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Volume 26, Number 2 May 2012


A Champion for Mental Health Page...4

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Photo by Bernard Grant


Volume 26 Number 2

May 2012

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Annette Walker Sheila Smith

Thank you, thank you, thank you... all who helped us celebrate 25 years of spreading the news about people. This past quarter of a century has been a journey and we are looking forward to what the next one will bring. This month we recognize Cinco de Mayo and Mental Health Month. And fortunately we acknowledge both with this month’s cover story spotlighting Don Mares, President/CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado. Find out what he has been up to and what took him to his current journey of combating mental health. Managing editor Sheila Smith has been covering the trail on the very controversial issue of city council redistricting the city. Find out how it may affect you and your community today, and in the future, and why you should be concerned. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, read how the seeds one mother planted has shaped the life of one man and about the “sisterly” love for another. Unfortunately, this special day will be unforgettable and regrettable for one mother. Read how Sybrina Fulton is weathering the storm after the death of her son Trayvon Martin. Once again, thank you to our readers, advertisers, business associates, family and friends for your continued support. It’s because of you that we do what we do! Peace, joy and blessings to you. Rosalind J. Harris Publisher


GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte, The Creative Spirit Jody Gilbert, Kolor Graphix



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 2012 by Rolado, LLC. 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. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


Thanks For 25 Years!

delightfully, informed, entertained, and most importantly, provided a variety of vital information and current local and national news to our community for the last 25 years. You and your staff are to be commended for a job well done. We are extending our congratulations and appreciations to you and your staff.

Editor: I can’t believe it’s been a quarter of a century! 25 years ago I was teaching at Montbello High School, but that’s not the only reason I started reading your magazine. Having had the experience of being the only white guy in the room is an experience that few whites have experienced, unfortunately. I know it happens the other way around a lot, and white people should be a little more conscious of what their Black brothers and sisters may be experiencing in these situations, in the classroom, at parties, meetings, etc. (I used to play in a local soul band, as well as being a teacher.) In any case, your magazine has been a wonderful part of my life in Denver. Being aware of all of our diverse cultures in this city is essential. And, having spent many years in a small city in Indiana, not too far from KKK territory, I feel lucky to live in a city with a little less ingrained racism. We still have a long way to go, though, to become a truly non-racist city. Your journalism helps us nonBlacks feel more informed about, and at home with, the Black community. And really, I think it’s so cool that in Denver, where African Americans are not a huge percentage of our population, have maintained such a vital and entertaining print presence in a time where publishing magazines and books has become so difficult recently. Thanks for your work

The Batey’s Samuel and Barbara Batey Denver, CO

Spoken Words Of Forgiveness To Trayvon

Editor: Please forgive us for letting the deaths of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Paul Childs, Marvin Booker, and Alonzo Ashley go by without finding an effective means to deal with the beast that took your life. Forgive us for substituting protest for actual problem solving. For not knowing when our “goodness” becomes stupidity. For being afraid to rock the boat in a way that would wake-up its sleeping passengers. Trayvon, forgive us for Sleep-Walking. For not seeing when the fruits of our “Christian Kindness” ultimately add up to toothless-ness in the face of the real “Enemy.” Forgive us for misunderstanding the true nature of God. For not admitting when our righteousness is just fear of the inevitable confrontation when the illusion of freedom and safety falls apart. Forgive us for being addicted to entertainment, and not the attainment of knowledge; for being consumers of the filth of the Advertising Elite. For wanting big bank accounts more than big hearts. Forgive us forgetting that the values of the God we say we serve

Gregg Painter Denver, CO

Kudos And Congrats To US

Editor: Congratulations “Bee” and the Denver Urban Spectrum staff. You have

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


may involve laying down one’s life not just for your brother, but for the sake of future generations. Trayvon, forgive us for turning children into sacrificial lambs for the God of capitol. And Trayvon, finally, forgive your people, the descendants of American slaves. When our leaders were killed, and we failed to stand up, they effectively killed us, too. Forgive us for not admitting that our need to assimilate was greater than our need for real freedom. It is an iron need, forged in the fires of the cotton plantation, where the seeds of our inner unworthiness were planted. Forgive us for masking our self-hatred with integration reform, fighting to love our enemy when we could scarcely love ourselves. A need which drove the wealthiest of us as far away from our people as money could buy. Yes, Trayvon, I ask you to forgive our elders, who chose to survive, but not take on full responsibility for the burden that survival entailed. In so doing, they proved why other peoples chose Continued on page 34 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

Publisher Editor News & Information

Advertising & Marketing Graphics & Design

Distribution & Circulation

The Diverse Life Of

It is Saturday night at the

Edgewater Coffee Company. The regular crowd shuffles in. It is a tiny, but cozy neighborhood hangout. Every table is full and late arrivals must either stand or find a place on the floor, which more than a few already have. It’s a good crowd.

