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Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Nobel Peace Prize winner African Leadership Group Founder Papa Dia

Afrik Impact: Empowering the Next Generation for Economic Impact............................................4 Crowley Foundation: Empowering Black Males for a Decade...........7 Black Arts Festival Presents InnerVisions…OuterVisions....................12

The Denver Art Museum is proud to present this highly acclaimed emerging artist, and Denver native, in her first major museum exhibition.


Jordan Casteel, Charles, 2016. Oil on canvas; 78 x 60 in. Collection of Jordan Casteel. Image courtesy of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York © Jordan Casteel Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze is organized by the Denver Art Museum. It is presented with generous support from Merle C. Chambers, Vicki and Kent Logan, Barbara Bridges, Judi and Joe Wagner, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Educational programs associated with the exhibition are funded by FirstBank, Riverfront Park Community Foundation, and an anonymous donor. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, Comcast Spotlight, and The Denver Post.


Summertime, Sticks and Stones, and the Mayor’s Race Volume 33 Number 4

July 2019


It’s officially summer and this issue, Summertime in the Rockies, is hot for more reasons than just the weather. Our cover story by Ruby Jones features the African Leadership Group and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who will bring the heat from the Motherland, speaking on “Empowering the Next Generation for Economic Impact.” Jamil Shabazz shares the journey of Kenneth Crowley and how he will celebrate 10 years of empowering African American males. In addition to the upcoming summer festivals, concerts, art exhibits and health events, Jamil also talked to saxophonist Eric Darius who will be performing at the Colorado Black Arts Festival - who always brings the heat, as well as special guest gospel vocalist Le’Andria Johnson. The mayor’s race is over and some of the dust has settled for some. Several are once again “so-called” friends and others are calling for healing for the community. Healing means to become sound or healthy again, to recover, to mend. So what discontent fractured the community and why? I think we all know the answer and this month former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and I both provided our own assessment of what transpired – its causes and outcome. John Bailey with the Colorado Black Roundtable provided very powerfully, his analysis of the Four Legs of the Victory Stool (you can find online on the DUS website, We all grew up with the common childhood chant “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” meaning hurtful words cannot cause any physical pain and thus will be ignored or disregarded. I beg to differ; a lot of “verbal” sticks and stones were thrown and they do hurt. Is that what damaged the community or lack of respect to do the right thing for the community – or just pure ignorance? Donald Trump recently refused to apologize to the Central Park Five for taking out full-page advertisements in New York City newspapers in 1989 calling for the death penalty in response to a case in which the five Black and Latino teenagers were wrongfully convicted of rape. He continues to be the poster child for verbal sticks and stones. At the end of the day and out of respect, if you publicly and verbally vilify someone, you should be able to publicly and verbally apologize, as well. And that is the first step to healing. Healing may be needed for the community but it should not have been; and apologies are appropriate. For those seeking healing, remember: before you assume, learn the facts; before you judge, understand why; before you hurt someone, feel; and before you speak, think. Enjoy the rest of your summer! Rosalind “Bee” Harris DUS Publisher

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

2019 Member 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 2019 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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR have done and are doing very well here. I wish AfricanAmericans had the level of success Asians enjoy in America. However, Asians should not complain too loudly about being the victims of racism. The stories of mistreatment of people of African descent by Asian business owners are common lore. These business owners have a history of only being interested in extracting wealth from Black communities, into racist stereotypes about Blacks. It is a known fact that when the Chinese started building infrastructure in African countries, they brought in their own workers, refusing to hire Africans because they claimed they were lazy. So when people start crying about how they are being treated by others, they should take a serious look at their own misdeeds. We are all competing for resources on this

Cooperation vs Competition… Editor: Offending the AsianAmerican communities in Denver and beyond was perhaps the determining factor in Denver mayoral challenger Jamie Giellis’ loss to Mayor Michael Hancock. Giellis’ question, “Why so many cities feel it necessary to have a Chinatown, the answer to that question is dear to me these places are of cultural significance to Asian people. I wonder though does anyone ponder why Asian people have been allowed a fairly high degree of prosperity in American and Black people have not? I’m sure you know of the prosperous Black communities in this country destroyed by whites who did not take kindly to the competition. I know this has happened numerous times to Chinese communities. Yet, the Chinese

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


planet. However we should not forget that despite our so-called racial differences and cultural differences, we are one. Let Asians and everyone else treat their brothers and sisters of every ethnicity the way they themselves wish to be treated and we won’t have a problem. Until then, they can expect no sympathy or empathy from me! Cooperation trumps competition every time. Antonius Aurora, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher Editor News & Information Advertising & Marketing

Afrik Impact: Empowering the Next Generation for Economic Impact


rom August 5-10, the African Leadership Group will host a week-long celebration of African culture and heritage, inviting policymakers, business leaders, social dignitaries and members of Colorado’s communities to celebrate the impact of the African diaspora in Colorado, while recognizing community champions for their collective and individual commitment to improving conditions for African immigrants. In its fourth year, the Afrik Impact event, themed, Empowering the Next Generation for Economic Impact, will feature guest speaker and former president of Liberia, Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the event’s impressive line-up of activities will showcase the role African immigrants play in the local economy while highlighting local and international business opportunities. Since its inception in 2006, the African Leadership Group has assisted countless families in the transition from Africa to Colorado’s vastly different communities with resources, support, and guidance. Despite an increasingly turbulent social landscape with several egre-

By Ruby Jones Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Papa Dia

When he arrived in the United States in 1998, 28-year old Dia was determined to earn enough money to send back to his family in Senegal, West Africa. “When I had a chance to come here, my family had hope that they would have breakfast and lunch. My main duty was to work and send money home, that’s it,” he says. Despite having studied law in his homeland, Dia was at a disadvantage in the United States; he was limited by his minimal English, but he didn’t let that disrupt his efforts to create a better life for himself. “When I came here, all the education and degrees didn’t matter. I found myself studying all over again,” he recalls. Dia got a job at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, where constant immersion in the world of literacy helped perfect his reading, writing, and

gious immigration policy changes implemented by the current presidential administration, immigrants who reside in Colorado haven’t lost hope in the “American Dream” and are working to strengthen their community while maintaining a strong cultural identity. The African Leadership Group’s founder, Papa Dia, launched the Afrik Impact event in 2015 as a celebratory culmination of year-long programming and an opportunity for people outside of the immigrant community to learn about the social, economic, and educational impact that African immigrants have had on Colorado’s communities. The event, which continues to grow in size and influence, supports Dia’s objective to see the month of August proclaimed, African Immigrant Month.

speaking skills. After leaving the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Dia got a job as a bank teller, where he worked for the next 18 years. During his time at the bank, he learned about financial resources that were not readily accessible to the immigrant community, though they were necessary for successful integration. Information about government assistance was readily available, but Dia says, “Nothing existed to help us achieve the American dream,” so he began to disseminate his newly-discovered economic resources to the community of African immigrants in an attempt to help families accomplish their educational and professional goals. Eventually, Dia’s outreach work garnered the attention of his community, attracting dozens of immigrants to the bank each week. When the bank started to expressed concern, Dia realized that he needed to create an outlet to continue to help people outside of his workplace, “I didn’t know that what I was doing was what a grassroots organization does. I came from a poor family; everything you had, you had to share it.” He created the African Leadership Group to facilitate the integration of African immigrants. African American and African Immigrant Building Community Retreat

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


The African Leadership Group’s programming offers opportunities for children and adult immigrants to address the diverse issues within the community, adjusting to the cultural differences in their new environment while accessing resources to help strengthen the rich entrepreneurial efforts of men and women who come to this country in search of a better life. The group operates with several initiatives, and features activities that help empower African immigrant communities to achieve long-term goals. A health and wellness initiatives facilitate reduced-price health services while hosting community discussions that address key health concerns and improve community wellness. The career and economic advancement initiatives provide opportunities for communities to learn about important industries, engage in professional networking, and receive financial literacy and home ownership training. The leadership initiative provides public speaking training classes every Tuesday in addition to a 9month leadership program to prepare African immigrants for meaningful engagement in education, civic, and community processes. Women and youth empowerment initiatives provide support for women and children who face a unique set of challenges after immigrating to the United States. The process of leaving home and immigrating to a new country is not without challenges; but for young people trying to become acclimated in American society, immigration is especially difficult. “When African immigrant children are in their household, they are raised based on African culture, because we want them to keep some of the cultural value that we have back home; but when

they go to school, they are exposed to the American culture. They’re not African enough and they’re not American enough. When we talk about identity crisis, that’s what our kids go through every single day.” Dia explains that the specialized youth programming gives African immigrant children a sense of belonging and helps them realize that they are not alone, while programming for parents helps entire

families navigate life in the United States with a safe space to share stories and find solutions for common intergenerational problems. The African Leadership Group, with headquarters in the city of Aurora, values strong partnerships with city officials and governmental entities that exist to simplify the process of integration, but with drastic changes to immigration policies, there is a growing need

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


for programming that protects the human rights of immigrants. The organization hosts a legal clinic forum every Monday, but tensions are hastily increasing as the future of the United States’ policies regarding immigration are uncertain. “I have a lot of families that have been separated. There are a lot of people in the community that are being deported on a daily basis. Continued on page 6

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Continued from page 5 There’s constant fear in the community.” Dia believes that the work of the African Leadership Group is critical in bringing people together with a shared goal of humanitarian protections for all, emphasizing the need for strengthened relationships between different African communities as well as between Black Americans and Africans as a whole. Black Americans have been faced with social, educational, political, and economic hardships resulting from 400 years of inequity in the United States. After being removed from Africa and brought to the Americas through The Middle Passage, most of the cultural values and heritage of the homeland were stripped away by slaveowners, leaving the Black community ravaged and isolated from its roots by the time slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. With no significant efforts to reacquaint Black people with their African heritage, the rift between Black Americans and African people has been widened by negative stereotypes and misconceptions that exist as a result of mutual ignorance and missed opportunities to learn and grow closer. Dia is intentional about bridging the gap between Black Americans and African immigrants. He regularly attends meeting hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, organizations that exist to support the Black community by fighting economic inequity and promoting self-reliance. Earlier this year, the African Leadership Group hosted a retreat at The Denver Foundation, with leaders from around the metro Denver area working to strengthen the African and Black communities by sharing what they want

