Denver Urban Spectrum March 2019 Women's History Month

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Volume 32 Number 12 March 2019

Charleszine “Terry” Nelson Photo by Lens of Ansar

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Charleszine “Terry” Nelson: Loving And Living In Her Passion…......4 New Hope Baptist: Celebrating Women In Leadership.......................…9 Dr. Melina Abdullah: Transforming The World.................................…10 Female Candidates: Vying For The Seat To Run The City................…12 Tanya Dobbins: Taking A Lead In Law Enforcement.............................14 Denver’s Former First Lady: Honoring Denver’s Former Mayor…....16

MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.” -Maya Angelou Volume 32 Number 12

March 2019

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EXECUTIVE CONSULTANT Alfonzo Porter PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COPY EDITOR Ruby Jones COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ruby Jones Zilingo Nwuke Alfonzo Porter Thomas Holt Russell Jamil Shabazz

Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The aforementioned quote by Maya Angelou epitomizes all the women featured in this issue starting with our cover story profile on Charleszine “Terry” Nelson. Jamil Shabazz shares how her passion for history and community lead her to become the Special Collection and Community Resource Manager at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. Women’s Day celebrations will be abundant this month and New Hope Baptist Church is no exception. Women in Leadership will be this year’s theme with special guest speaker Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque, senior pastor of the Community Church of Barrington from Barrington, Illinois. Zilingo Nwuke tells how the 2019 Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Dr. Melina Abdullah, will speak on how we all can work at transforming the world. Thomas Russell shares his views, and the views, of four diverse women who want to be the first female mayor of Denver. There’s a new sheriff in town. And her name is Tanya Dobbins! Alfonzo Porter talks about how she is representing the sheriff’s department and why. Historically in her own right, former First Lady of Denver the honorable Wilma J. Webb tells why she wants to honor and recognize the contributions of her husband, the Honorable Wellington E. Webb. This may be Women’s History Month but we also feature men – young and old. Read about Jeremiah Paige and how he is following in the footsteps of his grandfather – on and off the basketball court. And lastly, Ruby Jones takes on the second journey of Our 400 Year Sojourn: 1619 to 2019. Read about the Restoration Era and how these ancestors have paved the way and left footprints for future generations. So, although men have also paved the way, just remember the words of Maya Angelou that “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.” And that is definitely, paving the way! Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager MSU INTERN Angela Cho

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2019 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit

LETTERS, OPINIONS, OP-EDS penalty has been utilized in a racially disproportionate matter. The first person Colorado executed (by lynching) was in 1877. He was a black man who murdered someone who had mocked him at a party. One year before, three white men were charged and convicted for a violent quadruple murder. They only received a life sentence. Unfortunately, these racial disparities live on, as does the ad hoc and completely arbitrary manner in which seeking the death penalty occurs. A University of Denver study looked at 500 first-degree murder cases that qualified for the death penalty occurring between 1999 and 2010. Even though these 500 cases qualified for the death penalty, the death penalty was sought in only five cases through sentencing. I acknowledge that victims’ families often have different views on the use of the death penalty. I do not seek to change their minds. Victims stand on both sides of this issue — some

Colorado Needs to Repeal the Death Penalty Editor: I am sponsoring legislation to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. I know this issue can be controversial, but we must repeal it if we want to address racial disparities, increase fairness, and lower costs. Racial disparities have been permanently intertwined with the death penalty in Colorado since its origins in lynching, and they continue to taint the application of Colorado’s death penalty practice. I am championing this legislation to address these racial inequities, and because death penalty trials are excessively expensive and provide no benefit to public safety. It’s time we repeal the death penalty in Colorado. The Colorado death penalty was born in and from lynchings. Between 1859 and 1919, Colorado mobs lynched 175 people. In order to calm mob lynchings, Colorado opted to make the death penalty legal in 1861. Historically, the death

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support the death penalty while others recognize that the lengthy pursuit of the death penalty creates an agonizing, long-term process that can divide families. A death penalty trial costs Colorado taxpayers somewhere near $4 million. The cost of seeking a life sentence without the possibility of parole is a fraction of the cost, somewhere in the range of $200,000. A 2009 legislative study found that eliminating the death penalty would save taxpayers over $1.5 Continued on page 28 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher Editor News & Information Advertising & Marketing

In The Margins Of History By Jamil Shabazz

The year 2018 was undoubtedly the year of the Black Panther. The film was a critical and commercial success and a cultural obsession. For me, the film didn’t have any appeal. I could never make the connection about how a fictitious Black Superhero could be greater than the actual Black heroes that have shaped and defined our collective existence. The Black experience is a unique one, underpinned by creativity and captivating in every medium. In Denver, Colorado we are fortunate to have a research library and a museum that highlights African American history and its heroes on a daily basis. The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library; cemented in the cultural historic district of Five Points is an institution dedicated to preservation and curation of Black greatness. Its heroine, Charleszine “Terry” Nelson is the Special Collection and Community Resource Manager. With more than 30 years of experience with Denver Public Library ranging

from librarian to manager to author, Nelson has been and continues to be immersed in the beauty of history. Her passion for history began at a very early age. “I really, really love history. I have since I was young. And Denver, of course, is my passion and getting to know all these people whom I’ve gotten to know during my research, and helping to build this library, has just been an honor and a pleasure,” said Nelson. Born and raised in Denver, Nelson attended Manual High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a master’s degree in Information Technology and Library Science from Emporia State College. Nelson is everything you’d expect a curator of culture to be. She is eloquent in speech, a well-rounded connoisseur of art, a voracious reader, and a debonair dancer. She’s a selfdescribed nerd, a woman of diverse literary and musical tastes, and a fan of Maya Angelou, James Baldwin,

Aretha Franklin and Nancy Wilson, to name a few. If there is a librarian archetype – Nelson fits it. When dialoguing with her, you get the definitive vibe that she prefers to stand in the margins of history, recording, documenting and cataloging the chronicles; rather than being at the forefront. While she doesn’t shy away from the spotlight, by her own admission, she’d rather be under a book light, reading in her cozy bed. The comfort of a King size mattress notwithstanding, Nelson doesn’t spend too much time in bed. Her life’s work is too important to waste a minute not on her mission; especially since she’s been working at and on the Blair-Caldwell for the last two decades. The genesis for what would come to be the Blair-Caldwell

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African American Research Library began before the new Millennium. After extensive traveling across the United States, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb noticed a void in the information and resources available about African Americans in the West. In 1999, the Mayor and his wife Wilma approached Nelson with knowledge gained from his travels and a vision for the future was born. “I want to make sure everyone knows this library would have never happened without Wellington Webb (and Wilma). This [Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library] is pas his baby,” Nelson relays pascomfort sionately while sitting comfortably at her desk. “He wanted this place to represent [the people of this avail area] and have materials availauthen able so people could do authencontrib tic research about the contributions of African Americans in the West. In planning and building this library, we had meetings, big meetings with academ community people, the academic committee community and the business community to find out how to position this library here [in Five Points]. During those meetings, we found out that the community wanted to see a library that reflected the community. They wanted beautifully designed brick and glass architecture, and they wanted rooms for people to have meetings and, and they wanted them reasonably priced. And they wanted an exhibit gallery, which is on the third floor, along with the historical museum,” she continued. If Africa is the cradle of civilization, Five Points is the cradle of the Black experience in Denver. Formed in the 1800’s, the community is named for the five-way intersection of Welton Street, 27th Avenue, Washington Street, and 26th Street. In its heyday, Five Points was known as the “heart of the African American community.”

The community was a magnet for a variety of Black owned businesses and the legendary Rossonian Hotel. Much has been written about the so-called decline of Five Points, and if anything, the community, its history and legacy have only become more robust with time. Blair-Caldwell library serves as proof of that. As it is one of five archival historical research museums in the country. The library and its location are monument and a testament to African American resilience and perseverance. Terry Nelson has been humble and adamant about ensuring it remains that way. “Well, I know clearly I did nothing by myself. I’ve always been fortunate to work with a fabulous team of people who supported the mayor’s ideas. Gwendolyn Crenshaw and I started over here. She and I worked very hard going around the country celebrating and talking about the special uniqueness of this library. I want to see that it continues to grow. I would like for us to have more space and a larger budget so we can hire more staff and provide more programs. Because [when I’m gone] they’re the ones who are going to have to keep it going. We need to have them honor and treasure this place. And understand that this place is a serious place of history for the city and county of Denver and the state of Colorado,” said Nelson. African American art in all its forms is distinctive in the fact that the individual is never able to be separated from their sociocultural environment; it is embedded in our DNA. African Americans are part of the whole, before individual nuances shine through. Nelson’s career has been a reflection of that light. Over three decades she’s earned a slew of well-deserved awards and accolades. Absorb Terry Nelson for any length of time and she will impress upon you

that her life’s work and defining purpose is greater than any individual acclaim. She’s always forward thinking, unearthing new ways to allow for the beauty of the Black experience to be appreciated. During our conversation, Nelson gushes at length about the upcoming Little Brown Skin Girls Exhibit that will be on display at Blair-Caldwell from Monday, April 1 through May 25. The exhibit will be a voice to

girls and women of color, telling positive stories from every shade in the chocolate rainbow. “I think there are people – people of the community – who value our communities, and our history. We care about the people who have come before us and made history. I always tell the kids, you all are standing on our shoulders, and we’re standing on other people’s shoulders, and you don’t do anything by yourself,” said

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Nelson. “And it is vital that you love where you are, and you have a feel for the community, and you have a genuine, authentic interest in seeing things grow, develop and improve – that’s what is important. And over the years that’s what has kept me going, a passion for the city and for our culture.”. Editor’s note: For more information on the African American Research Library, call 720-865-2401.

