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Volume 32 Number 2

May 2018

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence Washington


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Alfonzo Porter Thomas Holt Russell ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix

Challenge: 1. something needing great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully, or the situation of facing this kind of effort: 2. a questioning or expression of doubt about the truth or purpose of something, or the right of a person to have or do something: 3. something that competes with you or is a threat. -Cambridge Dictionary

We are faced with many challenges today – in the workplace, in the home and in society. The country is in turmoil and around the world; our challenges are on display as a people and as a nation. Overcoming challenges can be difficult and sometimes unattainable, but through perseverance and forthright, conquering them is achievable. This month we look at the challenges faced on several fronts. New Denver Urban Spectrum contributor Alfonzo Porter looks at the challenges African-Americans faced in 1968 – family, economic growth, criminal justice, political leadership and education – and the aftermath of them 50 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Another new DUS contributor, Thomas Holt Russell, reflects on law enforcement and the long and troubled history in the African-American communities with a photo from 50 years ago that is imbedded in his memory from when he was young boy and still disturbs him today. As we turn another chapter for the Denver Urban Spectrum, we too face many challenges as a reputable and respected publication for 31 years. Since inception in 1987, we have served the Denver community under the leadership of the honorable Mayors Federico Pena, Wellington E. Webb, John Hickenlooper and currently Michael B. Hancock. It is our mission to record the history of our community – good, bad or indifferent and this month is no different. It is the Denver Urban Spectrum’s obligation to present stories in an unbiased, thought-provoking and true format. Charles Emmons presents a story behind the story of the sexual allegations of Mayor Michael B. Hancock. And although there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and no end to the dilemma, we hope the outcome will bring positive change that will improve the political, gender and business climate for Denver and the African-American community. We have come a long way as a people, but we still have a very long way to go. Times have changed, but encountering challenges have not. They may make us uncomfortable, when and if the truth comes out, but how you face them is vital. Let’s agree to disagree, but not act disagreeably. Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

PUBLISHER/PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Byron Russell Lens of An sar DISTRIBUTION Dylan James Ed Lynch Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James - Manager

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2018 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


An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

you to know how much we honor you and lift you up. We collectively swelled with pride watching you dedicate both the Martin Luther King Memorial and the African American Museum of History and Culture. For us, it represented the culmination of centuries of hope, sacrifice, pain, struggle and dedication. The American people are clearly grateful for your presidency; and for African Americans, mere words do little to express our deep appreciation. Thank you Mr. President. You have single handedly elevated the images and reflections of African Americans men to new heights, worldwide. We’ve looked on as awe-struck bystanders as you delivered the Affordable Care Act after more than a century of previous failures by past administrations. You forged the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for women, reduce the unemployment rate by more than half, and rescued the US automobile industry. You successfully healed long held wounds with Cuba and built a bridge of understanding and cooperation after more than 50 years. You’ve secured a nuclear deal with Iran, making the entire world a safer place for future generations, brought our troops home from war, guided our ascendency as an energy superpower; resulting in a decrease of nearly 50 percent in the price of gas at the pump, and navigat-

Editor: Dear Mr. President; It’s hard to believe that more than nine years have passed since we stood in the shadow of the US Capitol on a frigid January morning to bear witness to your historic swearing in as our nations’ 44th President. It was heart breaking to bring a close of your time in the White House. We have now had time to reflect on your time as the leader of the free world. It fills us with an overwhelming sense of pride, gratitude, indebtedness and thankfulness. Since its very first days your administration worked, what can only be considered, virtual miracles in restoring the nations’ economic health in the face of the Great Recession. This, despite what seemed to be insurmountable odds obstructing your efforts at every turn. Mr. President, you represented our country with tremendous distinction, integrity, decency, strength and ability; all while being constantly maligned, attacked, and insulted personally by your countless detractors. Indeed, your family’s mantra, “when they go low, we go high” has become a rallying cry as we continue to make our nation the more perfect union of which you have spoken on so many occasions. We simply want

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


ed the financial sector’s remarkable comeback as we have seen the DOW climb by more than 300 percent over the course of your presidency. Thank you for the commutation of the wrongful convictions of hundreds of members of our community for nonviolent crimes and removing the federal government from the “for profit” prison business. You delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, championed LGBT equality, pressed for green forms of energy, and led the worlds’ efforts to combat climate change—I could go on and on. With such a stellar list of accomplishments Mr. President, the world will undoubtedly begin to line up to honor you, as I would through this brief and humble submission. The realization that our students; including those heading to college this year has never known any other president than yourself—is a stark illustration that your presidency has an impact upon the future far beyond anything we can imagine today. Yes You Did!!

Alfonzo Porter Denver

Editor’s note: Alfonzo Porter is the Managing Partner of Vertex Learning, a national education consultancy. He teaches Journalism at MSU-Denver and is a former contributing writer with the Washington Post. He is an author, speaker and former public school administrator.

By Alfonzo Porter


ast month, the world marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. We watched as the U.S., in particular, paid tribute through documentaries, special broadcast programs, tributes, marches, parades, sweeping accolades by public officials and the requisite constant recitation of the “I Have a Dream” speech. In its customary pattern, the U.S. government remained true to promoting its overly hyperbolic, self-congratulatory rhetoric in the recollection of its role in MLK’s life, struggles, failures and accomplishments. If African Americans, and others, are not careful, we might be unconsciously led down a primrose path of believing that America’s leaders, at the time, actually favored equal treatment and respect under the law for its Black citizens. Nothing could be farther from the truth. So while the nation wraps itself up in the artificial reminiscence of how beloved King was; we would be mindful to remember the appalling treatment he endured; most often at the hands of America itself. After 50 years that same treatment has been visited upon the families of the likes of Michael Johnson, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Travon Martin and too many others in these so-called enlightened days of the 21st century. King knew this treatment all too well. In fact, it was the U.S. government that sought to malign and destroy MLK and the movement in general. The unrelenting surveillance and persistent wire taping of his travels and communications by the FBI were widely condoned throughout the federal government. Their designs were

to discredit MLK in the eyes of the public; and African Americans especially. They alleged that King was a philanderer, a homosexual and even labeled him a communist during the height of the cold war— all this in order to muddy his respected name. He was dubbed “the most dangerous Negro leader in America.” After all the eavesdropping and clandestine machinations of the government, approved by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the FBI found zero indications of nefarious behavior on King’s behalf. Following all the bugs planted in his home, car, office and hotel rooms, they discovered nothing but a selfless, dedicated and devoted servant of the people. He was unconcerned, they found, with fame and notoriety and the contention of communist ties were nothing but a pile of bovine balderdash (more commonly referred to as B.S.). This assertion would have been hilarious were it not so thoroughly tragic. Communism, by its very definition calls for each citizen to engage in work according to the needs of the government. In other words, you are told what field of work you would accede based on societal demands. As such, our ancestors existed in a communist context with the confines of a constitutional democracy. As a people, we were all too familiar with the tenets of communism than democracy, in actions and deeds, if not under legal constructs. The larger question would be why would Black folk not be communists? It was the system under which we labored from 1620 until the late 1960s. My great-great grandfather, for example, could not aspire to become a physician, an attorney, a scientist or matriculate into any other respectable profession for that matter. On the con-

trary, he was raised to do what the system required. Democracy, for our consanguinity was nothing but a lie contained within those glorious documents touted by white folks that protected and ensured their freedom; those words did not apply to us. The psychological folly and selfdeception undertaken by the U.S. government resulted in widespread psychosomatic illusions by white citizens that Negroes actually liked being treated in such disparaging ways. For some 340 years we languished and suffered so that others might find comfort from the pain they caused. Therein lays MLK’s greatness—for he rescued the nation from its own self-imposed propagandized delusions. He wrestled with the mischievous sprite and loosed the soul of the whole country. He forced the nation to collectively, if metaphorically, look at itself in the mirror and accept the fact that the U.S. Constitution was not worth the paper on which it was printed. For if all were not free as propagated in those founding documents—none of us were. Therefore, the entirety of America’s philosophical and literal worldwide status was built on nothing but a lie. King helped the country find its true character and to live up to what it claimed to be—one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. So here we are 50 years later compelled to take inventory of the past half century while hoping to pass on to the next generation some measure of where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and the continued sojourn ahead.


There is no debate about the catastrophic breakdown in the Black fami-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2008


ly dynamic over the past 50 years; and it haunts us today. Our nation’s 1st African American president grew up in a fatherless household and has become the most effective and credible voice in advocating for Black men to become more responsible parents. This issue, ironically, may have been borne out of sincere efforts on behalf of the government to help. President’s Johnson’s Great Society programs of the mid-1960s appear to have inadvertently created an environment where mothers and their children could receive federal benefits from the government as long as there was no adult male presence in the home. By becoming the primary provider of essential familial needs, the federal government essentially became the father within our families; replacing the biological dad. The mother could receive assistance with food, housing and financial support from Uncle Sam. The catch was that the father must be absent. Therefore, the larger question is, did these assistance programs hasten the demise of our families? Today, more than 70 percent of African American children grow up in a home headed by a single mother. In 1965, only eight percent of Black children were born out-of-wedlock. Children who grow up with a single mother are overwhelmingly more likely to drop out of school, become teen parents and live in poverty. Add to this, the devastating consequences of drug laws that delivered far harsher and unsympathetic treatment to Black men who became tragically ensnared in the criminal justice system; the sense of nihilism has been catapulted to new heights. The hopes of getting a decent job and supporting a family are significantly diminished. If the breakdown of the family causes poverty in our community, then poverty also results in family breakdown. Continued on page 6

Seize the Day: One Colorado Industry Ripe for Minority and Women Hires

If there is

Op-ed by Wellington E. Webb

one thing I have learned in my life is that if an opportunity presents itself, you must seize it or someone else will. With that thought, I want to share what may be a little known growing career opportunity for African Americans, Latinos and women. Nearly 1.9 million job opportunities are projected in the oil and natural gas and petrochemical industries through 2035 to make up for retirements and growth. Those jobs are nationwide, including Colorado. And the best news is that the American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas companies, is actively supporting and promoting the recruitment of minorities and women. “We know from the Census Bureau that we will be a majority-minority country by 2044,” said Rebecca Winkel, who co-authored a 2016 API research report detailing how many women and minorities work in the oil and gas business and how that could change in the future. “Those changing demographics demand that we pay more attention to diversity than, perhaps, we have in the past,” she said, during an interview with National Public Radio. The API report estimates that nationally Latino workers will account for 576,000 jobs and African American workers 131,000 jobs – combining to account for 40 percent of the job opportunities. Women are expected to fill more than 290,000, or 16 percent, of total job opportunities. Most of the total job growth for African Americans and Latinos is in blue collar jobs, including carpenters, electricians, pipe fitters, welders, and truck drivers, which typically require a high school diploma and some postsecondary education, according to the API report. Jobs for women are projected in all areas, including professional and managerial positions. Some jobs that require a four-year degree include engineers, general managers, geoscientists and accountants.

Jobs in the oil and gas industry on average pay higher than the U.S. average wage, which is $49,700. For example, oil and gas construction jobs pay on average $72,667. Higher skilled jobs pay more than $100,000. While those wages will fluctuate in each community, it is a real career opportunity. Active recruiting for minorities and women in Colorado included an event last summer co-hosted by the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Asian Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Colorado Petroleum Council, a division of API.

“Colorado is leading the way with workforce diversification. It is no secret that the oil and gas industry is old, male and white,” Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley said at the time. “I was thrilled when [the American Petroleum Institute] said, you know what, if there’s any state that could help change this, it’s Colorado.” So, my advice to anyone interested in the oil and gas industry is to take the initiative and find out what jobs are available. If you don’t someone else will. . Editor’s note: Wellington Webb served as Denver’s 42nd mayor from 1991-2003.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


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Remembering Dr. MLK Jr. Continued from page 4

Economic Growth

The economic strength of the African American community will soon reach $1.5 trillion. To quantify this number and put it into some context, this number is equivalent to the gross domestic product of Russia and South Korea. If we were a nation, we would be the 12th richest country on the planet. Although macro-economists will quickly tell you that GDP and buying power are not the same, since we are not a country exclusive of the U.S., I believe that it provides, at least, some context. Our collective economic strength makes us a prime market for advertisers, marketers and those who desire to influence our buying behaviors. Yet, the larger question is not how much we can buy but whether we can control and direct the spending? If we have jurisdiction to strategically determine where our money goes, should we do more to direct that flow into our communities nationally? According to a recent Nielsen study, Black households with earnings of $75,000 or more is the fastest growing segment of the black population. There are now between 2.5 to 3 million Black owned businesses around the country. In just about every category, we have been growing—sadly not enough. Our median family income in 1968 (inflation adjusted) was approximately $22,000. It is around $40,000 today. Our unemployment rate, while down is still twice that of white Americans. That has not changed appreciably since the early 1970s. Our overall poverty rate has decreased from around 40 percent in the 1960s to just fewer than 27 percent today. Our child poverty rate is down from 67 percent to about 40 percent— although still unacceptable. The wealth gap between African Americans and whites hovers around 5-to-1.

