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Volume 29 Number 3

June 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS K. Gerald Torrence Kim Farmer

Black Music Month, Walking in the Footsteps

To recognize Black Music Month, this month the Denver Urban Spectrum highlights two of Colorado’s musical gems. Singer Hazel Miller graces the cover, and rightly so, as she has been performing for more than 40 years and sharing her unique ability to make sure that everybody in the audience is having a good time. Nationally recognized bass player Vernon Barbary serves as an example of how your expectations can drive your success and help you to create a lifestyle that works for you in the music industry. This month we also pay tribute to those who have paved the way in the music industry and other arenas – but sadly, by saying good-bye. As the world remembers the legacy of the late B.B. King, we at the Denver Urban Spectrum dedicate this issue in the memory of civic leader Josephine M. Mann, musician and educator George Morrison, Jr., music promoter and rodeo producer Lu Vason and most recently Tuskegee Airman John Mosley – all of whom have left an indelible mark in the Denver community and around the world. Their obituaries, full of exemplary accomplishments, are included in this issue. They will be missed immensely and our prayers go out to their families. But, from the words of Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Adam Morgan Angelia D. McGowan Annette Walker ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris


PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Ann Marie Figueroa Cecile Perrin


ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Robin James Byron T. Robinson DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2015 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


What’s the Big Deal with Culture?

white people who live in comfort in America, the evidence indicates that these people are incapable, because of their nature, values and lack of spirituality, to be empathetic, sympathetic and compassionate, which are higher emotions by the way, and they show no signs of ever changing. In all the media discourse, there is a glaring lack of condemnation of the Baltimore police. No condemnation means complicity. So to conclude, Black people should give up the American dream, because when closely examined this dream is in reality a nightmare! I propose a mass migration to the motherland where Black people at least have something to build on – something to contribute. There is no future for Black people in America! This is painfully obvious. We as a people love white culture. Let’s build a society of our own we can love.

Editor: We are the parents of a 38-year-old special needs son who has attended Special Education classes. So, we can relate and appreciate the article by Mr. Dedrick Sims. We have to agree that all children and students of any age have different capabilities and needs to be taught accordingly. Mr. Sims should be commended for such an insightful article.

Doyle James Lowell, MI

American Dream Is Really A Nightmare

Editor: If the sentiment put forward by the media regarding the reaction of citizens of the city of Baltimore to recurring police murders of Black males, is representative of the indifference white people in general feel towards Blacks in America, it is very telling and I believe Black people should at this point in time realize that it is time for people of African descent to contemplate leaving America for some other homeland. Whether that homeland is Africa (which would be the most practical destination) or Mars, we need to get out of America. I see a persistent pattern on the part of the media (which is owned by the ruling class) to attack the oppressed and disenfranchised, when they react to being murdered by police. The focus of the media is always on the reaction (rioting, looting, burning), placing a higher emphasis on the protection of property, will being shockingly indifferent to the plight of the people exploited for the past 400 some odd years. It is quite apparent that not only do Black lives not matter to the

At the end of the swap, the researchers performed colonoscopies on all of the study participants. Those who ate the African-style diet had less inflammation in the colon and more of a fatty acid that may protect against colon cancer. Those who ate the typical American diet showed signs that indicated an increased risk of colon cancer. If you want to stay on the safe side, visit for a free vegan starter kit, or check out the AfroVegan cookbook by renowned chef Bryant Terry.

Heather Moore PETA Foundation

Download the Denver Urban Spectrum App Today! Available at your Apple or Android App Store

Antonius Aurora

African-Americans and Colon Cancer

Editor: Here’s some promising news: A recent study suggests that you can reduce your risk for colon cancer – a disease that afflicts African-Americans more than any other racial group in the United States—just by eating tasty vegan foods. Researchers with the University of Pittsburgh asked 20 AfricanAmericans in Pittsburgh and 20 rural South Africans to “switch diets” for two weeks. The Pittsburgh residents ate a traditional African diet, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables, beans, and cornmeal, and very little meat. The Africans ate typical American-style meals, heavy in meat and cheese.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

Publisher Editor News & Information

Advertising & Marketing

Distribution & Circulation

Music is f

Photos by by Bagley Crowder

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Up Close and Personal with Hazel Miller By Charles Emmons

Hazel Miller performs with singer/songwriter and guitarist Matthew Moon.

ummer is the best time to

be in Colorado if you enjoy live music. There are festivals everywhere. Many gatherings and celebrations are well known, Juneteenth, Capitol Hill

People’s Fair, and Cherry Creek Arts Festival, to name a few. Hazel Miller

in her longstanding career has played them all and many more throughout

Colorado. With more than 40 years of performing, Miller is the hardest

working and most sought after musi-

cian in the state. Her website boasts a

schedule where she has a gig at least

every other week throughout the sum-

mer, sometimes having two or more

in the week. She and her band have received Westword’s Best of Denver Blues Band several times and the Northern Colorado Press Association has named the Hazel Miller Band the Best Band in Colorado. Northern Colorado? People everywhere appreciate great music, and Miller’s band plays dates in Erie, Loveland, Holyoke, Longmont as well as Denver’s Jazz at Jacks and Herman’s Hideaway. Just like one of her idols, Stevie Wonder, Miller believes music is the universal language. Singing is in her DNA. “It’s all that I ever wanted to do. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. It’s just always been that way,” says Miller, who started singing professionally at the age of 17. Her success with a wide range of audiences is due to her appreciation of all types of singers and artists. “I kind of like everybody. Everything from Lainie Kazan, Julie Andrews, Aretha Franklin, you name it – I listen. If it hits my ear right, I am going to listen - country, gospel, and jazz. I love Marion Anderson, the first Black woman to sing at the White House, she was an opera singer…one of the first Black women to sing at Carnegie Hall. I like everything. I

don’t try to close off the learning experience, because it is the only thing that keeps me motivated, keeps me honest, it keeps you rolling and keeps you looking for something new.” Miller has always been up to the challenge. You’re just as likely to hear her on KBCO and KUVO, where she has recorded special studio sets. Locally she has been known for her band and singing with Big Head Todd in the 90s. But she has also performed with Michael McDonald and Herbie Hancock among others. She met Patti Labelle, but did not sing with her. Miller’s dream performance would be with Stevie Wonder. But her memorable musical experiences are not steeped in her being star struck. “I think the first time I ever sang at Red Rocks was for Film on the Rocks, and that will always be in my memory. The first time I ever sang in the Hollywood Bowl we were trying to

get in and they didn’t believe that we were actually performing. The first time we played Vegas was memorable because you always hear things about Vegas. The performance in Vegas was at the ‘brand spanking new’ Hard Rock Café.” Miller has built a career on leveraging her opportunities. Twenty years ago she and Lori Cohen, her manager and best friend, decided the path should be outside of clubs. You may hear Miller this summer at an outdoor venue but other times you are just as likely to see her at a corporate or nonprofit event. In May she played the St. Anthony/Centura Health Country Fair Celebration and sang with the choir at Mile Hi Church. In October 2014 at the Cable Center she headlined “Jazzed,” a benefit for the Inner City Health Center. In October of this year she will headline the same event with Todd Park Mohr (Big Head Todd) and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Freddy Gowdy (Freddi-Henchi Band.) Miller’s success has come from smart business decisions and dynamic performance acumen. She speaks to her audiences through the music. “I think every singer does. Isn’t that the purpose? I mean you can’t just sit there and expect people to listen if you don’t have something personal to say,” saysMiller. “It depends on the message. It depends on the song. I guess it just depends on the situation that you are singing for. You don’t want to go to a corporate party and give them a social message. You want to make sure that everybody is having a good time. And you might sort of slip in some ideas. If you do a concert you want to make sure people are having a great time and you might give a personal idea in song, because there might be a person out there that feels the way you do or there is someone out there that needs to hear it.”

Miller has a historical perspective on singing, and says like many of the greats she is a song interpreter. She commented that Frank Sinatra never wrote a song, and Otis Redding wrote and recorded “Respect” before Aretha Franklin took the song and made it her signature. “Ninety percent of her fans don’t know that it is an Otis Redding song,” she says. Singers like Bonnie Raitt have made a career singing other people’s songs and making them their own. Less than 50 percent of her material is original, but Miller is not concerned about performing or recording original works. “It wasn’t until the ‘60s that singer songwriters were a big deal. Frank Sinatra never wrote a song in his life. He just didn’t. There were songwriters and there were singers or musicians and they would collaborate and come up with great songs. It’s not one of my great worries. There is always great material out there.” Miller’s sets are as varied as her audiences and after so many years in the business she has honed her professionalism onstage always with the goal in mind of making sure the audience is having a good time. She still visits a vocal coach once a week and doesn’t smoke cigarettes or weed. Even though Miller is a seasoned performer, she still has little anxieties when she goes onstage. “Yeah you warm up. For me I try to get my nerves under control. I use a set list, but if the audience is not responding to the set list, then you get off your butt and you look at your audience and you figure out what is going on. And you start calling songs until you reach them and then you go on from there.” In this modern age live performance remains a large part of her income. The biggest challenge is getting a gig. That aspect about the business has not changed. It’s one of the reasons she has stayed in Colorado. “Because there is work here, are you kidding me? It’s one of the few places where you can actually make a living singing. You can’t say that about L.A.,

you can’t say that about New York, it’s too crowded. It’s perfect. I got here at just the right time. “ Miller has always made the best of her opportunities and been in charge of her success. “Twenty years ago, Lori and I, we made a decision to get out of clubs. And Lori Cohen got on the phones and I put together whatever musicians I could find and like I said, you just have to jump out there and do it. A lot of people said we couldn’t do it, but we proved them wrong. It is one of those things.” Like many artists, Miller has taken charge of her own distribution. Her music can be found on iTunes and CD Baby, which she says she prefers. She said she gets a check every month from the service. But for sheer promotion she has an affinity for YouTube. “YouTube is probably the most reliable where you can be seen and heard now. They do an excellent job… an excellent job! Whatever you find on YouTube about me, someone else has put it out there. I am not technical, and I was going to try and figure it out this summer, and I probably will; I’ll get my granddaughter to help me. I got a couple of guys in the band that are techie guys; they will figure it out, and I will be along for the ride.” The ride has been great for Hazel Miller, but her success has not come without a lot of hard work. She is driven by her goals to be a successful performer. Away from the bandstand she has also been recognized for her work. In 2011 she performed in the play “Letters” with former Denver Broncos Reggie Rivers to benefit the Spotlight Theater. Miller also received the Best Local Star in Theatrical Production award from Westword for her 2002 performance in the Vagina Monologues in Boulder. Later she was part of an ensemble cast in the shortrun musical theatre production “Sisters and Storytellers.” Hazel Miller is not afraid to remake herself and she says she feels that at this point in her career she is sort of entering into Act 3. Her advice to others and her

formula for success has not wavered. “I am ready to start a new chapter and do something different so to speak. I am not sure what it is yet. I thought it was being an agent, because I think I would be a great agent, especially for young women. They wouldn’t have to worry about getting ripped off. But I don’t know if that is in the cards. I have to sit down and figure it out. I have to do just like when I was 18. I have to figure out what to do, how to get there and come up with a plan and then work the plan.” “If it’s important to you, find a way to get it done. Find a way to make your dream come true. Get close as you can get. A friend of mine once told me, don’t take it personally. Rejection is a given. Don’t take it personally. You just have to get back up and do what you were doing.” Hazel Miller is performing throughout the summer. “Fabulous,” “joyful,” “vibrant,” “marvfanjoyfabmazing,” “motivating …we saw her at the Gateway resort in western Colorado last year, everyone was dancing.” These are the responses I received with an informal request on social media to describe Hazel Miller

