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Volume 29 Number 10

January 2016

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Melovy Melvin 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

“I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s 2016 and a new year. During this time, most people reflect about the past with predictions of planning a better future. Many remember difficult challenges and obstacles that had to be crossed during the past year and sometimes often overlook the blessings that were bestowed. This time of year we also celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose memory is intertwined in the framework of America. We talk about his dream and how much of it has been become a reality. My favorite part of his Dream message is cited above. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world that dream has not been fulfilled along with many other dreams. Terrorism in every form is rampant and appears to be an everyday occurrence in America. This was not part of Dr. King’s dream either. However, in his honor, we recognize three African-American men who are living their dream. We are at the table with Chef Daniel Young, Chef Scott Durrah, and Chef Donald James as they share their journey with DUS contributor Charles Emmons. They talk about who, what, where, when and the why of their careers. They talk about their blessings. DUS has been blessed this year as well. We’ve established new relationships and expanded on others. Our DUS family welcomed Melovy Melvin, my new assistant, who is a student at Metro State University of Denver. Although we are exiting the holiday season often referred to as the season for family – biological, work, or business – remember, that season is year round. And once again we say goodbye to a friend of DUS. Our hearts are heavy at the passing of JP, the father of Cleo Parker Robinson – for whom we dedicate this issue. So as you enter this New Year, realize that you or someone close to you may not see the end of it. And those dreams that have been sitting on the back burner – put them on the front burner and start cooking. Love the skin you are in and live life to the fullest; it’s the only one you have. Rosalind “Bee” Harris DUS Publiser


Remembering Paul Stewart

testing, mammograms and prenatal care at no out-of-pocket cost. Through bipartisan legislation passed by the Colorado Legislature four years ago, our state has established Connect for Health Colorado®, a free health insurance marketplace for residents to shop for an affordable plan that best meets their needs. More than 157,000 Coloradans enrolled in private insurance through Connect for Health Colorado this year and more than half of them gained access to new tax credits that have made their health coverage more affordable. If you’re not covered, it is time to act. This year’s enrollment deadline is Jan 31. And this year those residents not enrolled by the deadline will face a potential penalty of at least $695 per person on their tax return. Easy to Enroll We’ve worked hard to make finding the best health insurance plan for you as simple and as quick as possible. I encourage you to: •Call our Helpline at 1-855-7526749 for personal assistance, or •Request a phone call from a free, expert independent broker at •Locate the assistance site nearest you and make an appointment at your convenience for free, in-person help at In the spirit of our celebration of the incredible contributions of Dr. King, I deeply encourage you to honor both him and yourself by enrolling in health insurance to protect your family’s health and financial security.

Editor: On behalf of the Stewart family, we would like to thank you for your inspiring cover story on his remembrance issue. He definitely was a pioneer, in his own right. The family appreciates the contributions from you and your readers as well as the support in articulating his accomplishments. We are thankful that you recognized his accomplishments and conveyed the struggles that he experienced and we continue experiencing even today. We tip our hats to you too.

The Family of Paul Stewart Sr.

It’s Time To Participate In King’s “Dream”

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 2016 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

Editor: As we prepare to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, we must be reminded of his deep commitment to improving the American health care system that, for decades, has been out of reach for most African Americans. While it has taken nearly 50 years since Dr. King began his fight, all Americans now have access to affordable, high-quality health care coverage. The Affordable Care Act helps to address many of the serious health issues that our community has consistently faced, including: •Enabling community health centers to serve more patients through increased funding. •Providing access to preventive care at no additional cost, which helps to reduce our high death rates from such diseases as breast cancer and infant mortality. •Permitting women to obtain HPV

Kevin Patterson Denver

Editor’s note: Kevin Patterson is the CEO of Connect for Health Colorado

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


A Question of Theory

Editor: The question curiously not being posed in this so-called trial of the six police officers indicted for the death in Baltimore of Freddie Gray, is how do six brutish officers, (some Black by the way) damage the spine to the point of death, of a defenseless young man, simply in the process of taking him into custody? This can only happen when brutal tactics are employed by police. Look beyond police, to who trains them, imbues them with certain preconceived notions about the community they police and sends them out on their missions. Because the American courts, nor any of her institutions, are controlled by powers here in America – judges in almost every case acquit killer cops and return them to the streets to offend again. This happens because police departments are part of an interlocking global network of evil and control – despite the good they sometimes do. Freedom, justice and equality exist in theory only!

Antonius Aurora

Islam Teaches Scripture Mingled With Intolerance, Rape, Torture, Mayhem, Murder and Pillage

Editor: Islam teaches scripture mingled with intolerance, rape, torture, mayhem, murder and pillage because satan is the author of Islam and appeared to Muhammad as an angel of light in the cave Hira. “And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his Continued on page 26

At the Table with Black Chefs Three Men Living Their Dream By Charles Emmons Photos by Bernard Grant


ust over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. He spoke of equality and freedom for all Americans. He also noted that Black mobility spanned one ghetto to another, and that as a race; we were still crippled by the manacles of segregation and discrimination. Since that historical day, his words have driven generations to pursue education, professions and businesses that would lead them to greater prosperity. Many times, that means traveling your own special path to live your dreams as exemplified by Chefs Daniel Young, Scott Durrah, and Donald James.

Chef Daniel Young

Chef Daniel Young, also known as Chef D, lists among his past and present clients, former Denver Nuggets players Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. As a personal chef, he has cooked meals and designed nutrition plans for members of the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. At almost any time of the year, he can turn on the TV to watch a game and see the results of his trade in the performance of his clients.

Like other trades, there are formal schools and the school of experience and hard knocks. Young picked up a knife at a young age and followed in the footsteps of his father, who worked as a chef in schools and colleges throughout the state of Michigan. Because his father traveled for his job, the young Daniel prepared many of the meals at home for his five brothers and sisters. Seeing his talent, his father encouraged him as a teenager and eventually took him on the road. At 18 he says he dove right into it. Donald Frazier, a New-York based chef, met Young in segregated Battle Creek, Michigan and became his mentor, arranging for a scholarship to a culinary school in New York. But Young didn’t take to the formal train-

ing and embarked on a 10-year apprenticeship. He landed in Denver working at the Denver Country Club under a chef who didn’t like him in his kitchen. Young says that Frazier “made me very aware of the glass ceiling that I was running in to. I would insist on working in the best restaurants, country clubs hotels and there were just not a lot of Black opportunities at the time. He encouraged me to stay true to the trade and not get discouraged. He said it was probably going to take me longer to reach my goals than the average chef, but thought I was talented enough and said I just had to fight through it.” Most restaurants were unwilling to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


tie their name and food reputation to an African American. Young says the time at the Denver Country Club was probably the worst six months of his life. He eventually secured his first management chef position at a sports club in Irvine, Calif. – a popular spot for celebrities and athletes. It was at that time he first considered meeting the needs of this client base as a business. Young, a former hurdler who almost made the 1984 Olympic trials, understood how to marry nutrition and physical activity. The buzz about his talent made its way around the Los Angeles Rams training camp, specifically that some of the players, including quarterback Jim Everett, were training with a chef. In 1992, Young became the youngest senior chef inducted into the Orange County Chefs Association. But despite the accolades, and having the title of executive chef, at times it was difficult in his kitchen. One day the food and beverage director put a Ku Klux Klan hat on his timecard. The ownership passed it off as an irresponsible joke. He was offended and his staff was offended by the manner in which the incident was not addressed. Young decided to leave. He knocked the wall down of the social stigma of being the “N” word in the kitchen. “Orange County was a stepping stone for me,” says Young, who admits the gesture hurt him. But he Continued on page 6

Hillary Clinton Hears Our Anguish

Her Plan for Criminal Justice Reform Not Political Rhetoric


Op-ed by Wellington Webb

group of minority journalists, including a representative from this publication, recently gathered in Denver to discuss the upcoming presidential race and one editor of a Latino newspaper apologized for being late. “I stopped at a store and just missed a shooting,” he explained, still visibly shaken and angry. Sadly, this group representing African American and Latino media wasn’t surprised by this kind of violence in the middle of the afternoon. Like other cities, Denver’s neighborhoods are being terrorized by devastating violence. These journalists have reported for years about our prisons having a disproportionate number of minorities for a variety of reasons, including the lack of economic opportunity. On this day, the veteran journalists all agreed they are tired of being told by presidential candidates that things will change every election cycle only to see more African American and Latinos end up in the criminal justice system. They are angry and want accountability from our leaders, not just empty talk. As a former mayor, I often grappled with keeping our streets safe and trying to deal with the reasons so many of our minority youth and adults turn to crime. And as the city’s first Black mayor, my policies of being tough on crime often split the Black community. But, like Hillary Clinton, I fought for criminal justice reform because the system we have now is broken. In her first major speech of the campaign, Clinton said we must address hard truths about race and justice in order to reform our criminal justice system. She called for an end to the “era of mass incarceration.” And as the minority journalists requested, she has a concrete plan to address many issues. As president, Clinton said she will reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses; reform the “strike” system to focus on violent crime; eliminate the sentencing disparities for crack and powder

cocaine; and reduce marijuana from a Schedule 1 to Schedule 11 substance to allow accepted medical use. She also has a plan to address many of the issues that lead to incarceration, including racial profiling by police; requiring body cameras for all police; holding police departments accountable for unconstitutional policing; and ongoing training for all police. Additionally, she recognizes the need to help former offenders reenter society without the stigma of their crime. As president, Clinton would take executive action to “ban the box,” which now requires anyone applying for a job to reveal a criminal history.

