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Denver Urban Spectrum


ME & THE DREAM A Black History Month Exhibit and Program

“Inventing My Dream” February 2-15, 2015

Cherry Creek Shopping Center Grand Court

3000 East First Avenue - Denver, Colorado Monday, Feb. 2  10 AM

ME & THE DREAM Exhibit Opens

Saturday, Feb. 7  Inventing My Dream Day

•Dreams, Patents & Trademarks - 11 AM to 12:30 PM •Young Inventors - 2 to 3:30 PM •Dreams Realized: Legacies of Black Inventors - 4:30 to 6 PM


Cherry Creek Shopping Center Wells Fargo Xcel Energy Janus Funds Denver Water Ballard Mortuary Rod Smith International Walmart Gilmore Constuction

Thursday, Feb. 12  6 to 8 PM

Denver Urban Spectrum presents the 2015 African Americans Who Make A Difference honorees

Sunday, Feb. 15  6 PM

ME & THE DREAM Exhibit Closes

Program Emcees:

Meagan Fitzgerald  Orion Carrington  James and Angelle Fouther

Mall and exhibit hours: Mondays-Saturdays 10 AM to 9 PM and Sundays 11 AM to 6 PM - Info: 303-292-6446

Produced by BAT PR

& Associates


February 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Ann Marie Figueroa Angelia D. McGowan

This month the country celebrates Black History Month, increasing the number of platforms that shine the spotlight on African American achievements in the United States. The Denver Urban Spectrum is no different. We are keenly aware of the capabilities and the achievements of African Americans all year round, but this month we admit we also take the celebrations up a notch. For the second consecutive year, the newspaper is proud to present the Me & The Dream Exhibit and Program at Cherry Creek Shopping Center. From Feb. 2-15, DUS is presenting a one-of-a-kind exhibit about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy in Colorado. The theme is “Inventing My Dream” and focuses on the successes and challenges of African American inventors. Saturday, Feb. 7 features a full day of programming to help inventors and entrepreneurs navigate the patent process. Our cover story by contributing writer Charles Emmons captures the essence of a man who has found a positive way to re-invent his life after football - Rod Smith, the former Denver Broncos wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion. His strategy to help his family and the community at large is admirable. In this issue you’ll also find profiles of the 15 African Americans Who Make a Difference honorees who will be recognized at the Me & The Dream Exhibit and Program. This issue is dedicated to the spirit of Dr. Robbie Bean, who died on Jan. 1, 2015 at the age of 85. We hope you find inspiration in it and a desire to attend the exhibit and program to learn how to better realize your dreams. We’d like to believe that educator and leader Dr. Bean would approve. Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor





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


Body Cameras Aren’t the Only Solution – We Need a Holistic Police Reform Strategy

dents were incarcerated. Over half of Boulder’s Black residents faced arrest in 2011-2012. We should not tolerate these statistics in Colorado. They should not represent who we are, regardless of color or background. As chair of the Colorado Black Caucus this is why I, along with Colorado Latino Caucus Chair Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) and other legislators are creating solutions that will make Colorado better for everyone who calls it home. There has been some conversation about the universal introduction body cameras to policing as President Obama committed federal funds for devices that could bring some relief to thousands of communities nationwide. But while we support such measures, we also realize that’s a small first step. Body cameras can still be turned off. We need an aggressive and multifaceted approach. The National Urban League’s recently released 10 point plan is one such thoughtful approach as it offers a tangible mix of strategies that could strike the right balance between stressed police departments and frustrated communities of color. Some of these approaches could be useful right here in Colorado, whether its mandatory use of body cameras, implementing a new community policing model, revising deadly force policies or comprehensive retraining of all police officers. There is also a growing need for independent and ongoing reviews of police reports that include thorough demographic breakdowns. There must also be recognition that some police officers involved in misconduct

Editor: As the nation is gripped in the passion of a fresh new justice movement lashing out against the atrocities of police brutality, there is a grand opportunity for Colorado to take a stand and make a difference. The tensions between law enforcement agencies and local communities have never been higher in recent memory. That’s so unfortunate since the vast majority of our men and women who protect us do so with honor and a noble sense of service. More importantly, in order to maintain safe and livable communities, we have no choice but to find a way to bridge these differences. However, we must first face some troubling truths about Colorado. Not unlike Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland or elsewhere, we’ve struggled for some time with similar challenges here in Denver and beyond. Colorado has some of the highest arrest rates for African Americans in the nation according to a recent USA Today analysis. In Denver, the arrest rate per 1000 non-Black residents was just under 25 percent during 20112012. Yet, for Black residents – who represent 10 percent of the city’s population – the arrest rate was an eyepopping 91 percent. The city of Arvada ranks first in the state for its number of Black arrests: only one percent of the population is African American (or 962 residents according to the latest Census numbers). Still, nearly half of those resi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


are lying on their reports, so we must implement citizen-driven evaluations that encourage a fair and transparent process. This is where we can institutionalize and aggressively enhance stakeholder interface between commanders, meet supervisors and community leaders so we can collaboratively devise best-practice policing strategy for neighborhoods in need. That may present an opportunity for Colorado to lead the nation in completely revamping the grand jury process of alleged police misconduct as we know it. Our criminal justice system rightly creates a system where local prosecutors work closely with their law enforcement partners to keep our neighborhoods safe. But, as a way to eliminate bias and favoritism, prosecutors should be completely removed from a grand jury proceeding involving police misconduct and brutality. Instead, court systems should consider independent special prosecutors and concerned community advocates. And, lastly, Colorado should become the first state in the nation to require a four-year college degree for every police officer on the state and local level. Only one percent of police departments in the country require a four-year college degree. That’s unfortunate. There are so many highly regarded academic institutions in Colorado that could easily partner with law enforcement agencies and providing the intellectual foundation officers need to understand the cultural, political and economic conditions of the communities they patrol. Continued on page 34

Rod Smith,

His Story is His Calling

By Charles Emmons


veryone has a story, and everyone has a calling. It may take longer for some of us to find it, but no matter how long it takes, we can impact the world. Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith has a story that is the envy of armchair athletes around the state and the country. Smith is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a member of the Denver Broncos stellar Ring of Fame. In his playing days he was well on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hip injuries forced him out of the game he so loved in 2007 and he retired from professional football in 2008. Smith’s journey parallels many a professional athlete who grew up in unfavorable if not dismal circumstances, who found that sport would lead them out of their communities of despair. He grew up in the small town of Texarkana, Arkansas and played sports in high school, eventually playing Division II football at Missouri Southern State. His childhood was spent most of the time figuring out how to get out of the projects in Texarkana. He made a $20 bet with his mother that he would be the first in the family to graduate from college. He jokingly commented that she still owes him $60 for the three degrees in business that he earned at Missouri Southern State-Marketing, Marketing Management and Finance. Football brought him to higher education and business is what inspired him. “I got three degrees, and I am going to be real with you. It’s because everything that I saw growing up was illegal. I saw a few legal businesses and I can’t discount the good people in my neighborhood with the legitimate businesses, but most of the businesses that I saw were either not done properly or illegal,” says Smith. “The people who I saw living a certain way had legitimate legal businesses, and so I thought that is what I need to study. In order for me to get out of the projects, I need to first understand

Rod Smith is a Diamond level distributor with Organo Gold Coffee, one of the largest direct sales network marketing businesses in the world. Photo by Susan Brown, Studio 13

self, deal with other people and learn how to conduct business.” After football, Smith has had numerous business ventures and investments. “I have made hundreds of thousands even millions of dollars in other businesses since I retired, but none of them have been more personally rewarding as the coffee business,” he says. Smith is a Diamond level distributor with Organo Gold Coffee, one of the largest direct sales network marketing businesses in the world. His team is a purveyor of healthy coffees, and this is not something that

Smith had ever considered before, because he says that he didn’t even drink coffee when he first heard of this new breakthrough in the coffee industry. He loves drinking his gourmet healthy coffee now. As to why he got into the coffee business and network marketing, Smith says, “It was out of my comfort zone.” After I did the research on coffee, it was the first time I had ever heard of a healthy coffee. All the people I had talked to in the beginning, no one had ever heard of healthy coffee. So, I was bringing something that is brand new. We

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


were going to be one of the first in the United States, not just Colorado. I was bringing a brand new thing to something that is very old. And that means in terms of my business degrees I got in school a huge opportunity if it works.” Smith has made a good income from the business, but it gives him an added benefit. He is able to help others fulfill their potential and their dreams. He has always been about people, because that is what drives good business, positive relationships. And that has been his greatest challenge, finding good people. “My challenge is to find good people, and to be around good people and yet cultivate great relationships for the rest of my life, says Smith. “And we can go into any business if I am around good people. It doesn’t matter. We could sell used toothpicks and make a killing. If you have good people and good energy, you will find a way to get it done.” Getting it done now is the most significant football metaphor that Smith applies to his business. Whether he is on the gridiron or not, he works hard. He stayed in Denver, because he has built a reputation and doesn’t want to have to re-invent himself. People like him because of how he does things. “The way I perform on the football field is how I perform in business. I want to be the person that is accountable and the person that is going to get the job done, just give me some time and it is going to happen. It could be fast. It could be slow, but over time, it is going to happen.” This acumen stems from Holton Buggs, vice president of sales for Organo Gold, who has become Smith’s good friend and mentor. Smith says, ‘He said at a meeting in December 2008, ‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’ “ Smith has long had a high level of achievement and vision, and started learning business lessons early in his life. He says at age 12 he made up his Continued on page 6

Local Students Introduced To Opera’s Beauty and Imagination More than 1,200 students

Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee. “Ms. Brown’s upcoming presentation for local students, along with the ongoing endeavors of Opera…for Kidz Sake, provides excellent opportunities to help expose and expand access to Denver’s vibrant arts and cultural community.”  Editor’s note: Tickets for Brown’s Feb. 14 performance ($35-$75) are available at the Newman box office (303-871-7720 or online at For more information about Opera Jazz, visit or call 303-373-1246. For more information on Opera for Kidz Sake, call Ken Johnson at 720-290-2778 or email

Soprano Angela Brown gives special performance of “Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View”

from metro Denver area Title 1 Schools, where a majority of students enrolled receive free or reduced cost lunches, will gather Feb. 13 at the historic Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church for an educational introduction to opera by visiting soprano Angela Brown. The special performance is hosted by the Bill Pickett Memorial Scholarship Fund (BPMSF) at no cost to the students or schools. “This is a unique program for youth that dispels myths about opera,” says the internationallyacclaimed Brown. “I present it in a tongue-in-cheek, fun, irreverent way to blow the socks off of that myth.” Brown will follow her presentation to youth with a performance titled, “Opera…From a Sistah’s Point of View,” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14 in the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall at the University of Denver Newman Center. “Students naturally love the arts and exposing youth from local schools to various forms is important,” says Valeria Howard, BPMSF vice chair. “Arts help to build students’ confidence and strong communities. We believe we can make a positive change in a child’s life by providing exposure to the arts.” To achieve her goal of drawing general audiences to what is often perceived as entertainment only for elitists, and to help more people develop an appreciation for opera, Brown has created an audience-involved program that combines hilarious, educational narrative with musical selections. Designed to dispel the myths of opera with humor and charm, each aria is described and explained in context of the opera’s plot. “Angela Brown’s enthusiasm for introducing children to opera is a welcome resource that complements our Bringing Back the Arts initiative,” says

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Rod Smith

Continued from page 4 mind to own a Mercedes Benz. He bought his first one in 1999 in Missouri and drove it back to Colorado. While at Southern Missouri State, his late football coach John Lantz, was conducting a goal setting exercise. He asked the players to write down the amount of money they wanted to earn. The young Smith wrote down $30K. Lantz wondered why he had written down such a low figure. Smith explained that where he was from $30K was a lot of money. After arguing with the coach, Smith was convinced to at least write down $50K. This was a long remembered lesson in setting lowered expectations. “I respected him and loved him so much, he believes in me, so I will borrow his belief in me until mine catches up. And my first year in the NFL I made $63K. And I immediately thought back to the conversation I had with him; I thought if I had wrote down $100K, I would have made $100K. But because I only wrote down $50K, I only made $63K. And from that moment on my life changed.� Life is full of teachable moments, but it requires that we pay attention and begin to create our own vision of our best selves. Generations have

