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Photo by Clovis Dimulu

Dr. Rolling's Forecast for COVID-19 & Vaccines....................…8 Alvertis Simmons' Focus on Youth Lives & Futures ..............10 Herbalists' Recommendations about Vaccines & Immunity...12 Dr. Richardson's Take on Vaccine Facts & Falsehoods......…16

Papa Dia's Vision for African Immigrants & Leaders ....…4

MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER Summer Celebrations & Opportunities Volume 35

Number 4

July 2021

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Barry Overton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Theresa Ho Zilingo Nwuke Alfonzo Porter Malcolm Quattlebaum COLAB Tanya Ishikawa - Story Coordinator ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris ADVERTISING & DIGITAL MARKETING Theresa Ho

The Juneteenth celebrations are over, but the special day is now designated as a federal holiday, bringing mixed feelings. The Denver community has been celebrating Juneteenth for more than 50 years – creating impressive events that are the talk of the country. The new holiday appears to be another tide change, following many others since the death of George Floyd. Lots of discussions happened during the course of the six-hour, live Juneteenth preview television broadcast around how Juneteenth may or may not change. How will it be celebrated in years to come? What does it truly mean? This federal holiday recognizes that wrongs have been done and acknowledges the pain endured by African Americans. It recognizes the importance, value, respect, and hurt that must be acknowledged in order to move this country forward. So where do we go from here? Voting rights…police reform…reparations…institutional racism…and so much more is needed to unite the country in peace and harmony. This year’s celebration may be over but moving forward, we must all do our part. Let’s start with educating ALL our children (Black, brown, yellow and white) about the significance of this historic event so they can celebrate it with dignity and pride. This month’s cover story features Papa Dia. Alfonzo Porter shares Dia’s journey from Senegal to the U.S., why he established the African Leadership Group, and his future plans of returning home. Zilingo Nwuke met and talked with Alvertis Simmons about celebrating his fifteenth year of providing youth with summertime fun and life goals at his basketball camp. At DUS, we continue to focus on COVID-19 and its impacts on communities of color. Dr. Terri Richardson talks about vaccine facts and falsehoods, and Theresa Ho talks to herbalists who recommend boosting immunity and getting vaccines to stop the spread of the virus. Malcolm Quattlebaum shares advice and a COVID forecast from infectious disease specialist Dr. Lane Rolling. To help provide the most up-to-date information and get your questions answered, Denver Urban Spectrum will present “COVID-19 and the Vaccines: A Community Conversation” on Saturday, August 14. A panel of experts will provide factual information, and a panel of community members will share their experiences and perspectives. Hope to see you there. Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe! Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Theresa Ho DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

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 2021 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 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

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African Leadership Group: A Senegalese Immigrant’s Mission for Social, Community, Educational and Economic Uplift By Alfonzo Porter Papa Dia Photos by Clovis Dimulu


apa Dia’s life is confirmation that the American Dream is still alive and well. Born and raised in the West African nation of the Republic of Senegal, he couldn’t have imagined the path his life would take. When he arrived in Denver in the late 1990s at the age of 28, he was in unfamiliar space, not speaking the language, with very few connections. Having come to America for a family reunion with his sister in Maryland, he would later join friends who were attending Denver University, marking the start of his remarkable journey. His parents had 25 children and he says he relished the loving embrace of his family. However, to suggest that life was tough in the small African nation would be a colossal understatement. With approximately 70% of the population reportedly living in poverty, the vast majority of Senegal’s people are trapped in a cycle of extreme deprivation. Because so many in his community existed in similar con-

“Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.” —Muhammad Ali ditions, he didn’t realize the extent of his family’s desperation. “Eating was a luxury, and I grew up chasing my next meal,” he says. “When we would tell our mother that we were hungry, she would tell us to drink water. I know how it feels to go to bed with an empty stomach and wake up hungry. I know what starvation is,” Dia confesses. According to Dia, not only was food a scarcity, so was a sense of stability. His family was forced to move some 17 times over the course of his childhood. “We were constantly moving because dad could not pay the rent and we’d get kicked out. I would be required to start over in school every time we were forced to relocate. This would cause significant problems in school and making friends was almost impossible. It was tough but as I reflect on the experiences, they made me the person I am today,” he says. Dia was the only member of his family to attend college. For

Gov. Jared Polis and Papa Dia

most in his community, education was far down on the list of their most urgent needs. “My uncle would use the pages of my college textbooks to make a fire for the tea pot,” he recalls. “They just did not know the value of an education.” He would go on to graduate from University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, completing his program in law. Not able to speak English upon arriving in the U.S., it was nothing short of destiny that his first job would be in a bookstore. There, he began his quest to master the English language. It wasn’t his primary goal, however. At that point, he says, his first priority was to send money home so that his family could eat. “I began working at Tattered Cover bookstore making minimum wage at $5.25 per hour,” he says. “Since I couldn’t speak English, they had me stack the shelves, but I used the opportunity to learn to read, write and speak English. After more than a year and a half, I somehow landed a job at Northwest bank.”

He recalls a panel of managers interviewing him while he was not understanding much of what they were saying. Certain he would not be hired he says that he just kept smiling. “Apparently, they saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. I have been blessed to have had many mentors over the years and I am grateful for them believing in me. They were patient with me. I began as a teller and after 18 years became vice president,” he says.

Discovering Unmet Needs for African Immigrants While working at the bank, he noticed many African immigrants working in downtown hotels and businesses would come to him for banking services. “I came to the U.S. with the mindset of caring and sharing because that is what I knew,” Dia says. “A lot of Africans were working at the Adams Mark Hotel and the Brown Palace. They would come to me for help with cashing their checks, opening a bank account and over time helping them build credit. At times, I would

Astu Dia, Former Liberia President Honorable Ellen Johnson, and Papa Dia

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


Rep. Jason Crow and Papa Dia

have over 25 people at a time waiting for me for service.” He says that quickly, he was doing more social work than banking. “With African immigrants, when you do something nice for them, they tell everybody. Soon the entire village was showing up at the bank for my help,” he says. “The bank became concerned that I was spending as much as two to three hours with a single customer and asked me to stop.” It was at that moment when Dia realized that there was a tremendous need for the kinds of help African immigrants were seeking, so he began to search for organizations where he could refer them but could not find one. “The only organizations available were refugee resettlement programs. So, in 2006, I decided to create the African Leadership Group (ALG). We started as just a group of people getting together to have discussions and invite people to come in and speak to us,” he says. “I had no idea about nonprofit organizations or fundraising. I left the bank permanently in 2017 to run ALG full-time.” The goal of ALG, he says, is to facilitate the professional integration of the African immigrant into the social, economic and educational fabric of the community as a whole. Today, the organization hosts a number of programs and events throughout the month of August, which has been proclaimed as African Immigrant Month by Governor Jared Polis. Featuring cultural celebrations, economic summits, educational forums, legal clinics, business development workshops, homeownership counseling, and a gala/concert, ALG’s programs reach thousands across the region.

is intended to reflect the progress and growth of the organization as it launches its sixth annual celebration. “We call it ‘Afrik Impact’ because we are on a mission to build the future leaders of Africa and America. We are here to empower each other through inclusive efforts that embrace all communities: African, African American, Latino, white, Asian, and Native American,” Dia says.