Studies show that a criminal history reduces the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent, despite the applicant’s qualifications. And we wonder why so many offenders end up back in prison. This doesn’t mean that Clinton won’t be tough on criminals but she is the only candidate to admit what we are doing now is promoting more crime. She is the only candidate who is willing to reform the system and address issues that have plagued our communities for decades. That group of minority journalists rightly want a candidate who will “walk the talk” instead of empty

promises. They’re sick of reporting on the crime in our neighborhoods and quite frankly I’m sick of reading about too many of our minority youth ending up dead or in prison. Thankfully, we have a candidate in Hillary Clinton who hears our disgust and anger and isn’t afraid to address criminal justice reform head-on.  Editor’s note: Wellington Webb served as Denver’s first African American mayor from 1991-2003. He is the only mayor to be elected president to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


Chefs Living the Dream

Continued from page 4 decided he wasn’t going to let it hurt him anymore. “That was so in my face, and I thought I‘ve got to have some pride here. I had to walk away,” he says. Young returned to Denver, and was hired by the University of Colorado Boulder to coach a hurdler, Donna Waller. While working with her, she won both the indoor and outdoor Big 8 championships. Recognizing that he had struck a chord, Young started marketing himself as a chef whose culinary skills enhanced the nutrition and performance of athletes. Young is all about helping his clients. With more than 31 years in the culinary industry he has developed a keen understanding of what it takes to be a successful chef. He has prepared food for thousands at the 2012 Democratic National convention in Charlotte, hundreds for the Obama inaugural dinner, and private meals for professional athletes. He has also owned two restaurants in Denver, Diced Onions and Fat Daddy’s – but he has found another calling. Most recently he has ventured into the food delivery service. Under the brand Chef D’Pure, meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen and

Chef Scott Durrah

delivered to customers over a 350-mile radius in Colorado. His offerings include fresh healthy, restaurant quality food that retains its quality even after it has been microwaved. And it is delivered to their doorstep by 6 a.m. Young says he spent years looking at this side of the industry, before presenting a product he could consistently provide. This is not a diet plan, which he abhors. Rather he adapts and customizes to his clients’ lifestyles versus giving them one. Now in his 50s, Young has not slowed down. He keeps moving and is busy everyday taking care of his athletes and other businesses and clients. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge with other chefs and is scheduled to speak to a class at Johnson and Wales University early next year. He dispels the mythology of the tyrant chef and says he learns something new everyday and he will always remain true to the trade. Johnson says, “The private chef industry is still a mystery to a lot of people. Where are the guidelines? Where is the structure? And you really make your own structure. I think there is a level of respect that you have to have with your clients to the point they will trust you. For someone to trust you to put something in their mouth – that is the biggest responsibility you can have.”


Like Young, Chef Scott Durrah regularly prepared meals for professional athletes throughout his career. For two years he fed the Denver Broncos defense. A good friend of Young, Durrah jokes that Young fed the gazelles and he fed the bulls. The Nuggets would eat 3000 calories a day, whereas, Durrah would feed the Broncos 10,000 calories. Durrah has also owned and operated three highly rated restaurants, the first in Santa Monica, Calif., and the others in Denver. The current restaurant, Jezebel’s Southern Bistro and Bar, located in the busy LoHi neighborhood, has been in operation for three years. He and his wife, Wanda James, are known for their pioneering success in the cannabis business and as Colorado’s only African American owners of a dispensary and edibles company. Durrah’s Boston accent is noticeable as he relates the story about making jam in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen after picking concord grapes from the yard. Laughing, he recalls her walking in on him. “I guess you are going to be a chef,” she said. He took to cooking mostly for his friends throughout his teens. At 18 he headed to Jamaica, and lived there off and on for the next 10 years. “At that point, lo I worked with a lot of families, a lot of chefs, a lot of Rastafarians, grandmothers, learned all the recipes techniques, jerking and how to make jerk, and really fell in love with it.” This was probably the only time in his 20-year culinary career that he worked in someone’s kitchen. In 1999, he persuaded his wife to quit her corporate job and open a restaurant with him in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles Times named the Jamaican Café the best Caribbean restaurant in southern California. In Denver they opened 8Rivers LoDo, another Caribbean restaurant where they also held cooking classes. His restaurants became his learning ground and classroom.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


The foundation of Durrah’s cuisine was a marriage of his Italian heritage and his time in Jamaica. 8-Rivers closed in 2011, but he sought other opportunities in other venues. As residents of the LoHi neighborhood, the couple knew it was changing and they opened Jezebel’s, featuring a popular southern cuisine on 33rd and Tejon. The dispensary and edibles business also made its mark, and continues to evolve. Located a block from Jezebel’s, Simply Pure will offer cannabis cooking classes in a nearby coffee shop early next year. Durrah’s time with athletes and his time in Jamaica has led him to this new niche. He says Jamaicans, and in particular Rastafarians have been cooking with cannabis (the whole plant) for eons, and while there, he learned of its medicinal benefits. Prescription drugs are a daily regimen for many, but overtime many no longer want them because of longterm effects or they inhibit day-to-day functioning. Durrah has found cannabis can be a balance and alternative to these meds.

The usage of cannabis he teaches is not about getting high, and his great stories about cannabis edibles don’t involve brownies. “Unfortunately my great stories are about the people I’ve cooked for who have had serious dying ailments, from cancer, multiple sclerosis, to migraines, to PMS, to inflammation, to insomnia. I don’t get the calls of, ‘Hey I got friends coming over.’ I get the calls of, ‘Hey I am in chemo, and I am sick of this.’ Or I get the calls, ‘I am 50 years old and I am a very successful business person; I can’t take prescription drugs the rest of my life.’ ” While working with athletes he did a lot of juicing and preparation of organic foods. He noticed a marked effect on their ailments and performance. This led him to further examine on a culinary level the medicinal effects of other foods. He says every oil has a medicinal effect. The benefits of olive oil are well known, but

Durrah notes that coconut oil is good for inflammation Simply Pure products use infused butters and oils and range from marinara sauces to mango chutney, to curry and chili pastes that can be added to cooking. Helping people understand the benefits and uses of cannabis in this way, as a balance to other meds, is Durrah’s passion. “That’s really what it’s about at the end of the day – whether you are cooking chicken or cooking cannabis. If you have a purpose, everyone is going to have an opinion. And opinions are fine. My opinion is I have cooked for people who are dying, and I’ve cooked for people who are in pain. I’ve cooked for people who have migraine headaches and seizures and I have seen the results – and the results are all yes. It does help. It doesn’t cure, but it does help. Truly if you are looking for a better way of life and you do have some ailments it is a consideration. And cannabis, along with good healthy food, will help you feel better.” Durrah is a business owner who understands his role is not only to feed the public, but also to educate the public. “We ask for your support. Come tour the dispensary, ask questions, and get answers. It’s recreational for 21 and over. Come meet me and my wife.”

Chef Donald James

wasn’t ready for higher education and only stayed a year and spent the next few years traveling to states where he had family. Eventually he ended up in his birthplace of Omaha, Nebraska, where he took culinary training at the Aramark Advanced Culinary in Lincoln.

His company Pit Stop BBQ provides the meat for seasonal festivals, but if you have dined at The Grubbery, 8-Rivers LoDo, or the Peoria Bar and Grill in the Timbers Hotel, you have also tasted his dishes. He recently took the position as executive chef at the Holiday Inn Stapleton. James has also accompanied Young to cook for the Denver Nuggets. He feels fortunate to have had great mentors in his career who have shown him the ropes to success in the industry. James intends to maximize the opportunity and mesh it with his

Chef Donald James is known for his smoked meats, turkey and ribs often found at seasonal festivals like Juneteenth, the Colorado Black Arts Festival and Five Points Jazz. He became interested in cooking at an early age. He recalls one Thanksgiving when at the age of six, he made butter by shaking heavy cream in a mason jar for three hours. After graduating from Montbello High School, James headed to Bethune-Cookman College to study hospitality and business. He found he

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


future goals of finishing a business degree at Community College of Denver, obtaining a master’s degree in culinary and opening his own restaurant. From each culinary job experience he has taken that knowledge and moved forward. “I got rewards everywhere and I can’t say one is better than the other. It just comes with the process of being well rounded. Regardless of the position there will always be hard work that you have to put your heart in to. You’ve got to have a passion for it,” says James, who has been mentored by Young, Durrah and Joseph B. Wesley, a chef at the Timbers. In a novel take on paying it forward, he has an idea to leverage technology to create an online chef association where chefs can network, find work and clients can post jobs to bid on. So you think you can cook and want to be a chef? It’s more than impressing with fancy sauces and dishes. The profession requires humility, risk and drive to make a difference to your craft. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous speech, “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity in this nation.” These chefs are to be applauded for drawing from that vault and making their own deposits in their own special way.

Local McDonald’s Owner/Operators Proud to Provide Education Advancement Opportunities to Employees

Did you know that more than 80

percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by local franchisees – small business owners who live and work right in our communities? Local owner/operators in the Denver metro area – and the state of Colorado – are leading the industry in promoting workforce education to ensure employee success and advancement through a program called Archways to Opportunity.

Elias Asfaw

is part of McDonald’s local Second Generation who started working at a McDonald’s restaurant in the Denver area when he was 15 years old. He went to college where he worked a number of hourly jobs and then received experience at an insurance agency before finding his way back to the family business. Several members of the Asfaw family support eight McDonald’s in the Denver area with an average of 50 employees per restaurant. “There are countless opportunities for career advancement when employed at McDonald’s,” said Elias Asfaw. “A new McDonald’s employee can quickly become a manager and then excel to store manager, area supervisor, director of operations, an owner, or a multitude of positions at the corporate level. In fact, 60 percent of our regional vice presidents started out as crew!” Asfaw is also excited about the direction McDonald’s is going with their fresh, made-to-order menu items. “My friends and customers often ask questions about our eggs,” commented Asfaw. “Our eggs are freshly cracked and cooked on the grill. We’re making real, high quality food in our kitchens from our family to yours.” McDonald’s has also significantly reduced the use of antibiotics in its food and continues to provide exactly what customers want. Whether feedback comes from a national publication or a local blog, they are listening and every change they make is the result of responding to their customers.