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


thought, I want to have life be better for my children, or their children have thought I want to do better than my parents. When Smith bought his first Mercedes, he thought he was doing okay, until he popped in a cassette of the book “Think and Grow Rich.� Smith says he still has the Mercedes and Think and Grow Rich; the Napoleon Hill classic study of business success has been a constant companion as he continues his journey. Think and Grow Rich is integral to the Organo Gold culture. “I had never read the book. But I was listening to it for 10 years. And now I teach the book right now to the people in direct sales network marketing,� said Smith. “I am teaching that book right now to the people in my organization. We are on chapter 12 and 13 right now. We do two chapters every other week. We train on 2 chapters of Think and Grow Rich every other week. If the book has made more millionaires besides the bible, why wouldn’t people study it?� Smith made millions playing for the Denver Broncos, but he says that he has made seven figures in coffee as well. And he says others can do the same. He is on a different team in a different space now, focusing forward on building a better life for his children, grandchildren and their chil-

dren. The road has not always been smooth. He made mistakes with money as well as other areas in his life. Fifteen years ago he faced domestic abuse charges in Douglas County, and has since been lumped in with other NFL players who faced similar charges. “It’s old and the one thing I learned and that I won’t shy away from is how to stay in control of my emotions and me. That is what I learned. That is what I teach people. You can control your emotions. I don’t get too high and don’t get too Smith is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a low when things happen one way or another. You’ll make better decisions,” member of the Denver Broncos stellar Ring of Fame. says Smith. “Everybody is caught up principles he will learn that I learned, in the heat of the moment and differand he will get real life example from ent things happen in life. Life is fast me. And this is perfect for a 20-year-old. nowadays. Sometimes things happen Everything Rod Smith does now is so fast that you think you don’t have for the future of his family. He says time to respond, and sometimes we that he doesn’t want his three grandjust react. And if we can just pause for sons and their children to have to a second or two and learn to respond, work to live. “That’s the way I think to everybody would make better deciday. That’s all I sions.” focus on is my The lessons he grandson’s kids “Sometimes you have to has learned in never having to football and in celebrate the small wins, work. Not that business he they won’t work, imparts to his because when you get the because I want family and his them to have the business team, small wins they turn into big principles, the which has grown respect for workto 49,253 Organo big results.” ing, but not have Gold independto work to eat or ent distributors. – Rod Smith to work to pay His youngest son some bills. I Roderick Smith Jr. want them to will play football work in a space where they can be for Colorado State University in the fall. philanthropists and cause driven, not Rod said he asked him for a copy of the just, because they are hungry.” “Think and Grow Rich” workbook Even NFL and NBA athletes, who which his son pulled off the bookshelf. from the outside seem blessed with “He’s 20 years old and he wants a Think riches, go bankrupt. Smith said that and Grow Rich workbook that will be approximately 93 percent of NFL the best gift I can give him this year, players three to five years after they because if he actually uses it he will quit playing have no money. A 2009 understand how to manifest and how to article in Sports Illustrated estimated attract the things to accomplish the that 78 percent of professional athletes dreams and goals that he wants. go broke. This happens mostly Because I did it. These are the same because they lack the proper informa-



tion and guidance. As a Bronco, Smith was promoting financial literacy in the locker room. The information has always been in libraries and now it is on the Internet. But the plight of many NFL players is not so different from the armchair athletes who watch them on ESPN; Smith says that 97 percent of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck. That is the major reason Smith went into the coffee business, to help people. He gets a good feeling knowing that because he said yes six years ago when a friend pitched Organo Gold to him, he is having a positive impact on the personal economies of countless individuals. “There are two families in my organization that have made over $1 million in this business, and countless others who are making thousands of dollars a month,” says Smith. “Others miss opportunity because they don’t have the proper guidance. There’s no way they could have made that kind of money with a job.” His guides on this journey are the Bible and Think and Grow Rich, which he says is the most under utilized text. He attends the Upper Room UPC church, under pastors Derwood and Nancy Tate. He revealed he also has a book in the germinal stages, “It’s called The Rod Effect…From the Projects to NFL Super Bowl Stardom, and How You


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Too Can Achieve,” says Smith. It’s going to be eight success tips or steps that are going to be highlighted in that book, all based on dreaming - how to actually manifest your dreams. When he began to look at where he has come from and what he has done, he wanted to share the knowledge, lessons and strategies that got him there. “You’ve got to celebrate…that’s a principle that I want people to understand. Sometimes you have to celebrate the small wins, because when you get the small wins they turn into big big results.” Big results usually bring huge successes. Smith believes that when we do better our communities are better. Everyone is a work in progress and Smith sees himself as no exception. All people are great, they just have to see themselves that way. “Sometimes you just need someone to encourage you and talk to you and tell you how great you are. So that is kind of the person I want to be. You don’t have to pat me on the back. You don’t have to give me any credit, and you don’t have to give me any kudos or awards. Just knowing that one day I did or said something that changed someone’s thought processes and they became a better person, and then I won. So I am still about winning. And winning doesn’t mean somebody else has to lose.”


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The Construction of a Dream An Exhibit and Program at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center

Celebrating Black History and the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, Feb. 2 to Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015

Me & The Dream Exhibit and Program Addresses the Successes and Challenges of African American Inventors

“To my knowledge, it was this man who as a young man in the 1950s, understanding the science of magnetic intensity, received the first official patent on the invention of the cordless telephone. It is my opinion that because of the denigration and discrediting of African-Americans in American history in the 1950s, Raymond Phillips was denied the acclaim that he deserved at that time as the true inventor of the cordless telephone, which is used now by millions throughout the world.”


– Dr. Jack Evans, President, Southwestern Christian College, Terrell, Texas (as printed in the TilliT newspaper, 2009)

By Angelia D. McGowan

n 2009 a Swedish newspaper TilliT published a feature story on Dr. Raymond Paul Phillips, recognized as the inventor of what is now considered the cordless phone. TilliT list many of his inventions and patents including his invention of the cordless phone in 1956 and his patent in 1959, of which Dr. Phillips has received little recognition and no royalties according to his family. He died in 2010. His “challenges were numerous consisting of family, fulltime college student, racism, lack of business skills,

and very few options to trust anyone to help him with the patent process,” says his niece Rosalyn Reese. “He always maintained his faith and integrity that his invention would one day be recognized.” The family is working to get him due recogniztion, creating sphone and are seeking to publish a

100-page manuscript Dr. Phillips and his wife wrote over a 10-year-period to document their experiences. And contemporary publications are starting to validate his story., published by the Gawker Media Group, reports “Dr. Raymond P. Phillips Sr., an African American inventor from Texas, came up with the idea, but due to the racial tensions of the time, he wasn’t actually recognized as the inventor by the U.S. and European patent offices until 1987.” This cautionary tale is one Reese will share at the ME & THE DREAM, Inventing My Dream Exhibit and Program presented by the Denver Urban Spectrum Feb. 2-15 at Cherry Creek Shopping Center. The exhibit celebrates Black History Month with a rare display of photographs and memorabilia documenting the visits of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Denver, as well as significant events leading up to Colorado’s official King holiday. The exhibit will be accented by sculptures from Ed Dwight, the creator of Denver’s MLK monument. Within the two-week programming, Saturday, Feb. 7 has been designated as “Inventing My Dream Day” where guests can learn how to turn their dreams into reality from a host of professionals, including a USPTO representative, a patent and trademark attorney, professors and today’s African American inventors and entrepreneurs. In addition, historians will address the impact of African American inventors, including James Forten, recognized for inventing a sail hoist, a device that made it easier to maneuver the large sails of mast sailing ships; Lewis Temple, who invented the toggle iron harpoon, the standard harpoon in American whaling history; Norbert Rillieux, who invented the sugar processing vapor and an improved sugar refining process; entrepreneur and philanthropist Madame C.J. Walker, known for revolutionizing the hair care and cosmetics

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John Guydon, CEO of the Lassy Project

industry for African American women early in the 20th century; and scientist Benjamin Banneker, who created America’s first clock. The youth component of the “Inventing My Dream Day” will feature an awards ceremony for winners of an essay contest and a keynote by John Guydon, CEO of the Lassy Project, a free service that gives parents and guardians the ability to notify an entire local community about their missing child in seconds. It was borne out of a tragedy that no parent or child should ever experience. On Oct. 5, 2012, a Colorado community was rocked by the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. The Lassy Project honors Jessica’s memory every day by building safer communities, protecting children and by combining social impact and technology. The Lassy Project surely exist for a number of reasons and because of a host of people, but a big reason is Guydon’s decision to help. With the Ridgeway tragedy tugging at his heart, he contacted the Ridgeway family on Facebook about one month after Jessica went missing. “I wrote a long heartfelt note and sent it,” says Guydon, who counts Jessica’s mom Sarah as part of the Lassy Project’s

leadership team. The University of Colorado graduate who played football for the Big 12 North Championship team has acquired success through the face of adversity since he was a young age, overcoming a stuttering problem and financial woes. Through it all he has demonstrated a relentless ability to find solutions to problems. It’s this tenacity that he brings to his business acumen. “Just like in life, nothing in business goes as planned,” says Guydon, who has gained valuable experience in the fields of sales and marketing as well as 10 years of mobile messaging expertise. “If you really want to solve the problem and challenge at hand, you will see it to completion.” Guydon has become a leading expert in missing child cases to expose the issue of time in recovering abducted children. This, along with his commitment to keep his own family safe, is what drove his passion to create the Lassy Project.

Editor’s Note: VIP kick-off event on Tuesday, Feb. 3 will include inspirational remarks from the Honorable Wilma J. Webb and former Denver Bronco Rod Smith who will share how he re-invented his life after football. 9News reporter Meagan Fitzgerald will serve as emcee and gospel singer Largressa Munnerlyn will

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This day of events is free and open to the public and will be held on the second floor next to the Coach store and just above the Grand Court. open up the program with song. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the Denver Urban Spectrum will present its annual awards ceremony and reception for the 2015 African Americans Who Make A Difference with motivational speaker Charlotte Haymore and special guest saxophonist Tony Exum Jr. Both the Feb. 3 and

Feb. 12 events are invitation only. This year’s sponsors include Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Wells Fargo, Janus Funds, Denver Water, Xcel Energy, Ballard Mortuary, Rod Smith International, Walmart, and Gilmore Construction. For more information, call 303-292-6446 or email

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2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Celebration Events Photos by Lens of Ansar

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado Announces New President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel brings unmatched experience leading foundations

The Women’s

Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) builds resources and leads change so that every woman and girl in Colorado achieves her full potential, and last month announced its new president and CEO following a nationwide search. Lauren Y. Casteel, who currently serves as the vice president of philanthropic partnerships for The Denver Foundation will join The Women’s Foundation of Colorado starting Feb. 23. When Casteel takes the helm at WFCO, she will be the first person to have led three separate foundations in Colorado. Previously she served as the executive director of the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and as president of the Hunt Alternatives Fund. Since 1998, she has been with The Denver Foundation, Colorado’s oldest and largest community foundation, where she created and led the philanthropic partnerships and donor services departments and served in a senior program officer role. For her pioneering work at The Denver Foundation and in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. “The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is thrilled to benefit from Lauren’s track record of leading highprofile foundations successfully,” said Anahita Kemp, chair of the board of trustees of WFCO. “Lauren has been dedicated to social and economic jus-

tice her entire life; she is a natural connector, focused leader and inspiring communicator; and she possesses a spirit of inclusion as well as deep ties and established relationships throughout our state. These qualities will be key to Lauren’s growing WFCO’s footprint in Colorado and expanding upon the mission established by our founders 28 years ago.” The Women’s Foundation of Colorado works to lead systemic change that will advance economic opportunities for all women and girls in Colorado by amplifying their voices through research, education, public policy and community investments. WFCO’s community investments are strategically focused to: 1. Help girls graduate from high school 2. Increase opportunities for lowincome single mothers through education and job training 3. Encourage and enable women and girls to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). “I‘m honored to have the opportunity to lead this outstanding organization that is so deeply committed to improving the lives of women and girls in Colorado,” said Casteel. “I look forward to adding another layer to the legacy of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado by bringing a wide spectrum of voices to our story and using a gender lens to magnify the critical issues of our day. I will leverage the time, talent, treasure and testimonials of the men and women who have supported WFCO since its inception and work to ensure that it is the go-to organization for all issues affecting the economic security and success of women and girls in Colorado.” A recognized advocate for women, children, youth and families in Colorado, Casteel launched the

award-winning program, The Inclusiveness Project, at The Denver Foundation. The program engages with Metro Denver nonprofits, including philanthropy, to become more inclusive of people of color, and thereby has changed the face of Colorado’s nonprofit community and engendered national attention. In addition to her induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, she has received many other distinctions throughout her career, including: • Being named a Denver Urban Spectrum “Living Legend” in 2012 • Being named a Girl Scouts’ “Woman of Distinction” in 1997 • Receiving the “Investment in Excellence Award” from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver in 1997 A few of her current and past community leadership initiatives include: • Board member of the Association of Black Foundation Executives • Former member of the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundations Leadership Team • Participant in The White House Social Enterprise and Opportunity Series on the Philanthropic Sector • Founding board member of Qualistar Colorado “Lauren Casteel has been a key leader in Metro Denver for decades and has given a great deal to The

Denver Foundation over the past 16 years in grant making, donor services, and philanthropic partnerships, including leading the creation of the nationally recognized Inclusiveness Project and the Nonprofit Internship Program,” said David Miller, CEO of The Denver Foundation. “We are delighted that she is going on to lead The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and that we will continue our partnership with Lauren in years to come.” In 2014, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado granted more than $1.3 million to dozens of agencies in communities across the state, achieving the highest level of granting in its history. Since 1987, WFCO has invested more than $13 million in Colorado communities.  Editor’s note: The mission of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is to build resources and lead change so that every woman and girl in Colorado achieves her full potential. We are committed to boldly leading systemic change to advance economic opportunity for all women and girls in Colorado; using research to build knowledge and guide action; building philanthropy that supports and champions women and girls in Colorado; demonstrating and promoting inclusiveness and commitment to a diversity of people, partners and ideas; and creating strategic partnerships throughout the state to service our mission. For more information, visit or call 303-285-2960.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


“Shh” Silencing Children About Race

By Cassandra Johnson, Sena Harjo, and Dorothy Shapland

Thought this title might grab your

interest. Far too often we silence children about race. The curiosity of a 3 year old provokes an awkward question being made open in public, “Mommy, why is his skin dark like that?” Out of embarrassment the mommy quickly says, “Shh.” Silencing a child and not responding to the question doesn’t take their question away, it merely teaches a child to learn not to talk about race publicly. It is impossible to avoid topics about race, or to convince ourselves that our children are protected from the conversation. As adults we need to recognize that what upsets us also impacts our children. Even the youngest child will pick up on a change of mood or emotion in the adults that care for them. Research shows that young children notice race at a very young age and also develop racial biases by ages 3 to 5. What we can’t do is pretend that by NOT talking about it, our kids won’t know that something is going on. The events surrounding the deaths and court decisions of black men in this country should be conversations in our homes, schools, churches and playgrounds. We need to guide our children in ways to understand the upset that they are bound to see and feel as protests and demonstrations come closer to home. Are we proud of students who walk out of class for an important cause? Are we upset that students are taking stands about who gets to protest and who must take a back seat? Do we see a place for these conversations in our high schools? Middle schools? What about elementary schools? How young is too young to have this conversation? No matter what age your child is, the most important place to have this conversation is at home. They need to know how you see the situation, and they need to voice their thoughts and opinions where they will be heard and safely guided. Your child may have opinions that are derived from mis-information, or from a complete mis-understanding of what they have overheard. It is our responsibility as adults to help fill in

gaps, to explain what is not known, to distance the discussion from the specific facts of a specific case and discuss the broader implications of what is happening in their lives. Some wonderful resources exist for teachers – starting with the twitter hashtag #fergusonsyllabus. But what can you do about having this conversation with your young children at home? First, it is important to note that there are some myths about young children and color that need to be addressed. One of them is the notion that children don’t care about skin color and need to be taught to discriminate. The truth is that children are exposed to the biases of our culture no matter how we try to insulate them. The famous Clark doll study has had consistent results for almost 40 years. Young children of different races are asked to choose between a black baby doll and a white baby doll, and consistently choose the white doll. The white doll is the “good doll” or the “pretty doll” or the “nice doll” even to children who clearly understand that the black doll looks more like them.