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


others to know about their communities to deepen cultural understanding. By collaborating with these groups, Dia hopes to eliminate the divide between Blacks and Africans that holds us back from reaching our true social and economic potential in the United States. “I am exhausted of seeing us be labeled. I am exhausted of seeing human beings being divided. I am exhausted of seeing whatever environment we are in dictate who we are as human beings,” says Dia, “I am looking for people to be willing to take the time and take a chance to get to know people they didn’t know before; even if it’s coming and having a conversation. If we stay in our corner, we’re going to continue to have misconceptions about each other. I’m looking for us to rise above these challenges and come out of our corners. We are all in a position where we can impact somebody.” Each day of the Afrik Impact event is designed to bring awareness to the contributions of African immigrants to support the need for the state’s proclamation of African Immigrant Month. “I want to do the work first before I go with the ask,” Dia says. “Last year’s event was three days long, this year is a week. We are growing from an event with a couple hundred people to this year welcoming at least a thousand. Next year, we want to celebrate for the entire month.” The Afrik Impact event is joined in August by the Taste of Ethiopia festival, and the African Leadership Group is working with the community at-large to highlight activities that focus on pre-slavery historical education, sporting and entertainment events, and a substantive celebration of African heritage. “I want to use this approach to bring everybody from the Black community together with everybody from the African community,” says Dia. Continued on page 9

The permeation of social

media dominates every part of our lives – from memes to hashtags and GIFs. It seems like every second a new #challenge pops up. One of the first viral challenges of 2019 was the How Hard Did Aging Hit You Challenge. Participants were asked to post on various avenues of social media a picture from 2009 juxtaposed against a recent picture from 2019. The photo challenge was designed to visually compare and contrast changes over the course of a decade. An interesting thing about progress is that it’s not always visible to the naked eye. There were no cameras around to capture the moment 10 years ago when Kenneth D. Crowley Sr. there he lay flat on his back on the couch; recovering from a recent back surgery. There he lay staring up at heaven through the ceiling – at a turning point. From his time interning at Langston University (his alma mater), Crowley felt the positive impact that mentorship, care, love and support could have on people. Many of our greatest and most ambitious ideas develop when our mind is idle; free of all distraction. As Crowley’s physical body was on the mend, his mind was moving toward the changes in the world that he wanted to see. He and his wife Jean came together to formulate a plan to give back to the community; fortuitously they received a call from an old friend, Sia Chandler-Garcia, who said she and her band were having a concert in a few months and she wanted to donate some of the proceeds to a local non-profit. For the Crowley’s that conversation was the tipping point.

Resuscitate & Rejuvenate: Crowley Foundation to Celebrate 10 Years with Signature Events By Jamil Shabazz

“Sia really pushed us to get out there with the paperwork,” Crowley says reflectively. “At the time, The Crowley Foundation was still just an idea. In the months leading up to the concert Jean and I began, got organized, incorporated and registered as a 501(c)(3).” With the seed planted, the Crowley Foundation began to root itself in the Denver community, building strong relationships with community members and stakeholders. In the beginning the foundation had a singular purpose, providing youth access to scholarship funds that would allow them to attend college. Aligning vision with mission, the Crowley Foundation strived to do a little more for the community each year. They supported lowincome youth who had dreams of post-secondary education by taking them on campus tours and providing ACT/SAT prep and practice exams. The seminal program in the Crowley Foundation is their boys2MEN (b2M) program. The program

provides free and low-cost education and empowerment curriculum designed to teach social skills and offer mentoring opportunities to young men. “[In 2010] I would pick my son and his friends up from school, and drop them off at their houses, but during those rides we would all just talk, organically. We’d have real intimate discussions about life, maturity, and manhood. During those talks I could tell that some of these young men weren’t happy, and they needed some guidance, and that’s kind of how the boys2MEN program started.” Crowley relays. The program would grow from small, interpersonal mentoring sessions, into a transformative event, with a little help from CU Boulder. Six years ago the university began a partnership with the Crowley Foundation initially hosting students from the non-profit for a campus visit. Further collaboration birthed the boys2MEN Leadership Summit which start-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


ed in June 2015 which has happened every year since. At the week- long Leadership Summit young men learn the six core values of the Crowley Foundation: Family, Service, Pay It Forward, Authenticity, Integrity, Leadership, and Scholarship. During the summit they must represent the core values of the organization as they are paired into brotherhoods, culminating in a presentation on what they have learned. From the valleys of Boulder to the inner city streets, The Crowley Foundation and their community activism has drawn universal praise from local and national experts. Janiece Mackey, Executive Director of the non-profit Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) offered poignant adulation when asked about the foundation saying, “The Crowley Foundation is a beacon of light and serenity for young Black men to be their authentic selves.” For the Crowleys, their beacon of light, will turn into a celebration of life this month, as they salute the 10 year anniversary of the Crowley Foundation; guided by the philosophy that “If some is good, then more is better.” The Crowley Foundation will salute 10 years with two signature events. The first event dubbed, “Resuscitate” is on Friday July 26. The event has a Speakeasy theme and will be an evening of cocktails and conversation. The second celebration on August 3, “Rejuvenate” will be a gala at the Wilshire Event Center. For the Crowley family, Kenneth D. Sr., Jean, Jayana and Kenneth D. II and their Crowley Foundation, the past decade has aged like a fine wine, each getting better with time. . Editor’s note: For more information about the 10 Year Celebration: Speakeasy & Gala visit or call 720-9359842

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


School systems have just

recently begun to offer financial literacy as part of their required curriculum. A primary component of these programs includes an understanding of the role insurance plays in our long term financial health and viability. On Friday, June 14, Broncos greats Rod Smith and Terrell Davis teamed with radio personality and CEO of Royal Financial Investment Group, Prince Dykes to host a book release at the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club in Montbello. Speaking before hundreds of excited children and adults, author Dykes explained the purposes of insurance and why he decided to publish the work. Written for his son, the book Wesley Learns about Insurance features Terrell Davis. According to Smith, a longtime advocate for the Boys and Girls Clubs, he was approached by Davis and Dykes to host an event but wanted to include children. “Terrell knows how much I love the Boys and Girls Clubs so it was perfect. I definitely wanted to a part of it,” Smith said.

Afrik Impact Continued from page 6 Afrik Impact’s interactive workshops and activities are free to the public. On Monday, Aug. 5 the event will kick off with a community celebration of African heritage, culture, food, art, and human accomplishment. Tuesday, August 6th will feature a community “Shark Tank” event with opportunities for entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas, products, and services to a panel of potential investors. On Wednesday, Aug. 7, the African Leadership Group’s Youth Empowerment Group will host a preview of its work in education and throughout the community. On Thursday, August

Youth Learn the Value of Insurance from Broncos Legends Boys and Girls Club Hosts Book Release By Zilingo Nwuke Left to right: Prince Dykes, Rod Smith and Terrell Davis

Although the book’s target audience is the younger generation, anyone can read it and learn something new as many adults still do not have a firm grasp of the concept and how critical it is to their financial well being. Because he has a young son, Dykes wanted to make an impact on his knowledge of financial concepts early on. In the process, he began to consider focusing on the next generation of consumers. “If you can teach them about money now, while they are young, then things will make a

lot more sense to them when they are older and possibly prevent a lot of mistakes,” Dykes added. “My son works with me, and ever since he was 3years-old, he has been learning about finance. I kept telling myself that in 15 years, he will enter the real world, and I wanted him to be armed with as much information as possible.” Dykes, Smith and Davis all hope to make a difference in the younger generation with the release of this book. It will potentially save many young people from the credit night-

8th, an Economic Impact Conference and Workshop will present a panel of finance, investment, and business devel opment experts with information about business opportunities in the United States and in Africa. The African Leadership Group will host an invitationonly reception with guest speakers and high-profile business and civic leaders from around the world on Friday, Aug. 9, and Afrik Impact will culminate on Saturday, Aug. 10 with its signature Gala event at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. The featured speaker for the Afrik Impact Gala, Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was awarded along with Leymah

Gbowee for their peacekeeping efforts and contributions to women’s rights. Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia, is a renowned speaker who delivers powerful messages from her experiences as one of the driving forces of Africa’s social and economic transformation. African immigrants have made significant contributions to Colorado’s communities. Whether relocating to the United States in search of asylum or for better opportunities, the powerful stories that exist within immigrant communities lend to the rich fabric of diversity that blankets our beautiful state. Entrepreneurs, attorneys, teachers, doctors, and immigrants who are engaged in politics and education are working

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


mare that some adults struggle with. The books are designed to create better informed consumers, which in the long-term can be a boost to the economy. “I always thought, for me personally, there are a hole and a gap between educating young people about finances. This book just made a lot of sense. We have a children’s book that addresses finances, credit, investing and all these things we deal with on a personal basis that we don’t learn until later on in life, so it just made sense to me,” said Davis. “Really, it’s about awareness. It’s about teaching kids about financial literacy.” Young and old should be able to learn something from either of Dykes’ books. They are educational, easy to read, and family oriented. In the end, Dykes may well accomplish his goal of making a difference in the community.. Editor’s note: This is the third book of his series by Dykes. His other titles are Wesley Learns to Invest and Wesley Learns about Credit. All books are currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Tattered Cover Bookstore and other book retailers. together to move the community forward with a commitment to social progress that is felt for generations to come. “One thing we believe in is ‘If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.’ How do you make sure people are equipped to be part of the solution-finding of an issue? I don’t believe in waiting for people to come up with miracles to save us, but I believe in people coming up with ways to improve our quality of life,” says Dia. In its fourth year, Afrik Impact is sure to bring Colorado’s communities together to celebrate the positive impact of African people while highlighting the importance of strengthened collaboration now and in the future..


