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Reverend Leon Kelly

Illustration by Anthony Dyes Jr.

This could be history in the making Black History Month gives us an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary contributions and events made possible by African Americans. This history is our history, and part of the fabric of America. Today, history continues to be made through the achievements of children in our communities. We’re celebrating their future, and Safeway is proud to be part of the celebration.



February 2012

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Sheila Smith COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson G-Soul

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Misti Aas Gary Bramlett Sheila Smith Annette Walker ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte, The Creative Spirit Jody Gilbert, Kolor Graphix


ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANTS Randle Media Rodney Sturgeon WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR Tanya Ishikawa 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 2012 by Rolado, LLC. 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. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

Celebrating Black History...

This month, like in the past, we celebrate the achievements of American Blacks as February is Black History month. Many people in Denver have made a difference, but we chose one man in particular to be featured on our cover - the Rev. Leon Kelly. Kelly has been his own worst enemy but also the Black community’s best ally. He helped curb drive-by shootings and other gang–related violence that once spiraled out of control in Denver and became the community’s saving grace. DUS contributing writer, Misti Aas wrote the story about Kelly and places you in his footsteps over the years, as he was the well-known “Dope Man” selling drugs on the streets to now focusing on saving youths from the streets through his non-profit organization, Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives. He sees it as already living his own eulogy each and every day. Making history is something the Tuskegee Airmen know about. Colorado has several living Black heroes who fought in World War II and part of the elite group of pilots who defied adversity of prejudice and still fought to protect their country. I was personally at the state capitol when state Reps. Angela Williams, Rhonda Fields and senators honored Lt. Col John Mosley and the Tuskegee Airmen. State legislators also enacted a resolution to make Interstate 70 as part of the nationwide Tuskegee Airmen Trail winding across the country. In this February issue, I also delve into the closing of M&D’s Restaurant, which has been a special historical landmark in the Black community for the past 34 years. For Mack and Daisy Shead, having to close their prized barbecue restaurant was a long time coming after years of struggling and an economic turmoil that cost them. And if you have not heard about what’s going on with IRP Solutions and five African American executives, read what they DUS on page 8. And lastly, but certainly not least, this month we introduce DUS’s 2012 African-Americans Who Make a Difference. See who they are and why. We are a fortunate and blessed race to have overcome surmountable odds in the past. However, we move forward with African-Americans like our president, Barack Obama, who are changing the face of history. And that is why I believe the Denver Urban Spectrum must continue spreading the news about people of color. God bless you all. Sheila Smith Managing Editor


Manager Of Safety Thanks Community For Support

was significant overlap across these two forums in areas such as trust building, training, communication, hiring, discipline and review processes. I will say that the issue regarding municipal citations for minors in the school system was a specific topic that was unique in our Dec. 7 forum. The overlapping recommendations across the two forums strongly reinforced the importance of the issues that were raised. As I stated in a follow-up to the Latino forum participants, while we may be currently addressing some of those areas (such as training and streamlining processes), some important questions that emerged for me such as: Are we addressing those areas? Do we need to do to become more effective? How do we use our existing resources to impact these changes? If these existing resources are not enough to effect the desired change, what other resources can we access to help us get there? I have shared the content of the forum with our new Chief of Police, Robert White. Stay tuned for an upcoming community forum where all of you can meet and engage with Chief White in the near future. Chief White shares my values and the administration’s values of community engagement. We take your input seriously and we look forward to ongoing discussions and partnerships with our community in the future.

Editor: As a follow-up to the Dec. 7 community forum, I want to thank all of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to participate in this important gathering. I also want to express my appreciation to the Denver African-American Commission for hosting us and running the meeting. As I mentioned in the session, our Public Safety Departments must be willing to engage and partner with our residents on an ongoing basis in order to make a positive difference. In reviewing the meeting notes, I was especially heartened by the thoughtful consideration of how Public Safety and the community could partner together in constructive ways in the future. A month prior to this forum, another gathering was hosted by the Denver Latino Commission. There

About the Cover Artist

“There is a magical place available to me and you at our beckon call. With this level of focus we can do brilliant things. You are never wrong here. The feeling is euphoric. I soar. Free as a bird.” Anthony J Dyes Jr.

Est.1978. Born and raised in Denver. See my portfolio on Facebook: t.j.dyes

Alex Martinez Manager of Safety

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Tyler Perry Thanks George Lucas Making Red Tails

Editor: The Problem with an all-star African American Cast... Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct. That’s right, EXTINCT! Ask any executive at a Hollywood Studio why, and most of them will tell you one of two things. The first thing they’ll say is that DVD sales have become very soft, so it’s hard for a movie with an all black cast to break-even. Secondly they’ll say, most movies are now dependent on foreign sales to be successful and most “Black” movies don’t sell well in foreign markets. So what that means is you will begin to see less and less Continued on page 34 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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The Rev: A Defining Journey To A Life’s Calling By Misti Aas


void in one’s life that is des-

perately trying to be filled can lead to

a lifestyle of greed, of violence, of ultimately death… Rev. Leon Kelly

Rev. Leon Kelly at the Dr. MLK Marade with Mayor Michael Hancock and other local politicians.

More people should ask the question, “Isn’t there something more to this life?”….That is what the Reverend Leon Kelly asked himself years ago as he was heading down a path much different than the one he’s on now. A man and his partner knock on the door and burst onto a scene of another man who hasn’t paid “The Dope Man” for some product. A woman who comes to the door says that the man they were seeking is not there. A bathroom door is opened, and the sought after man suddenly has a cocked nickel plated 38 pointed at his head, one of three guns the dope man always carries. In the midst of threats to pull the trigger if payment is not made, a head is turned to check on his partner who is dealing with the woman….POW – and the gun accidently goes off. The expected scene could have been one of blood and endings. But instead, the unexpected occurs where the gun has somehow slipped to point along the crease of the man’s forehead. The concurrent fear and relief in that moment, on both sides, changed a life forever and changed the future lives of countless others. What could have become a tragic ending was the seed for a new beginning. The dope man with the gun was the Rev. Leon Kelly, who in that terri-

fying and miraculous moment in the struggle kept his composure, knew that he had to alter the pattern of his life. The close call of killing another person had never been in his plans. Kelly later realized that the course of events that happened over 30 years ago was no accident, and that God had a much different journey in store for the man now known as “The Rev” to hundreds of kids, ages five to 25 years old. The Denver non-profit, Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, founded by the Rev. Kelly, will be embarking on its 26th year of operation. Kelly created Open Door to fill an urgent need to build a community-based program that addressed the devastating effects of increasing gang activity and violence. The multi-faceted programming addresses all sides of the spectrum, from daily after school gang prevention activities to a weekly evening group called “Flippin’ the Script” for parolees at the Department of Corrections.

on our block, and we had a reverence and deep respect for parents and the neighborhood.” As time marched on, Kelly witnessed first-hand the transitions of the nation; not only in the terminology of being identified as Colored to Negro, Black to Afro-American, but in the growing bigotry and racism as the civil rights era peaked in the 1960s. Kelly’s grandfather was a pastor in Bogalusa, La. Initially, there was occasional road trips that kept the young Kelly isolated from the hatred and drama. But that changed when his grandfather became ill and the family temporarily moved to a deeper southern part of Louisiana when Kelly was in Junior High. “We were suddenly exposed to what discrimination was all about,” said Kelly. “The hatred that started to evolve – when it infused itself to my perspective, it caused me to develop some energies and emotions of hatred towards white folks.” After returning to his home state, Kelly attended college at Colorado University in Boulder, and his perspective once again evolved. “When I was exposed to the freedom and a campus town like Boulder,” recalled Kelly, “it showed me another world and people from all over the place.” The Recreation major became enamored with his love of hoops and played Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball. “With the athletic lifestyle came the other side of it, when people put you on a pedestal,” explained Kelly. It became an addiction in itself, like a drug.

The Winding Path To A Life’s Mission Leon Kelly Jr. was born into the innocence of society in Denver. His father and his grandfather were both ministers. Kelly and his five siblings lived a protected childhood with a strong family foundation of morals and values. The Kelly home was a magnet for other children in the neighborhood who were drawn to the environment of a two-parent household. “Back then we had a complete sense of neighborhood and community,” Kelly said. “We knew everybody

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


After graduating from College, Kelly continued to play semi-professional basketball and continued working with the Salvation Army Red Shield’s youth program, while his life became more altered from his core self and the foundation he grew up with. This enticing path led to riches and fame through selling illegal drugs – cocaine, hash, and weed. It was a lifestyle of immediate gratification and something the once so innocent preacher’s son couldn’t believe how easy it was to make a quick turnaround of cash. It became a culture of greed, fast living and was very different from the world he had grown up in. So many perspectives changed for the “Preacher’s Kid,” including his negative views towards white people. “When someone that looked like me tried to take my birthday, that’s when I started dealing with people as people and not based on the color of their skin.” This experience hardened him to a way of self-preservation and survival.

Rev. Leon Kelly with actor Will Smith

Kelly continued to spiral into the depths of a loss of focus as he continued to sell drugs, which he then left his job with the youth program that no longer seemed conducive to the flip side of his life of instant rewards, besides not representing a good role model image. He moved to downtown Denver and the Penthouse of Brooks Towers, becoming known as “The Dope Man” who was in high demand due to his access and connections to Boulder. People began to gravitate towards him not because of the secure and stable family values of his younger life, but rather his unstable provision of a quick fix and false sense of security.

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Serves as Community Hub

With thousands of items to check out as well as programs, exhibits and meeting spaces, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library serves as a hub for the neighborhood and the citizens of Denver and beyond. As one of 23 branches of the Denver Public Library, the branch library was the brainchild of Mayor Wellington E. Webb and First Lady Wilma J. Webb. They envisioned a research library and museum to preserve and showcase the many contributions of African Americans to Colorado and the West. They feared that if this history was not preserved in a central place, it would be lost forever. Since its opening April 2003, the library has done that, and more. BlairCaldwell serves as an educational and cultural resource for the people of Denver, and the world, focusing on the history, literature, art, music, religion, and politics of African Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Last year the Branch Library welcomed over 130,000 visitors and hosted 25 community groups such as the Mile High Youth Corps, National Council of Negro Women, and the Five Points Jazz planning committee. Like most other DPL branches, neighborhood groups count on the library to as a place to hold their meetings and events. Bringing in special exhibitions, to complement their historical permanent collection, is also an important part of what Blair-Caldwell offers to the community. These exhibits, in addition to the resource materials available at the branch, allow the library staff to work with students and teachers from preschool to college, around the state. Last November Blair-Caldwell hosted the national exhibition Moving Toward Liberation: Freedom Riders, which tells the powerful, harrowing and inspirational civil rights story of six months in 1961 when more than 400 courageous Americans old and young, black and white, men and women, Northern and Southern risked their lives to challenge segregated facilities in the South. The exhibition was funded through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “We were thrilled to not only help bring this exhibition to Denver, but also host 15 related public programs with a total program attendance of over 1,000,” says Terry Nelson, BlairCaldwell’s Special Collection and

Community Resource Senior Librarian. “We also worked closely with area schools and hosted over 360 high school students, and 40 elementary school students throughout the one-month run, where a record-breaking 3,800 people came to view the exhibition.” While the Blair-Caldwell serves the community year-round, once a year the Denver Public Library hosts the Juanita Gray Community Service Awards, presented to African American men and women who have made an outstanding contribution to the Denver Metro area and who exemplify the ideals and spirit represented by Gray’s commitment to the community.

Now in its 25th year, the Library will also be hosting a fundraising gala on Feb. 3 to ensure the future of the community awards with guest speaker Mayor Michael B. Hancock. The award ceremony traditionally kicks off Black History Month, and will take place this year on Feb. 4 at BlairCaldwell. Related programming and Black History Month special programs are planned throughout February including movie screenings, art exhibits, and live presentations. For a complete list of events, call 720-865-2401 or visit 


Please join us for a complimentary community event featuring noted social entrepreneur and speaker

Brenda Palms Barber Founder of North Lawndale Network and Sweet Beginnings LLC

Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 Lecture 7-9 p.m. Shorter Community AME Church 3100 Richard Allen Court (Colorado and Martin Luther King Boulevards) Denver 80205 Join us in honoring the recipients of the Hope for the Future Award: The Honorable Michael Hancock, Mayor of the City of Denver Carlotta Walls LaNier, youngest of the Little Rock Nine, author, businesswoman and Civil Rights advocate Lt. Col. James Harvey III, member of the pioneering Tuskegee Airmen Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Through all of these experiences, Kelly kept a fragile sense of balance and lived a double life. In the eyes of his parents, he was still living an upstanding life and they were proud of their son’s success, having no real clue. Kelly maintained a sense of the values and morals that had been instilled in him, and continued to be able to justify his lifestyle as not being harmful to anyone. “I remember moments standing on my balcony, looking over the city and thinking that there had to be more to life than this,” marveled Kelly. “Then the phone would ring and it was back to the world that I knew.”

When The Bubble Burst… It was a game of cat and mouse, striving to stay a step ahead of the police. It was a game of knowing who might be getting set up, and the possibility of getting shot at. It felt like an invincible life-style of being on top, and the pinnacle seemed like it could never crumble. “When you get to the top, there is only one way down,” said Kelly, “and I came crashing down.” In 1979, Kelly was convicted on a drug related charge after nearly shooting someone and served a five- toeight year prison sentence in the Colorado State Penitentiary System. His parents, always the pillars of Christianity and upstanding community figures, couldn’t believe what happened while in the courtroom. “My Mom thought they were railroading her son,” remembered Kelly. When the handcuffs were put on, Kelly was in a state of disbelief. “I’m a college graduate and a preacher’s son,” he recounted. “I think at that point, I was more embarrassed by what my Mom and Dad felt, and what I had just put them through.” Kelly’s bubble had not only burst, it had exploded, and his world turned upside down in that moment of his sentencing. A Time to Reflect… Twenty-three hours of each day, Kelly remained in solitary confine-

feet, and then no more. Instead I opened it and threw it out. That was when I came to realize who I was in Christ.”

