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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. A dream that one day we would live in a world with opportunity for all. Today you dream about becoming a doctor or an inventor, an engineer or musician, an athlete or a great leader in your community, and we believe in you. Because at Safeway, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to make their dreams a reality.



Volume 26 Number 10

January 2012

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


MANAGING EDITOR Sheila Smith COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Angelle Fouther Tanya Ishikawa Shangra-La Sheila Smith ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

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


ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANTS Dale Carroll Rodney Sturgeon Julius Williams WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR Tanya Ishikawa DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2012 by Rolado, LLC. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

Without knowing what the New Year will bring, we enter it in mind, body and spirit with excitement and anticipation. However, the Denver Urban Spectrum is very proud of all the 12 issues published last year and take you down memory lane with our year–in–review. As in years past, we dedicate this January issue to the beliefs, values and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a schedule of events honoring this great civil rights leader. Read more about what happened at a public safety forum held in the Five Points as city leaders look for answers on improving the strained relationship between those in the community and Denver’s police department. So it will be interesting to see the outcome of what changes occur within the Denver Police Department under the reins of a new police chief. It times to get into shape. Take a moment and see what Shangra-La says about sticking to your New Year’s resolutions and being healthy. Besides being physically fit, it’s a good idea to go into the New Year with a mindset of being financially healthy. I attended a fantastic E*TRADE jazzy moneywise seminar co-sponsored by the Urban League of Metro Denver where financial experts provided answers on how African-Americans can get over this recessional economic hump – through investing and better personal financial budgeting. Read my article on being more financially sound in the New Year. Contributor Tanya Ishikawa gives us more insight in her review on the movie Pariah. And be prepared - the Urban Spectrum is gearing up to celebrate its 25th anniversary in April 2012, which we hope you all will be a part of. Once again, we appreciate all our readers and their support. We love that you will move forward with us into the New Year as we continuing spreading the news about communities of color. May God Bless you All. Sheila Smith Managing Editor


SFIA Director Seeks Donations For Fayola Men

Editor: Sims-Fayola International Academy (SFIA) is unique in many ways, but one of the coolest ways we are different is that we require our young men to dress for success. Our young men wear our signature burgundy blazers and burgundy and gold ties each day. Not only will you be able to spot a “Fayola Man” anywhere, you will notice a little something different in their attitude and behavior. It’s amazing the change that a blazer and tie can have on a young man’s perspective. Parents often ask how much is the tuition at our school and we always say.... FREE! The only cost that families will pay is a $50 blazer and tie fee each year that goes towards blazer storage and cleaning over the summer. Several members of the community have stepped up and sponsored families already. Will you do the same? Please consider donating $50, $25, or $10 towards this scholarship funds for families who may find this cost challenging. You will be helping a young man get a quality education that’s structured specifically for them. Your donations are tax deductible! Thank you in advance for helping us “Engage The World One Young Man At A Time”.

Alton Clark Vice President Board of Directors Sims-Fayola International Academy “Engaging The World One Young Man At A Time”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Denver Urban Spectrum: 2011 Year-In-Review This is a brand new year as the

Denver Urban Spectrum will continue spreading the news about people of color. But we just can’t forget some of the great things that happened in 2011. One in particular, was it being an exciting election year where another African-American became the 45th mayor of Denver – Michael Hancock. There wasn’t this much excitement stirring in the Black community since Wellington Webb had on his tennis shoes and walked the streets of Denver campaigning to be mayor. Mayor Hancock got to work right away putting his cabinet in place with key appointments of new emerging movers and shakers, including hiring an African-American police chief. Not once but twice, the president of the United States visited our fair city. President Barack Obama rallied thousands while speaking at Lincoln High School and pushing his jobs bill. He then came back to address college students at the Auraria campus While this emerged as a year of political gain and momentum, it continues to be a rocky road economically for many people and businesses. Hopefully, we can move down that road to recessional recovery together. So taking a look back at the year 2011, we revisit the many events that unfolded, lives that were changed, and individuals who have made a difference.

January 2011

This is the time we take to pause with the rest of the country in remembering the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This issue looked at a Black leader following in King’s footsteps. Terrance Carroll ended his eight-year career in the Colorado House of Representatives. He was born a year after King was killed. Carroll never knew King but said he made an impact on his life. Carroll commented the highest point in his political career was being elected House Speaker. He was most proud of initiating legislation that renamed the stretch of highway between I-70 and Brighton Boulevard the Tuskegee Airman Memorial Highway. The former state representative has a lot on his plate after politics. He is now with Greenberg Traurig Law Firm working with the AfricanAmerican Civic Engagement Initiative.

By Sheila Smith

April 2011

Like King, Carroll plans to stay out on the front lines of helping improve opportunities for African-Americans. Xavier Saccomanno might have faced his biggest mixed martial arts fight in the ring, but it doesn’t compare to the heartache after the death of his 10-year-old son, Xavier Jr. who died in 2009. As part owner of the Battle Ground MMA, Saccomanno turned his grief into helping train other children in martial arts fighting. Also in the January issue, readers were informed of the a special community event from the previous month, when 300 new bicycles were given to 5th and 6th graders as part of the Annual Arches of Hope Bicycle Give-A-Way.

Hill, youth pastor and head coach of little league football; Julia Gayles, office manager and council aid; Kenneth Crowley, founder and director of the Crowley Foundation; Latrice Norwood, assistant to the president of the Urban League of Metro Denver; Lucille Johnson, director of Health Initiative with the Center for AfricanAmerican Health; Mike Giles, martial arts instructor and character development coach; Narcy Jackson, executive director of Athletics & Beyond; Robbie Bean, retired educator; G Rodney Bates, owner of Randall’s and Bates; Rosalyn Reese, multicultural outreach coordinator with the Alzheimer’s Association; Sonya Police, founder of Building Connections; Stephanie Hall, senior credit analyst with Champion Bank; and Vern Howard, owner of A’Star’s Photography and Printing.

February 2011

For February, traditionally celebrated as Black History Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum chose to honor businessman/entrepreneur Geta Asfaw and his family. They prove how anyone can live the American dream through their McDonald franchises, and build a life and family dedicated to generous contributions to the Denver community. This issue spotlighted Asfaw, an American who immigrated from Ethiopia and not only sets an example as a businessman but gives back with philanthropic activities in the locally and internationally. Asfaw and his wife Janice stated, “We always believe the most important way to help children is to give them an education. It is a tool they use to be on their own and make something of their lives.” Black History Month was truly a time to recognize individuals making a difference in the community. The 24th Annual Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Awards honored several African-American men and women in the Denver community. We also featured the Denver Urban Spectrum’s African-Americans Who Make a Difference. The list included Alice Langley, retired school teacher; Allen Smith, principal; Carneice White, retired school teacher; DaShaud Perkins, founder and choreographer of Solid Confidence; Joseph

March 2011

For Women’s Month in March, our issue celebrated the achievements of women in our community. Tracy Jenkins Winchester has definitely made her mark as general manager and vice president of the multicultural national cable television station CoLours TV—a station aimed at bringing programming about people of color. The idea behind the station is to offer positive images of not only African Americans, but also Latinos, Asians and Native Americans. There have been several women music icons who have performed in Denver. So we couldn’t forget to pay tribute to jazz artists like tenor saxophonist Pamela Williams, keyboardist Gail Johnson, violinist Brooke “Viosocialist” Alford and snazzy vocalist Linda Theus-Lee, who all brought Jazz to the City at the Colorado Jazz and R&B Lovers Festival in Clement Park.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


The Urban Spectrum put this month’s spotlight on veteran journalist Jon Bowman, who has created a wonderful life for himself. At age 62, Bowman is still Denver’s leading newsman. However, contrary to his success, Bowman is still bothered about the low number of Blacks working in the television industry. “It’s a tough nut to crack, as to how we ever get to a point where everybody’s an equal, and you don’t have to look at race,” he said. Nonetheless, Bowman likes to summarize his life: “It’s like the Jimmy Stewart movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’” Nationally known author and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant came to the Mile High City for a healing workshop and promote the release of her book, “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up.” One of the newest businesses to open up in Five Points – Coffee At The Point – gets a high five. Coffee and tea connoisseurs have certainly enjoyed a variety of flavors, along with soups, pastries and sandwiches. In step with its 40th anniversary season, the renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble hosted Dance Africa 2011. April’s issue also highlighted the 2011 mayoral candidates – Michael Hancock, Chris Romer, Carol Boigon, Doug Linkhart, James Mejia, Jeff Peckman, Theresa Spahn, and Thomas Wolf.

May 2011

This month’s issue delved into the roots of Hispanic culture and the Cinco De Mayo celebration. Cinco de Mayo may be a Mexican holiday that every African American should celebrate with all the Mariachi music and culinary delights during the festive occasion. But you can’t compare the Hispanic holiday to that of Juneteenth, where African Americans remained under scrutiny of slavery in the state of Texas for two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed to end slavery. Cinco de Mayo is also an American Civil War holiday, Continued on page 6

Tracy Winchester Appointed As New Executive Director Of The FPBD


he Board of Directors for the Five Points Business District (FPBD) named Tracy Jenkins Winchester as the new executive director of the FPBD. Winchester replaces Wil Alston who stepped down from the executive director position after Mayor Michael B. Hancock appointed him as the director of communications for the City and County of Denver. The business development office has been led on an interim basis by Dante James, a local attorney who was formerly the executive director of the Center for Progressive Leadership. Winchester joins the FPBD after serving as the President and CEO of CoLours TV, where she has worked since its inception. She is a 26 year cable television veteran, who has held several executive and management positions in programming and marketing at the corporate headquarters of Jones Intercable, Inc. (acquired by Comcast Cable) and the regional office for Fox Family Channel (acquired by ABC Family Channel) prior to becoming Vice President and General Manager and then President/CEO of CoLours TV. Winchester built the channel from a regional audience of 250,000 in the year 2000, to 17 million households nationwide. Early in her career, Winchester also worked in Washington, D.C. with Members of the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate as a press and legislative assistant. Over the course of her career, she has served on several boards of directors including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and the Colorado Convention Center. Winchester has

received national recognition for her leadership from numerous organizations including the National Association of Women in Cable & Telecommunications, Cable TV Public Affairs Association, CTAM, and the Walter Kaitz Foundation. In 2009, she received the Colorado Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award and her cable career was included in the national Cable Center’s Hauser Oral and Video History Collection. Winchester holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center and earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors from Boston College. “As a former executive in the cable industry who built a multi-cultural

network from the ground up, Tracy has the skills to take the Five Points Business District to the next level,” says Alison Wadle the Board Chair for the FPBD. “She understands the mechanics of start-up organizations and knows what it takes to make them grow.” Councilman Albus Brooks from District 8 was also impressed by Winchester, “The hiring process for the role was very competitive, but the board and our stakeholders were all very impressed with Tracy’s vision and energy. It is clear that she is a natural collaborator. I look forward to working with her to continue the important work that we began with Wil Alston.”

Winchester began her new role the first week of December. “I’m thrilled to have been chosen as the new Executive Director of the FPBD. I look forward to working with the business owners, residents and board of directors for the FPBD to advance the revitalization of Welton St. in a way that honors the rich history and culture of the area while attracting neighborhood serving businesses. I am committed to promoting Five Points as a destination and polishing this jewel in our city.”  Editor’s note: For more information or to contact Tracy Winchester, call 303-8335000.

CONGRATULATIONS! METRO STATE GRADUATES —your future is now! Thank you for choosing Metropolitan State College of Denver. Your hard work and dedication inspire us to continue providing Colorado students with a high-quality academic experience—relevant and rich with diversity. You are a vital resource to Colorado’s economy.

Good luck

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


DUS, 2011 Year In Review

Continued from page 4 where Mexicans stood up in defending their freedom and democracy. We also shared with you about Su Teatro, the offspring of theatre arts at the University of Colorado-Denver that continues to reflect on the positive identity of the Latino community through a thriving artistic venue showcased in the historic Denver Civic Theatre in the Santa Fe Arts District.

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This issue also took a look at how the Dahlia Square was finally being resurrected after 20 years. The land was cleared for a clean slate to begin new development and get it back once again to being an asset in the Northeast Park Hill community. DUS also paid tribute to Denver’s late City Councilwoman Carla Madison

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How can you not celebrate this month as Black History Music Month and the genre of Black music that has impacted this country. This issue paid homage to the great jazz musician Gerald Albright. A self-produced musician, Albright has sold over one million albums in the United States. His latest CD, “Pushing the Envelope,” has a polished soul/vibe sound and was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Albright explains that his greatest reward is watching people enjoy his music and being on stage looking out at all the smiling faces. He states how he hopes his music becomes a venue to help people feel better. It’s nice to fill a void in the music scene, especially when does it by blasting the Internet airwaves. Gary Ashton created the Jazz/R&B station for Denver’s metropolitan area, as an opportunity to crosspromote musical artists and other local talent. Hip Hop artist Ietef Vita may write, produce and perform his brand of music, but

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


also works as a community activist and crusades for food justice. Many low-income communities are swarmed with fast food chains and processed and genetically modified foods that pose health risks, according to Vita, who describes these foods “as straight poison.” The 2011 Juneteenth kicked off another symbolic festival for Denver’s Black community. The festival provided a variety of art and food venues and plenty of soulful music from local talent.

