Page 1

Volume 28 Number 3

June 2014

My Dad: Denver’s ‘Godfather of Jazz’ George Morrison, Jr. Reflects on George Morrison, Sr....4 Father’s Day: Saying Goodbye To Two Fathers...8, 9; and Honoring Ten...17-20

Juneteenth: Explore your roots and find your bones...10

Photo courtesy of the Morrison family

Black Music Month : Entertainment On The Horizon...30, 31


Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing excellent care today, which leads to healthier tomorrows. From cancer and cardiology to high blood pressure and stroke, the excellent care we provide for these conditions and others leads to better outcomes for our patients.

From generation to generation to generation...


June 2014

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Wanda James Dr. Abayomi Meeks

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams BlackFlix

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons LisaMarie Martinez Angelia D. McGowan ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris


“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.” – NBA Legend Michael Jordan

This month’s issue is packed with people who have put in the work. Annually, in the month of June, we celebrate Black Music Month, Father’s Day and Juneteenth. This year, June also happens to be the month the Denver Urban Spectrum is holding its anniversary celebration and recognizing the monumental work of 10 African American fathers from a broad range of careers. On June 15, the DUS program “Men of Distinction, Fathers of Wisdom” will honor their full-court press. This month George Morrison, Jr. is celebrating his 89th birthday and 66th wedding anniversary with his wife, Marjorie. In our cover issue Morrison, Jr. reflects on his life as the son of “Denver’s Godfather of Jazz” and how his father, a world renowned violinist and orchestra leader, helped him set the tone for his life. As we see with social media, there’s no better compliment or awareness of something than to share the story again and again. While many Denver natives know the Morrison family’s story, we are proud to tell it again. The younger generations might learn something new while the older generations will hopefully delight in a jazzy stroll down memory lane. In this issue our contributing writer LisaMarie Martinez shines the spotlight on Denver’s musical talent. Contributing writer Charles Emmons explores the mission of Diaspora Mining Company to build profitable relationships between the African American community in the U.S. and the African community in Africa. Columnists Wanda James and Dr. Abayomi Meeks give us insight into relevant medical issues. Lest we forget, we’ve also included a ‘Public Sale of Negroes” document (p.30) to remind us of the world Juneteenth sought to banish. When the work is all said and done, it is sometimes easy to say our heroes, legends and role models faced no obstacles in meeting their successes because they made it look so easy. Booker T. Washington said it best: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” And on that note, we dedicate this issue to two heroes, legends, role models and also fathers: Dr. Vincent Harding who shared a tender heart through many battles and Cornelius Ernest Jones, Sr., who earned two Bronze Stars while serving in the U.S. Army, receiving them 61 years later on May 15, passing two days later.

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Sweetz Photography


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 2014 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.


Donald Sterling Unrobed

and employing many people of color across the country. Twenty years ago I did an editorial for the Urban Spectrum on Magic Johnson and how he battled the HIV virus and remained positive. Johnson has become a role model to many no matter how your see it. Sterling, in many ways, confirms so much of what many have said about the old slave master. Sterling is a man that was sued by his team’s Black general manager for age discrimination regarding his pay. Can you say, “labor with low pay or no pay,” slave owner mentality? Let’s not forget his girlfriend of Black and Latina heritage, a woman that basically serves as his “lust interest.” Yes she received gifts for her services so to speak, but let’s dig just a little deeper. It’s a lust that many top corperate bosses maintain to this day and when the brown skin sister refuses to play that game she’s no longer performing her duties well at the job and is let go. That reminds me of Rapper Ice Cube’s classic song “Horny Little Devil” which is selfexplanatory. Once again it’s the slave owner’s mentality of “trying to get a taste of the chocolate.” Lastly, let’s remember Sterling’s comment to his bi-racial brown-skin

Editor: It’s funny how history always finds a way of repeating itself, déjà vu is always present. By now everyone has seen or heard the racist rants by NBA’s team owner Donald Sterling. Here is a man who continues to feel as if he’s done nothing wrong and the minute he tries to apologize, his foot returns to his mouth. His comments to his girlfriend about stop bringing those Black people to my games and stop posting those photos for everyone to see were not as shocking as some might think. Long before Sterling there was this ugly word called “slavery” and we all know that history too well. Sterling not only feels as if he’s a plantation owner but this falls into many ugly memories of the past. (I will come back to that in a few.) Let’s talk about Sterling’s mistreatment of Blacks and Latinos by refusing to rent to brown skin people from his many apartment buildings and how he made comments that “they smell.” Not to mention his rant about Magic Johnson, one of the best NBA players of all time, who has went from the hardwood to the boardroom with huge successes setting up businesses

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


.Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor

girlfriend: “You’re supposed to be walking around as a proud white or Latina woman.” Now he wants her to try and pass for anything other than Black. Sterling might as well have said, “Do the Tiger Woods thing – just never admit to being Black.” History has its way of repeating itself and to hear Sterling go on and on with his racist rants is a constant reminder that he’s not the only owner or CEO that feels this way. Sterling just happened to have his white hood removed so we could confirm all doubt.

Dex Hopes Denver, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum


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George Morrison Jr. Reflects on His George Morrison Jr.,

George Morrison Sr. and Jr.

Today, Five Points’ African-

American heritage is celebrated by the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, as well as the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. A number of African-American churches and businesses are still landmarks in the community. According to the Five Points Business District, Denver’s Juneteenth and Five Points Jazz Festival draws more than 50,000 people every year. A history lesson is automatic after a visit to Denver’s historic Five Points’ neighborhood, widely recognized as the “Harlem of the West” due to its long jazz history. The cultural historic district was the first predominantly African American neighborhood in Denver, and in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, was home to more than 50 bars and clubs, including the Rossonian Hotel, constructed in 1912 as the Baxter Hotel. With a name change in 1929 and the establishment of the Rossonian Lounge, the hotel became one of the most important jazz clubs between St. Louis and Los Angeles. The likes of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Nat King Cole, Brook Benton, James Brown, Ray Charles, and Fats Domino often staged shows at the Rossonian after they finished their scheduled performances at the Denver hotels that refused them lodging due to the racial segregation existing at the time. These music legends regularly stayed at the home of classically trained violinist and orchestra leader, George Morrison, Sr. – Denver’s Godfather of Jazz. After the Denver Symphony turned him down because of the color of his

Jazzy History

skin, Morrison – whose father Clark Morrison was a champion fiddler in Missouri – created his own orchestra featuring such members as Jimmy Lunceford, Andy Kirk and vocalist Hattie McDaniel. She would later become the first African American to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in the movie, Gone With The Wind. In the 2001 fall issue of American Legacy, an article called “The Woman Who Was Mammy” by Dibir L. Beavers states, “Her big break came in 1920 (she was 25), when ‘Professor’ George Morrison, one of Denver’s most popular black musicians, hired her as a featured performer with his traveling “Melody Hounds.” The history lesson grows even more legendary when people who were there recall the power of those times.

Photos courtesy of the Morrison family

By Angelia D. McGowan

George Morrison Jr., with daughters Vicki, Trudi and wife Marjorie Morrison

music and told me to minor in music. The fall back for my sister was to teach. I majored in physical education.” He says his father let him know that the life of the big bands was coming to an end and being replaced with smaller combos and trios, consequently it would be harder for musicians to find work. He instructed him to get into another area to make another livelihood and use music as his background. The junior Morrison is a graduate of Manual High School and the University of Denver undergraduate and graduate programs. The GI Bill from his military service in World War II helped to pay for his education. Like his father, early in his career, he ran into obstacles pursuing his career because of the times. He was denied a teaching career in Denver Public Schools because of quotas. He recalls the human resources office saying, “We’ve already hired what we can hire for minorities.” And like his father, who created his own rhythm in the music industry, Morrison Jr. continued in his preferred field, but in another state. During his three years at Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas, he served as head of the Physical Education and Recreation Department, assistant football coach, head basketball coach and dean of men – all at the same time at one point. He eventual was hired at Denver Public Schools (DPS) as a teacher and administrator from 1953 to 1971, and as district administrative director for secondary education from 1971-1989 when he retired.

Remnants of a Lesson

George Morrison, Jr., 89, was about six years old when he started practicing the violin under the direction of his father, George Morrison Sr. Like any six-year-old boy in the world, he also wanted to simply play. Though he had a legend in a teacher, the window in the room where he practiced overlooked an open lot where the neighborhood kids played (without him). He played his violin, but sometimes with tears in his eyes he remembers. In hindsight, Morrison Jr. says, “I appreciate he was that strict. It paid off in the later years. Music itself is a discipline. It has helped in developing the power of recall, power of memorization and aesthetics. It opened the door for many people especially young people. It has been inspirational and it has helped to increase communication.” Because of their dad, he and his sister, Marian, had many opportunities to meet some of America’s best jazz musicians since these musicians visited or stayed with them during their shows in Denver. They were also able to attend the shows. At their father’s request, both trained in classical music through their college years. Morrison Jr. says, “My dad insisted that my sister major in

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


The son of Denver’s Godfather of Jazz became one of the first African American elementary school principals in DPS. A community and human rights activist, in 1969 he later was appointed by Gov. John Love to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, holding both chair and vice chair positions. Morrison also founded the Denver All Stars Track Team in the 1950s and was inducted into the DPS Athletic Department Coaches Hall of Fame. His tenacity to excel and make a difference in his community was no doubt instilled by his father, who died of cancer at age 83 in 1974. He left memories of enjoyable times, good music and a positive reputation among professional musicians. In 1940, Downbeat magazine named him “The Best Musician West of K.C.” His life has been recognized by the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post, Denver Weekly News, and Variety magazine, to name a few. The elder Morrison also left a legacy as a man actively committed to the affairs of his community. He had played his violin (along with his son) for Shorter African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Sunday morning services, helped establish and raise money for the Glenarm Branch of the YMCA, co-founded the Black Musicians Local No. 20-623 to help Black musicians achieve fair wages and hours, tutored children in string instruments in the public schools, and supported Denver’s Cosmopolitan Club, whose motto was “Humanity Above Race, Nationality, or Creed.” That’s only a sampling. Continued on page 6

DPS to Partner with MSU and CU Denver to Invest in Aspiring Teachers’ Education

The Denver Public Schools (DPS) is forging a groundbreaking partnership with two local universities to invest in aspiring teachers’ education while they are still earning an undergraduate teaching degree. College seniors at Metropolitan State University at Denver and the University of Colorado Denver who are working toward a bachelor’s degree and teaching license will have the opportunity to become student teacher residents in a DPS school for a full year under the mentorship of a master teacher. This greatly strengthens the practical learning experience for aspiring teachers in their final year as an undergraduate. The partnership will present an opportunity for student teachers to work directly with a veteran DPS teacher for the year, receiving critical support, mentorship and feedback during their senior year of college before becoming a first year teacher. The program, called the Denver Student Teacher Residency (STR), will be the first program of its kind in any city in America that DPS is aware of to unite a school system and university partners to provide this type of intensive residency experience for students in their final year of college. The aims of STR will be to better support and train new teachers in an effort to better prepare them for DPS classrooms, leading to more successful new teachers and increased teacher retention. After their year of the residency, student teachers will graduate from college and receive priority hiring status for a full-time job in the Denver Public Schools. By offering a full-year opportunity in a single classroom with a paired mentor teacher, the STR will offer a longer, more sustained, and more focused learning opportunity than traditional student teaching opportunities. “Teaching is a very complex and challenging – and very rewarding – job. The better we can prepare aspiring teachers with real-world, actual classroom teaching experience, mentored by a carefully selected master teacher, the more successful new teachers will be,” said DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “I am very grateful to Metropolitan State University and CU Denver for partnering with us to develop and grow this innovative approach and to the Rose Community Foundation for its generous support to launch the program.” “This program will provide us with a unique opportunity to work hand-

in-hand with our university partners to ‘grow our own’ within the context of our diverse classrooms so that we can meet our shared goals for student growth and learning,” Boasberg added. “With 50 percent of new teachers exiting the teaching profession within their first five years, we must increase our focus on teacher preparation and retention. By being so much better prepared, I believe our first-year teachers will find more success and joy during those critical first years of teaching and stay longer in the profession.” STR is modeled after the proven success of Denver Teacher Residency, a program that provides a pipeline for professionals in other industries to pursue a career in teaching while earning a master’s degree from the University of Denver. Through DTR, the Denver Public Schools has hired 205 teachers to teach in hard-to-fill teaching positions such as math, special education and English-language acquisition. The program, in its fourth year, has demonstrated strong results, with DTR teachers outperforming

novice teachers year-over-year, which is why DPS believes this format for teacher preparation will have a positive impact on the success of college students preparing to become teachers. “The first year as a teacher is one of the most challenging stages in an educator’s career,” said Joel Leavins, former DTR participant and current teacher at McMeen Elementary. “Given how much DTR benefitted me as a new teacher, I think that having this kind of additional support and mentorship during the critical college years is a tremendous opportunity to help to ensure a smoother transition for our new teachers.” Once new teachers are hired at DPS, they experience a variety of supports, from mentoring and professional learning courses to classroom observations and feedback, that help them learn to engage students, deliver challenging content and tailor instruction for diverse learners so that they achieve their full potential as effective teachers. “We are pleased to partner with

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


DPS in this innovative new program, which we see as an opportunity to provide focus in preparing teachers for success in urban schools. Schools where the majority of MSU Denver students have graduated from,” said Dr. Stephen M. Jordan, president of MSU Denver. “As the largest graduate school of education in Colorado, CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development (SEHD) looks forward to expanding the options available to our undergraduates through the Student Teacher Residency with DPS,” said Rebecca Kantor, dean of the school. “This new venture will significantly enhance our rich 20-plus year history of partnering with DPS to prepare exceptional urban teachers. It will allow our candidates to be immersed in strong DPS classrooms for even more time, gain their added endorsement in linguistically diverse education, and it will allow SEHD to more deeply partner with district leaders around the development of curriculum that is context-specific to DPS.”

