Denver Urban Spectrum - March 2023 - Women's History Month

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Women’s History Month 4 7 10 15 16 Volume 36 Number 12 March 2023

Denver’s Next Mayor MUST BE A FIGHTER!

When employers in Colorado could discriminate against Black people and people of color for their hairstyles without repercussions, Leslie introduced the Crown Act.

The film industry said Colorado was not competing against other states to attract television classics like Yellowstone. As a member of the Legislature's joint budget committee, Leslie worked to make Colorado more competitive and to ensure that creatives in this city could live, work, and thrive.

Leslie worked with community advocates like Nita and Rudy Gonzales to create the city’s STAR PROGRAM to ensure first responders can handle mental health crises on a 911 call.

Our city desperately needed bold leadership in 2020 during a global pandemic. Some watched the George Floyd video, and others took to the streets. Leslie got to work and rolled up her sleeves to pull together a bipartisan coalition to pass the most comprehensive police accountability legislation in the nation.

WHILE OTHERS TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO, LESLIE HEROD IS IN THE COMMUNITY GETTING IT DONE. We need a mayor who will fight with us and for us. On APRIL 4, VOTE LESLIE HEROD FOR MAYOR (#14 on the ballot). Paid for by Ready Denver. Not authorized by any candidate, candidate committee, issue committee, or political committee.


Rosalind J. Harris


Brittany Winkfield


Lawrence A. James


Alfonzo Porter


Angelia D. McGowan


Tanya Ishikawa


Kim Farmer

Barry Overton


Elijah Hill

Alfonzo Porter

Thomas Holt Russell

LaQuane Smith

Mariam Sylla


Tanya Ishikawa


Bee Harris


Lens of Ansar


Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


Melovy Melvin


Lawrence A. James - Manager

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2023 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

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It’s Women’s History Month

As we near Election Day for Denver’s mayoral race, our mailboxes and online communication channels will be overflowing with more key messages from 17 candidates - revealing how many people care about the city and its future. Kicking off our Women’s History Month issue, we share words from a press conference on Feb. 14 when a host of Colorado’s legendary women came together to endorse Leslie Herod for Denver’s next mayor.

Contributor Mariam Sylla highlights Dr. Kimberle Jackson-Butler and her charge to close the gap between high-achieving college freshmen from diverse backgrounds and law school in the first-ever college-to-law school pipeline of its kind in Colorado. Thomas Holt Russell shares some of the challenges that Black women face when trying to enter and advance in the technology field. African diaspora archaeologist Dr. Alicia Odewale will grace the Mile High City when she presents at the Newman Center and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will honor Ruth Cousins Denny as a 2022 Inductee.

Other stories highlighting this issue include contributor Daryn Fouther who marks a major milestone for Getabetcha “Gete” Mekonnen and his 40-year legacy in Denver’s Northeast corridor and we share a couple of pieces on the murder of Tyre Nichols. Contributor Russell looks through the lens of Black-on-Black crimes and editor-in-chief Alfonzo Porter collaborates with contributing writer LaQuane Smith to expose the backgrounds of the five police officers in an effort to determine if there were any warning signs that such a tragic event was in the cards.

Women’s History Month is a wonderful opportunity to highlight women doing great work. It’s also an opportunity for women to stop, take a breather and reflect on their accomplishments – and also those of others.

Long-time and dear friends of DUS Norma J. Paige and her sister Vivian Kerr reflected on the great accomplishments of Vivian’s husband Floyd, who recently passed away. In his obituary, it reads he was the epitome of a gentleman – and that he was. May he rest in peace, power and paradise – as we pray for the women in his life – during this Women’s History Month.

Former Denver mayor calls for investigation into ComcastAltitude TV blackout

Open Letter to Colorado

Attorney General Phil Weiser

Dear Phil,

The continuing blackout of Denver professional sports teams by Comcast, now in its fourth sports season, is unfairly depriving local fans of their teams and poorly serving the local communities that grant Comcast a virtual cable television monopoly.

It’s time for our elected leaders to stand up and use their power to dig deep into this dispute, demand answers and perhaps propose some needed pro-consumer reforms. We need some good old-fashioned investigations.

This dispute is personal for me. I am a lifelong Denver sports fan and I’ve been following the Denver Nuggets from day one of the franchise’s history.  I’m a Nuggets season ticket holder.  But when I can’t get to Ball Arena, or when the

team is on the road, I cannot watch my team.

As a Comcast subscriber, I am paying a fee to see regional sports, part of a total monthly Comcast bill that is as expensive as some people’s car payments.

Unfortunately, if you are a Denver Comcast customer, the company didn’t tell you exactly what region you will see sports from, because when it comes to the NBA or NHL, it’s not Denver.

It feels like I, and other Denver fans, have been hoodwinked.  I pay for sports but can’t see all but one of our local pro sports teams.  But the regional sports fee on my Comcast bill is exactly what it was before the blackout.

I urge you to thoroughly investigate whether Comcast is illegally taking advantage of its customers in Colorado.

In addition to being a very unhappy Comcast customer, I am also a resident and taxpayer in the City and County of Denver, which, like other municipal governments, enters into a franchise agreement with

Comcast.  At least in part because of these agreements, Comcast has an estimated 93 percent market share in the Denver metro region, which by any measure is a virtual monopoly.  (The franchise agreement between Comcast and the city of Denver expires at the end of 2023.)

In return for these benefits Comcast agrees to provide certain categories of programming that meet the needs and desires of these communities.  One of those broad categories is “local sports.”

Comcast can and does claim that they are providing sports, but obscure Vegas poker tournaments don’t give me my local sports fix.  I’m a Denver fan, and for me that’s the Denver Nuggets.

So, first, local governments should carefully review their franchise agreements and determine what authority they have under law and under the text of the agreements to review exactly how well Comcast is serving the community.

Continued on page 18

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 3 Volume 36 Number 12 March 2023

Pioneering Women Support Leslie Herod

n February 14, a gathering of powerful women met outside Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood to officially endorse and show support for Denver mayoral candidate Leslie Herod. The leaders in attendance at the press conference represent a broad range of sectors from small business owners to doctors, educators, community activists and legislators.

More than 50 women gathered to support Herod, who—if elected—would become the first African American woman to be mayor of Denver. Currently, State Rep. Herod serves as the chair of the appropriations committee and on the joint budget committee.

“We are hoping that Leslie Herod is the woman that makes history for not only women, but for African American women as well,” said the Hon. Wilma J. Webb, former state legislator and former First Lady of Denver.

“Leslie has been on top of the issues that affect all of us. You can’t just focus on one set of issues if you are a leader.”

Webb explained, “There are so many instances where Leslie’s actions have made life better for so many people everywhere. For the last three years, not only our city, we as a nation have had some trying times. Some people back away from trouble. They don’t take it on and try to make the world better. Leslie has taken on the issues of women and having control of their own health and their own body, the issues of people being killed when they are being stopped for traffic

violations. Leslie has taken that on with the kind of legislation that not only has improved Colorado, but is the one that Washington D.C. has emulated to get rid of guns for people that don’t necessarily need those guns.”

Webb, well-known for sponsoring legislation that adopted Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a Colorado state holiday before it became a national holiday, added “When we look at all the candidates that are running, I haven’t seen one that has the experience, the background, the know-how, the courage, the character, all of what goes with the qualities of a good leader.”

Former First Lady of Colorado Dottie Lamm, who serves as Leslie for Mayor treasurer, said “Denver is ready. Denver is ready for a new young mayor with a vision to look ahead and the grit to get it

done. Denver is ready for Leslie Herod for mayor.”

Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios CEO and community activist Nita Gonzales stated, “The Gonzales family is supporting Leslie for Denver’s next mayor because of her inherent values for humanity, equity and justice. We have known Leslie for 20 years, and we have witnessed her commitment to Denver’s Chicanos, Mexicanos and Latinos.”

According to Gonzales, Herod “has brought more resources to this community than anyone else, including ensuring Servicios de la Raza has the resources needed to provide quality mental health access to the community and ensuring that the STAR program is staying true to its purpose of serving the people. No one works harder than Leslie, and she will make us all proud as mayor.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 4
Denver Urban Spectrum Staff Photos by Lens of Ansar

The Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program deploys emergency response teams that include emergency medical technicians and behavioral health clinicians to engage individuals experiencing distress related to mental health issues, poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse,

“Once she sets her mind to it, you better damn well be sure it will get done. There will be some battles, but it will get done,” stressed Gonzales, the oldest daughter of Chicano civil rights icons Rodolfo “Corky” and Geraldine Gonzales.

