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Cowgirls Mikala Nealy and Carolyn Carter


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Volume 31 Number 10

January 2018

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence Washington

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Ofari Hutchinson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Allan Tellis Laurence Washington

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” -Martin Luther King Jr.

April will mark 50 years since civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain. But this month, we celebrate his birth, reflect on his life and reminisce on his legacy. PushBlack talks about the MLK Streets in the US, the sanitation workers in Memphis and Dr. King’s economic empowerment. Our cover story features Black cowgirls and their journey in a male dominated field, as they ride into Denver for the MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champions. Rodeo champion Mikala Nealy and BPIR CEO/President and Promoter Valeria Vason-Cunningham, shares this salute to African American and Native American cowboys and cowgirls with Laurence Washington. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Allan Tellis talks to another history making woman and her trials and tribulations of keeping her dream alive; Dr. Rhonda Coleman and The Healing Garden and its purpose and goals of creating an environment for improving the community’s health. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” Last month, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame inducted jazz seven masters, including the incomparable Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves. Her journey and others are told by Luciana. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Many African Americans speak out on Omarosa’s final days at the White House, and why her fall from grace was in evitable as told by Hazel Trice Edney. “The ultimate measure of a (wo)man is not where (s)he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” As we close out this year, remember the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere – riding a horse at a rodeo, providing medical services, performing as a singer or even working in the White House – is a thre at to justice everywhere.”

Enjoy...peace and blessings for a prosperous and happy New Year.

ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

PUBLISHER/PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Byron Reed Stunttime Photography DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James - Manager Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2018 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 www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

We dedicate this issue to our friend, Roland “Fatty” Taylor. May he “Rest in Peace.” “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we (you) are free at last.”

LETTERS, OP-EDS, OPINIONS

A Dream Deferred

this great president. Perhaps we took for granted that the march toward true equality could not be stopped or slowed. Perhaps we were too polite in the discretion of not pointing out the obvious, that bias and prejudice is pernicious and highly resistant to eradication. Some might say we were just too nice. The election of a racist as president struck again like a bolt of lightning. This simply could not be! Avowed racists like David Duke came out of the woodwork to gloat in the victory. The politics of exclusion and even of hate seemed to come alive. The marches and riots of Charlottesville, Virginia showed us that the Ku Klux Klan is not only still in existence but has metastasized with violent young members filled with hatred for those whose skin color is darker than their own. The politics of exclusion has found new voices, new vigor and renewed hatred. Where are we to go from here? The answer is in what Dr. King would have said about bias. He would have said that we have a duty and responsibility to speak for the virtue and the inevitability of inclusion. He would say that we have a duty to stand up and speak against exclusion in any of its ugly forms. He would also say that we must, as he said in the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968, just before his death, demand fair wages and opportunity for those of every race. Fairness and justice is not a color or a race issue. He would say that we cannot treat

Op-ed by Mike Sawaya

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

How well I remember the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It came like a bolt of lightning and seemed so unreal. Dashing our hopes that color bias might someday be eliminated. Shortly after the assassination, I wrote an article for the Denver Post for The Voice of Youth column editorial page. I expressed the worry that the march toward true equality would be slowed or stopped. We’ve seen a fair amount of progress in the last 49 years, but we have seen that the worries about progress were justified indeed. It was like a dream come true that an African-American man could be elected president of the United States in 2008. President Barack Obama made clear what we all knew - that the color of one’s skin is absolutely irrelevant to any of the talents and virtues that allow for success and achievement. Progress toward the dreams of Dr. King seemed like it might have been expedited. The hopes of many of us were not realized under

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Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

our Latino brothers and sisters with disrespect. He would, I am sure, be on their side of the current immigration issues. He always stood for inclusion, justice and fairness. He would say that a sin has been committed that our prisons are filled with too many people of color. He would demand that there be fairness in sentencing and that we express kindness whenever possible. Perhaps what we need today is more of the passion, the dedication and the resolve that Dr. King showed for the cause of civil rights. Living in nice houses, driving nice cars, and eating good food can make us think the issues of equality are far from our lives and are not as relevant as they once were. I think he would have seen this as a nightmare and not a realization of his dream. It is a nightmare because we have left so many behind, turning a blind eye to those of color who have been discarded and treated as if they do not belong. If we have been lulled into forgetting the absolute need for inclusion, perhaps we need some smelling salts. Maybe we each need to wake up, stand up and speak up! I am ready, are you? Editor’s note: Mike Sawaya began practicing personal injury law in 1975, and founded The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977. He is the managing partner in the Sawaya Law Firm in the Historic Swallow Hill neighborhood of Denver, CO. For more information, call 720-709-2855 or visit www.sawayalaw.com.


Black Women in Rodeo: Bucking the Trend By Laurence Washington

In celebra-

tion of Martin Luther King Day, and to honor the slain Civil Rights leader, Mikala Nealy will be one of the many “cowgirls” participating in the MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champions on Jan. 15, at the Denver Coliseum. The MLK rodeo is a brain child of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR), which is billed as “The Greatest Show on Dirt”. The MLK Rodeo is part of the Western Stock Show and is a salute to African American and Native American Cowboys and Cowgirls. The MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champions features champion Cowboys and Cowgirls from BPIR who tell the history of African-American’s role in settling the Wild West – a fact that has been notoriously ignored by Hollywood and a little-known aspect of Western history. With the rodeo entering its 34th year, Valeria VasonCunningham is now continuing the legacy, by its founder the late Lu Vason, as being the only African American touring rodeo in the world. She points out that rodeo is a male dominated sport but is using the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo as a catalyst to change that. When asked about women in rodeo, Valeria says, “Like everything in life “you must evaluate the people and the team you have around you. With me being a woman, I had the opportunity to do just that and elevate women into prominent positions within the organization.” Valeria is proud

Mikala Nealy

to recognize the Black Women in rodeo. She is joined by some legendary Black women who have long entrenched history with rodeo such as Carolyn Carter, Stephanie Haynes, Acynthia Villery, Danielle Clark and Tiphanie Carter. Other women who play crucial roles within their respective rodeo markets and provide critical guidance to BPIR include Margo Wade-LaDrew, Miss Barbara “Kitty” Love, Sheri Vason and Ronni Frank. These women along with advisors, such as Nicole Scott and Peggy Wortham are totally committed to assist in elevating the BPIR organization. Team work and collaboration have been and will continue to be the foundation of the phenomenon of “Black Women in Rodeo” as it continues to develop. “Credit must be given to the men who have taught and guided the women along the journey for creating “Black Women in Rodeo,” Valeria says. Those men include Lu Vason, Jessie “Slugger” Guillory, Sedgwick Haynes, Clarence LeBlanc, Deon Osborne, Alfred Ousley, John DeCluette, Clarence Gipson, Reggie

Dorsey, Glenn Turman and Jeff Douval. The cowboys and cowgirls work together as a very close-knit group,” Valeria says. One of the BPIR women’s barrel racing champions, Mikala Nealy, 26, has been riding horses since she was three days old. Three days old? Actually, that’s not quite true…Nealy’s father (Thurston Nealy) had placed her on a horse’s back when she was three days old. “My dad was a tie-down roper (calf roping), and my mom barreled raced,” Nealy says. “So, I just grew up around it.” Nealy has been barrel racing since she was 5-years old, and gained more riding experience during her early teens, when she started investing herself into the sport. “When I turned 18, I got my women’s professional rodeo association permit,” Nealy says. “That was when I really got serious.” Nealy, a Bill Pickett Rodeo veteran, owns seven horses, five are on her ranch in southern Colorado and two

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are in Oklahoma. She ran three of those horses, Doc, Gambler and Goldie, during her championship season last year. “They are quarter horses,” Nealy explains. “They go back to different bloodlines, some have quarter horse racing blood, and some have been specified as barrel horses.” Nealy says the cool thing about the Bill Pickett Rodeo is everybody tries to help one another, and she doesn’t feel any gender discrimination among her male counterparts. “The men are competitors,” she says, “but everybody wants to see everyone succeed and do well.” Valeria echoes Nealy’s feelings, punctuating the fact that the men have taken the women under their wings and continue mentoring them about the events and teaching them about rodeo. “Without the men there would be no Black women in rodeo. The rodeo travels all over the United States and has a huge following. BPIR prides itself on educating others about rodeo and featuring women in prominent roles with the rodeo. “The fan support is incredible; I get emails all the time from rodeo fans who are very excited about seeing women both leading and participating. They never thought that they would see women doing this.” Valeria says who is very passionate about the rodeo and what it contributes to society and the community. She says the BPIR is a very encompassing group that includes women, men, and children. “We try to include the entire community because it is a community and family affair,” she says.

Black is Beautiful

The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo attracts 30 to 50 women, such as Nealy, throughout the year to participate as it tours the United States. There are different women who participate in different markets and events. “You’ll see the faces of Black women throughout the rodeo,” Continued on page 6


All The MLK Streets I’ve Been To Have Been In The Hood

By PushBlack Now

non-profit, Beloved Streets of America, works to revitalize MLK streets in St. Louis (and other cities). By fixing the physical attributes, White says it will raise self-esteem of residents and encourage businesses to bring their operations there. Though MLK streets have now come to be known for their decline, some cities boast thriving MLK streets. Minneapolis, MN; Tampa, FL; and Chapel Hill, NC are cities whose streets honor Dr. King with bustling business and good upkeep. Atlanta, Dr. King’s hometown, pledged $20 million to revitalize Martin Luther King Drive.

While many jokes about the condition of MLK streets are for a quick laugh, the conditions eerily mirror racial tensions and discrimination happening in this country. As protests against injustices against black people - like taking a knee - continue to happen around the country, these streets are a reminder that token symbols are not evidence of change, but an indictment of systems that foster racial tensions. . Editor’s note: PushBlack Now provides daily inspiring Black history. For more information, visit www.pushblack.us.