Restoration Era Part 2 of 5 By Ruby Jones


he bloodiest conflict the nation has ever seen was initiated by uncompromising differences between Union and Confederate states over the power of national government to limit states’ rights. Slavery played a pivotal role during the United States Civil War, as Southern political leaders resisted attempts by anti-slavery political forces in the North to block the expansion of slave labor into newly acquired western territories. The abolition of slavery was a war tactic, meant to destabilize the rebellious Southern states and garner the surrender and reunion of the Confederacy; it was not well thought-out and did not consider the colossal challenges that would affect entire generations. After 245 years of bondage, over 3 million people of African descent were granted freedom with the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Without being acclimated to freedom or returned to their native lands, former slaves were expected to integrate into the foreign country where they had been forced into captivity. Facilitating the transition from slavery to freedom was a tremendous failure on the part of the United States government. The devastating effects of its abortive efforts are still seen in social and political inequities that exist in the outdated systems we use today. The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, freeing

slaves from the rebellious Southern states and crippling the Confederacy. The Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, was an executive order meant to slow the Southern economy to a halt and suppress rebellion. In 1863, there were approximately 4 million people of African descent living in captivity, but only about 3.5 million of them were living in the 11 Confederate states where the order applied. The issuance of the Proclamation added the emancipation of African slaves as a primary war goal, in addition to maintaining a Union that had been ripped apart because of opposing views on taxation and states rights. The Emancipation Proclamation was not a law passed by congress; it did not grant freedom to slaves living in the border Union states; it did not outlaw slavery; and it did not grant citizenship to freed slaves. The Proclamation did allow ex-slaves, or freedmen, to enroll in the United States armed forces, and ordered the Union Army and Executive branch of government to recognize and maintain their freedom. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, thousands of African slaves were immediately released from captivity in areas under Union control, but for slaves living in Confederate territories, freedom did not come quickly. Many slave owners withheld the news of the Proclamation, but as Union troops advanced through the South, hundreds of slaves were freed each day. Some simply walked off the plantations in search of a better life, and nearly 200,000 enlisted in the armed forces and immediately joined the fight.

With the nation still at war and no formal plan, freedmen faced tremendous challenges, including neglect, disease, and starvation. Described as, “the largest biological crisis of the 19th century,” historians estimate nearly 1 million freedmen either died or suffered from grave illness between 1862 and 1870. After leaving the plantations, many ended up in encampments near Union army bases, where they were abandoned and forced to scavenge for food in the war torn land. Often the only way to leave the camp was to go back to work for plantations. Slavery was partially abolished in the United States in 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment, which provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” By the end of the Civil War in 1865, most of the Southern plantation owners could not afford the cost of labor to produce effective crops. With an economy on the brink of collapse and no cash or independent credit systems following the war, landowners created an exploitative system of sharecropping that allowed poor Southern Europeans and freedmen to live as tenants and work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. Plantation owners leased equipment, seeds, and other items to the sharecroppers but the unregulated system of sharecropping enabled landlords to charge high interest rates that kept most families indebted, requiring the debt to be settled with the following year’s harvest. State laws favored landowners, keeping tenants from selling their harvest back to anyone other than

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the landlord and restricting them from moving away from the property; thus, the cycle of enslavement continued under the guise of wage slavery. On March 3, 1865, the United States Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill, which created the Freedmen’s Bureau. The bureau, operated through the War Department, was primarily concerned with land management, but despite attempts to disburse exConfederate land to freedmen, Congress determined that the land would revert to its original owners. The Freeman’s Bureau distributed food, operated hospitals, helped freed slaves locate family members, provided employment, supervised labor contracts, provided legal representation, and established over 1,000 schools and Black colleges. When the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, freedmen began to mobilize, with meetings, parades, and petitions calling for the right to vote. President Lincoln revealed his intentions to move forward with reconstruction during a speech on April 11, 1865, in which he proposed that some freed slaves, including those who had enlisted in the military, deserved the right to vote. He was assassinated three days later, on April 14,, 1865, leaving plans for reconstruction to his successor, the Union Democrat Vice President Andrew Johnson. When Johnson became president, he opposed political rights for freedmen and believed that Southern states did not give up their rights to govern themselves, preventing federal intervention for voting rights. Johnson ordered all land confiscated by the Union army and distributed to freed slaves to be returned to the prewar

owners. Apart from having to uphold the abolition of slavery following the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, Southern state governments had free reign to rebuild and govern themselves. With resentment growing amongst Europeans in the splintered South, social order was in a state of rapid decline. Many worried that the Southern economy would collapse without slave labor, so a system of oppressive laws called Black Codes were enacted by each state to keep freedman in control. The Black Codes mandated the use of labor contracts, which gave

they were taught a trade and forced to work. The Black Codes established racially separate court systems in many states; and the punishments for crimes carried very harsh penalties, including the death sentence. Local law enforcement swelled in size and authority as police officers made sweeping arrests to fuel the system of imprisonment. In response, a congressional Joint

As racial tensions continued to rise throughout Southern states, a shooting altercation between European police officers and Black soldiers in Memphis, Tennessee, triggered the Memphis Riots of 1866. Police, firemen, and some businessmen rampaged through Black neighborhoods, attacking, raping and killing Black men, women, and children. The

each state to draft a new state constitution that ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and granted voting rights to Black men. From 1876 to 1877, the Reconstruction taking place in Southern states was known as Radical Reconstruction. Branches of the Union League encouraged Black people to engage in political activism to exercise their power as the majority southern Republican voters. Of the 265 Black delegates elected in some political capacity, over 100 had been born into slavery. With growing opposition to Black voting rights, new ruling order was ush-

Black Congressmen

European landlords rights to control, discipline, and enforce the work of Black tenants. Any violation of the Black Codes was cause for arrest. Upon imprisonment, individuals were forced into hard labor or leased to European landowners and treated as slaves. It was illegal for Black people to be vagrant, possess firearms, make or sell liquor, travel from state to state without permission, or practice any occupation except farmer or servant without permission from a judge. The children of Black Code violators were assigned to European landowners as apprentices, where

threeday massacre began on May 1, 1866 and ended three days later with the deployment of federal troops. On July 30, 1866, another major outbreak of violence occurred after police and firemen attacked Black Republicans marching outside of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention in protest of the Black Codes and voting restrictions. Between both incidents, nearly 200 Black people were killed and hundreds more were injured. As a result of the riots, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act, requiring

Committee on Reconstruction shifted control of Reconstruction efforts to the Republican Party, extending the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau to combat the mass incarceration of Black people. In 1866, Congress passed the first Civil Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, which established and protected the citizenship of former slaves. President Johnson challenged the legitimacy of the Freedman’s Bureau, but Congress upheld its operation until 1872, when the bureau was abolished.

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ered in with the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan, a violent terrorist group with a goal of recreating the superiority that had been lost with the abolition of slavery. The underground group was known for committing heinous, cowardly acts of violence while their identity was hidden under hoods. It is estimated that the loathsome group performed over 3,500 racially-motivated lynchings between 1865 and 1900, in addition to the murder of at least 35 Black officials throughout the Reconstruction era. As a result Continued on page 8

Restoration Era Continued from page 7 of the domestic terrorism against freedmen at the polls, President Ulysses S. Grant requested help from Congress after his 1868 election. He passed the Third Ku Klux Klan Act, which enforced the Fourteenth Amendment and guaranteed all citizens rights and legal protection. Later that year, in Louisiana, Oscar J. Dunn, a former slave who had fought in the Union Army for the 1st Louisiana Native Guard, became the first Black lieutenant governor of the United States. He died in 1871, with several examiners saying that his death was the result of arsenic poisoning, and he was succeeded in 1872 by Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, who, after a 34-day interim period as the first Black governor of Louisiana, was forced out of office. By 1870, each state had Black legislative members. Hiram Revels, a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, became the first Black per person to serve in Congress when he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Republican in February 1870. Democrats

were livid, still holding onto the Dred Scott Decision that slaves could never be citizens, much less serve in Congress, but in March 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing all men the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous enslavement. In 1871,

Joseph H. Rainey

Benjamin S. Turner

Josiah T. Walls

Robert Carlos DeLarge

mandated equal treatment in public accommodations and public transportation, as well as prohibiting the exclusion of Black people from jury service. The law was later ruled uncon unconstitutional, as it called for Congress to control private people and corporations. The presidential election of 1876 was the catalyst for the end of the Reconstruction era. With disputes over the legiti legitimacy of the election, Rutherford B. Hayes won the electoral vote despite losing the popular vote to Governor Samuel Tilden. The informal Compromise of 1877 awarded all 20 electoral votes to Hayes, with promises to with withdraw federal troops from Louisiana and Florida. With all governing power restored to the former Confederate states, the Reconstruction era was ush ushered out, and the country was ushered into an oppressive era of economic and political con control known as Jim Crow. .

Robert Smalls In 1874, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Civil War. During this time, Robert Smalls, a Black Civil War hero, and Blanche K. Bruce were elected to Congress. The presence of Black politicians contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The law, also known as the Enforcement Act, was enacted to protect all citizens of their civil and legal rights; it

Robert Brown Elliott Benjamin S. Turner, Josiah T. Walls, Robert Brown Elliott, Joseph H. Rainey, and Robert Carlos DeLarge served in the Forty-Second Congress’ House of Representatives. The influence of Black politicians was undeniable.

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Blanche K. Bruce

other, trusting that nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). “If people would learn to view themselves from the love of God, we would live in a better place,” Tate says. Women’s Day festivities will begin with a Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, March 9 at 9 a.m. Women from New Hope and guests from neighboring congregations will gather to pray, fellowship, and reflect on their faith and shared experiences in ministry. The breakfast will feature a panel discussion with inspirational women in the faith community that will uplift, inform, and encourage women The celebration will continue Sunday, March 10 with praise, worship, and a powerful message delivered by Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque, senior pastor of the Community Church of Barrington in Barrington, Illinois. Jacque is an active member of the Barrington Area Ministerial Association and a member of the Board of

Women’s Day Celebrates Women In Leadership Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque

O n Saturday, March 9, New Hope Baptist Church will host a dynamic celebration honoring the women whose prayers, love, and dedication have contributed to the church’s 98-year legacy of excellence in ministry. Women’s Day was founded at New Hope Baptist Church in 1960 by Annie Williams to coincide with International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8th to celebrate the accomplishments of women and promote gender equality.