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


with one word. She belongs to Colorado, and in 2008, was named one of the state’s 150 Unsung Heroes who make Colorado a better state to live. Take time to experience her infectious song styling and you will have your own. In the metro area she will appear at Southlands, Stapleton, Southglenn and the Bonfils-Stanton Amphitheater in Lakewood. If you are more adventurous she will appear in Longmont, Loveland, Evergreen, Beaver Creek and Niwot. But you don’t have to go that far. Miller will be performing at Denver Urban Spectrum’s Up Close and Personal cabaret-style event on Sunday, June 14 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Jazz@Jacks. If you want to see a great performance and learn more about her, make plans to meet and greet Denver’s-own Hazel Miller ‘up close and personal’. Editor’s note: For more information and upcoming performances, visit Charles Emmons is a freelance writer based in Aurora. Contact Charles at or on Twitter @cwewrites2

R E V. P AT R I C K D E M M E R : Activist for Economic Justice Frequent Speaker and Two Arrests By Annette Walker

California reveals that most fast-food employees are heads-of-households and often have children. Furthermore, since they cannot meet their basic needs with their low wages, they are forced to rely on various forms of public assistance, such as food stamps,

and two others sat down in the middle of East Colfax and Pennsylvania to draw attention to the workers’ economic plight and subsequently were arrested. It wasn’t his first arrest. A few years ago, Demmer participated in a

Medicaid and child care subsidies. These costs are borne by taxpayers and are often referred to as “the hidden costs of low wages.” The Berkeley study shows that nationally 52 percent of fast-food workers, 48 percent of home healthcare workers and 46 percent of childcare workers received public assistance. Surprisingly, the study found that 25 percent of parttime (adjunct) college teachers, some with Ph.D’s, receive some form of public assistance. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports that Colorado ranks number 11 regarding economic inequality. This is in contrast to recent media headlines that the state’s overall income grew more than six percent between 2008 and 2012. However, the EPI report shows that most of that increase went to the wealthiest one percent as opposed to the bottom 99 percent. Demmer is hardly alone with his concern about stagnant wages and the skyrocketing cost of living. There is a “buzz” in the United States about the excesses of income inequality and it has blossomed into a minimum wage movement. Some economists like Robert Reich, treasury secretary during the Clinton administration, have pointed out that low wages are a barrier to growth of the national economy. The daily national newspaper USA Today has called this movement, ‘the issue that just won’t go away.’ The fast-food workers campaign began in New York City in November 2012 with 200 workers walking off their jobs demanding a $15 hourly wage and the right to form a union without retaliation. In May 2014 there were job actions in 150 cities, in December 2014 it was 190 cities and on April 15 of this year it was 200 cities. Actions have taken place in Denver in 2014 and in April. During the September 2014 action, Rev. Demmer

Columbus Day protest, was arrested and shared a jail cell with Native American professor and activist Ward Churchill. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes contends that the minimum wage campaign has ‘entirely changed the politics of the country.“ In June 2014, Seattle made history by transitioning the demands from the streets to official policy. The city council unanimously approved implementation of a $15 an hour minimum wage for public workers over the next few years. Since then Oakland (California), Chicago, Washington, D.C. and the states of Alaska and Arkansas have announced plans for a minimum wage increase. President Barack Obama has endorsed raising the federal minimum wage, and the Democratic Party is holding discussions on the issue. Retail giants such as Walmart and Target have announced wage increases. So has McDonald’s, but there is “a devil in the details.“ Only 10 percent of McDonald’s workers are directly employed by the giant conglomerate. The other 90 percent are employed by franchises which have the authority to set their own policies. The Service Employees Union International (SEIU) has been working for the fast-food workers’ right to organize and will work on the McDonald’s franchise issue. “The struggle continues,” said Rev. Demmer. “The root of many social problems in our society has to do with the economy. Since it is incumbent upon the church to lead the fight and be a voice for the voiceless, I will continue in my role as an advocate,” he said. Editor’s note:Rev. Patrick Demmer hosts Talk Back every Sunday, from 3 to 4 p.m. on KLDC - 1220 AM radio.


ev. Patrick Demmer’s staunch advocacy for minimum wage increases and general economic justice is rooted in his life experiences. His first job was at McDonald’s. That was the summer of 1967 when he was 14 years old and his salary was $2.50 an hour. “I am outraged that 50 years later the salary for that same job for fulltime employees is $7.50 [an hour],” he said. “That’s a $5 increase or 3 percent over 50 years,” he continued. “What’s worse is that in 1965, my parents purchased a modest home in Park Hill for about $15,000. Today that house is valued at $275,000, a 21 percent increase. “McDonald’s workers cannot purchase a home in Park Hill,” said Demmer, senior pastor at Graham Memorial Church of God in Christ. “McDonald’s is a billion dollar and international enterprise. When my wife and I arrived in Athens, Greece, the first thing we saw near the airport

was a McDonald’s,” he continued. Based on recent reports in the Denver Post, the cost of homes in many areas of metropolitan Denver are soaring and rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $1,200, an out-of-range amount for fast-food, retail and service industry workers. “When I worked at McDonald’s, most employees were teenagers and young adults and we lived with our families,” he said. “That has changed.” A recent study by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives Receives Continued Support from Local Auto Dealership

With the increased focus on gang violence in the Denver community, every bit of financial support provided for programs that positively impact local youth is greatly appreciated. One such donation that is helping to make a difference – a $7,500 grant from Larry H. Miller Charities - was recently presented to the Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives by members of Larry H. Miller Volkswagen Lakewood. “We are grateful for the generosity of folks like those at the Larry Miller Dealerships, who have stepped up and shown they want to help,” said Open Door Executive Director Reverend Leon Kelly. “Thanks to their employees, this is something that is going to make a difference in a neighborhood that is suffering from despair. This contribution from Larry Miller really is going to enhance some of the things we have been trying to do in this neighborhood, and it will help to inspire and uplift some of our kids.” The donated funds will be used to benefit children in fourth through eighth grade, who are identified as being at high risk for gang involvement based on factors including broken homes, siblings involved in gangs, absent parents, juvenile delinquencies and other disciplinary issues both in and out of school, and poor academic performance. This specific grant will help fund educational field trips, tutoring program materials, supplies for the art and science centers, playground equipment and healthy food for snacks. “Larry H. Miller Dealerships is honored to support this outstanding nonprofit organization that provides life-changing intervention and prevention programs to confront the impact of gang activity in the Denver metropolitan area,” said Jarred Black, Larry H. Miller Volkswagen Lakewood store manager. “This is the third financial grant Open Door has received from LHM Charities, which speaks to the

Neglect might be staring you in the face.

positive impact we believe the organization is having on the Denver community. We truly hope this donation helps enrich lives in our neighborhoods.” Open Door, whose goal is to stop kids from ever joining gangs, has developed successful programs with elementary and middle schoolaged children that focus on prevention. Additional programs, tailored for schools, corporations, other nonprofit organizations, law enforcement agencies and civic groups, seek to educate people about the signs revolving around gang recruitment, violence and involvement. Open Door also spearheads a program with the State of Colorado, Department of Corrections that aims to reduce recidivism among gang-affiliated parolees. Flippin’ the Script creates specialized and individualized plans offering assistance in the areas of housing, employment, job readiness, transportation, money management, mentoring, family relationships and support systems. “This donation plants seeds into our future leaders,” Kelly added. “So, maybe in another 10 years, one of these kids who are going to benefit from one of the seeds will be a manager or owner of a Larry Miller dealership. So thank you, Larry Miller Charities; God bless you for thinking about us.”  Editor’s note: Larry H. Miller Charities is a nonprofit organization that functions as the charitable arm of Larry H. Miller Dealerships., a group with seven locations throughout the state of Colorado. The group provides financial assistance in support of women and children’s issues, with an emphasis on health and education toward groups and programs based in the communities where they conduct business. Funds are generated, in large part, through LHM companies and employee contributions. LHM Charities has donated more than $350,000 to qualified Colorado nonprofits since 1996.

You Dial the Number. We’ll Make the Call.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015



Vernon the Groove with Pockit

By Angelia D. McGowan

Nationally recognized bass play-

er Vernon Barbary faced a fork-in-theroad decision as a high school student preparing for college. Football scholarship or music scholarship? He chose music, and it has made a difference in his life and in the lives of hundreds of musicians across the country.

