Page 1

Volume 29 Number 9 December 2015


Paul W. Stewart, Sr.

Page...16 &17



Countdown to

2016 Page...4


The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.

December 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



– Bruce Lee

The cover story for our last issue of the year features a man who has lived a life worth remembering. In the archives of the Denver Urban Spectrum we found the article “Paul Stewart Still Riding the Range in Search of Black History,” written by Sid Wilson and Rich Grant. We could find no better piece to capture the essence of the founder of the Black American West Museum. My favorite line from their article is, “Any conversation with Paul is bound to take many twists and turns, as one story leads to another, from Buffalo Soldiers to homesteaders to railroad porters, with even a famous poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the first Black person to win an Academy Award, Denver’s own Hattie McDaniel, thrown in.”


We share the cover with the “Denver Urban Spectrum Countdown to 2016” where contributing writer Melovy Melvin highlights our coverage this past year of major events and accomplishments relevant to the African American community in Denver and beyond.


As we close out the year, we would like to acknowledge our supporters, advertisers, contributors and you, the reader. Thanks to you, the Denver Urban Spectrum marks another year of spreading the news about people of color. We wish you the very best this holiday season.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kris Colley II Rich Grant Melovy Melvin Sid Wilson

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


In light of all the recent and diverse tragedies this year, we’ve published several columns from those seeking solutions to a more peaceful world.

With sincere gratitude,

Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor


ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Byron T. Robinson DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2015 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


HIV/AIDS Today Among Black African Americans

hopeful. Meanwhile, with proper treatment with antiretroviral therapy we can prolong the lives of many people affected with HIV and lower the chance of infecting others. Where did HIV come from? It was first identified in chimpanzees in West Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans. They think this version of the virus was transmitted to human and mutated into HIV when a person came into contact with the chimps’ infected blood. This virus has existed in the U.S. since the mid to late 1970s. HIV disease has a well-documented progression if left untreated, and is almost universally fatal because it eventually overwhelms the immune systems – which results in AIDS. Uncomfortable yet? Well, it gets worse: African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents. At some point in our lifetime 1 in 16 Black males and 1 in 32 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. Lack of awareness of your HIV status, fear, discrimination, homophobia and negative perception about HIV testing have placed the African American community at higher risk. Many at risk fear the stigma more than the infection and may choose to hide their high risk behavior, rather than seek counseling and testing.

Editor: HIV is a life changing disease and for this generation, fighting this disease is only half the battle. The rest of this battle is the day to day problems that we as Black/African Americans must deal with. So, let us break this up and push each other out of our comfort zones. We have to separate facts from fiction, and get on with living together. Get the facts. I have a question: How many of us know about HIV/AIDS and what’s our HIV status? You must realize that the facts can save your life, reduce misinformation and help you make better decisions about your life and health. So, I urge you to stay in the know. Now from the expert(s): What HIV/AIDS? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus can lead to AIDS. Unlike most viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means once you have HIV, you have it for life. The only way you know if you have HIV is to be tested. HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact and injection drug use. There is no safe or effective cure for HIV/AIDS currently, but we are working hard to find one, so remain

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


The answer is simple: get tested! Find an HIV testing site near you. The major African Americans churches, with the assistance of the Colorado Department of Public Health, are attempting to assist at least 100 people in their community as a part of World AIDS Day. And, as a physician, I am suggesting that each pastor preach a sermon around world AIDS day.

Dr. Johnny Johnson President of the Mile High Medical Society Denver, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

Publisher Editor News & Information

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Distribution & Circulation

The Denver Urban Spectrum Countdown to...


-January 2015

New Year! New Beginning! The Denver Urban Spectrum salutes the upcoming year in celebration of the birthday of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was remembered as an advocate for change, and could not be more influential as the uprising, nation–wide movement led to marches, die-ins, student walkouts, and general protest to the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The fresh start to the New Year issue also marked the ninth year of the Asfaw Family Foundation International’s Arches of Hope Bicycle Give-A-Way and the seventh year for the Aim High Scholarship Program. Both of which, the foundation help and gives out bikes and scholarships to deserving youth in the community. One of DUS’ very own also receives recognition. Publisher and art director, Rosalind “Bee” Harris is honored by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) as one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver. Harris explains that although being a woman of color and running a business and a publication can become a very complicated maze of obstacles, she says, “Whenever I get a chance I like to pass those leadership skills on to the next generation, so when their opportunity to lead comes along, they’ll be ready.”


-February 2015

DUS joins the nation in celebrating Black History Month and the increasing number of achievements by African Americans in the United States. The DUS cover story by contributing writer, Charles Emmons, profiles former Denver Broncos wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl Champion, Rod Smith, on how he has re-invented his life after football. Smith explains his journey and the lessons he has learned in football and in business. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado announces its new president and CEO, Lauren Y. Casteel, the first person to lead three separate foundations in Colorado. This issue highlights 15 recipients

By Melovy Melvin

of the Denver Urban Spectrum’s annual African Americans Who Make a Difference awards, presented at the Me & The Dream Program and Exhibit held at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in February. This issue also celebrates the life of Dr. Robbie Bean, a longtime educator who passed in January.

with his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour as well as a preview of Motown the Musical. An article by Annette Fuller, shared revelations by author and activists Dr. Howard Fuller in his book, entitled “No Struggle, No Progress.” The DUS also publishes a “Conversation with Rep. Diana DeGette” regarding health and wellness issues of concern in the African American community.



-March 2015

For Women’s History Month, the DUS cover story by Angelia D. McGowan features Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith on her pioneering spirit. The native of Cameroon became the first Black flight attendant in the world when she took flight in the 1950s. The Denver Urban Spectrum also acknowledges “Me and The Dream” student essay winners who had submitted essays about potential inventions and how they could impact the world today and overtime. This issue also celebrates the 50-year anniversary of the Hope Center, led by president and CEO Geri Grimes. A column by Theo J. Wilson, entitled “Buy Black or Die” addressed entrepreneurship in the African American community.

-May 2014

In this issue, veteran journalist and documentarian Tamara Banks talks about her eighth trip to South Sudan, located in Central Africa and having “The Talk” with the youth. This cover piece demonstrates how an award – winning journalist is using her voice to make a difference in her choice to have intimate conversations about HIV awareness and human rights. Angelia D. McGowan’s piece “Bringing Back the Arts Initiative Goes” focuses on an event that brought cast members of Motown The Musical together with 50 middle school students where they learned about the relevance of legendary music. This month’s issue welcomes back columnist Hasira Ashemu, who wrote a piece that addressed Jay Z’s level of social responsibility, pointed out by actor and activist, Harry Belafonte.


-April 2015

This month the Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates its 28th anniversary with the launch of a new mobile app allowing readers access to the Denver Urban Spectrum’s website and publications on their mobile devices. This issue, featuring guest managing editor Chandra ThomasWhitfield, also features a review on Stevie Wonder, who was in Denver


-June 2015

Commemorating Black Music Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum gets up close and personal with singer Hazel Miller. The cover story profiles the performer of more than 40 years on her life with music and her unique ability to make sure every person in the audience is enjoying their time. This issue also shines the spotlight on

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


bass player, Vernon Barbary, and his business Pockit that supports local musicians around the country. This month’s issue is dedicated to the memory of civic leader, Josephine M. Mann, musician and educator George Morrison, Jr., music promoter and rodeo producer Lu Vason, and Tuskegee Airman John Mosley. Their obituaries are included in the issue.


-July 2015

Africa comes to Aurora! Well …kind of. Our cover story, “Africa Meets Aurora Through Afrikmall” by Charles Emmons details the potential for this new store to bringing an economic and cultural boost to Aurora, Colorado. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents the 21st Annual International Summer Dance Institute. The institute provides expert instruction in various techniques of jazz, ballet, hip-hop, modern, African and cultural dance. Theo E.J. Wilson writes about the frustration and struggle for African Americans in his article “Nobody is Coming to Save Black People!” Also in this month’s issue, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma Webb, were honored for their political and love story in a onenight play at Curious Theatre.


-August 2015

The Denver Urban Spectrum publishes the inaugural address that Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s delivered at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. He addressed the city’s accomplishments during his first term and described his goals on encouraging the city to prosper and also helping the people of Denver heading into his second term. This month’s issue also features a piece on Stephanie O’Malley, the city’s executive director of Denver, about her commitment to make informed decisions. There is also a story about “be well,” an initiative of the Stapleton Continued on page 6

Healthy Gifting This Holiday Season

aren’t sure yet how to create tasty yet healthy food options. This may be a great gift idea for a mom or dad on the go who is looking for creative ways to get keep meals healthy at home. A massage: Who wouldn’t appreciate a 60 minute massage gift certificate? There are so many types of massage services available – if your loved one is recovering from an injury, has joint or muscle pain or is just plain stressed out, this would be a welcome gift. Have a happy and healthy holiday! Editor’s note: For more information, visit ining or email

By Kim Farmer

‘Tis the sea-

son of gift

exchanges! If you or someone you

know has made a change towards a

healthier lifestyle, or is considering it, how about giving them a gift to fit in

with the new way of life? These don’t

need to be pricey gifts, either. Here are

a few ideas: A State Parks pass: for about $70, you can purchase a pass that will grant access to some of the greatest outdoor terrain in Colorado, both across the entire state and in the Denver metro area. This is a great way to get out into our wonderful state and enjoy snow shoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, and biking all while supporting our state parks and a great gift idea for a family. A bicycle: One of the most versatile and enjoyable pieces of exercise equipment, people of all ages can enjoy a bike in the warmer months. The metro area has an extensive bike trail system for all ability levels, and many bike shops have maps of these trails. A fun gift for anyone would be a bike, helmet, a lock, and a map! An advantage to gifting a bike – it doesn’t have to be a top of the line or even a brand new bike. Thrift stores and online classified websites often have bikes for sale – a bit of elbow grease to tune it up is often all that’s needed, and replacement parts are fairly inexpensive. A coupon to try a new workout: With the growing number of online coupon sites, many fitness studios are offering low-cost coupons to come try out their facility (example: three yoga classes for $15 or five Zumba sessions for $20). These are a great opportunity to experience something new with no obligation. Buy two – one for you, and tuck the other inside a pretty card for a friend. Healthy prepared and delivered meals: There are several local companies that specialize in healthy, easy to access meals for those busy times in people’s lives, or for people who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

United Church of Montbello! Come as you are and get connected to your best self through great fellowship and the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday Worship: 8:00am (Traditional) and 10:30am (Gospel) 4VOEBZ4DIPPMBNr8FEOFTEBZ#JCMF4UVEZQN

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

DUS Countdown

Continued from page 4 Foundation to create healthy sustainable urban communities. Angelle C. Fouther shared with readers the development progress and needs for one of Denver’s culturally – rich neighborhoods, in her article “Montbello, a Neighborhood Rising Froom the Roots Up.”


-September 2015

The cover story for this issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum sees publisher, Rosalind J. Harris reconnecting with family and friends on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In her coverage,

wright Kenneth Grimes, shares the journey it took for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop to make it from the popular book to the stage.

she takes our readers down memory lane as she chronicles her trip to Ghana in support of the Beacon of Hope for the African Child. This month’s issue recognizes the Denver Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and award recipients for its upcoming Whitney M. Young Jr. Annual Gala. This issue also recognizes recipients of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists annual media awards and banquet, including photographer Lorenzo Dawkins, Tamara Banks and Charles Emmons, all who received recognition for their work published in the Denver Urban Spectrum. Angelia D. McGowan, in her piece on play-


-October 2015

Tyler Perry’s first time in Denver! And it definitely won’t be his last! Thanks to Charles Emmons, the cover story honors Perry on his works and provides insight on how he has become a success today and the challenges he has faced in his journey as a writer, producer, actor, storyteller,

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director and philanthropist. “Five Points Icon Zona Moore Celebrates 90 Well Lived Years” by Charlene Porter captures Moore as she prepares to celebrate her 90th birthday and her description for her formula for success. This issue features a piece on Shades of Blue, Inc., and its efforts to bring Black astronauts to Denver for a historic reunion as well as to recognized Nichelle Nichols for her role in helping NASA to recruit minority astronauts.


