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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 .




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

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


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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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....

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