One day, Delontay agreed to walk down to the corner store, off Franklin and 28th streets, to buy his sister a soda. As he left the house, he noticed his brother had forgotten his rag on the counter and stuck it in his back A Growing Problem In The pocket. But when he left the store, Mile High City… only two houses from home, a car In 1984, Red Shield want- drove by and spotted the blue rag in ed Kelly to come back and his back pocket. work with their youth pro“An arm protruded out the wingram once again. Kelly dow of the car, and one shot was accepted the job and began fired,” Kelly said, “It hit him up under seeing the negative influthe arm and severed his aorta. He ences coming in from made it back to his own steps where Rev. Leon Kelly with Denver Sheriff officials at Christmas event. California on the growing he fell down and died. The gang members in the car did not know this ment and had to reRev. Leon Kelly take youth to kid from Adam.” evaluate many Broncos football game. This was Kelly’s first drive by things about his life. homicide that was up close and perOn the plea and sonal to the man who was dedicating recommendation of his life to alter the path of death and his mother, Kelly destruction brought on by gangs. began to sincerely Kelly had been observing a changing pray for redempand disturbing mindset among gang tion and forgiveyouth and their whole attitude, lack of ness. remorse and of respect; knowingfrom “In the world of his own experience what hatred did if that former life I it was not addressed and would fester lived in the streets, and get out of control. it’s hard to grasp “The drive-bys we experienced the concept of faith back in the day were more to intimiand the element of things not yet gang culture in Northeast Denver. date,” explained Kelly. “It was excitseen,” said Kelly. “For me to survive "When yourtojob... This was the beginning chapter of you leave ing for them try and shoot somein that world I had to rely on what when the Crips and Bloods had offibody, but when the missiles found don't leave your money behind!" was tangible.” cially arrived in Denver. their target and they started to hit the When Kelly delved into his new Kelly used basketball in a strucit was taken to another level.” Myra Donovan, victim, CLU, ChFC, CFP realm of spirituality, a weight was lift- tured environment to connect and A Continuing Journey… Adviser ed off of him. And he realized that establish relationships. HeFinancial singled out When Kelly formed the Open Door God had a purpose for this preacher’s the gang member leaders and built a Youth Gang Alternatives in 1986, it son; someone who had come to know 3200had Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 trust with those youths who influseemed to be a natural evolution for the life of a drug dealer but was now ence. “I would call time out and we Denver, CO 80209 the man who was already helping curflipping his own script with a different would orchestrate a play,”303-871-7249 said Kelly. - tail gang violence with growing memview of the world and brand new Kelly became increasingly involved bership. The name “Open Door” was focus. in deterring gang activity among the in response to many of the recreation One of Kelly’s truest victories came teens that he closely worked with. In "Callclosing Today a at FREE centers theirfor doors that time. after he was released from prison one family, he became close to two Kelly wanted it to be clear that Consultation!" his three years after his sentencing. He older brothers who were trying to door would always be open to fill the alter their identities as Crips. recalled his old stash was still there growing needs of the city’s youth. Fortunately, they had a 16-year-old waiting at home. “The longer I held it In the beginning, the focus of Open younger brother, Delontay, who was in my hands, the weaker I became,” Door was intervention, mediation, and he said. “I thought I might still be able still on a positive track playing footprevention, in that order. As the gang ball at Kennedy High School and was to justify the parties, the life, the phenomenon grew, Kelly found himgreed. I could just turn this; get on my not necessarily a concern at the time. self trying to put out the “brush fires”

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February 22, 2012 Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


and diffuse issues that kept spreading all over the city. His efforts began to feel futile, as those fires continued burning. Kelly realized the most effective way of dousing the flames was to cut off gang recruitment and deal with the root of the issue. “Starting early is the key,” Kelly expressed. “It is much easier to mold a kid, than to repair an adult. In addition, if I develop a relationship with this kid in elementary school, then I’m going to develop a relationship with the parents and siblings as well. That gives me a tie into the home, where I would find out that other siblings had issues with gangs.” And it was always the mothers who sought his help for both prevention and intervention. It is the core of everything that he does, from mediating rival gangs to being a positive role model for youth at risk. “It always goes back to the relationship,” stressed Kelly. “And being consistent in the lives of these kids, so they can say ‘somebody appreciates me for me, somebody knows I’m alive, and I’m not just another statistic of the system.’” This is apparent in all of Kelly’s interactions. In the after school program at the elementary school, children are scrambling to get a hug from the Rev. Along with that love, comes

Rev. Leon Kelly spends time with an Open Door Youth Gang participant.

a visible respect, and a desire to “toe the line” and in turn be rewarded by the man of genuine heart and stature. In the weekly “Flippin’ the Script” program, 22 parolees who would be considered by many as hard core gangsters, sit in rapt attention as the Rev teaches them the tools and the skills they can use to take some of the traits they developed on the streets and flip them around to be productive and pay it forward back in society. Kelly realizes that there are no automatic changes in a lifestyle that was their identity and led them to serve time in prison for the choices they made. “It took a long time for this mindset to develop , so it is going to take more than a minute to overcome that,” he tells the group. At the end of the two hour class, each one comes up and hugs and laughs with the Rev, who expresses genuine and individual concern as if they were the

only one in the room at that moment. A Long Road To Go… Along with the great rewards of the relationships he strives to foster - the kids he sees grow up, the graduations from colleges, kids of the kids he’s worked with and providing those opportunities to break the cycle – is not forgetting that along with gang violence comes a great deal of loss. Kelly pulls out a stapled packet from his desk drawer that is about a half inch thick. This is what he refers to as his death list. There are 913 names to date on this list of youth who have violently died young. Each life that was at one time vibrant and valued is now listed by full name and age under the groupings for each year....31 in 1993, 64 in 2003, and 35 in 2011. As an ordained minister since 1986, Kelly has officiated at many funerals. “There has been no other minister who has had to bury this many kids

and people who had lost their lives due to youth violence and gangs,” Kelly stated. Pictures of youths line the wall that Kelly has been an integral part of their lives. A number of them are now gone. “When you’re praying with a kid, playing with a kid, interacting with a kid, and now you get a call that he or she is dead – that is a lot of emotion to deal with,” expressed Kelly. “A lot of my thought patterns and attitudes have changed over the years,” said Kelly. “It’s sad that a lot of the time we have to die before somebody acknowledges that he or she was really a good person and what they’ve done. We should be living our eulogies every day.” Although there needs to be so much more wide spread attention given to this problem that isn’t going away by itself, Kelly will continue to further his own efforts of compassion and dedication from a strength within that only comes from God. It’s been a tireless path that he not only has chosen, but one that chose him. He lives his own eulogy each and every day.  Editor’s note: For more information on Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, visit their web-site at Editor’s note: Misti can be reached at

Congratulations Faye Tate VP and Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion Congratulations to Faye Tate, recipient of the 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Social Responsibility Award and CH2M HILL’s Vice President and Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion. As a firm committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, CH2M HILL proudly supports Urban Spectrum in its effort to Connect People to People and break down cultural barriers.

CH2M HILL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

© 2012 CH2M HILL COR012612142103MKT

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Having to wear orange tennis shoes and green jumpsuits that say

Downtown Denver Detention was not the wardrobe of choice for five Black executives, who were locked behind bars for nearly 45 days last year. Now out on bond and working on an appeal to get the conviction overturned, Gary Walker, David Banks and other business partners, are confident of their innocence of fraud that involves federal agencies and a $5.3 million debt collection. Banks, 44, determined to clear his name, claims, “This case is partially racially motivated and big money that involves the federal government. We don’t believe that a white software company would have gone through this.” Banks is chief operating officer of the Colorado Springs based software company, IRP Solutions, along with his brother-in-law Gary Walker, CEO, Kendrick Barnes, Demetrius Harper, Clinton Stewart and David Zirpolo (who is white), who were all convicted in a federal court of fleecing 41 employment staffing agencies of $5.3 million. Denver attorney, Charles Torres, one of the new attorneys that IRP executives have hired to work on their appeal, even questions how certain things were done during the trial. “There are very interesting appellate issues that are important to ask the court

Impending Solution For Five Black Executives IRP Solutions Battle With Feds While Waiting Appeal By Sheila Smith and Gary Bramlett

Executives with IRP Solutions company based in Colorado Springs, CO. Left to right: (Back row) Clinton Stewart, David Banks, Kendrick Barnes (Front row) Demetrius Harper, David Zirpolo, Gary Walker, CEO

to look into,” affirmed Torres, who also was a former federal prosecutor. “We strongly believe the men are innocent and are pushing toward that direction while preparing for the appeal (once a date is set), added Gwendolyn Solomon, solo practitioner and use to work for the El Paso

District Attorney’s Office. She also is working on the case on behalf of the five IRP executives. The whole case stems around IRP Solutions developing a software that Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies nation-wide could use after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The company contracted out several staffing agencies in providing employees to help work on the software. But what should have been a civil litigation involving a debt collection case filed by the staffing agencies turned into a criminal fraud case pursued by Colorado U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Kirsch and tried in a federal court. “We’re a small company competing with Lockheed Martin and IBM,” said Banks who admitted to getting the manpower from staffing agencies in order to help modify their software. “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and New York Police Department wanted to see certain things with the software. So we did it in good faith that it would land us the contract with the federal government and these law enforcement agencies. But then we got indicted on allegations for making false representation to these staffing agencies. It became a catch 22 for us in being obligated to pay the staffing agencies in expectation of landing federal contracts.” Banks further said the staffing agencies had already filed civil law suits against IRP Solutions for being in breach of contract for payments between 2003 and 2005. Yet, the FBI still stepped in and arrested all the executives on fraud charges. Some see it play out like a Black Watergate scandal involving cover-

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ups, seizure of records, wire and email fraud swindles. And the FBI’s charge that IRP Solutions was a “purported” or fictitious company pretending to be a software company. In February 2005, the FBI conducted a full-scale raid of IRP’s office in Colorado Springs – confiscating software codes and other confidential records, besides probing into bank records of family members, friends and associates of Colorado Springs Fellowship Church, where all the IRP executives attended. Pastor Rose Banks with the Colorado Springs church is still fuming over the whole ordeal on how her son, David Banks, son-in-law, Gary Walker and the others were treated. “I truly believe this was a set up (of IRP) from the time of the raid. The FBI went around harassing my church members, went into my bank account, the church’s bank account and had no subpoenas,” she said. Prior to the FBI raid, federal agencies, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and Denver Police Department, had shown an interest after seeing demonstrations of the software by IRP, proving the company’s legitimacy. “Not only did we contact the FBI back in late 2003, but began interfacing with various law enforcement agencies, including New York Police Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” Banks said. “It was Steven Cooper, program manager with DHS, who advised us to put a federal face on our software package by engaging the services of law enforcement professionals. That prompted a meeting we had with Sen. Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell, who also referred us to the head of the Denver Division of the FBI.”

The Software

This highly anticipated software was developed and expanded back in 2003, explained CEO, Gary Walker, 48. Walker has a degree in computer science from the University of Colorado. He has worked in the computer field for the last 20 years and been a software developer consultant for many companies. He then brought in others with information software technology experience: Banks, 44, who has a data architecture background, Harper, 37, data base administration, Stewart, 52, software engineering, Barnes, 40, software engineering and Zirpolo, 47, with an industrial engineering background. For Walker, it was a matter of perfecting his software so that police departments could use it for investigation of cases and case management – initially a tool first marketed to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

“It became clear to me that I needed to expand the software. I needed to make it more multi-usable that incorporated a data base and networkable. That way multiple agencies could collaborate and cross reference on investigations of cases,” Walker said. “I took our software to another level.” Before 9/11, Walker said different law enforcement agencies across the country had no way to draw links between people and cases, collaborate and share information. “When 9/11 happened, it was a wake-up call for those federal agencies,” he said. Walker and his business partners went to work on more enterprising software, which involved seeking the help of temporary staffing agencies for additional employees to be contracted out. Walker also clarified that the temporary staffing agencies did invoice his company for employees; but over time, he fell behind on payments in hopes of having a multi-million dollar sale of the software to pay off their debts. Even court testimony by Bill Witherspoon, project manager with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington D.C., alluded to how this type of software initiative would normally cost Homeland Security a billion dollar contract. “Homeland Security and NYPD told us that they couldn’t contract directly with such a small company like ours, even though they commented on our software being the best they’ve seen. They suggested we partner with some larger companies – like Deloitte and Computer Sciences Corporation who are billion dollar companies that contract with federal agencies - and could sell our software as prime contractors and we deliver the software as a subcontractor,” Walker said. The problem, he declared, was these larger companies wanted to review IRP’s software and get more detailed information without providing a nondisclosure contract agreement. “We were stuck with this great software that we couldn’t sell. And it became clear that we had something very valuable,” expressed Walker. John Epke, a retired FBI agent who lives in Boulder, entered into a contract with IRP Solutions in January 2004 to advise and consult them on their software. The contract specified that he would receive consulting fees from $65 to $70 an hour for his work on the software project. Epke worked with IRP for a year and testified in court on his involvement. But during a phone interview, Epke outlined his disappointment with IRP Solutions, saying, “I never got one dime from them, and I wasn’t happy about it.” He also hasn’t decided what legal recourse to take in getting back payment from IRP.

Fraud or Unfair Justice

Before the FBI shut the doors of IRP, the executives sought legal representation from Billy Martin of Washington D.C., who also represented NFL player, Michael Vic, during his villainous dog fighting case. But the executives believed the attorney was not moving in an aggressive manner in their defense and had exhausted all their financial resources. They eventually ended up with a court appointed attorney. Again, Walker said he didn’t believe the court appointed attorney was effectively representing them in the court room. “Our main dissatisfaction was the lawyer seemed too ‘buddy buddy’ with the prosecutor. We did not want our lives in the hands of a person who didn’t see the prosecutor as an adversary.” Without any legal counsel, IRP executives were left to represent themselves during the three-week federal court trial in October 2011. U.S. Attorney Kirsch and his team hammered away at the idea that IRP Solutions went to the temporary staffing companies and misled them in believing they had secured contracts with Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies. Walker and Banks, of course, say this is false and denied the allegations despite staffing agencies having verbally testified in court with no other evidence of emails or documentation showing IRP had contracts with the Department of Homeland Security and NYPD. The jury began deliberating on Oct. 17, 2011 and the gavel came down after a guilty verdict was read on Oct. 20, 2011. Presiding Judge Christine M. Arguello immediately had all the IRP executives placed in custody of U.S. Marshalls, handcuffed and shackled before being led out of the courtroom. Currently, the men are out on bond and remain under house arrest in their homes with restricted times to leave and return. Walker is upbeat and hopeful of having a successful appeal trial with his new team of lawyers to represent the company. He said what he and the others went through – being indicted and spending time locked up in pod cell consisting of 64 men, no way to go outside and see the sky except the few streams of sunlight beaming through the small barred windows – has definitely been an experience. “It’s about racism here in Colorado,” Walker stated. “You have six people indicted and convicted, which five of them are Black. It shows us how hard it is for any Black company to sell to federal and law enforcement agencies and also proves how much racism is alive and well in this country.”