Let’s be honest. We often joke that

every Martin Luther King Jr. street in America runs through impoverished areas and are pictures of urban decay. The irony that streets named after one of the greatest leaders of the Civil Rights Movement look like they’ve been neglected for decades is not lost on us. There are more than 900 MLK streets in 42 states and Puerto Rico, and most of them are in disarray. Derek Alderman, a cultural geography scholar at the University of Tennessee, says that research has shown that a majority of these streets sit in lowincome areas and have higher levels of segregation than city-wide and national norms. Immediately after Dr. King’s assassination, cities commemorated him by renaming streets after him. However, because of housing discrimination and whites leaving urban areas for the suburbs, neighborhoods - especially streets named after King - were replaced with drugs and violence. The conditions of MLK streets are well documented. Shuttered stores, crime, cracked pavements, and limited public transportation options are all symptoms of the neglect that has plagued these streets. AOL Real Estate/ blog estimated that home values on MLK streets decreased 12.5 percent from 2010 to 2011. The national home value only decreased about 5 percent in that same time period. The urban decay that plagues MLK streets is emblematic of the racial divide in the country since the end of the Civil Rights Movement. However, there is one man that wants to change that. St. Louis postal worker Melvin White started an organization to repair this country’s MLK streets. The

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303-819-7784


Black Women In Rodeo Continued from page 4

teach others how to ride and how to interact with horses. It’s a pretty diverse group. You have people who work their ranches with non-profit organizations, teaching young kids how to ride and how to treat horses. Some use it as a hobby.” Valeria believes the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo has had a huge

“The Bill Pickett Rodeo circuit starts in Denver in January with the MLK Rodeo,” Valeria says. “The next stop, Memphis, Tennessee in April and then we do our west coast tour in July, which includes Oakland and Los Angeles, California. After the West coast tour, we head to Atlanta, Georgia, and then end our year in Washington, D.C. in September, where we have our Rodeo Finals.” The BPIR association, in addition to having a huge fan base and a group of loyal cowboy and cowgirls, Mikala Nealy happens to be one of those. Nealy is a mainstay and performs with every stop as the rodeo establishes a footprint across the United States. “Last year in Denver,” Nealy says “I ran my good horse and because we had a ground issue, I ended up taking second, so that was kind of a good start.” Nealy explains that a good beginning helps set up her championship year, as she kept placing and doing well in Memphis and California. She indicated that she kind of struggled during the Finals in the nation’s capital, but she changed horses and was able to win the barrel racing competition.

impact educating communities and introducing people to the roles of Black cowboys and cowgirls. “It has also had an impact on generations of people who wanted to get more involved with horses and learn how to ride,” she says. The BPIR features such stars as Barrel Racing and Steer Undecorating champion Stephanie Haynes, who is one of the most decorated females. “She has been in the rodeo all her life,” Valeria says. “Her daughter rodeos, her granddaughter rodeos, they have a ranch, and they make a business of rodeo. She has been inducted in the Walk of Fame and the Black American West Museum in downtown Denver. She has won the most Bill Picket Invitational Rodeo women’s championships in the history of BPIR. Current Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo champion Mikala Nealy, smiles and laughs when asked if she is famous for her accomplishments. Actually, her work ethic won’t allow her to rest on any such laurels, as she rides anywhere from two to four horses a day out on her ranch near Elizabeth, Colorado. “After Sept. 1, I give my horses a couple months break,” Nealy says. “They kind of just hang out. However, I started riding them again two weeks ago, getting them back into condition and shape for the MLK Rodeo in Denver. They had a nice little break, but now it’s back to work.”. Editor’s note: The MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champions will be held Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum, located at 4600 Humboldt. Tickets are $20-$40. Children under two are admitted free. For more information, call 303-373-1246 or visit www.billpickettrodeo.com.

Valeria says. “It is always a beautiful picture when we see beautiful Black women coming out on those beautiful horses. It just gives you a good feeling to see how these women have mastered this sport, and have become professionals at it.”

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Different Walks of Life

Like their male counter parts, the cowgirls come from all walks of life, according to Valeria. Some hold executive positions in different companies. Some are RNs and managers from all different industries. Valeria says the cowgirl’s ages can range from five to 50 years old. So, what do they ALL have in common? “They love horses and they love rodeos,” Valeria says. “Some have ranches and some have horses. Some Denver Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – January 2010 Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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The Healing Garden Deserves A Little TLC Relaunch Party Planned In January By Allan Tellis

W

ith extreme determination and a palpable dedication, Dr. Rhonda Coleman is ready to turn The Healing Garden (THG) into the community hub she always envisioned it could be. Although The Healing Garden is relatively new to the public, the concept has been under construction since Coleman was undergoing her dissertation, earning her doctorate in acupuncture and Eastern medicine. THG’s new facility at 2900 South Peoria St. in Aurora has the necessary space to reach its maximum effectiveness. Since inception, Coleman was inspired to create a space which allows people of color to learn how to become the most holistically healthy version of themselves. She envisioned much of this growth developing as a community saying, “I want people to learn from each other through community teaching and community sharing from the knowledge we collectively have while learning together. I want to make The Healing Garden exactly what my vision was. My goal from the beginning was a collective of African American holistic health practitioners offering services that could help heal our community.” Her timing could not be better as African American communities, and other communities of color, continue to suffer from catastrophic consequences of many preventable diseases. Coleman is adamant about the damage preventable diseases have caused

saying, “People of color have the highest numbers in almost all these categories, be it kidney disease, heart disease, obesity, etc. We are also the least likely group of people to use preventive, holistic health services and this disconnect creates an obvious correlation.” By setting up a space that is dedicated to the needs of communities of color and with the presence of practitioners of color, Coleman believes that more members of marginalized communities will feel comfortable receiving this kind of care. She firmly believes people want the help, however, as Coleman said, “Part of the issue is trust. People feel uncomfortable going to doctors that don’t look like them. They are always more likely to take services from people that are like them,” furthering her point saying, “Research clearly supports not only do people of color feel more comfortable receiving health services from other people of color but non-people of color feel comfortable with people of color practitioners as well.” The more people Coleman can bring into THG the more people she will be able to provide healing services to help alleviate and reverse symptoms of preventable diseases plaguing community of colors. Coleman believes she will be able to prevent these conditions from proliferating in the communities if people seek out THG’s services early enough. Providing people with an alternative can also help people stay away from big pharmaceutical company products which often come with a host of nega-

tive consequences. “I can give you acupuncture and yoga instead of later giving you diabetes and blood pressure medication,” Coleman said. The new space, which encompasses more than 3,000 square feet and is within walking distance of the Nine Mile light rail station, gives Coleman the opportunity to provide the services she has longed to be available. “We’ll benefit greatly from our new space which is a much larger facility with easy access and great visibility,” she said. The new building is equipped with community classrooms, clinical areas, and spaces for classes like yoga and Zumba. After receiving a 501(c) 3 status, the opportunity to occupy a larger space was a no-brainer for Coleman as she looked to expand her services. She looks forward to hosting a variety of beneficial community classes such as the diabetes prevention program by the Center of Disease Control (CDC), a facilitated lifestyle training program. “The idea is to have a group discussion with people being able to learn from their peers while accompanied by a person who can give clear food guidelines,” Coleman said. She hopes her space will serve as a place where people can learn comfortably without the gravity usually surrounding conversations about health and lifestyle choices. She will host events like a monthly “Popcorn and Pajamas Night” where people can watch a film then discuss what they watched. Coleman, however, looks at health as a completely holistic function of choices and would also like the

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discussion topics to include parenting, keeping neighborhoods safe and clean, battling drug addiction and depression. Attaining a healthy body is often more complex than just doing exercises. Coleman emphasized this point saying, “We need to do a lot of talking about how our emotions and social environment deeply affect our health,” Coleman noting that often times her patients only recognize the symptoms of their issue but not the root cause. “A lot of times when I’m talking to people about what they came in for and about the start of their symptoms, it oftentimes can be traced back to a significant event in their life, but they don’t always see the connection.” Coleman knows the mission of THG is not one she can complete alone. And, she loves partnerships like the one she shares with Elements of Discovery; two sisters who are psychotherapists who will be facilitating group discussions about mental health. THG is also in need of more holistic health practitioners of color whom Coleman says have been particularly hard to come by. THG is also receptive of sponsors and donors who can help make programs and classes accessible and available to people who are the least likely to afford them. “Finance is often a deterrent for people in seeking this kind of care,” she said. CNN recently reported similar findings and according to the report, “In all age groups, Blacks were more likely than whites to not being able to visit a doctor in the past year due to cost. THG is also in need of a qualified grant writer as they often see available funding they qualify for but lack a specialist to apply for those grants. Between grants, sponsors and donors, Coleman would like to continue to offer THG’s services for free and/or on a donation basis only. THG will host a relaunch party on Jan. 20 for the public to tour the facility, sample the classes and meet its board of directors. For information on the event, call Dr. Rhonda Coleman at 720-900-4325 or email director@thehealinggardencenter.org. . Editor’s note: For information on The Healing Garden visit www.thehealinggardencenter.org or visit their Facebook page.


COLORADO MUSIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTS SEVEN JAZZ MASTERS...By Luciana

Left to Right: Wellington Webb, Keith Oxman, Wil Traylor and Mayor Michael Hancock

V

ery seldom can you find several jazz masters all under one roof. Well that was the case last month when the Colorado Music Hall of Fame inducted Charles Burrell, Bill Frisell and Ron Miles, Dianne Reeves, and Phillip Bailey, Larry Dunn and Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind & Fire as Jazz Masters & Beyond at the Paramount Theatre. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame, presented by Comfort Dental, has opened its doors at the Trading Post at Red Rocks. The dynamic new environment is designed for thousands of visitors before and after concerts, where they will learn about Colorado’s amazing and diverse musical legacy. The mission of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization, is to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions, to preserve and protect historical artifacts, and to educate the public regarding everything that’s great about Colorado’s music. Chuck Morris, President and CEO at AEG Live Rocky Mountains, opened the celebration with words of welcome then introduced Denver

Left to Right: Wellington Webb, Dianne Reeves and Carlos Lando

Mayor Michael B. Hancock who made reference to how many inductees had attended East High School and noted that a long list of famous alumni (over several generations) has benefited from the music programs. Morris, who says he was honored and lucky to call Barry Fey his business partner and friend, presented the first Barry Fey Visionary Award to the East High School Music Program along with Hancock and “another visionary” and good friend former Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb. On behalf of the East High School Music Program, Keith Oxman who directs the instrumental Music and Jazz Studies program and Will Traylor who directs the Vocal Program accepted the award. Carlos Lando, President and General Manager of KUVO, was introduced as the host for the event who welcomed his jazz community to the first Jazz Masters Induction in Colorado’s history. To introduce the first inductee Charles Burrell, Lando asked Webb to share Burrell’s story who said, “You know he was the first African-American in the country to join a major symphony orchestra. He also had a pure and profound love for jazz. So after he’d finish a performance

with Denver Symphony Orchestra, he would carry his bass to downtown joints like the Playboy Club and the Band Box to play with jazz groups.” In his 60-plus years as a professional musician, Burrell played for conductors Arthur Fiedler and Pierre Monteux; he was an acclaimed jazz bassist appearing onstage with the likes of Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. Webb closed by quoting Burrell who said, “I loved practicing classical music, and still had it in my mind that I would someday perform in a major classical symphony, but I also loved the way the girls looked at me when I played jazz.” While gratefully waving his hat to the audience, 97 year old Charles Burrell accepted his award to a resounding standing ovation as niece Dianne Reeves presented the award, saying “Congratulations, Uncle Charles…It is our honor to present you with this award of Induction.” As a tribute to Charles Burrell, his nephew Purnell Steen (and Le Jazz Machine) played some of Burrell’s music. The next Inductees were guitarist Bill Frisell and trumpeter Ron Miles.

