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Denver Urban Specctrum Photo by Lens of Ansar

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March 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS K. Gerald Torrence Theo E.J. Wilson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com


“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks

Sometimes we reach far into the past to find people to inspire us to push through trying times we face today. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Other times we need to look no further than the people who walk the earth during our lifetime. The cover story for this issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates Women’s History Month by highlighting a woman who didn’t know she was making history in the 1950s, but carried herself with a strength and grace befitting the world’s history books. Pictured on the cover in 1958 in Paris at Le Bourget airfield and today, Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith, a native of Cameroon, was the first Black flight attendant to fly any airline in the world. Like a time traveler, her journeys shed light on the state of Black people around the world and the importance of learning about other cultures. A trivia piece reveals that Emma Azalia Hackley was the first African American to graduate from the University of Denver 115 years ago. The political activist and singer went on to influence a wealth of African American musicians, including Marian Anderson. In this issue we include the obituaries of two people who made invaluable contributions to the Denver community, Dr. Bernard F. Gipson Sr., the namesake for Bernard F. Gipson Eastside Family Health Center in Five Points, one of the largest clinics of Denver Health as well as Alice Washington, a true star to those who knew her. You’ll also find a compelling column by one of our longtime contributors Theo E.J. Wilson, entitled “Buy Black or Die: The Black Business Initiative.” We hope you find a nugget of inspiration as you read through the pages about people who walk among us today and those from the past, however recent or distant. We extend a special thank you to the sponsors and participants of the Me & The Dream Exhibit and Program presented by the Denver Urban Spectrum last month at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in honor of Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. and Black History Month. Our theme, “Inventing My Dream” attracted entrepreneurs and inventors focused on bringing their ideas to fruition for the benefit of the entire community. We applaud you for your drive. Once again, we say “well done” to the African Americans Who Make a Difference honorees who were recognized during the program by DUS, family, friends and Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Your work is not in vain .




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The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2015 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


BPO Supports Denver Police Chief Robert White

monitored protest activity devolves from peaceful and legal demonstration to lawlessness. Though tough to swallow when select members of our society begin to deface a monument we hold sacred, a measured and thoughtful response to these acts is clearly the best practice. History tells us that those prone to lawlessness are not likely deterred by a swift response from police. What then would have been the outcome of engaging the large crowd gathered near the fallen officers’ memorial? Potentially a sensational battle with those gathered to protest while the news cameras continued to roll. Maybe we’d walk away feeling a sense of accomplishment because we defended our precious memorial. We’d also continue to be portrayed as villains in the media. More importantly; we likely would have further distanced ourselves from a community, our community. History too would again repeat itself, as the images of our conflict would be on display for generations to come. To be fair to the sentiments expressed by several within our ranks; we recognize that efforts could have been made beforehand to protect a monument that all Denver Police officers honor greatly, which would have prevented protesters from ever having the opportunity to desecrate our memorial. Further, we believe that City leaders should have taken the opportunity to speak publicly to show support and empathy for the emotions that stirred in every officer immediately following the attack on our memo-

Editor: Along with every other member of the Denver Police family, we were both angered and saddened by the senseless actions of the two individuals who defaced the Denver Police memorial to fallen officers on Saturday, February 14, 2015. At the same time, however; we fully recognize both the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully and the need for police to be calculated in their law enforcement tactics when protesters begin to engage in illegal acts, so we fully support the strategic decisions that were made. Many of us are too young to recall the Civil Rights protests of the 1960s, though we are all grateful of the protections now afforded us because of those demonstrations. Though often stricken from text books; many of you may recall pictures of the violence which occurred regularly during these times. Many of those images, sadly, show police officers wielding batons and unleashing dogs while engaged in brutal combat with unarmed citizens, who more often than not were Black. We’re a long way from the 1960s, though we have reached a time of similar civil unrest in this country. As a wise man once said, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We applaud Chief White and the senior administration for having the courage to show great restraint when

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor

rial shrine. We have been assured, however that appropriate steps will be taken to prevent the memorial from being victimized again. We’ve also been assured that City leaders are willing to meet with the Board very soon and engage in healthy discussion regarding issues that affect us all. I look forward to better days when we enjoy a generally positive relationship with the citizens of Denver and police officers are seen as guardians of a safe community that is respectful of everyone’s rights. I am comfortable that Chief White is the right person to lead the Denver Police Department in that direction, as I feel he has the insight to do not just what is legal, but what is right and in the best interest of us all.

Commander Ron Thomas Executive Secretary Black Police Organization

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Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith Takes Flight in the Midst of History

World’s First Black Flight Attendant Flew on Flights of Airlines Certified as Members of the International Air Transport Association By Angelia D. McGowan

She chose to fly.

Léopoldine Emma Doualla-Bell Smith was born in Cameroon which was the part of a German territory acquired by France after the allied victors of World War I divided the German colony known as Kamerun in Central Africa. A princess of the prominent Douala family, she was offered after-school employment in her home town as a ground hostess by the Union Aéromaritime de Transport (UAT) Airline that served France’s African routes along with Air France for two years. Having graduated from high school in 1956 at the age of 17 years, Doualla-Bell Smith was recruited and sent to Paris for ground hostess training by Air France, and then moved to UAT for flight training In 1957 she began flying as a stewardess with UAT which later merged to became part of Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA). In 1960 she was invited to move to the airline created to serve 11 newly independent Frenchspeaking nations, Air Afrique. As the only available qualified African in French aviation, she was the first employee hired by the airline company, symbolically issued Air Afrique’s employment identification Card No. 001, and soon promoted to be Air Afrique’s first cabin chief. LeRoy Smith, a Denver native and her husband of 36 years, affectionately calls her “Double Oh One.” She made history, but at the time she did not know she was doing so as the first Black person to serve as a flight attendant for any airline. The Black Flight Attendants of America, Inc will recognize her on March 14 in Los Angeles. The first Black flight attendant in the U.S. is Ruth Carol Taylor, who took her initial flight in 1958. During Doualla-Bell Smith’s time as a flight attendant she traveled to many places throughout Africa and to places such as Australia. Today, to be a flight attendant is still a coveted role that attracts many young people wanting to travel the world and make a living.

Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith (right) participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony as UAT took possession of its first DC8 at Le Bourget Airport in Paris, 1961.

Photos courtesy of the Smith Collection

It was and is not without pitfalls stemming from the common perception in those days that flight attendants must look a certain way, be single and available to the sexual desires of passengers and crew members. Doualla-Bell Smith took the role, but it was not her first choice for careers. She wanted to be a veterinarian, but her father and uncle informed her that the choice would not be appropriate for a woman. It would be a good political move for someone from her family to work with a French airline to continue building positive relationships with France. If she had not taken the role with the airlines, her career options would have been limited to being a teacher, a nurse and/or a wife. Because of the color of her skin, white passengers often treated her like an outcast. “People were impolite,” says Doualla-Bell Smith, who was often reprimanded when she tried to help passengers, who were often presidents and ministers, with their luggage. They told me, ‘Don’t touch this!’ The 5’2” pioneer stayed on assignment with a smile and said in French, “I just want to help you.” While it did impact her, she knew that she was not the only one enduring this treatment in the pre-independence period of her country. Her uncle, who was a respected physician often called upon by the large colonial companies in Douala, worked out of his home. He had one wing of the home reserved for Black patients and the other side reserved for white

patients. He often encountered white patients who said, “Don’t touch me!” He withstood trying times and was the one who initially recommended her for a career in the airlines. She took negative statements and actions with a grain of salt, even treatments that would equate to sexual harassment today. But at one point, she’d had enough and slapped a white man. He had touched her breast. The thought of losing her job was far behind her right to defend herself. Understanding and fighting for her rights is ingrained in her blood. Her grandfather, Rudolf Douala Manga Bell, was king of the Douala people and a resistance leader in the German Colony of Kamerun. For his actions to

retain the lands of his tribe, he was hanged for high treason in 1914 and became a martyr in the eyes of Cameroonians. After she was questioned by her employer about her actions, she explained the situation and kept her job. She does say this degrading treatment of women “was everywhere. It was rampant.” Both white and Black passengers held expectations that flight attendants slept with everyone. For some of the women, it was really difficult to say no because of the pressure and because they were desperate for the basic things in life, like food. Doualla-Bell Smith says they were paid very little, so it was easily possible for them to be swept off their feet or forced into relationships by executives, whether they were passengers or crew members. In fact, she was not the only Black woman in her initial training class. There were two others, but they couldn’t stay on because they became pregnant. Fortunately, she had family with whom she lived or communicated daily. They helped to chaperone and protect her. As a first, she had a front-row seat to how Black people lived around the world. Although, she had some positive relationships with her co-workers, the racial barriers became very pronounced when they stepped off theplane in other countries. Continued on page 6

Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith being interviewed by a Jeune Afrique journalist on board a Caravelle demonstration sales flight from Paris to Algiers, Casablanca and Tunis in 1960.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith with Caravelle CEO.

Black Women to Gather In Los Angeles For a Conference on Opening Beauty Supply Stores

Its founder, Professor Devin Robinson, a 3-time store owner, opened his first store in 2005 after being threatened by a Korean store owner holding a golf club while Robinson was shopping for supplies for his barber shop and salon. Robinson said, “It was my first time shopping at that store so the owner didn’t know me and I was browsing the aisles for a while seeking out a large amount of items. He didn’t like it. It spooked him. He became suspicious, then volatile and then straight violent. I left in peace but that day developed a plan to start my own.”