The Denver-based musician has played all over the world with dozens of artists including, Gerald Albright, Jeff Lorber, Warren Hill, Ronnie Laws, Alex Bugnon and Bobby Lyle. Throughout his career he has pulled from the lessons learned while earning his double degree in music and business from Oral Roberts University, and has ultimately blazed a trail benefitting the music industry as a whole. In 2009, he created Pockit, a business that provides national recording and touring artists with remote local band support, enabling local artists to increase their income

money to fly his original band,” says Barbary, who notes that the idea came to him when he was not asked to play a show with an artist that he was traveling with at the time. That artist was planning to use local talent to back him up on that particular tour date. The native of Rockford, Illinois had no shortage of requests to play with any number of bands at any given moment, so the missed gig did not break him. In fact it was a turning point that ignited the businessman inside to identify and fulfill a need in the music industry. Today, he estimates that Pockit has more than 500 musicians across 37 cities who are available to come together to be a ready-made band, backing up national artists when they come to their respective city. “Whether I’m playing or not, I get a piece of the action and help other musicians at the same time,” says Barbary, who emphasizes that the concept for Pockit is not new, it is just organized. There is no advertisement and it is all by referral. “Good musicians know good musicians,” says Barbary, who provides Pockit’s participating musicians a code of ethics, outlining rules and fines. Where he stands today is the combination of choices, discipline and some adjustments in what some consider standard practice. There is a general rule that everyone should have a backup plan just in case their ideal plan doesn’t work out. “I don’t plan to fail,” says the musician, who at the age of 12 practiced the bass eight hours a day in the basement during the summer when his friends were out playing. He was not specifically

and build a resume playing with national artists without leaving their home city. National artists and promoters receive a break in costs associated with taking an entire band on the road for numerous dates. Pockit is a term used by musicians to identify when a band is playing in perfect timing or “in the groove,” he says. Pockit “is for the guy who lives in L.A., but is hired to perform in Florida - due to not having enough

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


instructed to do so, but chances are that words from his father rang clear. At Vernon’s request, his father had purchased an electric bass that ultimately costs $500. He told him he had better “play this thing. I didn’t waste money. This ain’t no toy.” He went on to earn the first chair role in his junior high jazz band. His tryout test was a song by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Get Away,” one of the pieces he taught himself by listening to his dad’s music collection while practicing in the basement. Jump to post college graduate, and a young Barbary secured a job with an airline in Denver so that he could travel to play on the weekends. With marriage and two children, he continued to find positions to support his music career and business. He has worked for a number of corporations, primarily as project engineer or project manager. In addition to being the bass player in bands, he also served as music director for some of them, keeping the logistics on track and leaving the artists time and energy to focus on other priorities. This background helps him to keep his own personal music career alive and at the same operate Pockit. “God has only blessed me in music to bless other people, not to keep it to myself,” says Barbary, who initially started playing an instrument at the age of 10 when a substitute teacher assigned him to play the cello. “The biggest compliment for me is for someone to say ‘that guy changed my life.’ ” The next major project for Barbary is working with smooth jazz saxophonist Warren Hill to take the Warren Hill Music Summit on a college tour across the U.S. to teach students about the music business. “We are trying to get the students to look at themselves as a business,” he says. For more information, email

HOPE Celebrates 2015 Graduates

On May 21 at Metropolitan State University of Denver, HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op held its graduation ceremonies. This year, nearly 100 students received their high school diplomas. The HOPE Class of 2015 joins the 1,000 plus alumni who have graduated from HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op since its founding 10 years ago. One of HOPE’s 2015 graduates is Lakeshia of Victory at Hillcrest Learning Center in Denver. Lakeshia (better known as “Keshia”) will start her journey to become a journalist in the fall at the Community College of Aurora. “I like journalism because I can learn and experience the world,” said Keshia, whose dream job would be to write for Essence Magazine. She currently works at Target as a cashier. Keshia is a gifted writer and has been honored to have the opportunity to write stories on several HOPE

ate from high school,” said Keshia. “Dealing with the death of my parents has been hard for me at times. But I am doing what I can do to make them proud.” Even when the going has gotten tough, Keshia has drawn on her strong-minded mentality to get her through. The HOPE team that has mentored her over the years at Victory at Hillcrest thinks her attitude is what makes her one of their top students. “Keshia is a young lady who has endured so much tragedy in her life while being optimistic and cheerful,” said Amener Williams, HOPE at Victory at Hillcrest Learning Center Director. “She has been an inspiration to all of us,” said Barb Pagano, Teacher for HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op. Keshia’s cousin has served as a role model in her life. Her cousin grew up without her parents, but has managed to earn her Bachelor’s Degree and is currently applying for law school. “My biggest goal in life is to be successful. And knowledge will get you there,” said Keshia. “I gained patience and wisdom and became a better person by going to HOPE.” HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op is a blended online public K-12 charter school which delivers its curriculum through community-based

Online Learning Academy Co-Op events she has attended in the last year. She has been a HOPE student at Victory at Hillcrest Learning Center for four years. “I like that I could work at my own pace and accomplish more,” said Keshia. “They have also been supportive through some rough transitions in my life.” In March, Keshia lost her father, who was raising her and her sister with the help of his mother (Keshia’s grandmother), on his own. Keshia’s mother passed away several years earlier. “I will be one of the first on my mother’s side of the family the gradu-

Learning Centers from Denver to Greeley, Leadville, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Students attend Learning Centers five days a week and rotate between online lessons and face-toface classroom instruction. The awardwinning curriculum exceeds state standards. HOPE also offers low student-educator ratios and is an accredited high school diploma program, with graduates going on to attend college at institutions from the University of Denver to the University of Northern Colorado and beyond. Additionally, HOPE provides character development programs, including physical education, music, the arts and extra-curricular activities such as competitive sports, specialty clubs, talent shows and more.  Editor’s note: For more information about enrollment for the 2015/2016 school year, visit or call 720-402-3000.

We believe in the power of community.

Transforming Passion Into Purpose | | Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Baltimore and Beyond…The Crisis Beneath the Crisis T

By K. Gerald Torrence

he wallpaper coverage of the recent eruption of unrest in Baltimore, which spawned a state of emergency and the presence of over 5,000 National Guardsmen and other law enforcement personnel, is an outward manifestation of a crisis of oppression that has gone unchecked for decades if not centuries in this country. The devaluing of Black lives by law enforcement and state and local governments, which began with the establishment of a Constitution that did not recognize the Negro as anything other than property, is the blue print that still undergirds American juris prudence. This separate and unequal treatment of Black folk by governmental authorities, beginning with the police, the courts and city governments which oversee them, are conditions that have endured through and in spite of emancipation, civil rights struggles and the passing of federal laws designed to address them. The slow march of the Negro toward equal justice under the law has always been marked by police brutality, murder, and the ever present cover-up by policy departments and government agencies to hide and insulate them from accountability for the atrocities precipitated against African Americans. It is only now that we’ve entered the age of the digital camera phone and the ever present eyes in the sky of

perpetual video monitoring in every American city, that the injustices against Black and brown citizens are being unmasked. With the very public executions of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and a host of other Black and unarmed men, the systemic targeting of African Americans by police and city governments, has ignited the powder keg of simmering rage, fueled by legal and economic oppression. Baltimore, like cities still yet to blow up, was simply a time bomb waiting to explode. The violent and lawless display in Baltimore by protesters is only a symptom of the ills of inequality and oppression of Black folk by a system of unequal justice and treatment under the law, dating back to the era of Jim Crow which defined and established a different set of applied rules and treatment depending on race. Although Jim Crow laws have been struck down, the spirit of these laws is still very much present in a system which is still operated and perpetuated by the great grandsons, and daughters of former slave masters. Old traditions and established perceptions of black inferiority and white supremacy die very hard, if ever. A pot that simmers and simmers over a hot flame will eventually boil over. These young Black men and women are simply rising up against a system that offers them little justice and less opportunity. President Barack Obama, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s reference to the protesters as criminals and thugs is a poignant illustration of how the Empire and those charged with its maintenance and operation, perpetuate negative views of African American youth. How unfortunate indeed when Black elected officials join the chorus of establishment voices, in the devaluation and dehumanization of some of our misguided young brothers and sisters. The reckless use of terms like “thugs and crim-

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inals” has almost become a synonym with the “n” word, used throughout history to refer to the Negro’s wretchedness. I suggest however that these terms are more applicable to the murderous white police officers responsible for the recent deaths of so many unarmed Black men. This criminal and thug stereotype systemically applied to Black men, is precisely what has been used to fuel the industrial prison complex, and the economic benefit that inures to private investors and state and local governments. These young people are only a by-product of a system of federal, state and local governments that view African Americans as a disposable drain on the financial coffers and patience of white America. The Empire and its news media conglomerates would have us focus our attention on the “rioting” and the destruction of property, rather than the senseless killing of Freddie Gray and others. Take the example of Toya Graham, the Black mother whose viral video looped endlessly on CNN, as she relentlessly and repeatedly struck her 16-year-old son with an avalanche of blows to his face and head. Although the reaction to this violent spectacle was met with applause and words of praise for the single mother of six, from white and Black news commentators alike, I can only imagine the feigned outrage, and public outcry that would have ensued under any other circumstance. Oddly enough there was not a peep of protest from the cable news pundits, the bleeding heart liberals, or by any of those who are responsible for taking corporal punishment out of the home and the schools in Black communities. Under any circumstance other than for the protection of the Empire, its property and its hypocritical values, such a beat down would have produced vehement outrage from white America, prompting immediate involvement by the state department of social services, and criminal prosecution of Graham for domestic violence and child abuse. These hypocrites, who condemned Adrian Peterson in principle for disciplining his child in the privacy of his home, are the same politically correct pundits and spin doctors whose position changes depending on the always questionable objectives of the Empire and its news media minions. Where are these bleeding heart liberals who only months ago saturated the airwaves about domestic violence and child abuse, making the Black man the face of child abuse and domestic violence in the Peterson case and others? I believe it no coincidence that the nationwide assault on Black families by state departments of social services

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


for physical discipline of our children is partly responsible for the epidemic rise of incarceration of young black men. This is just another example of the Empire taking away the authority of Black parents to reign in wayward youth and provide discipline of our children at an early age. Here again we have the ever present double standard by white America. Corporal punishment/child abuse is okay when it involves protecting the Empire, but criminal when it involves an attempt by Black men to discipline their sons in the home. Although I understand the frustration of the youth, their tactics of destruction and looting of the very neighborhoods and businesses that serve their communities is misguided at best. Furthermore, this lawless behavior plays right into the stereotype and the heavy hand of an already discriminatory criminal justice system. The more than 300 young people arrested and the hundreds more that face impending and possible arrest will be dealt with harshly by a corrupt judicial system that always protects the rights of the white land holder, and relegates too many African Americans to a hopelessness and lack of opportunity that only feeds the American industrial prison complex. I shudder to imagine the carnage that will result if the powder keg of oppression continues unabated, and finally erupts like a domino effect in cities across America. We must now resist the temptation to put a band aid on a systemic problem of lack of opportunity and hopelessness which breeds contempt and lawlessness by a forgotten generation of young black kids. A total re-evaluation and reconstruction of the policies and priorities of government which takes the boot of oppression from the necks of African Americans is the only real solution. Otherwise the Ferguson’s and Baltimore’s will only be the tip of the iceberg of confrontation between societies which still treat African Americans as if they are “three fifths of a person, with no rights which the white man is bound to respect.” Editor’s note: Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.

A Summer Barista Bash

Wake up and smell the next level of coffee!

Join us for a Gourmet Coffee tasting event at the Cherry Creek Harbor, 13740 E. Quincy A ve.nue #9 (in A urora)

Saturday, June 27 from 10 AM to 1 PM FUN, GA MES, MUSIC, and PRIZES

Join us for this FREE invitation-only event! To receive your invitation, just call 720-849-4197 or email one of the barista hosts below to RSVP. All guest who RSVP will receive a free gift just for attending. Come out and experience first-hand the evolution of coffee. Try some of our hot and cold gourmet coffees and teas. A better tasting coffee that is better for you.