Asfaw loves working for the family business because they are very tightknit and he receives so much support. He plans to continue this great work and give back to the community. The Asfaw Family Foundation International recently held their 24th annual Thanksgiving Senior Dinner and their 10th annual Arches of Hope event. On Nov. 19, the Asfaw Family

ized for employees with busy schedules that maybe thought they didn’t have time, money or opportunity to take classes,” said Elias. “Many are ‘learn at your own pace’ courses and best of all, there is no cost for the employee. There’s also a third tuition assistance reimbursement program for employees taking college classes. McDonald’s has really done a great job of focusing on employee education and we’re so proud to offer these benefits.” Archways to Opportunity is not a ‘one-size-fits-all solution,’ but an overarching education strategy that meets people where they are. Following is more detail about the programs: Earn a College Degree. The Archways To Opportunity program provides assistance for approved courses for its employees. Financial assistance is provided at any higher education institution accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. (Full time employees are eligible for $1,050 in tuition assistance per year.) Education Counseling Services. The road to college and education opportunities can be daunting. McDonald’s wants to help by offering employees education advising services to assist them in exploring their options and get started on the right path. GetYour High School Diploma. McDonald’s recognizes the importance of a high school diploma, and encourage employees to get one through Career Online High School

Foundation International provided more than 500 area seniors with a free Thanksgiving dinner and all the trimmings at the Asfaw’s Park Hill McDonald’s restaurant. They have served seniors well over 12,000 free meals for the past 24 years. The Thanksgiving Dinner officially kicked off the Asfaw Family Foundation International’s season of giving. On Dec. 6, the Asfaw Family Foundation International awarded 200 deserving students – nominated by their teachers and community organizations – a new bicycle and helmet. Students were nominated based on their academic achievement, good citizenship, financial need, a chronic illness or have parents serving in the military. Additionally, the Foundation’s Aim High Scholarships and laptop computers were awarded to 10 Colorado male high school seniors from the Denver Metro area. Over its 10-year history, the Asfaw Family Foundation International has awarded more than 2,700 bicycles and 65 scholarship/laptops to deserving young people in our community. McDonald’s and their local owner/operators believe that education is the true game-changer and are proud to provide employees with tools and world-class training in the restaurants that help them succeed. “We currently use McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program in our restaurants and have enrolled several managers in the program to receive their high school diploma. This is not a GED, but an official diploma. We also have a number of people utilizing the English under the Arches classes. All of these classes are organ-

(COHS), which allows you to graduate from high school online – so you can take classes when and where you want. (The average completion time is just 7-8 months) Learn The English Language. Archways To Opportunity offers three courses geared towards helping people become proficient in English so they can communicate better with other staff members and customers. Locally McDonald’s owner/operators support education in a variety of ways as well! Through McDonald’s sponsorship of the One Book 4 Colorado Preschool Literacy Program (www.onebook4 – a privately-funded, collaboration with Lt. Governor Joe Garcia’s office, Reach Out and Read Colorado, Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program and public and military libraries statewide, – over 200,000 books have been given out to preschoolers over the past three years statewide. The Colorado PTA has also been a proud partner of McDonald’s for 10+ years, providing scholarship and training opportunities to local PTA members across Colorado.  Editor’s note: To apply for a position at McDonald’s visit and click on the restaurant location where you’d like to apply. Find out more about McDonald’s local Colorado news on Twitter at @McD_Colorado and through the local McDonald’s Facebook pages, which are found by typing ‘’McDonald’s @” and street/city where the restaurant is located.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016



Regis Groff The Denver Board of Education

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Groff served as a teacher in Denver Public Schools from 1963 until 1978, teaching history and government at Smiley Junior High School, Lake Junior High School and East High School. Board members Happy Haynes and Rosemary Rodriguez shared memories of being in Groff’s classrooms; Haynes at East and Rodriguez at Lake. “I remember him, Regis, as my teacher,” Haynes said. “He was a teacher, a mentor to me, a friend. He had influence on me throughout my life in so many ways.” Groff was elected to his first full four-year term as a state senator in 1976, becoming the second AfricanAmerican state senator in Colorado history. He served until 1994 and has said one of his proudest moments as a lawmaker came in 1984 when the state

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


senate approved the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a state holiday. Haynes noted race relations were not easy during her years at East and praised Groff, who also taught African-American history, as “the pioneer in this school district in ensuring there was an education about multicultural history.” Groff, who also served as a college instructor of African-American history, retired from DPS in 1992 having served the district for 30 years. Groff died Oct. 5, 2014 at the age of 79. His son, Peter Groff, followed his father’s footsteps into the Colorado state senate and there made his own mark – becoming the first African-American Senate president. Peter Groff and family members attended Thursday’s board meeting. DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg thanked community members who recommended the campus be named in honor of Groff; more than 100 letters supported the recognition. “Our opportunity to name our facilities is both about honoring the legacy of those who have been such leaders and role models in our community, and setting a path forward toward the future,” Boasberg said. “It is truly only in honoring and understanding our past that we can understand our present. And, perhaps even more important, that we can move forward to a better future.” A formal dedication ceremony at the campus is expected in the spring. “We will make sure that all future students on that campus will know and be inspired by his example,” Haynes said. The Regis F. Groff Campus is located at 18250 E. 51st Avenue and will be home to KIPP Far Northeast High School and STRIVE Prep-RISE. Students from KIPP are scheduled to begin attending school on the campus in January, while STRIVE students will begin school there in fall 2016.

Every year as we countdown

with excitement 4, 3, 2, 1 Happy New Year, we celebrate letting go of the old and welcoming a fresh start. We look forward to writing out our New Year’s resolutions. Many vow to lose weight, save more money, plan to start a new career or take that extended holiday. What about deciding to buy that new home or finally tackling that remodeling project for 2016? For many of us we have declared this is the year I will declutter my life. We have all done it. As soon as we walk into our home or office we immediately drop all our mail, purse, keys, packages, documents, projects, bills and the list goes on. Whether it’s on the entry way table, kitchen counter, on top of the office desk or stuffing it in drawers or and even in your bedroom. You think to yourself or say out loud “I’ll eventually get to it” and before you know it the clutter has taken over your space and you literally start to avoid that area all together. Even as you’re reading this I bet you glanced over at that very spot. Clutter can cost you money, time and create anxiety and stress. When we write out our resolutions “I’ll be more organized this year. I’ll be more efficient,” we don’t know what, where or how to start. We have the idea but how will we plan to tackle decluttering of our lives and spaces. Here are 3 quick steps to put you on a path to decluttering your life for 2016. Step1: Writing intentions don’t have to be hard. Here are some simple tips on creating intentions that stick. Two common ways to define your resolutions is to write down your intentions or putting together a dream board. Dream boards are popular because you get to layout out your dreams in picture form and with words that resonate with your desires. There are many apps that can help recreate dream boards. I believe sitting down, selecting the pictures, cutting them out, and

3 Steps to Declutter Your Life for 2016 By Lissette Ellerbe

going through that process helps you step out the box. When writing your intentions, it’s not a matter of just writing a statement. Think about how you will feel when you accomplish your goal. What would it look like? How will accomplishing this goal help you in the future? Who will this impact when you finish this goal? Ask yourself as a result of becoming more organized, will it allow you to be more productive at work or home? Removing that clutter from the kitchen table and now walking into that space feeling a sense of peace – would that matter? Try writing three intentions. Here are some examples of intentions to get you started: 1) When I put time and energy into organizing my life I am investing into my _____? 2) By being organized, I will feel _____? 3) I want to declutter my _____ because I want to be _____? I encourage you to use these statements as stepping stones to gain clarity about your intentions. The next step that will make all this worth it is to decide to take action.

Step 2: To sort or not to sort is the question. You have your list of intentions and you are thinking how in the world am I going to accomplish decluttering my house or office. It’s just too much and that’s when doubt set in. To avoid this overwhelming feeling, celebrate the little successes. You want to start with an area that you feel is manageable and then grow to the next area. Could it be the junk drawer, the entry way or

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


the bowl you throw your keys and loose change into? Start small and celebrate. Here are some helpful questions when deciding what to get rid of? •Do I use it? •Does it work or serve its purpose? •Am I saving it just in case? •Can I do without it? •Could I donate this? Not everything needs to be tossed in the trash. Consider donating clothing, books, unused furniture to your local donation centers. Step 3: The final ingredient to ensure your progress. You made a declaration to declutter your life. You wrote your intentions. And you took action. Remember you want to start small and build up to larger projects. You don’t have to do this process alone either. Involve the family, kids or friends and tag team areas. You want to create a joint team effort. Communicating how this will help the family will not only have everyone on the same page. You can support each other through the process. Keep your list of intentions close and look back and check your progress. You are developing a new habit and this will take time. Be consistent and challenge yourself. Here’s to a clutter free 2016.  Editor’s note: Lissette Ellerbe is an interior designer living in Denver. For more information and tips on home organization and design visit

Happy New Year!

It’s A Pleasure To Meet Me By Jonathan McMillan


t’s 2016. Have you told yourself “New Year - New Me” yet? Ralph Waldo Emerson said “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Now is the time to decide who you’re purposely going to be in 2016. So many things define who you are to the world. You’re a parent. You’re somebody’s child. You’re a friend. You’re a church member. You’re a student. You’re a teacher. You’re a customer service rep or a loan officer. You’re an employee of some sort...or not. You may be a gang member or a drug addict. You may be a spouse or a divorcee or just plain single. You’re all these things, kind of by default because your parent, friends, boss, society and your past have said that’s who you are but, have you ever purposefully decided who you are? Have you, yourself defined yourself? Are you being the person you think


you are? Are you being the person you want to be? Most people are living a “less than life” – a life where they settle for less than what they would call ideal. They have less time, they are less healthy, they are less financially secure, they have fewer aspirations and achieve less, and are generally less happy than what anyone would consider ideal. And this is one of the few times I’ll ever say these four words in this specific order: It’s not your fault. Most of us have been raised and trained to be okay and even comfortable living a “Less Than Life.” We’ve been led to believe that being average is acceptable. But the difference between the wealthiest one to two percent who own around half of the world’s wealth and the other 98-99 percent is being taught how to think rather than being taught what to think. The average person never achieves more than what they are currently doing and never really attempts to achieve their dreams because they’re living within the limitations of the conversations, opinions or expectations others have of them. A lot of us have been told by people we care about, believe in, people, admire, people whose opinion we value, things we couldn’t do and we accepted it. Their opinion became our reality. We generally get from ourselves and others what we expect. It is a

huge fact that you will either live up or down to your own expectations. If you expect to lose, you will. If you expect to be average, you will be average. If you expect to feel bad, you probably will. If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down. And what is true for you is true for others. If you have any sort of significant goals, that’s great! However, if you don’t think of yourself as the kind of person who is capable of achieving those goals then you’re going to find yourself frustrated and disappointed. You won’t have the self-confidence necessary or the confidence of anyone else when you start about the work to be done to reach your goals. You must take the time to purposefully define yourself. Choose the words that you want to define you. You’re not just an actor in this movie called your life. You are both the writer and the director. Cast yourself into the role you want to play. Breathe life into the character of your choosing. Today’s challenge is to choose three words that you want to define the person you will be in 2016. Think hard and long about it because these words will guide your steps as you live your life. By choosing powerful adjectives like enthusiastic, bold, driven, engaged, charismatic, grateful, confident, and outgoing to describe and define yourself, you engage in a spiritual, emotional, physical contract that requires you to live these characteris-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


tics. You will have to do the things that enthusiastic, bold, driven people do and you will begin to see the achievements that you desire out of life. Hi! I’m You. Nice To Meet Me. The other part of this reintroduction of yourself is to define how other people see you. This is a great motivator to keep you on your chosen path. Imagine what the experience of meeting you for the first time is like for another person. What three words do you want them to use to describe you? Most definitely not words like, meek, unimpressive, intimidating, moody, grumpy, mean, or anything else negative. So purposefully choose the words that describe you and make the impression on the world that you want to be known for. Imagine meeting yourself for the first time and walking away thinking “That person sure was impressive, confident and inspiring!” or even “I’m glad I met.... It’s not every day that you meet someone so caring, genuine, and engaging.” This is the essence of being better than average and living a better than average life. It is all about purposefully being the person you know you should be and leaving a legacy of being a person that people honestly and sincerely say “It’s a pleasure to meet you!” Editor’s note: Jonathan McMillan is a motivational speaker and founder of Be Better Than Average. He lives in Denver and can be reached at