Criminal Justice

In her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, civil rights attorney, Michelle Alexander, asserts that there are now more Blacks in jail today than were slaves in America in 1850. It is a stunning revelation of the continued exploitation of Black people for free labor in this nation. Yet, it is now been shrouded and sold to the American people as some outlandish form of law enforcement. U.S. prisons, over the past 50 years, have become nothing more than a replacement of the convention of slavery. They are de facto profit centers

bers in the U.S. House of Representatives. There have been three black governors in recent history and presidential cabinet level officials have basically remained in parity with the overall black population at about 14 percent for the past 20 years; of course until the Trump administration with one single Black cabinet member, one potential Hispanic member with the nomination of Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary, and one Asian. The first generation of Black mayors began with the elections Richard Hatcher of Hatcher in Gary, Indiana and Carl Stokes in Cleveland, Ohio in 1967. Today, being a Black mayor of a major city does not turn any heads. Serving as mayor in the 21st century tends to be more about leveraging political power than considering possibilities to serve. There are currently 470 Black mayors in office across the U.S. The total number of Black elected officials nationwide stood at 1,500 in 1970 and there are currently more than 10,500 in office today. According to the Joint Center for Politics and Economic Studies, more than half of African American mayors have been elected in large cities that do not have a Black majority. This is a clear sign that progress has been made in the area of political leadership.

that seek to build and sustain a lasting system of second-class citizens without the rights and freedom provided in the nation’s founding documents. It matters very little to our government when those convicted have paid their debt to society for they are forever cast in the eyes of the general public as dangerous, undesirable and malevolent. As a result, the right to vote or obtain meaningful employment is lost forever; contributing to the current decline in the conditions of the Black family. It is no accident. The over-representation of African American men in U.S. jails seems to only confirm the intrinsic bias of a society that finds it easier to conclude that black men are inherently, by our very nature, prone to violence and crime. We are often determined to be guilty until proven innocent. I cannot imagine what the impression would be if we routinely walked into school buildings, movie theatres and churches committing mass murder. It is a fact that, much like the slave catcher of the 19th century and the racist southern sheriff of the first twothirds of the 20th century, police routinely hunt African American men and boys for sport as if we are nothing more than big game on the savannah. We are consistently hounded and oppressed by those sworn to protect us. Our cries fall on deaf ears as a result of the negative images and reflections promulgated by the U.S. regarding Black men worldwide for centuries. Our criminal justice system today reveals strong parallels between the so-called “prison industrial complex” and the American institution of slavery and continues to perpetuate the marginalization of Black people. For us, there is no justice in the alleged criminal justice system. The Black Lives Matter Movement has done an admirable job in attempting to articulate an associated analysis of the ways that race has been leveraged as a weapon to thrash some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens. Their voices continue to echo the spirit and resolve of the Civil Rights Movement.


As the assistant principal of T.C. Williams High School in the late 1990s, made famous by the movie, “Remember the Titans,” I would often wonder out loud how the City of Alexandria, Virginia with a population of just under 140,000 residents could have only one public high school. It quickly dawned on me. Our nation’s schools are re-segregating. This reality is quickly becoming a tale of two cities; not just in Alexandria. For instance, a review of federal education data has found that in practically every major American city, students of color are more probable than their white peers to attend public schools in communities compromised by poverty. According to the National Equity Atlas, in 90 of the 95 biggest cities according to population, more minority students than white students attend a public school where the majority of their friends qualify for free and reduced lunch under the federal Title 1 Program. In 75 percent of the largest cities, the share of minority students at mostly low income schools was found to be at least 20 points higher than the share of white students and in 29 percent of the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent. Our graduation rates have experienced significant growth in the past 50 years. In the mid 1960s, for example,

Political Leadership

Our political power has grown significantly since 1968. The Black voter turnout in 2012, for instance, exceeded that of the white population. The number of Black elected officials has exploded by seven times. For the past 50 years, Black political leadership has been on an upward trajectory. For example, in the mid 1960s there were zero Black senators, zero black governors and only six Black members in Congress. Today, there are three U.S. senators and 44 mem-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


25 percent of African Americans completed high school. Today, that number is 75 percent according to the National Institute for Education Statistics. The data also reveals that 88 percent of white students, 78 percent of Hispanic students, 90 percent of Asian-Pacific Islanders and 72 percent of Native Americans received a high school diploma in 2016. College graduation rates among African Americans stood at four percent in the mid 1960s; today, just above 21 percent of Blacks have a four degree. The rate for whites is 34 percent and 15 percent of Hispanics have completed a four-year degree—so says Excelencia in Education. Perhaps the most vexing issue confronting Blacks in America’s public schools continue to be the achievement gap; defined as the disparity in test score performance by racial subgroup. In 2015, for example, the average Black 12th grader scored in the 19th percentile in math and the 22nd percentile in reading. This means that 81 percent and 78 percent of white 12th graders out performed their Black peers. SAT score distribution also shows a gap in academic performance. The combined math and reading scores for Black student in 2017 stood at 941. For white students it was 1,118; Hispanics scored 987, Asian achieved a score of 1,181 and Native Americans scored 963. Given all this, it is clear that we have come a long way towards realizing MLK’s dream of equality for all. However, there is clearly considerable work to be done. I would hope that he would be pleased to know that the nation as a whole has embraced many of his doctrines. There has been no greater example than the “March for our Lives” movement over the past weeks. The American cultural rainbow was on full display and in essence and it seems to sum up MLK’s dream as he expressed, “Let freedom ring…and when we allow freedom to ring, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands…” This has, by most measures, come to pass. While we are far from a utopian reality, the progress that MLK foretold is becoming even clearer and that prophesized promise land has suddenly, and at long last, appeared upon the horizon.. Editor’s note: Alfonzo Porter is the Managing Partner of Vertex Learning, a national education consultancy. He teaches Journalism at MSU-Denver and is a former contributing writer with the Washington Post. He is an author, speaker and former public school administrator.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble Brings A New Rhythm to “Carmen” and Shares Two Iconic World Premiers with Denver Audiences Cleo Parker Robinson, founder of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance says, “I remember how visibly beautiful and thoughtprovoking this work is and now, in light of current affairs in our world, I see it as even more relevant, than it was just that short while ago. It will be an honor to continue the rich legacy of Mr. McKayle when we premiere another of his most recent works, Crossing the Rubicon: Passing the Point of No Return in the Spring of 2019. Viviana Basanta’s work, La Mulata de Cordoba is based on a Mexican legend from the days of the Inquisition. The story displays that when the Inquisition came to Mexico, a beautiful mulata living in the town of Cordoba used herbs and traditional medicines to heal the sick. This was frowned upon by the church, but the mulata continued to attend mass so that she would not raise suspicions. One day the governor of the region declared his love for her and being rejected, became enraged and denounced her to the Inquisition. Imprisoned for witchcraft and sentenced to burn at the stake, the mulata


leo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble’s 47th anniversary season continues with “Carmen” featuring an innovative adaptation of arias from one of the world’s best-known operas, and the Denver premiere of two powerful works by iconic American modern-dance choreographer Donald McKayle and artistic director of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, Viviana Basanta. The title work of this concert will be Cleo Parker Robinson’s adaptation of the Bizet opera Carmen, with a reimagined medley of its most familiar arias performed for the first time in a jazz bossa nova style by soprano vocalist Erica Papillion-Posey supported by some of Denver’s most respected jazz musicians. Parker Robinson has staged, and performed, Carmen many times during the course of her career as dancer, choreographer and producer, including a major production with Opera Colorado in 1099. “It’s exciting to bring a jazz flavor to a timeless classic that has been beloved by opera fans for generations. We’re bringing a taste of Carmen Jones (the first operatic film to feature Black actors Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge) to this production that we believe audiences will find intriguing. Donald McKayle’s Uprooted: Pero Replantado which deals with undocumented immigrants in the United States, had its world premiere in February 2015 by members of University of California Irvine’s Etude Ensemble. In 2014 McKayle said, “I watched the reports and pictures of young children carried by their older

siblings, parting from their mothers, climbing the border fences of our country in search of freedom from oppression, poverty, and desperation. I watched the young and watched the mother, sad brave and selfless. I read the reports, heard the talks and started a process of getting in touch with the different aspects of being uprooted from a country, a culture and genetic memories and replanting yourself in a different land. Besides personal past memories, I took a deep look at the whole generation of my students and their different ethnic backgrounds. Some may have come here legally or undocumented or were already born here in the US to parents that came here looking for a better life. I observed them being American, yet carrying their cultural heritage and genetic memory, and their upbringing by hard working families grateful for the opportunities available to their children. This thought process led me to whole-heartedly want to create a dance expressing the story of one such ethnic group the closest to our borders, yet encompassing within it all others in the replanted part, which will express their rightful claim to belong with no prejudice, with rights intact to their new land through theirs and their families hard work, sacrifices and dedication.”

asks a guard for a piece of chalk so that she can write on the wall. As she completes a drawing of a beautiful boat, she magically positions herself in the boat which begins to sail until it disappears from the wall completely. In 2018, the Government of Mexico is celebrating the 125th Anniversary of its Consulate in Denver, Colorado. The cultural links between Colorado and Mexico are deep. Three generations of American dance heritage are linked in a photo exhibition, opening in the CPRD Theatre lobby on May 4th. The photo exhibition will show at CPRD through the end of June.. Editor’s note: Carmen will perform at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, 119 Park Ave. West, Denver, Friday, May 4 and 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 5 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. Ticket are $45 adult tickets; $40 seniors (62+); and $35 children (12 and under), youth (13–18); and students. Group discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. To purchase online, visit www.cleoparkerdance. org or call 303-295-1759 x13.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


A Spectrum of Mixed Feelings Brings Controversy To Denver Community T

By Charles Emmons

he political season is upon us. Mid-term elections are often viewed as not that critical, so voter turnout is small compared to presidential elections. But even though Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s possible re-election to a third term is months away, there is cause for concern. In the last few months, he has weathered a storm that started with a February television interview on Channel 7 facilitated by investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski. He and other investigative reporters in the metro area received an anonymous letter detailing incidents of alleged sexual harassment by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock against a detective, Leslie Branch-Wise who had been on his security detail in 2011 and 2012. The story broke on Feb. 28 and three days later Mayor Hancock initiated an “apology tour.” It seems as if Kovaleski is the only reporter able to coax Branch-Wise in for an interview about the incidents. Detective Branch-Wise did not grant interviews to anyone else but Kovaleski, thus declining an interview with Denver Urban Spectrum. Perhaps the letter was sent as a result of the #MeToo movement sweeping the country, a movement started by a Black woman, Tarana Burke. Or perhaps it is something else. Hancock has his critics and detractors. Not everyone is satisfied with the mayor and his record, which is generally viewed positively. But, maybe it was a combination. Mayor Hancock has admitted that the text messages sent to Detective Branch-Wise, which came out in the Kovaleski interview, were inappropriate and unprofessional, but does not concur that they reach the level of harassment, which is generally determined in court or through an investigation. “Not everything is a fire-able offense,” Hancock told the Denver Women’s Commission on March 1. In elaborating on this point he told the

Spectrum, “You know when these sort of things come up, you have to step back and try to understand what occurred and make decisions based upon the information that you have in front of you, and the facts that you have in front of you. As we see these sorts of things happening around the country, and certainly here in Colorado, I think it’s important that we always make decisions based on facts. Because regardless of how these things come about, there is a human toll to all of this, and we must make sure that any decisions that we make are defensible and are rendered based on fact.” Laws in this area are often complicated, widely interpreted, and murky, especially in the public sphere as they relate to elected officials. You might even say they are flawed, because they were originally designed for the workplace in the private sector. Harassment is viewed as discrimination, and gender or sex has been assessed the same as any other protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964). Protection and confidentiality of both the victim and the offender, as well as liability of the organization or employer, have been a critical precedent. It is apparent that we are at a crossroads with this issue as more and more women and men are coming forward with their stories in the private sector, as well as the nation’s capital, state houses, and city halls across the country. There have been numerous resignations, like U.S. Representative John Conyers and U.S Senator Al Franken, and in Colorado, Representative Steve Lebsock was expelled from office by his legislative peers. On April 11, 9 News held the first televised debate, Decision 2018: Race for governor. When asked by a show of hands, if they believed there should be serious consequences for Mayor Michael Hancock for sexual harassment, all three candidates Mike Johnston, Cary Kennedy and Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynn displayed their opinion by not raising their hands. As we hear these stories, there is a tendency to lump everyone together as equal offenders, under the label of sexual misconduct. There are degrees of offense that must be reckoned with each individual case, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recognized this. One person’s perception of harassment through innuendo is another’s view of innocent banter.

discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and other protected classes. Title VII applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, as well as federal, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions. “Unwelcome sexual advances requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”

–Facts about Sexual Harassment U.S. EEOC

“When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination is from the facts on a case-by case basis.”