“The one thing I understand is for us African immigrants, we must collaborate with others. Africans alone can’t do it.” He says the organization is a true reflection of what America is all about— “ALG is very inclusive and designed to help spread our wings, and we can only do that working through and with others.” This year’s events kick off on August 7, with a Community Celebration and Concert at the Levitt Pavilion featuring jour-

Organizing Afrik Impact Events in August This year’s theme, “Standing Taller and Prouder Than Ever,” Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


nalist Khalil Gueye of Senegal and various local artists. On August 9, a Kids and Parents and Educational Forum is next at the Hyatt Regency Aurora, featuring Professor Foulo Basse of the Foulo Basse Counceil of Paris, France. The day’s theme is “Standing with Our Children and Families for Better Education.” On August 11, at the Denver Botanic Gardens, the celebraContinued on page 6

and African American’s experiences in the U.S. We did not experience slavery, oppression or exist as a minority— everyone in ALG Team: Ousman Ba, Education Program Coordinator; Briana Rorex, Senegal looked Office Manager; Papa Dia, Founder/ Executive Director; Lori Collier, Project like me and Manager; Madiama Mbaye, Instructor; Amadou Dieng, Media Strategist talked like me. “The point is to learn, build Our impressions have been and grow. We want to be inten- built on false notions about tional about how we leverage African Americans and conour efforts to create the talent versely African American’s perAfrica needs right now. The spective about Africans have future is now. There is no need been built on misrepresentato wait. We are very action tions,” he admitted. oriented,” he insists. “We’re not He feels an intense responhere to just talk; I want to build sibility to assist others in elevatlegacy.” ing themselves and thus upliftDia’s motivation seems to ing the entire community. stem from a yearning to build “We have an amazing prosperity in his home nation opportunity, at an amazing and create economic viability time in history to make a trefor all Senegalese citizens. mendous difference in the lives “There is no middle class in of not just the African immiSenegal, only rich and poor. grant, but for all of us,” he says. That leaves 60% to 70% of the “That is the idea behind this population living in poverty. year’s theme, Standing Taller Sadly, education unlike here in and Prouder Than Ever.” the U.S. is not a gateway to sucOver the course of its exiscess and does not guarantee a tence, the African Leadership job,” Dia says. “You can attain Group has been instrumental in many degrees and still end up helping Africans from all over on the street.” the continent successfully inteWith two-thirds of Senegal’s grate into their new realities in population under 25 years old, the U.S. Through its multitude his biggest worry is that contin- of programs and services, it has uing to allow this condition to become the go-to source for exist, many young people will information and support for keep risking their lives on small those it serves, and an indispenboats trying to escape to sable instrument of leadership, Europe. Even though, accordeducation and guidance. ing to Dia, the chances of losing While Dia may have aspiraone’s life on the voyage is as tions that will undoubtedly high as 99%, they are willing to transform him into a global figtake the risk at a chance for a ure, he has already created a better life. legacy of hope, prosperity and To attract the talent to build possibility. his native country, both “My mindset of caring and Africans and African sharing comes naturally,” he Americans will need to be says. “Senegal is known as the brought to Senegal to lend their country of ‘teranga’ or the skills and capabilities. Bridges country of hospitality.”. must be built between people Editor’s note: For a more compreacross the diaspora. hensive list of ALG programs and “We have to be honest and services or to contribute to the admit that there is a gap organization, visit the website at between African immigrants www.usalg.org.

ALG, continued from page 5 tion continues with a business development and educational summit with Professor Eric Osei-Assibey of the University of Ghana. On August 13, the Guests at the 2019 Gala organization will make an impact beyond host its 6th Annual Afrik Denver. Impact Gala and Concert at the “I have a burning desire and Denver Botanic Gardens, feadream to go home and become turing keynote speaker president of Senegal,” he admits. Professor Moussa Seydi of “Africa is still rich in natural Senegal. resources, it has the youngest ALG will also host its homepopulation in the world, all the ownership event at the Summit labor you need. The only things Event Center in Aurora on Africa is lacking is leadership August 21, and close with a and investment.” concert in Arvada on Aug. 26. As part of the long-term Dreaming of Bringing strategy, Dia has worked to Leadership and Investment create Leadership Africa. Similar to Leadership Denver to Senegal and Leadership Aurora, the Building ALG is not the end of Papa Dia’s ambitions. He has goal is to build Africa’s next generation of leaders. a far greater goal in mind to


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Infectious Disease Expert Cautions Against Reliance on Current Vaccines By Malcolm Quattlebaum

The mythology of superheroes brings millions of people around the world hope, inspiration and love. We’ve all heard the clichéd phrase “but not all heroes wear capes”, and this statement seems to hold when it comes to the medical surgeon and microbiologist Dr. Lane Rolling. Rolling has done what the fictional superheroes do on the big screen – acted as a beacon of hope and love, and most importantly saved people’s lives. However, this is no movie; Rolling is a real-life hero who is focused on saving lives around the world. Rolling is the founder and director of the Tropical Pathology and Infectious Disease Association™, Inc. (www.Tpaida.org), a private organization educating students in the basic science, diagnosis and treatment of infectious tropical diseases, while providing medical assistance to other countries. Living by his military principles of the 3 D’s, discipline, dedication and determination, the doctor has dedicated his life to the service of humanity. Tpaida is an international company based out of Cuzco, Peru. While in Peru the ex-military doctor spends the majority of his days in his muddy jungle boots with an 80-pound medical kit, hiking the jungle to provide free medical aid to the Peruvian inhabitants in need. However, in 2020, Rolling like the rest of the world joined the battle against COVID-19. The coronaDenver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


virus threat brought the doctor back state-side, in an attempt to educate, inform and help to provide solutions to the viral threat. Over this past year, he put down the muddy jungle boots and picked up dress shoes and ties as he has gone from one media outlet to another, providing people with COVID-19 information and updates based on education, science and his real-world experiences. “Moving from last year to this year, it is a rocket ride. From MSNBC to the Black News channel, and all of the publications and awards that’s been given to me, it’s like I’ve been given the key to the city in Camden, Arkansas. What can I say? It’s a beautiful thing,” said Rolling. He is continually asked to do media interviews and has been given humanitarian awards, because he has had a true and consistent message as it pertains to this coronavirus. That message has been to stay vigilant, because even though we as a people want this COVID- 19 nightmare to be over, we are still only in the beginning stages of this biological warfare, he believes. “If you understand the biochemistry and the virology pathology mechanism you can have a good understanding of where this virus is going to take us. A year later we are still right in the middle of the pandemic, which is not a pandemic anymore; it’s an endemic infection.

