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Journey... ... to the White House...4,8,10,12


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Volume 34

Number 9

December 2020

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Barry Overton Dr. Lane Rolling FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Thomas Holt Russell Angelia McGowan Zilingo Nwuke ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

Can you see it? The light at the end of the tunnel? It’s flickering now but will shine bright on January 20, 2021. This issue reflects on our 2020 election – said to be the most important election of our lifetimes, when we were urged to vote “as if your life depended on it” because it did. That was probably the best campaign slogan of all because more Americans voted in the 2020 election than in any other in more than 100 years with more than 65% of the voting-eligible population casting a ballot. It was a journey for everyone and Charles Emmons shares the making of President-elect Joe Biden and how his heart, character, faith and compassion propelled him into becoming the 46th president of the United States. Angelia McGowan shares the background and comments from community leaders about the ascension of Kamala Harris who is the first woman and first person of color to become Vice President–elect. But, they didn’t travel alone. They had a lot of help and support along the way, including Congressman Jim Clyburn and Barack Obama, not to mention the Sistahs who came out in droves. Thomas Holt Russell shares the strength and determination of Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown to increase voter registration and the GOTV efforts across the country. And Charles Emmons looks at some of the challenges in the battleground states of Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. The election may be over but it only confirmed the increased divisiveness in the country. Healing is needed now more than ever. Let’s hope that the angels looking down, who protected our democracy, will shine a light that will guide the country down a successful path of healing. Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

MARKETING AND ADVERTISER Marie Weatherspoon GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

Member The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2020 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

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OPEDS, OPINIONS, LETTERS TO THE EDITOR dents, and their families, in Denver was huge! Also noteworthy are the innovations and initiatives Susana led over the years as an integral leader who oversaw academics. It cannot be overstated that across every measure from test scores, high school graduation, and college preparedness - student achievement improved under her leadership. Furthermore, Susana’s leadership has resulted in the transformation of services for multilingual learners in DPS. It is my hope that the school board, Team DPS, and the Denver community at large extend grace and kindness to our next superintendent. We need a bold leader who will continue to champion that we achieve equity, but also someone who will be welcomed, embraced, and given the opportunity to lead our district. We need a unifier, not bound by ideology, who understands Denver and is representative of the community.

We Must All Remain Focused For the Children Op-ed by Dr. Jesús Rodríguez The impact of outgoing Denver Public Schools (DPS) Superintendent Susana Cordova runs deep, and we will be challenged to find another leader who brings the unique gifts that Susana did for over 30 years. As a daughter of Denver and DPS, as an educator who served as a teacher and school leader, and in her service as a central office leader, Susana has improved the lives of thousands – with students first and foremost but also so many school building and central office staff – including facilities teams, cafeteria staff, secretaries, paraprofessionals, bus drivers and many others. The inspiration she brought as a bilingual Latina woman who looks like so many of the stu-

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I want to channel a young Illinois State Senator, who in 2004, addressed the nation and said, “E Pluribus Unum. Out of many one. That even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us. The spin masters. The negative ad peddlers. Who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well I say to them, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.” I quote the 44th president to echo that now is not a time for divisiveness, but rather, it is a time to ensure that the steps the district has taken to advance the work toward equity and high quality education for every student, not by accident, but by design, should not slow or waiver in any way. The outgoing U.S. president has sought to undo President Obama’s key initiatives without regard for their effectiveness, or their impact on people’s lives. Let’s not allow a similar carelessness Continued on page 28


Waiting to Exhale!…Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Are Elected By Charles Emmons

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n the morning after Election Day, the nation woke up asking, “What happened?” Perhaps for many, the shock wasn’t as great as it was four years ago. Nevertheless it was time for a little more head scratching. As the week dragged on, we anxiously awaited to hear who had gained enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. By the end of the week, Biden-Harris supporters were relieved, as reflected in the popular Facebook meme advising us: Breathe. While at least half of the country did breathe a sigh of relief that Joe Biden would be our next president and Kamala Harris the next vice president, what does that really mean? The hope of those who voted for this history-making duo is for an end to the endless assault on our democracy, its values and functioning representative government, as well as an opportunity to tackle national crises like systemic racism and the coronavirus. The expected blue wave didn’t materialize, and the election’s outcome didn’t indicate that a significant majority of the electorate believe the

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President -Elect Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Democrats can lead us out of the perfect storm created by the pandemic, racial injustice, civil unrest, and a faltering economy. Seventy million plus voters said, “OK, Trump, you can have another four years.” Still, the fact is that 78 million-plus voters, a record number, voiced their desire for change through the ballot box. This winning block of Americans is calling upon leaders to marshal the forces of decency and fairness back into the White House. They are demanding that the national government rally the forces of science and hope to overcome the great challenges of our time. As President-Elect explained in his Nov. 7 victory speech, “Now this campaign is over,

what is the will of the people? What is our mandate? “I believe it is this — America has called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and forces of hope in the great battles of our time. The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. And the battle to save our planet by getting climate under control. “The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, and give everyone in this coun

President-Elect Joe Biden and House

try a fair shot – that is all they are asking for, a fair shot.” Biden’s stated mandates are: 1) uniting us, 2) addressing systemic racism, 3) managing the corona virus, and 4) revitalizing an economy decimated by the coronavirus. The belief of those who supported his campaign is that he is up to the task, in part because he appears to have empathy and understands the difficulties and pain that many are collectively experiencing. How did Biden arrive at his victory? President Donald Trump claimed that his opponent’s 47 years of public service were a detriment rather than an asset. At 29, Biden was the fifth youngest person to be elected to the United States Senate, representing Delaware. Soon after that accomplishment, his first wife and young daughter died and his two young sons were injured in a tragic automobile accident. Overcoming his tragic circumstances, Biden continued his service in the Senate, where he focused on foreign policy and judicial issues, becoming known as someone who could work both sides of the aisle. He made two bids for the presidency, during which time he faced another tragedy, the

President-Elect Joe Biden on the campaign trail with former President Barack Obama

Majority Whip, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina

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death of his son. Joseph “Beau” Biden died of brain cancer in 2015. His apparently deep personal relationships appear to have helped him establish strong political partnerships. Among them is House Majority Whip, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. Biden got to know him through time spent vacationing on Kiawah Island, S.C. Clyburn’s relationship with Biden, inside and outside of Washington, led him to proclaim of the candidate’s credibility, “We know him.” Clyburn recalls discussing Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka with Biden. Civil rights were always of interest to Biden, as he also witnessed demonstrations and the National Guard in the streets of Wilmington in 1968. One of the five cases combined with the Brown case was filed in Biden’s home state of Delaware. As a Senator, he has taken some heat for his positions on criminal justice issues that have had long-term effects on the lives of Black people. But, many have pointed out that his stances matched the context of the times and the nuances of politics when he took them. Clyburn commented in a PBS Frontline interview that in looking at Biden we should not expect perfection akin to the Almighty. Biden has admitted that perhaps his support of the 1994 Crime Bill was mistaken. Clyburn provided context, explaining that Newt Gingrich took over as speaker in the fall of 1994 and tried to strip all of the good points out of the bill, including the assault weapons ban and community policing. Clyburn also noted that his constituents in a 100% Black neighborhood in South Carolina pushed him for greater policing in their neighborhoods and mandatory minimums. Like any American, they wanted safe neighborhoods and many

Barack Obama in obtaining the national nomination. Though Clyburn held back his public endorsement of Biden, he eventually said that he believes Biden is the right person for the job of president. Clyburn explained, “I think it says something for (Biden), the person, for Strom Thurmond to ask him to eulogize him at his service. Same thing with Fritz Hollings. Two senators, both from South

members of the Congressional Black Caucus supported numerous crime bills over the years. Clyburn has been called a kingmaker, because of the scheduling of the South Carolina primary three days before Super Tuesday. His endorsement of presidential candidates has led to their winning this critically-timed primary, which aided both former Presidents Bill Clinton and

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Carolina, poles apart politically, both eulogized by the same guy, simply because of the respect that they had for him. And I know a lot of people who disagree with me on almost everything but don’t hesitate to work with me, so I feel the same way about other people. And Joe ought to be proud of having the ability to do that.” Clyburn stumped through southern states for Biden. And Continued on page 6


Joe Biden President Elect

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Continued from page 5 Obama stumped for him in the Midwest as he tried to rebuild the so-called blue wall. Having two of the most powerful and influential Black men in the country endorse Biden speaks highly for his leadership qualifications and temperament. True to the unwritten code among former presidents, Obama has not being particularly vocal in the past four years of the Trump presidency. However, he broke his relative silence by coming out to help campaign for his friend and former White House colleague. In a campaign video from a speech in Flint, Mich. in October, Obama expounded, “Joe Biden is my brother. I love Joe Biden. And he will be a great president. Now I’ll admit, 12 years ago, when I asked him to be the nominee for vice president with me when I was running, I didn’t know Joe that well. We had served together in the Senate. But he and I came from different places, part of different generations. But I quickly came to admire Joe as a man who learned early on to treat everybody he meets with dignity and with respect, living by the words his mom taught him, “No one’s better than you, Joe. But you’re no better than anybody else. “And that sense of decency, and empathy, the belief in hard work and family and faith, the belief that everybody counts, that’s who Joe is. And that’s who he’ll be as president. I can tell you; the presidency doesn’t change who you are, it shows who you are. It reveals who you are. And for eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. And he made me a better president. He’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country. And he and Kamala are going to be in the fight, not for themselves, but for every single one of us.”

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Clyburn noted on CNN on Nov. 7 that he had urged Biden to choose a Black woman as his running mate, saying, “I gave all my advice to him in private. But I’m very pleased that it was a Black woman selected – I think it cemented his relationship to the Black community.” With Kamala Harris as the first woman, first African American and first South Asian American on the ballot as vice president, Black women turned out in huge numbers with 91% of them voting for the BidenHarris ticket. Biden flipped numerous states to blue on his way to his victory, the last two being Arizona and Georgia. He won a projected 306 Electoral College votes compared to Trump’s 232. It appears that the current president has no chance of being reelected, despite his Twitter complaints and lawsuits about a stolen election and voter fraud. Many in the nation are trying to move on and exhale joyously, as we learn from our past, move forward into the future and hope to build a more perfect union. In his victory speech, Biden concluded, “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States. I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. And what presidents say in this battle matters. It’s time for our better angels to prevail. Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe.”.