Psychology Today (commentary, research and news that cover all aspects of human behavior) offers some important thoughts about how children expose one another to racial bias, and what we as parents should do to ensure that our children know how to handle discriminatory language and situations that they may experience or witness. We know that children see differences and ask questions. It is the responsibility of families to discuss race and issues about race with their children. It is even more important now when high school students are making choices about what part they should play in protests and demon-

strations, and what positions they want to take in school discussions, that we start these conversations at home.

0-3 year olds

•Does your child have dolls that represent his or her own race? What other kinds of dolls does your child have access to? Watch how your child plays and join in. Roll play with the dolls and help your child see what you want them to see when they look in the mirror. •Gift a racially diverse set of dolls to your child’s day care home or center. •Look for books with heroes and characters of different races. •Broaden your social circle and help your child be comfortable with many people.

3-5 year olds

•Make sure your child feels safe with individuals of different races. Take a trip to the police or fire department and introduce your child to community helpers. •Gift books to your child’s school or day care center that have diverse heroes. Talk about the races of the characters and who the good guys look like. •Wonder with your child about the race of princesses, about the way the bad guys have accents or the good guys dress in white. Make the conversation OK in your home. •Let your child talk about race and difference, and change the subject when you see that it is time.

5-10 year olds

•Provide opportunities for children to bring up their feelings about news they’ve heard of. Talk about when the police come to their school and how it feels. •Talk about protests you’ve heard about or demonstrations led by high school students or that you have participated in. Talk about how it makes you feel. •Listen. They know more than you think they know and need to express their fears, concerns, opinions and misunderstandings. •Offer your perspective and help to guide their developing views. •Be protective and watch for signs that your child needs to change the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


subject. This is difficult material and they may only be able to handle a bit at a time.

10-15 year olds

•Ask your child if they are interested in joining you in watching a report or reading an article about a protest. Watch, read, and discuss what is happening together. •Listen. They have strong opinions that aren’t always grounded in truth and they need your guidance to understand what they are trying to process. •Admit that you don’t have the answers, that you are confused, that you have strong opinions too. Make it normal to wonder and change your mind as events unfold. •You know your child best, stay alert to changes that may indicate that they have reached a threshold and aren’t able to process more information.

15-20 year olds

•Discuss the demonstrations they are interested in or hearing about. They have opportunities to be a part of many different activities, marches, die-ins, pickets and online forums. Know what your child is participating in. •Talk about your views – the range of perspectives and views on what are the “right” activities to engage in are wide. Help your child understand where you stand and why so that they can make choices. •Stay alert to changes in mood or behavior that may indicate that the situation has become more than your student can handle. These are important developmental years and your child may become overwhelmed by the struggle. •Being silent about race does not keep children from noticing race; it just keeps them from talking about it. So next time your 3 year old blurts out the question “why is his skin dark like that?” avoid the “shh” response and respond appropriately, “Honey, the world would be boring if we all had the same color of skin. Just like we are born with different color hair and eyes, people have different skin colors.” Remember you can make each moment a teachable moment. 

Denver Preschool Program Preschool Showcase March 7

Families can choose from more than 150 quality preschools

It’s not too soon to be thinking about preschool for the next school year. Denver families can find out how to access tuition support and meet more than 150 quality-rated preschools in the Denver area all in one place during the third annual Preschool Showcase presented by the Denver Preschool Program (DPP). The free event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 7 at The Westin Downtown Hotel, located at 16th and Lawrence St. In addition to the preschool programs, the Showcase will feature: •Free light refreshments •Family-friendly activities and entertainment •Free dental screenings •Online Preschool Locator demonstrations

•Photo opportunities with PBS characters Clifford and Curious George •Spanish translators will also be on site to provide family support. “High-quality preschool can help close the early achievement gap” says Jennifer Landrum, President and CEO of DPP, noting, “Over 90 percent of DPP students leave preschool ready for kindergarten, and by 3rd grade they are outperforming their peers on the state reading assessment.” Landrum adds, “We strongly encourage parents of 3 and 4 year-olds to take this first important step in

identifying the right school for their child. Once the initial contacts are made during the Preschool Showcase, we recommend taking your child along for a site visit to help gauge whether or not a preschool represents the best fit.” For more information, email or call 303-595-4DPP (4377). For more information, visit Street parking and $7 Westin Hotel garage parking are both available.  Editor’s note: About DPP: The Denver Preschool Program (DPP) is a non-profit organization funded by Denver’s preschool sales tax that makes quality preschool possible for all 4-year-olds living in Denver. DPP’s tuition support helps ALL Denver families – regardless of income or neighborhood – pay for high quality preschool. The amount of support a family receives depends on family size and income, the quality of the preschool chosen and the child’s level of attendance. Families can choose from more than 250 preschools in the Denver area, all rated for quality.

It’s unity that builds community. Celebrating a great spirit can’t be confined to one day. That’s why McDonald’s® Black Owner/Operators of the Greater Denver Area proudly support our community each day of the year. We work here. We live here. We know the next great leaders and visionaries of our generation are here in our city, and we won’t stop cheering them on. May that spirit live on in all of us.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


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Come out and enjoy a night of fellowship, fun and jazz when Restoration Christian Fellowship presents a “Sweet 16 Anniversary,“ a preValentine’s Day concert with national recording artist Warren Hill. The celebration will be held on Friday, Feb. 13 at 15640 E. 6th Avenue in Aurora. Does jazz and worship mix? According to Pastor Felix Gilbert it does. In preparing for his anniversary event, he talks about jazz, longevity, preaching and ministry.

Why a jazz concert? The mission of Restoration Christian Fellowship is to create places for people to belong, teaching them to believe in God, and growing them to behave like Christ. That being said, the design of our facility is to serve as an event center for our community, but doubles as a worship center on Sundays. This is our intention to be a vision path to reach our community.

National Recording Artist Warren Hill

As a musician, I have a deep love for music with my favorite genre being jazz. The church is designed to reach its external community, yet the majority of churches only focus on swapping members. Part of our vision path has always been to create out of the box avenues to reach our community. What better way to reach our community than by capitalizing on a genre of music that touches people at the core of their being. Gospel and jazz are very similar in that both genres are heavy on improvisation and are written with some of the same chord progressions.

Every Wednesday at Restoration, we have what we refer to as Jazz and Bible study. We start with one hour of jazz by some of our local jazz musicians, then transition to worship, then our weekly Bible study. That is our way of creating places for people who love jazz to belong. This has proven successful for our ministry, and resulted in us partnering with artists like Tim Bowman, Nelson Rangell, Dave Camp, and Tony Exum, just to name a few in concerts at the ministry center.

What has made your church withstand the test of time for 16 years? Restoration Christian Fellowship was formed on February 21, 1999 out of the crisis of a failing and restored marriage. My wife Kotane and I have been married for 32 years now. The first 16 of those years were simply a living hell. Lots of failures and challenges, and this is all while we were lead pastors of two successful ministries. The beginning of the restoration of our marriage centered on the fact that we both realized there was more to a relationship with God than simply doing church. We were in church, but the church was not fully in us. Every Sunday we got dressed, looked the part, played the part, but there was a huge void in our lives. We were simply tired of the routine of going to church - and the church not impacting the very life of the couple leading it. Imagine the lack of impact on the people we were supposed to be reaching. It was only God performing a work in each of our lives that we were able to resign where we were headed and plant Restoration Christian Fellowship. What has allowed Restoration to stand the test of time is the unique mantle it carries. The ministry is called to restore people to their rightful position in Christ. Our vision drives us and keeps us focused on our purpose. Why do you describe your style of preaching as outside of the box? I am and educator. In the pulpit my

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style is more of a teacher than preacher. On any given Sunday I do more teaching than preaching. My objective is to teach people God’s word and allow the word to challenge the listener to change their life. The reason I categorize myself as more of an out of the box pastor, is because I refuse to conform to the cultural norms of church as usual. The majority of our culture has a stereotype of the typical worship experience. At RCF we endeavor to be different. We have a unique vision to serve our community, to be effective in realizing our vision. We must take risks to reach the masses.

What would you like people to know about your ministry? Pastor Felix Gilbert

Restoration Christian Fellowship is unlike any ministry you will experience. We want our visitors, and members to experience God in a most natural way. We believe people have encounters with God in every aspect of their life, where they live, learn, work, thrive, play, and worship. At Restoration we endeavor to reach people in those six areas of community life. Rev. Gilbert says if a person is looking to experience God without the religious experience attached to it – visit Restoration Christian Fellowship.  Editor’s note: For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

As NNPA Prepares for 75th Anniversary, President Envisions Black Press as ‘Main Stream’

By Hazel Trice Edney

Benjamin Chavis Photo by Roy Lewis/Trice Edney

Civil rights leader Benjamin

Chavis, now president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, says he envisions Black newspapers as becoming the “new mainstream” rather than an alternative press as it is often called. “The Black Press, I believe has an opportunity where it can make even more traction than it has in the past,” Chavis said in a recent interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “In other words, I don’t see the Black press as a side press from the mainstream press. I want the Black press to become the new mainstream because the demographics are changing.” Chavis was among the speakers at a gala celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Washington Informer Newspaper, published by NNPA member Denise Rolark Barnes. Black-owned newspapers are often called specialty, alternative or minority press by government agencies and corporate America. But, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau population stats, people of color, including AfricanAmericans, will gradually increase to become a clear majority of America’s population over the next four decades. “All in all, minorities, now 37 percent of the U.S. population, are projected to comprise 57 percent of the population in 2060” according to a U.S. Census report. “The total minority population would more than dou-

ble, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million over the period.” During that period, “the black population is expected to increase from 41.2 million to 61.8 million” as the White population will peak in 2024 10 years from now - and then gradually decrease by 20.6 million by 2060, the Census reports. Chavis sees this increase as a prospective boon for NNPA’s more than 200 Black-owned newspapers as it anticipates its 75th anniversary in 2015 - but only if certain strategies are put in place. First, he said, the Black press must focus on a stronger economic foundation by generating more revenue. African-Americans spend $1.2 trillion dollars a year, he said, noting that Black newspapers must partner with the Black Church, Black banks, Black colleges and Black organizations to network and support the Black press. This strategy would require much unity, Chavis says. “This is beyond connecting the dots. The dots have to converge...There’s too much disunity in our community. And I’m not just talking about organizational disunity. I’m talking about disunity even among the so-called personalities...In my long career in civil rights I’ve seen what happens when leadership goes in divergent paths...To me, it’s a disservice to our community to allow personality conflicts to get in the way.” Secondly, white-owned businesses must be made to understand the value of supporting Black newspapers as businesses and as a sustainable institution, the same as the broadcast media, Chavis says. “To reach people in our community, they can’t just look at something on TV or hear it on the radio and act. They’ve got to look at it and read it more than once. That’s the value of the Black print press,” he said. “The pen has to have an economic undergirding so that what is written gets distributed; so that what is written gets circulated. Sometimes we overlook the necessity to the strong economic foundation in our quest for freedom, justice and equality.” Finally, Chavis said, Black newspapers must take full advantage of the digital universe. “Technology, particularly digital technology can be a great equalizer.