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Brings World-Renowned Dance Companies To Denver in the 28th Annual International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference and Festival January 20 to 24

Performances and showcases by worldrenowned dance companies will be open to the public and feature some of the most prominent individuals on the global dance stage as well as emerging artists from as far away as Australia. The IABD Conference and Festival is a magnet for those committed to the rich history and contributions of Black dance performance and artistry – representing an exemplary gathering of national and international Black dance professionals, including artists, artistic directors, choreographers, company managers, educators, executive directors, historians, presenters, scholars, aspiring students of all ages, and supporters of the dance arts. Over the course of four days, participants will engage in extensive networking and performance opportunities, as well as numerous workshop and panel sessions – providing experiential hands-on learning paired with examples of successful programs reflecting the field’s entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring a renewed focus on the vibrant future of dance. Each evening, there will be a concert featuring performers of every skill level from performing arts schools and universities, as well as semi-professional and professional dance companies.The Youth Showcase kicks-off the conference performances on Thursday at the historic Paramount Theatre with performances from the Baltimore Dance Tech, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Youth Ensemble, Duke Ellington Performing Arts School, New Orleans Ballet Association Center for Dance and West Las Vegas Arts Center. On Friday, the Member Showcase will be at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House featuring performances from Alabama State, Atlanta Dance Connection, Cleo II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, Howard University, University of Nevada Las Vegas and Virginia Commonwealth. On Saturday, the Founders Showcase at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House will include performances from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance, Lula Washington Dance, Forces of Nature and Philadanco. There will be numerous Master Dance Classes, including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, liturgical, hip hop, and African, taught by top dancers and choreographers from around the world. Classes will be in the Robert and Judi Newman Education Building at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and in the Department of Recreation at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

The weeked. Today, the end concludes conference and with auditions festival has for the summer grown to include programs of an average of major university 400 participants dance profrom across the grams and country, Africa, dance compaAustralia, the nies, as well as Caribbean, an audition for Europe, and professional South America. dancers seekThe conference ing to become and festival has part of a major been held in dance company California, and, for the first Colorado, Ohio, time, a ballet New York City, audition specifiNorth Carolina, Duke Ellington Performing Arts School cally for Pennsylvania, women. Texas, About IABD Washington D.C., and Canada. In the organiMarking 25 years of serving the Black zations own words, “The International dance community, The International Association Of Blacks In Dance (IABD) preAssociation Of Blacks In Dance (IABD), foundserves and promotes dance by people of ed in 1991, was created as a direct result of an African ancestry or origin, and assists and artistic development grant to founder and artisincreases opportunities for artists in networktic director, Joan Myers Brown, Philadanco!, ing, funding, performance, education, audience The Philadelphia Dance Company. Brown felt development, philosophical dialogue, touring that a gathering of the Black Dance Community and advocacy.” would serve not only her needs, but also needs The Annual IABD Conference and of other Black dance professionals. In 1988, Festival is the only national gathering of Black Brown along with the Philadanco! staff dance professionals in the United States. The launched the 1st International Conference of conference and festival has become the conBlacks in Dance. Eighty professionals attendvergence of ideas and interaction not only for Jonathan “J.P.” Parker passed on December 19 at Collier Hospice Center in Wheat Ridge. He was 87 years old and with the time he had, he left behind a great legacy. Parker was one of the first African American actors in Denver. He was cofounder and toured the world with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre as technical director. He became the first person of color hired at Bonfils theatre in 1957. He was technical director that created the first all-woman tech team at Colorado woman's college and he also ran facilities for the University of Denver for 40 years. Parker was a part of many things but mostly he was a symbol of unity and a champion of social justice, according to his daughter Cleo Parker Robinson. "He taught you compassion and kindness and to never give up," she said. Parker was an innovative artist that not only had an impact on stage, but also the city of Denver. On January 20th, the International Black Dance Conference will open in Denver which would have been “J.P.’s” 88th birthday. CPRD will hold a special tribute in his honor. For more information, call 303-295-1759. Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


the Dance community, but also for those who serve the Black community, especially the Black critics association and educators. Four to 600 administrators, agents, artistic directors, artists, choreographers, executive directors, presenters, service providers, and other individuals associated with the professional Dance field (archivists, development staff, marketing, scholars, and etc.) are expected to participate in the four days of networking, information sharing, professional development, discussion on important issues facing the Black dance field, and performances. The community is invited to explore and embrace the diversity, partnerships, and technology that will inspire new thinking and lead to a vibrant future for Dance.  Tickets are available for the following conference performances and showcases: Wednesday, Jan. 20 7:30 to 9 p.m. – Kyle Abraham Performance, Newman Center at the University of Denver* Thursday, Jan. 21 8 to 10 p.m. – Youth Showcase, Historic Paramount Theatre* 12 to 2 a.m. – Hip Hop Class, Sheraton Hotel Denver Downtown (Class Fee Required) Friday, Jan. 22 8:45 to 10:30 a.m. – Opening Ceremony w/ Breakfast, Sheraton Hotel Denver Downtown* 12 to 2 p.m. – Luncheon, Sheraton Hotel Denver Downtown* 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. – Members Showcase, Ellie Caulkins Opera House @ DCPA* 12 to 2 a.m. – African Bantaba, Sheraton Hotel Denver Downtown (Class Fee Required) Saturday, Jan. 23 5 to 7 p.m. – Awards Dinner, Sheraton Hotel Denver Downtown* 8 to 10 p.m. – Founders Showcase, Ellie Caulkins Opera House @ DPAC* *Tickets for each concert will be available through each venue. For more information call 303-295-1759 x14 or go to for concert details Auditions: Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, 119 Park Ave. West in Denver (Corner of 20th Avenue, Park, and Washington) Saturday, Jan. 23 1 to 4 p.m. – Summer Program Auditions Sunday, Jan. 24 1 to 4 p.m. – Company Auditions 3 p.m. – Ballet Audition for Women Conference Registration: Open to members and non-members of IABD. Visit to register.

Deconstructing The Trend Diet After the Thanksgiving pecan

By Sydney Odion-Smith

Monday-Friday, 6-9am

pie, Christmas ham, and New Year’s Eve champagne, many Americans have once again, started off January with some trendy diet. With hopes of shedding those holiday pounds, and becoming a more disciplined and healthy eater. However, most of these promising diets are not meant for long-term success. According to UCLA Associate professor of psychology Traci Mann, “You can initially lose five to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back.“ These findings, based on a lengthy study lead by Traci Mann, were cited in UCLA Newsroom, Wolper 2007 and reported the findings of Mann’s research, in which the majority of participants regained all their weight and additional pounds after a diet. Furthermore, the study discovered that dieting can also contribute to poor health factors. But why is dieting so ineffective? First of all, many diets are not realistic for everyday life. Diet plans can be expensive. The South Beach diet, has meal approved recipes which include an asparagus and goat cheese omelet, a crab and avocado salad, and a grilled steak with Texas mop sauce; to name a few. The ingredients for these recipes are not only pricey, but the meal preparation takes up a considerable amount of time – which can be another reason why long-term dieting may not work. When life gets busy, a diet plan that requires you to make gourmet meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can turn into a tiresome chore. And diet programs that make people count calories, track points, or do weekly weigh-ins, can become overwhelming. Secondly, there are a lot of trendy diets that have not been researched well enough to support their claims. The Blood Type diet is formatted around the belief that people should eat certain foods based on whether they are type A, B, AB, or O. For example, people with type A blood should eat a more plant based foods, and avoid red meats while people with type O blood should focus on eating foods that are rich in protein. However, according to an article from Authority Nutrition that reviewed the Blood Type diet, “In a major 2013 review study where researchers exam-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


ined the data from over a thousand studies, they did not find a single well-designed study looking at the health effects of the blood type diet.” The article explains that almost everyone can benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables, regardless of their blood type (Leech 2015). Finally, many popular diets cannot be incorporated for long term use. Diet fads like intermittent fasting, which has people significantly lower their caloric intake or abstain from eating on certain days; can be difficult to sustain for a month let alone an entire lifetime. And diets that focus on increasing the consumption of one food-e.g. Atkins high meat meal plan, limit the nutritional variety people need to maintain optimal health. Plus, we now know what happens after the initial drive of starting a new diet dies down, and we return to our normal eating habits: the weight comes rolling back. This can cause a yo-yo dieting pattern, where a person is constantly losing and regaining large amounts of weight. Yo-yo dieting has been linked to a possible increase in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallbladder disease, and excess fat around the abdomen; reports an article from (Weight Cycling 2003). In the end, it’s best not to beat yourself up about over indulging once in a while. Especially when it comes to holiday occasions; remember Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Life is meant to be celebrated, and food is meant to be enjoyed. Instead of jumping to the next trendy diet when you’ve overeaten, try taking baby steps. Adding more physical activity to your daily routine or cooking more meals from home can be greatly beneficial to your health in the long-run.  Editor’s note: Sydney Odion-Smith, a former Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation summer journalism camp participant, is a nutrition major at Metropolitan State University of Denver.





Why Leslie Herod Makes Sense for the State Legislature By Wil Alston House District 8 Resident


can remember clearly the first time I met Leslie Herod. We were both appointees for the newly elected Governor Bill Ritter. The week following his inauguration, I was standing in the south atrium area just outside the governor’s office when she “sashayed” up to me with that big smile and said, “I know who you are; I’m Leslie Herod. Can we grab coffee and chat?” How in the world do you say no to that? Well, I have called her my little sister ever since. Today, that same confidence and eagerness to serve is why I think she makes perfect sense for today’s state legislature.