-November 2015

This month’s cover story by Angelle Fouther highlights the “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself” fashion show that raised funds and awareness for Down syndrome. This year’s event welcomed a host of Hollywood stars including musical icon and actor, Jamie Foxx along with Terrence Howard, star of the FOX TV series, “Empire.” This month DUS also shares information about veteran TV journalist, Soledad O’ Brien and her coverage of race relations in America, and her passion encouraging young girls to pursue their own passion. Kris Colley II penned two articles of key relevance for the African American community. “The Race to Save Wyatt Academy” talks about efforts to keep the school open. His piece on the Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-being previews some of the services that will be offered at the campus, slated to open this month in a Denver neighborhood searching to be revitalized.


-December 2015

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He fought for years for you to have it. Get covered at Connect for Health Colorado.

The tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2016 will be at least $695 per person and could be thousands depending on income. Get covered at Connect for Health Colorado and avoid the penalty. Call 855 PLANS-4-YOU (855-752-6749) or visit us online.

For more information on rates, options and tax benefits, go to Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


This month’s issue provides a highlight of this past year’s articles and columns as well as current events, including the passing of Paul Stewart, founder of the Black American West Museum. Kris Colley II joins other local journalists of color for a conversation with Karen Finney, Hillary Clinton’s strategic communications adviser and senior spokesperson. Ending out the year, DUS shared several articles from Peace Voice contributors. PeaceVoice is a project of the Oregon Peace Institute and is devoted to changing U.S. national conversation about the possibilities of peace and the inadvisability of war. In light of the current state of America and around the world, and with a focus on hope and peace, it was a perfect way to close out the year.

Minority Media Meet with Clinton Official in Denver


By Kris Colley II

he race for the 2016 presidential

election is in full force and picking up steam as the calendars come closer to turning from 2015. Since early May,

Democratic and Republican nominees

have been touring the 50 states, work-

ing to gather support. A lot of this

support comes from the efforts and

endorsement of the local press. The

sector of the local press often forgotten is the Black and Latino or the minority

press. Journalists from the Denver Urban Spectrum and numerous other members of Denver’s minority press met last month with Karen Finney, strategic communications adviser and senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The overall feel of the meeting was a bit rasping at points as frustration with past campaigns has left many in the minority press out of the media loop. “Who and what will be done to make sure that minority media is credentialed and is a priority item in the budget? We have to struggle to attend events, major events; we’re an afterthought. I was counting on getting a commitment today that we will be a priority consideration for advertising and we will be a priority group for credentials,” explained Dr. Syl Morgan-Smith, a longtime community leader. Many members were upset and tired of promoting a candidate, whipping the votes in their selective communities and not being recognized for doing such. The recognition that is desired is specifically a seat at the metaphorical news table. Minority press leaders are requesting media credentials for events and interviews with the specific candidates. “What I can tell you is it’s important to me, it’s important to me as someone who has been on both sides (media and campaign)…The amount of dollars just have not been there and they get spent late in the game,” Finney replied. She continued, “So we’ll commit in terms of credentials, absolutely. In terms of spending dollars, I can say that it’s something we’re

Karen Finney, strategic communications adviser and senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, addresses the Denver community at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver. Photo by Bernard Grant

planning to do. I can’t tell you when and where and how much at this point but I absolutely take back to the campaign what I hear from these conversations. I didn’t know credentials were an issue, so that is something that I’ll make sure that our people are aware of.” Local minority news outlets feel that their publications and the communities that they serve are often not cared for after the election season. Founder and publisher of the African American Voice newspaper, James Tucker, said, “I am mainly concerned with, ‘what is her action plan?’ because it seems like we are doing the same cycle over and over again. You don’t see political people until its election time. And as a result of that, what are you actually planning to do for the Black press?” Finney said, “I know people come every cycle and say the same thing. I do know that; I can’t change that. I can’t change what has happened in the past, I can only try to change how we move forward in this campaign.” The majority of the media present could not agree more that their publications do so much to help the elected officials only to fall by the way side once the campaign is lost or won. Finney also discussed Clinton’s campaign agendas such as criminal justice reform, lowering college tuition and energy reform – three topics that pertain precisely to young Americans between the early voting ages 18-25. Finney detailed a recent campaign speech Clinton delivered at Clark Atlanta University. “She talked about

criminal justice reform, and one of the leading topics was body cameras so expanding on what President Obama had announced; also sentencing reforms. So she has meet with young people from Black Lives Matter. At the speech at Clark Atlanta she spoke

about ending federal funding of privately-owned prisons and to change the discrepancy between crack and powdered cocaine.” She added, “She (Clinton) was just endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters this week for her climate change proposal. She’s also talked about it. In terms of global climate change, she has set goals for the percentage of renewable energy that she would want to see the country using by 2025.” Recent police altercations and protests spanning the nation are driving much of the Black and minority vote this upcoming presidential election. But the Black and minority voters should pay special attention to their very own local elections. Much of the very issues and laws directly affect our everyday way of living. Overall, it is healthy for a representative from the campaign to have met and to continue to meet with the minority local press. But one face-toface meeting won’t cut it fully. Allowing credentials for campaign events, at minimum, is a test to gauge this campaign’s seriousness about issues facing the minority community. Smith said, “We’re here and we are trying to support her, but she has to support us.” 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015




n December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a Montgomery city bus on her way home from work, and, fatigued, refused to give up her seat to a white man when the bus had filled up. Parks was arrested for violating the city’s segregation statutes, and within a few days, the AfricanAmerican leaders of Montgomery responded with a highly successful boycott of the city’s bus system. In less than a year, by November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal district court ruling that bus segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and within a month of that ruling, integrated buses began rolling on the streets of the city. As we reflect on the anniversary of those events, we might well ask what messages or meanings, they carry for us 60 years later. Among many possible meanings, I would like to suggest two, and the first is simply this: nonviolence works. During the year-long boycott and its immediate aftermath, white supremacists committed numerous acts of violence against the boycotters and their leaders. They bombed the home of Martin Luther King, Jr., the boycott’s leader, almost killing his wife and child. They continued perpetrating violence after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling, firing on buses, bombing churches, and other leaders’ homes, and beating up riders. Yet the boycotters never retaliated violently. As a result, one of the city’s most important legal arguments against bus integration – that it would lead to interracial violence – collapsed during the court proceedings.

By Andrew Moss

Equally important, the boycotters’ self-discipline kept public awareness sharply focused on the injustices of segregation, winning support not only among northern whites but also among many white people in the south. To maintain their discipline, the boycotters showed considerable courage, putting the lie to the claim that nonviolence was for the weak. Many, if not most, of these nonviolent warriors, possessed a tool not available to most conventional soldiers: the ability to distinguish between the perpetrator of injustice and the injustice itself. This distinction, a key principle of nonviolence taught by Dr. King and his fellow leaders, allowed the boycotters to engage their opponents without demonizing or dehumanizing them. The protestors understood that the defeat of bus segregation was a victory for all of Montgomery, not a defeat of white people. This understanding imbued them with an empowering identity as change agents on behalf of human dignity and democratic values. Today we can see similar qualities on the part

of the University of Missouri students who displayed discipline, perseverance, and courage in protesting the oppressive racism at their university – and raising consciousness enough that a chancellor and university president had to resign. These examples lead me to a second message I’d like to suggest when reflecting on the long-ago events in Montgomery. This message, too, is straightforward: that nonviolence is not only a body of strategies (boycotts, sit-ins, hunger strikes) for resisting oppression; it is also a philosophy, or world-view, that represents the sanest, most viable alternative to ever-escalating cycles of violence, whether those cycles are manifested in calls for guns in schools or in the bellicosity and fear-mongering that follow the kinds of terrorist attacks inflicted on Paris and other cities. Almost 12 years after the arrest of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King appeared in New York’s Riverside Church to break his silence and proclaim his opposition to the Vietnam War. King was subsequently assailed

not only by his opponents but also by many of his allies who saw his antiwar position as deflecting much-needed energy from the civil rights movement. In his address that day, King not only showed the logical connections between opposition to the war and the struggle for justice; he also offered a penetrating analysis of the global choices facing the world’s preeminent military and economic power. King condemned the anti-revolutionary direction of American foreign policy, pointedly criticizing the nation’s support of oppressive regimes in its destructive quest for profit. And he called for a “genuine revolution of values,” declaring that, “Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.” Exactly one year after the Riverside Church address, King was felled by an assassin’s bullet. The choices he articulated in that address still vex us today. The eloquence with which he spoke made it clear that the road from Montgomery ran straight to the Riverside Church, underscoring the fact that nonviolence and the quest for justice are inextricably linked. In 1958, two years after the boycott, King had written, “In a day when Sputniks and Explorers dash through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, nobody can win a war. Today the choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.” Sixty years later, this message from Montgomery may resound more urgently than ever before. Editor’s note: Andrew Moss, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is an emeritus professor at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he taught a course, “War and Peace in Literature,” for 10 years.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


Stapleton Foundation Seeks Nominees for ‘be well’ Awards and Community Celebration

The Stapleton Foundation is seeking nominations for the 6th Annual be well Awards and Community Celebration. The annual awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations who “Get in the ZONE – the ZONE of healthy living” and make a difference in the communities of Montbello, Stapleton, East Montclair, Greater Park Hill, Northeast Park Hill, and Northwest Aurora by promoting healthier, more active lives. “We want to salute those who volunteer their time or go further than

their professional responsibility to motivate others, initiate change and provide key services to advance healthy lifestyles in the be well Zone,” said be well vice president Alisha Brown. Award categories include be well Physical Activity Leadership, be well Nutrition Leadership, be well Community Advocate(s) of the Year, be well Preventative Care Leadership, be well Community Service, and be well Legacy, a new honor this year. A youth and an adult will be honored in each category with the exception of the Legacy Award that is only presented to adults at least 18 years of age. Anyone can make a nomination, however eligible recipients must reside in, work in, or make significant contributions to health and wellness within one of the be well zones. Forms are available at the be well Centers located inside Denver’s Hiawatha Davis and Central Park recreation centers and the Moorhead Recreation Center in Aurora, or may be submitted online at The deadline for submitting nominations is Dec. 18.

