Page 1

Volume 30

Number 10

January 2017

Reflecting on a Legacy Barack Hussein Obama 44th President of the United States 2008 - 2016 Special Tribute: Pages 9-20


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January 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington

PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Earl Ofari Hutchinson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Allan ChristopherTellis Laurence Washington ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant 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 2017 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

This month we celebrate legacy and as the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission Chair, Vern Howard talks about how it all began with him and who paved the way as he celebrates 20 years as the MLK Marade chair. Dr. King’s achievements and memory will be displayed throughout Denver and the country as we honor his life this month. We also celebrate the legacy of Barack Hussein Obama as he leaves the White House after serving as the first African American and 44th President of the United States. In 2012, Denver Urban Spectrum recognized his first four years of service and achievements and in this issue, we recognize them again and more with a special tribute. DUS contributor Allan Tellis shares his memory of the country’s first African American First Lady Michelle Obama in a thoughtful and poignant op-ed. And as we enter a New Year, we look forward to celebrating a 30th anniversary legacy in April and invite you – our readers, supporters, and family and friends – to join us as we began to celebrate “Power 30 – More Today.” It has been a long and challenging journey – but well worth the voyage! You have all helped make it possible. Thank you! Have a safe, prosperous and joyous New Year! P.S. Don’t forget to join in at a Cool Black Party on January 20th near you!


A Peaceful Voice of Thanks

has experienced its own high-profile incidents. As executive director of the Denver Department of Public Safety, and a member of the community who cares deeply about our city, I look at these events and ask myself what I can do to help heal strained relationships here in Denver. I believe part of the answer can be found by engaging with community members in a meaningful way, learning how they feel about their Police and Sheriff Departments, and incorporating their expressed expectations into our work. For the better part of this year, community members, public safety officials and members of the Police and Sheriff Departments have dialogued about how the community perceives its engagement with law enforcement and what can be done to improve relationships. Conversations have been had about implicit and explicit biases, procedural justice and use of force, to name a few, and advances are being made to define short, mid and long-term goals aimed at enhancing community engagement. Through these meetings, and during other interactions with members of our community in which input is sought, it has become clear that in addition to listening to what we can do better from the community’s perspective and partnering on improvements, we need to do a better job of communicating what we are doing, much of which incorporates input received from the community. While the ongoing reform effort in the Denver Sheriff Department is top of mind for many, fewer are aware of the restructuring that has occurred in

Editor: This thank you is for everyone at the Denver Urban Spectrum and in particular, Rosalind Harris. Thank you for including some of our writers in your December issue and also for sending a copy to me. I’ve now shared your online site with our writers and our web manager, Paloma Ayala Vela. We are entering an era when we need the philosophy of unity that you clearly espouse. It is an authentic honor to find our voices alongside yours. Ms. Harris, when you have a message for Americans in general, please consider offering it to us and we, in turn, will work to get it published in other sections of our country. Here in Portland, where we are based, the local NAACP Branch 1120 President, Jo Ann Hardesty, called on people of all races to join NAACP. Since she made that call, our branch grew by about 500 members, at least half of them not African American. Jo Ann runs a tight ship and is taking us forward together. I see that sort of philosophy in your writing and your pages and it tells me this is what we are all realizing now. We just need more cogent spokespeople like you across the country. May your publication thrive.

Yours for a nonviolent future, Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D. Director, PeaceVoice Program

Community Engagement

Editor: Across the country critical events have occurred that highlight mistrust between communities of color and law enforcement. Like many cities, the injustice and outrage these events invoke has been felt in Denver, which

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

the Denver Police Department under the leadership of Chief Robert White. One of the key changes the department has made that incorporates community concern relates to use of force. Through policy and procedures, the department has instituted an emphasis on sanctity of life. Officers are required to reduce the negative momentum of volatile situations whenever reasonable and practical, and to deploy a variety of de-escalation tools, which include being courteous and respectful, avoiding arguments and showing empathy. Officers are also required to follow a new decision making model during their interactions with citizens. They can no longer make decisions based solely on what is legally justified. Each decision, and subsequent decision, must also continually assess if the action is necessary, reasonable, appropriate and proportional. Additionally, like the Denver Sheriff Department, the Police Department is updating its use of force policy to define appropriate actions that align with community expectations and innovative practices, once force becomes necessary. Recognizing the importance of this issue to the community, input from community members and organization will be sought, and incorporated to the extent possible, before the policy is finalized. In Denver, we take community concerns very seriously and work diligently to address tensions between our community members and law enforcement. My commitment to the community is that we will continue to avail ourselves. We will continue to Continued on page 28


The one thing Vern Howard, the Celebrates 20 Years as MLK Marade Chair chairman of the Martin Luther King Marade knows for sure is regardless of the weather and other obstacles, people are going to come out and march in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King. Case in point, Black Lives Matter 5280 protesters interruption of last year’s ceremony, but the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission kept the celebration moving. Previously there was talk about cancelling the Marade in 2007 and 2008 when the temperatures dipped well below zero, but again event organizers were not detoured. “I had always said, ‘No,’ we are not cancelling,” says Howard who is celebrating his 20th year as chairman of the Marade. “Dr. King walked and was spat upon, blasted with fire hoses, threatened, had dogs sic’d on him, and we can’t march down the street because it’s cold? We live in Colorado. We already know it’s going to be cold in January. One thing I know for sure is the Marade is going to happen. People are going to come out and they are going to represent.”

Signed into law

The term “Marade” was coined by the honorable former First Lady of Denver Wilma Webb, who fought in the Colorado legislature to have Dr. King’s birthday recognized as a Colorado state holiday. Webb’s efforts came to fruition on April 4, 1985 as then Colorado’s Governor Dick Lamm signed the legislation into law. In 1986, Webb announced that Denver would have a one-of-kind march and parade called a “Marade.” The 3.5-mile Marade begins from City Park’s Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, winds down Colfax Avenue and ends at the Denver Civic Center Park. The event attracted 72,000 people in 2016. “We used to march from the monument down to the State Capital,” says Howard who also serves as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission since 2000. “Then all of the legislators would wait until we got there, and they would come walking out to the cameras and wave – as if they were always a part and supportive of what we have done. And I said, ‘That’s not happening anymore.’ So we now go over to the Civic Center Park. If the politicians wanted to be a part of the Marade, then I would respect them more if they would come and be a part of it before we reach the State House.” Howard says it’s a one-of-a kind march in the nation honoring the memory of the slain civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and last years’ Marade was punctuated by speeches from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner. “Before the holiday was passed,” Howard explains, “a group called Umoja, which means unity, started marching along with Black educators trying to bring Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday here in Colorado. I was marching to be an enforcer, if we were going to have problems with the Ku Klux Klan, or whatever the case may be. I wanted to march. That was way back in the late ‘70s early ‘80s.”

By Laurence Washington

Preforming Arts. It’s an awe-inspiring event. They have been our partners ever since we started this program. You have beautiful symphonic music and a video presentation that takes us through the chronicles of Black history and culture in the United States. Then we honor six individuals, plus a lifetime achievement award and the Wellington Webb Founder Award, which is chosen by the Commission.”

Not all celebratory

The Commission, a grassroots 100 percent volunteer entity, offers MLK events year round. Starting Monday Jan. 9, before the Marade begins on Jan. 16, the Commission will offer a kick-off celebration in Aurora. Everyday the Commission holds events at places such as the Aurora Fox Theatre on Colfax, the Municipal Building, churches and schools. The Commission also offers youth scholarships. In 2014 they presented more than $20,000 in youth scholarships and had Harry Belafonte attend that evening’s event. “We just don’t do celebratory events,” Howard says. “We champion needs of people in the community – food and a recycle fair for Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission Chair Vern Howard clothes. We work with the ACLU, NAACP and unions. If there is an issue, and we’re able to help, we will. At the Marade, we had folks bring Apprentice Howard, a young man at the time, says he would old cell phones, because we have partnered with a couple of companies that revamp cell phones and work behind the scenes during the march making give them to battered women shelters. In order for sure that the logistics were taken care of. Little did us to continue putting on these types of events, we Howard know that event organizers Hollis Jones, need the community’s help. They can go to our John Elbeck, Leonard Sewell, Ron Pinkard and Ron website and donate whatever they can – no matter Younger had future plans for him. how big or how small.” “They were 20, maybe 30, years older than I Howard says the Humanitarian Awards are was,” Howard says. “They were training me to take given out the Tuesday before the Marade. And this over the Marade when they retired.” year is a special year for Howard as he’s being Howard says it’s never been difficult to get peoawarded an honorary doctorate degree for the work ple to participate in the Marade. He says Dr. King he has done in the community. had spoke and written over two million words in “And because of the work we have done in his lifetime, and in those words, people have been Colorado, I was personally invited by the King famiable to find the causes that they champion. ly to attend Mrs. King Funeral in February, 2006. I “Colorado is truly a melting pot with liberal literally received a phone call at 3 a.m. with the invithoughts and conservative values,” Howard says. tation,” Howard says. “Because of that, we have had Democrats, Two other highlights of Howard’s tenure was Republications and Independents alike, support being invited by the White House communication everything we have done with Martin Luther King staff to be the guest of President Obama at the signin our state.” ing of the stimulus package that was held in Denver Howard explains that all members of the Dr. in 2009. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission are nonAnd lastly, Howard says he was fortunate paid volunteers and are doing Dr. King’s work from enough to attend the dedication of the Dr. King’s their hearts. monument in Washington D.C. in October 2010. As “We’re doing it because we honestly believe in a photographer I was able to take my camera to what we are doing, and why we are doing it,” each of these events,” Howard says. “And get up Howard says underling the fact that if anyone is close and personal and capture pictures of the presiinterested in volunteering, it’s as easy as going to dent and other key figures.” the Commission’s website. Reflecting on the Commission’s work, Howard Howard says Wilma Webb founded the says, “We work year around under Dr. Kings premCommission’s Humanitarian Award about 25 years ises, ‘If I can help somebody, then my living shall ago – an award where the community nominates not be in vain.’ That is what we work for each and the recipients. every year.” “We have a committee from around the state of Editor’s note: For a complete list of the MLK Calendar of Colorado that reads the nominations and selects the Events, check out pages four and five. For more informaawardees,” Howard says. “It’s in conjunction with tion on the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Boettcher visit www.drmartinlking- Concert Hall, located the Denver Center of the Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Board of Education Determines Future of Three DPS Schools