A ttendees will be invited to enter for some groovy and must-have door prizes. •Tickets to the Winter Park Jazz Festival •Tickets to the Soiled Dove •Gourmet Coffee and Tea Gift Basket •Tickets to Genuine Jazz & Wine Festival •MP3 Players •V acation V ouchers

Mix and Mingle with some of Denver’s Elite

Celebrating “Our Future In The Making”

The annual celebration highlighted the Denver African American Philanthropists (DAAP), which

LatinasGive! and SPIN each presented an inaugural gift of $10,000 to The Denver Foundation during the Annual Celebration. “With these dollars we will proudly steward organizations that are building a legacy in the Latina community,” said Adrienne Mansanares of LatinasGive! Miller shared highlights from The Denver Foundation’s 2014 annual report, including: In 2014, Metro Denver residents contributed more than $108 million dollars to The Denver Foundation for a wide range of charitable purposes. After opening 61 new funds in 2014, The Denver Foundation now stewards nearly 1,000 funds for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations. The Denver Foundation awarded more than 5,000 grants totaling nearly than $67 million dollars to nonprofit organizations and resident groups in Metro Denver, throughout Colorado, and across the United States. The 2014 Annual Report is now available online:

formed at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration in 2012. The first African American men’s giving circle west of the Mississippi River, DAAP is a model of The Denver Foundation’s commitment to engaging philanthropists and building collective impact among communities of color. DAAP presented its 2015 grants to Athletics and Beyond and the Youth Employment Academy, two Denverbased organizations that empower youth to pursue education, career pathways, and positive activities. Two new giving circles, LatinasGive! and SPIN (Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs), were unveiled during the event. Built on the success of DAAP and fortified by a 2014 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, these new giving circles reflect The Denver Foundation’s work to democratize and redefine “philanthropist” by including those who give time, talent, treasure and testimony.

The program included a musical performance by Denver artist Ian Cooke, who was one of the 2015 recipients of an Art Tank grant from The Denver Foundation’s Arts Affinity Group. Cooke was awarded a grant for his Antiquasairia Project, an educational project that teaches adults and children about the environment through music and the use of lifesized dinosaur puppets. Accompanied by one of the puppets, Cooke featured a selection from Antiquasauria. The event ended with a premiere screening of “What Community Does,” a new video that tackles the question: What a community can do with the support of a community foundation? Produced by Thaddeus Anderson (2014’s viral Denver video, “Breathless”), with an original poem by Ken Arkind “What Community Does” is available on The Denver Foundation’s website,

The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration honored a new generation of philanthropists Eddie Koen of the Denver African American Philanthropists with Tanaka Shipp and Nneka McPhee of SPIN (Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs) at a new giving circle launched at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration on May 13.

It was an evening befitting the

largest, oldest, and most diverse community foundation in Colorado. On Wednesday, May 13, The Denver Foundation marked 90 years of impact and ushered in a new era of community-based giving with its Annual Celebration, held at the Seawell Grand Ballroom. Titled “Our Future in the Making,” the event celebrated the donors, leaders, grantees, and volunteers who partner with The Denver Foundation to mobilize resources for good. “If your organization, neighborhood group, or cause has received a grant or any other kind of support from The Denver Foundation this

SPIN (Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs), a new giving circle launched at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration on May 13, made its inaugural gift of $10,000 at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration the same day.

year, please stand up, or wave,” said David Miller, CEO of The Denver Foundation. Hundreds of hands were raised as donors and volunteers applauded. “What you just heard is the sound of our community – each and everyone one of us working together to improve life in Metro Denver.”

LatinasGive! a new giving circle launched at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration May 13, made its inaugural gift of $10,000 at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration May 13.

Up Close and Personal with...

Hazel Miller

Sunday, June 14 2 to 5 PM Jazz@Jacks 500 16th St. (Mall) #320 Denver, CO 80202

Buffet - Cash Bar Tickets: $25 Advance, $30 At the Door

For more information: Call 303-292-6446 or Email

Proceeds benefit the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Rising Above: How Aurora Educators Are Keeping Kids In School And Learning Documentary about the transformative power of Common Sense Discipline now available online

Education Cohort participants include: Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn; Sarah Park, Director of Education at The Denver Foundation; and Brian Duwe, Principal of Aurora West College Preparatory Academy.


ne year ago, a change came to Aurora West Preparatory Academy. When students acted out, they were given the chance to express themselves, to be heard, to apologize. When tensions between teachers and students peaked, it was time for dialogue, not punishment. The school had adopted a philosophy called Common Sense Discipline, which favors the restorative practices of communication and relationship-building over suspension. And it was working. Aurora West Preparatory Academy once reported the highest expulsion rate in the Aurora Public Schools district. Since adopting Common Sense Discipline in 2014, expulsions have decreased by 92 percent, and learning has improved in all content areas across all grades. Aurora West students are staying in school – and out of a cycle that starts with suspension and often leads to a student drop-out, or worse. Aurora West is featured in “Rising Above,” a documentary that traces the Common Sense Discipline initiative, which launched in 2014 and is now active in 15 schools across Metro Denver. Co-produced by The Denver Foundation and Open Media Foundation, Rising Above explores Common Sense Discipline as a philosophy that keeps kids in school and learning – and out of the school-toprison pipeline. At a film screening at History Colorado on Thursday, April 16, Denver Foundation Director of Education Sarah Park led a panel discussion with community leaders Rico Munn, superintendent, Aurora Public Schools; Raul Galindo, reSolutionaries; Mario Flores, The Denver

Foundation’s Strengthening Neighborhoods Program; and Brian Duwe, principal, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy. The panel praised Common Sense Discipline’s potential to increase student engagement and achievement and create a more positive school culture for students as well as educators. “There’s a very practical reason to do this work: We need kids in school,” said Munn. “We can’t accelerate learning for students if they’re not in their seats.” “Restorative practices are about understanding who students are, what their needs are, what they will respond to,” said Duwe. “When they know someone cares and is paying attention, they do better.”

A Common Sense Approach to Keeping Kids in School and Learning In 2013, The Denver Foundation gathered thought leaders to determine how to partner with the community to reduce the number of dropouts and improve educational outcomes for all students. Their guidance was clear: Decrease the use of exclusionary discipline and the racial disproportionality in it. The Denver Foundation is bringing together community members, teachers, principals, nonprofits and district leaders to take a bold stance against

Raul Galindo (far right) of ReSolutionaries, engages Aurora West College Preparatory Academy students in Restorative Justice practice.

these factors through Common Sense Discipline. Now active in 15 schools, Common Sense Discipline emphasizes relationship building and communication, rehabilitation, and positive school culture, giving teachers and parents tools, skills, and resources to help young people make better choices.

Common Sense Discipline: A Smarter, Fairer Alternative to Suspension

• A student who is suspended is far more likely to repeat a grade and even to drop out. • Over the course of a lifetime, a dropout costs society $200,000. The cost of student remediation repeating a grade level is $10,000. • High rates of suspension lower academic achievement and increase behavioral problems for an entire

school. • A student who is suspended even once is 3.5 times as likely to have an interaction with the criminal justice system in the coming year. • African-American young men are 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than Caucasian young men, for the same behaviors. • Today, 68 percent of prison inmates are high school dropouts, a statistic fed by the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” Editor’s note: Rising Above is available for viewing online at watch?v=ZM5f4kHJr5k. For more information, visit or email Sarah Park, Director of Education at

In partnership with CompuGirls and the Denver Urban Spectrum,

Big Hair, Bigger Dreams presents

Journalism and STEM Summer Camp for High School Girls of color

Participants will learn how produce a publication in a fun learning environment that promotes confidence, leadership and positive self-concept while becoming the next generation of tech innovators and community leaders. This 4 week camp for girls of color enrolled in the 9th -12th grade is free. Lunch will be provided.

July 20 - August 15, 2015

9-5 PM Monday-Friday Cousins Building – 608 26th Street, Denver, CO Deadline to enroll is June 22, 2015

For an application and more information, call Ginnie Logan at 303-881-7454, email or visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Reduce Your Stress Level with Exercise By Kim Farmer

Exercise -

Change Lives - Become a Teacher UNC’s Center for Urban Education offers programs that lead to Colorado licensure in Elementary, Early Childhood, and Special Education.

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Take one five-week course at a time Gain your bachelor’s degree and work in a paid teacher apprenticeship at the same time Visit our website for more information

Rosanne Fulton, Ph.D., Director 303-637-4334

Center for Urban Education

another great reason to start working out! If you have been feeling stressed due to work or personal reasons, then an hour at the gym is just what the doctor ordered. Research shows that people who hit the gym frequently show far lower levels of stress than those who do not work out at all. So now going to the gym and breaking a sweat will not only make you healthier and help you get a fit body, it will also help you become happier and more relaxed. The report regarding the amazing effects that working out has on stress were published by the reputed Harvard Medical School and are a reason for you to celebrate. If you are tired of stress eating (which can compromise the time you spend on your physical fitness), then exercising regularly will help you kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you be able to burn off all the excess calories gained from the stress eating, you will also rid yourself of stress, helping you banish the bad eating habits. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), which is an organization that helps anxiety and depression patients cope with their problems and find help and support, also reports that a number of its members and website visitors use exercise as a means to cope with their problems.

Get happier by working out

As it turns out, looking good can actually make you happier. Working out and having a toned body not only makes you appear more attractive to other people, your own confidence

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


level also increases and you are more satisfied with your life in general. Your body pumps out more endorphins when you work out. Fitness junkies love to call endorphins the happiness chemical, as it elevates mood and makes people happier and calmer in general. Even the simplest exercises can help release this chemical, and help you feel better right away. If you do not have the time or money to join a gym, even going for a brisk jog will get you the same results. But for the best results, it is always a good idea to seek out an expert who can help you make the most of your effort. Just hitting the gym and keeping proper form while you exercise will help you get in great shape in a very short time.

Exercising is also meditation

Believe it or not, your focus will improve remarkably once you start working out. While simple meditation helps you focus your mind through practicing being calm, when you exercise your body learns to pay attention to that task alone, building your concentration and focus tremendously, just like meditation. When you condition your body to work harder, it creates a discipline which carries over into other aspects of your life. Take just a few minutes out of your schedule every day to incorporate a short amount of exercise if you are just getting started. Although it may be difficult to find the initial motivation, you will feel better once you start and even better when you finish! Over time it will become a habit and your stress levels will decrease as you use fitness as a remedy. Thanks for reading and have a stress free week! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehigh or email inquiries@milehigh


Rise To The Top With Network Marketing

In February, Denver Urban Spectrum featured two-time Super Bowl champion and member of the Denver Broncos Steller Ring of Fame Rod Smith who is now a diamond level distributor with Organo Gold Coffee, one of the largest direct sales network marketing businesses in the world. This month DUS will start highlighting successful local businesses in the Denver area. For our introductory profile, we are talking to Barry Overton who has also joined the industry of network marketing. Name (age): Barry Overton, 46 Past and/or present occupation: Former Denver Police Officer for 21 years for a total of 26 years in law enforcement; realtor with Sterling Real Estate Group.