Dr. Lane Rolling Director of TPaIDA

And everyone has been affected by it in some fashion. The reality of it is we are going to be doing this for a long, long time. At least the next 50 years,” he said. “We’re in an endemic infection, and what does that mean? A pandemic means the infection is worldwide. The infection which we describe now is a global endemic, which means the virus is in the population; it’s not going anywhere. It’s here every day, it’s in Colorado, it’s in your school, it’s in your restaurants, it’s everywhere,” he explained. Even though in retrospect we are still in the beginning stages of a long road to recovery, we have made major strides in this endemic. We now have a lot more knowledge about the virus, and of course, we have vaccines. However, some people who have been vaccinated have still been infected, because the virus is mutating. Several different, mutated strains of this coronavirus exist. Vaccines are helpful but don’t necessarily guarantee immunity from the virus. “You might be vaccinated, but you don’t want to go to Walmart without a mask with a thousand people, or you’re going to get infected, at least there’s a strong possibility. The vaccine is one part of the platform. I think we have a long way to go, and people need to understand that just because you get the first vaccine, you will be getting a booster shot for the rest of your life,” he said. Typically, it takes around 10 years to develop a vaccine,

according to Rolling. In the case of COVID-19, however, vaccines were developed in a little over one year so side effects are not fully understood. For example, a recent NBC report detailed how young men who have received mRNA vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna have experienced heart inflammation. Other news reports describe several more cases of adverse effects caused by the vaccine. The doctor explained that’s why it takes three to 10 years for a vaccine to come to the market, because then you can do a significant clinical trial, and test all different subtypes of people to study how each reacts to the vaccine. “We’re going to find out in another year or so when the science catches up to us, and that’s the reality. That’s why you don’t rush things to market so quickly, especially in science,” he said. Rolling also points to the vaccine’s temporary effects, which most people don’t understand. “Vaccines play a part in the program but the vaccines only last for 81 days. That’s all. You get the vaccine, you got 81 days of antibodies and that’s it. That is why you have to get a booster shot. That’s where people make their mistake; they think if I get this vaccine then big mama is good for the rest of the year. No big mama is good until 81 days, then her antibodies are gone, and she can be exposed again,” he explained. Despite the controversy and speculation, having a vaccine available to the public has prompted many states to lift the mask mandate and reopen businesses. For the most part, lifting the mask mandate seems to have made a lot of American citizens happy. With a vaccine available and masks gone, one would think we are entering the stages of reverting to normalcy like before the pandemic. Conversely, this might not necessarily be the case. This current

Rolling’s tropical medical advocacy in rural villages of Iquitos, Peru goes back 20 years.

stage is most likely the calm before the storm, he believes. “Probably by September, October, November, we will be wearing masks again because the disease is going to determinate that, not some policy, because people are going to get infected. People are already getting infected. So, the mask mandate I think should be implemented, just to protect yourself,” he said.

To help save lives, Rolling helped develop bio-security equipment for protection from COVID-19 at homes and businesses. Tpaida is selling products range from antiviral masks to mini decontamination units. He believes we have miles to go before we are safe from the coronavirus, and he’s ready to walk those miles whether he is in muddy jungle boots or dress shoes..

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Fifteen Years and Counting for Life Skills and Basketball Camp By Zilingo Nwuke

The Simmons Foundation for Youth and Change (SFYC) held its 15th annual Life Skills and Basketball Camp from June 14 to 25 at East High School, with more than 100 campers showing up. Coach Alvertis Simmons, camp founder and civil rights activist, is proud of how his camp has grown and progressed through the years. The camp helps youth learn life principles that will help them succeed and provides them the opportunity to fine tune their basketball skills under the guidance of East High School Hall of Famer and 2014 State Basketball Champion Rudy Carey. “Things have been going pretty well. I’ve been very pleased with the progress of our camp. I thank God for the opportunity to help these young people and to give back to our community,” said Simmons. The main focus of the camp is to drill six principles into the campers’ minds to build character and help them become better versions of themselves. The six core principles are love, respect, self-esteem, self-respect, discipline, and pride. Simmons and his team explain to campers what each principle means and breaks it down for them so they can understand why the importance of each one. “I’m hoping to save some lives man. That’s really what it amounts to. I hope that these kids understand that when we are not around, it’s about their character,” he explained. Camp activities and guest speakers reinforce the lessons about the principles, and help the campers put the principles

Photos (top to bottom): 1. 2021 campers with coaches and founder Alvertis Simmons; 2. Sergeant Carla D. Havard; 3. Coach Alvertis Simmons and his grandson, 4. Two campers enjoying a game of one on one Photos by Zilingo Nwuke

into practice so they can transfer into their everyday lives. The Life Skills Workshop is an essential tool to complete this task.

“The Life Skills Workshop has been going really well. Today we have the Hensel Phelps Construction Company here. Yesterday, we had the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


Max Group, led by an AfricanAmerican female entrepreneur who came in and talked to the kids about owning their own business,” stated Simmons. “Today, the Denver cops are here to talk about engaging in the community in a positive way because we want our kids to stay alive. We have more to come and more to go.” After 15 years, the camp has become a big part of the Denver community, and is support by many organizations. It has a reputation for a strong structure that gains the attention of the children at a young age and guides them on a path of empowerment to making the right decisions when faced with challenges in life. “I believe it’s a bridging-thegap moment for the community and certainly for the children. They look forward to this event every year because they know that it’s going to be here. They know they will have nine or 10 days of fun, safety, relatability, teaching, and guidance. I think that’s important, that we give children something to look forward to,” stated Sergeant Carla Havard, president of the Black Police Officers Association. Simmons observed how the camp has grown in bodies and financial support and support from the community in general due to all the work of his team consistently over the years. The camp organizers took the original idea of being positive role models for children and demonstrating a life for the kids that didn’t involve joining gangs or doing drugs and turned it into a legacy. “I just hope that when I’m done and gone that my grandsons Larenz, Tj and Dj continue with this legacy of the Simmons Foundation Life Skills and Basketball Camp,” Simmons concluded..

The Place of Herbal and Supplemental Remedies in COVID-19 Prevention Boosting Immune System and Avoiding Misinformation Helpful, but No Replacement for Vaccine By Theresa Ho

For over 20 years Teresa Vigil has volunteered at Sangre de Cristo Church by running the gift shop next to it. The shop offers standard religious items like statues and rosaries, and it is also filled with dream pillows filled with calming herbs meant to help people sleep at night, tinctures tucked into the desk, and dried herbs on shelves in the wintertime. With the current pandemic, Vigil believes that it is more important than ever to use herbal medicine to help combat the virus. Vigil is 89 years old

with seven children, 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. Still, she finds time to give presentations on herbal

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remedies to medical professionals, students and anyone else interested in herbal medicine around Colorado. She sometimes takes people up to the mountains and shows them how to find herbs in nature, what local herbs are growing, and how to use them. Herbal medicine helps Vigil stay close to nature. She believes that people should protect the earth, appreciate it, and use its resources. Vigil was born in Alamosa and regularly visited her grandmother in San Luis. After Vigil’s mother passed away, she moved to San Francisco with her father. Still, she continued visiting her grandmother in San Luis during the summer. She was inspired to learn about herbal medicine during her visits because access to healthcare was difficult in San Luis. “There was a need,” Vigil said. “Money-wise we couldn’t get a lot of medical care. There was a flu at my school that was really bad, and I remember looking around my grandmother’s backyard and seeing something that she used for colds and flus.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