The special event, hosted by Reverend Dr. Eugene Downing and First Lady Nichelle Downing, will honor women who exemplify God’s love through benevolent service in church and the community. This year, Women’s Day will follow the theme, “Women in Leadership: Standing on God’s Power.” The carefully planned program will acknowledge women who exhibit strength and fortitude, refusing to give up in the face of adversity and trusting God

By Ruby Jones and Janet Dallas to protect, provide, and perform miracles. When the Women’s Day movement began, the role of women in church was vastly different. In most churches, women were restricted from leadership roles; and while there were some early instances of women in ministry, many denominations did not permit the ordination of women until recent years. Despite these limitations, women have been the backbone of many religious institutions throughout history, often serving as missionary leaders and supporting church services. To show appreciation for the faithful women of New Hope, Regina Tate, Chairman of the Women’s Day celebration, is going above and beyond with an elaborate daylong program that will allow participants to partake in relaxation, fun, and spiritual renewal. Women’s Day 2019 is a tribute to women who have exhibited great faith in God, persevering in the face of obstacles and challenges along the journey. Tate is excited about this year’s event; her goal is to honor and acknowledge women in the eyes of young people who can draw inspiration from their refusal to give up during hard times. She hopes that Women’s Day will inspire New Hope’s congregation to show an abundance of love to themselves and each

Directors for the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs of Illinois, as well as the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago. Throughout her ministerial career, Jacque has worked extensively to create workshops, forums, and special religious programs that inspire women to rely on God’s transformational grace and mercy. With nearly 20 years of experience as a theologian and educator, she will encourage, empower, and equip women with the spiritual tools to keep God present as they continue in the service of the kingdom. Women’s Day 2019 is sure to bless the hearts and minds of women who stand on the power of God as they work tirelessly to uplift their church and community through ministry, love, and prayer. . Editor’s Note: For more information, call 303-322-5200 or email WomensDay2019@NewHopeChur

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How Can

WE Transform TheWorld? By Zilingo Nwuke

T he 2019 Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship, hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), will present guest speaker Dr. Melina Abdullah leading a discussion titled, “Combating Racism with Education,” at Shorter Community AME Church on March 10 and at MSUD on March 11. This will be the 38th year the event has taken place since its initiation in 1981. The Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship was created in order to provide people of color in Colorado, an opportunity to see and learn from successful professionals. Classes, seminars, performances, and lectures are held for those who attend, so they can leave the event with new knowledge and hope for the future in their individual pursuits. The event is aimed at young achievers with the drive to succeed. Past speakers have included Cornel West, actor Ossie Davis, Randall Robinson, singers Ashford and Simpson, and former Denver Mayor and

First Lady Wellington E. and Wilma J. Webb. The Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship was created in honor of the late Rachel B. Noel who passed away in 2009. This annual community event keeps her memory alive and was created with the goal to make quality education attainable for all races come to fruition. In 1968, Noel started the Noel Resolution, a plan to merge the Denver city school districts to create equal educational opportunities for all children of color. In 1949 after WWII, Noel moved to Colorado with her husband Edmund F. Noel. After witnessing the opportunities her children, Edmond “Buddy” Noel Jr. and Angela Noel, didn’t have, she took it upon herself to make a difference for everyone. She received racist and hateful feedback for her actions. But, despite the opposition that was presented to her, the Noel Resolution was passed in 1970.

In 1981, the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship was created in honor of her and her numerous accomplishments. Noel was more than just a civil rights leader. She was a mother, an educator, a politician and most importantly, an illustrious humanitarian. “My mother was very proud and appreciative of having the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship named after her,” stated her son Edmond “Buddy” Noel Jr. “She was very involved and her feelings may have been heightened by her great interest in African Americans. Black professionals, entertainers, and Black folks of all walks of life came to Denver to exchange ideas with our folks, to enrich our lives with stories of their accomplishments in other parts of the country and other parts of the world.” This year’s speaker Dr. Melina Abdullah has an impressive list of accomplishments. She is a mother of three, a member and Los Angeles chapter leader of Black Lives Matter, an American academic and civic leader, and is chair of the department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Southern California in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African American Studies. She is a womanist, scholar-activist, a leader in the fight for ethnic studies in the K-12 and university systems and the recipient of many awards. The 2016 Racial Justice Award presented by the YWCA, the 2016 Fannie Lou Hamer Award for outstanding community service presented by the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals, and the 2016 Fannie Lou Hamer Award presented by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists are just a few. She has

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appeared on MSNBC, CNN, TV One, ABC, PBS, KTLA, BET, Free Speech TV, and Al-Jazeera. Despite everything that Dr. Abdullah has accomplished so far, she values nothing more than motherhood. “The proudest thing I am is being a momma,” said Dr. Abdullah. “I’m proud of raising children who have their eyes open, are conscious, and understand that they have a role and power in terms of transforming the world they live in.” Dr. Abdullah will be covering what she refers to as “the current interaction of the Black Freedom Movement.” She will be talking about Black Lives Matter, how universities have and can engage in the movement, the role of Ethnic Studies and Black Studies in advancing the black freedom struggle, and the most enduring victory of the Black Power Movement. “I will be challenging folks in attendance to think about ways in which they can commit themselves to freedom. Given where we are in this country, it is imperative that all of us understand that freedom struggle is all of our responsibility,” stated Dr. Abdullah. “We know that transformation, and the kind of change I think many of us want to see in this world, comes when all of us think about what we can do to transform the world.” Dr. Abdullah wants those in attendance to challenge themselves and think about how education can be used in order to encourage people to be change makers in the world.. Editor’s note: The 2019 Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship will be held Sunday, March 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Shorter Community AME Church, 3100 Richard Allen Court in Denver and Sunday, March 11 from 9:20 to 3:15 p.m. on the MSUD campus in the Jordan Student Success Building, CAVEA – Room 420. For more information, visit

The Links To Present Community Education Event for Middle School Girls and Parents Girl Fierce: Being Safe, Smart and Strong will feafeature information and resources on Cyber Safety, Social Media Management and Self-Awareness The Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Inc. will present a community education event on April 13 designed for young girls in grades 5 to 8 for a day of fun and engagement on topics that support cyber safety, social media management, and self-awareness. The event will be held at Hallett Academy in the Denver Park Hill neighborhood and will begin with a human trafficking presentation for parents, followed by interactive breakout sessions where the girls will experience various learning activities that incorporate self-esteem, healthy lifestyles, coping skills, art expression and practical tools to successfully navigate issues every girl faces today. Dr. Stephany Powell, a retired Vice Sergeant from the Los Angeles Police Department and currently the executive director of “Journey Out,” will be a featured speaker. Dr. Powell has worked in the area of domestic human sex trafficking for almost 10 years. She leads education and awareness workshops and since 2013 has educated approximately 6,000 people. Her passion is speaking with young girls to ensure they are aware of the dangers and providing tips on how to stay safe. Dr. Powell will be joined by a variety of local community based organizations and experts who will offer additional insights, as well as resources for attendees. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her

will. Human trafficking is one of the most prevalent and painful injustices of our time. According to the International Labour Organization, today there are nearly 21 million children, women and men around the world. These are individuals sold as products for someone else’s gain, rather than treated as human beings. Traffickers make over $150 billion in illicit profits per year for

their crimes, making this one of the most lucrative transnational crimes. Colorado, with its international airport, sizeable immigrant population and convergence of major interstate highways makes it a primary source, destination and transit route for human trafficking. . Editor’s note: Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Founded in 1952, The Links, Incorporated, Denver Chapter has served the local Denver, national and international communities for more than 60 years by developing, delivering and sustaining relevant community programs across its national program facet areas: National and Internatioanl Trends, Services to Youth, The Arts and Health & Human Services. It has more than 450 active members (

Women Making Their Presence Felt in Upcoming Mayoral Elections By Thomas Holt Russell

Denver is continuing the national upward trend of women running for political office as confirmed by the upcoming municipal elections. Four of the 10 people running for mayor are women, and they covered a variety of experiences and pathways to get to this point. Between the four women, you can checkmark on your diversity form: African American, Latina, white, queer, single, married and disabled. Leatha Scott, Lisa Calderón, Jamie Giellis, and Kalyn Rose Hefferman all pose an ample

challenge to incumbent Michael Hancock’s bid for a third term. One of the milestones you will not hear much about (unless you directly ask them) is the fact that all of the female candidates have a chance to be the first woman mayor in the history of Denver. It could be modesty, but it could also mean that being Denver’s first woman mayor is only a secondary matter to the real goal of making positive changes for the people of Denver, who are struggling with high housing cost, homelessness, and environmental issues. If that new

mayor happens to be a woman, then that is only the icing on the cake. Jared Polis was not elected governor because he was openly gay, he is the governor because voters thought Polis was best suited to get the job done and based on what he stood for. The fact that Polis is gay? – Well, that’s nice, now let’s get to work. Denver voters will approach their decisions the same way, let’s see who can get the job done. There is another factor for this upcoming election that cast a shadow over the municipal elections: allegations of sexual harassment made against Mayor Hancock by police officer Leslie Branch-Wise, who was a Denver detective and a former member of Hancock’s security detail. Mayor Hancock has apologized publicly for his behavior; however, it would be naive to think that these allegations would not play a factor for some people’s decision during the election. Hancock’ behavior does not take him out of the running. We have politicians in blackface, wearing Klan robes and some have been accused of multiple sexual allegations that make Hancock’s problem look like jaywalking, and these politicians of questionable integrity are still in office. Hancock has raised well over one million dollars which is more than double the amount of his nearest challenger. Besides his monetary resources, Hancock has a solid list of accomplishments he can highlight. During his time as mayor, new jobs climbed to 100,000, Denver has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, 8,000 new companies were formed, $300 million is committed to affordable housing, and national publications voted Denver as the best place to live, start a career and raise children. The point is, these ladies will have to take Hancock down on substantive issues, not tabloid headlines, and they are prepared to do that.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Mayor Michael B. Hancock