University of Colorado Regent Wanda James talked about her experience working with the young Herod when she was a student at the CU-Boulder and racial issues became front and center.

“What impressed me the most about Herod is her voice.

She has never failed to stand up for the humanity of people. As a small business owner, I have been massively impressed with the work that Leslie has done in this city to ensure that small businesses have a voice at the table,” said James.” That’s what you are seeing today with all of these amazing women from all of these different walks of life to be able to ensure that we are putting forth a mayor of Denver who has the soul, the time, the energy to be able touch people’s lives.”

Lamm, the founder of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, underscored Herod’s ability to engage with Denver residents. “Neighborhood to neighborhood she has been going around asking, ‘What do you want? What do you need? What are your challenges here? Tell me. I need to know.’ ”

In response to the support, Herod said, “If I didn’t have all these mothers behind me, I wouldn’t be as strong a cam-

paigner as I am today. What’s really important is what you do when you serve, what we’re gonna do for Denver and I know from my love for the city that Denver is ready to take on its toughest challenges.”

Herod, who broke barriers by becoming the first LGBTQ+ Black woman elected to the Colorado legislature in 2016, echoed the sentiments of residents who are experiencing a lack of affordable living in Denver.

“When we are talking about being pushed out of our communities, how are we supposed to stay and build healthy generations if we can’t even live here? This town has become unaffordable. We must step in to change the trajectory, just stepping in and calling out gentrification doesn’t mean that our fight is over. In fact, we must reinvest in our community because our neighborhoods make Denver strong. When I think about our small busi-

nesses especially those owned by women, we see ‘for lease’ signs, we see closed signs. We are not doing enough to support small businesses across the city.”

“To earn the endorsement from these incredible women leaders here today is an honor I do not take lightly,” said Herod, who noted the pioneering history of the women endorsing her, including the Hon. Rep. Rosemary Marshall. The would-be mayor acknowledged Marshall for getting her started in politics.

Denver’s general election will take place on April 4, and a potential runoff is scheduled for June 6. As of the DUS print deadline, at least 17 candidates were still in the race. . Editor’s note: For more information about Herod, visit

Together, we can create a great city for everyONE! Address homelessness through improved services and strengthened accountability. Diversify Denver’s housing inventory to promote affordable housing and stabilize costs. Implement smart, actionable strategies to assure greater neighborhood safety. Cut red tape and improve city services and programs.
Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 5
Learn more about my 2023 VISION for Denver at

We May Have to Expand Our Ideas About Black Male Homicide

The death of Tyre Nichols after a brutal beating by five Memphis cops would have been yet another story in a long line of sad civil escapades of Black men being killed by those who are supposed to provide protection against violence: the local police force. However, this time, white cops did not commit the murder. Instead, the five policemen who beat the life out of an unarmed young Black man were themselves, young Black men.

The fact that the cops were themselves Black seemed to surprise everyone. The news media did not waste a segment on the event without mentioning the race of the cops. The topic of the race of the cops was debated on sports shows, and sportscasters were quick to condemn the cops doubly because of their race.

I believe that the biggest surprise was not that the cops were Black, but that their race was a surprise at all. Just as unarmed Black men are killed by the cops all the time, Black people are also killed by other Black people all the time.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), homicide is the number-one cause of death for Black males between the ages of 1 to 44. In

2016, of the 2,870 Black homicide victims, 2,570 of those murders were committed by other Blacks.

Plenty of statistics show that the crime rate in predominantly Black areas is very high. In 2018, for example, 88 percent of Black homicide victims were killed by other Blacks. Factoring in both the strained relationship between Blacks and police officers and the high rate of criminal violence between Blacks, then it should not come as a shock that a Black police officer would perpetrate violence against someone of his own race.

We can agree that there is a problem. But to call it a Blackon-Black crime is not an accurate description of the problem. Poverty and lack of resources, such as jobs and education, contribute to crime. Racism, drugs and politics throw oil on a fire already raging in low-income neighborhoods. Anyone who grew up in this type of environment, regardless of race, will have a high chance of either being a perpetrator or a victim of a violent crime. More often than not, the offense is committed by and to people living and working in that area.

Europeans have fought each other for thousands of years and are still fighting now. But I have yet to hear of any crime committed by whites on whites as a white-on-white crime. All of the roads that lead to crime have to be seriously addressed. However, the crime in the Black communities is so commonplace that it has been pseudo-

accepted. Brief attention and lip service are pointed that way when needed. Still, the common is not sexy enough to garner the attention of stylishly dressed celebrity lawyers and media pundits who always turn up when the cameras roll. If I were to judge by the prominent police brutality cases, I would think there were only three Black lawyers in the United States.

We should not classify any incident as Black-on-Black crime. We should simply call it a crime problem that needs to be addressed, which will take eliminating the causes. The entire socioeconomic well-being of the decaying neighborhoods, where Black people live and experience crime, depends on inserting valuable, social sustaining services. Jobs, health facilities and well-funded schools would remedy the violence. All of this is clear, but even with the impossibly high statistics of Black homicide, 1,000 Black deaths caused by Black people do not get half the attention of one Black death caused by a white cop.

It seems the collective consciousness of America tucks the stats under a rug. Last October, 34 people, including several children, were shot over one weekend in Chicago. Five people were killed, including an 11-year-old boy. No one marched, and no famous lawyers turned up. It was reported for a couple of days and received little notice or outrage nationally. This lack of attention is distressing. We are still getting over COVID-19. There is a recession, social unrest and a massive surge in gun violence that is tearing cities and communities apart.

After the shooting death of Walter Wallace, Jr. in Philadelphia, Joe Biden tweeted, “for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another Black life in America lost. Walter’s life mattered.” That is a lot of attention

for one person. Politicians and community leaders quickly agreed and jumped on the bandwagon of yet another high-profile case. All they needed was four words: “Cop kills Black man.”

We would set things on the right course if we tackled the problem of poverty. Solving poverty will not stop crime, but it can put a big dent in violent crime. The poverty rate among Blacks is 20 percent, Hispanics 17 percent, and Whites 8 percent. Imagine throwing $113 billion into free training and education, job creation, and accessible healthcare for the most crime-infested, drugaddled communities across the United States. One hundred thirteen billion is the amount that Congress approved for the war in Ukraine in 2020. With the escalation of violence in the cities, we have a large portion of the American population under just as much stress and emotional turmoil as the people in Ukraine. It only makes sense to spend that money on health and education instead of prisons and weapons.

The politicians, entertainers and news media must turn away from the stories and taglines that garner them the most followers and instead help shed light on the mundane and commonplace events, such as when a Black kill another Black. The killing of any Black man by a cop does demand attention, but only 3 percent of Black homicide victims are killed by cops. Cops commit 10 percent of White and Latino homicides. It would be great to see more protests and marches, news interviews, lead stories, politicians and celebrities attending funerals, all for one commonplace Black homicide.

If we don’t treat poverty and the violence it creates with the same seriousness and commitment as we treat war, we are headed for many more decades of deaths, incarcerations, segregation and policing..

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 6
Tyre Nichols

Dr. Kimberle Jackson-Butler Heads Collegeto-Law-School program

“We always talk about generational wealth. Well, education is a part of that,” says Dr. Kimberle Jackson-Butler, the new executive director of the law school pathway program, Law School…Yes We Can.

In addition to her new role, Jackson-Butler is the founder and principal of RE+Cognition, LLC, an educational consulting company focused on applying relevant research from the neurosciences to help organizations and educational institutions develop a more inclusive and equitable workplace environment.

No stranger to serving and supporting under-represented communities, she spent over 20 years as a school administrator and counselor, as well as many years as a board member in various community-based organizations.

When the opportunity presented itself at Law School…

Yes We Can (LSYWC) in July of last year, she immediately thought, “That’s it; that’s my dream job,” says Jackson-Butler, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience education from Johns Hopkins University School of Education.

She attributes the start of her passion for community involve-

ment and education to her parents who were “always involved in the Black community.” The youngest of three children, she has two older brothers, one of whom happens to be former Denver County Court Senior Judge Gary Jackson. He was recently inducted into the Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame.

In high school, she was one of the last few people to be bused from Cherry Creek to Manual High School where she was able to witness a role model like James Ward, the first Black principal in Colorado. That was, at the time, a direct representation of what she believed a leader should be.