Beauty Supply Entrepreneurship Conference will take place in Los Angeles, California on March 28-29


he ethnic beauty supply business is a $15 billion business with approximately 13,000 retail outlets across America. According to Beauty Business magazine, the industry has seen a 12 percent growth during the toughest recession years for retailers between 2007 and 2009. A study conducted by Alberto Culver showed, the beauty customer visits an OTC (overthe-counter) store on average, 22 times per year. These statistics are what contribute to the beauty retail business being such a strong sector. The business has generated significant wealth for manufacturers, distributors and retailers. However, a documentary produced by Jewish filmmaker, Aron Ranen, revealed that roughly only 3 percent of the retail outlets are owned by Blacks, though Blacks make up 96 percent of the customer base. Dawn Sealey, a Black Canadian store owner stated, “The collusion also exists in Canada, which prompted me to become an owner too.” Though there is an increase for natural haired women, beauty supply stores still see massive revenues by serving the natural hair clientele too. Manufacturers have expanded product lines to meet this growing customer base and those purchases are largely being made in stores; stores that are predominantly owned by Asians (and Arabs in the state of Florida). In recent years, this imbalance has prompted Black women to take an interest in becoming owners themselves. Detroit store owners Princess Hill and Kelli Williams stated, “We are not quite sure how we got here, but we are willing to be part of the solution to take the industry back.” Sealey, Hill and Williams attended the Beauty Supply Ownership Conference, a conference developed by in 2010 by, Atlantabased, Beauty Supply Institute, a company who helps aspiring store owners get into the beauty supply business. Since 2007, the company has opened over 70 stores and generated over $10,000,000 in revenues. Amanda Mickens, an Alabama store owner stated, “My son and I decided to open a store after having put in many years in at corporate America. I couldn’t

Entrepreneur Amanda Mickens and her son getting ready to open their store.

have done this without the help of Beauty Supply Institute. There are so many traps that you can’t see until you’re deep in it.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Since 2010, many of the conference attendees have gone on to becoming store owners. The conference trains aspiring owners on what to expect in the business and how to avoid the pitfalls that are in place against new owners. In 2013, the conference took place at the Westin Airport Hotel and this year will take place at the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel in Los Angeles, CA on March 28-29, 2015. There is a limited amount of seats available.  Editor’s note: For registration information, visit or call 404-551-4398.

World’s First Black Flight Attendant

Continued from page 4 When assigned to fill in for a colleague on a flight to South Africa, she was taken in hand by the UTA station manager upon arrival and held from de-planning with her co-workers. “The Paris office was unaware that they could not send a Black employee into the country,” says Doualla-Bell Smith, who recalls being whisked away to the home of the UTA Johannesburg representative. She stayed with his family over night until the flight departed the next day. She could have entered the country as an “Honorary White,” but protocol needed to have been put in place by the airline prior to the arrival. The term, used by the apartheid regime of South Africa, granted almost all of the rights and privileges of whites to various ethnic groups. It was reserved for special visitors such as author E. R. Braithwaite. In his 1975 book “Honorary White,” he talks about his six weeks traveling the country with this designation. The Guyanese native is author of the 1959 semi-autobiographical novel, “To Sir, With Love,” which was turned into the movie starring Sidney Poitier. While representing Air Afrique at an international meeting in Australia she encountered another unique experience. As expected, flight attendants did their share of sight-seeing and promotions, including visiting with an Aboriginal community. “They were looking at me. I was looking at them. They touched my skin. They touched my hair. We smiled as we connected their continent with mine.” Her first flight to the U.S. landed her in New York at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in 1960, the year marked by the historic student sit-in at a Woolworth’s counter in North Carolina. At that time Black people were not allowed to sit with white people in restaurants. She did not go to lunch with her co-workers in their hotel. The 21-year-old treated herself to lunch and an educational visit to the United Nations instead. For more than 10 years, she enjoyed returning home with gifts from all over the world for her family but eventually the flying became boring. She says, “After years of living out of a suitcase I was tired and wanted to do something with a future.” In 1969, she left Air Afrique to become manager of a subsidiary of the same company that controlled UTA, Reunited Transport Leaders Travel Agency, in Libreville, Gabon. Six years later she re-located to Washington, D.C. to study English at the Americanization School in Georgetown. It was also durDenver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


ing this time that she fell for the American who would become her husband. She returedn to Gabon in 1976, where her husband was country director of the U.S. Peace Corps, and was hired by Air Zaire as Libreville station and office manager. There, she was one of the major forces in the dynamism of and support for the local chapter of the Skål Club, the international association of professionals, leaders and friends seeking to promote a responsible travel and tourism industry. She, her son and husband moved to Cameroon and then to Burkina Faso where he was Africare representative and she worked for U.S. Aid in the U.S. Embassy. They then moved to Lima, Peru in 1983 as a diplomatic family with the U.S. Department of State. During the next 20 years she worked as a travel consultant or volunteered as a community liasion officer as the moved through government assignments in Kenya, Luxeumbourg, the Philippines, Cameroon, Washington and Denver. When she and her husband retired in Denver in 2003, they established the Business and Intercultural Services for Educational Travel and Associated Learning (Africa bis, et al)—to encourage on-site education about African and other cultures. Today, she volunteers at the Denver International Airport through its ambassador program, welcoming visitors to the Mile High City and assisting them as they navigate their way through the airport. “My siblings and I were raised to welcome foreigners and to make them feel at home in our part of Africa,” says Doualla-Bell Smith. “That is the reason I was open to cultures. It’s why I am still working at the airport. You speak different languages and deepen your knowledge of our many cultures.” The Smiths continue to travel frequently, but there’s still uncharted territory for her. Tibet is at the top of her list. This thirst to learn about the world is something she encourages in all young people. She believes they should take a job for a year or two in the travel industry or as a volunteer to learn “different accents, taste different foods and hear different views around the world. Open yourself and the world will become part of you.”

Me & The Dream Student Essay Winners

As part of the Me & The Dream Exhibit and program, presented by Denver Urban Spectrum last month at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, a student essay contest was held. Students who entered the contest were required to address the issue their proposed invention would resolve and how it would impact the world today and over time. They also needed to provide a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that supported their invention. After reading their essays in front of a standing-room only crowd during the Inventing My Dream Day program, they received a personalized gift bag and a limited edition Benjamin Banneker commemorative clock from Banneker Watches and Clocks for their school. Following are the winning essays.

Amber Alert Wrist Watch

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”


Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech December 10, 1964

ave you ever heard of an amber alert? I would make an Amber Alert Wrist Watch. There are many ways for people to use this devise, as well as a lot of situations the wrist watch could be helpful. It would look like a normal wrist watch, but on the back it would have a programmable four digit code that would allow a person in danger to enter the code to notify local Police Stations of the GPS coordinates of the person in danger. As a failsafe, if the Amber Alert Wrist Watch was to be removed from the person, without a

Photos by Jeff Fard

Jamilynn Hanken, 7th Grade at Florida Pitt Waller, holds Shining Star Certificate and is surrounded by Denver Urban Spectrum staff and teachers.

code being entered, the wrist watch beeps, and then sends the GPS coordinates to the local Police Station. This Amber Alert Wrist Watch would not just help children from being abducted, but could also be used by adults. For instance, a woman walking alone, she notices that she is being followed by a man, she can feel more at ease, knowing that is she were to be attacked she could easily notify the local police, by either putting in her code to alert the police, or by just removing the Amber Alert Wrist Watch which will also notify the police of her location. Another example, picture a young girl walking home from school. She is wearing an Amber Alert Wrist Watch, she sees a man who is calling her over. ”Hey girl come over here, I’m a friend of your mom and she wanted me to pick you up today.” Let’s pretend for a moment, the girl did not know better, and she gets in the car. Soon she realizes that her and the man are not traveling toward her mothers work, she gets worried and is able to put her code, alerting the local police station of her GPS coordinates. Even if the man notices her Amber Alert Wrist Watch, if he tears it off of her it will still alert the police station. Those are just two examples of how the Amber Alert Wrist Watch would be helpful. This device would also allow children to feel safer in the

Aminah Fard, 6th Grade Odyssey Expeditionary Learning

world. It would discourage kidnapping as they would not be aware if that person possibly had the Amber Alert Wrist Watch. “Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: kidnapping by a relative of the victim or “family kidnapping” (49 percent), kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or “acquaintance kidnapping” (27 percent), and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or “stranger kidnapping” (24 percent).” This information is from; In conclusion, I feel this invention would be helpful in preventing kidnapping and allowing people to be rescued and brought to safety.

Kidz Speak

Jamilynn Hanken 7th Grade Florida Pitt Waller

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal” and “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”


-Martin Luther King

he invention I would create that connects to my favorite MLK quotes would be a Kidz Speak event. My

Flavor loves company.

invention would happen every year on MLK Day by a selected group kids from Denver schools called Kidz Speak. We would discuss things in history that are very important and should not be forgotten (example: A kid would lead the discussion about an important societal issue like homelessness or hunger and how we as kids can make difference by speaking our ideas and creating solutions. Although, my invention is not an object or device it is a creation of a system for kids to make change in the world and is considered a Cultural Invention. A Cultural Invention is an invention that, according to the dictionary Cultural inventions are not physical, but encompass such things as language, politics and systems of laws. The issue that I am addressing is that kids have a voice and adults should not be the only people in the world that address our world problems. In Kidz Speak we would communicate and encourage other kids to say what they believe and not be afraid to do so. My invention of Kidz Speak would provide a safe place and platform to encourage kids to get involved, educate, and recognize that if we start to make changes to the problems we have now it could prevent the same problems from happening in the future. I believe my invention will improve society by letting everyone know that kids see the problems that are happening in our world, want to make a change, and have solutions that could make a difference. I believe that this is a way to make a small improvement in a great way, and I believe Kidz Speak is a solution for kids to begin saying what they believe, in a positive way. My invention gives us kids that chance, to prove that even though we are small we have a voice and that we can make great things happen.

Aminah Fard 6th Grade Odyssey Expeditionary Learning



each Price and participation may vary. A la carte only. ©2015 McDonald’s. • 678863.1

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Did You Know?