–Facts about Sexual Harassment U.S. EEOC

The EEOC is one investigative body. Most organizations also have an internal mechanism, usually through HR departments for both investigating and preventing incidents of harassment. Local and state governments frequently look to the federal level for precedent and guidance in developing laws and policy. Denver city government’s harassment policies are codified in the Career Service Authority Rule Book. Rule 16-22 Harassment and Discrimination (Revised September 21, 2017; Rule Revision Memo 28D states, A. Career Service employees have a right to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment because of the employee’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic information, military status, age, marital status, political affiliation, or any other status protected under federal, state, and/or local law. B. Types of Harassment: Harassment because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic information, military status, age, marital status, political affiliation, or any other status protected under federal, state, and/or local law, includes but is not limited to: 1. Verbal conduct such as epithets, derogatory comments, slurs, unwanted sexual advances, invitations, or comments; 2. Visual conduct such as derogatory posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings, or gestures; 3. Physical conduct such as assault,

Definition of harassment Sexual harassment laws fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


unwanted touching, blocking normal movement, or interfering with work directed at an employee because of the employee’s sex, race, or other protected basis; and 4. Threats or demands to submit to sexual requests in order to keep a job or avoid some other loss, and offers of job benefits in return for sexual favors. The expectation is that our elected officials will conduct themselves professionally, but it seems we are in a different era. Nationally, we have a president accused of sexual harassment and assault, which is recorded as admitting to the act. There is a cruel irony that this same president, declared April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But Mayor Michael Hancock isn’t Donald Trump. Hancock has admitted to sending the text messages of questionable content, and has apologized to Detective Branch-Wise. Most cited text messages referred to Branch-Wise as being called sexy, and asked whether she had ever taken a pole-dancing class. She has accepted his apology, but according to reporting by Kovaleski, is somewhat disappointed that city council has not moved for an investigation into Hancock’s conduct. Because there are no disputed facts, the city council has declined to move forward with further investigation.

Denver City Council Statement In an April 2 statement, after extensive deliberation and executive sessions, Denver City Council President Albus Brooks said, “Since we are not the judicial branch, we are unable to make a legal conclusion about the mayor’s conduct and there are no disputed facts.” He continued, “In 2013 Detective BranchWise waived any opportunity to pursue the legal process where these types of legal conclusions are typically made. Council is deeply concerned that there is not a process to make a complaint against a Denver elected official for sexual harassment.” Detective Branch-Wise is a police officer, a position that one would normally associate with strong mindedness and confidence, but yet she felt vulnerable. “It made me physically sick and it was scary,” said Branch-Wise in the interview with Kovaleski. “It’s painful…takes me back to that day and those days. I can't be silenced by the city anymore.”

–Detective Leslie Branch-Wise

It is instructive to hear from experts treating victims of gendered abuse, because of the commonality of these

feelings in the workplace. “They feel vulnerable, maybe a little bit of control about something they don't know quite how to address. Maybe some self-blame, sometimes fear is involved depending on who the person is and what form the harassment has taken. It can be all over the map,” said Executive Director Cathy Phelps of The Center for Trauma and Resilience. Hancock has repeatedly insisted in on-camera interviews that he has nothing to hide and that he has been open and transparent about what happened as he remembers six years ago. He says that he blurred the lines between being a friend and a boss. As a result of a sexual harassment complaint against one of Hancock’s aides, who was subsequently fired, BranchWise received a $75,000 settlement from the city in 2013 and agreed not to bring complaints against anyone else in the city. It is difficult to remedy complaints of sexual harassment in the courts, so they are often resolved in the court of public opinion, especially for elected officials. Silence, mediation and settlement are often the solution. Nationally, millions of dollars have been paid out for the thousands of complaints received by the EEOC annually. In the private sector there is an effort to remove the offender from the victim, and the whole process is bent on the liability of the organization or employer. With elected officials, especially those at the top, the question arises what is the recourse for the victim? Who do you tell? What we have seen most often recently is resignation, but this may not always be appropriate depending upon the course and degree of the alleged offense. “I am not doing this because I want him to resign. He shouldn't make someone who has no power afraid.”

–Detective Branch-Wise

Unfortunately, Branch-Wise is not providing additional interviews but DUS would ask her, what is it she wants now for the Mayor? It often takes time before victims of harassment are comfortable coming forward. But then what is the remedy? There is an emotional toll. Apologies help, but they may never erase the pain. “It's the political thing to do. It's the right thing to do,” said Phelps. “The behavior has long lasting deep ramifications for many women survivors, and because we don't know what their previous retrospective history has been, has this happened to

them before, has there been another trauma that they've had to deal with, have they been isolated before around this kind of thing? It can trigger an avalanche of feelings so I'm not sure if you're asking me if the apology makes this all go away. It doesn't. That's not feasible that's not real.” In an emotional on-camera conversation with Kovaleski, Hancock said, “I wish she had shared with me how much it hurt her at the time. That is not the character of the man I am. It’s time for me to lean in and accept responsibility and give everything I have to this city.” Since the interview with Kovaleski, the Denver mayor has tried to get out in front of this scandal. He has his critics and supporters, some critics have conflated Hancock’s past alleged missteps in this area and other areas of governing and policy with the current one and are attempting to make political hay and set the barn on fire. Supporters have stood up for Hancock and seem receptive to his apology and taking responsibility within the parameters of city government and the Denver City Charter. The community conversation is lively in venues like Let’s Talk, a live talk forum, where Brother Jeff and former KDVRTV reporter Jon Bowman discuss issue and the players. In a March Facebook session, Bowman commented that Branch-Wise failed to file a harassment complaint both when she first became a detective and when she was subsequently moved to the executive security detail. The aide who allegedly harassed Branch-Wise was fired, and sued the city. It appears that Hancock sought the correct legal remedy, but in Branch-Wise’s view this wasn’t enough. Both she and the alleged harasser subsequently received settlements. Bowman also commented that it’s important not to merge the issues in evaluating Mayor Hancock referencing to a recent article in the Cherry Creek Glendale neighborhood paper which brought up the brothel Hancock allegedly frequented in his second term, attempting to connect the dots to this current issue and paint the mayor as someone no longer worthy of the public’s trust. But there are others in his corner.

“When an elected official shows bad judgment and makes a bad decision, yet steps forward to take ownership for said mistake – that is still leadership. We do not agree with or endorse what the Mayor Continued on page 10

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


A Spectrum of Mixed Feelings Continued from page 9 did or said, but we can appreciate the fact that he didn't run, hide or lie.”

–John Bailey in an email message from the Colorado Black Roundtable

Technology has been both an affliction and a boon. Text messages brought this all on, yet Mayor Hancock has received support through email blasts into the community, and has been able to address the issue through the Internet and social media. “He has been very transparent about his actions, apologized to his family and the people of the City and County of Denver. I don't condone Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s behavior. However, I do accept his apology as a Black woman and community advocate. I support him staying as Denver Mayor to finish his vision of making Denver a great city.”

–Maya Wheeler, Chair, African American Initiative of the Colorado Democrats, in a letter to the community.

Denver is a great city, and came into its own because of visionary leaders in the past 30 years. Three of its mayors during this time have been either African-American or Hispanic. They were responsible for closing and moving a major international airport, the re-development of federal lands with the closing of a U.S. Armed Forces facilities (Lowry AFB) and the development of the Denver Tech Center. Denver’s development continues in the Hancock administration. Pena, Webb and Hancock were perhaps not expected to succeed, and were all under scrutiny as they lead a city with low percentages of minority constituent populations. Minority populations in Denver still continue to struggle, sometimes marginalized by law enforcement, and communities are frequently challenged to have their voices heard by senior leadership positions. We have a capable African American City Council President in Albus Brooks and across the city green in the statehouse eight African American leaders combine to represent us in both the House and the Senate. Opportunities are cherished in this environment. Yet when events don't happen, or decisions are contrary to perceptions or expected outcomes, opposition groups coalesce, and there is some-

times a piling on effect. One of Mayor Hancock’s most vocal critics, Lisa Calderon, who has sometimes allied with the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), organized a rally on the City Hall steps calling for the mayor to resign under the hashtag #TimesUp Hancock. Calderon, Cochair of the Colorado Latino Forum Denver, has advocated for greater diversity within upper levels of Denver Law Enforcement agencies. Currently the Denver Sheriff Dept. is 48 percent white, 29 percent Hispanic, and 17 percent African American. Of the eight chiefs in the department, two are Hispanic, and none are African American. Throughout Hancock’s tenure, the Denver Sherriff Department and the Denver Police Department has had its leadership challenges. As of this writing, Denver Police Chief Robert White just announced his future retirement after serving the city six years. Calderon has advocated for a May 2019 ballot initiative for an election of the Denver Sheriff. She believes an elected Sheriff would be more accountable to communities. Denver is one of two Colorado counties where the Sheriff is appointed. The police union has been critical of leadership. Despite reforms implemented by Hancock, the Denver Sheriff Department still has issues with overcrowding and resultant increased violence, excessive overtime, understaffing and attrition. In an extensive letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper, listing grievances, and systemic problems with Denver leaders impacting public safety, which included the harassment of Detective Branch-Wise, FOP called for Hancock’s resignation. The union has suggested in statements on YouTube that they have to use any tactic available to get the administration’s attention. In the letter they urged Hickenlooper to call upon the Attorney General to open an investigation. Hickenlooper has not acted on the request, stating “As we get into issues around the workplace, and people’s rights to work in a place without being intimidated or somehow undergoing behavior that is really inappropriate, our laws probably aren’t sufficient to what people – the public – really expects now. And I think that’s one of the issues that is going to come up…its already coming up in certain ways in the state legislature.” Calderon has also been somewhat embedded in the Denver Sheriff Department. Since 2007, she has been the executive director of the Community Re-entry Project (CRP),

which is modeled on the Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) program for inmates going back into the community. Denver was one of six learning sites in the first phase of TJC Initiative. “The premise of TJC is that re-entry starts before release,” says Calderon, who was one of the first national leaders of the TJC model, and initiated it in Denver. She was trained by the National Institute of Corrections and the Urban Institute on re-entry best practices. The state inmate population is increasingly female, nearing 10 percent, the highest level in nine years and is expected to grow 50 percent as reported in Colorado Politics by independent journalist Gabrielle Bryant. The $500K CRP contract stopped in December 2017, and was not renewed for 2018. In April, Calderon filed a first amendment lawsuit in federal court against Hancock and the city, claiming that Hancock retaliated against her because of her prior criticism of him in June 2017 and Denver Sheriff Firman’s lack of diversity at the executive levels, and the demotion of Chief Gary Wilson, the first African American Denver Sheriff. She also claims the contract was given to a coalition of organizations, two of which have been under investigation for sexual harassment and hostile environments, Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and La Raza Services. She says they alerted the administration and CPCC of this in October and also the Crime Prevention Control Commission, raising the issue that it's inappropriate to place women in harm's way of these men.” Finally the lawsuit claims that the contract was denied because she was the only woman applying. Mayor Hancock cannot speak to the lawsuit, but has said that the contract award was made through the competitive bid process. Calderon has held this contract since 2007, and it was last competitively bid in 2011. According to the city, the notice of intent to re-bid the contract was sent to Calderon in 2016, and Denver Human Services Communications Director Julie Smith provided DUS a timeline in refuting her claims beginning in 2016, outlining steps and procedures, up to Feb. 12, 2018. Executive Order 8 (XO 8) requires that city contracts be competitive and that any exceeding $500,000 be constantly monitored and goes out to bid every 3-5 years. Calderon has claimed that the most recent contract award was a sham, verging on collusion between Hancock and staffers in the Denver Sheriff’s Department. The council committee meeting to vote on the resolution to send the contract to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