Everyone is waiting for the band, a diverse group of middle-aged guys and women, to finalize its set. No hiphop or heavy metal tonight; just a steady dose of melody, boy-meets-girl, feel good ‘60s and ‘70s saccharine. One look around says everything; it is a salt-n-pepper crowd that’s come to hear a salt-n-pepper band. But it is a lot more than a Saturday night gig for the guy on the 12-string guitar. Though incognito, in jeans and open collar instead of his more familiar Brooks Brothers and briefcase, Don Mares has come to play. For the last 20 years, this lawyer/public servant/toplevel administrator has been a force in Denver and state politics. But tonight, he is just another face in the band. He enjoys the music and camaraderie. But it goes beyond wanting to strum a tune or two. “It’s my mental health therapy,” he says. And, without a hint or irony, it is something Mares knows a thing or two about. The now President/CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado, Mares has been playing guitar since he was a kid. In high school, he was good enough to play with the Colorado chapter of “Up With People,” the squeaky-clean troupe that takes its positive message to schools across the country. “It just gives me a sense of joy,” he says of playing with the group. And joy, as he can well attest, in the field of mental health can be a fleeting and problematic commodity. Mares knows this as well as anyone and certainly more intimately than he would care to. He knows it not only because it’s his job at MHAC but also because, like

DON MARES By Laura Cordes

millions of other Americans, mental illness has dropped anchor on the Mares family. His brother, once a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has lived with the illness for a number of years. And while the condition, depression, is manageable, nothing short of a miracle will ever cure it. And there’s no wishing it away, either. But in Mares’ family, unlike so many American families, his brother’s condition was never treated as ‘the ghost at the banquet.’ Not talking about it was never an option. And Mares talks openly about his brother with no hint of reluctance and certainly without a bit of shame. The subject is neither too delicate nor embarrassing. Mares says he and his family have accepted his brother’s condition in the same way they would as if it were a broken bone or any other physical issue. Like so many other mental illnesses, no one knows what triggered his brother’s depression. But after the death of their mother, something happened. The normalcy with which he lived his life for all those years before simply vanished. Work, family, all the simple routines that existed before were no longer simple or routine.

The entire Mares family got involved and as a family faced the issue headon. Today their brother is doing well and living independently. He has also resumed his writing, doing pieces for a local community paper and speaking out on his life’s journey. The strength of the Mares clan was forged by an indefatigable mother. If Priscilla Mares wasn’t taking care of her family, she was “knocking on doors for Photo by Bernard Grant a political candidate or working on a school or community issue,” says Mares. As he talks about his late mother, his eyes crinkle into a smile. The impact she had on him is obvious and reflected in his own core beliefs. She stressed very simply values – education, morality and public service. And, she practiced them in abundance. Mares, along with his brothers, followed her lead no matter the direction. “She was my hero,” he says with a wistful but obvious pride. But Mares is also quick to give credit to his father, Bonifacio. Despite his parents having two entirely differ-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


ent personalities, they worked as a team. She never did anything without his full support; he never discouraged anything she did. And both parents were unwavering in their love and support for their boys. Mares joined MHAC in March 2011, after more than two decades in public service. Before that, he served as a member of both houses in the state legislature, followed by eight years as Denver’s City Auditor and, most recently, as Governor Bill Ritter’s Executive Director of Labor and Employment. While a soft landing in a prestigious Denver law firm first would have been lucrative and certainly attractive to the firm that brought him in, that would have been too easy. He might have also been a hot property for some company as its lobbyist. He does, after all, know the ins and outs of the legislature and is as well respected on the Hill as anyone in Colorado politics. But while both options probably carried great benefits including a great salary, at this point in his life he has made mental illness and behavioral health his primary focus. If sometime in the future he decides to return to law, says Mares, “I’m sure the door will still be open.” There’s no denying that with kids in college or getting ready to go, the money would have come in handy for Mares and his wife, Ruth. Their son is in college in California and his youngest daughter is set to graduate high school next year. His oldest daughter, who followed in his footsteps to Stanford, has already graduated. It’s only money. “There was something deep inside telling me to do this,” he said over an orange juice at a Park Hill McDonalds on a recent Saturday morning. “I really felt like I wanted something more rewarding.” He might have added, and something more challenging, as well. With MHAC, he got both. It is estimated that in America, a fourth of the population – more than 57 million individuals – suffers from a diagnosable mental illness or behavioral health issue. Most of these conditions are treatable allowing people to live normal lives. But for countless others, they can be disabling, almost crippling and requiring long-term care or hospitalization. For this group, there are no known cures, something both frustrating and challenging – but not hopeless – at least to Mares. Despite the hard sell that is mental illness, Mares’ time in the public eye has provided him with entrée to speak Continued on page 6