Denver Board of Education voted to restart Greenlee Elementary and John Amesse Elementary and to close Gilpin Montessori. The decisions were based on the School Performance Compact policy, adopted by the board last year and being implemented for the first time this year. The policy sets transparent criteria for determining the future of low-performing schools which, despite increased support from the district, are not making significant gains. The criteria includes school performance over three years, student academic growth in the most recent school year and the results of recent School Quality Reviews conducted by an independent third party to check overall instructional quality and learning culture. Several board members commented on the difficulty in casting their votes, using terms such as “gut-wrenching” and “painful.” But they also noted they must be willing to make tough decisions if they are to meet the ambitious goals of the Denver Plan 2020, which calls for 80% of all students to be enrolled in high-performing schools in less than five years. “I believe in that vision,” said board member Rachele Espiritu, “and because I believe in that vision, I know we have hard decisions to make.” They also noted that such votes come only after years of increased resources at struggling schools have not shown significant progress. “The schools that are recommended for restart or closure are schools that have many years of students not being at grade level. And once a child gets behind, it is very, very difficult for them to catch up,” said board member Rosemary Rodriguez. “These are the absolute toughest decisions,” she added, “But the larger agenda is to provide for every child in this district regardless of race, ethnicity, country of origin, socio-economic status or gender, and I remain committed to that agenda.” Both Greenlee and Amesse will be included in the Call for New Quality Schools this January, and the community will have input in selecting the new schools to be placed in these facilities at the start of the 2018-19 school year, after a year of planning. Students currently in these schools will continue to receive additional supports throughout the transition. Gilpin Montessori will be closed at the end of the 2016-17 school year. During the SchoolChoice process this January, students at Gilpin will be

guaranteed a seat at one of four schools located within a mile of the Gilpin campus. Depending on individual school capacity, they will also receive priority at the four other Montessori elementary schools in Denver Public Schools (DPS). Board members also approved an amendment made by board member Espiritu that directs the district to provide transportation options to another DPS Montessori program for students at Gilpin, since that school will be closing at the end of this school year. Read the School Performance Compact resolution approved by the board, and the transportation amendment regarding Gilpin.

“I know these are hard decisions and are a disruption in your lives, but we don’t get do-overs with our kids,” said board treasurer Mike Johnson. “I want to thank the staff at these schools who have worked so hard and poured so much of their heart and souls into our kids. The current staff in the two schools that are restarts are welcomed and encouraged to submit proposals for a restart; so the work you’ve done has an opportunity to continue in this restart process.” Board members voted to approve the staff recommendation that DSST: Conservatory Green High School, which will open next fall with stu-

dents in grade 9, share space at the Samsonite Campus with High Tech Early College for the 2017-18 school year. Because there is not enough space on that campus for the two schools to share space long-term, the board also voted to move DSST: Conservatory Green High School to the Paul Sandoval Campus when a new building is complete in fall 2018. Based on public comment and at recent community meetings, the board also approved a separate resolution affirming its ongoing support for Northfield High School, which is already operating at the Paul Sandoval Campus. 


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2016 Celebration Event for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Celebration “Remember! Celebrate! Act! - A Day On Not A Day Off” “The Promise of Democracy” (All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.)

Monday, January 9

Opening Ceremony/Press Conference @ 10 AM Aurora Municipal Building (Lobby), 5151 E Alameda Parkway in Aurora Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303-739-7580 Vern L. Howard: 720-971-1329 Candlelight Vigil “March of Peace” @ 3 PM Aurora Municipal Building, 5151 E Alameda Parkway in Aurora Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303-739-7580 Proclamation (Mayor and City Council) @ 7:30 PM Aurora Municipal Center, City Council Chambers Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303-739-7580

After-Party: Aurora Municipal Center, Lobby @ 8:30 PM Aurora Municipal Center, City Council Chambers Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303-739-7580

Tuesday, January 10

School Forum 1 (7th, 8th, and 9th graders) @ 11 AM Aurora Municipal Center, Council Chambers School Forum 2 @ 2:30 PM Municipal Center, Council Chambers Additional School Forums (as needed) from 8 AM to 5 PM Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303-739-7580

26th Annual MLK, Jr. 2016 Humanitarian Awards Lifetime Achievement Awards and Colorado Symphony Orchestra King Celebration Concert 6 to 9 PM Boettcher Concert Hall Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th & Curtis Vern L. Howard: 720-971-1329;Terry Nelson: 720-865-2404 Multicultural Performances Heritage Attire @ 7 PM Aurora Fox Theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. in Aurora Public requested to dress in heritage attire or $5 donation at door

Wednesday, January 11

Bank from the comfort of almost anywhere.

Grand Design, Inc. /Cleo Parker-Robinson @ Noon Aurora Fox Theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. in Aurora

Community Relations (CRD) Aurora’s Channel 8 Youth Forums @ 7 PM Critique of Live Telecast and continuation of contemporary issues

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Thursday, January 12

Job Fair & Resume Writing Workshop from 11 AM to 4 PM Aurora Municipal Building (lobby), 5151 E Alameda Parkway in Aurora Kelly Folks: 303-636-1252

Aurora NAACP, HRC & the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission Open Forum on Race @ 7 PM Aurora Municipal Center, Aurora Room; 5151 E Alameda Parkway in Aurora Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303-739-7580;Vern L. Howard: 720-971-1329

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Friday, January 13

The 21st Annual MLK Peace Awards & Breakfast @ 8 AM Tivoli Turn Hall Auraria Campus Alton Clark: 303-556-3947 or Tickets: $14 for students, $25 for adults

Aurora Community of Faith Breakfast @ 8 AM Aurora Municipal Center (Lobby), 15151 E. Alameda Parkway in Aurora Barbara Shannon Banister: 303-739-7580 Tickets: $15, RSVP to 303-739-7580

30th Annual MLK Social Responsibility Awards Luncheon @ 11:45 AM Marriott City Center Downtown Denver Stephen Straight 720- 323-3333 or 980-468-1488 Tickets: Individual $75

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Saturday, January 14

MLK Marshall Training for Marade @ 10 AM Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College, 19535 E 46th Ave. in Denver Vern L. Howard: 720-971-1329, Silke Hansen: 303-308-1969 Lunch will be served efir Member FDIC

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017



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Planting the Seed Conference & the MLK We Are People Conference 8 AM to 3:30 PM - Registration at 7:30 AM PUSH Academy, 4501 Airport Way Engage in dialogue with elected officials, CEOs, and leaders about national issues that affect our communities.

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Office 303-313-8929 Cell 303-995-7621 Fax 303-313-9800 Email

NAACP Forum on Race Aurora Strong Resilience Center, 1298 Peoria St., Aurora, CO 80011 Gail Pough: 303-618-4077

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission’s Scholarship & Marade Awards Dinner @ 7:30 PM Zions Senior Center, 5151 E 33rd Ave. in Denver Vern L. Howard: 720-971-1329; Terry Nelson: 720-865-2404

Sunday, January, 15

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Interfaith Service from 9 to 11 AM Heritage Christian Church, 14401 E Exposition Avenue in Aurora

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

and leave a legacy!

Monday, January 16

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18th Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Breakfast Celebration @ 8 AM Arapahoe Community College, Dining Hall, 5900 So. Santa Fe Dr. in Littleton Jamie Crisp: 303-797-5881 Tickets: $15 for Adults, $5 for children 12 and under

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Marade - Aurora Motorcade @ 7:30 AM East side of Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy; travel to Fletcher Plaza, 9898 E. Colfax Ave. for lying of the wreath ceremony, dedication of Dream Tree, and breakfast.

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32nd Annual MLK Marade Gather @ 9 AM, Program starts @ 9:30 AM The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream Monument Denver City Park, concluding at Civic Center

“Get to Cleanin’, Remembering Memphis” Day of Service Community Project Jacqui Shumway: 303-744-7676; Silke Hansen: 303-308-1969 Vern L. Howard: 720-971-1329 & Old cellular phones, non- perishable food and children books will be collected and donated to battered woman shelters and local food banks.