For Lisa Calderón, being born and raised by an African American father and a Latina mother is not the most intriguing fact about her; far from it. Her life story is filled with toughness, resiliency, and audacity. Calderón earned her doctorate of education degree, and a law degree while raising two children. Her life includes homelessness, physical abuse, and she was briefly held hostage by an abusive boyfriend. She’s now a criminal justice professor at Regis University and though she has not held a political office, she has been an extremely active social advocate for many years. Mayor Hancock has another formable foe in Jamie Giellis. The daughter of a small town (Leland, pop. 250) Iowa mayor, Giellis has been involved in politics her whole adult life. She was a producer and reporter in Cedar Rapids television station and covered local politics and the 2000 presidential election. She was hired to oversee the revitalization of Cedar Rapids. That successful experience led her to obtain her master’s degree in public administration from the University Colorado Denver. She moved to Denver in 2006 and started her own consulting business that aimed to explore revitalization efforts in urban neighborhoods. The backgrounds of Calderón and Giellis could not be further apart, but the one thing they have in common is

Lisa Calderón

their disdain for current Mayor Hancock. For Lisa Calderón, her unhappiness with Hancock is palpable. She points to problems that she feels the current mayor is not addressing, such as opaque agencies, unchecked growth and development, and the housing crisis. She states that people of color, such as her son, are being racially profiled and Hancock is just standing on the sidelines and doing nothing about it. Calderón heads the Time’s Up Hancock movement and led a rally which called for his resignation. Jamie Giellis has raised the most money ($330,461) of all of the challengers, male and female. That is more than twice the amount as the top male challenger, Penfield Tate at $124,178. Just like Calderón, Giellis feels that the city is not coping with the challenges of growth and Hancock’s leadership lacks the blueprint to deal with the problems plaguing Denver. She stated in a Westword interview that Mayor Hancock is setting a passive approach to issues as opposed to proactively planning and approaching problems in a “thoughtful” way. Leatha Scott does not have a political background. Lack of political experience is a trend for many other women office seekers of late. She’s a single mother and postal worker who feels that the people are not being heard. As she stated in “Let’s change

Jamie Giellis

Leatha Scott

something the next four years, let’s do something different. Let’s include the people and their opinions and take their opinions into consideration. I don’t really feel like the people, the voters, are being heard.” That is a great way to start; however, I think that Leatha Scott will have to add some meat to those canned responses, to separate her from the pack. “Ahhhh Denver. I love this city so much. So much in fact, everyone’s been telling me, ‘Kalyn, you should to run for mayor!’ And I’m like, “Don’t be an ableist! … I can’t even walk.” The statement above is from the inaugural video of Kalyn Heffernan. Heffernan is the lead rapper for the band, Wheelchair Sports Camp and is a disability rights activist. Her significant points of contention are ending the urban camping ban and implementing rent control to help curtail the skyrocketing cost of living in the Denver area. As a disability rights activist, one of her goals is to help make Denver one of the most accessible cities in the country. Heffernan described herself as queer and was born with the genetic disorder osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), and uses a wheelchair. Watching her videos gives me the impression that she is a ball of energy and that energy seems to be contagious. Heffernan activism and positive outlook have landed her on the

cover of the Colorado Springs Independent and the cover of the Village Voice. She was voted as the Best Activist Musician in Denver for 2018. Of all of the female candidates, it could be argued that Heffernan’s chance of becoming mayor is least likely (She has raised less than $1,000). However, raising money may be missing the entire point. Kalyn Heffernan’s campaign is very much poor people’s campaign. As she stated

Kalyn Heffernan

to me, “We are hoping to win with people, not money.” If we existed in a perfect world instead of the one we now occupy, her advocating for the homeless, disabled and other vulnerable communities is just good business and common sense and the standard place all politicians should begin their journey. With these ideas, we can build a template that all politicians, whether local or national, should try to mirror. .

For more information, call 303-755-0109 or email

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


New Leadership for Today’s Law Enforcement Community By Alfonzo Porter

Like many of us, Tanya Dobbins, found inspiration in those closest to her. For Dobbins, it was her uncle, Frank Hudson, then a member of the San Francisco sheriff’s department. She recalls that Hudson would often jokingly place his sheriff’s hat on her engulfing her entire head and face and allowed her to tinker around with his handcuffs— that was the beginning. Today, Sergeant Tanya Dobbins of the Denver Sheriff’s Department is closing in on her 20th year as a public safety official. She joined the department in 2000, the same year that her beloved uncle Frank retired; it was like the perfect hand off from one generation to another. Dobbins was born and raised in San Francisco but moved to Birmingham in the late 1970s

where she would later graduate from George Washington Carver High School in 1982. Her family migrated to Denver when a family member required respiratory care at National Jewish Center. A 2005 graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver, she received her undergraduate degree in criminal justice with minors in psychology and sociology. In 2017, Dobbins was elected as the first female president of the Denver Black Sheriff’s Protective Association – a role she believes can have a huge impact upon the community. The purpose of the Denver Black Sheriff’s Protective Association, according to its Facebook page is to “further the development and maintenance of professionalism in law enforcement, to strike at racial degradation and to improve relationships between DSD and the community.” With a membership of approximately 100, Dobbins would like to expand the organization to include civilians as well as member of the police and fire departments. “I’d like to create a more collaborative relationship where we can combine our efforts for a greater impact,” she says. “We need more of a presence with our senior community as we look to bridge the generational divide. I was raised by my grandmother and I think youth today need the kind of

wisdom our seniors have to offer – I think we can help.” The organization, founded in 1976, works with other community-based organizations like the iconic Daddy Bruce Randolph Legacy Foundation to provide a “Feed the Community” effort every year in addition to scholarships for deserving students. “Or efforts focus on seniors and those on fixed incomes,” Dobbins said. “Last year we were able to deliver meals to more than 200 families; which was an increase over the previous year. Also our scholarship program has grown over the past few years. For instance, we were able to award three $1,500 scholarships last year and plan to provide four scholarships this year of $2,000 to help students defray the costs of higher education.” Dobbins was elected in 2017 to a two-year term that expires this year. She was selected to represent the sheriff’s department as the liaison on Mayor Michael Hancock’s LGBTQ Commission and says that her goals also consist of ensuring an inclusive environment for all citizens. “I have had a front row set to the imbalance of law enforcement,’ Dobbins insisted. “That is why our organization has taken the lead among law enforcement agencies in participating in the annual “Pridefest” festivities – the yearly celebration of LGBTQ life, heritage and culture in the region featur-

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


ing parades, a 5k run and a host of other events and activities around the city.” As the first female head of a predominantly male organization, Dobbins says she believes that it is critical for young women to she themselves reflected in positions of leadership. “I encourage young African Americans to become part of public safety and make a difference from the inside. The only way to change the culture of law enforcement is to force the changes we seek from the inside,” she said. Over the past several years, the law enforcement community has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of incidents involving members of minority communities across the nation. For Dobbins, the most vital component of addressing the issues surrounding repairing relationships with communities of color is for public safety officials to show more respect to the people they serve. “I demand that the people who work with me treat everyone with dignity and respect,” she says. “In fact, the back of our business cards reads ‘leave everything we touch better than we found it.’ We must do a better job in this area.” Her strong but fair leadership style might be just the remedy for leading her profession down a path towards more compassion and healing in the communities they serve..

Another Paige in History By Zilingo Nwuke

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Jeremiah Daniel Paige has worked hard to make his family proud both on and off the basketball court as a member of the Colorado State Rams men’s basketball team. Relying on natural talent and impressive physical agility, the 6-foot, 3-inch guard continues to add to his family’s legacy as an elite member of the 1,000 point club. There is no doubt that Paige is a talented basketball player, but as his senior season comes to an end, the question on everyone’s mind is, “What’s next?” Known by his friends and teammates as “JD”, Paige was recruited to play at Colorado State University after an impressive high school career. He played on Rangeview High School’s boys basketball team, averaging 23 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. In his biggest game as a Rangeview Raider, Paige set a school record, scoring 52 points against Prairie View High School; in the same game, he set a state 5A record with 13 3-point shots. Paige’s father, Samir Paige, recalls those high school highlights with pride and admiration, “It was an almost 30-year old record that had been set back in 1985,” he says, remembering the excitement of the crowd during the fast-paced

2014 game. Paige was 19-25 from the field, and an impressive 13-18 from the 3-point line. Paige followed his high school career with an impressive college performance. After three seasons of hard work and dedication, the highlight of his career occurred during the January 23 game against the Nevada Wolf Pack. With only 18 points remaining in his 1,000-point career goal, Paige walked into the game determined to shine. He scored 18 points, becoming one of only 29 players in CSU basketball history to reach the coveted 1,000 point career mark. “It was a huge milestone,” says Paige, “I wasn’t really focused on it when I came into college. All I really cared about was winning. Once I got that milestone, it was just a huge accomplishment.” Adding to his list of triumphs, JD was recently named “Heart of the Game,” for scoring 15 points, capturing four rebounds and making four assists, after the Rams beat Wyoming, 83-48. In addition to hard work and practice, Paige attributes a lot of his talent and success as a basketball player to good genes. His grandfather, Larry Paige, played at CSU from 1976 to 1978 before being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 7th round of the 1978 NBA Draft. His uncles, Floyd and Lloyd Kerr, played at CSU from 1966 to 1969, leading the Colorado State Rams to their first ever

NCAA Elite Eight Tournament appearance before being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 3rd round of the 1969 NBA Draft. Growing up, Paige had excellent examples to look up to, but he always wanted to create his own lane. “My grandfather and uncles who played at CSU had really successful careers,” he says, “I always joke with them that when it’s all said and done, I’ll be the best one to finish there.” Paige’s love for the game runs deep. After college, he hopes to continue to play basketball professionally, and is devoted to staying as close to the sport as possible. In addition to playing on a team, he is interested in coaching, working as a referee, or reporting sports. His family is supportive of his future goals, knowing that he will succeed in anything he puts his mind to. “I would love for him to be able to make a living doing what he loves to do, which is play basketball,” says his father. “Then, maybe he can use his Communications degree to get into broadcasting, or he might even do a little bit of coaching. With the drive that he has, the sky is the limit!” After working hard to finish his senior year strong, Paige hopes for a tournament appearance when the regular season ends. With a storybook college career nearly behind him, he is ready for the next chapter..