Photo credits:

A Historical Black Woman’s History Feat

She graduated from the University

of Denver 115 years ago, but, up until recently, no one realized just how significant Emma Azalia Hackley was to the university’s history. Perhaps because of her fair skin and hair that lacked coarseness, no one realized the truth about Hackley: that she was not only AfricanAmerican, but she was the first African American to graduate from the University of Denver. “It was under our noses, and we didn’t know it,” University of Denver Curator of Special Collections Kate Crowe said. Crowe and DU Assistant Professor Dr. Nicole Joseph have partnered for a research project that seeks to reconstruct the histories of Hackley and other African-American women who graduated from the University of Denver during its rich 151-year history. “We need a fuller picture,” Joseph said. “We need a more complete picture of the student experience.” Joseph and Crowe are seeking out African-American women graduates

DU Emma Azalia Hackley Detroit Public Library Emma Azalia Hackley “I was really surprised,” she said. “It’s very nice to know someone who wants to know your story.” The researchers identify the study as long-term project. They hope it will inspire current students who come from diverse populations. “I think DU needs to hear these stories,” said Joseph. “Because they’ve got incredible Black women who are doing amazing things that are connected to them.” Emma Azalia Smith Hackley was an African American singer and Denver political activist born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1867. Her parents, business owners Henry and Corilla Smith, moved to Detroit where she attended Washington Normal School, graduating in 1886. Smith, a child prodigy learned to play the piano at three and later took private voice, violin and French lessons. Emma Smith worked as an elementary school teacher for eighteen years. During that period she met and married Edwin Henry Hackley a Denver attorney and editor of the city’s Black newspaper, the Denver Statesman. In 1900 Hackley received her music degree from Denver University. In 1905-1906 she studied voice in Paris with former Metropolitan Opera star Jean de Reszke. Hackley was active in Black Denver’s civic and social life. She founded the Colored Women’s League and served as executive director of its local branch. She and her husband also founded the Imperial Order of Libyans which fought racial discrimination and promoted patriotism among African Americans. Hackley separated from her husband in 1905 and moved to Philadelphia where she became director of music at the Episcopal Church of the Crucifixion. While there she helped organize the People’s Chorus which later became the Hackley Choral Society. The group proved popular in the Philadelphia area and gave her the opportunity to study voice in Paris in 1905-1906 with former Metropolitan Opera star Jean de Reszke. Despite her stellar training, Hackley did not pursue a professional

of the university to interview them. Those interviews will, ideally, be paired with artifacts that can give people a glimpse of what life was like for such a small population of people who called the campus home. Beverly Leali was one of those rare students. When she came to the campus in 1957, she recalls there only being a handful of African American students. “They had half-tuition scholarships available for African American students,” she said, comparing Denver to her home in segregated Dallas, Texas. “I felt like I could excel when I came here,” she said. “I felt a sense of freedom. Denver, by no means, was perfect. But it was a lot better than Dallas.” Joseph approached Leali about sharing her story as part of the research project.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


career. Instead she spent much of the rest of her life training a younger generation of singers including Marian Anderson, Roland Hayes and R. Nathaniel Dett. She did give benefit concerts to raise money for additional training for these and other singers. Following a third European trip in 1909, preceded by her divorce from her husband, Hackley began giving classical music lectures throughout the United States After a brief Canadian tour in 1911 she created the Vocal Normal Institute in Chicago in the hope of providing an institution where artists could develop their professional abilities. Hackley also published her own collection of music under the title, “Colored Girl Beautiful.” When the Vocal Normal Institute failed in 1916, Hackley turned her attention to African American folk music and organized the Folk Songs Festivals movement in Black schools and churches across the South. In 1920, despite failing health, Hackley traveled to Tokyo, Japan where she introduced Black folk music to an international audience at the World Sunday School Convention. During a 1921 California tour Hackley collapsed on stage while performing in San Diego and was brought back to Detroit. Emma Azalia Hackley died from a cerebral hemorrhage on December 13, 1922 in Detroit. Editor’s note: For more information, email Kate Crowe at or Dr. Nicole Josepha at

Sources: M. Marguerite Davenport, Azalia: The Life of Madame E. Azalia Hackley (Boston: Chapman & Grimes, 1947); Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); “Seven—As Large As She Can Make It”: The Role of Black Women Activists in Music, 1880-1945” in Cultivating Music in America, ?docId=ft838nb58v&doc.view=content&c =0&brand=eschol. For more information, visit m m a - a z a l i a - 1 8 6 7 1922#sthash.HUo8Br85.dpuf


Goodness, Beauty and Realness By Misti Aas

On February

15, music lovers and fans gathered at Jazz at Jack’s for the Valentine’s extravaganza Up Close and Personal event featuring Ron Ivory, Freddi Gowdy and Robert Johnson. The crowd was treated to a sweet and soulful performance from these inspiring entertainers, while learning what makes these three fine men tick and what has shaped their extensive talent. Another Up Close and Personal opportunity is approaching for Sunday, April 12; this time with the critically acclaimed independent Soul singer Su Charles. The Boston-born Charles gave herself a stage name hybrid in 2011, and is now commonly known as SuCh. The name has a great deal of meaning to the Chicago groomed songwriter. The word “such” is used in two ways; 1) to emphasize a quality and 2) to show a similarity. “That is who I strive to be as a person,” said SuCh, “someone who amplifies and exemplifies what is good, beautiful and real. It’s of utmost importance that my music reflects those things.” Raised in New York, the daughter of a minister cannot remember a time that she was not singing. And the award winning SuCh has come a long way since her days singing in the children’s choir. She is still riding a wave of excitement surrounding her single Sugar Maple which peaked at number one on the UK Soul charts. In the U.S. it’s in rotation on several radio stations, including Sirius XM’s Heart and Soul. SuCh has also had her critically acclaimed acting debut in a regional premiere of The Color Purple, which earned her a Henry Award from the Colorado Theatre Guild for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. She joined the Actor’s Equity Association

and has starred in an Emmy-winning NBC Special Feature and national TV commercials. The dynamic Charles released her first full-length album, Stretch Marks, in 2012. In this debut work, she set out to give new meaning to the title term by encouraging her listeners to view life’s heartaches, tests and trials as growth, to harness the strength gained from these battles and to wear the resulting scars with pride. The record is filled with Soul, R&B, Jazz, and Gospel influence. “Life is beautiful, not pretty,” observes SuCh. “What makes it worth living are those things that push, stretch us beyond our limits.” She released her second album, Trial and Error, last September. It peaked at number forty-six on iTunes R&B charts and number two on the Amazon R&B charts in its first week. SuCh’s road to music has been a scenic journey. In 2000, at the age of 15, she was asked to perform in the Grammy High School Jazz Ensemble for three consecutive years and recorded a full length album with the Ensemble each year. She had the privilege to tour LA’s best jazz clubs and venues. SuCh attended the Grammy Awards where she had the opportunity to meet and share the stage with Erykah Badu, Yolanda Adams, Patrice Rushen, Peter Cincotti, Kurt Elling, and Dave Koz, among others. She spent the next few years leading choirs, praise teams and congregations in worship in Boston, Chicago, and Denver. SuCh made it through the end of Hollywood Week on American Idol’s 2012 season, and that winter had her first nationwide tour following her album release, taking her to fabled venues in Chicago, New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Raleigh and Boston. Conveyed in the soaring artist’s talent is her desire to connect her audience to their full experience of life through her music - in all its simplicity, complexity, joy, loss, family, friendship, hardship, and love. She has had an exciting journey, and an interesting and fulfilling ride that continues to unfold.  Editor’s note: To purchase tickets for SuCh’s Up Close and Personal performance on April 12 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Jazz at Jack’s, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Transferable Skills

HOPE Center Remains Committed to Denver’s Inner-City Community

Nonprofit celebrating 50 years of service

For 50 years the HOPE Center has

excelled at serving the families of Denver. In the earliest days, when the focus was on the needs of children and adults with disabilities, just six families were being aided by the Center. Today nearly 250 families are benefitting from the nonprofit’s initiatives that have been expanded to also provide high-quality early childhood education programs for typical toddlers and preschoolers as well as for gifted children. “I’m so proud to work for HOPE Center,” admits Gerie Grimes, the organization’s president and chief executive officer. “What it stands for, the staff past and present. We just seem to have very cohesive programs. We don’t wait until something is a trend. Every year we try to enhance what we’re doing based on input from the community and our families.”

Grimes started at the Center 33 years ago as a bookkeeper. While advancing to her current position, she has witnessed the nonprofit become one of the largest community-based organizations in Northeast Denver. During that same time there have been major changes in the options available nationwide to parents for their young sons and daughters.

“It’s not like it used to be, with just basic child care and babysitting,” she says. “Now the focus is on the significance and importance of early childhood education.” The widespread progression from babysitting/simple care to welldefined early education has not only impacted programs choices, but also staffing.

“In the past there were people providing child care who may not even have had a GED,” Grimes says. “Today teachers need to be to be well educated and familiar with child development, as well as knowledgeable about all the health and safety requirements. HOPE Center is very unique. We’ve always had degreed staff. And, in an industry in which the turnover average is 18 months, our teachers have been here an average of 14 years.” Grimes also points out the center’s diversity – not only in the population it serves, but in its staff. “Educational background needs to be reflective on the area you’re in,” she says. When it comes to finding educators for the center’s programs, the organization “identifies potential and we raise our own if we can’t find teachers.” The HOPE Center’s ranking as a four-star agency is another source of pride for Grimes. “Our first national accreditation was 30 years ago,” she reports. “We don’t just self-assess; we’re open to outside assessment, to

International relations wasn’t Condoleezza Rice’s first passion. When she arrived at University of Denver, her passion was classical piano. But after attending an international politics course taught by Josef Korbel, she discovered another purpose in life, and today, as a powerful force in international affairs and geopolitical relations, she is making the world a better place. Discover your purpose at DU.EDU.