Vigil started learning about herbal remedies from her grandmother and one of their neighbors, a woman of Spanish and Native American heritage who knew about herbology. Vigil read books and interviewed people she knew about old-world knowledge. She took some university classes about herbology, and she eventually became a Licensed Vocational Nurse while living in California. For her, giving presentations about her herbal knowledge is a way to reteach old-world knowledge in a society that has forgotten it so that people can stay connected to the earth. “Everything is wild,” Vigil said. “If we step out the door, immediately I’ll point out the dandelion. We use everything – the root, the leaves, the flower. If we go to the other side of the church, you’ll see elderberry, which is used for the jelly but also for the medicine. If we see the cottonwood tree, there is sap that was used on boils while the bark was used for broken arms. There are things all around us that we can use.” One herb that Vigil says people especially know about in San Luis is oshá. She explained that there are two local kinds of oshá: oshá del campo and oshá del sierra. The latter grows in the mountains, and in her opinion, is better and stronger than oshá del campo. She believes that oshá boosts the immune system, calms the body, and kills germs. She makes tinctures for people to use on cuts and sores. She said that people can also add some drops of the tincture to water to fight off cold and flu symptoms.

She also believes that individuals with COVID-19 should drink lemon balm tea to ease coughing and calm the body. However, she also emphasized that she believes it is important for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to further be protected from the virus.

Herbal Remedies during COVID-19 When COVID-19 first began spreading across the United States, Meredith Apodaca knew that as someone over 60 years old, she was considered high risk and made sure to social distance and limit seeing people. But, being away from people was difficult on her mental state. “As soon as I was able to get the vaccine I took it because I think it’s one of those things that you need to trust,” Apodaca said. “I couldn’t see my grandkids. I decided that it was safer to take it and hope. I might not trust the government, but I don’t think that there’s a chip or alien DNA or something like that. I don’t buy into it.” Still, when possible, she believes in using natural remedies for health issues. Apodaca grew up on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, where she spent time with medicine people and began developing an interest in herbal medicine. She has invited Vigil to give several presentations about herbal remedies in her coffee shop.

“I have learned from other old people like my mom that when you start taking a lot of medication, you take a lot of medicine for side effects to the original medication … I believe it creates more health problems,” Apodaca said. She regularly uses the information she learned from Vigil’s presentations in her daily life. Apodaca sniffs eucalyptus oil to clear her sinuses and drinks oshá on a daily basis – by either using tinctures or boiling the root in water to make a tea – to keep her immune system strong. Sometimes, she gets tinctures with oshá and echinacea in it as well. She has had many injuries: she tore her meniscus in her right knee, sprained her back, and broke her kneecap. She was in pain and bedridden for several months after breaking her kneecap. At one point, she needed her daughter and granddaughter to help her even be able to do things like roll on the bed and lie down. The experience of being bedridden deteriorated Apodaca’s mental health, but she refused surgery and pain medication. Instead, she used lotions with shea butter and mixed essential oils to rub into her skin: peppermint, lavender and lemon. For her, there is an emotional, psychological and spiritual aspect to healing physical pain and preventing sickness. She relied on that belief when Continued on page 14

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


Herbal and Supplemental Remedies Continued from pag 13 she was healing from her broken kneecap. She stated that she often tries to turn to meditation and prayer. She also takes several online classes, such as one about ancient Japanese history, and writes stories to keep her mind active. “If I’m in pain and I can embrace it, love it, and find the beauty in it, I don’t have it,” she said.

Medical Perspective on Herbal Remedies “There’s no clear evidence for herbal remedies for COVID,” said Dr. Charlotte Brigham, a family medicine doctor in Golden, Colo. “There’s no research out because of how new COVID is.” Brigham personally believes that boosting one’s immune system should be helpful, and even if there is no definite research on certain remedies, they can’t hurt with proper research and consultation with a healthcare provider before use. “If you look on the internet and look at other options, you need to know your source because some sources have no medical background,” she said. “When my daughter was in middle school, they were not allowed to use Wikipedia because of the amount of inaccurate information on Wikipedia. If you wouldn’t use it in middle school, why would

you use it for medical research? If you’re gonna do it, be informed.” Before the COVID-19 vaccines were released, Brigham and her family would try to help boost their immune systems by taking Vitamin C and Irwin Naturals Immuno Shield. They were also already taking Vitamin D, of which some reports note it is helpful against COVID-19. She explained that African Americans tend to be Vitamin D deficient due to the melanin pigmentation of their skin. “Melanin protects us from skin cancer but also means that we can be Vitamin D deficient,” Brigham said. While some people take zinc lozenges to try and prevent getting COVID-19, Brigham explained that she didn’t have her family take them because of reports about people having loss of sense of smell and taste, which is similar to symptoms of COVID-19. Therefore, she personally felt that zinc lozenges wouldn’t help prevent COVID19 symptoms from occurring. Brigham warned against harmful misinformation regarding alternative remedies in treating or preventing COVID-19, such as when former President Trump suggested injecting Clorox to treat the virus. She also warned against taking hydroxychloroquine, which can cause dangerous side effects such as cardiac issues. Taking too many vitamins can also cause health problems, she said.

“Some people double their Vitamin C amount,” she said. “You probably shouldn’t do that because you can get kidney stones. Also, drink lots of water.” She works hard to provide her patients the information they need about COVID-19 and the vaccines, so that they can understand the virus more. And when she has patients that are worried about the long-term side effects of the vaccine, she reminds them that getting sick from COVID-19, which is much more likely without vaccination, can have life-threatening repercussions. “We know what bad side effects there are with COVID19,” Brigham said. Brigham is a board member of the Colorado Association of Black Professionals, Engineers, and Scientists (CABPES). The nonprofit’s mission is to encourage and assist African American and other underrepresented minority youth in the pursuit and attainment of career choices in engineering, science and technology professions. Last summer, CABPES offered an eight-week program for kids from 5th graders to high school students about how COVID-19 worked and what the vaccines were for. The program encouraged kids to think scientifically and ask questions. It was also a space where Black professionals like Brigham could talk about their community’s fear and distrust towards the government given

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the government’s long history of discrimination towards the Black community. “What I do in my community is I literally used to go to churches and have conferences about medical issues. Now it was somebody that looked like them. In the Black community there’s a lot of past distrust because of what the government has done to them,” she said. “I’m trying to be someone in the medical community that they know practices good medicine and can relate to their concerns.” She is able to tell them that she had no side effects getting the vaccine and can say that she’s comfortable giving the vaccine. It took her weeks to convince her 90-year-old mother to get the vaccine due to her mother’s lack of trust towards the government and fear of going somewhere and catching the virus. Then accessing the vaccine was difficult at first. When they tried to get it through Kaiser, her mother was somewhere around number 15,000 on the list. But, when Brigham reached out to a Black church providing vaccines where she knew the pastor, her mom was able to get the vaccine in less than a week. “In the African American community, a lot of Black people got them at churches,” Brigham said. “They weren’t going to go to a drive-through where they felt like a number. There was a sense of community and trust.”.