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Making transmissions well since 1983.

DM42 To Honor Denver’s First African American Mayor

Wilma J. Webb, a 13-year former Colorado State Representative who initiated, delivered, and established strong laws which elevated our cities, our state, and our nation to a better place for all, is the mother of Colorado’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, inductee to the National and Colorado Women’s Halls of Fame and has won numerous state and national awards, including The National Education Association Carter G. Woodson Award for Human and Civil Rights. The Denver Art Museum recognized her contribution to the arts community as First Lady with a bas relief sculpture of her. Wilma’s latest project is preserving her husband’s legacy as Denver’s first African American mayor. Wellington E. Webb served 12 years from 1991 to 2003 as Denver’s 42nd mayor. The city’s Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building was named in his honor before he left office, but there is no corresponding information in the building, which leaves many new Denver residents and younger generations wondering, “Who is Wellington E. Webb?” For example, in early 2019 some school students were tour-

The Honorable Wilma J. Webb Preserves Husband’s Legacy In Bronze ing the building and asked their teacher who is Wellington Webb? Their teacher incorrectly replied, “The first black governor of Colorado.” “It is very important that we have a sculpture of Wellington and the history of his mayoral administration in the Webb Building so that younger generations and people new to Denver don’t incorrectly think he’s an Englishman from London because of his name,” Wilma Webb said. “A name on a building with no context does little to inform the public why this man

has a building named in his honor.” Wilma lobbied for a photograph of Mayor Webb to be placed in the Webb Building, which was completed in 2018. She has commissioned Denver artist Ed Dwight to build the sculpture and is working with the city on proper placement of the sculpture in the Webb Building. She also created a nonprofit called “DM42” (Denver Mayor 42) to raise money for the sculpture, which will be financed privately with no city tax dollars.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


As mayor and First Lady, the couple worked tirelessly to improve the Mile High City for all residents. They opened city contracts, including airport concessions and artwork, to allow women and minorities more opportunities to compete and contribute. Since leaving office, the couple has continued to be active in city, state and national politics and are outspoken on social justice issues, in addition to supporting younger generations of aspiring political and community leaders. Over the next two months, we will look at Wellington Webb’s life in more detail, including his long service in city, state and national politics. This month we focus on Wilma J. Webb in honor of National Women’s History Month. Born to Frank and Faye Gerdine in Denver, Wilma is the first and only Colorado African American woman who has served with dis-tinction on all three levels of our government. She is the first woman to have been elected to represent House District 8 in the Colorado House of Representatives, and the first African American woman to serve on the powerful state Joint Budget Committee. Among her many accomplishments in the legislature, Wilma was the first legislator to introduce a bill for full-time kindergarten in Colorado; introduced and passed legislation to grant the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Commission subpoena powers; and introduced and passed legislation that created a statewide substance abuse treatment program. She also strongly supported a bill to have Denver Public Schools Board of Education members elected by districts, rather than all members at-large, to assure minority representation on the board. She is also the first woman appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton as the Secretary’s Representative for the

United States Department of Labor for the States of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. She was the first active First Lady of Denver, taking on many roles and projects. Her work as Chairperson of the Mayor’s Commission on Art, Culture, and Film included delivering major art pieces for the city, including Ed Dwight’s I Have A Dream

sculpture for Denver City Park, Botero’s Man and Woman, in the Galleria of the DCPA, and Jonathan Borofsky’s The Dancers, at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and murals at Denver International Airport. She has chaired and served on numerous national, statewide, and local private and governmental boards and commissions including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, the Democratic Committee on Housing, the National Compliance Review Commission, the International Women’s Forum, the

Channel 9 Who Care Awards Board, the Governor’s Job Training Coordinating Council, the Denver Planning Board’s Advisory Committee, and many others. She is the honoree of several hundred national and statewide commendations, including the National Humanitarian Award presented by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The National Human Rights Award, the Association for Retarded Citizen’s Legislator of the Year Award, The Colorado Banking Association’s Political Award, and an inductee into the Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame, to name a few. Her education includes the University of Colorado Denver, is an alumna of Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and she holds Honorary Doctoral Degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, the Art Institute of Colorado, and is a graduate of Denver’s Manual High School. She is a member of Zion Baptist Church, and the professional women’s organizations of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Incorporated. She and her husband, Wellington, have four adult children, Keith (deceased), Stephanie, Anthony, and Allen. She is the grandmother of Allen Webb II, Jaime Webb, Wellington M. Webb, Gabrielle Webb, Patrick O’Malley II, Steven O’Malley, Michael Thompson, Diallo Thompson, Mack Craft, Jason Craft, and LaShawnda Dixon; and greatgrandmother to numerous grandchildren.. Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Colorectal Cancer Awareness By Kim Farmer


arch is colorectal cancer awareness month. Despite vast improvements in our knowledge over the past four decades, colorectal cancer is still

the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial groups and is most common after the fifth decade of life. Every year, close to 150,000

Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 55,000 individuals die from the disease. When caught early, this type of cancer can be cured with surgery however it can be prevented in most individuals over the age of 50 with regular screenings. Today, many types of screening programs for colorectal cancer have been developed and are readily available in the community.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


What are symptoms of precancerous lesions of the colon? The majority of these precancerous lesions (polyps) do not cause any symptoms initially. But over time, polyps can become large and turn into a cancer. In some people, the polyp may present with the following symptoms: •Blood in the stools- this may be seen as specks or drops of blood when wiping •Vague abdominal cramps that come and go •Constant bloated sensation •Loss of weight for no apparent reason It is important to understand that these are not specific symptoms for colorectal cancer and may be caused by many other disorders of the bowel. But if these symptoms persist, it is important to see your healthcare provider. People who have polyps have no way of knowing if they have these lesions and thus, a screening test is extremely important. Types of screening tests available: •Colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 •Fecal occult blood test. This test checks for blood in the stools but is not very specific. •Sigmoidoscopy screening every five or ten years and may be combined with the fecal blood test •Stool DNA test every one to three years •CT Colonography (also known as virtual colonoscopy) every five years These screening tests help detect precancerous polyps (abnormal growths in the colon) before they turn into a cancer. Since screening also helps detect cancer early, the treatment is often curative. Most of the screening tests are covered by medical insurance and have no downtime. But the best way to treat colon cancer is by preventing it in the first place. So what should one do to prevent colon cancer? Continued on next page

Denver Film Society Hosts Festival to Showcase Diverse Slate of Women Filmmakers March 7 Preview Event Features Film on The First Female Filmmaker 9th Annual Women+Film Festival Slated for April 9-14


mbracing its mission for diverse audiences to discover film through creative, thoughtprovoking experiences, the Denver Film Society will host a special preview documentary on March 7, before welcoming the public to the six-day Women+Film Festival slated for April 9-14. Once again, the Festival will celebrate the year’s best women-centric documenContinued from previous page •First start by becoming physically active as this will not only decrease the risk of cancer, it will improve your overall health and wellbeing •If you are over the age of 50, speak to your healthcare provider about a colorectal cancer screen. There are several types of tests available and your doctor can help you decide which is best for you •Limit the intake of alcohol •Do not smoke •Eat a healthy diet that consists of veggies, fruits, cereals, nuts, whole wheat and fish. At the same time, limit the intake of saturated oils and meat If you are over the age of 50, there is no reason to wait as this type of cancer is a serious matter. Encourage your friends and loved ones to get screened regularly, stay active and eat a healthy diet. All of us can make a difference in fighting this preventable disease. Thanks for reading! . Editor’s note: Contributor Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

taries, narratives and short films – both by and about women. In 2018, more than 2000 attendees enjoyed 15+ films and several events and receptions. The Women+Film Festival initially began as a oncemonthly program thanks to the vision of Barbara Bridges, one of the Film Society’s major donors and supporters. Interest in a diverse lineup of womencentric films grew and eventually led to the creation of this six-day festival which occurs annually in April. Artistic Director Brit Withey, along with the programming team, attend multiple festivals across the

globe and select a balance of documentaries, narratives and shorts for the event with an eye toward great storytelling. None of the films presented at the Festival have yet to be released to the general public. The March 7 preview event at Denver’s Sie FilmCenter will feature, “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice GuyBlache,” which shines the light on a true pioneer who got into the movie business at the very beginning – in 1894, at the age of 21. Narrated by Jodie Foster, the film is both a tribute and a detective story, tracing the circumstances by which this extraordinary artist faded from memory and the path toward her reclamation. There will be a reception following the film with special guest director Pamela Green and writer Joan Simon on-hand to answer questions. “The Festival brings people together who love cinema and love to have important discussions,” says Festival Director Britta Erickson. “The audience gets to meet and mingle with many of the filmmakers and discover topics and new voices they weren’t familiar with. The preview event is a nice way to give the public a taste of what is to come over the Festival’s six days.” This year, documentary filmmaker, philanthropist and activist Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt Disney, will be recognized during the Festival for

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


her work behind the scenes and as an active supporter of peacebuilding. Disney is an Emmywinning director and producer along with being CEO and president of Fork Films, where she espouses her passion for advancing women’s roles in the industry. In 2009, Abigail founded Peace is Loud, a nonprofit that inspires action through media and live events that spotlight women leaders on the frontline of peacebuilding worldwide. “With the growing focus on the underrepresentation of women in the film industry, especially women with diverse backgrounds, the Festival is an important platform to shine the light on women working behind the scenes to create change,” says Founder Barbara Bridges. “We were proud to introduce the Colorado public to the film “Half The Picture” at our first preview event on February 7. This film really spotlights the power of filmmaking when the industry embraces the inclusion of women in key roles and offers meaningful opportunities to diverse voices.”. Editor’s note: The Festival’s lineup will be announced in March at which time, tickets will go on sale. Tickets for the March 7 preview documentary are limited and can be purchased at the Sie FilmCenter or at Follow the work of the Denver Film Society and the upcoming programs on Facebook or Twitter.