The be well awards and community celebration will be presented Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec St., in Denver. Attendees are encouraged to wear sneakers to the community celebration which will include a fitness fashion show, prizes, and giveaways. be well, an initiative of the Stapleton Foundation, is a groundbreaking movement of neighborhoods coming together to take charge of their health and wellness in the be well Zone. Editor’s note: For more information about the be well initiative and its programs, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015



Actor Hill Harper


Talks Money Management

With Students

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MassMutual’s FutureSmart Challenge and the Denver Nuggets brought together more than 2,200 middle school students from Denver area schools at the Pepsi Center. Students participatead in an educational seminar hosted by award-winning actor and best-selling author Hill Harper and learned about the importance of smart money management, why a higher education is essential to their financial success and the difference between “smart money” and “dumb money.” Special appearances by former Nuggets forward Mark Randall and the Nuggets Super Mascot Rocky lighted up the arena during this special event. Music pumped through the arena. Free T-shirts were tossed to clamoring crowds. Nuggets mascot Rocky nailed a no-look, behind-theback half-court shot. Harper bounded along the sidelines and ran up the aisles to quiz students on financial choices, rewarding correct answers with $20 bills. He encouraged the kids to talk with their parents about finances, open a free student checking account and put a closer eye on what consists of “smart” and “dumb” money. “Education is the No. 1 factor to determining earnings capacity,” Harper, who has degrees from Brown and Harvard universities, told the students. Denver is the fifth stop on the 2015 multi-city tour of MassMutual’s FutureSmart Challenge, a future leadership program that offers middle school students the opportunity to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


learn about smart educational and financial choices in an exciting interactive seminar followed by Junior Achievement curriculum in their classrooms during the school year. “It’s a really important time in the students’ lives and we want to empower the correlation between their education and finances and how they can take steps today to improve their future down the road,” said MassMutual vice president of community responsibility Nick Fyntrilakis. The goal of the program is to empower and challenge young future leaders to take positive steps towards a successful career and financial security for themselves, their families and their communities. Editor’s note: For more information on FutureSmart, call Maria Fernanda at 310696-9585 or email maria.fernanda@jelena

ULFC Chamber Connect Holds 2015 Graduation Ceremony

Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado hosted 300 people at its 8th annual graduation ceremony for the ULFC Chamber Connect Program; honoring 27 new fellows who grow the organizations Alumni network to nearly 350. The event was held at the Cable Center on the University of Denver campus and featured City Council President Christopher Herndon, who emphasized, “The two most important moments in your life are the moment when you are born and the moment you realize what for.” These encouraging words inspired the Chamber Connect Class of 2015 to go forth and be effective leaders in the community of Denver. As dinner was served an overview of the two classes’ community service projects were viewed; The iAm Academy, with a mission to provide real world applicable tools to males of color, and the Revive Expo, which

focused on mental and overall health within the African American community. The evening concluded with several recognitions including the 2015 Distinguished Program Graduate: Brandon Bruce of CWEE. The ULFC Chamber Connect

Program is led by chairman of the board and former mayor, the honorable Wellington Webb, Edward Wingfield, president; and Dr. Ryan Ross, program director. It is a program aimed at preparing well rounded African American leaders to inspire

service in the community’s interest and be prepared to serve as Colorado’s next generation of exceptional professionals.

Editor’s note: For more information about the program or organization, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


Racism On Campus Is Nothing New.

But New Student Movement Is.

By Libero Della Piana

As a first-year student at Brown

University, 25 years ago, I was

detained by campus security for tres-

passing. In my own dorm. In sock feet. You see, I’d left my room to go to the bathroom and didn’t bring my college ID along. I guess I should have known better. As a Black student it was always an unstated expectation that I justify my presence on campus. Black students were a small minority on campus and we were often seen as interlopers, even after admission. I was reminded of this incident during the past weeks as protests escalated at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) over a string of racist incidents there, culminating in the ouster of the state university System President Tim Wolfe. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and using a wide range of tried-and-true and cutting edge tactics, Mizzou students won one of their main demands, something many observers had said was impossible.


his example of the power of protest was met with rightwing media ridicule, attack by the Missouri Lt. Governor and even death threats against students. Just a day after the jubilation at the resignation of Wolfe, fear of violence turned the campus into a ghost town. Many white students, professors, community supporters and even the head of the country’s trade union movement all came out in support of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


the students. The hashtag #BlackOnCampus began documenting student experiences with racism around the country. Missouri students were not alone. Students at Yale University were in motion as well in response to a racist incident on campus and reports of a “white girls only” fraternity party.


ore joined the fight on Nov. 12, when the already planned Million Student March - demanding the elimination of all student debt (which has reached $1.2 trillion nationally), free college education for all, and $15 minimum wage for campus workers stood in solidarity with besieged Mizzou students. Racism on campuses both private and public is nothing new. Neither is student protest around the issues affecting their lives. What is new are the national scope of the protest and the breadth of the support. Some 115 campuses took part in the protests. More than 1,000 students gathered at the University of California at Berkeley. It’s the kind of student action not seen in a generation. Ultimately the protests at Mizzou and elsewhere are not so much about this administrator or that, as they are about demanding that institutions of higher learning create a space for students of color. It’s the same issue we were struggling with years ago.


hen I was detained as a student it was not an isolated incident. Police harassment of black students in particular was commonplace. There were also acts of bigotry against students of color by a few white students, reminders that to some we were unwelcome. So it was no accident then that graduation rates for Black students lagged behind those of our peers. So we organized meetings, issued demands, and protested to make a change, just like students today. Unfortunately little has changed. Black enrollment and graduation rates at Mizzou and colleges around the country are disproportionately low. Some commentators seem to think these students are protesting because they are young and naive or involved in an intellectual exercise. But students today – as always – are largely motivated to action by the pressing issues impacting their lives and educations. They are fighting to learn and survive. It’s not academic.  Editor’s Note: Libero Della Piana is a senior organizer and digital director at Alliance for a Just Society. He lives in East Harlem, New York.

David Hilliard, executive director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton

Foundation, announced support for an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for a feature length independent documentary film about the life of Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party (BPP). As a founding member and chief of staff of the Black Panther Party, Hilliard said, “There are three or four movie projects being done that speaks to the impact of our movement. We learned through experience, there wasn’t a blueprint because nobody had done what we did. I think it’s important that we tell our own story from our point of view.” Emmy award winning independent filmmaker Dante James who will direct the film said, “Other films have explored the Black Panther Party from the point of view of fringe and short time members. This film will explore the inner workings and the evolution

Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation To Support Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign For Documentary

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


of the BPP through the story of Huey P. Newton who was a brilliant, charismatic and complex man with human frailties. His story, as the leader and standard-bearer of the BPP, will be interwoven throughout the film. Intimate interviews, unseen film footage and unheard audio recordings will drive the narrative.” The Indiegogo campaign will begin on Sunday Nov. 8. Hilliard said, “We are thrilled that Dante is taking on this project. His work is engaging and complex; his films have integrity. The legacy of the Black Panther Party endures today. However, the corporate controlled media, including PBS, continues to distort our legacy. To define ourselves and our movement on film, we need public support to tell this story outside the forces of mainstream media.” Editor’s note: For more information or to support this campaign, visit HdyesykX1R8/x/12510574.

Faces of Stapleton

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The Stapleton community is among Denver’s most dynamic and vibrant – filled with passionate people who believe in strong community involvement and improving the world around them. Stapleton is home to an eclectic mix of growing families, young professionals, empty nesters and numerous standout community leaders who are making positive change throughout Denver, the region and the world. One such person is Andrés Chaparro... Andrés Chaparro is the General Manager of Telemundo 25 Denver/KDEN, the NBC Universalowned television station that serves Spanish-language viewers in the Denver market. He has been with Telemundo for more than 10 years in a variety of leadership roles and is passionate about bringing to life the Hispanic culture through mass communications. At Telemundo Denver, Chaparro has managed and overseen a significant expansion made to the station’s local newsgathering efforts that has helped better serve Colorado’s Spanish-language communities. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, he began his professional career at an international advertising agency then moved to the United States in 1999 and quickly made a name for himself in Spanish language television – a sector that continues to grow across the country. Chaparro and his family were relocated to Denver from Chicago in 2010, when he was offered the Station Manager position. They began looking for a home for their growing family and were originally drawn to older neighborhoods like Park Hill and the Highlands. It wasn’t until they had the opportunity to attend a barbeque with several other couples from Stapleton that they realized the inclusive and diverse community that existed in the neighborhood. “After meeting several couples who raved about the quality of life and excellent family friendly amenities, we realized this was the right environment for our kids and now don’t ever foresee moving again,” said Chaparro. “We really appreciated how the design of the community invites peo-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


ple to engage with friends and neighbors outside. We have an immense quality of friends of all ages and life stages who we call family now.” The most important thing in Chaparro’s life is his family — and he relishes the time he spends with them at their home in Eastbridge. His wife Martina, originally from Germany but raised in the US, is a Term Faculty at Regis University. Together, they have three kids who are six, eight and eleven, and spend their weekends together at F-15 pool or riding bikes to the 29th Avenue Shops for their weekly family tradition of going to Einstein’s Bros. Bagels for Sunday morning breakfast. “We love so many things about the neighborhood, but our favorite place is home,” said Chaparro. “We spend as much time here as we can…in the garden harvesting our veggies, having friends over and feeding our five chickens who are in the yard!” In his current role at Telemundo Denver, Chaparro oversees the overall management of the station’s broadcast, sales, marketing and digital operations. The enhancements he spearheaded include the launch of a new half-hour weekday newscast at 4:30 p.m. and the hiring of additional newsroom employees to support the boost in local news. In addition to his professional work, Chaparro is deeply committed to improving the community. He has worked tirelessly with the Denver Police Department on various public service announcements aimed at empowering Denver residents and stopping crime. He also sits on various community boards, including the Colorado Broadcasters Association, the Early Childhood Leadership Commission and the American Diabetes Association of Colorado, where he is the Chair for the “Por Tu Familia” board. Chaparro is the recipient of the American Diabetes Association 2013 “LEARN” Outreach award and the Centro San Juan Diego of Denver 2013 “REBOZO” award. Chaparro holds a degree in marketing and advertising from Politécnico Grancolombiano University in Bogota, Colombia.

The Un-Islamic State of Terror I By Foday Justice Darboe n the wake

of the coordinated terrorist attacks in

Paris and the double suicide bombing in Beirut on Nov. 12, many

Muslims took to

Twitter to loudly and unequivocally condemn the terrorist’s attacks with the hashtags – #NotInMyName,

#MuslimsAreNotTerrorist, but is this

enough to counter Islamic extremism? When will “moderate Muslims� stand up and speak against the terror and mayhem committed in the name of Islam? Thanks to Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, etc. Islam is facing a major branding problem. Islamic extremism is damaging and endangering the place of Islam and Muslims in the world. As Daniel Pipes argues, if militant Islam is the problem; moderate Islam is the solution. “Moderate Muslims� all over the world, particularly those living in secure environments, must speak out more to condemn and further isolate the medieval extremist elements. As a moderate/progressive Muslim, I want to note that ISIS does not speak for me nor do I share any iota of their twisted beliefs. ISIS poses a direct challenge to the principle and vision of Islam and a threat to humanity. To say ISIS is un-Islamic is an understatement. In essence, ISIS is an international band of thugs using religion and terror to rape, kill, and extort money. Arguably, ISIS and their sympathizers are willfully and pridefully ignorant. Of course, cognitive dissonance is difficult to overcome. The sad part is that ISIS followers truly believe they have the right interpretation of Islam. Thus, they have created some delusional reality where they ignore tolerance, acceptance, inclusion and coexistence – the core principles of the religion. As Fareed Zakaria once eluded, both those inside and outside the Muslim world must recognize that the fight against violent Islamic extremism is not a clash between Muslims and the West or a clash between civilizations. “Moderate Muslim� leaders – by far the vast majority – must condemn jihadist ideology and issue

Fatwas against extremism. Islamic extremism has to be defeated ideologically and its narrative reformed. As in World War II or the Cold War, the ideological opponents had to be defeated, followed by transformation of the societies in which the ideology took hold. There are more than 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide and the vast majority are peace loving. It is within these “moderate Muslims� that the problem lies. The term “moderate� has lost its standing in the Islamic world and “moderate Muslim� voices are often drowned out by the extremists. We must lead the way in promoting counternarratives to extremist ideologies. Complete military success in Iraq, Syria and other ISIS controlled territories will not destroy the terrorist threat. Reciprocal violence will not stop terrorism over the long term; there are always more recruits to fill the ranks and there only needs to be a few terrorists to inflict destruction. Other counterterrorism methods such as targeted killings, infiltration, arrest, military repression, or marginalization may not work, may be insufficient on their own to end a campaign, or may even worsen the problem overall. The West should focus on winning the hearts and minds of moderate Muslims to counter Islamic extremism. Though the creation of an Islamic state is an important factor among ISIS’s grievances, but there are other grievances that proved fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. The threat of Islamic extremism will disappear only if the region manages to reduce chronic poverty, unemployment, end rampant government corruption, promote democratic principles, and end political disenfranchisement. To any extremist or ISIS sympathizer reading this, call me in infidel. I will proudly take that name. I’m not committing blasphemy; I’m challenging your twisted ideology.  Editor’s note: Foday Justice Darboe is a Ph.D. candidate in Conflict Analysis and Transformation.

