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Honoring:

MSNBC Commentator Joy-Ann Reid…4 Sharing

Hard Work and Teamwork Drive Success for Black Owned Car Dealers…10 &11 Recognizing

DUS 2020 African Americans Who Make A Difference...17-20 Reflecting

Going Back to Ghana to Move Forward in America…22 & 23 Discovering

Museum in Senegal Celebrates Black Achievements in the United States…24 & 25

Celebrating Black History


Denver Urban Spectrum Welcomes...


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Love is the Beauty of the Soul Volume 33 Number 11

February 2020

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COPY EDITOR Ruby Jones COLUMNISTS Dr. Erynn M. Burks Kim Farmer FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alfonzo Porter Jamil Shabazz

This month we celebrate the rich culture and history of African Americans – locally, nationally and internationally – past and present. Even though we are not acknowledging Valentine’s Day, the secret ingredient of love is a common thread in our stories this month. Our cover story features MSNBC commentator Joy Reid who shares with Alfonzo Porter her love of family and her fond memories of growing up in Denver, especially the Montbello community. Jamil Shabazz chats with Amanda Gordon and Anthony Brownlee about their love of the auto business and what drives them as new auto dealers in Colorado; Gordon being the first African American woman! Love is in the air again as DUS honors the 2020 African Americans Who Make A Difference. Fifteen quiet “movers and shakers” will be recognized as Leaders Of Victorious Efforts at L.O.V.E., Denver Urban Spectrum’s annual Black History month celebration on Thursday, February 27. New contributor and business professor Lynn Wilson takes us down memory lane and Speaks Historically Black about the first African American business titan, Reginal Lewis who loved business and Marcus Garvey and his love of Black pride. Bishop Jerry Demmer shares his experience of travelling to the Motherland for the first time, how he fell in love with Ghana, and how the Return of the Royals has changed his life - forever. And while Mohamadou Cisse goes home to Senegal, he visits the Museum of Black Civilizations but also continues his humanitarian efforts for the love of his homeland’s children. So we may be celebrating Black history but the underlining reason for creating history is the love of it – family, journalism, business, community, money, pride, heritage, ancestral roots ...whatever it may be – all you need is love. So spread more love, love life and live it – and make your own history.

ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

Rosalind “Bee” Harris Publisher

MARKETING AND ADVERTISER Lorenzo Middleton

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant MSU INTERN Ashton Brown DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

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

evil, but it can also be the great distiller. In some ways, separate can be more than equal and more than just enriching. Tribes throughout history were different because they were forced to exist alone in their self-dependency. Exclusion made the African Americans, the Black Americans, dependent upon themselves. They had to be head and shoulders over the rest before they could be recognized. Jesse Owens is a great example of this. The great opera singer Marian Anderson is another example. The xclusion of Blacks gave us jazz. They have given us hip hop. The world of music is inexorably tied to the Black experience. It exists because it was not the mainstream culture. It was constrained to find its reality and its validity in Black churches and clubs where Black folks could congregate. Denver had the Rossonian where the greats of jazz could gather. And GREAT they were. Nobody could match Duke Ellington in

Celebrating Black History And All Its Contributions Editor: Black History Month is a time for us to be reminded of African Americans who have lived in America, survived in America, thrived in American, been enslaved in America, encountered exclusion, marched, fought, cried and died in America. The history is rich, interesting, enthralling and sad, in addition to being filled with the most amazing talent and ingenuity. I don’t need to mention names to get my point across. You know them: Tubman, Carver, Dubois, King, McDaniel, Grier, Morrison, and the list go on and on and on. Yes, there is history and it is extraordinarily rich. To me, the explanation of why it is so rich is the most important part of Black History. Frankly, it is because it exists as a Black history and not just as an American history. I say exclusion is likely the reason for its uniqueness. Exclusion can be

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his elegance and his unique incredible jazz style. He will live on forever. I maintain that he and the others of his great jazz generation were great because the Black experience allowed them to see avenues and territory where others were unlikely to go, or could not go. We see the risk of assimilation in the exodus of successful Blacks from inner city neighbors to the suburbs. We risk the loss of character, direction, and in many cases the immense drive that we saw in the great successful Blacks. That loss may be eventually unavoidable but we should revel in what is left. Yes, Black is beautiful; yes, it is strong; yes, it has shown its spirit; and yes, it has made its contributions. Yes, indeed. Black history is phenomenal! I look forward as history continues with Blacks who make such a great contribution. Mike Sawaya Denver, CO


Joy Reid

Honored with Distinguished Professorship

Denver Native Celebrated as Recipient of Rachel B. Noel Award By Alfonzo Porter

Rachel B. Noel was a cham-

pion for change, and this year, a distinguished honor named for her legacy will be bestowed upon the well-recognized cable television host, MSNBC correspondent and Denver native, Joy-Ann Reid. Elected to the Denver School Board in 1965, Noel was the first Black American to be elected to public office in the state of Colorado. She was an educator, a politician and a civil rights leader, who became known for introducing the legendary “Noel Resolution,” a plan that was instrumental in desegregating the Denver School District in 1968. The times were rife with danger for Noel and her family, who constantly received harrowing threats from those opposed to integration, but she soldiered on and the indispensable resolution eventually passed in February of 1970. Her dedication to ensuring equal education for minority children is still celebrated today. Noel later became a professor at Metropolitan State College, (now Metropolitan State

and most of America knows her as the host of MSNBC’s AM Joy. She has authored several books, including “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide,” “We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama,” and “The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story.” The Denverite’s respected media career is preceded by fond memories of her upbringing in Montbello on the city’s far north side. “I have wonderful memories of growing up in Denver,” Reid says. “I distinctly remember birthdays at Casa Bonita, picnics in City Park, swimming in the neighborhood pool or playing tennis in the public park; checking into a local hotel for a family "staycation," church on Sundays and my sister competing in the Juneteenth pageant in Five Points. Montbello was literally that neighborhood where you could leave your door unlocked and you borrowed a cup of sugar from your neighbors. Our cousins used to come from Brooklyn and stay with us every summer and we had incredible adventures with the six of us kids trekking around a mountain resort or just hanging around the neighborhood and grabbing free lunch at McGlone Elementary School every afternoon.” Reid recalls a Black community that was cohesive, supportive and where kids were always under the watchful eye of caring adults. “It was idyllic. Just on our block, there was a judge who lived next door to a plumber, a military serviceman and city workers” she says. “We lived in a context where Black meant success and where we drove our

University of Denver), and was the founding member of the African American Studies program. In addition, she served on the Advisory Board of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. The Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship was launched in 1981 to bolster diversity and inclusion at the Denver institution. The recipient will provide lectures, and will conduct classes and seminars for students and faculty of MSU-Denver and the Denver community at-large. Over the years, the esteemed professorship has been presented to leading scholars, artists, activists, political, civic and business leaders. Reid, best known for her career in media, is the 2020 Noel Visiting Professorship recipient, and will be presented with honors at programs scheduled on February 26 and 27 at Shorter AME Church and MSU-Denver’s Tivoli Turnhalle, respectively. Reid is a Harvard graduate with a degree in Documentary Film. In 2003, she was honored by the Knight Center as a Specialized Journalism Fellow,

own destiny. It was a phenomenal thing to grow up reveling in.” The life Reid enjoyed as a child was supported by community figures like Rachel B. Noel, who labored to make circumstances even better for Denver’s Black children; and as she prepares for the opportunity to be recognized for her own contributions, Reid expresses great appreciation for the work of her predecessors. “Being named the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professor is beyond an honor, for so many reasons,” she explains, “My mother, like Dr. Noel, was a college professor. Being awarded a visiting professorship that honors such an important educator and leader is something that would make my mom very proud, and making her proud has been my true life's work.” The efforts of Dr. Noel impacted Reid’s family directly; her older sister, June Carryl, was a middle school student during the desegregation mandate in the city. “My elder sister, June Carryl, was one of the children bused to white schools outside of Montbello, starting when she entered seventh grade in the late 1970s,” she recalls. “By the time it was my turn to enter middle school, the Denver Public School System had chosen to erect a school in our neighborhood instead: the former Montbello Junior and Senior High School, instead of continuing to bus us out, making it clear that the resistance to integration didn't die in Denver despite the heroic efforts of civil rights leaders like Rachel Noel.” While it was Dr. Noel who pioneered much of the change surrounding integration, Reid recalls many other unsung heroes from her educational experience and is grateful for the educators who helped shape her life. “Commissioner Noel's commitment to ensuring that Black kids like me and my sister and brother received an exceptional - and equal - education was something my mother shared.” Reid Continued on page 6

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DHA Presents Business Opportunities At Annual Open House The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver (DHA) will present its free annual Contracting Open House on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Doubletree, 4040 Quebec St., in Denver.

Staggered Sessions The open house will feature morning presentations devoted to DHA’s contracting needs for professional service firms, with the afternoon dedicated to major construction. The contracting opportunities for supplies, professional, technical services and small construction projects will be from 8 to 11:30 a.m with design and major construction projects from 12:30 to 4 p.m. “Our recent infusion of funding through ‘DHA Delivers for Denver’—the D3 Bond Initiative— allows us to accelerate building significantly and also preserve much-needed affordable housing over the next five years,� states Ismael Guerrero, DHA’s Executive Director. “We know that the aggressive goals we have for meeting the growing needs of our 25,000 low-income residents can only be realized by working with quality, dependable business partners.� Small, minority and women business owners are strongly encouraged to come and learn how to do business with DHA.

2020 DHA Contracting Opportunities Numerous small construction, maintenance opportunities, and seasonal contracts for meeting daily housing management needs will be covered. DHA staff will also be available

to share a variety of professional service opportunities, from support for legal to finance, software and human resources related services. The plans for large-scale design and construction projects will be addressed during the afternoon session, with general contractors on hand to share the various opportunities for subcontracting. DHA’s 2020 schedule for procurement solicitations and upcoming task

orders will be provided to each attendee.

Quality Networking A Meet & Greet will be held after the morning and afternoon sessions where members of DHA’s senior leadership team, department heads, and buying staff will be available for oneon-one conversations. Entrepreneurs will also be able to register for DHA’s eProcurement vendor system throughout the day.

Additionally, the afternoon will include exhibits by DHA general construction contractors and architectural design firms.

Preregistration Registration for the Contracting Open House is handled on a first-come, firstserve basis. You must preregister to attend. To register, log on to www.denverhousing.org. Questions should be submitted at contractoropenhouse@denverhousing.org. .