the larger city council was on March 7. It passed 5-2. That same day the #TimesUp Hancock rally was held on the steps of city hall. It was attended by some of Mayor Hancock’s most vocal critics. The city has viewed this as politicizing the competitive bid process. “We need a mayor who understands that texting a subordinate about pole dancing is never appropriate conduct,” Calderon told the assembled group of 60 at the rally. After 12 years as a legal director for victims of domestic violence, Calderon’s commitment is unshakeable. She seeks accountability, and thinks non action or investigation sends the wrong message, but stresses that this issue of harassment is bigger in the community. We can't continue to deny that harassment continues on in what we might consider our safe spaces and institutions, our government, our schools and even our churches and the conversations must continue. “We’ve dealt with it and dealt with it and dealt with it and ignored it and navigated around the minefield of it, repressed it we've laughed it off, we’ve cried it off, said Cathy Phelps. “We've not really had a forum to say this is not, okay let's change the culture. That's what this whole #MeToo movement is bringing to light.” The #MeToo movement has brought many things to light, including the opportunity for other issues to come into existence which could be good or bad, depending on the outcomes. With so many unanswered questions still hovering over these allegations, we also cannot blur the accusations. Nor can we mix apples with oranges. We’ve always heard that what is done in the dark will come to light. It has brought to light the need to continue conversations for future generations. Most importantly, it has been a teachable moment for some. Mayor Michael Hancock says that he has learned from this. “One of the most important things for me is I thought about what the accusations were, and we had a chance to face the issue. And I was quite sure that I had to issue the apology to the detective. And then secondly do everything we can to get the city moving forward again so that we did not neglect the job that the people asked me to do. And so what I have attempted to do in the aftermath of all this is to be present, be engaged in the community, and be engaged as mayor of the city. And to be forthright and transparent when I am out in public with people and they want to talk about it. It hasn't been all that often that people want to talk about it. My thing is not to bury it, but to talk about it and be honest, and to be straight forward about it and move on as a person and as a city.”.

Exercise: A Remedy for Stress Relief Yet another

By Kim Farmer

great reason to start working out. If you have been feeling stressed due to work or personal reasons, then an hour at the gym is just what the doctor ordered! Research shows that people who hit the gym frequently show far lower levels of stress than those who do not work out at all. So going to the gym and breaking a sweat will not only make you healthier and help you get a more fit and toned body, it will also help you become happier and more relaxed. The report regarding the amazing effects that working out has on stress were published by the reputed Harvard Medical School and are a reason for you to take notice. If you are fed up with being trapped in a cycle of stress eating, which in turn affects your physical fitness, then exercising regularly will help you kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you be able to burn off all the excess calories gained from the stress eating, you also get rid yourself of stress, effectively killing the unhealthy eating habits. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), an organization that helps anxiety and depression patients cope with their problems and find help and support, also reports that a number of its members and website visitors use exercise as a means to cope with their problems. So if you are feeling a little down in the dumps, join your local gym or rec center, go out and take a walk or run or hop on your bike for a little TLC.

Get happier by working out

As it turns out, looking good can actually make you happier. Working out and having a toned body not only

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

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Exercising is also meditation

Believe it or not, your focus will improve remarkably once you start working out. Training your brain for consistent exercise requires discipline that will carry over into other aspects of your life. Engaging in actual meditation also has many positive benefits for stress relief; however exercise can have the same anxiety reducing results due to the changes in hormone levels and longer term changes in physical appearance and overall happiness. Need a little help getting started? Ask a friend or coworker to help you get started by simply taking a walk together. Join a new and fun fitness class at a local gym or rec center or get help from a professional if you need more direction and accountability. If you have something keeping you from getting started, identify the barriers and make small steps to overcome them. Once you get started, it will be easy to keep going as you begin to realize the benefits. Stay motivated and never give up! . Editor’s note: Kim Farmer, of Mile High Fitness & Wellness, offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

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founded the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. in New York City in 1935 for the edification of Black women and women of all races and nationalities on a spiritual, social, cultural, and civic level so that they would be able to give back and enrich our communities and country. In 1947, the National Council of Negro Women-Denver Section was organized. For 81 years, the Denver Section continues to promote empowerment and unity among women of color in matters affecting the educational, cultural, economic, social and spiritual life of our people through innovative community programs. The National Council of Negro Woman–Denver Section honored six Living Portraits marking the 26th annual ceremony and celebrating the birthday of NCNW National President Emeritus Dorothy J. Height. A reception was held on March 24 at the Denver Central Library during International Woman’s History Month to honor phenomenal women and youth who have excelled in the community and are leading in matters that makes us all proud. Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris moderated the event. The honorees were serenaded by vocal artist Alicia Bryant Mayes and Boys Day provided escorts Brett Kelley and Michael Anthony Crosby. Program Planning Committee consisted of Pamela M. Miller, Chair; Sherry Delaney, Gail Pough, Terry Nelson, Deborah Tucker, Sheila Smith, Carol McCallum Schockness, LaShanda Weston and Valorie Yarbrough, President. Following are the 2108 Living Portraits honorees:

26TH NCNW ANNUAL CEREMONY Submitted by Valorie Yarbrough Photos by Gadison Photograpy

to build the self-efficacy of youth who desire to make change in our communities, pursue social science degrees, and social justice careers. The mission of YAASPA is to encourage and support disengaged youth and underserved youth to participate in their communities socially and politically in order to make changes within their community.

GENESIS OATS – YOUTH LEADERSHIP Genesis Oats has been an active participant in various community and programs and organizations that promote youth excellence. She knows the true importance of leadership and recognizes the importance of stepping forward and creating change. She was a teen mentor for the Dr. Justina Ford STEM Institute, board member for Sources of Strength, a Suicide prevention program; Arts Students of Color Alliance, a support group that supports students dealing with issues of race in society and school; and won title of Miss Black Teen Colorado 2017. Her mission is to help empower youth through their voices, art and talent.


General Assembly. Senator Williams has been recognized on a National Level for her work on Rebuilding Trust between Community and Police. She is known for working across the aisle to find solutions to complex issues and is committed to passing legislation that advances equality for all women and underserved communities.


Sharon Bailey has held several administrative positions in higher education and municipal government and currently works with the school district as a Program Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Bailey is the recipient of numerous awards but one of her highest honors received was when the Council of Great City schools recognized her con-

tribution to urban education with the Green Garner Award. She has traveled the globe networking, presenting scholarly papers, and establishing outreach projects related to issues that affect women, families, educational opportunity and economic, political and social empowerment. Dr. Bailey was primary and researcher and author of the qualitative study An Examination of Student Educator Experiences in DPS through the Voices of African American Teachers and Administrators.


Janiece Mackey is co-founder and executive Director of Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA), which endeavors


Angela Williams is the current Colorado State Senator representing District 33. She currently serves on the Business Affairs and Labor Committee and the Joint Technology Committee. Senator Williams is the first African American female to serve as the House Majority Caucus Chair. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in the Colorado Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


J’Lynn Terroade is a student body president at East High School where she maintains a 4.6 GPA. J’Lynn is brilliant, a strategic thinker, has a passion for humanity, and is civic minded. She is involved in many school, civic and social issues such as National Honor Society and Black Student Alliance. She volunteers at the Food Bank of the Rockies, Teller Elementary, Senior Support Services, and Art of the Nations. She will major in Science/Psychology at Howard University this fall.


Dr. Claudette Sweet has been a distinguished leader in the community for years. She has been the recipient of numerous community service awards and featured in several publications including Who’s Who in Colorado. She is a gifted vocalist and community activist. She uses her talents both on and off the stage to impart wisdom to others through activism and the art of music and storytelling. In 2004, she was honored with a Doctor of Humanitarianism by Dr. Malcolm Newton of the Denver Institute of Urban Studies. During her tenure as President she introduced the annual “Living Portraits” and “Harambee Brunch Award” Programs in 1992.. Editor’s note: NCNW mission is to lead, empower and advocate for woman and their families. The Denver Section meets the 3rd Saturday of each month. For more information, visit

Law Enforcement in African American Communities Have a Long and Troubled History

By Thomas Holt Russell

“We ain’t riotin’ agains’ all you whites. We’re riotin’ agains’ police brutality, like that cab driver they beat up the other night. That stuff goes on all the time. When the police treat us like people ‘stead of treatin’ us like animals, then the riots will stop.” William Furr, 1967

– speaking to reporter Dale Wittner and photographer Bud Lee, before he was fatally shot in the back by police.

Memories have their own per-

sonality. Some are noisy, always getting your attention and never leaving you alone. Others are shy, only surfacing during the oddest of times and seemingly at random. Some are so faint you wonder if the memory is of something that actually happened or was it a dream, or maybe something you were told or heard. Those memories live between all possibilities and are like ghost. I’ve had a memory of

an image that haunted me for years that I could never get rid of. Thanks to the digital revolution, I was able to research and add some texture to that memory. Whenever I see Black civil unrest on television (something we have seen a lot of in the wake of Black men being killed by cops), I think about a Life Magazine cover from 1967, and how things seem to have gone backwards from the achievements we’ve made since that time. I think one of the reasons this cover photo has burned into my memory is that the boy in the photograph seemed to be my own age. I was 10 at the time. The picture is of a young Black boy, shot by a cop, lying and bleeding in a Newark street. Was it something in my head or was it real? I only say it once, but that

was enough. It seemed like the photo had vacated, not only my own consciousness, but the collective consciousness of America. It is just like the falling man pho-

tograph taken during the Twin Towers attack of 9/11. That photo of a man falling, somewhat gracefully, was only published once, but no one who saw it could ever forget it. But the media, under the rare instance of self-censorship, decided that it was best for the public to not see images of people jumping from the towers. The public did not take kindly to the photo of the falling man. It seems during our present times, that someone would have pulled up that old magazine cover photo of the bleeding boy and use it to illustrate a point that police shooting Black males is not a new or a current fad. They could prove that the interaction between Black males and law enforcement was never a cozy relationship. With the recent police shootings, I thought about this magazine cover again and I decided to do something about it. I knew the Internet would give me the answer. Just a few weeks earlier, I had already did research on another Life Magazine article, Gordon Parks’ 1948 photo essay on a young

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Harlem gang leader. It was not hard to find. I wanted to see if this was really something I had seen. My faulty memory told me I picked up the magazine while in a barber shop. The photograph shocked me. I put it down but could not stop looking at it. It didn’t take long at all after a Google search. I was able to see my memory had served me well this time. Several Websites had images of the magazine and more than a few of them showed other photos taken at that time that disturbed me even more than the cover photo. I viewed the photo slowly, trying to take in all the details. It seemed he was dead. He laid on his right side, slightly bent, as if to make a bow of his gangly body. A patch of deep red blood collected on the sidewalk under his raised, dangling elbow. For some reason, I remember his shoes the most. He had on a very dirty pair of white Converse All-Stars, the most popular shoe in my Bronx neighborhood. The shoes and the fact that he was Black and about my age may have been the reason the photographs have haunted me for so long. That could have easily been me. It seemed he was alone in the middle of the street, dead, without a soul near him. But after looking at all of the original photos taken that day, I found that he was not totally alone. At one point at least, there were several people around him. The Life cover’s logo also hides the shoes of some on-lookers. The late sixties were tumultuous for America. I was only slightly aware of the events that were happening around me. The Viet Nam War, civil rights marches, the rise of Black Nationalism, hippies, drugs and music, were prominent among media and in our society. Even though there was a lot of social upheaval during that time, I was sheltered from most of the turmoil. It was not that my grand-

mother consciously or purposely kept those things away from me. It was mostly that for me, watching the news was an incidental occupation. If any adult happened to be looking at the news while I was in the room that was the only time I would care to see or hear the news. I certainly did not have a deep understanding of what I did see and heard on the news. Must of the stuff I did see on television, was just that, stuff I’d see on television. I never witnessed rallies or marches; no one ever rioted in my neighborhood; hippies and anti-war protesters were nowhere to be found. There was the real world, and the world of media such as television, movies, magazines and newspapers. They all depicted events from another planet and had little to do with my Bronx world. This was the backdrop when I picked up a Life Magazine to browse while I waited for a haircut. And the color photograph of a young Black boy lying in the street and bleeding after being shot by police during the Newark riots made me realize there were some very important things going on outside of my bubble. The photograph seeped into my world, bringing with it an element of danger and assaulted my idea of being safe. If it could happen to that kid, it could happen to me and all of my friends. Though I have never experienced what was going on in Newark, Detroit and other cities across the United States, it all felt familiar to me somehow. From the angle of his body, it definitely looked like he was dead. Even looking at the photographs now, he still seems to be dead, but he survived the shooting. The kid in the photograph was 12-year old Joe Bass Jr. He was a shoeshine boy who caught a couple of pellets in the neck and thigh from one of the policemen who was shooting at a looter. Other photographs show a cigar-chomping cop, carrying a shotgun and walking pass Bass as he was lying and bleeding on the sidewalk. Another photo shows a