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Editor’s note: This article was first published in the Denver Urban Spectrum in June 2010. It is being republished in honor of his memory, Paul Wilbur Stewart, Sr. As an expert on Black history, Paul Stewart has lectured at colleges and universities, written books, appeared in documentaries, and been interviewed by everybody from the BBC to the Today Show. But to the thousands of people who meet him, Paul is just the smiling man in the cowboy hat, with a grin from here to Kansas, sticking out his hand with a big, “Howdy! Give me the cowboy handshake!” It was Bill Bailey, a 6-foot-6-inch cowboy from South Dakota, who first taught Paul that handshake. “When Black cowboys met out on the plains, they didn’t know if someone was going to hit them or shake hands, so they developed their own handshake,” Paul explains. That ritual, like much of African American history in the West, would have long ago disappeared if it was not for Paul Stewart. What started as a hobby for him almost 50 years ago has evolved into a serious collection that Smithsonian Magazine calls “the foremost source of historical materials and oral histories of Blacks in the West.” The story of how it all came about is a tale Paul loves to tell. “When I was growing up in Clinton, Iowa, I used to play cowboys and Indians, and I always wanted to be a cowboy. But the white kids would say there are no Black cowboys. And I looked in the

movies and in books, and they were right. I couldn’t find a Black cowboy anywhere. So I played an Indian,” he says with a laugh, pointing out the irony that he later discovered he was part Cherokee and Blackfoot. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Paul was visiting a cousin in Denver and saw a Black cowboy standing on a street corner, dressed in a cowboy hat, boots and vest. “Look at that drug store cowboy,” he said to his cousin. “Who’s he trying to fool? There are no Black cowboys.” “Why that man is a rancher, who runs cattle,” his cousin said. “He is a cowboy.” That was a revelation destined to change Paul’s life – and the way the history of the West is written. “Suddenly, it was just like I was hungry,” Paul says. “I had to know about that Black cowboy. I had a hunger to know everything about Black cowboys.” He moved to Denver in 1962 and opened a barber shop at 2511 E. 34th Avenue, where his fascination with Western history soon became known and attracted a collection of “old timers,” who would come in and tell tales while getting their hair cut. Paul kept a tape recorder hidden and would often tape their stories. “One old cowboy would come in, and he would tell me stories and say I should meet so-and-so. Sometimes they would bring in old pictures, and I would put them up in the shop and in the windows.” Soon people were giving him old hats, boots and coats that they had worn herd-

Paul Stewart Still ‘Riding the Ra ing cattle, or that their grandfathers had worn as buffalo soldiers in the Old West. Locals in the neighborhood would stop by to look at the displays and photos in the windows. As he continued studying, Paul found out that Blacks in the West were involved in much more than working on ranches. “I was fascinated by Black miners that were here in Central City and Cripple Creek who had struck it rich,” he said. Paul and some friends tried gold panning on the weekends without much luck, but more and more he discovered that the real “gold” in the West was the forgotten and unwritten Black history he was uncovering. He learned there were Black newspapers, Black bankers, Black politicians and railroad workers. As Paul’s reputation as a historian spread, more and more people searched him out to give him historic photos and artifacts. At the same time, Paul began driving to all corners of the West, from Oklahoma to California, to meet “old timers” and hear and record their stories first hand. One 92year-old man told him how he’d carried water down into the gold mines when he was just a 10-year old boy. Others told him stories handed down from their grandparents of coming West on Black wagon trains, or of living in all Black townships, like Dearfield, east of Greeley. Paul’s collection outgrew the barber shop and in 1971, he moved it to a saloon, before finding a more permanent home for the next decade at Clayton College. Paul wrote two books, Westward Soul and The Black Cowboy, and became affiliated with Denver Public Schools, introducing thousands of kids to stories of Black cowboys and pioneers. And what stories Paul could tell. With an audience of wide-eyed kids who had never heard Black history before, Paul would relate tales of people like Mary Fields, who was the first woman to “ride shotgun” on a stagecoach. “One time a driver got sick and had to stop, but the mail had to go through, so Mary took over and drove the stagecoach. Five miles down the road, it hit a boulder and turned over. All night, Mary had to fight off wolves that attacked her in a pack. In the morning, she picked up the mail and walked 10 miles and took it to the post office and said, ‘Here’s your mail, but I’m tired. I’ve been fighting wolves all night.’” Mary, who at age 80 opened a laundry in Cascade and started each day in the saloon with a shot of “red-eye,” is just one of a collection of characters that roll out of Paul in a continuous stream of stories. There’s Charlie Rothwell, a cantankerous homesteader who was fine until riled, and then, “Pow!” as Paul tells it, he would flatten his advisory with “fists as hard as wood.” Or Louis Price, who escaped from slavery in Missouri, fought in the Civil War

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


By Sid Wilson an

and opened Denver’s first Black newspaper – the Denver Star Weekly. And there’s Bill Pickett, who invented bulldogging ( and the unorthodox method of biting the bull’s lips) as a rodeo sport and was so famous that film star cowboy Tom Mix once worked with him. And Oliver T. Jackson, who founded Dearfield, and Ferdinand Schavers, who was once Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard, and Benjamin Franklin, who was a friend and guide with Kit Carson, and Clara Brown, the “Angel of the Rockies,” who made money from grubstaking miners and used it to buy her friends and relatives from slavery. Any conversation with Paul is bound to take many twists and turns, as one story leads to another, from buffalo soldiers to homesteaders, outlaws to politicians, printers to railroad porters, with even a famous poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the first Black person to win an Academy Award, Denver’s own Hattie McDaniel, thrown in. Paul knows them all like old friends and rattles off tale after tale – all of them illustrating one simple message: that the American West, so often depicted as the “White Open Plains,” was actually filled with people of color who played vital roles in every aspect of society.

ange’ in Search of Black History

and Rich Grant

In 1987, the Paul Stewart Collection of photos, memorabilia, audio tapes and artifacts formed the basis of the new Black American West Museum. Located in the former home of Denver’s Dr. Justina Ford, the museum and Paul became an instant media sensation. “I don’t believe any attraction in Denver has received as much press around the world as Paul Stewart and the Black American West Museum,” states Rich Grant, director of communications for VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Paul was interviewed by the late and famous, CBS journalist, Charles Kuralt, he appeared on Good Morning America and National Public Radio, and stories about him and Black cowboys were written for every in-flight magazine, every travel magazine, and virtually every newspaper in the country, from the New York Times to the San Francisco Examiner,” Grant says. “Smithsonian Magazine, the most prestigious history magazine in the country, did a 12-page story on Paul and the contributions he made to collecting Black history.” But it was in international press that Paul’s story really made a hit. “Paul has appeared on television in England, Germany, Japan, France and so many

other countries,” Grant states. “People in Denver know him from some of the press he has gotten here, but they don’t know how famous he is around the world.” Today, more than half the visitors to the Black American West Museum are international visitors, many of whom have seen stories about Paul or read about him in international guidebooks. “Through media, Paul’s story about the contributions of Blacks to the history of the American West has been seen and read by people across the globe,” says Grant. “He literally helped change the way the history of our country is told for tens of millions of people.” Dr. Anthony P. Young, President of Denver-Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists remembers, “I met Paul in 1981 after hearing about his museum, then in the basement of the Clayton College. I drove from my home in Colorado Springs to spend about an hour. When I arrived, Paul was engrossed in organizing numerous items, but greeted me with a broad smile and said, ‘Howdy, take a look at this!’” Dr. Young went on to serve as Chair of the Black American West Museum in 1985-86 and is now back serving as the Museum’s Co-Chair. “I’m still fascinated and have been ever since Paul shared this amazingly rich history of Blacks in the West.” Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel, a professor of history at the University of Colorado Denver, who has written 39 books on Denver and Colorado history says, “I used to go to Paul’s barber shop just to see all the stuff he had collected and hear his wonderful stories of Colorado’s Black cowboys, miners and other pioneers. No one has done more to collect, preserve and interpret Colorado’s African-American history. I am one of many, many history teachers to have Paul, dressed to the nines in cowboy garb, come talk to my classes. Among historians, Paul Stewart is a celebrated human landmark.” Retired Denver Public Schools teacher, Ed Augden, recalls Paul’s many visits to teach his students about the contributions of African Americans to the American West. “From Black mountain such as Jim Beckwourth and Black cowboys like Nat Love to musicians such as George Morrison and educators like Marie Greenwood, Paul Stewart gathered and shared the accomplishments of African Americans in settling the West. That, in itself, is a tremendous accomplishment.” Augden also related a personal story. “One day, in the mid 1980s, as Paul and I spoke after school, I explained to him that my grandfather, as a youth, was a cowboy in southeast Colorado and that he was second cousin to the Younger brothers (of the infamous James-Younger Gang). Paul then startled me with the news that he had

a moustache cup and Bowie knife that had belonged to the Youngers. From that conversation and some brief research, I learned that one of the Younger brothers, Frank, had married an African American woman and that some of the descendants of that marriage still live in Denver. To make the story even more interesting, I’ve taught two generations of that family. I’m proud of their accomplishments and to call them my distant cousins. To me, this illustrates the richness of this nation’s history and how we’re more alike than different. We should build upon that richness.” In the midst of all Paul’s collecting, he collected something else. Going to church one Sunday, he heard local Gospel singer Johnnie Mae Davis sing. He remembers sitting there and thinking, “Boy, that was something!” It was a year before they got together, but this year, they will celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary. Johnnie has been a great partner in helping Paul in his historical quest. She’s also turned him into the sharpest dressed cowboy north of the Pecos. As he enters his 84th year, Paul has not slowed down in the slightest. Though he is on dialysis three days a week, he is also working on another book, preparing for yet another documentary, digitizing his photos and tape recordings and, as always, still collecting stories and material. Meanwhile, Johnnie is off to Italy with her Goddaughter on a trip to Venice, Florence and Rome and still continues with her singing career.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


It’s a busy household, but Paul always has time for the thousands of Denver students who constantly stop him in the grocery store or on the street to tell him how much they enjoyed his classes and how much he changed their lives. He’s also still collecting artifacts and anxious to talk with anyone who has old photos or music or memorabilia. So if you see an older gentleman on a Denver street wearing a Stetson and a big grin, give him a loud “Howdy!” and the cowboy handshake. Then ask him one question about Black cowboys, and settle back and listen. You’re in the hands of one of the great storytellers and historians of all time.