Some people think the digital will supplant the print. I don’t. To me, the digital will make more valuable the print press because every day it’s about the content. We have the content, but we have not aggregated the content,” he said. Denise Rolark Barnes, who has been publisher of the Informer for 20 years, succeeded her now late father, Dr. Calvin Rolark, a prominent D.C. businessman and Black leader. Barnes recalls how the Black press has led America’s media when it comes to many of the issues that have now emerged as headline news for whiteowned media, such as police brutality, economic justice and voting rights. “The more you do it, the more stories you realize need to be told; the more you realize that our community, our Black history every day is being thrown away,” says Barnes, in an exhibit hall showing historic front pages and photos from the Informer. “I’ve learned that history does repeat itself and is repeating itself.” Hundreds of people packed into the Carnegie Library in Downtown Washington, DC to salute the Informer and its legacy during the event in late fall. Iconic radio talk show host Joe Madison recalled how the Black press has been so audience-specific that

readers know that those who advertise in Black newspapers specifically want to reach Black people. “It means it’s for us,” Madison said. Madison also underscored Black newspapers as a chronicler of Black history. “Most of us would not have known about Emmett Till had it not been for the Black Press. Most of us wouldn’t have known, quite honestly about Martin Luther King Jr. if it wasn’t for the Black Press because White media certainly wasn’t publicizing it...The Black Press is, as Frederick Douglass would probably say, our North Star.” Ben Chavis is one who has benefited tremendously from the Black press. He is one of the historic Wilmington 10, who was pardoned by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue two years ago in a 1971 firebombing amidst the civil rights struggle. The pardon finally came after the Wilmington Journal of North Carolina, published by Mary Alice Thatch, escalated the campaign for justice. “It is in the business of not only reporting the news, but defending the news when it comes to the interest of Black people. That’s what gives the Black press its unique value, not only to Black America, but to the rest of America,“ concludes Chavis. 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


SERvice TO MANkind For 30 Years In Denver In 1912 a small group of local busi-

nessmen in Kansas City, Missouri organized SERTOMA, an international civic organization, initially formed to help individuals with hearing disorders. Since that time, the organization has expanded to now include more than 400 clubs in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Today, there are 28 clubs in Colorado with 27 of them serving the Front Range. With more than 10,000 members, SERTOMA clubs raise more than $10 million every year for local community projects. SERTOMA is derived from the words SERvice TO MANkind. Service projects in including grants, scholarships, and sponsorships are the primary ways that the SERTOMA clubs give back to their respective communi-

ties. Individual clubs are encouraged to identify projects to meet the needs of their unique communities. The Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club (GPHSC) was formed in December 1985 by a group of business and professional individuals who were interested in volunteering their time to help improve the Northeast Denver Community. The club currently has 20 members and has regular meetings twice each month to carry out the mission of service. Since 1985, the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club has provided service or sponsorships to more than 20 local programs, including the African American Leadership Institute, Black American West Museum, Breast Cancer Awareness-Race for the Cure, Bridges of Silence, Christmas Baskets Program for needy families, Colorado Bone Marrow Donors Program, Marion Downs Hearing Center, Freedom Week Essay Contest, National Heritage Program, Northeast Women’s Center, Seat Belt Angels, Soap Box Derby, and the 9 News Health Fair. Each December, the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club (GPHSC) conducts an event called “Toys and Books for Kids,” where meals, books, and toys are provided to disadvantaged families. At this annual tradition, the

children and their families also have a chance to meet Santa Claus. For the past few years, this event has taken place at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library on Welton St. near Downtown Denver. The library is partly named after the late, Omar D. Blair, a former Tuskegee Airman and one of the charter members of the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club. During the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade each January, the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club operates a hearing test van to provide free screening anyone available. The club has also sponsored hearing tests for newborns at the Denver Health Medical Center. Contributing to these projects has been a satisfying experience for club’s members. Robert Fomer, the current president of the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club, highlights these feel-

ings by saying, Robert Fomer “Serving as the president of GPHSC has been rewarding in seeing the needs of the community and along with other club members helping to address those needs.” Current chairman of the club, Gregory Anderson, adds “As a found- Gregory Andersonr ing member, it gives us tremendous pleasure to have served the northeast Denver community for the past 30 years. We have extended our financial and volunteer support in the areas of hearing health and the specific needs of our community. We hope that other likeminded individuals will join us in our next 30 years. To celebrate 30 years of service to the Greater Denver community, the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club will host a fundraising event at the Cable Center near the University of Denver on Friday, March 27. The public is invited to attend the celebration for food and jazz and to learn more about this civic organization. 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


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 28th year of publishing and based in part on recognition, number of times nominated and questionnaire response we have selected (from 41 nominations) 15 recipients as the 2014 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.


Principal, Thimmig Elementary

Candice D. Reese grew up in Montbello and later served 16 years as an elementary teacher and a principal in the same area of Denver. Reese strives to be an example for children who live in poverty and demonstrate that one can overcome the challenges of it. Reese works hard seeking the best educational possibilities for children of color and students who grow up in poverty. She explains, “The biggest challenges facing the African American community is that now so many of our children do not believe they can be successful in this world… so many of our youth believe they are destined to live the life based on the cards that have been dealt to them. But that is so not true!” She has been recognized for arranging several things to take place in her building such as Toys for Tots, which ensured her students had toys, clothes and books for Christmas. Reese explains, “Honestly, I didn’t choose this role, the role chose me.” She believes that her purpose is to touch the lives of the students and families in the communities she serves. Reese plans on becoming a mentor for young African American parents as well as teenage

African American girls. Reese hopes to be remembered as a Christian, mother, wife, daughter and sister who worked hard to change the face of education for children.


CEO, Cedric Pride Entertainment Production Manager, Journeyman Hercules Industries

Cedric Pride is known in Denver as a community leader who hosts and presents events that benefit non-profit organizations. Over the past year Pride’s contributions to the AfricanAmerican community include adopting more than 100 families for Thanksgiving and holding two benefit concerts that supported local nonprofit organizations the Denver Colorado Chapter Buffalo Soldiers and the Labors Community Agency. He has hosted an economic job summit for at risk teens, introducing several African American kids to Trades and is currently planning the second annual Kids Trade Fair. For the past five years, he has raised food for food banks and labor agencies though his nationally recognized events. Pride says, “It’s my passion to help those in need and it’s what God has called me to do.” Pride believes that the lack of education, sufficient jobs, job training, and knowledge are the biggest challenges facing the African-American community. For these challenges to be resolved, Pride proposes that we must make knowledge affordable, available and accessible. We also must emphasize the advantages of learning outside of the traditional education system, “Knowledge is power and making it available in our communities, only makes a better community,” he says. In the future, Pride hopes to open a free clothing bank and provide education and job training in trade skills; he hopes to be remembered as “a man of God who was sensitive to the needs of people. “

Congratulations! from DUS


Cheryl Williams-Carter is known for mentoring and formally helping underserved (hidden jewels) high school students and presenting them to society; she is also a business owner, marketer, and works in event management. Over the past year, she has been recognized for mentoring youth and presenting them to the Colorado community in an elaborate ball at the end of the academic school year. Over the past five years, her work to support the vision and goals of the African-American youth has been one of her most notable accomplishments. “I have always felt that any young person should have access to life skills training, subject matter experts, professionals, and the opportunity to participate in a formal presentation to society regardless of their socio-economic status if they possessed discipline, dedication and desire to advance their economic pursuits,” says Williams-Carter. She believes that the biggest challenges facing African Americans today are education, viable employment opportunities and social injustice and to resolve these issues we as a community and nation must open up our heart and minds and develop meaningful dialogue about the division and misconceptions. In the future, WilliamsCarter would like to raise funds and expand the sponsor component for youth mentoring and recognition programs. She would like to be remembered as a faith-filled, family-oriented, business-savvy woman who inspired others to believe in themselves and realize their full potential.


Sr. Diversity and Benefits Specialist, Janus

Demesha Hill is known in the Denver community for administering the Diversity and Inclusion Program at Janus Capital Group and addressing ways she can support the various communities within Metro Denver. 17

Hill connected the Janus Capital Group and its employees to various sponsorship events in the community including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Business Social Responsibility Luncheon, Colorado Black Arts Festival, Juneteenth Music Festival and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance studio. Hill feels it is important to give back to the community and says, “There were many people that helped me along in my life and career and I feel that I have a duty to pass that gift along to others.” Hill feels that the education gap is the biggest challenge that the African American community faces, and believes that more businesses need to get involved in supporting the education process. Hill aspires to be a mentor for young African American women in the future because of the challenges they face in society – she believes they need a strong support system in order to help them stay focused on their goals. Hill hopes to be remembered “as an extraordinary mother, wife, daughter and niece who was gracious and giving and willing to pass along a little bit of her knowledge and skills to every person she met.”


Colorado Executive Director, College Track

Eddie Koen is best known in the Denver community for helping others and lending expertise to nonprofit organizations. Over the past year, Koen has been recognized for securing 1.4 million with Aurora’s College Track team for college scholarships and his overall success in benefitting first-generation and undeserved students in Aurora, Colo. Over the past five years Koen created the first Annual Community Reentry & Restoration Summit in Birmingham. He explains that taking an active role has always seemed natural after growing up in a deep community of Chicago, an area serving as headquarters for several Black nationalists groups and community organizing. Koen believes that there are five key challenges that the African-American community faces, education equity, economic empowerment, health and wellness, social capital and resolution. Koen plans to influence policies involving equity in education and poverty-related issues and would like to be remembered at someone who served people.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


Executive Vice President, Gilmore Construction Co-Founder, JLThompson Ensemble

Edweena Gilmore is known in the Denver community for building with her family, one of the most respected minority construction firms in Colorado, Gilmore Construction. She is a proud graduate of the Metro Chamber’s Leadership Denver Program and portrays her experience as a strong leader through her roles as co-owner and executive vice president of Gilmore Construction who has supported several businesses with the affordable support and training needed to grow a business. Gilmore is also known for her work as co-founder of the JLThompson Dance Ensemble that works to lift the spirits of the community through community outreach. JLThompson Dance Ensemble expresses an interest to utilize their women and youth dance ministries to support and service the homeless, mostly through liturgical dance and fundraising. “People are my passion. My spirit doesn’t give me any other option than to reach out,” says Gilmore. She believes that one of the challenges the African-American community faces is that we do not help, include or celebrate each other as much as we should. She believes that we should reach out to people more, but that we must do it for no gain, she hopes the community accomplishes this one day. Gilmore would like to be remembered as “the person who accomplished a lot in our community for the better.”


Master Electrician, Owner of 1-Turn Electric Rocky Flats Nuclear Worker Advocate

James Turner is known for being one of the community’s oldest and last minority skilled, licensed and certified craftsman. Turner is also known for helping people who worked at Rocky

Flats Nuclear Plant get their benefits when they discover they are ill. Over the past year, Turner has been recognized for providing safe, economical repairs for elderly homeowners struggling with the economic downturn and who therefore struggle to stay in their home and risk their health by living with an electrical system that is a fire hazard. Throughout the past five years, Turner has provided support for the people who are victims of body damage. He says, “I had a long, stressful, and expensive fight with the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant in order to get recognition for the damage done to my body. I have talked to many groups and have been to many meetings and have been instrumental in helping many others successfully navigate this journey.” Throughout his life many people have helped him and he feels he has to help keep it going. Turner feels that the older generations must take an active part in the lives of youth to resolve the challenges the African American community faces by “taking them under their wings and teaching them all that they have learned and mastered.” Turner hopes to provide to his children with whom he has worked side by side for several years, the skills to carry on the business for a new generation. “I want to be remembered as a man who’s ‘word was his bond.’ If you say you are going to do something, you need to get it done. I want to be known as a man who was dependable and did what he said he was going to do.”

JANE BOLDRIDGE, LCSW, LSW, MSW Psychiatric Social Worker

Jane Boldridge is known for helping the chronically, mentally ill veterans – providing them with support and empowerment by showing them she cares about their lives. Over the past year, Boldridge helped the AfricanAmerican community by educating the current generation about the value of education and the power of knowledge, despite social economic disparities. Over the past five years, Boldridge has been able to provide chronically, mentally ill African American men treatment, without institutionalizing them in the community jail or a psychiatric hospital. “I choose to take an active role because of the stigma associated with mental illness and the African American com-

munities,” says Boldridge. She believes that a big challenge the African American community is facing is that people who are directly experiencing problems are often left out of the process in identifying what the problem is. The people experiencing the problem have a different outlook on their needs than the policy maker. These challenges should be resolved first by the awareness that inequalities do exist and second by empowering people to take charge of their current situation. In the future, Boldridge would like to start a grass roots community resource center for African Americans and their families who are discharged back into the community after being a patient at a psychiatric hospital. Boldridge, who wants to be remembered by her actions and not just her name, says “There really is nothing more important to me than striving to be a good human being and helping those who have lost their voice, feel unheard, and are lost in the norms of society.”


Colorado State Representative District 41

Jovan Melton is best known for his political career which includes serving in the Office of Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien on the Governor’s Commission for Community Service, as the Campaign Manager for State Reps. Angela Williams and Rhonda Fields and currently as a state representative. In this position, Melton says he fought for raising the minimum wage that afflicts many African Americans struggling to provide for their families. In 2013, he was the keynote speaker for the NAACP Colorado, Wyoming and Montana Regional Conference and was also elected as the vice-chair of the Black Legislature Caucus. Melton says, “I am blessed to be in position to where I can affect change in areas that affect my community such as economic stability, education, health, housing and criminal justice reform.” Melton says the greatest challenges facing our communities is having the opportunity to advance economically with barriers like lack of access to good schools, lack of good paying jobs among other things. “I would like to continue to serve my community as state representative and an activist. I’d like to help improve neighborhood condi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


tions for people of color and low income families as long as I can,” says Melton. He would like to be remembered as someone who was a fighter for the community and didn’t shy away from the good from the good fight.


Executive Director Struggle of Love Foundation

LaKeshia Hodge is known best in the Denver community for her non-profit charity assistance through the Struggle of Love Foundation. Recently she has been recognized for providing youth ages eight to 18 with a free sports and mentor program that allows them the opportunity to travel and compete nationwide. Over the past five years, Struggle of Love has been successful in assisting the community with free outreach programs even despite the lack of funding. These free outreach programs include Annual Reach 4 Peace Picnic, an annual backpack and school supply giveaway; a Thanksgiving dinner that feeds over 200; and Santa’s Workshop where the participants as a whole gave away over 3,000 toys. “As a member of the community, I choose to take an active role in assisting the less fortunate because I was once in the shoes of many individuals we support. As an African American woman having been in this situation, it has inspired me to take an active role in becoming a positive leader and role model in our community, with hopes of inspiring others to pay it forward.” Hodge believes that the African American community lacks love for one another and themselves individually and as a result of this the community suffers from a lack of good parenting, togetherness and community awareness. Hodge believes that the solution to this problem can be achieved through providing outlets that work to bring the community together and encourage the youth to change the things inhibiting the African American community from prospering. Hodge hopes to one day open a Love Center for youth and young adults and provide them with mentoring and tutoring, sex education, gang and violence awareness, general ethics, childcare assistance, counseling and more. “I would like to be remembered as a selfless individual that put the community in the forefront of all my decisions –

someone who made a difference in the African American community and inspired others to do the same.

and wanted assistance, experience and knowledge that he was so inclined to share.”