George Morrison, Jr.

Continued from page 4 More than 50 people were listed as his honorary pall bearers in his funeral program.

Back In The Day

I wouldn’t mind being 80 again,” says Morrison Jr., recalling his age in 2005 when he was honored with several awards for his accomplishments as a musician and educator by such organizations as the Colorado Black Round Table and Shorter AME Church. He received the “Men-istry” Award at the Male Choir 15th Annual Concert at the church where he played for 48 years until his hearing started deteriorating. That year, his family held a surprise birthday party for him with about 80 of his closest friends. Also in 2005, the city rededicated George Morrison Sr. Park at Gilpin and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The Right Life-Long Combo

The recognitions extend to Marjorie, his wife of 66 years. Earlier this year, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the Community College of Denver presented a “Salute to Living Legends George and Marjorie Morrison.” The honor is a formal recognition of Denver residents who have contributed to the Denver community, are committed to equality

for all people, and have championed diversity in the workplace, in education, in government and in the neighborhoods. Marjorie has no musical inclinations, but she has had a life filled with “firsts.” She was the first African American stenographer for the Colorado State Senate; the first African American mayoral appointee in 1955 when Mayor W.F. Nicholson named her to his secretarial staff. As Republican district captain for the Park Hill neighborhood in 1960, Marjorie was able to recruit federal employees to serve as election judges, thereby integrating polling places in the city. As crew leader for the 1960 census, Marjorie recruited

and trained her team, creating the only African American team of census takers in Denver. She is responsible for two African American’s being honored in the 1959 city wide centennial celebration and in 1971 she was appointed by the governor to a seven year term on the Second Judicial Nominating Commission. During that time she encouraged African American attorneys to apply for judgeships resulting in the appointments of the first African American Juvenile Court Judge and the first African American Supreme Court Justice. Marjorie served six Denver mayoral administrations from 1947 to 1987. Between the two of them they’ve received recognition for either their birthday or their wedding anniversaries from three U.S. presidents.

Music and Education

In April, the president and CEO of Westerra Credit Union (formerly Denver Public Schools Credit Union) informed Morrison Jr. that the credit union had recently rededicated the George Morrison, Jr. Community Room on the fourth floor of its Cherry Creek building. He served more than five years as chair of the board of directors. The letter from C. Alan Peppers states, “You have truly made a remarkable difference in the lives of so many of our members.” His commitment to the members of the union demonstrates his sensitivity to all corners of education. An advocate for education and a lover of music, Morrison Jr. is disappointed with today’s environment for African Americans in the school system. “My family was very, very emphatic about education,” he says. “They wanted all of their children to get an education. And they provided every means for our education.” “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough black males getting into edu-

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


cation. It’s really hurting our kids. They don’t have role models taking up for them and guiding them. It’s a travesty,” he says. He admits that post-segregation a lot of other fields that are more lucrative have opened up for African Americans, but believes there’s so much potential to do good in the education system, and adds that music should be a strong component. “We have to get music back into public school,” he says. “So many students have innate musical talent; and if not recognized early, it goes to waste.”

Setting the Tone

The legacy of music continues in the family. His eldest daughter Vicki Morrison-Sloan, who began studying the piano at five years old, says, “Even though I have personal preferences in music, I was exposed to all genres of music and learned to listen to and appreciate all kinds of music because music is the universal language. If I learn to respect and appreciate the music of many cultures, then I would also learn to respect and appreciate people of many cultures. His youngest daughter Trudi Morrison began playing piano and bass string around four and earned a scholarship to Colorado State University for her string expertise. She earned her bachelor’s in psychology from CSU, a law degree from George Washington University, a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Trudi, who has just retired, says, “I found it extremely helpful to know the family history because it made me strive for excellence in all things. That catapulted me to serve in top post in all three branches of the national government, including the White House. Vicki at one point tried to learn the violin. “They, my father and grandfather, would make it look so good and sound so good. I played the violin for one year, and realized I was not doing it right, and I did not want to embarrass the family,” says Vicki, also the vocalist in the family. “I took lessons at elementary school and my grandfather taught me private lessons. I think he was relieved when I put the violin down.” She is proud of the family history, which has been documented in the book “Colorado Families: A Territorial Heritage,” and says that “family traditions included setting high expectation to succeed in life and to make a positive difference to somebody else along the way.” When the Morrison’s only great grandchild Gavin comes to visit and starts banging on the piano, Marjorie says, “Sometimes, it actually sounds like something.” In this family, it probably is. 

The historical political service of former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife of 44 years, former Colorado State Representative Wilma Webb, will be recognized in items accepted by the new Smithsonian

National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Smithsonian officials have announced that the 28-piece collection donated by the couple includes Wellington Webb’s famed tennis shoes that he wore when campaigning in 1991 for his first term as mayor. Considered a long-shot in the polls, he captured voters’ attention by walking each segment of the city and the cou-

Smithsonian Accepts Former Denver Mayor and First Lady Political Items

ple’s staying overnight in residents’ homes. Also donated are yard signs and other items from the campaign. He won a run-off election in 1991 and became the city’s first African American mayor. He served three terms until 2003. Wilma Webb, who served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1980-1993, donated an historic photograph of her with Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther

King, Jr. The photograph was taken in the Colorado State Capitol House Chambers as Rep. Wilma Webb led the intensive effort to pass the King Holiday in Colorado and nationally. She also donated the pen presented to her by Gov. Richard D. Lamm where he penned the final stroke when he signed into law in 1984 House Bill 1201 - sponsored by Rep. Webb – which officially created Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Colorado.

They also donated historic programs by Wilma Webb, of the I” Have A Dream” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sculpture created by Denver Sculptor Ed Dwight and unveiled in 2003 in Denver’s City Park.

The couple has initially donated 14 items each to reflect their public service in Denver and Colorado. Construction of the new Smithsonian museum on the Mall began in 2012 and is scheduled to open in 2015. Exhibits celebrating the history of African Americans in the United States are now currently at a gallery in the Nature Museum of American History on the Mall. 

Denver Water is committed to supporting a workforce culture of acceptance, diversity, leadership and community support.

We honor employees who contribute to our values and help Denver Water make a difference in our community.

Mike Peden, warehouse worker

Patricia Williams, executive office manager for CEO

Karintha Ragland, customer care specialist

also congratulate the Men Distinction, Fathersin of Wisdom honorees: DenverWeWater make a ofdifference our community.

Geta Asfaw, Charles Burrell, Jess DuBois, Ed Dwight, Herman Malone, Lawrence Pierre, Roland “Fatty” Taylor, Lu Vason, James “Dr. Daddio” Walker and the Honorable Wellington E. Webb

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Dr.Vincent Harding Iliff School of Theology Mourns Loss of

Civil Rights Activist, Emeritus Professor of Religion & Social Transformation,Co-Founder of the Veterans of Hope Project, Author, Engaged Citizen & Commentator By Greta Gloven

The Iliff School of Theology

mourns the death of Dr. Vincent

Gordon Harding, professor emeritus

of religion and social transformation,

civil rights activist, author, co-founder of the Veterans of Hope Project,

engaged citizen, and commentator.

Harding died May 19 at the age of 82 as the result of a carotid artery

aneurysm in Philadelphia, PA. “We will greatly miss our brother Vincent and the wisdom he shared with us. His life-giving work of helping others to find their voice when they thought it impossible was a gift to generations of Americans and many abroad,” said Thomas V. Wolfe, president and chief executive officer. “We have not only lost a friend and teacher, but a life giver to shaping the movement of history. We are thankful that his work lives on in the many lives he touched. His inspirational voice lives on in all of us.” Harding, born in Harlem in New York City in 1931, was educated at City College of New York, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago. He began his life’s work as a member of the U.S. Army from 19531955 and as a pastor in Chicago from 1955-1961. From 1961-1965, Harding was a representative to the Southern Freedom Movement from the Mennonite Service Committee. Working with his first wife, the late Rosemarie Freeney Harding, he was based in Atlanta, Georgia, where the Hardings worked with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movement as a civil rights teacher/activist and negotiator in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Harding assisted King in many ways, but most notably in the writing of King’s 1967 “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” the well-known speech against the Vietnam War delivered just one year to the day before King was assassinated. While in Atlanta, Harding later served as the first director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in 1968 and one year later established and directed the Institute of the Black World. The Hardings’ also co-founded Mennonite House, an interracial voluntary service center and movement gathering place. Throughout the 1960s they traveled the South as reconcilers, counselors and participants assisting the antisegregation campaigns of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Racial

Equality and many others. Professor Harding joined the Iliff faculty in 1981 as professor of religion and social transformation where he retired 2004, but remained actively teaching and sharing his knowledge until his death. Harding also served as a visiting faculty member or distinguished lecturer at many colleges throughout the U.S., including: Drew University, Spelman College, Swarthmore College, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, the Moton Center for Independent Studies, Duke University, and the Pendle Hill Study Center. As the co-founder of the Veterans of Hope Project in 1997, Harding and his late wife, Rosemarie, began a multifaceted educational initiative on religion, culture and participatory democracy. Through a video interview series and a comprehensive curriculum, the project emphasizes workshops and

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


training in compassionate leadership development in addition to a public symposium series. Along with his present wife, Aljosie Aldrich Harding, he was one of the founding members of the National Council of Elders, an organization focused on sharing the wisdom of elders with younger social activists. They worked as a team in organizing his extended visit to Morehouse College where he served as Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection Scholar in Residence in 2012. This residency involved bringing a diverse cadre of renowned scholars and activists to the campus and facilitating a dialogue between them, Morehouse students and the larger community. Dr. and Mrs. Harding served as peacemakers with the Dorothy Cotton Institute, traveling to Palestine/Israel in 2012 to encourage and discover ways of bringing peace in the Middle East. Professor Harding was the author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books and thousands of articles. His most noted works include, “There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America,” “Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero, Hope” and “History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement,” and “America Will Be.” Harding is survived by his wife, Aljosie, daughter, Rachel and son, Jonathan. A memorial service is currently being planned. Messages of condolence can be sent to: The Harding Family, c/o The Veterans of Hope Project at The Iliff School of Theology, 2201 S. University Blvd., Denver, Colorado 80210.  Editor’s note: In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to The Veterans of Hope Project at The Iliff School of Theology, 2201 S. University Blvd., Denver, Colorado 80210 or online at http://www.veteransofhope.org/funders/.

Sunrise December 30, 1928-Sunset May 17, 2014

Celebrating the Life of

Cornelius Ernest Jones, Sr.

Cornelius Ernest Jones, Sr. (also known as Neil), was born on December 30, 1928 to Ernest and Annie Jones in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Newark Public Schools and graduated from Central High School Neil was drafted into the United States Army in 1951 where he fought in the Korean War as a member of the last segregated anti-aircraft battalion. He served honorably, earning two Bronze Stars and a United Nations Medal in 1953, for his distinguished service. His service in the army motivated him for the desire to relate to and connect with people of other cultures. His father always taught him about his heritage and to take pride in being a Black man. Through stories of his experiences in Korea, Neil passed on the values he gained from his service in the army to his children and grandchildren. Following his service in the army, Neil went to work for the United States Post Office as a letter carrier. He enjoyed his job because it provided him the opportunity to interact with people. He got to know the people along his route; often stopping for coffee or a snack and conversation. He retired after 33 years. Loved by many, Neil was known for his engaging smile, charm, quick wit and charisma. He loved people and people loved him. His “young at heart” persona allowed him to connect with people of all ages. He conveyed his enjoyment in “living” life to the fullest through his actions. He was a family man! Neil had a deep love for his family, preferring to spend time with them more than anything else. He enjoyed taking his family on outings to parades, football games, roller skating, the Golden Gloves boxing matches, picnics, and above all else – the beach. Neil also enjoyed singing, reading and reciting poetry, taking pictures, fishing, watching westerns, ballroom dancing and storytelling. He entertained children and adults with stories of his life growing up, his day at work, his time in Korea, and the antics of his children. He embellished real life experiences, making them interesting and generally funny. Neil believed in the adage “it takes a village to raise a child” and was the father figure in many lives. He opened his heart and home to anyone who was in need. He taught his children to appreciate music beyond the contemporary artists; exposing them to Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and the music of Porgy and Bess. Weekend house cleaning chores were made fun when he sang the songs of his favorite musicians or those from Porgy and Bess, often with animation. He taught his daughters ballroom dancing to counter the influence of contemporary dances like the Twist. Neil enjoyed cooking for his family and friends, especially breakfast with pancakes and fried whiting. Food was an important part of his daily routine. Even though he lived alone he always cooked a full breakfast and dinner. He loved meticulously organizing his cupboards and freezer making it easy to plan his meals frequently talking about what he was going to eat. Neil specifically ordered his last supper – liver with gravy and onions, rice, succotash, cornbread and a root beer soda to wash it down. He was a humble man. When talking about his time in Korea he often said “I didn’t do anything much but I was supposed to get three medals.” He spoke more about the Korean people and their plight, as well as his army buddies than the medals or honors. It wasn’t until his stay at The Denver Hospice Center where he met Chaplain Brian Tidd that the significance of his service in Korea was fully understood by his children and grandchildren. After hearing the stories about his service in Korea, Chaplain Tidd was determined to ensure that he received any medals and honors he earned. On Thursday, May 15, 2014 Chaplain Brian Tidd, on behalf of President Barack Obama, formally presented Neil with two bronze stars and a United Nations medal, 61 years after they were awarded to him. Although he was unable to keep his eyes open or speak, Neil raised his hand slightly and whispered “thank you.” He never thought he’d live to see a Black man become president and was so proud of Barack Obama that he donned his Obama hat continually through both elections and during his last days back and forth to the doctor’s office. It was befitting that his bronze stars and medals were presented on behalf of the first African American president, Barack Obama, even though 61 years after they were earned. Neil was preceded in death by his wife, LaVerne Jones; second wife, Joyce Jones; parents, Ernest and Annie Jones; sister, Dolores Mackey; and brother, James Atkins. He is also survived by three children: Vivian (Floyd) Kerr; Norma (Larry) Paige; Cornelius (Maria) Jones, Jr; 13 grandchildren: Yusuf, Samir, and Jionni Paige, Kimberley Kerr, Tasha, Dominique and Cameron Jones; Detricia Knight, Joyce, Yvonne and Mel Whitehead; John, Jr. and Rashaad Clark; 19 greatgrandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014