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

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Joy Reid Continued from page 4 explains. “Thankfully, the teachers who chose to be at Montbello; Black and white, shared it too. Education is why I have been able to accomplish what I have. I was blessed with incredible teachers: history teachers like Mr. Dugue, who taught us the American History few are lucky enough to know; or Karen Fain, my indefatigable World History teacher, and more. I got to have English teachers who fed my love of reading by allowing us to delve into the works of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, and who took us to the theater to watch The Color Purple. We were encouraged to apply to every school; my sister and one of her classmates were the first from Montbello to attend Ivy League schools, and I was encouraged to try for them all: Harvard, Yale, the University of Denver and more, and actually got in! My sister and I were shown the world via a scholar-

ship to travel to Europe the summer of my junior year. Education broadened the scope and potential of my life, and for a nerdy ‘glasses kid,’ it made me feel important and invincible.” Shockingly, the hard-fought gains of civil rights leaders who made such a fulfilling educational experience possible for Reid and her siblings may be in jeopardy, as both federal and state judicial systems have started to reject the enforcement of integration and the tenets of Brown V Board of Education. “The Brown vs. Board of Education ruling turns 66 years old this year, and yet, a 2019 report released by UCLA and Penn State found that American schools, public and private, are more segregated than ever; almost as segregated as they were in the 1950s,” Reid warns. “Something has gone terribly wrong, both at the federal and state level, since we know that Black and Latino students are often not as lucky as I was to be

well-educated and made to thrive in a barely-integrated school. In most cases, Black and Latino students are receiving fewer resources and a less-robust education, when they are separated from their white peers due to neighborhood and school segregation. This is a travesty, and it's not just immoral, it's holding America back.” According the Reid, our community must exhibit the same kind of commitment Dr. Noel showed during her life and career. She believes that in addition to effective integration, we must demand more state and federal investment in the public school system, where the vast majority of children of color receive an education. Equal resources; well-trained, committed teachers who are paid well; and innovative programs are civil rights and a benefit to all children. In addition to the slowly dismantling school integration policies, Reid is concerned by the apparent assault on Civil Rights legislation in this turbulent social climate, and her obvious passion seeps through every aspect of her career. Cut from the same mold as those like as Dr. Noel, with her hard-hitting journalistic style, Reid has an uncanny ability to expose the truth. “We are living through a historic period of federal assaults on civil rights and state and federal rollbacks of civil and voting rights that might make George Wallace blush,” she says. “When the president of the United States bans people from traveling to the U.S. simply because they are Muslim, and seeks to bar trans people from serving their country in the military simply because of who they are; when his government steals and cages children and calls on police to "get tough" rather than show restraint, while excoriating citizens who stand up to police abuse by kneeling down, we are in a dark place. America, the land of the immigrant, is now banning refugees. And superimposed above all the cruelty is a systematic denial of the right to vote, primarily direct-

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ed at Black, brown and Native people; through arbitrary rules that make a mockery of what's left of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court's decision to gut the Act – part of the backlash against Barack Obama's presidency – set the stage, and now, the current president's party is taking full advantage.” Despite these challenges, the Black community has been confronted with far more grave conditions throughout our 400-year history in this country. Each time, however, we’ve turned to our younger generation’s creativity, innovation, passion and ability to clearly envision paths forward, while summoning the courage to act. “I would encourage young people in Denver, and everywhere, to take from Dr. Noel the inspiration to lead. Dr. Noel was a pioneer,” Reid insists. “She wasn't afraid to be the ‘first’ and the ‘only.’ I would tell every young person to not be afraid to be the ‘first’ or the ‘only.’ She used her voice and embraced her power. I would say, use your voice and embrace your power. She was unafraid, as I would encourage every young person to be. And she treated education like a jewel, which starts as a mere stone in the ground but once worked at and labored at, is transformed into something beautiful and unspeakably valuable. That is what I hope that all young people can and will do.” Since 1981, the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship events have served as opportunities to discuss many of the issues impacting the Black community and Black women, in particular. This year, Reid will be featured at the Bridge Speaker at the programs, which focus on increasing cultural competence, build social awareness and enhance academic enrichment, all while fostering diversity and inclusion. Denver is proud of the work Reid continues to do as a shining example of community leadership.. For more information, visit www.msudenver.edu/noel.


The African American community has become accustomed to a steady stream of politicians who seem to magically surface every election cycle expressing support and making promises to work to improve the plight of Black residents. Once elected, however, they tend to disappear as quickly as they materialized and rarely do those promises manifest. Four years later, as if by some form of sorcery, there they are again. During his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Jared Polis made familiar statements of support as many community members looked on with skepticism and misgivings—and with good reason; we’ve been to this dance many times before. Surprisingly, throughout his first year as Colorado governor, Polis has maintained high visibility in the Black community. Whether clapping and rocking to gospel music at Black churches, supporting scholarship initiatives at the annual Delta Eta Boule, marching in the annual [Martin Luther King Jr.] Marade, hosting Black History events at the Governor’s mansion, meeting with Black business leaders to discuss urgent concerns or speaking to community leaders at Black Roundtable events, Polis has remained true to his promise of active engagement. Touting his “Colorado for All” initiative, the governor continues to encourage more participation from Black community members, urging them to engage in leadership positions on state boards and commissions. “While Polis committed to more diverse appointments in his administration, community advocate and Colorado Black Roundtable President, John Bailey, is awaiting the promised diversification. Bailey, who heads the Colorado Black Roundtable,

Maintaining High Visibility

Polis Remains True to Pledge of Active Engagement By Alfonzo Porter money and second, how can those lines of credit be sustained? “We have a minority business export program currently working with the African Leadership Group, the Black Chamber, the Colorado Black Roundtable initiatives and the African Chamber,” Polis said. “While the state has a limited role in all of this, we are active in the areas where we can help. We can be useful in economic development and connecting the dots between those people who need the resources provided by African American firms, helping to bid on projects and access a bank. Our Advance Colorado Procurement Expo has been successful in creating a marketplace where the focus is on minority, women, and veteran owned businesses. It is a perfect opportunity to connect buyers and sellers, not just for networking, but for training, networking and access to needed capital.” The Advance Colorado Procurement Expo is slated for April 2020, and will have a direct focus on minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses. Disparity studies should shed more light on statistical inequities in contracting and sub-contracting opportunities and the need for set aside pro-

claimes that Polis has not gone far enough to be inclusive as only one member of his cabinet identifies as Black. Moreover, he asserts that two disparity studies, one on economic development and another on the Black family have yet to be completed. Yet he remains encouraged. “Not only has Governor Polis been active in our community, he actually seeks out opportunities to engage,” Bailey says. Points of concern have been those two disparity studies focused on the black community. These studies would be central to providing the data that could potentially guide any new policy prescriptions aimed at addressing issues within the community. “We are currently involved with the state disparity study that Senator Angela Williams and others have been working on for some time,” Polis says. “The work is being completed in order to provide hard data around contractors, subcontractors, and everybody who is involved including state departments such as transportation and others.” Additionally, many community leaders are concerned with other issues, such as access to capital and sustainability. One the one hand, where can Black entrepreneurs find start up

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grams for minority and women- owned businesses. “The studies are being conducted by an outside group and once they are completed we will have a better idea of how to proceed,” Polis said. “It will be central to helping to establish a set of aggressive actionable and measurable goals as we look at how to further engage the African American community.” Solving the problems that continue to plague the Black community is not a one-sided coin. The Polis administration has been actively encouraging individuals to participate on the state’s board and commissions. With more than 300 available boards and commissions, our presence can make all the difference. “Our Black community here in Colorado is quite diverse within itself,” the governor suggested. “We have many parts of the African Diaspora represented here. Citizens from many African nations, Europe, the Caribbean, as well as, African Americans make up the community. I want all those voices and perspectives represented.” Among other pressing issues confronting the Black community are gun violence, criminal justice reform and education, among others—some of which was addressed during his recent State of the State address. While Colorado is widely seen as the leader in the cannabis industry, many people of color continue to languish in jail for marijuana-related offenses. “I don’t believe that they should be in jail now. However, if they were found dealing illegally it is still against the law. While we are supportive of local law enforcement, my focus is on a dramatic reduction in recidivism. I want a thorough approach to expunge these records. It’s not an easy undertaking but we are moving forward one case at a time,” Polis says. “The process involves applying through the clemency Continued on page 9


The rank hypocrisy that pervades the industry has become a rallying cry for Black community and business leaders who are now calling for a more level playing field.

Leveling the Playing Field in the Cannabis Industry Colorado Black Roundtable Launches Aggressive Equity Initiative By Alfonzo Porter

As cannabis legalization continues to proliferate across the nation, minority business leaders remain locked out of many of the lucrative opportunities presented within this new, burgeoning industry. Not long ago, marijuana sales were cloaked in secrecy and relegated to darkened back alleys and street corners. It was these very covert operations that placed many Black men and women in jeopardy of being targeted by the criminal justice system. After state legislative changes, drug money is no longer considered dirty money.

Yet, those who have been so disproportionately impacted by the so-called “war on drugs” are ironically, effectively banned from benefiting from the economic boon created by the legalization of weed. According to Marijuana Business Daily, more than 80 percent of cannabis entrepreneurs are white; only roughly four percent are Black. Although Blacks and whites consume marijuana at relatively equal rates, Blacks are reportedly 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for crimes related to cannabis.

For decades, our community has been over-policed and harshly punished for marijuana sale and possession. When the drug was legalized, it created a framework that favored rich, largely white business entrepreneurs’ participation in the new economic opportunities. It is not surprising that the industry that contributed to the disenfranchisement of communities of color would include very little diversity after legalization.

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Legalization has not necessarily meant an end to unfair policing practices. For instance arrests for consumption and distribution in Washington DC nearly quadrupled after legalization. Three out of four of those arrested were Black. This disturbing trend could pose a serious challenge to our legal participation in the industry moving forward. Recently, the Colorado Black Roundtable hosted its first Black Cannabis Equity Initiative to discuss ways to “engage Colorado’s cannabis dispensaries, owners/operators, and industry and government leaders in ways to build equity, diversity and inclusion in the industry.” The event featured representatives from state and local government along with industry leaders. According to Colorado Attorney General, Phil Weiser, the state is taking steps to address the issue of inclusion in


the cannabis space. “We are pursuing new licensing processes that will allow those in low income demographics to receive licenses to do business,” Weiser said. “Specifically, Senate Bill 224 will permit the state to grant so-called ‘micro licenses’ aimed at creating more diversity among those who desire to create a business.” Along with granting access through creative licensing procedures, local and state government must cease prosecutions for marijuana offenses. Some states, like New Jersey, have gone even further with marijuana legislation that requires 25 percent of all legalcannabis licenses to set aside for minority entrepreneurs. There are several primary reasons why Blacks have been unable to gain access to the cannabis market on a more significant scale. First, the application process is confusing and cumbersome; there is little transparency, which makes navigating the process intimidating to those who are not seasoned business people or who lack experience deciphering mountains of government red tape. Add to that, most Blacks lack the resources to secure needed legal representation that would prove helpful. Second, if you have an arrest or conviction on your record for marijuana sales or possession,

your chances of procuring a cannabis license are significantly reduced, if not rendered impossible. Therefore, the war on drugs has now turned in a war on our ability to take advantage of the very situation that caused us to become ensnared in the criminal justice system to begin with—it is a perfect catch 22. Third, money talks! Entering the cannabis industry requires access to a significant amount of money. In some states, you are required to possess a performance bond of at least $1 million in a secured account before even being allowed to proceed with an application. This money cannot be used to start or operate your business. It is no secret that access to capital investment is the number one reason why Black businesses find it difficult to grow and expand. The fact that most banks are still not working with the industry because of its continued status as a Schedule 1 Drug at the federal level, makes it that much harder. It can cost up to $3 million to successfully open a toptier cannabis operation. Next, we are forced to deal with the notion of “not in my neighborhood.” The Black church is still a force to be reckoned with in the Black community. The perception of legal cannabis maintains a negative perception. This may make set-

Governor Jared Polis

is critical for a child’s development. As with kindergarten, it’s not that parents don’t want preschool — it’s that they can’t afford it,” he said. While many community leaders are encouraged by the governor’s visibility and his pledge to continue identifying and addressing policies that suppress opportunities in the Black community, some say his efforts do not go far enough. Yet, when it comes to authentic engagement and willingness to listen and be present, Polis appears to receive high marks all around thus far. .