Lone Tree Arts Center Announces Creative Team For Beehive: 60’s Musical, Opening April 3 Production Celebrates Outstanding Female Talent In Denver

Continuing its tradition of

producing professional, remarkable theatrical productions in the South Metro area, the Lone Tree Arts Center (LTAC) announces its stellar cast and crew for Larry Gallagher’s Beehive: The 60’s Musical, running April 3 to 13. LTAC favorite Candy Brown will direct and choreograph, with Michael Williams serving as musical director. The allDenver cast features Sharon Kay White, Piper Arpan, Sheryl Renee, Karen Jeffries, Melody Moore, and Valerie Igoe, with Shannan Steele understudying. Beehive is a wild toe-tapping, head shakin’ musical tribute to the rockin’ women who made the music of the ’60s so special – everyone from Lesley Gore to Janis Joplin, from the Shirelles to the Supremes, Aretha Franklin to Tina Turner, and every woman in between! Featuring such timeless classics as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Be My Baby,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Proud Mary,” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” Beehive recalls the days of miniskirts, transistor radios, and flower power. Told from the perspective of six young women who came of age in this enigmatic decade, these young ladies look back on a host of issues ranging from their first Beehive Dance to the challenges we faced as a nation – all accomplished by a vast array of the most celebrated and memorable songs of the era. LTAC Executive Director Lisa Rigsby Peterson says, “Beehive gives us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on

the extraordinary female talent we have in Denver. Having Candy Brown direct and choreograph such an outstanding ensemble of artists as they pay tribute to the girl bands and iconic singers of the 1960s makes for an unbeatable combination!” Candy Brown (Director and Choreographer) is an accomplished actress on stage, television, and film. Candy began her professional career in musical theatre under the tutelage of legendary Broadway directors, choreographers, and performers too numerous to list but who include mentors Bob Fosse and Hal Prince. As a proud member of Actors Equity, some of her Broadway shows are Pippin, Chicago, Grind, Purlie, and Hello, Dolly!, and she was an original participant in the history making workshop of A Chorus Line. Her first visit to Denver was in the first national tour of Applause with Eleanor Parker in the role created by Bonnie Franklin. As Candy Brown Houston, a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild, she has appeared in numerous television commercials, television programs (NYPD Blue, Chicago Hope, CSI: Miami, Sister, Sister, etc.) and films including Ali where she played mother to Will Smith’s Muhammad Ali. She has worked extensively in regional theaters around the country. Since relocating to Denver, Ms. Brown has performed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Curious

Theatre Company, Local Theatre Company, the Telluride New Playwright Festival, and recently performed in Love Letters at the Lone Tree Arts Center. She directed and choreographed Once on This Island for the Aurora Fox Theatre as well as choreographing Big River, with Randal Myler directing, at the Lone Tree Arts Center. She has also been teaching and choreographing for the Denver School of the Arts Theatre Department. Candy holds a BA in Performing Arts from St. Mary’s of California, Moraga. Dr. Michael Williams (Musical Director) has been music director and keyboardist for many shows, including The Christians, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (DCPA); A Brief History of White Music (Vogue); Suite Moses, Amistad III (Grand Design) (Aurora Fox); Sisters and the Storytellers (Black Swan) (Denver Civic Center); Dinah Was, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Shadow Theater); Rhapsody In Black, Southlands, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater); and Gospel At Columbus (The Source Theater). Sharon Kay White (Wanda) has performed in theaters and concert venues all over the world. Her experience has allowed her to tour many countries in Europe, and the U.S. twice, and to work in professional theaters all over the country, as a singer, actress and dancer. Locally she has been seen at The Arvada Center, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, The Aurora Fox Arts Center, Country Dinner Playhouse, The Denver Civic Theater, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Cherry Creek Theater and The Lone Tree Arts Center.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Other theaters include Papermill Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Pioneer Theatre Company, Peterborough Players and Surflight Theatre. Sharon Kay has received multiple nominations and awards for her work in the theatre. Piper Arpan (Jasmine/Dance Captain) is now a Denverbased director, choreographer, and performer after almost a decade in NYC. LTAC credits include Reunion ’85 (CoHost), Home for the Holidays, Guys and Dolls in Concert, Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Renee). Favorite performance credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot (Broadway and First National Tour), The Producers Movie Musical, and Radio City Rockettes. Piper has performed in dozens of Colorado productions including Mamma Mia! (Tanya) at the Arvada Center, The Wedding Singer (Holly) at the Aurora Fox, and she is currently the assistant director and choreographer of Xanadu, now showing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Piper’s work directing, choreographing, and performing in Colorado has merited over a dozen awards and nominations. Sheryl Renee (Gina), known as the “Lady with the Golden Voice,” moves effortlessly between music genres and artistic avenues. Her voice can be heard on CD projects and with bands. Her career highlight was performing the national anthem for President Barack Obama. Sheryl has produced stage shows, television, and was a radio talk show host on “Making a Way with Bargain Queen Sheryl Renee” on KUHS Denver. Along with

marketing and promotions, this award-winning actress has been in 38 theater productions to date, as a lead, ensemble, playwright, director and props designer. She was most recently on the LTAC stage in Home for the Holidays. Karen Jeffreys (Alison) has crooned her way across the country in several productions of My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra (Pittsburgh CLO, Ocean State Theater Co., Laguna Playhouse). She also sailed the ocean for four years as a vocalist for Crystal Cruises. Now residing in Denver, she has been seen on the local stage in Camelot (Arvada Center), Winter Wonderettes (Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts) and Reunion ’85, South Pacific in Concert, and Home for the Holidays (Lone Tree Arts Center). Karen began her career in Erie, PA under the tutelage of the Erie Playhouse Youth Theater program, which prepared her for her first professional tour as lead vocalist for Up With People. Melody Moore (Laura) is a recent NYC to Denver transplant with her chef hubby and two musical little boys. Melody has performed in numerous off Broadway shows, regional theater, summer stock, national tours and a sprinkling of TV and movie work. Some favorite roles include Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Queenie in The Wild Party and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Valerie Igoe (Patti) is making her Lone Tree Arts

Center debut. Recent credits include Annie (Lily St. Regis), The Full Monty (Estelle), Rock of Ages (Regina) and 42nd Street (Gladys). Valerie has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Shannan Steele (understudy) is a Denver-based actor. Recent credits: Denver Center Theatre Company: A Christmas Carol, Sweeney Todd, Animal Crackers; Denver Center Galleria Theatre: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The Last Five Years, My Way, and The Taffetas. Twenty six productions at The Arvada Center including Mamma Mia! (Donna Sheridan), Tarzan (Kala) and the 1940’s Radio Hour (Ginger Brooks). Other roles include Roxie Hart in Chicago for Breckinridge Backstage Theatre Company and Sarah in Murder Ballad for The Edge Theatre. Shannan was last seen at LTAC in Evita and Reunion ‘85. She is currently directing Oliver! for The Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Kevin Nelson is the Scenic Designer, Kevin Copenhaver is the Costume Designer, Diana Ben-Kiki is the Wig Master, Jen Kiser is the Lighting Designer, and Allen Noftall is the Sound Designer. Nadiya Jackson is the Assistant to the Director, and Malia Stoner is the Stage Manager. . Editor’s note: Evening performance dates for Beehive are April 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13. Matinee performances will be on April 6, 7, 10, and 13. Tickets are $36 to $60 and may be purchased by calling 720-5091000, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or at This performance is made possible in part thanks to the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, Colorado Creative Industries, and National Endowment for the Arts. CBS4 Denver is the Media Sponsor. Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019



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

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

Happy Death Day 2U l By Jon Rutlege

Sequels can be dangerous

waters. You’re gambling any magic and admiration you gathered in the first film on the idea that you can hopefully keep the same experience or better it for the viewer. The first film was a great blend of horror and comedy, a tasty morsel that was a one-and-done fun experience. This second film feels like they went out of their way to try and explain what happened in the first one. We don’t need an explanation. We had a magic/science/divine intervention that made this girl live over and over until she solves her murder. STOP! We don’t need an explanation. Fans will talk for hours and perhaps years on what caused the loop event.