32nd Annual “Dinner for Those Who Hunger from 3 to 6 PM Volunteers of America, Sunset Park, 1865 Larimer in Denver Jim White,VOC: 303-297-0408, 720-299-0222 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service Start planning your project today. Visit

MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions @ 6 PM National Western Stock show Coliseum, 4655 Humboldt St. in Denver Vern Howard: 720-971-1329;Valeria Vason: 303-693-6135




The 27th annual Loveland Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission for MLK “The Dream Lives On” 6:30 to 8 PM Mountain View High School, 3500 Mountain Lion Drive in Loveland Franklin Jefferson: 970-667-1871 or visit

Thursday, January 26, 2017


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Tuesday, January 19


The Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Community Leader A Salute to George and Marjorie Morrison 2 to 3:30 PM Auraria Campus Confluence Assembly Rooms, 800 Curtis St. in Denver Dr. Ryan Ross: 303-556-9605

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th Annual

be well Awards & Community Celebration

Save the date for an evening of fitness, food and fun! Please plan to join be well as we recognize and celebrate those who make an impact on the health and well-being of members in our community. Our keynote speaker for the evening will be Karen McNeil-Miller, the new CEO for Colorado Health Foundation. Reggie Rivers will be returning as our emcee for the night.

Wednesday, January 27

All events at Community College of Aurora, 16000 E. Centertech Pkwy in Aurora Regina Edmonson: 303-360-4829 or

For more information and to register to attend visit:

Saturday, February 20

Annual MLK “I am Man, I am Woman, We Are People Youth Educational Conference (WAPC) from 7 AM to 2 PM Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College, 19535 E 46th Avenue in Denver

Sponsored by the be well Health & Wellness Initiative of the Stapleton Foundation. Learn more at

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


35The Denver Foundation Announces New Trustees


The Denver Foundation announced five new members who will join its Board of Trustees in January 2017. Seth Belzley is a business and public policy attorney in the Denver and Houston offices of Holland & Knight. Mr. Belzley has served on the boards of a number of community organizations including the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Board of Governors, Denver Scholarship Foundation, Teach for America, Catapult Leadership, and Mental Health Colorado. Myra Donovan is a Certified Financial Planner with Eagle Strategies LLC, a New York Life Company. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the 2007 Colorado Black Women for Political Action Entrepreneur Award, the 2013 “Do for Self” Business Award (Nation of Islam-LFMNOINA), the

2014 Sisters in Service Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and The Denver Foundation’s 2014 Philanthropic Leadership Award. Katie MacWilliams was senior vice president and chief financial officer of the combined blood management businesses of Terumo Transfusion and CaridianBCT until March 2012. Prior to joining CaridianBCT in 2008, she held finance leadership positions at Coors Brewing Co. including Corporate Treasurer and division CFO. MacWilliams serves as an advisory board member of the Center for Women’s Health Research at the Anschutz Medical Campus of University of Colorado, the Center for Out-of-Court Divorce, and as treasurer of the Women’s Forum of Colorado. Ceyl Prinster is president and CEO of Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), an award-winning nonprofit that accelerates community prosperity by financing and

supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Prinster has been named Outstanding Woman in Business from the Denver Business Journal and Financial Services Advocate of the Year from the U.S. Small Business Administration. She received the Tom Dooley Award from the University of Notre Dame for Outstanding Service to Humanity and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Notre Dame Club of Denver. She is a current member of the Boulder Economic Council. Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler is senior vice president of Human Resources and chief inclusion officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She was the first African American woman to serve as executive director of the City and County of Denver’s Office of Human Resources. Dr. Mosby Tyler is the founder of The Kaleidoscope Project, which works to increase social and health equity within communities of color. She has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Agriculture, Denver

Business Journal, UnitedHealthcare, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Kaiser Permanente, Human Rights Campaign, Community College of Denver, National Diversity Council, Mountain Region Black Economic Summit, City and County of Denver, Aurora Police Department, Denver Health, Denver Sheriff Department, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, and the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. The Denver Foundation is a community foundation that inspires people and mobilizes resources to improve life in Metro Denver. In 2015, the Foundation and its donors awarded more than $68 million in grants. For more information, visit

Deborah Jordy Selected As SCFD Executive Director

After an intensive eight-month search, the Board of Directors of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) announced the appointment of Deborah Jordy as the District’s new executive director.

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Jordy follows Peg Long, who will retire at the end of the year after more than nine years as executive director. Jordy currently is the executive director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA), a post she has held since 2004. Her experience with cultural organizations small to large includes being executive director of the Cherokee Ranch and Castle Foundation (20002004), executive director of the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities (1996-2000), and an associate curator at the Denver Art Museum (1986-1994). Jordy has achieved national recognition as a member of the board of directors of Americans for the Arts. She also is engaged with many local organizations including the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation where she is a trustee. She serves on the board of directors of the Denver Theatre District, the Phamaly community advisory council, community board for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus and the leadership advisory council of the Colorado Nonprofit Association. The process to find the executive director began in April with a search committee consisting of SCFD Board members Kathy Imel and Elaine Torres, and former Board member Shepard Nevel. The SCFD executive director is charged with overseeing the administration of SCFD funds, ensuring that the operations of SCFD comply with the state law and serving the residents of the seven-county District. Voters created the District in 1988. The SCFD has now been renewed by voters on three separate occasions in 1994, 2004 and 2016. The District benefits nearly 300 organizations in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas (except Castle Rock and Larkspur) and Jefferson counties.

Jessica Hunter Captures Title Of Miss Black Colorado USA 2017 Jessica Hunter, graduate from The Classical Academy in 2015 and a full time employee at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs, proves beauty queens are more than a pretty face. Her platform of “Self-Worth” embraces who you were created to be, raises awareness about social media expectancies, and recognizes a greater reality for our young adults. Through this platform, she will host summits,

service projects and other events within the community and across the state of Colorado. Hunter will represent the state of Colorado in the 2017 Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant, August 2 through 7, in the nation’s capital. While in Washington, D.C. she will compete for the chance to win a $5,000 academic scholarship, a trip to Africa, a shoe wardrobe and ORS Olive Oil Hair products. She could also serve as a celebrity advocate for the Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness of heart disease, the leading cause of death of women in the U.S. Miss Black USA is the nation’s premier pageant for women of color. The non-profit organization, headquartered in the state of Maryland, has awarded more than $450,000 in scholarships. Editor’s note: For more information on bookings and appearances, email Jessica Hunter at

CWCC Announces New President and CEO

Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC), a membership organization that provides support and visibility to leaders in the Colorado business community, has announced its selection of Kristen Blessman as President and CEO of the Chamber and Women’s Leadership Foundation. Blessman will fill the vacancy left by Donna Evans earlier this year and Lauri Brammeier, who served as Interim President and CEO. The selection was made after a regional search and selection process. Blessman brings over 20 years of marketing, business development and strategic planning experience to the Women’s Chamber, most recently as Chief Marketing and Development Officer at Goodwill Industries of Denver. She also has experience in small business start-up and social enterprise, owning her own business and starting alternate business lines for Goodwill. While at Goodwill, Blessman helped develop several award-winning campaigns; earning the 2009 PRSA Gold Pick Award as well as bronze and platinum awards through the American Marketing Association in 2013 and 2014. Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) (6) organization that provides opportunities and visibility for women in business through relationship development, education, mentorship, partnership and alliances. Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


South Africa: Book Portrays the Dynamics of the Transformation Process

port was all-white. Now they are primarily black South African,” Bryson said. However, in 2008 South Africa was attempting to recover from a negative incident at the University of the Free State (UFS) in the central section of South Africa. It is also the heartland of the people known as Afrikaners, who established South Africa’s apartheid system of separation of the races. Their language is Afrikaans, not English, which, until recently, was used exclusively at the University of the Free State. The Afrikaners are descendants of the Dutch who began settling in South Africa in the 17th century. In 2007 four white students opposed to campus integration produced a video in which they harassed the Black janitorial staff. Known as the Reitz video, it was posted on YouTube and went viral. The university, the province and the nation was shocked and embarrassed since this incident challenged the idea that progress in race relations was taking place in South Africa. Upon initiating routine journalistic investigations, Bryson discovered that race relations in South Africa were complex, and she was driven to engage in more profound analysis. “I had the privilege of engaging in many long talks with people of all ethnic groups who cared deeply about their university and their country, and who believe that change is a challenge to which they are equal,” she continued.” Bryson also contends that the subject of race relations is often discussed in easy clichés, and that everyone most guard against backsliding into suspicion, fear or stereotypes. She conducted numerous interviews with students, faculty and other individuals in the Free State province. Bryson disagrees that race relations in the Free State and its university are the worst in the nation. “Like the rest of the country, UFS and the Free State province ate attempting to transform to become a place where blacks and whites live and learn together,” she said. “It is a microcosm of what was happening in the rest of the country.” Her extensive interviews allowed her to juxtapose two realities present in South Africa: 1) The action of the four students represented a desperate attempt to cling to the past of white superiority and black subjugation; 2) Actions of other students and faculty represent a commitment to creating a multi-cultural, multi-racial educational institution. Her book “It’s a Black-White Thing,” consists of stories of the transformation process taking place at UFS. There are white students who refuse

By Annette Walker


am optimistic about the future of South Africa,” said journalist and author Donna Bryson. As an Associated Press reporter based in South Africa on two occasions, she has witnessed that nation emerge from the brutality of the apartheid system to governance by peaceful elections. She was there in 1994 for the historic campaign, election and inauguration of Nelson Mandela as that nation’s first African president. Since then the transfer of power to his successors (Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma) has occurred through democratic elections. “The period from 1993-1997 when I was there was one of euphoria and hope,” said Bryson. “The need to respond to voting was tremendous and even today the voter turnout is still good,” she continued.