July 2011

The Urban Spectrum cover this month showed the appreciation we have for the 25th Annual Black Arts Festival in giving back to the community, providing a stage for local talent, stimulating cultural awareness, and cultivating harmony, pride, unity and an appreciation of Black arts. Co-founder of the three-day festival Perry Ayers said he never wanted the Black Arts Festival to become predictable and has kept it fresh for the community. This month we also recapped Michael Hancock’s road to becoming Denver’s mayor. Having a challenging upbringing, Hancock recalled his childhood that led him to success: “The challenges I faced growing up taught me a lot about myself although I did not realize it at the time that they were teaching me anything. Those challenges taught me that perseverance and faith, which I still use today to get me through the tough times.” The Urban Spectrum took an up close and personal look at those artists who performed at The Annual Genuine Jazz & Wine Festival in Copper Mountain – vocalist Julius known as the man with the 1,000 voices, neo-saxophonist Eric Darius and innovative guitarist Stanley Jordan.

August 2011

He’s a winner! Michael Hancock graced our August cover as the Honorable Mayor Michael Hancock.

He was inaugurated as Denver’s 45th mayor and more than 2,000 attendees joined him during the swearing in ceremony at the Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. His speech left a tangible mark on the citizens and his vision for Denver. “Denver is brimming with possibility. Now is the time for all of us to come together to turn our dreams and aspirations into reality. Now is the time, Denver…..” said the newly elected Mayor Hancock. The Urban Spectrum spotlighted a few other individuals who stood out in the community. Ryan Ross, dean of students and retention a Community College of Denver, is serving as a role model for promoting inclusiveness. Joyce Marie Davis has spent more than five decades serving as minister of music at Zion Baptist Church. She was a sought-after choir director who led choirs and musical groups all over the country and touched the lives of many singers and musicians. This was another great year for Urban Spectrum writers who won several awards during the 18th Annual Colorado Association of Black Journalists Media Awards. The publication itself even won the “Overall Excellence” award in the print category. “It is a true statement to our goal and purpose of spreading the news about people of color,” said Rosalind “Bee” Harris, publisher.

September 2011

As students across the city headed back to school, it was time for the Urban Spectrum to question the number of Black teachers in the classroom. The shortage of African-American teachers in Denver Public Schools is very noticeable and has decreased by 52 in the last 10-year period. The disparity of African-American teachers is even greater in Aurora Public Schools. So what is the solution? It was pointed out in this issue that there were proposed solutions: Having teacher education programs partner with ethnic studies departments at colleges and universities, raising funds to provide college scholarships to African-American students who major in education, and eliminating the bureaucratic red tape that plagues the educational system. It was interesting to take a look at what Colorado’s Black college students are choosing as majors and career aspirations. Most Black students continue to pursue degrees in business, psychology, biology, communications, education, and criminal justice.

Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Finally, this issue featured an interview with Five Points Business District’s Interim Executive Director Dante James, who is at the helm of making redevelopment happen along Welton Street in the historic Five Points area.

November 2011

A lot can be said when you live to be a 100 years old, as has George Gray Jr., the centenarian who graced the cover of this month’s issue. He is a living testimony for all the great things that he has done in life and making a difference in his community. He is fond of telling people, “I love this thing called livin.”

What is going on with Historically Black Colleges and Universities became another topic of discussion in this issue of the Urban Spectrum. HBCU’s are struggling to maintain some kind presence on the radar in African-American communities and be culturally relevant to a new generation.

October 2011

There is no one else who pulls off a million-dollar smile like 27-year old entrepreneur Farrah Gray. While Gray’s story about making his first million dollars by age 14 is well known, he shared a lot about his entrepreneurial drive and ambition when speaking in Denver at the 2nd Annual 2011 M.O.D.E.L (Men of Distinction Excellence and Leadership) Awards Luncheon. Besides being a motivational speaker and business man, Gray is author of several books, including “Reallionaire,” “The Truth Shall Make You Rich,” and “Get Real Get Rich.” Those M.O.D.E.L men recognized at the luncheon exemplify great leadership and are making a difference in their community: Richard Lewis, founder of RTL Networks; Ryan Ross, dean of students at Community College of Denver; KC Matthews, traffic engineer with the Colorado Division of Transportation; William “Bo” Matthews, founder of the Bo Matthews Center; David Reed Jr. with Community Auto Center, LLC; Judge Wiley Daniel of Federal District Court; Gary Wilson, sheriff of Denver County; Elvin Caldwell Jr., owner of Caldwell-Kirk Mortuary; Gregory Moore, editor of the Denver Post; Scott Gilmore, wildlife biologist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife; the Rev. Frank Davis, senior pastor of Zion Baptist Church; and Dr. Johnny Johnson, medical doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. We couldn’t forget to say good-bye to a long-time civil rights legend, Menola Upshaw, who passed away. She served for years as president of Denver’s National

The Urban Spectrum also featured the trip that President Barack Obama made to Denver, where he spoke to a crowd of thousands at Lincoln High School. His objective was to get his jobs bill passed and send Congress a message. “I am a staunch supporter of the bill. We need to get jobs for unemployed construction workers, teachers, summer jobs for kids and tax relief for small businesses,” agreed U.S Rep. Diana DeGette. We also featured the controversial issue of the turnaround of Far Northeast schools (in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch). Tough questions have been raised regarding the progress of 10 schools linked together as part of the Denver Summit Schools Network and a turnaround plan and intervention that targets Denver Public School District’s lowest-performing schools. This included reconfiguring Montbello High School, which was labeled as being one of the chronically low-performing schools. Claire Garcia’s speech “Empowering Black Women in the age of Michelle Obama and The Help” left quite a powerful message during the 32nd Annual Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) Luncheon. CBWPA also recognized seven women for their accomplishments in the community, city and state. Also in the issue, we highlighted a few celebrities, who visited the Mile High City in support of the Global

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Down Syndrome fundraiser and Be Beautiful Be Yourself Jest Set Fashion Show. They included supermodel Beverly Johnson, music icon Quincy Jones and actor and singer Jamie Foxx. Happy Haynes had a landslide victory in winning a seat on the Denver Public School Board.

December 2011

As the year wraps up, the Urban Spectrum welcomes an all-boys academy that is scheduled to open up in 2012 in Denver. The Sims-Falyola International Academy, all boys charter school, after a long awaited decision was officially approved by the Denver Public Schools. Considered a determined warrior, Dedrick Sims, founder and director of Sims Falyola, has spent the last five year pushing his vision in making a difference in the lives of young Black men. This will be the very first allboys school in Denver with an expected enrollment of 120 sixth graders and 130 ninth graders. Sims’ ultimate goal is to eventually have grades six through 12 before the year 2016. It is a sad reality when young men of color are often placed into a box of stereotypes, where society writes them off as “thugs” or “misfits.” As Sims puts it, “They may not have been lucky enough to have people in their life to make a change in their trajectory.”

When it comes to empowering young people, the Jack & Jill Beautillion does just that. This year 30 Black senior males were in the spotlight at the beautillion for their outstanding achievements, involvement in extracurricular activities, engagement in community service, and extraordinary acts of courage and kindness. We also took you to the motherland of Africa on stories about Cameroon, as well as the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to African and Arab women. Not to mention how Mayor Michael Hancock did not waste a moment during his first 100 days in office with many new cabinet appointments and implementing programs. That’s our Spectrum of 2011. Join us in 2012 as we embark on our 25th anniversary. 

The Colorado Black Caucus

A New Generation Of African-American Leaders Formed Colorado now boasts 14 African-American elected officials By April M. Washington

A year ago, Colorado’s African-

American community worried about whether Blacks would continue to have a voice in the legislature and a presence on Denver City Council. In a matter of four years, Blacks’ numbers in the legislature dwindled from as high as four to one lone member, former House Speaker Terrance Carroll whose career ended as result of term limits in 2010. Earlier this year, concerns heightened when Michael Hancock, the lone Black on Denver City Council, at the time gave up his council seat to make what turned out to be a successful bid for mayor. What a difference a year makes in the realm of politics? In the past year, 14 AfricanAmericans have been elected to serve in public office throughout the state of Colorado. The legislature boasts two influential and rising leaders in Reps. Angela Williams, D-Denver, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, the city’s second Black mayor in less than a decade, is fast approaching his first six months in office after soundly defeating the white frontrunner, former state Sen. Chris Romer, in the June 7 runoff election. Denver City Council boasts two rising leaders in political newcomers Albus Brooks and Chris Herndon. Brooks defeated a field of 38 people to succeed the late Councilwoman Carla Madison, who died of cancer. Herndon, a West Point graduate and former Wal-Mart manager, won Hancock’s seat on city council. For the first time in recent years, two African-Americans now serve on the Denver Public School Board. Happy Haynes joined Nate Easley as a member of the school board after her landslide victory in the November election. To the surprise of some, AfricanAmerican elected officials ranks have

Williams, Fields, Hancock, Brooks, Herndon, Glenn, Nuguse, Bullock, Moon and Easley are viewed as key influential figures in the new generation of African-American leaders. This powerful coalition of African-American elected officials now have joined forces to form the Colorado Black Caucus, combining their collective talents to identify and develop the next generation of African-American political leaders as well as wield greater influence on the course of events pertinent to communities of color. Following the lead of the Congressional Black Caucus, arguably one of the most powerful coalitions in Congress, the Colorado Black Caucus objective is to speak as one voice on issues important to the communities of color such as job creation and education reform. The Colorado Black Caucus’s talent pool and diversity will serve the newly formed coalition well as it taps into the expertise of all its members to help the organization grow strong and effective beyond its mere numbers. Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of

grown statewide in 2011. They include Commerce City Council members, Steven J. Douglas and Rene Bullock; Centennial Mayor Pro tem Vorry Moon; RTD board members Barbra Deadwyler and Jeff Walker; University of Colorado Regent Joseph Neguse; and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, a family law attorney and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier remains a force in regional politics. Some may consider this a feat in a state where the Black population is roughly eigt percent. Those who have observed Colorado politics have longed viewed the state as progressive in its voting and politics. In 1991, Wellington Webb became Denver’s first Black mayor when he defeated Norm Early, Denver’s first Black district attorney. Webb, who has remained a formidable force in Denver politics, is credited for passing the torch and sparking a new generation of political leaders when he jump started the careers of Williams and Brooks this past year.

African-American Elected Officials

Michael Hancock, Mayor of Denver Angela Williams, State Representative, D-Denver, District 7 Rhonda Fields, State Representative, D-Aurora, District 42 Albus Brooks, Denver City Council, District 8 Chris Herndon, Denver City Council, District 11 Rene Bullock, Commerce City Council, at-large Steven J. Jordan, Commerce City Council, at- large Joe Neguse, CU Board of Regents, 2nd Congressional District Vorry Moon, Centennial City Council, District 1 Allegra “Happy” Haynes, DPS Board of Education, at-large Nate Easley, Jr., DPS Board of Education, District 4 Barbara Deadwyler, RTD Board of Directors, District B Jeff Walker, RTD Board of Directors, District D Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner, District 1 Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


African-American studies and popular culture at Duke University, often speaks about the relevancy of AfricanAmerican-centered organizations, arguing that they are still needed but “they must adapt to a changing political atmosphere.” Since its founding more than 30 years ago, the Congressional Black Caucus has become one of the nation’s most influential bodies, with a history of positive activism. Neal contends that AfricanAmerican-centered organizations – much like the Congressional Black Caucus – who adopt the primary role of being political brokers between communities of colors and whatever political party is in control of the legislative and executive branches will thrive as the American political landscape continues to shift. Key to the Colorado Black Caucus’ relevancy will be a new coalition of voters, African-Americans, Latinos, young voters, and women — all of which represent one of the most progressive coalitions in the past 30 years. This coalition, which includes a new generation of leaders such as Williams, Hancock, Brooks, Herndon, Easley, Glenn, Bullock, Douglas and Deadwyler are embolden by the middle-income and working-class voters who are looking for new leaders to address their interests and economic conditions. In this new political reality, the Colorado Black Caucus has the talent and know-how to emerge as an influential force within the political arena of Colorado politics. It has the potential to grow in size as it develops the next generation of leaders. It has the potential of accomplishing greatness if it follows the example of the pioneers such as Webb, Happy Haynes, Gloria Tanner, Regis Groff and Elbra Wedgeworth and the late Vikki Buckley and George Brown who paved the way for this emerging new generation of leaders. 

Dotsero Hits Number One

ipate. It’s a pretty big deal,” Watts said as his band also performed there. “So it was important to have a fresh CD out and we released “Story House” this spring.” Watts stated how it was Good who made sure Dotsero’s “Story House” CD got plenty of play over the airwaves. “He has always been supportive of Dotsero and what we do. But we didn’t expect how much he liked our record/CD,” Watts added. “Hearing about both of these honors (of our CD being named the best Jazz CD for 2011 and our single) was overwhelming, especially from the person it came from meant even more.” The “Story House” CD was done in collaboration between Watts, his brother David and producer, Kip Kuepper in Boulder. Watts, of course, shares he has his own personal favorite from the CD – or rather a toss-up between Kansas Ballet and Green Lantern. Watts is very proud of his stepdaughter, Sara Holman, who just happened to design all the artwork for the cover of the CD. “It made the CD even more special to me,” he said. The artistic design on the CD consists of many doors, Watts explained, where each door musically takes you to a different place and conjures up meanings in different ways to those who hear it.


By Sheila Smith

t’s been a long and glorious ride down that jazz road, as Dotsero continues topping the charts, packing venues and a fan base that can’t get enough of them. But the biggest honor that recently came for Steve Watts and his band, Dotsero, was having their latest CD “Story House” named as best Jazz CD for 2011 and single called Kansas Ballet Song from the CD named as best jazz song of 2011. Not to mention another single called Green Lantern is moving up the charts and is sitting at number four. Watts is strolling on a high about his latest CD and first heard the great news from his good friend, Becky Taylor, radio personality. “It has been a great year for Dotsero and they have performed at some of the biggest jazz festivals around the country. Not only are they my good friends, but they are one of the best bands ever,” Taylor said who has followed Dotsero’s career from the very beginning. “It’s a national act living in Denver and that’s pretty cool.”