Paul Wilbur Stewart Sr. was born Dec. 18, 1925. He departed this life on Nov. 12, 2015 in Denver. His infectious smile, strong presence in the community and, of course, his “cowboy handshake” will be sorely missed. He now walks with God, which was his last wish. Those left to cherish his memory include his wife, Johnnie Mae Stewart; four sons, Paul W. Stewart, Jr., Mark Q. Stewart, Earl J. Stewart and Edward LaVan Davis; three daughters, Leticia Stewart, Tracy L. Stewart and Linda Reynolds; niece Rochelle Christian; seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and a host of cousins, other relatives and many friends.

Thirty African American Beaus Honored At Beautillion

The Denver Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated announced its 32nd Annual Beautillion. Open to the public, this formal gala takes place Sunday, Dec. 20, at the Sheraton Downtown Denver. This year’s theme is, “Equipped to Make a Difference: Celebrating Lives that Matter.” During the gala 30 African American high school seniors from the Denver metro area who will be celebrated for their outstanding achievements in leadership, academics, athletics, and community service will be honored. These young men follow in the footsteps of over 800 beautillion alumni who live both locally and throughout the country, and are employed in an array of professions. This year’s event emcees are beau alumnus Tony Pigford of Denver Public Schools and Eddie Koen of College Track. For information and tickets, visit

Denver Drifters Host Annual Holiday Project

The Black women’s service club, Denver Drifters is sponsoring their annual Holiday Gift Giving Project and Meal on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 5


to 7 p.m. at a Colorado Coalition for the Homeless residence for homeless families with children. This project is the highlight of the year as 18 families in the community are served a meal and given presents by their sponsors. Volunteers and contributions of nonperishable food and house hold products are needed for the project. For more information, call Antoinette Gomez at 720-495-9282 or email

NCNW Denver Section Presents Founder’s Day Harambee Brunch and Awards Program

The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) Denver Section presents the 24th Annual Founder’s Day Harambee Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Double Tree Denver Hotel, 3203 Quebec St., in Denver. The Harambee theme for 2015 is “Embracing the Bethune Legacy through Faith, Service and Love.” This annual event recognizes the achievements of women of color and youth who exemplify the legacy set forth by the organization founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935. This year’s honorary chairs are Dennis Gallagher and Daphne Rice

Allen. Dr. Barbara Shaw, NCNW immediate past chair and executive board member, is the keynote speaker. Actress and former performer of Broadway’s The Lion King, Sheryl McCallum will serve as the mistress of ceremonies. The 2015 Harambee Honorees are Bellverie E. Ross (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Award), Constance Sauls-Wilkins (Salute to Black Women Award), Victoria Fleming (Dr. Dorothy I. Height Youth Leadership Award) and Jalil Grimes (Gloria Parsons-Gray Youth Award). The Denver Section of NCNW, Inc. will present the second Gentleman of Valor Awards for African-American young men ages 12 to 18 years to Bryce Von Phul-Chewning. For more information or tickets, visit

Su Teatro Presents Christmas en Colorado

Inspired by the music of Tejana songstress, Tish Hinojosa, Christmas en Colorado is Su Teatro’s holiday production filled with laughter, seasonal traditions and a cast of unusual and eccentric Chicano characters. Nobody knows the holidays in the barrio like Su Teatro; it is a time full of tamales,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


empanadas, low riders and the lost Reyes Chucos. Christmas en Colorado runs from Dec. 3 to 20 at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center. Written and directed by Tony Garcia, Christmas en Colorado, tells a story beginning on Black Friday, in the biggest department store in New York. Garcia used the beautiful holiday music written by Tish Hinojosa, and the heartwarming stories he and other cast members experienced in Colorado and New Mexico to bring the warm seasonal feelings to the stage. All performances will be held at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive in Denver. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit, call 303-296-0219, or purchase at the Box Office.

2016 Goals For A Better Than Average Life Why

By Jonathan McMillan

would I write an article about New Year resolutions in December? Well because, every year, millions of people make them, usually during the last week of the month or even worse, in the last hour of the year. By February 1, almost half of the New Year’s resolutions set only one month earlier are already broken. By June only 40 percent are still intact. And by this time next year, 92 percent of the people who set New Year’s resolutions have failed to keep them. The problem with resolutions is they usually don’t mean anything to the person setting them. Most people don’t put much more than minimal thought into their resolutions and only set them due to obligation or tradition. If you don’t put much thought into your goals when you set them you won’t ever think about them enough to achieve them. This year, let me suggest that you don’t make a New Year resolution. Instead, set better than average goals for yourself that get the results that you want. These are goal that achieve at least two or three of the following objectives but ideally all eight will help you to: •be happy •have good family relationships •be healthy •be reasonably prosperous •have peace of mind •have friends •feel secure •have hope for the future And because better than average goals are not superficial or impulsive, they also have all of the following characteristics: They are: •spiritually meaningful •intellectually stimulating •emotionally energizing •physically challenging •financially rewarding 2015 was the best year of my adult life. It was on purpose because I made it my purpose.

In December 2014 I didn’t make any resolutions. Instead, I made the decision to create and live a better than average life and I made plans and commitments to make it happen. I set specific goals and expectations for specific achievements and then committed it to paper. I wrote a list of the things which I most desired and expected to accomplish by December 31, 2016. And while I haven’t yet successfully achieved everything I listed, I’m very proud of what I have done so far. I published books. I became a contributor to a major news publication. I facilitated workshops. I lectured at universities. I participated in meaningful collaborations to affect significant change in social causes that are important to me. I built my business and brand into a recognized and respected authority for helping people change and save their lives from the consequences of average. I lost weight. I started on my path to improved financial health and stability. I improved and developed relationships with people I care about. And while these accomplishments took a lot of hard work, the process wasn’t very difficult because I practiced thinking skills that helped

empower me to be successful. I welcomed and managed change instead of running from or fighting it. I identified the obstacles that I would have to overcome, the skills and habits and relationships that I would need to develop in order to be successful. I chose to create and live a life that could be a road map for the lost and an inspiration to the hopeless. I multiplied my blessings by amplifying my gratitude for every person, opportunity and circumstance that I encountered. I changed my perception of failures which transformed them into valuable lessons which made me wiser. I became more valuable through deliberate pursuit of wisdom. I enjoyed more of the entirety of my life by practicing mindful presence and focusing more on that for which I am grateful and less on that which distracts me from the possibilities, opportunities, and relationships which advance me toward my goals. I realize to some, it may seem as though I’m bragging however, I don’t share my stories of success not to gloat but rather, as my personal testimony to inspire you and help you be aware of how much you can accomplish and enjoy life in 2016 by taking time now in 2015 to set and plan better than average goals for yourself.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


I invite you to use the same strategies I use to transform the traditional resolutions most people fail to keep into better than average goals and action plans that create the results and help you be, do and have, all that you want. Let’s make 2016 the first better than average year – of your better than average life.  Editor’s note: For more information on Jonathan McMillan, visit Follow him on Facebook at /bebetterthanaverag; Twitter: @Be_BTA; and Google+: /u/0/+JonathanMcMillanBeBTA/posts.

Available for all Holiday Events, Special Occasions and... 303.355.4979 P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239

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


a rogue mission to Mexico City to assassinate a terrorist who’s planning to blow up a stadium full of people. Bond foils the plot, but destroys an entire city block in the process. Oh, did I mention Bond also hijacks a helicopter ejecting the pilot and the terrorist he’s chasing into the crowded street below – full of Mexico City’s Day of the Dead revelers? Well, he does. Bond’s actions call into question the relevance of MI-6 and the Double-O Section, as the new intelligence chief (Andrew Scott) threatens to shut down

Steve Jobs




 By Laurence Washington

inally placing the James Bond Gun barrel before the opening credits of SPECTRE was the one thing the filmmakers got right. If you’re unfamiliar with the traditional Gun barrel sequence, stop reading this review immediately. You’re obviously not a James Bond fan. You’re excused. What SPECTRE got wrong, besides miscasting Daniel Craig as James Bond (I never drank the Daniel Craig Kool-Aid.), was a convoluted plot that ran two hours and 28 minutes too long. Not to mention tedious car chases and fight scenes; which punctuates the point that there were only 12 Ian Fleming James Bond novels. So how’d they come up with 24 movies? Clearly the filmmakers are using the Bond name as their ATM machine knowing movie audiences will pay an obscene amount of money for anything sporting the 007 brand. In fact, it’s been rumored that Craig wants to leave the series, which is probably a shtick to generate more revenue. That being said, running out of book titles and original ideas, SPECTRE’s plot suspiciously echoes Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Cause chaos around the world, then governments will gladly sacrifice freedom for security – SPECTRE’s security. The film opens with James Bond on

MI-6 in favor of an ultra surveillance program to thwart future terror attacks. SPECTRE gives a wink and a nod to classic Bond film’s tongue and cheek quips, sexual innuendos and action sequences. There’s white cats, Dr. No Nehru jackets, flame throwing Aston Martins (equipped with ejector seat), and even an eye-gouging Odd Job rip-off (Dave Bautista). Craig’s Bond films have always been grounded. So he comes off awkward in SPECTRE, reciting unnecessary puns to advance the plot. The story eventually culminates the plots of Craig’s previous 007 outings Casino Royal, (’06), Quantum of Solace (’08) and Skyfall (’12) into SPECTRE. I’ll give the filmmakers points on that. The classic Bond films were stand alones. They never followed up – even when Bond’s wife was killed. At lease SPECTRE has a thread tying the four films together. Bond films use to be the spy film bandwagon, fending off copycats Mission: Impossible and Bourne. Now it seems the current Bond films are simply knockoffs and parodies of themselves.


Steve Jobs

 By Jon Rutledge

n the surface Steve Jobs tells the story of a man trying to manage his professional and familial relationships while dragging humanity into the

future. At its core it’s about a father fixing his relationship with his daughter. Using three major technology releases as the backdrop to the story, Aaron Sorkin focuses more on the legend than the actual man. Aaron Sorkin’s writing is known for its quick beats and high tension as seen in The Newsroom and The Social Network. Danny Boyle is a visual storyteller who can masterfully express thought and emotion through imagery. Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting are examples of where his work really shines. Together they make a fictionalized story that highlights the pressure right before the launch of some milestones in technology. The high tension behind the scenes of each major launch is a perfect fit to Sorkin’s writing style. Over the course of 14 years, we see how relationships in Steve Job’s (Michael Fassbender) life changed. Some grow into something better – some fall apart and some endure. The way they present them is outstanding. One of the better performances, aside from Michael Fassbender, comes from Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, his role as friend and co-worker although brief, really solidifies their relationship on screen. Jeff Daniels is outstanding as John Scully, the CEO of Apple. He brings a fatherly spirit to the role. Casting three different actresses as Steve’s Daughter, Lisa, (Makenzie Moss age 5, Ripley Sobo age 9, Perla Haney-Jardine age 19) makes the role age perfectly on screen. The one constant in the movie is Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman. She is the common thread that ties the film together. The strength of the character and performance connects the three events seamlessly. The most impressive aspect of this film is watching the transformation of Steve Jobs. While still driven by his vision of the future he shifts from

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


focusing on his product to focusing on his daughter. If not factual, this film at least gives Steve Jobs more of a human side than any other film.