When she returned in 2008 South Africa was engaged in working out the complexities of the transition process. There had been much progress. Some manifestations are symbolic, such as naming the airport in Johannesburg for Oliver Tambo, the renowned leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and lifelong friend of Nelson Mandela. There are also concrete manifestations. “When I arrived in 1993 the customs and immigration staff at the air-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


to speak Afrikaans because of their concern that black students will feel excluded. Other white students are learning Sotho, an indigenous South African language, to be able to communicate with some Black students. South Africa has 11 official languages. Bryson emphasizes the crucial importance of the black and white leadership at UFS and documents the programs, policies and changes they initiated. Equally important, she shares aspects of their personal stories that impact the challenges of creating a new South Africa. She recounts a white former rector’s response to the Reitz video crisis. He realized that the ghosts of apartheid were present on the campus as well as the nation. “Transformation never stops,” he told Bryson. “It goes on and on.” South African still has major problems, many of them economic in nature. The wealth gap between blacks and whites remains. Bryson, however, believes in that South Africans have the capacity to “ imaginative in finding solutions for the future” and that the nation possesses “...a sense of the possibility of reinvention and determination to turn history of hate and racism into fuel to empower those committed to change.”


Barack Hussein Obama 44th President of the United States 2008 - 2016 Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


November 4, 2008 Election: Barack Obama is elected as the 44th president of the United States with more than 66 million votes

January 2009 Inauguration: Barack Obama with the First Family is sworn in as Americaʼs first Black president. January 2009 Equal Pay for Equal Work: President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago.

January 2009 - Inauguration: Barack Obama with the First Family is sworn in as Americaʼs first Black president. February 2009 - Economic Stimulus Bill: In Denver,

Colorado, President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

February 2009 Economic Stimulus Bill: In Denver, Colorado, President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twentythree straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs. February 2009 Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Childrenʼs Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Childrenʼs Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.

March 2009 Increased Support for Veterans: Increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent.

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., in honor of Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2012).

First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and others watch as President Barack Obama signs the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (VOW to Hire Heroes Act) in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, (Nov. 21, 2011). Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Guests salute during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., (Nov. 11, 2011).

Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans. March 2009 Expanded Stem Cell Research: Eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas.

June 2009 U.S. Auto Industry Bailout: Injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades.

February 2010 - Letʼs Move: The first Lady launches the Letʼs Move Campaign to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity by encouraging children to be more active, eat better and get healthy.

June 2009 Gave the FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco: Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009). Nine years in the making and long resisted by the tobacco industry, the law mandates that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients, obtain FDA approval for new tobacco products, and expand the size and prominence of cigarette warning labels, and bans the sale of misleadingly labeled “light” cigarette brands and tobacco sponsorship of entertainment events. August 2009 Protected Two Liberal Seats on the U.S. Supreme Court: Nominated and obtained confirmation for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve, in 2009; and Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to serve, in 2010.

First Lady Michelle Obama does the "Interlude Dance" with students at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 9, 2012. More than 10,000 Iowa school children grades 6 - 9 joined Mrs. Obama for the interactive celebration of the "Letʼs Move!" anniversary, hosted by Iowaʼs Healthiest State Initiative. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge in New York, as the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court Monday, calling her “an inspiring woman who I believe will make a great Justice,” (May 26, 2009).

President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court on Monday, declaring the former Harvard Law School dean "one of the nation's foremost legal minds." She would be the court's youngest justice and give it three female members for the first time, (May 10, 2010). Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., (September 10, 2009).

Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

May 2011 - Osama bin Laden's death:

October 2009 Expanded Hate Crimes Protections: Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victimʼs sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.

Obama and staff watch the deadly Osama bin Laden raid live on a SEALcam. Seated in this picture from left to right: Vice President Biden, President Barack Obama, Brigadier. General Marshall Bradley Webb, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

February 2010 Letʼs Move: The first Lady launches the Letʼs Move Campaign to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity by encouraging children to be more active, eat better and get healthy.

March 2010 Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. The legislation is expected to expand health coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans. July 2010 Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession.

July 2010 Kicked Banks out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decadesold practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over 10 years; $36 billion will go to Pell Grants to lower-income students.

President Barack Obama concludes remarks on the American Jobs Act at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, N.C., Oct. 17, 2011. The event kicked off the Presidentʼs three-day American Jobs Act bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia to discuss jobs and the economy.

The President talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as they walk from the Oval Office to the South Lawn drive of the White House following their meetings, (May 20, 2011).

President Barack Obama talks with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan before the United Nations General Assembly reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y., First Lady Michelle Obama is pictured in the background. (Sept. 24, 2012). Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


October 2010 Passed Fair Sentencing Act: Signed 2010 legislation that reduces sentencing disparity between crack versus powder cocaine possession from 100 to 1 to 18 to1.

President Barack Obama hugs Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., before delivering the State of the Union address, (Jan. 24, 2012).

Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

December 2010 Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers: Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act, a $4.6 billion legal settlement with Black and Native American farmers who the government cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties in years past.

December 2010 Improved School Nutrition: In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed Healthy HungerFree Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the amount of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students. May 2011 Osama Bin Laden Eliminated: Hunted as the mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Osama Bin Laden was killed under President Barack Obamaʼs first administration behind the worst terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2011 on U.S. soil. June 2011 Began drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 69,000.

June 2011 Donʼt Ask, Donʼt Tell: Obama repealed the “Donʼt Ask, Donʼt Tell” policy which ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

June 2012 - Waldo Canyon: President Barack Obama views fire damage with firefighters and elected officials in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

July 2012 - Aurora, Colorado Theater Shooting:

President Barack Obama visits victims and family members in Colorado following a random shooting spree that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

October 2011 Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talk with local residents at the Brigantine Beach Community Center in Brigantine, N.J., (Oct. 31, 2012).

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie look at storm damage along the coast of New Jersey on Marine One, (Oct. 31, 2012).

President Barack Obama hugs Donna Vanzant, the owner of North Point Marina, as he tours damage from Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, N.J., (Oct. 31, 2012).

Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


May 2012 Same Sex Marriage: President Obama declares his support for same-sex marriage.

June 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire: President Obama visited the wildfire-ravaged landscape in the foothills of Colorado Springs on June 29, calling it a "major disaster," and pledged to release federal funding to the counties affected. July 2012 Aurora, Colorado Theater Shooting: President Barack Obama visits victims and family

members in Colorado following a random shooting spree that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

September 2012 Re-nomination: President Barack Obama officially accepts the Democratic nomination at the DNC in Charlotte, N.C. for a second term as President of the United States

October 2012 Presidential Debate: In Denver, the University of Denver hosts the first 2012 presidential de-

bate with President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

October 2012 Super Storm Sandy: President Obama surveyed the devastation wreaked by the Super Storm Sandy with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in what both men said was a non-political event. November 6, 2012 Election Day: President Barack Obama is elected for a second term as the 44th President of the United States.

November 6, 2012

Election Day: President Barack Obama is elected for a second term as the 44th President of the United States.

President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama takes the stage to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention, (Sept. 4, 2012).

President Barack Obama pets Bo, the Obama family dog, in the Oval Office, (June 21, 2012).

Americaʼs First Family: First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, President Barack Obama and Sasha in the Oval Office, (Dec. 11, 2011).

Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Not only did Michelle Obama

enter the Oval Office with two Ivy League degrees, but as the most educated First Lady in American history, she has left an impeccable legacy setting a new standard for future presidential spouses. Obama has carried this title with the grace and elegance reserved for high-royalty, while remaining grounded and humble, a true heroine to everyday people.

beautiful and accomplished children in the history of the oval office. When President Obama took the office she said then, just as she told Oprah Winfrey five years later that her number one concern was raising wholly healthy children. She accomplished just that, as this First Family has been undoubtedly the most regal and scandal free family to ever represent the country. Obama managed to accomplish all of this, while still being constantly abused and harassed to a level that was unprecedented for any First

Behind Every Great Man, There’s A Great Woman Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Michelle Obama: A Woman of Grace

Michelle Obama has delivered some of the most powerful and personally touching speeches the Democratic Party has ever heard – often becoming the highlight of any event. Always taking genuine positions has made her voice one of the most recognized and sought after opinions amongst leaders in the United States government at any level. She consistently champions the voice of the oppressed and provided hope for many. The First Lady has spoken up for racial and gender inequality issues, as well as looking out for the best interest of the impoverished and the youth. She has proudly proclaimed, “Black Girls Rock,” as well as, declaring that we must make it possible for families to economically survive, while still being able to live whole healthy lives. Obama has stood up for single mothers who have faced the pressure of choosing between rent, and being able to personally raise their children. She has stood with those who have been incarcerated and have no opportunity to rehabilitate and integrate themselves back in to society, because of an outdated and discriminatory legal system. Michelle Obama has boldly declared that women in no way should be limited in their career choices and deserve equal pay for their equal work. She has stood up for voiceless Nigerian girls that were heinously kidnapped by terrorist by being one of the first major voices to bring attention to the atrocity by simply holding a sign that read #bringbackourgirls. Obama was never afraid to remind us of our country’s unfortunate past, when she reminded what would have been the fate of her and her daughter’s just decades ago when she visited the Memorial of the March on Selma. Even noting the progress we’ve made

Op-ed by Allan Tellis

contemplating out loud “that she wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves,” but now gets the pleasure of seeing her daughters play in that same yard. The road that led Michelle Obama towards her destiny was by no way paved with gold. The First Lady was the product of two hard working parents that instilled dignity and pride in her, but lacked the economic power, or the academic experience to properly prepare her for where she was headed. As she famously put it, “the descendant of slaves,” and the child of two parents who did not have any experience in higher education; Obama’s parents did not have degrees, and neither did hardly anyone in her neighborhood. She was not raised in a plush elite neighborhood, but rather in Southside of Chicago’s tough streets. Despite these seemingly overwhelmingly difficult circumstances, Michelle Obama fought her way to Princeton, where she studied sociology and AfricanAmerican Studies and graduated cum laude. She struggled at times to merge the worlds of her youthful experience in Southside Chicago, and her time spent at an elite Princeton institution because one situation seemed to undermine the lessons from the other. By the time she had arrived at the Harvard School of Law, she had come to understand that there was nothing stopping her from being both “brilliant and Black.”

Along with always speaking up on behalf of righteousness, Obama has done the thankless work of maintaining initiatives through all eight years that benefit those who have needed it the most. Obama strongly advocated for homeless veterans and at one point received the “Jerald Washington Memorial Founders Award,” the highest honor one can receive in regards to helping homeless vets. One of the strongest themes throughout her tenure was an emphasis on physical fitness for those of all ages, but especially in the case of the children. She focused on ending childhood obesity through an initiative called Let’s Move, which focused on getting children to exercise while teaching them healthy eating habits that would have positive effects for a lifetime. Obama authored a book titled “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America,” which chronicles her experiences in the garden and journey towards sustaining healthier eating habits. She also championed the Let Girls Learn initiative, which incentivized the international community to prioritize the capability of every girl to receive the education they deserve. Obama also supported several domestic initiatives to get higher numbers of girls involved in STEM related fields, where women are clearly underrepresented. All of this was handled simultaneously with her raising two of the most

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Lady before her, and which will hopefully not be experienced by any to come. Obama has stated that she has no intentions of running for president or staying involved in the political arena, but would like to continue to advocate for the issues she has always cared about strongly. This October Obama continued to take on the issue of girls having the ability to access education which she has stated is a topic she takes very personally by taking part in a documentary style-film entitled We Will Rise. This film takes a look at girls in both Morocco and Liberia who have a difficult time simply trying to receive any type of education. Obama believes this issue is a quintessential problem for far too many girls, both domestically and internationally, and has fought for this issue to be resolved during every moment of her White House stay. Recently, Obama was a major component in an historic conference, The United State of Women, which looked to organize and tackle many women’s issues such as stopping gender based violence, empowering women, creating healthy families and other topics that would improve the quality of life for women everywhere. There was also her famous conversation with Oprah where she divulged how to become a successful woman, noting that the most important thing she ever did was “knowing who she was” and standing on those principles no matter what. While everything from racist attacks, such as being compared to an ape in heels and being depicted as King Kong knocking planes off of towers, to people questioning how much her arms show and disdaining her facial expressions: Michelle Obama remained graceful, calm, collected, intelligent and professional – everything you would want in a First Lady.

January 2013 – Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama holds a Bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Lincoln Bible, which was used at President Obama’s 2009 inaugural ceremony. Daughters Malia and Sasha stand with their parents. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

November 2012

Reelected President for Second Term: President Barack Obama wins the election over Mitt Romney and begins his second term as the 44th President of the United States.

December 2012

Sandy Hook Shooting: Addresses country about Sandy Hook massacre and speaks of the necessity of gun control reform.

January 2013

Second Term Swearing In Ceremony: Obama is sworn-in to his second term as POTUS by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.

February 2013

Removes Troops from Afghanistan: Delivers state of the union address unveiling massive twentyplus thousand troop removal from Afghanistan.

March 2013

Upgrades Violence Against Women Act: President Obama reauthorizes amended Violence Against Women Act, which is now inclusive to several marginalized groups.

April 2013

Pledges New Approach to Gun Violence: Speaks at Denver police academy emphasizing a common sense approach to reducing gun violence.

May 2013

Visits Costa Rican President: Obama spends time visiting Presidente Laura Chinchilla in Costa Rica.

June 2013

December 2012 - President Barack Obama pauses during a meeting to observe a moment of silence in the Oval Office on Dec. 21, 2012, in remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. Joining the President, from left, are: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Chief of Staff Jack Lew; and Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

April 2013 – Denver Police Academy: President Barack Obama hugs people following his speech at the Denver Police Academy in Denver, Colo., April 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

January 2013 - President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stain shelves during a National Day of Service school improvement project at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, D.C., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Warns Nation of Climate Change Consequences: Explains that the Climate Action Plan will cut carbon pollution and warns the nation of consequences of climate change if the U.S. fails to change course.

July 2013

Speak About Racial Tensions: After the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the

July 2013- First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush participate in the African First Ladies Summit event “Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2, 2013. Cokie Roberts, right, moderated the event, which was hosted by the George W. Bush Institute. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy))

murder of Trayvon Martin, Obama addresses the nation about the state of race relations in the country.

August 2013

Advocates for Syrians: Speaks on the severity of Syrian chemical attacks and asks congress to intervene quickly.

September 2013

Debuts the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Delivers speech concerning the implementation and benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

October 2013

Obama Condemns Government Shutdown: President Obama condemns the government for having a shutdown and calls for more diplomatic and cooperative conversations among congress.

November 2013

Tribal Nations Conference: Delivers speech at the Fifth Annual Tribal Nations Conference that focused on justice and tribal sovereignty, increasing economic opportunity, expansion of comprehensive healthcare, and protecting native homelands.

September 2013 – Obamacare: People in the audience listen as President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Affordable Care Act at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md., Sept. 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

December 2013

Nelson Mandela’s funeral: Obama attends memorial service of one of his heroes, Nelson Mandela.

January 2014

Funds Government: Signs a $1.1 trillion bill to keep federal government funded until September 2014 and delivers State of the Union address.

February 2014

Raises Minimum Wage: Signs an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, protecting exploited workers.

March 2014

Denounces Russia’s Military Aggression: The president announces sanctions against all entities fueling the Russian encroachment in Crimea

March 2014 - President Barack Obama takes a question while talking with students from the 52nd annual U.S. Senate Youth Program in the East Room of the White House, March 13, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

December 2013 – Nelson Mandela: President Obama speaks at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, Dec. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

April 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama greets members of the audience after participating in a Joining Forces initiative event at the Fort Campbell Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum at Fort Campbell, Ky., April 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


July 2015 - President Barack Obama and Members of Congress view "Lucy," the 3.2 million year old fossilized bones of a human ancestor, at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 27, 2015. Zeresenay Alemseged, an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist, explains the fossil. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

and admonishes those supporting a referendum making Crimea territory of Russia

April 2014

Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act: Obama signs into law The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, H.R. 2019, ending taxpayer contributions to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and authorizing a pediatric research initiative through the National Institutes of Health.

May 2014

Visits Deployed Troops: Obama surprises troops in Afghanistan to give them support and encouragement.

June 2014

May 2014 – Visits Deployed Troops: President Barack Obama awards medals to U.S. troops following his remarks at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Commencement Address at UCI: The President delivers the commencement address at the University of California at Irvine encouraging students to follow dreams.

July 2014

Protect Rights of LGBT Citizens: Creates an Executive Order that protects LGBT workers from discrimination.

August 2014

Speaks on Racial Unrest in Ferguson: Obama delivers address detailing the treat in Iraq and addresses growing frustration in the country over the Michael Brown Ferguson issue

September 2014

Begins Fight Against ISIS: The President delivers a speech outlining his plan to fight the Islamic State.