Continued from page 7 commission but I am certainly open to legislation that would speed up this process.” Polis also touts his legislative accomplishment of funding 5,100 slots for the early education of at-risk children in the Colorado Preschool Program; an initiaive welcomed in communities of color. This year’s budget will increase that number to 6,000 which brings coverage to half of all eligible kids in the state. “Studies show that preschool

ting up a legal weed shop in a Black neighborhood, in proximity to multiple churches, a serious concern. The first states that approved legal cannabis had relatively low numbers of Black residents—Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and Maine, for instance. Certainly, that story may have been different if cannabis was legalized early on in places like Georgia, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, where this is an ample Black middle class, entrepreneurial African Americans. Finally, there is generally a lack of education and information targeting Blacks when it comes to establishing a cannabis operation. Even in the cases where there is government support for equity, the lack of sources of information and mentorship for African Americans, we are still vulnerable to unscrupulous players who take advantage of this lack of knowledge. It is for these reasons, and others, that the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative launched by the Colorado Black Roundtable is a critical component in helping to increase the number of Black cannabis owners and operators. According to CRBT President, John Bailey, there are several ways to diversify the cannabis industry. “Too often we think that the only way to get into this industry is to open a dispensary or grow house,” Bailey told those gathered at the December event. There are several other opportunities for us to enter this industry that are far less cumbersome. For example, delivery services, packaging, training, marketing, advertising and public relations, pod casting and blogging, security, video surveillance, logistics, technical support and so much more.” Bailey intends to host regular meeting of the Cannabis Equity Initiative to further inform the

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community on ways to enter the lucrative marijuana market. “Despite the barriers that are keeping persons of color out of the cannabis industry, it is still possible for African Americans to succeed, and with more of us entering the industry every single day, it will only become easier,” Bailey said. “This is an $11 billion industry as of the end of 2018 and it will only grow from here. There is no reason why we cannot enter this industry in some capacity even if we decide not to open dispensaries.” Clearly, any business endeavor requires a substantial financial and personal investment. Until we can solve the most vexing problem of accessing the appropriate amount of capital necessary, it might be a great idea to consider the everexpanding ancillary services that support the industry. It is still possible to stake our claim in this brave new world of legal cannabis. .


GoJo Auto :

long, her audience showered her with a thunderous applause. The smile she gave them could eclipse the sun. There are people who illuminate every space they occupy and Amanda Gordon, owner of GoJo Auto, is absolutely one of them. Gordon was radiant as she stood shoulder to shoulder with her grandmother, mother and son behind a red ribbon with the words “GRAND OPENING” written in bold, white typeface. Once Gordon snipped the fabric – GoJo Auto was open for business. The day was surreal and 17 years overdue. Looking at photos from the grand opening, Gordon beams at the memories. “Last year was a huge year for me and for GoJo Auto, it was all growth. It was all love. It was all beautiful. It was splendid! There were so many people that showed up to support us [at the grand opening]. I was immensely humbled and grateful,” she beams.

The Shine of Hard Work By Jamil Shabazz

O

ctober 26, 2019, the autumn leaves had fallen from the trees and were scattered around the pavement in the parking lot of Plaza 6000. The lot was filled new cars and people peeking inside the windows, fawning over the interior. The sky was clean, not a cloud in sight. The temperature was a tropical 75 degrees on the last Saturday in October. As the crowd soaked in the fall sunshine, a woman in a butterscotch-colored dress appeared like a force of nature. She breezed through the crowd, convivial and engaging. Before

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Overnight success is a myth; success is almost exclusively steeped in time, energy, and level of effort. In that regard, Gordon has been preparing GoJo Auto since 2002, when she moved from the retail-clothing industry with her job at The Gap, and into the automotive industry. Over the next 17 years, Gordon would work in various positions in the automotive industry, moving from the sales floor to a general manager position before realizing her nex best step was ownership. On Nov. 20, 2018, Gordon became the first Black female car dealer in the state of Colorado. “Becoming the first Black female car dealer in the state of Colorado was an honor and a disappointment. Here we are in 2020 and there is still a first Black woman category in something as major as the car industry; which fuels one of my long-

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term goals, to hire and train 100 plus women in the automotive industry. I have three wonderful women who work with me now, and I’m excited about bringing more to the GoJo team in 2020!” There are those that will subscribe to the tired cliché, “you have to see it to be it.” When it comes to growth and professional mobility, Gordon is a trailblazer that refutes that very notion with her presence. Undeterred by the word “No,” Gordon is actively redefining the culture in the automotive industry from a sleazy car dealer vibe to a more holistic approach. Gordon is forward thinking, family-focused, and community centric with values that underpin her professional and personal growth. Building the culture of GoJo as a place to do more than sell cars, make money, and have fun, Gordon views GoJo Auto as a family,


with a responsibility to serve and improve the community. In 2019, Gordon and GoJo Auto collaborated with Operation Hope, a Denver nonprofit that helps the Black and Brown community with financial literacy, financial dignity programming and financial knowledge tools. In addition, Gordon joined forces with a local church around Christmas to host a clothing drive at GoJo Auto. At the conclusion of the drive, Gordon and the church were able to send 50 bags of clothes and resources to Ghana to help underprivileged families.  “I’ll be honest, when I bring on people to be a part of GoJo;” Gordon posits, “I’m also inviting them into my family. I pay close attention to what kind of personality they have. What kind of core values they have – because if you surround yourself with good people, it pays dividends. I made a conscious decision to make GoJo a different car buying experience. It’s important to me that they are family-oriented, kind, caring and considerate. Our buyers feel and see that, and it carries weight. Making money is nice, but I want people to leave GoJo feeling like they got the absolute best treatment. I accept and expect nothing less.” After experiencing Gordon’s dealership or website, a visitor is left with a lasting impression: the GoJo Auto logo. It shimmers in a rose gold hue with three stones in the O next to the G. Gordon informs that the three stones represent her mother, her son and herself. The trinity reminds me of one of the last things Gordon mentioned during our conversation. “You know, at the GoJo grand opening, we had a really good day, we sold three cars which is very good.” As the adage goes, good things always come in three’s.. Editor’s note: For more information on GoJo Auto, call 720-707-6056 or visit www.gojoauto.com

or personal reasons, to slow down and truly get a sense of my surroundings [and take pictures]. Because the world is as small as you allow it to be, there is a lot to be discovered and enjoyed. DUS: Speaking of enjoyment, what do you enjoy about your leadership journey from beginning to now? AB: My job as a leader is to help others achieve, and succeed to their highest levels. And if you’re doing that, you’re helping the people around you perform at greater and greater levels. I think that’s what engages me, growing with my team, not above my team – the journey is only as meaningful as the people you share it with. DUS: For the early career entrepreneur, what advice would Anthony Brownlee give them? AB: Make sure you have a passion for your work, learn to love the process and dig into the details. The biggest thing I want to hammer home is that I root for everybody. I’m very competitive, but I am just as passionate about helping others succeed; because what an individual can contribute to those around them, is what’s most important. I want to make sure that I always put my team, before myself, because our ascendance and accomplishments are intertwined. . Editor’s note: Yellow Stone Motors is located at 1105 W. Coulter Ave., Powell, WY. For more information, call 307-754-5743 or visit www.yellowstonemotors.com.

Brownlee Automotive: Teamwork Above All Else By Jamil Shabazz

It has been four years since

the Denver Urban Spectrum has had the opportunity to profile Anthony Brownlee, and he has made some mighty strides since then! As we celebrate Black History Month 2020 we wanted to take some time out to catch up with the California-native, automotive entrepreneur, travel aficionado – President & CEO of Brownlee Automotive and the new owner of Yellowstone Motors.  Denver Urban Spectrum: How did the deal to acquire Yellowstone Motors come together? Anthony Brownlee: I think every deal has its own timetable. Especially when you’re starting a new company, and you really want to make sure that you take your time, especially if the dealership has been owned by one family for decades, like this one was. I wanted to give them time to get to know me, and vice versa. Therefore, there was no particular rush to get to the finish line other than once we knew it was the right fit for me, it was the right time for them to sell. I think it’s important that when you have a family or an individual that put their life work into a business, you respect that by making sure they’re comfortable with you as the buyer. DUS: As the newest member of Brownlee Automotive, what does the future hold for Yellowstone Motors? AB: My goal was to keep everyone [on the original staff]

and we’ve been very successful with that goal. I am proud of the entire team in terms of how they’re handling the transition, and keeping their focus, as we move forward. Brownlee Automotive is in growth-mode. I’m actively looking at collaborating with others in the industry and growing the business. DUS: Not many people know that you have a background in real estate. Could we see a “Brownlee Homes” joining Brownlee Automotive any time soon? AB: So my portfolio is pretty well diversified. I own property in California, Colorado, and North Carolina. For me, when it comes to investing, I really don’t put any boundaries on that. I’m open to looking at opportunities nationwide. DUS: Word has it that you love to travel. What has being out in the world taught you? AB: So, I’m kind of an amateur photographer; that’s one of my hobbies. I make it a habit of when I am in a city for business

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The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will induct the next group of extraordinary contemporary and historical Colorado women, who have made enduring and exemplary contributions to their fields. These 10 women who have inspired and elevated the status of women and helped open new frontiers for women and society will be inducted on March 18. The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF) was founded in 1985. Every two years, the organization inducts contemporary and historical women who have significant ties to Colorado and have made a difference for women and girls through their courage and leadership. Since its founding, the CWHF has inducted 162 women from many races, backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, career paths, political philosophies, and religious beliefs for their outstanding contributions to society. The 2020 Colorado Hall of Fame Inductees include Katherine Archuleta, former head of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; civil rights activists Guadalupe Briseño; Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris; Attorney Velveta Howell; physician and educator Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS; and Gale Norton, former

Denver Urban Spectrum Highlights 2020 Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees Secretary of the Interior and Colorado State Attorney General. Historical Inductees are Mary Lou Anderson, a community builder; frontier physician Dr. Alida Cornelia Avery; educator, political activist, and suffragist Elizabeth Piper Ensley and restaurant owner Carolina Gonzalez. This month, Denver Urban Spectrum highlights three of the contemporary Colorado women.

Guadalupe Briseño As the organizer of the Kitayama Carnation Strike, Guadalupe Briseño demonstrated the strength and power of Latina leadership in Colorado’s Labor Movement and set the stage for the Colorado Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. Her story is an essential chapter in the history of Colorado, the evolution of Latina feminist leadership, and the struggle for Chicano Civil Rights. The Kitayama Carnation Strike was one of the seminal events in 1969 that laid the foundation for the Chicano

Movement in Colorado. The impact of the women-led social movement reverberated throughout the state within the Chicano civil rights movement. But most importantly, Lupe Briseño and the Kitayama Carnation Strike demanded that women, as well as all laborers, be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserved. Fundamental human rights were at the heart of their demands – the same rights that are the foundation of many of the social justice movements today: equal-pay-for-equal work, immigration rights, antihuman trafficking, and the “me too” movement. Guadalupe Briseño, her companions and their role in the Kitayama Carnation strike empowered Latinas in the civil rights, labor, feminist, education, and social justice movements of the 1960s and 70s. Her actions and leadership are the shoulders upon which current Latina leaders stand.