“Their voice and their commitment to the Black community just resonated with me in alignment with my family values, and I think that is when I wanted to become an educator,” Jackson-Butler explains.

Law School…Yes We Can was established and founded in 2014 by Christine Arguello, the first Hispanic United States District Court Judge in Colorado and a Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inductee. The program closes the gap between high-achieving college freshmen from diverse backgrounds and law school. Being the first-ever college-tolaw-school pipeline of its kind in Colorado, its goal is to illustrate the law school application process and give these students access to the legal profession using pillars such as mentorship, community and exposure. Each fellow of the program gets direct access to four mentors, who include a law student, a junior or mid-level attorney, a senior attorney, and a judge, for all of the fellow’s college career and beyond.

As someone who almost pursued a career in law, Jackson-Butler understands the importance of representation, mentorship and having the right tools. Though she had exposure to lawyers and judges

through her brother and his friends, she believes that if she had the special connection that the mentors provide to the students via Law School…Yes We Can, she may have decided to pursue a career in law. She emphasizes that the program also preps fellows for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and provides a scholarship so that they can take it without worrying about the cost.

With this new responsibility of steering the organization and managing its operation, her focus and passion is on ensuring the program is dispelling all the “invisible barriers” that its students will have to experience. She believes that one of the many exciting parts of doing this work is that every student will be able to be aware of the difficulties they may face on this journey to law school, and in turn “if they know what they are, they’ll be able to attack them better.”

She finds importance in each student knowing that not having the advantages of their counterparts does not mean that they cannot “pursue their dreams.”

Jackson-Butler wants has many goals for the future of the program. She wants to bring in more Black students especially males, develop a program that will target students as young as middle school all over the state, and make connections with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. Lastly, she’s passionate about continuing to tap into the power of mentorship even for students that leave the program and decide that they no longer want to pursue law.

Law School…Yes We Can is taking applications for fellows and mentors until the end of March..

Editor’s note: Information is available at http://lawschoolyeswecan. org/ and applications can be found under Apply on the main menu.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 7

Breaking Free Cultivating Conditions for Liberation

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, March 7

11:00 a.m. Film Screening and Discussion

Tivoli Turnhalle

900 Auraria Parkway

Denver, CO 80204

Wednesday, March 8

9:30 a.m. Film Screening and Discussion

12:30 p.m. Lunch and Keynote with Dr. Butler

Tivoli Turnhalle

900 Auraria Parkway Denver, CO 80204

5:30 p.m. Community Presentation and Awards

Shorter Community AME Church

3100 Richard Allen Court Denver, CO 80205

Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship

The Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship was initiated in 1981 to foster multiculturalism, diversity, and academic excellence at Metropolitan State University of Denver. The professorship brings renowned scholars and artists of distinction to MSU Denver to conduct classes, seminars, performances, and lectures for students, faculty, and the larger Denver community. MSU Denver has hosted numerous luminaries and highlighted each professor’s unique background and experiences to the campus and broader community.

2023 Noel Professor

Shakti Butler, Ph.D., is a visionary filmmaker, transformative learning educator, and Founder and President Emeritus of World Trust Educational Services, Inc., a nonprofit transformative educational organization whose films, curricula, workshops, and programs are catalysts for institutional, structural, and cultural change.

Rooted in love and justice, her interactive presentations serve as a catalyst for transformative learning about systemic inequity. Through multimedia, dialogue, case studies, and other participatory methods, Shakti supports participants to reframe and deepen the national conversation on race, foster collective engagement, and build leadership skills that can illuminate pathways towards healing, equity and a more sustainable future.

Shakti Butler, Ph.D.
Learn more and RSVP at

In a rapidly growing city, the housing market can quickly become expensive and out of reach for many, even pushing some completely out of the picture. Forty years ago, Getabetcha Mekonnen (Gete) had the foresight about the growing desirability of Denver’s Northeast corridor and made it his mission to create and provide housing opportunities that were affordable and sustainable for marginalized individuals and families in this region.

Getabetcha “Gete” Mekonnen: 40 Years of Creating Affordable Homes in Northeast Denver

officials, and organizations in Denver. Gete gradually worked his way up and in 1982 became the Co-Founder, then in 1984, the Executive Director of the Northeast Denver Housing Center, a nationally respected non-profit 501(c)3 community development corporation.

Under his leadership, NDHC

his upbringing, and nurtured by his life experiences and education,” says Roy Alexander, NDHC’s Board Chair. “I’ve enjoyed knowing and working with him the last 30 years.”

Gete’s drive for providing the means for people to be able to create these homes for themselves and their families has

development of affordable housing. Through his work, NDHC has had the pleasure of receiving the UN Habitat Award for its sustainable program and the first Gold LEED and Enterprise Green Community certification in Colorado.

Gete has also taken the lead in forming collaborative efforts with other for-profit and nonprofit organizations and working with the public sector in formulating policies and program guidelines that support sustainable and affordable housing efforts. Gete has served on the boards of several local and

Getabetcha “Gete”

Mekonnen was born in 1953, in Ethiopia, East Africa. He lived and attended school in his home country until moving to the U.S. for his second year of college. Gete received his bachelor’s degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and later, his master’s degree in community development and city planning from Ohio State University. He went on to receive several other professional certifications.

Creating Homes

Gete started his career as a grassroots organizer, explaining, “I moved to Denver in 1979 and got my first professional job aligned with my dream at the University of Colorado –Center for Community Development and Design.” There, he worked in one of the program’s community design centers gaining experience, providing development assistance to communities, and collaborating with community groups,

has grown from a two-person operation to a multimillion-dollar asset-based organization. Its mission is to create and provide sustainable, healthy housing opportunities for underserved households through outreach, education, counseling, and housing development. “A home is a sanctuary that plays a pivotal role in helping design and define who we, and the bigger community we live in, are,” Gete says. “It provides the space where life defining experiences, feelings, education, relationships, love, perspectives, and values are crafted. Having a safe, affordable, and predictable home is a basic need and necessity all of us have. And yet, not all of us have the opportunity.

“One of the most passionate and effective leaders in the Colorado affordable housing sector, Gete has exhibited the most genuine commitment to NDHC’s mission, and lead the organization with a set of core values that are deeply rooted in

helped NDHC serve approximately 16,000 households and produce more than 2,500 housing units—rental and homeownership combined—during his tenure. “As a community, we need to recognize the disparity between what the marketplace provides on one hand and takes away with the other. I have been working for over 40 years to redress this imbalance. It’s not easy, but also not impossible,” Gete says.

Sustainability in the Affordable Housing World

Gete’s focus has always been to bring sustainable solutions to the challenges of urban development, particularly for the needs of low to moderate income households. “Providing affordable and well-designed, well-built, and well-placed housing has generational rate of returns worth the investment for brighter futures for all of us,” he says. He played a leading role in integrating green and sustainable design in the

national public and private sector organizations and in 2018, received an Eagle Award for his service to the community from Housing Colorado, a prominent statewide organization with a mission in affordable housing, education, and advocacy. Leaving his Mark “Gete’s 40-year long career may be coming to an end this year as he retires, but his influence in the community development world of Colorado and beyond lives on,” says Rev. Dr. James Fouther, who has served on the Board of Directors for NDHC since 2012. “The legacy of Gete will always remind us that the well-being and health of a community is directly reliant upon its meeting affordable and sustainable housing needs, and those investments create a better future for all.”.

Editor’s note: For more information about Northeast Denver Housing Center and its portfolio of developments, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 9

Opportunities Exist in the Technology Industry for Black Women


technology, including cybersecurity, is a career that forecasts tremendous growth for highpaying jobs well into the future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts technology jobs will grow by 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. Most of these 2.1 million jobs will go unfilled, and a significant gap remains between available jobs and the people trained to fill those jobs. Black women can fill this gap. However, there’s a dearth of Black women in the technology industry.

The growth of Black women in the field of information technology has been slow to stagnant for many years. Women make up 26 percent of employees in the nation’s IT workforce, whereas African American women make up only 3 percent. It is not realistic to aim for proportional representation based on race. Some fields attract certain types of people and genders, and they may be more successful than others in the same field. But, the degree of Black women’s underrepresentation in technology appears to outpace this phenomenon.

Tricia McMahon is a San Diegobased information security specialist, cybersecurity doctoral student, and vice president for

the WiCySSD (Women in Cybersecurity San Diego). Explaining her experience before entering the field, she said, “I always wanted to be in IT. But I did not see anyone that looked like me, male or female. But I knew I could do a great job.”