uneteenth is a significant celebration in the African American community. And Denver has had one of the largest festivals on Welton Street in the heart of the Five Points community for many years. The importance of Blacks enslaved in Texas learning of their freedom three years after the Emancipation Proclamation is not lost. Our struggle for independence continues. Reconstruction provided limited opportunities for Blacks; Jim Crow laws in both the North and the South were an impediment to progress. We gained limited equality in education, employment and public accommodation, but it was nearly 100 years after slaves learned of their freedom that we gained civil rights and voting rights. In 2008, the first African American president was voted into office. Progress through a lot of pain, but are we really independent? For some, independence comes with financial freedom. Media moguls, entertainers, sports figures, and entrepreneurs are the most prominent examples of the accumulation of wealth. As a society, we are enamored with celebrity, but African Americans

Finding Your Bones By Charles Emmons

Left to right: Official Guinea Representative Leonard “Len” Murray, Ambassador Secretary General of Guinea Gaoussou Toure and Moulaye Haidara, Guinea Ambassador to the Philippians

are significantly behind in wealth accumulation. Our brethren on the continent of Africa are in the same situation. African countries have thrown off colonialism, but centuries of resource depletion have not benefited them.

The struggle for economic freedom is the commonality between Africans and African Americans. Entrepreneur and businessman Leonard “Len” Murray sees African Americans as being more connected to Africa than disconnected. Murray is the president

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


of Diaspora Mining Company, and has been working in Africa for more than a decade. In the time spent there, he has built strong business and political relationships. Murray considers himself Afro-centric, low key and driven. He is also disturbed by a noticeable absence of African American businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa; especially with the availability of tremendous business and social opportunities. Murray recently gained status to allow him to facilitate tremendous opportunities in West Africa. He was appointed Economic Operator and Consultant for the Republic of Guinea. Ambassador Secretary General of Guinea Gaoussou Toure, signed and presented a Guinea diplomatic passport to Murray, along with representational citizenship. This passport allows Murray to travel throughout Africa, and other countries without need for visas, as an official representing Guinea Guinea is like many other African countries; much of the population has re-located to urban centers. “Just imagine being in any city or country where 99 percent of the population looks like you. The market is huge,” says Murray. “In every capital city there are, at least, one million Black people, but lack African American

businesses or consultants.” Murray believes business can be facilitated with Africans in anything from auto parts to construction to engineering and infrastructure development. “Africans want to work with African Americans,” says Murray, who has positioned himself to assist both African American and African businesses with entrepreneurs who have the desire to become international businesses. Mining and curiosity was his entree into Africa says Murray who has been warmly welcomed as an African American. Over the years, Murray has earned a reputation for being accountable and getting things done. Murray is closely associated with business people, and high level politicians in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali. Early on, he was mentored in African culture and the correct way of doing business on the continent. Murray says he needs to be accountable to Denver and expects to include businesses, institutions and the community in whatever he does. He also expects the community to follow his progress and hold him accountable. Murray talks freely about transporting his lessons learned, gaining local knowledge and skills and creating a business academy. Murray has had preliminary discussions about with the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver about an academy to facilitate African American business in Africa. “I want to help entrepreneurs further develop their international expertise, and ask them to “pay it forward” with other business people. If I help you, then you can help someone else.” “Needless to say, doing business in Africa is trying and somewhat frustrating due to cultural and language barriers. There is a preponderance of poor people who are more concerned about how they will eat today,” says Murray who feels in 10 years of doing business in various African countries, there are three people I trust explicitly and call my partners. “There are so many different business opportunities in every African country and a team is needed to exploit those openings. Doing business in Africa and in America is challenging and business people need mentors of whom I am viewed as.” Murray says a Texas pharmaceutical businessman he met in Guinea helped position him with the Guinea government. With only four state-run hospitals in the capital and three hospital beds available per 10,000 people in Guinea, much of the healthcare is administered through pharmacies. Together, they and the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) pro-

posed a network of clinics for remote villages and are developing a medical plan for the government. If you are to be successful in America, it is necessary to have technology, computers, internet and cell phones. Africans have limited access to technology but it is growing. But, technology is not the issue. The issue is accessing electricity. Murray says, “it’s normal to be without power for six to eight hours in any given day. What good is a computer if there’s no electricity?” Through the CRCC, Murray and his team have begun to work with Solar Electric Light Fund to provide off-grid power. Since Africa has an abundance of sunlight, plants and water; the plan is to develop, green technologies and hydroelectric alternatives. Business and political leaders, in Murray’s network, trust him like he is an African. He has enthusiastically taken the baton to facilitate improvements that will ultimately impact the economic well-being for Africa. By way of example, he says, “We are bringing international companies in to build water projects in Guinea. We’re starting with a $35 million project, which is the smallest of five planned projects. This project will bring thousands of people clean water, and we will show them how to maintain their own water plant. Other water projects and development projects amount to more than $1 billion. We’ll provide thousands of jobs, as we build, operate and transfer maintenance of various infrastructure projects,” he says. Murray’s diplomatic appointment is his starting point. With more than 35 years as an executive with various Fortune 500 companies, Murray is an accomplished businessman. He is leveraging his experience to bring international partners to Africa. He notes that Guinea is unique. “Guinea controls their own currency, development efforts and destiny. Guinea is a place to start and our goal is to move from one African country to another. It is time we hear good news coming from Africa instead of news about nefarious characters steeped in violence and corruption, which has dominated mainstream media“ The Central Bank of Guinea requested that Murray and his associates create a Resource Bank Refinery and Reserve. Guinea is rich in minerals like iron, ore, gold, diamonds and other precious minerals. It is ranked #1 for its reserves of bauxite (a mineral used to make aluminum). The Resource and Reserve Bank will manage Guinea’s mineral reserves, while building Guinea’s Central Banks cash reserves. This minimizes the need to borrow funds from the World Bank

and other outside sources. Guinea will eliminate their debt. “America has not promoted nor encouraged African trade relations. However, 50-plus African leaders will attend a summit hosted by President Barack Obama in August,” says Murray. “We are a mystery to Africans and the planned summit should help demystify who we are. Africans don’t know who we are. We, on the other hand, need to find our bones and ancestors too. We’re not there yet, but on our way. As we work toward African trade and business development, we should do little things first. Africans are predominantly French speaking, so we should learn French. Language and culture are minor barriers, which we can overcome” Economic development barriers require innovation and Murray is particularly adept at finding partners to implement better solutions and leverage expertise. His friend and primary partner is a Canadian/American, Ron Cooper, another Black man, who is facilitating infrastructure development funding sources. Murray also identified the CRCC as another strategic partner, whose board is structured to locate funding sources, approve and manage various projects and increase project integrity.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Juneteenth symbolizes and celebrates prosperity and what is good in the African American community. Murray believes it is also important to recognize what is good in African countries. We have had prosperous Black communities in the U.S., the most well known is the “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma which was burned to the ground in 1921. Murray believes it is time to reach out and leverage our knowledge and expertise to uplift Africa from Denver. African Americans have business acumen and Africans have unlimited natural resources. Together, the African Diaspora can become a formidable economic international force. We have to transport our knowledge and acumen to them,” says Murray. With his passion for inclusion, Murray hopes to create a means to create and sustain generational wealth for Blacks. “To get to the moon you must have a world class control center, just like the astronauts” says Murray. He considers African American and African trade relations as the trip to the moon. Murray, his partners and associates are the control center. Along the way, he encourages us all to “find our bones – our ancestors.”  Editor’s note: For more information about Diaspora Mining Company, email Len Murray at lmurray0003@yahoo.com.

That Magnificent Magnesium

Pearls of Wisdom and Power Highlight Women’s Leadership Breakfast

By Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks, DAc, LAc, BSc


Carla Harris has nearly three

decades of experience as a financial executive on Wall Street and when she took the stage at City Year Denver’s recent Women’s Leadership Breakfast, she filled the room with her expressive personality and immediately connected with the audience; sharing her personal journey to success. She offered the audience three power tools outlined in her recently published book, “Expect to Win.” City Year Denver’s third annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast took place on May 1 at the Denver Marriott City Center, and featured Harris as its keynote speaker. Harris, who is vice chair of Global Wealth Management, and managing director and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley, was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council in August 2013. She was recently named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” and is on several other lists of influential leaders in Black Enterprise Magazine and Essence Magazine. During her keynote address, Harris inspired more than 800 attendees with her words of wisdom. “Because ladies, let me tell you what I’ve learned after almost 30 years on Wall Street. The way to grow your power is to give it away,” she told the crowd. “If you want to take your success to significance it’s all about giving of your intellect, your experience, your judgment, your wisdom to other people. So all that you have earned, all that you continue to earn, is not just

about you. It’s about how you touch somebody else and create that multiplier effect in your life.” City Year Denver was able to raise nearly $150,000. The proceeds from the Women’s Leadership Breakfast support City Year’s work in eight high-need Denver Public Schools, where corps members serve as tutors, mentors and role models to help struggling students stay in school and on track to succeed. The breakfast is organized by the City Year Denver’s Women’s Initiative, a program designed to provide distinguished Denver business and community women multiple opportunities to learn about and connect with the nonprofit’s work. This includes professional mentoring, taking part in service days, serving on the advisory board, fundraising event planning, and networking with likeminded senior leaders. The Denver Women’s Initiative also offers opportunities to participate in the Women’s Initiative Mentorship Program, which pairs initiative members with a young adult serving as a City Year Denver corps member for a full year of professional development. The Women’s Initiative works in support of City Year’s mission to close the “implementation gap” in highpoverty communities – the gap between support struggling students need and what schools have the to provide. In 25 communities across the United States and through three inter-

national sites, City Year’s innovative public-private partnership brings together teams of young AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools. Corps members support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring and mentoring, whole-school climate initiatives, and extended-learning opportunities. As part of City Year’s 10-year strategy, the organization aims to increase the urban graduation pipeline by expanding to cities that produce two-thirds of the nation’s dropouts, ultimately reaching more than one million students a year. The creation of City Year was fueled by a deep belief in the power of idealism. “Idealism” is defined as the belief that young people have the passion, skills, and courage to change the world. Everything City Year does is grounded in this concept and the unshakeable belief that everyone can be a part of making the world a better place. Optimism and idealism aren’t just encouraged, they’re necessary to help advance City Year’s mission of keeping students in school and on-track to graduation. City Year believes these traits are contagious, and strives to share them with the communities it serves.  Editor’s note: For more information to partner with City Year in solving the graduation crisis in America, email Alyssa Acosta at aacosta2@cityyear.org.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


ou may be hearing a lot lately about the benefits of magnesium. Everyone seems to be on the bandwagon – so much so that it almost feels like a fad. Magnesium is one of the most important of all minerals. I consider it to be almost as important as water or air. To support my view, I offer a quote from Dr. Norman Shealy: “Deficiency of magnesium is associated with virtually every known disease including heart attacks, diabetes, depression, cancer, etc. Oral magnesium supplements are not easy to assimilate and many take five years or longer to give results.” This quote highlights the importance and lack of this vital nutrient in our overall health. To further magnify my point, I offer a quote from Dr. Mark Sircus: “If you do not have sufficient amounts of magnesium, your body cannot make or utilize protein. Similarly, if you don’t have adequate amounts of magnesium, the vitamins C and E that you consume cannot be used.” As you can see from both of these quotes from reputable doctors, optimum magnesium levels are vital to our health. Furthermore, if you eat or have eaten any white foods or processed foods like white rice, spaghetti, sugar, pastries, then there is a 99 percent chance you are magnesium deficient without a doubt. Research shows that at least 68 percent of Americans do not consume the recommended daily amount (RDA) of dietary magnesium and 19 percent of Americans do not consume even half of the government’s RDA of magnesium. A lack of magnesium is a major factor in many common health problems including heart disease, migraines, ADD, autism, fibromyalgia, anxiety, asthma and allergies. All of these and many more have been proven to be associated with magnesium deficiency. Another key point: we are consuming too much calcium! The ratio of calcium to magnesium levels in the body should be 1:1 to 2:1 (depending on individual needs). The current ratio, on average, is 10:1 with magnesium extremely deficient and calcium way too high. Theses minerals counteract and balance each other.