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Michael Martin Photography

“Now Ron and Bill are both a couple of East High kids,” Webb said. “By the time Bill Frisell graduated high school he was already an incredible guitarist and began studying with local legend Dale Bruning, and then Johnny Smith at UNC. He has held the Number One spot in the annual Downtown Critics Poll for nine out of 10 years. As much as he is renowned for jazz, he has also crossed boundaries into folk, country music and Americana.” In a career that spans more than 100 recordings, Frisell continues to garner notoriety as one of the world’s most well-known and sought-after jazz musicians. Lando shared his sentiments about Inductee Miles saying, “I flat out love Ron Miles. I think it’s safe to say everyone who’s ever met him loves him. We have been hearing how extraordinarily generous he is in the community and how he has this knack for bringing people together – which is the very essence of jazz. He is renowned all over the world, and we are fortunate that he is Director of Jazz Studies at Metro State. I have heard Ron play with every genre of band, and it is always the crystal-clear and gentle tone of his trumpet that you


take home with you, that lives in your bones long after the music stops. The man sings through his horn.” Ron Miles studied music at the University of Denver and the Manhattan School of Music and gained national exposure recording on his own – performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Ginger Baker and the Bill Frisell Quartet. After receiving their awards, Frisell and Miles presented an extraordinary performance. Dianne Reeves, the next Jazz Inductee, attended George Washington High School. “While still in high school, she was invited by Clark Terry to perform in Chicago. After studying at CU Boulder, Dianne decided she was ready to set out for Los Angeles to break into the big time,” Webb said. “Wilma and I had the opportunity to see Dianne in one of her first performances at the Greek amphitheater in Los Angelos and later while travelling, just missed her performing in Lyon, France and Wellington, New Zealand.” “In LA, Ms. Reeves quickly rose to the top echelon of jazz singers winning five Grammy Awards, two honorary doctorates and numerous other awards. She sang with everyone from Stanley Turrentine to Harry Belafonte, and she was the featured singer in George Clooney’s film noir Good Night and Good Luck,” Lando said. “We are lucky that she moved back to Denver and we treasure her striking beauty, her elegant and evocative voice, and the way she makes us feel as she journeys through old standards and new works. Dianne, we are so proud of you. It’s my pleasure to present to you this award of induction in the Hall,” he said while presenting the award. “Thank you for this award, and I’m so happy for this honor,” Reeves said before presenting a memorable performance like no other. Reeves, who attributes her uncle Charles Burrell for grounding her in the classic jazz vocalists, was the first vocalist signed to the revived Blue Note label in 1987. “He would bring over recordings of these great jazz artists and would always be willing to discuss them whenever I had a question. It was through him, that I got my first introduction to Sarah Vaughan. Through him I learned that the soul to the music is created through communicating with other musicians,” she said. The long-time Park Hill resident moved back to Denver in 1992 after years away from home. Before the last inductions, Morris recognized and thanked the sponsors including Comfort Dental, the Boedecker Foundation, AEG and the

Anschutz Foundation. He also thanked media partners KUVO Jazz, CBS Channel 4, the Denver Post and also Pasta Jay’s Catering and the CMHF Board of Directors. He noted previous inductees that included John Denver, Glenn Miller, Judy Collins, Lannie Garrett and many others and encouraged attendees to check out the exhibits at the temporary home in the Trading Post next to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Closing out the program, Wellington said, “Let’s journey back to East High School one more time. The Class of 1969 produced Philip Bailey, with his soaring four-octave voice that has served him so well, both with Earth, Wind & Fire and everything that came after. The Class of 1971 produced Larry Dunn whose funky-yet-sophisticated keyboards and brilliant production talent have elevated everything he has worked on. The Class of 1968 boasted Andrew Woolfolk, a natural-born jazz saxophone player who infuses every song with exquisite and adventurous playing.” While introducing Earth Wind & Fire members, Webb asked how many old school people were in the house and how many remembered the 23rd St. East Club featuring Charles Caldwell and Phillip Bailey receiving several raised hands. Lando continued saying, “Along with Maurice White and other stellar musicians, they built Earth, Wind & Fire into a band that won six Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, and they’ve been inducted into the national Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as getting their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They sold more than 100 million records, making them one of the bestselling bands of all time.” Phillip Bailey, Larry Dunn and Shavon Woolfolk (on behalf of her father Andrew), were presented their awards giving gratitude and recognition to others. Larry Dunn recognized his wife Luisa who performed background vocals with the band. And Philip Bailey paid homage to many musicians and gave special recognition and thanks to promoter Perry Jones. The award presentation was followed with a concert that included local musicians from the Hot Lunch Band and vocalist Cheryl Renee. Bailey performed, displaying his four octave voice with the very popular “Reasons,” along with other EWF hit songs, “Shining Star” and “That’s The Way of the World.” “Thank you for coming. You are all part of the glue that holds our jazz community together” Morris said closing out the program. .

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marosa Manigault Newman, who has resigned under duress from her public liaison job at the White House, is leaving true to form - amidst a cloud of controversy and with sparks flying. The White House has confirmed her resignation effective Jan. 20. The official White House reason was that she is leaving to pursue “other opportunities.” “Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success,” says a Dec. 13 tweet from President Donald Trump, who had handpicked Manigault Newman - best known for her first name only. A personal friend of Trump’s, they have known each other 14 years since her national television debut on his reality show, “The Apprentice.” But the full circumstances surrounding Omarosa’s departure remain cloudy at best amidst numerous reports that she was actually fired or forced to resign amidst cursing and a heated confrontation with Trump’s Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly. She has only conceded that there was a tense conversation with Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Since his arrival last July, Kelly had limited her access to the Oval Office, where she initially had the freedom to come and go. On ABC, the only media outlet that has interviewed her since the resignation, the clearly angry Omarosa said reports that she was fired are “a hundred percent false.” But, then she added, “But when I have a chance to tell my story to tell quite a story - as the only AfricanAmerican woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear,” she said, leaving an obvious cliffhanger. Omarosa was reached to obtain responses on issues raised in this article, but she declined comment due to the fact that she is still a White House employee until Jan. 20. She was only allowed the interviews with ABC News.

Black Republicans say Omarosa blocked them from jobs.

Meanwhile, Black Republicans claim Omarosa blocked them from jobs in order to maintain her status as the “only African-American woman... senior staff and assistant to the president” as she described herself on ABC.

TriceEdneyWire.com

Omarosa’s Final Days at White House Full of Controversy, Accusations Some say she blocked qualified Black applicants; others say that’s not possible NNPA president says she may have been fighting for diversity

need and wherever we wanted to go into government and to shoot our resumes over to her and she gave us her official transition email. She said this administration has a goal of having 25 percent minority hiring. They wanted 25 percent of the work force to be Black and Hispanic...So she positioned herself as the end all be all for Black things; for Black people in the administration,” Craig said. Ayshia Connors, a former deputy director of AfricanAmerican engagement at the Republican National Committee, now a senior advisor to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), agrees. She describes an initiative by The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and Insight America, an organization headed by former Republican Congressman J. C. Watts: “There were hundreds, probably thousands of resumes of qualified individuals in the Black community that were ready and prepared to go into any administration no matter who won the election. And when President Trump got elected, all of those names were submitted and Omarosa literally trashed those names. Nobody got a call back. Nobody got an interview.

By Hazel Trice Edney

Her actual White House title has been assistant to the president and director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison. But her actual job description appears not to have been clearly defined. In interviews with the Trice Edney News Wire Black Republicans blame her for blocking Black job applicants from the Trump administration including Republican stalwart Kay Coles James, who was appointed Dec. 19 as the first African-American and first woman president of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “I was blocked personally. Essentially, my file was pulled and I wasn’t deemed pro-Trump enough,” says Eugene Craig. “The official excuse was that I wasn’t proTrump enough although I was the sitting chair of the Maryland Republican Party.”

Sources said because of President Trump’s need for loyalty, that attribute loyalty - was among the top considerations for key White House positions. Craig admits that he was a “never Trumper all the way”, but that was during the campaign. Craig says he noticed that when the time came for consideration for jobs and the broad banner of Republicanism, White never-Trumpers were given consideration where African-Americans were not. “The flood gates were opened, but Omarosa held all of us to a different standard. She had say over a lot of the Black resumes. I know for a fact from promises that she made us directly.” Craig says a January conference call with the Republican National Committee and Trump transition team was held “specifically for AfricanAmerican activists and party loyalists.” He said, “During the middle of the call, she jumped on and bogarted on. And she came in and she made us these promises that this would be the most diverse administration in history. And she’ll help us with whatever we

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

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Elroy Sailor of Insight America and Spencer Overton of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies listen to now HUD Secretary Ben Carson on a panel. Insight America and the Joint Center worked together to in attempt to get bi-partisan resumes of African-Americans to the Trump Administration. Sources said most were blocked. PHOTO: InsightAmerica4u.com

Nobody was ever heard about again. People tried to go in. People were eager and willing to serve the President, willing to serve our country. But Omarosa, she didn’t want other Black Republicans there. She wanted to be the big shot. She wanted to be the only one. And so, everybody kind of just decided it wasn’t worth our times to keep dealing with it. And so, by February, people had just moved on from Omarosa and dealing with the White House and decided to start working with Congress and dealing some other policy matters.” Connors added that Kay Coles James, former Virginia Secretary of Health and


Human Resources under Virginia Republican Gov. George Allen and director for the United States Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush, received the same treatment. “She was willing and prepared to go back into the government and to help the administration. But Omarosa was such a distraction and created so much drama and confusion that Ms. James just decided not to engage it anymore. So that’s what ended up happening. That’s why you only saw Omarosa as a senior Black Republican in the White House.” In a brief interview with James upon her appointment as president of the Heritage Foundation, James was clear about why she did not go to work in the Trump White House. “When Donald Trump said that he wanted to improve the urban areas and that he wanted to make the lives of minorities in this country better, I said, wow, if he wants to do that, I genuinely want to be a part of that and I was excited and hopeful the opportunity to come in,” she said. “But that opportunity never really afforded itself. I am told that I was blocked...I don’t have specifics about how that happened, but I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to serve there.” Connors said the clearest evidence that Omarosa was not going to work with other Black Republicans came in February when Omarosa was in charge of pulling together the Black History Month program for President Trump. “During Black History Month, these credible Republicans such as Kay Coles James and J. C. Watts and Elroy Sailor, they tried to engage Omarosa.” Instead, Omarosa put an event together that included her personal picks of AfricanAmericans, including Black Democrats, Connors said. “She didn’t invite any of the prominent Black Republicans. In fact, we had folks calling us from the White House calling and saying, ‘Why aren’t your names on the list for this event?’ It was very evident from the beginning that she wasn’t going to work with us and that she was just going to do her own thing.” Connors cited another event for Vice President Pence that was planned by Black Republicans to be held at West Point. “That was another example of Omarosa using her position in the White House to block that event as well. And that was actually the turning point for Black Republicans. We decided she was just too distracting too disruptive and we decided to focus our efforts elsewhere.” On the record sources willing to speak in defense of Omarosa were dif-

ficult to find. But, high placed Republican sources say it is not possible that Omarosa could have made such powerful decisions without oversight in the White House - most likely the President himself. Other high Republican sources said James was offered positions, but Omarosa fought against any Black staff appointment that would be above her own. Yet another rationale for why some Black Republicans seeking employment were rejected may have been because they had left the Republican National Committee Headquarters in protest against treatment by then RNC Chairman Reince Priebus nearing the end of the presidential campaign. Priebus then became President Trump’s first chief of staff and was likely averse to hiring the same staffers who had left the RNC, one source said. Christopher Metzler, an active member of the Black GOP Coalition, who has long worked Republican policy and strategy, had one answer when asked why there were no long time Black Republicans hired as White House staff. “It’s very simple. Omarosa,” he said. “Somebody like Kay [Coles James] who could serve as a whisperer in the President’s ear like a Condoleezza Rice; like a Valerie Jarrett, was never given that opportunity. There was a lot of back and forth pertaining to that. And Kay said, “Well, it is not going to serve the President well for me to try to cut through this thicket. And as a result of that, she did not push it any further.” Metzler concluded, “All of these things were blocked by Omarosa. At the end of the day, Omarosa is first and foremost a Democrat. She is not a conservative. She is not a Republican. She never has been. She is simply an opportunist. And that’s where we ended up.”