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Colorado Honors

is the region’s largest economy. The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) region encompasses Gabon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad. “Its economic and demographic weight as well as its strategic geographic position at the heart of CEMAC makes Cameroon the By SheilaAfrican Smith natural locomotive,” Central according to Business Cameroon, an t 90 years old,portal Lt. Col. John online investment showcasing strategic business opportunities the Mosley rose from his wheel chairinand country. saluted those who gave him a standIn a May 25, 2010 report, ing ovation and applauseSTATE, while atthe the CAMEROON:FRAGILE state capitol. ICG stated, “Cameroon’s apparent staLastinmonth, the former Tuskegee bility a turbulent region cannot be dent; it Airman received special taken for granted.” Therecognition report cast the state scenarios legislatorsthat whocould passed a joint different threaten y those from resolution naming Interstate 70 the the country’s stability, leading to coneve that “Tuskegee Airman Memorial Trails” flict. It called for political reform, the make a that will be partof ofinstitutions a nationwide trail strengthening and for across the country. government oversight. nt com- stretching “I“The wasinternational very happy to be a part of community, lticulfocused on unstable countries particular activity (being ain the essence that region, just hopes Cameroon will Airman) and recognizing in other Tuskegee muddle through,” the ICG report how important it was to the United continsaid. said Mosley who has always n from States,” been excited accomplishEditor’s note:about Georgehis Bamu is an Aurora ments during the 1940s as a bomber rliness, based journalist and founder of Africa pilot withHe thecan 332nd Fighterthrough Group of meroon Agenda. be reached the elite African-American pilots. ndewebsite, m the y, and ay 20,

Former Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. John Mosley, 90, salutes the Colorado House after it passed a joint resolution making Interstate 70 part of the nationwide "Tuskegee Airman Memorial Trails" system.


g for a others wo-state 61 country able ones and

Rep. Angela William, D-Denver led the efforts in getting the resolution passed. During World War II, a tremendous amount of attention was paid to Black pilots who were considered part of the Tuskegee Experiment in the early 1940’s. The result was the formation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron based in Tuskegee, Ala. These Black men who were not only pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff that became a big part of the United States Air Force. Those Tuskegee airmen flew the

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skies with courage and bravery in leading the war – destroying 1,000 German aircrafts – thus earning their nickname “Red Tail Angels.” Not only did they fight Hitler across the seas but had to fight the ugliness of prejudice, hatred and segregation back home in the United States. The Tuskegee Airmen proved their wings of worthiness and were regarded with the highest of respect for serving their country. “We owe unlimited gratitude to the Tuskegee Airman, during a time when African Americans were barred from serving in the U.S Military – the Tuskegee Airmen proved what they said could not be done and were successful combat mission pilots who also protected our country,” Williams said when addressing fellow legislators during the Military Day ceremony. She also encouraged everyone to go see the movie Red Tails and added, “It is part of history that our children need to know about.” Williams said there are eight members of the original Tuskegee Airmen still living in Colorado and why it was important to have resolution HRJ 1003 passed. This allowed Colorado to be part of the systematic nationwide trail dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen. In each state, a group of elected house

Colorado Tuskegee Airmen •Lt. Elder James Brown •Lt. Col. James H. Harvey III •Capt. Samuel C. Hunter, Jr. •2nd Lt. Franklin Macon •Lt. Col. John Mosley •Col. Fitzroy “Buck” Newsum •Col. James E. Randall •Lt. Col. Marion Rodgers

representatives and senators also presented similar resolutions in order to designate a stretch of interstate to connect to the national Tuskegee trail winding its way across the country. Colorado’s Tuskegee trail spans from the eastern border of Kansas across to the Utah border. “They were not able to serve in the United States Military until 1942 and they put their lives on the line at a time when the military would not allow them to do so,” Williams further emphasized about the I-70 trail being monumental in honoring the remaining Tuskegee Airmen living in Colorado. Sen. Suzanne Williams and State Rep. Rhonda Fields also stood in strong support of the resolution and praised the Tuskegee Airmen as men who defied the odds and became the best ever to have served in the Armed Forces. “He represents us and fought for us,” Sen. Williams said and again thanked Mosley. John Smith stood in the shadows of the Tuskegee Airman and proudly wears the burgundy uniform. “It has been a long time coming, and for me it is a testimony of the progress we made in this country,” he said about being honored by the state legislators on Military Day and having the Tuskegee Airmen trail namesake. “It comes at a time when Martin Luther King’s exploits are being celeContinued on page next page Photo by A Star’s Photography

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On Jan. 22, the Hubert L. “Hooks” Jones Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. also honored these living Black American heroes of the sky during a dinner and showing of Red Tails. Pictured is organizer Gilbert Wheeler with Tuskegee Airmen and youth in attendance. Red Tails has skyrocketed in sales, grossing more than $26 million at the box office, and holding steady as the number two movie in theaters since its debut on Jan. 20.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Don Rojas, Executive Director of Free Speech TV.. Where Television Is A Movement


By Annette Walker

uring his two year tenure as executive director of Free Speech TV (FSTV), Don Rojas has achieved some of his goals to increase viewership and to augment and diversify its progressive programming. Established in 1995 and first located in Boulder, FSTV is now headquartered in Denver at the Five Points Media Center. It is the first national Continued from previous page brated. So I hope that the American people will look at this and start treating people right – regardless of color and creed – and we all work together. So this is just indescribable on what has taken place.” Smith was a graduate of Tuskegee University and then served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Although, he did not serve in WWII like those before him, he said, “I am a beneficiary of what they (the Tuskegee Airmen) did.” While Hollywood may have sensationalized some facts when it came to the Tuskegee Airmen and service to their country, Jeffrey Baptist, 21, still appreciated its historical content and tribute to men like his great grandfather, John Mosley. “It’s all about legacy and sense of pride you get and really invigorates you to do something. When I look at him, my great grandfather, people see him as a hero, I see shoes to fill and I always try to emulate him and do things to make him proud,” Baptist said. Baptist continues the long tradition of Mosley men, from his uncle Eric Mosley, who served 20 years in the Air Force, along with countless other family members who also served their country. He will graduate from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 2013. 

television network whose mission is to expand the reach of social justice issues and ultimately to serve as a catalyst for social change. The founders wanted to provide an alternative to corporate-funded news and programming and counter the misinformation in mainstream media. Now a multi-platform digital media pioneer, FSTV is best-known for its daily news and analysis programs. Among these are the Washington, D.C.-based Thom Hartmann Program and New Yorkbased Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. There is also a daily program produced by Al Jazeera’s English-language channel. FSTV also has broadened its scope and also features weekly public affairs series, investigative documentaries, personal stories, and keynote talks by leading thinkers. The network reaches 30 million U.S. homes, airing fulltime on DISH Network (channel 9415) and DIRECT TV (channel 348) and parttime on more than 200 cable affiliates. There is also live streaming on the Web at FSTV is funded by viewer donations and foundation grants. There are no commercials and the network does not accept money from corporations. According to Rojas over the past two years TV viewership has increased by 40 percent. He is especially proud of program innovations. “We are honored to welcome Senator Bernie Sanders (Dem. Vermont) to our community,” he said. “Brunch with Bernie” is produced in conjunction with Thom Hartmann and is a live call-in program where listeners can interact with the longest-serving independent member of the U.S. Congress.” FSTV held a special six-hour broadcast during the 2010 midterm elections, featuring Denver’s Gloria Neal as anchor for local guests along with Amy Goodman from New York and Thom Hartmann from Washington, D.C. During his tenure Rojas has increased live coverage of progressive events, such as the NAACP’s annual convention in Los Angeles last summer; the Netroots National Conference in Minneapolis; the Take Back the American Dream conference in Washington, D.C. featuring Van Jones, labor union leaders and grassroots organizers and activists; the U.S. Social forum in Detroit that attracted over 20,000 people. One of Rojas’ goals has been to increase FSTV’s visibility in Denver’s progressive, African-American and Latino communities. “We videotaped and later broadcast the keynote speech delivered by Ben Chavis at the annual

banquet of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists,” he said. “In addition we have partnered with Dr. Vincent Harding and the Veterans of Hope organization to present a special presentation by poet and activist Sonia Sanchez.“ The event was held at FSTV’s studios with a live audience. FSTV videotaped the lecture delivered by Dr. Elsie Scott, president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her visit to Denver was to participate in the Crime Prevention Conference co-sponsored by the NAACP Youth Council. Both the Sonia Sanchez and Elsie Scott presentations will be broadcast during February’s Black History Month’s programming. There will be new programming for 2012. “We will launch a weekly “Occupy the Media” program in February because we view the 99 percent Movement as the most significant social and economic justice movement in the USA since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 70s,” said Rojas. “In fact, Dr. King’s dream of an America with greater economic and racial equality is alive and well in the Occupy Movement.” This year FSTV staff marched, videotaped and interviewed people in Denver’s Martin Luther King annual Marade.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Rojas said that the 2012 election campaign coverage will commence in February. “FSTV is especially interested in the battleground states as well as the Republican and Democratic Conventions.” Other programming initiatives for this year are a redesigned and enhanced Website and an Internet radio project. Rojas brings to Denver’s media landscape an exceptional journalistic and communications background that encompasses an international perspective. A native of the Caribbean, he has held positions in African-American, Caribbean and alternative media. In the early 1990s he was managing editor of the New York Amsterdam News, the oldest surviving AfricanAmerican weekly newspaper. He also founded the first African-American Internet initiative, the Black World Today and the Black world Radio Network. He was communications director of the NAACP, media manager of Oxfam America and general manager of Pacifica’s WBAI-FM radio station in New York City. Prior to that, he was the press secretary to the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop of Grenada. Rojas has worked as a journalist in Canada, Eastern Europe, Cuba, and Latin America. 

Saying Goodbye to M&D’s By Sheila Smith


ho knew that when Mack and Daisy Shead brought to town their savory, fiery blend of barbecue sauce

some 34 years ago, it would become such a milestone in Denver’s Black community. The couple’s restaurant, M&D’s, catered to all the barbecue and catfish connoisseurs, along with other popular dishes that left your taste buds wanting more. But for the Shead family, closing the doors of their restaurant last month was harder on the customers than it was for them. After years of a burned-out economy, they said it was time. Mack Shead said they struggled for so long just trying to keep the doors open for their long-time customers. “It was a smart business decision that came too late,” agreed his said daughter, Rena Shead. M&D’s seemed to be the one mainstay Black business in Denver. The restaurant not only provided food for those who craved it, but even the poor who couldn’t afford it. “If a person was hungry, he or she was never turned away and always got something to eat,” said MJ Shead, the son who helped run the business along with his parents and sisters. Long time patrons of M&D’s, Lu Vason, always brought his clients to eat at the restaurant.

“I was instrumental in helping them build more customers. Lu Vason Presents and the Bill Pickett Rodeo would bring all the entertainers to the restaurant to eat or have them cater.

“So I feel terrible about them closing,” he said. “It’s a major loss to the community.” The Sheads also became like a second family to Lu Vason who spent time having holiday dinners with them for more than 10 years. Les Franklin, founder of the Shaka Franklin Foundation, used to spend every Saturday eating at M&D’s when his sons were young. He also had M&D’s cater many of the Shaka Franklin Foundation functions as well. “It was always a healthy and clean environment where you could take your family, and Mack always kept things under control,” Franklin said

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


heartbroken over his favorite restaurant closing. “In my viewpoint, I think the Black community abandoned the business.” Mack Shead, who is originally from Indiana, had retired from military service. He decided to move to Colorado because of other brothers and sisters already living in Denver. His wife, Daisy, was born and raised in Texas. As the couple couldn’t resist the charms of the Mile Hi City, they immediately pursued looking for a location to open up a restaurant in 1977. “When I was in the service and stationed in Rome, N.Y., I had opened a restaurant,” Mack Shead said of having the same southern-style cooking he mastered so well that included his father-in-law’s special Texas barbecue recipe. “My daddy was the barbecue man. He had a barbecue pit on the weekends. And I was just a little girl when I started working there,” said Daisy Shead. She felt it was important to pass on her father’s recipe to her children. Actually, Mack Shead added, the secret to the success of the barbecue restaurant was providing the public with good food. “We had a good recipe and continued to enhance the

food. The food was still good up until the time we closed.” The second generation of Sheads learned quickly about tradition and becoming part of the family business. Rena Shead was in high school when she first started working at her parent’s restaurant. “The restaurant opened up on a Tuesday and I started on a Friday,” she laughed when remembering. “I worked even after college. It was part of my parent’s legacy and a family business.” Deborah Shead was away at college when the restaurant opened in 1977. But she never failed to return home on breaks and during the summer to work at the restaurant. “For me it was important to be a part of my family’s business,” she said. The years went by and Deborah never failed to be behind the scenes in the kitchen putting to use her culinary skills. MJ Shead was living and working in Texas back in the late 1970’s. He got laid off his job and returned home to help out with the restaurant. “I thought coming back and being a part of the family business was a good thing to do. We had hopes and dreams of expanding. And we all had our contributions to add,” MJ explained. Now the reality is for the next generation of Sheads being part of the family business has been cut short. But each family member reflects back on their own memories of what it took to make M&D’s a historical landmark in Denver. “We have met a lot of wonderful people and made some great friendships,” Deborah Shead said that she will never forget. Besides the friendships, her sister Rena said, “We’ve received recognition and given an award from the Black Chamber of Commerce in 2009, which was a highlight for me. And also being able to feed seniors at Christmas and Thanksgiving was pretty special.” With 34 years of business behind them, the Sheads have also seen their fair share of political dignitaries and celebrities. Mayors, governors and even Vice-President Joe Biden graced the doors of M&D’s and feast on barbecue and good old southern cooking. You know you’re a big M&D fan when you’re living in another state and call in an order to have the food shipped to you. “When former Mayor Frederico Pena left to go Washington D.C. (while under the Clinton Administration), he had us send him some food to cater for his birthday party,” Daisy Shead recalled which was before 9/11 when shipping fresh

food packed in dry ice by airplane was allowed. Looking back over the years, Mack Shead said the most memorable thing for him was, “Being able to expand the restaurant in 2003.” After the expansion, however, he said the restaurant still never filled to capacity with customers. “It seemed like we didn’t have as many people coming and going even though the restaurant was bigger,” he stated. A lot of the faithful older patrons had died, echoed Daisy Shead. “When our customers’ families would come into town, they would bring them down to the restaurant to eat and that seemed to keep us going for awhile,” she said. MJ Shead agreed that the demographics of the northeast neighborhood had begun changing over time. More regional chain barbecue places had also opened and became popular. “They may not have had as good of food but were more convenient,” MJ said. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, M&D’s and Daddy Bruce Randolph were the premier Black barbecue restaurants in Denver. And before that, the corner strip off East 28th Avenue and Race Street was a hotbed of activity – from a laundry mat, beauty shop, liquor store and another soul food restaurant known as Miss V’s, said Mack Shead who later bought the vacated restaurant space to open up his restaurant. He also is very adamant about putting all the rumors to rest regarding how renovating his restaurant caused the liquor store to close. “We did not put Mr. Howard (owner of the liquor store) out of business. He was retiring and chose to go,” he said. Unfortunately, with receiving a $953,000 loan from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development to refurbish the restaurant in order to capture a bigger customer base and dynamics of a changing neighborhood, didn’t seem to help the Sheads after all. “Sales plummeted and not by a small percentage,” MJ Shead expressed as financial problems escalated in not being able to meet their obligations to pay back the city loan. “The city did tell us that if we got caught up with our payments, they would work with us,” Mack Shead said. “But we just didn’t have enough business to do it.” The family is saddened but at the same time relieved that the restaurant has closed – too much strain and difficulty in keeping the doors open are now gone. Mack and Daisy had already

Patrons enjoy dining at M&D’s.

weaned away from the business to enjoy their semi-retirement. Rena and Deborah have their own “sweets” catering business, which includes yummy cupcakes, cookies, candies, along with those scrumptious pies and cobblers. MJ is focusing on specialties, such as seasoned blends, barbecue rubs, sauces and smoked meat products that he caters. M&D’s will always be the one restaurant no one will forget – tasty barbecue on your palate, the smells coming from the kitchen and bustling atmosphere of a business that was in a Black neighborhood for three decades.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