October 2014

Highlight Efforts Against Ebola: Holds press conference to explain United States effort in reducing the impact of the Ebola epidemic. October 2014 – Ebola Outbreakz: President Barack Obama greets Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola after caring for an infected patient in Texas, in the Oval Office, Oct 24, 2014. Pham is virus-free after being treated at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

August 2015 - President Barack Obama greets a youngster during a walk through the Tremé neighborhood of New Orelans, La., with Mayor Mitch Landrieu, left, Aug. 27, 2015. The area experienced significant flooding during Hurricane Katrina ten years ago. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

October 2015 - First Lady Michelle Obama, in celebration of International Day of the Girl and Let Girls Learn, speaks to a group of girls from Morocco and Liberia in the State Dining Room, prior to a screening with the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues, of the new CNN Film "We Will Rise: Michelle Obama's Mission to Educate Girls Around the World," Oct. 11, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon) Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


November 2014

Nomination of Loretta Lynch for Office of Attorney General: She would go on to become the first Black woman to hold the office.

April 2016 - President Barack Obama plays with August DuBois during an Oval Office visit with his parents, Joshua and Michelle DuBois, April 11, 2016. Joshua is the former Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

December 2014

Reopen Diplomacy with Cuba: President restores diplomatic relations with Cuba after over 50 years of hostility.

January 2015

Pushes for free Community College: President proposed the Free Community College Plan, making two years of community college free for people willing to work through school.

February 2015

Pledges to Fight Extremism: Delivers speech at White House Summit reminding world leaders of the need to fight extremism.

March 2015

Emphasis Placed on Sustainable Practices: Signs an Executive Order, Planning for Sustainability in the Next Decade, which places an extreme priority on the United States having environmentally friendly practices.

April 2015

November 2014 - Loretta Lynch Nomination: President Barack Obama announces his nominee for Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, to succeed Eric Holder, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama Signs the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015: An act that would create new industrial jobs and allow America to head towards energy independence.

May 2015

Encourage Efforts to Defeat Poverty: Delivers speech at Georgetown University to the Catholic Evangelical Leadership Summit on the topic of “Overcoming Poverty,” and calls that effort one of the great challenges of our lifetime.

June 2015

Charleston Church Shooting: President Obama gives a moving eulogy in Charleston, South Carolina following the Charleston church shooting.

July 2015

Support for African Growth Initiative: Delivers remarks at the reception celebrating the signing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, then travels to Kenya to visit father’s homeland.

October 2016 - President Barack Obama waves to the crowd after arriving on the White House South Lawn aboard Marine One following a trip to Pennsylvania and Ohio, Oct. 14, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

July 2016 - President Barack Obama hugs Eliana Pinckney and her younger sister Malana Pinckney, daughters of Reverend Clementa Pinckney who was killed in the 2015 Charleston church shooting, after participating in "The President and the People: A National Conversation," an ABC/ESPN town hall on race and policing with David Muir, anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., July 14, 2016. The girls' mother, Jennifer Pinckney, watches at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

November 2016 - President Barack Obama greets Sgt. Bill Mohr, a 108-year-old veteran of World War II, during a Veterans Day breakfast receiving line in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


December 2016 - President Barack Obama talks with former Senator John Glenn and wife Annie on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 17, 2010. John Glenn passed away Dec. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

August 2015

Honor Katrina Disaster: Visits New Orleans to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

September 2015

Pope Francis Invitation to the United States: Welcomes Pope Francis to the White House and allows him to give speech about the morality of immigration and climate change.

October 2015

Continues Support for Hispanic Education: President Obama hosts a reception for the 25th Anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

November 2015

Pledges Dedication to Criminal Justice Reform: Makes it clear that during his remarks at Rutgers that he intends on taking major steps to reform the criminal justice system.

December 2015

Address on San Bernardino Attack: Obama gives his third Oval Office Address concerning terrorism and how it has evolved over the decade after the San Bernardino shooting.

January 2016

Gun Control Discussion: President Obama participates in a town hall meeting discussing gun control entitled Guns in America at the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia moderated by Anderson Cooper.

February 2016

American Mosque Visit: Visits Islamic Society in Baltimore, marking his first trip to a domestic mosque.

March 2016

Delivers Anti-terrorism Speech in Cuba: Speech from Havana addressing the significance and troubling nature of the Brussels bombings.

April 2016

Continues Support for Marginalized Peoples in America: President Obama participates in a town hall meeting with the British youth at Lindley Hall in London, where he addressed political issues such as terrorism, trade, and the Northern Ireland peace process. He also addressed social issues and changes involving LGBT rights, racial inequality, the Black Lives Matter movement and discrimination towards non-binary gender persons.

May 2016

Flint Water Crisis: Travels to Flint, Michigan to address the city’s water crisis.

June 2016

Sympathizes with Orlando Shooting Victims: Travels to Orlando, Florida to meet with survivors and families of those victimized by the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

America’s First Family The Obamas

Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha July 2016

Addresses Racial Violence and Unrest in the Country: In Warsaw, President Obama confronts the shooting of Dallas police officers in the aftermath of the fatal shootings of Sterling and Castile, which he called “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement, and ordered all U.S. flags to be flown in halfstaff for five days in honor of the fallen officers.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Provide Flood Relief for Louisiana Residents: Visits Baton Rouge to survey damage and give comfort to the victims of flood destruction.

Passes Leadership to President-elect Donald J. Trump: President Obama holds his first news conference since the election of Donald Trump and he encouraged Americans to give him some time to get adjusted to the responsibilities of the position as President of the United States.

August 2016

September 2016

National Museum of African American History: President Obama dedicates the new Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


October 2016

Final State Dinner: President Obama hosts his final state dinner, proclaiming his vision for what America can become in the future.

November 2016


Denver Wins $30 Million to Remake Sun Valley

The City and County of Denver and the Denver Housing Authority received a $30 million grant that will go toward housing, jobs and new open space in the Sun Valley neighborhood. With the award of this Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), local partners will be able to: •Build 750 new, mixed-income housing units; •Improve the neighborhood’s landscape by creating new open space and increasing opportunities for local businesses; •Increase families’ access to quality jobs and education; and •Develop a centralized district energy program to serve the target area. Located just west of downtown Denver, Sun Valley is the lowest income neighborhood in the city, and the Sun Valley Homes and Sun Valley Annex public housing developments are among the housing authority’s most distressed and isolated sites. Despite these challenges, Sun Valley holds incredible potential, with a new light rail station and significant planned private and public investments. “The residents of Sun Valley deserve the same access to opportunities that so many others in our city have, and this plan will breathe new life into all of these efforts,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. New investments in Sun Valley are laying the groundwork for the future. The Decatur-Federal Light Rail Station was completed in 2013 and now connects Sun Valley to downtown and the surrounding region. In the northern part of the neighborhood, the Denver Broncos plan to construct a $351 million Entertainment District with retail,

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commercial and residential developments. Additionally, the city is continuing to invest in the neighborhood’s light industrial area to attract new businesses. Other cities who shared a total of $132 million in HUD grants awarded were: Louisville, Kentucky; Boston, Massachusetts; St. Louis; and Camden, New Jersey. “More than anything, we are enthusiastic about this award because of what it means for the children of Sun Valley,” said Ismael Guerrero, DHA executive director. “We will replace the obsolete housing with new and improved housing, and we will make investments in the neighborhood. And all of that will be with the goal of making Sun Valley a great place for families and a neighborhood where our children reach their full potential.” 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017



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

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Khaleel Herbert is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Laurence Washington is the creator of Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


 By Khaleel Herbert

ong ago in a galaxy before Luke, Leia and Han Solo, the Rebellion and the Empire duke it out in Rouge One: A Star Wars Story. Felon Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is held captive in a rolling vehicle manned by Storm Troopers. The vehicle is ambushed by Cassian (Diego Luna) and his group of rebels. They escort Jyn to the rebel base. Jyn is the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an engineer for the Empire. He built an evil weapon for the Empire. Mon Mothma (Genevieve

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

O’Reiley) asks Jyn to assist the Rebellion in finding him. When the rebels agree to make Jyn’s laundry list of charges (including assault and carrying deadly weapons) disappear, she obliges. Jyn accompanies Cassian and the bad-droid-turned-good K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) to Jedha, to locate Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Saw claims to have Intel on the weapon. He also took care of Jyn as a child. After their short reunion, Saw shows Jyn a hologram of Mon, calling the deadly weapon the Death Star. In case you forgot “A New Hope,” the Death Star can destroy planets in a single blast. Mon says he built it with a weak-spot that, when penetrated, can disintegrate.

It’s up to Jyn and the Rebels to claim the plans of the Death Star, bringing them one step closer to defeating the Empire and restoring peace to the galaxy. Rogue One is a mostly true Star Wars film. The visual effects are amazing with explosions from the Death Star and explosions of ships that greatly improved from the original films. There are memorable characters in Rogue One. K-2SO is a droid that says whatever’s on his hard drive. He has more spine than C-3PO and R2-D2 combined, shooting Storm Troopers without hesitation. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), a blind warrior who believes in the force and accompanies Jyn, swiftly fights with his staff. His

fight scenes make you ask, “You sure he’s blind?” James Earl Jones lends his voice to Darth Vader one more time. Darth Vader with a different voice would easily kill this movie. Rogue One also shows a more ruthless side of Vader with deadly lightsaber action and his classic force chokehold, even though he only appears in a few scenes. The death scenes are far too predictable for Star Wars fans. The scenes may not bother those who want to see Rogue One before they see the other films. Two big mistakes occur. The original theme song is nowhere to be found and the scrolling words after “Long ago in a galaxy far, far away” are absent! Why, Disney? WHY! Although Rouge One isn’t Episode 8 with Rey under Luke’s wing, it helps Star Wars fans understand all the trouble the Rebellion endured to destroy the Death Star. Despite the flaws, this prequel is far more worthy than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.