Black Republicans Do Not Necessarily Mean Black Representation; nor Justice

Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) and a long-time associate of Omarosa’s Youngstown, Ohio family, has had a unique view of Omarosa in the White House. He worked directly with her when she was a Democrat. He even named her a celebrity ambassador for IBW’s Haiti Support Project after she traveled with a group of journalists to document the level of disaster following the 2010 Continued on page 12

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

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Omarosa’s Final Days...

Continued from page 11 earthquake. His view in the midst of her departure from the White House is two-fold. First, as it pertains to those Black Republicans who felt that they earned a position due to their loyalty to Black Republicans, “diversity does not equal representation of the Black community,” he said. “That’s one of the fallacies...Trump’s agenda is a negative agenda. Fact number one is the way he dogged President Obama, the way he talked badly about Mexicans, etc. Why would anybody want to associate with that administration in the first place?”

Omarosa (fifth from left) among this media delegation in Haiti, was a celebrity ambassador for IBW's Haiti Support Project in 2010. IBW President Ron Daniels, in cap behind her, says she has since rejected his advice to her about President Trump

Citing pioneering Black Republicans such as Nixon’s Art Fletcher, known as “the father of affirmative action,” Daniels says modern day Black Republicans can hardly hold a candle to some of the Black Republicans who - instead of follow-

ing the party line - stood for justice when it was needed most. “The brand of Republicanism that we have now is extremely out of step with the vast majority of Black people and the mainstream of Black aspirations and Black policy and the concepts of Black policy prescriptions.” Because of his working with Omarosa and his affinity for projects that she led for Haiti and for children in the U. S., Daniels now sees what he believes to have been her true agenda based on her most recent situation. “I think Omarosa, for whatever reason, is somebody who had been on the liberal side. She had supported Hillary Clinton...She had been in Democratic politics and all that. I think Omarosa saw an opportunity to advance her own interests and that is why she was blocking everybody else in terms of the Republicans who wanted to get close. She wanted to be the Queen bee,” Daniels said. “She wanted to be able to fire folks, metaphorically speaking, or block people. That’s not a good thing. But the idea that if she had opened the flood gates of somehow having more Ben Carsons or more Clarence Thomases or people like that, [that would not have been a good thing either]. But I don’t think Omarosa was there advocating. It was really stunning to see her make that transformation.”

Black Republicans are not the only ones who say they were rejected by Omarosa

American Urban Radio Network reporter April Ryan, a White House correspondent who has covered four presidents, confirmed that now former Trump press secretary, Sean Spicer, told her that Omarosa had asked him to “stop calling on me” during press briefings. Had he adhered to that request, it could have blocked important information and coverage on behalf of millions of African-American listeners to AURN radio stations across the nation. Ryan says Omarosa also tried to get her fired by calling her boss at AURN. Many of Omarosa’s previous friends and associates, who rejected Trumpism, say they were also rejected. Daniels says he was one of them. “Omarosa is my home girl. My roots are in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and most of my adult life was spent in Youngstown, Ohio,” her hometown, he recalls. “I had my own television show in Youngstown, Ohio for 18 years. She said she grew up watching me and was inspired by that. I saw the good work she was doing with children in Compton and that she had a progressive vision. So we forged a friendship,” he said. “All of that was positive. Then, all of a sudden Trump came along and I saw her in and around Trump and I became very nervous. She’s my home girl. I cared about her. So at one point, I just sort of, as an elder, a friend, I just sort of called her to say, ‘Be careful. You seem to be getting very close to Donald Trump and I don’t think...’ And she just sort of went off on me, kind of like, ‘You don’t need to be telling me, nobody needs to be telling me what’s going on. I know what I’m doing. And somebody needs to be able to talk to him. And that was it. I just said bye because I did not want to see her become what she has now become in the Black community - a pariah in the Black community.” There are many such stories told by former friends. But the truth about Omarosa’s tenure and final days at the White House is yet to be made clear.

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

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NNPA Interviewed Omarosa last fall, but is still awaiting Trump interview that she promised.

Omarosa and Ben Chavis during an NNPA Black Press Week breakfast in March. She ended up walking out of the meeting after this reporter, Hazel Trice Edney, pressed her on the promised NNPA "first" interview with Trump.

Ben Chavis, president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, said he interviewed Omarosa last fall in her White House office, located in the Old Executive Office Building. At that time, shortly after the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Weekend, there was no indication that she would be leaving, Chavis said. However, he speculated that, based on the content of the interview - which he said has not been published - she may have been pressing for diversity too much. “She indicated broadly her determination to press diversity and inclusivity issues. She’s always maintained that posture,” Chavis said. “I think that’s probably one of the things that probably got her in trouble in the White House is that she probably was pressing for more diversity,” Chavis said. In an off-the-record meeting with several hundred Black leaders, including Chavis, during the Trump transition last January, Omarosa said NNPA would get the first interview with President Trump, a promise she later denied despite multiple sources that confirmed the conversation. In the recent interview, she indicated that the Trump/NNPA interview was still possible, Chavis said. He said NNPA will continue to request the interview with Trump. What happened in the final days of Omarosa’s tenure and the detailed reasons for her departure from the Trump administration are far from clear. “There are two sides of the story Omarosa’s story and those being told by other sources are two completely different stories,” said Ayshia Connors. “But based on her patterns of erratic behavior and disruptive behavior, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she was confrontational with General Kelly and things were played out the way they were reported to have played out - outside of her story.”.


Deadline for the Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship Program Approaching

Only one student will win a scholarship to cover all expenses to an HBCU of their choice, joining an impressive group of previous “Full Ride” Scholars

T

om Joyner is reminding students that the deadline for the Tom Joyner Foundation® Full Ride scholarship program is rapidly approaching. The highly coveted scholarship will cover all the expenses of one talented student planning to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the fall of 2018. “Our full ride scholars are outstanding,” said Tom Joyner, chairman of his Foundation and host of the topranked nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning show. “We’re looking for another amazing young person who already is changing the world and wants to go to an HBCU where they can pursue their dreams.” Students will receive full tuition and stipends for up to 10 semesters to cover on-campus room and board and books. Students must meet the required academic standards each semester to renew the funds each year. Graduating high school seniors can apply for the scholarship by going to the Tom Joyner Foundation website at www.tomjoynerfoundation.org. Students must have their schools mail their transcripts and recommendations to the Foundation at P.O. Box 630495, Irving, TX 75063-0495. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria: 1) A United States citizen 2) Current high school senior attending school in the United States (applicant must be anticipating completion of high school degree in the spring of 2018) 3) Minimum high school grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.00 grade scale, excluding home school studies) and minimum SAT score of 1400 (combined math essay and verbal score) or ACT score of 30. 4) Applicants must apply and be accepted to an HBCU by July 1, 2018. 5) Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through

participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities. The applications must be postmarked no later than January 19. Interviews will occur in March. Past Full Ride Scholars have impressive backgrounds, including last year’s winner, ZKijah Fleming of DeSoto, Texas, who is attending Howard University where she is planning to major in sports business; Morgan Taylor Brown, of Fayetteville, Ga., who is attending Spelman College, pursuing her interests to become a psychiatrist. In 2015, JoAnna Jones of Ashville, North Carolina’s Buncombe County Early College High

School is attending Winston-Salem State University, where she is pursuing a degree in nursing. Another winner is Titus Zeigler, who was a top student at Atlanta’s Henry W. Grady High School. The future trauma surgeon was a member of the Junior ROTC program, tutored kids at a local middle school and volunteered at the Atlanta Food Bank. Blaine Robertson of Reserve, La. graduated from Howard University and he is pursuing his dream of teaching high school back home in Louisiana. Britney Wilson, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., also graduated from Howard University and the University

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

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of Pennsylvania Law School. Wilson, who passed the New York Bar exam, is now a Bertha Justice Institute Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Another Full Ride Scholars Cheyenne Boyce graduated from Spelman College is completing her master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution at the American University in Washington, D.C. The Detroit-native graduated from Spelman College. She spent a year as a prestigious Fulbright scholar teaching English to families in Malaysia. . For more information, email Neil Foot at neil.foote@tomjoynerfoundation.org or call 214-448-3765.


Five Ways To Get Fit, And Stay Fit, For the New Year! By Kim Farmer

fter all the holidays have passed, most of us might experience a little guilt or regret after eating all those yummy deserts and buttered rolls. No worries! Now is the perfect time to make a resolution to GET in shape and STAY in shape. Most of us have no problem starting an exercise regimen, but very few of us have the discipline or drive to make it a lifetime habit.

A

Here are a few tips to help you do just that: 1. Get Motivated! At times, we all need a little help getting started or sticking with our exercise routines. It is reasonable to enlist a friend to work out with you, or to hire a trainer to get you started or keep you going. Consistency and accountability are two of the most important parts of sticking with an exercise or nutrition regimen and another person (or group of people) can be very beneficial. If you do choose to work with a personal trainer, make sure that the trainer is certified from a nationally recognized organization such as AFAA, A.C.E or ACSM. 2. First Things First! Most people have tremendous success with sticking to their exercise routines if they do it first thing in the morning. For people with small children, this time is usualDenver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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ly before the kids are awake which makes for precious, uninterrupted time for parents. You are more likely to stick with it if it your time for exercise is at the same time everyday. 3. Have Fun! It is easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing every time you decide to exercise. Try to get creative and have fun doing the things you like to do. If you like running or walking, then it makes sense to use a treadmill or walk/run outside. Perhaps swimming is your pleasure? Find a local pool and dive in! It is important that you change your routine and add new activities to keep it fresh. 4. Make it Convenient! Does your apartment complex have a fitness center that you’ve never seen? Is your treadmill collecting dust or being used as a coat hanger? If so, it’s time to make a change and form a new habit! There’s no excuse for not exercising regularly if it is convenient for you to do it. If necessary, join a gym nearby so that you can visit it on your way to or from work. 5. Make a Commitment! It is easier to stick with a commitment if the goal is written in a clear and precise for-

mat. For example “I will lose 5 pounds by the end of February” or “I will drop a dress size by March 1st.” With a combination of good nutritional habits and regular exercise, you can achieve consistent and healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. It usually takes about 3 weeks to form a habit, so start now! It is necessary to exercise and make wise eating choices consistently in order to reap the benefits. If you need motivation to get started, a personal trainer or gym memberships are wise investments in your health. Happy New Year and Happy Exercising!. Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com.


Nine Ways To Fix Your Credit before Buying a Home In 2018 Are you getting ready to buy

your own home? Great! Homeownership is one of the most important ways to build wealth over the long term. However, if your credit score is well below 700, you will have to pay a much higher interest rate. This will cost you tens of thousands of dollars in higher interest charges over the life of your loan. In most cases, it is essential to learn how to fix bad credit before applying for a home loan, at least if you want to qualify for a low interest rate and not be required to come up with a substantial down payment. So, at least six months to a year before you apply for a mortgage, you should try these 9 tips below to raise your credit score as much as you can:

#1 Get Current on Your Payments Nothing wrecks your credit score more than having delinquent payments of 30, 60 and 90 days. It is very important to have all of your late payment problems in the past by at least a year by the time you apply for your mortgage. Those late payments will still appear on your mortgage, but they will carry less negative weight with the lender. It’s no secret that one of the quickest ways to fix credit scores is to make your payments on time each and every month. Buying a home with bad credit can be challenging so it makes sense to fix your credit scores prior to starting the loan process.

