was a huge help having him there. “Having him there was unbelievably helpful at times in terms of the information he was able to provide,” says the actor who also worked with wrestling coordinator John Giura, an Olympic-caliber wrestler. “It was fun but at the same time it was hard work – you don’t know what’s going to wind up in the movie, so you have to stay extremely focused.” A moving story of brotherly love and misguided loyalty, Foxcatcher also stars Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller, and is bound to land Steve Carell who is virtually unrecognizable as the eccentric multi-millionaire John Eleuthère du Pont an Oscar nomination. 

More Than Just a Film: The Good Lie’s Deeper Meaning Behind the Silver Screen By Melanie Townsend

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hen people hear the term ‘Lost Boys’ they may think of the adventurous children’s tale of Peter Pan and his band of misfits that live happily in a land where they never grow up. If only this were true for the real Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan: children that are displaced from their homes and villages, have their families murdered or taken away, and grow up entirely too fast when they are forced to become child soldiers. It’s no fairytale in Northeastern Africa today. Civil war continues to wage on throughout Sudan, leaving many people homeless or orphaned and resort to living in refugee camps where food is scarce. However, some are given the opportunity of beginning a new life in America where they’re able to find jobs, get an education, and sleep in an actual bed. These are the real Lost Boys. Warner Bros. Studios, Ron Howard’s Imagine Studios, and Black Label Media have created a new movie representing a looking glass into the untold lives and journeys of the Lost Boys. The movie was made


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under an independent label budget and minimal crew, but they were determined to tackle this challenging story and share it with the public. When explaining how The Good Lie got off the ground producer Molly Smith, executive producer of The Blind Side said, “About two-and-ahalf years ago it made its way onto my desk and my partners and I were starting a new indie production company called Black Label Media. So we were really excited because this is the first film that we’ve made under the new company.” Molly had her own special connection to the film based on her family history. “My family adopted a Lost Boy in 2001 when he arrived in Memphis, Tenn. He’s still part of our family and he’s gone on to be a PhD engineer, but that’s how I learned the story, and so when I got the script telling the story of my brother, I had a personal, a deeply personal connection.” The Good Lie sets the stage by telling the story of four orphans who grow up in a refugee camp in Kenya. The beginning of the film is a tough pill to swallow as director Philippe Falardeau shows images of soldiers shooting at the children and the long, treacherous walk from Sudan to Kenya that these children ventured to find salvation. Yes, it’s a tough pill to swallow, but a necessary and realistic one that Americans must take to get the full picture. The four orphans: Paul, Jeremiah, Mamere, and Abital grow up in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and discover they will board a plane and join the other 3,600 Lost Boys in the flight to America. This was an actual humanitarian movement in the 1990s before the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks shut down the program. Once in America, the Boys are separated from their sister Abital and fly over to

Kansas where they meet a spunky employment agency counselor played by Reese Witherspoon. As they begin a new chapter, their lives along with hers are forever changed through hardship, triumph, and unity. The casting for this movie was extremely important in the promotion for this film; Emmanuel Jal (Paul) and Ger Duany (Jeremiah) had mass recognition in the Africa community along with their own unique personal connections to the film and the roles they played. Emmanuel was a former south Sudanese child soldier who was rescued and brought to America at a young age. Ger was also a former refugee and child of war. They knew if they had someone well recognized and beloved by the public to play in the movie alongside them, the more potential success their story would have. Reese fit the bill perfectly. “Reese, she’s an incredible actor,” Ger said, “All of us know that. She’s a mother, she’s a mentor, and she became a sister in the process of making this movie.” Smith said, “No one came to this project for money, everyone came to this for passion and to be a part of telling this story, including Reese Witherspoon who joined us really as a supporting character is this movie…she was the only person we came to with this screenplay because I knew she would bring a larger audience to their story.” Expressed his own thoughts about Witherspoon, Emmanuel said, “Hollywood had come up with a way to bring our stories to a wider audience. It’s going to go to individual Americans who don’t care about anything, but the fans of Reese are becoming involved.” This new film opens the eyes of people unaware of the terrible struggle and amazing stories that the Lost Boys and Girls of Africa have. 

Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 33 simply want to be in America and have a better life. I don’t blame them. However, the majority of Americans want them to fill out their paperwork. We want these people to be documented and follow the legal path to living in America. Most Americans would agree on making the path clear and obtainable. We simply do not want to just reward these people with citizenship if they broke the law to get here. Americans are tired of our jobs going overseas. Minimum wage, even if it’s $10 or $12 an hour, is not enough. We need $20 and $25 an hour jobs that pay benefits. We need to reward companies for keeping jobs in America. We don’t want to reward them for moving jobs to another country. However, companies must also decide how they are going to handle medical insurance. If we continue to demand more taxes and more medical insurance burdens from businesses they will move somewhere else. Or, they will continue to downgrade full-time employees to part-time employees. Average America is not ready to eliminate fossil fuels. We like solar, wind and natural gas. We also know that we are loaded with coal and oil. We need to use our fossil fuels while developing technology that uses

cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. More Americans would like for us to be disconnected from Middle Eastern oil. We are tired of being tied to Saudi Arabia or Iraq for oil. Actually we are sick and tired of the Middle East in general. Maybe, I shouldn’t speak for any other Americans. However, it seems I am safe to speak for a large number. Mitch McConnell and a host of other Republicans were elected because that is what America could do. We could vote and bring about change. There is broad frustration and even anger toward Washington and our current policies. The Republicans need to work together and get something right for the next few months. Some of us are doubtful about a Democratic President and a Republican Congress accomplishing anything. However, this is America and we can dream.