1/2 Khaleel Herbert

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some musical bits are the ingredients for your typical Disney flick, right? Moana follows the recipe, but still manages to taste fresh. Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) hopes to follow her father, Chief Tui’s footsteps to become chief (voice of Temuera Morrison). But her Gramma Tala’s ancestral stories (voice of Rachel House) drives Moana to sail and explore the big blue sea. Chief Tui forbids Moana from doing this and stresses the importance of taking his place as chief. As Moana learns her chiefly duties, the villagers notice a shortage of fish. Moana says if they go beyond the reef into the ocean, they can find more fish. Her father is against it. Moana soon learns from Gramma Tala that their ancestors were voyagers, traveling from island to island. Gramma Tala becomes ill and lies on her deathbed. She tells Moana to search for Demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne The Rock Johnson) and make him return a magical stone to an island, so all may be restored. After constant pleading and persuading, the self-absorbed Maui joins Moana and her nontalking pet chicken Heihei (voice of Alan Tudyk), and have extraordinary adventures across the sea, including run-ins with coconut pirates and a golden crab. Moana had its similarities to Mulan and other Disney princesses. Like Mulan, Moana had a strict father that wanted her to follow his orders. She had to stay in her boundaries until something went wrong. Then she stood up and took on the challenging mission, gaining confidence and innerstrength along the way. This movie is motivation for young girls to know and understand that they can do anything, even if others doubt them. It’s comforting to know that Disney is broadening its horizons to other cultures and heritages. Disney should not stop spinning tales of Pacific Islanders because most people are still unaware of them. A sequel to Moana would do nicely, as well as other films with different heroes/heroines.

The musical numbers aren’t completely dreadful. There are some catchy tunes like You’re Welcome, sung by The Rock, and How Far I’ll Go, sung by Auli’i Cravalho. Moana is an adventure worth taking, with great animation and enjoyable music. But would it have killed anyone to give Heihei some witty lines, though?

La La Land

By Khaleel Herbert


La La Land

a La Land ignites a love story on the streets of Los Angeles with musical numbers and jazz riffs. Damien Chazelle wrote and directed this musical love story which differs greatly from his film, Whiplash. Mia (Emma Stone) is a barista at the local coffee shop and an aspiring actress who wants to make it on the big screen. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who wants to open his own club playing “real jazz.” Sebastian’s piano music at a local restaurant entrances Mia. Bill (J.K. Simmons), the owner, instructs Sebastian to play Christmas carols. He plays a jazz piece instead and gets fired. Mia tries to talk to him, but he storms out. Continued on page 24



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017



Continued from page 23 The pair run in at a party. Sebastian is playing an electric keyboard with a local band to make money. The band asks for song requests. Mia requests I Ran by A Flock of Seagulls and Sebastian despises her for it. After getting to know each other, Sebastian tells Mia to write her own play instead of auditioning. He introduces her to jazz and she supports his dream of opening his own club. The two fall in love while watching a classic movie at an old-fashioned theater. Everything is peaches and cream for a while. La La Land is nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. I’m not convinced that it deserves one Golden Globe. Stone and Gosling have good chemistry, but the film felt clichĂŠd and predictable with its different love and drama scenes. It was like someone plucked it from a daytime soap opera. Yawn! Another problem was the film felt undecided on which time period to follow. The La La Land title card opened like a classic film. One musical number tried to imitate classic musicals, but was interrupted by the modern ring of an iPhone. It was as if the film wanted to be classic, but couldn’t resist going modern. This film even had the audacity to talk about and reflect “Casablanca.â€? Shame on them! Some scenes were disgustingly corny. The first scene started with everyone breaking out into song and dance in the middle of the highway on top of their cars. In another scene, Mia and Sebastian floated and danced in the air at an observatory, with stars on the ceiling. The ending was dumb and disappointing, constantly toggling between the past and present. Audition (The Fools That Dream) was

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM the only good song in this whole film. Stone sang beautifully about people following their dreams, something anyone can relate to. The rest of the musical numbers and dancing lacked heart and sentimentality. The songwriters should’ve taken notes from the songs in Moana. La La Land lacked depth as a love story and musical. A good musical/love story should hold your interest until the very end. There should be songs that stick with you long after you leave the theater. La La Land failed horribly.

Doctor Strange


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson


Doctor Strange

 By Laurence Washington

octor Strange is The Matrix on crack. Or as senior criticat-large Samantha Prince puts it: “Inception meets Harry Potter.� Buildings and locations become a dazzling kaleidoscope; you just can’t catch everything the first time around. I say, see this film twice. Normally, I’m not a fan of 3D. It’s just a revenue maker for the studio, and should be brought out like fine China – on special occasions. However, Doctor Strange is a special occasion – a must see in IMAX 3D. Like another Marvel superhero Tony Stark, Dr. Stephan Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a cocky and arrogant professional. Strange is the world’s best neurosurgeon. Just ask him. However, Strange’s inflated ego literary comes to a screeching halt after he drives his sports car off a bridge and permanently damages the nerves in his shattered hands. No longer being able to operate, Strange’s medical life begins to spiral down, cutting him off from the world and his girlfriend. Logically speaking, Strange could have remained a doctor, but then you wouldn’t have a superhero movie. It would have been an episode of the TV show House.

Instead, Strange hears about a spinal cord injury patient (Benjamin Bratt) who quit going to therapy and miraculously could walk again after traveling to Nepal to study with a guru known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and her disciples Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong). Strange makes the journey hoping to heal his hands, but instead is endowed with Eastern mysticism and caped crusaderism of daring do. Strange becomes a Sorcerer Supreme, able to jump through time and twist buildings and matter with a single bound. He even has a cape (Cloak of Levitation) that anticipates threats, and protects him like Captain America’s shield or Iron Man’s suit. Strange is challenged by The Ancient One’s former student and interdimensional menace, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), who threatens to destroy the world by conjuring forces not meant for man. Quantum mechanics, Zen philosophy, traditional Chinese medicine, mixed martial arts and occult science abound in this better than average Marvel film. It goes without saying there are two after credit scenes, so stay until the houselights come on and you’re asked to leave.

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The Never-Ending Ben Carson Nightmare

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hen Ben Carson emphatically declared that he has no government experience that would qualify him to run a federal agency, most took this to mean that he would quietly recede if not fade from public attention. We should have known better. Trump saw to that when he brushed aside Carson’s momentary candid admission and plopped his name down as the Secretary to be of HUD. This was a remarkable but not surprising return from the political dead for Carson. Now we’ll have a man who selfadmits he has no government experience running a crucial agency that ladles out billions annually in public housing subsidies, rental assistance, and housing finance activities, employs more than 8,000 workers and administrators and operates more than 100 subsidy programs. If that’s not bad enough, Carson doesn’t even like what HUD does. He has a long and well-documented track record of lambasting housing discrimination suits, over-dependence on “social safety net� programs, getting government out of competition with private enterprise, and denouncing anything that supposedly deadens individual initiative. This was the stuff of snickers, chuckles, and lampooning when Carson was simply private citizen Carson, or, the mercifully brief, failed GOP presidential candidate Carson. Few then could ever imagine that Carson would ever be in a position to actually act on any of his rabid antique ultra-right notions of how a government should be run. However, with the Trump HUD post offering, Carson now can give free rein to his basest impulses about government. HUD has been a long standing favorite whipping boy of ultra-conservatives. They have repeatedly ripped HUD for its alleged corruption and cronyism, and complained long and loud about the high cost and waste of public housing projects and vouchers for low income renters. But HUD’s biggest sin to them has been that it supposedly shackles private housing developers by putting the federal

government directly in the business of subsidizing home ownership. They don’t stop here. They have made the totally unsupported and outlandish claim that HUD’s butting into the housing business was one of the biggest reasons for the 2008 financial meltdown. The only thing missing from the conservative hit plan on HUD was finding the right someone to do the dirty work to totally defrock the agency. And who better than Carson? He is Black, and he and other conservatives never tire of repeating his woeful tale of rising from the hard scrabble streets of an urban ghetto to the pinnacle of success in the medical profession. He even lightly played on it again when he said with his tongue deep in his cheek that he had great expertise on poor people living in public housing because he once lived in a ghetto. The trotting out of Carson to deliver the right-wing gospel from on high this time in the hacking up of HUD, fits in with yet another familiar ploy used by ultra-conservatives during the Obama years. And that was to float Carson as a GOP presidential contender. It worked twice in 2012 and 2016. And as always, some in the media took the bait and actually treated Carson as a serious contender for the nomination. That absurdity only got too much when Carson made ever more bizarre statements about anything that came to his mind. However, it was more than political theater of the absurd. It got even more attention for the GOP. But more importantly, it touched a deep, dark, and throbbing pulse among legions of ultra-conservatives who fervently believed that Obama and many Democrats are communists, gays are immoral, and that the healthcare reform law was exactly what Carson likened it to “slavery,� meaning the tyrannical intrusion by big government into their lives. In the past, mainstream GOP leaders couldn’t utter these inanities. They had to always give the appearance that they were above the dirt, mud, and hate-slinging fray. So, they left it to a well-paid stalking horse like

Carson to do their dirty work for them. This, of course, all changed with

Trump. He openly, and unabashedly, said what many conservatives thought about Obama, Muslims, immigrants, and minorities. He cynically, but masterfully, crafted this hate and bigotry into a winning campaign. It was no accident that his biggest and most visible Black cheerleader was Carson. He was ever dependable to be trotted out on talk shows to defend and even praise Trump. Carson, though, has another kind of shelf value for Trump. He gives the illusion that his administration will be race neutral and that African-Americans could have access to him. Putting Carson in the top spot at HUD fits neat-

ly into the script. He is Black, is admired for his saga in some circles, and as such he can do as much damage as conservatives want to do to HUD with maybe minimal attention to it. That’s why Carson is around and will continue to be our never-ending nightmare. Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of The Obama Legacy, Middle Passage Press. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly cohost of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.