Velveta Howell Velveta Howell has made many contributions as a life-long

champion for social justice and advocacy. She is known as an exceptional role model for other African American women and girls. She was the eighth African American female graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and the first woman of color appointed as Colorado’s Deputy District Attorney. From her humble beginnings, she has worked tirelessly at the local, state, regional, and federal levels to advance the causes closest to her, succeeding in the fiercely competitive and often brutal world of criminal justice. Through creative, solid, and sustainable policies, practices, and procedures, Howell designed roadmaps to enhance others’ lives, especially society’s most vulnerable. Her ability to visualize and eliminate impediments to social justice, equipped her to tear down barriers and increase access to social, civil, and criminal justice, quality and equal healthcare, clean water, affordable housing, food, and other critical services for people of all backgrounds.. Howell attributes her success to integrity, compassion for all people, and an unrelenting commitment to justice. This determination has resulted in a succession of women, especially women of color, following her into this still male-dominated arena. Today, many African American prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys in Colorado are inspired and/or personally mentored by her.

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Howell has worked to improve access to quality healthcare to all Colorado citizens, particularly underserved populations. She is one of twelve appointees to the Robert Wood Johnson-funded Colorado Healthcare Reform Executive Steering Committee and Turning Point Initiative. She is also the driver behind the committee’s focus on racial and ethnic healthcare disparities. This focus has resulted in the establishment and legislative enactment of the Colorado Office of Health Disparities, only the nation’s second.

Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS Colorado’s earliest physician breastfeeding champion, Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS, has devoted

more than 40 years to improving maternal-child health. She provided education to diverse healthcare professionals, implemented model lactation services, helped re-establish breastfeeding as a community norm, and advanced the nascent discipline of breastfeeding medicine. Beginning in the late 1970s, Neifert was the first US physician to promote the routine use of modern lactation technologies in the management of breastfeeding difficulties. Neifert helped pioneer societywide institutional support for breastfeeding mothers, and helped establish and advance the new field of breastfeeding medicine. In 1984, she cofounded and served as the first Medical Director for the Denver Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB). Today MMB is the largest nonprofit human milk bank in North America, serving medically fragile newborns and infants. They have collected more than 5.5 million ounces of

milk from more than 12,500 donors and dispensed screenedprocessed donor human milk to more than 120 hospitals in 35 states. In 1990 Neifert co-founded the Colorado Breastfeeding Task Force, which later became the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition. Their mission is to educate, advocate, and collaborate to reduce barriers and support all families to achieve their breastfeeding goals. In 1994, she co-founded the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an international physician organization dedicated to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding and the establishment of the field of breastfeeding medicine. During her long career, Dr. Neifert has contributed to elevating breastfeeding from an individual mother’s “personal choice” to a public health priority warranting society-wide support. Her unwavering

efforts to this end have made a significant impact on professional and lay breastfeeding education in Colorado and nationwide. . Editor’s note: The Colorado Hall of Fame Induction is proudly sponsored this year by Colorado Public Radio, 5280 Magazine, Denver Channel 7, La Voz, and Denver Urban Spectrum. For more information on the induction ceremony or to become a sponsor, email info@cogreatwomen.org.

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For more than two decades, the Center for African American Health (CAA Health) has supported the Denver Metro Area by living out its mission to improve the health and well-being of African Americans. Through the organization’s community and evidenced-based disease prevention and management programs, events, and services, the CAA Health has established itself as one of the Rocky Mountain Regions premiere health-related organizations. Now the CAA Health is preparing to open the doors to what will be a beacon of health equity in the Northeast Park Hill community. In February, 3350 Hudson Street (formerly Roots Elementary School) will become the new home for the CAA Health. The new Family Resource Center will allow for the expansion of services and events that will include: •Classes in Senior Wellness, Disease Prevention and Chronic Disease Management •Health, Financial and Insurance Literacy •Health Screenings •Community Resource Navigation and Assistance •Parenting Classes to support Early Childhood Development •Benefit Enrollment Assistance (Health Insurance and SNAP) •Support Groups •Seasonal Farmers Markets •Community Meeting Spaces and a commercial kitchen •Cultural Heritage Programs and Exhibits •Special Events CEO and Executive Director Deidre Johnson, shared, “Our dedicated staff, board and volunteers are incredibly excited about the expansion of services we will be providing in this new facility. I am truly humbled by the extraordinary community and philanthropic support we have received to make

Vision Realized! Center for African American Health

Charts Bold Course with New Facility The Park Hill Family Resource Center to open its doors to the public in February to coincide with Black History Month Submitted by the Center for African American Health Future home of the Center for African American Health Inset: Deidre Johnson and Grant Jones

Grant Jones, Elenora Crichlow, Major W. Tappan, DDS and Haven Moses

this facility a reality. This acquisition will truly help us advance our mission, which is grounded in the pursuit of Health Equity. The CAA Health is a part of a continuum of African Americans working to help create the Beloved Community that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned decades ago. We look forward to expanding our collaborative partnerships to ensure that our community members have greater access to opportunity.” The history of the CAA Health is one that dates back to 1997. Initially started at the Piton Foundation through a program called the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative which worked in collaboration

with Black churches through Faith and Health Ministries, the CAA Health formally emerged in 2005 thanks to the dedicated support of great partners in the community. However, none of this history would be possible without the direction and vision of the organization’s first executive director, Grant Jones. “When I look back on the history and community work of the Center, especially during Black History Month, I’m reminded that we accomplish very little by ourselves,” Jones has said. “Virtually all good works are built on the shoulders of those that went before us. That’s certainly true in the case of the Center for African American Health and

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its predecessor, the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative. We were fortunate throughout the journey to have a strong board, dedicated and passionate staff and a small army of committed volunteers to help us along the way. But more than anything, lots of people prayed for us. God blessed us and our work in community from the beginning and I think those blessings follow the organization today.” As the organization moves into the future with a new home focused on being a vibrant Family Resource Center, the CAA Health is also laser focused on achieving its goals to: •Create HEALTH EQUITY for African Americans and Denver’s black communities •Create MENTAL HEALTH EQUITY for African Americans •Build PUBLIC WILL for action on issues impacting African Americans •Build POLITICAL WILL to back policies that improve the health and well-being of African Americans •Ensure African American individuals, families and communities are better connected to a CONTINUUM OF SERVICES. While donations and grants will continue to be solicited by the CAA Health to ensure the sustainability of various programs and initiatives currently operating and in development, the importance of the addition of this new facility cannot be understated when it comes to the organization’s future. The CAA Health is certainly blessed with a business, government and nonprofit community that has long seen the value the organization brings to its constituents. The early funders of this important step in the organization’s history include: •Caring for Colorado Foundation •City and County of Denver (DEDO) •Gary Community Investments/The Piton Foundation Continued on page 16


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Continued from page 15 •SCL Health Foundation •The Buell Foundation •The Colorado Health Foundation •The Colorado Trust •The Gates Family Foundation •Urban Land Conservancy “The level of community support and interest in this property acquisition has been unprecedented,” said CAA Health Development Director John Reid. “In my more than 30-years of experience in fundraising for nonprofit organizations and conducting capital campaigns, the amount of support for this endeavor is truly special. It is my belief that the positive engagement is directly linked to the core purpose of the Center, which has always been to bring health equity and value to the African American community.” In fact, the reputation of the CAA Health was a big part of the calculus the Holly Area Redevelopment Project community stakeholders considered when making the decision on what organization or entity should be allowed to make the purchase of the former Roots Elementary School. Stakeholders were excited about having CAA Health purchase the building based on its 20+ year track record; its longstanding commitment to Northeast Denver; its focus on the African American community in a historically black neighborhood; and its ability to work well with other area uses (e.g., the Pauline Robinson Library, Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center, Boys and Girls Club, the Hope Center for Adults, and the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Dahlia Campus a few blocks to the west). Of course, the CAA Health is always active in Black History Month, and its 18th Annual Health Fair is slated for February 15 from 8:30 a.m. to

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Church of Holy Redeemer.

Happy Haynes participating at health fair.

Vincent Harding 1998 Founders Day at Shorter AME Church R to L: Rev. J. Langston Boyd, Rev. T.O Gay and Rev. Sandra Wilson

3:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Stapleton Hotel (3801 Quebec St. in Denver). Community members can take advantage of FREE health screenings (valued at more than $1,000) and family activities that include: •Physical Exams •Prostate Screenings •Holistic Care/Meditation •Dance & Exercise •Community Resources & Services •Giveaways •Exhibitors •2020 Census Information Editor’s note: For more information Director of Development John Reid, 303 355-3423, Ext. 115 or email john@caahealth.org.


Adrian Miller Executive Director, Colorado Council of Churches

A s the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches, Adrian Miller is also known as the Soul Food Scholar, celebrating the rich and fascinating history of African American cooks. Through his work, Miller has sought opportunities to explore the ways that faith can bridge the community’s racial divide including co-hosting a community film series and discussion. His most significant contributions have been two criticallyacclaimed books about African American culinary history: “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine” and “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas.” “I got tired of seeing the cooks and cuisines of other cultures celebrated while the very same aspects of African American culture were criticized,” Miller says, “I wanted to sort out fact from fiction, and figure out the true story of how African heritage people survived, adapted, innovated, overcame, and excelled under horrific circumstances.” Miller is all too aware of the overwhelming challenges the African American community faces on a day to day basis and says his focus “Has been on eliminating racial disparities in access to business financing, education, food justice, and health care. We must engage in developing, legislating, and implementing creative and effective solutions. This goes beyond voting. We need to be in dialogue with leaders at every level of government.” Miller plans to keep writing books and wants to be remembered as someone who used his God-given gifts to creatively bring people together, shed new

Editor’s note: Each year during Black History Month, Denver Urban Spectrum honors African Americans who are making a difference in the lives of others. Based on recognition, number of times nominated, impact on and service to the commumity, we have selected 15 recipients (from 50+ nominations) as the 2020 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.

light on African American history, and in his own way, make the world a better place.

Brett Hughes

ties for all young men. He encourages the community to reach higher and take the steps necessary to continue providing young people with the needed programming and opportunities they deserve. “I would like to be remembered as a man who stood tall and put my best foot forward in the community by helping people,” he says.

and the Denver Black Arts Festival. “I don’t have anything to prove but I have a lot to do in this community and I choose to take an active role as a calling in my life,” says Walker, “But, mostly to continue to promote, perpetuate and preserve great gospel music to its highest pinnacle.” In the future, Walker would like to bring together the young choirs and gospel talents from the Denver community as well as major gospel artists to bridge the artistry of the African continents together on a one-world forum televised in all major markets to motivate and inspire our youth and children to positively make the world a better place. “I would like to be remembered as a woman who – through music and video production – stood for world peace through individual inspiration and accomplishments,” says Walker.

Lead Security Clerk, City of Aurora Library and Cultural Services

B rett Hughes is the lead security clerk for the City of Aurora Library and Cultural Services, and is known for initiating and running an outreach program at the Aurora Boys Club in 2015 to help young men who were getting kicked out of the library and lacked structure in their lives. The success of the program, which was held every Friday, expanded to the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Most recently, Hughes was an honoree and the recipient of the RAK-tivist Award from Sisters Enterprise. Over the last five years, he has fostered relationships with his team and Aurora youth and says, “Watching these young boys turn into fine young men, and playing an active part in their lives has been the greatest honor I have experienced.” Hughes says this was the path he was supposed to take; however, it chose him – he didn’t choose it. “It was a call to action to help the young men in the community and started as a remedy to a problem of youth with behavioral issues.” In the future, Hughes would like to see the Boys Club grow into a program that provides encouragement and opportuni-

Deborah Walker

Helen Marie Bradshaw

Producer/Director/Radio Personality DAWS Enterprises, Inc.