Tayor also has a friendship and professional relationship with Art Good, who has the number one nationally syndicated radio program in the country called Jazz Trax. It was Good who announced Dotsero as having the number one CD for 2011 on his radio show. Watts considers him as the “Godfather” of the jazz genre and a status symbol. “Every year during October, Good hosts the Catalina (Islands) Jazz Festival with more than 30 jazz artist who partic-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


So with a number one CD and single still climbing the charts, what’s next for Dotsero? With the saxophone/wind synthesizer stylings of Watts, his brother David Watts on guitar, Tom Capek on keyboards, Marvin Craft, bass player and Charles Peterson on drums – have been working hard on another great CD that will be released in late spring of 2012. Dotsero first broke onto the national music scene in 1990 with its first release of “Off the Beaten Path.” Since then, Dotsero’s rock, light funk and soulful sounds continues plummeting the band’s career in the contemporary /smooth jazz arena. The name Dotsero comes from the Ute Indians meaning “something unique.” And the band has definitely lived up to its name with their jolting rhythmic and improvisational sound always leaving you wanting to hear more. 

Denver Police For Better Or Worse By Sheila Smith

In Denver, it seems like nothing

much has changed in 50 years since the days when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested numerous times because of the color of his skin. Isaiah Kelley, 24, was arrested by police and believes it was simply for being a young, Black male. That is why Kelley, a theater major at Metro State College, attended the Public Safety Town Hall Meeting/Forum on Dec. 7 at Kimball Hall in Five Points. “It was an infuriating experience and the hatred that came up through me was inspired by that situation,” Kelley said about police stopping traffic on Colorado Boulevard to pull him off an RTD bus and placing him in handcuffs on Dec. 4. The problem is, Kelley said, they were looking for another Black male suspect who was allegedly involved in a robbery. He recalled on that day, while waiting to catch the number 43 bus at 29th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, how

he watched police surround a Taco Bell across the street from the bus stop. Within a few minutes after he boarded the bus, Kelley said police made the bus driver pull over. “Two police officers, a Black woman and Latino man, boarded the bus,” he explained. “Now I am the only Black male on the bus. And I heard one of the officers say, ‘It must be this guy.” “When I asked them what is going on, they put me in handcuffs and told me to shut up in front of everyone on the bus. They took me off the bus and told the bus driver to leave. Here I am in the middle of Colorado Boulevard and all these other police officers start showing up for back up. It’s broad daylight and humiliating,” he said. Kelley said not minutes later the police officers received a radio call that the robbery suspect was heading down Colorado Boulevard in a car. “The officers did tell me that they were sorry and it was just police procedure. But for me, it was still an infuriating experience….,” he said. His experience was just another reminder of the frequent issue of police targeting the wrong Black men when searching for a suspect involved in criminal activity. Kelley is pursuing a formal complaint against the Denver Police Department.

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The Dec. 7 forum led by Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez and the African-American Commission was a way to gather information on ways of improving the police department and building better relationships within the African-American community. “We have to restore trust in our communities,” stated City Councilman Albus Brooks who attended the forum. Martinez, a former Supreme Court Justice, told everyone that in his new role he’ll take a judge-like approach when it comes to any disciplinary actions of officers. “I am not the least bit afraid to make decisions that make officers unhappy or the community unhappy. I will make fair and just decisions in those particular arenas of discipline.” Forum participants broke into small discussions groups at different tables throughout the hall. The idea was to talk about issues and solutions regarding the police department. At one table, Penelope (last name witheld), a Denver resident stated a pressing issue for her was how young men of color are immediately singled out for things unnecessarily. Those at Penelope’s table agreed that people in the community feel there is a “them against us” attitude. She also suggested having an appointed liaison or Black captain from the neighborhood to deal with the police directly when issues arise. Larry (last name witheld), who was at the same table, expressed his concern with police training and recruitment and a desire for more emphasis on police officers being more culturally sensitive. Many agreed with Lynn (last name witheld), another city resident, and her belief that Occupy Denver is an example of where police used excessive force when handling the protestors. “We need the equal treatment of all citizens and figure out how to make them (police) heroes again,” Lynn said. Another suggestion was hiring offi-

cers to work in the communities where they reside, to increase their level of accountability. “What does policing mean today after 9/11,” asked another community member, Carolyn (last name witheld). “Is there a shift of thinking about the role of police officers?” Forum participants concluded that some major issues with Denver’s police department include: too much profiling, a lack of communication with the community, the community’s sense of fear and intimidation, and a lack of trust. Within the African-American community, the biggest concern is still the singling out and criminalizing of Black youth. Martinez even agreed that it is a problem. “If I was convicted for all the things that I did as a youth, I wouldn’t be here today,” he said. Police Chief Robert White, who was officially sworn in on Dec. 12, will take a big part in addressing these issues. Mayor Michael Hancock said he believed in the new police chief’s strong leadership in being able to turn things around, explaining, “We are at the brink of a new era with safety in our city and having a new solution to restoring public trust.” White confirmed, “I will not let this city down. We will have a better police department, and we are going to make some changes.”  Occupy Denver

Photo by Dee Smith

Denver Police Chief Robert White swearing in ceremony

Mt. Loretto 3101 S. Federal Blvd. 303-788-1300

Photo By Bernard Grant Ph: 303-830-0215 . Fax: 303-830-2885 . TDD: 1-800-659-3656 Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Celebrations

“Remember! Celebrate! Act! - A Day On Not A Day Off”

Freedom Rides ON!

(All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.)

Monday, January 9

2012 Honorees: • Faye Wilson-Tate • Goodwill Industries • Hercules Industries • Jim White • Venoco Inc. • Trail Blazer: Dr. Robbie Bean Costs: Individual seating $75 Stephen Straight 720- 323-3333 or 980-468-1488

Press Conference, Launching of Torch, MLK Colorado Photo Exhibits 5th Grade Essay Contest Marade awards 2012 Honorees: • William (Bill) Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award: Tamara Rhone • Chairman’s Award: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. • Community Service: Epworth Foundation •Community Recognition: Mr. Harry Waters & Mr. Ottawa Harris (Posthumous) •New vision Award: Judi’s House • Menola Upshaw Outstanding youth award: Rashawn & Deanna Jackson

“Barber Shop Talks,” A Debate- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Malcolm X - 6 to 8 p.m. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Library 9898 E. Colfax Aurora (Males Only)

Saturday, January 14

11 a.m.

MLK Marshall Training for Marade - 10 a.m. Denver Waste Water Building, 2000 West 3rd Avenue, 1st Floor, Denver, CO Silke Hansen 303-308-1969 (Lunch will be served)

Cherry Creek Center - Center Court, 3000 East 1st Avenue Denver With Governor Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael B. Hancock Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329, Terry Nelson 720.865.2404 Aurora Festivities Kick-Off

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“The Dream” 5K Run/Walk - 10 a.m.

Aurora Town Center, 14200 E. Alameda Ave. Aurora With Mayor Steve Hogan Cultural arts performance @ JC Penny’s On Display MLK Photo Panels from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Colorado Holiday Commission And the Rocky Mountain Wa Shonaji Quilt Guild. Dr. Barbara Shannon Banister 303-739-7580

15151 E. Alameda Pkwy (Near the Police Station) Potts Jones 303-877-8534, or for information, Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329 Entry Fee $25 “A Place at the Table” - 7 p.m. Spirit of Christ Catholic Church, 7400 W. 80th Ave., Arvada Featuring the Grand Chorale of Aurora

Aurora’s Mayor Steve Hogan – Proclamation - 7:30 p.m. Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Ave. Barbara Shannon Banister 303-739-7580

Sunday, January, 15

Highlands Ranch, Community 2011 Unity Walk and Reception - 2 p.m. Fox Creek Elementary School, 6585 Collegiate Drive, Highlands Ranch, CO Tani Hansen 303-387-0556

Tuesday, January 10

King Celebration Concert 22nd Annual MLK, Jr. 2011 Humanitarian Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards &Colorado Symphony Orchestra - 6 to 9 p.m. Boettcher Concert Hall Denver Performing Arts Complex 14th and Curtis Streets

27th Annual Ecumenical Service - 4 p.m. New Hope Baptist Church, 3700 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO Pastor Leon Emerson 303-883-7908, Dr. Sandra Moore-Mann 303-961-7687

Monday, January 16

2012 Honorees:

14th Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Breakfast Celebration - 9 to 11 a.m.

• Honorable Menola Upshaw Lifetime Achievement: Mrs. Marion Veronica Ellerbee (Posthumous) •The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. • Officer David Hutchings • The Abrahamic Initiative • Dr. Raymond Dean Jones • Reverend Ronald Wooding • Outstand Youth Award: Salina C. Trahan, Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329, Terry Nelson 720-865-2404

Arapahoe Community College, 5900 South Santa Fe Dr. Littleton, CO 80120 Jamie Crisp 303-797-5881 Tickets $15 for Adults, $5 for children 12 and under

27th annual MLK Marade Gather at 9 a.m., Program at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, January 11

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream Monument, City Park, Concluding at Civic Center

Civil Right Stories-Live Telecast - 7 p.m. Aurora Channel 8 Barbara Shannon Banister 303-739-7580

Thursday, January 12

Multicultural Awareness by the Aurora Police Department - 7 p.m. Police Gymnasium, 13387 E. 19th Place Aurora Barbara Shannon Banister 303-739-7580

Friday, January 13

The 19th annual MLK Peace Awards & Breakfast - 8 a.m. Tivoli Turn Hall Auraria Campus Guest Speaker: TBD Alton Clark $7 for students, $14 for adults

“Get to Cleanin’, Remembering Memphis” (Day of Service Community Project) Volunteers needed to remove litter from the Marade route and surrounding neighborhoods immediately following the Marade -1 p.m. Shyretta Hudnall 720-436-3884, Jacqui Shumway 303-744-7676, Silke Hansen 303-308-1969 or Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329 & We will collect old cell phones, non- perishable food and children books. We will have the phones refurbished and donated to battered woman shelters. The food will be donated to local food banks

27th Annual “Dinner for Those Who Hunger - 3 to 6 p.m.

Volunteers of America, Sunset Park, 1865 Larimer, Denver, CO 80202 Jim White, Volunteers of America 303- 297-0408 cell 720-299-0222

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service

Start Planning Your Project Today! Visit “EVERYBODY can be great, because EVERYBODY can serve”...Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Toya Nelson PH: 303-866-2524 ( Mark Skinner, Senior Program Officer PH: 303-866-2565 (

Aurora Community of Faith Breakfast - 9 a.m. City Café, 2nd 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy Keynote Speaker: Dr. James Peters, colleague of Dr. King Tickets $15, RSVP Barbara Shannon Banister 303-739-7580 & T.A. Mayes 720-329-4553

MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions - 6 p.m. National Western Stock Show Coliseum, 4655 Humboldt St. Denver 80216 Lu Vason 303-373-1246 or Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329

27th Annual MLK Social Responsibility Awards Luncheon - 11:45 a.m. Marriott City Center Downtown Denver

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


E*TRADE And Being More Financially Sound In The New Year By Sheila Smith Kelvin Boston

We Need You to Join Us... in Communty Service

We all laugh at the cuteness of the baby standing in his crib and supposedly in a time out. But he has his iPad ready to check his investment portfolio and research stocks before Mom comes in and takes it away from him. One of the more popular signature E*TRADE television commercials.

The idea of pushing people to invest while they are young may be a great idea, but when it comes to African-Americans it’s a little harder to do. Co-sponsored by the Urban League of Metro Denver, E*TRADE’s Jazzy Moneywise Seminar hit the Denver community at Jazz@Jacks on Dec. 7. The moneywise seminar was part of a 26 city tour; and Denver was among only four cities that added a live musical performance from national, innovative jazz recording artist, saxophonist Eric Darius. Basically, the seminars were designed to provide a personal economic forum on investing, mortgages and other economic trends. A panel of experts were at hand to answer questions – Landri Taylor, president of the Denver Urban League; Alfonso Pearson, Community Development Manager E*TRADE Financial; Derek Winston, Denver Branch Manager E*TRADE Financial; Elaine Fischer, Program Manager Operation HOPE; and Myra Donovan, New York Life Financial Planner. “Black people are getting their butts kicked. The recession is supposed to be over, but we’re in a recovery period – that equals five years for white America and 10 to 15 years for Black America,” said Kelvin Boston who served as moderator of the seminar and panel discussion. Boston is the best -selling author of Smart Money Moves for AfricanAmericans and host of the Moneywise PBS series. He is considered by the New York Times as the “outspoken voice for economic empowerment.” To get through this recession, you have to surround yourself with positive people, Boston told the crowd that filled Jazz@Jacks. “It’s time to reset your goals. And if you can see the invisible, then you can achieve the impossible…” he said. During the discussion, Landri Taylor added how, “AfricanAmericans have a wealth of knowledge, but we don’t share information with each other on being financially healthy.” As a certified financial planner, Myra Donovan offered advice on how Blacks need to start leaving a legacy that can be passed on over multi-generations. “It should start with us leaving something to others, so that we shouldn’t have to start at zero.” Malcolm Newton, president of the Denver Institute of Urban Studies attended the E*TRADE moneywise seminar and found the panel discussion very informative. He believes now is the time for Blacks to start their own businesses.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


“Start your own business if you want to make it rather than slaving at a nine to five job making peanuts,” Newton said. “At the turn of the century, Blacks had hundreds of businesses.” Newton is ahead of the game when it comes to his own personal investment portfolio and has stock in IAM Smart Technology, Inc. Despite an unstable economy, this is actually the best time to invest in the stock market, Boston expressed in an interview after the seminar. “There are so many opportunities in the stock market now,” he said. “Have a written financial plan and invest in publically traded stocks. What is going on in Europe right now is that people want to invest in American companies. And that is because when those stocks go back up, you’re sitting in a good position.” He further added try putting some money aside in a savings. “Get on a financial plan that helps you manage your money, assets and what you owe. We should be able to help other family members (who get in a financial bind) by putting them into your budget.” Most middle class Black Americans are already struggling from pay check to pay check. Black business owners and entrepreneurs also struggle to keep their doors open. So how do you raise awareness of financial empowerment in Black communities? Boston had the answer and said it’s simply a matter of those successful business owners being mentors to those businesses still coming up. “When you are in business – that business is your child. In some cities, entrepreneurs are investing in other businesses and other types of things.” Alfonso Pearson with E*TRADE was pleased with the nation-wide seminars that wrapped up in December with plans to take it to another level next year. The idea behind these particular E*Trade programs, Pearson said, was a way of reaching out to those communities it serves and provide resources. “We found the main concern with those in the African-American communities is how to start investing and having that knowledge of resources,” Pearson stated. E*TRADE is a financial services company that offers a full suite of easy-to-use online brokerage, investing and related banking solutions. The company was founded in 1976 and went public in 1996. The company is headquartered in New York with 28 branches spread across the United States under the leadership of Steven Freiberg, CEO. 