#2 Pay Much More than Minimums on Credit Cards Even if you are making your minimum payments faithfully on your credit cards, this does not look good in the lender’s eyes. If you can only make minimum payments on your debts, what happens if someone loses their job? How will you make your mortgage payment? Pay as much as you can on your credit cards to knock down those balances. #3 Increase Your Available Credit The credit scoring process by credit bureaus looks at the ratio of your debt to your total amount of credit. Add up all of your debts and compare it to your total credit lines. What is the

Submitted by Walter E. Huff II

ratio? If you are using well over 50 percent of your credit lines, you have problems. In an ideal world, you should be using less than 10 percent of your available credit lines if you want to maximize your credit scores. At least a year before applying for a mortgage, start working at getting your credit card balances as low as you can. You want that ratio of used credit to your total credit lines to be as low as possible. The reality is that mortgage loans for bad credit carry a higher interest rate and sometimes higher closing costs as well, so if you can avoid nonprime mortgages, you should. #4 Leave Cards Open One of the worst mistakes a lot of people make is to pay off a credit card and close it. You never want to do that! By closing a card, you just reduced your available credit by X thousands of dollars. This mistake could actually drop your credit score significantly. Imagine if you just paid off a $10,000 credit limit card and you close it. You just reduced your available credit by $10,000.

#5 Get a Copy of Your Credit Report and Correct Errors Many credit reports contain errors, and some of those errors can hurt your FICO score. For example, there are cases of where a negative mark on a credit report can show up several times instead of once. Each time this negative mark shows up, it hurts your credit score. If you find any mistakes on your credit report, you should write to the three credit bureaus and contest the error and request that it be removed.

the score by paying down on the loan as much as you can. When you pay off the balance on your car loan there is a very significant chance it will improve your credit quickly. #8 Open Trade-line Six Months in Advance If you only have one credit card trade-line, you may need one or two more to qualify for some mortgages. However, you do not want to open up a bunch of new cards right when you are applying for a mortgage. If you do need to have a new trade-line to qualify for a mortgage, you should open it months in advance before you apply for a mortgage. Then, use it regularly to pay for all of your regular expenses but pay it off in full each month.

#9 Become an Authorized User on a Credit Card If you have a relative who has a very high credit limit and good record paying on a credit card, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user on that account. This will raise your credit score, as long as the person continues to pay the bill regularly. Getting a mortgage is quite easy these days even with average credit, as long as you have the documented income to support the mortgage payment. But if you want to maximize your chances of getting a loan and getting a low interest rate, you should try most of the above tips to raise your credit score. Having a higher credit score can save you big time in interest over the life of your loan. . Editor’s note: Walter E. Huff II is the CEO/Team Leader of HUFF KW Real Estate Team. For comments or questions, email walter@huffrealestateteam.com, call 720-298-9095 or visit, www.thehuffhomesteam.com.

Want to be part of a winning team!

#6 Don’t Move Debt Around from One Card to Another Some consumers try to reduce their balances by moving their debt from one card to another. You can sometimes save on interest by doing this, but credit card companies caught on to this. They will charge you big fees for moving balances around regularly.

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Ground Rules

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

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

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle lll By Khaleel Herbert

Jumanji is reincarnated into a

video game in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. While in detention, four teens with opposite personalities discover a Super Nintendo-esque game cartridge and system. They ponder: What do we do with this dinosaur? A TV sits over yonder. After setting up (because when kids and teens see something, they can’t help but go over to it like flies to a bug zapper. There’s something wrong with their heads) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

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choosing their avatars, they’re plugged in…literally plugged in to the world of Jumanji. Spencer (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) gets a stellar body and is the leader of the group. Fridge (Kevin Hart) is a pint-sized zoologist and Spencer’s backpack-lugging sidekick. Martha (Karen Gillan) plays a karate master in short-shorts and Bethany (Jack Black) is an overweight cartologist who navigates the team. In order for the teens to get home and into their normal bodies, they must return a magical crystal to the eye of a stone jungle cat in the middle of the woods…and avoid Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale), the man who originally had the crystal to control the animals of Jumanji. Welcome to the Jungle is the sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams classic. It picks up right where Jumanji left off. The board game was found on a beach and brought back to the states. It takes the form of a video game when its next victim sets it on top of a video game console. It answers the question: What was it like for Robin Williams to be stuck in the Jumanji jungle for 26 years? The shenanigans and goofiness of Robin Williams and jungle animals let

loose on the streets of New Hampshire was a fun time. Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce were little tykes and Bonnie Hunt almost had a heart attack when Williams tricked her into rolling the dice. Good times, good times. Asking me if I like Welcome to the Jungle or Jumanji is like asking me which set of Star Wars movies I like, George Lucas’ original trilogy or the ones Disney made. They’re both good in their own right but preferably, I like the George Lucas originals where every one is still young and Darth Vader rules the First Order with an iron fist. (Call me old-fashioned if you like. I don’t care!). There are some positives to Welcome to the Jungle. Kevin Hart and The Rock are back together again, although their relationship isn’t a bromance like 2016’s Central Intelligence. The Rock keeps his swagger, and in practically every movie I’ve seen with The Rock, he punches someone’s lights out. Welcome to the Jungle is no exception and I would not want it any other way (he’s more worthy here than in that God-awful Baywatch that came out this summer). Karen Gillan (she’s almost abnormal without her Nebula-robotic flesh

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

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and black eyes from the Guardians of the Galaxy flicks) delivers butt-whoopings through awkward flirting and dance-fighting (don’t ask). It’s a hoot to see Jack Black act as a female throughout the whole thing, a rare and different performance for Black from the adorable Kung-Fu panda, Po. This team has a good chemistry and drive to get everyone home, including long-time resident, Alex (Nick Jonas), which is admirable and funny. Spoiler alert: Jack Black and Nick Jonas kiss. There. Now you have something to look forward to. Welcome to the Jungle is no substitute for Jumanji and I don’t believe it wants to be. Think of it as Jumanji’s younger brother who wants to be his own, but still has respect for his older brother.

Roman J. Israel Esq.

V

lll By Khaleel Herbert

eteran actor Denzel Washington plays the thoughtful, outspoken and somewhat goofy Roman J. Israel Esq. Roman J. Israel Esq. (Esq. is the proper designation for someone who is an attorney), follows the self-titled character diligently working as an experienced ethical lawyer of some odd decades. Roman’s world shifts when he discovers that his partner of the legal law firm he owns is critically ill after suffering a heart attack. With his partner on the verge of death, Roman is forced to find work elsewhere. No family. No car. Roman travels the streets of LA with his two feet, trusty briefcase and headphones to his iPod on his ears. George Pierce (Colin Farrell), a lawyer Roman despises because he only works for dollar signs, offers him clients from his law firm. Roman needs the money and Colin needs Roman. Roman’s beliefs in the human condition steadily slant. One decision for survival gets him a front row seat to the glamor life (no more Jif peanut butter sandwiches or records for him!) with a brand new apartment, new suits, and a slick new hairstyle (losing his signature afro). But his decision spews unintended consequences. Roman J. Israel Esq. puts Washington in a goofy position–from his looks, to his gestures. He’s not the man seeking justice by any means like Man on Fire, The Equalizer, or The Magnificent Seven. He somewhat returns to his friendly spirit from The Preacher’s Wife and political fire from Malcolm X. Instead of fighting goons or tyrants, he has to fight himself. He has to battle with the fact that he crossed the line and he can’t go back.


REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM Roman J. Israel Esq.

It takes a true actor to dive into different roles. Washington is brilliant and his slight romantic chemistry with Maya (Carmen Ejogo) is a delight to watch. His ability to speak his mind on things that aren’t right is moving. I have to ding some points off this film for a few things. First, this story is about a lawyer fighting himself and court cases. We only see him in the courtroom once (and he was held in contempt for upsetting the judge). I would have liked to see him actually win some court cases (at least two or three). Seeing Roman and his partner in some shape or form, even if it was a photo of them side by side would not have been a bad idea either. Roman respected and looked up to his partner as a role-model for his profession. To not even get a glimpse of the man’s face ruins certain scenes for me, especially as the film wraps up. Columbia could have at least slipped in a flashback or two of him giving some ultimate words of wisdom like Uncle Ben did to Peter Parker. Roman J. Israel Esq., with its imperfections, breaks Washington out of his usual shell keeping him relevant and fresh in 2017 Hollywood.

Awakens (’15). Empire set the bar for other Star Wars movies. So it goes without saying, everything else falls short. However, The Last Jedi strives to be as dark as Empire, and in many respects, it achieves that end. Baddie Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), is determined to fill Darth Vader’s shoes, er…

make that helmet, and doesn’t care who gets in his way for galactic conquest. Needless to say, a lot of victims meet the business end of Kylo Ren’s light saber, Jedi’s, Siths, Storm Troopers – he makes no distinction. He’s a bad mutha clucka,’ but he’s also conflicted, which is his weakness

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

O

lll By Laurence Washington

K, let’s get the big question out of the way. The Last Jedi is not as good as The Empire Strikes Back (‘80), and it’s light years better than The Force Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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– a problem that Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) senses. Last Jedi picks up where Awakens leaves off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) finding Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a planet deep in the regions of space. You might recall cheering toward the end of Awakens, as Rey hands Luke a lightsaber. The anticipation during the past two years is, Luke will pick up the lightsaber and once again lead the fight against the forces of evil. But whoa! Hold your phasers…I mean blasters. It is not to be. Taking a page out of A New Hope (’77), Luke is now an old man who wants to live out his days in self-imposed exile. He wants nothing to do with lightsabers, Jedi’s or the Dark Side. Like a young Luke Skywalker, Rey wants the reluctant Luke to train her in the ways of the Jedi, so they both can join the resistance and fight the New Order. But, ah, there’s the rub. At the same time Rey is trying desperately to recruit Luke, Kylo Ren is using the Dark Side to seduce her to the New Order. Director Rian Johnson does a terrific job directing the traffic through Jedi’s three storylines that seamlessly come together during the film’s third act. There are twist and turns that the casual Star Wars fan might not see coming. At least I didn’t. Continued on page 18 Star Wars: The Last Jedi


Continued from page 17 It is a nice surprise that the late Carrie Fisher received a lot of screen time, as Director Johnson must have shot a lot of footage, or completed primary filming before her untimely death. To the film’s credit, and to the anticipation of fans, The Last Jedi checks all the boxes from Imperial Walkers to Star Destroyers. Chewy is back, ex-storm trooper Finn (John Boyega) and his new found love interest, mechanic Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) visit a Star Wars bar punctuated with a host of interesting extraterrestrials, and of course each planet has cute and cuddly creatures. But unlike Return of the Jedi (‘83), thankfully we don’t get an overdose on those damn Muppets. The Last Jedi also has the distinction of being the longest running Star Wars movie with 152 minutes. So you might want to hit the potty before the film starts. In the end, The Last Jedi is a pretty good movie that could have been edited by 30 minutes for the sake of time and plot development. But it’s a good movie nonetheless. A word of caution: Marvel films have us programed to wait for an after credit scenes in these blockbuster films. Since this is a Disney film, don’t bother.