ecuring more than 56 percent of the vote, incumbent Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, prevailed over Jamie Giellis in Denver’s 2019 mayoral election run-off. Hancock and his administration have guided the development and maintenance of the city for the last eight years and will now have four more years to carry out their vision for Denver. Hancock’s June 4th victory initiates his last term as mayor as the city has a three term limit for its mayoral position. While most pundits speculated a tight finish in this run-off, Hancock received 91,464 votes to Giellis’ 70,945, giving him a relatively comfortable victory after a highly competitive campaign season. The 2019 mayoral race became quite contentious as it wore on due to supporters and critics of both candidates being vocal and unapologetic about their concerns with their respective opponent. Up until the first round of results released on Tuesday night, neither candidate appeared to have a clear advantage over the other. Just days before the election, Denver Urban Spectrum and The Weekly, El Semanario joined forces to endorse Michael Hancock for his third term as Denver’s mayor. The founders of the respective publications, Rosalind “Bee Harris” and Chris Fresquez, met with Hancock at La Alma recreation center on May 31, to hold an endorsement press conference. In large part, these two wellestablished people of colorfocused news publications cited Hancock’s accomplishments, long standing relationship with communities of color and concerns about the political aptitude of Giellis as reasons to endorse Hancock. While reading her endorsement statement, Harris indicted Giellis for having “a poorly run campaign with mistake after mis-

Hancock: A Clear Choice For Mayor By Allan Tellis Photo by Lens of Ansar Left to right: Hancock supporter, Chris Fresquez, Alfonzo Porter, Mayor Michael B. Hancck and Rosalind “Bee” Harris

take” and noted that “her actions of today show us how she would run the city tomorrow.” Giellis’ various blunders regarding race issues during her campaign raised red flags for both of these community leaders. Incidents like Giellis being unable to recall what the NAACP acronym stood for during an interview on the Brother Jeff Facebook Live Show and the surfacing of several tweets that showcased a lack of racial awareness made Giellis an unappealing candidate for these publications. In old tweets, Giellis’ had previously questioned why a city would want a Chinatown at all and made jokes about lowriders and nachos that many found distasteful. “The mayor’s office is not the place for someone to learn for the first time about how to interact with communities of color,” said Harris during her statement. “Acknowledging white privilege without taking actions to do better, and leaning on people of color to handle that aspect of her campaign and teach her how to improve is insulting.” Not only did Giellis’ seeming lack of cultural competence ring alarm bells for these community leaders, while campaigning, she could not find time in her schedule to attend events hosted by

these organizations. Both Fresquez and Harris had reached out to the Giellis campaign to give her opportunities to give her message to their audiences’ but both were declined with Giellis citing schedule conflicts. The Giellis campaign was unable to offer alternative times for her to engage with these publications and the communities they serve. While addressing Giellis’ dismissal of these forum opportunities Fresquez questioned the legitimacy of these scheduling issues. “Conflicts? Our communities are conflicts?” Fernandez rhetorically asked. Fresquez also noted his concern that replacing Hancock, who he says “has been longtime advocate for immigrant communities,” with Giellis, who he says did not give strong answers as to her position on immigration, would be problematic for Denver’s immigrant community. Hancock echoed that sentiment, noting that it is important for those in Denver’s leadership positions to actively embrace all of the city’s communities. “When you run for an office, you’re running to represent all people, whether it’s’ a comfortable feeling or not, whether they have tough questions for you or not,” said Hancock.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


During the press conference Hancock reiterated the importance of having these publications and vowed to continue to work in partnership with them after the election. He reiterated the importance of having an “inclusive” Denver and noted that this was a particularly important endorsement to receive due to the legacy of Denver Urban Spectrum and El Semanario. Hancock is a Denver native and says that this experience has given him a great appreciation for what these platforms add to Denver’s media ecosystem. “These are important endorsements because they represent the diaspora of our great city,” said Hancock. “We grew up in diverse communities. We choose to live in Denver because of its diversity and rich heritage.” Harris and Fresquez did not pretend Hancock had been perfect during his campaign or tenure as mayor but rather asserted that he was clearly the best choice in the run-off. Fresquez actually endorsed candidate Dr. Lisa Calderon early in the election, and Harris, rebuked sexual misconduct in the workplace but both acknowledged that they believed these concerns did not detract from Hancock being the clear choice in Denver’s 2019 mayoral election..

Educator’s Forum on Social Media’s Impact on Students In conjunction with Vertex Learning and community partners, Denver Urban Spectrum will host an educator’s forum to discuss common student behaviors related to social media and technology on Friday, Sept. 20. The event is designed to focus on addressing the unintended consequences for the mental, emotional, social and psychological well-being of students as they engage in their everyday cyber realities. The program will be headlined by former Denver Public Schools Superintendent and U.S. Senator, Michael Bennet who will discuss ways to help students navigate life in a connected world. Bennet will also provide a briefing on his bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation to study the effects of technology on student cognition. The Bill entitled CAMRA (Children and Media Research Advancement) Act, was re-introduced in the Senate last February. Invited guests will include district superintendents, principals, school board members, state policy makers, local elected officials, student leaders, parents and community partners. “As digital natives, today’s students were born into a world of constant connectivity along with instant access to sharing and entertainment,” says Urban Spectrum Publisher, Rosalind “Bee” Harris. “As a result, they are also confronted with the negative aspects of technological advances such as cyber bullying, internet addictions, hate speech, permanency of their digital footprints and predatory behaviors, among others.” Harris teamed up with Vertex Learning, LLC. , who recently published a textbook for secondary students titled, “Digital Citizenship: Promoting

Wellness for Thriving in a Connected World.” Company representative and MSUDenver journalism professor, Alfonzo Porter says he published the textbook to help students, teachers and parents address the unintended consequences on student online behavior. “Each chapter features a series of real world situations, learning scenarios and learning tasks customized to meet the

specific and unique needs of students. It is organized around the most common teenage online behaviors and their relationship to some of society’s most pressing issues living as digital natives,” Porter said. “It is structured as curriculum that not only covers standardized content but is a framework to promote student engagement, understanding and transfer what is learned to situations outside the classroom.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


The full-day event will be held on Friday, Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at The Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, located at 119 Park Avenue West in Denver. If you have been affected by social media behaviors and/or bullying, and would like more information or want to participate, call 303-292-6446 or email This is a free event and the public is invited to participate. .

We all know good things Scintillating Saxophonist & come in three’s, and the 33rd Annual Colorado Black Arts Gospel Music Standout Festival promises to be thrice as nice. The three-day event will Headline 33rd Annual feature sultry saxophonist Eric Darius on July 13 and gospel Colorado Black sensation, and Grammy award winner Le’Andria Johnson on Arts Festival Sunday, July 14, highlighting the regal spread of festivities. The 33nd Annual Colorado Black Arts Festival will be held at Denver’s City Park West July 12-14 and is free and open to the public. The Colorado Black Arts Festival (CBAF) was founded in 1986 to develop, promote and celebrate African arts and culture in Colorado. The festival has become the fifth largest event of its kind in the United States. The CBAF offers the opportunity to explore African culture through the visual arts,

By Jamil Shabazz music, dance, hands-on activities, and a variety of cuisines to delight the most discerning palate. This years’ theme, “InnerVisions… OuterVisions,” underscores an inward reflection of creative spirit and imagination which in turn is outwardly expressed through visual, performing, literary arts. It is through reflection and expression that one can take pride in one’s cultural legacy, past, present and future. Festival organiz-

ers have planned a number of activities within the Joda Village Compound, Art Garden, and Children’s Pavilion to engage attendees and share creations on African and African Diaspora art and culture. The 2019 Colorado Black Arts Festival is placing a tremendous emphasis on the Black holistic health. The festival will feature: Health Highways, a section that will provide free



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


health screenings. Additionally, the festival will feature a Natural Hair Pavilion where hair experts will be on hand with demonstrations and tutorials for maintaining and styling natural tresses. The three day festival is an institution in Denver’s African American community – a monument to beautiful, Black art, in every form. Artistically, soulful sounds will close out Saturday and Sunday with headliners Eric Darius and Le’Andria Johnson. Eric Darius is an internationally known jazz/R&B/pop saxophonist, songwriter, producer, and performer, and new CEO of SagiDarius Music. Darius took some time out of his schedule to talk with the Denver Urban Spectrum about his upcoming performance at the Colorado Black Arts Festival. DUS: This will be your first time performing at the Colorado Black Arts Festival, correct?