Community Advocate/Collaborative Partner

A s an influential leader in the gospel industry, Deborah Walker has long been active in the music and entertainment industry. As a producer and director, Walker established her own one-hour syndicated gospel radio show in 1996 and currently hosts “The Gospel Train” on KUVO/KVJZ Radio every Sunday morning. Walker says over the years, “I was blessed with a great opportunity to work in the music and entertainment industry with some of our great industry leaders including Barry Gordy, Dr. Al Bell, and James Bullard; giving me the opportunity to market, develop and produce promotional material.”

Walker has shared her talent by supporting the Denver community, and providing opportunities to talented artists while assisting and creating gospel stage projects for Juneteenth

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H elen Bradshaw is a community advocate in the Denver region who is best known for sharing her passion for outreach and nonprofit organizational leadership while making a difference in the community. She focuses on building collaborative partnerships while creating a long-term legacy of integrity. Bradshaw says, “Over the last year I have contributed to and volunteered with the 100 Men Who Cook event because the organization believed in me and it truly was not hard for me to share with others in the community what they do because the organization truly makes a difference.” In the past five years Bradshaw’s broad and diverse advocacy work includes serving as an advocate for the CSU Extension Outreach and Stem Program; Susan G. Komen for African American women with breast cancer; Discovery School;


Metro Caring; Black Arts Festival; Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, Inc.; and Daddy Bruce Thanksgiving Giveaway. She was also an integral participant with Together Colorado, and worked in support of removing slavery from Colorado’s Constitution. Bradshaw says she takes an active role because, “When I help to make a difference and it matters and brings joys to others, it is a true blessing for me.” “Leaving too much money on the table is the biggest challenge facing the African American community,” says Bradshaw, “To resolve this, we need to develop collaborative partnerships and do a lot more homework to secure more grants and proposals.” Hoping to bring together the resources of several of Colorado’s Black-owned businesses, Bradshaw wants to extend opportunities to collaboratively increase impact and enhance the community. Bradshaw says she would like to be remembered as that person who puts one and two together and makes 10!

“I believe it’s important to serve my community and support the next generation of leaders because it teaches people of all ages and backgrounds compassion and understanding. As someone who grew up in a broken home, my childhood struggles motivated me to have a service-driven attitude,” Green says. She is committed to her organization and would like to someday offer full-ride scholarships to students in addition to opening up a facility to support single moms. When it comes to challenges in the African-American community, Green says “I feel it is mental health and believe the best way it can be resolved is through education, discussions, and supporting those who may be dealing with it.” Green says she would like to extend her commitment to the African American community as well as all women by “Providing free classes that teach women about professional development, healthy relationships, self-defense, and mental health awareness!” She says, “I want to be remembered for my dedication and passion to serving the community, while supporting our future leaders and helping to support all women through important moments in their life.”

with no limitations.” Holiday is also known for working with the elderly and disabled community, and inspiring all to be healthy to increase the possibility of playing with their great-grandchildren. He chose to take an active role in the community because of Sēbian’s condition who Holiday says “Had a big heart for all and reinforced my heart and abilities to help others in the populations most often forgotten about or ignored – our elderly and disabled.” Sadly, on June 19, 2018, Sēbian passed away at the age of 16 years old, leaving Holiday to operate the recreation center in his memory. Holiday believes the biggest challenges facing the African American community are not having a clear understanding of how much our vote matters and believes that every vote does count. He is troubled by misrepresentations in the media of who our role models should be, but believes that these misrepresentations and instances where our community’s best are overlooked can be resolved with education and through discussions with family, friends and peers. Future goals for Holiday include making Seb’s Recreation self-sufficient and continuing to empower individuals. He says he would like to be remembered simply “As a person that supported his community and was willing to help those in need.”

Joshalynn Green Founder, Phenomenal Women Inc.

A s the founder of Phenomenal Women Inc., a nonprofit organization that specializes in empowering, encouraging, and uplifting women to reach their full potential, Joshalynn Green is an active participant in mentorship opportunities, community service, and positive events. Over the past year, Phenomenal Women Inc.’s 12week “Invest in You” program for young ladies ages 10 to16, helped cultivate leadership skills through a variety of workshops and mentorship, earning Green’s team a Community Arts Leader and Impact Award.

Keithan Holiday Owner, Seb’s Recreation Center

K nown for his generosity and genuine personality, Keithan Holiday is the owner and fitness instructor at Seb’s Recreation Center, which caters to people with disabilities. Inspired by his disabled son, Sēbian who had a dream to open up a recreation center for people with disabilities, Holiday opened its doors in January 2018. Over the past five years, Holiday says “I have been encouraging my son Sēbian and other disabled individuals to live

Maisha Fields Family Nurse Practitioner Director of Aurora Community Partnership

F amily Nurse Practitioner Maisha Fields is best known as a nurse, advocate, and humanitarian. She serves as an advisor to political and community leaders regarding common sense gun control, criminal justice, trauma, and public health. Recently, Fields represented the African American community on a national basis during the 2019

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Presidential campaign as Political Director for former Governor John Hickenlooper. As co-founder and owner of the Dayton Street Opportunity Center of Aurora, Fields is tasked with community services that meet a wide range of needs. “We provided funeral services for Black mothers whose children were murdered due to gun violence, housing vouchers, scholarships and countless community birthday parties,” she says. Over the last 15 years, Fields has trained more than 500 students and strengthened recruitment, retention and graduation rates of African American students at several schools and colleges. Fields assumed an active role in the community after the tragic death of her brother, Javad Marshall Fields, known as “Jay.” On June 20, 2005, Javad and his fiancée, Vivian, were gunned down and killed while driving just days before he was set to testify in the prosecution of his best friend’s murder. The Fields family continues to grieve Javad’s absence, using their pain to fuel their continuous efforts to make a difference. Fields’ future plans include changing the Victims Bill of rights to ensure Black Families have access to victim’s compensation after the murder of their children; advocating at the state level for common sense gun laws; developing a workforce training center; and becoming the Surgeon General of the United States. Fields would like to be remembered as a conduit of the souls taken to soon and too young due to gun violence; and as a loving mother, daughter and servant to the Most High God.

Congrats to the

2020


Mary Davis

Regina English

Ronald Sally

Shelby Thomas

President/CEO, McGlothin Davis, Inc.

Founder, Pageant Director Be You, My African American Miss LLC

Businessman, Founder/Chief Executive Officer Project Greer Street

R egina English is the founder and director of Be You, a nonprofit organization that mentors youth in education, public speaking, community service, team building, and healthy relationships. She also holds the state title Mrs. Colorado Ambassador 2019. English takes pride in creating a space for African American youth to thrive and display their talents while learning to be comfortable in their skin through pageantry, coaching, life skills, team building, education, community service and mentorship. Over the past five years, Be You has provided leadership, mentorship and training for youth and has doubled the numbers every year since its inception in 2014. English says she chooses to take an active role in the community, “Because the mental health of our youth is very important. We have the highest teen suicide rate in the nation and it is my passion to give youth a positive outlet to plug into where they can just be themselves and be accepted as they are.” In addition to mental health, English says police brutality and racism are challenges for the community and comments, “These challenges can be resolved by the Black community coming together and demanding the changes we want to see; and by taking care of our mental health knowing that it is okay to not be okay – and saying it.” She would like to be remembered as a community leader and an ambassador for youth who created a space for them to thrive and not have to be perfect - but be accepted, flaws and all.

Substance Abuse Prevention Counselor Cherry Creek Schools

A s the founder and CEO of Project Greer Street, Ronald Sally, a former executive with the Denver Nuggets/Colorado Avalanche and CAA ICON, says “For almost a decade, Project Greer Street has had phenomenal success and effectuated a paradigm-shift related to academic achievement and career aspirations for African American males in high school and college.” Students who have completed the program have earned more than $5 million in scholarships and grants while earning admission to more than 50 colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, Northwestern University, Georgia Tech Institute of Technology, Princeton, Stanford , Ithaca College, Morehouse , Pepperdine University, Emory University, and many others. Sally was inspired by the message, “Be the change that you want to see,” from his parents and grandparents. He says, “Personal engagement in developing and implementing solutions to challenges, combined with tremendous work ethic, has always been my choice for making a difference.” Determining all of the challenges facing the African American community is difficult, but Sally says that accessing affordable and quality health care; identifying and utilizing all available educational resources; maximizing employment, personal growth, and career development; and competing effectively in a rapidly evolving marketplace are all important. He says, “I would like to be remembered as someone who was hard-working, generous, honorable, and passionate about leaving certain circumstances in a better condition than what I found them.”

S helby Thomas is a licensed social worker and substance abuse prevention counselor with Cherry Creek Schools who focuses on “Providing middle schoolers with education, related to substance use/abuse, developing resilience, cultivating selfesteem, and refining peer refusal skills. “As a social worker, it is my mission to provide support to children and families of all backgrounds.” She does, however, take a different approach when it comes to African American and other minority students. Thomas says she does her best to honor each student’s racial experience however it shows up for them, “As minorities in the school district, I want to make sure that their perspectives are heard and validated, so I always want to save space for that in the conversation.” Thomas knows from experience as an African American woman just how important this kind of representation is. She strives to solve the mental health challenges she has seen in the community and says, “That includes lack of access to affordable and culturally relevant therapy, and a long-standing and deep-seated stigmatization surrounding seeking mental health support.” She continues, “One way to address these issues is to promote policies that cover individual and family therapy and to spread as much information as possible about affordable and online options. Another way is by making mental health a regular part of the conversation with resources and discussions would help start to shift the narrative.” Thomas would like to be remembered as someone who was grateful, loved her family and God, and did everything with love, joy, and gratitude.

M ary Davis is the president, founder and CEO of McGlothin Davis, Inc., a 25-year old management consulting and home care (World of Wellness Home Care) business who annually contributes numerous community service hours to Denver area residents and organizations. She serves as a volunteer career coach and mentor to numerous women who are in early stages of their careers. Over the past year, as a member of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., Davis provided entrepreneurship training to aspiring business owners and led elder care training at the Center for African American Health. She says that she takes an active role because, “I have been fortunate to develop expertise that can help others who need support to develop their confidence and skills required to make the most of their God-given talents.” Davis feels that the African American community is not fully aware of its potential and capability to impact the quality of lives of fellow men and women, as well as our youth and says, “There is a need for ongoing involvement in community-based education and actions that can make community-wide changes that result in sustained difference in the lives of others.” Her future plans include continuing to partner with individuals in a way that improves the well-being and capabilities of African Americans and other people of color. Davis would like to be remembered as a servant leader who made a difference in the lives of others and allowed individuals to leave the kind of legacy of which they can be proud.