IDRIS ELBA:

Molly’s Game is About Gender Balance and Power By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photo credit Michael Gibson

By all accounts, Idris Elba has had

an incredibly good year. First, he played the heroic Roland Deschain in Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower and reprised his role of Heimdall in Thor: Ragnarok. Then, the actor took on his first lead romantic role in Hany AbuAssad’s The Mountain Between Us, starring opposite Kate Winslet, and it’s during filming of the movie in Vancouver he met his current girlfriend, 29-year-old former Miss Vancouver, Sabrina Dhowre. And to cap off a great 2017, he stars alongside Jessica Chastain in the thriller Molly’s Game. “It has been a rather good year,” agrees the Golden Globe award-win-

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM Molly’s Game

ning actor who since his breakout role as Stringer Bell, the lieutenant of a Baltimore drug empire on the HBO series “The Wire,” has appeared in well over 40 films and television projects. There has also been directing stints with just four years ago, Elba made his directorial debut with his own teleplay, The Pavement Psychologist and he also created, directed and starred in the music video Lover of Light by Mumford and Sons, which has received more than nine million YouTube views. Adding, his company, Green Door Pictures, is developing a comedy titled In The Long Run, which set in 1985 London and is about a West African family he says is loosely based on his childhood. But despite starring in some major films from Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, Star Trek Beyond, to Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, which earned him a SAG award, Elba admits that he doesn’t have a systematic way of approaching roles. “It really depends on the director. The Dark Tower was very much an action led film so there was some physical training. For Ben in The Mountain Between Us, there was a lot of talking about the characters with Kate and me, but in Molly’s Game, I had to memorize every single word and punctuation that was written and I don’t like to memorize words. I am more of a guy that sort of feels it and says it.” A film based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive

high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target, Elba plays her defense lawyer who discovers that there’s much more to Molly than the salacious tabloid stories reveal. “What attracted me to the role is that I play a lawyer that judges her and then decided to go against that and goes one step further and takes on the law system,” shares Elba. “Charlie is this very polished sort of seen-it-all hotshot lawyer, but I think he’s really intrigued by Molly because there is so much more complexity to her than how she initially presents. He thinks he has her figured out the minute she walks in the door and then she really challenges him with her intellect and the strength of her character and personality and I think that really draws him in.” The directorial debut of playwright and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), poker drives the plot of this story, which follows an athlete who was in the qualifying trials for freestyle skiing when an accident sent her down a very different path of hosting illegal high-stakes poker games. She ends up getting raided by the FBI, and writing a book about the whole affair. “This isn’t a whistle blowing film,” Elba continues. “It’s actually about integrity and it’s about gender balance and it’s about power.” In the film, Sorkin brilliantly cuts between Molly’s rise to power in the backrooms of Los Angeles following her fall from grace as an Olympic skier and her meetings with her

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

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lawyer. It’s a neatly done rise-and-fall story as Molly’s brush with Hollywood royalty, sports stars and business titans give her a decade of glitzy and glamorous success, but she soon attracts the wrong kind of attention when she inadvertently engages members of the Russian mob. There’s money, power and sexism in this indelible story about a woman competing in an all-male world and it’s the kind of gritty tale Hollywood gravitates to. “Hollywood has a lot of hanging fruit for stories and there are so many different personality types in this industry. There is the glamour of course, but there is the real underbelly and the uglier side, which we are all seeing come up now in what is happening in Hollywood,” says Elba, who starred as Nelson Mandela in The Weinstein Company biopic Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, a performance which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. .

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Founding a Legacy of Great Colorado Women…

Grit. Grace. Inspiration. By Deb Radman

Editor’s note: The Colorado Women's Hall of Fame recognizes, honors and preserves the contributions of trail-blazing Colorado women. Since 1985, the Hall has inducted 152 extraordinary women. The Induction Gala will be March 28.

T

he history of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is an inspired narrative, analogous to the values, communities, cultures, and lives of the Colorado women that the Hall celebrates. Throughout time, women have redefined their roles, embraced challenge, and rebuked scrutiny, ultimately becoming innovative examples of their era. In the spirit of the legacy pioneered by the women of Colorado, it is a privilege to share our story.

Our Founder….

In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, M.L. Hanson observed that the professional lives of contemporary women were changing. Women wanted to, and expected to, be treated equally to men in their professional lives. As Assistant Vice President at the United Bank of Denver, M.L. Hanson found herself in the role of a trailblazer. Impressed by the vitality of the women she met and inspired by the pioneering accomplishments of women in Colorado’s history, she began to dream of a platform where great women could be recognized.

Creating The Vision…

“Too often, society has overlooked the accomplishments of women. My vision was to serve as the leading resource of exciting, dynamic stories of women acting as agents of change for girls and women in society.” – M.L. Hanson In 1983, M.L. Hanson was elected state president of the Colorado Federation of Business and Professional Women, which entitled her to a seat on the National Board of Directors. Her leadership duties included attending the annual

Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. where they discussed the lack of recognition of the historical contributions of women. It quickly became clear to her that women’s historical accomplishments were absent from public school curricula, state histories, and government memories. Women’s lives were not on record – anywhere. This glaring omission of women’s contributions to history resonated strongly with all the women at the conference. Upon further discussion, they discovered women had already begun to address the issue by forming Women Halls of Fame in a few states. Although these hall founders shared that the process of state recognition was long and arduous, Hanson returned to Colorado determined to fill the gap in Colorado.

The Vision Grows Legs…

Armed with her vision and national inspiration in early 1984, Hanson began interviews with community members regarding a potential project that would honor women’s significant contributions to the state of Colorado. She then convened a small group of women that were involved with her in the Colorado Federation of Business of Professional Women (BPW). Subsequent meetings resulted in the decision to form the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and induct the first women into the hall at the Business and Professional Women’s State convention in June. In June of 1984, The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF) was unveiled at the State Convention of the Colorado Federation of BPW held at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado – a fantastic surprise to all attendees who were not part of the organizing committee.

College. Each panel includes a photo or drawing of the inductee, bios, quotes and pictures.

Transforming Lives…

Since 1985, the Hall has inducted 152 visionary and trailblazing women from the past and present who have impacted the state of Colorado in an exceptional way. CWHF is inducting 10 more women on March 28th at a special Gala to celebrate the accomplishments and legacies of these women. Inductees include: teachers, doctors, scientists, politicians, social activists, bankers, newspaper publishers, philanthropists, aviation pioneers, humanitarians and authors. So many women in the Hall are unsung heroes, “hidden figures” who have endured with superlative strength, beauty and love. They deserve our respect and acknowledgment as shining examples of the potential of all women. Their accomplishments are a strong legacy, as tall as the Rocky Mountains they stand beside and as broad as the plains they look out upon, and have shaped history and transformed lives. . Editor’s note: To learn more about inductees, visit www.cogreatwomen.org/ inductees/women-in-the-hall/. Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cogreatwomen. For more information, call 303271-3599, email info@cogreatwomen.org.

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The Vision Becomes Reality…

A year later, The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame welcomed its inaugural inductees. There were many more historical women (no longer living) recognized versus contemporary inaugural inductees, since the strongest statement regarding the importance of women’s contributions should begin with a solid historical base. At the 1985 Induction at the Penrose club, M.L. Hanson mounted these on a wall as an example to highlight the vision of the traveling portrait exhibit to share the amazing stories of the inductees. The CWHF’s first expenditure was to get matted and framed professional photos of the inductees. After the first few inductions and exhibits, CWHF purchased easels to improve the ease and flexibility of setup. The easels were used for the first time at the exhibit at the old campus of the Colorado Women’s

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Goatfish and Friends

Live @ Jacks Sunday December 17, 2017 Photos by: Lens of Ansar Byron Russell Stunttime Photography

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First All-Female Board of Education for Denver Public Schools Youngest Ever School Board Member Part of Seven-Member Policymaking Team

For the first time in the school

district’s 114-year history, women completely comprise the Board of Education for Denver Public Schools. Denver voters recently elected Angela Cobián (Southwest Denver), Carrie Olson (Central/East Denver) and Jennifer Bacon (Northeast Denver), as well as returning Board Member Barbara O’Brien (at-large citywide). The governing body for Colorado’s largest school district also includes the following already seated board members: President Anne Rowe representing District 1: Southeast, board member Lisa Flores representing District 5: Northwest and board member Happy Haynes representing the city at-large. “I am deeply honored to work with this amazing group of people who are stepping up to guide the district and serve the community,” said President Anne Rowe. “Together, we are all committed to ensuring every child succeeds while being role models to our young girls who aspire to lead.”

Board member Angela Cobián, who is 28, is Denver Public Schools’ youngest board member ever. She

taught second- and third-grade literacy for English Language Learners (ELA-S) in Denver Public Schools.

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“My goal is to ensure that all of our more than 92,000 children receive the best educational opportunities from start to finish,” said Cobián. “I am honored to do the important work of continuing to raise student achievement as students prepare for college and a career, improving social and economic mobility for themselves and their families.” In 2013, Cobián was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to consult with the NGO Enseña Por Mexico on program development for student-led social change initiatives, as well as teach English at the National Pedagogical University in Mexico City. She is also a former trustee of the Colorado College, and served on the Community Planning and Advisory Committee (CPAC) for the 2016 Bond and Mill Levy. In 2013, she returned to the school where she previously taught to serve as a bilingual community organizer for Together Colorado. She continues her advocacy work as the manager of organizing strategy for Leadership for Educational Equity for Denver and Memphis. .


Commerce City Chamber of Commerce Elects President

T.H. Mack, Sr. has been elected the first president of the Chambers of Commerce in Commerce City. A native of Denver, Mack brings vast knowledge of business experiences to the Chamber, including a career in finance, security, and construction. After leaving a career in law enforcement, he owned businesses both domestically and internationally in Hong Kong, China, and Cameroon and Guinea, Africa. From land development to the importing of electronics and several other international ventures, Mack also executed successful businesses in the Western hemisphere which includes Mexico, Canada, and South America. In addition, Mack has served on a multiple boards and commissions, including AmeriBuild Training School, Men Who Care, Inc., SimsFayola International Academy, the Adams County Workforce Investment Board for Youth, Tri-County Youth Council, Arvada International Sister Cites, Adams County Workforce Investment Board for Youth, TriCounty Youth Council, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Five Points Business Recovery and Development, and several government economic panels. Most recently, Mack has served as a gubernatorial appointee for the State of Colorado Department of Revenue Disabilities Board. In the private sector Mack is the CEO of MFS Corporation, currently specializing in high end collateral lending.