police wagon parked next to his body with no one in sight to help him. When William Furr was shot and killed after running away from cops, that’s when Joe Bass was shot and labeled as an inadvertent victim. Furr, as stated above, was speaking with the Life Magazine, photographer and reporter before he was shot after taking a case of beer out of an abandoned store. The photographer actually took photographs of Furr looting the store. When he refused to stop after running away from police, he was shot in the back and died shortly after. The same pellets from the shotgun blast that killed Furr are the same that wounded Bass. Furr was just one of 26 people who were killed during that riot, which lasted from July 12, to July 17, during a summer that produced 159 race riots across the America. Where is Joe Bass today? I searched but I could not find anything on him. He, just like his cover photo, seemed to have disappeared. He’s not even listed as one of the victims at the Rise Up Newark Website, which goes into detail about the Newark Uprising. He would be a senior citizen today, maybe with kids or grandkids even. Regardless of what became of him, that photograph of him will last forever. It’s a reminder the issues in our inner cities are older than all of us. There is a myriad of issues that plague us still and we need to address these issues straight on. It is the usual suspects – jobs, education, drugs, crime, etc. Even Trump knows we are in danger. We are so fucked-up that he asked us what did we have to lose if we elect him. We can’t wait for politics to solve any problem, let alone the problems for people of color. We have to make sure to continue to solve these issues and hopefully we will not produce new images that will haunt us for our entire lives. . Editor’s note: Thomas Holt Russell is a teacher, writer, and photographer. For more information, visit www.thomasholtrussell.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Ground Rules

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

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


The Downfall of Pacific Rim Uprising l

it’s not all about the name on the poster. His supporting cast has done a great job. Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Collateral Beauty) is a scientist who was fired by the evil corporation but is trying to help save the animals. Malin Akerman (Watchmen, 27 Dresses) is the evil head of the company who ran the experiment with her brother, played by Jake Lacy (The Office, Carol). Together, they do a good job at being hated enough to make their just deserts enjoyable. There was a surprise performance from Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen, The Losers) as a gov-

By Kavann Tok

In the first Pacific Rim, directed by


Rampage lll

By Jon Rutledge

ampage is the love story from Dwayne Johnson’s days of playing Rampage at the arcade. There is nothing wrong with this because who doesn’t love a giant monster movie? The formula being City plus giant monsters mayhem and spectacular effects. They did not recreate the story of the video game but they did capture its spirit. The story they use makes more sense in a more modern setting, even if it’s a bit dodgy with the science. You have three animals that have been affected by genetically altering canisters of gas that fell to earth from a secret science lab in space because the research being done is highly unethical. (I know, I know, just run with me) One lands in a zoo and affects George an albino gorilla. One in Colorado and affects a gray wolf, and one in the Florida Everglades, affecting a crocodile. The evil corporation trying to gather the data they need from the monsters set off a highfrequency beacon that drives the monsters crazy and draws them to the headquarters. Of course, The Rock is going to be the star and center of attention but his presences is secondary to the giant monsters. Unlike other films with mega start,

ernment agent looking to contain the situation. He always does a good job but this character was not as unsavory as some of his previous roles. The star of the show is George the CGI gorilla who drives all of the emotional goodwill of the film. It’s his story that is way more compelling than any of the others on the screen. The Rock has to perform some superhuman feats to keep up with his gigantic co-star. Try not looking too closely at the reality of the situation when dealing with a giant monster film besides, it’s a fun ride. Interesting side note: Remember that horrible director of video game movies? Uwe Boll took offense to Warner Bros. doing a video game movie. In a Deadline Hollywood report, Boll explained in a statement why he is threading legal action. He says the film would “confuse the audience” and it would “shrink” his brand. (I know, I know, just run with me on this.) His trilogy has nothing to do with the video game and it’s hard to imagine his brand getting any smaller. He asserts the film “is one of those typical feel-good, popcorn bullshit movies that the studios use to brainwash America even more!” I understand Boll is unfamiliar with what entertainment is, considering his body of work, but speaking as one of the American sheep, I was entertained, pass the popcorn, please.

Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth and Shape of Water), colossal beasts known as Kaijus emerge from beneath the Pacific Ocean, which we later discover are entering from an interdimensional portal. An alien race uses them as war machines sent to wreak havoc on our world. Yet humanity strikes back with the use of Jaegers, giant robotic mech suits piloted by two or more people mentally connected through a process called drifting, which helps alleviate the pressure Jaeger pilots endure during combat. Pacific Rim Uprising picks up where the last story left off, taking place in the aftermath of a Kaiju ravaged world. The next generation rebuilds society, riddled with the bones of Kaijus, gigantic genetically engineered monsters. In the year 2030, some of the remaining survivors loot Jaeger parts from wrecked robotic suits that are worth a lot of money on the black market. Others learn to build new Jaegers out of scrap parts in order to defeat the Kaijus in the event they return to reclaim Earth. Pacific Rim Uprising is Steven S. DeKnight’s feature-film directorial debut. This is one of the many reasons why this sequel falls flat in comparison to Guillermo Del Toro’s original vision. Most of the cast is filled with young stars, such as Cailee Spaeny and John Boyega. Characters from the original cast include Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day), Herman Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Even Boyega, who played Finn in recent Star Wars

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


films, couldn’t save this movie from dry dialogue and lack of substance. The entertainment value suffers a serious case of the mundane, simply

Pacific Rim Uprising

made to cash in on the success of its predecessor. There wasn’t enough story development to make this film worthwhile. Considering the youthful ages of the new Jaeger cadets, it often felt more like watching Power Rangers. The special effect sequences were the most exciting moments of the film, and they were few and far between. The script of Pacific Rim Uprising felt rushed, unfinished and didn’t contain all the pulpy details of the original. A sequel should propel the story forward in an epic fashion. Unfortunately, the pacing of the story felt processed and slow as a snail’s crawl, leaving the viewer with a déjà vu feeling that they’ve somehow seen this all before. Even the Kaijus weren’t as scary this time around. In fact, there’s never any real threat because they have the technology to evacuate an entire city within a few moments. The intended humor fell flat. However, the unintended humor was the display of destruction the Jaegers inflicted on their own city for no apparent reason, almost as much as the Kaijus.All in all, nothing new to see here. Move along.

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony lll


By Khaleel Herbert

yler Perry takes his filmmaking to obsessive lengths with Acrimony. When devoted wife, Melinda (Taraji P. Henson), is sent to anger management, she recounts her 18-year love life with ex-husband Robert (Lyriq Bent) that includes sacrifice, doubt and infidelity. In college, they meet in the rain, (hence, why Mel says she can’t stand the rain). Robert offers to help her with a paper for one of her classes.



When her mother dies, Robert visits her to offer comfort (which turns into a hanky-panky when they’re alone in his RV). Robert tells Mel his dream of making a rechargeable battery that could power cars and houses. He hopes to take the plan to a local company. As Mel falls deeper and deeper in love with Robert, she invests in his dream with the money her mother left her (350 grand). Her older sisters (Jazmyn Simon and Ptosha Storey) advise against it. But through thick and thin, Mel and Robert stay together and tie the knot. Eighteen years pass. Mel is working two jobs, while Robert is still trying to get his battery off the ground. The company that he kept sending pitches to has a restraining order against him. Since Mel is sterile, they have no children. Tensions rise when Robert runs into Diana (Crystle Stewart) an old flame from college before he got married. Mel has suspicions that he’s cheating on her and as her suspicions deepen, her sanity is pushed to its limits. Henson plays the hell out of her role. Like Lynn Whitfield’s Brandi in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Melinda has worked hard to support her man. But he still disappoints her and it hurts her heart, especially when she invested all of her money to help him. When things finally go right for Robert, he shares that success with another woman…so Mel wants to get her satisfaction by any means necessary. Acrimony has a story that keeps you invested. We see Henson talking to the therapist (and we never see the therapist’s face, but we hear her voice) and she tells her story in one big vivid flashback, similar to a technique used in Forrest Gump. There are times in the second act where the story lags. But it picks up by the third act, specifically where Melinda becomes as unhinged as Beyoncé swinging that baseball bat in her “Hold Up” music video. Not even her sisters and best

friend can talk her down from the ledge of insanity. Tyler Perry steps away from Madea’s comical adventures into a dramatic thriller that allows Taraji P. Henson to steal the show and reach her full acting potential, an awardwinning performance.


Isle of Dogs Barks up the Right Tree lll By Kavann Tok

sle of Dogs is Wes Anderson’s second animated feature film which he produced, wrote and directed. Anderson is most known for a variety of independent award-winning comedy/drama such as The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Similar to Tim Burton, Anderson has a love for the lost art of stop-motion animation as demonstrated with his first witty animated movie Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Although Isle of Dogs may seem like an adorable children film, some parents may not wish to take their kids to see this one. It’s more of a dark comedy filled with political undertones about dictatorship and the power of government. For all intent purposes, the dog’s dialogue is in English, while all the human characters spoke Japanese. In Megasaki City, Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) decides to exploit an outbreak of a canine flu virus to his advantage, simply because he doesn’t like dogs. He uses the media as a tool of propaganda, spreading fear that the virus is an epidemic that could spread to humans, merely as an effort to rid the land of all dogs. They are forced to live in a penal colony and in exile on Trash Island. Spots (Liev Schreiber) is the first dog to be sent there who belongs to 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi, the orphaned nephew of

Isle of Dogs

Mayor Kobayashi. Consequently, Atari travels to Trash Island in a hijacked plane in hopes to find Spots and bring him back home. Isle of Dogs animated feature boasts an all-star cast of voice actors with talents such as Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton and many more. Bryan Cranston plays the main top dog named Chief, and Scarlett Johansson plays his love interest, a sweet, wellbehaved dog that goes by Nutmeg. Isle of Dogs is sure to delight Wes Anderson fans, not falling short of his one of a kind, cutting edge satire. Although his movies tend to share a

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


few common denominators such as using many of the same actors, each film is unique and different in its ownway. Some may find the story slightly dark in nature, but Isle of Dogs is also filled with moments of hope and inspiration. Ultimately, it’s about a boy’s love for his dog and how far he’s willing to go to get him back. It’s an adventurous journey of newfound friendships that form an alliance to overcome overwhelming odds in hopes to reverse poor decisions made by a governing official. The scenes are beautifully crafted together to represent a dystopian, futuristic Japan and is worth a watch. .