No Humbugs At The Bicycle Give-A-Way! By Norma Paige

The annual Arches of Hope Bicycle Give-A-Way is quickly becom-

ing the place to be in December for metro area youth. The fifth annual event is hosted by the Asfaw Family Foundation International (AFFI). Arches of Hope recognized 5th and 6th grade students nominated by teachers and community organizations in five categories: academic achievement, good citizenship, financial need, chronic illness, and parents serving in the military.

2011 AIM HIGH SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS Nnaoma Agwu Regis Jesuit High School

Bishop Asquith Emon Lee Archer East High School Clayton Eli Brown Denver School of Science & Technology

Dorian V. Canty Cherokee Trails High School Sandy Russell Fisher Regis Jesuit High School Brandon K. Henrie Prairie View High School Daniel A. McQueen, III Mullen High School

Kahlee Vonne Moore Thomas Jefferson High School Eric Reed Manual High School

Azlan Josef Williams Montbello High School

This year 300 students were awarded bikes, helmets and goodie bags. The AFFI also awarded college scholarships to 10 African-American male high school seniors, as part of their Aim High Scholarship Program. “We combined the Aim High Scholarship presentations with the

Arches of Hope Bicycle Giveaway to allow younger students the opportunity to see examples of the support they can receive if they treat education as important,” said Geta Asfaw, founder. “We want students to know they are not invisible. Their teachers and other adults in their world are celebrating the success we see for their futures.” Janice Asfaw added, “Our family foundation was established to allow us a better opportunity to impact the lives of those in the community we serve, particularly youth and senior citizens. Our youth programs highlight the importance of attaining a solid education. We believe, as business owners, it is our responsibility to support families in doing that.” Those who attended received lunch sponsored by the Stapleton Wal-Mart prior to an entertainment segment MC’d by Shed “Can I Vent” G and featuring DJ K-Tone. The audience was wowed by an electric performance by violinist Maestro Jeff Hughes who delivered personal renditions of contemporary tunes. They also offered brief remarks about the paths they followed to their respective professions. The Colorado Starlites, under the direction of Teresa Page, was another crowd pleaser showcasing routines from their drill teams and drum line. Students were encouraged to make brief remarks from newly elected Denver Public Schools Board member, Allegra “Happy” Haynes and Antwan Wilson, DPS Assistant Superintendent of Post-Secondary Readiness. Prior to his reading of the proclamation, Joe Neguse, an associate with Holland & Hart law firm, introduced Mayor Michael B. Hancock. For the last five years, Hancock served as the former Councilman for District 11 and represented the City & County of Denver when it came to reading proclamations issued at this event. This year he actually participated as the Mayor of Denver.

“To have Mayor Michael Hancock continue his support of our efforts meant a lot to the planning committee, but more importantly, for the students and parents in attendance,” said Towanna Henderson, schools/organization coordinator for Arches of Hope. She further added, “He demonstrates the success our students can have with determination. It was awesome to have him personally proclaim

December 4, 2011, as Asfaw Family Foundation International Arches of Hope Aim High Day.” With 1,200 in attendance, there was an atmosphere full of excitement and anticipation for the big give-a-ways. “This is the best Arches of Hope ever,” said Chuck Moss, security/logistics coordinator, who’s been with the organization since its

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


inception. Rose Andom, owner of the McDonald’s at Denver International Airport, was also moved by the Aim High scholars, after seeing only one student win a laptop from a drawing sponsored by Wal-Mart. She offered to award each recipient laptops next year. “I think this is absolutely tremendous,” Andom said. “I have been a donor of bikes, but want to assist the Asfaw Family Foundation with what they are doing to support AfricanAmerican males in finding find success in their pursuit of higher education.” Since the establishment of the Asfaw Family Foundation International in 2006, the Arches of Hope has awarded 1,250 students with bicycles. Over the years, the Aim High Scholarship Program also has assisted in the education of 25 AfricanAmerican male students. The Asfaws are well-known contributors in giving back to their community, helping hundreds of individuals to different organizations. Their long standing Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Dinner broke a record this year, as more than 600 dinners were served and 10,000 senior citizens fed. “We want our community to know that we appreciate their patronage and will continue to give back and support the education of our youth as long as we are here,” stated Asfaw. 

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Denver Chapter Of Jack & Jill Of America, Inc. Celebrated

“An Evening Of Enchanted Splendor” While Honoring African-American Youth By Angelle Fouther

Thirty of Denver’s best and

brightest young men donned top hats, tails, and canes – and on the arms of escorts in beautiful white ball gowns, they were honored at the 28th Annual Beautillion held at the Downtown Denver Sheraton on Sunday, December 18th. The Denver Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. established the event in 1983 to honor African-American male high school seniors in the Denver metropolitan area who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in the areas of academics, community service, athletics and other extracurricular activities. During the four months prior to the Beautillion, each of the Beaus (young men) is required to participate in a community service project and to attend meetings and workshops, including a session understanding sexual health, physical well-being, and an understanding of the justice system. The beaus also meet weekly to rehearse intricate ballroom dance routines, created by a professional choreographer, to be performed during the Beautillion. The chairwomen of this year’s event were DeVita Bruce, Vanessa Howard, and Deirdre Wilson. The Masters of Ceremony were the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel, the District of Colorado Chief Judge of the Court; and the Honorable Terrance D. Carroll, former Speaker of the House of Representatives for Colorado. Both men have broken barriers and opened doors in their respective realms, and encouraged the young men to “walk through some of those doors or open some of their own.” Mayor Michael Hancock, who was selected as a beau in the mid-1980s, met with and took photos with the beaus prior to their processional. “Over the past 27 years we have seen the beaus go on to become lawyers, entrepreneurs, educators, doctors, professional athletes, technologists, and Olympic Champions,” said Jack and Jill Chapter President Janette Andrews. “This year’s group of Beaus is no different. These young men are the epitome of leadership and good character, and we are honored to present them all this year.” 

2011 Beaus with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Judge Wiley Daniel, and Terrence Carroll

Beaus and Escorts ballroom dancing

Denver Chapter Jack and Jill with Associate Moms

2011 Beau Escorts

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Webb Seeks To Preserve Minority Influence In Elections

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb praised the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission’s hard work in Colorado to ensure all citizens have an equal voice in the legislative process. State Sen. Mike Johnston’s suggestion that the lines should be redrawn would in effect eliminate AfricanAmerican voters in House District 7, west of Stapleton and undermine the hard work of Democratic Commissioners to preserve the minority community’s influence in statehouse elections. Webb and Democratic Commissioners fought hard to thwart Republican Commissioners’ efforts to fracture traditional ethnic communities in some areas and to maintain the minority community’s influence in the legislature as well as for the preservation of Denver’s neighborhoods – including Stapleton. Webb has reached out to Sen. Johnston, D-Denver, to explain the need for the changes to the current map before the courts. Webb, appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to serve on the 11-member commission, explains that the commission worked diligently to keep certain neighborhoods whole so not to diminish African-American voters influence in elections. The Reapportionment Commission held a special hearing on the Denver State House and Senate Districts on August 31 at the State Capitol. In an effort to keep as many neighborhoods whole, the map adopted has one small split that includes a mere 1,500 people in Stapleton in the far southeast corner in House District 7, represented by State Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver. Webb explains that this was necessary because House District 7 experienced explosive population growth since the 2000 Census, leaving it with more than the ideal population. District 7 grew by more than 24,000 people, swelling the district to roughly 101,000 constituents, making it difficult to keep Stapleton whole. The charge of the Reapportionment Commission is to equalize population between state legislative districts. The ideal House District size is 77,372 and the ideal Senate District size is 143,691. The Commission has discretion to deviate from the ideal district size when drawing lines by up to 5 percent (2.5 percent above and below the ideal). 

Denver Urban My New Year’s Spectrum Turns Resolution Is To Weigh And Win! Silver Many newspapers, not just in Denver but across the country, are

By Sheila Smith

barely staying afloat during this recession and economic times, mostly due to the Internet. In fact, many have closed their doors. Fortunately, the Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) has weathered the storm and publisher Rosalind “Bee� Harris, will be celebrating 25 years of spreading the news about people of color in April. “I ask myself everyday – where did the time go? In preparing for the upcoming celebrations, I was reviewing all the past issues and just said wow, this is the story of my life since 1987,� said Harris. “The Spectrum has been blessed to have had the opportunity to record the history African American communities and others for a quarter of a century. And I pray that it will serve the community for another 25 years.� And now the quarter-of-a-century celebration is on! DUS’s anniversary celebration will kick off over a four-day period at the African American Research Library with the unveiling of a historical bookcase exhibit of the Spectrum’s span of 25 years on Wednesday, April 25. Plans are being made for a rip-roaring entertaining comedy night on Thursday, April 26 to help you relax and bust a gut with laughter. The Spectrum is inviting all local comedians to be a part of this comedic event. In conjunction with the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation, there are also plans to hold a youth luncheon. Highlighting the 25th anniversary will be a gala on Saturday, April 28 at the Renaissance Hotel, where 25 women will be honored for making a difference in the community and the Spectrum. The event, “Timeless Legends,� will be chaired by Ken Johnson of Kaiser Permanente, who co-chaired the 23rd anniversary celebration. Harris published the first issue of the Urban Spectrum in April 1987 and has been recognized locally and nationally for publishing a quality newspaper that is informative, provocative and continues to impact lives. For 25 years, the Denver Urban Spectrum has been a mirror of the Black community.  For more information, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, call 303-292-6446 or e-mail


By Shangra-La

f your New Year’s resolution is to get in shape, then join the club. Studies show that most people list “exercising and fitness� as one of their top five New Year resolutions. If your goal is to lose those pounds you packed on during the holiday season, there is a new program in Colorado that can help you achieve your goal. Weigh and Win is a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and incentalHEALTH. The program encourages people to achieve their weight loss goals by offering cash incentives. Weigh and Win is promoted as the nation’s first communitywide program offering cash rewards and prizes to individuals who achieve or maintain healthy weights. “There is an urgent need for community-based programs that address the growing obesity crisis in Colorado. While Colorado has long been known as the leanest state, obesity rates are climbing faster than the national average. Currently, more than 55 percent of Colorado adults are overweight or obese. The Weigh and Win partnership is to be applauded for finding ways to encourage people to make healthier choices,� said Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We appreciate partners like Kaiser Permanente and our many community partners who help people achieve healthier lifestyles through better nutrition and increased physical activity.� Weigh and Win is available for free to all Coloradans ages 18 and over. Individuals can sign up for the program online. Then, they need to visit

kiosks stationed throughout the Denver metro area to weigh in and get photographed. They will follow up with quarterly photographed weigh-ins and receive cash incentives through debit cards for positive results. Participants will have access to a variety of online coaching tools to help them reach their goals, and those who do meet goals are eligible for a variety of prizes and coupons. I signed up for the program in November, have already lost five pounds and am still losing. One of the many things I like about the program is the ability to receive daily meal plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Having access to this program has really helped me stay on track and break those bad eating habits. From my experience, the Weigh and Win program works and is an excellent tool to help you reach your weight loss goals. You will receive the best results and benefits if you partner the program with a good cardio workout or exercise routine such as cycling, running, weight lifting or Zumba.  Editor’s note: If you would like to leave a comment, please feel free to contact Shangra-La at or visit her blog at:



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The Black Vote is Still President Obama’s Trump Card, But Only if the Numbers Are There

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson


voters will again give President Obama a sky high percentage of their vote in 2012. That was never in doubt. What is in doubt is how many will make up that percentage. It is the number, not percentage of black voters that turn out that will again ease the President’s path back to the White House or make that path rocky. The 2008 election decisively proved that the presidential reelection bid is a pure numbers game. If black voters had not turned the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries into a virtual holy crusade for Obama, and if Obama had not openly in the South Carolina primary and subtly in primaries thereafter stoked the black vote, he could easily have