Eric Darius

Eric D.: Yes! I’ve been to Colorado a lot, since my career started in 2004, but this is my first time doing the Colorado Black Arts Festival. You know, there’s a special feeling that I get every time I go to Colorado, whether it’s in Breckenridge, or the Winter Park Jazz Festival, or the Soiled Dove. I just love being in Colorado. It’s just a beautiful place. It just puts me in a completely different mindset. I’m really excited about celebrating our culture, and just having a blast with all the fans. DUS: Is there any advice that you want to tell artists who are trying to get to where you’ve been and are today? Eric D.: You know, for me, the key to my success has been the five P’s: practice, persistence, perseverance, patience, and prayer. Those are the five P’s that have really laid the groundwork for, where I am today. I let younger guys know that there’s no overnight success. It’s a grind, its hard work. At the end of the day, you truly have to find your own voice, what makes you unique. And that’s how you’ll be able to kind

Le’Andria Johnson

of breakthrough – by finding your own voice. The awakening, the evolution, the experience. There may be some things bigger than Le’Andria Johnson, but the stage isn’t one of them. Although her life offstage has been her own personal hell, the Grammy award-winner is in heaven on that stage. Soaring with a voice that can make it feel like fire has shot up through your bones. The “I Shall Leap” singer has made headlines recently, for less than ideal reasons. Her struggles with alcoholism earned her the undesirable moniker “The Bad Girl of Gospel,” and a visit to Iyanla Vanzant to have her life “fixed.” Fame can be as addictive and dangerous as any narcotic. For Johnson, after achieving fame rapidly as winner of the 3rd season of BET’s Sunday Best things started to descend. Partying and alcohol got the best of her and she ended up in jail for 30 days in 2018 after a DUI arrest. In February 2019, Johnson entered rehab; and according to a June Facebook Live video she has been sober for seven months (Amen!). Johnson has fallen,

and writhed in disgrace. More importantly after the fall, came humility and grace. Le’Andria Johnson is a woman of many facets and flaws. She is also a testimony to God’s amazing gifts constant love, strength, and power to deliver renewal to brighter days. Even though the sun will have set when she takes the stage at the Colorado Black Arts Festival on Sunday July 14, the Mile High night will shine brightly from her glow. In the Black community, the level of appreciation for the role that the Black voice has in shaping our art, culture development and well-being for our community is at a crescendo – determined not to be silenced. In the watershed 400th year of our American sojourn, there is an onslaught of divisive actions and vitriol rhetoric within our country, hell-bent on trying to marginalize us and make us think we are less than ideal. But there’s one thing I want you to remember: We created this. Before we were African Americans, we were Africans in America. We introduced this country to culture, class and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


civilization. Our people are the tastemakers, the innovators, the elevators, and the liberators. Every scholar or individual will agree that Africa, Mother Africa is the origination of civilization. The world as we know it would be nothing without the contributions from Africans and Mother Africa. Regardless of medium, art belongs to us – painting, sculpture, music, astronomy, science, culinary. You name it, we can claim it. In every quantifiable sense, everything that mankind has had the privilege of enjoying can be traced back to Mother Africa. That’s why the Colorado Black Arts Festival is essential for the African American spirit. The festival is a celebration of us, and all we’ve accomplished since the beginning of our time on this earth. The festival is a reminder that, art is Black and Black is beautiful.. Editor’s note: For more information about the Colorado Black Arts Festival visit

Drink Up During Summer Months By Kim Farmer


ow that summer is in full swing, the dry heat in Colorado can be overbearing at times. We are always reminded about the risks of dehydration and heat stroke when doing outside activities. One of the best ways to keep hydrated during the hot summer months is to drink plenty of water. However, many people are still unclear as to how much water to drink. The following points will help you determine what’s best for you: • While there is much conflicting information on the Internet, magazines and other media outlets, the general guideline still stands that for most people. It is recommended that we drink eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is commonly referred to as the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember. • Most healthy adults produce about 6 to 8 cups of urine a day (1.5 liters) and about a liter of fluid is lost from the

body from breathing, sweating and defecation. Additionally, most people get about 10-15 percent of water from their food but in hot weather, we need to drink more water. In Colorado we likely drink less water compared to people in more humid states due to water being lost from sweating. • If you enjoy performing intense exercise outdoors in the summer, you likely lose more sodium and potassium than most other people. Hence, the best way to replace these minerals is by the intake of fluids that contain sodium and potassium like vegetable juices or sports drinks in addition to drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Keep in mind the mineral replacement drinks also come along with extra calories and sugar so balance the rest of your daily food and drink intake accordingly.

• A common cause of dehydration in the workplace is air conditioning, which results in a lower water content in office environments leading to increased water lost from the lungs and through skin cells. If you are low on water intake at work, it could lead to symptoms such as increased fatigue, loss of concentration and frequent headaches. Drinking more water in air conditioned environments is a good idea. • Drinking plain water can get monotonous, so to add hydration through food, focus on eating fruits and veggies that contain high water content like grapes, melons, pineapples, oranges, cucumber, peaches, grapefruit, cherries, apricot, plums, celery and iceberg lettuce. In addition, you can also drink other beverages and it will count toward your fluid intake, but keep in mind that other beverages will contain things we don’t need like extra calories and/or sugar. One final thing to note is that the best way to tell if you are hydrated without going to the doctor is to check your urine; if it is yellow and clear, you are doing okay, but if it is dark yellow, you need to drink more water. Thanks for reading! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers inhome personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email inquiries@mileh i g h f i t n e s s . c o m

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

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

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


DESTINATION HEALTH 2019: Family Fest at City Park Join the Center for African American Health for old school summer fun, including guided walking groups and fun family activities featuring DJ K-Tone, Mand activities by Cooking Matters, Mo Betta Green, Montbello Organizing Committee, Gourmet Away, World Juice Bar, I M Unique, Black Girls Hike, Girls Trek and MORE!

Each year, The Center for

African American Health has hosted a 5K: Walk/Learn/Run in Denver’s City Park. This year, the event will have a unique twist and be free and open to the public as a Family Festival featuring group y walks around the lake led by Girls Trek and Black Girls Hike. No registration will be required. In addition to the walk, the event will bring families and people of all ages and backgrounds together for an old-school festival in the park. “As a newly designated Family Resource Center, we wanted to make this year’s event a big family-friendly celebration,� says CEO and Executive Director, Deidre Johnson. “We are especially focused on teaching our children the value of a healthy lifestyle and the importance of taking responsibility for their own health in addition to providing a lot of activities for fun! Destination Health provides an excellent opportunity to not only get the facts families need to make informed decisions about good nutrition and exercise, but to learn about preven-

The Center partners with a wide variety of health-education and health-delivery organizations to develop and provide culturally appropriate disease prevention and disease management programs to thousands each year.. Editor’s note: For more information about Destination Health: Family Fest at City Park including volunteer, exhibitor, and sponsorship opportunities visit tion and management of diseases that disproportionately impact the African American community.” The Family Festival will involve dozens of community partners who will join us on Saturday, July 27, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a fun-filled gathering at Denver’s beautiful City Park. Activities will be offered in various zones including the Movement Zone, which will feature a lineup of interactive events including yoga, Zumba, line dancing, belly dancing, salsa dancing, and paddle boat or bike rentals. The Food Zone will treat your taste buds to fresh fruits and vegetables at the FreshLo and Mo Betta Green Farmer’s Market, Chef Lisa Givens from Gourmet Away will offer some delicious treats, healthy smoothies will be available from Denise Sweet, and some food trucks will be on site with other traditional festival fare. For the kids, there will be face painting, inflatable fun, hula hooping, giant puzzles, double Dutch jump rope, a photo booth, haircuts, and more. The Learning Zone will enhance your health with dozens of exhibitors offering health resources and screenings and “Ask the Experts” on issues related to financial health, family health, insurance enrollment and more. Cooking Matters will present the Mock Grocery Store ($10 King Soopers Certificates for all participants).


Family Fest at City Park Saturday, July 27, 2019 | 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Denver City Park at the Pavilion 1700 York Street, Denver, CO

FREE and open to everyone! The Center for African American Health is hosting a fun-昀lled, family-friendly community gathering by the lake at beautiful City Park. JOIN US for music, dancing, giveaways, and more! There will be something for everyone! GET MOVING With yoga, Zumba, line dancing, walking groups, salsa, and paddle boat or bike rentals.

TREAT YOUR TASTEBUDS With the Festival Farmer’s Market, food trucks and vendors, healthy cooking demonstrations and food tastings.

FOR THE KIDS Face painting, bouncy castle, hula hoops, double Dutch jump rope, free photos, and more!

ENHANCE YOUR HEALTH With dozens of exhibitors offering health resources and screenings and “Ask the Experts” on issues related to 昀nancial health, family health, insurance enrollment and more.

The 昀rst 150 attendees get a free T-Shirt! Visit to learn more about Destination Health: Family Fest at City Park, including exhibitor, sponsorship, and volunteer opportunities. Sponsored by:

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


The Honorable Wellington E. Webb & Wilma J. Webb Before the nation had the Obamas, Colorado had the Webbs. Editor’s note: Former Denver First Lady Wilma J. Webb’s latest project is commissioning a sculpture of her husband, Wellington E. Webb, Denver’s first African American mayor who served 12 years from 1991 to 2003. The sculpture, also supported by Mayor Michael Hancock, will be placed in the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building to educate visitors about the city’s 42nd mayor. This month, we highlight their three terms as mayor and First Lady. Below is an edited excerpt from his autobiography, “The Man, the Mayor and the Making of Denver.”

My first term was con-

sumed with finishing 85 percent of Denver International Airport and getting it opened before May 1995. The four delayed openings, the botched baggage system, and the bogus investigations clouded everything we did those first four years. But we had many other accomplishments in that first term. Among the highlights was revitalizing downtown Denver with a Denver Economic Summit to promote new residential options, then the retail came. We created the Denver Healthy Authority, which helped save Denver Health Medical Center (formerly Denver General) from financial ruin. We successfully hosted Pope John Paul II and more than 200,000 visitors for “World Youth Day.” Wilma was the most active First Lady in the city’s history. Her work as chairperson of the Mayor’s Commission on Art, Culture, and Film included delivering major art pieces for the city, including Ed Dwight’s “I Have A

Dream” sculpture for Denver City Park, Botero’s “Man and Woman” and Jonathan Borofsky’s “The Dancers,” both at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and murals at DIA. We also had to address many challenges, including gang violence during the so-called “summer of violence” in 1993; the Ku Klux Klan disturbances on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Holiday; and a conflict between Italians and Native Americans over Columbus Day. Liberals and conservatives alike were telling me to stop the gang violence. “He was very upset when we saw the blood in the street,” said Charlotte Stephens, who ran a new city program called Safe City. “Wellington was angry. He said he was going to chase these fools out of Denver.” We began programs to offer youth summer jobs and the Mile High Scholars that lauded Denver Public Schools students. We blocked the KKK from getting a permit to protest during the MLK parade because community activists LeRoy Lemos, John McBride, Alvertis Simmons, Julia Gayles, and Carlos Guerra stood in line for 30 days to get the permit. I was fortunate to have Wilma by my side and many, many dedicated employees to finally get the new airport open. I felt like General Patton watching city workers move 100 aircraft, 13,000 vehicles, and 6,000 rental cars from Stapleton International Airport to DIA overnight without any interruption in airline service. The airport opened on Feb. 28, 1995, but I still faced a tough election for my second term.