Solution Sales Manager, Tribal Navigation Athletics Director, Athletics and Beyond

Metise Moore is best known for coaching and mentoring as well as instilling the importance of character, accountability, education and productivity in the at-risk inner city youth living in Denver. Over the past year, Moore has engineered a partnership of five different youth organizations to form Colorado Youth Organization consisting of Denver Hooperz, Rim Rockers, A&B Athletics, Colorado Truth, and Big Frame, all serving the 150 inner city at-risk youth through education, athletics and tutoring. Over the past five years, Moore has mentored more than 20 basketball players with a 100 percent graduation rate and 80 percent collegiate enrollment, many earning scholarships. “My athletes have been able to take advantage of a free college education through our efforts.” Moore chose to take an active role because during the time he was growing up the crack/gang epidemic hit Denver hard. Luckily, he was mentored and encouraged by several men at Skyland Recreation Center who helped him use his basketball talent to become a student athlete. “I’ll never forget the focus and determination that gave me as a young man and I wanted to be able to do the same thing for my community” says Moore. He believes that there is a gap in understanding what it takes to be a student athlete and the qualifications it takes to earn a scholarship. It is important to understand what it means to be a student athlete from a commitment to the classroom and to develop the skill set and character it takes to achieve scholarships and opportunities. In the future, Moore plans on expanding the growth of organizations to help more inner city youth through the Colorado Connect organization. He wants his participants to understand the importance of education and to take advantage of opportunities. Moore would like to be remembered as “a guy that cared about his community and kids and one who understood the reason why he was put on this earth. Also one who never made his mission about himself but those who needed

District Director, Colorado’s 1st Congressional District - Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Morris Price Jr. is known in the Denver Community for helping people gain access to education, supporting nonprofits, philanthropic work, fighting for civil rights and social justice through his current role with Congresswoman Diana DeGette. He has also served on several boards including Denver Urban League and GLBT center of Colorado. Over the past year, Price has assisted in developing strategic partnerships with the community college of Denver and the corporate community. His work on issues of youth homelessness and his work to increase voter engagement and build the capacity of AfricanAmerican organizations, has been recognized by many. Price believes that community and civic engagement, next to education, is the single most significant way to impact our community. He also believes that economic empowerment, educational attainment and financial literacy are the three most important issues facing our community, “we have the ability to move our community forward in ways we have not seen in decades. Our best chance for positive change is our ability to build out from within while alongside with anyone and everyone who appreciates the strength and diversity of our community.” Price plans to ensure a fiscally and culturally stronger Black community that is self-sustainable. Price hopes to be remembered for helping others change the negative challenges that dominate our media and impact communities.


Underwriter Administrator Fitness Trainer and Founder, M.A.D.

Noreen Wilson is known for working with and for several organizations including Sisters of One Father Chair, shelter programs, Boys and Girls club, Diving Journey Christian Center, and has participated in foster parenting, educational surrogate parenting for Denver Public Schools, and mentoring at Excelsior Youth Center. Recently, Wilson created M.A.D Fitness that works to help African American women take charge of their health by educating them on the right exercise and nutrition as well as provides mentoring. Wilson explains, “My journey started to get healthy after my son and I were diagnosed as pre-diabetic from our lazy lifestyle. We have lost a combined 165 pounds by making a commitment. It’s never too late to improve and be healthy.” Over the past five years, Wilson has chaired a scholarship grant committee and has spoken, fundraised and participated in organizations and events that focus on building confidence in African American teenagers and women and foster care parenting. Wilson explains that the African American community has one of the highest instances of diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, bad knees and obesity – she believes that her role is to motivate women to take charge of their health in order to resolve this issue. Wilson’s overall focus is health and hopes to expand the focuses on teenagers and women. She hopes to one day be remembered as a mother to four beautiful children who believed in family, education, financial freedom and was not afraid to speak up for injustice.

MSGT. NORVELL A. BALLARD Owner and Operator Ballard Family Mortuary

Norvell A. Ballard is best known for his professional integrity and honesty while maintaining a respectful approach to relationships within the Denver community. During the past year, his most notable contribution to the community was sponsoring the annual 100 Men Who Cook gala. Over the past five years, Ballard has volunteered at several events and places including Arches of Hope Bicycle Giveaway, McDonald’s Senior Thanksgiving Dinner and Windsor Gardens. In addition he serves as a Zion Baptist Church Trustee and Zion Senior Center Board Member. Ballard

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


believes that ‘working together’ is the biggest challenge that the African American Community faces. Ballard says, “Together we can accomplish anything and there is strength in numbers.” In the future, Ballard hopes to grow his business and provide more resources for the community. “I would like to be remembered as a person who had a wonderful time living life, spending time with my family and friends, and someone who enjoyed living life while contributing within a great community. In the words of my daughters and grandkids, I would like to be remembered for ‘Doing it like a Ballard!’”

PASTOR VERNON JONES JR. Former Assistant Principal Manual High School

Vernon Jones Jr. is best known for his pastoral service, advocating for equality, equity, and excellence in education within the Denver community. Over the last year, his most notable contribution to the community was his continuance raising his voice to draw attention to the inequalities that are faced by children on a daily basis and provoking people to act in collaboration in order to shift the paradigm of possibilities. “I gave my life to Christ in 1983 and I knew then that I would live for Him who died for me. When I became a father in 1998, I knew then that I would give my life for the good of another” he says. Jones believes that we are a community with a shared struggle but we still carry our individual needs and challenges. He says, “I believe that one of our greatest general challenges is repeating the same cycle of struggle and strain because of a lack of cross generational sharing to increase knowledge.” Jones hopes to one day be able to say that all children have received an excellent education that has empowered them to seize opportunities – he wants to be remembered as a man who loved God, others, and who gave his life to lift others for the glory of God.

Congratulations to

Denver Urban Spectrum’s

Top 15 for 2015!

Color Me Proud

Instructions: Color this drawing and receive a prize! Any child,12 and under, who colors and returns this drawing to the Denver Urban Spectrum, will receive prizes from the participating sponsors. All entries must be mailed to DUS, P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041 by Feb. 20, 2015.

Rod Smith is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a member of the Denver Broncos stellar Ring of Fame.

Rod Smith is a Diamond level distributor with Organo Gold Coffee, one of the largest direct sales network marketing businesses in the world.


School ___________________________

Age____________ Grade ____________ Address __________________________ City______________________________

Phone ____________________________

Think and Grow Rich

Illustration by Lorenzo

Women’s Hall of Fame Honors 16 Inductees Two Exhibits Displayed During Black History Month

Sixteen outstanding African

American women have been inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. Their portraits will be exhibited at the Blair-Caldwell Library in Denver and on the CSU-Pueblo campus during Black History Month. The women and their year of induction include: TV news anchor Reynelda Muse (1997); Denver Public School Superintendent Evie Garrett Dennis, Ed.D (2008); dance impresario Cleo Parker Robinson (1989); pioneer entrepreneur and philanthropist Clara Brown (1989); foundation executive Lauren Young Casteel (2014); Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel (2010); State Sen. Wilma Webb (1991) and entrepreneur and activist Fannie Mae Duncan (2012). Others inductees include Denver librarian Pauline Short Robinson (2000); trail-blazing Denver physician Justina Ford MD (1985); activist and

Gloria Travis Tanner

Evie Garrett Dennis

State Senator Gloria Travis Tanner; Little Rock Nine civil rights advocate Carlotta Walls Lanier (2004); Denver City Clerk and State Rep. Arie Parks Taylor (2004); author and activist Mildred Pitts Walter (1996); civil rights pioneer Rachel Bassette Noel (1996) and U.S. Dept. of Labor administrator and Air Force Major Oleta Crain (1988). The Blair-Caldwell AfricanAmerican Library at 2401 Welton St. will display portraits from Feb. 2 to 28 and the Diversity Center in the Occhiato Building at CSU-Pueblo will display the portraits from Feb. 3 to 28.

Carlotta Walls Lanier

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame was founded in 1985 to inspire others by celebrating and sharing the enduring contributions of Colorado’s extraordinary women. The Hall serves as a leading resource of exciting, dynamic stories of women who have achieved greatness in their fields or acted as agents of change for girls and women in society.  Editor’s note: To view photos and profiles of all current and historical inductees, visit and select “inductees.” For more information, call Peggy Gonder at 303-246-0511 or email




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The Denver Urban Spectrum’s Up

Close and Personal is an event that continues to grow and unfold. Over the past months, audiences have been treated to an array of performers from Gregory Goodloe to Mary Louise Lee, among a variety of other talented artists. This monthly live music intimate experience benefits the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation. On Sunday, Feb. 15, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., a very special Valentine’s celebration in the ongoing series will take place at Jazz at Jack’s in the Denver downtown Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall, complete with a catered buffet and cash bar. Ron Ivory, Freddi Gowdy (Freddi Henchi Band), and Robert Johnson will bedazzle their guests, each with their own unique sound and style. Concert-goers will have the opportunity to learn much more about these three fascinating men who Denver has the honor of claiming as its own local stars. Ivory, Gowdy, and Johnson all share a deep passion for their life’s work of soulful entertainment. Each has his own personal story, inspirations, challenges, loves, and triumphs that will be shared in intimate conversations. Did you know that Ron Ivory

Ron Ivory

Freddi Gowdy

Robert Johnson

A Sweet and Sexy Up Close and Personal

By Misti Aas

began performing Motown songs on street corners in Denver with The Tender Fore at the age of 13? Or that Freddi Gowdy spent time abroad performing on a USO tour for our troops? Or that Robert Johnson has shared the stage with both Bob Hope and Stevie Wonder? Ron Ivory’s diverse background and experience in R&B, jazz, rock n’ roll and popular standards has heavily influenced his musical and vocal repertoire. Years ago, he developed an interest in several musical instruments primarily to enhance his composing of songs and melodies. Those instruments were the xylophone, guitar and piano.


Derby 2015

A Celebration of Heritage

MAY 2, 2015

Along with his solo gigs, Ivory has created and leads a number of bands and acts including one of his most successful groups to date, The Miles Apart Band - Officially regrouped and renamed in 1995 from The Ivory Summers Band which he had formed with long time bassist and friend David Summers, Jr. From this venture Ivory produced, wrote, composed and arranged his first CD entitled Get Right To It. His group Expressions features female vocals and saxophone, and Suite ti is a contemporary jazz ensemble mix. Ivory came full circle from his original Tender Fore quartet of his youth to his classic Motown/Classic Soul group One on One, complete with choreography and wardrobe “Old School Style.” The versatile musician has performed with Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Dennis Edwards and The Temptations Review, Atlantic Star, The S.O.S. Band, The Coasters and The Drifters, among others. He also performed in the chorus of the Central City Opera’s musical, Showboat at the Buell Theatre in Denver. Freddi Gowdy is a founding member, along with the late Henchi Graves, of the 60s soul duo Freddi Henchi and the Soulsetters. They evolved out of the Phoenix, Arizona band The Jokers in 1966. Discovered and nurtured by a local radio disc jockey and producer named Hadley Murrell, “The Crown Princes of Funk” moved to L.A. and signed various record deals – eventually with Warner/Reprise who released their first album Dance. Because of that album and numerous singles the band toured the United States becoming the party-masters of the college circuit. In 1970, the talented duo moved to Colorado where Caribou Studios and Feyline Concerts gave them recording time and opening act slots on major shows with many other musical greats including James Brown, The Whispers, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Elton John and Tina Turner. The Soulsetters, and later the Freddi Henchi Band, 22

were the hottest funk-machine west of the Mississippi. Cancer took the life of his long-time partner Marvin “Henchi” Graves in 2009. Stepping away from the spotlight for a while, Gowdy regrouped and returned to the stage. He recently finished a CD with Chris Daniels and The Kings. Robert Johnson is an entertainer who is equally at home in every arena of performance. His voice can be heard on countless national commercials from United Artist Theaters and IBM, to Greyhound and Toyota. He has appeared in national and regional productions of Porgy and Bess, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Blues in the Night, A Brief History of White Music, Showboat, The Full Monty, and as the voice of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Since making his home in Denver, Johnson has been named Best Male Vocalist in the Denver Post’s Readers Poll, Best Jazz Vocalist by the Colorado Black Artists Association, was honored as Colorado’s Best Male Singer by the News and Radio Media and Best Male Vocalist by the Colorado Songwriters Association. As a performer with The 17th Avenue All-Stars, an a cappella group that in 1993 won the National Harmony Sweepstakes, Robert produced, recorded, and lent his performing talent to their CD True Colors. Currently he can be heard on his CD releases through his label Jakarta Records including Richard the Third, Black Prince Road and Home for the Holidays. His latest recording, the soon to be released jazz project A Long Road Traveled, continues to showcase his talents not only as a vocalist, but also as a songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer. Tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime Up Close and Personal presentation can be purchased on line, $25 for adults and $20 for those over 65 and groups of four, at For additional information, call 303-292-6446. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015