2020 Colorado Election Recap By Zilingo Nwuke 2020 has been full of nationwide challenges from COVID19 to police brutality and blatant racism. Elections were just as challenging. Though Colorado was not ground zero nor impacted the most by the difficulties of the year, the state struggled through and experienced similar widespread divisiveness as other parts of the country. The 2020 presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will go down as one of the longest electoral battles in history. Vote counts went back and forth in several key states, switching individual state results from one candidate to the other, although nationwide Biden had the most consistent lead and he won Colorado with a clear margin. He was named the projected national winner on Nov. 7, while votes continued to be counted and recounted in the weeks that followed the election. According to townandcountrymag.com, the previous longest election in modern history was in the year 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore, which took 35 days to pick a winner. With numerous lawsuits being filed by Trump and his supporters, his refusal to concede, and his administration’s refusal to begin the transition to the president elect, our election fights may last longer. In Colorado, we had contentious battles for the Senate, the Congress, and several statewide ballot questions. Winners and losers were decided in our state mostly within a matter of 24 hours after the last votes were cast.

Stecher with 47,767 votes to his 28,182 votes. District 29 Senator Rhonda Fields overcame a Libertarian opponent, Michelle Poague, with 41,043 votes to Poague’s 18,177 votes. District 7 state Rep. James Coleman also came out on top in the Senate District 33 race against Jerry Burton of the Unity Party, with a very dominant 57,901 votes to Burton’s 4,709 votes. Other African American, Democratic state victories included Tony Exum, Naquetta Ricks, Leslie Herod, and Dominique Jackson. Exum pulled away with a victory in House District 17, garnishing 58.1% of the votes against Republican Robert Blancken and Libertarian Susan Quilleash-Nelson. Naquetta Ricks won the House District 40 seat with 59.9% of the votes against Republican Richard Allen Bassett and Libertarian Robert Harrison. Herod had no opposition for reelection to the House District 8 seat. In addition, Jackson had no opposition for her reelection in House District 42. Voters also decided on 11 propositions and amendments on the Colorado ballot. Two were voting related, three tax related, two gambling related, and others about government enterprises, worker paid leave, abortions, and wolves. Proposition 113, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Referendum, passed. Similar to 15 other

The Colorado election for a U.S. Senate seat between incumbent Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat John Hickenlooper was relatively close. Hickenlooper was the victor with 1,730,722 votes to Gardner’s 1,429,085 votes. Hickenlooper’s promise to protect the middle class was apparently a winning strategy. The race for the U.S. Congress District 1 seat was between incumbent Democrat Diana DeGette and Republican Shane Bolling. DeGette was the victor taking 74% of the votes. The race in U.S. Congress District 2 was between incumbent Democrat Joe Neguse and Republican Charlie Winn. Neguse won with 61% of the votes. The race in U.S. Congress District 6 was between incumbent Democrat Jason Crow and Republican Steve House. Crow took the victory with 250,766 votes to House’s 175,227 votes. The U.S. Congress District 7 race was between incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter and Republican Charles Stockham. Perlmutter won with 59% of the votes. The District Attorney election victory in the 2nd Judicial District was awarded to incumbent Democrat Beth McCann who won with a whopping 87% of the votes. Her only opponent was Libertarian William F. Robinson III. The races for state Senate Districts 28, 29 and 33 all followed similar trends with Democratic victories for incumbents, all African Americans. District 40 state Rep. Janet Buckner won the Senate District 28 seat by defeating Republican Karl

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states that passed similar laws, Colorado is now bound to give its electoral votes to presidential candidates who win the national popular vote. Amendment 76 passed, requiring the state to amend its constitution to strengthen the language requiring that Colorado voters must be U.S citizens. Proposition 116, decreasing the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%, passed. Proposition EE, a measure increasing taxes on tobacco and e-cigarettes, passed. This tax revenue will be dedicated to various health and education programs. In addition, Amendment B, repealing the Gallagher Amendment and its automatic residential property tax cuts, passed. This will allow residential property tax funding for state services to remain steady, instead of being reduced whenever commercial tax revenues go up. Proposition 117 passed and will add a new provision to state law, requiring the state government to get voter permission before creating major new, fee-based enterprises. Proposition 118 passed, and mandates employers to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for many Colorado employees. Proposition 114 passed with the narrowest of victories, and directs state wildlife managers to reintroduce gray wolves to the Western Slope by the end of 2023. Proposition 115, which would have prohibited abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, was the only statewide ballot measure that did not pass this year. Amendment C passed and will make it easier to set up charitable gaming activities like bingo. Finally, Amendment 77 passed, giving local voters in Colorado’s legal gambling cities of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek, the right to locally vote on higher betting limits and more types of games, with revenues going to community colleges..


Living the Dream

nate inequities in the prevalence and health outcomes of COVID-19. Other women who have run on major tickets for the vice presidency have fallen short of fulfilling that goal. But, the very fact that they ran kept the vision of a woman in office alive. In 2008, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the Republican vice presidential nominee. In 1984, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, a Democrat, was the first woman to be on a major party ticket. Not to be forgotten among the women who aimed for the highest office in the nation is Shirley Chisholm, who ran for president in 1972. On Inauguration Day 2021, the United States of America will own a history that includes an African American man who served as president for two terms and an African American and South Asian American woman who has officially kicked off her position as vice president. She is more than ready according to New Yorkbased political strategist Chet Whye, Jr.

Kamala Harris is in the House By Angelia D. McGowan

Kamala D. Harris has set the tone for generations of women: the American Dream of doing anything you want— including becoming president or vice president of the United States of America — is possible. During her victory speech on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, the vice president-elect said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” The arsenal of firsts that she brings to fight the good fight to the White House extends far beyond gender. She is the first graduate of one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Howard University, to be elected to this office. As a member of the 300,000-member Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she is the first and only member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council to be elected to this office. As the daughter of an IndianAmerican mother, she will be the first person of South Asian descent to hold this office. As the daughter of a JamaicanAmerican father, she will be the first African American to hold this position. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was an IndianAmerican immigrant, activist and breast cancer researcher, who taught Harris early on to stand up for those who could not stand up for themselves. She fortified her upbringing, steeped in the civil rights movement, with a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. After earning a law degree, Harris forged a career fighting injustice, including two terms

as the district attorney of the city and county of San Francisco, and nearly two terms as district attorney for the state of California. During the latter role, she won a $25 billion settlement for California homeowners hit by the foreclosure crisis, defended the state’s landmark climate change law, protected the Affordable Care Act, and prosecuted transnational gangs that trafficked in guns, drugs and people. As a senator representing the state, she introduced and co-sponsored bills to raise wages for working people, support veterans and military families, reform the broken criminal justice system, and address the epidemic of substance abuse. During 2020, which has been marked by the COVID-19 global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, Harris co-sponsored a bill to remove all statues of individuals, who voluntarily served the Confederate State of America, from display in the Capitol of the United States. She also cosponsored a bill to establish or expand programs to improve health equity regarding COVID-19 and reduce or elimi-

“She is tough as nails, smart as hell and deeply compassionate,” said Whye, the ex-chairman of the Denver Public Safety Review Commission and former award-winning Denver Post political columnist. “I supported Kamala’s 2020 run for the presidency and intended to build teams in New York to deploy to battleground states much as I had done for Barack Obama.”

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Harris, married to Doug Emhoff, pulled out of the race in December 2019, and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, who would later ask her to join his presidential ticket.

Lifelong Democrat and activist Anna Jo Garcia Haynes is “thrilled. She will make such a difference. She will be great and have the interests of a lot of people.” Like a lot of Harris’ supporters during this global pandemic, Haynes, 86, was home when Harris delivered her speech. But the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inductee “yelled and smiled just the same as if she were in a group. It was wonderful. I felt like I was there. “Dreams do come true every once in a while,” added Haynes, who has served as a consultant to the White House Conference on Children and Youth and as a member of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. “It feels good to have this win.” Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler explained, “This election creates an explicit inspiration for women, people of color and anyone who needs to hear that ‘anything is possible.’ Vice President-elect Harris represents the face of and the voice of possibilities, possibilities even in the darkest of times.


You Ushered In A New Day For America

The nation can see, clearly, that even racial injustice can’t harness the power of Black women…the power of women…the power of persistence.” Tyler is chief catalyst and founder of the Equity Project LLC, an organization designed to support organizations and communities in building diversity. She served on the Colorado host committee of one of Harris’ fundraisers when she was running for president. The author of “White People Really Love Salad,” published by Mascot Books, said that she and Harris later connected on her book. “She loved the title and the power of connecting our childhood stories to our understanding of equity, inclusion and diversity.” During Harris’ victory speech Tyler “was on cloud 9”and “couldn’t sit.” She recalls rushing home from doing a presentation and just “stood in awe and pride for the duration of her speech. She reminded me that winning was just the beginning of the process. Crafting good outcomes would be the true prize. I believe that with all my heart.” Whye, who was in Time Square when Harris delivered her speech, projects that “this amazing partnership of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is just what we need now to pull America out of the abyss.”.

Good evening. Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote: “Democracy is not a state. It is an act.” And what he meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted. Article continues after sponsor message And protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. There is joy in it and there is progress. Because We The People have the power to build a better future. And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America. To our campaign staff and volunteers, this extraordinary team — thank you for bringing more people than ever before into the democratic process and for making this victory possible. To the poll workers and election officials across our country who have worked tirelessly to make sure every vote is counted — our nation owes you a debt of gratitude as you have protected the integrity of our democracy. And to the American people who make up our beautiful country — thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard. I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months. The grief, sorrow, and pain. The worries and the struggles. But we’ve also witnessed your courage, your resilience, and the generosity of your spirit. For 4 years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives, and for our planet. And then, you voted. You delivered a clear message. You chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth. You chose Joe Biden as the next President of the United States of America. Joe is a healer. A uniter. A tested and steady hand. A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us, as a nation, reclaim our own sense of purpose. And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon. It’s his love for Jill, who will be an incredible First Lady. It’s his love for Hunter, Ashley, his grandchildren, and the entire Biden family. And while I first knew Joe as Vice President, I really got to know him as the father who loved Beau, my dear friend, who we remember here today. To my husband Doug, our children Cole and Ella, my sister Maya, and our whole family — I love you all more than I can express. We are so grateful to Joe and Jill for welcoming our family into theirs on this incredible journey. And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today — my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment.