City, Firefighters Reach Agreement To Create A Sustainable Denver

Mayor Michael B. Hancock,

Denver Firefighters Local 858

President Mike Rogers and City Council President Chris Nevitt

announced they’ve reached an agreement that will save the City’s general

fund $6 million. Negotiations to alter a collective bargaining agreement this year were conducted against the backdrop of an anticipated $94 million budget shortfall for 2013, including a persistent structural gap of $30 million. To help close the budget gap and create a sustainable City structure, Local 858 and city officials came to an agreement that will preserve the high level of safety services to the community while making significant organizational changes and operational efficiencies within the Denver Fire Department. The agreement was negotiated over a 30-day period and was ratified by voting union members during the first week in April. City officials and Local 858 acknowledged the high level of collaboration conducted to finalize the 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement with the firefighters’ union. The following statements were released: “Denver’s firefighters have boldly led the charge, continuing to make sacrifices necessary to balancing the City’s budget while maintaining our high-quality services to Denver’s residents, neighborhoods and businesses,” Mayor Hancock said. “This year they’ve gone above and beyond their duty to serve their community by making tough, long-term decisions that will increase efficiencies and effectiveness in the department and create a more sustainable Denver. We are grateful for Local 858’s extraordinary leadership.” “Local 858 is truly dedicated to our community, understanding that in these tough economic times difficult decisions are critical to put our City on a sustainable path. And we will always go the extra mile to protect and serve our City,” Local 858 President Mike Rogers said. “We’re proud to work with the Hancock Administration and city officials to make our contribution to the shared

sacrifices needed to drive operational efficiencies and fix the structural imbalance that exists within the City’s budget. We know that by working together we will all deliver a better city for future generations.” “City Council is very proud of the Hancock Administration and Local 858’s collaboration, getting us to a record level of cost savings to the City and County of Denver in these difficult budgetary times while still meeting the needs of our fire fighters,” City Council President Chris Nevitt said. “Not only do these brave men and women serve our community every day with pride and dedication but

they continue to lead the charge to set us on the right path of both fairness and fiscal prudence.” Next, the agreement must be approved by City Council through ordinance. It will be discussed at the Health, Safety, Education and Services Committee meeting. The ordinance request will then proceed to Mayor-Council and through first and second reading at City Council. Upon final approval by City Council, union representatives and city officials will sign the contract. Once signed, the agreement will be filed with the Clerk and Recorder.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Don Mares

Continued from page 4 frankly about this condition and to share his vision – along with his brother’s story – with a whole host of groups and organizations. He is a regular guest speaker whose style commands attention. His words carry both depth and breadth. He is substantive in speeches but with a delicate economy of language that allows him to make his point in a thoughtful and poignant way. It is the product of a career spent selling arguments on contentious legislation or conveying a message that may be unpleasant but necessary. And when he is talking about the vast expanse of behavioral health, he knows he must craft his message openly and honestly. On this Saturday morning, he has just finished a talk at a nearby AfricanAmerican church. “This is a personal crusade,” he says. It is personal because of his first-hand experience with his brother and also because, as a Latino, Mares knows that mental illness carries a very unmistakable stigma in the minority community. He is committed to changing that. “I want to have communities of color more engaged and talking about this,” he says. The sad reality is that too many minorities are still perfectly willing to talk in euphemisms – or not at all –

about parents, sons, daughters or close relatives who live their lives on the periphery, burdened by a sometimes unbearable weight too often made even heavier by a family’s shame. “It’s just something we haven’t traditionally talked about,” says Mares. But it is hard to dissolve the misconceptions that some still cling to with this illness. Nevertheless he is adamant that that “pride and old school thinking” that shackles so many can be overcome. He is like the man charged with eating the elephant – one bite at a time. He has a sweeping agenda that calls for getting into rural communities where this condition often goes unaddressed. Young adolescents struggling with problems they can’t even find words to describe are a major source of concern for Mares. “There is a very real lack of providers in rural Colorado,” he says. “We need to change that.” He also has a plan for getting help for families who not only struggle with the enormity of this weight, but struggle in a different language. Again, it’s one bite at a time. There is no stone Mares won’t turn over to bring light to an often unexplored world. In addition to an already aggressive agenda, he also wants to take aim at Colorado’s prison population.