During the 1995 reelection campaign, political consultant Jim Monaghan addressed our weaknesses with the press. My

best decision was hiring Denver native Andrew Hudson, a Manual High School graduate who had worked as a deputy press secretary for U.S. Senator Tim Wirth and spokesman for the Regional Transportation District. City Councilwoman Mary DeGroot ran against me in the 1995 race, along with City Auditor Bob Crider and attorney John Frew. DeGroot unfairly threw out words like cronyism and corruption. I ended up with 42.7 percent of the votes and she got 42.8 in the May election, which meant we had a runoff campaign. I had to shake off all of my

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


concerns of being a 6foot-4 Black man going head-to-head with a white female candidate. The gloves came off. Our supporters were not complacent in the runoff. I got 66,884 votes to DeGroot’s 56,725 votes. Among my main secprojects during my sec replacond term was replac ing abandoned, trash filled areas along the South Platte River with a series of parks, including Commons Park and Confluence Park; hosting world leaders for the Summit of the Eight; and the redevelopment of

the former Lowry Air Force Base and Stapleton Airport into neighborhoods, including the development of 50 parks on 1,100 acres at Stapleton before homes were built. At the same time, I successfully battled prostate cancer.

I also started a new program called “First Tuesday” where ordinary residents could visit with me from 5 to 7 p.m. Rich people always have access to government through lobbyists but poor people often are shut out. These meetings alerted me to such issues as the need to remove radium from a defunct chemical company and a homeless family in need of help. We got one young man scholarship money to Howard University. I declared 1998 the “Year of the Neighborhood” and we passed a $98 million bond. The projects included improvements at parks, recreation centers and police stations citywide. I also leased a vacant city building adjacent to the Denver City and County Building for $1 a year for 30 years to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless where they provided 100 apartments to their clients. During my last eight years, the Denver Central Library addition was completed; improvements were done to the Denver Zoo, Red Rocks and Denver Auditorium; and a new wing was built on the Denver Art Museum. Wilma also raised $1 million for a new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sculpture at City Park. Shortly before we left office, the $16 million Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in the historic Five Point neighborhood, which Wilma and I founded and designed, opened. I won a third term easily in 1999 with 81 percent of the votes, but that was a rough year for our city and our state. On April 20, 1999, I was hosting the National Conference of Black Mayors Convention in Denver when we learned two Columbine High School students killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher before killing themselves. Twenty-four students were injured, some paralyzed. The National Rifle Association was scheduled to come to Denver in a few weeks after the shooting and I urged them not to come. When the NRA showed up, we had hundreds of protesters in downtown Denver, including

some of the parents who lost children at Columbine. During my last term my administration also turned to the private sector of a joint partnership to build the 1,100 Hyatt Regency near the Colorado Convention Center; and made a lease agreement with Intrawest to keep ownership of Winter Park. We also built a new city building, a project City Councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt oversaw. She told the contractor, Hensel Phelps, that the building would be called the Civic Center Office Building, which they had sewn on their jackets. However, City Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, other council members and members of my staff wanted to name the building in my honor. Our lobbyist, Phil Workman, informed us that in order to do that we had to change a city ordinance that allowed city property to be named for someone only after their death. We also needed to get an ordinance supporting naming it in my honor. I liked the name of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building because most agencies would be dealing with municipal needs. Elbra led the fight, the two ordinances passed by a 10-3 vote, and the rest is history. But one thing we neglected to do was to install information in the building to explain: “Who is Wellington Webb?” That’s when Wilma decided to spearhead the project to get a statue along with a plague explaining our accomplishments. What that statue represents is all of the work we did together with the help of our family, our friends, our supporters, and the people of Denver. I hope it also shows younger generations that if you have a dream, believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you, anything is possible.. Editor’s note: For more information or how you can be involved, call Webb Group International at 303-893-9322 or email Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


Reflections on Denver's Recent Mayoral Runoff Election

Mayor Wellington Webb’s Suggested Top 10 Priorities Editor’s note: Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, who was the first African American mayor from 1991-2003, reflects on the recent mayoral runoff and the future of the Mile High City. “The 19th century was the century of empires, the 20th century was that of nation-states, and the 21st century is that of cities.” Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb at U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1999

While campaigning for mayor in 1991, I was often asked the question if I wanted Denver to look like San Francisco, or Chicago, or Santa Fe? But before they could finish that thought, I answered: “I have never heard who Michael Jordan wants to be like – I want people to say they wish their city was like Denver and the people of Denver would know they lived in a special place.” In July, our mayor will enter his third term and a new council will take their oath. As I drive around Denver or walk our parks, I see the unexpected transformation of our city – some good, some bad – and here are my thoughts and 10 priorities for our elected officials. One, we must tackle the issue of poverty, which has led to other issues, including homelessness. Two, we must manage growth and not let growth manage us. Some may say this

should have been done several years ago, but better late than never. Three, work harder to protect our historic preservation and protect our western heritage. For example, don’t tear down Larimer Square. This area is a unique space and doesn't need to be changed for the sake of change. Four, get back to listening to our neighborhood organizations. Their opinions should be a priority, not an afterthought. Five, preserve and promote our architectural design, and don’t mold us into neighborhoods of Chicago or New York. We want grass in front of condo buildings. Walking out a door onto the sidewalk with no greenery is not Denver. Six, protect our parks and open space. Seven, repeat with me: Protect our parks and open space. Eight, expand Denver Health Medical Center because it is our medical safety net and a national model for health care. Nine, let me focus on a few issues that cover basic city services. First, revise the concession program at Denver International Airport to 10-year leases, and build minority and women business opportunities, which means the large corporations have to be held accountable. My administration was the first to open the airport concessions to local small business, women and minority owned businesses. This can't just be a policy on paper but enforced to include qualifying businesses. Second, do not charge Denver residents for trash collection, and a new fee for recycling is a backward way to go about it. Internationally, China and India no longer will take our recycled products. City employees are the glue that holds the city together. They should get a pay raise. Lastly, refocus on pedestrian safety and give tickets to drivers who don't stop for pedestrians in the right of way,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


and ticket pedestrians that jaywalk. Our streets have become danger zones where everything goes. A few tickets will help remind drivers and pedestrian about basic safety laws. Ten, our elected officials need to be bold. Make decisions, even the unpopular ones, because that's your job. We all want to be able to say we love Denver because it is unique. Don't let us turn into San Francisco or Chicago, or any other city. As I often said as mayor, “That's not the way we do things in Denver.”.

When They See Us With Closed Eyes & A Cold Heart Op-ed by Rosalind “Bee” Harris

The aftermath of the Denver Mayoral election runoff race between Mayor Michael B. Hancock and candidate Jamie Giellis is still brewing with opinions, narratives and analysis. And let’s be clear, this is not to offend anyone, this is just my observations and perspective. Early on in her campaign, the domino effect began when Giellis appeared on a Face Book Live talk show revealing she did not know the acronym for the NAACP, and then laughing about it. That was then followed with her not knowing what the mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was, which is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. The dominos continued to fall with her scrubbing her culturally insensitive Instagram account posts, advertising a

“meet and greet” fundraiser (at a Mexican restaurant) for a nacho/taco bar and lowriders conversation; and also a 10 year old tweet wondering why so many cities felt it was necessary to have a ‘Chinatown.’ Her slip-ups, reminded me of the first blunder by Donald Trump who bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation. Since then, he has assembled a long record of comments on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, and also President Barack Obama. And he was still elected to preside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. Although her “ride or die” small group of social media black male cohorts were in her corner, her dominos continued to fall with her denial of mayoral debates with communities of color, a disgruntled dis-unity team, a poorly run campaign, acknowledging that she comes from white privilege and last minute press conferences to discredit Mayor Hancock, confirming she was totally unqualified to run the city of Denver. However, it does not remove my uneasiness about the campaign which was immersed with total disrespect by malicious, despicable and hateful words verbalized, interchangeably, on social media. But we soon learned that social media post does not warrant votes as many of the endorsed candidates on that FB live talk show did not win except (I think) one highly publicized race. Congratulations to Candi CdeBaca. As a businesswoman, and publisher of an award-winning 32 year old publication, we have had our challenges. With the onset of the internet and digital advertisers, we have lost major advertisers who are also

changing advertising strategies. In spite of those challenges, we have stood the test of time and kept it moving. We can’t blame them, we refuse to hold a grudge and we will not be angry. There is no room for revenge. But, everyone has a right to their opinions, freedom of speech, and to vote. Since May 7th, we have seen us, and how they see us, from whom I refer to as the Dubious Seven (D7). However, as one who appreciates and respects the full spectrum of the human race, and one who has a Black father, sons, and grandsons, it was troubling to witness what I have recently seen and heard. We have seen a Black man vacationing in Ethiopia teaching about rich African history and culture while vilifying a Black man and encouraging his white allies to vote for an unqualified white woman running against him. We have seen two 2019 African Americans Who Make A Difference honorees trying to make a difference by endorsing an unqualified white woman mayoral candidate. We have seen a pastor standing in front of the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library talking about the importance of voting and how our ancestors died for us to have the right to vote while endorsing an unqualified white woman over a Black man running for mayor. We have a seen a pastor jeopardizing the nonprofit status of a well-respected church for standing up in support of an unqualified white woman running to unseat a two-term Black mayor. We have seen a former Black state representative, who was supported by Mayor Michael Hancock with his campaign, stand by an unqualified white woman as part of her unity team in support of her candidacy against Michael Hancock. We also have seen a Black community activist, who by the way contributed to the award-

winning Denver Urban Spectrum, refer to it as a rag. Talking Black and walking white does not sit well with me. And deep in my heart, I believe the D7 and many others knew that Mayor Michael B. Hancock was still the best candidate and most qualified to run the city. How and why did this form of “Black on Black Crime” surface? So when they see us, how do they see us? How did they see Mayor Michael B. Hancock and why? Twenty four years ago on June 5, 1995, my friend and fellow publisher Chris Fresquez with The Weekly Issue, El Semanario, felt it was a critical time to bring the communities of color together by endorsing Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb over his challenger Mary DeGroot. The June 4, 2019 Mayoral runoff race was a critical election, and once again we joined forces to help unite the commu-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


nity and publicly endorsed Mayor Hancock. While her last domino was falling, they were being uplifted at the other end with Team Hancock, the Webb Machine, the many committed volunteers, canvassers, and the ground troops as Mayor Michael B. Hancock prevailed with winning his third term as mayor. We have more upcoming elections, and a critical one in 2020. I hope the D7 (and the others who were quietly outspoken) revisit their values, integrity and ancestral heritage and see us through a new set of ethically-spirited eyes. In her highly acclaimed Netflix movie, When They See Us, Ava DuVernay reveals we have historically been falsely accused and convicted by white people and a very flawed justice system for years. There is no way today, in this Black America, we should be witnessing this form of castration of a Black man from Black men..