Leslie has an inspiring personal story

When you first meet Leslie, you immediately get the impression she knows who she is and where she is going. She gets that from her Momma! It’s clear to me that her upbringing has informed who she is. Her mother, an OB/GYN for the U.S. Army, was often one of the highest-ranking AfricanAmerican females on base, so you know she knows a little something about knocking down barriers and achieving in the face of adversity. Leslie certainly inherited that from her.

Leslie has the experience

Leslie has a rich public policy resume that includes working with some of the state’s most dedicated and thoughtful leaders, including former Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former Majority Leader Alice Madden, former House District 8 Representative Rosemary Marshall and former State

Treasurer and Current Denver Deputy Mayor/CFO Cary Kennedy. In addition, she served as a senior policy advisor to Gov. Ritter, specializing in social services, criminal justice, mental health, specific issues related to senior citizens, and anti-poverty issues. I’ve watched her glean from these strong leaders the necessary skills for bringing diverse groups and individuals together, which she will use to solve problems in the legislature.

Leslie is a doer

After leaving government service, Leslie worked with the Gill Foundation where she led philanthropic initiatives focusing on LGBT equality and alliance-building in communities of color. She’s a co-founder of New Era Colorado – the state’s leading organization focused on the engagement of young people in our community, and she served as president of Colorado Black Women for Political Action. More recently; however, she decided to form her own small business as a way to continue to serve the community through strategic planning and community partnership consulting. Leslie serves on multiple community boards and commissions, including serving as a gubernatorial appointee to the state’s Judicial Performance Commission and as a mayoral appointee to Denver’s Cultural Affairs Commission. I’ve discovered that she has that burning “thing” that so many entrepreneurs have and I’m very excited to watch her apply it in the state legislature. We are living in an amazing time nationally and right here in Denver. A time where we’ve seen an African American occupy the highest office in the land, a time where breakthroughs in technology can be likened to something out of a futuristic Sci-Fi movie, and a time where we are seeing unimaginable wealth. But unfortunately, we are also living in a time where race is still shaping too many conversations and is still too divisive, poor education and homelessness continues to persist, and the line between law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect is becoming wider and wider. I believe Leslie Herod is the right leader to help solve these challenges. She is proven, she’s committed, she cares, and she’s not afraid to raise her hand and say, “send me!” There is an old story about a brave little mouse that reminds me of Leslie. The story goes…There was a very old cat that lived in a barn. His job in the barn was to catch all of the mice, and he was very good at it. As you can imagine the mice didn’t really like this; so one day they gathered to talk

about what the old cat was doing to them. Each one shared their plan by which to keep out of his way. But then an old wise gray mouse spoke up and said, “Do as I say; hang a bell around the cat’s neck. When we hear it ring, we’ll know he is coming and can scamper out of his way.” “Good,“ said all of the other mice, and one ran and got a bell. “Now,” said the old gray mouse, “which of YOU will hang this bell around the cat’s neck?” It got very quiet in that meeting, then came, “Not me; Nooooooo…Not me!” came the shouts all-together and the mice scampered away to their holes. And things continued as they always had... The moral of that story is that saying you’ll do something and actually DOING something is two very different things. Real leadership lies in deeds – not words. As you can imagine, Leslie Herod is that little mouse with the matching pumps and purse that says, “Give me the bell!” Leslie is an amazing young community leader that I am proud to call friend. She is the right leader for the needs of today’s society. I wish there was a whole army of those just like her. I would be honored to have her represent me in the state legislature!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016



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Stapleton Delivers Additional Affordable Housing

Lost Your Joy?

New Rental and For-Sale Homes are Under Development by Northeast Denver Housing Center

Find it again at the

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

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


As Denver home prices and rental rates continue to rise, Stapleton Denver is following through with its commitment to provide a variety of affordable options through home ownership programs and apartment rentals. In fact,Gooch’s Stapleton is proud to announceTransmission the groundbreaking of two new affordable developments taking Specialist shape in the community. The first is an affordable rental development in Stapleton’s Conservatory Green neighborhood available at 60 percent area median income built by Northeast Myron Gooch, Manager Denver Housing Center, an organiza760has Dayton Street tion Stapleton partnered with Aurora, CO 80010 since 2007. 303-363-9783 “We have enjoyed a long standing relationship with Northeast Denver well HousingMaking Center,transmissions starting with the . years for 22 years Central Park apartments eight ago and are thrilled to continue this relationship during a time when affordability is increasingly important,� said Leland Ferguson, director of Multifamily Development of Forest City Stapleton. The Northfield@Stapleton Apartments will bring to market 84 affordable rental units, which are scheduled to be completed by October 2016, and is the result of lengthy collaborative efforts of several entities – including subsidies from Forest City Stapleton, federal and state tax credits, home funds awarded from both the City of Denver and State of Colorado, and the new revolving loan fund from the City of Denver. “We applaud Mayor Hancock and the City of Denver for instituting its innovative revolving loan fund to help make Denver a more affordable city,� said vice president of public relations for Forest City Stapleton, Tom Gleason. “This further reinforces Forest City’s commitment to ensuring a diverse mix of affordable multi-family options through subsidies Forest City provides for each affordable home at Stapleton, whether it is our donated land, cash subsidies, or both.� The apartments will range from one to three bedrooms, and rent for approximately $780 to $1,120 based on unit size/number of bedrooms and client income. Additionally, NDHC is building the next two phases (IV and V) of its For Sale income qualified townhomes, which will consist of a significant 45

Transmission? We have your medicine!


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medicine! Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783

Making transmissions Making transmissions well well 1983 forsince 22 years .

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


new units to be delivered in 2016 in two locations in Stapleton—one across from Central Park and the other off Montview Boulevard. This offering is in addition to the 38 Spruce Townhomes already built in the neighborhood—22of which are already occupied by families with dozens more being delivered in the next couple months—making a happy holiday season for future residents. The units are two-bedroom and threebedroom townhomes priced for households making less than 80 percent of the area median income. “Home ownership is a key element of asset building for families and a positive contribution to community building� said Getabecha Mekonnen, executive director, as he explained Northeast Denver Housing Center’s commitment to affordable housing.

About Stapleton’s Affordable Housing Program

The Affordable Homes at Stapleton are well-designed, carefully crafted and surrounded by all the lifestyle amenities that Stapleton is known for. And priced for people with moderate incomes (60 percent and 80 percent AMI for rent and for sale respectively), providing opportunities to afford a home at Stapleton. Maximum income figures are subject to change based on U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development annual updates.

About Northeast Denver Housing Center

Northeast Denver Housing Center (NDHC) is a 31-year-old communitydevelopment, non-profit corporation experienced in the construction and design of quality affordable housing. For more information, call 303-3999337 or 303-780-7407.

About Stapleton

Located on the site of Denver’s former international airport, Stapleton is one of the largest urban redevelopments in the United States. The core objective of the community plan is to create a living example of progressive, sustainable neighborhood design. With a walkable mix of energy-efficient new homes, retail districts, schools, offices and an extensive network of parks and open spaces, Stapleton is not only leading the way environmentally but economically and socially, too. The community is being developed by Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

About Forest City

Forest City Enterprises, Inc. is an NYSE-listed national real estate company with $10.3 billion in total assets. The company is principally engaged in the ownership, development, management and acquisition of commercial and residential real estate and land throughout the United States.

New Dispensary Opens in LoHi Neighborhood

Photo by Sergio Carrasco

Well known cannabis advocates

One Dispensary, One Restaurant, One Block, One Exceptional Experience and serial restaurateurs, Wanda James and Scott Durrah have opened Simply Pure Cannabis Dispensary, in the exciting LoHi neighborhood, which is home to Linger, Root Down and Williams & Graham Speak Easy. The couple opened its doors to medical and recreational customers this past December 7. James and Durrah were the first African Americans licensed to own a dispensary in 2009. Simply Pure was born in the very beginning of Colorado’s cannabis explosion, one of the first most successful edible companies that existed in 2010. Not only the first edible company owned by African Americans, but it was the first edible company to have a commercial kitchen, trained chefs and its own grow facility. Their process guaranteed consistency in potency and flavor and was sold in over 450 dispensaries.

Today, they an experience. James and Durrah enjoying family pets. are proud to be a Scott Durrah is the cutting edge dischef behind Jezebel’s pensary that is Southern Bistro and the combination one of the best known of six years of cannabis chefs in experience and is America. perfectly located “Entrepreneurism is just one block booming in Denver. south from the And we are entreprecouple’s restauneurs,” stated Durrah. rant, Jezebel’s Southern Bistro. Simply “My goal has always been to bring Pure focuses on sharing experience people together in creative ways. and knowledge. They work to bring Owning a southern restaurant and a the love of the plant to the forefront of dispensary fills the most basic of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


needs of people: food, fun, relaxation and healing.” Jezebel’s Southern Bistro is Durrah’s fifth restaurant and he has been featured in numerous shows and cookbooks, including the newly released, “The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook.” Chef Scott will be launching the first series of cooking classes on Jan. 20. The first four classes will be a cannabis oil and butter making class with an emphasis on safe and effective dosing techniques. The second class will feature soups and dressings, followed with how to make tinctures and ending with juicing with cannabis. Visit the website for a complete list of classes and fees at Simply Pure Dispensary carries the largest selection of concentrates and edibles in LoHi. “Our goal in the industry is to provide the best quality bud, concentrate and edibles and provide solid information about all things cannabis,” states James.  Editor’s note: Simply Pure Dispensary, located at 2000 W. 32nd Ave., in Denver, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. For more information, call 720507-PURE (7873), email or visit

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Available for all Holiday Events, Special Occasions and... 303.355.4979 P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239

The Rabbi and Senator Sleep Together Chronicling 50 years of successfully marrying religion and politics


s the saying goes religion and politics do not mix. However, Rabbi Steven and Joyce Foster of Denver have dispelled that myth. Where is the proof? It comes in the form of their marriage of 50 years and their new book, “The Rabbi and Senator Sleep Together.” “The Rabbi and Senator Sleep Together” chronicles the lives of two of Denver’s well known public figures, Rabbi Steven Foster and former Senator and Denver City Council member, Joyce Foster. In the pages of this enlightening and entertaining read, The Fosters offer advice to others that live very public lives including those in the clergy and in politics. Their story takes you on a candid journey through their lives in the spotlight, though it has not always been easy. They reveal how they found balance amidst the trials and successes in the role of public figure. Through it all they are still standing up for social justice issues in the face of criticism and carving out time for their marriage and family. “We know we are strong as individuals but we never would have accomplished what we did without each other,” they write. “Clergy life is not easy. Political life is not easy. Put the two together and sometimes you don’t come out on the other end together. But the rabbi and senator still sleep together and for that we are truly grateful and blessed.” Their lives intersected historic events, including Rabbi Steven marching in the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights demonstration in 1965 to him

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counseling one of the shooter’s parents in the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999. New to politics in 1993, Joyce offered a “common sense” approach with such things as building the city’s first skateboard park to bringing parties together for languishing redevelopment and park projects. They also forged relationships with other religious groups to address social justice issues and invited Christian clergy and their congregants on trips to Israel. “Rabbi Steven Foster and Senator Joyce Foster, dear friends and colleagues, have written a wonderful account of their lively relationship beginning with their ‘love at first sight’ and continuing through their retirement memories. Their leadership, humor, love of family and friends, and, above all, their dedication to the synagogue and to the quality of life in the city of Denver and the state of Colorado are richly chronicled and engagingly recounted. They deserve unending gratitude for their contributions to making the world a better place for us all, and for adding this memoir as a reminder of how marital and familial love can be a foundation for wise leadership and enduring contributions.”