But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black Women. Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy. All the Women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard. Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision — to see what can be unburdened by what has been — I stand on their shoulders. And what a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his Vice President. But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way. To the American people: No matter who you voted for, I will strive to be the Vice President that Joe was to President Obama — loyal, honest, and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your families. Because now is when the real work begins. The Hard work. The Necessary work. The Good work. The essential work to save lives and beat this pandemic. To rebuild our economy so it works for working people. To root out systemic racism in our justice system and society. To combat the climate crisis. To unite our country and heal the soul of our nation. The road ahead will not be easy. But America is ready. And so are Joe and I. We have elected a president who represents the best in us. A leader the world will respect and our children can look up to. A Commander in Chief who will respect our troops and keep our country safe. And a President for all Americans. It is now my great honor to introduce the President-elect of the United States of America, Joe Biden.

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Wilmington, Delaware November 7, 2020


The Fight against Voter Suppression and its Role in the 2020 Presidential Election By Thomas Holt Russell

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n 2018, Stacey Abrams went to her polling location, and officials told her she could not vote because their records indicated she had already voted. She was able to solve the problem and was eventually allowed to vote. Abrams was running for governor against then Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who had purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls before that election. Abrams lost in a closely contested race, but she did not disappear. Instead, she stayed in the political arena to fight against voter suppression by creating Fair Fight, a national voters rights organization headquartered in Georgia. LaTosha Brown ran for Alabama’s State Board of Education in 1998. The closely contested election was against a white republican. When the smoke cleared, she found out that officials certified the election in favor of her incumbent opponent. However, they did not count 800 ballots, which were found by someone in a safe that belonged to the sheriff of Wilcox County, who had claimed to have forgotten that he placed the ballots there. It was too late for voting officials to count the votes. Brown became energized and started the Black Voters Matters (BVM) organization, dedicated to increasing the power of communities through effective voting. There was never a point in American history when legislation alone has been enough to ensure all citizens’ voting rights were upheld. Even after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped increased voter turnout in Mississippi from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969, Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach made a prophetic statement when he testified to Congress, “We recognize that increased voting strength might encourage a shift in the tactics of discrimination. Once significant numbers of Blacks could vote, communities could still throw up obstacles to discourage those voters or make it difficult for a Black to win elective office.”

Several loopholes have been used throughout the years to suppress voter turnout. Literacy tests required of voters in some states were not so subtle ways to stop Blacks and poor voters from participating in elections. Poll taxes were used as barriers to voting for a good portion of the Black population, and grandfather clauses restricting voter eligibility were very useful in suppressing the vote. These measures defied the constitution without breaking the law since race was never mentioned, even though they were not race neutral. The Voting Rights Act was designed to ban these practices. Still, just as Attorney Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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General Katzenbach predicted over 50 years ago, new obstacles have been put in place to discourage voters and make voting more difficult for African Americans. In recent years, common forms of voter suppression, particularly popular with Republicans, are purging voter rolls, moving polling sites to unfriendly locations, challenging signatures, making registration difficult, and imposing new rules at the last possible moment. All of these obstacles affect poor people the most. Many of those people are Latino, Native Americans, students, elderly, and African Americans. During 2020, voter suppression happened when ballot drop boxes were removed, making it difficult for some voters to drop off their ballots because of the greater distance. Voting was hindered when new voter forms had to be filled out to verify identities. In Georgia, there were two versions of the forms, one filled out manually and another filled out and uploaded on computers. Requiring voters to come to crowded polling places to fill out forms has the potential to expose voters to COVID-19, and related equipment frequently did not work correctly causing the process to take more time or repeated visits, which dissuaded many from filling out forms. Thus, the risk and inconvenience resulted in their inability to vote. To further complicate matters, the spread of misinformation especially over the internet has impacted voter turnout. In 2001, the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance was held in Durban, South Africa. A report was passed around during the conference that showed evidence of how the internet is being used as the new way to spread racist ideas. The report revealed over 60,000 white supremacists who had used rhetoric against Black people. In the 19 years since, the situation appears only to have worsened. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been a welcome tool for hate groups and others who desire to spread


disinformation. Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School, stated, “We are deeply concerned that Facebook is now being weaponized, will be weaponized in the coming weeks, and possibly even after the November 3rd…to drive antidemocratic dynamics to undermine the results of the vote.” Both domestic and foreign entities specifically target the African American population, especially Black males, to spread misinformation as a tactic designed to cast doubt on the voting process. That coupled with the apparent support of Trump by celebrity rappers such as 50 Cent, Little Wayne, and Ice Cube influenced the Black male vote, sometimes turning them off to voting at all. Voter suppression warps democracy. It makes our nation, even the idea of our nation, the epitome of hypocrisy. An example is voter identification laws that favor one or more political parties over others. Profound structural barriers are purposely designed to filter out Black and Latino voters. Abrams Fair Fight organization works to dismantle voter suppression through litigation, legislation, and advocacy. The organization filed a historic civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, alleging voter disenfranchisement. The group also exposed corruption in the form of legislation that hurt voter turnout. Most importantly, Fair Fight organized a strong network of activists that strengthens groups’ resolve and gives them power to challenge voter suppression. Abrams has energized and empowered marginalized voters in Georgia and across the United States. In no small part, she played a significant role in the Biden-Harris win this past election. In an NPR report, Abrams stated, “In the wake of the election, my mission was to figure out what work could I do, even

if I didn’t have the title of governor. What work could I do to enhance or protect our democracy? Because voting rights is the pinnacle of power in our country.” According to Brown, “All of it really boils down to the organizing. That is the way that you win elections is organized power.” She and Black Voters Matter co-founder Cliff Albright spent the last few months registering voters in Black neighborhoods in the South and Midwest. The organization aims to increase not only voter registration, but also voter turnout. We live in times that will surely go down as among the most tumultuous in America’s history. We are dying in record numbers because of the COVID-19 pandemic; we have the highest unemployment rate in years; we are suffering from economic woes as businesses struggle under public health restrictions; an exponential rise in white supremacist activities is dividing our country; police are killing unarmed Black people; and at this writing, a racist United States President refuses to acknowledge that he lost a fair and honest election and is refusing to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Through all of this turmoil, one thread is holding the nation together: the ability and power to vote. Even if change is slow and the norms and civility that is usually afforded our elected officials are rapidly disintegrating before our eyes, the power of voting is still the central pillar of our democracy. Things may look dire, but democracy is not dead yet, though it is being challenged. Voting rights champions like Abrams and Brown are focused on helping our national make it through these challenging times. These two women certainly had a big hand in the outcome of the 2020 presidential election..

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Voting in the Battleground States…

Victory! By Charles Emmons

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his election was historically contentious. Some polls predicted a blue wave against President Donald Trump that never materialized. Doubt was cast upon the democracy and voting in the United States. Fifty-five years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many people still have misgivings about whether their votes actually count. The voting process has evolved, but so have efforts to suppress and curtail the vote as the American electorate has changed demographically. The Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder, threatens to derail the advances in election integrity by removing oversight and permission at the federal level, deemed by opponents of the law as no longer necessary, like when it was enacted in the 1960s. The COVID-19 pandemic brought new obstacles and challenges to voting in 2020, forcing states to derive better

solutions to facilitate voting. While Trump and his supporters cast doubt on the innovations in voting methods, large populations voted early and by mail across the country. Biden supporters, who were twice as likely to vote by mail than Trump supporters, flipped results in the battleground states of Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona where Trump had led early on. These states in the Midwest and the South, similar to other states, ended up with the largest voter turnouts in history.

Battleground Michigan There was a tremendous drive in Michigan to register Black voters. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II hit the campaign trail in Michigan, targeting Black voters. He held virtual events and roundtables, and led a march to register young Black men. Gilchrist wasn’t just working to motivate urban Black voters. Black voters were a big part of the story in turning the suburbs blue, too. Republicans challenged the certification of votes in Detroit, but later changed this tactic after Democratic committee members called them out. Adrian Hemond, co-founder of the bipartisan firm, Grassroots Midwest, said in a Nov. 7

MLive interview, “Black voters turned out for Joe Biden in Michigan and everywhere else, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for his ability to motivate African American voters, particularly women. That’s absolutely real. That made a difference.”

Battleground Georgia Stacey Abrams, after her defeat in 2018 in the gubernatorial race, spent tremendous time and effort to register voters in Georgia where it was believed 1.4 million voters had been purged. An estimated 53,000, of which more than 80% were Black voters, had their registrations moved to pending, requiring signatures deemed exact matches. As a result of Abrams’ efforts, more than 800,000 new people are estimated to have registered to vote in Georgia since 2018, with Abrams telling NPR that 45% of these new voters are under the age of 30 and 49% are people of color. In addition, Abrams told NPR that she and her team were able to get rid of the “exact match” policy before the 2020 election. Though I can only research what others are saying about voting in Michigan, I happen to have family in Georgia and the other two battleground states that flipped blue. So, I reached

out to them to find out about their voting experiences.