Assumptions and Attitudes

Girls and boys have dreams and aspirations equally when they are young. By the time they are in elementary school, girls receive and internalize negative messages about their ability, intelligence and potential. Contrary to common assumptions, they do not disengage from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects in school; they don’t become engaged in the first place.

Historically, computers were associated with boys more than girls, based on the unfounded belief that girls liked working with computers less than male counterparts. Since people avoid activities traditionally associated with another gender or race, girls may have developed an avoidance of computers, similar to how Black people pass up hiking and skiing since those activities are usually associated with white people.

Late Nigerian anthropologist John Ogbu explained that African Americans avoid science because “like schooling in general, it means acting white. People think of math and

science as something white people do.”

Because of other roadblocks and challenges, less positive attitudes about computers and technology develop for all girls in general and African American girls in particular. As a result, they approach technology with less enthusiasm than their white associates. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, because without the proper encouragement girls use computers less than boys. Studies have shown the more computer-related experience girls have, the more positive their attitudes toward computers become.

True Engagement

Then there is the embedded lack of opportunity for African Americans. Although many improvements have been made, the historical exclusion of Black people from STEM careers and educational opportunities is still being felt today. The continued existence of these roadblocks multiplies the problem.

Nationally, women are not introduced to technology in a way that keeps them engaged over a long period. According to Girl Scout Research Institute, an encouragement gap exists between white girls and African American and Hispanic girls. Only 38 percent of African American girls reported receiving support and encouragement from STEM teachers, compared to 54 percent of Caucasian girls.

In Neil Postman’s book, The End of Education, he postulates, “…if everything was seen through the lens of ethnicity, then isolation, parochialism, and hostility, not to mention absurdity are the inevitable result.”

The absurdity comes into play through paranoia when African Americans, already burdened with feelings of isolation, believe that their blackness is constantly evaluated in everything they do or say. Even in the most accommodating work environments, these feel-

ings can hinder the ability of African American women to find happiness in the technology workplace.

The lack of African American women in the IT industry results in work environments with little-to-no mentoring by other women of color. Though friendly and cordial, white co-workers don’t always step up to mentor, which also contributes to a feeling of isolation.

Speaking about her entry into an information technology workplace, information systems analyst Sebrena Adkins said, “Once I received my degree, I didn’t have the technical, hands-on experience; everything was educational. I had to apply for an IT position (my undergraduate degree is in networking).”

It took five and a half years before she got her present job. She recalled the job being harder because she did not have current information and had to go over all her notes. In 2006, she said there were no labs to help her keep up her skills and no, which offers hands-on cyber security training through real-world scenarios.

“This was the biggest challenge I had because I felt I was out there on my own. What I had learned out there five and a half years prior had changed when I got my job. I did not have anyone to say, ‘go through these materials to refresh yourself,’” she added.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 10

She believes an internship program and more mentoring could have made her transition to the IT world smoother. Though she earns a six-figure salary, Adkins admitted, “I am happy with my job, but I am not satisfied. I’m a lifelong learner, so I will continue to improve through training.”

Hiring Practices

McMahon knows of similar inequities to mentorship. “Talking to some of the women in WiCySSD, many of them (white women) stumble into a cybersecurity role without training or education. Their supervisors give them opportunities, whereas people of color don’t receive those same opportunities. We have to change that,” she shared.

Most Black women in IT work for public—state or federal government—agencies. One reason is likely that many computer firms are government contractors that do not meet federally mandated goals for minority hiring. Unfair hiring practices are still happening, and some of those companies have been cited for affirmative action violations.

The public sector meets hiring goals for minority employees more often than their private sector counterparts. Public sector jobs are more protected by following laws, rules and regulations for equality within their workforce. Though racial and social problems still occur within public agencies, they still outperform the private sector in the number of minority employees and provide a more accommodating work environment.

Lack of diversity holds the industry back. Fresh and new perspectives are needed for growth. Research proves that businesses that are the most creative network with diverse people. Differences in views and experiences help everyone to see the world more flexibly. Teamwork is essential.

For example, a mix of innovators and adaptors is more effective than teams with only one style or people with the same background, outlook and experience. Thousands of Black women can make a positive difference in a company, and thousands of Black women have the potential to move into the middle class with well-paying jobs that last well into the future. Without exposing young Black women to STEM courses and without fully supporting the mentoring of the Black women that are already in the industry, the potential for growth in the technology field will be retarded.

A Call for Change Leaders

All African American women in technology fields are change leaders whether they consider themselves that or not. Young Black girls need to see positive role models in the work environments they chose, and they need to see themselves in these career fields to help them better imagine what opportunities may await them. Active leaders from the ranks of the technology industry matter to all underrepresented groups. Encouragement goes a long way for young girls. Women leaders in the IT industry must engage a diverse audience, which may help eliminate unconscious bias. Some jobs could give many more people a foothold in the middle class. This gap can be bridged by increasing responsiveness to all intersectional aspects of society, such as race, class, gender and ethnicity.

Educators must ensure that STEM courses are seriously introduced in kindergarten, and the intensity should increase to 12th grade. Computer science must be mandatory for high school graduation. Only three states have enacted compulsory CS classes to graduate from high school. Research has proven that female participation in summer STEM/cyberse-

curity camps increases their interest in STEM, and this interest grows over time.

The tech industry and educational and governmental agencies need to consider the perspectives and experiences of African American women, whose experiences are often shaped by race and gender, making their identities more layered and much different than the people who occupy most of the positions in the tech community.

Some agencies are building interest and educating the next generation of women of color.

Organizations such as The National Center for Women & Information Technology (, Women Who Code (, and Latinas in Tech ( are organizations that provide resources, leadership, training, and scholarships. Lucy Sanders, CEO of NCWIT, states on its website, “The critical need to increase diversity in computing is driven by businesses and human issues that affect us all, and we stand to benefit from changing or expanding existing norms.”

Recruiting more Black women for the IT industry goes a long way in closing the technology gap. Women of color are an extraordinary untapped resource that would not only help our country meet the critical need for information tech-

nology workers but recruiting more Black women would mean that thousands of families will immediately be elevated to the middle class while being equipped with skills that will meet the jobs requirements of the future.

The current shortage of information technology workers is an excellent opportunity for America to build a diverse workforce that more closely matches our country’s current demographics, proportional to race and gender. However, to make a significant impact, STEM courses need to be introduced in preschool and continue throughout high school. While the window of opportunity is open, efforts need to increase to introduce young Black girls to the benefits of a career in information technology.

Planning for her role as a mentor, McMahon concluded, “My long-term goal is to give back to others and train and educate the underrepresented population. Hopefully, things can change where there will be more women of color working in technology. .

Editor’s note: Thomas Holt Russell writes about STEM education and the effects of technology on society. He is currently the director of cyber education for the National Cybersecurity Center headquartered in Colorado Springs.

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A System Designed to Protect & Serve the Public or Itself? Despite red flags, officers received glowing evaluations

For the African American community, the tragedy that has unfolded in the wake of the Tyre Nichols murder by Memphis police officers in January has implications that appear to extend well beyond the appalling scene of senseless brutality represented on global television.

The incident shattered the long-held hopes of many in the

African American community that the presence of Black police officers would somehow reduce the instances of savage assaults by police against Black people that we’ve witnessed around the nation for decades. As evidence surfaced that the Nichols case was not the first time that most of the officers had been involved in prior disciplinary action for misconduct, many African Americans were likely not surprised but rather



Ean Thomas Tafoya, educator, nonprofit leader, and promoter of the arts, is a fourth generation Denverite who has spent his life in public service. Throughout his career, he has worked for three branches of local government, served on dozens of community boards, and led many successful ballot initiatives. He is a proud civil rights and environmental justice leader and is currently serving as cochair of the Colorado Environmental Justice Action Task Force. Tafoya’s career as a public servant honors his heritage of preserving and caring for the land and the people. Look at the work we've been able to do together, imagine if we could do it every day!


ashamed once the offenders were clearly identified.

The officers worked for a socalled special unit known as SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) that the city retired after Nichols' death. It made some 566 arrests in its year and a half in existence, according to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Four of the five now former Memphis Police officers, charged in Nichols’ death, had previous infractions with the department, according to national media reports. The officers, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean, were terminated Jan. 20 and have now been charged with the murder of 29-year-old Nichols.