Thiamine (B1) Deficiency

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


uman beings cannot live without B vitamins and our bodies do not produce them. So, we must get B vitamins from our diets. Vitamin B1 was the first water-soluble vitamin to be described. It was originally called a thio-vitamin, which means “sulfur containing vitamin.� Thiamine deficiency can result in a condition called “beriberi,� a host of symptoms that can affect the heart, nerves, and digestive system. The condition was first recognized in cultures that ate large amounts of refined rice – also referred to as polished, white or dehusked rice. Thiamine is found in the rice’s husk which is removed in the refining process. Why do food manufacturers remove this important nutrient? The answer is the same reason why they

remove valuable nutrients from flour, salt and oils. Removing these components of carbohydrates reduces spoilage and increases shelf life, thereby increasing profits. Here are three types of thiamine (B1) deficiencies: Wet beriberi – edema, confusion, muscular atrophy, congestive heart failure, enlarged heart and peripheral neuropathy. Dry beriberi – nerve pain, impaired nerve conditions and muscle tenderness, peripheral neuropathy (loss of sensation or pain in the extremities, especially the feet). Infantile beriberi – mother and baby are thiamine deficient, thus the baby can develop tachycardia (fast heart rate), convulsions, and/or vomiting. Death can occur with any type of beriberi. Thiamine deficiency is still a major problem in today’s world. Thiamine deficiency is thought to be fairly prevalent in people with congestive heart failure. The higher prevalence is thought to result from low thiamine intake and increased urinary losses secondary to diuretic usage (e.g. water pills). So how do we raise our thiamine levels? First, limit or eliminate sugar from your diet as much as possible. Ingesting large amounts of refined sugar in the form of soda or candy can

also predispose you to thiamine deficiency. Second, also limit or eliminate refined foods and carbohydrates from your diet as much as possible. Refined foods and refined carbohydrates can instigate thiamine deficiency as well. The richest source or thiamine (B1) is yeast and whole grains (e.g. whole wheat bread has five times more B1 than unenriched white bread). Other good sources are legumes (lentils), vegetables, unmilled rice, beef, liver and salmon. Finally, in order to allow your body to absorb more thiamine, it is smart not to drink tea after a meal or to eat foods with high vitamin C content (e.g. citrus) which can inactivate thiamine. Thiamine can be supplemented orally at about 50-100 mg daily to convert low levels. But, you should be tested and under the care of a medical doctor or skilled health professional. Editor’s note: Dr. Meeks can be reached by email at or call 303-377-2511. For more information, visit






Cherry Creek Shopping Center

February 2-14, 2015 For more information, visit

Keepers of the Past: Foundation for the Future




Time: 6pm - 10pm Musical Artists Appearing:

& The Mary Louise Lee Band

& The Miles Apart Band

Ticket Prices: $50.00 includes Concert & Food Provided For tickets visit: For more information visit:

FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015

Greater Park Hill Sertoma Club Celebrating 30 Years of Service to Youth

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


As the avalanche of evidence

continues to accrue, exposing the deepening racial divide in this country, the mythological concept of a post racial society must be exposed as the propagandistic farce that it is. The nonsensical notion that America has miraculously moved past considerations of human worth and value is a fallacy propagated by those who would seek to maintain the status quo. These gatekeepers of white supremacy and spin doctors who would echo these untruths are the direct enemy of black liberation and progress. That the mainstream media and the handpicked Negroes that they present to us as authoritative symbols of black consciousness would intentionally dupe us into believing that Dr. King’s dream of freedom for the Negro has been achieved, might be for some a tough pill to swallow, but let’s examine the evidence. They point to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, the socalled integration of public schools, and the election of a Black president as proof positive that racial equality has been achieved. Yes, Mr. Obama carries the title, the indices and most of the perks of past presidents, but he certainly is not given the respect normally associated with the office. Of all

Cable News’ Attempts To Shape Public Opinion By K. Gerald Torrence

people, Mr. Obama himself faces the reality of racism and the disparate treatment afforded him as the first African American president every day he’s in office. Ironically, the man with the biggest bully pulpit in the world is loath to broach such sensitive topics as race, lest he offend the white majority and be perceived as being too black. The scripted talking heads with a vested interest in misleading the masses would have us believe that since we now have a few high profile Black millionaires in areas of entertainment and professional sports, we now have a level playing field, where all are judged without regard to skin color. This is simply not true, and obvious to anyone with any grasp of reality. More than 50 years after Brown v. The Board of Education outlawed the “separate but equal doctrine,” schools are still segregated. African Americans still lag woefully behind whites in every economic indicator, including employment. We are still the last hired and the first fired. We overpopulate the jails and prisons; our life expectan-

cy is far shorter; our neighborhoods and educational institutions are dying from a lack of resources; and, rampant crime and violence plague our communities. I challenge any white person to willingly trade places with an African American, even a rich one. Who are these fabricators and manipulators of reality and what America are they living in? Well, whenever white folk want to confuse and distract through subterfuge and deception, they use a Black face to deliver the message. I say kill the messengers! (Not literally.) The Black CNN anchors of the world do more to set back the cause of Black truth than thousands of racist KKK flyers about the dangers of race mixing and predatory Black men. Instead, the wealthy white disseminators of news use carefully selected and crafted models of Negro pseudo-intellectualism to promote the image of black achievement and assimilation into the mainstream. While appearing to air the views of a diverse audience through the use of black faces, the public is actually being led down a primrose path that has been carefully created and orchestrated by the gatekeepers of public opinion. These are wealthy and powerful white men who own and operate the CNNs and MSNBCs of the world. It is they along with the major bastions of conservative print media who decide what constitutes news, and what is newsworthy. They also decide and influence how that news is presented and by whom, depending on the particular audience they are pandering to and the interests of those they are trying to protect. The modern day Negro news anchor/ commentator is the latest reincarnation of sell outs and Uncle Toms, who wittingly and unwittingly use their platforms of visibility and perceived credibility to do the master’s bidding. Those who masquerade as journalists while pushing their and the oppressor’s agenda are a grave threat to the cause of Black liberation. We must recognize this trickery and deception for what it is. These socalled black social and political analysts who sometimes wear three and four hats of anchor, reporter, analyst, and social commentator must be exposed for who they are. They do not speak for Black people, and are incapable of doing so! No one “can serve two masters.” This parade of Black talking heads on cable news networks who ostensi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


bly speak for the African American while sitting at the master’s table well fed and satisfied, are compromised beyond usefulness to any other constituency beyond the ones that sign their checks. They know not, or have forgotten, the frustrations and realities of the average Black man or woman, who eats, sleeps and breathes the daily indignation of 21st century racism, in all its subtleties and complexities. No, they don’t represent me or the vast majority of African Americans they purport to speak for. They have been compromised just like the old plantation Negro, who finally made it to the “Big House.” They’re just happy to be there. How long will we allow the oppressor to choose our leaders, and hand pick Black spokespersons based on their own self-serving interests, then rewarding them with fat pay checks, high visibility, and celebrity status? When will we call out these vultures, for scavenging and picking the bones of each and every new crisis in the Black community, real or imagined, while in many cases placing their own financial and professional interests above the integrity of the positions they take, and the stories they cover? They are little more than Black-skinned opportunists who are like puppets on a string, responding to the tugs and jerks of the master puppeteer, in exchange for the celebrity and platform of nationally syndicated cable news networks. Furthermore, these Black cable news anchors and socio-political pundits who straddle the fence of journalism and social commentary are the arch enemy of truth and integrity in the news media. Objective news reporting, once the gold standard for journalism, has given way to personalized, subjective commentary by those, who in many cases, are ill-equipped and unqualified to speak on issues in which they have no expertise. It’s time we start choosing our own spokespersons and leaders, and reject the cable news networks’ attempts to suppress, censure, and proscribe the voices who would dare speak truth to power, and pull back the curtain exposing the Oz-like nature of America—hypocritical and full of bluster and deceit. The mission of responsible journalists should be to report the news, not shape and create the news narrative, based on a predetermined agenda of their own choosing, or that of the mainstream media conglomerates.  Editor’s note: Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. For more information from TheTruthTeller, visit Follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.

February 15th Is A Deadline That African Americans Need To Meet

By Maya Wheeler, MHA

By now, I’m

sure, you have heard the word that, for anyone who does not get health insurance through their job, Sunday, Feb.15, is the last day to sign up for health insurance this year. For you and your family, I hope that this is one deadline that you plan to meet. African Americans are roughly twice as likely to be uninsured as the rest of the population. Before the Affordable Care Act, nearly one in four African Americans did not have coverage. The historic changes brought by health care reform have enabled millions to find affordable coverage but many more still have not yet signed up – leaving their health and the financial security of their families at risk. It’s time to take advantage of this monumental piece of national legislation that has forever changed our ability to access quality health care. Connect for Health Colorado is our statewide health insurance Marketplace, the only place where residents of our state can buy health insurance with financial assistance to lower the cost. For us, as African Americans, this means:

Preventive Care

•New plans are required to cover preventive care and wellness benefits at no charge. Cost-sharing requirements do not apply to preventive services. •This will help African Americans, who are often less likely to receive preventive care, to protect their health and avoid more costly treatment.

Free, In-Person Help In Your Community

Connect for Health Colorado has established a customer support network of over 400 Health Coverage Guides across the state that are trained to talk you through the application process and personally answer any questions that you may have. Find them at I strongly encourage you to visit these assistance sites, where guides are available on a walk-in basis: Denver: Center for African American Health, 3601 Martin Luther King Blvd. Denver, CO 80205,, 303-355-8333

Financial Assistance

•Families and individuals who qualify can use tax credits to pay part of their monthly premium. •The average tax credit for eligible customers last year was $262/month. •Some young adults are seeing plans for under $50/month, after the tax credit.

No Insurance Discrimination

•Insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions, or even charge you more based on your health. •Your monthly costs are based on your age, where you live and whether you smoke.


•Ensures that families always have guaranteed choices of quality, affordable health insurance if they lose their jobs, switch jobs, move, or become sick, which will significantly reduce disparities in accessing high-quality health care. Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


Aurora: Aurora Coverage Assistance Network, 791 Chambers Road, in Aurora,, 303-617-2328 Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, Colorado Springs, CO, 719-635-4891,; and Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Colorado Springs, CO, 719-632-5700, For information, visit  Editor’s note: Maya Wheeler is a member of the Connect for Health Colorado Advisory Group, chair of the Aurora Human Relations Commission and president of the CBWPA.


Transmission? We have your

medicine! Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783 Making transmissions well for 22 years.

e Urban Spectrum — April 2006


ECCC College Fair To Be Held At East High School The Ethnic College Counseling Center (ECCC) is sponsoring a college fair on March 7 at East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade in Denver from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eighty-nine Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be represented. The theme this year is “Raising the Bar – Determined Focused and Bound for Success.” There will be recruiters on hand from many of the colleges and universities. Information and workshops on college preparation and financial resources will also be offered. Seniors who bring a valid transcript may be admitted on the spot. Scholarships may also be awarded. A registration fee of $5 is being charged for registrations received by Feb. 27. Registrations received after will be $7. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information or to register, visit or call 303-550-5088. Money orders payable to Ethnic College Counseling Center, Inc. are acceptable and should be mailed to Ethnic College Counseling Center, Inc., PO Box 221710, Denver, CO 80222-1019.



Urban Cipher Presents ‘Lady’s Day Out’

Join hosts Heart Me Jewelry and Urban Cipher, LLC for a “Lady’s Day Out” featuring shopping, mini workshops, presenters and more. The Ladies of Success event is a day dedicated to empowering, encouraging, and educating women from all walks of life on the habits of successful women. Arrive early for the opportunity to win door prizes and receive your exclusive Ladies of Success swag bag. Don’t forget to bring business cards, materials to take notes with, and your wallets. This free event will be Saturday, Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, 3203 Quebec St. in Denver. For more information, email or call 720-4601105.

Become A RSVP Volunteer

The Volunteers of America Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) connect volunteers 55 and better with meaningful opportunities to serve in the community. RSVP is a federally funded program through Senior Corps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

More than 600 volunteers support the mission of Volunteers of America and 60 other non-profits in the metro area including; delivering Meals on Wheels, tutoring and mentoring in the schools, educating the community on disaster preparedness, and volunteering at one-time special events. Last year, Denver RSVP volunteers donated over 106,000 hours of service. For more information, call Kelsey Kohut at 303-297-0408 or email

Reserve Your Seat At CCGAA’s 5th Annual Youth Conference

The Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action will host the 5th annual Youth Against Genocide conference, “Injustice for One is Injustice for All.” Come be empowered with the knowledge and tools necessary to join the fight against genocide and crimes against humanity. The conference will be Sunday, Feb. 15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Denver Driscoll Student Center Ballroom, 2055 E. Evans Ave. in Denver. Registration is $18. For more information, call 303-8567334 or email or visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015



CWCC Recognize Top 25 Most Powerful Woman In Denver

The Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) recognized 25 women as the 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver. Rosalind “Bee” Harris, publisher and art director of the Denver Urban Spectrum, was among the leaders whose accomplishments were celebrated at the CWCC Top 25 Gala: Powerful Women Turning the Tide on Tuesday, January 13 at The Ritz-Carlton in Denver. Harris was recognized for her contributions in turning the tide for women in business, including keeping Colorado’s premier newspaper about people of color operating for 27 years. Other honorees included Colleen Abdoulah, Wow! Internet Cable & Phone; Pat Cortez, Wells Fargo Bank; Katherine Gold, Goldbug, Inc.; Helayne Jones, Education Consultant; Michelle Lucero, Children’s Hospital Colorado; Kay Norton, University of Northern Colorado; Deborah “Debbie” Ortega, Denver City Council; Cindy Parsons, Comcast; Jeannie Ritter, The Mental Health Center of Denver; Katrina Salem, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP; Tisha Schuller, Colorado Oil and Gas Association; Sylvia Young, HealthONE and HCA’s Continental Division; Veronica Barela, NEWSED Community Development Corp.; Debbie DeMuth, The Colorado Trust; Nita Gonzales, Escuela Tlatelolco; Kristin Heath Colon, Denver Public Schools Foundation; Sharon Linhart, Linhart Public Relations; Christine Marquez-Hudson, Mi Casa Resource Center; Denise O’Leary, Private Investor and Corporate Director; Mary Pacifico-Valley, Rickenbaugh Auto Group; Cindy Pena, Latino Leadership Institute at the University of Denver; Kristin Russell, Deloitte Digital; Gail Schoettler, Ambassador and Corporate Director; Ph.D., Hollie Velasquez Horvath, Xcel Energy.