And it was a place so many youth experienced their first job of washing off hot sauce bottles. Over the years, MJ Shead shared, “We met a lot of good people and have supported a lot of families during some hard times. We thank the community from the bottom of our hearts for their support and those who helped to keep our doors open.” “We hope God blesses them and our paths will cross again.”  Editor’s note: For sweet catering needs, Email Rena and Deborah Shead at or for other catering needs E-mail MJ Shead at

When Jim Ward died on Sept. 24, 1993, one day short of his 76th

birthday, he left behind not just his family and friends to mourn his passing, he left behind a legacy of success, hope, opportunity and love for the countless students, teachers and others he touched during his many years of service to Denver Public Schools (DPS) and to this community. Many of those lives he touched exemplified the values he instilled in them by becoming successful members of the community as teachers, lawyers, doctors, plumbers and even politicians. Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Sept. 25, 1917, he grew up in Sterling, Co., in one of the very few African American families in that small town on the prairie. His accomplishments began early in life when he became the first African American All-State basketball player in Colorado history. Graduating from Logan County High School in 1935, he attended the University of Colorado, Boulder graduating in 1948. His college career was interrupted by World War II. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, in the South Pacific. Returning to Colorado, he married Elizabeth Carrie Mayo on Jan. 10, 1943. They had two daughters, Marianne (Ward) Franklin of Denver

A Tribute to James D. Ward First African American Principal of a Colorado Public High School By Ed Augden

and Carolyn (Ward) Gresham of Florida. Being an educator never diminished his role as dedicated husband and parent to his family. He began his teacher career at Whittier Elementary and it was there that he started to influence the lives of young people. To young Gwen Bowen, later a highly successful dance teacher in South Denver, he threw a lifeline. One day, as she recently described, when she nearly lost control of her class, young Ward, a physical education teacher, offered

her some advice as to how to control disadvantaged children and provided words of encouragement she still remembers that aided her to regain control of the situation and have a successful student teaching experience. From Whittier, Ward went to Cole Junior High School where he taught and served as assistant principal and in 1959 he was assigned as principal of Wyatt Elementary School. In 1966, he became principal of Manual High School, the first African American principal of a Colorado public high school. Two years later he again made history by appointing the first African American coaches in a Colorado public high school. Ed Calloway, Sr. became the Manual High School varsity basketball coach, Alex Burl the varsity football coach, Ira Brown the varsity tennis coach and Lonnie Porter the assistant basketball coach. In 1972, Coach Porter, now the most successful college basketball coach in Colorado history, coached his first and only state championship by defeating the highly favored Wheat Ridge Farmers. But that championship was not the most important matter. Ward demonstrated the kind of courageous and wise leadership that exemplified his public life. Both Calloway, and his son, Ed, Jr., would coach state championship basketball teams with records of 23-0, a first for Colorado and for father and son. Graduating from Adams State College in 1966, Lonnie Porter could not find a coaching job, his life-long ambition. He did find a position teaching physical education at the old Gove Jr. High. As soon as each school day ended, Porter would go to Manual High School and just be present in the building hoping to be acknowledged by Jim Ward. Eventually, the new principal and he met. Young Lonnie Porter began volunteering at the school and, in the spring of 1968, he along with Calloway, Burl and Brown

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


would be appointed the first African American coaches in the state. As their relationship grew, Ward began to treat Porter as a son and he believes that without Ward, his coaching career might have been stifled. Coach Porter volunteered to perform many roles, sophomore class sponsor, defensive back coach for the football team and he tutored students who needed help for the man he would later recognize as being far ahead of his time as an innovative educator. All Porter did for Ward and for kids at Manual and now at Regis University as the most successful basketball coach in Colorado – he did with a smile and love for the man who began his career. Porter remembers Ward as a man of reason, very direct and a settling force at Manual High School at a time of turbulence in the late 1960s and 70s. Like so many others, Porter recognized the greatness in Ward and exclaimed, “Great is what he was. I can’t shout loud enough the love I have for that man.” For Porter, this writer and so many others, Ward was a father figure who was in the business of saving and changing lives. Ira Brown coached tennis, swimming and baseball and remembers Ward as a “well qualified professional” who was an inspirational role model for youth and teachers with a keen sense of humor yet a no nonsense approach to discipline. Ed Calloway, Jr., grew up in a segregated school system and never saw African American coaches until his father, Burl, Brown and Porter were appointed when he was a student at Manual on the basketball team. Contrary to the advice of a junior high school counselor, young Ed began to realize that he was intelligent and could succeed. He thought, “Maybe I could be a basketball coach like my dad.” He would later graduate from Fisk University, earn his master’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado and become a successful basketball coach at George Washington High School where he coached Chauncey Billups and other standout players to two state titles. The lessons he learned from his father and Jim Ward he would later impart to students that a person can be what they want to be through dedication and hard work. “Mr. Ward exemplified that.” In 1974, Judge William Doyle, acting under the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, issued an order that DPS be desegregated. As principal, Ward was determined to make integration a success at Manual. To that end, he recruited teachers from George Washington High School. GW students from the Crestmoor area

would be coming to Manual and Ward ensured their safety and wellbeing at his school. Dick Jordan, one of those teachers, recalls that Ward was totally committed to that goal. To make it successful, during the summer of 1974, a committee of teachers, students and parents met under Ward’s direction to establish an atmosphere of caring and safety. Jordan, who guided students on river trips each May, credits Ward’s leadership and his ability to bring people together for a common purpose for the successful transition from segregation to integration. Virginia Lorbeer, who sponsored cheerleaders and various other activities at Manual and later at Montbello High School, recalls Ward sitting on

the bench next to his coaches and athletes as a way of showing his support. On Color Days, she said he would barbecue and sell his delicious treats. He would always be sure that there was enough food at athletic awards banquets. Mostly, Lorbeer remembers that Jim Ward wanted to ensure that each student would have the necessary skills to succeed in life. One of the highly successful programs he conceived and initiated at Manual was the Careers Program. Students could receive instruction in cosmetology, medicine, law, education, medicine, etc. One of its special successes was teaching students how to build an airplane, the Sky Bolt. Lamar Steen was recruited to teach that skill to students. This program led to the establishment of the Career Education Center. Manual graduate, Paula McClain, benefitted from participating in the pre-education program by serving as a teacher’s assistant for the school librarian at Barrett Elementary School while a senior. She described Mr. Ward as visionary and interactive with students. Not attending classes or other misbehavior warranted that “look” that meant “straighten up.” Upon graduation, she was motivated and confident that she was “…worthy and valuable and I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”

Jim Ward enlisted each staff member in his mission. Linda Patton, a Manual graduate, served as attendance clerk and, at his direction, went to students’ homes to urge them to attend school, kids who might otherwise have failed. He also provided her with the opportunity to work two days per week while recording television programs for KRMA-TV, then part of DPS. She remembers Manual as a community school and Mr. Ward as its great leader. On April 16, 1994, the James D. Ward Memorial Sports Complex was dedicated at Manual High School in his honor. Marianne (Ward) Franklin, remembers her father as a man dedicated and loving to his family yet who would not tolerate misbehavior by either she

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


or her sister, Carolyn. Mrs. Ward served as the disciplinarian and he was the problem solver. That both are thriving adults is testament to their success as parents. To this retired teacher and writer, Jim Ward provided the foundation of my teaching career by providing the guidance, hope and opportunity that he did to all that he touched. To me his most important lesson was that for public school faculties to succeed they must collaborate and realize that teaching is a team effort. Or as the African axiom teaches, it does take a village to raise a child. His legacy endures.  Editor’s note: Ed Augden is a retired Denver Public Schools teacher and community activist who lives in Denver. He can be reached at

Rest Time For

defense played outstanding during the streak, as the team allowed just 17 points a game. And kicker Matt Prater closed three straight games with winning field goals. Like quarterbacks usually do, By Sam Adams Tebow received the lion’s share of praise for the winning streak – not to have been inside the eye of the mention unbelievably ridiculous tempest while it swirled around amounts of coverage from the local, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim national, international and social media outlets. Tebow. I didn’t blink. Good thing, ESPN. Saturday Night Live. Late because I would have missed the most Night with David Letterman. Twitter. amazing part of It’s “Tebow time” . . . Have the experience – you Tebowed yet? Tebow’s on-target throw to that being the Demaryius Thomas resulted in calmness Tebow a game-winning 80-yard maintained touchdown play that gave the Broncos an overtime playoff throughout the victory against the Pittsburgh storm. Steelers – and gave the Rocky For three Mountain Region a longhours, I walked awaited case of Bronco-mania. side-by-side The following week, both with Tebow Bronco-mania and Tebow while he played Time came to an abrupt end in the Celeb-AM the frigid New England round of the evening air after a 45-10 loss to American the Patriots at Century Tebow posters by Jesse DuBois for prints call 303-292-6446. Gillette Stadium. Championship Tebow has held last July at Edgewood five months to Tahoe golf course. Engulfed rest, recover, by shrieking fans at every study and preturn, Tebow never flinched. pare for Broncos Michael Jordan, Charles training camp Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Jason this summer. Kidd, Marcus Allen, Jerry John Elway, the Rice, Emmitt Smith and John Broncos’ Vice Elway were just a few of the President of footstars who also played the tourball operations, nament in front of fairly large has not guaranfollowings around the course. teed that Tebow None were as large as the galwill start the leries for Tebow. Everyone, it 2012 regular seaseemed, wanted a piece – if son as the team’s starting quarterback. not a glimpse – of the 2007 Heisman So don’t be surprised when the Trophy winner. Broncos have one, if not two quarterTebow is both adored and despised backs competing with Tebow for the by millions of people world-wide. job. He’s applauded for exhibiting a hardHere’s where it gets interesting – nosed style of play on the field and an separating Tebow’s popularity from insatiable desire to help people in his actual abilities to play in the NFL. need off the field. He’s admonished He sells jerseys and produces tweets for openly expressing his religious in record numbers. But his game on beliefs in the football setting. He’s praised for his ability to create positive the football field mirrors his game on the golf course – powerful yet erratic, plays with his feet. And he’s criticized with plenty of room for much-needed for not having the skill and ability to improvements. throw the football at a level expected Tebow knows better than anyone of a professional quarterback. that he must make those improvements There is one thing about Tebow’s to his game, and in a hurry. To borrow a demeanor off the field. He seems golf term, recent history shows that impervious to any of the hype. You starting quarterbacks for the Broncos talk. He plays. And he will do whatevrarely receive a mulligan.  er it takes to win. Editor’s note: Sam Adams is a former Tebow stepped in as the starter sports columnist-turned-standup comediafter the team had lost four of their an. For more information, visit first five games. The Broncos started or E-mail likethewinning games – seven of their next eight – including six in a row. Denver

Tebowmania I

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Color Me Proud! Chris Herndon, Denver City Council, District 11

Rep. Angela Williams D-Denver, District 7

Rep. Rhonda Fields, DAurora, District 42

Albus Brooks Denver City Council, District 8 Instructions: Color this drawing and receive a prize! Any child,12 and under, who colors and returns this drawing to the Denver Urban Spectrum, 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205 will receive prizes from the participating sponsors. All entries must be received no later than Feb. 28.


School ______________________________

Age____________ Grade _______________ Address _____________________________ City_________________________________ Phone ______________________________

Illustration by Drew Mannie - Dropshadow Studios.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Editor’s note: Each year during Black History Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum honors African Americans who are making a difference in the lives of others. In honor of our 25th year of publishing and based on past recognition, number of times nominated and questionnaire response, we have selected (from 22 nominations) 8 recipients as the 2012 African Americans Who Make A Difference. They told us about their achievements, what motivated them to become active in their community, suggestions to address the challenges facing the community, and how they would like to be remembered. Once you read their profiles, you will understand why they were chosen.

she hopes in the future to be part of the much needed changes in education. Of course, it makes sense that Grimes would want to be remembered as someone who made a positive change in her community and said, “I want to be remembered as a civil rights activist who never gave up on the pursuit of justice that everyone should be treated with respect, dignity, regardless of the color of their skin.” “And I want my family to say that Gerie believed.”

took an active role in the community. “I love Denver and the Denver community and there is nothing I won’t do for those that I love. Serving the community and having a positive effect on it, is truly my passion,” he said. Watson sees no fault in the positive way he wants to be remembered. When it is all said and done, he said, “I was a loving husband, father and community member who inspired countless others to live their life to the fullest.”


Marketing and Diversity Director U.S. Tennis Association Colorado


Intervention Specialist Basketball Coach and Mentor

HASIRA “SOUL” WATSON Progressive Journalist, Radio Host and Writer


Executive Director and Non-Profit Administrator Hope Center

Gerie Grimes has always been involved and willing to work to do those things that need to be done to make the community a better place for everyone. Grimes has been instrumental with the Hope Center that will celebrate 50 years and working with children. “My involvement is making a difference in education from early childhood to higher education,” she said. “ Grimes doesn’t believe in sitting around and waiting for others to do things. “You cannot bring about change, if you are not willing to get involved, she said. When it comes to the biggest challenges that African-Americans face, Grimes believes is, “Having a quality education, being able to recognize racial issues connected to disparities, being willing to put self on the back burner, work together and persistently bring about change.” As Grimes works on her doctorate,

few things he hopes to accomplish in the future, besides becoming the third Black mayor of Denver. Wilson also hopes to be remembered as a person who dedicated his life on the betterment of the Denver community. “I was a man that represents triumph, and a man that loves the Lord and his family.”

Who in the community hasn’t heard that voice or read the words written by Soul “Hasira” Watson, radio host, relationship writer and community activist. He is mostly known for his Man Up! Relationship columns, social commentary pieces called “SOULilquy. Watson is aiming at building bridges between Africans and AfricanAmericans through the media channels. He has even served as a media coordinator and a delegate of the African Union Diaspora Forum in Ghana, Africa. Watson sees the biggest challenges facing the African-American community are their attitude and vision. “I believe we can manifest anything we put our minds to. If you can see it, and believe it…you can achieve it,” he stated. “We are in dire need of a positive brainwashing. We desperately need an empowerment education that teaches us how to unlock our personal power and overcomes life’s obstacles. This type of empowerment education is what I see as my life’s work.” His belief of being active in his community stems from coming from a progressive Denver family that always

Jason Wilson has worn many hats in the community as an intervention specialist, basketball coach and mentor. His ability to rehabilitate youth in the classrooms and advocate for fatherhood, especially single fathers, has become another positive mark on the community. But that is not all Wilson has accomplished - from educated the community on the value of recycling, volunteering to clean the grounds at the Colorado Black Arts Festival to helping revitalize Manual High School’s basketball program. The African-American community is not without its challenges and hurdles to overcome. Wilson sees the biggest challenge being the youth settling for mediocrity in the classrooms and no educational pursuit of graduating from high school and attending a four year college. “Our youth still have a lack of educational programs and extra-curricular activities that prepares them for the future,” Wilson explained. When asked why he pursues taking on such an active role in the community, Wilson replied, “Because so many young adults are without both parents and don’t have a role model to show them the right way. And also I feel that I relate to the young adults on various levels.” Helping youth graduate from high school, pursuing a higher level of coaching, and connecting more fathers with their children, Wilson said are

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Paula McClain has always been an efficacious worker in the community. Her relentless drive involves working with the USTA Colorado in partnership with the Blair-Caldwell AfricanAmerican Research Library, bringing the successful nationally acclaimed ‘Breaking the Barriers “exhibit to the library. She also is the executive producer of the original documentary, “Crossing the Net: Denver City Park and the Black Tennis Experience,” that showcases Black pioneers in tennis. McClain also has served on the Denver African-American Commission, co-chairing the commission’s charge to advise the mayor on issues and concerns impacting the African-American community. “The biggest challenges facing the African-American community are youth-education and health equity. Our community is in dire straits in these areas. It is imperative to bring together resources to ensure equal access by developing effective policies and programs.” She chooses to take on that active role in making a difference because, “I have the opportunity to be an advocate for the improvement of the quality of life in the African-American community and work on the Commission, as a bridge between the community and policy-makers to engage in responsible activism for the community,” she said. McClain still sees a bright light ahead for the future of her community. “I want to be involved with the legacy work to ensure generations behind will have the opportunity to achieve their dreams in a fair and equal world,” she explains.