Run&Shoot Filmworks presents The Color of Conversation Film Festival in Denver

The Festival will feature current thought leaders and influencers, along with frontline content from storytellers of color Run&Shoot Filmworks, the production company behind the Academy Award®-accredited Martha’s Vineyard African American Festival (MVAAFF), announced a newly formed partnership with the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the

Performing Arts at the University of Denver. Run&Shoot Filmworks, in collaboration with the Newman Center, will present the Color of Conversation Film Festival (COCFF), which will run from July 18-20. The Mile-High City will serve as the perfect backdrop for the COCFF because of its diversity of culture and heritage. With its “must-see” art exhibits and performing and public art spaces, Denver has emerged as a thriving, impressive, and creative landscape. In 2002, Run&Shoot Filmworks successfully launched the Martha’s Vineyard African American Festival (MVAAFF). Now in its 17th year, the festival provides a nurturing environment for African American filmmakers and audiences on the historic and coveted beach island destination.

This new film festival represents an extension of the MVAAFF’s dedication to support the creation and advancement of innovative, artistic cinematic works for both rising and seasoned filmmakers of color. The Color of Conversation Film Festival seeks to stimulate an acknowledgment of film as a viable and appreciable art form and encourages people of every background to participate in the conversation. Floyd and Stephanie Rance, co-founders of Run&Shoot Filmworks, proudly embrace Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


the passion, vision, and independent spirit of talented artists. The Color of Conversation Film Festival invites a global audience to hear from these creative individuals. “Several years ago, Floyd and I developed the Color of Conversation Series with Macy’s and CBS on a smaller scale. Expanding the event is a natural progression into a complete film festival,” states Stephanie Rance.

One of the featured guests at this year’s festival is Emmynominated actor, director and producer Tim Reid. Reid will be speaking with moderator and Cultural Critic Lisa Kennedy about Frank’s Place, an American comedy-drama series that aired on CBS for 22 episodes during the 1987-1988 television season. Set in New Orleans, Frank’s Place chronicles the life of Frank

Parrish (Tim Reid), a well-to-do African-American professor at Brown University, an Ivy League university in Providence, Rhode Island, who inherits a restaurant, Chez Louisiane.. Editor’s note: The complete lineup for the inaugural Color of Conversation Film Festival is available online and tickets are on sale at For more information, visit

The Color of Conversation Film Festival adds compelling and prolific programming to the Run&Shoot Filmworks portfolio and gives attendees who are unable to attend the MVAAFF an opportunity to participate in one of the film industry’s premium storyteller events. “We are thrilled to be asked to partner with Floyd and Stephanie on this new undertaking. We are aware of their success with the film festival at Martha’s Vineyard and extending their innovative programming outreach to the Denver area is sure to connect with a receptive audience. The Color of Conversation Film Festival will make for a unique and exciting new addition to the Newman Center and one that we can’t wait to share with our audience,” said Kendra Whitlock Ingram, Executive Director of the Newman Center. “We continuously look for ways to bring dynamic programming to audiences outside of MVAAFF. We are so happy to collaborate with the Newman Center; this is the perfect complement to what they have previously presented,” adds Floyd Rance, Founder of Run&Shoot Filmworks. Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019



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’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Laurence Washington is the creator of Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter

Constance Ejuma Talks About Ghost Towns and Crisis in Cameroon

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

She’s an award-winning actress and producer whose film credits include Marvel’s Black Panther, a film which earned her a Best Stunt Ensemble SAG Award. With credits in theatre, television and commercials, the Cameroonianborn thespian has worked with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Academy Award nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo and was also featured as an African Warrior Queen in Jennifer Lopez’s music video for the hit single “El Anillo.” Ejuma, who produced and starred in the award-winning Ben & Ara, just premiered her one woman show, Ghost Town, about the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon. Directed by Jude Yong, Ghost Town is playing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles. Samantha OfolePrince caught up with the talented thespian to learn more about the solo show. BlackFlix: Can you explain the connotation behind the play’s title Ghost Town and why you chose it?

Constance Ejuma: Ghost towns originally started as a form of peaceful protest where schools, shops and businesses would all close down and everyone would stay home. I think initially the idea was to disrupt the local economy enough to force the government to take the protests seriously. Now though, ghost towns have taken a darker turn as civilians who fail to observe it risk retaliation from either the military or the separatists. It resonated with me as the best title for this show because there are symbolic as well as literal ghost towns littered across the North West and South West provinces of Cameroon as a result of the Anglophone Crisis. On the one hand, you have towns that observe regularly scheduled ghost towns. On the other hand, you have villages that are burnt down and deserted as people had to flee or risk getting killed. The eerie vacancy of large spaces that were once teeming with life is disturbing enough, but nothing beats the tragedy of the disappearance of a whole community. BlackFlix: This is a project you have written, starred in and produced. How challenging is it wearing so many hats and how long did it take to write?  Constance Ejuma I slowly started working on this in July 2018 and it took about six months for me to write it. The great thing about doing a oneperson show is that it allows you to exert a lot of control over how the story is told. I had the freedom to execute my vision almost to the letter. I wanted to run a light ship and make the production as minimalistic as possible, which meant the story had to speak for itself – not extravagant sets or lavish costumes. Since this is my first one-woman show, I was determined to give myself as much time as possible to be able to properly balance both the cre-

ative and business demands of the project. And doing a show at a fringe festival comes with its own special set of challenges, but it’s been a great learning experience. What has really brought this project to life is working with a great director like Jude Yong who not only has a great deal of insight on the subject matter but is able to get to the heart of each character’s need and work with me to make each of them shine. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to produce this without that kind of support. BlackFlix: Ghost Town explores the various points of view surrounding the ‘Anglophone Crisis’ which erupted in Cameroon in 2016. Does the show also serve as a historical lesson for those unfamiliar with the country’s dark past?   Constance EjumaWhat motivated me to do this project was the fact that there’s a lack of awareness about the ‘Anglophone Crisis.’ So a huge component of the show is the presentation of audio-visual materials which provide the audience with much needed context about how things came to be the way they are today. I wanted to pivot between a macro and a micro view of the subject to balance things out. If you’re unfamiliar with Cameroon’s history, you’ll learn a lot from the show. BlackFlix:Having conducted extensive research to produce the play, what did you learn about Cameroon that you weren’t initially aware of before?  Constance Ejuma The biggest surprise was that this isn’t the first time there’s been a crisis of this nature in Cameroon. A similar conflict erupted in the mid90s so the fact that it’s resurfaced just points to the fact that there are many unresolved issues that still need to be properly addressed.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


BlackFlix: Colonized by the French and the British, Cameroon is still experiencing the consequences of post-colonial reunification. Why do you think that is? Constance Ejuma The biggest irony about this situation is that on the surface, the conflict appears to be about which excolonizer’s language, culture and system of governance should dominate – English or French. But the deeper issue is that a faction of the Cameroonian population feels oppressed and marginalized and for close to 60 years their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Things have come to head once again. BlackFlix: What do you hope audiences will take away from Ghost Town?  Constance Ejuma I would like audiences to leave the show having a better understanding of what’s happening in Cameroon and, in effect, broaden their sense of awareness of the various forms of oppression people are experiencing the world over. It’s easy to think that the tragedies we hear about in the news are the only ones that are happening in the world and that isn’t the case at all..

Aladdin ***1/2 By Carrie Rutledge Will Smith in Aladdin

The 1992 animated musical Aladdin is the latest movie to get the Disney live-action remake

You are always 1st with us!