Four of those officers — Haley, Martin, Mills and Smith — were previously reprimanded or suspended and cited for such infractions as failure to report when they used physical force, failure to report a domestic dispute, or for damages sustained to their squad cruisers. Bean did not have any infractions in the files. Here is a look at their records.

Demetrius Haley

Haley began his career with the department in August 2020. He violated departmental policy in February 2021, when he failed to fill out a response to

resistance form after he grabbed a woman's arm to handcuff her. The forms must be completed if an officer uses any part of their body to compel compliance.

In a hearing, Haley claimed that he underestimated the amount of force needed to require filling out the form. He was praised by his boss who said he was a "hard-working officer" who "routinely makes good decisions" and "he was sure that this was a limited event." Haley was given a written reprimand.

In August 2021, Haley ran his cruiser into a stop sign while responding to a call about an assault. During the hearing, he said that as he was rushing to the scene when a call came in over the radio that an officer was holding the suspect at gunpoint. "I was mainly thinking about the officer's safety,” he said.

The hearing officer filed a report indicating that "Officer Haley took full ownership for the accident and was honest during the hearing," and the violation was overturned.

Desmond Mills, Jr.

Mills completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at West Virginia State University in 2013, and began at the Memphis Police Department in late winter 2017.

Two years later in 2019, Mills violated procedure when he dropped his personal digital

WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE & THE PLANET Demetrius Haley Desmond Mills Jr. Emmitt Martin III Justin Smith
Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 12
Taddarius Bean

assistant (PDA) on the street while entering his squad car. The device was then crushed when run over by a separate car. It was Mills' first infraction, and he immediately reported the incident to his union representative, so he received a written reprimand, according to department records.

Later that month, Mills failed to file a response to resistance form when he used physical force to take a woman down to the ground so she could be handcuffed and arrested. In the hearing in August 2021, Mills said he did not realize his actions necessitated use of the form and was again issued a written reprimand.

Emmitt Martin III

Martin graduated from Bethel University in 2015, with a degree in criminal justice and started at the department in March 2018.

In March 2019, a loaded handgun was discovered in the backseat of a squad car used by Martin and his partner. Martin claimed that he failed to do a proper pre- and post-shift inspection, and only inspected the car from the outside. During his shift, he and his partner ran a couple of traffic stops, in which the suspects were placed in the backseat where the gun was found. Additionally, the officers did not inspect the vehicle after the suspects left it, as is protocol. Martin was issued a three-day suspension without pay, according to the files.

In September 2020, Martin violated policy by mishandling a domestic abuse complaint between two sisters. The husband of one of the sisters requested a report. Martin did not take the report and said he did not believe one was required. He stated that the parties involved were intoxicated and the man's wife – the alleged victim of abuse –declined the report. The responding officers, including

Martin, threatened to arrest the involved parties if they had to take a report, records show. He was later defended by his superiors, and was issued a one-day suspension without pay.

In a 2021 performance evaluation, Martin ranked as exceeding expectations in dealing with the public. According to his lieutenant, "Officer Martin is respectful when dealing with others regardless of their sex, race, age, or rank. He approaches his calls with a positive attitude and is well

received when dealing with the public. He is continually a top leader in arrests and calls, and not one person he has arrested has complained."

Apparently, the assessment did not consider the case of Glenn Harris and Demarius Hervey. Harris, 24, and Hervey, 27, said in a 2020 interview with NBC that former Memphis Police Officer Emmitt Martin III approached them at a gas station in August 2020.

The men — who say they are brothers — told the outlet they had been smoking marijuana

and were in possession of an unregistered gun at the time and had tried to flee. They reportedly said they had tried to flee in Harris’ car but crashed it after eluding cops for about two miles.

When Martin caught up with them, he wrestled Harris on the ground, stuck his revolver in his face and said, “I’ll blow your face off,” the man reportedly claimed.

Other city residents have shared their experiences of other aggressive encounters

Continued on page 14

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 13

Continued from page 13 with the unit — including 22year-old Monterrious Harris, who has filed a federal suit against the city and those same five police officers for allegedly beating him without cause just three days before they pulled Nichols over.

Justin Smith

Smith began at the department in March 2018. In January 2021, he was passing a vehicle and crashed into its rear, caus-

ing it to spin and crash into a third vehicle, which had two people inside. All parties were sent to the hospital in non-critical condition.

Smith said the driver of the second vehicle went right and then left into his lane suddenly. He admitted to speeding, but said his memory was somewhat unclear due to his minor head injury from the airbag, according to a summary from the disciplinary hearing.

Smith was issued a citation, suspended for two days without pay and ordered to take remedial driver training.

Tadarrius Bean

Bean started with Memphis police in August 2020. He had no prior infractions from the department on his record.

Demands for Accountability

The Nichols family has continued to reiterate demands for police accountability. They’ve called for changes in federal law that would tighten rules on police conduct and make it easier to sue officers accused of wrongdoing. They have described what happened to Tyre as “a disgrace to this country.”

“People all around the world watched the videotape of a man, unarmed and unprovoked, being beat to death by officers of the law,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking at the Mason Temple, the church

where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his final speech the day before he was killed.

No national database exists with records of officers found guilty of misconduct who resign or are fired, meaning in a lot of cases they can apply for jobs in other police agencies and departments. There is, however, a national data system for officers who lose their certification.

“We talk a lot about gang bangers in the streets and what colors they wear,” Sharpton added. “In Memphis, it looks like they wear the blue color, that uniform.”

Perhaps most vexing to community members may be the unanswered larger question of how five, well-intentioned, young Black men who joined the police force to address the problem of police brutality disintegrate into the very instruments of that same inhumanity?.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 14

African Diaspora Archaeologist Presents at the Newman Center

Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates Women’s History Month on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. when we welcome Dr. Alicia Odewale to the Newman Center as part of the National Geographic Live series. Dr. Odewale will share her work to uncover the stories from the city of Tulsa’s Greenwood district, which was the site of a racial attack on the local Black community back in 1921. Also known as Black Wall Street, Greenwood had one of the most prominent concentrations of African-American businesses in the United States during the early 20th century.

Historical Trauma in Tulsa from 1921-2021,” Dr. Odewale has been re-examining historical and archaeological evidence from the period, focusing not on the attack itself, but instead on the community’s trauma and triumph in its aftermath. From documenting the personal stories of Greenwood’s res-

Dr. Odewale is an African Diaspora archaeologist and an assistant professor of anthropology at The University of Tulsa. Her presentation at the University of Denver’s Newman Center will focus on a span of about 18 hours back in 1921 when a white mob attacked residents, homes and businesses in the community of Greenwood. The resilience and perseverance of those who survived the event is of great inspiration to many today.

“Greenwood was determined to rebuild, and came back bigger and better than it was before” Odewale said.

In support of her new research project, “Mapping

idents to mapping the evidence of their resilience, Dr. Odewale’s work illuminates a new perspective on the impact of racism and racial violence in America, through the lens of the community that continues to survive against all odds. How the science of archaeology can be used to recover lost stories, reclaiming a narrative, and pursuing restorative justice is at the heart of this potent presentation. .

Editor’s note: For tickets and additional details, visit or call 303-8717720. Readers of Denver Urban Spectrum can use promo code GEOALICIA to save $10 per ticket purchased.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 15
Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 16
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Continued from page 3

For example, Comcast has an obligation to provide local news and other vital information to the public. Comcast would never assert that showing local news from Wyoming, the Arizona weather or the New Mexico legislature to Denver customers is meeting the requirement to serve our community.  So why are local sports fans, paying for access to distant events and their local teams are blacked out?

In addition to being a Comcast customer, and a Denver taxpayer, I am also a Comcast shareholder. That gives me and other shareholders a voice and a vote.

Perhaps it’s time that Colorado shareholders speak up at public shareholder meetings about how we are being treated by the corporate bosses in Philadelphia.

The sad reality is that Comcast wants us Denver fans

to pay a premium subscription fee for access to our local teams.

Since Denver is one of the few remaining cities that has a locally owned regional sports network – and Comcast is seeking to dramatically expand its group of similar networks – we in Denver are pawns.

Disrespecting Denver has never sat well with me.  As Mayor, and ever since, I speak out when anybody is running down my town.   It irked me to hear a Comcast corporate spokesperson say that few people in Denver want to watch the Avs or Nuggets on TV, when half a million people came to downtown Denver to celebrate the Avs’ Stanley Cup win last year.