Kirk and Iris are military retirees working for HUD and the EPA, respectively. They live in Douglasville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Both have voted since they turned 18. They voted in person, but experienced a five and a half hour wait at the sole polling place in the county for the first week of voting. They didn’t experience any specific suppression or feel threatened, but they were frustrated because the elections staff seemed disorganized and underestimated the demand. Nykia, the eldest daughter of Kirk and Iris, is an electrical engineer living in Georgia. She has voted in every presidential and state election since 1998. She also voted in local city elections until this year, because she moved to a home outside of the city limits. She said, “I got an absentee ballot but decided to vote in

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person instead because I had gnawing doubts about the security of mail-in voting, due to Trump and his rhetoric. I surrendered my ballot when I went in person. I had to wait just over 90 minutes to vote in Cherokee County on the first day of early voting. I didn’t experience any voter suppression. I thought one older gentleman may have been a Trump supporter trying to be a poll observer, but it turned out he was just looking around for his wife so we he could get his place in line. I brought my daughter with me and we wore masks the entire time. Some people were wearing masks and others weren’t. I tried to keep six feet of distance between us and other people, but once we were finally inside of the building to vote, social distancing became impossible to maintain.” Imani, the younger daughter of Kirk and Iris, is a television producer living in Georgia. She said that she and her husband “were able to submit absentee ballot requests in plenty of time and promptly filled them out when they arrived. After a couple of weeks, I looked online and found that our ballots had been accepted. We did not experience any suppression where we live. I must say that our county is very organized and on top of all government matters. Each of us have voted in all of the elections we were old enough to. That means I’ve voted four times and Wesley has voted three. All around our voting experience was quite smooth and we’re looking forward to casting our ballots in the upcoming runoff. We’ve already requested absentee ballots.” 

Battleground Pennsylvania Erica lives in Pittsburgh, Penn., and is self-employed. This was her third voting experience and she hopes her

state continues to offer mail-in ballots in the future. She said, “Voting was so easy this time around. I opted for the mail-in ballot to avoid the long lines and in-person contact. I actually did not experience any voter suppression because of this. But every day I received texts, phone calls, and emails from various organizations asking if I voted. Honestly it was toeing the line of harassment. But it definitely served as a reminder of how imperative this election was. Most of my friends who voted in person said the atmosphere was very encouraging and professional.”

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Battleground Arizona Sophia is from Mesa, Arizona and a junior at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She voted for the first time, and chose to use a mailin ballot that she ended up dropping off at the local voting drop box. She did not experience voter suppression. Richard, Sophia’s father, lives in Laveen, Arizona, and works in sales. He has voted four times in the past. He voted in person and did not have to wait at his polling place..

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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ROLLING WITH THE DOC

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COVID-19 With people of color experiencing a higher death rate from COVID-19 than any other ethnic group in America, virologist, trauma surgeon, and chief medical officer of SRS Inc. Dr. Lane Rolling is offering ways to return to work and school more safely. Dr. Rolling, a certified chemical and biological warfare expert who is dedicated to saving lives and eradicating the coronavirus, is making an urgent call for change by speaking truth to power. His mission is driven by his passion to change today’s COVID-19 statistics to create a brighter tomorrow.

Dr. Rolling started answering questions about COVID-19 from Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) readers last month in this regular Q&A column, “Rolling with the Doc.” He also participated in an online Q&A session hosted by DUS, and now available on YouTube. The Doc also created a helpful Ebook for the holidays and the future: How to navigate and survive through the Covid-19 endemic, available at: https://www.ausetisis.org/navigatinganewworld?fbclid=IwAR0Fyu4lgpQ okLknTJGwvu9VkMpjsdKbuZ HIF3pgoY64Ue8gKHk5DpphLk We are certain that you will find some answers below to questions that have been on your mind lately. Send your questions to editor@urbanspectrum.net to get answers in our January issue. Do you think the use of quinine family medicines for malaria in Africa could be the reason for the low rate of infections there? There is no correlation between the low rate of infection of COVID-19 in Africa due to the use of quinine and other malaria medications. There is no correlation with the low number of cases, either. In fact there are over one million COVID-19 cases in Africa, prob-

ably based on healthcare disparities and low reporting. What’s the policy and procedure on contact tracing? The policies and procedures on contact tracing are based on containment and mitigation principles of infectious diseases. The goal is limiting the possibility of the spread of a disease in the general population. By tracing that precious moment in a society, you can ascertain possible risk and exposure to a general population of a particular disease. Once that information is ascertained, you can put in principles to control, mitigate and contain the potential spread of a disease. What are your thoughts and how confident are you about the potential vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech? The two vaccines for this SARS COVID infection have potential benefits for fighting this infection based on theory. The problem is that no longterm study been done to prove the vaccines promote long-term antibodies to neutralize the virus. Current study results are based on only a three-month period. For us to have immunity, it needs to be a long-lasting immunity and we have no science to prove that yet. So, it will be very interesting to see what the science tells us in the next year. We have a long way to go. I will let you know after I have seen the science. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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As cases go up, how can providers in outpatient clinics safely protect patients, themselves and loved ones at home? It is mandatory that all basic security protocols are put in place whenever there is contact between the individual practitioner and the patient. These protocols are not just for the individual practitioner but for the patient. The new norm is that everybody has to be aware of the SARS COVID virus infection and the potential of being affected by this virus. Each clinic will have to have the necessary technology to contain and mitigate the virus in their facilities as well as an educational program that must be implemented to protect the patient and themselves.  Is there a benefit in taking Prevnar13 versus Pneumovax 23 for the immunocompromised? The benefit of taking a Pneumovax vaccine is the ability to prevent the main causes of morbidity and mortality: the gram positive bacteria, streptococci pneumonia. This vaccine is safe and stable, a game changer in the world of respiratory infectious disease. I take the vaccine. With the holidays here, the most important times for family gatherings, how do you suggest families celebrate in time of COVID-19? My recommendation for the holidays is that families should practice great biosafety and biosecurity protocols for


ROLLING WITH THE DOC each individual family unit, and understand that the virus has the potential to affect anyone. Educate and understand situational awareness. You should have no problem enjoying your holidays. Make sure that you read my book: How to navigate and survive through the Covid 19 endemic. This book is mandatory reading. What about if you’re disabled and you use a wheelchair daily? People in wheelchairs are going to be more exposed to the virus because of the inability to move freely. It is important that they understand biosafety protocols for their own personal protection and how to disinfect the wheelchair. Wheelchairs are defined as a fomite, an object that may become contaminated with bacteria or viruses and serve in their transmission to people, so they need to be cleaned regularly two or three times a day using nontoxic disinfectant. This will decrease that person’s risk of being infected by the SARS COVID virus. What are your thoughts on Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment? The Eli Lilly antibody treatment is based off of monoclonal antibody technology, which neutralizes the spike protein on the virus to prevent it from entering the cell to cause infection. It’s a great theory ..the practicality is that the virus has multiple mutations at the spike protein, and it’s impossible to be able to cover all the different possible mutations. Only science and time will tell if this treatment is effective. If you have no symptoms but were at an event where someone was later found to have COVID19, should you get tested or just quarantine? If you are at an event and somebody turns up positive later with the COVID-19 diagnosis, it is important that everybody get tested for a base-

line. This is the gold standard rule in helping contain the virus. If you have symptoms, you should always quarantine. Can someone catch the virus two or even three times? I think people need to understand that just because you get exposed to SARS COVID-19, there is a strong possibility that you can be affected a second, third and fourth time. There is

no confirmed immunity with this coronavirus family. Always continue to practice good biosafety and biosecurity protocols for yourself. Based on what you are seeing, when do you think quarantining and the pandemic will end? A very good question. This pandemic affectively is now an endemic. SRS COVID will be with humanity for the next 100 years. We will always have to

continue to quarantine when cases spike. Be smart and protect yourself and your family.. Editor’s note: SRS has developed products and procedures to help you avoid contracting the virus, available to order at this link: https://bit.ly/35pSQgl. For more information, call Bee Harris at 720849-4197. For more information about Dr. Rolling and the products and services that he talks about, visit https://www.srsincorp.com/.

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When The Center for African American Health (CAA Health) moved into its own freestanding building on January 30, 2020, they had big plans to renovate, offer new on-site programming and classes, and rent space to other community-led organizations. The approximately 21,250 square foot building, located at 3350 Hudson Street in Denver’s northeast Park Hill neighborhood is part of the Holly Area Redevelopment Project, which provides space to community-focused entities. Before CAA Health could even host its grand opening ceremony, however, the facility was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CAA Health launched a capital campaign in April 2019 to help fund the purchase of the new building, renovations, and expansion of programming and services. To date, the campaign has raised more than $2.5 million thanks to the generosity of community leaders including: • The Colorado Trust • The Gates Family Foundation • The Buell Foundation • The City and County of Denver (DEDO) • The Colorado Health Foundation • The SCL Health Foundation • The Caring for Colorado Foundation • The El Pomar Foundation • Colorado Health Access Fund (The Denver Foundation) • Boettcher Foundation • Anschutz Foundation • Marco Abarca Now entering the public phase of their campaign, CAA Health’s goal is to raise an additional $2 million by May of 2021. The funds will allow CAA Health to purchase the $4.7 million building that it is now leasing and complete the renovations necessary to help address the urgent health access needs facing African Americans in metro Denver. To learn more about CAA Health’s capital campaign, click on the case statement link, which outlines the history, goals, and future expansion plans.

Center for African American Health Increases Services to Support those Impacted by COVID-19 and Racial Inequities The Public Phase of CAA Health’s Capital Campaign Hopes to Raise $2 Million by May 2021

Established in 1997, CAA Health’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of African Americans who have higher rates of illness, disability, and premature death from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Last year, CAA Health served approximately 9,500 individuals through programs, events, and services, and its goal upon moving into the new facility was to expand services and programs by 25% in 2020.

• Partnering with Denver Public Health and Denver Health to serve as a community-based COVID-19 testing site, which provided more than 500 individuals with free and easy access to COVID-19 testing. • Hosting two voter registration events to support Get Out The Vote efforts. • Offering a drive-thru farm stand in partnership with Sprout City Farms to provide access to

Given the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the African American community, CAA Health’s management team and board worked quickly to adapt programming and re-envision usage of the facility space for the shortterm. Since April, the parking lot at CAA Health has become a hub for offering onsite health and community services with full safety protocols in place including:

affordable, healthy produce to the local community. • Sponsoring drive-thru flu vaccine clinics, in partnership with Denver Public Health, to provide flu vaccines free of charge to the community. • Distributing personal protection equipment, including 12,000 masks, and other critical supplies to families, food banks, homeless shelters, churches, and nonprofit organizations.