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Lisa Givens Named

Personal Chef of the Year Career change from telecommunications to kitchen proves to be a success for Aurora-based Gourmet Away owner.


isa Givens’ commitment to excellence has earned her the title 2018 Personal Chef of the Year. The designation was awarded by the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA), the largest and most wellestablished association for professionals working in the industry. Givens is a member of the organization’s Rocky Mountain Chapter and has served as its president, secretary, mentor and webmaster. “I have focused on making great food healthier without sacrificing flavor,” said Givens, owner of Gourmet Away and a personal chef since 2005. “My goal is always to create food that my clients want to eat. Some people are adventurous and others are not. That’s the thing about a service like this; you can have it your way.” A native of New Orleans, Givens is a graduate of Xavier University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and Colorado State University with a master’s degree in computer science. She spent more than two decades in the telecommunications industry before transitioning to her current career. “I was in search of more contentment in my work environment and opportunity met destiny,” Givens recalled. “I didn’t know what was next, but I always loved cooking, so I investigated the options. I’m living proof that it is not too late to make a

career change that is more enjoyable and fulfilling to you.” At first, Givens cooked in people’s homes, but when her business grew, she moved into a licensed commercial kitchen at her home church, FHG1 Ministries, in Aurora. She says 85 percent of her work nowadays is as a personal chef and 15 percent is custom catering for nonprofits and special personal events. Gourmet Away is also on the list of authorized caterers for Cableland, the official residence of the Mayor of Denver. Using healthy recipes, the meals Givens prepares and delivers to her clients are customized to meet their preferences, packaged, labeled, and provided with simple heating instructions. Initially, the target audience for Gourmet Away was professionals with young families. Now, the majority of Givens’ clients are retired, affluent seniors who want simple comfort food and eat her meals four to five times per week, mostly for dinner. “I love cooking for my clients and strive to deliver with excellence,” Givens said. “I see my clients as part of my family. I am genuinely concerned about them and their welfare. I pray for them and I am committed to delivering food, prepared with love and excellence every time – as promised, without exception.”. Editor’s note: For more information on Lisa Givens and Gourmet Away, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Denver Proposal Doubles Housing Fund and Provides $105 Million to Increase Affordable Housing

Mayor Michael B. Hancock released a proposed framework that partners with the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) to double the Affordable Housing Fund annually – from $15 million to $30 million – and generate a new estimated $105 million funding surge for affordable housing in the next five years. “Denver’s need for more affordable housing is critical. Since our creation of Denver’s first dedicated Affordable Housing Fund, we’ve been working on ways to leverage those dollars to expand the fund’s capacity and broaden its impact,” Mayor Hancock said. “This proposal will deploy more funding quicker to support our residents and families without increasing costs on the very households we are working to serve.” The Mayor continued, “We can all agree – more resources are key to addressing this challenge. The Housing Authority has been a trusted partner in building and preserving high quality affordable homes for


those who need them, and this partnership will allow us to do more, faster for residents who are working hard and need support.” The proposal would improve the alignment of Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund with the five-year housing plan. Ultimately, Denver would double its creation and preservation estimates from 3,000 units to at least 6,400 units over five years. The proposal directs about half of the newly doubled Affordable Housing Fund to support those most burdened by housing costs (0-30 percent AMI Gooch’s and those experiencing homelessness) Transmission and allocates the other half to fulfill other priorities within the Housing an Specialist Inclusive Denver five-year plan. The proposed partnership with DHA brings more funding in the form of bonds to accelerate building and preserving much-needed affordable Gooch,the Manager housing, Myron and increases land avail760 Dayton able for future affordableStreet housing use CO 80010 for Denver’sAurora, lowest-income residents and those experiencing homelessness. 303-363-9783 By leveraging DHA’s expertise in serving Making those most in need, the well protransmissions posal also expands the city’s ability to for 22 years. deliver on additional areas of housing needs identified in the five-year plan. “Because affordable housing is Denver’s greatest need, it is such a

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high priority for City Council. Each additional unit represents a new opportunity for a family in Denver, which is why we continually look for creative ways to increase funding for affordable housing,” Council President Albus Brooks said. “This bond proposal signals a new future for Denver, reaffirming our commitment to affordable housing by doubling our original investment.” The estimated $105 million will be generated from the issuance of bonds by DHA, supported by the appropriation of an existing half property tax mill from the city. The bonds will spur building new and preserving current permanently affordable housing units maintained by DHA, and create a new land acquisition fund to secure a pipeline of projects to serve Denver’s lowest-income residents and those experiencing homeless. The new $105 million bond appropriation to DHA will: • Create or preserve at least 1,400 units over the next five years to ten years, serving 0-30% AMI through land and property acquisition, paired with at least 300 project based vouchers. • Create or preserve an additional 759 units at the DHA properties of Sun Valley, Westridge and Shoshone over the next five years. “DHA is proud to be a partner in this creative funding opportunity that will accelerate and expand the creation and preservation of much needed affordable housing targeted at Denver’s lowest income and most vulnerable residents,” stated Ismael Guerrero, DHA Executive Director. “This bond initiative underscores the city’s and the Housing Authority’s commitment to deliver real solutions for Denver residents most impacted by the high cost of housing.” Under the proposal, an additional yearly $7 million General Fund contribution will be made to the Affordable Housing Fund starting in 2019. To backfill the half mill that will be

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appropriated to DHA, the framework proposes to increase the city’s special marijuana sales tax from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, generating an estimated $8 million per year for the Affordable Housing Fund. “Colorado Leads is a pro-business alliance that promotes the economic and community benefits of a responsible cannabis industry. Our members have created tens of thousands of jobs, and their employees, like so many others in Denver, need affordable places to live within a reasonable distance from their work,” said Chuck Smith, Board Chairman for Colorado Leads. “We support the cannabis sales tax increase to help ease the housing challenges faced by our employees, as well as scores of other Denver residents.” The new $7 million annual General Fund allocation will: • Create or preserve at least 750 units over the next five years. • Serve at least 1,000 additional households over the next five years through programs such as displacement assistance. “I believe this is a fiscally responsible approach that balances the critical need for more housing, faster, with prudent management of the city’s finances. This proposal would allow the city to leverage the tools and resources of trusted partners to stretch our dollars further without requiring a property tax increase,” said Denver Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hanlon. “Innovative partnerships are essential to affordable housing, and this plan builds on our successful partnerships, strategy and record-setting pace of building and preserving units that is currently underway in Denver,” said Eric Hiraga, Executive Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development. “We look forward to investing additional funds across our network of private and mission-driven organizations that are making a difference in fostering housing stability.” Several aspects of the proposal would require City Council action..



Mary Kaleli Releases New CD

Pictured L–R: Back: Dwane Matthews, Melvin E. Bush, Michael V. Short, Gary Wilson; Front: Angel Paige, Norma J. Paige, Misty Bell, Nycole N. Bradshaw, Charles L. Photo by Lens of Ansar “Chuck” Moss, Sr.

The 100 Men Who Cook Installs New Board Members

The 100 Men Who Cook, Inc. a Colorado non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting Denver’s youth by helping grassroots community nonprofit organizations, installed new board members. Angel Paige, community relations specialist for Kaiser Permanente, who has accepted the position of board chair, will serve a 3-year term with eight other board members. Since 2013, the newly formed organization has hosted an annual premier black-tie fundraiser to sup-

port organizations that have limited opportunities and may not qualify for other community based assistance programs. Gentlemen from the community don their chef hats to serve their mouth-watering specialties. The festivities include live entertainment, dancing and casino gaming. More than a dozen grassroots organizations have received funding to support their goals and objectives as a result of the annual fundraiser. The 2018 100 Men Who Cook event will be held Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Renaissance Denver Hotel. Editor’s note: For more information, visit

Kenyan born gospel vocalist, Mary Kaleli, will host a CD release celebration on June 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Ethiopian Evangelical Church, 445 South Lansing St. in Aurora. Born from a family of nine, she married Franklin Kaleli and had her first child. After receiving her RN diploma and with husband and son, she relocated to the US and is presently raising her two children in Denver. Kaleli, who writes her own songs, has released four cds since 2011. In 2016, Mary held her first big concert in Nairobi Kenya where she released her 5th cd called New Season. She has earned six music awards. Her new CD is titled For His Glory. For more information, visit or call 303-373-2667.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Volunteers Needed for Five Points Jazz Festival

Denver will celebrate the annual Five Points Jazz Fesitval on May 19 with food, music, art and culture in the historic Five Points “Harlem of the West.” This year the festival needs energetic and enthusiastic volunteers. Opportunities include assisitng with morning set-up, greeting and providing information to fesitval attendees, being a stagehand at one of the many stages and the festival clean up. If you would like to volunteer, email

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Check ‘Em Lads: Why Young Men Should Care About Testicular Cancer


By Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt

n general, guys do not think about their testicles on a day-today basis. Unless we have some pain or feel an abnormality, we let them go on with their day. The testicles actually are very important to the male body.The testicles serve as a factory for sperm production, which is important for fertility.The testicles also are a main driving

force for the amount of testosterone that circulates throughout your body. Both of these functions are crucial to us as guys.

One thing is clear: The testicles are not immune from cancer. In fact, one in 250 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer, and it is the most common cancer in the age group of 15-35. April was Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and this year alone more than 9,000 men will be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. When caught early and treated, life expectancy rates are high and most guys live their lives without much worry, which is why awareness is so important. Screening for testicular cancer does not require any sophisticated labs or imaging studies. Most screening for testicular cancer can actually be done by you.Yes, you. By examining your testicles at least once a month, you are able to screen for most testicular cancers.

Check ‘em The key to screening actually starts with you knowing what’s normal and abnormal. On your exam, you should examine essentially every part of the testicle, top to bottom and even navigate your way up the cord itself. I generally recommend my patients check themselves on the first day of the month in the shower when the scrotum is relaxed. Go ahead and examine yourself and make sure you know when something becomes abnormal. If you do notice an abnormality or are concerned about something, you should definitely get yourself checked out by a medical professional.The medical professional can either confirm what you found on exam or order imaging and lab studies to help figure out whether this is cancer or something benign, meaning something that’s a normal variant in your testicle.

What You Should Look For There may be some other symptoms of testicular cancer that may be present without any change to your testicle itself. One of those uncommon symptoms may be a heavy feeling in your testicles or in the lower part of your belly—even back pain. That feeling of pressure in your testicles or in your groin or your lower abdomen may be a sign of either enlarged lymph nodes or food collections secondary to the actual cancer itself. The other way is that you may not actually feel a hard lump in your testicle, but you may notice that one testicle may be larger or smaller than the other. If the cancer has migrated to other parts of your body, you may notice abnormal swelling in your legs. This swelling could be from your lymph channels being blocked, or it could also be the cancer increasing your chance of blood clots. Another abnormal symptom of testicular cancer may be enlarging breast tissue, or gynecomastia. As a guy, if you do have any of these symptoms or any abnormality that you just feel is not right, it’s probably a good time to go and talk to your healthcare professional. This doesn’t mean if you’re outside the ages of 15-35 you’re not going to get it because any guy at any age is still at risk for testicular cancer. The risk is just not as high, but it is still present. You Have Testicular Cancer, Now What? So what if you do get diagnosed with testicular cancer? Is it the end of the world? Not really. Because if you look at statistics from testicular cancer, it has a 96 percent cure rate if caught early. Treatment options may include removal of your testicle. Based on what pathology is found in the testicle, your doctor may recommend further treatments, which could include radiation or chemotherapy. A lot of patients ask, “Okay, what can I do other than examine myself to prevent me getting testicular cancer?” There are certain known risk factors that do put you at higher risk for testicular cancer. Those include family history. So if you have a brother or father who had testicular cancer then you are at a little bit higher risk of getting it. Also, studies have shown if you smoke marijuana, then you may increase your chances of testicular cancer. There are also some links with testicular cancer and your occupation. There are occupations such as miners, food processing workers, utility workers and other workers who may be at an elevated risk of testicular cancer. So don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are immune to cancers because of your young age. None of us are immune..

Editor’s note: Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, is a board-certified urologist and medical advisor for Men’s Health Network (MHN), an international non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families with health awareness messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation: For more informtion, visit and follow them on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork or Facebook at Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Denver Chapter of Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association Hosts HBCU Career Fair In Green Valley Ranch

Members of the Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association (CAUAA) Greater Denver Chapter lived up to their alma mater’s motto, of “find a way or make one,” recently as they joined forces with fellow Denver-based Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) alumni associations to host a college fair aimed at raising career awareness and creating a pipeline to HBCUs for high school students. Morehouse College, Spelman College, Grambling State University, Howard University, Tuskegee University and Hampton University were among the schools that participated in the fair held at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in the diverse Green Valley Ranch community. “Our goal was to expose Colorado students to diverse role models who are working in a variety of careers, including STEM fields,” said CAUAA Greater Denver Chapter President Djuana Harvell, who holds a PhD. “We also wanted to increase career education knowledge by pro-

New Leaders and New Partnership for the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado

“The feeling in the room was magical. For the first time in my life I felt fully embraced for my heritage and intellect at the same time. I wasn’t worried about being labeled that Smart Black girl; I wasn’t worried if my hair was too loud. Seriously for the first time I was in a room where I knew – although full of strangers – everyone in the room could relate to me in multiple capacities. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I now have 30 new brothers, sisters, confidants, and mentors. The leadership of Dr. Ross has helped me completely change my mindset from a victim of racist and sexist system to an EMPOWERED, valued, and needed part of society. I am so happy to be here!” Chanel Butler On February 7, a tradition of leadership that began 11 years ago continued with the acceptance of 31 of Colorado’s best and brightest into the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado’s ULF Connect Leadership program. The group of entrepreneurs, tech experts, educators, medical professionals, government employees,

CAUAA Greater Denver Chapter President Djuana Harvell

viding them with opportunities to interact with professionals and also educate them about what training will be needed after high school to help make their dreams a reality.” The event, held March 23 for students in grades 10-12 from across the metro Denver area was held in partnership with MLK’s Pathway Director and Assistant Principal Jacquelyn Scales, who emphasized that the school supports work-based learning opportunities for students in the areas of technology, engineering and manufacturing, through CareerConnect, a rebranding of traditional Career and Technology Education programming within Denver Public Schools.