-Larry Kent Graham, Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care at the Iliff

Rabbi Steven Foster was born and raised in Milwaukee and served 40 years as the assistant and senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Denver, Colo., a Reform congregation of 2,200 families. He actively spoke out on social justice issues, including gay rights and legalized marijuana. He has served on numerous local and national boards. Since retiring in 2010, he has taught at the Iliff School of Theology and served as chaplain at Denver Hospice. Joyce Foster was born in South Bend, Indianna, and raised in Benton Harbor, MI. She served as a rebbetzin at Temple Emanuel for 40 years. She was the director of employment at Jewish Family Service in Denver for 16 years. In 1993, she was elected as the first Jewish woman to the Denver City Council, where she served for 10 years, including being chosen by her peers as president of the council for two years. In 2008, she was elected as a Colorado state senator and served until 2012. 

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2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Celebration Events “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 11

NAACP Forum on Race for Colleges and Youth

Opening Ceremony /Press Conference - 10 AM

Aurora Strong Resilience Center – 1298 Peoria St., Aurora, CO 80011 Info: Gail Pough: (303) 618-4077

Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister 303-739-7580; Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329

Dr. MLK Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission’s Scholarship & Marade Awards Dinner - 6:30 PM

Candlelight Vigil “March of Peace” - 6:30 PM

Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway– Great Lawn Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister 303-739-7580

14401 E Exposition Ave, Aurora, CO 80012 Info: Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329, Terry Nelson 720-865-2404

Proclamation (Mayor & City Council) - 7:30 PM

Dr. MLK Jr. Touch Run & Proclamation - 7 AM

Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway - City Council Chambers Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister 303-739-7580

14401 E Exposition Ave, Aurora, CO 80012 (From mile marker 104 to MLK Museum 2713 North Grand) Pueblo, CO

After-Party: Aurora Municipal Center, Lobby - 8:30 PM

Dr. MLK Jr. Breakfast - 8 -to 10 AM

Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway - City Council Chambers Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister 303-739-7580

Colorado State University Pueblo OUC Ballroom

Sunday, January 17

Tuesday, January 12

Interfaith Service – 9 to 11 PM

School Forum 1 (7th, 8th, and 9th graders) - 11 AM

Heritage Christian Church, 14401 E Exposition Avenue, Aurora, CO 80012

Aurora Municipal Center, Council Chambers2:30 PM: School Forum 2 Aurora Municipal Center, Council Chambers. 8 AM to 5 PM Additional School Forums as Needed Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister: 303- 739-7580

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

25th Annual MLK, Jr. 2016 Humanitarian Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards & Colorado Symphony Orchestra - King Celebration Concert - 6 to 9 PM

30th Annual Ecumenical Service – 6 PM Info: Pastor Del Phillips 303-587-3755

Boettcher Concert Hall Denver Performing Arts Complex 14th and Curtis Streets Info: Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329, Terry Nelson 720-865-2404

Monday, January 18

18th Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Breakfast Celebration – 8 to 11 AM

Multicultural Performances Heritage Attire – 7 PM

Arapahoe Community College (In main Dining Hall 5900 South Santa Fe Drive Littleton, CO 80120 Info: Jamie Crisp 303-797-5881 Tickets $15 for Adults, $5 for children 12 and under

Aurora Fox Theater 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Aurora, CO 80010. Public requested to dress in heritage attire or $5 donation at door

Wednesday, January 13

Grand Design Inc. & Cleo Parker Robinson - 12 PM

Marade - Aurora Motorcade - 7:30 AM

Aurora Fox Theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. in Aurora

Thursday, January 14

Participants gather at the east side of Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy. & travel to Fletcher Plaza, 9898 E. Colfax Ave. Aurora, CO 80012, for lying of the wreath ceremony, dedication of Dream Tree, and breakfast. 10 a.m., Travel to Denver City Park. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan lays a wreath at the “I Have a Dream” monument.

Aurora NAACP, HRC & the Dr. MLK, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission Open Forum on Race – 7 PM

“Get to Cleanin’, Remembering Memphis” (Day of Service Community Project) Volunteers needed to remove litter from the Marade route and surrounding neighborhoods immediately following the Marade Info: Jacqui Shumway 303-744-7676, Silke Hansen 303-308-1969, Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329, &

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

Job Fair & Resume Writing Workshop - 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

31st annual MLK Marade – 9 AM program starts at 9:30 a.m.

Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway - Lobby Info: Kelly Folks 303-636-1252

Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway - Aurora Room Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister 303-739-7580; Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329

Friday, January 15

Again this year we will collect old cellular phones, non- perishable food and children books. We will have the phones refurbished and donated to battered woman shelters. The food will be donated to local food banks.

32nd Annual “Dinner for Those Who Hunger – 3 to 6 PM

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

The 21st annual MLK Peace Awards & Breakfast – 8 AM Tivoli Turn Hall Auraria Campus Info: Alton Clark 303-556-3947 or $7 for students, $14 for adults

MLK Jr. Feed the Hungry - Noon

MLK Museum 2713 North Grand Pueblo, CO

Dr. MLK Jr., Day of Service Start Planning Your Project Today!

Aurora Community of Faith Annual Breakfast – 8 AM


Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway - Aurora Room Info: Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister and RSVP Tickets 303-739-7580. Tickets $15

MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions - 6 PM

30th Annual MLK Social Responsibility Awards Luncheon - 11:45 AM

National Western Stock Show Coliseum 4655 Humboldt St. Denver 80216 Info: Vern L. Howard 720-971-1329 or Valeria Vason 303-693-6135

Marriott City Center Downtown Denver - Individual seating $75 Info: Stephen Straight 720- 323-3333 or 980-468-1488

Event: The 26th annual Loveland Dr. MLK, Jr., Commission for MLK “The Dream Lives On” - 6:30 until 8 PM

Saturday, January 16

Mountain View High School 3500 Mountain Lion Drive, Loveland, CO 80537 Info: Franklin Jefferson 970- 667-1871

MLK Marshall Training for Marade -10 AM

Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College, 19535 E 46th Ave, Denver, CO 80249 Info: VernVern L. Howard 720-971-1329, Silke Hansen 303-308-1969 (Lunch will be served)

Tuesday, January 19

Planting the Seed Conference & The MLK We Are People Conference (WAPC) 8AM - 3:30 PM (Registration at 7:30 am)

The Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.and Community Leader A Salute to George & Marjorie Morrison – 2 to 3:30 PM

Dr. MLK March – 11 AM

All events at Community College of Aurora

Auraria Campus Confluence Assembly Rooms 800 Curtis St. Denver, CO Info: Dr. Ryan Ross, 303-556-9605

PUSH Academy 4501 Airport Way Engage in dialogue with elected officials, CEOs, and leaders about National issues that affect our communities.

Wednesday, January 27

Corner of 26th & Elisabeth Veteran Memorial Wall (Pueblo, CO)

16000 E. Centertech Parkway Aurora, CO 80016 Info: Ms. Regina Edmonson 303-360-4829 or

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


EuroSlim Centre in Cherry Creek


Monday through Friday 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM Saturday - 10 AM to 2 PM (By appointment only) Sunday - Closed

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The Threat to Public Safety Arriving by International Mail


Denver Preschool Program’s Annual Preschool Showcase Slated In January

Now is the time to select your child’s preschool for the coming school year. Denver families can find and compare quality preschool options for their child, learn about the tuition support available to their family, and talk with preschool programs in the Denver area during the Preschool Showcase presented by the Denver Preschool Program (DPP). The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center, 4890 Argonne Way in Denver and The Studios at Overland Crossing, 2205 S. Delaware St. in Denver. There will be free light refreshment, family-friendly activities and entertainment, and online preschool locator demonstrations. Spanish translators will be on site as well as photo opportunities with PBS characters Clifford and Curious George at select locations For more information, e-mail, call 303-595-4DPP (4377) or visit

New Hope Baptist Church Annual Art Exhibition

New Hope Baptist Church will present its annual art exhibit on

Friday, Feb. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Local artists and jewelers will provide an emotional and educational journey in celebration of Black History Month works of works inspired by the artists’ life experiences and creativity journey. The public is invited to come out and celebrate the “Expressing Freedom through Freedom of Expression” exhibit. The works will range from representational, abstract, photography, sculptor and one of a kind jewelry pieces. For more information, email