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

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Stella Nash

Tay Anderson

Terrance Hughes

Topazz McBride

Retired, Regional Nutrition Director

Board Director, Denver Public School

S tella Nash is retired after working as the Regional Nutrition Director at the Mountain Plains Regional Office, and is best known for providing nutrition education, health and wellness materials, resources and information through exhibits, workshops, or presentations at health fairs, schools, churches and community events. Over the past year, Nash says her most notable contribution to the African American community has been her outreach to various senior groups and individuals. She has spent countless hours informing the community – via mail, email, TV and word of mouth – of the American technology-based, Senior Planet organization, which is free to anyone over the age of 60, resulting in many sign ups to take free classes. With only five African American registered dieticians in Colorado, Nash was named Outstanding Dietitian of the year in 2016 by the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics based on her contribution to the community as well as the state. Nash says the biggest challenges facing the community are health and wellness deficits that encompass physical, social, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial issues. She says, “These challenges should be resolved through cooperative, collaborative and coordinated efforts through education and literacy – and the next big challenge is using technology.” Nash says she takes an active role in the community for two reasons: 1) If not me, who? And if not now, when? And, 2) To whom much is given, much is required. Nash says she would like to be remembered, “As someone who tried to share as much as I could, and as a servant leader. “

I n his short 21 years, Tay Anderson has been making waves. He was recently elected to the Denver School Board, making him the youngest Black elected official in Colorado history. Anderson is best known for his activism in education and as a relentless advocate for Black Lives Matter. He says that being elected to the School Board is notable, “But more than that is standing up for the African American community and showing other Black children they can give back to their community.” During his senior year in 2017 at Manual High School, Anderson says he decided to run for the School Board because, “We needed more leaders that look like our students and understand their struggles. We need them to see their leaders are actively fighting for them and not against them.” Anderson feels that police brutality is the biggest challenge facing the Black community. “We see people take oaths to serve our communities and then we see our brothers and sisters being gunned down by those who are supposed to protect and serve. We need to figure out how we can build trust in our communities with community conversation to create concrete solutions.” In the future, Anderson plans to continue serving his community in other roles, “I want to be remembered as a man who constantly defied the odds and always had God, family, and community at the forefront; and, also, as someone who didn’t try to escape the hood, but as someone who strived to give back to the hood.”

Pastor, New Covenant Christian Church/Alpha Omega Ministries

Therapist/Pastor/Business Owner Rediscovery Through Wellness

Rev. Terrence Hughes, pastor of New Covenant Christian/Alpha Omega Ministries, is best known in the Denver community for serving unhoused neighbors, standing up for the least, and for acting as an advocate for the African American community. He was selected as a delegate to represent Colorado’s Poor Peoples Campaign at the National Poor Peoples Campaign “Moral Action Congress” in Washington D.C. in June 2019. Over the last five years, Rev. Hughes most notable contribution was leading a Global Hunger Strike for Justice for Michael Marshall, a homeless mentally ill Black man who was killed by Denver deputies while in custody; while calling for, and participating in, the reform process of the Denver Detention Center.” Hughes says he chooses to take an active role because “I believe it is my duty as a pastor, representing my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to be socially vigilant by speaking truth to power to represent the underrepresented in our society.” He feels that a lack of African American teachers, lack of economic opportunities, and mass incarceration are the communities’ biggest challenges, and believes that by implementing a strong recruitment programs for teachers, ensuring the enforcement of federal contracting laws, and evaluating prosecutors charging and plea-bargaining practices, these issues can begin to be resolved. Hughes is running for Colorado House District 7 and says, “I want to help our community legislatively by listening to our community members and proactively crafting laws to meet our growing needs before a crisis.” He would like to be remembered as a drum major for justice, and caretaker of God’s people.

“I am best known for my victim advocacy work,” says Topazz McBride, owner of a private psychotherapy practice that offers free services including trauma response, counseling to mothers, support for victims of the housing system, and group therapy sessions to adolescent girls of color. “My role has also revealed a series of illegal foreclosures affecting vulnerable homeowners of color,” says McBride. Over the past year, McBride has organized and executed a victim advocacy program while negotiating appropriate housing alternatives for a 74-year old Black woman suffering from PTSD who was given a 30 day notice to vacate her home after 24 years. For the past five years, McBride has been consistent with her commitment to victim advocacy and activist work. McBride takes an active role because she says, “I believe in and live by the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, 365 days a year. I recognize the value in advocating for our own and I am cognizant of the obstacles strategically designed to keep African Americans oppressed, including micro-aggressions that stir up our Post Traumatic Slave Disorder symptoms. I am therefore, obligated with intentionality to defy and uproot adversity and anything hindering our legacies and healthy existence, to the best of my capacity.” McBride wants her legacy to be remembered as “A source of vision that empowered other Black women to strive to embrace their true and authentic self with respect and no apologies; and as someone who exemplified the change she inspired.”

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

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SPEAKING HISTORICALLY BLACK

Marcus Garvey and the Black Star Line

Reginald Lewis:

The First AfricanAmerican Business Titan

By Christian Glassiognon and Lynn Wilson

Today, on every Ghanaian

By Christian Glassiognon and Lynn Wilson

The name Reginald Lewis (1942-1993), is widely unrecognized today, but he stands as a titan of business as formidable as Andrew Carnegie or John Rockefeller. Born and raised in the neighborhood of East Baltimore, Maryland, one he describes as “semi-tough,” Lewis developed his fierce and determined, yet loyal personality from his tight-knit family. Lewis’ family always encouraged him to be the best he could be. At a young age, you could see the seeds being planted of a business magnate. Smart and a hard worker, he sold his paper route at a profit at age 10. Very athletic and a leader, he would become captain of his baseball, football, and basketball team, while also serving as vice president of his high school. In college, he graduated on the Dean’s list from Virginia State University and from Harvard Law School without formally applying. The accomplishments continued as he established a successful law firm helping companies perform leveraged buyouts (LBO). He, in turn, decided to put his hat into the ring. The first time, successfully buying and making a 90 to one investment in a struggling fabric company, McCall Pattern Co. Subsequently, he became the richest Black man in America when he orchestrated the biggest leveraged offshore

buyout of its time, Beatrice Foods, generating a recordbreaking $1.8 bllion dollars in sales under his leadership. This milestone signified the first Black-owned company to ever pass the billion-dollar mark dominating the Black Enterprise list in the 1990s. Lewis was also a passionate philanthropist. He donated $1 million to Howard University and $5 million to support the creation of The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore. Though Reginald Lewis did not dwell on race, he is a remarkable example of a Black man who has succeeded well beyond his era..

flag sits a black star, a symbol of Pan-Africanism and Black pride born from the Black Star Line. The Black Star Line began in 1919 by prolific activist and publisher, Marcus Garvey, who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914 with the motto, “One Aim. One God. One Destiny.” The organization promoted a strong brotherhood among Black Americans within the United States and the Caribbean, reaching a peak of four million members. Garvey’s sanguine messages such as, “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Pride,” were heavily punctuated by instilling the use of capitalism to achieve independence. These messages would not become popular again until the 1960’s. Garvey was also a staunch pan-Africanist and Back to Africa supporter. He founded and incorporated the Black Star Line to promote trade through the Caribbean and Africa and transport passengers to Africa. The shipping company aimed to be the coun-

terpart of the White Star Line by promoting itself as for African-Americans, by AfricanAmericans. Buying stock in BSL for $5 a share, the UNIA quickly raised $800,000 to purchase the first of three ships. The Black Star Line successfully transported people on the Hudson River, and also made symbolic port visits to cities in Latin America. However, they never made it to Africa. The line was plagued with unreliable ships, poor management, and even sabotage. The company had to cease operations in 1922 due to an investigation by the FBI. Though the company failed the Black Star lives on as a beacon of unity and economic potential to Africans and people of African descent..

720-272-5844 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2020

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“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

It’s Our Time, It’s Our Turn By Bishop Jerry Demmer - Aka Bishop Ayiku Kubi Ocansey

Peter 2:9

“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

A

Genesis 15:13-14

s I peered out the window after a 10-hour flight to Ghana for the first time in my life, a feeling overcame like never before – I’m home! We were welcomed on the tarmac with dancing and drumming. Princess Asie Ocansey from the Royal family of Ada greeted the U.S. delegation home in Royal form as escorts in Bentley’s and Mercedes waited to take us to the secured and gated five-star hotel surrounded by palm trees. After officially meeting other members of the delegation which included Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, African-American billionaire and business titan, Dr. Michael V. Roberts; author, economist, political analyst, and social

commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins, and many others, we fellowshipped and enjoyed a banquet fit for kings! This first trip for me to the Motherland was an experience of a lifetime and traveling to Cape Coast to the slave quarters and slave dungeons had very mixed emotions. I was happy to experience this place where many of us came from but I was sad at the same time as I could feel the ancestor’s spirit in the atmosphere. “From No Return to the Royal Return” was the theme of the trip and resonated over our 10 day journey, as Princess reminded us, “We were brought to the United States to be enslaved forever.” They took our language, our culture, our dignity, our heritage, and even to this very day, many of us still have a slave mentality. And unbeknownst to me, I was honored and proud to pray as

Yahweh had given me the vision of it’s our time and it’s our turn. From the curse that Yahweh told Abraham that would take place, I was blessed and honored to be chosen to pray the prayer that the curse was broken. We then proceeded into the slave dungeons. You could feel the spirits of the ancestors crying out. Their voices spoke loud and clear. The priest of the dungeons anointed us and prayed over us. As we left out of the doors of no return, Pastor Jamal Bryant led the group in prayer. The blessings continued as we were honored the next day by a chief in Cape Coast and were presented with a plot of land. In America, we never got our 40 acres and a mule but Africa said we have land to give to you – the richest country in resources – oil and diamonds. We now have access to it because the President of

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Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, had just granted 126 African Americans dual citizenship and ours is soon to follow! Our voyage continued with a trip to Ada, home of the Royal Ocansey Family and Princess Asie Ocansey whose late grandfather was the kingmaker who once had 23 wives. Again, we were treated like royalty and we feasted as such as we prepared for the Royal Renaming Ceremony. We mounted a boat that took us down a river that had 29 individual islands. Children were playing and swimming as we gazed at beautiful homes on the river banks. As we arrived to the shore, where we would celebrate our consecration of the Holy waters that had been blessed by the Ocansey elders, drums were playing - and we danced. The naming ceremony was in Ada Foah where the Volta River meets the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of five estuaries in the world where Blue Marlin fishing is available. And according to the book of Ezekiel, when ocean meets the river, the waters are healed, the only place in Ghana where the Volta river meets the same Atlantic Ocean, which was a burial place for millions of our ancestors as well as the passage to the Americas. Here we were descendants of the resilient survivors of the horrors of slavery who were


never supposed to find our way back home to Africa as our ancestors were taken through the Door Of No Return to be free labour to our ancestor’s oppressors. We had broken the spell of no return. We had been to the slave dungeons to honor the memory of our ancestors. Now we held hands and walked into the ocean together – signifying our baptism into a whole new era: according to Genesis 15:1314. We had already prayed in the dungeons to mark the end of the 400 years (1619-2019). Our baptism was to usher us into Genesis 15:14 which positions us into an “Era of Great Substance!” GLORY! When we came out we prepared to receive our new names; unaware of what they would be. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white

stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that received it.” Revelations 2:17

As I observed, the children down the way had cast their net into the ocean. I went there, and behold the net was so full it was about to burst as I thought about the scriptures Jesus had said, launch into deeper waters. We came out of the Atlanta Ocean; the same ocean where we lost our names and now where we were given our new names. There is power in a name! This is why ours was taken to take away our power as a people and then the names of our oppressors were placed on us! God changed the name of Abrahm to Abraham to signify the time of elevation from one state to a high state. He renamed Jacob, Israel and built the foundation for the future of His covenant nation. My royal name is Kwesi which means I was born on a Sunday; Ayiku which means

powerful leader; and Kubi Ocansey which my Royal surname meaning: I do as I say: literally means as I say it. I will make it happen! What powerful names God has used our African Royal family to bestow upon us on the 400th year of our history! I was adopted into the Ocansey Royal family. After getting our new names, we were all presented with new garments. It felt as though 400 years of chains were changed

STA RT YOU R

from iron to gold. From No Return to a Royal Return! Ghana has gone out of her way to welcome us back home and the experience has changed my life forever! We are going back home in July, as I will be leading a delegation from Denver. So get ready, Colorado, and let’s go home together - July 28 to August 4, 2020. Join me for a Royal Return to our Motherland, Ghana! .