The University of Colorado Anschutz, as well as other small minority-owned businesses and community organizations were also represented at the career fair, which was followed by a spirited keynote address from Dr. Calvin Mackie, a New Orleans-based Morehouse College alum who has collectively earned four terminal degrees, including a PhD. in mechanical engineering. “Our theme was ‘THRIVE: Find Your Path,’ and we believe we got the message across,” noted Harvell. “Special thanks to the American Petroleum Institute, DPS CareerConnect and Denver Urban League for their financial support.”

More than 250 students participated in the event, which Scales agreed was a success saying “It was wonderful watching so many HBCU alum volunteer their time to lend their expertise and provide valuable insight that will help the trajectory of these student’s lives. Career Fairs are a golden opportunity for students to network with employers, discover career options and demonstrate soft skills they have developed in high school.”. Editor’s note: For more information about the CAUAA Greater Denver Chapter visit Chapter.

gang reduction specialists, and private sector professionals include: Theo Abbey, Felicia Adams, Shantelle Adams, Ameer Allen, Bryanna Anderson, Breeahna Britt, VJ Brown, Eejipt Burgess, Andre Cunningham, Shalelia Dillard, Tramaine Duncan, Brianna Dunmore, Beatrice Griffin, Mariah Grindle, LaKeshia Hodge, Anthony Howard, Bruce Lee, Corey Martin, Mathew Mengesha, Kia Milan, Zahra Mohamed Ali, Dianne Myles, Khalil Romain, Twalla Stephens, Gabrielle Webb, Jaime Webb, Ashlee Wedgeworth, Anesha Williams, Gary Johnson, Christian Steward and Chanel Butler The Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado, led by Chairman Emeritus the honorable Wellington Webb, Board Chair David Allen and volunteer President & CEO Dr. Ryan Ross, is a program designed not only to inspire and prepare African

American and minority leaders for C– Suite responsibility, it also uses its curriculum to ensure fellows are developed into knowledgeable, well rounded, influential leaders in the areas of business, politics, leadership, philanthropy, and civic service. ULFC’s commitment to developing well rounded leaders is intentional. Comprehensive understanding of different subjects is of paramount importance and allows ULFC Alumni to become change agents, make meaningful contributions to the community, as well as, diversify boards, commissions, and most importantly executive suites. Through a tremendous partnership with the Daniels School of Business and Dean Brent Chrite, the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado is located on the University of Denver Campus. The partnership provides ULFC with formal office space, access

to world class faculty, and a shared purpose in creating its’ next training program: The ULF Executive Leadership Institute. 2018 Fellow Shantelle Adams shares, “The first night of class was like waiting in line for your favorite roller coaster at an amusement park. At times, standing in line is uneasy, but as you hear the screams of joy and see the smiles of the riders you know you are in for a treat. Thus far, this experience has equipped me with a new found mindset of I CAN! I can be successful and because of what I have learned so far I have met new people and knocked on new doors that otherwise would have stayed closed because I was too afraid to knock. I can’t wait to continue this ride!”. Editor’s note: For more information or to apply for the program, or to network with professionals visit,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Four Schools Named As A 2018 Healthy School Champion

Four schools that participate in the be well Youth Program, part of the be well Health and Wellness Initiative of The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, have been named a 2018 Healthy School Champion. This year’s honorees include Denver School of the Arts ($300 Promising School Award), Ashley Elementary School ($500 Excellence Award), New Legacy Charter School ($500 Excellence Award), and North Middle School ($1,000 Bronze Award). “It’s a great honor to have them receive this recognition,� said Emily Shore, director of Healthy Schools for The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities. Shore pointed out that this is the second consecutive year that four be well Youth Program schools have earned the Healthy School Champion designation. be well is a grassroots movement of communities coming together to take charge of their health and wellness. be well Youth Program engages kids, schools and communities in creating

and promoting fun activities, events and advocacy projects to encourage healthy living among children and their families. Each year, Shore presents information to be well Youth Program schools about the Healthy Champions initiative and helps prepare applications. To be considered for the honor, a school must complete Smart Source, Colorado’s school health inventory that enables K12 public schools to assess their health policies and practices to help ensure students are healthy and ready to learn; complete an application that includes information about efforts and progress achieved in both the previous and current years; and submit three letters of support from educators, parents, community leaders or students. A 30-person review committee scores the schools’

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applications, with the highest marks earning the sought-after designation. Sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation, the Healthy School Champion awards are presented by the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) and Colorado’s Healthy Schools Successful Students. The wellness team at each winning school determines how it will use the award money to further health efforts and receives a large banner proclaiming the institution is a 2018 Healthy School Champion. All winners are also highlighted in the Colorado Healthy School Champions annual magazine. Additionally, representatives from each of the 47 honored schools will be recognized at the Champions Breakfast during the 2018 Healthy Schools Leadership Retreat: Growing Together, Stronger than Ever – Sustaining the Whole Child scheduled for June 7-8 at the Keystone (Colo.) Conference Center. Attendees will include the Colorado Commissioner of Education Katy Anthes and Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. According to the CEI, this year’s awards were the most competitive to date, with interest from 102 schools/districts. Only 47 applicants scored high enough to be honored for creating and supporting a healthy school environment and successfully implementing effective school health efforts that support student learning. Over the past eight years, more than

315 awards and more than $350,000 in grants have been presented. “This is a meaningful process to go through,� Shore stated. “All too often, schools, teachers and parents put in a lot of labor and time to make sure they have a healthy school, but they don’t get public recognition. They are doing the work but aren’t recognized as much as they should be.� Shore pointed out that K-12 schools benefit through the statewide program by learning from each other and sharing best practices at age-appropriate levels that impact students and their families. “Lessons integrated into the classroom are transferred home,� she said, adding, “Teaching and instilling health habits crosses over from generation to generation.� The Colorado Health Foundation works to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation by ensuring that all Colorado children are fit and healthy, and that all Coloradans achieve stable, affordable and adequate health coverage to improve their health with support from a network of primary health care and community services. The Colorado Education Initiative is a statewide nonprofit organization that invests time, expertise and dollars in K-12 public education. Colorado’s Healthy Schools Successful Students represents a diverse set of stakeholders who are passionate about students, health and education in Colorado..

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

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018



Vivica A. Fox


ind, conscientious, courageous and refreshingly candid, Ms. Vivica A. Fox has proven that as Hollywood careers go, second acts are often the sweetest. The multi-hyphenate actressdirector- beauty entrepreneur-author is embracing life and not looking back, except to pull from her well of wisdom for her new memoir, “Every Day I’m Hustling.” And if you know Vivica like I got to know her during our conversation, you’d think the book’s title quite fitting. She enjoys hard work and has no plans to slow down. Born Vivica Anjanetta Fox on the outskirts of Indianapolis, she went by Angie Fox, one of four siblings being raised by divorced mother who worked overtime to provide for her children. Her childhood home was hectic but loving and provided fertile ground for Vivica to aspire for things grander than her midwestern upbringing. After high school, she made her way to Southern California to attend college, all the while seeking out opportunities in Los Angeles to model and act wherever she could. It was in LA that Angie became Vivica A. Fox. She worked her way through the ranks on sitcoms and daytime soaps, and in 1996 got her breakthrough role opposite Will Smith in the classic

is Hotter Than Ever, and Disarmingly Real

blockbuster, Independence Day. Next came a string of fan favorites including Set It Off, Soul Food, Two Can Play That Game, Kill Bill Volume I and II, and a string of subsequent roles in film and television, including Larry David’s sharp-witted houseguest, Loretta Black, on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and Skye in the campy “Sharknado” franchise. Her eclectic career has kept her on the move for nearly three decades. In 2016, Vivica joined the cast of the smash hit television series, “Empire,” playing conservative suburbanite Candace, Cookie Lyon’s (Taraji P. Henson) older sister and character foil. During our interview we covered everything from movie stardom and maternal instincts to social media drama, setting boundaries and finding love. Allison Kugel: When are you Angie and when are you Vivica? When do you take off the Vivica and become Angie from Indianapolis? Vivica A. Fox: Well first off, that’s Angie Fox from 38th and Emerson in Indianapolis (laughs)! I’m Vivica Fox when I hit that red carpet and I’m ready to slay the game. That’s what I do. But I love that I have in my life, and in my journey, learned when to be Angie Fox. And that’s mainly when I’m with my family, time off, hanging out with my godchildren, having my “Me Time” and learning to take “Me

Time.” That’s when I’m no makeup, baseball cap, chilling and blending in. Allison Kugel: Coming from the Midwest, your father was a school administrator, your mother worked for a pharmaceutical company, so you really had no ties to entertainment, or Los Angeles for that matter. What gave you that spark of courage, that spark that made you believe that you could become a successful actress? Vivica A. Fox: I was introduced to the world of fashion and modeling by Madame King, my late auntie. She had her own beauty salon back in the day. She was the first one to cut my hair and put me on a runway. I was kind of bitten by the bug at thirteen. From that point forward, I just fell in love with magazines and fashion. Then I went to go see Michael Jackson in concert, and Diana Ross in concert. I had never seen African Americans being so fabulous, and I was like, “Where do they live? That’s where I’m going! That’s what I want to do.” I decided that during my senior year in high school. But I had to trick my mama (laughs) and tell her I was going to college in California, and I did go to college. But I would be sneaking up to Hollywood and going to modeling agencies. I had a girlfriend who was an actress, and I used to read lines with her. She would say, “You’re pretty good at this, you should try it.” Allison Kugel: Your book is part memoir and part motivational guidebook for success. Tell me about your mentor, or mentors… Vivica A. Fox: My mentor would have to be a good friend of mine, and my first acting coach, Sheila Wills. I’m her two daughters’ godmother. Sheila, I met when I was doing [the daytime

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


By Allison Kugel

soap opera] Generations. She took me under her wing, and she would work with me with auditions. I would go into those auditions and just nail them. I attribute my success to her. She would say, “Vivica, you’ve got to stay ready. You got to be ready. You’ve got to take care of yourself.” And people who inspired me to be who I am would be Diana Ross and Pam Grier. Allison Kugel:Why did you choose to share your journey with menopause in the book? Vivica A. Fox: It’s part of life. It’s going to happen. And it’s like you just asked, “Do you know that you’re sexy right now?” But do people also know that for the last few years, that’s what’s been going on in my life? I embraced it and I got in front of it. I didn’t let it define me or make me want to whittle away. I don’t know why with women, we can’t talk about our bodies and what we go through, share it with others, and not feel like we have to hide that from people. I’m sharing it, and I got in front of it and took care Continued on page 26

Vivaca A. Fox

Continued from page 25

of myself. I really feel like it made me take good care of myself. Allison Kugel:And being that your image is sexy, you weren’t afraid of putting that out there… Vivica A. Fox: No, not at all. You’re going to have naysayers and people that are going to try to come and say something, and they can. But I’m still me. It doesn’t change who I am. I’m still all woman. Allison Kugel:When it comes to social media feuds and this clap back culture we’re living in, when do you take the high road and not respond, and when do you feel the need to clap back? Vivica A. Fox: I will clap back occasionally, but to be very honest with you, if it’s not necessary, I don’t like that. I’m not one of those people who became famous by being a controversial celebrity. Normally, I’ll click on who that person is and see if they’re even worth it. If it’s somebody that you can tell is wanting to make TheShadeRoom or seeking attention, I just block them. They’re not worth it. When I clap back, it’s when somebody comes at me or I have to set the record straight. Allison Kugel:Let’s talk about motherhood. I know you have all these nieces and nephews, and godchildren. I feel like motherhood, meaning the energy of motherhood, is something that is innate in all women. We have a need to nurture. How does that energy express itself through you? Vivica A. Fox: I’m Mama Bear all the time! I have a nurturing instinct and I think I get that from my mother. My mother always loved to take care of others. Still to this day, she doesn’t take as good care of herself, because she is always looking out for others. I got that quality from her. When I’m on the set, I’m always looking out for others. When I walk on a set, I’m always making sure that I speak to everyone, that I try to make people as comfortable as possible. In that way, I am very motherly. It’s just something in me; I like to look out for others. But the older I’ve gotten, I’ve learned to look out more for myself, as well. And