• CAA Health has distributed more than $85,000 in emergency relief assistance to community members for food, rent, prescriptions and utilities. In addition, CAA Health has transitioned many of its programs and services to an online format, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease management classes, wellness programs for seniors, health insurance literacy, and referrals to community resources. CAA Health also launched two new programs in 2020 via virtual platforms – behavioral health and job training and development assistance – and served as a Census Outreach Center, helping to ensure that hard-to-reach communities participated in the 2020 Census..

About The Center for African American Health The mission of The Center for African American Health (CAA Health) is to improve the health and well-being of African Americans who have higher rates of illness, disability, and premature death from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Established in 1997 and reenvisioned in 2005, CAA Health evolved from the health programming of the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative, which for more than a decade collaborated with black churches to offer health programs throughout the African American community, as well as programs for at-risk youth, academically struggling students, and ex-offenders. Since 2005, CAA Health has provided prevention and disease management programs focusing on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, wellness programs for seniors, health insurance literacy, and a variety of health education topics as well as referrals to community resources. By leveraging their extensive community partnerships and relationships, CAA Health has provided evidenced-based, grassroots health education, health promotion, disease prevention and disease management programs to thousands of individuals throughout metroDenver. .


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Maintain Your Weight This Holiday Season By Kim Farmer

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his is the time of the year when there is lots of food, especially the very yummy type that is rich in excess calories. From November through January, with COVID-9 safety precautions, many of might attend small gatherings and gettogethers for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Unfortunately, if we aren’t careful, we will spend the next nine months trying to take off the weight that could have been prevented. Here are some practical prevention tips for this season to help you avoid unnecessary weight gain this season:

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EVERYONE EVERYONE

•Eat before going out to celebrate. If you eat a decent snack before going to a party, you will be full and no longer tempted by other foods. A small snack that contains protein can diminish the urge to overeat high calorie/low nutrient foods. Some of the foods that you can consider include veggies with higher protein content (i.e. broccoli, edamame, and asparagus), lentils, quinoa and beans to name a few. This will help minimize your teptation to eat large portions at the gathering. •Bring your own food. If you are worried about sugary and heavy calorie foods served at parties, take your own side dish. Of course you are always free to taste the food at the party but if there are no healthy options, then eat your own food. •Take your time. One of the best ways to prevent overeating

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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is to eat and chew slowly. This is a method of mindful eating, taking the time to really taste and enjoy each bite. •If you are making a meal for your family, avoid placing all the different dishes on the table at the same time. For example, if you have cooked turkey, ham, veggies, garlic bread, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a casserole, fill your plate in the kitchen and after your plate is clean, take a break and then decide if you want a second helping. If you leave all the dishes on the table at the same time, chances are that you will continue to eat even after you are satisfied. •Go small. Plate sizes have greatly increased over the past three decades and this has led to people eating huge portions of food. So to avoid overeating, use smaller plates as this has been shown to make you feel fuller with less food. Similarly, use short glasses for your beverages as you will drink less (unless it is water). The most important thing of course is to enjoy your friends and family this season using safety precautions. You should continue to enjoy your favorite foods in appropriate portion sizes, being mindful to enjoy each bite and paying attention to your body for feelings of satiation. Remember that prevention is easier than reaction when it comes to your health, so plan ahead! Thanks for reading! . Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in home/virtual personal training, nutrition coaching and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email thrive@milehighfitness.com


CURTAIN CALL

DCPA Theatre Company, in partnership with ALL ARTS and seven regional theatre companies, presents the broadcast premiere of Dael Orlandersmith’s Until the Flood Originally scheduled to be a part of DCPA Theatre Company’s 2019/20 season, this one-woman play explores Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown’s killing Dael Orlandersmith in Until the Flood

In partnership with ALL ARTS, the free broadcast and digital platform dedicated to the arts, DCPA Theatre Company, along with seven leading regional theatre companies, is proud to present the broadcast premiere of Until the Flood from acclaimed writer and performance artist Dael Orlandersmith. Based on extensive interviews following the 2014 shooting of Black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson, this tour de force one-woman show, directed for the stage and television by Neel Keller, gives voice to a community haunted by injustice and a country yearning for change. Until the Flood premiered nationwide Sunday, Nov. 15 and will be available for on demand viewing until the fall of 2023. Until the Flood will be streamed at denvercenter.org/until-the-

flood, on the free ALL ARTS app and allarts.org. On August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, an African American teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting ignited weeks of social unrest, propelled the activist movement known as Black Lives Matter and prompted a controversial investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Traveling to the region a few months after the shooting, Orlandersmith conducted interviews with dozens of people who were grievously shaken by the shooting and its turbulent aftermath. From these intimate conversations, she has created eight unforgettable characters that embody a community struggling to come to terms with the personal damage caused by these complex events. Experienced in perform-

ance, these voices offer haunting reminders of America’s continuing struggle with racism and justice. Awarded a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times and acclaimed by critics and audiences across the country, Until the Flood powerfully explores the roiling currents of American history, race and politics that exploded in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri and sent shock waves across the nation. Until the Flood is an unmissable drama that the Chicago Tribune raved “achieves a great beauty by bringing us together rather than driving us apart.” The broadcast premiere is sponsored by DCPA Theatre Company in Denver, A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Portland Center Stage, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith, Until the Flood was directed for the stage and television by Neel Keller, with set design by Takeshi Kata, lighting design by Mary Louise Geiger, costume design by Kaye Voyce, sound design by Justin Ellington, and projection design by Nicholas Hussong. Originally commissioned by Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Until the Flood was filmed in 2018 during the New York engagement at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

About DCPA Theatre Company/ Denver Center For The Performing Arts The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is one of the nation’s largest non-profit theatre organizations and DCPA Theatre Company is its Tony Award-winning regional theatre. We engage and inspire through the transformative

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power of live theatre. Follow the DCPA on social media @DenverCenter. Jagged Little Pill in NYC: A Broadway Reunion Concert to be Aired for Denver Audiences in December For one night only, the Broadway cast of Jagged Little Pill will reunite for a live concert in New York City. Select markets around the country — including Denver — will make this live streamed event available Sunday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. MST. Patrons and fans of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts have the opportunity to purchase early bird tickets starting at $27. Inspired by Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Awardwinning album, Jagged Little Pill received 15 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. This electrifying new musical tells the “joyful and redemptive story of the Healys, a family with a lot of healing to do,” said The New York Times.  Jagged Little Pill in NYC: A Broadway Reunion Concert reunites cast members Antonio Cipriano, Kathryn Gallagher, Celia Rose Gooding, Derek Klena, Sean Allan Krill, Lauren Patten Elizabeth Stanley and The Jagged Little Broadway Band for a concert featuring select numbers from the Broadway hit show. In the spirit of the #SaveOurStages movement, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the DCPA. Tickets start at $27 and include access to the livestream premiere on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. MST and On Demand access through Tuesday, Dec. 15. All tickets are available at https://bit.ly/38PZgZd. Stellar Tickets will email ticketholders their login code prior to the performance. DCPA account credits and gift certificates may not be used on Jagged Live in NYC.


T

ime. It is a precious and magical thing. When people speak of the Seven Wonders of the World, it is genuinely mind boggling that time is not one of them. I mean, the power of time is remarkable, and the impact. Someone’s life can change forever in just an instant. Isn’t that wondrous?

The Magic of a Moment The Impact of Time with Senator Kamala Harris By Ryan Ross

Gavin (11) and Zoe (6) Ross with Senator Kamala Harris Far left: Dr. Ryan Ross with Senator Kamala Harris

Have you ever had a moment, that when measured realistically, is less than a blip in your day but impacted you in ways you will never forget or altered forever the way you do things? I have been thinking of a series of interactions that average out to be less than six minutes but will impact me for more than 60 years!   I remember the moments like they happened this morning. My kids had a fantastic opportunity to meet and open an event with the Pledge of Allegiance for Senator Kamala Harris. I had the pleasure of visiting with her later that evening at a fundraiser. These brief moments took me on a journey of thought and reflection; it was a lifetime in minutes.  Harris was having a conversation with my children. It was an authentic and intentional expression of thanks and empowerment. In that moment, I knew she could make history. After what I witnessed next, I was even Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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more convinced! My daughter knows the rules about people we don’t know, no matter the situation: “Stranger Danger.” Still, it didn’t matter; I watched her anxious energy burst into a hug with the senator that radiated joy, thankfulness, and inspiration. It was such a powerful transference of Black Girl Magic that the entire room paused and honored the moment. Watching the interaction involving my daughter was everything! The magic was real. In that embrace, I saw part of the experience of Black folks in America. I saw a people stripped of dignity and counted as three-fifths of a person. I saw people forced to build the infrastructure of a country that never repaid the debt, and field workers’ raw and bloody hands. Families were stripped apart, and I saw the beginning of 400-plus years of disrespect to Black women. However, I also saw heads bloodied but unbowed, and a people who represent the epitome of resilience, strength, and courage. A silent agreement of “we got this” and a mindset of “this country is ours, too” emerged. We are a people who would rise from picking cotton to picking the people’s president and elevating the first woman and African American to the vice presidency. Since 1789, we have had 48 white male vice presidents. Clearly, we aren’t the free and progressive nation we promote. Within that embrace between my daughter and Harris, I saw the importance of Harriet’s journeys up and down the Underground Railroad, the birth of HBCU’s, Rosa Parks refusing to stand, Ruby Jackson’s walk into desegregation, and Shirley Chisolm’s run for President. I see Black women changing the outcomes of elections. In real time, I’m watching Kamala Harris show my daughter that being president of the United States is not out of her realm of possibility! I see Black people’s inherent strength and the magic of seeing


ourselves in positions of power, purpose, and priority. It was but a moment, but I saw a lifetime. In this brief moment, I knew this election would be different, that we would turn out like never before and use the collective power of our voices. The words shared by Harris reinforced the messages my children hear daily: they are leaders, the critical component of our future, and most importantly, they are worth fighting for, no matter the cost. The brief conversation Harris and I shared, about what America is supposed to be and must become for Black folks, was insightful. Like the embrace, we talked for only a moment, but I again traveled the journey of a lifetime. I saw a pathway back to excellence in leadership, diplomacy, and decency. I had a vivid 1080HD picture of my children’s adult life: a son and daughter whose America is much different than their grandparents or mine. An