Another key factor that influences magnesium levels is your body’s ability to absorb magnesium. Dr. Shealy states, “Magnesium absorption relies upon the mineral’s staying-power in the intestines, which should be at least 12 hours - if not, absorption is compromised drastically.” Therefore, your intestines must perform at an optimal level. To do this, be sure to eat whole fiber foods and maintain your daily intake of natural probiotics like kefir or organic sauerkraut. There are multiple reasons for magnesium deficiency, including the fact that pharmaceutical drugs deplete magnesium levels and there is no longer an adequate amount of magnesium obtained from our nutrient-depleted foods to help restore magnesium. There are many different forms of magnesium to buy and take orally. But the most absorbable is magnesium chloride, also called “magnesium oil.” Magnesium oil is applied like a lotion and absorbed through the skin in order to bypass the digestive tract, since magnesium moves through the system too fast when taken orally and if used in large doses it can cause diarrhea, a similar process occurs when you mega-dose vitamin C; this does not occur when magnesium oil is applied to the skin. Here are some natural sources of magnesium: chlorella, spirulina, fish, such as halibut and mackerel, spinach, almonds, pumpkin seeds and cashews. But remember that even these foods must be organic, and most do not have adequate amounts of the vital minerals due to industrial farming practices, depleted soil, or contaminated oceans. Also keep in mind that magnesium is a natural relaxant and lubricant to your muscles and tendons, it improves your sleep and is calming as well. Finally, there is a risk of magnesium toxicity when taken in excess for long periods of time. The most common causes are renal failure (in other words if you have kidney failure you cannot excrete this mineral effectively and thus should not use it in excess), hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, lithium therapy and more. This is why holistic medicine teaches us that balance is important at all times. You can get an in-depth blood test from your physician. Unfortunately we cannot totally depend on traditional blood tests since only 1 percent of magnesium in the body is actually found in the blood and only .3 percent found in the blood serum. So, clinical

blood testing does not usually identify magnesium levels accurately, but it’s a start. To learn more about magnesium therapy call Dr. Meeks at 303-3772511. Editor’s note: Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks is the founder of the Moyo Healing & Cultural Center, a 24-year Colorado institution. He has been in practice for more than 27 years with more than 28,000 treatments. For more information, call 303-377-2511, visit www.LifeHealingDoctor.com or email AfrikanArts@netzero.com. For more information about the Moyo Healing & Cultural Center, visit www.AfrikanArts.org.Ed

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014



The Diverse Melodies of Cannabis

As I sit here and listen to rhythm

By Wanda James

of reggae and the voice of Bob Marley and Snoop Dogg (excuse me, Snoop Lion), I realize there is a music culture of cannabis and that culture expresses itself in every genre of music. All of us have sung “Pass the Dutchie” and everyone has belted out their version of “Mary Jane” by Rick James. And then there is my favorite smoking pot song, “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” Yes, that rascal, Puff, loved little Jackie Paper frolicking in the autumn mist. There is clearly no limit on the performances that glorified cannabis use. Steppenwolf, Black Sabbath, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, and even Cab Callaway made “Reefer Man” one the most requested numbers at his Cotton Club performances in 1932. So, why did Denver decide that the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) cannot host “Classically Cannabis,” a

series of fundraisers bringing together people that have money to give away, who also share a love of Mozart and Marijuana? The idea was to bring new faces to the CSO and raise much needed cash for Colorado’s struggling symphony. But apparently, some city officials felt this was sending the wrong message and was not legally allowed. According to the Denver Symphony, the Denver City Attorney and the Office of the Mayor sent a strongly worded letter stating they would stop at nothing to stop the fundraiser from happening. “We provide you with this letter to dissuade you from hosting the event; however, if you go forward, we will exercise any and all options available to the City of Denver to halt the event and hold the business owners and event organizers responsible for any violations of law. We are also ready to hold individual attendees responsible for any violations of City ordinances or state law prohibiting public consumption of marijuana,” states the letter signed by Stacie Louks, director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. “Look around, this is not stoner town,” said Evan Lasky, executive vice president of the CSO, who characterized the series as just another

design to tap into new donors. “We have to build new audiences because the old people are dying off. We have to fight this perception of elitism.” It would seem to be a political misstep to condemn an event for people who are your voter base. Politically sophisticated, lovers of classical music and cannabis that have large amounts of disposal income would, in my opinion, be the voter base any mayor or governor would love to have. Especially in liberal Denver, where cannabis legalization has ALWAYS won on the ballot. “Don’t they have anything better to do?” asked Rob Corry, an attorney who represents the marijuana industry. He said the city is going out of its way to put a kibosh on the cannabis centered event. “You still have to buy a ticket. It is still a private event. And every adult that comes into the event consents to the purpose of that event,” Corry said. After a week of political posturing, the City of Denver relented. Sort of. The show will go on. However, according to the CSO it has to be invitation only. Ok, fine. The CSO will jump through hoops so that the city officials can feel like they protected the children from joint packing grandmas and bong smoking violinist.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


“We are pleased the (symphony) revisited their planned events and worked to come into compliance with state and city laws,” city attorney Scott Martinez said in a brief statement issued by Mayor Michael Hancock’s office. And the show did go on, in grand style. Co-organizer Jane West of cannabis company Edible Events said $30,000 had already been secured in sponsorship for the night, and CSO officials confirmed another $20,000 was garnered from attendees. The CSO is hoping to raise $200,000 from the three Space gallery shows and another, non-pot-sanctioned Classically Cannabis event at Red Rocks this summer. And it bears noting, the crowd was well dressed, well behaved, not one instance of aggression and they wrote checks with Mont Blanc pens. Funny how Denver’s Democratic leadership is continually standing in the way of more business, more jobs, more money and less people in jail over events that have less issues than the Great American Beer Fest and Jazz at City Park. And we are not Blowing Smoke…

Editor’s note: Blowing Smoke is written each month by Wanda James. She would like to answer your questions. Send them and/or comments to Wanda@NoBlowingSmoke.com. Wanda James is the managing partner at the Cannabis Global Initiative and is a leading advocate in the cannabis industry. She worked with the regulatory process to bring medical marijuana to fruition and was appointed to the Colorado Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force Work Group. Her political and professional work on cannabis reform has led to her being featured in numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on CNBC’s Marijuana USA. She and her husband Scott Durrah, also own Jezebel’s Southern Bistro + Whiskey Bar in Denver.

How the

Bob Marley Estate Still Makes Millions Every Year – Even Though He Died More Than 30 Years Ago


ob Marley, the late reggae music icon, was named last year by Forbes magazine as the fifth top earning dead celebrity. He is actually the only Caribbean artist to grace a Forbes list, which is mostly dominated by North Americans and Britons. How much is his estate worth? Reportedly, Marley’s estimated net worth is around $130 million. As both a singer and songwriter, Marley is

credited with popularizing reggae and the Rastafari movement worldwide. Some of his worldwide hit songs include “No Woman, No Cry,“ “Jamming,” and “One Love.“ His final album, a compilation entitled Legend was released in 1984, three years after he died from cancer at the young age of 36. That album is the top selling reggae album of all time, and has been certified, not gold or platinum, but diamond. Combined, Marley has sold more than 75 million albums in the past 20 years alone.

So how is he still making millions? Well, first of all, since its release in 1984, Bob Marley’s Legend album continues to sell more than 250,000 copies every single year. Nowadays, much of his music is sold via iTunes and other digital retailers. And tons of his songs are bought around the time of his birthday every February 6 due to a smart annual campaign launched by his estate called “Bob Marley Week.“ Believe it or not, but millions of fans all around the world celebrate this special week dedicated to Bob Marley. Another major factor in his annual sales is the fact that Bob Marley is a huge social media icon. He has nearly 60 million Facebook fans, and more than 1 million Twitter followers. That means that he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity. And don’t forget the merchandise and licensing deals. Bob Marley fans can buy his clothing (Zion Rootswear apparel), his personalized speakers, messenger bags and even a line of drinks bearing the name of the late music icon. Even more, his estate just signed a multi-million dollar deal with Hope Road Merchandising, LLC, and they will manage all Bob Marley motion pictures, television deals, commercial endorsements, consumer licensing, digital media, and games.

Another company, Hilco Consumer Capital, pays millions of dollars annually to license other Bob Marley products including shoes, food, collectibles, luggage, musical instruments and stationery. It’s no question that the Bob Marley business is a very lucrative cash machine that will probably never die, but that’s what happens when you make good music. You live on, and your fans never let go!  Editor’s note: This article was published from Blackbusiness.org. For more details about the Bob Marley Estate, visit www.BobMarley.com

Early Bird Registration is Open! Saturday, July 26, 2014 The Pavilion at Denver’s City Park

On-Site Registration begins at 7:30am 5K and One Mile Walk/Run begin at 8:30am


REGISTER TODAY www.destinationhealth5k.org or call 303-355-3423 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Destination Health raises money to support the Center for African American Health.

Happy Birthday Wilma Jean Gerdine Webb

She is God Given. She is Purpose Driven. She is a Jewel. She is Wilma Jean Gerdine Webb

The Surprise...

Two First Ladies...

The Birthday Cake...

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Photos by Evan Semon

The Birthday Dance...

Denver Urban Spectrum to Honor 10 African American Men for Anniversary Celebration; Four Doctors Recognized April marked 27 years of spread-

ing the news about people of color for the Denver Urban Spectrum. To celebrate this milestone, DUS will present Men of Distinction, Fathers of Wisdom, an event honoring 10 African American men on Father’s Day. Special recognition will also be given to four men from the medical field who will be presented with a Taking Care of US award. Honorary chairs for the event are Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee and Moses and Gwen Brewer. This celebration, featuring dinner, live entertainment and award presentations, will be held on Sunday, June 15 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Mirage Event Center in Aurora. As part of the celebration a video presentation will be shown with sons and daughters of the honorees talking about their fathers and a musical tribute will be presented by local and national entertainers. The selected honorees are from all walks of life and have provided an indelible effect on the Denver community, the United States, and for several, the world. The complete list of honorees include founder of the Asfaw Foundation International and McDonalds owner Geta Asfaw; internationally acclaimed contrabass player Charles Burrell; nationally known fine artist and illustrator Jess DuBois; nationally recognized accomplished bronze sculptor Ed Dwight; owner of RMES Communications and author Herman Malone; former and longtime owner of Pierre’s Supper Club Lawrence Pierre; former NBA Basketball Player Roland “Fatty” Taylor; entertainment promoter and rodeo producer Lu Vason; veteran radio personality James “Dr. Daddio” Walker; and former Mayor of Denver (1991-2003) the Honorable Wellington E. Webb. Additionally, for their service to the community, Dr. Bernard Gipson Sr., Dr. Russell Simpson, Dr. Johnny Johnson Jr., and Dr. Collis Johnson will be presented with a Taking Care of US award. Entertainment will be provided by SoBo Four and Tony Exum Jr. Singers participating in the musical tribute include Ron Ivory, Diana Castro, Harold Lee, Linda Theus-Lee, Ernest Washington and Vickilyn Reynolds. For tickets, reserved tables or sponsorship opportunities, call 303-2926446 or email info@urbanspectrum.net

Geta Asfaw

Asfaw Foundation International/McDonalds Owner

Asfaw believes that it is the responsibility of every business person to be involved and give back to the community, “A strong community means a strong business and a win-win result for everyone.” He has been recognized by a variety of organizations receiving numerous awards and honors.

unit at Camp Robert Smalls near Chicago where he played in the unit’s all-star band. After the war, he used his G.I. Bill to attend Wayne State University in Detroit. He excelled in his music courses, but was discouraged by the racism of his advisors. In 1949, Burrell joined his mother’s relatives in Denver, and was soon hired by the Denver Symphony Orchestra. In 1965, he met his wife, Melanie, a cellist. One of the first Blacks admitted to the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Burrell has mentored and taught some of the finest musicians in the country, including jazz pianist the late George Duke and Burrell’s niece, jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves.