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM treatment. Aladdin was the first of the Disney Animation Studios films to incorporate a celebrity voice into its animated features, blazing the trail that would lead to The Lion King, Pocahontas, Toy Story and the rest. With the voice of comedy genius Robin Williams as a draw, and a score by Howard Ashman, Alan Menken and Tim Rice, Aladdin quickly became a classic, earning two Academy Awards and becoming the topgrossing movie of the year. In this remake, the story remains the same as the animated classic. Orphaned petty thief and so-called street rat, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) falls for the beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), who in turn is feeling stifled by an overprotective father and the restrictive role of women in society and governance. The ambitious Grand Vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), meanwhile, seeks a magical lamp that can only be recovered by “The Diamond in the Rough.” Surprise, this uncut gem turns out to be none other than the aforementioned street rat. Aladdin recovers the lamp, but instead of turning it over to Jafar, he releases the Genie (Will Smith) on his own and hijinks ensue. Massoud is charmingly confident as Aladdin, and equally charming bumbling through his disguise as the wealthy Prince Ali. Scott’s Jasmine is lovely and charismatic. Princess Jasmine is given considerably more agency in her own story than in the original animated movie, which is a nice shift. The newly added song, “Speechless” highlights the oppression she feels as a woman in her quasi-Arabic society, and her ambition to become more than a silent decoration in her father’s or husband’s court. Undoubtedly, the role that caused the biggest controversy was the casting of Will Smith as

the “big blue Genie.” Early photos and trailers were panned primarily for the Genie’s awkward appearance. However, in the final release, this problem was largely abated. Smith and director Guy Ritchie wisely did not attempt to make the Genie an imitation of Robin Williams. They clearly knew that no one could survive that comparison. This Genie is different: still manic, in his own way; still funny, but with an original flair. Smith makes the role his own, leveraging his naturally engaging personality and screen presence for maximum effect. So if the cast was fine, the effects were fantastic and the score was great, why did I leave the movie thinking it was just OK? There are several reasons. First, Jafar lacked menace. Kenzari just wasn’t scary or intimidating. He was possibly the blandest Disney villain of all time. Iago the parrot (voiced by Alan Tudyk) was more villainous than his master. How can you root against a villain who feels more like a pouty teen than an evil sorcerer and who is upstaged by a barely verbal bird? Second, the musical numbers, with the exception of the fabulously staged “Prince Ali,” lacked heart. Massoud and Scott both have fine singing voices, but their songs didn’t have the kind of energy I’ve come to expect from a Disney musical. I found myself just wanting the songs to end so we could get on with the story. Finally, the pacing was too slow in all the wrong places. The lead-in went on too long and Jafar’s inevitable turn to the dark side was almost tedious. Overall, Aladdin is a fine effort, but one that suffers from a few major flaws, and which pales when compared to its source material. .

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


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HATS OFF TO grandchildren walk across many high school and college graduation stages. This time, it’s their turn. George Ramirez attended Manual High School but was drafted and did his patriotic duty to help the country in World War II. He served in the US Army, spending the bulk of his military duty as a tank driver in France, Belgium and Germany. Ramirez was honorably discharged, returned stateside and married. He and his wife had seven children. All of the children graduated from


Langley Foundation Presents Five Scholarships The Drs. Joseph and Alice Langley Scholarship Foundation hosted an awards reception on Saturday, June 8 at New Hope Baptist Church. Da’Minique Dillard-Rusk, Lindsey Glenn, Elizabeth Harvey, Jael Mallory, and Nicholas Manning each received $1,000 scholarships to be used at the university they choose to attend. Special guest speaker was Tracey Adams Johnson, former professor at University of Denver who spoke on the topic of what to do and how to succeed while in college. Two 2017 award recipients, Jaiden Emerson and Lydia Agyemany, read the bios of each winner and Dr. Claudette Sweet sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz - The Denver Post

L to R:George, a cousin and Anita

Nearly Eight Decades Later, Manual Students Get High School Diplomas Two 90-plus year-old Denverites get their wish to become high school graduates For decades, 94-year-old Anita Ramirez Cruz and her brother, 95-year-old George Ramirez, watched their children, grandchildren and great-


Banneker Meets Banneker

Making transmissions well since 1983.

After former Denver resident and historian Denver Norman researched his Benjamin Banneker family roots (a descendent of the Banneker family), he met with fellow historian, businessman and owner of Banneker Watches, Derrick Holmes, who presented him with a special gift none other than a genuine Banneker Watch. Congratulations on your historic encounter. Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


high school. Four of them earned college degrees. Anita Ramirez Cruz also attended Manual. As a teen, she had to help financially support the family. She left school and became a live-in nanny for a family with three children for three years. Later on, Cruz married. She and her husband had three children. Because she was not able to finish high school, she always stressed the importance of education to her children and grandchildren. All of her children graduated from high school, with two of them earning college degrees. On Wednesday, May 29, the brother and sister received their long-awaited diplomas from Manual High School.

Bullying got you down?

IT’S TIME TO ADDRESS OUR YOUTHS ONLINE DRAMA! •Cyber Bullying •Online Hate Speech •Internet and Gaming Addictions •Online Predators •Inappropriate Pictures/Sexting •Imposed Suicidal Ideation •Fake Online Friends and more…

Join us as we discuss the most crucial issues of our time at

The Educator’s Forum on Social Media’s Impact on our Students Invited Guests and Participants: Senator Michael Bennet, Mayor Michael Hancock, Governor Polis, School Superintendents, Principals, State Policy Makers, School Board Members, Student Leaders, Parents and Community Partners

Friday, September 20, 2019 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre - 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205

For more information, to participate, or to RSVP, call 303-292-6446. To pre-order the working textbook and for more information, visit or call 800-995-7670.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019



Denver Public Schools Offers Free Summer Meals to Children 18 and Under Denver Public Schools (DPS) is ensuring that children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. On June 3, Mayor Michael Hancock, Councilman Kevin Flynn and representatives from Denver Public Schools enjoyed lunch with more than 100 students and families at Force Elementary School as part of the kickoff event to the Free Summer Meal Program. The program will provide free breakfast and lunch for all children under the age of 18, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.50. Nearly 70 percent of DPS students qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price lunch program during the school year. The district’s Free Summer Meal Program serves meals five days a week at more than 50 school locations throughout the summer. There will be no service on weekends or on July 4. The summer program is expected to provide meals for more than 11,000 children each day. Each summer meal follows the same strict U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines that DPS follows during the school year. Meals include foods made from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and limit sodium and fat. For locations, dates and serving times, visit, text “FOOD” to 87787 or visit to find non-DPS school sites that are serving summer meals.

Tune in to Denver 89.3FM, Breckenridge 89.7FM, Vail 88.5FM or download our app today and listen anytime, anywhere.

CWHF Accepting Nominations of Amazing Women Until August 1


The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF) announced the deadline is August 1 for its

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


“Call for Nominations” for its next group of extraordinary women to be inducted into the Hall. Representing the “Class of 2020,” up to 10 women will be inducted in March 2020. Every two years, the CWHF inducts contemporary and historical women with significant ties to Colorado who have made enduring and exemplary contributions to their fields, elevated the status of women and helped open new frontiers for women and society. Nominations are generated by the citizens of Colorado who put forward a wide variety of extraordinary women for consideration. These nominations are evaluated by an independent selection committee comprised of diverse citizens from around the state who are experts in their fields. The six contemporary and four historical women inducted into the Hall must meet the following criteria: • Made enduring contributions in their field • Elevated the status of women/girls • Helped open new frontiers for women and society The Hall believes that individuals, businesses, and organizations that submit nominations for the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame send a strong message that women and their contributions matter. Nominations are due by August 1. For more information about the selection criteria visit tees/nominate/

WeFreeStrings Denver Community Residency Offers Free Performances New York-based WeFreeStrings chamber jazz sextet will perform August 12 through 15, 2019 at the BlairCaldwell, Pauline Robinson, Ford-Warren branch libraries and the Rachel Noel Community Arts School. Audiences will hear original improvised music influenced

COMMUNITY NOTES and inspired by Afro-Atlantic traditional songs, the blues, post-bop and 21st c. avantgarde by world-class musicians. Performances will highlight historic African American string improvisers and audience discussion. Performances will be held Monday, Aug. 12, 6 to 8 p.m., Bair Caldwell Branch Library, 2401 Welton; Tuesday, Aug. 13, 6 to 8 p.m. Pauline Robinson Branch Library, 5575 East 33rd Ave.; Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2 to 4 p.m. Ford-Warren branch Library, 2825 High St., and Thursday, Aug. 15, 6 to 8 p.m., Noel Community Arts School, 5000 Crown Blvd. Admission is free and open to the public. The Residency, a partnership between WeFreeStrings, BlairCaldwell Library and Colorado Black Arts Movement, is made possible with major support from Chamber Music America through its Residency Endowment Fund, a matching gift from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and a generous gift from Colorado Black Arts Movement.

Heart on Fire Benefit Slated For September The Brotherhood of Joy, Inc. presents “Heart on Fire,” a benefit scholarship Concert, in memory of Apostle Ralph E. Beechum, Sr., former pastor of The House of Joy Miracle Deliverance Church. The event will be held at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 1500 South Dayton St. in Denver on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. and will feature the House of Joy Praise & Worship Team, Ron McMillon, Kenny Jones and a special guest performance by Fred Hammond. The Apostle Ralph E. Beechum Sr. scholarship fund is established to support cancer research, medical diagnostic and music education. Three scholarship recipients will be awarded $1,000 to further their

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college education in the medical field and music. Sponsorship opportunities are available and vendor application deadline is July 30. For more information or tickets, visit www., or call Pastor Eric D. Beechum at 303591-2559.