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been just another failed Democratic presidential candidate. Through its voter education, awareness, and mobilization campaigns, the NAACP played a huge role in galvanizing and boosting the numbers of black voters, nearly all votes for Obama. It was part race, part pride, and all sense of history in the making and being a part of Obama’s epic win. The mass rush by blacks to the polls was the single biggest reason that Obama carried the traditional must win states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and broke the GOP presidential grip on North Carolina and Virginia. There’s no certainty that will be the case this time around. The GOP dominates the state legislatures in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Virginia. Four of these five states have GOP governors and there’s warfare between the GOP and the Democrats over GOP concocted remapping plans in Florida and Ohio, and other states. The plans would virtually insure a spate of redrawn GOP friendly voting districts in the 2012 presidential election. The GOP aim is to gain greater dominance in the House and win majority control in the Senate. But the biggest prize is the White House, and the more GOP controlled districts in the states that Obama won in 2008, the greater the odds are of rolling those states back into the GOP win column. GOP strategists almost certainly will spend massive sums and mount a relentless, intensive blitz in these states to paint Obama and the Democrats as the cause of the economic woes of the middle-class, with the always subtle undertone of soft pitch racial code language to prick the lingering unease of many conservative white voters toward Obama and the Democrats. This political ploy is even more worrisome. Obama’s centrist appeal to independents played a significant role in getting many of them to punch the Democratic ticket and augment the huge black vote he got in 2008. But a repeat of that in 2012 is questionable. Polls consistently show that a majority of independents are disappointed, dismayed, or hostile to Obama’s handling of the economy, always the Achilles Heel for any incumbent who wants to keep his presidential job. The good news is that polls are showing the enthusiasm level for Obama is still as high as it was in 2008 among a majority of black voters. Polls

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


also show that blacks are the most optimistic that the country is heading in the right direction. That’s due almost exclusively to their backing of Obama. This is the key factor in getting numbers of voters to show up at the polls on Election Day. Obama has done two things to keep the enthusiasm level high. In November, he held a black leadership conference and unveiled what is as close yet to a white paper the White House has issued on race. It ticked off a checklist of initiatives from health care, job stimulus and small business aid that have benefited blacks. The position paper was an obvious counter to the shouts from some black activists, and on occasion the Congressional Black Caucus, that he hasn’t said or done enough about the chronic high unemployment, failing public schools, high incarceration rates, and worries about home foreclosures, and poverty crisis facing black communities. Obama strategists recognize that the novelty of his history making election has worn off with many blacks. This realization and in some cases, frustration and impatience, set in among many blacks, caused far more second guessing about Obama’s priorities then the White House found comfortable. The backstabbing, infighting, and clownish antics of the pack of GOP presidential contenders and the constant hectoring of them as weak and ineffectual at this stage of the election game should not be cause for the Democrats to uncork the champagne and declare the 2012 election a cakewalk for Obama. Despite fielding arguably one of the weakest GOP presidential tickets in recent history in 2008, the GOP contenders still got the bulk of the white vote. There’s no guarantee that this can’t happen again. The GOP will rally its fractious base when the Election chips are down. The black vote is still Obama’s trump card, but only if the numbers are there.  Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on podcast on and on

Man With Gifted Hands Brings Crowd To Its Feet

Dr. Ben Carson, who overcame poverty, a volatile temper, and most recently, cancer, shares his story of becoming a renowned neurosurgeon

The man with the gifted hands is also a gifted public speaker. Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon, captivated a crowd of nearly 1,500 people – children and adults alike – during his keynote speech at the Success For Every Student Conference, held Nov. 19 at Overland High School. Dr. Carson shared stories about growing up in poverty in the tenements in inner-city Detroit, where the “wildlife” consisted of giant rats and rodents. He talked about gang violence claiming friends and relatives, and how he didn’t expect to live into his twenties. But Dr. Carson said his mother made all the difference. Sonya Carson was one of 24 children, had only a third grade education, got married at 13 and was soon raising two boys by herself. She kept Dr. Carson and his brother on the right track by focusing on education. With her support, Dr. Carson graduat-

ed from high school with honors and gained admission to Yale University where he earned a degree in Psychology. He then went on to the University of Michigan Medical School, where his interest shifted from psychiatry to neurosurgery. “I had a lot of eye-hand coordination and could see things in three dimensions,” said Dr. Carson, of the qualities that help him in neurosurgery. “I believe God gives everybody special gifts. That’s a very important thing for you young people to keep in mind. Every single one of you has intellectual talent.” Dr. Carson encouraged the students to develop their intellectual talents in addition to their athletic or artistic talents, and to take personal responsibility for their actions, their education, their success. “The person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you!” said Dr. Carson. His words resonated with students including Alaysia Robinson, an eighthgrader at Prairie Middle School. “It was great,” she said. “He made me think about what I need to do to be successful. Get on the right track, get my grades up, do the right things.” “It was exceptional, inspiring,” said Faunte Thompson, a junior at Eaglecrest High School. “It makes you think about where you want to be in 20 years and what path you should be on to get to that place.” Dr. Carson’s appearance at the Success for Every Student conference highlighted the importance of STEM education, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM education is the focus of the Institute of Science & Technology, which opened in August on the Overland High School-Prairie Middle School campus. The Institute provides a rigorous STEM curriculum and gives students the opportunity to explore career opportunities in medicine and other STEM fields. The conference was sponsored by the African-American Parent and

Student Leadership groups at Overland High School and Prairie Middle School, with support from the Cherry Creek School District and generous local businesses. It was the fifth in a series of conferences that have brought in dynamic and inspirational speakers including Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone, who was featured in the movie “Waiting for Superman;” Chris Gardner, author of “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which was made into a feature film starring actor Will Smith; and CSI: NY star Hill Harper. The conferences are an important part of ongoing school-community efforts to raise the achievement of all students and close the achievement gap. 

Eaglecrest High School junior Faunte Thompson, holding one of Dr. Ben Carson’s book, said the neurosurgeon’s speech was exceptional and inspiring.

Nearly 1,500 people packed the gym at Overland High School for the Success for Every Student Conference featuring neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.

Charles Gilford and his son Sidney, a sixth-grader at Prairie Middle School, enjoy the Success for Every Student Conference together.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Changing The World One Reader At A Time

(over 40 percent African-American and over 50 percent Hispanic/Latino).

2011 Chamber Connect Class READesigns Manual High School

On Dec. 9, the 2011 Chamber Connect Associates class completed its community service project, the Manual High School READesign, with a ribbon cutting event attended by the principle, teachers and nearly 75 students. More than four months ago, the Chamber Connect Associates were challenged to think big – to design and implement a dynamic community service project that would include a large, cultural book drive and library enhancement for Denver’s historic Manual High School. Manual currently serves a student body made up of roughly 90 percent minorities

Chamber Connect Associates are responsible for having contributed over 500 new books, creating the “Multicultural Reading Corner,” as well as, two new lounge seating areas with brand new furniture. Under the premise that readers are leaders, the 2011 Chamber Connect Associates committed to providing the students

of Manual with an inviting, wellstocked library with the idea that if students spend more time in the library, the chances of them picking up a book drastically increase. Not only did the Chamber Connect Associates meet the goal promised to Manual High School but through the financial support of the community and their corporate sponsors, the class raised $1,500 more than they needed to complete the project. As a class, they have decided to donate the extra money to Manual High School in the form of a scholarship. Project sponsors included McDonald’s/Rosmik Inc., Triunity Engineering & Management, Civil Technologies, RTL Networks, Inc. and the Eastern Star: Queen of the South Chapter 11.  Editor’s note: For more information about the Manual High School READesign or the 2011 Chamber Connect Associates, visit About CBCC Chamber Connect: The Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Connect Leadership Development program was established in 2007 under the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce’s philanthropic arm the Colorado Black Chamber Foundation. The Foundation benefits and strengthens the growth of community by investing special interests in emerging and young professionals’ education, skills and knowledge.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012



Lessons From A Living Legend

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Community College of Denver presents Marie Greenwood: Lessons from a Living Legend, Tuesday, Jan. 17. A 1935 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Greenwood was the first African American woman to receive a contract with the Denver Public School district and was the first minority to teach at a school in all white area. Now 99 years of age, Marie will share her unique perspectives on life, resiliency, and education. Educator Marie Louise Greenwood was born on Nov. 24, 1912 in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, a railroad chef and a domestic worker, moved the family to Denver in 1925 searching for better opportunities. Having parents who valued education, Greenwood decided to pursue teaching as a career. Her high academic standing in high school earned her a scholarship which enabled her to enroll in Colorado Teacher’s College in Greeley (now University of Northern Colorado) where she was confronted with blatant racism. Greenwood was prevented from living on campus or joining student organizations. In 1935, Greenwood, encouraged by the minister of her church, took the Colorado State teacher’s exam, successfully passing the oral interview and written examination. Receiving a letter of assignment to teach at Whittier Elementary School in 1935, Greenwood became one of the first African American school teachers in Denver. The public is invited to honor Marie L. Greenwood. She will speak Tuesday, Jan. 17 at St. Cajetan’s, Auraria Campus from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is free.  Editor’s note: Community College of Denver (CCD) is a leading point of entry to higher education for the City and County of Denver. CCD provides a cost effective college education, along with access and opportunity for nontraditional students, workforce development and training resources for local organizations, and community partnerships. For more information, visit

Dr. Levi Watkins

Nicole Avant

The Trumpet Awards Foundation

Mayor Cory Booker

presents the 20th Annual Trumpet Awards, a milestone achievement, with a group of history-making honorees slated to receive the 2012 esteemed Trumpet Award. The 26 honorees join a list of some of the most celebrated personalities in this nation and abroad. The 20th Annual Trumpet Awards black-tie ceremony, sponsored by the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. will be hosted by Wayne Brady, star host of CBS’s Let’s Make A Deal. The event will be held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 4 p.m. The weekend of events and activities, held at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel, will include the Race Relations Symposium on Wednesday, Jan. 4 scheduled at 6 p.m.; and on Thursday, Jan. 5, the Prayer Breakfast, scheduled for 8:30 a.m., and High Tea with High Heels, scheduled for 3 p.m.. An induction of eight new footprints will be placed into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. This induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, National Park Service, located at 450 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, GA. The program preceding the induction ceremony will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Annual Trumpet Awards was created to celebrate and honor African American achievers and those who support the African American experience. The Awards honor achievement

Mary Parker

Emmitt and Pat Smith

Earth, Wind & Fire

Tyrese Gibson

Trumpet Awards Foundation Announces the 20th Annual Trumpet Awards

in diverse fields including law, medicine, business, politics, the arts, civil rights, sports and entertainment. Following are the 2012 Trumpet Awards honorees: •Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. (Medicine) •Ambassador Nicole Avant (International) •Mayor Cory Booker (Political Leadership) •Mary Parker (Business) •Emmitt and Pat Smith, NFL Hallof-Fame (Humanitarian) •Earth, Wind, & Fire (Lifetime Achievement) •Tyrese Gibson (Pinnacle)

•Rev. C.L. Franklin; accepted by his daughter, Aretha Franklin (Civil Rights) •First Lady Michelle Obama (President’s Award pending) •Ted Turner (Golden Trumpet) •Black Hotel General Managers (Power at the Front

Door) For the 20th Anniversary, the Trumpet Awards Foundation decided to honor a group of individuals who have helped to change the face of the hotel industry at the front door. “In the past, African Americans did not hold key positions at prominent

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Rev. C. L. Franklin

Ted Turner

hotels. The hotel industry has recently seen a significant change in its leadership as more African Americans move into positions of leadership. We want to bring awareness to this compelling fact,” said Xernona Clayton, founder and executive producer of the Trumpet Awards, and president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation Inc. The “Power at the Front Door” award was created to salute Black hotel general managers including: Olivia Brown, Bryan Conyers, Larry Daniels, Michael hopper, Adrian Hughes, Russell Miller, Erica Qualls, Michael Session, Michael Smith, Gail Smith-Howard, Michael Washington, Linda Westgate, Robert Woolridge, Erika Alexander, Lorenzo Creighton, Valerie Ferguson, and Robert Steele. The Trumpet Awards was conceived, founded, and nurtured by Xernona Clayton, who has built the Awards and Awards Foundation into a prestigious testimonial around the world. “We have come so far since we started this project in 1993 and I am extremely obliged to those individuals who saw the vision and who have worked with us for nearly 26 years. We are most jubilant to bring this event to the world and to celebrate the achievements of those who had an impact on our community,” says Clayton. Corporate support help make the Trumpet Awards possible; and some sponsors include: The Coca-Cola Company; Wells Fargo; AnheuserBusch; Delta Air Lines; Nordstrom; Newell Rubbermaid; Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick – GMC; Hyatt Regency Atlanta; The Home Depot.

Pariah Actress Shines In Coming Out Drama

Adepero Oduye Talks About The Power Of Film


By Tanya Ishikawa

ariah is a powerful coming-ofage story that provides a fearless close up of a teen’s awkward struggle to embrace her identity and find her path in life. The contemporary drama takes the characters, actors and audience on an emotional roller coaster as the lead character, Alike (pronounced ah-leekay), experiences the highs and lows of discovery and youthful independence. Written and directed by Dee Rees, with Spike Lee among the executive producers, Pariah follows Alike at school and through the streets, clubs, homes and workplaces of her family and friends in Brooklyn. This urban story of a 17-year-old, Black lesbian offers a fresh, unusually candid look at her experience, which translates into feelings and observations that just about anyone can relate to.

“The film has a very universal message,” said Adepero Oduye who portrayed Alike in both the original short film and the full-length feature. “Specifically, you may never have seen a film from the perspective of a young, Black lesbian. I’ve never seen anything like it. But, you don’t have to be young, Black or gay to appreciate and relate to the story and the character in the film.” Adepero Oduye, pronounced Addeh-pair-o Oh-due-yay, visited Colorado for her first time in November during the Starz Denver Film Festival, where Pariah screened and she won the festival’s “Rising Star” award. The Brooklyn-based actress, who moved to New York City from Nigeria, is a graduate of Cornell University where she was studying to become a doctor before discovering her acting talents. “I’ve noticed that many people have gone through this period where they live their lives based on conditioning, doing things, acting a certain way, and having this life set up by these different people, like parents or teachers and the environment they’re in,” said Adepero, comparing her decision to switch career paths with Alike’s decision to reveal her real identity to others. “I came to a point where I realized ‘This is not me; this is not my life; this is not working.’ I said

ENTER FOR THE CHANCE TO WIN AN ADMIT 2 PASS TO SEE by texting the word COURAGE and your ZIP CODE to 43549! Example text: COURAGE 80206 Entry Deadline: Monday, January 9 There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 1/10 by 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on 1/11 at 7:30pm at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated R. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a firstcome, first-served basis. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Focus Features, Allied • THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!