Charles Burrell

Nationally Known Fine Artist and Illustrator

Charles Burrell has enjoyed an outstanding career as a bassist for the Denver Symphony Orchestra and is also considered a master jazz bassist; one of the few musicians to have mastered both genres. Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1920, Burrell was raised in Depression-era Detroit, Michigan. His mother Denverado provided inspiration and direction despite the family’s poverty. In grade school, Burrell excelled in music. When he was 12, he heard the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on the family’s crystal radio. He developed his skills on the bass at Detroit’s famous Cass Tech High School and after high school, landed a job playing in Detroit’s Paradise Valley. At the start of World War II, Burrell was drafted into the all-Black naval

Jess DuBois is an exceptional artist, specializing in both portraiture and landscapes. As a Creole of Cherokee ancestry, he is renowned for his poetic landscapes and moving portraits of Native Americans and historic African Americans. DuBois is a native of Denver, Colorado’s historic Five Points neighborhood. A member of the Art Institute of Denver’s first graduating Class of 1957, he was inducted into their hall of fame in 2004. After graduation, he continued his education, studying with notable artists such as Ray Vanilla, David Lafel and Daniel Green. DuBois showed his work in his successful DuBois Gallery in Estes Park until a devastating flood in 1982 caused it to close. At that time he returned to Five Points, where he began to incorporate blown glass and sculpture into his repertoire. Continued on page 18

Internationally Acclaimed Contrabass Player

Geta Asfaw is a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He moved to the United States at age 18 to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. He has been married to his wife Janice for more than 30 years and they have three grown children, Elias, Desta and Abraham. Asfaw is best known as the owner of eight McDonald’s restaurants and his philanthropy efforts to help humanity. He is a member of the “Global Hunger Project,” an organization dedicated to ending world hunger. Asfaw has sponsored a number of activities with schools and non-profit organizations. He created the Asfaw Family Foundation International to serve as a vehicle to give back to the community, including the “Arches of Hope Bicycle Giveaway,” program which provides 300 new bicycles and helmets to elementary school students every Christmas season and a Thanksgiving dinner for senior citizens. The foundation also provides tuition and other important benefits to school children in East Africa. In addition, the “Aim High” scholarship program provides financial assistance to African American male students.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Jess DuBois

Men of Distinction, Fathers of Wisdom

Continued from page 17 In 1988 DuBois received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Black Arts Festival for his amazing ability to “project the soul of his subjects onto canvas.” In 1998, DuBois was commissioned by the Metro Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) to create a bronze of Denver’s first AfricanAmerican doctor, Dr. Justina Ford, which is located at the Light Rail Station at 30th and Downing. In 2004, DuBois was one of only three artists to receive the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the arts. DuBois continues to take art classes, and he also teaches art to children. His life goal, he says, is always “to get better and better.”

Ed Dwight

Nationally Recognized Accomplished Bronze Sculptor

A man whose resume reads: former Air Force Test Pilot, America’s First African American Astronaut Candidate, IBM Computer Systems Engineer, Aviation Consultant, Restauranteur, Real Estate Developer, Construction Entrepreneur and author can best be described as a true renaissance man. However, for the last 40 years, Ed Dwight has focused his direction on fine art sculptures, largescale memorials and public art projects. Since his art career began in 1978, after attaining his MFA in Sculpture from the University of Denver, Dwight has become one of the most prolific and insightful sculptors in America. Dwight, whose childhood dream was to become an artist, was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. With little formal art training, his first serious artistic endeavor began with a commission to create a sculpture of

Colorado’s first Black Lt. Governor, George Brown in 1974. Soon after, he was commissioned to create a series of bronzes entitled “Black Frontier in the American West.” After the success of this series, Dwight began to explore the history of jazz in a sculptural form. Life experiences and passion for the arts have shaped Dwight into the prolific artist he is today. The “negative space” concept, which was developed by Dwight early in his career, can be seen throughout his Jazz Series. This concept has been emulated by many artists and now is commonplace in the art universe. To date, Dwight has created more than 120 memorials, monuments and public art installations, as well as some 18,000 gallery level sculptures. Included is the largest Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, installed in Denver and the Inauguration of History and Hope, a touring exhibit of the Obamas.

racial discrimination in the Black business community. The story has received rave reviews and is being touted for a movie production. Today, Malone spends time mentoring his two sons and two daughters – Leon, Miles, Pamela and Carie – and enjoying his five grandchildren. He is spiritually dedicated and credits his achievements to his faith in God and family upbringing. He serves as a trustee and deacon at Friendship Baptist Church under Pastor Paul Burleson.

Lawrence Pierre

Former Owner Pierre’s Supper Club

Barbeque. In 1965, Pierre purchased Sherman’s Creamery at 2157 Downing changing it to Pierre’s Supper Club where he gained national reputation for his catfish, strong drinks and a popular hot spot for local Denverites, out of town travelers and tourists. Pierre sold the club in 2006. In retirement he stays busy promoting his spicy mix batter and spending time with his family.

Roland “Fatty” Taylor Former NBA Player

Herman Malone

RMES Communications Business Owner/Author

Herman Malone, born in Camden, Ark., attended Jarvis University in Hawkins, Texas and served honorably in the US Air Force. He moved to Denver in 1970 and worked in corporate America for a spell before starting his own business in 1973. Malone was a founding member of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce where he served as chairman; he also served as chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Malone is president of RMES Communications, where he had a number of firsts for minority businesses, including the first minority firm to be awarded a prime concessionaire in telephones at a major airport. He is a recipient of multiple national and local awards over the years including the Martin Luther King Jr. Business Social Responsibility Award. He is the author of “Lynched by Corporate America,” a true story of

Lawrence Pierre (known simply as Pierre) was born in Edgard, La., just outside of New Orleans. He is the youngest of seven children, born to Valcour and Coralee Pierre, on January 15, 1928. He was raised by his older sister Elizabeth (“Bibette) after his parent’s death. At 15, Pierre brought vegetables from local farmers and sold them at the French market. He bought day old milk at the French market, bottled it, and sold it to people in Edgard. In order to join the army, Pierre changed the birth year on his birth certificate and hid his severe asthma condition. While working in the Officer’s Club, he learned the food and liquor business. Pierre moved to Denver in 1945 and took advantage of his learned work experiences including business with Smitty’s Playhouse and Club Omni. He built cabins in Lincoln Hills and a barbecue restaurant at 1st and Sheridan for his uncle Romalis Pierre and Thomas and Ollie Jackson. As the manager there, he met and married a waitress named Lessie Nulan. They were married until her death in 2011. Pierre invested the inheritance from his uncle to start his first restaurant on 2701 Welton St. In 1956, he moved to 28th and Tremont and opened Pierre’s

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Roland Morris “Fatty” Taylor, born in Washington, D.C., is a former professional basketball player. A 6’0” guard from La Salle University, Taylor joined the American Basketball Association in 1969. After one year playing for the Washington Capitals, he moved on to the Virginia Squires, with whom he spent the prime of his career, tallying 3,495 points, 1,737 assists, and 1,715 rebounds in five seasons. Taylor became known as one of the few outstanding defensive players in a league known primarily for a “run-and-gun” style. On the Squires Taylor played with former or later NBA stars including Adrian Smith, “Jumbo” Jim Eakins and Julius “Doctor J” Erving. For one-and-a-half seasons Taylor was a teammate of George Gervin, and Taylor has been credited with coining Gervin’s nickname “The Iceman” (he first called Gervin “Iceberg Slim,” which gradually developed into the more familiar nickname). Big 5 Hall of Famer Taylor spent one season in the NBA (1976-77) as a member of the Denver Nuggets, and he retired in 1977 with combined ABA/NBA totals of 5,098 points, 2,563 assists, and 2,524 rebounds. Most recently, Taylor taught and coached in the Colorado high school districts. He was a program coordinator for the Colorado Hawks for more than five years. Taylor realized the

need to form his own program, which resulted in the development of Taylor Made Playaz. Today, in addition to training youth in basketball, Taylor is also manages Classics Event Center.

Lu Vason

CEO, President, and Producer of Lu Vason Presents, and the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo

Lu Vason was born in New Orleans, La. and raised in Berkley, Calif. His life’s journey has been diverse and vast including serving in the army, working as a fashion model, newspaper reporter, movie extra, entertainment manager and eventually a producer and promoter. He became the lead booking agent for various artist in the Bay area and after partnering with a friend in Denver, the friendship lead him to Denver permanently, where he began working with promoter, Barry Fey. After attending Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1977, Vason felt the experience was exciting but lacked Black cowboys and cowgirls. His vision to start his own African American rodeo circuit was realized in 1984, and hence the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo was a reality. BPIR is the only African American touring rodeo in the US and throughout the world. BPIR has traveled to more than 33 cities across the US and recently celebrated 30 years. Vason is also the owner of Lu Vason Presents, an entertainment company. His idea to create a jazz festival in the local Denver community took place in 2013, when he produced the first Denver Jazz Fest. Vason has never allowed barriers to hold him back and he has been recognized by various cities and organizations from coast to coast for his contributions to society. He has received many awards and honors, including the induction into the Blacks in

Colorado Hall of Fame and the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Business Social Responsibility Award. Vason is a pioneer and visionary. He believes that each of us has an obligation to our brothers, sisters and especially the children to expose and educate them about the African American accomplishments, no matter the industry or activity.

He says he has been married to the same wonderful woman and mother of his children for 50 years.

The Honorable Wellington E. Webb

Mayor of Denver (1991-2003)

James “Dr. Daddio” Walker Veteran Radio Personality

As a pioneer for Black radio in Colorado, James Walker opened doors for hundreds of Blacks, whites and Hispanics to be on the airwaves and also get into the radio business. Walker began his radio career more than 45 years ago in Shreveport, La. He also worked in Houston, Tucson and Denver where he is best known as the former owner of KDKO radio station and for his on-air personality as “Dr. Daddio.” In addition to being Denver’s first Black radio personality and the first Black owner and operator of a radio station in Denver and Tucson, Walker has also owned an ad agency, asphalt and sealing company, a concert and promotion company, a nightclub, a record store, a furniture store, a newspaper, a chain of bar-b-que restaurants, a personalized bottled water company, a boutique and tax company – all with the help of his wife Pat, daughter Yolanda, son-in-law Kirk, and granddaughter Lindsay, aka “Miss Thang.” Walker is no stranger to the community he serves. He organized the first St. Patrick Day Parade in Tucson, Arizona; served on many boards in Colorado and Arizona; and worked on political campaigns in Colorado and other states. Most recently he was ordained as a new deacon at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Walker has received many awards from numerous organizations.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb is the only mayor in American who was elected by his peers to be president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. Mayors of today call him “sensei” or coach and in Ethiopia they call him “abera,” which means enlightened one. In his published autobiography, he writes about being a teacher, mental health worker, university professor, federal administrator, state regulator, state legislator, elected city auditor and Denver’s first African American mayor elected to three terms from 1991-2003. As a state representative, he was known for fighting for social justice and protecting the environment. As the city’s auditor, he restored fiscal integrity to the office and promoted a new prompt payment ordinance for city government. As Denver’s mayor, he moved the Mile High City out of the economic doldrums of the late 1990s with $7 billion worth of infrastructure and acquired more park space than any other mayor, including cleaning up and preserving the South Platte River corridor. In his 12 years as mayor, he

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


also created the Denver Health Authority that saved the city’s public hospital, and opened business to all people with the local minority and women’s concession program at Denver International Airport. Since leaving office, he has served as a representative of the United States to the United Nations and founded Webb Group International, a consulting firm. He serves as a board member for Maximus Corp., Denver Health Foundation, the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation. He is a member of the Delta Eta Boule and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities. He has been married to his wife, Wilma, for 43 years and is a father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !






presents the 27th anniversary celebration


Dinner  Live Entertainment

Geta Asfaw

Jess DuBois

Charles Burrell

Herman Malone Ed Dwight

 Awards Ceremony

Roland “Fatty” Taylor

Lawrence Pierre


Mistress of Ceremonies, Tamara Banks

Honorary Chairs

Mayor Michael B. Hancock First Lady Mary Louise Lee

Moses and Gwen Brewer

Entertainment by SoBo Four and Tony Exum, Jr.

James “Dr. Daddio” Walker Wellington E. Webb

Taking Care of

US Awards

Dr. Bernard Gipson Sr. Dr. Russell Simpson Dr. Johnny Johnson Jr. Dr. Collis Johnson

Mirage Event Center 13250 E. Mississippi Avenue (In Aurora)

Sunday, June 15, 2014 3 to 6 PM

For more information, call 303-292-6446 or visit www.denverurbanspectrum.com, for tickets visit http://bit.ly/1m2p4j2

Special Father’s Day Musical Tribute:

Ron Ivory Diana Castro Harold Lee Linda Theus-Lee Ernest Washington Vickilyn Reynolds

For sponsorship opportunities, email info@urbanspectrum.net or for tickets visit http://bit.ly/1m2p4j2

Tables: VIP - $1,000 (Seats 10) General - $500 (Seats 8) Community - $250 (Seats 6) Individual Tickets: $45

Center for African American Health Offers Free Home Blood Pressure Management Program

PARENTs! We want your kids

July 26 Destination Health: Walk/Run/Learn in Denver’s City Park Supports Community Prevention and Wellness Initiatives Year-Round


The Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation NEW summer journalism program and camp is back for

Youth ages13-17*

Just Check It, a home management program to help control blood pressure, is among the Center for African American Health’s services that will benefit from the 4th Annual Destination Health: Walk/Run/ Learn event on Saturday, July 26 at the Pavilion in Denver’s City Park. The Just Check It toolkit includes a blood pressure cuff, information on lifestyle choices, and a system to track home blood pressure and share information with a doctor or pharmacist to enable better decisions about how to manage blood pressure. “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and African Americans have the highest death rate from cardiovascular disease of all racial and ethnic groups,” points out Center Executive Director Grant Jones. “It’s important that we recognize that there are modifiable risk factors – high blood pressure, diabetes and limited physical activity – and steps we can take to control our health. We are here to help the people we serve in community make more informed decisions about the foods they eat, activities, and other lifestyle choices.” Dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the AfricanAmerican community, the center partners with a wide variety of healtheducation and health-delivery organizations to develop and provide culturally-appropriate disease prevention and disease management programs to thousands each year. The center is also a certified Connect for Health Colorado assistance site. To learn

more about the center’s programs, including Just Check It, visit http://www.caahealth.org/index.cfm /ID/3/Programs. Destination Health combines exercise, education and entertainment in a multigenerational experience. On-site registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. on July 26 near the City Park Pavilion. Following warm-up activities at 8 a.m., the run/walk (5k route or onemile course) will get underway promptly at 8:30 a.m. The Health Education Expo features more than 40 booths filled with important information and resources about vital health matters and the special Children’s Health and Safety Zone provides fun activities and information for families. There also will be an awards ceremony and entertainment by the Mary Louise Lee Band. 