Denver Urban Spectrum: Mr. Overton, tell us a little about your professional background. Barry Overton: In my 21 years with the Denver Police Department, I spent 17 years working narcotics. I have always exercised the entrepreneurial spirit. I have owned multiple traditional and network marketing businesses; owned or operated a security alarm company, a concert promotion business, as well as a barbeque catering business. I have been a realtor for the last 14 years and a distributor for Organo Gold for the last two years. DUS: Who introduced you to Organo Gold and what prompted you to become a distributor. BO: I was introduced to the business by Rod Smith in June of 2011, but I joined the business a year and a half later. I waited so long to get started,

because I was looking at coffee as a consumer. When I started looking at it from a business perspective, I realized that even though I didn’t drink coffee, everyone around me was a coffee drinker. And, when I understood that this company had taken a 200-year-old product and revolutionized it, I knew I could not miss out on this groundbreaking opportunity and wanted to be part of it. DUS: What is your level as an OG distributor and what does that mean? BO: I am one of the leaders in the Denver market. I am a Ruby Consultant, which means that I run a coffee business that does anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 in coffee revenue per month. I was able to achieve this level of sales in about a years’ time. I was working 75 hours a week as a police officer and a realtor. I had multiple moonlighting jobs that took up most of my time. I could have said “I don’t have the time to do this business. But, because I did not have the time, I knew this business would help me take my time back. I put in 10 hours per week into the business. After two months I was able to stop working the moonlighting jobs where I was making $35-$65 an hour. Nine

months later, I retired 10 years early from a six-figure income as a Denver Police Officer because of this business. This is something you can’t do in a traditional business. It usually takes three years for a traditional business to break even or make a profit. I made a 150 percent ROI (return on investment) on my first day in the business. DUS: What do you enjoy most about having a network marketing business? BO: There are several things that I have really enjoyed about the business. First and foremost I love working for myself. I love the flexibility that the business has given me to work from home, and to also work when I want to. Being able to get paid literally while you sleep or while you are doing other things has been phenomenal. You can’t do that with a job, nor with 95 percent of traditional businesses. The best part has been developing new relationships, with likeminded entrepreneurs. I also love mentoring new distributors and teaching them how to create generational wealth. DUS: What would you like DUS readers to know about network mar-

keting and specifically Organo Gold? BO: First and foremost, don’t be afraid of the network marketing industry. I have doctors, attorneys, financial advisors, and numerous other entrepreneurs on my team. The reason very successful people are joining us is because they see the proven success, and the ability to make exceptional income without having employees, overhead, and an excessive amount of invested time to make it work. Too many people have allowed their lack of understanding of this industry to scare them from creating their own wealth. I have a millionaire in the business that has helped some determined working class people, right here in Colorado, make multiple millions of dollars over the past five years. That was a clue for me – to simply follow the proven system that he helped to cement into place in Colorado. I think when you evaluate a company there are four factors that you must research. 1) The product must be something that is highly consumable and easy to sell. 2) You have to have leadership that is dedicated to your success. 3)There has to be a systematic method already in place that will create success for each and every person that applies it properly. 4) And finally, the compensation plan must payout handsomely. I was truly blessed to find all four of those components in this company a little over two years ago. So, I can say with confidence that anyone that becomes a part of our company is already in a position to WIN BIG when they take advantage of these four key factors.  Editor’s note: If you would like more information on how you can become a distributor for Organo Gold or would like to become an Organo Gold coffee customer, call Bee Harris at 720-849-4197 ( or Barry Overton at 303-668-5433 or

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


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By Adam Morgan


emember all those stories and rumors circulating the last few years that smooth jazz music is “has been” “yesterday’s news,” “dead,” “dying,” or exiled only to cruise ships? This is far from totally truthful or accurate. With at least 25 festivals and cruises between May and December 2014 alone, nearly three each month, and anchored by contemporary smooth jazz artists, this music genre is not missing a beat. There is no better evidence than what is being demonstrated right now, right here at home in Colorado. Since January, our ears have enjoyed the riffs and vocals of Chieli Minucci and Special Effects, Gerald Albright, Marion Meadows, Paul Taylor, Oleta Adams, Jonathan

Butler, Najee, Brian Simpson, Jackiem Joyner and Selina Albright – all at the Soiled Dove Underground. This year the Earl Klugh Weekend of Jazz in Colorado Springs saluted Jazz in the Movies with Kirk Whalum, Lee Ritenour, Jeff Lorber Fusion, Dave Grusin, Elan Troutman and Selina Albright – all supporting Burt Bachrach. Alternative venues have also been joining the mix with Nelson Rangell on stage with Angela Brown for jazz and opera at the University of Denver Newman Center. Restoration Fellowship is becoming the inspirational jazz church, having hosting Warren Hill for Valentine’s Day and Eric Darius for Mother’s Day events. Add to this, local artist flavored events like the Spring Gala of the Setoma Club that featured Dotsero, Mary Louise Lee and Ron Ivory. A one hour and 55 minute flight away, Las Vegas hosted its City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival in April. It was also marketed to smooth jazz lovers in Denver. The jazz side of the program was all contemporary smooth artists with Gerald Albright and Norman Brown, Pieces of a Dream, The Sax Pak displaying the talents of Kim Waters, Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Cole, the New York staple Down to the Bone and Maysa. A number of Denver residents enjoyed this weekend in Vegas. These winter and spring contemporary smooth jazz events just seemed to be the warm-up for summer. June will see contemporary smooth jazz artists Bobby Caldwell, Acoustic Alchemy, Boney James with Brian Culbertson in August all at the Soiled Dove. Jazz will hold its own at Winter Park in July with Norman Brown, Mindi Abair, Dave Koz and Marcus Anderson although the event has a heavier R&B flavor this year led by Babyface, Tower of Power and Morris Day and the Tyme. Then Genuine Jazz at Copper Mountain returns two key artists from last year’s stellar lineup with Peter White and Euge Groove. Joining them will be Nick Colionne, Kim Waters, Paul Taylor, Marc Antoine, and Dotsero. Nothing better reflects the national and local interest and enjoyment of contemporary smooth

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


jazz music than the touring schedules of the artists. Illustrating this, Gerald Albright plays at least 13 summer dates (averaging weekly) that will take him from Honolulu to Atlanta, Sacramento to Cincinnati, and even to the smaller Racine, Wisconsin. Brian Culbertson hosts his own 4th Annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a wine and music event presenting 10 contemporary smooth jazz performers among the 17 acts during the four days event. Charlotte, Albuquerque and Detroit are among the stops on his agenda. Dotsero with their newly released CD “Telltales” seem to be everywhere in the state this summer. Following their CD release parties at Jazz @ Jacks, Stargazers and the Soiled Dove on June 6, they can be heard in Colorado Springs at the Shades of Colorado Springs, Winter Park, and Genuine Jazz and Wine in Copper Mountain at their in-state stops. Someone is purchasing the music. There have been 21 new contemporary smooth jazz album releases through May thus far this year. Among them are Boney James, FutureSoul, Brazilian Nights from Kenny G, The Sax Pack with Power of 3, Here We Go, the first solo project from one of the founders of Pieces of a Dream James Lloyd and Latina saxophonist extraordinaire Jessy J, just out with My One and Only. Also reflecting the interest in the music the Billboard Magazine top 15 Smooth Jazz songs have listed seven different artists holding the coveted #1 chart position thus far. Four of them will be playing in Colorado this summer including the present position holder Boney James. Gerald Albright received a Grammy nomination for his latest album Slam Dunk released in October 2014. The evidence is obviously clear that contemporary smooth jazz is far from dead or even on life support. With 31 artists playing dates in Colorado between January through August, the interest, enjoyment and attendance to the smooth jazz music genre is very much alive, healthy well and jamming.’ Enjoy your groove, wherever, this summer.  Editor’s note: Adam Morgan is Denver journalist and radio personality and can be heard on Jazz 89.3-KUVO, KVJZ 88.5Vail on Saturdays from 8 to 10 p.m.

Denver Activist Demands Corporate America Do Its Part By Angelia D. McGowan

Longtime civil

rights activist Alvertis Simmons has been unapologetically standing up for justice for decades, so it wasn’t a surprise that he participated in marches supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. But he says today’s protest is different. At the end of one march on the 16th Street Mall, the so-called leaders did something that caught him off guard. “They asked everyone to ‘throw down their banners in the street and run.’ This isn’t a sorority game or football game. Where is the leadership? There was no unity and it was too disorganized,” says Simmons, who has led more than 1,000 marches and protests in Denver over the last 20 years. His latest effort stems from a racist meme that former AT&T president Aaron Slator sent to a coworker, a text message that ultimately got him fired. The text message was revealed in a 100 million lawsuit against Slator and AT&T. Also, AT&T and DirectTV are jointly involved in a separate $10 billion lawsuit for allegedly not contracting with African-American owned media companies. The 58-year-old doesn’t see “AT&T being too apologetic about it. This is the time for AT&T to actively work to fight racism as a community partner,” says Simmons, who sees where they

can help in supporting youth programs and efforts to fight gang violence and police brutality. He asked AT&T for records of its community involvement in the state, and he saw where $1.8 million went to charity, but found only $1,500 went to the Black community about four years ago toward a dinner at Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. Without economics, “you can’t get anything done. It’s just impossible. At the end of the day, we need to get to corporate America and demand change. That’s why I’m approaching AT&T,” says Simmons. “We don’t want this situation to become a Baltimore because they didn’t listen.” The May 15 issue of the Colorado Independent reported on Simmons efforts and noted a response from AT&T. “An AT&T spokesman said they recently sat down with Mr. Simmons and Rev. Holmes to hear their concerns. “We reiterated that there is no place for demeaning behavior at AT&T and we think our reputation on diversity speaks louder than the actions of one individual,” he wrote. That reputation includes AT&T ranking among several best-of lists for diversity from outlets like Black Employment & Entrepreneur Journal, Diversity Inc. and Black Enterprise.” Simmons efforts will overflow into his foundation’s 8th Annual Life Skills and Basketball Camp that serves more than 100 youth, six to 18 years old. He plans to include presentations by leaders from business, law enforcement and politics in the life skills portion of the program. I can’t have a captive audience of Black people and not talk about issues impacting us” he says. Editor’s note: Alvertis Simmons can be reached at

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Obama’s Refusal to Get It Right on Racism A