And she would like to be remembered as the woman and person of her word and a doer with sincere love and kindness.

be remembered as someone who made a difference on issues endemic to the African-American plight that relates to crime and punishment.

Sandra L. Winston

Director of Operations Lowry Family Center



Renee Scott’s motto is being there for others and helping people in need through her organization, Angel’s Cove International, Inc. She is also an ordained pastor of prison and jail ministries with Life Changers Ministries. She has certainly been an angel to many ex-felons going through the pre and post re-entry process of the prison system. In 1999, she began building healthy self-esteem in women and men transitioning from the Colorado prisons taking pre-release and postrelease classes and workshops that assists them in overcoming the negative effects of incarceration. In 2011, almost 100 inmates successfully completed Scott’s “Blueprint for Change” program. When asked what is one of the biggest challenges facing the AfricanAmerican community, Scott said, “Trying to reduce the rate of AfricanAmericans entering the penal system needs to be addressed in homes, churches and schools. Enhancing and strengthening families and education and prevention opportunities must be introduced and made available,” she explained. Scott is adamant about taking an active role in her community because of the high percentage of AfricanAmerican males who are incarcerated in prisons across the country is a greater number than AfricanAmerican males enrolled in colleges and universities. Now women are the fastest growing population in prisons nationwide. “In the future,” she added, “I would like to build a Life Center (for ex-offenders) that offers supportive housing, provide and enhance entrepreneurial opportunities, build them up spiritually and expand our outreach to their families.” Scott is not modest about being a catalyst for change and only wants to

Roberta McClinon loves being a motivational speaker, whose overall goal is to be an inspiration to all those who take heed to her words and advice. She especially focuses on educating and inspiring the community on holistic health methods. She has overcome devastating effects of multiple sclerosis and argues the most important fact is taking care of our health. She feels that we take for granted the daily choices we make regarding our health. McClinon comments that the biggest challenges facing the AfricanAmerican community is the inadequate access and knowledge of alternative health care. Seeking these alternatives can be an awakening and preventive method before becoming ill. “Services that are many times easily accessible to other communities like messages, reflexology and herbal therapies are either non-existent, extremely limited or not considered when it comes to our health,” she states. “These issues can be resolved by the medical and pharmaceutical industries cooperation and incorporation of natural remedies that can be covered by insurance.” McClinon has high hopes as a future goal to be able to set up a wellness center that provides a variety of holistic services within the AfricanAmerican community. And you can say that is how McClinon would like to be remembered, as someone who used her own life as an example of taking charge of her life health wise, regardless of any obstacles place along the path.

Director Angel’s Cove International, Inc.

Naturopathic Consultant Healthy Souls, LLC

Sandra L. Winston has been a strong advocate for families as the director of operations at the Lowry Family Center. She has continued to assist people with utilities and provide Thanksgiving/Christmas help for many families. She also works with individuals assigned to community service work by the courts and helps redirect their lives. “Seeing a young person change their life in a positive direction, helping them move from the street life to becoming a college student,” Winston said was one of her more notable contributions to the community. She thrives in taking on that role as a change agent in the AfricanAmerican community, because as he puts it, “I have been blessed, and I want to share what I have learned through experience with others.” Winston expressed the biggest challenges that she sees is the disproportion of things in the African-American community. “Some of this can be resolved, by going back to the way it was when I was younger – we created our own jobs. Our young people need to know that the same talents needed to be a street hustler are the same talents it takes to be a Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft). They need to be encouraged to use the gifts they have to make a living for themselves.” Part of her future goal is to continue encouraging young people to make better choices in their lives. But one thing Winston wants to be remembered for is how, “I helped someone along the way,” she said.

Congratulations to the 2012 African Americans Who Make A Difference!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012



Founder and Executive Director You Can Begin Again Inc.

Winifred Carter has been a caring foster mom, minister, and founder and executive director of a non-profit organization. You Can Begin Again Inc., a non-profit organization established in 2008, became a change agent and advocate for youth at risk. The organization specifically focuses on young women, ages 18 to 25, who are at risk of falling through the cracks of society’s safety nets and don’t qualify for government assistance. Those youth considered as “aging out” of the system and have been emancipated from the foster care system often lack the skills to transition into adulthood. Carter was able make a difference in 2011, when she helped open fully furnished five-apartment home, where six young women who were emancipated and homeless after foster care, are now living. “Providing long term foster care for over 10 children, ensuring that these children received loving care, a family setting and hope, and reassuring them that they have more years ahead of them than they have behind them,” Carter said was important. Carter takes an active role in the community head-on and as a serious testimony to her faith when it comes to helping foster care children. “I recognized that the wounds are deep and wide, and I’ve learned that more than a band-aid is needed if holistic healing is to occur,” she said. “I would like to be remembered as a servant of Jesus Christ and a servant to mankind. One who embraced the mandate in Matthew 25:31-40. ‘Because they were hungry and I fed them, thirsty and I gave them something to drink, they were strangers and I provided them with a place to live.’ I want to hear Jesus say well done thou good and faithful servant.” Her future ambition is to build two secured apartment complexes - one to house young women emancipated from foster care and a second complex that houses young women from foster care who have children – besides promoting self-sufficiency and building self-esteem. 

Many of the best and brightest achievers in the African American worldwide community today, coupled with those individuals who have supported the African American cause for racial justice, gathered on the stage of the 20th Annual Trumpet Awards to receive a once-in-life-time salute for their dedication, hard work, and remarkable achievements. The starstudded event, often referred to as the “Oscars” for Black America, took place at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta (GA) on Saturday, Jan. 7 and was hosted by Wayne Brady, an Emmy Award winning actor, recording artist, dancer, and television personality. Brady hosted his own syndicated talk/variety show “The Wayne Brady Show,” and currently, can be seen on CBS as the host of the daytime classic “Let’s Make A Deal.” Honorees for the 2012 Trumpet Awards included: Earth, Wind, & Fire, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award; Rev. C. L. Franklin (accepted by his daughter Aretha Franklin), receiving the Civil Rights Award; Ted Turner, receiving the Golden Trumpet Award; Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. honored for his achievements in medicine; Mr. & Mrs. Emmitt Smith, receiving the Humanitarian Award; Mayor Cory A. Booker, honored for his political leadership achievements; U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant, receiving the International Award; Mary Parker, honored for her achievements in business; Tyrese Gibson, receiving the Pinnacle Award; and a group of 17 African American men and women who are Hotel General Managers and are being honored for breaking the glass ceiling in the hotel industry. These individuals are: Olivia Brown, Bryan Conyers, Larry Daniels, Michael Hopper, Adrian Hughes, Russell Miller, Erica Qualls, Michael Session, Michael Smith, Gail Smith-Howard, Michael Washington, Linda Westgate, Robert Woolridge, Erika Alexander, Lorenzo Creighton, Valerie Ferguson,

20th Annual Trumpet Awards Delivers Notable Honors For African American Achievement Ted Turner Recipient Of Golden Trumpet Award

and Robert Steele. Xernona Clayton, creator of the Trumpet Awards and executive producer of the show as well as president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, presented Ted Turner, her former boss and the creative mind behind Turner Networks and CNN, with the preeminent award for the evening – the Golden Trumpet. “Twenty years ago, Ted Turner gave me the opportunity, the support and the money, which allowed me to create the Trumpet Awards. You gave me the opportunity to give people of African American ancestry hope for their future. For this we honor you today,” said Clayton. Turner’s response was, “I am deeply touched – I have always believed in brotherhood and understanding.” The famed “Red Carpet” of Trumpet Awards rolled out and wel-

comed an international cast of who’s who in the areas of religion, politics, public service, law, sports and entertainment. Presenters for the 20th Annual Trumpet Awards were Sharon Leal, Shaun Robinson, Eddie Levert with The OJays, Blair Underwood, and more. Entertainment was provided by award-winning recording artists Bilal, Anthony David, Mint Condition, Raphael Saadiq, Naturally Seven, Kim Burrell, Everette Harp, and Ronnie Laws. Celebrity guests participants from other Trumpet Awards weekend events included those who were presented with the Spiritual Enlightenment Award at the Prayer Breakfast: Collie Burnett, Jr. Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters (AIB TV); Bishop Andrew J. Ford. II, Ford Memorial Temple; Serita Jakes, The

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Potters House; Derrick Lee, Dherico Music; Reverend Timothy Stewart, Bethel Baptist Church (Nassau); and Dr. John & Mrs. Dorothy Casoria, Trinity Broadcasting Network; and Dr. Bernice A. King, Be A King Enterprises, who received the T.B. Boyd Distinguished Service Award. The comment heard from many of the honorees accepting their awards was “I am standing on the shoulders of my ancestors.” Tyrese Gibson, one of the Trumpet Awardees, gave out a bit of advice when he stated, “I was born in Watts, in the hood; but I learned to dream beyond my circumstances and to show up and try to be the best version of me that I can possibly be.” The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site received nine new honorees whose footprints were placed into the granite walkway. These persons included Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Reverend Willie Bolden and J. T. Johnson; Reverend Dr. E. T. Caviness; Dosan Ahn Chang-Ho; Constance Curry; Attorney Fred D. Gray; Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh; Charles J. Ogletree, Jr; and Dr. Walter F. Young. Other events during the Trumpet Awards weekend included the High Tea with High Heels affair, saluting women of achievement; and the Race Relations Symposium where a renowned group of participants included Dr. C. T. Vivian, Dr. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. and others.  Editor’s note: The first broadcast viewing window on local networks for the Trumpet Awards is March 24 – May 6; and WSBTV (ABC) in Atlanta, GA will air during this time. The Trumpet Awards will also air April 8 on TV One. AIB TV (Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters) will air several of the Trumpet Awards events during the month of February, including the Spiritual Enlightenment Awards at the Prayer Breakfast; Race Relations Symposium; High Tea with High Heels; and the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Crumbs Comes To Colorado By Rebecca Gholson

The Aurora Fox Theatre presents

the regional premiere of Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage January 27 through February 19. Recovering from the loss of a wife and mother, Godfrey Crump transplants his family, daughters Ernestine, 17, and Ermina, 15, from Florida to Brooklyn in 1950. Swept up in the Great Migration, this AfricanAmerican family must learn to cope with the many challenges of life in a city with vastly different cultural and intellectual standards. They soon discover that escaping Jim Crow does not necessarily mean escaping discrimination. Crumbs is Ernestine’s memory of her coming of age. Narrated beautifully by the adult Ernestine in the body of her younger self, the play has an excruciating innocence which causes the audience to yearn for a future which may not be achievable. Ernestine is relentlessly optimistic. She has the youthful ability to maintain an all-or-nothing independence fueled by the new ideals she encounters. The adult Ernestine recounts her teenage thoughts without judging them; her recollections are not tinged with bitterness and aid to keep the story firmly planted in 1950. Constantly reinterpreting her life as an old Hollywood film, Ernestine at first finds the experience of the city liberating, noting seeming equality in her first encounter with whites. However, first impressions of Brooklyn in 1950 are essentially smoke and mirrors. Unlike Harlem, the Crump’s new neighborhood is white

and not yet heady with talk of change. With tangible gain from the fledgling Civil Rights Movement a decade away, the Crumps find themselves in a virtual limbo constantly hoping, but not quite realizing dreams for better jobs, homes and social status. But Ernestine’s optimism seems constantly in danger of the influence of her father’s poor choices. A recent religious convert to the cause of Father Divine, the leader of a cult-like movement who claimed to be god, Godfrey establishes a smothering moral tyranny over the Crump household. Godfrey, attempting to protect his daughters from the ills of big city life, rarely allows them from their small basement apartment; however, Godfrey’s impressions of the city are not entirely unfounded. Any time the Crumps are seen outside their home some new complication descends upon their predicament. But cloistering his family will not protect the Crumps from worldly influence. New additions to the family force the ideals of vast and troubled city into their very living room. When long lost aunt, Lily Ann Green, a professed Communist, comes to stay, so does a train of independent thought, of revolution, which Godfrey equates with the promiscuous. Godfrey attempts to counteract Lily’s influence by marrying a German woman, further complicating the family dynamic. In the midst of family turbulence there exists a profoundly secret joy. An escape to music, film, religion, or popularity should seem tragic except that Nottage’s beautifully intoned descriptions of these escapes uplift the individual characters and so the audience. These minor joys, mere crumbs as the title suggests, are sometimes the only comfort for the Crumps when hope gives way to crushing desperation endlessly buzzing in their apartment like unwanted background noise. This cacophony of new ideas creates a common enough coming of age story; however, Nottage’s iteration is unique in that Ernestine’s coming of age is not the be-all and end-all with regards to the play’s message. The audience comes to understand the moment of initiation into adulthood is not Ernestine’s high school graduation as she understands it. Ernestine marks the event as her initiation into adulthood, but this moment is arbitrary at best. She chooses a moment to launch herself into the world, but this is not the moment most pivotal in Ernestine’s story. She, like each and every character in this play, has to make decisions which mentally spur her forward as she finds little in society or family to give her life focus. Crumbs is an exploration of the

paradox of hope and desperation and the stagnation created by the juxtaposition of the two. As well as these themes play out in the climate of 1950, there is no escape from their efficacy today. While it seems easy to cast off a story like this as the product of racial inequality of a by-gone era, the potency of the story is found in smaller arena of the home. Greater social issues find their doppelgangers in the lesser family dynamic. It is in the inner life of the family that “Crumbs” finds its relevance for the modern audience. Relevance seems a good word to describe Nottage’s body of work in general. Among her many accolades are the 2007 MacArthur Genius Award, two AUDELCO awards for excellence in black theatre, The National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, and a number of critic’s awards and fellowships. In 2009, Ruined won Nottage the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Nottage’s 2011 play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is another look back in history at the multicultural dynamics of old Hollywood films, the black women who shared the camera with white starlets, but never the credit. While Nottage continues to set her works in the past, it is clear their implications are rooted firmly in the present. At a 2011 Occupy Wall Street

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


rally, Nottage spoke of a corrupted national narrative. Her vision for its correction also serves as a good mission statement for Crumbs. Nottage says, “It has to be a story that we are proud to tell, a story that moves us to grow and evolve.” Ernestine’s evolution, begun in the microcosm of the Crump home, remains the play’s driving factor. In the end, unity and understanding are the message of the play, calling on the worst part of the self to recognize and amend its wrongs to fellow human beings. Director donnie l. betts hopes the audience will come away from Crumbs with “a sense of family, a sense of ...[the] multi-layered culture that we live in, that a lot of people don’t think about,” a culture “created by immigrants.” betts believes, “If we can see each other through another person’s eyes, we can really come together.” Editor’s note: To reserve tickets for “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” visit or call the Box Office at 303-739-1970. The Aurora Fox Theatre is located at 9900 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora, five blocks west of Havana. Parking for the venue is free and located behind the theatre. Doors open half an hour prior to curtain and concessions are available for purchase upon arrival. For any additional information, contact the Box Office.

