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Over the past year, he has taught dance and performed at Juneteenth, and many community functions and events. He partnered with the Black Health Collaborative, performing at the African American Health 5k Walk and Run. Charles created a dance for Denver’s City Spirit Month, and the City Spirit Shuffle is taught to city employees and performed every August. He is active because “I have always believed that we need to move our bodies more in a fun and interactive way while improving our health. I love my community and I want to see people get up and walk, run, dance and enjoy themselves. “Health and wellness is a big challenge in our community. If we understand that our body is our temple then we can be at peace within ourselves. Dancing keeps your mind working and thinking about that next step,” he says. “Getting out in the community and being more involved can only strengthen our community.” Future goals are to offer affordable line dance classes all over town and to create greater opportunities for more to participate. Charles says he would like to be remembered as a person that did his best and tried to make a difference in people’s lives, someone who wanted to give back to the community with the gift God gave him and loved what he did – got the community to dance!

Chuck Sagere

Barber/Co-Owner, Montbello Barbers President, Montbello Falcons Youth Organization

Chuck Sagere

is very active in the community and best known as a friend and supporter to the Montbello-Green Valley neighborhoods. He is a mentor for youth, coach for the Montbello Falcons and has strong relationships with his customers that are expressed as friendly and compassionate. His most recognized contribution to the African American community over the past five years has been taking over ownership of the Montbello Barbers and supporting the community by providing space for events like Shop Talk Live. He is most proud of being part of the coaching staff of the two-time national championship youth football team, the Montbello Falcons. They won 35 games straight in 2015 and 2016 and consisted of 12 and 13 years old boys. When asked why he takes an active role, Chuck says, “Following in my Mother’s footsteps Marva Crawford, I

love my community. And one must act in order to create change.” He says, “Getting people to believe they can create positive changes by being active and enjoying what our communities offer is a challenge for the African American community. Loving life in the community we reside in gives us the pride and power we need to create positive change.” Future plans are to get the community to come together and mentor our youth – our future leaders – to be confident, and self-respecting citizens for the rest of their lives. Chuck would like to be remembered as a friend to the community – a coach, a mentor and advisor to all.

Jicelyn Johnson

Director, Black Business Initiative

Jicelyn Johnson is best known as advocate and promoter for Blackowned businesses and wealth building. During the past year, building the Black Business Initiative, an economic revitalization program for the Black community and by the Black community, has been Jicelyn’s most notable and recognized contribution to the African American community. Additionally, she opened a homeschool co-op for Black families. Started in 2014, the Black Business Initiative is a resource and safe space for Black entrepreneurs to work on their business in a community setting. Jicelyn says she is active because, “I have always had a passion to fight injustice. When I learned of the history behind our businesses and the power of the economic attack on our community, I was driven to do something to change our values and change our circumstances.” She says, “Our challenges are so intertwined, deeply rooted and largely structural and systemic that it is difficult to name which is the largest. But, I would assert that having economic leverage would be the cornerstone needed to build in other areas such as employment, housing, education, justice and media.” In the future, Jicelyn would like to work towards a greater spirit of collaboration and resources within the Black community in Metro Denver and * across other metropolitan areas internationally to provide support for equity across the diaspora. “I would first like to be remembered by my family by building generational wealth. I would like to be remembered in my community as a leader who lived with integrity and helped to unite the community,” she says.

Joe Gilliom

President/Founder, Unity in Disasters, Inc.

Joe Gilliom is best known as goodwill ambassador from Georgia. During the past year, his most notable contribution to African American communities was providing relief supplies to more than 150 churches for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston, Texas. From 2014 to 2016, Unity in Disasters provided food and supplies to an estimated 5,414 families and relief supplies for more than 3,000 flood survivors in the Houston African American Community. The Mayor of Houston presented Gilliom with a proclamation making December 14, 2017 Unity in Disasters Day. Joe says he takes an active role because, “While going through the bible study guide from the book “Purpose Driven Life” in 2006, helping victims of disasters became my calling that turned into my passion. As a result of the ministry, finding ways to help during non-disasters was birthed such as in-kind donations from our network of donors.” Joe says the challenge facing the African-American community is not having a seat at the table during planning and think tanks. He says the solution is to insist that elected officials help to be placed on the invite list. Joe would like to open at least one Unity in Disasters chapter in 10 states across the U.S. He would like to help more than 4,000 families annually with food and supplies within those states. In the past nine years he has received more than $1,000,000 of inkind donations with the one chapter. Joe says, “I would like to be remembered as a person who cared more about helping people in need than making money and paying huge salaries.” Leonard “Graffiti” Johnson

Visual Designer, Social Influencer, Podcast Personality

L eonard “Graffiti” Johnson is a known for his visual design work, social influence and host of the “Life is Dope” Podcast. This year, “Graffiti” was awarded the National Association of Black Journalism 2017 Social Influencer of the Year award for his ability to gather peers, challenge

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2018

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them to unite, speak out and open their hearts and minds to the perspectives and opinions of others to collectively create active change in communities. Over the past few years, he has received several “Graphic Designer of the Year” awards and numerous certificates from nonprofit organizations for charitable contributions for design services. Graffiti says, “I choose to be active and give back because it is my obligation as a young Black male. I was raised by a single mother in Montbello and fought every day not to become a product of the negative side of my environment. If I do not use my God given artistic and social talents to help unite and better my community, then I am only contributing to the problems.” He feels the biggest challenges facing the African-American community are financial illiteracy, lack of Black ownership, lack of trust and respect amongst our peers, fear of change, and disconnect between the elders and the youth. These challenges can be resolved by creating conversation and open dialogue without judgement, ridicule or aggressive behaviors. In the future he would like to build and maintain media companies that will provide jobs and services for the urban community. He would like to be remembered as a man of genuine love, honesty and passion; a solid father, husband and friend. And someone who has positively inspired everyone he has come in contact with.

Leslie L. Juniel

Senior Program Manager, Equity Initiatives Culture, Denver Public Schools Equity and Leadership Team

L eslie Juniel is best known for being committed, reliable and willing to support the endeavors of others. While she has led several large-scale events, lending her support to the efforts of others is what she says she is most proud of. Over the last 20 years, her primary focus has been on educating and empowering young people to make smart choices and decisions, and to be their best selves. For the past year, Leslie has been leading efforts to improve the experiences of African-American students, staff and families in DPS. Leslie says, “I never do things for recognition. I am driven to make contributions to my community because it’s the right thing to do. For the last five years my primary focus has been advocating for students to ensure they

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2018  

Preserving Black History When you work at something you often wonder how your efforts are received or even if they are worthy. But, it’s alw...

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2018  

Preserving Black History When you work at something you often wonder how your efforts are received or even if they are worthy. But, it’s alw...