Where do we go from here?

Denver City Council played the starring role perfectly in the redistricting saga that had enveloped the elected body for months. Following longwinded speeches meant to provide political cover, the council pushed through council boundaries that remain in dispute. The controversial move came just eight weeks after numerous residents from all walks of life urged Council to delay the vote on Map F, which elevates neighborhood boundaries over preserving communities of interest, largely in communities of color. The outcome was already a forgone conclusion as far back as January 24th when Council President Chris Nevitt unveiled a map that alters the face of council districts North of Colfax while leaving affluent areas South of Colfax untouched. Councilman Charlie Brown defended the new map, insisting council was not putting up the Berlin Wall that divides the city north and south. What council leadership has effectively done is to create the new Mason-Dixon Line and Rio Grande north of Colfax and the Platte River as well as create painful divisions on the council that may not heal for some time to come. Councilman Paul Lopez rightly blasted the majority on council of maintaining the status quo and the city’s pecking order, protecting the more affluent communities South of Colfax where the majority of whites live at the expense of the working-class North of Colfax and the Platte River, where a majority of the city’s Latino and African Americans reside and have long endured the brunt of inequitable services and representation. Judy Montero, whose historic District 9 was nearly dismantled and now merges with District 8, argues that in communities interest in lower Highland, Sunnyside and Chaffee Park are now being shifted into a district that his highly gentrified “in name of neighborhood boundaries.” While that sounds good, the truth is that communities of interest are vastly different. Communities of interest are held tightly to cultural, historical, economic and political issues, not streets and intersections.

“As many as 25 percent of those incarcerated have mental health issues.” While he has no illusions about research finding a quick or miraculous cure for this condition – this separate reality – he remains confident that one day there will be a breakthrough. “I’m a glass half-full kind of guy,” he says with smile. But that is simply keeping in character for a perpetual optimist. Remember, he just finished running the state’s Department of Labor in the most challenging economy since The Great Depression! Oh, yeah. He also runs marathons! It is his optimism that tells him that he can make a difference, that he can bring and keep mental illness in the conversation and give it a relevance that people can wrap their arms around. “It may not be rooted in a physical cause but it’s still a health problem.” People, he says, need to understand that. “It will be amazing when research can decipher the brain,” he says. Again, speaking with thoughtful pragmatism, Mares says he is willing to wait on a breakthrough but wishes he didn’t have to. Most immediately, through speeches, white papers or the cajoling of the media to carry his message, he just wants to change the way people look at this disease. Shame needs to be

taken out of the equation. “Why can you have ten thousand people walking in support of breast cancer,” he asks, “and not have the same number walking in support of mental illness?” The realist in Mares, however, must deal with a stark reality that he can’t wish away. Money is hard to find. What is worse is that until the economy really turns around, mental health programs will struggle. But despite limited resources, he is adamant that the state cannot afford to ignore Colorado’s rural and low income populations, especially teenagers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about half of all mental disorders strike in the early teen years. “The lack of rural providers is a personal issue with me.” Mares’ brother has brought him, literally and figuratively, face to face with a whole new world. In a recent Christmas-time letter from his brother, Fred, that Mares shared, his brother thanked him for not giving up and for standing with him during some very dark times. “You encouraged me to take long walks,” the letter read. “You said to get fresh air; live for today.” The letter ends simply: “I took my life back…things did get better….I love you.” “Your brother, Fred.”

What happen between our representatives and the communities they were elected to serve? What happen to campaign pledges to keep the community involved and engaged? Where do we go from here? The battle is not over for equality and parity is not over. There will likely be a legal challenge to the new map to ensure it doesn’t violate the Voters Rights Act of 1965 and to ensure communities highly impacted continue to have equitable voice in city government. As for Council members Albus Brooks and Chris Herndon who help lead this flawed process and public roust, there will be a few “Coming to Jesus” moments as they grapple with community anger and backlash. It has not been lost on some that both political newcomers to the council and Denver came to community leaders to seek help with their bids to become council members, but strangely failed to circle back to key coalitions on this critical issue. Unlike Herndon, Brooks professed that he has learned some tough lessons. Among them is to do a better job reaching out to the communities of colors in which he serves. He also learned that it is not wise to disrespect the pioneers who paved the way for the succeeding generation and worked hard for the political gains communities of colors now enjoy and are fighting hard to preserve. From this point forward, City Council as a whole should do what’s in the best interest of the city and push for a charter change that would place the redrawing of council districts in 2020 in the hands of an independent commission, following the wise lead of the state legislature and the U.S. Congress. This sage move alone will prevent the council from engaging in a politically flawed and self-serving process that solely sought to protect fresh incumbencies and political real estate to the south of the Mason-Dixon Line and the Rio Grande.