Transforming ming Passion Into Purpose Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Hope Center’s President and CEO Geri Grimes is surrounded with hope.

grow and improve. We’re successful because we’re about being innovative, identifying ways we can connect with our community. We want each child to reach his or her highest potential and to be more than ready for school. We are not just meeting the minimum, we’re surpassing the standard.� In addition to early childhood education for toddlers and preschoolers (HOPE Center has a contract with Denver Public Schools and is a community preschool program site), and the HOPE Academy Gifted Program (preschool and kindergarten), the center also has a vocational program (with 30 client employees and six staff) that provides supervision, assessment, training and placement, employment and community activities to adults (16+) who have been diagnosed with developmental or secondary disabilities. The Basic Skills program uses goal-oriented methods to help the most challenged clients develop and maintain basic life functional skills and the Work Activities program provides adults with vocational skills training. Grimes acknowledges that it is unusual for a nonprofit, especially one that remains anchored in inner-city Denver, to still be standing after 50 years. While other organizations would have relocated to the suburbs, HOPE Center chose instead “to be where the need is� and purchased two vacant structures – both former grocery stores that had become community eyesores. Since 1979 HOPE’s vocational program has been located in a 18,000 square foot, one-story building at 3475 Holly Street; the 25,000 square foot, one-story brick building housing the Center’s early education programs was acquired in 1986 and is at 3400 Elizabeth Street. “We’re not just about education,� Grimes says. “That’s our expertise, but we work with the whole family – about health, nutrition, finances. We’re really part of this community and heavily involved. We’re a rough


diamond, but we’re not getting the financial support to be as successful as we could be. Eighty-five percent of the families we serve live below poverty level. Through fundraising we are constantly trying to increase our bottom line.� According to Grimes, when education and political officials want to show visitors a success, they call HOPE Center. “We’re a model program,� she says, “but we want to be more than a story or a tour; we want the community to support us. We are committed to this community. We need that same support financially to be here another 50 years.� To celebrate its 50th anniversary, HOPE Center will host the 10th Annual Vintage Vegas Casino Night, “As We Are Chosen, We Remain Golden,� from 7:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday, March 7 at Sherman Event Center, 1770 Sherman St. in Denver. The event includes casino games, food, live and silent auctions, and dancing to the sounds of Mary Louise Lee and her band. Tables and tickets may be purchased online at (enter event code: HC3715).  Editor’s note: For more information about HOPE Center and its programs, visit

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IRS Completes the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service wrapped up the 2015 “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams today with a warning to taxpayers about aggressive telephone scams continuing coast-to-coast during the early weeks of this year’s filing season. The aggressive, threatening phone calls from scam artists continue to be seen on a daily basis in states across the nation. The IRS urged taxpayers not give out money or personal financial information as a result of these phone calls or from emails claiming to be from the IRS. Phone scams and email phishing schemes are among the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams the IRS highlighted, for the first time, on 12 straight business days from Jan. 22 to Feb. 6. The IRS has also set up a special section on highlighting these 12 schemes for taxpayers. “We are doing everything we can to help taxpayers avoid scams as the tax season continues,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Whether it’s a phone scam or scheme to steal a taxpayer’s identity, there are simple steps to take to help stop these con artists. We urge taxpayers to visit for more information and to be wary of these dozen tax scams.” Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest for taxpayers, as well as possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them. Taxpayers should remember that they are legally responsible for what is on their tax returns even if it is prepared by someone else. Make sure the preparer you hire is up to the task. For more see the Choosing a Tax Professional page. For the first time, here is a recap of this year’s “Dirty Dozen” scams: Phone Scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season. (IR2015-5)

Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will not send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise. Taxpayers should be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites. They may be scams to steal your personal information. (IR-2015-6) Identity Theft: Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. The IRS is making progress on this front but taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid becoming a victim. (IR-2015-7) Return Preparer Fraud: Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest high-quality service. But there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. Return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns. (IR-2015-8) Offshore Tax Avoidance: The recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore. Taxpayers are best served by coming in voluntarily and getting their taxes and filing requirements in order. The IRS offers the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) to help people get their taxes in order. (IR-2015-09) Inflated Refund Claims: Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for anyone promising inflated refunds. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund. Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and word of mouth via community groups and churches in seeking victims. (IR-2015-12) Fake Charities: Taxpayers should be on guard against groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities. has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. (IR-2015-16)

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Hiding Income with Fake Documents: Hiding taxable income by filing false Form 1099s or other fake documents is a scam that taxpayers should always avoid and guard against. The mere suggestion of falsifying documents to reduce tax bills or inflate tax refunds is a huge red flag when using a paid tax return preparer. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their returns regardless of who prepares the returns. (IR-2015-18) Abusive Tax Shelters: Taxpayers should avoid using abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes. The IRS is committed to stopping complex tax avoidance schemes and the people who create and sell them. The vast majority of taxpayers pay their fair share, and everyone should be on the lookout for people peddling tax shelters that sound too good to be true. When in doubt, taxpayers should seek an independent opinion regarding complex products they are offered. (IR-2015-19) Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: Taxpayers should avoid inventing income to erroneously claim tax credits. Taxpayers are sometimes talked into doing this by scam artists. Taxpayers are best served by filing the most-accurate return possible because they are legally responsible for what is on their return. (IR-2015-20) Excessive Claims for Fuel Tax Credits: Taxpayers need to avoid improper claims for fuel tax credits. The fuel tax credit is generally limited to off-highway business use, including use in farming. Consequently, the credit is not available to most taxpayers. But yet, the IRS routinely finds unscrupulous preparers who have enticed sizable groups of taxpayers to erroneously claim the credit to inflate their refunds. (IR-2015-21) Frivolous Tax Arguments: Taxpayers should avoid using frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying their taxes. Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. These arguments are wrong and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law or disregard their responsibility to pay taxes. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000. (IR-2015-23)

Editor’s note: Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube and Tumblr, where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.

Lack of Cultural Acceptance and Preparation Limit Educational Opportunities of Minority Students It amazes me

OpEd by Dedrick J. Sims

that the American education system spends so much time and money blaming the academic failure of minority children on environmental or social factors, instead of placing the responsibility where it rightly belongs, which is the lack of cultural knowledge, acceptance, and preparation of educators of minority students. The education system has been trying to label minority children since the 1960s. The terms “disadvantaged,” “at-risk,” and “culturally deprived” are words that were/are used to identify minority students. These labels are the “blinders” on the American education system that prevent it from seeing

and acknowledging the cultural individuality of minority students. America’s descriptions of these students need to change to reflect their individual culture. Instead of being recognized as distinct cultures, it is presumed that minority children are exactly like white children but just need a little help ( Billings, 1994). It is because of this mislabeling that minority children are being over-represented in special education classes and placed in low ability tracks. The Office of Special Education reported in the 2000-2001 school year that AfricanAmerican and Latino students age 6 to 21 accounts for 20.2 percent of the special education population, yet they only account for 14.8 percent of the general population. Educators/Administrators who are not culturally aware of African American children define their behavior or mannerisms as deviant and defiant and therefore do not know how to respond to them. Frequent office vis-

its and suspensions occur, which translates into a loss in education time. Once the teachers become more sensitive to the learning and communication styles of these students, they can adapt the implementation of the curriculum and their discipline techniques more to the students to ensure full access to equal education. The other part of the problem lies with the educators and in the curricula of many of the teacher preparation programs around the country. According to Billings (1994), the pedagogical instruction that many teachers of minority students receive from their teacher education programs, from their administrators and from “conventional wisdom” have led to the intellectual death of these students. There is very little reliable literature on preparing teachers for diversity (Grant and Secada, 1990). Furthermore, almost nothing exists on teacher preparation specifically for African American students (Billings, 1994). Consequently, teachers go into classrooms treating all their students the same way, thinking they are being fair. On the contrary, teachers who do this are failing to recognize the individuality of their students’ culture and are not instructing each student with equality.

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Teachers must assess each student’s learning style and prepare their instruction accordingly. The “blanket” teaching that is prevalent in urban schools does not address the individuality of students, and failures are inevitable. This is an injustice to the minority students whose strengths are based on cultural dynamics like socialism, cooperative learning, and familiar tactile and visual stimuli. Educators of minority students should create more academic support programs that provide these students a chance to utilize their academic strengths, watch out and fight budget and political moves that attempt to squeeze these programs out, and continue to provide emotional support and positive energy to our students to counter any negative subversive messages the American education system is sending them. Editor’s note: Dedrick Sims is a longtime educator and president of Sims Fayola Foundation.

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The State of the American Negro

As I ponder the

By K. Gerald Torrence

state of the American Negro on the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union address, and the anniversary of the death of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., I am perplexed and amazed at how television personalities and others, speak of the struggle for racial equality by the African American as something that has already been achieved. They speak of the civil rights movement, and the quest for Black liberation in the past tense, as if Dr. King’s dream of equality has been realized. They use terms like Blacks “were denied” and African Americans “have achieved” as though the majority of Black people in this country have overcome the scourge of racism and white supremacy. The factual reality of racial prejudice being alive and well in this country, belies these propagandistic lies and half-truths, which serve as a smokescreen to hide the ugly truth about the state of racial affairs in this country. Athough many have bled, died and suffered for the basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, the truth of the matter is that as Malcolm X once said, “ in America, democracy is hypocrisy.” Although Jim Crow, a racial caste system where unequal treatment under the law was upheld for decades as acceptable and justified has fallen due to the persistent struggle of the last three generations, discrimination and racial prejudice continues in its reinvented form. By legal necessity, racism has undergone a make-over. While blatant in your face discrimination against Blacks under color of law has receded, and discriminatory state statutes have been over-ruled by the supremacy of federal law, the spirit if not the letter of Jim Crow still remains in the hearts and minds of many white Americans. The evidence of these truths is overwhelming, and one need look no further than the federal legislation over the last decade which has served to extract and detract the safety nets and other social governmental programs designed to aid the African American in the quest for equality in education, employment, and housing. Government initiatives like Head Start, Aid for Families with Dependent