We do not have to accept this treatment and we shouldn’t. I say enough is enough. Let’s get some answers.

America exerts its materialist system of values over those who have no other frame of reference. Hence that system of values has been taken up by Black people and became the measure by which we interact with each other.

You must remember that in order to maintain slavery as a system of control, the Black woman had to lose respect for the Black man who could not provide, and cleave to the white man who could. And so this has been a point of contention between the Black male and Black female since the plantation. She will say, “What can you do for me? I can do bad all by myself!” And it looks as though a lot of Black women will have to do just that.

Yours Truly, Wellington Webb

Truly Value Lies Within Editor:

Will the Black man and woman in America ever get to the place where they actually like and respect each other? If there is anything to this phenomenon, called ‘Passport Bros,’ Black men have grown tired of the behavior of Black women. I’m sure this disenchantment goes both ways; no one is happy on either side. How did we get here?

Number one: America for the most part is not a spiritual society – religious, yes – spiritual no. Without the benefit of one’s own religion and culture, one lacks the compass necessary to get one to stay on course. Since Blacks in America have only what I would call a patchwork culture… meaning a little bit taken from here, a little bit taken from there, they lack a reliable compass.

Black women are cleaving to, and exploitive and oppressive economic system that causes them to have unrealistic expectations of Black men. Black men are cleaving to a toxic value system as well. Watch any rap video and you will see what Black males value. So who is the architect of the conflict between Blacks in America?

Use then destroy. This is the enemy. This is the enemy’s agenda since the plantation.

Number two: Feminism. You’ve got to wonder. Who has been the most damaged by Feminism – white women or Black? Look at the origin of this doctrine and who has pushed it. Feminism with its negative effects on relationships appear to run counter to the order laid down by a higher intelligence. I will leave it to you to name.

If the children of Judah have rebelled against the teachings of the Most High, it is because they were bedazzled by forbidden fruit.

If Black men and Black women can come to the realization that true value lies within them and not in the things the world has to offer, perhaps their relationships will improve.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 18

Two Educators

Encourage More Black and Brown Coloradans to Join the Teaching Profession

Across the nation, schools and classrooms are experiencing a shortage of educators, leaving students to pay a price. Rarely do Black and Brown students see themselves reflected in their teachers. In Colorado, though more than half of the state’s student population are kids of color, an overwhelming 87% of Colorado educators are white.

Summer Frazier and Justice McGhee decided to take on the challenge to give Denver students the education they deserve.

Justice McGhee comes from a long line of educators. Because his aunt, cousin and godmother are all in the teaching profession, McGhee understands the challenges and the great reward that come from being a Black educator. For Summer Frazier, the journey to the classroom was murky. Frazier began her career working for IBM, but soon started a family. During the decade that she spent at home with her kids, she volunteered in their classrooms.

Both McGhee and Frazier know the emotional tax that lack of representation can have on both students and their teachers.

“So often, the Black boys and girls are left out of the group because they don’t have educators who are willing to rock the clothes, talk about the music they listen to, and dance with them,” said McGhee. “I never had that experience. I never had the ability in school to be fully, authentically Black.”

“Most Black professionals are in [their careers] because they’re first generationalincome,” said Frazier. “Black tax holds them back from pursuing teaching.”

Now that Frazier and McGhee are in the classroom, they are able to use their position to empower their students to reach their full potential and encourage other Black Coloradans to join the field. While both teachers know how important it is to recruit and retain educators of color, they also are aware of the challenges, some of which they faced themselves.

“Being a BIPOC educator, and coming into a school that is predominantly white women –you’re a man first, and then you’re a Black man. I faced a lot of adversity coming in, said McGhee.

While McGhee faced personal challenges when entering a new classroom, he had a strong support system in his Relay program. “There were more Black educators in Relay so I saw people that looked like me. They are doing the work. Relay made me feel safe and comfortable and ready and part of the community,” said McGhee.

During the decade that Frazier spent at home with her kids, she volunteered in their classrooms. Through her volunteer work, Frazier was introduced to TEACH Colorado and the Public Education and Business Coalition  (PEBC). TEACH Colorado provides free coaching, information on teacher preparation programs, and financial support to anyone

across Colorado considering teaching.

Though Frazier doubted her financial ability to apply for PEBC’s teacher preparation program, one of the school administrators encouraged Frazier to apply, especially because of PEBC’s extensive financial assistance. Frazier loved working in the classroom, and she decided to heed the administrator’s advice.

“PEBC gave me a stipend that covered the full cost of tuition. Plus, I had some residual funds left over from the scholarship that I was able to use for my family,” said Frazier. “That was a big deal for me. It was something for my family.”

PEBC prepared Frazier for the classroom. “They didn’t tell me how to do things, they just gave me guidance and recommendations. They modeled everything that we could do, but we could pick and choose what worked for our personality,” said Frazier. She found this

teaching method especially compelling because she could make natural connections between lessons and her experiences growing up – experiences that, as a Black educator, she shares with many of her students.

Frazier and McGhee understand that being an educator, especially a Black educator, has its ups and downs, but the reward for their students is the greatest gift.

“[Teaching] can be the greatest gift in the world,” said Frazier. “I’ve seen it for myself. When a student says, ‘Ms. Frazier, you know I did this for you,’ they are taking their accomplishments and they are taking you with them.”.

Editor’s note: Justice McGhee is a licensure coach with TEACH Colorado, and is ready to answer your questions about becoming a Colorado educator. Sign up for a free, 20-minute advising call with him today, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — 19

Mayor Hancock’s Plan for Direct Flights to Africa

“We made such wonderful personal connections with the people we met, and it reminds me of how much we have in common, even when our first languages or everyday lives might be different,” Mayor Hancock said of the mission. “The interactions we had with our counterparts in Cairo and Addis Ababa were enriching experiences that have brought our cities closer together and bodes well for direct

Beginning with his time on City Council, Mayor Michael B. Hancock has been an advocate for increasing business and global connections for Denver International Airport. Under his tenure as Mayor, Denver International Airport (DEN) has added 17 new international flights and seven new carriers. International direct flights bring significant business and economic opportunities as well as cultural ties. Africa has recently come into play and Mayor Hancock wants to make sure Denver is connected.

To bring that reality closer, Mayor Hancock and a delegation of civic and business leaders made their way to Ethiopia and Egypt earlier this month to strengthen bilateral ties with the cities of Cairo, the capitol of Egypt, and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and discuss establishing direct air service between those cities and Denver.

flights and future exchanges between our cities.”

Currently Africa is the only continent without direct air service to Denver, a fact Mayor Hancock and DEN leaders are committed to changing. The decision to pursue adding these flights was also spurred by the airport’s Vision 100 Strategic Plan, unveiled early last year, which pledges to expand Denver’s global connections. The first step was recruiting community leaders for the Africa Air Service Committee, who were tasked with analyzing for air service expansion into Africa.

The members of the committee understood well the enormous possibilities new direct flights can present. The airport is the state’s largest economic engine, and the investments from new air service can have a similarly huge impact. Direct flights to and from Tokyo, started a decade ago, have an annual economic impact of $130 million in Colorado; non-stops between Denver and Munich

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 20
FEB 24 - MAY 21 A moving and heartfelt play about the universal experiences of everyday life. | 720.898.7200
Mayor Hancock, Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abebe

have an annual impact of $80 million.

The Committee’s year of research led them to zero in on the cities of Cairo and Addis Ababa as the most promising opportunities for new flights. After hearing the Committee’s recommendations, Mayor Hancock and partners at DEN agreed that their next step needed a more personal touch. They planned a weeklong swing through the two countries that included meetings with local officials and airline representatives in person to make the business and tourism case for direct flights to and from Denver.

and representatives from Ethiopian Airlines.

Mayor Hancock also received a surprise invitation from another government official with Denver ties – the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali. Welcoming the Mayor and delegation members to Addis Ababa, the Prime Minister shared that during the country’s recent challenges, his wife and children took refuge in

Denver, where there is a strong Ethiopian community and a sister-city partnership with the Ethiopian city of Axum going back to 1995. Prime Minister Ahmed Ali expressed his gratitude to Mayor Hancock for Denver’s willingness to take in his loved ones.

“That was such a humbling moment, to be with the Prime Minister and seeing how deeply thankful he was to our city,” Mayor Hancock recalled. “I will never forget that.”

of Tourism and Antiquities, several business leaders, and Air Egypt representatives.