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DENVERPRESCHOOL.COM Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2020

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The Museum of Black Civilizations

AHC 2019 Humanitarian Campaign Supports 2,978 Students in Senegal

By Mohamadou Cisse

By Mohamadou Cisse

T

he Museum of Black Civilizations, dubbed the world’s largest museum dedicated to Black art, culture and history, is an impressive fivestory building that sits on 150,000 square feet in the center of Dakar, the capital city of Senegal to celebrate Black civilizations across the world.

The $34 million museum, financed by the Chinese government, was inaugurated by President Macky Sall in December 2018. It contains thousands of artifacts and ancient objects documenting more than 10,000 years of Black African civilizations and is also said to have room for 18,000 artworks.

The exhibitions showcase findings from early antiquity to contemporary works, celebrating the achievements of Blacks in the United States, the Caribbean, and South America, among others. The museum is a testimony to the creativity and cultural accomplishment of ancient African societies. Lucy (Dinkinesh), one of the oldest human fossils ever found, is among the collection of the museum. Pieces of Lucy’s skeleton were found in 1974 in Ethiopia by a team of French and American anthropologists. She reportedly lived 3.2 million years ago. The exposition also shows routes that early humans took to streak out of the continent, more than 100,000 years ago to populate Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. It is the will of Senegal’s government to gather all the artifacts that were stolen during the colonial era. Governments, such as France, have agreed to return some of the looted treasures, but thousands of them are still in museums of Western countries. The Museum of Black Civilizations is the brain-child of thinkers such as Alioune Diop, Leopold S. Senghor and Aimee Cesaire, who after the devastation of World War II spearheaded the ambitious project aimed at mobilizing the African Diaspora’s intellectual and artistic resources, as a way

of contributing to the progress of the continent. Owing to its reputation as a global center for Black history and culture, Senegal’s leadership, including former President Abdoulaye Wade, have always understood the fundamental necessity of restoring and preserving Africa’s glorious past as humanity’s birthplace for the generations to come. Home for world renowned anthropologist, historian and physicist, the late Cheikh Anta Diop whose colossal, multidisciplinary works contributed to reestablishing Africa’s history, Senegal is also where Goree Island is located, which was declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Education and Culture Organization. Millions of kidnapped Africans were held in Goree Island’s dungeons and forced through the infamous “Door of No Return,” into slave ships that took them in bondage to the Americas. Goree Island is well visited throughout the year, especially during the “Diaspora Festival of RETURN” celebration. The festival seeks to build the bridge between the continent and its Diaspora. Cuba was the festival’s country of honor last November..

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frican Heritage Celebration (AHC) kicked off its campaign in November 2019, at “Le Group Scolaire” El Hadji Mamour Diop in the city of Rufisque, with a ceremony presided by Head Inspector of Education and Training Megueye, along with Yacine Fall, inspector of elementary education, parents and teachers. AHC visited the city of Diourbel where the District Inspector Cheikhou T. Sylla led the distribution of a year’s supply of school items at both Cheikh Ibra Fall and Serigne Mbaye Sarr primary schools to 1,233 children. Principal Alassane Diouf of Secka Gueye Primary School accompanied AHC to seven public institutions, where parents, teachers and students expressed their sincere gratitude for the humanitarian actions. The next stop was Keur Samba Ka, a small community of 300 people in the southern region of the country. The AHC delegation arrived after a five hour drive where the Honorable Alassane Ka, the recently elected village chief welcomed AHC. After staying two days, AHC provided supplies to students from first grade to sixth grade.


The tiny town of Minam and Mamadou Diagne Primary School of Ouakam, located on the outskirt of the capital Dakar, were the last to welcome AHC and the last gift-giving effort. Based in Denver, Colorado, AHC is a nonprofit organization supported by generous volunteers. Its humanitarian actions have reached more than 56,000 children across the country. Many of those students are now in pursuit of higher education degree or/and in training to become the country’s next generation of leaders. More than 150 Americans have participated in AHC’s trips to Africa that take place usually in late fall, when the academic year has started. When African Heritage Celebration’s volunteers visit, they engage simultaneously in humanitarian actions and life enriching experiences. The joyous expressions on the faces of thousands of children; the joy of knowing that the precious tools of education they’ve just received can help improve their lives, is contagious and deeply impacts the AHC volunteers. After the schools visits, foreigners spend days living with families in the host villages and communities, sharing foods, drinks and stories. Villagers often hold festivities to honor and entertain their guests and through drums, songs and dances, visitors and locals engage one another in discoveries of different ways of life. The cultural and social interactions that take place during the stay in communities provide spaces in which Americans, as well as Senegalese, learn to understand and appreciate a common humanity. The foreigners return home, enriched by the exposure to hospitable cultures and traditions, and many look for opportunity to relive the life-transforming experiences. For more information, visit www.ahcchildren.com. .

HATS OFF TO

Dr. Gayle Hamlett Honored with Impact Award

Dr. Gayle Hamlett was honored with the University of Denver PsyD Program Impact Award at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology’s Celebration of Impact Gala in November. Dr. Hamlett, a Colorado licensed Clinical and School Psychologist, graduated from the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program in Clinical Psychology in 1983, and matriculated in the American Psychological Associationaccredited program which was created in 1976. Dr. Hamlett has been impacting the Denver community for over 30 years. After earning a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1968, she worked in the Department of Psychiatry and Community Mental Health at Denver General Health and Hospital. As a doctoral intern, she provided clinical services to adolescents, adults, and older adults at Ft. Logan Mental Health

Center. She worked in Cherry Creek and Denver Public School systems for over two decades. Dr. Hamlett continues to serve the community and has partnered with area churches to produce cooking classes for women of color to learn about the history of foods representing their heritage and preparing meals that highlight the nutritional values of food and promote the health and wellbeing of the students and their families. She also addresses health disparities and food deserts.

Sisters In Service Announce The 2020 Heart of Gold Awardees Sisters in Service will host its 20th annual Heart of Gold Scholarship and Community Awards Breakfast on Saturday,

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070 http://ucm.ctsmemberconnect.net

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

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Feb. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Embassy Suite Hotel in Denver. This year’s honorees are Cheryl Williams-Carter (Youth Advocates Award), ColoradoBeautillion, Inc.; Patricia Fontenot (Outstanding Community Service Award), Colorado Futuretek; Coach John Sullivan (Outstanding Leadership Award), Vista Peak High School; Brandon L. Bruce (Outstanding Fraternity Member of the Year), Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Denver Alumnae Chapter; and Ron Fontenot Sr. (Outstanding Community Service Award), Colorado Futuretek. Tickets are $50 and proceeds will benefit the SIS Scholarship Fund. For tickets or more information, visit www.sistersinservice1.org, email sistersinservice1@comcast.net or call Jerilyn Hitch-Fuller at 303-333-7276.


ALL CAUSES HAVE ADVOCATES. BUT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV ONLY A CHAMPION WILL DO. Introducing Vivent Health, founded on the combined expertise of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Rocky Mountain CARES and St. Louis Effort for AIDS. And steadfastly dedicated to serving anyone and everyone affected by HIV through our comprehensive prevention, care and treatment programs. Learn more at ViventHealth.org

Exercise: Proven to Boost Mental Health By Kim Farmer

Through the

decades, research has shown that exercise has many physical benefits for the body. Countless studies have shown that regular exercise results in a healthy body weight, improved stamina, increased energy, and improved functioning of the joints and muscles. About 20 years ago, reports started to appear that exercise also leads to improved mental health and the overall wellbeing of the individual. Individuals who exercised regularly stated that they felt mentally stable, were better able to concentrate, had a happier mood, and remained focused and motivated. Today, exercise is widely advocated for improvements in mental health for both healthy individuals and individuals with medical illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, Parkinson disease, COPD and so on. Over the past few years, many studies have concluded that there is a strong link between physical fitness and improvements in executive function and cognitive health. In fact, several studies have used imaging studies to show that exercise can boost the white matter in the brain and prevent atrophy of certain neurons that play a role in cognitive functions.  The benefits of exercise to the brain are both immediate and long term. Immediately after exercise, you will start to feel

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fresh, energetic, and rejuvenated. With time, exercise will not only improve cognitive performance but also lead to enhanced self-esteem and confidence. Exercise also helps attain better concentration, maintain focus and reverses the depressed mood. So what type of exercise can you do to energize and refresh the brain? Based on clinical reports, almost any exercise benefits the brain, even walking. However, this is not a one-shot deal and the exercise has to be performed regularly and consistently. For example, you can walk briskly for 3045 minutes, 4-5 times a week, or swim, cycle, aerobics or perform workouts on gym equipment. The important thing is to be consistent and regular. To avoid boredom, you should incorporate a variety of exercises. Who should exercise to gain the mental health benefits? Exercise to boost mental health can be done by people of all ages. Even individuals who have health-related problems can benefit from exercise. There is ample research to show that patients who exercise tend to have a lower risk of dementia and improved cognitive scores until late in life. In addition, studies show that patients with diseases of the heart, lung, joints, muscle, etc., all tend to feel mentally better about themselves and feel invigorated. The mental health benefits of exercise persist into old age. How does exercise improve brain health? In general, exercise leads to better conditioning of the body, lowers the body weight, decreases body cholesterol and blood sugar and reduces blood pressure, all these physical benefits also translate into positive mental health. When individuals feel that they are looking better, they automatically start to feel better about themselves and develop more confidence. In addition, it is believed Continued on next page


Four Ways to Prevent Heart Disease with Lifestyle By Dr. Erynn M. Burks A Nation of Broken Hearts “Heart disease” describes a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. While there are many types of heart disease, coronary artery disease is the most common. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world, contributing to over 15 million deaths each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease kills 1 out of every 4

Exercise Continued from previous page that exercise increases blood flow to the brain and causes a release of a variety of neurotransmitters, some of which increase the threshold for pain and others which make you feel happy, content and satisfied. Finally, it is important to understand that in order to derive the positive mental benefits of exercise one also has to eat healthy, discontinue smoking, and limit the amount of alcohol. If you are showing signs of depression or anxiety, exercise could be just what you need to start feeling better, so try to incorporate movement into your daily life as often as you can, preferably most days of the week to feel the benefits. Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers inhome personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email thrive@milehighfitness.com.