Pay Attention to Vaccine Facts, Not Misinformation, When Making Vaccination Decision Dr. Terri Richardson, M.D.

By Dr. Terri Richardson, M.D. Internist and Vice Chair, Colorado Black Health Collaborative


ith so much information out there about the COVID-19 vaccine, it can be overwhelming and sometimes difficult to know what to believe. Trust me, I understand, so I want to share a few truths about the COVID-19 vaccine. I am on a mission to help the community get the information they need to make a good decision about getting this life-saving vaccine. I am going to share some facts, but the decision is entirely yours. COVID-19 was wreaking havoc worldwide and communities of color were suffering disproportionately. Given this crisis, lots of money, manpower and motivation was used to develop vaccines in record time. The vaccines offered a promise to rescue us from isolation, financial ruin, grief, and death. The COVID-19 vaccines in use in the U.S. are safe and scientific solutions. The science backing them is clear. Scientists utilized technologies and platforms based on years of research. There were Black scientists, like Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, leading the way in developing the Moderna vaccine. More Black people than ever participated in the clinical studies. This was very intentional as trusted Black physicians, scientists and community advocates encouraged Blacks to participate to show that the vaccine is safe for us!

COVID19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective in both the clinical studies and in real-life vaccination. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are about 95% effective. Johnson and Johnson in the U.S. trials was about 72% effective. All these vaccines are great at preventing the most severe outcomes from coronavirus disease 2019, hospitalization and death. Although most people that receive the shot are at least guaranteed to get a sore arm, some people get more significant side effects like fatigue, body aches and headaches, to name a few. While some people report feeling like they have contracted the virus, it is important to note that the vaccine does not cause COVID-19 infection. How a person responds to the vaccine is very personal. You cannot compare notes with your friends, families or foes to find out what side effects you will experience. If a person does get side effects, these usually last only a few days. More severe reactions are not common, akin to the one in a million chance of winning a lottery. In some circles, people are talking about the futility of getting the vaccine because the virus is changing. All viruses mutate or change, leading to variants. The same can be said about the COVID-19. The U.K. (alpha), India (delta) and South African (beta) are variants of concern that I am sure you have heard about. The current vaccines are expected to be effective to some extent against these variants. The more people

who are vaccinated, the less chance that a community gets overpopulated with variants of concern. That is why I tell people not to wait until ‘Juvember’ to get the vaccine! This vicious virus is relentless as long as big pockets of people are unvaccinated. I want the community to be safe. Getting vaccinated is about protecting our family and our broader community. The final word is not out, but due to the variants and the possible declining immunity that may occur, experts believe that there will need to be a booster. This is an area where we will just have to stay informed and be ready to do what is needed to stay protected. A gigantic hug, hanging out with friends, grabbing a meal at a restaurant, going to church, and conversating at the shops, these are the things that we can freely do once more of us are vaccinated. We are a social people, and this virus has impeded our natural ways of connecting and communicating safely. It is time for us to get back to the things that make us happy and mentally healthy, and refresh our soul. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html, as well as the

Colorado state government have made it clear that you can drop your mask if you have been fully vaccinated. The guidelines are not intended for healthcare settings, public transportation, or other locations as required. “Fully vaccinated people can go without masks in public indoor spaces unless the setting requires otherwise. Unvaccinated people are encouraged to continue wearing masks in all public indoor spaces.”Guidance for wearing masks | Colorado COVID-19 Updates, https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance This pandemic has highlighted the benefits of other public health precautions like covering your mouth when coughing, frequent hand washing, physical distancing, and staying at home when sick! These measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections like the flu and the common cold. Continue to exercise precautions. Choosing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice. However, I do encourage people to get the facts from trusted sources to help with the decision. Dr. Corbett calls vaccination a community service. I agree. In order for us all to be free, we need people to get the vaccine, sooner than later. Do you agree?.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


I n the spring of 2001, I worked as a consultant with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Turning Point Initiative. Through this transformative project, I was able to witness the first grant given to the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative (MDBCI) from CDHPE. During the early days, we utilized trusted figures in the church to act as community liaisons – identifying the health care needs of people of color. Employing this method allowed us to be responsive to the feedback we received from pastors on the ways in which we could better serve the community. We started as a grassroots organization determined to effect change by providing free preventative care – breast cancer screenings, prostate exams, and physicals. The initiative also created an opportunity for people to talk to providers in a trusted space. Our presence in the community considerably impacted the way Black people in the metro area accessed and prioritized health care. However, I could never have imagined where this organization was destined to go. Through the wonderful leadership of Grant Jones and tireless work and advocacy of Lucille Johnson, MDBCI, now known as The Center for African American Health (CAA Health), became very intentional about concentrating our efforts on the health disparities that plague our community. As the organization continued to grow, our focus expanded to include strategies to address the social determinants of health. There was a desire for us to include all factors that impact the health outcomes of people of color in our outreach efforts. Long before

The Center for African American Health Celebrates Progress and the Purchase of a New Facility Chronicled by Dr. Oswaldo Grenardo, M.D.

the COVID-19 pandemic laid approach and quickly managed bare the inequities of health to help us accomplish our goals. care, we were Deidre took the “Owning a location to offer organization well aware of the unique chalfrom a great one on-site programming, classes, lenges faced by to an exceptional members of our and a general communal one, which was community. It largely accomspace to host events is became evident plished by that it was necemploying a indeed a gift.” essary for us to multifaceted expand our services to improve method of fundraising. the health and wellbeing of our Eventually loans turned into people. grants, and grants were supplemented with financial gifts Our current CEO and Executive Director, Deidre from sponsors. We evolved Johnson’s mission had always from grassroots to being firmly planted within the community been to drive our efforts forward at an accelerated pace. we serve by financially securing She remained steadfast in her a building for us to call home.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


Even though our “grand opening” was upended (like everything else in the world) during the pandemic, Deidre and her team managed to do it virtually. Having a physical location, even though we weren’t able to host community events, still allowed CAA Health to do extraordinary things. During 2020, the team facilitated drive-thru voting registration events, flu-vaccine clinics, COVID-19 testing, and the distribution of personal protection equipment (PPE). We didn’t have to ask for permission, or scramble to find a location, because we had our own free-standing building. Owning a location to offer on-site programming, classes, and a general communal space to host events is indeed a gift. Proving to be a psychological and community resource anchor for years before and during the pandemic, CAA Health will now be a physical presence for years to come in our new facility. I can still remember collating MDBCI pamphlets and printing out information for an organization with who I immediately became completely enamored. And today, I am proud and grateful to be on the Board during this time of brilliant transition for CAA Health. I can’t wait for Deidre and her team to continue to move mountains. There’s nothing more powerful than a resilient group of hardworking visionaries in action..