K. Gerald Torrence

s the evidence continues to mount across America showing a pervasive and increasingly blatant manifestation of racism in all of its varied and virulent forms, the nation’s first Black president’s acknowledgement and response has been at best, cautious and at worst, non-existent. This is a curious anomaly since President Barack Obama himself has been the target of racist jokes, disrespect, and treated like a nigger from the first day he took office. Recent racist emails directed at the president and the First Lady Michelle Obama underscores this point. President Obama’s continued silence regarding the seeming domino effect of the killing of unarmed Black men by white police officers could not be more deafening. Aren’t presidents, no matter the color, duty bound to

condemn publicly and vociferously acts that appear to be an undeclared open season on the lives of Black men? My question is whether the current president’s reticence to speak out on racial issues is purely political, or is it much deeper than that? Understandably, the president is between a rock and a hard place regarding race, because as a Black man, he must represent the interests of all Americans, the majority of which are of European descent. This quandary notwithstanding, it does the quest for justice in America for African Americans a supreme disservice to overlook the obvious, and downplay the factor of race and racism at play in every segment of American society. How long will President Obama publicly look the other way, and ignore the obvious? In the history of this country, there has never been a president so vilified, insulted and undermined by Congress through action and inaction which belie their claims of legitimate policy differences. Policy issues aside, President Obama has never been given the respect and the dignity that the office of the president deserves and has been traditionally given to white office holders. Despite Obama’s best efforts to be presidential, and avoid the scandal and improprieties of past presidents like Bill Clinton and a long list of others, he continues to bang his head against the stone wall of racial bigotry and white supremacy in America. Dare I say that Mr. Obama’s reluctance to embrace the worsening plight of African Americans in this country, and to adopt our struggles as his own is due to his mixed heritage and ancestry. Could it be that by having an African father (Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.) who was born in Kenya’s Nyanza province and a mother of Irish and German ancestry, he is disconnected and desensitized to the culture and historical suffering of the American Negro? Although educated in America, Obama Sr. was of distinctly African heritage, belonging to an ethnic group called the Luo which makes up Kenya’s third largest ethnic group. Neither of Mr. Obama’s parents shares a lineage, historical cultural or otherwise, connected to African Americans whose ancestors came over on slave ships. Likewise, Mr. Obama’s ancestors never suffered the psychological trauma, brutality and degradation of slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. As a Black man in America, Mr. Obama is certainly a beneficiary of those struggles, but he has no lineal connection. Perhaps this missing genealogical and cultural nexus is what prevents him from fully empathizing with the centuries-old struggle of the American Negro for racial equality.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Furthermore, I would argue that skin color alone does not determine racial identity. There are countless examples throughout history where fair skinned Black people tried to pass as white, and where dark skinned Negroes sought to shake off the shackles of skin color, by seeking to assimilate into white culture, as if color didn’t matter. As Obama and others before him have undoubtedly learned, race in the United States of America has always mattered. It is still the yard stick for the subjective measure of human worth in this country, acknowledged by the controlling majority or not. Well Mr. Obama, if you won’t say it, I will say it for you. The United States of America is the most racist country in the world, notwithstanding your election as president. In fact, your election has only served to exacerbate and bring to the surface the latent racial animus that white folk still hold for Black people in this country. We can never effectively devise a solution, as long as we fail and refuse to recognize the problem. The ostrich approach of burying our heads in the sand will not make the problem of racism go away. Yes, America. We have a problem. Racism is alive, well and arguably on the rise in this country, and unless we are honest about its existence, we remain powerless to effectively address it. Mr. President, we must honestly face the problems of racism and the culture of white supremacy which still plague this country. Your refusal to acknowledge or address the systemic and pervasive nature of racism in America only serves to perpetuate the problem. By doing and saying nothing, you give tacit approval to the status quo; thereby enabling the continued oppression of African Americans. Editor’s note: Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.

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Denver Public Schools Foundation Achieve Gala Raises $975,000 To Support DPS Students And Schools

The Denver Public Schools

Foundation hosted its 13th Annual Achieve Gala presented by UMB in April, generating $975,000 to support Denver Public Schools (DPS) students and schools. Elaine Gantz Berman, former board member for DPS, DPS Foundation and the State Board of Education; Leanna Clark, vice chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus; and Bain Farris, president and CEO of Saint Joseph Hospital, served as gala chairs. Nearly 1,000 business and community leaders heard from DPS school leaders, several local officials including Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia, and many talented and inspiring students throughout the evening. The event celebrates the tremendous impact community support has on Denver’s public school system, and it calls upon the community to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with educators to help every child in DPS succeed. The evening featured many talented DPS students. The keynote address was delivered by Raymond Pryor, a senior at East High School who will attend Duke University in the fall on a full scholarship. “My dream is to have

an impact in public education. Whether it’s as a teacher, counselor, policymaker, or social entrepreneur, I want to invest in the next generation of DPS students,� Ray said during his keynote speech. “I am so grateful for the investments that have been made in me. I will return them by giving back to my community and by becoming an investor in our next generation of students. That’s why I dream of a career in education.� “It is students like you, Ray, who remind all of us of why our commitment to supporting DPS teachers and the district’s mission of Every Child Succeeds is so important. You are a shining example of that, and you are so inspiring,� said Kristin Heath Colon, President and CEO of the Denver Public Schools Foundation. “Every single gift has the power to impact one student’s life. And every student has the profound capacity to go on to do great things, and to make our community, our nation, our world better for the next generation.� For the first year ever, the Achieve Gala was emceed by DPS students – Noah Anderson and Christina Pittaluga, both seniors at the Denver School of the Arts. The evening also featured inspiring performances from students from schools across the city, including Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, the Denver School of the Arts, Hamilton Middle School and North High School.

In addition to Presenting Sponsor UMB, the Achieve Gala was made possible by generous community investments from corporations and individuals. Leadership sponsors included Reception Sponsor IMA Financial Group; Student Speaker Sponsor United Launch Alliance; and Valedictorian Sponsors, including: The Anschutz Foundation, Marcy & Bruce Benson, Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, Kristin & Blair Richardson, and Cille & Ron Williams. Additional exclusivelevel sponsorships included: BBVA Compass, FirstBank, Polsinelli, Saint Joseph Hospital and United Airlines. View photos from the event, a full list of sponsors and information about the DPS Foundation at  About the Denver Public Schools Foundation: The single most pressing and critical priority for our nation is to provide a quality education for every child. Our future depends upon it. The Denver Public Schools Foundation is Denver Public Schools’ fundraising partner. We generate resources, build relationships and champion public education to impact system-wide achievement and help every child succeed. Through strategic program investments and community leadership, we support Denver Public Schools in creating a district where outstanding educational achievements are the norm and all children have an opportunity for a great future. For more information, visit dpsfoundation org.

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Walk MS team captain Darrin L. Johnson (center) is surrounded by (l-r) Teri Powers, Stacy Harris, Rory Fisher (His & Hers owner), Brandon McConville, Kevin Patterson, Heather Linn, and Jelani Mills, barbers and stylists who helped raise $1,171 to support Johnson’s Walk MS team.

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His & Hers Barbershop & Salon, located at Southlands Mall, held a fundraiser for Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society Walk MS “Team JayHawkeyes” in April. The event was the brainchild of Darrin L. Johnson, captain of Walk MS Team JayHawkeyes and a chapter board member. In 2007 Johnson was diagnosed with MS, a disease that affects the central nervous system by disrupting the flow of information from the brain to the body, impacting mobility. Intent on growing support to fund a cure, the long-term client of His & Hers approached owner Rory Fisher to see if they would do something to support his Walk MS team. Fisher agreed and the barbers and stylists were quickly on board and decided to donate a percentage of each service performed throughout the day. The result - $1,171 was raised! “Many people know what a difficult time it was when I was diag-

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nosed,” said Johnson. “However, thanks to my faith, my family and friends, and medication which came into existence through research funded by events such as Walk MS, my condition has not stopped me from living a great life. Many others living with MS can tell the same story thanks in large part to donations generated through Walk MS fundraising efforts. I am grateful for His & Hers Barbershop and Salon for their fundraising support, as well as for helping to raise awareness about this disease,” he added. “The event was fantastic and it was the first time we have ever done anything like this,” said Rory Fisher, owner of His & Hers Barbershop and Salon. “We were glad to be able to help for a good cause and we look forward to doing it again next year.” Much progress has taken place since the first Walk MS Denver 27 years ago. Two decades ago there were no treatments for MS. Today there are 12, FDA-approved treatments for relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease. There is a very exciting and hopeful time thanks to research advancements, but much work is still ahead as the cause and cure remain unknown and there are no treatments to stop progression of the disease or to reverse nerve damage caused by MS, which is the next frontier of research. Thanks in part to every mile walked, global research continues to make headway against this disease as the Society funds $50 million to support 380 research investigations annually. “Every step matters. Every dollar counts and every person makes a difference,” Johnson emphasized. Walk MS Denver took place May 2 at Denver City Park, where 10,000 community members gathered to walk a maximum three-mile course with the goal of raising $1 million. Editor’s note: For more information, visit


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

Avengers: Age of Ultron  By Laurence Washington


aptain American (Chris Evans) and his “colorful friends,” Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) take on a homicidal robot bent on exterminating the human race in Avengers: Age of Ultron this summer’s first big blockbuster movie. The second installment of the Avengers is a specular hard-charging comic book fare from the opening

credits as the team storm a Hydra hideout located in the fictional Eastern European nation of Sokovia, to the end of the film where they battle an army of metal Mini-Mes. It’s worth mentioning that during the Hydra assault, the Avengers face a pair of troublesome genetically altered twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch who give the world’s mightiest heroes fits. The third act covers a lot of familiar territory, reminiscent of the first Avenger’s film. However, hardcore Marvel fans will find the retreaded material forgivable. After all, what’s bet-

ter that fighting an army of killer robots? Let’s hope the next Avenger film (teased in the traditional after credit scene) will show us something new. But I digress. Picking up from where “The Winter Soldier” left off, the Avengers retrieve Loki’s scepter from Commander Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), inside the Hydra lair. Stark (Iron Man) convinces Thor to let him examine the Infinity stone that powers the scepter, before returning the gem to Thor’s home in Asgard.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

With the help of Dr. Bruce Banner (The Hulk), Stark sets forth working on his dream, building robotic peacekeepers patrolling the Earth bringing “peace in our time.” However, the pair unwitting creates artificial intelligence in a robot named Ultron (voice of James Spader) who decides to eradicate humanity. Of course the Avengers will have none of that, or there would be not point in having this 2-hour CGI-filled movie. Director Joss Whedon does a good job organizing the film with so many characters and back-stories woven

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REEL ACTION Tomorrowland

Anthony Kelley makes his film debut in The Gambler

actor to take small parts and work their way up to stardom, others jump right in. Plucked from obscurity for a big role in the Rupert Wyatt directed film, Anthony Kelley makes his feature debut in The Gambler. Picked from an open casting call to co-star alongside Mark Wahlberg, Michael Kenneth Williams and Jessica Lange in the crime thriller, Kelley, who claims to be “camera shy,” has experienced fame in a breathtaking fashion.