The Denver Foundation Announces 2017 Community Leadership Awards

The Denver Foundation presented Eric Duran, Angela Cobián, and Carlos Martinez as winners of the 2017 Community Leadership Awards dur-

HATS OFF TO

standing Metro Denver leaders. Swanee Hunt created these awards to honor women and men who spend their lives making life better for others, and young people who have showed the promise of leadership. The awardees are selected by a committee of community leaders including several former employees and trustees of the Hunt Alternatives Fund. For more information, visit www.denverfoundation.org.

ing a reception on Monday, Nov. 6 at The Denver Foundation. Eric Duran, Managing Director at D.A. Davidson in the Public Finance Division of Investment Banking, received the 10th annual John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award. Angela Cobián, currently the Manager of Organizing Strategy for Denver-Memphis with the Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) and recently elected member of District 2 School Board of Education, received the Swanee Hunt Emerging Leadership Award. Carlos Martinez, Executive Director of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC), an initiative of Rose Community Foundation, received the Swanee Hunt Leadership Award. About The John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award John Parr was the co-founder of Denver-based Civic Results, served as president of the National Civic League from 1985 to 1995 and was a board member of the Downtown Denver Partnership. Parr also worked to help elect Dick Lamm, Governor of Colorado in 1974 and, in 1983 served as the transition director for Denver Mayor Federico Peña. His wife, Sandy Widener wrote for the Denver Post and co- founded Westword. John, Sandy, and their daughter, Chase, tragically lost their lives in 2007. Their friends established The John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award to recognize people exemplifying John and Sandy’s commitment to, and passion for, improving the Metro Denver community. About The Swanee Hunt Individual and Youth Leadership Awards Created by Ambassador Swanee Hunt, chair of Hunt Alternatives Fund and the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, The Swanee Hunt Individual and Youth Leadership Awards recognize out-

Denver Foundation President and CEO Among Country’s Leading Nonprofit Innovators

appear online—were drawn from a pool of more than 300 nominations. In its profile of Márquez-Hudson, The Chronicle notes that when she joined The Denver Foundation in 2016, she joined “the small but growing ranks of Latinos who lead large foundations.” Alongside Márquez-Hudson, the group includes leaders of foundations, directors of nonprofit organizations, and social entrepreneurs, among others. Though the backgrounds and missions of the 15 leaders vary, their profiles reflect a shared commitment to creating change at the community level through an inclusive approach to philanthropy and programming.

Delta Eta Boulé Recognizes Morgan Stanley Denver Office with Award

Christine Márquez-Hudson, Denver Foundation President and CEO, has been named one of the country’s most innovative philanthropic leaders by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the largest and most influential publication in the nonprofit sector. Márquez-Hudson is one of 15 leaders featured in in The Chronicle’s December cover story, “The Innovators: People Quietly Changing the Nonprofit World.” The story celebrates individuals who are “making headway on society’s toughest problems.” In shaping “The Innovators,” The Chronicle put out a call for nonprofit movers and shakers, people flying under the radar yet having a big impact. The influencers highlighted in the issue—along with more who

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The Denver office of Morgan Stanley contributed $24,000 toward the Delta Eta Boulé Foundation’s scholarship program; the local organization then presented Morgan Stanley with a recognition award. The Delta Eta Boulé Foundation presented the Denver offices of Morgan Stanley with an award this month in recognition of the firm’s continued support of the scholars of Delta Eta Boulé. Currently in its fourth year of renewal, Morgan Stanley’s partnership with the organization has funded Delta Eta Boulé scholarships for many scholars, as well as professional development training. This year, Morgan Stanley donated $24,000 toward the scholarship program. Delta Eta Boulé supports 34 students in top colleges around the nation such as Yale, MIT, Santa Clara University and the University of Colorado Boulder through scholarships, mentorships, internships and professional development seminars. Delta Eta Boulé is the Denver chapter of Sigma Pi Phi, the oldest African American fraternity in the United States.


DPS Honors Educators at Excellence in Teaching Event

Celebration Recognizes Educators for Their Extraordinary Contributions to Ensuring Every Child Succeeds.

On the evening of Nov. 29,

Denver Public Schools (DPS) honored more than 1,000 district educators for their top performance in the classroom and with students at the district’s Excellence in Teaching celebration. The event recognizes and honors outstanding teachers and specialized service providers, such as counselors and nurses, who went above and beyond to receive a top rating of Distinguished in their growth and performance for the 2016-17 school year. DPS invited all distinguished educators to be recognized, thanked and celebrated for their excellence in the

classroom at the annual event, held this year at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum and made possible through generous DPS Foundation donors. “I know much effort, how much skill and how much team work it takes to be a great teacher,” Superintendent Tom Boasberg said during the celebration. “Above all, I want to thank you tonight for your love. To be a great teacher it takes love — love for your profession, love for your community and love for the kids you serve. And I think every day you see that love reciprocated in the respect and love that your kids have for you.” Special guest Mayor Michael B. Hancock also attended the celebration, along with newly elected Denver school board member Carrie Olson, a Distinguished teacher at West Leadership Academy who is leaving her post to serve on the board, and Wings Over the Rockies CEO and for-

mer Aurora Public Schools superintendent John Barry. “I truly believe that teaching is one of the professions that reaches eternity,” said Mayor Hancock. “The only thing that truly matters is the difference you’ve made in the life of a child. We love our teachers!”

The number of Distinguished educators continues to grow every year in DPS, which means more students have a top educator supporting them. One of the most important ways to help students learn and grow, and achieve their own greatness, is to make sure they have a great teacher in every classroom. To help their educators grow professionally, DPS knows that recognizing and honoring their efforts go hand-in-hand with coaching and supports. .

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Goatfish Tams

At Just 15- Years Old, These Two Fun- Loving Entrepreneurs Have Proven That You Can Run A Successful Business…

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Fifteen year old entrepreneurs, Essynce Moore and Moziah Bridges, are disrupting the entrepreneur industry, leading by example after having started a business at a young age. Essynce started her business at the age of 10 and is owner of Essynce Couture, LLC based in Hillside, NJ. She’s an entrepreneur, actress, motivational speaker, fashion designer/stylist and author. Moziah Bridges, on the other hand, started his business at age nine and is the president and creative director of Mos Bows based in Memphis, TN. His company, which was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, produces handmade bowties, is on a mission, to make men look and feel their best. In addition to running their companies, both Essynce and Moziah travel around the country to teach, inspire, and empower other youth about entrepreneurship. Both of them also do a lot of motivational speaking at various schools, conferences, workshops, and more.

Their ultimate goal

Both say they would like to help more young ones to be financially prepared for the world after elementary, middle, and/or high school. They also want to encourage more young people to start a business, travel, be positive role models to other children, and live life unapologetically with integrity.

More than just teens

These young protégés and trendsetters are definitely whom your children should become familiar with. They’re precocious and living by example in a positive light. However, in their spare

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time they still manage to do fun teenage activities, such as hanging with their friends, going to the mall, roller skating, and so much more. Let’s not forget to mention their unique clothing styles.

Their wish list

Essynce says she would like to broaden her horizons, and also speak internationally. Moziah says he would one day like to expand his business to include women’s clothing. About Essynce Moore: Essynce started designing clothes at the tender age of six with just for fun doodles in her school binder and notepads. Her passion was, and still is, to find her own style, to share her creative upscale clothing ideas and styles with youth around the world, and to encourage reading. Essynce is a teen who turned her passion into a business in 2013. When she graduates high school, she wants to either travel the world for one year to consider college or attend a performing arts school. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram. About Moziah Bridges: Moziah started his company because he needed an accessory to help him look sharp, but didn’t see anything out there that fit his style or personality. So, with the help of his granny, he started making his own bow ties. His dream is to become a fashion mogul. When he graduates high school in 2020, he plans to go to college and study fashion design. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram. . Editor’s note: For more information about Essynce, visit www.essyncecouture.com. For more information on Moziah visit, www.mosbowsmemphis.com.


Lost Your Joy?

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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

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Harmony Chorale Honors Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind The Dream

Harmony: a Colorado chorale will perform Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream, an engaging, entertaining and educational story about a man who was way ahead of his time. Rustin was a Quaker, conscientious objector, openly gay civil rights activist and the organizer of Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 March on Washington. Harmony, the Denver region’s allinclusive LGBTQSA chorus, will be the second choir in the nation to perform The Man Behind The Dream. Composed/arranged by Cincinnati Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Steve Milloy, the work combines traditional Black spirituals with contemporary music. Award-winning R&B singer Hazel Miller and her band will accompany Harmony, along with the Arvada High School Chorale. “We are energized and riding high as we forge into our 26th season,� said Artistic Director Bill Loper. “The story

of Bayard Rustin is fascinating, and our commitment has always been to embrace inclusivity, kindness and acceptance through song.� The 70plus member chorale, which includes singers ages 25 to 85, is pumped to continue its storytelling following Harmony’s Spring performance Tyler’s Suite, dedicated to a young gay musician who died by suicide in 2010 after being bullied by his roommate during his first weeks of college. His death brought nationwide attention to the issue of cyberbullying and the struggles facing LGBT youth. Bayard Rustin: “The Man Behind the Dream� performances are scheduled for Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Denver’s Central Presbyterian Church and Feb. 11 at Montfort Concert Hall in Greeley. . Editor’s note: For tickets and more information, visit harmonychorale.org. About Harmony Chorale: Founded in 1991, Harmony: a Colorado chorale is Denver metro and Northern Colorado’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight ally voice all-inclusive choir. Committed to embracing and inspiring an inclusive community through song, the 70member plus choir performs two-tothree major concerts each year. Through its harmony in the schools program, the group actively uses music to eradicate hate, bullying misunderstanding and to create a better world, especially for LGBTQA kids. Harmony’s commitment to the LGBTQ community has been recognized by the Colorado Business Council.

DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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MLK Wanted You To Be Economically Free At Last By PushBlack

There’s no doubt that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a profound impact on the lives of Black people in the U.S. and abroad. While most of us are familiar with his speeches and his leadership during the civil rights era, much of his good work has gone under the radar. As Black people in the U.S. and around the world fight to “have a seat at the table,â€? we are constantly seeking ways we can empower ourselves. Dr. King knew that one route to power was through economic empowerment. In the final years of his life, King turned his sight to economic development in the Black community. He understood the importance of establishing and supporting Black businesses. He taught us that “Love without power is sentimental and anemic.â€? There is power in the dollar. The famous March on Washington’s full name was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march came with a list of demands: •A federal program to train and place unemployed people for jobs at decent wages •A national minimum wage •Broaden the Fair Labor Standards Act •Barring discrimination in the Fair Employment Practices Act The Birmingham Campaign in 1963 was more than infamous images of police sicci ng dogs on protesters. It was about creating equal employment in stores in downtown Birmingham. The campaign lasted one month and, by the end, activists forced the city to change the laws regarding employment discrimination in Birmingham. During the Chicago Campaign, King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference took their energy north to focus on housing segregation. They also demanded bankers end segregation in mortgage lending. Dr. King was a part of several other movements that focused on economics. Operation Breadbasket sought to expand employment to Blacks. The Poor People’s Campaign looked for a way to change the structures that created poverty. In King’s speech, “Where Do We Go From Here,â€? he said “love without power is sentimental and anemic,â€? alluding to economic power. Dr. King believe d we should invest in ourselves. Therefore, his speeches should not be used as casual platitudes but as an inspiration for us to improve Black communities with the Black dollar. . Editor’s note: PushBlack Now provides daily inspiring Black history. For more information, visit www.pushblack.us.


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This Bloodcurdling Event Made MLK Consider Violence

A Warrior at Heart

A tribute to my friend...