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Colorado Black and African Chambers Team to Support Small Business Health Insurance Summit

Making transmissions well since 1983.

In an effort to help minority small businesses navigate and capitalize on the health insurance benefits associated with the national American Rescue Plan, the Colorado Black Chamber, Colorado Springs Black Chamber, the African Chamber of Commerce Colorado USA, and Sistahbiz Global Network are supporting the “Small Business Health Insurance Summit” presented by Connect for Health Colorado. The virtual summit will be held on Wednesday, July 14 from 8 to 9 a.m. on Facebook Live. The goal of the event is to present business owners with the most current information regarding the financial benefits that are now available to them and their employees through the American Rescue Plan. “The COVID-19 crisis was a huge blow to every micro, small and medium business, but to minority businesses, the pandemic took a larger toll because of the health disparities that already existed,” said Lee GashMaxey, executive director, Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce. “Now that we are beginning the process of opening up so many businesses that have weathered the storm, health insurance help and resources have taken on a significant place at the table for many business leaders.” While Obamacare was intended to support most Americans with decreased costs for health insurance, the price tag has remained prohibitive for many independent workers and small business owners to carry for themselves or their employees. However, in response to the economic damage done by

Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, will present the financial help now available through the American Rescue Plan during the virtual “Small Business Health Insurance Summit” on Tuesday, July 14th from 8 to 9 a.m. on Facebook Live. the global pandemic, Connect for Health Colorado is stepping forward to offer residents the most financial help since the Affordable Care Act was launched in 2010. “We have already begun to see Coloradans come in and get the extra savings available, and are thrilled to be able to offer more affordable plans now, especially in the devastating COVID-19 pandemic times,” said Kevin Patterson, chief executive officer, Connect for Health Colorado. “The critical health insurance needs of individuals and small businesses are paramount to a robust and sustained reopening, and we are dedicated to doing our best to ensure small business owners have the resources needed for long-term success.” With a national enrollment deadline of August 15, it’s a critical time for business owners to stop and look at the tremendous cost savings available for

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


themselves. In addition, there’s no better time to consider offering employee health benefits in an incredibly competitive job market. Small business owners across the state are working feverishly to catch up and rebound their companies to their pre-COVID-19 level of income. In addition, much like most small businesses nationwide, the challenge locally includes scrambling to attract reliable staff to return and/or join the workforce. These circumstances are even more pronounced for entrepreneurs of color. The virtual summit is slated to include: •Opening remarks from Lee Gash-Maxey, Executive Director, Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce •An overview of what the American Rescue Plan offers for small business owners from Kevin Patterson, chief executive officer, Connect for Health Colorado •Brief “testimonial” from a Black business owner who has seen the benefit of offering health insurance to employees •Panel and experts responding to specific questions and concerns from the audience .

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RootED Denver Hires New Partner of Community Partnership and Advocacy and a Director of Communications RootED welcomes diverse and home-grown candidates to build on mission of equitable and community-driven change

RootED Denver is excited

to announce two new leaders who have joined the team: Ambar Suero as the Partner of Community Partnership and Advocacy and Latia Henderson as the Director of Communications.

As the Partner of Community Partnership and Advocacy, Ambar Suero will lead RootED’s community investment activities and maintain essential community relationships with partner organizations. This role is vital in achieving the organization’s goal of investing in community-driven change. Suero is a bilingual community advocacy professional with over 17 years of staff development, program management, partnership development and strategic leadership. The lack of resources she had as a young Latina immigrant from the Dominican Republic and an ESL student gave her firsthand experience of some of the barriers underserved students go through. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


profit work when she joined the HandsOn Broward team at eighteen years old and continued her passion for community-driven change engaging families and grassroots organizations as a team member for the Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition. Suero attended Colorado State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management. For the last eight years, Suero has used that commitment to community to help support Denver families through the Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Denver Public Schools (DPS) which included opening the Far Northeast FACE Center serving over 1,500 Montbello community members. She is a DPS parent and understands firsthand the importance of student advocacy to ensure their individual needs are being met in DPS. “My approach has always been to implement grassroots best practices that positively affect communities through direct stakeholder management and effective programs that enhance community agency. RootED shares my personal and professional values by working to ensure communities have access to resources that drive change in their lives for the better,” says Suero. Latia Henderson is joining the RootED team as the Director of Communications, a new role that will support raising awareness on RootED’s work and elevating the impact of grantee organizations through storytelling and network building. Henderson brings more than 12 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and manage-


ment to this role and has extensive experience as a community volunteer, community advocate, and board member. She believes her success is molded and shaped by the positive role models in her life, community service organizations, and nonprofits including Daniels Fund and Delta Sigma Theta. Henderson brings unique experience in inclusive and asset-based storytelling, communications, marketing, and branding across a variety of platforms and events. She is deeply committed to community-driven change, youth development, and racial equity. Henderson holds a Bachelor of Science in Nonprofit Leadership Management from Arizona State University. She also holds a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and a minor in Business

Administration. She joins RootED from the Denver Scholarship Foundation with previous work including the Young Americans Center for Financial Education and the Denver Public Schools Foundation. Henderson is a native of Aurora, Colorado and knows firsthand the impact a quality education can have. “I’ve committed my life to supporting students, with nearly eight years of my career working directly with students from DPS. I have the lived experience of navigating a school system that was not built with me in mind,” says Henderson. “I am excited about the opportunity to build a strong communications strategy to promote community-driven change—so every child in Denver has access to a high-quality education and ultimately the agency to define their own success.”. About RootED Denver RootED invests in autonomous schools and community-driven, community-led work to promote racial equity, quality, opportunity, and accountability in Denver Public Schools. We work to ensure all students attend high-quality schools that authentically partner with and are responsive to the students, families, and communities they serve. RootED envisions that every student in Denver will have access to an education that enables them to pursue the path of their choice. To learn more, visit https://rooteddenver.org/ and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Secret in Real Estate How to buy investment properties with only 5% down payment By Barry Overton



ost people find it difficult to believe that they can invest in real estate. One of the biggest challenges comes with thinking you must have 20% down in order to purchase an investment property. It is true that investment loans do require 20% or higher down payments. The reason for this is that mortgages with lower down payments generally require mortgage insurance, and it can be a daunting task to find mortgage insurance for investment properties.