Join the award-winning Denver Urban Spectrum staff for an adventure into the journalism profession of the digital age.

Hands-on experience and real-world training in:

•Print media including news reporting, feature writing, editing, photography and magazine layout •Digital media including blogging, video clips, social media and online magazines •Field trips to a major media outlet, Denver government offices, a major sports venue, a printing operation •Participation in the creation of a special “junior” edition of the Denver Urban Spectrum, planned, written and produced by youth campers


Sims Fayola International Academy 6850 Argonne St. in Green Valley Ranch

Editor’s note: Destination Health online registration is available at www.destinationhealth5k.org. Early bird pricing is available until June 20 and is just $25 for adults and children six and older. After June 20, the cost for adults increases to $30. Special pricing is available for teams (four or more), children 6-17, adults 50+, and active/retired military. Children five and under are free. There also is a SleepingIn for Health option ($15) for those unable to attend the July 26 event yet want to support the center’s programs and receive a tshirt. On-site registration is available for $35. If you would like to be a CAAH volunteer or need additional information about the Center for African American Health, contact the Center at info@caahealth.org or call 303-355-3423.


$175.00 (Includes lunch, materials and non-refundable $35 application fee.)


July 14-July 25, 2014 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information or to request an application, email info@urbanspectrum.net or call 303-292-6446 *Ten participants will be selected

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


HOPE Students Celebrate the Heroes Around Them By Heather O’Mara

Learn. Achieve. Graduate.


he Heroes Celebration is an important event – one that is a highlight for the students and staff of HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-op. Each year, elementary students in grades 3-5 write essays to honor the heroes around them—at home, school and throughout their community. Each Learning Center selects a representative, and the students present their essays to their heroes at the celebration. “This is an incredibly fun and sometimes very emotional event,” said Dr. Janet Filbin, HOPE’s Director of Student Achievement. “All the stories are wonderful.” The Hero Celebration is the brainchild of Filbin, who started the event five years ago. She wanted students to consider and connect with positive influences in their lives. “The people who our children look up to are the people they will model their lives after, so it is incredibly important that they focus on those powerful influences,” she explained.

HOPE parents were very popular subjects, illustrating the importance of the connection between school and home. HOPE at New Heights Academy fifth grader Omar also praised his parents’ sacrifices and hard work in raising him. “My dad works so hard to support us. And my mom is always cleaning up after us. Trust me, she works hard,” he said with a smile. Some students chose to write about historical figures, celebrating the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Nelson Mandela, among others. One student even drew the comparison between Martin Luther King Jr. and her own father, who is also a preacher and a “good man.”

Hope at Hillcrest student Dawnielle

Natalie, with mom and mentor Glory Schutz


Call 720-402-3000 or visit www.HOPEonline.org.

Natalie, a HOPE fifth grader from Redeemer Learning Center looked to the past, noting the important achievements of Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr. And while she realizes that the sacrifices these heroes made have helped make the world a better place, the person she most admires is her own mother. “My parents are divorced, so she does so much for us,” Natalie explained. “She works and takes care of my sister with special needs, but she still finds the time to volunteer at school and help me with my homework.” Turning to her mother, Natalie expressed her deep gratitude and appreciation: “Your compassion, patience and strength inspire me. Thanks for being my rock and lifting me up. Thank you for exploring the world and life’s milestones with me.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


For Hope at Hillcrest third grader Dawnielle, the person who had the biggest impact on her life was education-related—and fictional. She chose to celebrate Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus book series, not only because she makes learning exciting and fun, but also because she never discriminates based on age, gender or race. “All students have an equal ability to learn,” she explained. “Ms. Frizzle takes the responsibility to find the best approach to teaching and makes it interesting. That is why she is my hero.” HOPE’s staff is proud of all of its students and thankful to the heroes who support them day in and day out. It is these influential role models who empower HOPE students to realize their own potential to change in the world.  Editor’s note: For further information on HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op, call (720) 402-3000 or email info@HOPEonline.org. Heather O’Mara is Founder and CEO of HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op.

Good Grief for Kids

Part I By Cassandra Johnson, Sena Harjo, and Dorothy Shapland

Editor’s note: The Nest Matters (TNM) is advice from “egg to flight” from early childhood educators and leaders. TNM focuses on early child development from prenatal (the egg phase) through the stages of tweens when children prepare to leave the nest (the flight phase).

Are adults sensitive to

how children deal with

grief? “My son was 6 years old when my father passed away. Popo was the only man in his life at the time. The day he was born, Popo was there to thump his forehead as if it were a melon, saying “Oh, we’ve got a smart one here.” Three a.m. feedings, crying episodes, first word, first steps – Popo was there through it all. Blinded by my loss, I never thought about how he was coping. To my surprise I learned my son was grieving long after Popo‘s passing. I received a phone call from his 1st grade teacher telling me my son had written a short story about losing his Popo. There was so much detail in his story and the picture he drew, that it was like reliving the loss all over. I never realized how insensitive I was to how much grief he was experiencing. The teacher

was just as surprised and had his story published. The term “Good Grief” is an idiom for the keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss. Dealing with loss is a challenge for an adult, but what is it for our children? We often think that our young ones are too far removed from the reality of death and incarceration to feel grief and loss the way that we do. Truth is they know and experience more than we realize. If you have experienced a recent family loss, there are certain responses you can expect, and there are positive ways to respond and support your child. We all experience differing amounts of fear, sadness, anger, and guilt in waves. They are no different. The youngest child will experience these feelings while they are grieving. They may not be able to understand, clearly express, or even identify these feelings that drive their actions. Empathy is a skill that children learn. To empathize with someone begins with understanding what he is feeling or what you would feel like if you were in the situation. It is not until age four that a child begins to associate their own emotions with the feelings of others and age eight that a child can grapple more complex moral decisions. Children fear what will happen to them, or to others they love. They are sad for their own loss, and are often not able to empathize

with your loss. They may be angry at the person who has left, or at those they believe are responsible. They may be angry at surviving family members, or even with themselves for something they believe caused the loss. They are capable of carrying tremendous feelings of guilt and will believe themselves responsible for causing illness, death or loss, but they don’t understand these feelings and just act out on them. Our communities are full of random loss – accidental death, prolonged illness, suicide, drug overdose, violence, incarceration, terrorism, deployment to a war zone, and even divorce or separation can produce a grief response in children. And it is up to the adults to provide the safe, nurturing support our children need to navigate these experiences.

What can adults do?

Listen and let children talk about their grief experiences. Everyone grieves differently, let your child share their grief and feel heard. Understand that there is no set timeframe for grief. This is not a single event, but a process that will take time. Avoid lies and half- truths. They are perceptive, and are more likely to feel that the loss is their fault if they pick up that you aren’t telling them the whole story. Be patient and understand that it is very complicated to process grief at any age. Take care of your own needs as well. Your grief needs to be expressed and addressed so that you can provide support to a grieving child. Next month, Part II of this article will share “How Children Deal with Grief.”  Editor’s note: For more Nest Matters’ articles visit www.thenestmatters.blog spot.com, or send an email to thenestmatters@gmail.com and like us on Facebook. Colby’s Drawing

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Spring Checklist: Step Outside And Say Goodbye To Winter By Brenda Bruce, Loan Specialist, Denver Urban Renewal Authority

Denver residents have enjoyed

relatively mild weather these past sev-

eral weeks. Temperatures have been in the 50s, 60s and even in the 70s, offering a real spring in 2014. With the flowers set to bloom and winter all but guaranteed to be behind us, there’s no better time to step outside and give your home a quick inspection to make sure that it – and you – are ready for summer. Here are a five outdoor items that should be on your spring checklist to ensure you’re in good shape as the warmer weather settles in to stay. Roof. Grab your ladder (or borrow one from a friendly neighbor) and

inspect for any damage that might have resulted from the winter snows. Look in particular for missing or broken shingles. A damaged roof can lead to costly leaks, so if you see anything of concern, it is important to call a professional to assess the damage and make any necessary repairs immediately.

Chimney. Now that the cold is behind us, it’s time to close up the chimney for another season. While examining the roof, take a look at the chimney’s exterior for any signs of damage. Also call a certified chimney sweep to have the flue cleaned and inspected so that it will be ready to go next year.

Gutters. The fall foliage has longsince fallen, and now its time to make sure that it is cleared away as the trees blossom anew. Clean your gutters to make sure that there aren’t any leaves, twigs or other debris clogging up the works and make sure water is diverting properly away from the house.

Caulking. Since your house’s foundation may have shifted with the temperature, now is the time to inspect the caulk that seals the gaps between your home’s windows and doors. The caulk should not be loose or flaking, and if it is then it is time to replace it. Caulk can be bought at any home improvement store, and is a smart investment as that it keeps the inside of the home insulated from weather fluctuations outside.

Exterior Faucets. You need to check the outside hose faucets for any freeze damage. Quickly turn the water on and place two fingers to cover the opening; if you can stop the flow of water, the cold might have gotten to your pipes. You’ll need to call a plumber to be sure. Also, go ahead and check the garden hose for any mold or rot. If you see any, time to invest in a new one. Hopefully, you will find that your roof, doors and pipes all survived the winter without harm. Even if you do find signs of damage, don’t worry. A good contractor will be able to make any necessary repairs and have your home in good shape in plenty of time to enjoy another gorgeous Colorado summer. Editor’s note: If you are a low or moderateincome Denver homeowner, contact DURA for more information about funding for home repairs or upgrades through our Emergency Home Repair (EHR) and Single Family Rehabilitation (SFR) programs at (303) 534-3872 or www.renewdenver.org.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014



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Mayor Michael Hancock Appoints Faragher to Denver County Court

Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced the appointment of Beth Ann Faragher as a judge to the Denver County Court. The appointment will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Raymond Satter, who will leave the bench at the end of June. Since 2008, Faragher has served the City and County of Denver as a fulltime magistrate, most recently presiding over the protection order courtroom, which handles aspects of temporary and permanent protection orders, including numerous trials. She previously oversaw the small claims, criminal arraignment, traffic, juvenile and general session courts as a magistrate. From 2011 to 2014, Faragher initiated and coordinated Denver County Court’s prominent role in helping homeless veterans receive donations and services at the National Guard Armory. She will begin on July 1.

Kenneth Crowley Selected As 2014 Young Alumnus

Kenneth Crowley, founder of the Crowley Foundation, was awarded the 2014 Young Alumnus Award from

Langston University. This is given to an alumnus who has contributed to Langston University, been a service to the nation and community, and reached professional achievement. Crowley received the award at the 2014 Commencement ceremony on May 15 on the W. G. Anderson Football Stadium.

AU United Selected As First U.S. Team to Compete In Cuban National School Sports Games

Athletics United is a multi-dimensional youth athletic service organization committed to international health and development through track and field. Recently, Athletics United received invitation from the Cuban Athletic Federation to compete in the 2014, 50th annual Cuban National School Sports Games and was granted a license to travel to Cuba to participate. Athletics United is the first team in history to represent the U.S. in track and field competition. The athlete ambassadors selected for this historic event will all be athletes from Colorado. The Athletics United “Juegos Escolares” team will consist of 25 athletes ages 14 and 15, all from Colorado.


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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


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Udall Announces New Staff and Key Advisors

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall welcomed four new advisors and staff to his campaign. The new additions to the Udall for Colorado team include new advisors former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, former Denver Councilwoman and current Denver Downtown Partnership Chairwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, as well as new Director of Outreach Alexis Crews and Director of Opposition Research Ernest Bailey. Wellington Webb is the former mayor of Denver, the first African American to be elected to that position. He is active in national and state Democratic politics and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Elbra Wedgeworth is a proud East Denver native, and her professional experience in the private and public sectors spans more than 25 years. Among her many accomplishments, Wedgeworth has served as both the president of the Denver City Council as well as the chair of host committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. She is also the first person of color to serve as chair of the Downtown Denver Partnership Board of Directors and is currently serving as the president of the Denver Union Station Project Authority Board of Directors. During the 2012 election, Alexis Crews worked for the Obama campaign in Denver. A graduate of Spelman College, Crews worked on voter registration initiatives in Colorado before joining the Udall campaign.


Ernest Bailey studied political science and history in Nevada where he worked on the Obama campaign and as an educator. Now living in Arvada, Ernest worked in Colorado Democratic politics before joining Udall for Colorado.

Carrousels, Inc. Denver Chapter Installed

Rep. Angela Williams addresses the crowd at a press conference on the west steps of the Capitol as left to right: Sen. Larry Crowder, Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, Sen. Lois Tochtrop and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on and other stakeholders stand behind.