Has _Éäx Become Just Another Four Letter Word?


alentine’s Day. The special time

of year when we celebrate what some

consider to be the most powerful force in the universe: Love; that enigmatic

emotion about which countless songs

have been written and by which innumerable hearts have been smitten.

Some have called it the medicine that

makes the soul pure, while others say it is the only disease that men shall

never cure. Yet whether received or

resisted, believed in or belittled, there

is no denying the incredible influence

it has had upon every society since the beginning of time.

The Bramster

It is estimated that, in this month alone, Americans will spend $17 billion dollars declaring their affections. People of every age, ethnicity and economic status will use everything from little candy hearts to large heart shaped diamonds to say “Be My Valentine.” What many will be actually saying is “I Love You” to someone whom they hope will say the same in return. But what exactly does that mean in today’s society of commitment-free relationships and disposable marriages? How do we define love in a time when the nation’s housewives are boasting about being desperate and fidelity is a term we only associated with sound equipment? Is it something we fall in and then out of like a cheap mattress? Or is it merely a phase we go through like puberty or purple hair, where we wake up one

morning and are glad to find we’ve outgrown it? Is it a physical thing, or purely a psychological addiction? And is it something we do from an open and willing heart, or does it choose us regardless of how closed and unwilling our hearts may be? These may very well be some of the same questions you have asked while contemplating the power of this soul-capturing, player-killing virus we call love. For it seems that none of us, whether young or old, rich or poor, are ever quite beyond the reach of Cupid’s piercing arrows.

The Science OF Seduction

In 1982 an artist by the name of Thomas Dolby released a song entitled She Blinded Me With Science, in which he quite creatively used music to expound upon the actual chemistry

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


that occurs in one’s brain when he or she is “bitten” by the proverbial Love Bug. As it turns out, that recording was not only extremely popular, it was also based upon a great deal of scientific fact. According to a UCLA study, neurotransmitters in the human brain cause the release of endorphins and serotonin when we develop a “crush” on someone. These are the same chemicals that are released by mood-enhancing drugs such as alcohol, opiates, marijuana, cocaine, etc. Therefore, we can literally become intoxicated as a result of our contact with another human being; whether physical, visual, or merely audio. In fact, we can experience these phenomena by simply thinking about that person. This fact gives validation to those who claim to be “high on love”. And because the effects of those chemicals can cause an increase in blood-pres-

sure, heart-rate, and body temperature, it means humans really can have the “hots” for another human being. Believe it or not, corporations all over the world spend millions of dollars each year on scientific research hoping to develop a substance that can induce the same effects of “falling in love”. In other words, they are trying to create a “Love Potion”. They invest heavily in the best scientists they can find and range from perfume companies to chocolate makers and even wineries. It’s no secret, there’s big money to be had for anyone who can solve the equation of Love.

More Than A Feeling

There is another song, also released in the 1980’s by Boston that said love is more than a feeling. This is also a belief, and even a deep-seeded conviction, shared by countless individuals who consider love to be as much, if not more, an action as it is an emotion. James Hall, a Texas psychologist and marriage counselor says, “The problem with falling in love is that eventually most folks fall out. And then what do you do? If your relationship is only based on how that person makes you feel, what happens when they don’t feel so good themselves and can no longer satisfy your self-centered need to be accommodated? There was a time when folks in this country understood the value of ‘til death do us part…in sickness and in health…for richer, for poorer…in good times and bad’. Now they barely even make it to the altar, and if they do, the marriage is often over before the ink has had time to fully dry. It’s all because people are looking for an emotion, when true love means being there and caring for that person in spite of what your emotions may be saying.” When the late Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the legendary, also deceased, Evangelist Billy Graham was asked if she had ever considered divorce in all of her considerable years of marriage to the charismatic preacher she said, “I can honestly say that in all f my years of marriage to Bill, I have never once considered divorce. Now I have thought about murder a few times, but never once of divorcing him. When I said ‘I do’ I did.” But have such notions of love and marriage become unrealistic, old-fashioned, and even impractical for today’s generation? A recent survey conducted by CNN revealed that only 50 percent of adults living in the U.S. are married, and current marriages are dissolving at a steady rate of about 5 percent per year. The divorce rate is at an all-time high of 51 percent and of those between the ages of 18 and 24; only 38 percent said that marriage was still relevant for these times. These

findings show a definite trend towards the annihilation of the traditional family structure in America. And it isn’t just the legally married, but rather all couples in general, who have a very high likelihood of breaking up within the first five years. One comedienne commented that she had went through three husbands and two boyfriends but still had the same dog she got as a wedding present from her first marriage. What does that have to say about our society when we seem to be more committed to our pets than we are to the people we claim to love? There are, however, still those whose relationships somehow manage to weather the storms and survive all the attacks most others are unable to stand up to. And one can’t help but wonder what their secret is. Is it that they are just lucky enough to find “Mr. or Mrs. Right” instead of the sorry substitutes others claim to have ended up with? Or do they just decide to stick with the substitutes in spite of the peacesnatching, joy-robbing consequences? Do they know something the majority of us does not know, and if so, what is it? I don’t know about you but if you’re like me, you’re tired of all the “Dating Games” and “Love T.K.O.’s” and would very much like to find that special someone with whom you may share your life and your love with. But how do we go about it?

Learning To Love

In my desperate quest for an answer, I read several books on the subject, talked to people who seemed happy with their mates whom they had been with at least ten years, and even interviewed professionals in the field including pastors, sociologists, marriage, counselors, and psychologists. And while I do not claim to have come up with the Golden Guidelines that will guarantee one an eternally blissful relationship, I did gain some insight into what I might need to do if I am to ever experience what I consider to be a healthy, long-lasting love affair. Here’s what I discovered; You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have: Until we learn to love ourselves, we really can’t love anyone else. This may sound simple enough, but learning to love ourselves is one of the most difficult, yet necessary things we have to do before we are able to love another human being. A good place to start is by receiving God’s love on a very personal level, for He truly does care and consider us as being valuable. Indeed, “For God so loved the world [you and me] that He gave His only begotten Son…” If God loves each of us that much, and deems us worthy of that kind of investment, should we not feel the same about ourselves?

Love Is Something You Do, Not Just Something You Feel: A man named James Bracken, aka Diamond Jim, went so far as to tell me, “Love is something you do in spite of how you feel.” He and his bride of 62 years shared many of their time-proven secrets with me. Among them were the importances of being kind and courteous to one another, respecting each other’s opinion, and communicating. His wife, Lil said that when she and Diamond Jim got together, “We decided we were going to STAY together no matter what.” Then she added, “…And we never go to bed angry. If we need to work something out, we work it out no matter how long it takes. Then we forgive and put it behind us because we love one another.” May we all learn from their stellar example. If You Don’t Like Fish, Don’t Order The Seafood Platter!: In other words; In order to get what you want, then you have to know what you want and don’t deviate. A pastor recently shared an experience he had during a marriage counseling session with a couple from his church. In the midst of a seemingly endless tirade in which the wife belittled her husband for all of his faults, she added insult to injury by remarking, “…And I don’t even like short men! I don’t know why I put up with him.” When the pastor asked her, “Then why did you marry the poor guy, if you knew you really didn’t like him?” She then replied, “Because I just needed some help with these kids.” Ouch. Yet as callous as that my sound, she is not the only one who has allowed desperation, finances, fear of being alone, and even personal insecurity to choose a partner. We owe it to ourselves and the other person to be honest about what we really like, and have the faith and fortitude to wait for it. And by the way; don’t worry little guy, there are plenty of ladies out there who do believe that dynamite does indeed come in small packages. Become The Person You Are Looking For: One of the first steps to finding “Mr. Right” is to stop being “Mrs. Wrong.” (Same for Mr. Wrong) It is totally unreasonable for someone who is selfish, disagreeable, unreliable, disloyal, deceptive, coldhearted, lazy, and impious to think that someone who is generous, easy-going, dependable, loyal, honest, affectionate, hard-working, and God-fearing would actually be happy with them. By working on ‘self’ and concentrating on personal improvement, we will naturally become as well as attract the desired mate. If that means trading in the Twinkies for the treadmill and becoming a giver instead of a grabber, so be it. And by all means, if we truly do each want to find someone who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


“puts God first”, maybe we should start by enrolling ourselves in “KneeBone” University. Make A Declaration Of Dependence: The most common denominator I discovered among successful unions was their reliance upon, and commitment to, a power greater than themselves to keep them together. Without some sort of core conviction regarding love and commitment, it seems the majority of us have nothing to restrain us from breaking everything from our diets to our marriage vow. In Biblical times, infidelity was punished by stoning. I wonder how many of us would be so quick to act like a “Tiger in the Woods” if we knew the consequences would be to have a two ton golf-ball crush our skulls. And while I am not advocating the death penalty for desperate housewives, I do believe we need much more reverence for God’s Word regarding the matter, regardless of what Hugh Heffner or Kim Kardashian have to say. There are no perfect people but there is a perfect Creator who can keep us together when we can’t keep ourselves from falling apart. By trusting and honoring Him and realizing our commitments are not to one another but rather to Him, we may find that even though love is a four-letter word, so is life. And they are both priceless. 

Occupy Our Relationships First and fore-

By G-Soul

most I would like to send a heartfelt

2012 greetings to all of the Man Up supporters. As you

may have noticed

the column had been absent for the

past two-issues. For those of you who missed it I apologize and thank you for your emails as it helped to hear from you that these writings truly

make a difference in your lives. Speaking of making a difference – this year I want all of our relationships to flourish, to become or remain our priority and serve as sources of power for us all. 2011 was a very powerful year on several fronts. Without a doubt the most socially impactful event was the birth and rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement


that swept not only our country but also the world with a voraciousness not seen since the 60’s. Indeed it seems that change is upon us and that the masses are calling for a re-balancing and redistribution of power. And while I’m excited for the possibilities that the mobilization of the masses represents in terms of creating a more equitable system – I do believe that a very key component is being overlooked which is – HOW WE RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER. By this I mean ultimately – what difference does a change in the oldguard make if we continue to relate with each other in the same antiquated fashion? New bottle-old wine. If the Occupy Movement is going to have any significance at all, it is going to have to deal with and adequately address the purpose that we are all here on the planet – to grow and to relate! Sure, it’s important that we are all able to have food, clothes and shelter but those items are merely the means for us, not the end. We are on this ‘great ball of wonder’ for the purpose of growing and all growing only takes place when there is more than one entity involved – i.e. relating. This is why I’m calling for an Occupy Our Relationships Movement

because even more prevalent and shockingly detrimental than the empty, foreclosed and abandoned homes that litter this country are the empty, foreclosed and abandoned relationships that make up our society today. We have become a nation who has lost the art and science of relating. From mother to child, husband to wife, neighbor to neighbor, all signs seem to indicate a rapid unraveling of our fundamental ability to connect and convey our realities without injuring, insulting, instigating or creating destructive energies in our wake. So while losing a home, a job or some money is regrettable none of them singularly or combined amount to a pile of beans if we are not fulfilling our highest calling. Is it difficult to relate on an empty stomach? Absolutely. Is it extremely trying to maintain a marriage when the money is funny? No doubt. But let us be clear, there will always be these challenges. We didn’t arrive on this planet to live in a Utopia, so we better focus on what is going to sustain us when the world has gone wild; each other. This is why Love Thy Neighbor is the highest commandment in all-spiritual traditions. This is why you would also do well to remember that LOVE is a verb - it’s an action, it’s not something that you hope happens to you or that you fall in to one day when you meet Mr. or Mrs. Right. Love is something that you make and create on a daily basis with those whom you encounter throughout your life’s journey. How do you make sure you are doing that? I have a simple formula that I use to assess myself from time to time to see if I’m fulfilling my purpose and I hope that you find it useful as well. It is in order of priority: 1. Love myself – am I self loving? Am I giving myself what I need in the

major areas (spiritually, financially, health, etc.)? 2. Love my mate – what is the health of the relationship with my most intimate neighbor? The one whom I must constantly interact. 3. Love my family – what are my children receiving from me daily? How would they rate me as a parent, a brother or sister, aunt or uncle? 4. Love my neighbor – these are those with whom I’m living around, sharing community space. Most of us have either lost the art of being a good neighbor or have never known that it was a requirement for a healthy environment. 5. Love my nation – not in the altruistic jingoistic sense but more from the perspective of those who are living under the same system of government and occupy the same geographical space. 6. Love my world – those whom we are sharing this blessed planet with at this point in time. Subsequently, if you want change in your life you must follow this very same formula: self, mate, family, neighbor, nation, and world. 2012 is beckoning us to reconcile with each other. We must cherish the opportunity of harmonizing our differences instead of highlighting them and becoming entrenched in the ‘me vs. them’ paradigm. Too many of us are in relationships that we have abandoned or foreclosed on. Too many of us have ostracized ourselves and unwittingly become resigned to a life of separation from those whom have been placed in our lives to increase our capacity to love. The Occupy Your Relationship movement is beckoning you to come out from your hiding places and to fully engage in this thing called life. For a life without love – is no life at all. Your relationship is the 99 percent! Man Up!