America where Dr. King’s dream is actualized. An antiracist America where racial abuse disguised as bias and micro-aggressions is eradicated. The root cause of systematic isms is dealt with, versus merely making excuses for the perpetrators of racist actions. I saw an America where no attempts were made to assassinate the excellence of my Black children. An environment where thriving and equity is the norm. My son isn’t thinking, “Dear police, please don’t shoot me down,” “listen white people, I’m not going to hurt you,” or “white women, please don’t call the police on me for breathing!” Instead, he is living his dream of building the cities of the future as an engineer. My beautiful Black daughter isn’t fighting for the right to be seen or heard. She isn’t experiencing discrimination based on her hair or receiving three to five times less in salary than her white male counterparts while

LOOK I NG TO SAVE ON

PRESCHOOL TUITION COSTS?

carrying the same responsibilities. Nope, she is a boss in every aspect, a CEO leading with substance, savvy, and style. She leads the way with an unmatched work ethic, intellect, creativity, and emotional intelligence, because it’s who she is, not because she has to do that much more to matter or be acknowledged. From these brief interactions, I realize the importance of the moments to come. The “great” America we have written on paper and boast about to other countries can be attained. Senator Kamala Harris’ presence at that moment meant the future I saw is a possibility. Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ current status means we can make this future a reality. America can truly be great for the first time. America won’t become great simply because the BidenHarris ticket was successful. The real work starts now. Our collective use of our voices was

the first step. This historical moment has to be followed by unapologetic, radical actions of decency, equity, and justice to ensure that everyone thrives. The country spoke, and we accomplished what many deemed impossible – putting a Black woman on a pathway to the United States presidency. We now have to continue the work. We have to rethink our approach and be intentional about an equitable economy, healthcare system, and an educational system that doesn’t support misogyny, half-truths, and achievement gaps. We have to reevaluate and restructure our justice system and attack systematic racism headon, despite the fragility or privilege of those who believe America’s meritocracy is real. There is work to be done. It’s time to manifest and materialize for everyone the America that creates liberty and justice for all..

You can now receive FREE preschool through the Denver Preschool Program! The Denver Preschool Program helps ALL Denver families with a 4-year-old find and pay for quality preschool. And now, families can receive up to 100% of their tuition costs covered.

Learn more at

DPP.ORG OR CALL 303-595-4DPP Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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Give Yourself Some Credit

These five factors will put you in a position to take control of your credit, which will take control of your life.

The five factors that impact your credit score

#1 Payment History

By Barry Overton

C

redit is likely the most powerful financial instrument that we have. Believe it or not, we have the ability to make credit work for us. Credit plays a major factor in building wealth. What it really comes down to is knowledge and understanding of how credit works. Can you imagine if you have never been in a car before and someone gave you keys and said, “Drive across town?” You get into a car that you don’t know what a gearshift is, a brake, an accelerator, or how a steering wheel works. Can you imagine the havoc that you can wreak, and the wrecks, in that journey across town? In essence, that is how people approach their credit. We get credit cards, and we get installment loans and car notes, without truly having an understanding of how credit is built. There are five major factors that play a part in your credit score. When you understand how each of these work, it allows you to truly use your credit as an instrument of creating wealth, because you can use it in a way to create top credit scores. Not only does credit allow you to purchase a home or a car, but more importantly, based on the higher credit score, it allows you to pay less for those items. In addition, it affects your insurance rates and how much you pay on a cell phone bill.

Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. It simply indicates to a creditor that you can be trusted to pay back your loans on time. It goes even deeper if you pay late – are you 30, 60 days or 90 days late? Have you gone into collections? Do you have any charge-offs or debt settlements? While you could have a mid-700 credit score, one late payment could easily drop you into the 600 range.

#2 Amount Owed Amount owed makes up 30% of your score. This is especially important with revolving credit. In most instances people think if you have a $3,000 credit limit, and having your card maxed out does not have a negative effect on you. But to optimally use your credit cards, you should never use more than 30% of the available credit on your cards. When you start to use more than 30%, it has a negative effect on your credit score.

#5 Types of Credit Use This accounts for 10% of your credit. It is important to have different types of credit as a part of your portfolio. Such as credit cards that are revolving payments, or installment loans such as a car note, or a mortgage. Credit power is your buying power. It is important that you maximize your potential to build your credit. There are several nonprofits, and credit restoration companies, that will coach you on the proper way to repair and build your credit. Without credit, you put yourself at an extreme disadvantage. This is a pivotal time to be able to take control of your financial well-being. It all starts by building the proper credit. . Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate Agent with New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information, email barrysellsdenver@msn.com.

#3 Length of Credit History This accounts for 15% of your score. A long credit history is helpful to your score, as long as the credit cards and installment loans have been paid on time. Most personal finance experts will recommend leaving a credit card open, even if you don’t use it, just because of the longevity of the card.

#4 New Credit This accounts for 10% of your FICO score. New credit can usually affect you in a negative way, but it’s also temporary. When hard inquiries are made on your credit, it will cause your credit score to slightly drop. But again, as long as the hard inquiries are not continuous, the credit score will go back up within a month’s time.

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Making transmissions well since 1983.


Contract Tracing Isn’t Keeping up with Colorado’s Coronavirus Surge By Jessica Seaman Denver Post By the time he briefed City Council on the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, Boulder County’s public health director had already joined seven others in sounding the alarm over the state of the outbreak in Colorado in a letter to state leaders. Now, Jeff Zayach had another dire message. “Across the entire state, not just in Boulder County, we are beyond the ability to control the outbreak of this disease with case investigations and contact tracing,” he told city council members. A rapid increase in new coronavirus cases is outpacing public health agencies’ ability to locate people with the disease, identify their close contacts and ask them to isolate and quarantine. Colorado has the capacity to trace contacts for between a third and a half of the total number of new cases that need to be investigated, Zayach said. This means health officials are not only unable to identify how a majority of cases are spreading — information that helps guide what interventions to use to slow transmission — but they are also unable to make sure people who test positive and their contacts are isolating and quarantining properly so that they don’t further transmit the disease. “We have just mushrooming of cases,” said Margaret Huffman, the director of Jefferson County Public Health. “It’s just blown up.” Colorado is in its third wave of the coronavirus pandemic and inching closer to hospital capacity, which officials say

could be reached in a month, just as cold temperatures and holidays are expected to drive people indoors and together. And public health officials said one of the tools needed to contain the spread of the virus so that businesses can stay open and more people go out into the community is no longer effective. “It’s kind of a moot point at this stage,” said Glen Mays, a professor of health policy at the Colorado School of Public Health. “There are too many new cases to try to staff up.” ‘There isn’t an army of trained contact tracers’ Local public health officials said that the swift surge in new coronavirus infections — which arrived sooner than expected this fall — led to the state’s contact tracing abilities being eclipsed. But the shortage also reflects the challenges agencies have faced in increasing the workforce to respond to a major public health crisis following at least a decade of budget cuts. “There isn’t an army of trained contact tracers sitting around waiting to be activated for this kind of response,” said Theresa Anselmo, executive director of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials. “This has been the struggle throughout this entire pandemic. It is happening everywhere at the same time.” The state’s 53 local public health agencies and two reservations received about $72 million in funding from various sources, including via the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. But the local agencies estimated that they needed three times that amount to handle a surge in infections like Colorado is now experiencing, she said. Roughly 800 people are doing contact tracing and disease investigations in Colorado. Of those, between 350 and 375 staffers are working with local public health agencies, said a spokeswoman with the state

Department of Public Health and Environment. In the summer, the agency announced that more than 800 AmeriCorps members could come to Colorado to help with contact tracing and case investigations. But those volunteers are not serving all at once and their length of stay varies, according to the spokeswoman. So far, 660 AmeriCorps volunteers have helped the state and another 140 will arrive in the next six weeks, according to the Department of Public Health and Environment. “During rapid rises in cases, traditional contact tracing remains an important tool to identify and mitigate outbreaks,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “We are continuing to increase our contact tracing workforce in response to the rapidly spreading virus.” Rising cases and hospitalizations. For five weeks in a row, Colorado has set records for its numbers of new coronavirus cases. Last week, the Department of Public Health and Environment reported more than 22,300 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. (The number has increased since Tuesday after the health department added more cases following a delay in reporting test results). The percentage of tests coming back positive over the past seven days is 11.51% — well above the recommended 5% ceiling. The high positivity, along with hospitalizations, means transmission of the disease is increasing and that the rise in new cases is not simply due to more testing. On Wednesday, 1,169 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 84% of the state’s intensive-care unit beds were in use, according to the agency. “We have such a high infection rate right now in our community that we need to be around 90% social distancing in

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order for us to get a handle on this disease,” said Boulder’s Zayach during the City Council meeting. Zayach was one of eight local public health directors who signed a letter sent to the Department of Public Health and Environment on Nov. 5, asking state officials to impose tough restrictions to curb the slow of COVID-19 in the community. State officials are reluctant to implement tighter restrictions, including a statewide lockdown. The rise in COVID-19 cases has surpassed Boulder County’s contact tracing abilities for almost three weeks now. As of last week, the public health agency had more than 600 cases that it won’t be able to reach for contact tracing and case investigations. Instead, the agency is mailing those people letters with isolation and quarantine guidelines, said Carol Helwig, who leads the epidemiologist team. “The transmission is so widespread that pinpointing that transmission is not as much as a priority,” she said, adding that it is more important to get people to stay away from others if they test positive or have been exposed. It’s unclear how much contact tracing Denver Public Health and Environment is doing. The agency was closed for Veterans Day on Wednesday. In Jefferson County, the local public health department is only calling people for case investigations and contact tracing when their test results are three or fewer days old.  “It’s not a decision we want to make,” Huffman, the public health director, said. “We just do not have the capacity to do that.”. Editor’s note: This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. Denver Urban Spectrum joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.