“It was a privilege to speak directly with the Ministers of Tourism and Civil Aviation, and to connect around the tourism economies we share,”

Mayor Hancock said of the second leg of the delegation’s mission. “We represented Denver well, and I’m looking forward to further conversations to

make these flights a reality.”

Already a global hub, these latest efforts by Mayor Hancock and DEN leadership to expand worldwide pathways in and out of Denver present a key economic opportunity for the state and the wider Western United States.

“The Gateway to the Rockies is expanding, and we couldn’t be more excited,” Mayor Hancock said..




Washington echoed that sentiment in a message to airport employees about the effort: “Such delegations are a clear message

that Denver

Shows Up in support of airline partners and demonstrates a sincere interest in learning about a new region and engaging in dialogue to identify common goals…The power of presence cannot be underestimated.”

In Ethiopia, Mayor Hancock and the delegation held positive and productive conversations with the Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abebe, as well as the Ethiopian Minister of Tourism, U.S. Embassy officials,

Also on the delegation representing the Denver business community was Yemane GebreMichael, who is from the Tigray region of Ethiopia. He added, “From a business perspective, this flight would really open up Africa in a way that we really haven’t had the access in the West.” Gebre-Michael also said that a direct flight would make it easier for the hundreds of Ethiopians in Denver and across the American West to visit their families.

In Cairo, Mayor Hancock and delegation members saw similarly optimistic results from their meetings with the Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation, the Egyptian Minister

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

Prayer Breakfast

Denver Urban Spectrum — 21
CEO and General Manager of Egypt Air (center), Phil Washington (second from right) and Denver Mayor Hancock (far right) Slide presentation of Ethiopia Denver Africa Air Service Presentation
Sunday Worship Service New Hope Baptist Church Rev. Eugene M. Downing, Jr. DMin, Pastor 3701 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205 303.322.5200 | | Saturday, March 11 @ 10:00 AM Sunday, March 12 @ 10:45 AM Gu Guest Speaker est Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque RSVP:
APC RSVP Today! Scan or email:
Speaker est Michelle Simmons, LPC,

Real Estate Investing in the New Millennium

Three investing opportunities that can create significant income in your first 12 months

Real estate is considered one of the most surefire investments to build wealth. However, many potential investors look at buy and hold opportunities as not being fast enough for their purposes. If you’re looking to speed up building your real estate portfolio, but don’t want to start an Airbnb, we have three unique opportunity suggestions that can help you make your very first investment property a cash cow. These three avenues involve making use of various market conditions and capitalizing on them for growth. As long as you plan carefully and have professional support along the way, these opportunity bets can be quite lucrative for those looking to make their first investments in real estate.

Crash Pads

In the flight industry, “crash pads” refer to temporary housing for flight crew members who are based out of a city but do not live there. Flight crews are often required to layover in different cities for extended periods of time, and crash pads provide them with a place to sleep and rest between flights.

Crash pads are usually located close to the airport. As a landlord you can do a long term rental agreement on a single family home, townhome or condo. The cost of a crash pad is usually shared among the flight crew members who use it. The rent is typically lower than what they would pay for a hotel room. Usually $250 to $300 per bed. In most cases a room will have 3 sets of full size bunk beds, so 6 beds per room. A 3-bedroom condominium could potentially generate $4500-$5000 of monthly income. Crash pads are usually furnished with the basic amen-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 22

ities needed for a short stay, such as beds, linens, towels, kitchen appliances, and toiletries. The amenities provided can vary depending on the specific crash pad.

Overall, crash pads provide a cost-effective and convenient way for flight crew members to rest and recharge between flights. They allow crew members to avoid the high cost of hotel rooms and provide a sense of community among people who work in the same industry.

House Hacking

House hacking is a popular strategy for real estate investors to generate income as a landlord. Here are some ways to earn money through house hacking:

If you have extra space in your property, such as a basement, or a spare room, you can rent it out to tenants. By doing so, you can offset your mortgage. If you have multiple rooms to rent, this method of renting can result in positive cash flow that exceeds your mortgage payment.

If you purchase a multi-unit property, such as a duplex, triplex, or fourplex, you can live in one unit and rent out the other units. This way, you can generate rental income and reduce your living expenses.

If you have a parking space that you don’t use, you can rent it out to tenants or commuters. This can be a good option if you live in a city where parking is scarce.

Overall, the key to earning money as a landlord in house hacking is to be creative and find ways to maximize the income potential of your property.

Traveling Nurses Lodging

Renting to traveling nurses can be a profitable strategy for landlords, as these professionals often need short-term housing solutions while they are on temporary work assignments, and because the nurses receive a housing stipend, the rental

amount is typically significantly higher than normal rental prices.

Many traveling nurses prefer furnished apartments to save on moving costs and to avoid the hassle of furnishing an apartment for a short-term stay. By providing fully furnished units, landlords can attract traveling nurses who are looking for a convenient and comfortable living solution.

Traveling nurses typically need to stay in a location for a few months at a time, so offering flexible lease terms that cater to their needs can be attractive. For instance, offering leases that are three to six months in length can be beneficial.

Providing amenities such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, and parking can attract traveling nurses who are looking for a turnkey living solution. Other amenities like a gym, pool, or laundry facilities can also make your property more desirable.

Reach out to local healthcare providers and hospitals to let them know about your property. These institutions often have traveling nurses on staff and may be able to recommend your property to their staff.

Good customer service can go a long way in attracting and retaining tenants. Make sure that you respond promptly to maintenance requests and are available to address any issues that may arise.

By implementing these strategies, landlords can attract traveling nurses and maximize their earnings potential.

In the new age of how business is done faster with creative ideas, real estate is no different. There are lucrative opportunities for those who that think outside the box. For more details on any of these strategies, feel free to reach out to me. .

Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate eXp Realty, LLC. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information, email: barrysellsdenver@msn Denver Urban Spectrum —

– March 2023 23

Don’t feel alone if you have experienced back pain in your life: Four out of five people experience back pain at some point. It is surprisingly the fifth most common reason that people visit the doctor.

Back pain takes many forms, ranging from a persistent dull ache to sudden sharp pain, and it also has many causes. Many people experience back pain because they are sedentary, overweight or have had a history of back problems. It can result from a sprain, fracture, or other accidental injury or from a disease or medical condition, such as spinal stenosis, arthritis or fibromyalgia,

The good news is that most of the time, lower back pain usually gets better within a few days or weeks, and surgery is rarely necessary. Use the following simple self-help strategies to help prevent back pain and stop it from coming back to cause problems in your busy life:

1. Incorporate more exercise in your life. When you have back pain you may assume that you need to rest to make it feel better. In fact, one or two days might help, but any more than that and you could increase your pain. Being physically active could actually help to relive your pain as long as it is

Five Ways to Prevent Back Pain

not too strenuous and it incorporates both the posterior and anterior muscle groups in your core area. Exercise can help ease inflammation and muscle tension by keeping the blood and nutrients flowing to the area(s) that are affected.

Stretching is important to keep muscles pliable and reduce stiffness. Of course you should always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

2. Stop Smoking! Nicotine has been found to reduce the flow of blood to your spinal discs which restricts important nutrients from reaching these areas. Smokers have been found to be more vulnerable to back pain, so stop smoking!

3. Watch your weight. If you are carrying extra pounds, especially in your midsection, you could be making your back pain worse. Extra weight has a ten-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 24
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dency to shift your center of gravity and place extra strain on your lower back. Try to stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight to help control back pain.

4. Control your posture. If you sit at a desk for most of the day, then you should ensure that you have the right chair to help you maintain the correct posture. The best type of chair for preventing back pain is one with a straight back or one that has low-back support. You will need to keep your knees a little higher than your hips while you are seated, and using a stool to prop your feet on is not uncommon. If you are standing most of the day, try to stay erect and keep your stomach tight if possible. Use a stool to rest one foot on at a time if you can and switch feet about every 15 minutes if possible.

5. Use correct lifting techniques. Be sure that you don’t bend over to lift heavy objects!

Instead, bend your knees and squat, tightening your abdominal muscles and hold the object close to your body as you stand. Never twist your torso as you are lifting, and if you can, push heavy objects rather than pull. Pushing is a little easier on the back.

Use these strategies to help reduce or control your back pain unless your doctor has advised you against any form of exercise or has restricted your movement. Since back pain is a common ailment, it pays to follow these strategies as a proactive measure against any possible future back problems.