Carroll and Steadman Receive ADL Civil Rights Awards The Anti-Defamation League’s

Mountain States Office presented its 2015 Civil Rights Awards to Terrance Carroll, former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, and Pat Steadman, Colorado State Senator, at a reception on January 28. Terrance Carroll, a lawyer and ordained minister, was the 54th Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, and the first AfricanAmerican to serve in this capacity. Carroll served in the legislature from 2003-2011, where he supported education reform, the expansion of hate crimes laws and anti-discrimination laws, and a host of criminal justice reforms and civil rights issues. Senator Pat Steadman has served in the Colorado State Senate since 2009. Steadman, an attorney, got his start in politics by working to oppose Colorado’s Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment that prohibited local governments from recognizing gays and lesbians as a protected class. He co-founded the non-profit organization that led the successful lawsuit challenging its constitutionality all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Mountain States Office of the Anti-Defamation League has presented Civil Rights Awards to 54 civil rights leaders in Colorado since 1982.

moved to Austin Texas, the county seat, to attend the University of Texas School of Law on a full tuition scholarship. She was the first AfricanAmerican woman elected as president of the Austin Bar Association. She also served as president of the Austin Black Lawyers Association, Travis County Women’s Lawyers Association and Chair of the Travis County Civil Service Commission for Sheriff Office Employees. In her newly elected position, she oversees more than 100 employees and has oversight for all court documents on all cases heard in the district court including criminal, civil and family/domestic relation cases. Additionally, her office is responsible for jury empaneling and passports.

Urban League Appoints Sean E. Bradley as New President/CEO

The Board of Directors at the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver (UL) announced the appointment of Sean Bradley as the new president/chief executive officer. Bradley has also made history by being the first African American elected student body president at Stephen F. Austin State

Denverite Sworn In As The First African American District Clerk of Travis County

On January 2, Denver native Velva Price was sworn in as the first African American District Clerk of Travis County Texas. Price, the daughter of long term Denver residents Morris and Joyce Price who reside in Montbello, is a 1979 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School. After graduating from Colorado College in 1983, Price Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


University and was elected the first African American elected president of the Texas Young Democrats. Bradley has received numerous awards including Texas Young Democrat of the Year; Texas Rising Star Award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Southwestern Province Polemarch Award; Delta Sigma Theta (Lufkin/Nacogdoches) Alumni Chapter Community Service Award; 2010 Polemarch’s Award, Man of the Year 2011 by the Denver Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the Guy L. Grant Award of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The Guy L. Grant Award is the highest recognized national award given to an undergraduate in the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He also received the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s MODEL Men Award in 2013. Bradley earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. He is currently running for City Council – District 11 seat. He enjoys reading, playing golf, and traveling with his wife Voletha. They have two sons, Ayden Eugene Bradley and Jaxon Benjamin Bradley.

Supreme Ignorance Is Not Confined to the Poor and Uneducated


By K. Gerald Torrence




Visit our website for a


upert Murdoch, the executive chairman of the News Corporation which owns 21st Century Fox, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal, recently displayed his supreme ignorance when responding to criticism surrounding the studioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision to cast all of the main characters in the movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, as white. Murdoch, one of the richest and most influential men in the world, recently wrote the following quote in a Twitter message: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are.â&#x20AC;? Wow â&#x20AC;Ś if it werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t for Murdochâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enormous wealth, power and influence, his words might be comical. Considering however that Murdoch is the founder, chairman and CEO of the global media holding company News Corporation, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s secondlargest media conglomerate, that helps influence and shape the news and information that millions of Americans are fed every day, his comments are indeed scary. According to Forbesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; 2013 list of richest Americans, Murdoch is the 33rd richest person in the U.S. and the 91st richest in the world, with a net worth of 13.4 billion. In 2014, Forbes ranked â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rupert Murdoch & Familyâ&#x20AC;? as the 33rd most powerful person in the world. How is it that a man educated in one of the most respected European institutions in the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Worcester College dating back to 1283 as Gloucester Collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;can be so ignorant and out of touch with established and accepted principles of history and geography? Perhaps the answer lies in the question. Europeans for centuries have written and re-written world history in order to edify themselves and their culture, at the expense of truth and factual accountability. Of course European revisionist history is nothing new. The conqueror has always written his account of world events to reflect his truth, while subjugating the vanquished peoples customs and cultural contributions to society. This type of propaganda and misinformation goes all the way back to Alexander the Great, King James

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


and the first translation of the Holy Bible. Important language and voices were muted, omitted and selectively given significance based on the political, social and military objectives of the oppressor. Consequently, much of recorded history was written from the jaded and biased perspectives of the Greeks and Romans for the purpose of self-glorification without regard to facts or historical accuracy. Well, Mr. Murdoch, despite your Worcester College, University of Oxford education, it is my sad duty to inform you that Egypt is in Africa! Your words and your ignorance are the most poignant and profound indictment of European based thought and learning in recent memory. This type of ignorance is primarily responsible for the perpetuation of centuries of untruths and misinformation about Africa, its people, and its legacy. These false teachings continue to rob Africa and its descendants of the truth about their rich history and heritage. What a travesty indeed that lies such as these still reverberate in the 21st century, and still serve to keep the myth of white supremacy alive and well! The cinematic portrayals of Moses, Jesus, and other characters of the Holy Bible as white, do not square with geographical or historical accuracy. The historical Jesus was not European. The Bible says he â&#x20AC;&#x153;had hair like lambâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wool, and feet like burnished brass.â&#x20AC;? Neither of these features fit the modern day Anglo-European depiction of Jesus or his followers. Egypt, the socalled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Middle Eastâ&#x20AC;? and modern day Israel were all geographically located in North Africa. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time we started teaching the truth about the history of Africa as the cradle of civilization, and the birthplace of Christianity and organized religion. The early Christians were Africans, with Black skin â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not Europeans with blonde hair and blue eyes. The decision by Egyptian authorities to ban the showing of the Exodus film because it â&#x20AC;&#x153;asserts historical falsehoods and a Zionist viewâ&#x20AC;? is welcome and long overdue. Of course it will take decades to reverse the centuries of European misrepresentation, and false characterization of historical truths regarding Africa and biblical history, but its past time that we began the process. No, Mr. Murdoch, Europeans did not build the pyramids. Africans did. Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s note: Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.


A Father’s Impact On A Son’s Education


By Dedrick Sims

et me first give as much of a standing ovation as I can give in an article to all the mothers who toil each evening and morning to get their young men ready for school, and the efforts mothers give teaching their sons about being a man. However, only a man can truly model manhood. For the past 16 years I have been privy to the start of the day for thousands of young men, and boy do those days feel different in the schoolhouse when fathers are present. I’m not talking about showing up for an awards ceremony here and there, but emailing teachers, monitoring the restrooms, sitting in class, mentoring other students and delivering snacks to the classrooms kind of present. It’s something about having your father around you that makes you more focused when you are working on a task. A study using a national

probability sample of 1,250 fathers showed that children whose fathers share meals, spend leisure time with them, or help them with reading or homework do significantly better academically than those children whose fathers do not. There is a significant amount of research that speaks of the positive effects on a child’s education when parents are involved, but that impact seems to multiply when the parent is primarily the dad. Among Black children between the ages of 6 to 9 years old, those in mother-only households scored significantly lower on tests of intellectual ability than those living with two parents. Children whose fathers are highly involved in their schools are more likely to do well academically, participate in extracurricular activities, and enjoy school, and are less likely to have to repeat a grade or be expelled compared to children whose fathers are less involved in their schools. I think educators must factor this in when designing learning experiences and parent volunteer experiences in schools. When I served as executive director of Sims-Fayola International Academy, we held an initiative called Continued on page 34

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


Rep. Beth Mccann To Run For Denver District Attorney In 2016

Long time advocate for public safety and justice, Beth McCann filed her candidate committee papers to run for the office of Denver District Attorney in 2016. Rep. McCann was re-elected in 2014 to represent House District 8 in the General Assembly by a margin of 85.7 percent. She has represented the district since 2009, prioritizing criminal justice and health care issues during her time in the legislature. Rep. McCann previously served as a deputy and chief deputy district attorney in the Denver D.A.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office, trying hundreds of cases. She also served as Denverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Manager of Safety during the Webb administration. Prior to running for state representative in 2008, she was the deputy attorney general in charge of the Civil Litigation and Employment law section of the Colorado Attorney Generalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office, where she supervised 33 trial attorneys and 16 other employees. She was responsible for representing the state in state and federal court


lawsuits concerning alleged constitutional violations, personal injury, property damage and employment issues. As a legislator, Rep. McCann has successfully passed major human trafficking legislation as well as bipartisan legislation to increase fairness in Coloradoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s juvenile court proceedings. This year, she will sponsor a bill to keep low-level juvenile offenders out of the criminal system. She is also an active participant in the ongoing discussions concerning police and community relations and the use of excessive force by law enforcement.

Leslie Herod To Run For Colorado House District 8

Leslie Herod recently announced her candidacy for Colorado House District 8 in 2016. Her experience learning about public service started at a very young age when her mother served in the military. Those experiences taught Herod the value of diverse cultures, hard work, and service to the community. In recent years, she has served as staff in the House Majority Office

under the leadership of Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Majority Leader Alice Madden, now-Deputy Mayor Cary Kennedy and as an aide to former State House District 8 Representative Rosemary Marshall. Herod also served as Senior Policy Adviser for Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr. Her experience includes a range of issues of importance to District 8 including the Five Points Main Streets Initiative, juvenile justice, veteransâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; affairs, behavioral health care, child welfare, seniors, workforce equality, and antipoverty initiatives. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate to Herodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaign, visit

and trash pick-up schedules, as well as find Denver property values and search for local elected officials. Denver expects to save more than $250,000 per year by converting current call volume to less expensive â&#x20AC;&#x153;clicks.â&#x20AC;? New services and features, such as street sweeping reminders, will be added each month to continually improve the lives of people who work, live and play in Denver. To access pocketgov from your mobile device or home computer, visit

Lost Your Joy?

Denver Launches Innovative Mobile Web Application

Denver launched pocketgov, a new technology tool that provides residents with a user-friendly way to access city services via mobile device or home computer. Denverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new pocketgov mobile web application streamlines how residents connect with the city. For example, to report a pot hole or graffiti, users can simply snap a photo and enter an address. Residents may also check on and sign up for email notifications for recycling and large item

Find it again at the

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

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

The 44th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Festival and Academy Awards Ceremony

Rev. Raymond Wise, Ph.D. Guest Workshop Leader â&#x20AC;˘ World Renowned Gospel Singer Composer â&#x20AC;˘ Musician â&#x20AC;˘ College Professor in concert with

The Colorado Gospel Music Academyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Children Chorale Mrs. Karen Moham, Coordinator â&#x20AC;˘ Dr. Michael Williams, Lead Musician

Sunday, February 8, 2015 - 3 PM Sharp Doors open at 2 PM

New Hope Baptist Church

3701 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205

Workshop Rehearsal - Saturday, February 7 from 9 AM to Noon Dr. Syl Morgan Smith Founder and President of The Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame Co-Sponsor -McDonaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and the Academy Committee

(At New Hope Baptist Church)

For more information:

Call 303-233-3321 or email

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



Ground Rules

Must See............ It’s Worth A Look..... See At Your Own Risk. Don’t Bother.....................

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is’s Senior Critic-at-Large. J.R. Johnson is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and’s intern. Laurence Washington is the creator of


 By Laurence Washington

The appealing thing about Selma

is Martin Luther King Jr. is drawn by human dimensions. The filmmakers don’t soft-peddle the legendary leader’s life. King is not a saint, but he has saintly aspirations. He’s flawed with domestic problems and selfdoubt. But as with many historic figures, the times make the man. And David Oyelowo’s performance as King rising to lead a movement against in justice during the turbulent ‘60s is convincing. Selma opens with a nervous King preparing to receive the Noble Peace Prize. He’s uncomfortable in a suit with an ascot, as his wife Coretta Scott-King (Carmen Ejogo) reassures him that he’ll be fine. The problem with all biopics is filmmakers are faced with the challenge of having two hours to tell a story. So people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement might notice omissions and different interruptions of events, but Selma is not a History Channel production or a high school civic lesson. It’s a snapshot of the three months in 1965 leading up to King’s historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. – a march that lit a fire under a reluctant President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) to sign into

law the Voting Rights Act. The filmmaker’s vividly capture 1960’s negative racial attitudes toward Blacks in America, punctuated by a shocking scene at the beginning of the film, and the brutality the protesters suffered at the hands of Alabama State Trooper’s batons. The scenes are disturbing, and not for the faint of heart. A shade lighter, it’s amazing that British actors make such believable Southerners, Oyelowo, Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Roth (as Alabama governor, George Wallace).

Tense, potent and emotional, Selma is an excellent biopic of a moment in time that changed voting rights for African-Americans in this country.


The Boy Next Door

 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

nitially, the circumstances in The Boy Next Door are innocent enough: Claire (Jennifer Lopez), a newly divorced high-school literature teacher, meets Noah (Ryan Guzman), a charismatic 19-year-old student/neighbor. He helps Claire fix a broken garage door, teaches her 17year-old son Kevin (Ian Nelson) how

to talk to girls and is soon a regular at the house for dinner. Very quickly they establish a rapport and a one-night stand follows. Noah falls in love. Claire doesn’t. He stalks her. She tries to keep the liaison a secret, but events soon spiral out of control. It’s a clear-cut simple story that’s familiar in cinema sans any twists. Claire’s husband, Garrett (John Corbett), we learn, cheated on her nine months earlier. Both are separated but Claire’s still vulnerable hence why she ends up having a steamy sex session with her student who equally shares her love for literature. “Smart people do dumb things. They make mistakes.” That’s definitely a line we hear in the film to justify her action. The film aims for unease and does achieve it plus the gradual progression of obsession works quite well. Guzman is very effective as the perfectly charismatic and complimentary psycho whose charming and flirtatious demeanor turns quickly into a dangerous, violent obsession. It’s engaging to watch him go from the boy next door to a sociopath and become increasingly unhinged, progressing from stalking to physical attacks. On one occasion, he shows up unannounced at her house, on another, he hacks into her computer and enrolls in her literature class and repeatedly taunts her.