Inner-city Church Finds Silver Lining in Pandemic By Julie Jackson

Standing at the altar Sunday morning, Pastor Leath adjusts her camera in front of an empty church. With a few clicks she is live on ZOOM and Facebook with members of her congregation popping in to join virtually. Her sermon focuses on “humble love,” something she says is desperately needed in the world today. Members of the congregation nod their heads, some with hands in the air, and echoes of “Amen!” can be heard flowing through the ZOOM meeting. Reverend Dr. Jennifer Leath has served as the pastor of Campbell Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church since 2016. She says that adapting to virtual church services during the first wave of the pandemic back in March wasn’t easy. Most of the members of her congrega-

tion are well into their 80s, making them highly susceptible to COVID-19. “In the midst of COVID, our community, specifically, the community of African descent, but also the Campbell community, has been deeply impacted,” Leath said. “One in five cases of COVID is people of African descent. That’s way higher than our national population percentage by at least seven points. And so here at Campbell, many families have been directly impacted.” Rev. Leath says she herself had COVID earlier this year. While she was never officially diagnosed, because testing was limited at the time, she says losing her sense of taste and smell was a sure sign of the virus. Technical challenges made adapting to virtual church slow going. But now, most members of the Church have settled in to the new normal. Beyond COVID and her congregation’s technical challenges, Rev. Leath says that “these are extraordi-

nary times and they call for extraordinary commitment and focus and engagement.” “As a queer woman and a person of African descent in the United States, this is an especially difficult time because gender, race, and class matter in ways that demand that we be conscious of where people are suffering,” Leath said. Alleviating the many forms of this suffering has been a key priority of AME churches since their founding. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is a predominantly African American Methodist denomination based in the United States, originally founded to protest racial discrimination experienced by people of African descent at white Methodist congregations. Established in 1886, the Campbell Chapel AME Church is one of the oldest in Denver and “has been an important part of the Five Points community since its inception,” Leath said. “The church sits at the corner of 22nd and Humboldt in an area that is rapidly gentrifying.” The church has taken a firm stance in combatting this gentrification by purchasing a 24-unit apartment building to serve the low-income community, Coleman Manor. The venture is subsidized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Churches are not usually in the low-income housing busi-

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ness, but Rev. Leath says this is important “because it maintains a kind of class diversity, wealth and income diversity, and racial diversity in our neighborhood that we can’t take for granted in this moment.” Her church also helps hungry community members with food. Along with serving basic needs of food and housing, the Campbell Chapel AME Church provides spiritual guidance and inspiration, albeit virtually right now. “We’re learning how to be a church community in a new way that is not about a building, but that is about a building not made by hands: a kind of soul building...” Rev. Leath said as she touched her heart. The church is attracting old friends and new ones with their virtual services, extending beyond Denver. And that’s the silver lining, that folks from Zambia to Ohio, from New York to California, and from all over the world, can join to celebrate, pray, and find solace together in such a tough time. Rev. Dr. Leath is also the Assistant Professor of Religion and Social Justice Director at Iliff School of Theology. . Editor’s note: This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. Denver Urban Spectrum joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.


COMMUNITY NOTES

Nominations Sought for 2021 Juanita Gray Community Service Award The Denver Public Library is currently accepting nominations for the 2021 Juanita Gray Community Service Awards. These awards honor African American men, women and youth who make outstanding contributions to the Denver metro area and who exemplify the ideals and spirit represented by Juanita Gray’s commitment to the Denver community. Juanita Gray is a former Denver Public Library staff member and community advocate. Nominations are reviewed by a committee consisting of library staff and community representatives. We ask that you please be thorough with your nomination to demonstrate the nominee’s achievements and contributions. A virtual event open to the public will take place in February to acknowledge the winners. Nominee(s) must be: •An African American, a Colorado resident and a positive role model. •A user and/or supporter of the Denver Public Library. •A person who has taken an active role in the community. •A person who has made a contribution above and beyond paid employment. •A person who has made an impact in the community, state and/or USA. •Living The deadline to submit a nomination(s) is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18. For more information or to nominate someone, call Hadiya Evans at 720-865-2401

looking to work in a challenging field that will prepare you for the jobs of the future, the National Cybersecurity Center is offering free cybersecurity certification training for adults. Live instruction will be virtual and held every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. Certification will be offered for Information Technology Fundamentals Pro and Security Pro. Reserve your space today.

To sign-up visit, https://cybercenter.org/adulteducation/ For more information, email Thomas.russell@cybercenter.org

Nominate An African American Who Makes A Difference Denver Urban Spectrum is accepting nominations for African Americans who are making difference in the com-

Free Cybersecurity Training For Adults Begin In January Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. There is a shortage of well-trained professionals to fill available jobs. If you are Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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munity. Honorees will be featured in the February 2021 Black History Month issue. A virtual celebration will be held in February. To nominate yourself or someone, fill out the form from the ad on on page 29 and respond by mail, email or call 303-292-6446. Deadline to receive nomination forms is Friday, December 11, 2020.


REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM

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

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

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

llll By Laurence Washington If you’re tired of the usual “Christmas Carol” holiday fare, Netflix is offering a fresh, songfilled surprisingly entertaining movie starring Forest Whitaker as Victorian-era toymaker, Jeronicus Jangle in Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Jeronicus is a successful inventor extraordinaire who owns Jangles and Things pawn shop in the vibrant fictional town of Cobbleton. However, Jeronicus suffers a sudden twist of fate when the final component of his latest invention creates Don Juan Diego, a sentient matador doll. Jeronicus leaves his store under the care of his jealous apprentice, Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key), who absconds with Diego and Jeronicus’ book of inventions to start his own toy-making empire –

a move that puts Jangles and Things out of business. To add to Jeronicus problems, he falls on hard financial times and his wife Joanne dies. Jeronicus withdraws from his daughter, Jessica (Anika Noni Rose), who eventually leaves the melancholy man and moves away. However, Jeronicus recaptures the inspiration as an inventor when his granddaughter Journey (Madelen Mills) comes to visit. Her arrival is just in time, because the bank is

demanding Jeronicus to pay his debts or produce a new invention by Christmas or they’ll take his shop. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a magical rousing musical, that kids and family will enjoy. It has all the trimmings of bells, whistles and underlined by CGI animation which adds to the mystic of the story. Whitaker, known for his acting skills, demonstrates his marvelous singing voice. Who knew, right? The film’s choreographed songs and dance routines are reminiscent of a Broadway musical punctuated by music from Phillip Lawrence, Davy Nathan, Michael Diskint and John Legend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYPUYVgwLWY

The Esiri Twins: Spinning Magic from the Motherland By Samantha Ofole-Prince Lots of siblings make movies. From the Coen’s, the Hughes brothers to the Wachowski

siblings, keeping it in the family is always a recipe for success. Just ask the Esiri brothers whose feature film Eyimofe is making waves on the film festival circuit. Slow, steady and a visual treat, the film, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and screened at AFI Fest, the American Film Institute’s film festival in Los Angeles, Eyimofe follows two Nigerian families as they forge a path to foreign shores and is a migrant tale with a decent twist. “It’s a migrant story about the way in which the country, and Lagos particularly, interacts with its citizens and how that on the one hand can give you opportunities and on the other push you out,” shares Chuko Esiri, who penned the script and co-directed the project with his filmmaker twin brother Arie. “We’ve always been frustrated about what we go through; what everyone in the country goes through on a daily basis, particularly the everyday person. Things here that frustrates people to such an extent that they are willing to risk their lives at sea to find new shores, wherever that may be,” adds the writer/director who we caught up with on the phone from New York. The brothers who grew up in Warri, Nigeria, have written and directed several shorts together including Besida and Goose; :Eyimofe is their first feature film. Centered on two exceptional performances, Eyimofe is a story of simplicity, loss and hope. Its main characters are Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), a skilled electrician who has hopes to leave Lagos for European shores with his sister and nephews, and Rosa (Temi Amiwilliams), a hairdresser by day and bartender at night who is hoping to make it to Italy with her little sister. After Mofe loses his family to

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a tragic accident and Rosa’s travel plans collapse, both characters find there is a future in staying in the vibrant city of Lagos. “Migration stories are something that touches us all. Particularly now as the world is accessible to us,” says Arie, who joined the call from Nigeria. “It’s something we are instantly all connected to in some way.This film was more about humanizing the African migrants we see on the news where the journey is a focus.” Told in two separate chapters, one of the key strengths of the film is silence. The characters say little, and it’s their movements, mannerisms and choices that drive the story as it slowly intertwines the fate of these two people in a melodramatic manner. “We don’t set out to make films to prove a point or make people think a certain way, but more to show truth in as much as we can to what a certain situation is like. That lends itself to the way we shoot which is very objective, as we are just trying to convey a truth about a situation,” says Arie. As co-directors, the brothers evenly split their tasks on Eyimofe to ensure the film’s fluidity. Chuko, as the film’s writer handled casting, while Arie dealt with the cinematography. “We have very similar tastes and there is a lot of trust and everything is open for discussion,” Chuko points out. “The only time I would say there was any friction was when we were editing, and it was a matter of getting it right. We had a wonderful editor, but we had a lot of one takes and long shots all designed to make the film feel like it’s happening in real time and we wanted it to feel almost documentary type.” Funded entirely in Nigeria, and with a predominantly Nigerian cast and crew, Eyimofe, which was filmed in Lagos and made by GDN Studios is beautifully shot and moving and is a film that demands reflection. Editor’s note: For more information on upcoming screenings visit  https://www.eyimofe.film.


HATS OFF TO...

New General Manager Joins Town Center at Aurora Team Town Center at Aurora has hired Joel Boyd as the general manager, who will lead Town Center at Aurora’s operations, while collaborating with the team to execute innovative onproperty events and activations. He will engage with tenants, potential business partners and community members alike and represent the town center’s mission of serving as a Goodwill Ambassador. Boyd began his role on November 2. “I am thrilled to join the Town Center at Aurora team,” said Boyd, General Manager at Town Center at Aurora. “My goal is to ensure our town center provides the best experience for our guests. As the general manager, I’m committed to safety, business readiness, and community collaboration. I will be working with our team to ensure Town Center at Aurora serves as a welcoming meeting place for the Aurora community. Additionally, I am excited about the future of our Town Center with the additions of FieldHouseUSA, In-N-Out Burger, and exciting new restaurants in the works.”