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams Excellent. Very Good.. Good... Fair.. Poor. Red Tails

    No stars


on dangerous raids behind enemy lines deep into Germany territory. The untested pilots proceeded to perform admirably on over 1,500 successful missions, demonstrating an unexpected combination of competence and valor in the process. Red Tails is an eye-popping, specialf/x driven adventure which recreates these belatedly-appreciated veterans’ daring exploits in the skies, while

nalistic pontificator given to delivering inspirational speeches about God, mom and apple pie. He cares about each of the men under his command, including alcoholic “Easy” Julian (Parker); daredevil “Lightning” Little (David Oyelowo); class clown “Joker” George (Elijah Kelley); and “Junior” Gannon (Tristan Wilds), a youngster who yearns to be taken seriously by his teasing colleagues. Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, we find exasperated Colonel A.J. Bullard (Howard) tirelessly lobbying the military brass to put an end to racial discrimination in the ranks. In the end, the film proves more memorable for its eye-popping, action sequences than for its corny dialogue which ranges from preachy (“We’re on the side of God Almighty!”) to trite poster-speak (Let’s give those newspapers something to write about!). Nonetheless, Red Tails amounts to a worthy, overdue tribute to a group of intrepid, World War II heroes who never let their second-class status diminish their patriotism even one iota. Rated: PG-13 for violence and profanity. Running Time: 125 minutes Distributor: 20th Century Fox To see a trailer for Red Tails, visit:

Red Tails 

WWII Saga Recounts Heroic Exploits of Tuskegee Airmen


he Tuskegee Airmen is the nickname given the 332nd Fighter Group, the first squadron of AfricanAmerican aviators ever trained by the U.S. Air Force. Formed in 1940, the historic unit had to be stationed at a base on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Ala., since the Armed Forces were still racially segregated at the time of its creation. Even after America entered World War II, the government initially remained reluctant to deploy these pioneering pilots overseas, out of a concern that the presence of black officers in the midst of white soldiers might have a negative effect on military morale. Consequently, the Tuskegee Airmen languished stateside for several years, seeing no action until they were finally cleared for combat in the European theater of operations. Upon arriving in Italy, their 2nd rate aircraft were upgraded from junky jalopies to state-of-the-art, P-51 Mustang fighter planes, thereby enabling them to escort B-17 bombers

chronicling their simultaneous, uncompromising quest for dignity in the face of the incessant humiliation mandated by Jim Crow. The movie marks the feature film debut of Anthony Hemingway, who is previously best known for having shot episodes of a host of TV series, including The Wire, True Blood, Treme, The Closer, and CSI: NY. The picture was produced by Lucasfilm where it has been a pet project of the studio’s legendary founder, George Lucas, for the past quartercentury. And it features an ensemble cast topped by Academy Award-winner Cuba “Show me the money!” Gooding (for Jerry Maguire) and Oscarnominee Terrence Howard (for Hustle & Flow). Aside from raising the question of the arbitrary color line, the plot reads like a typical, cliché-ridden war flick revolving around a tight-knit, motley crew of colorful characters. Each is based on a simplistically-drawn archetype, like the ill-fated pilot you know isn’t long for this world the moment he’s shown sitting in his cockpit gazing fondly at a picture of his fiancée right before takeoff. Another familiar figure is the cigarchomping Major (Gooding), a pater-

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady 

Streep Delivers Oscar-Quality Performance Impersonating Brit PM


ver the course of her illustrious career, Meryl Streep has landed more Academy Award nominations (16 and counting) than any other thespian in history. Blessed not only with an enviable emotional range but a knack for Continued on page 26



43549 FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN! Example text: DENZEL 80206 Entry Deadline: Sunday, February 5 SAFE HOUSE has been rated R (Restricted - Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) for strong violence throughout and some language. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 2/7 by 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on 2/7 at 7:00pm at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated R. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first come, first-served basis. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Universal Pictures, Allied • THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. NO PHONE CALLS!


Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Joyful Noise

Enter for the chance to win an admit 2 pass to the special advance screening of


Text the word HIDDEN and your ZIP CODE to 43549 Example Text: HIDDEN 80202

Entry Deadline: Thursday, February 9

THIS FILM IS RATED G. GENERAL AUDIENCES. All Ages Admitted. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 2/10 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Saturday, 2/11 at 10:00AM at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated G. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theatre. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Walt Disney Pictures, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!



DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX has been rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested - Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children) for brief mild language. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Winners will be drawn at random and contacted with information on how to receive their prize. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive prize. Each pass admits four. The screening will be held on Saturday, February 25 at 10:00am at a local theater. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated PG. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Universal Pictures, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. NO PHONE CALLS!



Continued from page 25 feigning foreign accents and regional dialects, the versatile actress has repeatedly demonstrated an uncanny ability to disappear into whatever role she’s been asked to play. Such is again the case with The Iron Lady, a comprehensive biopic about Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990. The movie was directed by Phyllida Lloyd who previously collaborated with Streep in 2008 on Mamma Mia! Meryl will undoubtedly garner another well-deserved Oscar nomination for her spot-on impersonation of the imperious icon’s public persona, from the pursed lips to the steely demeanor to the haughty tone of voice. She further rose to the challenge of a demanding assignment which also called for her to capture the character’s recent descent into dementia, a dotage which has ostensibly been marked by hallucinations and semilucid ramblings. Unfortunately, Streep’s sterling performance here has been squandered in service of an overambitious screenplay by Abi Morgan which attempts to bite off more than it could possibly chew in less than two hours. As a result, the film fails to do justice to the touchstones in Thatcher’s life and career, tending to tease rather than address the material in depth. Constructed as a series of flashbacks, it takes superficial looks at everything from her coming of age during World War II to her college days at Oxford to her marriage to Denis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent) to their starting a family to her developing a feminist consciousness to her entering politics. The bulk of the film’s focus is devoted to her tempestuous tenure at Number 10 Downing Street, a period marked by both domestic

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


and international unrest courtesy of the Irish Republican Army and a war in the Falkland Islands, respectively. Overall, this empathetic portrait paints the Prime Minister as a headstrong conservative as dedicated to her family as to her country. But by the film’s end, we really haven’t learned much memorably about Maggie beyond her enduring love for the devoted husband who predeceased her. A potentially-underwhelming production elevated singlehandedly by another tour de force turned in by the ever-astounding Meryl Streep.

Rated: PG-13 for violent images and brief nudity. Running Time: 105 minutes Distributor: The Weinstein Company To see a trailer for The Iron Lady, visit: Joyful Noise  1/2

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton Co-Star in GospelDriven Musical Drama


hen choir director Bernard Sparrow (Kris Kristofferson) passes away unexpectedly, Pastor Dale (Courtney B. Vance) finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. Should he promote the dearly-departed deacon’s deserving assistant, Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah), or award the position to his grieving widow, G.G. (Dolly Parton)? After agonizing over the decision, the good reverend settles on the former, potentially risking the survival of Sacred Divinity, since the well-to-do Sparrow family is the cash-strapped church’s major benefactor. By comparison, life’s a struggle for Vi Rose and most of the other citizens of Pacashau, GA. The economic recession has turned


metropolis marked by foreclosure signs, a soup kitchen packed with the homeless, and a business district dotted with vacant storefronts. G.G.’s grudgingly ratifying the appointment of Vi Rose is the answer to the prayers of Pastor Dale who is desperate to avoid creating a rift in his tight-knit congregation. For, he hopes that the choir might restore a measure of pride to the beleaguered Pacashau community by prevailing at the upcoming National Gospel Competition. That unlikely feat is the raison d’etre of Joyful Noise, a faith-based mix of modern morality play and musical numbers. The soulful singing performances are the film’s forte, from Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson’s heartfelt duet on “From Here to the Moon and Back” to Keke Palmer and Jeremy Jordan’s equally-evocative interpretation of “Maybe I’m Amazed” to Ivan Kelley, Jr.’s spirited rendition of “That’s the Way God Planned It.” As for the pat plotline, the point of departure finds Vi Rose with her hands full and dividing her time from trying to raise two teenagers alone because her husband (Jesse L. Martin) abandoned the family for the military on account of the lack of local jobs.

Their son, Walter (Dexter Darden), is in need of help handling his Asperger’s Syndrome while boy-crazy daughter, Olivia (Palmer), sure could use a more appropriate suitor than the thug (Paul Woolfolk) who’s been courting her lately. Everything changes the day G.G.’s Prodigal Grandson Randy (Jordan) rolls back into town from New York City unexpectedly. Although a little rough around the edges, the misunderstood young man is just the answer for everybody’s malady. First, he falls in love with Olivia at first sight. Then he serves as a surrogate big brother to Walter. And when he joins the choir, it’s only a matter of time before he mends the fences between Vi Rose and his granny on the road to the finals at the Joyful Noise contest in Los Angeles. A modern parable that’s fun for the whole family with an uplifting message about the power of cooperation. Can I get an Amen?


Celebrating 25 Years of Spreading the News About People of Color

Showcase Exhibit & VIP Reception Wednesday, April 25, 2012 Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

Rated: PG-13 for profanity and a sexual reference. Running Time: 117 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Joyful Noise, visit:

Comedy Explosion Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flava! “Simply Good Food”

Youth Rally Friday, April 27, 2012 Montbello High School Special Guest: Dr. Farrah Gray

“Seasoned Soul Singles” An Evening of Speed Dating presents

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2010


DBG Announces New Trustees To Board


Denver Botanic Gardens announced Dawn P. Bookhardt, Richard K. “Dick” Clark, Michael Matthews and Keith Montoya have been elected to the Board of Trustees as term trustees. Lauri Dannemiller and Peter J. Kirsch have been appointed to the Board as mayoral trustees. Additionally, Jean Derr and Jeanette Pryor will serve as exofficio trustees in relationship to their roles in The Associates of Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Botanic Gardens Guild, respectively. For more information, visit

Gary M. Jackson Received Colorado Bar’s Highest Honor

Gary M. Jackson was honored with the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, on Friday, Jan. 6. Jackson is a founding member and former president of the Sam Cary Bar Association, an African-American legal association, as well as the Sam Cary Scholarship Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships to law students at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. He helped found the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, and was the 2010 Colorado Chapter President of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has also served his larger community. He chairs the Delta Eta Boule Foundation, that provides scholarships to Denver high school graduates. As an advocate for youth, he has chaired Northeast Denver Youth Services, which offers recreational and educational opportunities. Jackson has been a partner at DiManna & Jackson since 1976.

Nita Mosby Henry Appointed Executive Director Of Career Service Authority

The Career Service Board appointed Nita Mosby Henry as the Executive Director of the Career Service Authority (CSA), the City’s Human Resource Department, following an extensive national search. Nita Mosby Henry has more than 25 years of experience in Human Resources management and opera-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


tions. Mosby Henry is nationally recognized for her work with healthcare and service delivery organizations. She has consulted with companies and organizations on leadership development, human resources and operations strategies, organizational change initiatives and diversity and inclusiveness training programs. Mosby Henry also founded and served as the Executive Director of The Kaleidoscope Project, a management consulting firm. Mosby Henry holds a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

Wilma Webb, Bobbie Towbin To Receive Civil Rights Awards

The Anti-Defamation League’s Mountain States Office will present its 2012 Civil Rights Awards to Hon. Wilma Webb, former Colorado Representative and Denver First Lady, and Bobbie Towbin, former ADL Senior Regional Associate Director, at a reception on Feb.16. Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock will present the Civil Rights Award to Wilma Webb. Rep. Webb served in the Colorado General Assembly from 1980 to 1993, where she was the first African -American member of the Joint Budget Committee. She led the fight to establish a state holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and she was the moving force behind Denver’s annual Marade, the country’s largest march and rally commemorating Dr. King and his ideals of equality, respect and freedom. She served as Denver’s First Lady from 1991 to 2003, during her husband Wellington’s three terms as mayor. Former ADL Regional Director Saul Rosenthal will present the Civil Rights Award to Bobbie Towbin, who worked tirelessly for civil rights and religious freedom as Mountain States Regional Senior Associate Director of the AntiDefamation league from 1987 until her retirement in 2002. She fought for equal treatment for all, advocated for state hate crimes laws, stood up against extremists, and worked to preserve the separation of church and state, fulfilling ADL’s mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people…to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”

Three Tons Of Food Raised At Civic Summit


Last month, the inaugural Civic Summit was held to raise food for the Denver community. Hosted by businessmen Richard Lewis and Cedric Pride, the afternoon event at Montbello High School included a food drive with live entertainment and access to community organizations and resources. In addition to the afternoon event, an evening concert and celebration was held at the Denver Doubletree Hotel. Cost of entry for each event was three food items. Lewis and Pride raised almost 6,000 pounds of food for the families of the Denver Metro Area. Entertainment for the Civic Summit events included the Montbello HS Drum line, Comedians Derrick Ellis and Shed G., the Mary Louise Lee Band and special guest appearance by national recording artist, Al B. Sure. More than 700 people attended the combined events. The following five organizations benefited from the Civic Summit: Servicios de la Raza, Labor Community Agency, Denver Rescue Mission, Energy Outreach Colorado and the Mile High United Way: Adult Self-Sufficiency Program.

Community College Of Denver Breaks New Ground

Community College of Denver (CCD) has broken ground for the first building it will completely own, the Student Learning and Engagement Building, an 87,000 square foot, four story structure that will become a Denver landmark on the corner of 7th St. and W. Colfax. This significant occasion was marked by a series of dedications by CCD Interim President Cliff

Richardson, Colorado Community College System (CCCS) President Nancy McCallin, OZ Architect Dave Schafer, CCD Student Government Association President Shannon Ausfahl, and special guest Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. In 2010, the concept for the Student Learning and Engagement Building was presented to the students, who were asked to vote on the building proposal. They expressed their approval and the planning process started. The Student Learning and Engagement Building will be funded by a student approved fee increase and college reserves. It was designed by OZ Architects of Denver and Boora Architects of Portland, Oregon. Construction will be performed and supervised by G. H. Phipps Construction Companies of Denver. Completion of the building will take approximately 15 months, just in time for summer session 2013. The total budget of the building is $40,000,000.


Google Announces Scholarship Program For Women

Google announced the 2012 Google Anita Borg Scholarship, to encourage women to excel in computing and technology. Scholarships of $1,000 to $10,000 will be awarded based on the strength of candidates’ academic background and demonstrated leadership. All scholarship recipients and finalists will be invited to visit Google headquarters. The deadline to apply is Monday, Feb. 6. For more information, visit:

Denver Preschool Program Releases 2011 Annual Evaluation Results

The Denver Preschool Program released its latest evaluation results, which showed that Denver Preschool Program students are ready for kindergarten. The annual evaluation findings indicate that students in the Denver Preschool Program make significant progress during their preschool year, above and beyond what would be expected based on normal development. These students improve during their preschool year, preparing them to be academically and emotionally ready for kindergarten. Research shows that kids who are better prepared for kindergarten are more likely to be successful in school and later in life. The Denver Preschool Program is non-profit organization established and supported by the entire Denver community that helps Denver families pay for high-quality preschool across the city and offers funding to local preschool programs to improve their quality. The typical DPP family receives between $254-$283 per month to help pay for the cost of a Denver preschool. Thanks to the Denver Preschool Program there are more quality preschools and more children enrolled in quality preschools. The Denver Preschool Program offers tuition credits to nearly 6,000 students each year, 91 percent of whom were in enrolled in top-quality preschool classrooms last year.

Free Invitation To Black Women To Join National Professional Women’s Organization

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is seeking more African American women to join their nationwide network. Free to join, NAPW is the nation’s largest organization of its kind with thousands of professional and entrepreneurial women as members. For more information and to sign up for free, visit


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2010



DPL Hosst Gala Celebration And Awards Ceremony Honoring African-American Community

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The Denver Public Library will host a lavish 25th Anniversary Gala on Friday, Feb. 3, to raise funds to endow the Annual Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Awards. Join Mayor Michael B. Hancock, local dignitaries, elected officials, supporters and community members as the Library celebrates 25 years of honoring Colorado’s African American community. Also, the Library will celebrate the Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 4, named after Juanita Ross Gray, a former DPL staff member and dedicated community advocate. CBS Reporter, Gloria Neal, will emcee the event. Awards will be presented to African American men and women who have made an outstanding contribution to the Denver Metro area. The event is free and open to the public. Both events will be held at the Blair-Caldwell African- American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. in Denver. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Mayor Hancock Opens First African American Denver Firefighters Museum

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will open the first African-American Denver firefighter’s exhibit at The Denver Firefighters Museum (DFF), located at 1326 Tremont Place, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb 4. This will be the first exhibit dedicated to the history of Black firefighters in Denver displaying the past 100 plus years of notable moments about the men who served this city as African-American firefighters. The Denver Firefighters Museum exhibit is open to the public for kids of all ages.