Thanks for reading!. Editor’s note: Contributor Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in home and virtual personal training, nutrition coaching and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 25 Eye Sore Scrap Removal Do you have a site for sore eyes that need to be removed? Eye Sore Scrap Removal is here to help. Ready to remove those unwanted appliances? For a quote or to schedule a pickup: Call Lawrence at 303-359-4412 Washers • Dryers • Stoves • Refrigerators • AC Units • Water Heaters • and more Linda Theus-Lee presents Arts in the Afternoon, Lena, Nina and Me... ...a musical journey with songs by Lena Horne, Nina Simone and her own compositions. Wednesday March 15, 2023 1:30 PM Lone Tree Arts Center 10075 Commons Street Lone Tree, CO For tickets and more information, visit For more information on Linda Theus-Lee, visit

Local Authors to Speak at New York Literature Conference

Bestselling author Amalie Howard and debut middlegrade author J.E. Thomas are gearing up to head to New York to speak at the Kweli (QWAYlee) Color of Children’s Literature Conference in March. The Kweli conference is one of the largest gatherings of diverse authors of children’s and young adult books in the country.

This year’s panelists include MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson, National Books Critics Circle Fiction Prize winner Edwidge Danticat, Printz Award and Morris Award winner Angeline Boulley, National Book Award winners Ibram Kendi and Malinda Lo, and 2022 Newbery Honor winner Donna Barba Higuera, to name a few.

“Our goal is to host a forum where diverse writers from around the world can meet esteemed authors, illustrators, publishers, editors and agents,” said Kweli Founder and Executive Director Laura Pegram, noting that this is the first time the event has had two authors from Colorado.

Howard lives in Fort Collins and has written more than 20 books. Denver-based Thomas will publish her novel in May.

“I’ve lived all over the world, from growing up in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, studying in France and Maine, working for many years on Wall Street in Manhattan, before ending up in Fort Collins nearly a decade ago,” Howard says. “Colorado is such an inspirational place to be a writer with all its open

spaces, beautiful lakes, and the gorgeous Rocky Mountains in the background. I feel very lucky to live here. In fact, before we moved from New York, I wrote a young adult science fiction novel with parallel universes that was set in Fort Collins! I suppose that was a kind of kismet.”

For Thomas, a lifetime of living and working in Colorado definitely influenced her book. “I’m a Denver native,” she says. “I remember when Denver was so small that we didn’t have rush hours. It’s much larger now, but a lot of the small-town friendliness remains. I wanted people to see those qualities in my book.”

The award-winning writer says her book, “Control Freaks,” “explores what happens when scientists, mathematicians and others in STEM-related fields buy a Denver golf course with the intention of building Colorado’s best school on the land.” With Denver’s Park Hill Golf Course set for renovation in real life, her book offers readers an alternative of what might have been. She is working on her second middle-grade book and her debut young adult book.

Pegram hopes Colorado’s diverse writers travel to New York for the March 31 to April 2 conference to meet authors, publishers and agents in person, but she knows airfare and hotel costs may be difficult for many.

“The final day of our conference will be all-virtual,” she says. “Those who can’t travel can choose the virtual option and still enjoy the Kweli experience.”.

Editor’s note: For more information and to register, visit

COVER TO COVER Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 26 PUBLISH TODAY!!! PUBLISH TODAY!!! Are You A Subject Matter Expert In Your Field? Consider sharing your knowledge with your industry by publishing a textbook. Students from pre‐school through post graduate studies still need good, well written, organized, quality learning materials. Like most industries, the publishing business has undergone major, structural changes over the past few years. The need for quicker, digital solutions is at the core of the industry today. These vast changes have made it possible for authors to have greater control over their projects. With Print on Demand Publishing Vertex Learning can offer: • Excellent Royalty Structure • Global Distribution • Easy Installment Payment Plan • No Literary Agent to Hire • No Lengthy Book Proposal to Develop • No Unnerving Approval Process to Endure Your small investment gives you total control over your project from start to finish E‐Book • Soft Cover • Hard Cover Translation into Multiple Languages Available Order Your Free Publishing Kit at or call 800-995-7670 Making transmissions well since 1983.
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Denver Housing Authority Annual Open Contracting

Open House Virtual & In-Person Event

Denver Housing Authority presents its annual Open House as a virtual event on Wednesday, March 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

David Nisivoccia, DHA’s Chief Executive Officer, will kick off the morning with an overview of the agency’s plans for various housing developments in the pipeline.

Several workshops presented virtually by Division leaders have been designed to provide attendees with the basics of DHA contracting, guidance for accessing large and small housing maintenance opportunities, and the current needs of prime contractors dedicated to large

DHA building and modernization projects.

In addition, DHA’s 2023 Procurement Plan schedule for upcoming solicitations for construction, housing maintenance, supplies, and professional services will be provided for each participant.

A two-hour in-person networking session during the afternoon will present vendors with an opportunity to personally meet DHA senior leadership, buying staff, General Contractors, and Architects and get questions answered.

All participants must preregister to attend.

Editor’s note: For more information and to register, visit

About Denver Housing Authority (DHA)

Denver Housing Authority is a quasi-municipal corporation with a portfolio of over 12,000 units and housing choice vouchers, providing affordable housing to more than 26,000 very low-, low- and middleincome individuals.

DHA has transformed public housing in Denver, creating vibrant, revitalized, sustainable, transit-oriented, and mixedincome community of choice. Today, DHA’s vision has been honed to reflect the goal that every individual or family shall have quality and affordable housing, in communities offering empowerment, economic opportunity, and a vibrant living environment.

Denver Housing Authority’s mission is to serve the residents of Denver by developing, owning, and operating safe, quality and affordable housing in a manner that promotes thriving communities. DHA is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Denver and approved by the City Council.

For more information, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 28

Celebrating the life of Floyd Kerr

November 20, 1946 – February 4, 2023

Floyd Kerr passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on February 4, 2023. Floyd was kind, thoughtful, humble, and generous in all aspects of his life. Floyd Kerr was the epitome of a gentleman.

Floyd and his twin brother Lloyd were born in Oxford, Mississippi on November 20, 1946, to Lonzo and Leolia Kerr. When he was five years old his family moved from Mississippi to South Bend, Indiana where he grew up. Floyd was a standout athlete in both basketball and football at South Bend’s Washington High School.

Floyd and Lloyd left South Bend to attend Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1965. Floyd played collegiately at CSU from 1965 to 1969 alongside his twin brother Lloyd. In his junior year (1967–68) he led the Rams in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. During 1968–1969, the Kerr brothers helped lead the Colorado State Rams to the Elite Eight of the 1969 NCAA tournament. Floyd averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds for the season. Colorado State finished with a 17–7 record and Floyd was named to the Midwest All–Region team.

After completing his career at Colorado State, Floyd was drafted by the  Phoenix Suns in the third round of the  1969 NBA draft, with the 30th overall pick. Despite not playing college football, Floyd was drafted by the  Dallas Cowboys as a  defensive back in the 16th round of the 1969 NFL/AFL draft Floyd returned to CSU to become the first black assis-

tant basketball coach at the university and served in that role from 1974 to 1980. In 1992,he was head coach of the  Youngstown Pride of the  World Basketball League in the final season of the league.

Floyd went on to a long and successful career as an athletic administrator, winning state championships as a high school coach in both Ohio and New Jersey before moving to the college ranks as an assistant athletic director at Youngstown State in Ohio from 1993 to 2000, Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from 2000 to 2005 and Morgan State in Baltimore from 2005 until his retirement in 2016.

Floyd Kerr was ranked 75th as one of the 101 most influential minorities in sports by  Sports Illustrated magazine. In 2006, he was inducted into the Colorado State University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Floyd and Vivian met at CSU as Freshmen in 1965 and married in 1969 following their graduation. Floyd and Vivian both earned their MEd degree from CSU in 1977. They celebrated 53 years of a happy marriage on August 10, 2022.

Their only child, Kimberley (Dr. Kim) Michele, was born in 1972. She has two sons, Isaiah, and Jabari Stokes. He was preceded in death by his father Lonzo Kerr, Sr., his mother Leolia Kerr, and brother Herman J. Kerr (Alice). He is survived by his wife Vivian Kerr, daughter Kimberley Kerr, grandsons Isaiah and Jabari Stokes, Lloyd Kerr (Maggie), Lonzo Kerr, Jr., (Valvree), Lois Vernice Osborne (Fred), and Raymond Webster Kerr, nieces and nephews and a host of relatives and friends.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2023 29
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