By PushBlack

When James Earl Ray fatally

shot Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, it sent shockwaves through the Black community and casted a dark cloud over Memphis, Tennessee for years to come. But, why was King in Memphis in the first place? Two months prior to King’s assassination, a faulty garbage truck crushed two Black sanitation workers in Memphis. The company denied responsibility for the incident and refused to pay any money to the dead workers families, spurring outrage among the rest of the Black sanitation workers. Thirteen hundred infuriated employees holding “I Am A Man” signs went on strike to protest this grave injustice and bring attention to the company’s lack of concern for Black workers humanity. Workers already felt disrespected prior to the death of their colleagues because they were paid less than $2 per hour, frequently worked 60 hours for 40 hours’ worth of pay, and remained poor enough to collect welfare despite working full-time jobs. At the time, Memphis, like most of the South, operated under a plantation mentality and treated Black workers like they were worthless and dispensable. When King caught wind of the strike and heard about the deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Waters, he crafted a fiery speech and packed his bags for Memphis. Though King had a pensive demeanor and staunch nonviolent stance, the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike ruffled his feathers and tested his patience to no end. When he arrived on March 28, 1968 he encountered angry whites breaking windows, senseless police attacks on Black workers, and the murder of a 16-year-old boy. At this point, King’s

frustration led him to consider abandoning his non-violent principles and fight back. During his trip, King added Memphis to the Poor People’s Campaign, and met with noted Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin to devise a plan to aid the city’s impoverished Black community. Unfortunately, King died before any of those plans came to fruition. Yet, by all measures, the strike was successful and spawned the largest mobilization of Black service sector workers in history. Thousands of Black workers joined the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union and demanded not only increases in pay, but also welldeserved respect and dignity as employees. Learn more about this epic struggle for economic justice and equality by checking out /Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. . Editor’s note: PushBlack Now provides daily inspiring Black history. For more information, visit www.pushblack.us.

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Seldom do I offer to speak publicly

but when an opportunity presents

itself that I feel I must – this would be one of them. When I offered to share

my thoughts of Roland “Fatty” Taylor,

the word Warrior came to mind. Warrior: a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics. I met Fatty Taylor many years ago. Little did I know we would have a friendship on several levels, the first being business. My first encounter with Fatty was working with him providing graphic design services for his many, many, many, many nightclubs – starting with Club Mixx (that would be after Club Omni and the Sports Scene). And if you are here, more than likely you have attended one of his establishments – can I get a show of hands for Club Omni, the Sports Scene, Club Mixx, Chez Seliste, Taylor’s Court, Moscow Nights, Mavericks, Classics in Aurora, the Mirage, and last but certainly not least Classics Events Center. Many of us, including me – were like where Fatty goes, we would follow. And what about all those fabulous and fun Pisces Parties!

Fatty Taylor was a Warrior in Business.

We all know Fatty from his life on the basketball court. Fatty, best known as an ABA and NBA basketball player, played five of the six seasons the Virginia Squires existed and was one of the American Basketball Association team’s most popular players before being traded to Denver in 1974. He was teammates with future NBA superstars Julius Erving and George Gervin and is credited with

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giving Gervin his nickname “the Iceman.” Fatty played for the Rockets in 1974-75 and one final season with the Denver Nuggets in 1976-77 before retiring.

Fatty Taylor was a warrior in the Basketball Game.

But, I also got to know Fatty as a mentor and coach for hundreds of youth who knew him simply as Coach, including my two grandsons who are now 17 and 20. They grew up under his leadership and attended his basketball camp for many years. He inspired hundreds of youth and was committed to Taylor-Made Playaz, a year-round basketball program that went beyond basketball with attempts to affect at-risk youth who need assistance academically and socially; with goals to help youth achieve their academic and social goals and help them lead productive lives. Today, Ty and Dylan, carry with them the ethics that Coach instilled in them to be the best that they can be as athletes and gentle young men in society, on and off the court. He was proud of all of his boys but always made yours feel special. We love him for that. And for those of you who did not know, Fatty Taylor was a substitute teacher at MLK. And I remember and can hear him laugh now how the students would complement him saying, Mr. Taylor you wearing some mighty fine clothes!

Fatty Taylor was a Warrior for Youth.

But the biggest fight Fatty encountered as a “Warrior” was his battle with breast cancer. I was actually surprised and really did not remember that this fight began 17 years ago – and it seems like just yesterday. But I was able to witness his compassion and humbleness as time went on. And in spite of it all, he was still a warrior fighting in with many aspects of his life.

Fatty Taylor was a Warrior of Life.

So Fatty, you have a fought a good fight, you have finished your course and you have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give you on that day. Fatty Taylor - this is your day. Thank you for being a Warrior. So to Sir Roland “Fatty” Taylor, we miss you already, we love you. May God bless and bring solace to all your family. Rosalind “Bee” Harris Publisher Denver Urban Spectrum


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

In Celebration, Honor and Thanksgiving for the Life

Roland M. “Fatty” Taylor

Roland M. “Fatty” Taylor passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on December 7, 2017. His family and friends affectionately called him “Fatty.” He always carried himself in a stately, professional and friendly manner, bolstered by a hidden reservoir of energy, love and generosity. Fatty was born on March 13, 1946 in Washington D.C. to the late George Taylor and Viola “Puddin” Wright. He was the third of seven children, brothers, G. Reginald, Ronald “Stickout,” Rodney and Michael and two sisters, Sandra and Diane. As a child, Fatty was an allaround athlete, he played baseball, basketball, football and he also ran track. Though not really a sport, he shot marbles and was known as a pretty tough, smart mouth dude on the street and people knew not to mess with him. Briggs Montgomery Recreation Center is where Fatty’s love of sports began to excel and he became a standout athlete. He attended Spingarn High School and he subsequently transferred to Fairmont Heights High School and graduated in 1965. Fatty attended Dodge City Community College in Dodge City Kansas from 1965-1967 and then went on to La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA where he played basketball. As a two-year member of the La Salle Explorers from 1967-69, Fatty was considered the Big 5’s top guard during his two seasons. While playing with the Explorers, he scored 464

March 13, 1946 – December 7, 2017

duced and hosted some of the hottest night clubs in Denver, Colorado. Fatty was blessed with seven grandchildren, Aolani, Kahlil, Khalonie, Jaelynn, A’Mari, Kellii Jr. and Aricksen. His grandchildren called him Papa, or Granddad. In his professional life, Fatty was an American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) Basketball Player. He played seven seasons in the ABA and one year in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets. He was a twotime member of the ABA’s AllDefensive First Team. He was a 6ft guard who was later inducted into the La Salle University Hall of Athletes in 1979 and the Big 5 Hall of Fame in 2004. He played five of the six seasons of the Virginia

points; dished out 169 assists, and led the 1968-69 teams to a 23-1 record, and a No. 2 national ranking in the final Associated Press Poll. Fatty married Janice Proctor, his high school sweetheart, and from their union three children were born, Kimberly, Kobie and Kellii. Fatty was extremely family oriented even though he traveled often, he always made sure that he maintained a close bond with his children. Upon his return home from road trips, he always showered his children with gifts and love. Fatty met Silestean “Buffy” Dickerson in Denver, Colorado. From their 18 year relationship, Alena Dickerson was born. They loved to travel and frequented Las Vegas, Nevada and also pro-

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Squires existence and was one of the American Basketball Association team’s most popular players before he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 1974. Fatty was teammates with future NBA superstars Julius “Dr. J” Erving and George “The Iceman” Gervin. He is credited with giving Gervin his nickname “The Iceman.” Fatty played for the Denver Rockets in 1974-75 and one final season with the Denver Nuggets in 1976-77, before he retired. Following his retirement, Fatty became a business owner of multiple sports bars and night clubs, The Omni was his first business venture into the club scene. Fatty was also a mentor and coach for hundreds of youth through his Taylor-Made Playaz Basketball Camp. He was personally committed to his year-round program that went beyond basketball. He attempted to affect at-risk youth who needed assistance academically and socially. His primary goal was to help them achieve life skills and lead productive lives. Fatty is survived by his four children Kimberly Taylor; Kobie Taylor (Tamara); Kellii Taylor (Jasmine); and Alena Dickerson (LaQuan); Mother Viola “Puddin” Wright, grandchildren; Aolani Allen, Kahlil Allen, Khalonie Taylor, Jaelynn Taylor, A’Marie Jones, Kellii Taylor Jr. and Aricksen Johnson. Siblings G. Reginald Taylor; Ronald “Stickout” Taylor; Sandra Honesty (William); Diane Smith (Jimmy); Rodney Wright (Christine); Michael Wright (Marissa) and a host of relatives and friends.


Confusion Shouldn’t Stop Patients from Buying Health Insurance T

By Janet Trautwein

his year’s Affordable Care Act open enrollment period began Nov. 1, 2017. Millions of Americans will soon visit HealthCare.gov or the online

insurance exchange run by their state to shop for 2018 health plans. Many will be confused by what they find. Premiums have increased significantly. The most popular “silver” exchange plans cost 34 percent more, on average, than they did in 2017. Skimpier bronze plans cost 18 percent more. Generous gold plan premiums have risen 16 percent. Many insurers won’t offer exchange plans at all. There will be just a single exchange insurer in nearly half of all counties. Luckily, Americans don’t have to settle for exchange plans. They can also buy coverage “off-exchange.” And they may want to consider con-

sulting a certified health insurance agent or broker to determine whether exchange or off-exchange plans are right for them. Exchange plans are generally more attractive for individuals and families who earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level. That’s because these folks — individuals taking home less than $48,240 or families of four bringing in less than $98,400 — qualify for subsidized coverage. But they can only claim those subsidies through the exchanges. Off-exchange plans aren’t subsidized. So they may be a better fit for the roughly 40 percent of Americans who earn too much to qualify for sub-

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sidies. Some of these plans also generally allow enrollees to visit a wider range of doctors and hospitals. About 5.4 million people purchased offexchange plans in 2017. Most people could use assistance when picking a plan. Less than four in 10 Americans are “very confident” that they can select the health insurance plan that’s right for them. Only four percent of people can define common insurance terms like “deductible,” “co-pay,” “coinsurance,” and “out-of-pocket maximum.” Health insurance agents and brokers can help these folks understand the benefits and drawbacks of various plans. Most of these professionals have 10 or more years of experience in the industry. Three out of four spend “most” or “a lot of” their time explaining options to clients. Consumers who have sought assistance from agents and brokers in the past have been extremely satisfied. Nearly 84 percent of people who requested assistance when shopping for plans in 2014 said insurance agents and brokers were helpful. That’s a higher satisfaction ranking than any other source of help. It’s easy to see why agents and brokers are popular. They’re often able to find better deals than consumers would have found on their own. Premiums are 13 percent lower in counties with the most brokers. Plus, agents and brokers generally don’t charge for advice. These professionals play a pivotal role in helping people sign up for coverage. In California, for instance, agents and brokers signed up 525,000 people for exchange plans in 2014. That represented 40 percent of the state’s total exchange enrollees. Their services will be even more important this year, given some recent changes to the Affordable Care Act. This year’s open enrollment period in HealthCare.gov only runs 45 days, until December 15. In past years, it ran until late January, and will run longer this year in some state exchanges. The federal Department of Health and Human Services is also not spending as much on advertising open enrollment this year; so fewer people may even be aware that they need to sign up. By helping people sign up for either exchange or off-exchange plans, brokers or agents can ensure a larger, more representative pool of enrollees. That will help stabilize the individual market and reduce future premium spikes. Americans only have a few weeks to decide on a 2018 health plan. They can ensure they make the right choice by calling in some professional help. . Editor’s note: Janet Trautwein is the CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters.


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Denver Urban Spectrum January 2018  

As we close out this year, remember the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere – riding a horse at a rodeo, providing medical services, perf...

Denver Urban Spectrum January 2018  

As we close out this year, remember the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere – riding a horse at a rodeo, providing medical services, perf...