On April 26, Carrousels Inc, a national social organization, installed

Back Row (Left to Right) Jada Roberts, Mirenda Burke, Mary Haynes, Glenna Watson (Founder), Kim Coleman, Suranetta Vaden, Felecia Conklin. Seated (Left to Right) Sandra Roberts-Taylor (Treasurer), Carla Harris (Secretary), Andria Koen (Vice-President), Nina Sonovia (President), Alicia Harvey (Parlimentarian), Michele Freeny (Historian).

its 22nd chapter in the organization’s 58 year old history. Carrousels operates as a national social organization with chapters throughout the country. Carrousels was founded in August 1956 by Glenna L. Watson and the late Betty Brewer. While taking their infant children for a daily outing they talked about how enjoyable it would be to have a group of special friends with whom they could plan and participate in different social activities. By the end of their walk, Watson and Brewer decided to bring together some of their friends to discuss forming a group. It was agreed that the club’s purpose was to strengthen friendships and to carry out social activities for the enjoyment of members and friends. The naming of the club was discussed, and after several meetings (and names), it was decided that Carrousels depicted the atmosphere of love and happiness, and a carefree spirit which always exist-

ed whenever they came together.

Telecoms Package Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper signed four of the five telecommunications bills passed by the House and Senate this year to modernize telecommunication regulation, expand rural broadband services and protect public safety. The bills, which are all sponsored in the House by Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver), include: •HB14-1327 which streamlines permitting, construction, modification, maintenance and operation of cell towers, fiberoptic lines and other infrastructure. These technology upgrades will have the biggest payoff in rural areas that will benefit from increased broadband coverage. •HB14-1329 deregulates voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and internet protocol (IP), but preserves the Public

Utilities Commission (PUC) regulation of the 911 system. •HB14-1330 updates telecommunications terminology and definitions in state statute to reflect the technological advances made over the last 20 years. •HB14-1331 deregulates basic telephone service, but allows the PUC to set maximum rates and to reregulate basic service if the need arises. It also substantially reduces the High Cost Support Mechanism, a subsidy for rural carriers, and passes a portion of the savings on to consumers. HB14-1328, also sponsored by Rep. Williams, reallocates the High Cost Support Mechanism to fund rural broadband expansion was signed by the governor in Gunnison, Colo.

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Ground Rules

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

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is Blackflix.com’s Senior Critic-at-Large. J.R. Johnson is a Journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Blackflix.com’s intern.Laurence Washington is the creator of BlackFlix.com.


Still, its superbly acted and well put together for there’s so much packed into its 1hr 45 minute runtime. The societal constraints placed upon women in Georgian England, race, class and gender, which are all deftly explored and cleverly interwoven make it worth the ticket price. The Retrieval


The Retrieval 

Samantha Ofole-Prince

“The very first thing that stuck


Politics, class, romance and race By Samantha Ofole-Prince

are some of the subjects explored in Belle which is inspired by a true story. Beautifully acted and well put together, the film follows Dido Belle who is raised as an English aristocrat. The illegitimate offspring of a slave woman and a white Royal Navy officer, Belle was raised by her uncle, the Lord Chief Justice of England (Tom Wilkinson) in their ancestral estate in 18th Century England. Her lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. What makes the film remarkable is that it delves into a part of unfamiliar history. Dido Belle is not a fictional character and was the first mixed-race woman to be raised as an English aristocrat. But since there’s much we don’t know about her life, director Amma Asante has filled in the blanks by focusing on a love story between her and an aspiring lawyer and anti-slavery activist (played by Sam Reid). As a result, the film is more of a dewy romantic film set far from plantations or slave ships of the time and more among the English upper class, where decisions about slavery are being slowly deliberated.

out to me was the writing,” says Tishuan Scott who stars in the historical drama The Retrieval. A compelling and historically fascinating film that follows a 13 year-old Black boy who retrieves runaway slaves, Chris Eska’s script illuminates another dark chapter of slavery and emancipatio The year is 1864, and Marcus (Keston John) and his young nephew Will (Ashton Sanders) earn a modest income retrieving runaway slaves. Their setup is a simple one. They gain the trust of runaway slaves and then betray them to the bounty hunters for money. The story opens when Will (Sanders) asks to be sheltered with other escaped slaves who are hiding in a farmyard. Welcomed and offered food and bedding, he awaits their slumber before quietly leaving and betraying them to an awaiting slave hunter (played Bill Oberst Jr), who rewards him for the deed. For their next assignment, the duo is sent to retrieve Nate (Tishuan Scott) an escaped slave enlisted by the Union army to dig graves for dead soldiers. Armed with a false story about his brother who they claim is gravely ill, they convince Nate to return with them. On the way back, things go horribly wrong, and Will and Nate find themselves on the run. As the bond between them unexpectedly grows, Will’s loyalty is challenged by the father-figure role Nate effortlessly assumes, and he becomes consumed by conflicting emotions as he faces a gut-wrenching decision to either betray the father figure he’s finally

found, or risk being killed by his employers. A slow and quietly absorbing film, it’s a coming-of-age drama that has won numerous film festival awards, including the Special Jury Prize for Acting at SXSW (South by Southwest) and the International Critics Prize at the Festival de Cinéma Américain de Deauville. “The heart of the story is this 13 year-old boy played brilliantly by Ashton who does a magnificent job,” shares Scott. “We focus on humanity in this film and everybody can identify with Will.” Writer/director Chris Eska (August Evening) manages to weave an impressively historical tapestry without ever losing sight of the story. Befitting its mood, much of the sprawling melodrama unfolds on the back drop of the Civil War and unlike 12 Years a Slave a semi similar tale of slave kidnapping, there is little need for the brutality normally seen in movies of that elk. “I take my hat off to the team of 12 Years a Slave for the scene that was done when Patsey was whipped because that absolutely had to be seen, but our film did not need it,” Scott says. “There has been so much blood shed, but with Nate and Will and Marcus, we are not focusing on slavery but a human story seen through the eyes of a 13 year-old boy.” The Retrieval offers a fascinating insight into the moral dilemma that comes with betrayal. With vivid work from a stellar cast, notably Scott and Sanders, this is a movie that renders a powerful conclusion. Million Dollar Arm

Million Dollar Arm


By J.R. Johnson

illion Dollar Arm follows the true story of JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm), a sports agent whose firm is on its last leg. As his agency continues to dwindle, JB puts all his eggs in one basket in an idea called the Million Dollar Arm – a competition that sets out to find India’s first professional baseball

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


player. When JB finds his two pitchers, Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal), he takes them halfway across the world to America where they train in hopes of getting signed by a major league baseball team. Million Dollar Arm is heartfelt and filled with moments of sentiment and excitement. The tone sets a feeling of triumph and desire for these two underdogs. But much of the emotion is overlapped by the comedic instances that eventually take over the film. The jokes aren’t a disadvantage to the movie, but they do serve as distractions that shorten the core of the film. The baseball side of the movie comes in a modest dose. The behind the scenes charades are playful and a little more playful than one would expect, it fits the tenor of the movie, but it’s not going to fulfill the average fan’s desire. Still, the focus is on the Rinku and Dinesh trying to accomplish an immense goal, but the stakes don’t feel as high without the presence of the major leagues instead of talking heads. Million Dollar Arm isn’t the sports film that fans have been dying for, but it does have a fun comedic-vibe that is perfectly geared for families.

Brick Mansions



By J.R. Johnson

ummer is approaching and popcorn movies will soon hit theaters in full force. As usual, a few of them trickle out earlier than most and Brick Mansions is leading the charge. In one of Paul Walker’s last performances, Walker plays Damien an undercover cop in a future that has forced Detroit worst neighborhood into its own territory. Damien is recruited to infiltrate the territory known as Brick Mansion, to stop a dangerous scheme that would end with the devastation of the entire city. But only with the help of an ex-con can Damien hope to complete his task. Brick Mansions isn’t the type of film that offers the most brainy of plots, that’s also not what it set out to do. But there are some parameters that need to be met in order for the narrative to actually consider itself a story. Brick Mansions doesn’t even attempt to meet any of those boundaries. It’s more focused on visuals more than anything else. Post-production seemed to be a part of the film that lacked any enthusiasm as well. The editing, especially


Brick Mansions

in regards to the audio, are not done well at all. Voiceovers with mismatched lip movements and incoherent scene cuts run rampart throughout the film. It feels like a rough draft. Walker and his co-star David Belle are fun to watch, but there isn’t much room for the possible chemistry they could’ve had, instead we are given something that feels forced and unbelievable. The stunts seem to be the main priority of the film. A couple backflips here and there, and maybe some wallrunning thrown in to some hand-tohand brawls make for nice eye-candy, but that can only distract for so long. The only faith left lies within the characters, and there’s none.

meant to do one thing – bring on Godzilla. Although the film does tease him, and the other creatures in the film until key parts in the story are revealed, the wait is more than worth it. Godzilla’s presence is massive. And thanks to new age technology, every spectacle is fashioned in a way that brings the monster to life in a refreshing way. Aside from Aaron Taylor jumping from disaster to disaster, in an effort to try and get home to his family, the characters are just pushing towards answers and setups created in an effort to build a history for the creatures involved. Even though this can be a little exhausting in certain moments, it’s all worth it and clenches


a significant amount of value for the story. Like many monster movies or films built around spectacles, the human element isn’t the focus, and it shouldn’t be. It’s called “Godzilla” for a reason, and it delivers on that purpose in nearly all fronts. Godzilla is a fine start to a hopefully growing franchise that captures the essence of the iconic beast.



By J.R. Johnson

he King of the Monsters is back, and his return is nothing less than gigantic. After 16 years of dormancy, and a few other attempts in between, Godzilla has finally been given a decent stage to stomp all over. In the most recent incarnation, the story of Godzilla unfolds through the eyes of Ford Brody (Aaron TaylorJohnson), a young soldier and his father, Joe (Bryan Cranston) who has devoted the backend of his life to chasing a faceless source of destruction. When he finally uncovers the cause, the realization of what’s to come is unimaginable. After the discovery, Ford sets on a worldwide journey to do anything he can to protect his family and stop the monstrosities that threaten them. But they are too big to handle alone. Godzilla follows a formula built by the early films that birthed the franchise. It’s a concentrated story that is

give him what he deserves. The film is a standard and predictable one – three flipped-out femmes who make life hell for the man who scorned them, but what is entertaining are the laughs we get along the way. As the story begins, we meet Carly (Diaz), a tough-as-nails New York lawyer with a strict set of rules when it comes to men and relationships. When she meets Mark King (played by “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), she lets her guard down and begins to fall for him. But when he cancels a date citing plumbing issues at his home, she makes a spontaneous visit to the house clad in high heels and wielding a plumbing tool-kit only to discover that he has a wife, Kate (Mann). Instead of directing their outrage toward one another, Carly and Kate bond over their joint enemy, and, with a little help from Amber (Upton), a

The Other Woman 

By Samantha Ofole-Prince


film which is bound to strike a chord with people from all walks of life, there’s plenty of laughs to be had in “The Other Woman.” Infectiously entertaining, this comedy that features three great leading ladies circles around Carly Whitten (played by Cameron Diaz) who discovers her latest boyfriend is a married man. When she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on (Leslie Mann), they both discover a third woman (Kate Upton) is also caught up in his lies and conspire to Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


The Other Woman

third woman caught up in Mark’s lies, they plot a mutual revenge. Directed by Nick Cassavetes (“The Notebook”), it’s a film about female solidarity that balances comedy with a bit of fantasy. Despite a plot that’s almost too preposterous for the material and a script that goes on a tad too long, it is a good-hearted, simpleminded comedy about female empowerment with some very funny moments. Some of their vengeful actions include dipping Mark’s toothbrush in the toilet, swapping his shampoo with hair remover, slipping hormone pills in his morning smoothies and dropping laxatives in his drink, but of course there is the final act of revenge that hits him where it really hurts – his pocketbook. Don Johnson makes a brief appearance as Carly’s father while Nicki Minaj injects a bit of humor as Carly’s sassy secretary, Lydia.

Spotlight on Musicians in Denver’s Local Music Scene

By LisaMarie Martinez

To recognize Black Music Month,

this month the Denver Urban Spectrum takes a look at four local artists who may be considered new on the horizon even though they have been in the industry for many years.