Yaya DaCosta: “I am thankful to be on Chicago Med” By Samantha Ofole-Prince

Photos courtesy of NBC & Royalty Image

Yaya DaCosta


ome may remember her from the reality television series “America’s Next Top Model,” where she was a contestant and runner up in season 3, but Yaya DaCosta has been acting since she was five years old. A series regular on the Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand) produced medical drama “Chicago Med,” the actress and model has starred in several films including; Take the Lead, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Kids Are All Right and Honeydripper alongside Danny Glover. She plays a nurse on “Chicago Med,” an ensemble medical drama spinoff from NBC’s “Chicago


Yaya DaCosta

Fire,” which follows the day-to-day chaos of the city’s trauma center. “Her name is April Sexton and she was born and raised in Chicago, but is of Brazilian parents,” explains DaCosta whose grandfather is also of Brazilian heritage. An intuitive ER nurse who is the lifeblood of the emergency room, April was initially introduced in “Chicago Fire.” “Kelly (Taylor Kinney) and I are high school friends and in one of the episodes last year we hooked up,” shares DaCosta. “My character April is that nurse the doctors can go to and know the job is going to be done efficiently and properly.” DaCosta, who has modeled for several brands that include Isaac Mizrahi and starred in films Mother of George and The Messenger alongside Woody Harrelson, has been able to spin her “America’s Next Top Model,” stint

into a lucrative career, but will admit that it wasn’t easy. “There is this myth out there the show was a stepping stone, but if it was, then everyone else from the show will be doing the same thing. I had to emotionally heal from how I was critiqued and when I overcame that I had very little distraction and my work ethic was fierce,” shares the 33 year-old New York native who played pop icon Whitney Houston in the Lifetime biopic Whitney, which was directed by Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett. “This industry is very difficult and people only see when you are doing something positive or something successful, but there are a lot of films that I did, that never came out. For those who think those shows will help them, I want them to work hard and not take it lightly. I am thankful to have a regular role on a network show. It’s not just any show, it’s the baby of Dick Wolf and it’s connected to ‘Chicago Fire,’ and ‘Chicago PD’ and I just hope that everyone loves the show.”

Five Questions for Actor Edi Gathegi By Samantha Ofole-Prince


rom X-Men: First Class, The Twilight Saga, Aloha, Gone Baby Gone to NBC’s popular television series “The Blacklist,” Edi Gathegi has been building an impressive reputation in Hollywood for the past 10 years. The 36 year-old Kenyan born actor plays a

Edi Gathegi

gangster called Marques in the mob film Criminal Activities, and talks about his latest action packed thriller, which stars John Travolta and Michael Pitt. The film follows four friends who make a bad investment when they borrow money from a mobster and is certainly an interesting premise. What was the attraction to the role of Marques? The attraction was the challenge. It was like a vocal exercise and a Shakespearean challenge. I run towards challenges and not away from them. Marques spends a good portion of the film in a rather uncompromising position. How did you approach his character and did he change much from what was initially written on the page?

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


It is very close to what was on the page. I connected with the character when I read it and it was just showing up, trusting that I have everything at my disposal and playing with delivering. The film marks Jackie Earle Haley’s (Little Children) feature directorial debut. What’s a Jackie set like? A Jackie set is a great environment for actors. He understands how to make it safe and how to give an actor notes to be able to perform. He’s just a nice guy and I would work with him again in heartbeat. You were born in Nairobi, Kenya and coming from a similar African culture where our focus is usually more astute professions such as law and medicine, were you ever discouraged from becoming an actor? My parents got behind me from day one and supported me 100 percent. This industry is too difficult not to have the support of your family. I owe them everything. Acting was not your first choice and you initially played basketball before becoming an actor. Why did you fall in love with acting? I never had an aspiration to be a professional athlete, but at the time I was interested in basketball and then I hurt my knee. I took an acting class which turned into something way beyond what I ever fashioned. I fell in love with it as I just wanted to do everything. Acting is really sort of the best way to do everything. I get to immerse myself in it.  Editor’s note: Criminal Activities is available on Video On Demand.


Colorado Women’s Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame announced the 10 women who will be inducted into the Hall at a gala dinner in 2016. Contemporary inductees are: Anna Jo Haynes, civil rights, child and family advocate, bringing to Denver the national Head Start program, Denver, CO; Arlene Vigil Kramer, educator and trailblazer for bilingual education, Monument, CO; Lydia Peña SL, educator, author and community leader, championing education for girls in Ghana and Afghanistan, Denver, CO; Sandra I. Rothenberg, appellate court judge and pioneer in sex discrimination litigation, Denver, CO; Shari Shink, attorney and founder of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center for abused and neglected children, Denver, CO; Judith Wagner, business leader who cofounded both the Women’s Bank and Colorado Women’s Foundation, and catalyst for the Center for Women’s Health Research, Cherry Hills, CO. Historic inductees are: Anne Evans, cultural leader who established the Denver Art Museum, Denver Civic Center, Central City Opera House, Denver, CO; Minnie Harding, women’s advocate who established a scholarship and loan fund in 1902 allowing thousands of women to attend college, Canon City, CO; Laura Ann Hershey. internationally recognized author and advocate for the disabled and LGBT community, Littleton, CO; Elizabeth Pellet, first woman minority leader in Colorado State Legislature, Rico, CO. The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will present its gala induction ceremony March 16, 2016 at the Denver Marriott City Center in downtown Denver. For more information about current inductees, visit www.cogreatwomen. org;; or the LinkedIn group: Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.


MillerCoors Renews Commitment to Thurgood Marshall College Fund

MillerCoors, founding corporate sponsor of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, recently presented the organization with $1.2 million donation to support its programming and scholarships during TMCF’s 27th Anniversary Awards Gala last month at the Hilton Washington, DC. The funding will support their Teacher Quality and Retention program; as well as a number of students will receive a scholarship. MillerCoors also provides real-world experience for program scholars through its summer internship program, career readiness counseling and on-site student interviews during its annual career fairs. Furthermore, MillerCoors actively recruits students for employment opportunities. For more information, visit

Essence Partners With Prudential To Help Tackle College Debt

ESSENCE, the preeminent brand for African-American women, partnered with Prudential Financial, Inc. to help its audience tackle college debt with the most recent installment of its EmpowerU e-learning series, College

Transmission? We have your medicine!

Debt: Money Lessons Everyone Should Know. Over 40 million Americans have college debt, but student loans are only one piece of the financial puzzle. Through this course, students not only learned how to gain control over their student loans, but also how to master the rest of their money and lay the foundation for a fiscally sound post-college life. Each installment of ESSENCE’s EmpowerU e-learning series is led by expert instructors. Last month’s course was led by Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche – an award-winning teacher of financial empowerment, who is quickly becoming America’s favorite financial educator. Aliche addressed impor-

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tant financial-related topics such as debt management and reduction, student loan savviness, credit-building tips and more. This month’s installment, You Can Be Frugal and Fabulous!, will be a personal finance course led by Aisha Taylor. Taylor is a financial consultant, best-selling author, entrepreneur, empowerment coach and founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal n Phenomenal). This course will teach participants to be smart with their money and stay out of crushing debt while they live and build toward the lifestyle that they really want. In addition, on Friday, Nov. 6, ESSENCE and Prudential hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Money + Power: Must-haves for Prosperous Business Women” held at Apella in New York City. Moderated by ESSENCE Features Editor Lauren Williams, the panel featured leading industry mavens and tastemakers who shared timeless insights with the audience, including: Marvet Britto, President and CEO of the Britto Agency; Tai Beauchamp, TV personality and lifestyle expert; Dani Arps, interior designer; and Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. For more information on the Empower U e-learning series, visit

The Twelve Sites of Social Security

Familiar carols are a part of the

By Marian Lark

season. This song is so popular that holiday revelers clamored for it again. It’s “The Twelve Sites of Social Security,” inspired by the popular traditional holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” – a holiday favorite since 1780. For the first site of Social Security, we give to you: our home page, It’s the place to go for all things Social Security. Everything you could want – from online services and benefit screening tools to publications and frequently asked questions – you can find easily on this site. For the second site of Social Security, we give to you: answers to all of your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.socialsecurity. gov/faq. For the third site of Social Security, we give to you: an easy way to learn how to replace your Social Security card at www.socialsecurity.govssnumber. For the fourth site of Social Security, we give to you: an online application for retirement benefits that you can complete and submit in as little as 15 minutes at For the fifth site of Social Security, we give to you: five estimates of your future Social Security benefits! Or as many estimates as you would like using different scenarios. Get instant, personalized estimates of your future benefits at For the sixth site of Social Security, we give to you: a convenient way to apply for disability benefits at bility. For the seventh site of Social Security, we give to you: an online application for Medicare that you can complete in as little as 10 minutes, at For the eighth site of Social Security, we give to you: Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs. You can learn more and apply online at For the ninth site of Social Security, we give to you: our convenient publication library with online booklets and

pamphlets on numerous subjects, at For the tenth site of Social Security, we give to you: services for people who are currently receiving benefits, such as the ability to replace your Medicare card, get or change a password, request a proof of income letter, or check your Social Security information or benefits. You can do these and other things at www.socialsecurity. gov/pgm/getservices-change.htm. For the eleventh site of Social Security, we give to you: a way to get your Social Security forms online, at

On the twelfth site of Social Security (and we saved the best for last): open your own personal my Social Security account, which will enable you to verify your earnings, get future benefit estimates, obtain benefit verification letters, update your Social Security information, and more at www.socialsecurity .gov/myaccount. And a partridge in a pear tree. Find it all (except the partridge and pear tree) at

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


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Girl Scouts Honor Women of Distinction in Denver

Tuesday, Oct. 20, Girl Scouts of Colorado honored the 2015 Women of Distinction during the Thin Mint Dinner presented by Western Union at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver. A group of nearly 450 gathered at the event, held in conjunction with Women of Distinction events statewide. So far this year, these events have raised $225,000 for Girl Scout programs. The 2015 Women of Distinction for the Denver metro-area are: •Shirley Amore, Retired City Librarian, Denver Public Library

•Kim Bimestefer, President & General Manager, Cigna Mountain States •Laura J. Davis, Former Director of Environmental, Health & Safety and Systems Safety Engineering, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. •Cheryl Haggstrom, Executive Vice President, Community First Foundation •M.L. Hanson, President, Idyll Cravings, LLC •Djuana Harvell, PhD, be well/be EPIC Project Manager, The Stapleton Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities •Tasha L. Jones, Director of Marketing, Forest City Stapleton, Inc.

•Loretta P. Martinez, General Counsel & Secretary to the Board of Trustees, Metropolitan State University of Denver •Vicki Scott, Program Manager, Aurora Youth Options, Aurora Mental Health Center •Debbie Trujillo, Community Relations Director, KeyBank The event was chaired by Women of Distinction Luella Chavez D’Angelo, Chief Communications Officer, The Western Union Company, and Donna Lynne, President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado. The honorees were selected by a committee of their peers led by Selection Chair Alice Kelly, 2002 Woman of Distinction. They are shining examples of corporate, civic and philanthropic leadership and serve as role models for our female leaders of tomorrow. Since 1997 Girl Scouts of Colorado has recognized 416 Denver area women with this honor. More than $2 million has been raised in 18 years by Women of Distinction for Girl Scout programs. For more information on the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction program, visit our website,

Beth McCann, Rhonda Fields Win Awards from MADD

Reps. Beth McCann, D-Denver, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, have been honored as Legislators of the Year by Mothers against Drunk Driving. Rep. McCann was recognized with Sens. Mike Johnston, DDenver, and John Cooke, R-Greeley, and Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, for their sponsorship of the new law that makes a fourth DUI a felony in Colorado, punishable by two to six years’ imprisonment. Colorado is the 46th state to enact a felony DUI law. The law also allows judges to order ignition interlocks for up to five years for second-time offenders. MADD also recognized Reps. Fields and Polly Lawrence, RRoxborough Park, for their service as co-chairwomen of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, an informal legislative group working to ensure that the rights of crime victims are appropriDenver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


ately balanced in the consideration of criminal justice policy. Reps. McCann and Fields were among 69 state legislators nationwide – and one U.S. senator – who won 2015 Legislators of the Year awards from MADD, which has been campaigning to eliminate drunk driving in America.