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Children, unemployment insurance, affirmative action, food stamps, and others have all been slashed and cut to the point of ineffectiveness, if not altogether eliminated. Likewise, federal campaigns like the War on Drugs, the War on deadbeat dads, and the War on crime, have all served to target and disproportionately impact black males resulting in the loss of liberty and economic viability. Black institutions of higher education, once beacons of hope, and many times the only hope for education for millions of African Americans, now are closing at a rapid rate and struggling to keep the doors open, due to decreased endowments and support from state governments. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are suffering and dying, while white colleges continue to grow and thrive with their multimillion and billion dollar endowments from wealthy white benefactors, and state and local governments. These same state and local governments, which use to provide a pittance of support to Black colleges before desegregation, now turn a blind eye to their support and financial need. At the same time, there is an organized effort by white academicians and lobbyists to abolish our HBCUs under the twisted rationale that they are no longer necessary or desired, due to the advent of desegregation and the decrease in student enrollment on Black college campuses. A larger lie has never been told. The truth is that white colleges were never constructed or intended to serve the peculiar and particular needs of the presumed “intellectually and culturally deprived American Negro.” This is a role that only the HBCU embraced and fulfilled with overwhelming success for nearly a century before the walls of separate but equal were abolished by Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka in 1954; and Governor George Wallace’ infamous “Stand in the School House Door,” requiring Federal intervention onto the campus of the University of Alabama in 1963. Even today in 2015, as the enrollment of more Black students at white universities continues to rise, the Black student is only tolerated in a white college culture that neither nurtures nor embraces them. Black athletes are inspected and prized like specimens of cattle, or slaves on the auction block, being readied for the modern day equivalent of gladiators, for the purpose and privilege of financial exploitation, all to the glory of white universities. Meanwhile, the Black and brown nonathletes are merely necessary evils in an Anglo-European culture that speaks not to the traditions and customs of the African American. Black

perity which has benefitted the AngloEuropean families and institutions, but has escaped the American Negro. Give us what is justifiably owed for the centuries of slave labor, and for the millions of wrongful deaths that occurred during and after the transAtlantic slave trade, so African Americans can have the dignity and independence that comes from economic empowerment. Give us what is owed and we can buy our own land, build our own institutions, and deal with Anglo-Europeans on equal footing. This is the only solution to the centuries-old problem of the inequality of the races. So I ask the critical question of 2015. Over 150 years after The Emancipation Proclamation … over 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka … 38 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. … Six years after the election of President Barack Obama … Has the Negro made it? Has the Negro achieved racial, social and economic equality in this so-called land of the free? The answer is an unequivocal and resounding, NO! Will King’s dream of a color-blind society ever be realized in America, where men are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin? The answer is an equally unequivocal and resounding, NO! Okay, now that we’ve settled those questions now and forever, let’s begin the serious talk of a remedy for the centuries of free slave labor, murder and dehumanization suffered by the Negro, which spawned the greatest economic turnaround in world history. The answer is to pay the ancestors of those upon whose backs this country was built, and the time is now!  Editor’s note: Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.


that imagines the night CASSIUS CLAY spent with singer SAM COOKE, activist MALCOLM X, and football legend JIM BROWN ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… By Kemp Powers

Illustration by Kyle Malone

students are forced to carve out, and establish a niche within a culture that is mostly inhospitable. Just like in the larger American society, Blacks are a subculture within a culture, trapped in the “double consciousness” of being not fully American and not fully African. We are caught somewhere in the middle of a bifurcated existence — displaced from our homeland and African heritage but unable to fully cross the bridge of acceptance in America, separated by the ocean of white supremacy. Integration has failed, and the evidence is borne out by the fact that most inner city public schools are still segregated. Furthermore, its failure is documented by the increasing rates of black high school dropouts; where in some areas of the nation is as high as five out of eight for black males. Most inner city schools are filled with Black kids and Black teachers but controlled by the bureaucracy of white school boards and administrators. These white administrators and government officials intentionally live in the suburbs and send their children to predominantly white schools, while building new and pristine edifices outside the city limits, in newly incorporated townships outside the reach of urban blight and blackness. This takes place while the inferior inner city public education of the Negro serves only to perpetuate our dependence on, and further enrich the institutions that deny us equal citizenship. That’s not education. In the words of Carter G. Woodson, “that’s miseducation.” The American Negro has defied all odds and survived the Middle Passage, over 300 years of slavery, Jim Crow, and systemic and structural racism. The notion that the African American is dependent on the federal government due to laziness and a trifling nature does not square with history or the facts. This was disproven during slavery, the antebellum and post-bellum south, and through preand post-Reconstruction. Our equitable demands on the federal government are due to the inequality of opportunity in all phases of American society. The gap is too wide, and the economic disparities too entrenched and systemic to remedy with government programs and self-help alone. The chasm of white supremacy and racism is too deep. African Americans are owed reparations for the centuries of slave labor which transformed America’s economy into the richest in the world. Slavery was the economic bedrock of this country. America was built and prospered on the free labor of our African ancestors. For this, the descendants of slaves should be paid for the trillions of dollars in economic pros-

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


B lack Lives Matter? Says who?

This is capitalism, baby! Your community doesn’t exist at all if it doesn’t exist financially. It’s sad, but the truth keeps knocking us upside the head. What good is a “Black life” that produces no “matter?” In other words, what tangible things does a Black life put into the marketplace? Do we manufacture as much as a bag of potato chips that can be sold, traded, or invested in? The cry “Black Lives Matter” is a spiritual statement pointing to the value of human life, especially those lives clothed in Black flesh. Sadly, the forces that are killing our people don’t speak “spirit”, they speak “thing.” They don’t value any intrinsic, Godgiven life force, but tangible objects that can be leveraged to their benefit or cause them pain. The grand-jury is in: You can be killed in this country if your life has no economic consequence. This is exactly why we must develop thriving Black business, corporations, and living spaces, and we need them sooner than later Our community hasn’t been a “community” for a while. Don’t let Denver fool you as to the state of our people. Denver is one of a few major cities with no visible ghetto. Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, Cincinnati, and darn near every other major U.S. city are quite the opposite story. Find the poor area, you find us, and we still don’t even own the place, we just live there! Due to generations of fiscally crippling policies against African-Americans and lack of financial literacy on our part, most of our communities are more like occupied territories. We’re not only occupied by a foreign military power masquerading as police, but occupied by our own bodies. When Ferguson went up in flames, many well-meaning African-

Buy Black or Die:

The Black Business Initiative By Theo E.J. Wilson

Americans said, “How stupid are we to loot our own community.” My retort is, “Is it really ‘our’ community if we are mere renters, and not property owners?” These properties are quite literally someone else’s problem at the end of the day. Now, did some Black business get hit? Sure. Is random destruction a wise strategy for lasting change? No. Was there deception about who was truly behind the fires in Ferguson? You bet. Are marches, protests and rallies going to get our people what we really need in the long term? Absolutely not, (I should know because I’ve lead a few of them.) The only way to defeat or defend against corporate forces is the practice group economics. Togetherness leveraged into money can be made into a hedge of protection if used correctly. Circumstances are waking us up to

the failure of Integration to give us the freedom we fought for. We’ve got to start doing for ourselves, again. Enter: The Black Business Initiative. The Black Business Initiative, or BBI, is primarily the brainchild of Jicelyn M. Johnson, a former army officer turned entrepreneur. A native of Oakland, California, Jicelyn settled in Denver shortly after leaving the armed forces. Ms. Johnson’s keen mind saw the direct cause-and-effect relationship between poverty and systemic injustice, and decided to do something about it. She joined the organization, Shop Talk Live, Inc. about a year ago. Shop Talk Live was originally designed as a community forum for men only and wisely opened the doors to women and their wisdom. The input of the women in general has been a Godsend, and the members of the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


organization crafted out this vision. When Johnson put her head together with the great minds already in Shop Talk Live, good things began to manifest. There are four levels to the BBI. On level one, we have “Dreamers.” These are the budding entrepreneurs who are looking to learn the game and how to master it. Level two is as a mentor. We need successful Black business owners to teach and coach the dreamers in the program. Then we have investors, people who are willing to see the potential in our dreamers, the mission, and back that vision financially. And finally we have the patrons, people who are actually willing to buy the products and services, and be the economic base of the whole operation. People who understand that Garvey’s principles of thinking, being, and buying Black are paramount to our group’s success. This, however, is just a vague outline the Black Business Initiative. The details, I will leave to the website,, for the total picture. Is this the ultimate, silver-bullet solution to the problems we face as Black Americans? Maybe not, however, it is a step in that direction. The great thing about business is that involves creative problem solving and a hard time line to do it. Problemsolving takes different thinking than problem-perceiving. If this sounds too challenging to you, that’s evidence of the trauma you may have been inflicted with historically has relegated you to the sheep realm and not the shepherd. Sheep may be comfortable, but in the end, they’re lunch. My ancestors didn’t birth me to be on anybody’s menu. If you’re African-American, you ascended from the best of the best. That’s the kind of people you want to do business with, and there’s never been a better time to begin Black business. I believe it’s time we were pro-active in our ascension, so get into gear, and take the initiative. 

DAAP and Denver Chapter of The Links, Inc. Co-host One Night in Miami =

In Denver

Imagine eavesdropping in on an historical conversation between a world-changing activist, a goldenthroated crooner, an All-American athlete, and the heavy weight champion of the world. A conversation about life as a Black man in 1964 is heard by Malcom X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Cassius Clay, held in a room at Hampton House in Miami the very night Clay reveled in his upset victory over Sonny Liston. One Night in Miami, penned by playwright Kemp Powers, takes you round by round in the uneasy consciousness of four Black men who are coming to terms with their beliefs, their voice in the Black community, and their place in the world. When the play was announced as part of the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA) 2014-15 season, an opportunity between Denver Chapter of The Links, Inc. and Denver African American Philanthropists (DAAP) to partner was also seeded through their mutual philanthropic relationship with The Denver Foundation. The Links is a 62 yearold, Denver African American women’s organization dedicated to community service and DAAP, an allmale Black giving circle, focuses on giving their collective time, talent, treasure, and testimony. After co-hosting a reception to welcome Carl Cofield, director of the play, DAAP saw another unique opportunity that would best leverage their resources – their connections with other men of color in the Metro Denver community. A commitment to co-host the preopening performance on March 19 in DCPA’s Space Theatre will help meet the goals of all – to support a phenomenal body of historical and artistic work, to confirm Denver’s desire for meaningful diverse theatre, and support DAAP and the Links’ investments in Denver’s African American community. DAAP will also host an all-male of color Cast & Community Conversation (by invitation only) to explore the parallels of the Black male experience then and now. Editor’s note: For tickets or more information about the Cast & Community Conversation, email or call LaDawn Sullivan at 303-996-4350.