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Ignite Theatre presents The Wiz

Ignite Theatre celebrates their 30th production with The Wiz, the glorious seven-time Tony Award-winning musical retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Set in the context of AfricanAmerican culture, with an infectious funky soul score and lyrics, “The Wiz“ brings a refreshing, edgy and extremely relevant update to a timeless classic. Musical numbers include “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard,” “Everybody Rejoice/A Brand New Day” and the ever popular “Ease on Down the Road.” The 1975 Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The musical was an early example of Broadway’s mainstream acceptance of works with an all-black cast. The big-budget film adaptation by the same name released in 1978, starring Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor and Diana Ross, has since become a classic. A live television production of the stage show, The Wiz Live!, was broadcast on NBC on Dec. 3, 2015, with an encore presentation on Dec. 19 of the same year. The cast includes Clarissa DuBose (Dorothy), Lundyn Roybal (Scarecrow), Kuraan Jones (Tinman), Thairone Vigil-Medina (Lion), Shakeya Burkhalter (Aunt Em/Glinda), Keith Jackson (The Wiz), Brittney Caraway (Addaperle), Kenya Fashaw (Evilene) and Mike Lee (Uncle Henry/Gatekeeper). Rounding out the cast are ensemble members Jordan Duran, Brea Harris, Dr. Yvonne Henderson, Susannah Horwitz, Daja McLeod, Danny Moore and Aijiana Zanders. The Wiz will run Jan. 7 to 29 at the Aurora Fox Theatre, 9900 East Colfax Ave. in Aurora. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Monday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $28

14261 E. 4th Avenue, Suite 6-100 Aurora, CO 80011


Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


for adults, $26 for senior/military, $20 for student and group tickets of 6+ are $25. Tickets are available online at or by calling 866-811-4111.

Table of Brotherhood Event

The African American Quilters & Collectors Guild presents the 28th annual Table of Brotherhood Event at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library at 2401 Welton St. in Denver on January 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Lives Matters quilts will be on display from Jan. 1 to Jan. 28. This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to donate, call Ivette Shipp-Dennis at 720-5779736 or Darla Shipp-Wells at 720-7678026.

Cash Prizes and Feedback for

Unknown Writers in Online Contest The Unknown Writers’ Contest, sponsored by the Denver Woman’s Press Club, awards cash prizes to winners and provides constructive comments to all entrants in three categories: nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. All submissions will be accepted online beginning Jan. 1. The contest is open to Colorado residents, women and men, age 18 and over, whose work has never appeared with a paid byline. The submission deadline is Feb. 22, and all entrants will be invited to a reception honoring the contest winners at the DPWC’s historic clubhouse on April 9. Cash prizes will be awarded in each category: 1st place $125, 2nd place $75 and 3rd place $50. Entrants may submit one entry in each category with a 2,000-word limit for fiction and nonfiction and a 40-line limit for poetry. Entry fees are $25 for fiction and nonfiction and $15 for poetry. For complete rules and to enter, visit /unknown-writers-contest/.


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100 Men Who Cook Annual Benefit Fundraiser


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McDonalds’ Annual Senior Thanksgiving Dinner

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Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 1 listen and learn from what is shared with us. And we will continue to incorporate community expectations into those areas that guide our work and define how we engage with those we are committed to protecting and serving. Stephanie Y. O’Malley

Executive Director of Public Safety

Free Black Political Prisoners

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Editor: Nationwide ( – This open letter to you Mr. President was inspired by the organization, who wrote an open letter to you in Tuesdays’, September 22, 2016 New York Times making an appeal for you to use your pardon privilege power to pardon Edward Snowden and allow him to come home without charges. The men and women who engaged in The Black Liberation struggle for freedom, justice and equality for our people, and are suffering from the pain of injustice in America are languishing in prisons across this country. Many have already died and Mr. President if you pardon them most of them because of age and sickness could never be a menace to American society. These Black men and women saw a need to struggle against a system that history tells us was unjust and brutal against the aspirations of 1) Assata Shakur (who is in Cuba to come home and not be charged) 2) Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (Rap Brown) 3) Dr. Mutulu Shakur 4) Fred “Muhammad� Burton 5) Patrice Lumumba Ford 6) Mumia Abu-Jamal 7) Agona Azania 8) Veronza Bowers Jr. 9) Romaine “Chip� Fitzgerald 10) Joseph “Joe-Joe� Bowen 11) Jeff Fort (Chief Malik) 12) Robert Seth Hayes

millions of Black Americans who are descendants from slaves. They suffered at the hands of the leaders of this country. Their struggle was born out of oppression. We don’t see them as criminals but men and women who put their life on the line to make a difference in the lives of millions of black people across this country. They took this course of action as the early Americans did against the British Empire. When we look back at this struggle and reassess some of their convictions you may see in your wisdom that their conviction based on the prevailing circumstances at that time and history may give you a new view of what they were convicted of and for. We would hope that you would use the pardon privilege invested in you as the President of The United States to free these brothers and sisters. Not only you as the first Black President will be making history, but it will be a part of your legacy that will be long-lasting. I have enclosed some of the names that I hope that you would consider using your power to pardon. In closing Mr. President, I know that you have received many requests and letters to grant a posthumous presidential pardon to The Honorable Marcus Garvey. So, would you please consider adding his name to the enclosed list?

13) Kamau Sadiki (Freddie Hilton) 14) Larry Hoover 15 Richard Mafundi Lake 16) Maliki Shakur Latine 17) Ruchell Cinque Magee 18) Reverend Joy Powell 19) Ronald Reed 20) Kojo Bomani Sababu 21) Russell Maroon Shoatz 22) Sundiata Acoli (C. Squire) 23) Kenny Zulu Whitmore 24) Chuck Sims Africa 25) Debbie Sims Africa 26) Delbert Orr Africa


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Sincerely, A. Akbar Muhammad

27) Edward Goodman Africa 28) Janet Holloway Africa 29) Janine Phillips Africa 30) Michael Davis Africa 31) Herman Bell 32) Jalil Muntaqim 33) Leonard Peltier 34) Abdul Azeez (Warren Ballentine) 35) Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau) 36) Malik Smith (Meral Smith)

Editor’s note: To contact A. Akbar Muhammad, email to


For information, call 303-292-6446




Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2017


Enter Today... for a chance to win Two Tickets

to the MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champions Check it out at

Congratulations to DUS December winner of two tickets to The Wiz - Tammy Paulson January winner will be selected on January 12 and announced in the February Denver Urban Spectrum

Plan a

Cool Black Party

The Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) and the Denver community invite you to plan a Cool Black Party in honor of our first Black President - Barack Hussein Obama. The country is invited to participate in unison on January 20, 2017 to celebrate the historic journey of the country’s most loved and admired First Family. On Friday, January 20, 2017 President Obama will end his last day in office as the 44th President of the United States. Let’s make it Big for Barack! Gather with family and friends at your favorite restaurant, nightclub, coffee shop, church, library, office or home to recognize, reflect and celebrate President Obama’s legacy. Get creative and have fun. Wear your cool black sunglasses and get your swag on at a Cool Black Party community celebration near you. Plan to take photos and post them and go live on FB. Celebrations will begin at 6 PM (MST).

The Hot Lunch Band

The Official Cool Black Party in Denver will be held at the Kasbah, 15373 E. 6th Avenue (at Chambers) in Aurora with entertainment by Hot Lunch. The fun begins at 6 PM! For more information, call Ron at 303-367-0591 or email Or join others at Cora Faye’s Cafe’s Cool Black Party in Aurora. 16251 E. Colfax Ave., #210 (Between Laredo & Airport Blvd. in the Gold Dome) See page 21 for more details!

America’s First Family The Obamas

Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha

Denver Urban Spectrum January 2017  

This month we celebrate legacy and as the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission Chair, Vern Howard talks about how it all began with him...

Denver Urban Spectrum January 2017  

This month we celebrate legacy and as the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission Chair, Vern Howard talks about how it all began with him...