Opening in Denver on January 13! #PariahMovie

Heartbreak opens onto the sunrise. For even breaking is open and I am broken. I am open. See the love shine in through my cracks. See the light shine out through me. My spirit takes journey. My spirit takes flight, and I am not running, I am choosing. I am broken. I am broken open. Breaking is freeing. Broken is freedom. I am not broken. I am free.

From Last Scene of Pariah, Written By Filmmaker Dee Rees, Spoken by Alike

to myself one day, ‘I will never have a chance to get there if I don’t figure out who I want to be and break away.’ I had to believe I am worthy to take up this space on this earth.” As part of the Starz festival, Adepero joined a panel about women and film. She was inspired to participate with so many women filmmakers and GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bizexual, and Transgender) activists, and commented, “We discussed the power of film and how there is an exchange between films and culture and people. People create these stories, which help people in their lives to develop a level of awareness. Like in Pariah or Wish Me Away (another film at the festival), you might be having those kinds of feelings or going through those kinds of things in your life, and the films bring you awareness to help you get to another place. That’s the beauty of film. It’s so great to be around people who are affecting change, and telling different stories to affect different people.” She has been “overwhelmed in a good way” by the reaction of audience members of all ages and backgrounds who are deeply touched by the film. Many come up to her to describe their coming-out experiences or stories about their sisters, brothers, mothers or fathers, while others are just so amazed to have connected so deeply with a story so different from their own. “Either you know people who are gay and who are struggling with their identity, you yourself are or you’re not. The film just gives you a real personal glimpse of a person going through this experience and you can see something in it, too. That is the awesome power of art; it highlights the experience so someone or a group of people will pay attention to it when the issue comes up in the media. You gain just another level of awareness,” Adepero said. “I hope that, for people

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


who are struggling with their identities, the film helps shows them you can figure out who you are and it will get better.” While the film shows the frustration, anger and hurt that Alike endures in her relationships, the audience also shares in her small pleasures, surprises and accomplishments. Cinematographer Bradford Young brings the viewer along Alike’s journey, as if we were at her side the whole time. Young was honored with the Sundance Film Festival’s [U.S. Dramatic Competition] Excellence in Cinematography Award when Pariah premiered there in early 2011. The film achieves a real intensity through the combination of his cinematography, Rees’ insightful direction and the sincerity of the supporting cast, which includes Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mellesse, and Kim Wayans. Adepero hopes the profound subject matter and the intense trailer don’t intimidate people into not seeing the film. She explained, “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Pariah is not just Black people going through some heavy experiences. It’s life. You see a poster with a young, Black girl wearing a baseball cap. If you’re intrigued, go out and see it. I’m pretty sure that people will come away with something positive from the film.” 

Movie Reviews

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

    No stars

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 

Cruise and Company Go Undercover for Dangerous Assignment in Russia


efore he could intercept a courier carrying the activation codes for Russia’s nuclear devices, an American spy (Josh Hollaway) is slain in Budapest, Hungary by a blonde assassin (Lea Seydoux). She was working on behalf of Cobalt (Michael Nyst), a person of interest whose identity can only be determined by infiltrating top secret files located inside the Kremlin. That dangerous assignment is accepted by the latest crack IMF team assembled by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) with the usual understanding that the secretary will disavow any knowledge of its existence if they are killed or captured. So, when a detonation by Cobalt destroys the Kremlin during the operation and America ends up accused of the bombing, the President of the United States has no choice but to issue a Ghost Protocol declaring them rogue agents. This leaves Hunt and company blamed for the attack, and the only way they can clear their names is by tracking down the real culprit and retrieving the codes before he can trigger a weapon of mass destruction. That, in a nutshell, is the premise of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the fourth and arguably finest installment yet in the international espionage series.


Directed by Brad Bird (Ratatouille), the picture ups the ante in terms of state-of-the-art gadgetry and eye-popping feats on land, sea and in the air. Besides the visual capture of action unfolding against breathtaking backdrops of exotic locales as far afield as Moscow, Dubai and Mumbai, the production has been blessed with a plot compelling enough to hold your attention for its duration. A mature Tom Cruise is in top form here, displaying a relativelysophisticated savoir faire in lieu of the easy boyish charm that’s served him so well in the past. His talented supporting cast includes Simon Pegg who offers comic relief, periodically, as his bumbling, new sidekick, Benji Dunn. And joining them for the roller coaster ride are Paula Patton as sultry Agent Jane Carter, and Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, an IMF bureaucrat pressed back into field duty by unusual circumstances. Michelle Monaghan and Ving Rhames reprise their roles as Hunt’s wife, Julia, and his best friend, Luther, respectively, but only in blink-andyou-missed-it cameo appearances. Regardless, nostalgia is not the reason to check out this action flick, which is all about the death-defying stunts designed to have you scratching your head while wondering, “How the heck did they do that?” A welcome addition to a beloved, film franchise which, like a fine wine, is only improving with age.


ture revisits the genocide in Rwanda from the perspectives of individuals hopelessly immersed in the conflict. The net result is an absorbing adventure which forces the audience to invest emotionally in the diverging fates of a variety of complex characters as opposed to the narrowly-drawn, one-dimensional characters usually served up in war flicks. What was it probably like to live in a country where, for three months, members of two contentious tribes, the Hutus and Tutsis hacked each other to death in hand-to-hand combat? And how were they finally able to bury the hatchet, or should I say machete, and embrace a peace process putting the country on a path to unity and reconciliation?

These are the sort of questions Kinyarwanda eloquently addresses not by depicting mob scenes of senseless slaughter, but rather by painting a number of micro tableaus involving individuals trying to survive in the wake of the collapse of civilization. For whether you’re watching an introspective army Lieutenant (Cassandra Freeman), a spineless Catholic priest (Mazimpaka Kennedy), an empathetic, Muslim mullah (Mutsari Jean), a coldblooded guerilla leader (Edouard Bamporiki), an innocent, little boy (Hasasan Kabera), or a teenager (Marc Gwamaka) with a crush on a cute girl (Hadidja Zaninka) from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks, you have an opportunity to bear witness in inti Continued on page 22

Rated: PG-13 for violence and intense action sequences. Running Time: 132 Minutes Distributor: Paramount Pictures To see a trailer for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, visit: Kinyarwanda 



Rwanda Revisited in “Crash”Like Ensemble Drama


he funny thing about genocide, you never know who’s knocking.” That chilling voiceover just past the opening credits sets the tone for Kinyarwanda, a moving series of vignettes revisiting the 1994 Rwandan Civil War from the inside out. The movie marks the brilliant directorial debut of recent NYU film school grad Alrick Brown, whose emotionallyengaging ensemble drama made quite a splash at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year where it won the Audience Award in the World Cinema category. Employing a cinematic technique effectively employed in Crash, the pic-

THE MLK JR. RODEO WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE DENVER COLISEUM DURING THE NATIONAL WESTERN STOCK SHOW THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED. Please note: asses received through this promotion do not guarantee you a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of tickets assumes any and all risks related to use of ticket, and accepts any restrictions required by ticket provider. 20th Century Fox, The Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of a prize. Tickets cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. We are not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her ticket in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal and local taxes are the responsibility of the winners. Void where prohibited by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Participating sponsors, their employees & family members and their agencies are not eligible. NO PHONE CALLS!


Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012



Continued from page 21 mate fashion to everyday situations similar to what very likely really unfolded. Based on actual events, it was quite surprising to this critic to learn the role that Islam played in the cessation of hostilities once the mufti ordered that all the nation’s mosques serve as safe havens for refugees, regardless of ethnicity. Congrats to Alrick Brown for making the most of a micro-budget and for coaxing great performances out of a cast comprised mostly of unprofessional, Rwandan actors touched by the tragedy. An inspirational, modern morality play apt to restore your faith in humanity.

The Descendants


a fortune in commissions should Matt follow through with tentative plans to sell all the property in the trust to a developer. Meanwhile, emotionally-unavailable Matt has also grown distant from his two daughters. 10 year-old Scottie (Amara King) has no qualms about giving her dad the finger, and her equally-rebellious teenage sister, Alex (Shailene Woodley), has taken to using drugs and dating boys a lot older than herself. Everything changes the day Liz is left in a coma by a boating accident. Shaken out of the doldrums by the

ttorney Matt King (George Clooney) traces his lineage back to the 19th Century marriage of the last Hawaiian monarch to a European missionary. Today, as the family patriarch, he’s been kept very busy by having to manage 25,000 acres of prime real estate on behalf of the extended clan. Hence, he and his sorely-neglected his wife, Liz (Patricia Hastie), have drifted so far apart that he’s unaware of her carrying on an affair practically right under his nose. To add insult to injury, her lover is the local realtor (Matthew Lillard) who stands to make

Unrated In English and Kinyarwanda with subtitles. Running Time: 100 Minutes Distributor: African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) To see a trailer for Kinyarwanda, visit: bY The Descendants 

Clooney Seeks Redemption as Regretful Patriarch in Dysfunctional Family Drama

Enter for the chance to win an admit 2 pass to the special advance screening of Text the word CLASSIC and your ZIP CODE to 43549 © 2011 Disney

Example Text: CLASSIC 80246 Entry Deadline: Thursday, January 5

There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 1/6 at 12PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Saturday, 1/7 at 10:00AM at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated G. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theatre. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!


That being said, even if Clooney is the picture’s weak link, the rest of the ensemble cast turn in such splendid performances that they more than make up for his slight failings. Making it even more worthwhile is how it all unfolds against the visually-captivating backdrop island of Kauai. A touching enough to recommend tale about an absentee father’s belated, if bittersweet, quest for redemption. Rated: R for profanity and sexual references. Running Time: 115 minutes Distributor: Fox Searchlight To see a trailer for The Descendants, visit:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tragedy, Matt vows on the spot to be a better husband and father. But when the doctor’s dire diagnosis indicates that Liz is unlikely to emerge from a vegetative state, the best he can do is try to repair the relationships with his girls. This is the engaging point of departure of The Descendants, a dysfunctional family drama based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’ debut novel of the same name. Directed and adapted to the big screen by Oscar-winner Alexander Payne (for Sideways), the film stars George Clooney cast against type as a Prodigal parent filled with overwhelming regret, a far more introspective soul than the freewheeling bachelors and bon vivants he ordinarily gets to play. Unfortunately, he fails to cultivate the requisite gravitas to convince you that Matt has indeed been deeply affected by his wife’s imminent demise or that his decision to spend quality time with his kids is heartfelt. The problem is that, as narrator, he often merely informs the audience of his feelings via voiceover, as opposed to displaying the claimed character development via observable facial expressions.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

Fincher Makes First-Rate Adaptation of Grisly Swedish Crime Saga


ikael Blomqvist (Daniel Craig) resigns from his position as editor of Millennium Magazine after being unable to substantiate the incendiary allegations he’d made about a corrupt billionaire (Ulf Friberg). Fortuitously, the disgraced journalist is soon secretly approached by an intermediary representing recently-retired industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to investigate the mysterious murder of his beloved niece, Harriet (Moa Garpendal), back in 1966. Mikael jumps at the job offer, since his desire to escape the media circus surrounding him in Stockholm conveniently dovetails with the aging patriarch’s need to reopen the case right on location at the family’s secluded estate where Harriet had disappeared into thin air. An additional incentive is Henrik’s promise to provide the proof necessary to overturn the libel conviction. So, straightaway, Mikael moves up to the remote island of Hedestad in


northern Sweden, and starts sifting through the boxes of 40 year-old evidence. After unearthing an array of sordid skeletons in the Vanger family closet ranging from anti-Semitism to sadomasochism, he realizes that he sure could use the help of an assistant, and takes Henrik’s suggestion that he collaborate with Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a brilliant, if bizarrelooking, computer whiz. Mikael is willing to pardon the young hacker’s tattoos, multiple piercings and punked-out hairstyle because of her passion for catching any creep who’d harm a female. And her technical skills do prove to be the perfect complement to Henrik’s uncanny ability to interview surviving witnesses despite their putting on aristocratic airs. Still, not surprisingly, the closer they come to solving the mystery, the more dangerous a situation they find themselves embroiled in. So unfolds The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a worthy remake of the Swedish-language thriller of the same name just released in 2009. Directed by David Fincher (The Social Network) this English-language version is actually a rarity in that it is an improvement over its foreign film original. Both movies are based on the first installment of the trilogy of novels by the late Stieg Larsson, and Sony Pictures has already committed to adapting the other two books to the screen, too. Here, scene-stealer Rooney Mara is nothing short of riveting as the ever-edgy Lisbeth, while Daniel Craig disappears into his role as Mikael sufficiently so you forget about the fact that he also plays James Bond. An intricately-woven, edge-ofyour-seat whodunit as graphic and grisly as it is cerebral and mind-bending. Rated: R for rape, torture, brutal violence, profanity, frontal nudity and graphic sexuality. Running Time: 158 minutes Distributor: Columbia Pictures To see a trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, visit: New Year’s Eve 

New Yorkers Search for Love in Serendipitous Romantic Comedy

It is unavoidable that this picture would be compared to the similarlystructured Valentine’s Day and Love Actually, given how both of those romantic comedies also revolve around the relationship issues of a number of couples whose lives serendipitously intersect on a big holiday. The good news is that this film is

New Year’s Eve



far superior to the former, although it unfortunately falls short of the latter, which landed on this critic’s Annual Top Ten List for 2003. Directed by Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) New Year’s Eve features an ensemble cast stocked with matinee idols at every turn, most notably, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ludacris, Karen Heigl, Matthew Broderick, Jessica Biel and Common. The point of departure is Manhattan on a balmy December 31st which is where we find each of the protagonists anticipating the imminent arrival of 2012, though for very different reasons. Corporate executive Claire Morgan (Hilary Swank) is too busy with the responsibility of overseeing the annual Times Square extravaganza with the help of TV host Ryan Seacrest, an NYPD officer (Ludacris) and a crack repairman (Hector Elizondo) to attend to a pressing personal matter. Nearby, event planner Laura Carrington (Heigl) is reluctantly putting the finishing touches on a rock concert at which her rock star ex-boyfriend, Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi), will be headlining. Meanwhile, one of his backup singers (Lea Michele) suddenly finds herself stuck in an elevator with a grouch (Ashton Kutcher) who had vowed not to celebrate the holiday. Then there’s the helicopter mom (Parker) who’s so obsessed with her teenage daughter’s (Abigail Breslin) crush on a classmate (Jake T. Austin) to think about her own needs. Hospital-bound Griffin (Seth Meyers) and his 9-months pregnant wife, Tess (Biel), are hoping to win the $25,000 prize for having the first baby born after midnight. Elsewhere in the hospital, a terminal patient on the cancer ward (De Niro) is trying to talk his empathetic nurse (Berry) into taking

TWO PASSES PER PERSON, WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. THIS FILM IS RATED PG-13. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. Please note: Passes are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. No phone calls, please. Limit two passes per person. Each pass admits one. Seating is not guaranteed. Arrive early. Theater is not responsible for overbooking. This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio or video recording device into the theater (audio recording devices for credentialed press excepted) and consent to a physical search of your belongings and person. Any attempted use of recording devices will result in immediate removal from the theater, forfeiture, and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. Please allow additional time for heightened security. You can assist us by leaving all nonessential bags at home or in your vehicle.