This film has Tree (Jessica Rothe) in a new dimension she has to deal with, Carter (Israel Broussard) in a relationship with someone else and Tree’s mother still alive. There are some very complex emotions and choices that Tree has to make, but it’s not enough to carry an entire film. They seem to ignore some of the rules they set in the first film. First and foremost, every time Tree reincarnates she takes damage, and each loop is slowly killing her. They continue to abuse her, however this time it’s not a murderer killing her, she is killing herself so she can reset the day. This gives us a montage of her dying in new and exciting ways, sort of, but it’s the same thing again and again. Having the entire cast back for the sequel is good for continuity, but perhaps they could have expanded the plot to a different person reliving their life over and over and gives Tree a break. She could then offer help because of her many experiences. I loved this just as much as when I saw it on an episode of Stargate. There, the character has to endure repeat after repeat after repeat and learn the solution slowly over time, albeit they did have some fun along the way. While there are some differences, I couldn’t separate the two in my head. If they want to make another loop film they need to come up with a more exciting story and stop abusing Tree. She has served her purpose admirably but indeed just gives the poor girl a rest. Danielle (Rachel Matthews) as a test subject is not interesting because she is not a good person at heart. Maybe she can grow as a character, but for now, she is just not interesting. In the end, this feels like a film that was made because everyone on the first one had

such a great time they decided they should make another, and now we have a placeholder for a third one. I liked the first one, but this one was a disappointment. It is moving further away from what made the first one fun. My advice is don’t do something because it worked the first time, do something better, and better, and better…

Crazy Rich Asians scored a Best Picture nomination as did the Marvel juggernaut Black Panther, which also earned multiple nominations including individual nods for its main stars Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Lupita Nyong’o, who were nominated in the same Best Supporting Actress category.

Widows actors Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo and Michelle Rodriguez Photo by Barry Bresheisen

Steve McQueen’s Widows Nominated for an NAACP Image Award By Samantha Ofole-Prince Last month’s NAACP Image Award nominations arrived with a few nods for Widows, a brilliantly paced heist drama which has failed to win any major accolades this awards season. Directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), the film which released in theaters in November and stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Tyree Henry and Daniel Kaluuya, received three nominations including an Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picturenod for Davis and a director’s nomination for McQueen. At a press conference held in Pasadena, there were plenty of exciting nominations and few surprises.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Other films nominated include The Hate U Give, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. This year’s nominees for the NAACP Entertainer of the Year are Beyoncé, Chadwick Boseman, LeBron James, Regina King and Ryan Coogler. Voting is now open to the public by visiting the NAACP Image Awards website. In addition to the traditional awards categories, Congresswoman Maxine Waters will be honored with the prestigious NAACP Chairman’s Award, which is bestowed in recognition of individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their distinct platforms to create agents of change. Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP national board of directors, will present Waters with the award at the 50th NAACP Image Awards on March 30 on TV One. .


Mayor Hancock and Denver Zoo Break Ground on New Animal Hospital Mayor Michael B. Hancock joined Denver Zoo President and CEO Bert Vescolani to break ground on the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital. The new state-of-theindustry hospital will advance the Zoo’s ability to provide exceptional care for more than 3,500 animals who call the Zoo home. The 22,000 square foot facility, funded in part by the Elevate Denver Bond Program, encourages engagement and education, offering visitors an unprecedented look into the veterinary team’s daily work. “This new animal hospital will be a testament to the qualities that have defined Denver Zoo for 123 years—innovation, collaboration and, most importantly, dedication to providing the best possible care for our animals,” Denver Zoo President and CEO Bert Vescolani said. The Zoo is the most visited cultural destination in Colorado, and Denver residents have a rich history of engaging with the Zoo and encouraging global conservation initiatives. “Our community continues

to support the Zoo and all its endeavors, and today was made possible because the people of Denver spoke loud and clear when they overwhelmingly said yes to the Elevate Denver Bond Program in 2017,” Mayor Hancock said. “Culture, conservation and education matter here in Denver, and we’re delivering on the promise we made to our residents with this bond investment in the future Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital.” The new hospital will house a world-class diagnostic laboratory, indoor and outdoor holding and quarantine spaces and state-of-the art treatment rooms and surgery suites. Equipped with the latest technology, the facility will be one of the only animal hospitals in the country with its own CT scanners. Its design includes considerations for noise, views and daylight to ensure animal comfort, and will be built to LEED Gold standards. The veterinary team is currently set up in a temporary hospital onsite, where they will continue to serve over 550 species of animals until 2020, when the new hospital is expected to be complete. Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


NEWSVIEWS The newly established business will be located at 2878 N. Colorado Blvd. A grand opening celebration is being planned for March. The public will be invited to sample the product, enjoy face painting and music.

Cannabis Entrepreneur Joins NW Denver City Council Race

Tay Anderson Kicks Off Campaign Event

Urban League Guild Presents Annual Book Scholarship Award In February, the Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver presented a book scholarship to an Africana Studies student at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD). The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver/Dr. Lawrence H. Borom Scholarship was presented to award recipient Tammy Williams at the MSUD Africana Studies Department’s 36th Annual Black World Conference. The Urban League Guild presents annual awards to students selected by the faculty of the respective MSUD department. This is the seventh year of awarding scholarships to students at MSUD. The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver, an auxiliary to the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, raises the funds to make these scholarships available through community service events and fundraisers.

Upscale Boutique FITness & NUtrition Club Opens For Busy Women of Color FIT & NU™, an Aurorabased fitness and nutrition company for busy women of color, will be celebrating the opening of their brand new boutique FITness & NUtrition club, plus four years of business on Friday, March 15. The open house at 3033 S. Parker Road, Suite 160 in the Aurora Marketplace, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. fol-

lowed with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Guest will get a tour of the 2,252 square foot training and coaching facility, be treated to a free body composition analysis, a week guest pass, and a door prize entry. Sisters Joslyn and Brittney Rae Reese hope to help busy women ease their minds while prioritizing their health in a lifegiving setting filled with other like-minded women. For more information or to RSVP to the grand opening, visit

Women Business Owners Revive Gold Star Hotlinks

Business partners Kwame and Mkale Warner have joined forces with Melanie Davis to revive the Gold Star Hotlink Sausage Company, a local company with an 80-year history in Denver under new leadership. With more than 20 years of experience in business and real estate, Mkale Warner, former owner of Good Eatin’ with coowner Kwame, brings a wealth of knowledge on how to serve the community. As a two family-owned business, they look forward to serving the community and providing great service to its customers.

In front of 100 teachers, students, and parents, Tay Anderson kicked off his campaign for the At-Large seat on Denver’s school board. Tay Anderson for Denver School Board At-Large held his campaign kickoff on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Mental Health Center of Denver, Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being. Anderson called upon his experience as both a former struggling student and a current educator: “When I was a homeless student with terrible grades, it wasn’t some ‘portfolio’ option that changed my life. It was community. Now as a restorative justice coordinator at North High School, I see the same thing in my students. They need in-school therapists. They need to see that success isn’t measured by a test score. They need to feel protected from the risk of a madman entering the building with an assault rifle. They shouldn’t have to feel the split that happens in your soul when you have to choose between either staying in your neighborhood or going to a ‘good’ school.” Anderson is running to replace Happy Haynes who is terming out of the seat. The election is November 5. Anderson is currently unopposed.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Scott Durrah, First AfricanAmerican Licensed Dispensary Owner to Run for Denver City Council. Scott Durrah, owner of Simply Pure Dispensary and longtime Denver resident, has announced his candidacy for NW Denver, District 1 City Council. With the rise of politically diverse voices emerging across the country, Durrah, a Marine veteran, long-time entrepreneur and activist who has campaigned for many officials from President Obama to Colorado’s recently-elected and newly dubbed “Pot Governor” Jared Polis, believes now is the time to join the race and represent his community. Durrah and his wife Wanda James are known in Colorado politics as fundraisers for President Obama’s National Finance Committee and is nationally known for their work in social justice and advancing the legalization of cannabis. As the first AfricanAmerican in the United State to receive a legal vertical cannabis distribution, cultivation and production license, Durrah is also among a growing number of voices speaking to the political power of cannabis. Across the country, from 2020 presidential hopefuls to local elections, candidates are throwing their support behind cannabis legalization and its potential to generate tax revenue for community reinvestment. Proving the political power of cannabis, Durrah brings an experienced voice for Denver’s industry to City Hall.

My quest continued when I applied to be a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow as a college student at Xavier University. I was in complete disbelief when I was accepted for a study abroad to South Africa. I knew the program was prestigious and competitive, and I had a lot of self-doubt about my own abilities and sense of belonging. Continued on page 26

Discovering the Excellence Within: Realizing My Greatness in South Africa By Jorian Reeves Xavier University, Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy


had my first taste of global cultural learning in 2015 when I traveled to Qatar at the age of 14 for a week-long Arabic debate competition. Two years earlier, in seventh grade, I had started taking Arabic classes at Lindbolm Math and Science Academy, a selective high school serving gifted and marginalized students in Chicago. Until I became a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow and studied in South Africa last summer, the Qatar trip had been my most extensive abroad experience. But what transpired during the summer of 2018 in South Africa made me realize that was only the beginning of my personal development. When I started at Lindbolm Academy as a seventh grader, I experienced a challenging environment, something more dynamic than anything I had experienced before. I relished in the opportunity to engage with a new culture through my Arabic language and dance courses because it provided an outlet for some of my feelings of displacement. I felt lost and uncomfortable in my new environment. I was forced to push the boundaries to which I had grown accustomed, and at times, I struggled with the changes. I often wondered: How did I get here? How did I become so privileged to be in a space with people so brilliant? I was surrounded by individuals who were intelligent and inquisitive, and I never thought of myself on that level. This began my quest to understand my worth. Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Discovering the Excellence Within...Jorian Reeves Continued from page 25 Throughout my time in South Africa, however, I came face-to-face with the power of my excellence and the power of what I could achieve. I never imagined myself hiking, never even gave it any thought. The 12-year-old girl who felt out of place in a new school wouldn’t have ever pictured herself living in South Africa for four weeks. The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program was also transformative for me because I had so many new experiences and was able to process them in liberating ways. It was an emotional experience for me to see the vast range of socioeconomic lifestyles in Cape Town and compare them to my own transitions in Chicago from lowincome neighborhoods to highincome neighborhoods. I was able to recognize my own privilege, gain a global consciousness about poverty, and ponder what steps I can take to help alleviate socioeconomic divide. During these moments of deep reflection, I had a revelation: “Honey, you have to come to grips with your power.” I expected good things, not great things, to happen to me.