SMILE...with Linda Theus-Lee

Linda Theus-Lee grew up with a speech impediment and so by the age of eight she had difficulty speaking because of a stutter. She received extensive speech treatment. She was able to sing along to songs without stuttering. Theus-Lee is from Los Angeles by way of Louisiana. In high school she was part of a 100-plus member choir. She performed with her trio in juke joints. Her trio, featuring the bass, drums and keyboards, performed rhythm and blues, jazz, blues, pop, musical theatre types of music and big band. During her career she has toured around the world. She has toured Korea, Japan and Europe. She performed with The Platters in Las Vegas and Canada, and with the late Louise Burke’s big band in Los Angeles. She has traveled to Hawaii as part of the cast of Sistas and Storytellers, written by Sheryl Renee and Coco Brown. Through her day job as a program coordinator for the University of Colorado at Denver, Theus-Lee is able to do outreach, affording her the opportunity to speak to diverse audiences and “to inspire.” As a volunteer speaker, through the university, she Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


speaks on the importance of self, education, and the tenacity to never give up on dreams “no matter what,” says Theus-Lee, who earned her bachelor’s in business and master’s in social science from UCD. “I’m always trying to reinvent myself, not only to make my life better but to also make someone else’s life better. For my life, I’ve been studying the guitar for the last three years. I love song-writing, I love writing,” says Theus-Lee, who often writes and practices her guitar while hanging out at the Botanic Gardens. “We should always be on a continuum; to continue to grow, to continue to be more than whoever we even think we are. We can do so many things, not just for ourselves. Sometimes people just need a smile. Everyone deserves a smile; a smile is a blessing.” National artists, India Arie and Raul Midon, have served as inspiration for Theus-Lee’s love of song-writing and wanting to play the guitar. “I’ve been doing this music for the last 35 years. I just continue to grow and go,” says Theus-Lee, who primarily performs at private parties and fundraisers. “The older I get, the more energy I have and the better I sound. I’ll never give up on myself or on the music because it feeds my whole soul. I’ll continue to do it until the good Lord says ‘Service well done.’ ” Rituals Theus-Lee does vocal exercises and focuses on being in a calm positive state before her performances. For more information, visit www.lindatheus-lee.wix.com/linda.

RELEASE...with Ernest Washington

Professional singer, Ernest Washington, started out in the music industry as a young boy playing the drums. He thought he wanted to be a percussionist or a professional drum player while growing up in a family of nine kids in his hometown of St. Louis Missouri. He entered talent shows and singing contests, and also competed for his school as a percussionist/backup singer. Think Temptations. Those experiences led him to using his mother’s stove as a makeshift drum; the drumsticks were formed from tree branches. His (single) mother Sylvia Walker could not afford to buy him a drum set. “Whatever I could beat on I was beating on, visualizing I had my own drum set. I used tree limbs and beat on plastic and steel trash cans. That

Rituals Before a performance, Washington drives to the lake, runs, or works out while listening to music. His next performance is at Jazz at Jacks in downtown Denver on June 28 and Frisco, Colorado on July 4. For more information, visit www.ewjazz.us.

BELONG...with Cicely O’Kain

was one of my dreams, to be a professional drummer,” says Washington, who has a music degree from the University of Missouri. To make a better life for himself and his family he moved to Denver. He worked together with Brenda, the mother of his two daughters. He is the founder and lead singer of Ernest Washington and the Rendezvous Crew, which is made up of nine to 10 members: percussionist, bass player, keyboard player, saxophone player, back-up vocalists and drummer. “Our genre of music is rhythm and blues, funk, jazz, hip hop, blues and soft rock. We’re a high energy band, we love to perform. My goal is to take the audience’s breath away on every song and we do,” says Washington, who has performed at Jazz at Jacks, the Kasbah and the Soiled Dove Underground. He is working on his third album ‘Love Is Not Lost,’ and has not forgotten his inspiration. “My beautiful mother has inspired me to be my best. She always told me that in her heart and eyes that she’s always believed in what I’ve done. My school music teacher Walter Young inspired me musically.” He adds that he is “intrigued by the style, words, and uniqueness of Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.” A mentor and teacher in Aurora Public Schools, Washington does not perform for the fame or fortune. “Music is about touching souls and bringing people together. It’s not about making a dollar, but about sharing a gift God has given. It’s meaningful, and spiritual to me; music is a release, and can change peoples’ moods. I always tell my audience, ‘without you there is no me.”

remember she had a beautiful voice. I inspire to be like my mother, Debbie; my hero.” The hairstylist by day says, “When I’m on stage I’m completely free; I’m performing for my next breath. I’m blessed to say I’m working on both of my passions.” Her words of wisdom to everyone are, “No matter how young or old you are, how seasoned you are, whatever your dream is, I’ve learned: just be okay with it. It may differ with what you’re currently doing; it may just not seem it would be right because you may be so settled into something else. But if that is where your heart really is, it’s so important to follow that, and be unafraid. “ She adds, “Believe in yourself and don’t feel like you’re gonna’ come across as cocky or conceited because you know you’re qualified. Do it through the tears, the uncertainty, through the naysayers, whatever it is, and do it now. Rituals Before a performance, O’Kain guzzles three bottles of Aquafina water, shakes her body if she feels nervous and designates at least one hour to be in total silence. For more information, visit www.cicelyokainmusic.com

TRANSCEND...with D Tha Man Project

Singer, songwriter, performer and recording artist Cicely O’Kain is a Denver native. She started her sevenyear music career performing at Jazz at Jacks. While seeking out venues to perform in, she put together her first album, “MsUnderstood.” She is in the process of writing and recording for her second album, which can be found on ITunes, Amazon.com and Rhapsody. She also has songs on YouTube. She has performed from Los Angeles to New York and locally at the Soiled Dove Underground, the Paramount and the Gothic Theatre. “I like to experience all types of music, and like hip hop, rhythm and blues, rock and opera music. I like to incorporate a little bit of all those styles of music if the venue or event, calls for that,” says O’Kain, who earlier this year wrote and performed a tribute song, entitled “Faith,” for Denver’s First Lady Mary Louise Lee. She has opened for national artists such as Keith Sweat, Joe and Kindred. She will be in a play at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre the end of this month. “Entertaining gives me a sense of belonging,” says O’Kain, whose mother passed when she was seven. “I

D. Williams (D Tha Man Project) had wanted to be an entertainer since he was very young, playing football in high school. During his sophomore year in college he decided to pursue his musical desires. In 2004 the Denver native and his musical partner Clifton Davis formed a group called Gubment Cheese Project. They met while working to help at-risk youth in Denver. Prior to the Gubment Cheese Project, Williams performed in several groups. One in particular, The Cool eMCee’s, was formed by a partnership with his cousin and a friend under the umbrella of Attiq Entertainment

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


Agency. While working on the first album for The Cool eMCee’s, Williams asked Davis to do some studio work with the group. It marked the beginning of their musical collaborations. Williams has worn many hats in the project writing songs, rapping and coordinating production to being the visionary. “My inspirations are constantly changing in life because I’m a fan of music and I am a creator,” says Williams who appreciates artists like Ice Cube, Madonna, The Beatles as well as Earth, Wind and Fire. They “represent the ability to transcend; to be creative.” The debut album of Gubment Cheese Project, “Music,” represents collaborations with several musicians. It can be found at the Denver record store Twist and Shout, Amazon.com and ITunes. Their second album entitled “Old Dogs No Tricks” is in its final stages of production. Davis plays flute, the melodica, built tracks in the studio, and used electronic instrumentation. Williams feels entertaining is a calling. “Entertaining to me is like a siren that calls to me, I love it, and I heed the call,” says Williams, who has performed at Denver’s People’s Fair, the Bluebird Theatre and the Ogden Theatre. Rituals Williams spends his downtime listening to live music in support of other local artists. For more information, email attiqentertainment@hotmail.com. 


Scott United Methodist Presents Retirement Concert Celebration

The Scott United Methodist Church, at 2880 Garfield St. in Denver, along with Director of Music Minister E. Hayward Hobbs presents the Scott United Methodist Church Wesleyan Choir in concert on Sunday June, 22 at 5 p.m. The concert will announce and celebrate the retirement of Pastor Aaron Black and will present a service of anthems, hymns and gospel music featuring some of Denver’s finest guest singers and musicians. For more information, call 303-7712641.

The International Rocky Mountain Funk Out

The first International Rocky Mountain Funk Out will be a two-day festival in honor of the American art form known as funk. Joining from The Netherlands is SevenEleven and from Stockholm Sweden, The Neon Romeoz. They will share the stage with Con Funk Shun, Karyn White, The System, LA Sky and The Rick James Stone City Band Revue, TeCheetah Lopez and The L.A. All Stars, Dotsero, American Idol/The Voice finalist Wade Brown, Brick, DJ’s Ricky O, Al “Your Pal”, Capn Chris Hill, DJ Chonz, along with a special tribute to the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano featuring artists from the hit film “Down The Rhodes” The Fender Rhodes Story. Also, Michael Jackson’s legendary guitarist from the Jennifer Batten’s Forever Dangerous Tour will pay a tribute to the King of Pop. This event will be held Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6. Hosts will be actors Mario Lopez and Obba Babatunde. For more information and tickets, visit www.internationalfunkout.com, www.sjrmediagroup.com, or email sjrmediagroup@webplus.net.

AHC 8th Annual Benefit Dinner

The African Heritage Celebration (AHC) will present an evening of culture and charity at the 8th annual dinner and silent auction. All proceeds will benefit education projects in the villages of Senegal, Africa. The celebration will be held Friday, June 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, located at 650 15th St. in Denver. Keynote speaker will be Dr. James Jackson, founder of Project Cure. The Griot Masters Ensemble of Colorado will provide entertainment along with other guest artists. The Hyatt Regency will prepare and donate Seneglese cuisine. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


For more information, tickets or reservations, call Mohamadou Cisse at 720-732-4638, Kevin Miller at 303-8828389 or Vance Johnson at 303-321-2470.

Discover Your Family Star

Family Star is an early childhood education program serving lowincome families in Northeast and Northwest Denver. Enrollment is open for center based or home based programs. There are low numbers of teacher to child ratios, and all food, formula, diapers, and wipes are provided. Family Star is Qualistar rated, a DPP provider and accepts CCAP and TANF child care payments. The home based program is year round for ages 0-5. There are two child care centers with immediate openings; open from 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Locations are at 2246 Federal Blvd. in Denver and at 2940 Curtis St. in Denver. For more information, call 303-477-7827, 303-295-7711 or visit www.familystar.net.

Father of the Year Awards and Golf Tournament

Families across Denver have been submitting the names of exceptional fathers since February, and after a rigorous judging process, the 2014 Father of the Year will be announced on June 14. The Father’s Show Resource Program is hosting its fifth annual Father of the Year event with a golf tournament, silent auction, and award luncheon, Saturday June 14 at the Park Hill Golf Course, 4141 E. 35th Ave. in Denver. The golf tournament begins at 7:30 a.m. and the luncheon begins at noon. This year’s guest speaker is former Bronco running back Reggie Rivers. The purpose of The Father’s Show Resource Program is to provide fathers, single or married, with a onestop resource of information that can assist them in raising their children, positively and productively. For more information and tickets, visit www.thefathershowrp.org. Only the first 100 golfers will be accepted. Cost is $125 per person.

Launch Of STEM Connect 2014 Making science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) matter for the next generation of STEM professionals is one goal of STEM Connect, a program of the Dr. Justina Ford (JF) STEM Institute in North Denver. The JFSTEM Institute recognizes the urgency of STEM education for


girls and women of color from economically disadvantaged communities. STEM Connect aims to establish a much needed support system for Black STEM professionals through networking and mentorship opportunities, mobilizing leadership, and recognizing the achievements of professionals in the STEM workforce. STEM Connect will be headed by medical writer Tanya Russell, Ph.D. The launch of STEM Connect will be held Saturday, June 14 from 12 to 2 p.m. at the JF STEM Institute, located in the Benedict Enrichment Center on the first floor of Thomas Bean Towers at 135 Park Ave. West in Denver. JF STEM Institute will also host its annual “We Are STEM” summer camp from July 21 to 25 for girls in grades 3 to 6. For more information, visit www.jfsteminstitute.com or email Deborah Sims Fard at dsimsfard@aol.com.

Prostate Education Network’s 2014 Father’s Day Rally

Prostate Health Education Network’s Annual Father’s Day Rally in partnership with churches has become the largest and most visible prostate cancer education and awareness effort with a focus on Black

America – reaching more than 1 million persons in 2013. United Church of Montbello located in Northeast Denver, 4879 Crown Blvd. in Denver is partnering with PHEN to host The 6th Annual Rally Against Prostate Cancer at each service on Father’s Day, June 15 at 8 and 10:30 a.m. For more information, call Mary Davis, Ph.D. at 303-884-5651 or email drmarydais@aol.com.

Park Hill Village West Community Design Fair

The Park Hill Village West Community Desing Fair will be Saturday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4100 Albion St, Denver. Community members are invited to come and shape the development of the six acres of land on Smith Road and Colorado Boulevard. View the three proposed designs for the areas and make your opinions known. There will be food, beverages, activties, and giveaways for the whole family. This event is presented by The Denver Foundation, Urban Land Conservancy, Together Colorado, Radian, GES Livewell, and FRESC. For more information, call 303-3001790.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014


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 http://ucm.ctsmemberconnect.net

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



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The Law Office of Jessica Jackson-Barrows, LLC Areas of Practice

Personal Injury Slip and Fall Trip and Fall Premises Liability Motorcycle Accidents Car Accidents Criminal Law Estate Planning Motor Vehicle Accidents -- Plaintiff Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Premises Liability - Plaintiff

695 S. Colorado Blvd. Suite 480 Denver, CO 80246 PH: (720) 943-4195 FAX: (303) 722-7281

Former Brooklyn, NY Prosecutor Specializing in Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Payment Arrangements Available Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2014




Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

DUS June 2014  

This month George Morrison, Jr. is celebrating his 89th birthday and 66th wedding anniversary with his wife, Marjorie. In our cover issue Mo...

DUS June 2014  

This month George Morrison, Jr. is celebrating his 89th birthday and 66th wedding anniversary with his wife, Marjorie. In our cover issue Mo...