Co-produced by Jennifer Lopez, director Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) has created a set of initially believable characters, placed them in a familiar situation, and then drastically upped the stakes. Unfortunately, motivations, psychological concerns and common sense are thrown out the window, which means the end is less than satisfying. Once he’s established the circumstances and the dastardly deed occurs we then merely follow a man scorned as he tries to get revenge

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


for getting the brush-off. Other cast members with small roles include Kristin Chenoweth as Claire’s best friend and Hill Harper as the school principal. The thriller aspects of the story and suspense don’t lead up to an expected climactic showdown in this one. Formula basically works here and it’s one that’s beginning to wear a tad too thin.

No Oscar Nomination For David Oyelowo By Samantha Ofole-Prince

He’s been highly touted as a frontrunner for a best actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in Selma, but Oyelowo failed to garner a nomination. Announced by actor Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the leading actor nomination for the 87th Academy Awards selected Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne snubbing Oyelowo. Selma director Ava DuVernay also failed to garner a nomination despite the strong Oscar campaign launched by the film’s producers Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt. The film only garnered two nominations overall. A nod for achievement in music for the song “Glory” and best motion picture of the year alongside Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash. Had she been nominated for best director, DuVernay, who made history as the first Black director recipient at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Sundance, would have been the first Black female Oscar nominee. Also snubbed was Angelina Jolie for Unbroken leaving no female director contenders in the directing category.

Emily Griffith Offers Free Tax Filing Services To Hard-Working Families Individuals with household incomes less than $52,000 qualify for free tax assistance


or the sixth consecutive tax season, the College of Business and Technology at Emily Griffith Technical College is partnering with the Denverbased Piton Foundation to help hardworking families by providing free tax preparation assistance through the Tax Help Colorado program. Beginning Saturday, Jan. 24, IRS-certified EGTC accounting students will prepare and e-file tax returns free of charge for individuals with annual household incomes of less than $52,000. More than 30 percent of Colorado families are eligible to participate in the program, which was created to

help alleviate the financial burden of tax preparation on families that are striving to achieve financial stability. Many of the families that qualify for free tax help are also eligible for valuable tax benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit, and the preparers at EGTC’s site specialize in ensuring that taxpayers receive the refunds they deserve. One of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty tools, the EITC helps struggling families make ends meet. Last year, students at EGTC assisted with 1392 tax returns that amounted to $2,704,225 in refunds. For Rebecca Dickman, visiting Tax Help Colorado’s free tax site at Emily Griffith Technical College last year was about more than just getting free tax assistance. “I like the idea of helping students with their education process,” she said about the Tax Help Colorado program, which utilizes college students who take an accredited course in income tax preparation and then receive college credit for serving as tax preparers at the tax site on their campus. “It’s an awesome program that teaches students real-life skills,” she said. This free service, which is quick and confidential, will be offered at Emily Griffith Technical College at

1261 Glenarm St. in downtown Denver on Saturdays, Jan. 24 to March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays, Jan. 28 to March 1 from 1:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and Thursdays, Feb. 5 to April 9 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The school will be closed on March 26 and April 2. People getting their taxes prepared should bring the following documents: •All W-2, 1099s and other incomerelated documents. •Proof of mortgage interest, property taxes, daycare payments, college education expenses, charitable contributions, and all other tax-deductible expenses. •For college expenses: In addition to Form 1098T from your college, you must bring your own records of expenses paid for tuition, books, fees and supplies. •Social Security cards (or ITINs) for all family members. Photo I.D. for taxpayer required. •A copy of last year’s tax returns, if available. •Form 1095-A if you or any member of your household got tax credits to pay for health insurance. •Bank account number and routing number to direct deposit the refund. With direct deposit, refunds are received in 10 to 14 days. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


Editor’s note: A list of all the Tax Help Colorado sites, as well as the locations of other free tax assistance sites in Colorado, is available by dialing 2-1-1 (it’s a free call), visiting, or finding Tax Help Colorado on Facebook, at ( /taxhelpcolorado) and Twitter (@TaxHelpCo).

About Emily Griffith Technical College: Emily Griffith Technical College is the post-secondary arm of Denver Public Schools. Its mission is to provide knowledge, skills and values that enable students to compete successfully in the workforce and to be self-sufficient citizens and lifelong learners. The college offers more than 50 career training certificate programs and 13 trade apprenticeships. Since 1916, EGTC has assisted nearly 2 million students attain the necessary skills for initial employment and career advancement. For more information, visit About The Piton Foundation: The Piton Foundation, which is part of Gary Community Investments, is a private, operating foundation established in 1976 by Denver oilman Sam Gary. We are committed to improving the lives of Colorado’s low-income children and their families by increasing access to quality early childhood and youth development opportunities and fostering healthy family and community environments.

Dr. Robbie Lee Bean Her-Story

On a cold winter day, December 23, 1929 to be exact, in Winona, Mississippi, Vara Vivian Powell gave birth to her first child, a baby girl. The proud father, Rev. Robert Henry Powell, was slightly disappointed because he wanted a boy. However, having a girl did not stop him from naming her after himself. Robbie Lee Powell. Fifteen months later, Vara gave birth to another girl, Freddie Louise Powell (Johnson). Since Robbie’s father was a United Methodist minister, the family had to move from Winona to St. Joseph, Missouri. It was in St. Joseph that Robbie met her lifelong friend Arvilla Crouch, an avid supporter of educational trips to South Dakota. The Powell family then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where they both attended Lincoln High School. Prior to attending Lincoln school, Robbie and Freddie attended segregated schools. Robbie often stated her Negro educators prepared them well. Robbie and Freddie were the top two students of their predominately white graduating class. In May, 1998, Robbie was the first African-American female to be placed in the Lincoln High School Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Negro community in Lincoln was small and well connected. Robbie and Freddie became friends with the Wilsons, Holcombs, Bowens, Wilma Sharp, Jean Freeds and many others, but her best friend was Dorothy Goodwin. Robbie’s organization skills flourished in Lincoln. Robbie and her sister organized a girls club who sponsored events at the Malone Community Center. Saturday night dances were often held which Robbie loved to attend to hear the music, but her dancing… While in high school, Robbie met Howard Marvin Bean. He had returned from serving in the U.S. Navy, but it was not until they were both attending the University of Nebraska that their friendship blossomed. They would say we are just “friends” neither admitting that a romance was developing. Robbie stated she didn’t know she was in love with Howard until she saw him dancing with another girl at one the Malone Community Center. Howard and Robbie were married in January 25, 1953 and immediately relocated to Denver, Colorado. Howard was the love of Robbie’s live. He walked every step with her, supported her in all her endeavors, her sounding board, her anger regulator, comforter and the one who always made her smile. Upon arriving in Denver, due to discrimination, Robbie couldn’t get hired by Denver Public Schools (DPS), so she worked seven years at the Post Office where she met her good friends Iantha Warder and Willie Williams. She worked part time at a Jewish Nursery School. Finally Howard said this is ridiculous that a woman with a Master’s Degree in Education (in 1952) can’t get a teaching job. So he went to DPS and demanded that his wife be hired. Robbie became friends with many teachers which included Ruth Denny, Parthenia Lewis, Mattie Edwards, and Algene Holleman, Celestine James at Gilpin, Mable Mead at Garden Place and Judy Dumas at Smiley. Howard and Robbie had two children, Patricia Ann (Matar Kane) and Vivian Marie (Samuel Haynes). Robbie was no stranger to anyone she met which included her closes Denver friends, Wanda Jackson, Cora Fishburn and Derosett Cole. She originally joined Scott Methodist Church, then Park Hill United Methodist, under Dr. Carlton Babbs, who she adored. Under the arrival of Pastor James D. Peters to Denver she became a faithful “Associate” member at New Hope Baptist Church. Robbie received her Doctorate in Education Curriculum (1979) from the University of Colorado. While pursuing her doctorate she met her adopted son, Richard Smith, known for her stylish dress with the help of her hairdressers – Melvina Milton-Williams, Laura White and Sally Smith along with being the “Hat Lady” Robbie was active in every part of the Denver community – education, politics, the arts, various churches, religious and community organizations. It was because of her avid pursuits in these areas that she received many awards, was the leader, president, or chairperson of many organizations/events and founded Celebrations of Families-Students Inc. with the assistance of Dr. Fannye Evans, the support of Marge Gilbert and many others. Robbie wanted to promote education, diversity and honor families. After Robbie retired, she received a wonderful gift in the birth of her granddaughter, Amina KineKane. Amina would spend the summers with her grandmother, who exposed her to everything and everybody. Amina would often tell people that her grandmother was FAMOUS! Robbie had a blessed life. In her last two years on earth she received loving care from the staff of Forest Compassionate Care Center, who she demanded that they call her Dr. Bean. There were visitation and cards from many, but especially from Audrie McConnell, Monica Johnson, Ann Tunnell, Lovie Young, Norman Winterowd, Emma Lane, Janice Taylor, Essie Thomas, The Hollemans, Derosette Cole and her last best friend Rose Jean Smith who sat with her during her final earthly hours. On January 1, 2015 Robbie attended the best New Year’s Party held. She was invited by her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She had a reunion with many of the above mentioned family and friends and is waiting to be reunited with her immediate family, nieces, cousins, Vanetta Johnson and Valeria BrownJohnsons, Ernest Todd, Kim Fountain, Sheritta Strong and other relatives and many friends who will join her in the future.

It is no telling what she is trying to get God to organize in HEAVEN…

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


African Bar and Grill Serving: Jollof Rice, African Beer and, Specialty Dishes from Africa

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Letter to the Editor

Continued from page 3 What we need is an ambitious and holistic framework that attacks the very core of racial profiling and addresses a vein of bigotry infecting police culture. But we must also find a way for protesters to now devise sophisticated and necessary political strategies that will transition this new movement into the critical work of partnering with their elected officials, organizing political action committees, drafting laws and ultimately crafting the policy needed to positively reshape law enforcement. A defining moment is upon us where we are at the crossroads. We can either let it pass and allow young, unarmed people of color to die - or, we can actually do what it takes to rebuild a lasting, workable trust between our police officers and our fellow Black, Latino and other underserved residents. That time is now.

Angela Williams Denver

Editor’s note: Angela Williams is a state legislator representing Colorado’s 7th District and is founding chair of the Colorado Black Legislative Caucus.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2015


Talking About Boys

Continued from page 29 “Waffles and Wallets” which was led by one of our fathers and was designed to be held monthly. During this time, I met with fathers over a light breakfast, spoke about how their sons were doing and discussed some brain-based research about the development of boys. We would end our time by touring the school and visiting classrooms to show our presence. Although this does not seem like a big deal, it paid big dividends when the young men saw their fathers taking an interest in their educational day. A father’s involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly As. This is true whether he is the biological father or the stepfather. Finally, I challenge all fathers to find at least an hour per month to spend in the school of your son or spend some time at the dinner table showing interest in your son’s school day. I guarantee you that small investment will make a huge impact in your life, his life, and his future outcomes. I’m just talking about boys…cheers. Editor’s note: “Talking About Boys” is a new column written by Dedrick Sims, longtime educator and president of Sims Fayola Foundation.


Your health matters to us.

Healthier choices you can make at King Soopers to improve your health!

• Look for the NuVal™ Score • Registered Dietitians Nutritionists • 142 Pharmacies • The Little Clinic (In 16 Locations) • HealthCENTERS • Natural and Organic Foods • Natural Vitamin Shops (In Select Locations)

We offer nutrition events! Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists offer classes on a variety of topics to help you learn how to eat and shop healthier!

Do you want to prepare more nutritious meals that your family will eat and love?

Register now for Kitchen FUNdamentals! Learn culinary basics, including knife skills and recipe substitutions, which will help you make easy and delicious meals.

Are you thinking about eating better for your heart?

Kitchen FUNdamentals Tuesday, February 3rd, 12:00 pm at King Soopers, 4600 Leetsdale Drive, Glendale, 80246 Thursday, February 5th, 6:30 pm at King Soopers, 1725 Sheridan Blvd., Edgewater, 80214 Saturday, February 7th, 12:00 pm at King Soopers, 1725 Sheridan Blvd., Edgewater, 80214


Register now for a “Shop Smart for a Healthy Heart Walk & Talk,” where you will become skilled in choosing foods that promote heart health and avoiding foods that contribute to heart disease. Healthy Heart Walk & Talk Tuesday, February 17th, 12:00 pm at King Soopers, 4600 Leetsdale Drive, Glendale, 80246 Thursday, February 19th, 6:30 pm at King Soopers, 1725 Sheridan Blvd., Edgewater, 80214 Saturday, February 21st, 12:00 pm at King Soopers, 1725 Sheridan Blvd., Edgewater, 80214

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists To register for these events, please call 855-438-9396. For a full schedule of events, visit

Please Join Us! “Empowering the Community to Live Well”

Saturday, February 28, 2015 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Renaissance Denver Hotel – 3801 Quebec Street Free Self-Parking! (Valet Parking $8)

The Center for African American Health is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the African-American Community.

Take advantage of FREE health screenings!

Learn how you may qualify for free or lower cost health insurance.

We are a Certified Assistance Site for

Learn how small changes can make a big difference in maintaining and improving your health.

Enjoy other FREE activities such as:

Interactive Physical Activity Exhibition  Complete Physical and Medical History Exam 

Visit with Health Experts  Medication Consultation  Visit Health Exhibits  Massage Therapy 

Cooking Demonstration  Food Tasting 

This event made possible with the generous support of our sponsors and community partners.

For more information, please visit our website: or call 303-355-3423.

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2015  
Denver Urban Spectrum February 2015  

Denver Urban Spectrum recognizes Black History former Denver Bronco Rod Smith, the 2015 African Americans Who Make A Difference and in honor...