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If you are a currently a homeowner, there is a little known method in order to purchase investment property and put as little as only 5% down. And you could actually do this with multiple properties. Here’s an example. Let’s say three years ago you purchased a two bedroom condominium for $150,000. And now currently, that same condo is worth $300,000. You can make a decision to purchase a three bedroom townhome with larger square footage and a yard. You make this your new primary residence. Without selling your current home you’ve now created a primary residence for yourself that you only pay 5% of down for. You also have an investment property by not selling the home you move out of. Now, let’s just say for instance, another three years down the road, you decide that you want to purchase another home. The action steps that you took with the condo to a townhome you can do the exact same thing with a townhome to a single family. And now own three total properties, two of which are receiving passive residual income. And remember, you’ve only put 5% down on this newest home as well. It’s legal, ethical, and an often used method by savvy real estate investors. Another great advantage to purchasing in this format is you will have a better interest rate as well. The interest rate on an investment property is typically about one full point higher than

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


an owner occupied. A lower interest rate means more money in your pocket and less interest that you are paying to a bank. There is also a method we have discussed in a previous article called “House Hacking” that even allows first time buyers to also become an investor for a $1000 down. Simply by purchasing a property and renting out rooms within that property. If you are attempting to build a real estate portfolio, the first step should be to talk with a Real Estate Professional so that you receive the information and determine the method that will fit your financial goals. And the second step is to apply the information you receive. Afterall, knowledge is power, only when it is applied. . Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate with New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information email: barrysellsdenver@msn.com or call 303-668-5433.

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Major League Baseball and the Colorado Rockies Present the Largest Free Fan Event of All-Star Week – PLAY BALL PARK

•Snap pictures with the World Series Trophy and other MLB hardware •Rob home runs, steal bases and create your own highlightreel moments in various baseball dream scenarios

device. Instead of standing in line for autographs & photos, the Experience Pass allows fans to make specific reservations so they can enjoy other activities until their turn has arrived. Once registered for the

More than 30 legendary baseball and softball players are scheduled to appear over the course of all five days at PLAY BALL PARK. A complete list will be announced at a later date, along with details of each day’s theme and fan giveaways. PLAY BALL PARK is an immersive baseball and softball experience unlike any other, with unique attractions open to fans of all ages. PLAY BALL PARK will transform the streets of downtown Denver outside the Colorado Convention Center into a wide-ranging, inclusive environment where children and young adults can swing for the stars at the MLB Home Run Derby attraction. Inside of the over 400,000 sq. feet fans can try different aspects of the sport for the first time, more experienced players can develop and show off their skills and anyone in between can simply enjoy the many ways the game can be played. While enjoying the festivities inside or outside, the All-Star Experience Pass is the ultimate way for fans to gain access to their favorite attractions and prizes at PLAY BALL PARK. Fans can sign up for free online or on- site using their mobile

Experience Pass, fans will use their smart phone to scan QR codes throughout the show floor. They will participate scavenger hunts, receive daily autograph schedules, a map of all to do throughout the five days. Fans who check-in are eligible for instant prizing and a chance to win tickets to the TMobile Home Run Derby and All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Coors Field. Fans can also share their PLAY BALL PARK experiences on social media through the AllStar Experience Pass program. MLB All-Star Week includes the 91st MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Coors Field (July 13), Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 12), All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 11), PLAY BALL PARK at the Colorado Convention Center (July 9 to 13), plus a lineup of additional events taking place throughout Denver.. Editor’s note: For more MLB AllStar Week information, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame.

Free Registration Now Open at AllStarGame.com Major League Baseball and the Colorado Rockies unveiled plans for All-Star Week’s largest free fan event, PLAY BALL PARK. This fan-friendly and interactive festival arrives at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver for 2021 MLB All-Star Week, Friday July 9 to Tuesday July 13. The ultimate interactive fan experience blends baseball, softball, music, food, technology, shopping, fashion, mascots, and legends of the game, former Olympians and more fun activities. Tickets for the five-day All-Star affair are free and now available. Admission is based on a timed entry into the convention center that fans can register for when claiming their complimentary tickets at AllStarGame.com.

PLAY BALL PARK will provide fans more ways to play and experience the game than anywhere on Earth. Inside and outside the Colorado Convention Center, fans of all ages will hit, pitch, run and slide their way through five days of fun leading up to the Midsummer Classic. Although PLAY BALL PARK is completely free, reservations for timed entry and tickets are required. All tickets are digital and can be accessed through

the MLB Ballpark app, which can be downloaded for free to your mobile device from the App Store or Google Play. Individuals have a six-ticket ordering limit. After claiming these digital PLAY BALL PARK tickets, they will be accessible within the Ballpark app closer to the event date.

All fans will be able to: •Grab a bat and play baseball and softball from morning until night •Play ball in batting cages, pitching tunnels and on three indoor diamonds for all ages •Participate in demos, drills and play with rising stars, former All-Stars, coaches and Olympians •Fill your Instagram feed with pictures alongside legends

of the game including Baseball Hall of Famers •Compete with your friends and family in MLB The Show 21, the popular baseball video game •Take a glimpse into the National Pastime’s rich history with exhibits curated by the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum Exhibit directly from Cooperstown and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021



Denver Board of Education Votes to Appoint Dr. Alex Marrero as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools

The Denver Board of Education voted to appoint Dr. Alex Marrero as the next superintendent of Denver Public Schools (DPS). Dr. Marrero’s first official day as the leader of

Colorado’s largest school district is July 6. The appointment comes after a nationwide search and months of community engagement that involved input and feedback from students, parents, staff and community members. Dr. Marrero comes to DPS from the City School District of New Rochelle, NY, where he is serving as interim superintendent, and brings a decade of experience as a practitioner in the New York City Department of Education, the nation’s largest and most diverse school system. Dr. Marrero also brings with him the lived experience of being an English-language learner as a student. “Never would I have imagined that the son of an immigrant mother and refugee father, who was expected to be another statistic in the quest for the American dream, can now

lead a nationally top-performing school district to continue to raise the bar for all students, and to eliminate any opportunity gaps between identifiable groups of students,” Dr. Marrero said. Interim Superintendent Dwight Jones will continue to lead DPS until Dr. Marrero’s official start.  “We are deeply thankful to Dwight Jones for his steadfast leadership and spirit of collaboration throughout these unprecedented times,” said Carrie Olson, Board President. “We would also like to extend our thanks to everyone who participated in this collaborative search process. We appreciate your time, energy, passion and partnership, and we look forward to continuing our work with you to ensure that Dr. Marrero is supported to succeed in his leadership of the district.”.

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Every year for more than three decades, the Colorado Black Arts Festival has brought a celebration of African American art and culture to Denver. Last year, the pandemic forced the festival to move the event online, but recently festival’s organizers announced the return of an in-person festival for its 35th year. “Over this past year, we have reimagined, redefined and redesigned nearly every aspect of daily life while our collective experiences became, at once, both simpler and more complex,” said the organizers. “Together, we will explore how the varied arts and cultures of the African Diaspora reflect the promise that is us!” From July 9 through 11, the festival will be at City Park, offering attendees a chance to experience food, live music and performances, visual art, games

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


and children activities created and organized by Black creatives. This annual event is free to attend. This community celebration is for the whole family featuring hands-on activities, live performances, the Boogaloo celebration parade, people’s marketplace and artwork by leading and emerging African diaspora artists. See live performances by blues legend Sammy Mayfield and music icon, Hazel Miller. Experience the gospel stage hosted by KUVO’s Deborah Walker and KUVO’’s Latin Soul Party DJ/Ricky Olguin. Come listen and learn, eat and laugh, dance and sing, and join in the celebration at the Colorado Black Arts Festival July 9 to 11 at Denver City Park. The public is invited to come out and experience this in-person Denver tradition at the 35th Annual Colorado Black Arts Festival. . Editor’s note: For more information, visit http://www.colbaf.org/.