Cast Announced for



at The Buell Theatre in Denver

Transmission? We have your

Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy announced the complete cast for the first national tour of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL which plays the Buell Theatre March 31-April 19.

medicine! Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Jarran Muse playing Marvin Gaye

Clifton Oliver and Allison Semmes will star in the leading roles of Berry Gordy and Diana Ross. Portraying groundbreaking Motown artists, Jesse Nager will play Smokey Robinson and Jarran Muse will play Marvin Gaye. Leon Outlaw, Jr. and Reed L. Shannon will portray Berry Gordy’s boyhood counterpart and the roles of young stars Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Directed by Charles RandolphWright, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more. Featuring more than 50 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” MOTOWN THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is produced by Tony Award® winning producer Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q), Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy. On Wednesday, April 1 a Talkback will be held after the 7:30 p.m. show. Ticketed patrons attending the April 1 performance may stay after the show for a Q&A with members of the company.  Editor’s note: Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 303-8934100. For more information, visit

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783 Making transmissions well for 22 years.

The Urban Spectrum — April 2006


Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Alice Eugene Betty Washington (Futrell )

Alice Eugene Betty Washington (Futrell) was born on Dec. 9, 1942 to the late, great, Charleszine Dessie King Washington and Charles Henry Washington in Denver. Alice was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister and friend to all. With a love for language, international travel and world affairs, Alice married Hermon L. Futrell in Loan, France in 1966, and settled in Detroit, Michigan at the end of 1967. Their union lasted six years, ending in divorce in 1971. Alice is survived by her beloved family, which includes: her older sister, Charleszine D. (Washington) Nelson, the foremost loves of her life, her daughters: Ashara Saran (Futrell) Ekundayo, and Maya Camara Futrell, her grandsons, Michael Shannon Walker III (Ietef Vita) and Christian Aleric Mahali Malik Walker; three delightfully amazing great granddaughters; Selasio Oshun LeadonVita, Libya Yemaya LeadonVita, and Omolara ChiOnile LeadonVita, two nieces, Lia Nelson-James, and Lori Nelson-Carothers and one great-nephew, Zachary Carothers. Alice was a truth seeker, a scholar of world religions and an astrologer. She also belonged to several civic, professional and political organizations. Her passion for social justice and fairness led her to become active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and 70s in Detroit. Alice was a lover and a fighter. She was a warrior. She loved human beings from all walks of life. She valued and respected not only her family, but her teachers, students, friends and enemies, and above all else, her God. She fought in solidarity with those who had little fight left within them. Her love and faith poured out to others, leaving those around her feeling safe and cared for. Her energy, humor and spark for life were abundant and contagious. As a Mile High City native, Alice loved the outdoors. She loved to walk her beloved four-legged companion, Citizen Kayne in City Park. She liked to feed the ducks and attend City Park Jazz. She frequented El Chapultepec and Dazzle and kept her radio locked to KUVO 89.3 FM. As a student at Manual High School, she excelled in athletics, music and was the valedictorian of the Class of 1960. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and was awarded a bachelor of arts in sociology with minors in German and French in 1964. When Alice returned home to Denver with her children in the early 80s, she held various positions as a civil administrator and sales and marketing agent. Most recently, as a retiree, she worked with Volunteers of American as a teacher’s aide at Hodgkins Elementary School. Her work with educator, Kayce Holeman, and the kindergarteners brought Alice an incredible amount of joy until the time of her transition. We were all blessed to have had her in our midst in our lives.

Keepers of the Past: Foundation for the Future


Special Guests: Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Reggie Rivers



Time: 6pm - 10pm Musical Artists Appearing:

& The Mary Louise Lee Band

& The Miles Apart Band

Ticket Prices: $50.00 includes Concert & Food Provided For tickets visit: For more information visit:

FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015

Greater Park Hill Sertoma Club Celebrating 30 Years of Service to Youth

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Dr. Bernard F. Gipson Sr., a devoted husband and father, grandfather and great-grandfather—and also Colorado’s first board-certified African American Surgeon—began his life’s journey on Sept. 28, 1921, in Bivins, Texas. He was the son of John Tom Gipson and Alberta Rambo Gipson, who were married on July 10, 1915. This was the second marriage for John Tom Gipson, who was left with nine children on the death of his first wife, Ella Mitchell Gipson. Dr. Gipson was the youngest of the Gipson clan. All his siblings preceded him in death. Dr. Gipson’s father died suddenly from a heart attack when he was 10-years-old. The night his father died, as he stood at his father’s bedside, he heard his father tell son, Claude to make sure “your little brother gets an education.” From then on, Dr. Gipson’s siblings encouraged and supported his life’s aspirations and dreams. At age 12, Dr. Gipson confided to his brother, Claude that he wanted to be a doctor— even though, at the time, he only knew one African American doctor, Dr. William Watts. When young Bernard developed appendicitis at age 13, Dr. Watts performed his appendectomy in the hospital. While recuperating, young Bernard told him he was going to be a doctor. Another influence was his uncle, Marcus M. Rambo—a graduate of Morehouse College who taught junior high school in Cincinnati. The proud owner of a car, “Uncle Bub” as he was called, drove to Texas during summer vacations to visit family and friends. “I was impressed with his pretty car and nice clothes,” Dr. Gipson later recalled. “I wanted to grow up to be like Uncle Bub.” In turn, Uncle Bub wanted Bernard to attend his alma mater, Morehouse College. First, young Bernard completed St. Helena High School, then enrolled at Central (Pemberton) High School in Marshall, Texas. His senior year, he was elected president of his class and graduated salutatorian of his high school class of 1940. Awarded a scholarship to Bishop College and “too young” to leave home and journey to Morehouse in Atlanta, Bernard matriculated as a premedical student at Bishop College through his sophomore year. Working at a defense plant in Texarkana, Texas, Bernard saved enough money to enroll in Morehouse College in September 1942, where he worked in the Atlanta University System Woodruff Library to help with his college expenses. Also working in the library was a pretty Spelman College student, Ernestine Wallace, who would become his wife five years later. At Morehouse, Bernard was on the Dean’s honor roll his junior and senior years. He also became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1943. Bernard was accepted at Howard University College of Medicine for the 1944, freshman class. Enlisting in the U.S. Army at Fort Meade, Maryland, he entered medical school as a Private First Class. Upon completion of his medical training, he served as a medical officer in the U.S. Air Force (Army Air Corps). During his senior year at Howard University Medical School, he was inducted into Kappa Pi Honorary Medical Society, which represented the upper 10 percent of the class. After graduation, Bernard did his internship at Harlem Hospital in New York City, followed by his residency in surgery at Howard University Freedman’s Hospital and the U.S. Public Health Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Bernard and Ernestine were married on Dec. 19, 1947, in Sal Hall Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, the president of the college. In 1948, Bernard was one of the residents selected by Dr. Charles R. Drew, professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Howard, to begin his surgical residency. Dr. Drew had gained international recognition for discovery of blood plasma preservation, which was responsible for saving many lives, particularly in World War II. Bernard completed his surgical residency under the direction of Dr. Burke Syphax, professor of surgery at Howard. In 1954, Bernard entered the U.S. Air Force as a captain and was assigned to Lowry Air Force Base Hospital in Denver, Colorado, as chief of surgery. He became a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and received a commendation from the Secretary of the Air Force when he completed the surgical board examination at the University of Kansas. Discharged from the Air Force in 1956, Dr. Gipson entered private practice in Denver. Concurrently, he became a member of the faculty of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in the Department of Surgery, where he served for over 25 years and retired as a clinical associate professor of surgery. Dr. Gipson retired from his medical practice in November 1995, after serving the community for 41 years. Following retirement, he was involved in volunteer health care in and out of the city. He was a member of a number of medical associations, including the National Medical Association and American Medical Association. A member of New Hope Baptist Church since 1955, Dr. Gipson was a member of the New Hope Board of Deacons for over 40 years. His beloved wife, Ernestine Wallace Gipson, passed away in 2010 after 62 years of marriage. Dr. Gipson’s life journey ended on Jan. 26, 2015, at Briarwood Health Care Center in Denver. He was 93. Dr. Gipson is survived by two children, Bernard F. Gipson, Jr., M.D., who is a general practitioner in the Florida panhandle, and Bruce E. Gipson of Denver, who retired from American Airlines and is now a peer specialist with the Mental Health Center of Denver; two grandchildren, Heather B. Gipson of Aurora who is a nurse, and Brandon Gipson of Denver who is a policeman in Greenwood

Remembering Dr. F. Gipson, Sr. Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Let’s Be Critical! Developing Critical Thinking for Success

By Cassandra Johnson, Sena Harjo, and Dorothy Shapland

Editor’s note: The Nest Matters (TNM) is advice from “egg to flight” from early childhood educators and leaders. TNM focuses on early child development from prenatal (the egg phase) through the stages of tweens when children prepare to leave the nest (the flight phase). As we navigate through the 21st century it is important that our young people are prepared. Since most of the jobs, careers, and life paths of the future are not created yet, it is in our best interest to make sure that our children are well versed in thinking critically and trying new things.

0 - 3 year olds

In the early years trying new things and critically thinking comes intuitively by exploring and investigating the environments a child is in. It starts with prenatal women and babies who are in the beginning stages of exploration and investigation. At this time the child is using its senses such as touch, smell and sound to gather a basic level of information about this world. The child is learning the voices, smells and tastes of their people and culture. They are gauging a level of safety and security. They are interacting and seeking out affection and attention from their caregivers and their families.

As the child begins to grow and develop they will begin a check-andseek system that will allow them to


engage in a small amount of risk-taking and trying new things with the support from their caregivers. For example, a toddler will give a glance at their caregiver when attempting to walk down a stair. Depending on the support from the caregiver, the toddler will gauge whether or not the step is safe, whether or not the can take the risk and if there will be someone to comfort them when they complete the task. Exploration and trying new things at this stage is key to development and growth. This can be promoted by encouraging your child to keep going and expanding their range of access. How do we take trying new things into critically thinking with infants and toddlers? When a child is born, begin talking to them. Ask them questions about their environments and world. Give them extra information describing things and situations as they happen. Fill their world with adjectives, verbs, nouns and questions. As they grow continue to ask for their perspective, and then follow their lead. Use phrases like “Tell me more”, “What do you see”, “What do you think about” and then take the time to listen to what they are saying or to recognize what they are focusing on. This gives both of you the time and space to fill the conversations with details and information that will help the child piece together the material.

great time to begin to frequent organizations, locations, and gatherings in your community to give your child a wide range of experience with the world.