Deidre Johnson Named New CEO for the Center for African American Health

The Center for African American Health announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Deidre Johnson as Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director. Johnson previously held the position of president at Sight Line Strategies Inc. She is a Denver native; graduated from St. Mary’s Academy and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Princeton University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Johnson currently serves on the board of trustees of St. Mary’s Academy and co-chairs the Denver Princeton Prize in Race Relations Committee for the Rocky Mountain Princeton Club. She is also a member of the Cavity Free at Three Advisory Board for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Johnson brings more than 15 years non-profit and foundation experience to her new role. Prior to establishing Sight Line Strategies, Inc., Johnson was a Program Officer for The Colorado Trust, where she was responsible for working with the Colorado children’s health community to significantly increase and expand access to health coverage and health care for children and youth throughout the state and managed an $18 million grant portfolio. Johnson has also served as Vice President of Development and Marketing for Qualistar Early Learning, worked as a senior consultant with JVA Consulting, and has held various leadership positions in development and communications with the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, the Mile High Montessori Early Learning Centers and the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation. The Center for African-American Health is a community-based organization providing disease prevention and disease management programs to African Americans living in the metro Denver area.

Holiday Barista Bash!

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Fun, Games, Music, Prizes & Holiday Gift Shopping! Join us for this FREE invitation-only event! To receive your invitation, just call 720-849-4197 or one of the Organo barista hosts to RSVP. All guests who RSVP will receive a free gift - just for attending! • Come out and experience first-hand the evolution of coffee. • Try some of our hot and cold gourmet coffees and teas. • A better tasting coffee that is better for you.

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Without Kindness, We Lose Our Common Dignity


By Rivera Sun

s I’m riding the overnight train from Chicago to New Mexico, an elderly AfricanAmerican man in a wheelchair is taken off the train by paramedics, police and the conductor. Earlier, I had heard the car attendant say something about a minor heart attack. The man, a double amputee, shivers in the cold night air as he argues with the authorities in words I cannot hear through the sealed train window. Fifteen minutes later, they put him back on the train, and we continue on our way.

By morning, the man’s physical distress is noticeable; an odor fills the train. The man has soiled himself. As I’m gathering my luggage in the lower car to step off at my stop, a conductor starts complaining loudly, about the smell. “I thought they were going to throw him off in Kansas City,” he grumbles. “There are rules about offensive odors. Why should 50 people have to suffer all the way to Los Angeles because of this guy?” I am shocked by the comment. The man is poor, probably homeless. It is possible he was put on the train in Chicago and sent to Los Angeles to survive the coming winter. “I swear, I’m putting him off when we get to Albuquerque,” the conductor whines. It snows in Albuquerque, my mind objects. The police shoot homeless people for fun in Albuquerque. My words are turning to dust in my mouth. I glance at the car attendant, hoping he’ll say something to the conductor. The car attendant shifts uncomfortably as we stand in the crowded vestibule. The elderly man can hear every word we say – and don’t say – through the thin door of the handicapped bathroom. The car attendant, a calm, Hispanic man tries to explain to his supervisor, who got

on the train this morning, the complexity of the elderly man’s situation. The supervisor ignores him and overdramatically opens the door of the moving train to let in fresh air. The train slows as we near the station, hardly a minute or two have passed. I am frantically trying to spit out the words that are in a jumble on my tongue. In Chicago, more than 6,000 homeless people are preparing to survive six months of subzero temperatures. This man has no feet. He has possibly just survived a heart attack. He needs medical care in a nation that will not provide it. He needs our compassion, not our scorn. The train stops. The conductor impatiently throws out the yellow step stool and tells me to get off – this is a 10-second stop. I am left on the platform in this remote corner of northern New Mexico, tears in my eyes, furious at my inarticulateness. Standing there, Gandhi came to mind. Not the triumphant Mahatma Gandhi on top of his game, waging powerful nonviolent struggle for Indian independence from British Rule, but rather the young Mohandas

K. Gandhi, who was thrown off a train in 1893, South Africa for refusing to give up his first-class seat because of the color of his skin. He spent the cold night sitting on the hard bricks of the station, confronting injustice and his sense of powerlessness. It was a potent, long night. In the morning, he rose with determination and resolves to end the injustice of discrimination he and his fellow Indians faced. We know the story from there. Like young Gandhi, I spent an uncomfortable period at the train station reflecting on my personal failure. I failed my fellow human beings on the train. I failed myself, and my principles. I failed the man in the wheelchair. I failed the haunting memory of my diabetic father who faced amputations shortly before his death. I failed the car attendant who may have felt stuck between the opinions of his superior and the seeming agreement in my silence. I also failed the conductor, leaving him to continue his unthinking cruelty. I failed to challenge his discrimination. I left him with the impression that I – and other passengers – agreed with his assessment that his professionalism required


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him to throw a hurt, elderly man off at Albuquerque. I failed to explain that our slight discomfort at the smell is negligible compared to the suffering the man was enduring … and that we, as fellow human beings, could offer the slight balm to the man’s pain by showing him compassion and treating him with dignity. As the train shrank on the horizon of the tracks, carrying the man, the conductor, and the car attendant into an unknown chapter of the unfolding story, I was left with the burning shame of having lowered my human dignity through silence and inaction. We all like to imagine ourselves as the heroes in the story, but I failed to step into the role and instead wound up on the sidelines, a minor character in the long plot of the world. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I died a little that day. This essay is an attempt to return to life, to step back into the living crucible of human existence. I share this story to begin to restore my diminished human dignity. I reflect here to prepare us both to act differently in the next moment, to succeed in speaking for justice and compassion. I hope we all find the words I lacked that day and the courage to speak them promptly. My silence may mean that man’s death. It also may not matter; someone else - the car attendant, another staff person, a passenger - may have intervened to assure the elderly man safe passage to Los Angeles. He may have wheeled out of the bathroom and given the conductor a piece of his mind. I do not know. I only know that my behavior left room for improvement. I have heard that the Tibetans have no word for guilt. The closest approximation is a word that means, “Intelligent regret decides to do differently.” Noticing wrong action is tied inextricably to changing the behavior. For myself, the lesson on the train is well taken. It came home powerfully to me over the next few days. I went over the situation again and again, practicing in my mind how to change my behavior. With more than half a million homeless people, and 46.7 million in our nation living below the poverty line, there is no doubt that I will face another situation like this again. It is only a question of when and whether I will choose to make a choice that upholds the human dignity of us all. Editor’s Note: Author/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the co-founder of the Love-InAction Network.

Mayor Hancock Announces Awards for Excellence in Arts Culture

In the spirit of IMAGINE 2020, Denver’s cultural plan, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Arts & Venues and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs announced the 2015 recipients of the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture. Since 1986, the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture have annually recognized individuals and organizations that make significant and lasting contributions to the arts in the City and County of Denver. Five awards were chosen by a panel of former award winners and members of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. Two “people’s choice awards” were voted on by the general public. Awards were designed by local artist, Victoria Eubanks.

Panel-selected awards:

Youth Arts & Culture Award – Jimmy Bruenger Jimmy Bruenger is an actor at the Denver School of the Arts (DSA) with lead performances as Link in Hairspray, Lefou in Beauty and the Beast and as Hanschen in the musical Spring Awakening. A senior at DSA, his peers have elected him as the thespian/theatre department president. In the 2016 spring semester, Jimmy will be choreographing the eighth grade production of The Little Mermaid Jr. Additionally, Jimmy raises funds and awareness for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the local charity Denver Actor’s Fund. He spearheaded the fundraising campaign and helped to raise $2,000 for each charity. This year he plans to support a local group that assists teens who are in abusive situations.

Arts & Culture Impact Award – Brenda Tierney Brenda Tierney serves as a public art manager for the Regional Transportation District (RTD). In rail construction projects, she is responsible for liaising between engineers, contractors and the public during design and construction. Twenty one years ago Brenda created the Art-nTransit program, which she continues to manage today. Starting in 1994 working in the Central Rail Line construction project, the first light rail line in Denver, she listened to the impacted community as they requested public art at their new stations. With no RTD funding for artwork, she formed a non-profit corporation and started

fundraising. Over the next five years, enough money was raised to install the first five artworks. By the end of 2016, even with no formal program or funding for artwork at RTD, the collection will have grown to 70 pieces.

Arts & Culture Innovation Award – Phamaly Theatre Company and Lone Tree Arts Center On June 16, Phamaly Theatre Company and the Lone Tree Arts Center co-presented Denver’s first Sensory Friendly Summit. Held at the Lone Tree Arts Center, the goal of the summit was to lay the groundwork to make Denver the most sensory friendly community in America by creating a network of organizations committed to welcoming a much-neglected population through their doors. Sensory friendly programming is designed for individuals with autism, sensory processing disorders, or other intellectual or developmental disabilities, and their families. Sensory friendly programs may include simple changes to productions and performances to make these encounters accessible and enjoyable for patrons. Sensory friendly programs take place in a judgment-free environment where all are welcome without the fear of disturbing others.

Global Arts & Culture Award – Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave The Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave, located in Denver’s Lookout Mountain Park, has provided a context for Denver’s western heritage since 1921. As part of the Denver Mountain Parks system, the site was a popular destination before William “Buffalo Bill” Cody requested to be buried here in 1917. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors pay homage to Cody, one of the most legendary and visionary personalities in American history. Beyond Cody’s historic grave and view, this is a worldclass museum filled with rare and authentic relics interpreting Cody’s life. The museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret “the life and times” of Buffalo Bill. Cody lived during a transformative era of America’s history and this is reflected in educational exhibits.

NEW – IMAGINE 2020 Award (two recipients) – Hope Tank; RedLine Contemporary Art Center Hope Tank is a social enterprise boutique where many items sold are created by local artists, and benefit a different charity. Purchasable items come with information on the supported charity giving recipients the knowledge of the impacted organization. Hope Tank supports local talent, and through their partnership, they educate and inspire everyone who shops

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


in the store to act for the betterment of our society. RedLine Contemporary Art Center fosters engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change. The nonprofit organization strives for artistic excellence while viewing art as a vehicle for strengthening neighborhoods and civic engagement. With its dynamic physical space, talented resident artists and proximity to some of Denver’s most culturally diverse areas, RedLine Contemporary Art Center is a place where all forms of creative expression are celebrated and integrated into the fabric of the community.

People’s Choice Awards:

Unique Collaborations – Phamaly Theatre Company and Lone Tree Arts Center On June 16, Phamaly Theatre Company and the Lone Tree Arts Center co-presented Denver’s first Sensory Friendly Summit. Held at the Lone Tree Arts Center, the goal of the summit was to lay the groundwork to make Denver the most sensory friendly community in America by creating a network of organizations committed to welcoming a much-neglected population through their doors. Sensory friendly programming is designed for individuals with autism, sensory processing disorders, or other intellectual or developmental disabilities, and their families. Sensory friendly programs may include simple changes to productions and performances to make these encounters accessible and enjoyable for patrons. Sensory friendly programs take place in a judgmentfree environment where all are welcome without the fear of disturbing others.