By Don Soifer

Law enforcement agencies nationwide are confronting an increasingly prevalent threat — a flood of cheap, new synthetic drugs from overseas. They’re generally ordered online, arrive by international mail, and are delivered to buyers in the United States by the U.S. Postal Service. Frighteningly, they’re breaching our shores undetected, and largely uninspected, by federal customs authorities. This security hole must be fixed. Failing to screen packages from foreign postal services threatens public safety and the economy. If U.S. law enforcement is unable to stem the flow of these harmful new drugs, the risks they pose will grow. Synthetic drugs can trigger unpredictable, violent behavior and overdoses, but dodge anti-drug laws with constantly changing chemical structures. Police departments in many communities are struggling to combat these drugs, which are often sold at corner markets in shiny packets labeled with names like Bizarro, Trainwreck, and K2. Synthetic cannabinoids are now the second-most abused drug by American teenagers, trailing only conventional marijuana. Abuse of synthetic drugs has serious consequences. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of calls to poison control centers related to these synthetics more than tripled. Bath salts, another type of synthetic drug that has surged in popularity, were responsible for nearly 23,000 hospital visits in 2013. Earlier this year, 18 people in South Florida were killed by one batch of a synthetic compound called flakka. Other recent incidents, arrests, and even deaths from overdoses of synthetic drugs have been reported in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In each of these cases, the drugs had been received from outside the country via U.S. mail. Foreign drug producers rely on international mail to deliver their wares because they know American authorities won’t inspect their packages. Private express carriers must submit security data on their foreign shipments to U.S. Customs. Many federal agencies rely on this information to identify potentially high-risk packages before they reach American shores. Foreign postal systems are not being required to provide such data. And they don’t offer it voluntarily. Without it, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has little idea whether a package from a foreign post is harmless or contain dangerous contraband. About 179 million non-letter packages enter the United States every year by mail. Criminal enterprises aren’t just sending illegal drugs. They’re also flooding the market with counterfeit pharmaceuticals. A recent study by LegitScript, a company that verifies online pharmacies, found that all 29 of the illegal online pharmacies it examined relied on foreign postal operators to present their packages for delivery in the United States. Lax monitoring of foreign postal packages also saps our nation’s finances. Foreign posts don’t submit customs declarations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to a new study conducted by Copenhagen Economics, robbing American taxpayers of over $1 billion annually in unpaid fees. Researchers looked at 104 packages sent by 10 different foreign posts. None submitted advanced customs forms, even though they’re legally required if the contents of a package are worth over $200. Federal officials are finally starting to respond to the safety risk. An audit last month by the U.S. Postal Service’s Inspector General expressed concern that large numbers of international packages were going straight into the domestic mail stream without being presented for required customs inspection. With e-commerce from online shopping growing every year, the Postal Service is preparing for even greater volumes of international packages. Federal officials must ensure that foreign drug dealers don’t contribute to that growth. Editor’s note: Don Soifer is executive vice president of the Lexington Institute (

Faith and Film Series To Be Presented

Peoples Presbyterian Church begins will present a Faith and Films series celebrating Black History Month with a salute to Dr. Martin Luther King. Following are dates and films that will be presented at 2780 York St. in Denver. All films will be shown at noon. Kicking of the series will be Selma on Saturday, Jan. 16. Amistad will be shown on Feb. 6 followed with Remember the Titans on Feb. 13. Black or White will be presented on Feb. 20 and Soul Food on Feb. 27 will conclude the series. Each film will have a short talk back after words. For more information, call 303-2979071.

Social Security Evolves to Serve Customers By Marian Lark, Social Security

Social Security is at the forefront of adapting and meeting the ever-changing needs of our customers. Technology plays an important role in helping us provide the worldclass customer service America expects and deserves. And we’re changing to keep current with new laws and judicial rulings as well. One way we’ve evolved is by developing the my Social Security account. Once you enroll for a free account at, Social Security can help you estimate your future retirement or disability benefits, or manage them if you are already receiving benefits. You can do all of this easily and securely from the comfort of your home or office. Social Security listens to your needs as we improve the technologies that enhance the customer experience. We continue to look for new services to add to my Social Security to make it an even more powerful resource for you and your family. Another way we’re evolving is by adapting to legal and social changes. In 1935, when Social Security was created, the definition of “family” was different than it is today. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. As a result, more same-sex couples will be recognized as married for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Not only have we adapted to provide benefits for same-sex spouses, but transgender people can now change the gender marker on their Social Security records based on identity, with no requirement for reassignment surgery. Our mission at Social Security is to deliver services that meet the changing needs of the public. By keeping the public informed of their benefit estimates with my Social Security and adapting to our changing society, we will continue to achieve our goals and help you achieve yours. No matter who you are, you deserve the benefits of Social Security. Find out more at

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


Ground Rules

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

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



 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

n more than three decades as a filmmaker, Spike Lee has tackled topics from college fraternities, Jazz music, Malcolm X, the Son of Sam murder spree, to the British Petroleum oil spill, but his latest film, Chi-Raq, enters uncharted territory. It’s a film that’s already stirring people up, which is just what the gutsy 58-year-old filmmaker had in mind. Chi-Raq

From its incendiary title — a moniker that combines Chicago and Iraq in a grimly satirical reminder of the violence currently plaguing the city, Chi-Raq is smart, wildly inventive, daringly different and laced with witty dialogue. Starring Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson and John Cusack, it’s based on the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, about women who withhold sex until their men end the war. Lee’s contemporary version, which has a slightly different twist, follows


Lysistrata (Parris) and her rapper boyfriend, Demetrius Dupree (Cannon) who raps under the name Chi-Raq. The leader of a purple-clad gang called the Spartans, he’s out for revenge after Cyclops (Wesley Snipes) and the rival Trojans killed one of his men during a club performance. When a retaliatory stray bullet from their gang war kills an 11 year-old girl, Lysistrata comes to her sense and rallies the wives and girlfriends of the gang members, as well as other women in the community to start a sex strike until both gangs make peace. ‘Nobody gets a piece before making peace’ is their motto in this simple enough artsy tale, which is filled with poetic diatribes, random skits and musical interludes. John Cusack plays a religious community leader, Samuel L. Jackson’s the films narrator, and Jennifer Hudson and Angela Bassett play women who’ve lost their children to gang gunfire. Never one to pull punches, Lee grapples with violence in America head-on in Chi- Raq, with a special focus on the sensitive subject of blackon-black crime. The film starts strong with startling statistics. From 2001 to 2015, Chicago has seen 7,356 gunrelated deaths we are told. Comparisons show that the number outpaces the casualty totals in wars abroad, like in Iraq. “It is like a war out there,” says Lee. “It’s not just Chicago or New York — Baltimore or Maryland, but it’s on another level in Chicago because of the gangs. And it’s not just an urban issue. Right now, all across America, there are mass shootings. People are being gunned down left and right. This film is not only a declaration against the violence in Chicago, but the violence all across America.” Like many of Lee’s films, Chi-Raq isn’t easily categorized, shifting between intense drama scathing satire, and a musical number. “I don’t do films that can be whittled down to one word or one sentence,” continues Lee. “People have been programmed to think you can’t mix elements or tones or genres that everything has to fit into the CookieCutter Movie Factory. This is not one of those films. If you look at my body of work, I don’t make those types of films.” Indeed, for Lee’s films have often straddled the fine line between tragedy and comedy, engaging an audience without overwhelming them

with the weight of the serious issues they deal with. “I hope people will come into this film knowing that this is very important subject matter,” continues Lee. “Guns are destroying this country. People are dying. Families are being changed. Human life has been devalued, and that’s something this film addresses.” Written by Lee and co-screenwriter Kevin Willmott Chi-Raq is a searing satire of gun violence in America and is the first production of Amazon Original Movies. With this film, Lee makes one thing perfectly clear — he is a clever satirist who takes risks, like all true artists.

The Hateful Eight

 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

A brilliant blend of mystery,

humor and violence laced with one stunning surprise after another, Quentin Tarantino’s latest flick is intricately conceived. Engaging and gorgeously atmospheric in the visuals and the soundtrack, The Hateful Eight follows several eclectic characters marooned in house during a storm. The film’s first couple of chapters introduces us to the characters, who include Major Marquis Warren, (Samuel Jackson), a bounty hunter who has a pile of corpses he intends to collect upon when he gets to the town of Red Rock. After a mishap with his horse, he hitches a ride with John Ruth, a bounty hunter chained to his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is also heading into town to get his own reward for bringing Domergue to justice. Along the way, they encounter Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. He’s also without a horse and in need of a ride to Red Rock. The blizzard causes Warren, Ruth, Domergue and Mannix to seek shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. It’s there they meet four more unfamiliar faces. Bob the Mexican (Demian Bichir), who claims to be taking care of Minnie’s while she’s away, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, chaos and claustrophobia ensues and the eight travelers who are all headed to the same town for varying reasons learn they just may not make it to Red Rock after all.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


The Hateful Eight

The plot, the relentless suspense, Ennio Morricone’s fantastic score and the ensemble acting makes this film a winner. Watching the action unfold is intense for writer/director Tarantino has put together a well-conceived plot. He provides several scenes filled with live-wire acting, dramatic confrontations, startling action and surprising twists and the film moves along at just the right pace to keep the suspense tingling. Each of the eight has an affable side and it’s fun to watch the actors play the part. Jackson, as Major Warren, an ex-cavalryman and ex-slave delivers some of the film’s best dialogues, although every one of the “thesps” does make a strong impression. Most of the action takes place within the claustrophobic confines of Minnie’s Haberdashery. The twists and turns of the plot are an awful lot of fun, while the ending is genuinely satisfying and surprising. It makes for an enjoyable three hours and is a film that stands up to repeat viewing.

In The Heart of The Sea 

By Jon Rutledge

Ron Howard films are a category

unto themselves. His films have interesting subjects and engaging characters. In the Heart of the Sea is heavily laden with his distinctive style. His biographical films always have a way of bringing to light the humanity of historical events. This film was spectacularly done and so engaging that after watching it I was sympathetically dehydrated for the crew. I was emo-

REEL ACTION - BLACKFLIX.COM In the Heart of the Sea

tionally exhausted after the film, but it was an intriguing ride. Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) is interviewing the last surviving crewmember of the doomed whaling ship, Essex. We see the events that inspired Moby Dick from the point of view of the youngest member of the crew, Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson). The struggle between the captain (Benjamin Walker) and the first mate (Chris Hemsworth) take back seat to the internal struggle Tom has with reliving horrors of surviving at sea. The story in a story aspect of the film gives us several layers to process, but the film seamlessly blends them. The heart of this film is a story about the struggle to survive after being brought to the edge by an unfathomable force of nature. It also explores the power struggle of the captain and first mate, the fight of man dominating nature, and nature fighting back. But the most engaging part was Tom’s struggle for solace and deliverance from his haunted past. He has been bottling up his memories and fears and Melville gives him a chance to make peace with his past. Watching the surviving crew wither away from dehydration and starvation takes its toll on the viewers. It is a high sea adventure that is better than any fantasy, it was based on true events, and that makes it even more terrifying to watch. You very much have to be in the mood to see a film like this. It’s very accurate in its depiction of the wailing industry and the accuracy of the toll surviving takes on the body and mind are not for the faint of heart. Beware: “There be demons here.”