Americans. Presently, over 28 million Americans have some form of heart disease, and nearly half of the US population has at least one risk factor. Poorly managed heart disease puts individuals at an increased risk for heart failure, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and internal bleeding, peripheral artery disease, and sudden cardiac arrest. In addition to its physical burden, heart disease exerts a significant financial burden as well, costing the United States $219 billion dollars every year in direct and indirect costs including clinical services, hospitalizations, medications, and rehabilitation. Despite this, changes to your lifestyle habits can help prevent heart disease before it begins.

Are You at Risk? Heart disease risk factors are broken into two categories: modifiable risks and non-modifiable risks. Modifiable risk factors can be changed with lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions and account for the majority of heart disease risk in the general population. In fact, for many people, managing modifiable risks is enough to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Modifiable risk factors include: •Smoking •Dyslipidemia (abnormal blood lipids): -High total cholesterol (Total cholesterol over 200 mg/dL) -High LDL cholesterol (LDL over 130 mg/dL) -Low HDL cholesterol (HDL less than 40 mg/dL) •High blood pressure (Blood pressure over 130/80)• •Diabetes •Obesity/overweight (BMI of 25 or higher) •Inactivity •Poor diet •Stress Non-modifiable risk factors do not change with lifestyle or any other intervention. Nonmodifiable risk factors include: •Age •Gender •Family History/Genetics

4 Ways to Reduce Your Risk Lifestyle interventions for heart disease may focus on a variety of areas, but managing modifiable risk factors is key. Lifestyle medicine practitioners focus on four main areas when helping our patients address heart disease treatment and prevention: smoking, diet, exercise, and stress management. 1. Smoking. Smoking doubles your risk of heart disease and heart disease complications like heart attack and stroke. Currently, there are seven approved medications for smoking cessation: two prescription therapies—Zyban and Chantix—and five nicotine replacement therapies (i.e., patches, lozenges, gum, inhaler/puffer, nasal spray). Combined with cessation counseling, medication is highly effective for helping individuals quit. Quitting smoking offers both short and long-term benefits for heart disease prevention including a decrease in blood pressure and long-term heart attack risk. 2. Diet. Adopting a healthful diet is an important and impactful method for preventing, treating, and reversing heart disease. Research has shown that vegan diets, in which an individual does not consume any animal products (i.e., meat, dairy), may be especially helpful in promoting disease reversal in heart disease patients. Individuals looking to minimize their risk should consider adopting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other high fibers foods, and low in salt (less than 1500 mg per day), added sugars (less than 20g per day), saturated fat, and cholesterol (less than 300 mg per day). 3. Exercise. Exercise is an important part in maintaining your overall health, but it is especially important for heart disease prevention. Establishing an exercise habit can help reduce heart disease risk factors like diabetes, dyslipidemia, and

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

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obesity/overweight. Exercise can also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in individuals who already have the disease. Before you begin an exercise program, consult with your healthcare provider to make sure that it is safe. The current exercise recommendations for adults are: •Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, running, biking, swimming) for 30 minutes/day at least 5 days per week •Strength training of major muscle groups (e.g., free weights, resistance bands, calisthenics) at least 2 days per week •Flexibility training with full body stretching at least 2-3 days per week 4. Stress management. Research suggests that chronic stress increases exposure to stress hormones (e.g., cortisol) and inflammatory markers that may increase an individual’s risk for heart disease over time. Methods for managing stress well include: •Socialization—Spending time with family and friends increases levels of the hormone oxytocin in the body which blocks the rise in stress hormones like cortisol. •Positive Thinking—Our thoughts impact the way our bodies feel and research has shown that maintaining a positive outlook can reduce stress hormones and improve immune function. •Laughter—Researchers from Loma Linda University found that laughter reduces cortisol levels and boosts immune function. •Meditation—Several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Give your mind a break by setting aside time to quietly reflect or pray at least once every day.. Editor’s note: For more information about Dr. Erinn M. Burks, services, location and hours of operatioin, visit www.MyCherryPointe.com.


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LOU DONALDSON Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2020

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Color Me Proud! Name_____________________________ School___________________________ Age__________ Grade __________ Address_____________________ City_______________________ Phone_____________________

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 Monday, Feb. 24.

Commentator Joy-Anne Reid


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

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

Bad Boys for Life llll Samantha Ofole-Prince

Twenty-five years after Bad

Boys, 17 years after Bad Boys II, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back for one last ride in Bad Boys for Life, a movie which doesn’t disappoint. Though so many years have passed, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who play polar opposite police detectives, have picked up right where they left off furnishing the same fun and

brilliant banter as they did years ago. Mike (Smith) is the same guy he’s always been, brash and cocky with a penchant for catching the bad guys while Marcus (Lawrence), the down-to-earth family man, is starting to think it’s time to retire. As the film opens, a Porsche screeches through the streets of Miami with Mike and Marcus seemingly in hot pursuit of

something, but when they make it to their destination, there is no shootout to be had or bad guys to handcuff for the two have arrived at a hospital in time to see the birth of Marcus’ grandson, Marcus junior, who Mike jokes, has his grandfather’s protruding ears. There is humor and plenty of riffs initially, but the film really gets moving when it’s discovered a vengeful head of a drug cartel, Isabel (Kate Del Castillo), has escaped a maximum-security cell in Mexico City and is on a mission to take out those responsible for putting her behind bars. This criminal overlord from Mike’s past, along with her lethal son, Armando (Jacob Scipio) has a list of folks including the forensics scientist, judge and several others responsible for her demise and when it’s discovered Mike’s on her list Marcus is forced to abandon retirement to help protect his friend. Smith’s high energy and intensity and Lawrence’s laidback humor bring out the best in one another and both are rejoined by familiar faces from the first two films, including Theresa Randle, reprising her role as Marcus’ wife, Theresa, Bianca Bethune as Marcus’ daughter Megan and Captain Howard, played by character actor Joe Pantoliano. New faces joining the team include Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander

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

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Ludwig and Charles Melton who are part of the Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO) tasked with helping Mike and Marcus. There’s a lot of fun with that old school versus new school theme as AMMO has introduced high-tech investigative tactics to the Miami P.D. that Mike and Marcus are not familiar with and the film also amplifies the comical differences between Mike and Marcus by exploring how each one deals with getting older. The key to the Bad Boys saga is the energy and chemistry between its stars for the pairing of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith simply generates a winning comic chemistry. The soundtrack throbs with selections from Black Eyed Peas, J Balvin, Meek Mill, City Girls, Jaden Smith, and, of course, Inner Circle, whose popular cops theme inspires the picture’s title. .

Makeup Artist is Hopeful With Encouragment By Samantha Ofole-Prince It tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes and has received several accolades including 10 NAACP Image Awards nominations. For award-winning makeup artist Angie Wells, who has worked on several high-profile period films, it’s a film highly deserving of the recognition. Harriet received NAACP Image Award nominations for best soundtrack, outstanding motion picture, and best director for Kasi Lemmons, supporting acting nods for Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe and a best actress and breakthrough performance for its lead actress Cynthia Erivo, who also received two Oscar nomination nods.


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“Harriet is one of the great people who walked on the earth and I hope it encourages people to learn more about her for it’s important to appreciate what she had to go through,” says Wells, a makeup artist and hair stylist whose film and television credits include the period drama Mudbound and ABC’s “Black-ish.” Hair and makeup were key to recreating how the 19th century characters would have looked and for Wells, who endured several weeks of research, it was imperative to accurately depict the look of that era. “When I looked up photos of slaves, the photos I found when they were at their homes with their families were not dirty. The only time you would see dirt is when they were in the fields. Their clothes may not have been fashionable and may have been worn and a little stained because they were not getting new clothes all the time, but they were not dirty and it was really important for me to show that. I wanted to be as authentic as I could.” For Harriet, played by Cynthia Erivo, Wells worked through different techniques changing her look as she evolves into a heroine. “When she becomes Harriet, I make her features sharper to show her beautiful cheekbones.

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No contouring and no real shading, but as she became Harriet, I shaded and highlighted to give a little more definition to the face because Harriet has a very intense look. Cynthia also helped by using her facial expression, which brought intensity to the look,” she continues. “It’something people may not be conscious of, but as a makeup artist and someone who is aware of the total look of the face, I appreciated that,” adds Wells, a jazz singer who was touring in France when she received the call to work on the film. “My agent said there is a project I am going to submit you for called Harriet Tubman and they called me back and said they want you. They sent me the script and I remember thinking this is not a slave drama, this is an action superhero movie. Harriet is someone I admire and I wanted to see it told the way it was written as we have all seen enough slave movies. This is a historical story that needed to be told in a way that even children can enjoy it to see her as a woman and not just as a mythical character,” adds the Philadelphia native. . Editor’s note: The NAACP Image Awards will be on BET on Sat., Feb. 22, and the Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 9 in Hollywood.

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COLORFUL STORIES

See See me Hear Hear me

Denver Urban Spectrum presents stories of tribulation, courage and triumph Janet Buckner • Beyond Beyond Grief

eyond Domestic Abuse Rose Andom • BBeyond Elycia Cook • BBeyond eyond Sexual Abuse Stephanie McCoy-Johnson • BBeyond eyond Addiction Melissa Martinez • BBeyond eyond Suicide

Simone D. Ross • Luncheon Emcee

Geta and Janice Asfaw Honorary Chairs

Saturday, May 16, 2020 • 11AM to 2 PM Renaissance Hotel - Denver, CO

For sponsorship opportunities and more information, call 303-292-6446

SAVE THE DATE

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AROUND TOWN •

WWW.DENVERURBANSPECTRUM.COM

• PHOTO GALLERY • AROUND TOWN

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2020 Marade

Photos by Lens of Ansar

MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champions Photos by Lens of Ansar Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2020

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“Royalty Serving Royalty” Seven Days A Week Sunday/Monday by appointment only

Sharita - 303-994-7264 Tajh - 303-335-8416 1428 & 1430 E.22nd Ave. Denver, CO 80205

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 Dr. Tracey Jones, D.C. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2020

34

•Chiropractic Care •Physical Therapy •Nutritional Council •Custom Orthotics •Car Accidents •Neck and Back Pain •Sports Injuries •Headaches & Migraines •Work Injuries •Pain & Numbness in Arms & Legs

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Open to the General Public

V OLU NTEERS , EXHIBITORS & S P ONSORS NEEDED, PLE ASE RES P ON D AS SBOYOJNAA NSUAPR OYSS3IB 1!LE!

18th Annual Collaborative

HEALTH FAIR Saturday February 15, 2020 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Renaissance Stapleton Hotel 3801 Quebec St / Denver 80207

FOR MORE INFO

caahealth.org / (303) 355-3423 / john@caahealth.org

Take advantage of FREE health screenings (valued at more than $1,000) and family activities: • Physical Exams • Prostate Screenings • Holistic Care/Meditation • Dance & Exercise • Community Resources & Services • Giveaways • Exhibitors • 2020 Census Information

PROUD MEMBER OF


Bridge Speaker and Rachel B. Noel Professorship Wednesday, February 26

Thursday, February 27

Shorter Community AME Church 3100 Richard Allen Court Denver CO, 80205 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Tivoli Turnhalle 900 Auraria Parkway Denver CO, 80204 11–noon

Joy-Ann Reid

RSVP at msudenver.edu/noel/

Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2020 Black History Issue  

To celebrate Black History Month, Denver Urban Spectrum features MSMBC commentator Joy Reid as the cover story, shares the story of two Blac...

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2020 Black History Issue  

To celebrate Black History Month, Denver Urban Spectrum features MSMBC commentator Joy Reid as the cover story, shares the story of two Blac...