Boyd brings with him experience from the City and County of Denver’s Mayor’s Office, RE/MAX International’s World Headquarters, and a cumulative 26 years of experience in small business, nonprofits, government, and corporations. Boyd is a Colorado native who grew up in Denver but spent many of those years in Aurora, where he currently resides. Boyd is extremely passionate about his community. Growing up, “Aurora Mall” sponsored his first youth baseball team, the Aurora Pirates. He worked in the mall in various roles growing up, including May D&F and Foleys that are now Macy’s and Dillard’s, anchor tenants at Town Center Aurora. He graduated from Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College at Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a bachelor’s in broadcasting and a master’s in mass communications focusing on public relations.. Editor’s note: For more information on Town Center™ at Aurora, call 303-344-9764 or visit towncenterataurora.com.

Denver Sheriff to Lead Major County Sheriffs of America Corrections and Detention Committee

Corrections and Detention Committee. Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) is a professional law enforcement association of sheriffs in the nation’s most populous counties and parishes. MCSA members represent over 120 million residents across 32 states and commonwealths. “Elias Diggins is a career public safety professional and recognized national expert in the field,” said President Koutoujian. “As a former Commissioner of the American Correctional Association (ACA) and Past President of the American Jail Association (AJA) – where he launched an effort to improve gender equity in jails – I cannot think of a better person to lead our new focus on the detention and corrections side of what we do as sheriffs.” As committee chair, Sheriff Diggins will lead the MCSA’s efforts regarding the development and sharing of best practices and model programs for detention facilities for the group’s more than 100 members. “It is an honor and privilege to be asked by MCSA President Koutoujian to chair this committee,” said Sheriff Diggins. “As a Sheriff who oversees one of the largest jail systems in America, I understand the challenges we face each day doing our part to keep our local communities safe. The work of the Corrections and Detention

Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) President Peter J. Koutoujian announced he has selected Denver County Sheriff Elias Diggins to lead the organization’s newly formed Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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Committee will assist the MCSA in moving our field ever-forward.” For more information about the Major County Sheriffs of America, visit mcsheriffs.com.

Denver Sheriff Department Deputies Awarded Medal of Valor Last month, Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins awarded the Denver Deputies Sheriff the Medal of Valor for their selfless actions that took place on September 2. Damian Lynch in the Denver Sheriff Department’s custody attempted to escape and when these deputies became aware of the situation, they did not hesitate to act. Due to their quick response, the individual was placed back into custody quickly. They were also presented with Executive Director of Safety Murphy Robinson’s challenge coin in recognition of their valiance. The deputies who were honored chased the inmate into a water tunnel next to the Cherry Creek bike path and were able to take Lynch back into custody. “After several heart-wrenching minutes, they emerged with the attempted escapee back in the custody of the Denver Sheriff Department,” Denver County Sheriff Elias Diggins said. “Their actions were swift, courageous and selfless in the face of unknown danger. For these valiant acts, they are hereby each awarded the Denver Sheriff Department Valor of Honor.”


OPEDS, OPINIONS, LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 3 or anger against those who came before to undo tangible progress made in our city’s public schools. I’m concerned about current board efforts to limit responsiveness to the community, by slowing the growth of innovation and charter schools, for example. These public school options were developed for the very purpose of advancing equity and improving outcomes for our children. They’ve helped tens of thousands of students receive a high quality education and deserve a place in the DPS family of schools. I have never worked in a charter school but I led an innovation school and I am proud of the work we accomplished with the flexibilities we were afforded. Quite frankly, I am not sure we would have been able to turn our school around without them. I

know there are folks who aren’t fans of innovation or charter status and that is okay. I share this example because I believe this is a microcosm of many issues and positions that can divide us as citizens of Denver but I believe there is room for diverse options to serve our kids’ needs. Divisiveness has no place in working to advance DPS. We need to remain focused on what’s in the best interest of our children. Difficult work lies ahead to achieve true equity in our schools. Let’s come together to attract someone who will lead us to ensuring that every child in DPS succeeds. Editor’s note: Dr. Jesús Rodríguez is a former DPS teacher, principal & instructional superintendent. He is current Executive Director of the Bueno Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The Brat Editor: No! No concede! Won’t! Won’t won’t won’t! Donald Trump is a spoiled brat. His election to the highest office in the land will forever be a stain, a blotch, an embarrassment. He proves it fresh every day. He’s a child. Monday, November 16, 2020: Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Georgia won’t let us look at the all important signature match. Without that the recount is MEANINGLESS. Open up unconstitutional Consent Decree, NOW! @BrianKempGA This claim about election fraud is disputed. [from Twitter] Sunday, November 15, 2020: Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump John Bolton was one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the “pleasure” to work with. A sullen, dull and quiet guy, he added nothing to National Security except, “Gee, let’s go to war.” Also, illegally released much Classified Information. A real dope! I would go on but it is beyond tiresome. Grow up, Trump. No US defeated one-termer in the past century has been so petulant, so profoundly immature, and so destructive to the semblance of democracy that still exists in the US. You lost, loser. Only the sadly credulous believe you,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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loser. You know you will be out. Why destroy the functioning of this country even more than you already have? Oh, of course, as Putin’s puppet, that is your mission, loser. Seriously, every single thing Trump does is on the Putin wish list for decades. Weaken NATO. Yank the US out of Central Asia. (By the way, peace people also want this, but in a radically different way than Putin and his puppet Trump). Kill more Americans every three days than the 9.11.2001 terror attacks. Literally, more than 1,000 Americans die daily because you botched the COVID response beyond all recognition. Convince the gullible that Trump is somehow coherent and that the conspiracies made up by Putin and promoted by Trump and the Alec Jones/Qanon loonies are right. Gawd. When the General Services Administration is invariably very swift in launching the transition process, usually within a few hours after the close of polls and within an hour or two of the declaration of the winner by Associated Press, what is the treasonous reason for the delay in 2020? Oh, that’s right. Nothing on Earth matters except Donald Trump. The country in turmoil? Americans dying? Government grinding to a halt? National security foundering? Who cares? What is really really


OPEDS, OPINIONS, LETTERS TO THE EDITOR important is that Donald gets to play out his hissy fit, his infantile tantrum, and alternate that with his sullen pout and refusal to do anything whatsoever for the national good. That is his legacy. Anyone still supporting that loser will share the ignominy. I think we can all concede Tom Hastings that. Editor’s note: Dr. Tom H. Hastings is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University, PeaceVoice Director, and an expert witness for the defense of civil resisters in court.

Perhaps All Lives Will Matter One Day Editor: As we let go of 2020, we can think about what we might want to encourage for next year and the rest of the decade. We have learned so much about the risk of microscopic infections. We have learned how we must cooperate more and more, realizing that viruses and infections do not know class, status, race, income, etc. We have learned that the economy we depend upon can go from boom to bust, so quickly. Perhaps it has led some of us to think about the plight of the less fortunate, the front line workers, the essential workers, and those with significant health challenges. While concerned about ourselves, we have been ever more constrained to be concerned about the great us, and perhaps also the greater U.S. We have witnessed more horrifying murders of Black folks for no good reason. But in response to those killings, we have seen protests and reactions from all classes and races declaring that BLACK LIVES MATTER! We have seen a woman of color, Kamala Harris, elevated

to the second highest public office in the land! We have seen Black folks, Brown folks, white folks and all other stripes and colors coming together to repudiate a president known for condoning racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Perhaps we have all had a glimpse from the mountain top that Dr. King told us about; where we can look into a future of all coming together peacefully to enjoy a world not limited by skin color. I sure have and I like the view! For me, I will look for, pray for, and advocate for a city, a state, a nation and a world where we can all work toward more inclusion, more principled action and more sensitivity to the needs of all. It starts with each of us. It starts with how we talk, how we act, how we encourage and how we motivate. It is an act of courage, and it is certainly an act of dedication. But it’s not only an act of dedication to others; it is also an act of dedication to our own individual integrity and our own principles. There has been, in my view, a profound change in both the way Black folks are seeing themselves and the way that the rest of the folks see Black folks. Hopefully we can all work to an abolition of racism. We know that racism is still rampant in parts of our country and many parts of every state. How can we work collectively to abolish racism? That is a worthy goal for all and maybe should be our resolution for each New Year until it is accomplished. We succeeded, after an immensely bloody Civil War to abolish slavery, but rank racism has persisted. Once racism is abolished and we know it is not coming back, then perhaps we can comfortably say All Lives Matter, but not Mike Sawaya until then. Denver Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – December 2020

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Kool 1970

Kool 1976

JUUL 2015

Different era, same Big Tobacco. Tobacco companies have aggressively marketed menthol-flavored cigarettes to kids and Black Americans for decades. Menthol cigarettes are easier to start smoking and harder to quit. That’s why 70% of Black American youth smokers use menthols. Today, Big Tobacco’s still at it – with e-cigarettes also hooking a new generation with new flavors. Let’s stop pretending tobacco companies and vape shops care about public health or the health of our children. It’s time to stop the sale of flavored tobacco products to protect our kids and communities. Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell your City Council Members to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund


WE’RE PLUGGED IN TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY.

At Xcel Energy, we know what it means to be connected to the lives and livelihoods of the communities we serve. In addition to doing smart energy things like supporting carbon-free initiatives, we’re doing smart people things. Investing in local start-ups and artists. Supporting educational innovation. Helping nonprofits thrive. Together, we’ll keep this a great place to live, work and learn. Visit xcelenergy.com to learn more.

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Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum - December 2020 Journey to the White House  

This issue reflects on our 2020 election and features the lives of President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Stacey Abr...

Denver Urban Spectrum - December 2020 Journey to the White House  

This issue reflects on our 2020 election and features the lives of President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Stacey Abr...