School age

When connecting new things to critical thinking (with a school aged child) it is important to keep the conversation going. Ask open ended questions like “So what did you notice”, “Tell me something that excited you”, “Tell me something that you have questions about”, “What do you think would change it”, “How could it be better” or even “How does that work”. Remember to give space for your child to answer. Let them have the processing time to really think about what you have asked them. At this age children are still putting the pieces together and it may take a little time to process. Patience is critical to keeping communication going. When they begin to converse with you follow their lead and focus in on their topic.

When a child begins school and enters in to the pre-adolescence stages it is important to keep the exploration and investigation going. Allowing and encouraging school age children to try new things will help them to gain interest in learning in general. This is a great time to incorporate learning throughout your environment to support any academic learning that is going on in school. Connect your child to physical activity by introducing different sports and movement including dance, swimming, walking, running, playing tag, scavenger hunts, sport leagues, hiking, fishing etc. Connect your child to mental challenges by engaging in puzzles, mazes, family games, spelling games, math games, historical locations and events etc. And this is also a

As young people move into adolescence and young adulthood it is important to continue trying new things and critically thinking in all aspects of their lives. This is a great opportunity to expand their scope of knowledge by including the bigger world in the exploration. Try new activities such as science experiments, jobs, volunteer events, internship, computer games, poetry, artwork, making things with your hands, etc. Give your child the opportunity to participate in different clubs, groups and friends. Provide a safe space for your adolescence to participate in a positive experience of risk-taking in areas that they are passionate about. This will help them learn how to ask

Teens & Up

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


questions, make decisions, recover from mistakes, identify their talents and skills, and to create opportunities in the future. Critically thinking becomes extremely important in this age. This is the best time to connect the values, boundaries, goals, dreams, hesitations, questions and curiosity to your individual child’s thought process. Talk with them honestly about making choices, actions, consequences, celebrations, and reactions that are available. Figure out what is working for your child and what isn’t. During these adolescent/young adult stage is when a person’s identity is being finetuned and transformed. Opportunities to experiment, process, reflect and think outside the box can support a deeper thought process.

Trying New Things and Critically Thinking is good for all ages

Over all trying new things and critically thinking is important for people of all ages. Since we are all constantly growing and changing, we should all be participating in a healthy amount of exploration and reflection. As you work with your child or other youth you can also push yourself to think deeper. You can start by asking or telling yourself any of the prompts that have been provided as examples in this article or that you use with youth. Ask yourself what situations might look like from different views. Ask yourself if there is another way to accomplish the task at hand. Connect the pieces of your world, and your children will connect too.

Take a hike! Get Outside this Winter By Kim Farmer

A 2014

REI survey shows that two in five Americans are outdoor enthusiasts and that 73 percent of those outdoor enthusiasts want to spend even more time outside in 2015. That means hikers and outdoor adventurers will be venturing out during the wintertime as a way to get the double benefit of enjoying the outdoors and getting a dose of exercise. But, before you go, here’s what you need to know.

Layer Up

It’s really important for winter hikers to dress for safety and comfort while out on the trail. Experienced hikers often cite packing multiple layers and a hat as the two most important rules to follow when packing clothing. And, dressing in layers is not just for cold weather but for warm weather, too. This is an important rule to follow because it can keep you warm at night or in the morning and also let you remove layers to enable respiration to evaporate, which helps you stay dry. Winter hikers should avoid wearing cotton clothing—including socks. This material retains and absorbs water, which leaves you cold and wet. Instead of cotton, wear wool or synthetic materials. Both of these fabrics

wick moisture away from the skin, and wool fabrics are suitable for winter because they retain heat. Additionally, having proper footwear is essential. Hikers should wear a pair of breathable, waterproof boots with built-in safetytoe protection to keep their feet warm, comfortable and dry. Available brands at stores like Cabela’s such as Danner and Keen are great options.

Wear Sunscreen and Sunglasses

Hikers that trek through high-altitudes are exposed to high-levels of UV rays because the thinner atmosphere doesn’t block as many of the rays as the atmosphere in lower elevations. This can result in severe sunburn. The University of Texas reports that snow bounces 80 percent of the sun’s reflection which can be compared to a day at the beach. Portable sunscreens like brushes and sticks, lip balm and a pair of sunglasses should always be on hand.

Waterproof Your Pack

Keeping your backpack and its contents dry is really important. Hikers should put items like electronics and clothing in plastic bags for a second layer of protection and sleeping bags should be wrapped, especially if they are on an external frame pack. After all, a wet or damp sleeping bag is not very effective. Also, hikers should squeeze out all of the air in the plastic bags to ensure that no space inside of the pack is wasted.

GPS: According to the Wilderness Medical Society, between 1992 and 2007, there were 78,488 people involved in 65,439 Search and Rescue (SAR) incidents. On average that’s 11.2 SAR incidents per day. Packing along a GPS device can tell hikers where they are and how long they have to go. Although maps may seem outdated, it’s important to pack them along as a backup. First-Aid Kit: Hikers should always bring a medical kit. And, as an extra precaution, outdoor enthusiasts should take a first-aid class to learn how to properly address injuries. Extra Food: Winter hikes can be unpredictable. Hikers should always pack extra food like dehydrated items or MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for day or multi-day excursions. A water purification system or iodine tablets should be included in a backpack as well. The American Hiking Society recommends keeping all drinking water warm (so it doesn’t freeze) by boiling it before pouring it into water bottles. Safety Items: Winter hikers should make sure they are prepared for shorter days during the winter. Including a headlamp, flashlight and extra batteries is a must for these hikes. Other must-pack safety items include a whistle and materials to ignite a fire.

Hiking is a great way to include exercise into your winter lifestyle. Don’t let the cold weather deter you! Instead, be prepared by packing and wearing the essentials to help you feel more comfortable in the beautiful Colorado outdoor environments. Your core temperature will heat up with the increased movement and you’ll be removing layers before long. Have a great week! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer and David Jay of Mile High Fitness offer in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit or email

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

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

Plan Ahead

There are some items that a hiker should never leave home without, especially during wintertime hikes. Planning ahead can make all the difference when navigating a snow covered trail. Here are some items a hiker should always bring: Multi-Purpose Tool: Having a compact multi-tool handy on the trail can help hikers fix broken gear, cut strips of clothing into bandages and even remove splinters.

Flavor loves company.



each Price and participation may vary. A la carte only. Š2015 McDonald’s. • 678863.1

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015




Visit click “REDEEM” and enter the code US3.16 to download an admit 2 screening pass, while supplies last!

The screening will be held on Monday, Monday, March 16 at 7pm at a local Denver theatre. Limit one admit 2 pass per person. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a pass. Arrive Supplies are limited. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat. Ar rive early - the theatre is booked to ensure a full house. Seating is not guaranteed. All federal, state and local regulations apply apply.. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. provider. Summit Entertainment, Entertainment, Lionsgate Films, BIC, Urban Spectrum Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transfer red or redeemed for cash, in whole or in par part.t. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner transferred misdi-is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdi rected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. winner. VVoid oid where law.. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. prohibited by law NECESSARY. NO PHONE CALLS! This film is rated PG-13.


Ground Rules

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

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


 By Samantha Ofole-Prince


white supremacist is released from prison after serving 14 years for armed robbery. A few hours later, he fatally shoots a Black cop and takes a Black family hostage. Inspired by a true story that happened in early 1995 on Highway 12, west of Santa Rosa, Cal., the drama unfolds through the eyes of Garrett Tully (Joe Anderson), a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who finds himself on the run just hours after getting released. “I tried to push the envelope to allow people to know and to realize just how real racism is and how hurtful words and even uneducated can be,” says the film’s director Deon Taylor. Defiantly personal and provocative, when we first meet Tully he’s walking through the prison gates of Pelican Bay State prison. Now a free man after serving his time in solitary confinement, he’s picked up by an Aryan Brotherhood groupie called Doreen (Dawn Oliveri). Things go awry after they are stopped by the highway patrol. Tully, now a parolee has no intentions of returning to prison. He kills the officer and takes refuge in a nearby house occupied by a Black family. Supremacy

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


The family’s patriarch, Mr. Walker (Danny Glover) is a jaded ex-con who detests cops so much he disavowed his own son (Derek Luke) for becoming one. Seeing a familiar desperation in Tully, he refuses to call the authorities for help, causing family tensions to escalate. Also starring Lela Rochon and Evan Ross, it’s a racially charged psychological thriller. Rochon plays the matriarch, Ross has a small role as the brave son who tries to save his family and Glover clearly immerses himself in the role of a tired old excon, but the film is really driven by Anderson’s revelatory performance. As expected, we hear many racial slurs and see many rather unpleasant incidents that are bound to raise one’s blood pressure as Tully goes off on his hate rampage. It’s a raw, deeply felt portrait of self-loathing turned inside out. The film takes you on a journey through the eyes of a white supremacist who truly believes that white is good and all else is evil and deftly deals with repercussions of white supremacist dogma, and race relations. “I’m hoping that audiences find this film and understand the message: Life is what you make it and even in the darkest hour, there is still light,” Taylor explains.


Kingsman: The Secret Service  By Laurence Washington

f you’re longing for a campy James Bond film, sprinkled with a healthy dose of Quentin Tarantino, Kingsman: The Secret Service should be right up your alley. There’s a plethora of gadgets, gratuitous violence, destruction and of course sex. Samuel L. Jackson plays Richmond Valentine an evil techno-genius poised for world


Kingsman: The Secret Service

domination by distributing free cell phones. There’s a little more to it than that, but that would be telling. Let’s just say it involves exploding heads. Enter super spy Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a member of the independent Kingsman Secret Service, a spy agency headquartered beneath a Savile Row tailor shop – reminiscent of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. Kingsman: The Secret Service literary opens with a bang as a mission goes south with a young Marine killed on a Kingsman mission. Hart feels responsible, and watches over the Marine’s family for years because the young man once saved his life. Seventeen years later, Hart recruits the fallen soldier’s son, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, a tough street kid living with his mother and an abusive stepfather. Eggsy outlast other Kingsman trainee hopefuls and teams up with Hart to stop Valentine and his femme fatale bodyguard Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) who sports Oscar Pistoriustype blades to slice and dice Valentine’s enemies. Kingsman is great popcorn movie that’s quite violent at times, as Valentine slaughters an unsuspecting church congregation he’s using as Guinea Pigs. Clever, witty and entertaining, but a word of caution, there’s gore galore.