Dr. Glenn Mollette Newburgh, IN

Editor’s note: Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication. Like is Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GlennMollette or visit www.glennmollette.com

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Chamber Connect Leadership Program Class Of 2014

On Nov. 13, the Chamber Connect Leadership Program graduation, which celebrated the successes of the Class of 2014—38 graduates—marked the completion of their 10-month classroom journey and community service projects. Award winners: Damon Jackson – Class Engagement Award, LaKristy Rooks – Project Engagement Award, Keyana Brown – Outstanding Growth Award, Justin Adams – Rising Star Award, Earl Johnson – Distinguished Graduate Award and Raymael Blackwell – President’s Award. Guest speakers included former mayor Wellington E. Webb, city councilman Albus Brooks, city council candidate Halisi Vinson and Chamber Connect president Ed Wingfield. CCLP focuses on civic engagement, business, political and community leadership. . For more information, visit http://cbccfnd.org/chamber-connect/

Colorado Chapter Of The Tuskegee Airmen Receives Grant To Promote Aviation

The Hubert L “Hooks” Jones Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc, received a $40,000 grant on Saturday, Oct. 25 from The Daniels Fund to support its Mile High Flight Program. The program introduces youth to aviation and aerospace. The grant award was presented to the chapter at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. The grant has two parts: The first is a $20,000 cash contribution. The second is an additional $20,000 challenge grant, available as a match to contributions made by individuals and other civic-minded organizations which support the purpose of the Mile High Flight program. Individual contributions can be made online at www.Colorado-RedTails.com and

clicking the “Donate” button at the bottom of the page. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American men who served the U.S. with distinction during World War II. These men made an impact on society that went beyond their military service and the purpose of the Hubert L “Hooks” Jones Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., is to honor their legacy. Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television known for his compassion for people and unwavering commitment to ethics, established the Daniels Fund to provide grants and scholarships in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Ambassador Hunt Offers Tribute To Emerging Denver Leaders

for the National Stroke Association, and currently is at the American Heart Association. Pam and Ricardo Martinez were recipients of the Swanee Hunt Individual Leadership Award. The couple, who are the founding members of Padres Unidos, met on a picket line for the United Farm Workers picket line almost 40 years ago. Since then, they have been an indomitable team fighting for educational equity, immigrant rights, and student involvement in educational policy. Pam founded the first women’s studies program in the country at San Diego State University, and advanced educational reforms to ensure that college preparation is a right for all students attending Denver Public Schools, regardless of their race, gender, or zip code. Ricardo recently guided students in rewriting the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Denver Public Schools and the Denver Police Department that contains language that clarifies and limits the role of police officers assigned to Denver schools. The foundation also presented the seventh annual John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award to Flobots singer and founder Jamie Laurie, known better by his stage name “Jonny 5.”

Inner City Health Center Appoints New Director

For almost two decades, The Denver Foundation has presented the Swanee Hunt Leadership Awards to community members who make major contributions to improving life for people in Metro Denver. Hunt, for whom the award is named, is a worldrenowned philanthropist, author, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria who now lives in Massachusetts. Hunt presented the awards at the recent Annual Community Leadership Celebration in Denver. The 2014 Hunt Emerging Leader Award was given to Brittany Pyle, a Colorado native who received her Bachelor of Science in Human Services and Nonprofit Organization Administration from Metropolitan State College of Denver. While in college, she served as the Lead Student Coordinator in developing the Metro State Food Bank. She also worked at The Denver Foundation through the Nonprofit Internship Program. After college Pyle served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Horizons for Homeless Children in Massachusetts. Since returning to Colorado, she has worked

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2014

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Angel McKinley-Paige has been appointed Director of Congregational Health Ministry at Inner City Health Center. In her role, Paige will partner with church leaders and community agencies to bridge faith and health within the community. Inner City Health Center provides clinical health services for uninsured and under-served populations. Congregational Health Ministry is the outreach arm of Inner City Health Center and her primary role will be to engage community through events, health and resource fairs and health ministries within local churches and the community at large. Paige has worked in the Denver non-profit sector for nearly a decade, previously at Colorado Access and The Center for African American Health. A dedicated community advocate and volunteer, she is an alumni of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Chamber Connect Leadership Program and sits on the executive board for the 100 Men Who Cook Inc.


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The Gifts They’ll Love

Denver Urban Spectrum December 2014  

Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication that has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.

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