Michael by my side coaching me through the process was a big help.” An L.A.-based story written by William Monahan, the screenwriter for Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, The Gambler aptly portrays the seedy world of gambling. The dark crime drama follows Wahlberg’s character, Jim Bennett, a nihilistic English professor and a high-stakes gambler who offers his own life as collateral when he borrows money from a dangerous gangster (Michael Kenneth Williams). With seven days till the debt is due, Jim creates a plan to absolve himself of his debt, and reaches out to his star athlete student Lamar (Anthony Kelley) to help. “A lot of people deal with addictions, and I think people are going to understand and relate to this movie,” adds Kelley who is working on perfect-

“It’s a dream come true,” says the 22-year-old Los Angeles native who answered a local casting call seeking real basketball players to star in the film. Kelley, who has been playing basketball since he was three years old, says he was convinced by an uncle to audition for the role of Lamar Allen, a basketball player who becomes entangled with a gambler. “My uncle called me about the open casting call they were having in Watts, as they were looking for real basketball players. I have been pursuing basketball my whole life and I was at a crossroads. At first I didn’t want to do it, but I ended up going down there and got the part.” Working alongside Wahlberg and Williams, Kelley got his crash course in acting on The Gambler, which is adapted from a 1974 film of the same name. “Acting is new to me and the most difficult thing was trying to portray the right emotion and learning how not to use my hands a lot,” says Kelley. “The emotion part was the hardest part, but having Mark and

ing his acting craft and has placed basketball on the back burner to focus on his acting career. “Michael sent me a list of different acting classes and acting coaches which I am going to look into as I am in love with acting and love portraying another character.” One of the greatest concerns of any actor is the possibility of being typecast as a certain character. At 6 feet 4 with an athletic build, Kelley could easily be typecast, but it’s something the charismatic actor clearly isn’t worried about. “I have a movie about a penitentiary in Louisiana and have been getting roles that are veered away from basketball and athletic stuff. They have been real acting and gritty movies and it’s going to really stretch me to a different dynamic that I have never done before as far as acting and take me out of my comfort zone.” The Gambler is rated R for language throughout and for some sexuality/nudity; and is available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and VOD and features over an hour of bonus content, including an extensive look at the filmmaking process.

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

While it’s more common for an

together. Whedon juggles the characters so that they all get ample screen time. That’s no mere feat with all those superheroes in the same movie. A word of warning: IMAX and 3D are just revenue makers for the studio. 3D should be treated like fine silverware and brought out on special occasions, and not every time there’s a summer blockbuster like this one. Be pennywise and see the movie in the afternoon and in 2D, unless you’re “stupid rich.” You’ll thank me later.


 By Samantha Ofole-Prince


hat if all the smartest people in the world got together and created something? What if you knew when you were going to die? These are some of the questions Tomorrowland poses, but sitting through the nearly two hour running time, the one question I had was; What if I could go back in time? Would I spare myself the increasingly tedious ordeal of having to sit through this film? It’s not that Tomorrowland is a terrible movie, but films about traveling to the future and saving the present are plentiful and this one, with its convoluted plot, offers nor delivers anything new. As the story goes, the genius French structural engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed and built the famous Eiffel Tower, built himself a private room where he could conduct meteorological observations and perform scientific experiments. Legend has it that he gathered three of his smartest peers – the American Thomas Edison, Frenchman Jules Verne and Serbian Nikola Tesla to discuss the future and they hatched a plan to build a city of the future that couldn’t be controlled by government or corporate interests. It’s a future world called Tomorrowland. Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) stumbles across when she discovers a strange pin secretly handed to her by an

android called Athena (Raffey Cassidy). When the pin is pressed, it reveals a glimpse of the futuristic city and Casey will do anything to get there. Introduced to Frank (George Clooney), a cranky inventor who is monitoring transmissions from the futuristic city, they discover that an unscrupulous bad guy who runs the city (played by Hugh Laurie) is planning to destroy Earth. With several bad robots armed with colorful zappers on their tail; Casey, Athena and Frank join forces and traipse to the inside the Eiffel Tower to track the signal to Tomorrowland and save the present world from future destruction. Produced and directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Tomorrowland is an exceedingly slow boil. It’s a good 45 minutes before we get to see Tomorrowland. It’s also never fully explained what went wrong with this dystopia nor why Casey is the chosen one who gets the mysterious pin. Sure she’s tenacious, but is that the only merit? Adding, the message about global warming, saving the earth and human selfishness seems a tad too familiar – been down that cinematic track a few times too many. On the flip side, the young Raffey Cassidy (Athena) is a delight to watch and is the film’s performing highlight. Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn play two odd characters who own a memorabilia emporium and rounding out the cast is Tim McGraw, who plays Casey’s Father, a NASA engineer. Visually, the film with its retrofuture look fulfills the promise of futuristic fiction. It offers strange costumes, flying cars and stunning structures. Maybe kids will find this fantasy escapist sci-fi to their liking, but I didn’t feel the lure of the future. An intricate plot weighs it down, the special effects are tepid and it simply borrows from far too many other original films.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


Malik Robinson Awarded Livingston Fellowship

Malik Robinson, executive director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, has been chosen as a new promising leader in the nonprofit sector by the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Last month, the foundation announced Robinson as one of the recipients of its annual nonprofit leadership program. The Livingston Fellowship Program acknowledges aspiring nonprofit leaders by providing advanced learning and professional develpment through a $25,000 award. Other recipients include: Cristina Aguilar, executive director, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR); Rachel Basye, executive director, Arts Students League of Denver; Teva Sienicki, executive director, Growing Home; and Stephanie Villafuerte, exectuive director, Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center. Recipients will use their fellowships for professional development activities that may include study, research, travel, executive coaching and peer training.


Langley Foundation Presents Five Scholarships

The Drs. Joseph and Alice Langley Scholarship Foundation hosted an awards reception at New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday, May 16. Koa Peterson, Dureti Ahmed, Tashan Montgomery, Shivawni Kenney, and Keyin Tburrell (not pictured) each received a $1,000 scholarship to be used for the university of their choice. The guest speaker was Tanaka Shipp, program coordinator at the Center for African American Health.

Lewis Appointed To Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Rita R. Lewis was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to serve on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The CCRC investigates complaints and conducts hearings concerning alleged discrimination in employment, apprenticeship programs, onthe-job training, and vocational schools. The commission also investigates the existence of discriminatory or unfair employment practices by a person, employment agency, labor organization, or vocational school. It is also charged with the promotion of good will and cooperation among various racial, religious, and ethnic groups in the state. Commissioner Lewis’ appointment expires March 13, 2019.

attended the AACC national convention in San Antonio, Texas the week of April 19. Webb was a student at NJC in Sterling, Colo., in the early 1960s and was nominated for the award by NJC President Jay Lee, who also attended the convention. Webb was one of six people nationally presented the award by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Webb, who moved from Chicago to Denver when he was in junior high school, chose NJC because it had a reputation of an accepting environment for African American students. He later transferred to the University of Northern Colorado and earned teaching and sociology degrees, and later a master’s degree in sociology at UNC. He also played basketball at both colleges.

Denver; Djuana Harvell, PhD, The Stapleton Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities; Vicki Scott, Aurora Youth Options, Aurora Mental Health Center; Tasha L. Jones, Forest City Stapleton, Inc.; and Debbie Trujillo, KeyBank. This year’s honorees were selected by a committee of their peers led by Selection Chair Alice Kelly, 2002 Woman of Distinction, and chosen based on their contributions to the community, both professionally and personally. They are shining examples of corporate, civic and philanthropic leadership and serve as role models for our female leaders of tomorrow. Girl Scouts of Colorado will publicly honor these women at the 2015 Thin Mint Dinner on Oct. 20.

Michelle Wheeler Recognized As Star Achiever At OG Conference

Jones, Sott and Harvell Among 2015 Women of Distinction

Girl Scouts of Colorado honors 10 extraordinary women as 2015 Women of Distinction: Shirley Amore, Denver Public Library; Kim Bimestefer, Cigna Mountain States; Laura J. Davis, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.; Cheryl Haggstrom, Community First Foundation; M.L. Hanson, Idyll Cravings, LLC; Loretta P. Martinez, Metropolitan State University of

Michelle Wheeler walks the stage as she is recognized as a Star Achiever Distributor at the Organo Gold “Women Who Win” Conference in Orlando Florida.

Webb Receives Outstanding Alumni Award By AACC

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, a Northeastern Junior College alumnus, recently accepted a 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Webb and his wife, Wilma, who support NJC students with a yearly scholarship,

Dr. Kimberley Kerr is pictured at her 2015 graduation (where she received her doctor of education in organizational leadership at Argosy University) with fiance Lamond Stokes, parents Vivian and Floyd Kerr and sons Jabari and Isaiah

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


HIV-Positive Inmates To Be Given Medication When Released

Inmates in Denver jails who are HIV-positive will be supplied with antiretroviral drugs by the state government, as part of a new program which will ensure people don’t run out of medication when they are released from jail. Under the three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Denver Sheriff Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, medication will now be supplied to HIV-positive inmates through the Colorado AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Previously, HIV-positive inmates were supplied medication by jail staff, paid for by the City and County of Denver. But when inmates were released, their medication schedules were often interrupted as they waited to go onto outside programs to source their medication. The MOU will ensure continuity of care as inmates seamlessly remain on ADAP after their release, and will be able to take their jail supply of medication with them as they re-enter the community. Taxpayers from the City and County of Denver will also save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, as some 40 percent of the Sheriff Department’s pharmaceutical costs are spent on expensive HIV medication. Additionally, the Colorado ADAP is able to purchase medications at discount prices that are significantly lower than Denver jails could otherwise access. Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins said ensuring the health and wellbeing of inmates after they were released from jail was a priority for the Denver Sheriff Department. “We want to make sure the high standard of care we provide to vulnerable people incarcerated in our facilities doesn’t just stop the moment they are released,” said Diggins. “The majority of HIV-positive folks who come into our facilities are already receiving assistance from this state program so it makes sense they remain on the program while they are here.” Under the MOU, inmates detained for less than 30 days will receive the medication from the jail’s medication room. However, if an inmate is likely

to spend more than 30 days in detention they will be eligible for ADAP. If an inmate is not enrolled in the Colorado ADAP already, jail staff will assist him or her to complete an application. Jail staff will work to ensure HIV-positive inmates on ADAP are released with a minimum 10-day supply of antiretroviral drugs. It is estimated that 1 percent of inmates in Denver jails are HIV-positive. In 2014, the average daily population of both the Downtown Detention Center and the County Jail was 2,050 inmates. The City spent $1.1 million on antiretroviral drugs between 2010 and 2015.