October 1 Takes The Festival Programmer’s Award at PAFF By Samantha Ofole-Prince

The 2015 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) concluded on Monday night (Feb. 16) with an award ceremony in which several worthwhile films received top accolades. Kunle Afolayan’s October 1, one of the most buzzed-about titles in the narrative competition picked up the Festival Programmers’ Award for Narrative Feature.

A film that starts out simply and opens up into a labyrinth of complications, the psychological thriller follows a police officer, Inspector Danladi Waziri (played by Sadiq Daba), from Northern Nigeria, who is posted to a remote town of Akote in Western Nigeria to investigate a serial murder case in the community. Intrigue and suspense are the order of the day, and nothing is as it appears. With the clock ticking, Waziri is under pressure to find the killer before the Nigerian flag is raised on October 1, Nigeria’s Independence Day. An excellent screenplay full of rich and complex characters, it’s a well-paced drama and is unquestionably one of the best films to emerge from the festival this year. Kunle Afolayan

Down Payment Assistance GRANT, Up to 5% of Loan

Other key festival prizewinners included the Angelina Jolie produced drama Difret which tells the tale of a girl and a female lawyer who take on the Ethiopian tradition of “telefax,” or marriage by abduction. The film received the Best Feature Narrative award. Stanley Nelson’s documentary on the story of the Black Panthers, which is often told in a scatter of repackaged parts, often depicting tragic, mythic accounts of violence and criminal activity earned him the Festival Founders’ (documentary) Award. The outstanding documentary Bound: Africans vs African-Americans which painfully explores the rift between Africans and Black Americans received the Audience Award—Documentary while the brilGone to Far

liant Afro-British drama Gone Too Far which follows two estranged African brothers who reunite over the course of a single day deservedly earned the BAFTA LA PRIZE (Pan African Film Festival-British Academy of Film and Television Arts/LA Prize). PAFF is America’s largest and most prestigious international Black film festival, which takes place annually during Black History Month. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Sims-Fayola International Academy to Close Its Doors

Declining enrollment and mounting financial difficulties have made it necessary for Sims-Fayola International Academy in Denver to bring its all-boys middle school to an end. The school will officially close its doors at the end of the current school year. It was announced to school families on January 30 by Executive Director Deborah Blair-Minter The Board of Sims-Fayola International Academy, Blair-Minter and Denver Public Schools announced the decision now to permit middle school students and parents the opportunity to participate in the 1st Round of School Choice enrollment process. Over the past few years, enrollment declined to a present total of 172 students. Sims-Fayola International Academy has exhausted its financial reserves and can no longer meet all of its expenses. The decision to close the institution was difficult and no one can doubt the history and all the many lives to which Sims-Fayola has so positively contributed over the years. Teachers and support staff will be supported by the Denver Public


Schools and the Colorado League of Charter Schools in searching for new positions. All staff will continue to receive full salary and benefits through the end of the contract year on July 31.

Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation Changes Name to Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado

The Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation a 501(c)(3) announced that it is changing its name to the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado to reflect its primary focus and commitment to leadership training and the development of the next generation of leaders. For the last seven years, the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation has focused solely on providing leadership training and advancement services. Their flagship program Chamber Connect has become one of Colorado’s most recognized leadership programs from which more than 250 participants have graduated. Chamber Connect is a 10 month program through which participants learn business leadership, political leadership and community

leadership while being introduced to some of Colorado’s most influential leaders who assist in their development including Tami Door, Downtown Denver Partnership, Dr. Albert Yates CSU President Emeritus and Pat Cortez of Wells Fargo Bank among many others. As one of Colorado’s only leadership programs focused on minority leadership, the now Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado, has built a reputation and niche on which they would like to focus and build. New Program Director Dr. Ryan Ross, Events Director Monique Dyers and the board of directors led by chairman and former Mayor Wellington E. Webb, the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado plan to roll out a number of new programs over the next 24 months. Editor’s note: For more information on the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado, visit

Author’s Book Addresses Black Man’s Anger

Do you really know how that Black man feels? In his book, “Do You Know Why The Black Man Is So Angry?” Dr. Jeffery L. Walker enlightens readers about the cognitive turbu-

lence that distorts the Black man’s mind. Although the anger to Black men is not a new phenomenon, it is a way of life for many Black men who seem stuck in a dark maze without vital instruction. Dr. Walker has been helping Black men deal with anger, including his own for more than 20 years, offering hope and encouragement for those who are living under the floorboards of society. He skillfully writes about how many Black men have a tendency to oscillate between faith and disparity and how to restore faith within “self.” Dr. Walker extends positive suggestions that will help Black men, young and old, build a positive selfimage that will radiate love, respect, and peace. “Black men, you must realize that despite the difficulty, you are somebody, and you need to know, “the only person, that you can change, is the person you were yesterday,” says Dr. Walker. Editor’s note: “Do You Know Why The Black Man Is So Angry?” is available on,, Barnes and Noble and

cinema • photography • art & design lorenzo - 720-271-9665

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015



Stapleton Denver Named Number One Best Selling Master Planned Community in Colorado, Sixth In Nation


Two Scholarships Offered By Denver Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Annual scholarship awards are being offered to selected Denver Metro area African American female high school seniors. An additional scholarship opportunity available will be awarded from the Colorado Technical University scholarship to an African American female or male who has received a high school degree or a GED certificate and reside in the Denver Metro area. The award will pay 50 percent of the recipient’s tuition for an associate or a bachelors’ degree. Applications for both scholarships are available at The completed application packets must be postmarked no later than April 1 and mailed to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Denver Alumnae Chapter, Scholarship Committee, P O Box 7432, Denver, CO 80207.

Ethnic College Counseling Center College Fair Slated For March 7

The Ethnic College Counseling Center is sponsoring Raising the Bar – Determined, Focused and Bound for Success, a college fair on March 7, at East High School (1600 City Park Esplanade in Denver) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eighty-nine Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be represented. Colleges and universities recruiters will be on hand and information and workshops on college preparation and financial resources will also be offered. Seniors who bring a valid transcript may be admitted on the spot. Registrations received after Feb. 27 will be $7, including on-site payment. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. The Ethnic College Counseling Center prepares middle and high school students for post-secondary

education beyond high school. The ECCC was founded in 1983 by the late Pensal McCray and her husband the late Dr. Christophe J. McCray. For more information, call 303-550-5088.

Langley Family Charitable Trust Accepting Applications

The annual Langley Family Charitable Trust (LFCT) by Drs. Joseph and Alice Langley is accepting applications to award scholarships to Colorado high school seniors. The nonprofit LFCT is a scholarship program designed to help increase the number of African Americans and/or at risk students enroll in community colleges and universities. Student must be a high school senior, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, 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. Deadline to receive completed applications is April 17. For more information, call 303-694-3126.

Dearfield Dream Annual Dearfield Conference Set For March 7

The community is invited to participate as presenters or audience members at the 3rd annual Dearfield conference at UNC. Named after the African American agricultural community and founded east of Greeley in 1910, the organizers seek presentations of ongoing research focusing on early 20th century colony of Dearfield,25 other Black communities of the same era in Colorado, as well as other related areas of research. Interested presenters can include librarians, genealogical societies, K-12 schools, independent scholars, performance artists, academics, etc. To sign up for a slot, contact Dr. George Junne at or 970-351-2418 or Dr. Robert Brunswig at The conference is free and open to the public.

Over the last two years, Forest City Stapleton has been hard at work creating their first two Denver neighborhoods north of 1-70, Conservatory Green and Willow Park East—the eighth and ninth neighborhoods that make up the Stapleton community. Each was designed to continue Stapleton’s successful formula of strong community engagement, award-winning parks and schools and appealing new home designs. Forest City Stapleton has delivered on its promise: sales are exceeding projections, two new pools have been added, public parks are being completed and residents are enjoying the unparalleled lifestyle afforded in the community. In fact, Stapleton was recently ranked sixth in the nation for sales of master planned communities in 2014 according to Robert Charles Lesser & Co (RCLCO); and first in Colorado according to MetroStudy. Last month, Stapleton’s Conservatory Green Park Plaza was awarded an ASLA Merit Award for the spectacular public space, which includes a 2.5-acre outdoor public park, fire pit and community gathering area. The Shops at Northfield also

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


received an award from The Rocky Mountain Shopping Center Association for its Exterior LED Lighting Project, which implemented techniques that have saved on energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the electricity used by nearly 50 homes or equivalent to burning 381,973 pounds of coal. Last year more than 500 new and 475 resale homes were sold in the Stapleton community. The available inventory is shrinking rapidly but new lots are being released this year, and new businesses are moving into the area. Two new Denver Public Schools have found a home in the neighborhood, including High Tech Elementary, which opened last fall, and Northfield High School, which will open fall of this year, and will serve Stapleton and surrounding neighborhoods. True to Stapleton’s spirit, several miles of Denver parks and greenways have begun to weave through the neighborhoods, offering green space and outdoor amenities. A unique array of edible landscape elements have been incorporated into these new neighborhoods. 



KGNU COMMUNITY RADIO, broadcast from Boulder and Denver, Colorado, and streamed online, seeks a fulltime Station Manager to lead our nonprofit broadcast and online media organization. For required and desired qualifications, visit StationManagerSearch. Please email your application to by March 5, 2015. No phone calls, please. KGNU is an EEOC employer.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2015


Denver Urban Spectrum is seeking a variety of qulified individuals to fill several part-time positions. Contributing writers, advertising sales and marketing consultants, a social media manager, a graphic design production assistant and an office assistant are needed. Positions are all part-time. Email resume and any samples of work and/or experience to No phone calls please.


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Denver Urban Spectrum March 2015  

Denver's premiere community publication for and about the communities of color has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987....

Denver Urban Spectrum March 2015  

Denver's premiere community publication for and about the communities of color has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987....