Getting Into Shape For Creed Was YearLong Process By Samantha Ofole-Prince


love story and a fight film, Creed is the classic tale of the underdog trying to prove himself. It weaves an interesting plot, explores relevant themes, sets up the exciting big fight and even finds time for a sincere, poignant romance. The bare bones storyline follows Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson, a humble character and the illegitimate son of heavyweight champ Apollo Creed, who was introduced in the 1976 hit film Rocky. Johnson never knew his famous father who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so he heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and eventually convinces Balboa to train him into a professional boxer. “You think you’re in shape, you’re athletic, but you get in that ring and you realize how far you still have to go. I was slowly training here and there, between projects, until I could go full steam ahead,” Jordan says Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), the film evokes the gritty, oldschool style of the earliest Rocky films while also forging its own modernday identity and is a film that could appeal to an equal number of fans in both generations. Despite taking place in the maledominated world of boxing, there are compelling themes of love and hardship especially with a riveting romance between Johnson and Bianca (Tessa

Thompson), a local singer- songwriter Adonis becomes involved with. It’s the age-old Cinderella story we’ve seen it many times before as we can all see a little of ourselves in Creed. Who hasn’t wished for that one chance, that one shot to stand up and be recognized? Jordan gives the best performance of his career and has great chemistry with Stallone who puts him through an extensive training right down to the morning ritual of rising at four, drinking raw eggs, jump rope rituals and running several miles. “The diet was the first thing,” Jordan continues. “A lot of people get-


ting into shape don’t realize how much food and what food they put in their body has to do with what you look like. He had me cut down the sugars, bread, pasta, dairy and cheese. Gone. Out the window.” What makes the movie extraordinary is that it doesn’t try to surprise audiences with any twists and complications. It’s a simple film about heroism, realizing your potential and taking your best shot. With a heart-warming script, a cohesive cast playing characters of enormous appeal and charm Coogler has created a classic here.

YOU AND A GUEST ARE INVITED TO A SPECIAL ADVANCE SCREENING! EMAIL ALLIEDIMDENVER @GMAIL.COM WITH RIDE ALONG 2 – URBAN SPECTRUM IN THE SUBJECT LINE TO ENTER. Entry Deadline: MONDAY, JANUARY 11 One pass per person. Each pass admits two. While supplies last. RIDE ALONG 2 has been rated PG-13 (some material may be inappropriate for children under 13) for sequences of violence, sexual content, language and some drug material. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Universal Pictures, Allied-THA, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. NO PHONE CALLS!


Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


Urban Spectrum WED: 01/01/16 4 COLOR

CBWPA Elects New Officers

On Nov. 23, the Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) elected the officers to serve a two-year term (beginning January 2016) on the CBWPA Executive Board. Halisa Vinson was elected as the new CBWPA president and Desiree Marchman was elected as the vice president. The new financial secretary is Heidi Ellis and Beverly ThurmanBaldwin is the new recording secretary. Halisi Vinson is the newest member of the executive board and CBWPA’s 14th president since the organization was founded in 1977.


She brings her experience as a strategist, entrepreneur, innovative problem solver, and marketing specialist to the CBWPA executive board. She is currently the managing partner of Denver-based consulting firm, A New Dawn Media & Marketing. In 2009, she founded the Urban Syndicate - a youth program dedicated to help teens realize their full potential, while teaching them leadership, entrepreneurship, and media production skills. She currently sits on the executive board for DRI Goods (Denver Retail Incubator), Hampden Heights Civic Association, and a county-level major political party. As a member of CBWPA for 4 years, Halisi has selflessly offered her professional skills to help move the organization forward. Early in 2015, Vinson ran a competitive political campaign for Denver City Council District 4 and gained an impressive following. Colorado Black Women for Political Action, Inc. is a Colorado non-profit, non-partisan organization whose purpose is to provide a vehicle for meaningful political involvement of Black people and of Black women in particular. For more information, visit us at

Rev. Rodney G. Perry Elected Pastor of Central Baptist Church

The Rev. Rodney G. Perry was elected as the new pastor of Central Baptist Church last month. Located in the historic Five Points neighborhood and the second oldest Baptist church in Denver, Central Baptist will mark its 125th anniversary in November 2016. A 1987 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Rev. Perry was ordained in November 1989 by the Western States Baptist Convention, an auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., the largest

African American religious organization in the world. From October 1993 to March 2012, he served as pastor of the Greater St. John Baptist Church. Following his time as supply pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church, Rev. Perry was an intern with the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains (ABCRM), which includes 82 affiliated churches in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. As he begins his role as pastor at Central Baptist Church which is central to the city, downtown Denver, and Five Points, Rev. Perry is looking forward to growing the congregation numerically. Citing ongoing changes, including gentrification in the Five Points area, Rev. Perry admitted the challenge of navigating the new dynamics of church life, maintaining a strong presence in the city, and adjusting the culture of the church to the new community, but he remains optimistic. The formal installation of Central Baptist Church’s new pastor will take place in late February or early March 2016. Rev. Perry is joined in his ministry by his wife of 27 years, Sheila D. Perry. They are the parents of one son, Rodney Perry, Jr., a junior at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


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Organo Holiday Barista Bash Cherry Creek Harbor Photos by Gilbert Wheeler

Asfaw Family Foundation

100 Men Who Cook 2015 Annual Black Tie Gala

Arches Of Hope and Aim High Scholarship 10th Anniversary

Photos by Roz Reese and Bernard Grant

Photos by Byron Russell

Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


The National Council of Negro Women Denver Section Present the 24th Annual Founder’s Day Harambee Brunch and Awards Program

The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) Denver Section presented the 24th Annual Founder’s Day Harambee Brunch on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 at the Double Tree Denver Hotel in Denver. The Harambee theme was “Embracing the Bethune Legacy through Faith, Service and Love.” This annual event recognizes the achievements of women of color and the youth who exemplify the legacy set forth by this organization and founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935. Honorary chairs were Dennis Gallagher and Daphne Rice Allen. Dr. Barbara Shaw, NCNW immediate past chair and executive board member was the keynote speaker. Returning home to Denver, actress and former performer of Broadway’s “The Lion King,” Sheryl McCallum served as the events mistress of ceremonies. Music was provided by The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Mile High Chapter, and The Spirit of Grace. The 2015 Harambee award honorees were Bellverie E. Ross (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Award), Constance Sauls-Wilkins (Salute to Black Women Award), Victoria Fleming (Dr. Dorothy I. Height Youth Leadership Award) and Jalil Grimes (Gloria Parsons-Gray Youth Award).

The Denver Section of NCNW, Inc. presented the second Gentleman of Valor Awards for African-American young men ages 12 to 18 years old who have shown outstanding leadership and service within their communities, thereby, serving as positive role models for their peers and society. The award recipient for 2015 was Bryce von Phul-Chewning. Dr. Henry J. Frazier, IV, an anesthesiologist with Kaiser Permanente and founder of Mentoring of Men presented the awards. The Harambee Outreach Project this year was a school re-supply drive for the children of Warren Village, a project of the Denver Section Silver Circle. Proceeds from the annual Harambee Brunch provide funding for the Denver Section to continue its mission to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.

Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) The self-serving, intimidating and compulsory missionary works of Islam: intolerance, rape, torture, mayhem, murder and pillage, or the threat of the same, are not the works of Allah but of Muhammad in pursuit of political power and earthly treasures held by unbelievers; e.g. looting merchant caravans, taking captives for ransom and the conquest of Medina, Mecca and the entire Arabian Peninsula by the time of his death. The works of Muhammad (not to mention his pedophilia homosexually practiced by many of his male followers in Afghanistan and heterosexually practiced by many male Boko Haram Muslims in Nigeria) serve the enslaving purposes of Lucifer whose plan in the premortal existence was to force all of mankind to keep God’s commandments in exchange for God’s glory and power. This caused Heavenly Father to cast him out into this outer darkness part of the universe, along with his followers numbering one-third of the host of heaven, where he became Satan, the devil. Muslims have been deceived into thinking that violence, in the name of Allah, will bring them blessings; e.g. “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” (Quran 4:74) Muhammad had no respect for peaceful Muslims unwilling to fight, whom he regarded as hypocrites: “Not equal are those of the believers who sit, except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives.” (Quran 4:95) Peaceful Muslims should come unto Christ where they belong. Jihadist should repent and fight against those that fight in the “Cause of Allah” if they want to fight a holy war.

Michael W. Jarvis Salt Lake City, Utah

Open Letter to Westword

Editor: I am very uncomfortable with the way my son Travis SanderKimbrough, who was a victim in the double homicide case dated on September 22, 2015 in the Jenny’s Market on Downing St, is being talked about and represented in social media. While my son’s case was under investigation, the detectives were not accurate with the information. They mislead my only son to be a gang memDenver Urban Spectrum — – January 2016


ber, when in fact it was he who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It hurts me as a mother not only to see the police but social media publish false information about my son. Travis was a very loving and caring person who would take his shirt off his back to help someone in need. It was hard on our family to pay his funeral and cemetery cost, as he was denied victim assistance, we held fundraisers and charities so that we could lay my son to rest in peace. After further investigation they found out that someone else was the enforcer and was carrying the gun; therefore granting my son victim assistance because he was neither an aggressor nor a murderer. I would like for the news to truly understand that my son was a loving father of two beautiful daughters and a supportive husband to a wife, a protective brother of two sisters and nine foster siblings, and a loving son to a mother a father and a stepfather. My son was a very family oriented man and a great friend - his loss has forever marked us as family.

Donna Sanders-Woolfolk A Grieving Mother

A Mother to a Mother

Editor: Throughout the years, people change as a mother to a mother, we grieve for the same reasons, and we have lost our sons, children that stole our hearts. I said we both grieve because you may share the same sentiments about your son, as I do my son. He was a good son, he was good inside an out it reflected in the way he treated his mother, wife, children, family and friends. He was well rounded in his associations and respected his peers and authority. He would find time in various ways to assist friends and family in their time of crisis. He struggled with his salvation, but as we know people change, he became more focused and he accepted Christ just five years ago. As a mother you never know what is going to happen to your child, whether it is gang-related or not, the pain of a mother losing her son is the worst feeling. You always picture your kids laying you to rest not you laying your own child to rest. Part of my life ended the day Travis was shot in the back and pronounced dead. I will never be able to understand why my son is gone, why I will no longer hear my son call me mom. I would never understand why someone would go to that extreme to murder someone at a carwash. When I go to the grave yard I ask my son over and over “why are you here?” That is the honest truth. A mother’s pain will never be understood unless you are in a grieving mother’s shoes.

With a grieving heart,


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Denver Urban Spectrum January 2016  

Denver Urban Spectrum has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.