It is considered essential to have over 85 percent adherence to HIV antiretroviral medication in order to avoid development of resistance to the medication, leading to health deterioration and increased hospitalization. Medical studies have also found that a patient who is adherent to their medications as prescribed is far less likely to transmit the virus to others. 

Editor’s note: For information about the qualifications to enroll in the Colorado ADAP, visit the CDPHE website at

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015




George Morrison, Jr. June 11, 1925 – May 10, 2015

George Morrison, Jr., 89, was a member of one of Colorado’s territorial families, his great-grandparents settled in Colorado in 1874. He was born in Denver, CO of the late Willa May and George Morrison, Sr. (celebrated Jazz musician), and brother of Marian Morrison Robinson. Morrison attended Whittier Elementary, Cole Junior High, and Manual High School. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he attended the University of Denver (DU) and then completed his graduate work at Stanford University and DU. In 1948 he married Marjorie Briggs at Scott United Methodist Church. They had two daughters, Vicki and Trudi. Morrison began his tenure in DPS as a teacher at Whittier and Barrett Elementary School from 1952 to 1963. He was the first elementary school assistant principal in DPS at Columbine Elementary School from 1963 to 1966. He was a principal at Wyatt Elementary and Cole Junior High School from 1966 to 1971. After serving as DPS Administrative Director of Secondary Education from 1971 to 1989, Morrison retired in 1989 as executive director of High School Education. As a community and human rights activist, Morrison was appointed by Gov. John Love to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 1969, holding both chair and vice chair positions. Morrison also founded the Denver All Stars Track Team, coached and refereed many sports and in 1996, was inducted into the DPS Athletic Department Coaches Hall of Fame. Morrison served as board chairman of the Denver Public Schools Employees’ Credit Union six separate terms and as a member of the board of directors continuously from 19731998. He served as Colorado Civil Rights Commission, chairman from 1971 to

1973 and was appointed by Mayor W.H. McNichols Jr. as a member of the Commission on Community Relations in 1982. He was appointed by President Gerald Ford to serve on the Colorado Selective Service board, where he served 15 years. He was appointed to the Community Corrections Board by Mayor Pena; and was on the board of directors for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. He was honored and recognized by many organizations for his service to the community. They include the Colorado Credit Union Financial and Support System; Phi Delta Kappa; the Denver Black Arts Festival, Inc. (Louise Duncan award); Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award; Colorado Black Round Table Education Champion; Colorado Association of School Executives; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. African-American Male Image Award; Colorado Gospel Music Academy Award; Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Award; The Family Tree Award; and the Colorado Credit Union League Volunteer of the Year. Morrison was a lifetime member of Shorter A.M.E. Church and was baptized in 1925. As an active member in church, as a child he was involved in Sunday school and played the violin. As an adult, he served with in numerous capacities, including a Sunday School Teacher and Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, Shorter Education Committee, Shorter Credit Union Board, and Housing Committee. The role he most enjoyed was church violinist for more than 60 years. He was a Lifetime Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Rocky Mountain Lodge #1 of PHa; Syrian Temple #49 A.E.A.O.N.M.S., Phi Delta Kappa, Lone Star Chapter #1 OES; and the American Legion of Colorado. Morrison enjoyed fishing, despite the size of the catch; playing bridge; and doting on his family. He leaves his beloved wife, Marjorie; his daughter, Vicki (Denver, CO); daughter, Trudi Michelle Morrison Davis, and husband, Ronnie (Aurora, CO); grandchildren Simone Danielle and husband Ryan Ross (Aurora, CO); and Logan Morrison Saunders (Potomac, MD); greatgrandchildren Gavin Morrison Ross and Zoë Monroe Ross; nephew, George Morrison Bailey (Stuttgart, Germany); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and adoring friends. 

Josephine M. Mann

October 12, 1924 - May 10, 2015

Josephine M. Mann was a longtime member of one of Colorado’s most civically involved families in the Denver Catholic Community. She was born on October 12, 1924 to Sgt. Chester A. Reed and Maria MolinaReed. Jo grew up in Nogales, AZ, near the border of Mexico and was fluent in Spanish and as a ‘cradle’ Catholic, she enjoyed dual citizenship – being bilingual and great with people at a young age, she even worked for the department of immigration while in high school. Her brother Frank Reed was the first war hero to be killed in action during WWII and her father Chester A. Reed was a Sgt in the 10th Calvary, also known as the Buffalo Soldiers. She met Leonard J. Mann and they were married 1943 and moved to Denver, CO, soon after the war. In March 1951 they welcomed Gerald (Jerry) Mann to their family. They all remained very active members of the Denver Catholic Community. At Denver Community College she taught accelerated Spanish/English (ESL) courses for many years. She was also listed as a resource person in the City and County Directory for Spanish speaking people. Over 25 years she was the Travel and PR Director for the YWCA. Josephine Mann has always taken responsibilities very seriously as she was a member of Church Women United for more than 20 years and has served as treasurer for the local unit. She was also on the Finance Committee on the Colorado State Board. Jo has been a member of Cure d’ Ars Catholic Community since 1962 and understood as well as practiced its doctrine. She served on the Budget and Finance Committee, worked on the Campaign for Human Development at the Archdiocese level, and was among the committee members who prevented the loss of Cure d’Ars Church during the late 70s. She also served as a volunter worker at

Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


the Parish Center Office. She worked with her late husband, Leonard, in the “L” Club at Loyola Catholic Church on fundraisers to build an elementary school. At the Annunciation Catholic Church, she was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society, Legion of Mary, and worked with the Sisters on First Communion and Confirmation classes. Jo was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Catholics, now known locally as the Denver Council for Black Catholics. She was also a member of the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver, Charlie Bright Court #261. Jo has been invovled in church activities all of her life. Jo was a member of the Denver East International Lions Club where her dedication included program development and volunteering at schools and hospitals for eye examinations. She was also the official Spanish interpreter for this unit. In 1992, Jo Mann was selected as an outstanding Colorado Senior Citizen to go to Washington, D.C. to participate in a conference on Issues and Policies affecting seniors. Some of Jo’s other activities also included the Denver Center for Performing Arts (Development of the Senior Initiative/Kindred Spirits Program), Public Relations for the Zion Senior Center, Martin Luther King Leisure Club Treasurere, former Denver Urban League Guild Treasurer, YWCA world Mutual Services International Committee, UNICEF, AKITA Club, Natioanl Association of Retired Federal Employees, and Queen City Chapter 995 of AARP, as well as the Institute for Women’s Studies and Services. She has also served as an election judge for the City and County of Denver. Josephine Mann departed this life on Sunday, May 10 and was proceeded in death by both her parents: Chester A. Reed and Maria MolinaReed, her brother: Frank Reed, and her husband Leonard J. Mann. She leaves to cherish memory, son Gerald “Jerry” T. Mann (Sandra) of Denver, CO; grandchildren Garrett T. Mann (Crystal Johnson-Mann, MD) of Charleston, SC and Christa M. Mann of Indiannapolis, IN; goddaughters Michelle “Myke” Olsen (Flemming) of Yelm, WA, and Jorge-Ayn “Jay” Riley of Denver, CO. 

Valedictorian, civil rights activist, pioneer, born from humble beginnings, Denver’s favored son, Lt. Col. John W. Mosley lived an inspired life. His father, born a slave in Missouri, sought opportunity in Colorado during the Silver Boom in the late 1800s; his mother, from Washington, D.C., in pursuit of higher education, came to Colorado to earn her college tuition. Inheriting the work ethic of his father and the scholastic ability of his mother, John helped support his family at an early age by shining shoes and exceling in school. John graduated from Manual High School in Denver, Colorado in 1939. As a member of the National Honor Society, ROTC, Student Council, and the All-City Football Athletes, John took full advantage of the opportunities afforded him. During high school he became interested in flying, frequently visiting the old Municipal and National Guard fields. He graduated as valedictorian from Manual High School and received an academic scholarship, which he used toward his tuition at Colorado State A&M College (now CSU) in Fort Collins. His biggest achievement while attending Manual High School was meeting his beautiful wife-to-be, Edna Lee


Lt. Col. John William Mosley, USAF and as far up Wilson. As a June 21, 1921 - May 22, 2015 dedicated as the White student at House to CSU, John served as demand placement vice president and in the Tuskegee treasurer of his class. Airmen Pilot proHe broke the color gram. Through his barrier as an Allresourcefulness he Conference football was accepted as a player and undefeatTuskegee Airman. ed wrestling champiParaphrasing John’s on. words, the racial Endeavoring to tension in the miliparticipate in tary at the time advanced ROTC at required him to conCSU, he was denied ceal his ability to fly. acceptance due to a His accomplished questionable determination on his military career spanned World War II, physical. As a result of the racial clithe Korean War, and the Vietnam mate at the time, John was forced to War. While on active service, John seek alternative options to join the was an ROTC instructor at North military as a pilot. He participated in Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North the Civilian Pilot Training Program in Carolina. his senior year at CSU. In 1943, he After retiring from the U.S. Air completed the pilot training program Force, John worked as a civil servant and graduated from CSU. In spite of at the Department of Health, his qualifications, he was still denied Education and Welfare (HEW) in the right to serve his country as a Washington, D.C. One of his imporpilot. tant responsibilities at HEW was overJohn would not take no for an seeing the newly formed Head Start answer. Program in 1970. For two months straight, John and John was active in his community his family wrote letters to Congress as the founder of the Citizens

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Concerned About Minorities in Aurora (CCAMA). He was also influential in the development of the Mile High Flight Program. John also worked with the Boy Scouts of America, U.S. Africa Sister Cities, the NAACP, YMCA, and was a mentor to countless youths in Denver and Aurora. With his wife, the Mosleys were unstoppable, organizing international trips for various organizations, hosting foreign exchange students, and spearheading large-scale conferences simultaneously stimulating economic growth in Colorado. John received numerous awards. Among the most notable, in 2007 as a Tuskegee Airmen, John was awarded the Congressional Medal by President George W. Bush. In 2004, he received the Anti-Defamation League Torch of Liberty Award. In that same year, he and his wife received honorary doctorates from Colorado State University. With his devoted wife, Edna Mosley, they raised four children, Edna Lorette Futrell, John Gregory Mosley, Brian Wilson Mosley, and William Eric Mosley. They leave behind a strong legacy of hard work, education and community service. 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – June 2015


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Denver Urban Spectrum June 2015  

Denver Urban Spectrum, a monthly publication, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987. The June issue recognizes Black...

Denver Urban Spectrum June 2015  

Denver Urban Spectrum, a monthly publication, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987. The June issue recognizes Black...