Becoming a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow validated the excellence within me. All of my doubts were crushed beneath the soles of my feet, as I walked each step in South Africa. I’ve learned that as soon as I stop fearing my greatness, my impact on society will be beyond anything I, or my 12-yearold self, could ever fathom. . Editor’s note: Ten college students at the more than 600 Minority Serving Institutions across the country can win full scholarships to study abroad next summer, and all qualified applicants are guaranteed $1500 grants toward select study abroad programs, according to the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, which jointly sponsor the scholarship program. CIEE is the oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization in the U.S. Their mission is to transform lives and build bridges between people and nations. CIEE programs are at more than 60 international sites, including Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Santiago, Shanghai, and Sydney. Last year alone CIEE provided more than $8 million in scholarships, grants, and financial aid.


Forum, Education Update and Women’s History Recognition Set for March The Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT), the Body of Christ newspaper and the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance will sponsor a Denver Mayoral, City Council and Clerk candidate forum on Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center. All candidates running for the office of Denver Mayor, City Council Districts 8, 9, 11, At-Large and City Clerk are invited to participate. Prior to the forum, there will be a community education update at 9 a.m. to discuss community engagement opportunities with DPS to better support the district, teachers and students. District and union leadership, teachers, former black and brown School Board members, community organizations and education advocates are invited to participate in this critical community discussion on quality education for black and brown students. In celebration of Women’s History Month, CBRT will recognize women in the Denver metro area at noon. They include Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee, AAICD Chair Maya Wheeler, international human rights educator Paula Rhodes, MSU Denver professor Deborah Wilcox and FirstBank Aurora Branch President Shannon Jones. Special recognition will be given to photographer/author Pat Duncan and businesswoman Carla Ladd. For more information, email

Langley Family Charitable Trust Accepting Scholarship Applications


The Drs. Joseph and Alice Langley Family Charitable Trust, (LFCT) is accepting applications to award scholarships to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


Colorado high school seniors. The nonprofit LFCT is a scholarship program designed to help increase the number of students, especially African Americans students enroll in community colleges and universities. Student must be a high school senior, have at least a 3.0 GPA, be involved with the community and have a career goal to make a difference in the quality of life for self and others in the community. The deadline to receive completed applications is April 26. For more information or to get an application, call 303-6943126.

NCNW and AARL Presents Annual Living Portraits of African American Women The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Denver Section and the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library will present the 27th annual Living Portraits of African-American Women on Saturday, March 23 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Denver Central Library on Level B2 Conference Center, 10 W. 14th Ave. in Denver. This free event is open to the public with a reception following. Attendees are asked to bring a pair socks to support the “Socks for Tots Drive.” The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. will also recognize outstanding women and youth for their leadership and service to our community during Women’s History Month.

Destination Freedom Series Presents Black Radio Days donnie l. betts’s award winning Black Radio Days, live radio series celebrating 20 years picks up on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. with a live performance and broadcast at Hamilton Hall at the Newman Center with “Black With a Capital B.” As well as drawing on the archive of Destination Freedom, this program illuminates a

COMMUNITY NOTES largely unknown, but important, chapter in the history of human rights and tells how radio drama played its part from the very beginning. That boundary-breaking program, Destination Freedom, dramatized the lives of great figures in African-American history past and present; betts now continues in its spirit with allnew scripts. betts begins his year-long look at gun violence, immigration, gender identity and social justice via the lens of the audio voice. Destination Freedom presents “Black” by Lamaria Aminah. After one more young black man dies at the hands of police, a community is shaken. A conversation evolves between two mothers at the vigil – one white and one black. Through their interaction, BLACK gets to the heart of the matter on communication between races. Join us after the performance for a robust community discussion led by donnie l. betts, Aurora Police Chief Metz, renowned activists from Black Lives Matters 5280, members of Warm Cookies of the Revolution, Dr. Deb Ortega founder of DU’s Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship, Council Member Angela Lawson, community plus audience members and others. Tickets are $27 and $29. For more information, call 303-8717720.

The League of Women Voters of Denver Honors Women to Watch March is National Women’s History Month and for 25 years, the League of Women Voters of Denver has honored women from our community who have faced significant challenges in their lives, and on Sunday, March 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Montview Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia Street in the

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McCollum Room, the Women to Watch program will once again honor an amazing group of women. Fifteen women will be honored has an inspiring story of barriers faced and successes achieved. There will be a celebration with them, their families and friends, as well as representatives of the organizations that nominated them at an afternoon ceremony and reception that is free and open to the public. For more information, call 303-629-0614.


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


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Continued from page 3 million a year. The cost of pursuing a death penalty case, this analysis concluded, averages 15 times the cost of pursuing life without the possibility of parole. Let’s do the math. Finally, there is absolutely no credible evidence that the death penalty deters violent crime. States without the death penalty have lower murder rates than states with the death penalty. In surveys across the country, the death penalty has been cited as the least effective way to reduce violent crime.  The facts are clear: There is no upside to the death penalty, but there are a variety of serious, costly, and racially discriminatory downsides. That’s why I’m leading the Senate’s efforts to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. Angela Williams State Senator for Senate District 33

Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him? Editor: While I commend efforts to turn Presidents’ Day into a display of outrage over the nonemergency declaration rather than a celebration of non-existent presidential grandeur, I would much rather impeach Trump than protest him. I was on the fence on the merits of pushing impeachment before the long-awaited arrival of the Mueller report, but the cogent essay published in The Atlantic thoroughly convinced me that beginning the impeachment process immediately is the way to go. I don’t see the utility in waiting if there is no guarantee the public will ever see Mueller’s findings thus averting further outrage that could force the hand of Senate Republicans. Moreover, the argument that the Democrats shouldn’t try to

impeach because they would lose is not only contrary to the goal of attempting to enforce the rule of law but is also cowardly. One could easily reduce this argument to if you can’t win, then don’t play. This losefirst mentality has been a fixture of the Democratic strategy for far too long. The Democratic Party must move beyond compromise with an uncompromising opponent if it wants to win in 2019, 2020, and beyond. Well-intentioned friends of mine have brought up the point that even if Trump is removed from office, “Commander� Mike Pence would take his place. And Mike Pence is just as evil but far more boring and, therefore, able to conduct his machinations outside public scrutiny and more effectively. It’s a clever argument, but I don’t buy it for two reasons: the first is that Trump enjoys far more grassroots support than Pence (for the aforementioned reason that watching Pence speak, or do anything, is worse than – to borrow Colbert’s word play), and the second is that the downfall of Trump would undoubtedly mire an accidental Pence presidency into an inability to effectively pursue the Trump/Pence agenda. We should recall that former President Ford has already gone down in the dustbin of history as a less-than-one-term president who pardoned Nixon and did little else. Pence would likely follow suit. Trump ought to be impeached not because most Americans dislike him but because the Constitution demands it. You can have a constitutional government predicated on rule of law and separation of powers or you can have an autocracy. But you can’t have both. Matthew Johnson

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Editor’s note: Matt Johnson, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is co-author of Trumpism.

Grateful For The Second Time Around Editor: When I was 21 years old in 1971, I had the extraordinary fortune to meet a fabulous jazz singer named Alberta Hunter. Young folks may not know of her, but I heard her perform in Central City at the Opera House, and fell in love with her music and her incredible style. Her albums are still available and what’s interesting for Women’s History Month is her history. She was a well-known and successful singer from the 1920s to 1954 and gave up her singing career to become a nurse. As an aging African American blues singer, there was not much call for her music. Racism in America had caused her to spend much of her time in Europe during the 1930s, where Blacks were able to travel and stay where they wanted without the overt and dangerous racism of the U.S. At the age of 59, she lied about her age and enrolled in a YWCA nurse training program. She kept that career for 20 years before she was constrained to retire. In fact, she had worked 12 years beyond the mandatory retirement age of 70 years. Five months after her retirement as a nurse, she began singing in a Greenwich Village, New York nightclub. Her singing career took off again at the age of 82 and was much better known in the second part of her singing career. She died at the age of 89 in 1984. As I learned about her history, she gave up singing because she was not much in demand in 1954. She was not super famous and her looks had faded. She gave up

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her career to do what many other Black women had done through history, work hard and serve others. She worked at the demanding physical job until she was forced to give it up at 82 years old! And after she stopped working as a nurse, she went back to her fabulous talent and in no time, she was recording and touring the country. Her energy on stage was so strong I can still remember it today – 48 years later! Her tenacity was so impressive and when I met her, she took my hand like I was important; a 21year old college graduate. She smiled in a way that glowed from inside. Listen to her album Amtrak Blues and you can hear the music that captured the audiences in the 1970s and early 1980s. She performed until shortly before her death. Throughout the history of the world, women had generally been relegated to perform roles like dear Alberta Hunter had to assume. Their talent could be absorbed and their person discarded. They could be expected to work hard for little recognition. Being African American in the U.S. added the extra burden of exclusion. She did the best she could. When I saw her perform on stage, it was hard to believe that she had stopped her music for 20 years. From meeting her and watching her perform, I learned that age is not a factor in success, race is not a factor in success, and being short should not stop someone from being successful. I saw that really caring about yourself and others would shine through. Since I was short, and she resembled my aunt Mary who was also short like Alberta, I could relate to her. How fortunate was I in meeting her. Let her story live on. God rest her soul.

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Mike Sawaya Denver, CO Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019






Photos by Lens of Ansar

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2019


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