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

Text the word TRAP and your ZIP CODE to 43549 Example Text: TRAP 80246 Entry Deadline: Sunday, January 15 Texting 43KIX is free. Standard text message rates from your wireless provider may apply, check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 1/16 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Tuesday, 1/17 at 7:00PM at a local theater. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated R. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Relativity Media, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!

Continued on page 24


Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Continued from page 23 him up to the roof to watch the ball drop. And this thoroughly-modern mosaic wouldn’t be complete without a tale about a cradle-robbing cougar (Pfeiffer) being serenaded all over town by an ardent admire young enough to be her son. Like a classical conductor, veteran


A New Year’s toast as sentimental as singing Auld Lang Syne!

Rated: PG-13 for profanity and sexual references. Running Time: 117 Minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures To see a trailer for New Year’s Eve, visit: XjsKjs

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows

director Marshall masterfully executes a cinematic balancing act here, seamlessly intertwining these discrete storylines ever so effortlessly. All roads lead to Times Square as the tension slowly ratchets, with enough surprising twists and touching reveals along the way to tug on your heartstrings.

To have an idea is one thing. To have a voice is another.

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows 

Holmes and Moriarty Match Wits in Action-Oriented Sequel


nce again, Guy Ritchie has served up a bombastic interpretation

of Sherlock Holmes which will undoubtedly have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle purists squirming in their seats. That disclaimer notwithstanding, anyone open-minded enough to forgive the blasphemous action sequences is in for a cinematic treat every bit as cerebral as it is visually captivating. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law reprise their roles as Holmes and Dr. Watson, respectively. And Jared Harris has joined the cast to play the pair’s diabolical archenemy, the inscrutable Professor James Moriarty. At the point of departure, we find Holmes in the midst of throwing a bawdy bachelor party for his loyal sidekick who is set to marry a fetching lass named Mary (Kelly Reilly) the very next morning. However, after the wedding, the newlyweds’ travel plans go immediately courtesy of a comedy of errors in which the bride is unceremoniously tossed off a train leaving her hubby and Sherlock to share the honeymoon suite aboard the Trans Europe Express. It’s just as well, anyway, given the fact that the perspicacious Holmes has been the only detective able to connect the dots among a series of recent slayings, including the murders of an Indian cotton tycoon, a Chinese opium trader and an American Steel magnate, as well as some suspicious

Voices Of Hope

Rated: PG-13 for drug use and intense violence. In English and French subtitles Running Time: 129 Minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures To see a trailer for Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows, visit:

expression and the learning process that begins with experimentation and ends in refinement. “This contest gives our students an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and speak publicly on a topic about which they feel strongly, thereby preparing them to have an impact in their communities,” noted Academic Support Coordinator Amy Onsager. Hope Online Director of Student Achievement Dr. Janet Filbin noted the enthusiastic participation of students across grade levels as well as teachers, directors and mentors again this year. “In this, our third year, we witnessed how this competition has sparked our students’ overall confidence and empowered the voice of each individual learner. They have grown with each step in our persuasive argument lessons as they moved toward the contest, seeing for themselves that they are capable,” Dr. Filbin explained. During the competition’s awards presentation, Peterson echoed Dr. Filbin’s expectation, recognizing that this year’s student competitors had outdone their peers from previous years, while also predicting even greater researching, thinking, writing and speaking skills for next year’s participants. Though only a handful of formal winners received prizes, the enthusiasm and pride of all the participants, many of whom brought friends and family members to share the important day, were evident. Taking much more away than certificates, students of all ages wore the expressions of those who had heard their own voice – and liked the sound of it. 

Heather O’Mara and Ruth Márquez West

Last month, Hope Online students used their voices, giving impassioned presentations during the Third Annual Persuasive Argument Competition held at the Hope Online administrative offices. In her welcome, Hope Online Executive Vice-President of Academic Achievement Sherida Peterson remarked, “Ghandi said, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ By participating in the persuasive argument essay and speaking contest, you are finding your voice and helping other young people find their voices, which is part of what Hope Online is all about.” Find their voices, they did. Fifty 6th-12th grade students from 36 Hope Online Learning Centers across the Front Range spoke out about absentee fathers, recess, overpaid athletes, laws that encourage bullying, childhood obesity, minors tried as adults and why electric cars will save the future, just to name a few. They pitched their chosen causes with PowerPoint presentations, poise and powerful words from the heart. One argument that captivated the judges was about education budget cuts. Marissa Covarrubias, an eleventh grader, took top high school honors for her stark description of her previous school where students sat on the floor because of the lack of desks and other essential resources. In the middle school competition, Imelda Mendoza Hernandez provided insight on the indirect benefits of studying art such as coping skills, healthy self-

bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna. The super sleuth has figured out not only that it must be the work of Moriarty but that the maniacal madman might be trying to trigger an international incident. Next, a frenetically-paced, cat-andmouse caper unfolds in which the protagonists chase the endlessly-clever professor from France to Germany to Switzerland. Along the way, they are assisted in this endeavor by Holmes’ hulking brother (Stephen Fry) and a gypsy fortune teller (Noomi Rapace) with the proverbial heart of gold. Just brace yourself for the sort of stylized, high-impact fare for which director Ritchie is best known. Still, besides the bravado and over-the-top derring-do, the adventure does also allow for intellectual interludes during which Sherlock and his nemesis match wits in a rather refined fashion. Welcome to the 21st Century edition of Sherlock Holmes, a wellrounded gent as likely to flex his brawn as his brain!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Honoring The

Red Tail Airmen

On Laughter Silvered Wings. Both organizations are dedicated to reaching future generations through aviation. I proudly have a personal relationship with this event. My father, Lawrence “Larry” A. Brown was one of those airmen. Whenever my father reconnected with his “buddies,” I remember them all to be kind, dignified and always encouraging. I relocated to Denver, Colorado nearly four years ago and joined the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. While my father is deceased, he lives within me every day, and to find this opportunity to pay it forward and continue their legacy makes my heart soar.

I encourage you to read more about these fine men who came home from the war and had to fight discrimination on yet another front, but who held to the idea of education being the key to any success. It’s time to pay homage to these brave and dignified gentlemen and donate to their scholarship efforts. Editor’s note: For tickets and information, visit and click on the event poster or email: For more information on the Tuskegee, visit

Lawrence A. Brown

44-K-SE 2/1/1945 Flt. Officer T68700

By Candy Brown

In 1940 the Army Air Corps sub-

mitted a plan to the War Department for an “experiment” forming an allBlack (then colored) fighter squadron with 33 pilots. March 7, 1942 produced the first class of AfricanAmerican pilots at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Five completed the advanced pilot training and became flying officers in the 99th Pursuit Squadron. Many fighter squadrons came later the 100th, 332nd, 477th etc who were exemplary in their war performance. What started out as an experiment, because it was the prevailing belief that Blacks did not have the intelligence or facilities necessary to fly, became the “TUSKEGEE AIRMEN” a group of fine, fit, passionate, intelligent and determined young men who served their country against all odds. Twenty-three years in the making, George Lucas has made a film about them….”Red Tails.” In Colorado, we have more of these living treasures than any other state and there will be a rare opportunity to honor these men when this film is released. The Aurora Movie Tavern will screen Red Tails in its theaters on Sunday, Jan. 22. The “Honor The Airmen” committee is hosting an event to raise money for the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc in conjunction with the organization Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Be Fit, Feel Good In 2012

By Dr. Roberta McClinon


ou’re never too young or old to take of care of your health and be fit through exercise and movement. Rudy McClinon Jr. has been a very inclusive part of the Greater Denver fitness scene – a catalyst who has made our community’s health a top priority. McClinon and his wife Elissa Diaz-McClinon, also a certified fitness instructor, co-founded R-U-A Pro Fitness LLC. After a few years as a professional football player and a teacher in the Cincinnati Public School system, McClinon moved to Denver and worked in the insurance industry for more than 20 years. At the age of 38 after retiring from pro football and a couple serious car accidents, his doctor revealed to him that he had severe arthritis in both hips from the impact of playing sports, as well as the injuries endured from the car accidents. His prognosis was to have surgery to replace his hips due to the deterioration of the joints and the ball sockets. However, due to the severity of the wear and tear to the joints, he

ended up having both hips replaced within a five month time frame at the age of 48. When asked how was he able to cope with recovering from having two serious surgeries in a short period of time, he said, “It had a lot to do with believing in doing what I can do and not worrying about what I can’t do. When doctors told me what I could not do, I decided to concentrate on what I could do. From a spiritual standpoint, my strong belief in God allowed me to let Him guide me through the hard times of doing what I needed to do. This made things become a little easier. I found I could still do things that we oftentimes take for granted such as walking, bending and strengthening my legs. Having a lot of intestinal fortitude and belief in myself that I would not give into what the doctors said I could not do help me get through. Using common sense and making sure I didn’t hurt myself just to prove the doctors wrong there are some things that I should not attempt to do. I know I should not attempt to jump out of an airplane or run and slide while playing baseball or dunking a basketball. These are some of the things that I cannot do anymore. I just do the things that I can do.” Working with the senior population is a passion for Rudy, who at the age of 59 is helping them through exercise classes that improve coordination, balance, flexibility and strength. Clients who were unable to walk without the assistance of a cane are now getting around without one, while others can raise their arms past head level and go well beyond that point. You can catch Rudy at several senior centers around the Denver area including The Zion Senior Center, Sable Ridge Residences, Allen Gardens and the new Dahlia Square Senior Apartments. It’s exercise time, but in the large community room at the Zion Senior Center in northeast Denver, it’s not the typical fitness enthusiasts but rather,

30 to 40 African-American seniors, who line up to work out. Most have some physical ailments, and some have serious health problems. The seniors range in age from 55 to 96.The average age is 75. Sporting comfortable rather than fashionable workout garb, they wear the lines of wisdom and character befitting their time in life. While leading the class, Rudy McClinon turns on Gospel music and offers words of encouragement – “You can do this, I know you can.” Pat Hill, 65, can touch her toes. “I haven’t been able to do that in 30 years” she says. When Pat started the exercise class three years ago, her arthritis caused her pain every day. After retiring, she got in the habit of staying in the bed until noon or 1 p.m. It just hurt to move. Now she goes to the morning exercise class held at Zion Senior Center in northeast Denver three times a week. The walker and the cane she once used are now gone. And she doesn’t take as many pills for pain. “I’ve never felt so cared about,” Pat said. “If I don’t show up for class, they call looking for me.” Catherine Fort, 72, agreed, “It’s the interaction with people that I think is really what is so great about being here.” Shirley Hudson, 69, and her husband Floyd, 81, credit the class with helping them deal with their recent health problems. “I fell and because of the exercise class I had learned how to fall. But I didn’t break bones or anything,” said

Shirley. As I was falling, I could hear Rudy saying “just relax and go with the fall.” Late last year, Floyd had a heart attack. He credits participating in the exercise class for helping speed up his recovery. “I tell them that it’s all about your attitude towards life, which may be the most important benefit they get out of this program. Over time, you can see them become more positive and that’s my reward.” Rudy has worked with the American Heart Association; Center for African American Health, Healthy Souls LLC, and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life numerous churches around the city and country and is the Executive Director of Sankofa Wholistic Health Care, a 501(3c) non-profit organization. It’s never too late to begin a fitness regimen, said Rudy. His journey in the fitness field began at age of 10. “It’s not enough to teach and train others how to say fit, it is important that we eat right and get plenty of rest,” he said who also prays a lot and tries to lead by example. “By incorporating the complete mind, body spirit philosophy, we are able to maintain overall health.”