Save the Date for Hope for the Future in September Hope for the Future, Hope Communities’ annual fundraising event, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and will feature entertainment by the Hazel Miller Band. The evening will also feature a silent auction. Tickets, which are available online at, are $75 in advance by 9/12/19 ($90 after and at the door). New this year, a “young professionals” ticket for those who are 30 years old and younger is available for $40. All proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Hope Communities. Hope Communities, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, owns and manages nearly 300 rental units in four communities located in the Five Points, Northeast Park Hill and East Colfax neighborhoods. To ensure that Denver remains a city of opportunity where everyone has a safe, affordable place to live; apartments are rented to individuals and families based on economic capacity, targeting those whose income is below the Denver area median income (AMI). A large proportion of Hope Communities’ residents earn less than $20,000 per household per year. Hope Communities provides free, onsite, voluntary programs and services to its residents and the surrounding neighborhoods. For more information, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019



Remembering Judge Wiley Young Daniel


iley Young Daniel was born on September 10, 1946 in Louisville, Kentucky, the only child of Lavinia Young Daniel and Wiley Bowman Daniel, Jr. Following in the footsteps of his parents who both attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Wiley received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C. During his second year of law school, Wiley met the love of his life and future wife, Ida Blanche Seymour of Denver. Wiley and Ida married on April 17, 1971 and had three daughters: Jennifer, Stephanie, and Nicole. Wiley began his legal career focused on civil litigation, worked as a senior associate, and was promoted to partner in early 1980. In 1988, he began handling complex litigation matters in Colorado, Minnesota, and Florida. He became president of the Colorado Bar Association in 1992, and was the only African American to serve in that capacity. In September 1995, Wiley was

appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado by President Bill Clinton, and became the first .African American to serve on the Court, becoming Chief Judge of the Court in 2008. Wiley assumed Senior Judge status in 2013, and continued to preside over a demanding case load until his untimely death on May 10, 2019. In addition to his case load, Wiley was quite active as a judge. From May 2009 to April 2011, he served as President of the Federal Judges Association. From August 2013 to April 2015, Wiley was appointed as a special mediator for the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy proceeding, and from 2013 until his death, he sat by designation with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Wiley received many awards. He was the recipient of the American Inns of Court Foundation Professionalism Award for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals; he was honored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Epsilon Nu Omega Chapter as a M.O.D.E.L. (Men of Distinction, Excellence and Leadership) honoree; he was inducted into the “Blacks in Colorado” Hall of Fame; and he was awarded the King Trimble Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sam Cary Bar Association. In recognition of his lifelong commitment to diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession, Wiley was selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. The National Black Prosecutors Association presented him with the Trailblazer Award, and he was recognized as an African American History Month Honoree by Mayor Michael Hancock. Wiley actively participated in bar and civic organizations with emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and/or focused on

the importance of mentoring children and young adults. He served on the boards of Denver Kids Inc., AMikids Inc., Denver Children’s Choir, and The Center for African American Health. Wiley was also active with Delta Eta Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, The Owl Club of Denver, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Park Hill United Methodist Church where he served as a church leader, and for many years chaperoned youth mission trips. Finally, his current and former law clerks established the Judge Wiley Y. Daniel Endowed Scholarship Fund at his alma mater, Howard University School of Law. Wiley was also a devoted and skilled teacher and mentor to thousands of law students and lawyers in Colorado. He taught courses in trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He also enjoyed mentoring high school, college, and law students, along with practicing attorneys and other professionals. Wiley was a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education programs throughout the country, and recently spoke at Howard University School of Law’s 150th Anniversary celebration. Wiley was an active member of the Park Hill neighborhood, and would regularly deliver the neighborhood paper, sometimes with the help of his grandsons, Langston and Quincy. He was an avid sports fan, and loved spending nights on the couch watching basketball games or attending Broncos football games, shooting hoops in the driveway, and playing golf with friends and his grandsons. Wiley loved to travel and experience new adventures. Ida and Wiley took several memorable international trips together, including to Cuba,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019


Italy, Peru, and Southeast Asia. Wiley was a gifted musician who enjoyed playing the piano, singing in his church’s gospel choir, and playing hand bells. Wiley was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, and uncle. Wiley is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Ida; his three daughters, Jennifer Daniel Collins, Stephanie Daniel, and Nicole Daniel; his two grandsons, Langston Collins and Quincy Collins; his son-in-law David Collins; and his close paternal cousins: Edward K. Glass Jr., G. Reginald Daniel, Thernell Pete Anderson, and Malva Daniel Reid, and their families. Wiley is also survived by his wife’s three siblings and their families: sister-in-law Patricia Rogers and children; sister-in-law JoEllen Greenwood, her husband James, and children; and brother-in-law Winfred Seymour Jr., his wife Jane-Ellen, and children, and additional extended family members.

Kam Williams: Prolific Film and Literary Critic Dies


ilm critic and literary writer Kam Williams, who enjoyed a nearly 22-year career as a writer, passed away May 30 from prostate cancer. He was 66 years old.

REST IN PEACE A resident of Princeton, N.J., Williams published nearly 10,000 articles and reviews before he passed away. Over the past two decades, he gained notoriety for his film reviews and celebrity interviews for over 100 publications around the world, ranging from local papers such as Princeton’s Town Topics and the MSR to international news chain Metro and review site Williams also wrote countless book reviews and editorials, as well as a novel that will be published posthumously later this year. Born Lloyd Joseph Williams in New York City and raised in St. Albans, Queens, Williams was given the nickname “Kam (short for “Kamau”) by famed jazz musician Sun Ra while attending Brown University. Williams’ path to a career in writing was circuitous. After graduating from Brooklyn Tech High School in New York City, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in Black literature from Cornell University in 1974. He first attempted a career in screenwriting at Chicago’s WTTW, a PBS affiliate TV station, while working on his Master’s in English from Brown in 1975. However, Williams, had a diverse set of interests and diverted his attention from writing to business and entertainment law, receiving his J.D. from Boston University in 1978 (along with Bar membership in MA, PA, CT, NY and NJ) followed by an MBA. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. Williams’ first wife, the late Kristina Barbara Johnson, introduced him to art dealing and the antique business in which he subsequently deployed his corporate and legal knowledge for over a decade. According to friends and family, he had a colorful per-

sonality and a commanding presence. A tall African American man with freckles, he wore his red-tinged hair in what became his signature afro, and was immediately noticeable in a crowd. His diverse life experiences and base of knowledge (he was a polymath who read a book a week) made him a compelling conversationalist and led to a brief but recurring guest appearance on the radio show, The Howard Stern Show. It was that experience that later sparked his career in journalism. A family friend and writer at Princeton Packet, a local newspaper in his hometown, recommended Williams write a film review of Howard Stern’s 1997 biographical film Private Parts. His work ethic and glowing journalistic reputation led to extensive work interviewing celebrities associated with upcoming film and book releases, including Quentin Tarantino, Denzel Washington, Mel Brooks, Russell Simmons, LeBron James, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, among many others. Williams was also a staunch supporter of civil rights-related causes, publishing countless opeds on the topic and later joined the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Outside of his writing career, he had a deep passion for music and boasted a large collection of albums. He enjoyed long daily walks in nature, was an avid sports fan and a passionate Little League baseball coach. He was also an enthusiastic participant in weekly trivia nights with a large group of friends. He is survived by many friends, four siblings (Lawrence, Daryl, Teresa and Rod) and his second wife of 25 years, Susan, and stepson, Nicholas. A memorial service was held at the Princeton Garden Theater on June 29.

Celebrating the Life George “Raymond” Brown

His Life’s Journey George “Raymond” Brown life’s journey began on October 22, 1944 in Des Moines, Iowa. He was the 15th child born to his late parents Isaiah and Pearl Brown. George “Raymond” graduated from Ankeny High School in 1962 in Iowa. After graduating, he attended college at Central College in Pella attended Ellsworth Jr. Community College. During his summer months of high school and college, he worked for John Deer in Ankeny, Iowa. In 1963, he met the love of his life Bonita Jones and on October 2, 1965 they were united in holy matrimony, until his death for more than 53 years. To this union they had children, Andriea Marie and George Raymond, Jr. They lived in Des Moines, Iowa, and were members of Our Saviour Baptist Church where his brother Theodore Brown was the Pastor. George “Raymond” also served in the United States Army from 1965 to 1967 and received an honorable discharge. In 1977, he moved his family to Denver, Colorado and opened a restaurant with his brother Robert, Brown Sugar’s Burger Dee-Lite June at 1819 E. 28th Ave. In 1991, his family-owned and operated business relocated to the Five Points community on Welton St. and changed the name to Brown Sugar’s Burgers & Bones. He was often referred to as Mr. Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cheesy George as well as other terms of endearment. After 35 years in the restaurant business he retired. In addition to their children, the Raymond and Bonita became foster parents to John, Charles, Rodrick, David, Patrick and Ernest in 1981. Over the years as of doing business in Denver and Aurora, George “Raymond” received many awards and expressions of appreciation for his community involvement from Manual High School, the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., and the National Kidney Association and others. In 1997 he and his wife joined Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, under the Praetorship of Del T. Phillips. George “Raymond” started having serious health problems in 2007 however, he because of his strong faith in God faith in God, he shares that the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit was with him at all times. In his free time he enjoyed watching sports and listening jazz, R&B and gospel. He and his brother Robert enjoyed greyhound racing. George “Raymond” was a devoted loving husband, father, grandpa and Pa Pa. Nothing was more important than the care and safety of his family. His greatest pleasure was being with his family and friends. In November 2017, George “Raymond” and Bonita moved to Homosassa, Florida. George “Raymond” Brown departed this life on May 12, 2019 in Tamp . He leaves to cherish his memory, wife Bonita; daughter Andriea M. Brown of Aurora and son George R. Brown, Jr. (Debra) of Mitchellville, MD; grandchildren Tiyenysa Thomas and Brinton Thomas of Denver and George R. Brown III and Paige Brown of Mitchellville, MD.; great grandchildren Samara Kuykendoll and Royce Williams of Denver; niece Mischelle Brown of Denver; brothers Marvin (Shirley) Brown of Des Moines and Le Roy Brown of Aurora, sister Claudine Brissett of Chicago; his lifelong friends John (Linda) Davis of Homosassa, FL; Zane (Janana) Smith of West Des Moines, IA.; and a host of nieces, nephews other relatives and friends. Editor’s note: A memorial service and repast will be Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 1500 S. Dayton St. in Aurora.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019





Photos by Lens of Ansar 2019 BeautillionCotillion Ball Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock Campaign Trail, GOTV Rally and Election Night 2019 Juneteenth Musical Festival

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2019



Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

July 2019 Denver Urban Spectrum  

This month, we feature Papa Dia and the African Leadership Group and the 7 day week-long event, Afrik Impact, planned for August. Also read...

July 2019 Denver Urban Spectrum  

This month, we feature Papa Dia and the African Leadership Group and the 7 day week-long event, Afrik Impact, planned for August. Also read...