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Ennaid Therapeutics Partners with Strides to Manufacture Oral COVID-19 Tablet Strides Pharma Science Limited announced that its subsidiary, Strides Pharma Global Pte. Limited, Singapore, has entered into an exclusive partnership with United Statesbased Ennaid Therapeutics to produce an oral, repurposed medication to treat mild, moderate and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. Ennaid is a biopharmaceutical company, headquartered in the U.S. with subsidiaries in Australia, the United Kingdom and India. The company is developing a pipeline of therapeutics to treat COVID-19 and other deadly, infectious diseases affecting humans and animals worldwide, using artificial intelligence drug discovery platforms. The company’s

immediate focus is developing an antiviral treatment for COVID-19, but it also has a mosquito-borne disease pipeline of patented, new therapeutics targeting dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, as well as a patented, repurposed drug that may treat advancedstage colorectal cancer. Ennaid CEO Darnisha Harrison commented on the impact of the epidemic and partnership with Strides: “The magnitude of human loss in India due to COVID-19 compelled Ennaid India Private Limited to partner with Strides Pharma, extending critical resources to aid its government. We are honored to join forces with another India-based company to bring hope and healing at a time when it’s critically needed. Since the drug was previously approved by the FDA for other indication, it has already been proven safe in humans. What we have will not only bring much needed relief

to India but to patients around the world.” With more than 30 million people infected with COVID-19 in America and over 100 million in the world, Harrison said a drug that treats mild to moderate symptoms and helps block replication of the virus is a top priority. Through Ennaid’s partnership with scientists at Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM), the company identified a therapeutic target to treat COVID-19 using artificial intelligence drug discovery platforms. UCAM, located in Murcia, Spain, collaborates with universities from around the world at every educational level: research, student and professor exchanges, and international undergraduate and master’s programs in all specialties. The university’s computational drug design group is led by five scientists: Horacio Pérez-Sánchez, José Pedro Cerón-Carrasco, Jorge PeñaGarcía, Alfonso Pérez-Garrido, and Antonio Jesús Banegas Luna. Initial tests show the oral COVID-19 tablet produces antiviral activity effective against SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by inhibiting 90% of the virus’ replication in in vitro studies. Ennaid is seeking emergency authorization from the FDA in the United States as well an approval for compassionate use in India.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2021


Strides will be the exclusive manufacturing partner to Ennaid for the product. Strides is a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Bengaluru, India, and listed on the BSE Limited (532531) and National Stock Exchange of India Limited (STAR). The company mainly operates in the regulated markets and has an “in Africa for Africa” strategy along with an institutional business to service donor-funded markets. The company’s global manufacturing sites are in India, Singapore, Italy, Kenya and the United States. Dr. R. Ananthanarayanan, managing director and group CEO of Strides stated: “We are pleased to partner with Ennaid as an exclusive manufacturer of its oral repurposed medication to treat mild, moderate and asymptomatic cases of COVID19. At Strides, we are committed in our fight against COVID-19 and are working on creating a portfolio of products to aid COVID treatment and supportive care. Partnership with Ennaid is part of our initiative to provide quality and affordable treatment to the global patient pool impacted by COVID-19.”. Editor’s note: For more information, contact Kimberly Wallace, Ennaid Chief Media Consultant, at allthewords@aol.com; or Sandeep Baid, Investor Relations of Strides, at Sandeep.baid@strides.com. 

Centura Health Launches Annual $1 Million Health Equity

& Advancement Fund Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, announced today the launch of its annual Health Equity & Advancement Fund, a $1 million community grant program to extend the impact of community efforts focused on advancing social justice through initiatives that extend health equity across Colorado and western Kansas. Grants will range from $5,000 to $250,000 and be awarded to programs that serve diverse communities and/or populations, focus on diverse caregivers, and leverage collaborations with other partners to increase social impact. Submissions should integrate one or more principles in helping address healthcare equity issues with initiatives

that focus on the following: help meet disproportionate unmet health-related needs, emphasize primary prevention and address underlying causes of health problems, contribute to a seamless continuum of care, build community capacity and address social determinants of health to improve health outcomes. Initiatives should also demonstrate collaboration in communities. “Our Health Equity & Advancement Fund was launched to support our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) across our communities and reaffirms our commitment to social justice, which lies in our mission and core values as a healing ministry,” said Dr. Oswaldo Grenardo, MD, SVP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Centura Health. “The events around racial justice in 2020 accelerated the work we were

doing over the past few years to take more focused, impactful actions to address systemic racism and the issues surrounding health equity. In our vision to make every community, every neighborhood, and every life – whole and healthy, we are continually working to enable our associates and communities to inspire change.” The grant application process opened on June 8, 2021, and the deadline to submit is July 31, 2021. Applicants will be notified on funding selection between August 1 and September 1, 2021. Projects being funded will need to begin in the fall of 2021 and be completed by June 2022. Details on the application can be found on Centura’s website.

Application Process: Review Centura’s Social Justice Framework and review the prioritized community health needs in your geographic area found in our facility spe-

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cific Community Health Implementation Plans. These plans detail our priorities, activities, and measurable goals targeted for fiscal year 2020 through fiscal year 2022. Go to: Hospital in your area Go to: Most recent Community Health Implementation Plan document Download grant application and requirements here Submit applications by July 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm MST Organizations, including 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofits, community organizations using a nonprofit 501(c)(3) as a fiscal sponsor and educational institutions are eligible to apply for the grant. The organization must be operating in Colorado or Kansas and within 50 miles of a Centura facility.. Editor’s note: For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit the Centura Health website.

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JUNE 13–SEPTEMBER 12 IMAGE: Simphiwe Ndzube, The Bloom of the Corpse Flower (detail), 2020. Acrylic paint on canvas and mixed media; 94 1⁄2 x 79 in. Denver Art Museum: Funds from the Contemporary Collectors’ Circle with additional support from Vicki and Kent Logan, Catherine Dews Edwards and Philip Edwards, Craig Ponzio, Ellen and Morris Susman, and Bryon Adinoff and Trish Holland, 2021.37. © Simphiwe Ndzube. Courtesy of the Artist and Nicodim Gallery. Photo by Marten Elder. Simphiwe Ndzube: Oracles of the Pink Universe is organized by Simphiwe Ndzube and the Denver Art Museum. It is presented with the generous support of Vicki and Kent Logan and the Birnbaum Social Discourse Project. Additional support is provided by the Hasday Family Trust, the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the residents who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine and CBS4.

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Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum - July 2021 - ALG and COVID-19  

This month’s cover story features Papa Dia and the African Leadership Group. Also in this issue we look at Alvertis Simmons and his basketb...

Denver Urban Spectrum - July 2021 - ALG and COVID-19  

This month’s cover story features Papa Dia and the African Leadership Group. Also in this issue we look at Alvertis Simmons and his basketb...

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