Editor’s note: For more information, visit, call 720-3232239, e-mail rmc_ruapro fitness@yahoo .com or call 720-323-2239. Dr. Roberta McClinon is a naturopathic consultant with Healthy Souls LLC. For more information, email or call 720-775-1275.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


These Days It’s Harder To Identify Who Is A Journalist By Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center


ournalists used to be easy to identify, in life, in the law – heck, even in the movies. Not that many years past, journalists were the people carrying notebooks and pencils and maybe wearing a “Press” badge or card. They were newspaper reporters, magazine writers, and the occasional wire service correspondent. On the big screen, they often wore a trench coat and almost always were “on deadline.” Even when TV news came along, that new crop of journalists was easy to spot. They were the reporters trailed by a small crew equipped with cables, microphones and cameras. And there was a relatively small spectrum of local channels or national networks where they appeared. Standing, literally and figuratively, behind both groups were brick-andmortar buildings and businesses, staffed by a host of editors and news directors. There were courses of study at colleges, and professional groups with names that almost always included words like “newspaper” or “radiotelevision” – or even more plainly, “journalist.” Then along came multiple outlets on cable TV and talk radio, and later 24/7 news channels. Identification got a bit tougher. Though the traditional groups still claimed the tag, there were new questions about “who is a journalist?” Did the host of a show focused on opinion, not reporting, qualify? (Think Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and others.) And what do you call someone who switches between news and entertainment? (Think Geraldo Rivera and Barbara Walters.) Then came the Internet, where anyone can report, collect or opine on the news – and where some who do attract huge audiences that compare with or surpass traditional news operations. (Think Huffington Post and Matt Drudge.) In one sense, none of that matters: The First Amendment includes no qualifiers when it mentions a “free press.” But such a broadly drawn concept of a journalist now regularly runs into trouble in courtrooms and legislative proposals, where it’s necessary to

decide whether new media practitioners are or should be included. The euphemistically named “Free Flow of Information Act” proposed in several recent sessions of Congress would extend “shield laws” for journalists to the federal level. The act would limit the conditions under which journalists must disclose news sources when subpoenaed in federal courts. Most states, through legislation or court decisions, now provide such legal protection to sources. The question of whether bloggers or freelancers who publish work online should be included has proven a major roadblock to passage in the Senate. Most recently, a federal district judge raised Internet eyebrows nationwide in ruling that Oregon’s shield law as applied to “journalists” would not protect a blogger sued for defamation. He ruled that the blogger did not meet the state’s definition. In the judge’s view, she failed because she had not attended a journalism school, didn’t work for a recognized news outlet, and had not operated according to professional journalism standards. Not only did that decision strip this particular blogger of membership in the journalism club, but, more important, it also set up a lower legal standard to be met by those pursuing the defamation claim. And it removed a barrier to awarding higher damages. Clearly, even within the traditional meaning, some online contributors are journalists. They work for local or national news operations, adhere to journalistic standards or customs, and make their living by doing such work. But online enterprises of all kinds, shapes and sizes have opened up a new world of news and information, often as heavy on commentary as the Colonialera journals of opinion and with audiences as limited as the neighborhood or as vast as the World Wide Web. There’s one certainty in all this: Defining a “journalist” and therefore what constitutes a free press can no longer fairly depend on appearances, education or employment, on the manner of distribution or the size of circulation or audience. A once-glib response to the “who” question has been: “You are a journalist when you say you are.” Add in the requirement of a clear intent to inform others, and such a simple – and free speech-, free press-friendly – definition of an old profession just might fit best in the Internet Age.  Editor’s note: Gene Policinski is senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S., Nashville, Tenn., 37212. Web: E-mail:



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Mayor Michael B. Hancock welcomed the 69th Chief of Police Robert White to Denver, marshaling in a new era of safety to the city. Chief White will hit the ground running with an ambitious schedule to introduce him to the six precincts and more than 1,400 officers within the Department and the more than 70 neighborhoods that comprise Denver. Since day one, Mayor Hancock has driven an aggressive vision of restoring public trust in the department and providing an even better police force to the people of Denver. White will help the Administration move forward with the goal of delivering a world class City where everyone matters.

Media Industry Communications Exec Chelsye Burrows Joins GMC As PR Vice President

GMC, America’s favorite television channel for uplifting music and family entertainment, announced that media industry communications executive Chelsye Burrows has joined the network as vice president, public relations. She joins GMC from Starz Entertainment, where she was vice president of programming publicity. In her new post, she reports to Brad Siegel, GMC’s vice chairman, and is based in Atlanta. At Starz, Burrows was responsible for overseeing programming publicity for the network’s original series. She

joined Starz in 1999 as the director of multicultural communications. She was promoted to executive director of corporate communications in 2003, and to vice president of programming publicity in 2006. Burrows came to Starz Entertainment from the UniWorld Group, Inc. in New York, one of the nation’s leading multi-cultural advertising agencies. Burrows holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish, and a Master’s Degree in Public Relations, both from The American University. She is a 2005 graduate of NAMIC’s Executive Leadership Development Program, is past president of the Denver Chapter of NAMIC and serves on the Board of Directors of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in Denver.

Denver Human Services Receives National Hunger Champion Award

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Outreach Coalition recognized Denver Human Services with a bronze level National Hunger Champion Award for providing exemplary outreach and service to clients. The award is specific to the promotional efforts for the FNS Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Denver Human Services was nominated by the state of Colorado for their exemplary work with community based organizations and partners such as Hunger Free Colorado, Community Collaborative Partnership Centers, GIVE Denver among others. Denver Human Services is among a select group of social services agencies nationwide to receive this award. The department has focused on creating partnerships with local organizations to help promote the program to families in need. In addition, the department has worked to educate staff members with client contact on process and procedures for eligibility qualification.



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Bass Pro Shops donated turkeys to a variety of nonprofits for the Christmas holiday. Among therm were The Rescue Mission, Potter’s House and the Urban Spectrum Youth Founcdation. Pictured is Floyd Jones of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce and Corbin Bishop with Bass Pro Shops.

Former Denver Mayor Webb Addresses New Mayors At Harvard University

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb was invited by Harvard University to speak about jobs and economic development to newly elected mayors nationwide during a three-day conference at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. The program, “Transition and Leadership for Newly Elected Mayors,” took place Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 and included former and current mayors addressing a variety of topics, including finances, the Occupy Wall Street movement, gun violence, flash mobs, education and health care. Webb has been lauded for helping to revitalize downtown Denver into a thriving community during his 12 years in office from 1991 to 2003. He also negotiated with Denver’s three professional sports teams – the Denver Broncos, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets – to remain in venues in downtown for at least 25 years. Webb served as past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Conference of Black Mayors and National Conference of Democratic Mayors. He serves on the national board of directors of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) and was appointed a U.S. delegate to the United Nations by President Obama.

Webb Donates 150 Books To Blair Caldwell Library

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma, have donated 150 books from their personal collection to the Blair Caldwell African

American Research Library’s historical reference section. After leaving office in 2003, Webb also donated many historical gifts and papers to the library from his 12 years as mayor, four years as Denver’s auditor and six years at a Colorado State representative. Wilma Webb also donated items from her years as first lady and as a longtime state representative. According to Terry Nelson, special collections and community resources manager, outstanding donation of 150 reference books will enrich the growing research collection. The couple came up with the concept and pushed through the funding for the $16 million library that opened in the historic Five Points neighborhood eight years ago. The building, located at 2401 Welton St., has a first floor library; a research library on the second floor; and the third floor has a museum that chronicles the influences of the black community in the West, including the jazz history and a replica of Webb’s office while mayor. It was named in honor of two of Denver’s black community leaders and trailblazers: former Denver Public Schools board President Omar Blair and former Denver City Councilman Alvin Caldwell. Both men attended the dedication but have since passed away.

door music venue, recently launched the beta website to help upand-coming artists market themselves, connect to potential buyers and identify a pool of resources to assist in their success. Once the site is populated with several hundred bands, it will be marketed to those seeking to hire them. Initially focusing on Colorado, will feature bands who charge $2,500 or less per gig. This site is different than any other in that the Company takes no fee from either buyer or seller. In addition to connecting musicians and event organizers, is building out a Resources section. Most new bands spend countless hours honing and perfecting their sound, but don’t have the skill set or connections to take it to the next level. Dyce’s screens businesses that specialize in the music arena – from lighting and sound technicians to accountants to stylists – and provides that information to bands to help them turn their garage band into a marketable name. While will launch locally, the plan is to market the website nationally to connect

New Website Connects Musicians To The Masses

Musicians playing in that space between free and a few thousand dollars per gig often find it hard to reach the people who want to hire them and are urged to register for a free slot on Erik Dyce, the marketing man behind the world’s number one outDenver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


artists to the buyers in their area. For more information, visit

NAACP Legal Defense And Educational Fund: Life Sentence For Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced that it will not seek another death sentence for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Pennsylvania law now requires Abu-Jamal to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for his controversial 1982 murder conviction in the shooting death of a police officer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), along with Widener Law Professor Judith Ritter, represents Abu-Jamal in his appeals of the murder conviction and death sentence. Abu-Jamal will be formally resentenced to life without parole in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The final sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.


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The Civic Summit Community Food Drive To Fight Hunger

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Colorado Miners Community Center 4809 Race St., Denver, CO 80216 Saturday Clinics 10 am - 1 pm January 28

February 25

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April 28

May 19

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Cedric Pride and Rich Lewis, two Denver business and community leaders will host Civic Summit Community Food Drive, a community event focused on counteracting hunger hardships and to showcase various organizations who are helping families cope and survive this economic downturn. This event will take place Jan. 7 at Montbello High School from 2 to 5 p.m. The minimum requested donation is three non-perishable food items. The goal is to raise thousands of pounds of food for the community. All food and monetary donation will go directly to three local food banks. Special celebrity guest will be national recording artist, Al B. Sure and live entertainment will be provided by the Montbello High School Drumline, Muzik Junkie and the first lady of Denver Mary Louise Lee Band. For more information, call 720-5457984.

Cast Your Vote For Preschool One Book, One Denver

The general public is invited to be part of the fourth annual Preschool One Book, One Denver city-wide book club by casting a vote for their favorite book. Voters will have three books to choose from and celebrity readers can be seen reading the books by visiting Online voting begins Jan. 15 and concludes on Jan. 30. The winning book will be revealed during the Preschool One Book, One Denver launch event on April 18 which will kick-off the Week of the Young Child. The winning book will be read in both English and Spanish at premium venues across the city by local celebrities, community leaders, athletes, media representatives and politicians, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Governor John Hickenlooper, and Lt. Governor Garcia. For more information, visit or call 720-287-5055.

Memories Of First Black Principle Needed

In the February issue or the Denver Urban Spectrum, there will be a special commemorative story on the life of James Ward, the first African American principal of a Colorado public high school. Any individuals (former students, fellow teaching colleagues, surviving parents and other community members) who have memories of James Ward and would

like to share them, mail Ed Augden, 4482 Quitman St., Denver, CO., 80212; or email Deadline is Friday, Jan. 13. For more information, call 303-4555800.

The Denver Foundation’s 2012 Nonprofit Internship Program.

Do you know a college student who is interested in making a difference while exploring career opportunities, making lifelong friends, and getting paid. The program, targeted to individuals traditionally underrepresented in the nonprofit sector, has for the past five summers, connected outstanding interns with nonprofit organizations, workshops, and leadership development and mentorship opportunities. The deadline is Jan 23. For more information, visit

Afterthought Theatre Presents Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery

Afterthought Theatre Company presents Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery which runs through January 7th at the Dayton Street Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street in Aurora. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery starring Adrienne Martin-Fullwood, Doris Walker, Ilasiea Gray, Elaina Trammell, Veronique Skiffer, Tashara May, Lawanda Dudley and Tina Allen tells the story of a young black girl’s coming of age in the South during the sixties. Daughter, the main character and narrator, shares with the audience how the women who raised her, some blood relatives and some not, prepared her for womanhood. Tickets are $20 Friday and Saturday, and $15 on Sunday online at For more informations, call 720-3657754.

Rocky Mountain PBS Presents Steppin’ Out With Ben Vereen

Rocky Mountain PBS presents Tony award winner and Broadway legend Ben Vereen in a Valentine concert on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The show will be presented at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver and will benefit Rocky Mountain PBS. Steppin’ Out With Ben Vereen, will feature the music of Broadway, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2012


Vereen has appeared on Broadway in Wicked, Chicago, Fosse, Jelly’s Last Jam, and the hit musical Pippin. Perhaps his most memorable role was his portrayal of Chicken George in the ABC television miniseries “Roots.” He has made numerous television guest appearances including a recurring role on, “How I Met Your Mother,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” This month, Vereen will be the recipient of the prestigious Theater Hall of Fame Award in New York City. For tickets call 303-871-7720 or visit For more information, visit

Whittier K-8 Open House

Whittier K-8, located at 25th & Downing, invite all interested families and community members to a Community Open House on Thursday, Jan. 19 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The evening will begin with a short presentation in the auditorium highlighting Whittier’s recent success followed by a school tour. Attendees will then have the opportunity to visit with teachers in classrooms and meet Whittier parents. For more information, call PTA President, Karen at 303-986-5929 or email

DPL To Host Gala Celebration & Awards Ceremony Honoring African American Community

On Friday, Feb. 3 the Denver Public Library will host their 25th Anniversary Gala to raise funds to endow the Annual Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Awards. Join local dignitaries, elected officials, supporters and community members as the Library celebrates 25 years of honoring Colorado’s African American community. Also, on Saturday, Feb. 4, the Library will celebrate the Annual Awards Ceremony named after Juanita Ross Gray, a former DPL staff member and dedicated community advocate. During this community celebration, awards are presented to African American men and women who have made an outstanding contribution to the Denver Metro area and who exemplify the ideals and spirit represented by Gray’s commitment to the community. The event is free and open to the public. Both events will be held at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. in Denver. For more information, visit



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Denver Urban Spectrum January 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum, the premier publication about communities of color, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.

Denver Urban Spectrum January 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum, the premier publication about communities of color, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.