In-School Arts – Shawn Hann – Denver School of the Arts Shawn Hann has been teaching since 1994 and has been the chair of the Department of Theatre at Denver School of the Arts since 2001. Hann sees 160 unique theatre artists from sixth to twelfth grade every day. Believing that theatre “is a time capsule”, Hann starts her casts by first educating them on the time period, the economics, the social world, the political world, art and architecture of the time, and religion. This process not only helps to educate the cast about the world around them, but also creates a basis for character building and development from a real, genuine place. Hann’s directorial research doesn’t stop at the actors, either. She works extensively with the production designers to create an accurate world on-stage from color palate, all the way down to the geometrical patterns on the wall paper.

African-Americans Who Make A Difference The Denver Urban Spectrum is requesting nominations for the

African-Americans Who Make A Difference. The honorees will be featured in February’s 2011 Black 2016 Black History Issue.

Criteria include • Demonstrating service to the community • Serving as a role model for youth • Upholding standards of excellence in professional and personal life • Maintaining high moral and spiritual integrity If you know someone, or you are someone, who exhibits these qualities: CALL: Denver Urban Spectrum at 303.292.6446 FAX: Denver Urban Spectrum at 303.292.6543 MAIL: African-Americans Who Make A Difference PO Box 31001, Aurora, Colorado 80041 EMAIL: DELIVER: 2727 Welton Street in Denver’s Five Points Community DEADLINE: Friday, December 11, 10, 2015 2010 All call-in nominations MUST include a current phone number for the person being nominated to be eligible. ALL NOMINEES will receive a questionnaire that must be returned to the Denver Urban Spectrum by Friday, January 8, 7, 2011. 2016.

N o m NOMINATION i n a t i o FORM n Form

Name_________________________________________ Name: Address_______________________________________

City/State/Zip: __________________________________ Street Address: Phone:________________________________________ Email :________________________________________ City/State/ZIP: (Nominated by)

Name:________________________________________ Phone: Phone:________________________________________ Email: ________________________________________ Nominated by:


The Aftermath of I’

By Robert C. Koehler

m sitting in the aftermath of Paris, feeling emotions tear me apart. One of the emotions is joy. My daughter, who lives there, is safe. Has “joy” ever felt so troubling? The aftermath of Paris seems likely to be intensified (“pitiless”) bombing raids in Syria, closed borders, heightened fear-based security and the deletion of “the gray zones of coexistence” across the planet. Oh, it’s so nice to have an enemy who is truly evil! The logic of war is so seductive. It simplifies all these complex emotions. Just watch the news. The news is that terror wins. Indeed, terror is the cornerstone of civilization. I couldn’t get that notion out of my head. That’s because I couldn’t stop thinking about an act of extraordinary terror that took place a little more than a dozen years ago, and its relevance to the world’s current state of shock and chaos. Doing so made it impossible to contemplate the raw savagery of the ISIS killings in Paris and Beirut and everywhere else — the “my God!” of it all, as innocent lives are cut short with such indifference — in a simplistic context of us vs. them. In March of 2003, the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq with a bombing campaign called “Shock and Awe,” consisting of some 1,700 air sorties over the country that killed, according to Iraq Body Count, more than 7,400 civilians. We launched our war on Iraq with the intent to commit terror on a scale ISIS could only dream of. The relevance of this is inescapable, not simply because it makes the United States and NATO brothers in terror with ISIS, but also because the war shattered Iraq and caused the death and displacement of millions more people and, ultimately, created the conditions in which ISIS was able to come to power. What’s haunting to me is the absence of this shockingly relevant recent history from most mainstream coverage of the Paris killings — or more to the point, the absence of almost any sort of trans-war consciousness, you might say, from the discussion of what we ought to do next. Considering that bombing campaigns, and war itself, are not only the equivalent of terror (“writ large”) but

Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


also wildly ineffective and counterproductive, producing, in the long term, pretty much the opposite of what rational, non-war-mongers crave, the failure of politicians and mainstream media types to reach beyond a riled militarism in their reaction to the Dark Ages terror in which ISIS specializes bodes poorly, I fear, for the future of humanity. My daughter, who last Friday night had been at a rehearsal for an upcoming poetry event, found herself, at 10 p.m., as she was leaving a tavern called Les Caves St.-Sabin, in the middle of the chaos. As she and her friends stepped into the street, someone came running past warning people to get back inside. They only learned, in bits and pieces, the enormity of what was still happening in their city. She spent the night at the tavern, a decorated basement that felt, she said, like a “medieval fallout shelter.” In the morning, the Metro was running again, and she returned to her apartment. Only then did the horror hit her with full ferocity. She sat and cried, then got up and went to work. However, the tears continue, if only in silence. The Paris tears are a small tributary to a worldwide River of Sorrow that swells beyond Paris and beyond Europe and the West to the broken, bombed, war-ravaged nations of the Third and Fourth World, the source of the planet’s 60 million refugees. This is the world of ISIS. Instead of continuing to bomb this world, in our fear and anger, we could try to understand it. “ISIS is the first group since Al Qaeda to offer these young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe.” So wrote Lydia Wilson, a research fellow at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford University, in a recent piece for The Nation. She and her colleagues, in an attempt to do just that — understand those who have given over their lives to ISIS — recently interviewed ISIS prisoners of war in Iraq and, in the process, found their humanity. Mostly they were young men in their 20s who grew up in the wake of the American occupation of Iraq; that is to say, in the midst of brutal civil war. “The Americans came,” one of them told her. “They took away Saddam, but they also took away our security. I didn’t like Saddam, we were starving then, but at least we didn’t have war. When you came here, the civil war started.” Violence begets violence; war begets war. Knowing this is the starting place. It is time to start over.  Editor’s note: Robert Koehler, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor.

‘Granny Dances To A Holiday Drum’ Returns Home To Five Points

For the first time in more than 20 years, Cleo Parker Robinson is bringing her beloved holiday classic back to its original home in the Shorter AME Building of Denver’s Historic Five Points community, in honor of the Ensemble’s 45th Anniversary Season. The Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble has been blending dance, live music, spoken word, and seasonal celebrations and customs from around the world into a memorable holiday tradition like none other for almost 25 years. A Denver original, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is a family favorite that inspires audiences of all ages to celebrate and honor the holiday traditions of cultures from around the globe. Granny’s memories are her gifts to those she loves, but she has forgotten many of her stories and the magical dances she’s seen and performed in her lifetime. In her youth, she danced in winter festivals honoring the birth of Christ, the African Harvest, the Native American Winter Solstice, the Celtic Yule Time, and Las Posadas in Mexico, Kwanzaa in the United States, the ancient Hebrew Festival of Lights, the Chinese New Year, and the Caribbean’s Junkanoo Day. Now Granny seeks to relive these memories of rich cultural traditions, bringing them alive again for her grandchildren TiSean and Nakia through dance, live music, and storytelling. The production features some of Denver’s most renowned artists, including Cleo Parker Robinson, Margarita Taylor, Vincent C. Robinson, CPRD Ensemble members Chloe-Grant Abel and Edgar L. Page, and introducing Cleo II member Jonalyn Bradshaw. Mark Caldwell returns as performer and musical director. All performances will be held at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, 119 Park Ave., West in Denver from Dec. 5 to 20 on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit or call 303-295-1759 x13.


Karen Finney, strategic communications adviser and senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, visits with the Denver community at the home of State Representative Janet Buckner and the Blair Caldwell African Americn Research Library. Photos by Bernard Grant

Asfaw Foundation Senior Breakfast

Photos by Harvey McWorter Denver Urban Spectrum — – December 2015


Utility Assistance Underway For Low Income Coloradoans By Eileen Doherty, MS

Although Colorado has experienced a rather mild fall, some predictions are that Coloradoans may be in for a long cold winter. Long cold winter days bring high heating bills. Colorado is participating in the Low Income Energy Assistance or LEAP program. LEAP will help to pay a portion of the monthly heating costs, but not electrical costs (unless the home is heated with electricity). LEAP will help with costs for natural gas, propane, wood, steam, and electrical heat. LEAP is not meant to pay the total heating bill for a household. LEAP benefits started Nov. 1 and continue through April 30, 2016. Applications can be mailed, faxed, or e-mailed if the county department of human services accepts electronic mail. Most counties are accepting electronic filings.

Households qualify for LEAP if the monthly income for a single individual is less than $1,618 per month ($2,190 for a couple), if the individual pays home heating costs to a utility company or to a landlord as part of rent and is a permanent legal resident and a Colorado resident. Individuals who live in low income housing who only pay a third of their income in rent and who do not pay electricity as a separate bill are not eligible for LEAP. To apply individuals need to submit a copy of the completed and signed application with Social Security numbers and birth dates of members of the household, proof of income for the past year, a copy of the most recent heating bill (or a copy of the rent receipt showing that heat is included in the rent), as well as a readable copy of a valid photo identification. Individuals must also complete and sign the affidavit of lawful presence. Individuals who received LEAP benefits in 2014-15 will automatically receive an application form in the mail if they are still living at the same address. Others may call 303-3333482 or 1-800-HEAT-HELP. At this time of the year, many households are faced with non-working furnaces. Energy Outreach Colorado operates the Crises Intervention Program. This is an emergency home furnace repair or replacement program for qualifying low-income Coloradans. Qualified vendors are trained to trouble-shoot

the problem as well as repair (or replace) the furnace. For assistance call 1-855-469-4328. The Colorado Energy Office offers a free Weatherization Program for low income individuals to make the household more energy efficient. These cost-effective improvements and upgrades reduce energy usage, save money, and improve the overall comfort of the home year-round. Weatherization improvements may include: light bulb retrofits, air sealing, insulation in attic, furnace safety testing, furnace repair or replacement, refrigerator replacement, and storm windows and doors. Individuals who receive Old Age Pension, Supplemental Security Income, and Social Security Disability Insurance, SNAP (food stamps), or LEAP automatically qualify. Individuals not receiving benefits can qualify if their annual income is less than $1962 ($2655 for a couple) in gross income per month. Call 303-333-3482 or 303-226-5059 to find a vendor in your area who can determine if your household is eligible to receive services. Homes that were weatherized prior to September 30, 1994 are not eligible. Renters who live in a single family residence, or a duplex, triplex or four-plex as well as homeowners are eligible for the program. Some multi-family units with the same heating source are also eligible.

Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 2015


Another program that is available to low income individuals who qualify for LEAP is the Property Tax/Rent/Heat Credit Program, sometimes referred to as the PTC 104. Individuals who are 65 and over or disabled, who have resided in Colorado for the entire year in a building that the owner pays property taxes, and who makes less than $12,720 per year or $17,146 for a couple per year are eligible for a minimum of $250 per year and a maximum of $792. Individuals who need an application can call 303-3333482 or 303-238-7378. Some counties and municipalities also offer property tax and rent credit programs such as Denver which offers the Payment to the Elderly and Disabled Program. Check with your county department of revenue. For copies of application forms, locations of when and where to file forms, and other assistance with any of these programs, call 303-333-3482 Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s note: Eileen Doherty, MS has been the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has almost 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays Stat University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at


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Denver Urban Spectrum December 2015  

This cover story for the last month of 2015, we remember founder of Black American West Museum, Paul Stewart. As we remember him, we also re...

Denver Urban Spectrum December 2015  

This cover story for the last month of 2015, we remember founder of Black American West Museum, Paul Stewart. As we remember him, we also re...