Metro State’s Black History Month Events 2012

Army ROTC presents a screening of For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, Thursday, Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Part One of Two) at the Tivoli 450/540, Adirondacks Room, Auraria Campus. For information, visit The Rachel B. Noel Committee welcomes Brenda Palms Barber, the 2012 Rachel B. Noel Visiting Professor Barber, who is the CEO of the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) and Sweet Beginnings, Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in St. Cajetan’s Hall. Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


For more information, visit This year’s Black World Conference will bring three amazing women Thursday, Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Turnhalle and Tivoli 320’s. Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African--American students who in 1957 were the first black students ever to attend classes and graduate Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons has a long history in the area of civil rights, human rights and peace work. Judy Richardson was one of the Black women who held a prominent position in the Civil Rights Movement as a co-founder of the SNCC as well as co-founder of the largest Black bookstore in the country. For more information, call Student Activities at 303-556-2595. The Bridge Speaker is an annual event; now in its 18th year at Auraria will be Thursday, Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Tivoli Turnhalle. . Acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni shares her eloquent words of wisdom, spanning the civil rights movement, politics, love, art, and more. For more information, call Student Activities at 303-556-2595.

Cirque du Soleil Presents Dralion In Broomfield

Cirque du Soleil announced that the critically-acclaimed touring production Dralion will perform in Broomfield at the 1stBank Center from Feb. 8 to 12 for eight performances only. Thrilling more than 8 million people worldwide since the show premiered in 1999, Dralion is the fusion of ancient Chinese circus traditions and the avant-garde style of Cirque du Soleil. The name Dralion (pronounced “Drah-lee-on”) is drawn from its two main symbols: the dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West. The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, singers and comedic characters. Tickets are available at o r by calling 1-866-461-6556.

The inaugural Songs of Our Journey Black History Month concert presented by the Western States Baptist Convention is Friday, Feb. 10 at Zion Baptist Church located at 933 E. 24th Avenue. This concert will be a night full of prayer, praise, and fun. The evening will feature soloists, choirs, musicians and dance ministries from all over the state of Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more informatin, call Gequinn Mattox at 303-724-3667

SAT College Prep Test Planned For Students

The Crowley Foundation and The Princeton Review will host a free SAT college prep test for students in grades eight through 12, from 8:30 to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Rachel B Noel

The Denver Local Council of Ministers ‘Wives & Ministers’ Widows will host its Annual Leadership Conference & Luncheon at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 3 at at the Red Lion Hotel on Quebec and Smith Road in Denver. The featured speaker is Denver’s own Evangelist Michelle Alexander. For more information, call Marilyn Hicks at 303-672-3287.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Provides Free Tax Assistance and Preparation

Free tax assistance and preparation for taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those ages 60 and older, is available from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide from Feb. 1 through Apr. 17. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, will offer help with personal income tax returns at various locations in Colorado. For more information, call 1-888227-7669 or visit




Songs of Our Journey

The Denver Local Council of Ministers’ Wives Annual Conference/Luncheon

leaders in honoring the accomplishments of these outstanding volunteers during its annual Heart of Volunteerism Awards event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Denver Cable Center, 2000 Buchtel Blvd. Metro Volunteers hosts this event annually to highlight the impact volunteers have in addressing community needs. Tickets may be purchased online at for $100. For more information, visit online at or call 303-282-1234.


The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Denver Alumnae Chapter is seeking applicants for scholarships awarded to selected African- American female high seniors. There will also be a graduate scholarship awarded. African- American female seniors or African- American female graduate students interested in obtaining a scholarship application check with school counselors or request an application at The deadline is April 1. For more information, call Daphne Hunter at 303 908-5751 or email

Do you know anyone who has launched a project to cleanup a park, encourage recycling or has built an innovative building with sustainable techniques? If so, nominate that person, company or organization for Lakewood’s 2012 Sustainability Awards. The deadline for submitting a nomination is Friday, March 2. The annual Sustainability Award is the top honor that the City gives to nonprofits, businesses, youth and others for projects and initiatives that promote a more sustainable Lakewood. Awards are given in three categories: Community Sustainability, Defender of the Plant for youth and Bruce Peoples Eco-Employee for city of Lakewood employees. For more information and nomination forms, visit or call 303-987-7734.

Paul Mesard and the Honorable Elbra Wedgeworth will be honored Feb. 22 with Metro Volunteers’ highest awards for volunteerism. Paul and Elbra will each receive the Community Impact Award which recognizes individuals with a demonstrated passion for volunteerism, and a commitment to foster civic engagement throughout a broad array of sectors and organizations. Metro Volunteers will be joined by Denver business, civic and nonprofit


Delta Sigma Theata Scholarship Applications Available

Sustainability Award Nominations Needed

Mesard And Wedgeworth Recive Community Impact Awards


The Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action will be sponsoring its 3rd informative and inspirational youth conference, Taking a Stand: Youth Against Genocide from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 12 at Johnson & Wales University. This conference will promote awareness about genocides throughout human history and empower participants with the tools necessary to end the genocide that is happening today in the Sudan and to help prevent future genocides. Taking a Stand is hosting local and international guest speakers on topics such as History of Genocide, History of Genocide in the Sudan up to Present Time, Women Peace and Security, and Genocide in the Americas. Following a panel at lunch led by students, workshops will held. The conference fee is $18 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. For more information, call Roz Duman at 303-880-4836.

Middle School, 5290 Kittredge St. in Denver. There will also be a review session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 to go over test results, impact knowledge and offer test taking techniques. To register online, visit For more information, call Kenneth Crowley at 720-935-6465 or visit


Taking A Stand: Youth Against Genocide Conference








Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


Songs Our Journey Journey

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

Life, At Last, For Etta James

Etta James, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the most subtle love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit At Last, has died at age 73. Her manager said the cause was complications of leukemia. James was not easy to pigeonhole. She is most often referred to as a rhythm and blues singer, and that is how she made her name in the 1950s with records such as Good Rockin’ Daddy. She was also convincing singing pop standards, as she did in 1961 with At Last. And among her four Grammy awards was one for best jazz vocal performance, which she won in 1995 for the album Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday. Regardless of how she was categorised, she was admired. Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote in 1990 that she had “one of the great voices in American popular music, with a huge range, a multiplicity of tones and vast reserves of volume.� For all her accomplishments, James had an up-and-down career, partly

because of changing audience tastes but largely because of drug problems. She developed a heroin habit in the 1960s; after she overcame it in the 1970s, she began using cocaine. Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. Her mother, Dorothy Hawkins, was 14 at the time; her father was long gone, and James never knew for sure who he was, although she recalled her mother telling her that he was the celebrated pool player Rudolf Wanderone, better known as Minnesota Fats. She was 15 when she made her first record, Roll With Me Henry. When some disc jockeys complained that the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


title was too suggestive, the name was changed to The Wallflower. The song rose to No. 2 on the R&B charts in 1954. In 1960 James was signed by Chess Records, home to Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and other leading lights of black music. She quickly had a string of hits, including All I Could Do Was Cry, Trust in Me and At Last. She remained with Chess well into the 1970s, reappearing on the charts after a long absence in 1967 with the funky and high-spirited Tell Mama. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s she opened for the Rolling Stones in concert. After decades of drifting in and out of the public eye, James found herself in the news in 2009 after Beyonce Knowles recorded a version of At Last. James’ is survived by her husband of 42 years, Artis Mills; two sons, Donto and Sametto James; and four grandchildren. Though her life had its troubles to the end, James said she wanted her music to transcend unhappiness rather than reflect it. ‘’A lot of people think the blues is depressing,’’ she said in 1992, ‘’but that’s not the blues I’m singing. When I’m singing blues, I’m singing life. People that can’t stand to listen to the blues, they’ve got to be phonies.’’ ~NEW YORK TIMES

The History Makers Showcase Stories of Tuskegee Airmen, Military Makers with $200,000 Grant from Robert R. McCormick Foundation

As an original member of the 99th Squadron that became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Herbert Carter flew 77 combat sorties against the German and Italian Air Force in World War II, as the famed fighting men provided support of the Allied Army. The stories of the Tuskegee Airmen and their exemplary service and courage are an integral part of our American history and attracted national attention with the release of the big budget George Lucas film, Red Tails. The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American Oral Video Archive, also highlights the stories of the Tuskegee Airmen and countless numbers of African Americans have brought to our nation’s military since the Revolutionary War. With the help of a $200,000 grant from The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The HistoryMakers has launched, The MilitaryMakers, profiling the lives of soldiers, such as Lt. Col. Carter. The grant allows the Chicago-based organization to share these stories with students, educators and the general public. Prior to receiving this grant, The HistoryMakers had already interviewed 38 MilitaryMakers, including General Colin Powell, General (Retired) Clara Adams-Ender, and several Tuskegee Airmen. “This is a ground breaking program because so little is known about the history of African Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces,� said Julieanna L. Richardson, founder of The HistoryMakers. “MilitaryMakers is designed as a multi-media, public outreach program with the goal of educating the world about the history and legacy of the African American military experience.� Beginning by recording the life oral histories of 40 African American service members, MilitaryMakers will start the process of wide dissemination of this lost history to scholars, military museums, associations, schools, parents, teachers and students alike. MilitaryMakers will be made available via The HistoryMakers’ Test Digital Archive and through engaging public programs targeted at both youth and adult audiences. The first of these is slated to be at the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. There is a “critical need for the preservation of African American military history,� says Frank Martin, director, writer and producer of For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots. While countless books have been written about American

military history, and thousands of hours of film footage have documented and paid tribute to the military service of American men and women, only a handful of African Americans have received the recognition they deserve, and the historical record sadly reflects this neglect, he said. Since the Revolutionary War, some 10 percent to 15 percent of the United States Armed Forces has been African American. While the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black fighter pilots, have received well-deserved recognition, many of the 500,000 plus African Americans who served in the Army during World War II still go unrecognized in mainstream history. These include the 781st tank battalion, the first Black armored combat unit known as the “Black Panthers�, the all-Black 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion and the 490th Port Battalion who served decisively on D-Day. The list of African American contributions to the U.S. military goes on and on. MilitaryMakers is being guided by an expert group of advisors that include Brigadier General (Retired) Clara Adams-Ender; the Honorable C. Jack Ellis; military historian Paul Herbert; Dr. Enrique Riggs Roscoe Brown, a Tuskegee Airman; Major General (Retired) Arthur Holmes; author Lt. Colonel (Retired) Michael Lee Lanning; former New York Times General Counsel Solomon Watson IV; documentary film producer Frank Martin; and General (Retired) John Tilelli, Jr. “We are pleased to receive the generous support of the McCormick Foundation,� said Richardson, The HistoryMakers‘ founder. “It is imperative that we continue to share with all of America the stories of African American men and women who sacrificed and served to make our nation great. With their contribution, the McCormick Foundation shows that they believe this mission is important.� Editor’s note: The HistoryMakers is a 501 (3) (C) non-profit dedicated to recording and preserving the personal histories of well-known and unsung African Americans. To date, the organization has interviewed over 2,000 HistoryMakers, with the goal of creating an archive of 5,000 interviews (30,000 hours) for the establishment of a one-of-a-kind digital archive, and priceless educational resource. For more information, visit The HistoryMakers website at and The HistoryMakers digital archive at 

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Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 films that star an all black cast. Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike than not. I must tell you that I have been very fortunate to work with a studio that sees the value in my type of storytelling and filmmaking. As well as having you, an audience of all races of people, who have stood by me arm and arm. It has helped me navigate through some pretty rough waters. I thought that as Black people in Hollywood, this is just our reality, but I quickly realized that this is not racism. What made me realize this is I had a conversation with Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas, and he was telling me that he was having the same problem with Red Tails. I was blown away! Red Tails is an important story about, not just black history, but American history about the Tuskegee Airmen. It has an all-star African-American cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard. He went on to say that he brought the movie idea of Red Tails to several studios and no one wanted to make this film… And this is George Lucas! Not to be deterred, he put up his own money, shot the movie then took it back to those same studios, and they wanted nothing to do with it. One of them even refused to see the film, citing the above mentioned problems. So George decided to take a huge risk by entirely funding the movie and releasing it himself. What a guy! For him to believe so strongly in this story is amazing. I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African-Americans, but all of us. I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too. The Tuskegee Airmen, who were at the screening, were so happy that somebody is telling a small part of their story. Please take your kids. You will enjoy it and so will they. There is a lot of action and adventure and also a great history lesson to be learned. George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.

Tyler Perry (Filmmaker)

Sertoma Club Appreciates Christmas Donations

Editor: Thank you for your help and donations to Toys for Kids that was held At the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. The Mission of the library is to serve as an educational and cultural resource for the people of Denver, Colorado, and the world, focusing on

the history, literature, art, music, religion, and politics of African American in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. In 1999, Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb and First Lady Wilma J. Webb saw the urgent need to preserve the legacy and collections of African American in Colorado and the West before it was lost forever. They proposed construction of the African American Research Library for this purpose as a part of the Denver Public Library System. The Grand Opening was April 26, 2003 by generous donation from the community and the Friends of the Library. To help promote this mission, in December, 2005, the Greater Park Hill Sertoma Club founded “Toys for Kids.” The project was developed when Earnest Reese was given toys by the Arapahoe Santa Shop to be included in the Christmas Baskets. The need in the Five Point neighborhood inspired one to use the toy give-a-way as a way to serve mankind and encourage the use of the BlairCaldwell Research Library. After consulting with Terry Nelson and Peggy Wortham, “Toys for Kids” project was visualized as a way to attract children to the library. New and used books and toys are collected from the community, the Arapahoe Santa Shop and other community service organization. Omar Blair, one of Greater Park Hill’s Sertoma Club founders, is honored with this project. The children are given books and our African American Santa verbally encourages them to read books during the year. The project continues to grow and serve the needs of children by giving them instructional tours of the library and they are encouraged to obtain a library cards. In small groups of 10 to 15 participants, the children are given tours of the historical exhibits of the library, interactive lectures by Friends of the Library, books and allowed to sit on Santa’s lap for photo shots. This year your donations helped to give more than 1,000 books, 200 Christmas cards and 1,000 toys to more than 150 children and 100 adults who accompanied them. In addition, 51 volunteers distributed the three truck loads of toys, helped to taking 92 photo shots with Santa, and serve refreshments that included Christmas goodies, water, cakes, cookies, candy and juice. The happy faces demonstrated that the kids loved “Toys for Kids” and our missions of being an educational resource and service to mankind were met.


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2012


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27th Annual

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William (Bill) Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree

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Denver Around Town January 2012

Cecile Perrin

Honorees and presenters Guest Speaker John Hope Bryant

Aurora Community of Faith Breakfast

Ecumenical Service

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Cedric Pride and Richard Lewis Present The Civic Summit and Birthday Bash Featuring

27th Annual

22nd Annual MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Awards and Colorado Symphony

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Al B. Sure

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Tuskegee Airmen at Red Tails Movie Meet & Greet at Movie Tavern Original

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DUS February 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2012 Issue

DUS February 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2012 Issue