I’ve learned a very important word: No. Because people will take, take, take from you child, till you drop! Then they’re satisfied, and you’re left over there feeling completely empty. Allison Kugel:In your book you give advice on achieving different areas of success in one’s life. I personally think that so many people have a misconception about success. People want that insta-recognition, that insta-success. I said to someone the other day that for all the people who think they would love to trade places with Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah, for example, most of those people wouldn’t make it through the first week if they saw the tremendous amount of work, pressure and sacrifice that it takes to be in that type of position. Vivica A. Fox: To piggyback on that point, for myself, people don’t realize that for the last two to three years I slept on planes. I was always traveling, always busy, taking meetings, not sleeping, going here, going there, and going through changes of life and never letting it slow me down. There’s a lot of work required. All those seeds that I’ve planted, I’m now seeing them all blossom. But I had to do the work. That’s what I tell people. In my book, in the chapter about Being the Head Chick in Charge, I say, “Don’t let anyone outwork you.” Allison Kugel: What do you think is the biggest misconception about success? Vivica A. Fox: That it’s easy. When you’re successful, usually it’s taken a long time to build a career. It isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time to build a career, and a career means being able to go through different stages and chapters of a career, not just being the hot chick of the moment. For me, I went from being the hot ingenue chick, to now building my brand and producing and directing. Allison Kugel: Let’s talk about “Empire.” Did Lee Daniels ever share with you the moral of the story of Empire, or his vision for the show? Vivica A. Fox: Not really. The thing I love about Lee is that he is who he is. It’s taken awhile for him to become comfortable in his own skin, and that he’s a gay man and that he has talent, and he doesn’t have to hide who he really is anymore. We’ve all been in this business for twenty years, and I’m going to tell you that it’s been a long journey for him to put out a show like this. Some of the storylines in the show, absolutely, with the mother saying to her kids, “You’re this, you’re that (referring to the character, Cookie, having a penchant for hurling insults).” The father throwing the kid in the dumpster, it tugs at the heartstrings. It makes you uncomfortable,

but it happens. I feel that with knowledge there’s power. Allison Kugel:What will Candace be up to in the new season? Vivica A. Fox: I can’t give away a whole bunch, but I will tell you that Candace is back and that you will get the chance to finally meet our mother, Renee, played by the very beautiful and talented Alfre Woodard. Allison Kugel: In your book you pro-

coming, and they get the short end of the stick. They keep dating the same guy over and over again. That’s why, in the book, I say to make your chart out. Do you keep dating the same guy over and over again? If you do, you’re going to get the same result. Allison Kugel: Do you want Hollywood to be colorblind in writing and casting roles, or do you want to be identified, and cast, as an African American actress? Vivica A. Fox: Of course, I always want to be seen as a

vide some back story about your mom and dad’s relationship, and how it’s affected your own love life. What I got from what you wrote is that in watching your mom nurse a broken heart over the divorce from your father, you saw her as a victim, and that framed your own love life. Vivica A. Fox: Absolutely. Allison Kugel:Do you still see her as a victim, or do you see things in a different light now? And what would it take for you to let your guard down in love? Vivica A. Fox: I see my mother now as a survivor. My mother grew up in a time where you stuck by your guy. He was her one true love, and I definitely have those qualities. What I learned from her, in wanting her to live and to love and to laugh more, I wouldn’t take those same steps that she did. I can open my heart again. For my part, I’m making sure that I’m not lustful anymore. I don’t look at somebody and right away say, “Oh yes, he’s the one!” I make sure that I take the time to get to know someone. That’s something I pass along in my book, as well. Don’t jump into the shallow end of the pool head first. You’ve got to take the time to get to know people. So yes, I am open to love. I want to love again and have someone that’s really special. But he has to prove himself, and I would have to prove myself to him, that I’m worthy to be his mate. Sometimes women are so afraid to be alone that they just take that first thing

talented African American actress, because that’s who I am. I feel that right now, what’s going on in Hollywood is that, man, that glass ceiling has been busted wide open. It’s been a long time coming, with the success of Black Panther, with the success of television shows like “Scandal,” “Empire” and “How to Get Away with Murder,”and with Oprah having her own network. It’s about damn time. Allison Kugel: Finish these sentences for me. I know I can trust someone when… Vivica A. Fox: When I’ve truly gotten to know them. Allison Kugel: I know that God is speaking to me when… Vivica A. Fox: Woo! Hmmm…all the time. Every day when I wake up and I can thank Him for letting me see another day. I would say I know God is speaking to me all the time, and He helps me make better choices. Allison Kugel:My spiritual mission in this life is… Vivica A. Fox: To be kind, to do unto others and to leave a good mark. Vivica’s memoir, “Every Day I’m Hustling,” is available everywhere books are sold.. Editor’s note: Allison Kugel is a syndicated entertainment and pop culture journalist, and author of the book, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record. Follow her on Instagram @theallisonkugel.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


The Healing Garden Seeks Participants For Type 2 Diabetes Program

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Proven Program Begins in July Community members are preventing type 2 diabetes together with the PreventT2 lifestyle change program offered by The Healing Garden (THG). Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, groups of participants will learn the skills needed to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active and managing stress. People with prediabetes — higherthan-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years. “One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Dr. Rhonda Coleman, founder of THG. “The PreventT2 program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.” Participants will learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivat-

ed, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes. PreventT2 groups meet for a year – week for the first six months, then once or twice a month for the second six months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles. PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meetings for the local program presented by THG will begin in July and held on Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. PreventT2 is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Nationwide implementation of the program could greatly reduce future cases of type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet, or legs. “Small changes can add up to a big difference,” added Coleman. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance,

PreventT2 participants will make lasting changes together.” People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they: •Are 45 years of age or older •Are overweight •Have a family history of type 2 diabetes •Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds. Editor’s note: For more information or to participate in the PreventT2 program, call Dr. Coleman at 720-900-4325 or visit

The Healing Garden Seeks Public Input

The Healing Garden is conducting a survey to research the barriers people encounter when accessing Traditional and Complementary Medicine. The Healing Garden, with the assistance of Dr. Rhonda Coleman, DAOM, and Dr. Terri Richardson, M.D. will be facilitating a series of surveys to assess the needs and concerns of our community around self-care and natural/holistic health. The public is invited to fill out the easy to follow (and anonymous) survey by visiting the link below to better the field of holistic medicine within our communities. When completed, feel free to share the link on Facebook,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


twitter, via email, and any other platform you use. To take the survey, visit

About Dr. Coleman

Dr. Rhonda Coleman, DAOM(c) is the director of the Healing Garden Holistic Wellness Center. She is a licensed acupuncturist and certified herbalist, lifestyle coach for the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program, and NADA acudetox provider. Through her private practice, Water Mama, she provides acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, tuina, injection therapy, nutrition and weight management, and therapeutic massage at the Healing Garden. She is conducting this survey as part of her research to complete her doctoral program.

About The Healing Garden

The Healing Garden is a center for natural holistic and alternative health education rooted in African ancestral wisdom. It is our mission to cultivate a culture of holistic health in Aurora and the Northeast neighborhoods of Denver, Colorado with particular attention to African-Americans and other people of color. Editor’s note: For more information, visit

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Five Points/East Denver African American Research Library Beauty Chateau Salon Ben’s Supermarket 28th Street Library Bogeys on the Park Caldwell-Kirk Mortuary California Park Apartments Campbell Chapel AME Central Baptist Church Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Clyburn Village Retirement Coffee @ the Point Curtis Park Creamery Donald Rice Dentist Downing St. Liquor Store Glendale/Lowry Lowry Christian Center Marion’s Tower Red Shield Recreation Center Safeway Plaza Liquor Store Schlessman Library The Tavern Grill Welton St. Café York Street Drug Liquor Store Zion Church

Montbello/Green Valley Ranch Blackjack Pizza Chambers Plaza News Box China Chef City Wide Bank Gateway Liquors Mailbox Express Montbello Manor Montbello Recreation Center Sable Ridge Apartments Tower Liquors Trina’s Place True Light Baptist Church United Church of Montbello Colorado Springs Elks Lodge #473 Old School tavern East Library Penrose Library South Liquor Mart Trends of Africa

Rudolph McClinon, Jr. “Rudy” The Life and Legacy of

September 21, 1952

Those we love remain with us, for love itself lives on, and cherished memories never fade because a loved one’s gone; those we love can never be more than a thought apart; for as long as there is memory, they’ll live on in the heart. Rudolph McClinon, Jr. affectionately called “Rudy” by family and friends, was born on September 21, 1952, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents, Rudolph McClinon, Sr. and Beulah M. Martin McClinon. He was raised surrounded by his brother, Charles and his sisters, Ruby, Jewell, Roberta and Bernadette. Rudy received his formal education in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he graduated in 1970 from Withrow High School. He furthered his education by attending Xavier University in Cincinnati earning a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physical Education and Health Sciences in 1974. Rudy attended Xavier University on an academic scholarship, but was determined to play football. He also played junior varsity basketball during his junior year. Following graduation, Rudy was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and ultimately he played three seasons in the Canadian Football League. During the off-season, he worked as a substitute teacher in the Cincinnati Public Schools. He also served as Director of the Old Schwarz Recreation Center in Walnut Hills, Cincinnati. In 1979, he moved to Denver and began a 20-year career as a successful agent with All State Insurance Company. Then, in 2001, corporates cutbacks cost him his job. He was unable to find suitable employment and a bout with alcohol followed. “I went into a deep depression and asked God to reach out and help me,” he always said. “I had a great education and a great work ethic. I had to find something else to do.” Falling back on his Xavier education, Ruby became a professional fitness trainer, working with individual clients and creating programs for businesses, nonprofits and senior citizens organizations, doing motivational speaking, and visiting hospitals to talk about alcohol and drug recovery. Rudy formed his own fitness company aimed at helping people of all ages become more fit and more excepting of themselves. His special interest lies in helping baby boomers cope with the realities of arthritis, diabetes and joint replacement. Rudy knows what he speaks. He had both hips replaced some years ago and suffered from arthritis. The secret, he said is to “figure out what you can do instead of talking about what you can’t do.” Rudy explained that societal physical ideals cause a great deal of unhappiness. The key is to be in the best possible shape – and appreciate you. “We have all these dif-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


March 20, 2018

ferent body types; let me feel good about who I am.” Rudy created to exercise videos: “Let’s Get Moving, low impact workout for those just starting an exercise regime, and the R-U-A Pro Fitness Arthritis and Hip Replacement Exercise Program,” for those who have had joints replaced. “It really comes down to how you feel about yourself,” he says. A lot of men and women look in the mirror and go, ‘Oh, I don’t like what I see.’ Well, change it.” July 17, 2010, Rudy united in holy matrimony to Elissa Diaz in Denver Colorado. Elissa fondly recalled how happy it was to have family and friends cheer on their wedding. She also remembers after they were pronounced “man and wife” he kissed her and they follow that with a “chest bump.” They shared many happy and precious moments together. Rudy was the proud father of four beautiful children, Marland, Mira, Rudolph III, and Lena. He was a loving and devoted father who took great pride in the care and nurture of his family. He was later blessed with four grandchildren, Marissa, Mariah, Jordan, and Jakoby. They fondly called him “Grandpa” and fondly remember all the precious moments they share together. He participated in two Shrine Bowl games, and in the Rocky Mountains Senior Olympics in basketball, weightlifting, football, and Frisbee toss. Rudy received many awards that include: Induction into the Withrow High School Hall of Fame in 2015; The Benjamin F. Gibson, Sr. Health and Leadership Award, 2014; and the Unsung Hero Award 32nd Annual Hiawatha Davis, Jr. Senior Luncheon 2014 – in addition to receiving many other awards and honors. Rudy will be remembered for his kind and giving spirit, wonderful sense of humor, a mentor to many both young and old, not only in Denver, but across the country. Rudy never met a stranger. Rudolph McClinon Junior departed this life to the embrace of the Lord on March 20, 2018, in Denver. Those left to cherish his memory and mourn his loss include his loving and devoted wife, Elissa Diaz McClinon of Denver, two sons Marland McClinon of Brighton, Colorado and Rudolph McClinon, III of Denver; two daughters Mira McClinon (Marko Prodanovic) of Spokane, Washington and Leyna McClinon; one brother Charles E. (Tamra) McClinon Sr. of Cincinnati, OH; four sisters Ruby Dean (Arthur) Harris, Sr. of Daytona Beach, FL, Jewel W. McClinon, Roberta T. McClinon both of Cincinnati OH, and Bernadette C. McClinon of Spokane Washington; four grandchildren Marissa, Moira, Jordan and Jakoby; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and many many friends. Y





Photos by Byron Russell

Denver Urban Spectrum Spectrum STRUT...@ Kasbah in Aurora, Colorado with Goatfish and Friends - 4•20•2018

Goatfish & Friends • • 720-849-4197 • Spectrum Strut Video ( Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2018


Denver Urban Spectrum May 2018  
Denver Urban Spectrum May 2018