April M. Washington,MMPA Award-winning Freelance Journalist/Media/Government Relations

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


City Council Members Draw The Line When It Comes To Redistricting

persed and Latinos concentrated,” Webb said. “Most of the changes occurring on these redistricting maps are north of Colfax. What makes it sacred to change or eliminate a district because of population growth?” He further expressed his concern about getting fair representation of minorities elected in these districts if

let Valentine loves her little piece of heaven in the northeast area of the city that is considered Montbello and has lived there for more than 10 years. But now the home owner/resident is concerned how her neighborhood fits into the city’s redistricting plans. Redistricting occurs every 10 years, with city council members redrawing boundaries lines because of population shifts based on the last 2010 Census. Denver city council members set out to carve up Montbello, splitting it into two districts – boundary lines starting between Havana and Chambers Road would divide the eastern portion of Montbello and become part of Stapleton in District 8 and the remaining western portion of Montbello would be part of Gateway/Green Valley Ranch stretching out to Picadilly Road. “People would like to see Montbello whole,” said first-time city councilman Chris Herndon who represents District 11 and drafted the redistricting map that city council members chose to go before a public hearing April 23. “But you can only have a population of 54,000 plus or minus five percent – and Montbello and Green Valley are just shy of a population of 60,000,” he added. The redistricting could also affect the future city council representation of Districts 8 and 11, now both represented by two African Americans wanting to maintain their seats. And the battle lines were drawn when it came down to one map changing the outlook of a city. The harsh reality is Denver’s Black population is dwindling as the Hispanic and white populations are on the rise. Not to mention the huge trend of upper and middle class residents (mostly white) who have been moving into once mostly dominated black-andbrown neighborhoods such as Five Points and Park Hill. When you look at the concentrated

those communities are divided, and stated, “What kind of city council do you want in the future….. you are playing a hunger game of politics.” Rita Lewis, first vice-president of the Denver branch of the NAACP, believes the whole redistricting is about diluting the vote in the Park Hill and Green Valley Ranch areas. “African Americans and Latinos will lose their vote…. this is a form of gentrification,” she stated as minorities are being split in smaller districts and being fractioned in the larger districts. Another Denver resident, Sherron Lewis, had his own concerns at the town hall meeting. “The numbers in the Black community are being challenged and we’re seeing diminished populations,” he stated, “and most Blacks are moving out of Denver anyway.” It all came to a head at the public hearing on April 23, when city council members played out their role in this redistricting saga. Despite the filled city council chamber with people stating their disapproval, it still didn’t sway the outcome of an 8 to 4 four vote in favor of having one final redistricting map drafted by Councilman Chris Herndon

By Sheila Smith


minority populated areas of Denver (according to the demographics on the proposed redistricting map by Councilman Chris Herndon), these are the facts: District 1 – population of 56,412 with 39.7 percent Hispanic, 1.7 percent Blacks; District 3 – population of 55,272 with 72.1 percent Hispanic, 3.5 percent Black; District 11 – population of 52,758 with 45.8 percent Hispanic, 28.4 percent Black; District 7 – population of 56,411 with 44.1 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Black; District 8 – population of 51, 911 with 23.8 percent Hispanic, 24.3 percent Black; and District 9 – population of 56,176 with 33.8 percent Hispanic, 16 percent Black. “African Americans are only 9.7 percent of the population of the city and dropping. We have to build new coalitions,” City Councilman Albus Brooks over District 8 said. He cohosted with Rep. Angela Williams, DDenver the public town hall meeting at Kimball Hall in Five Points on April 4. Former mayor Wellington Webb also attended the Five Points meeting and was very vocal about the redistricting issue. “The Black population is being dis-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Many residents from Sunnyside spoke out against being in District 1, Lincoln Park residents did not want to be a part of District 3, and the West Colfax Neighborhood Association clearly expressed not seeing their neighborhood split as well. Lisa Calderon with the Colorado Latino Forum asked city council members to delay voting on a map in order for the public to have more input and said the proposed redistricting maps were not in compliance with the Voter Rights Act of 1965, which federal laws prohibit redistricting practices that impact citizens of a particular race. “I was disheartened at the last committee meeting to hear a city council member say they were tired of talking about redistricting and wanted to move on to other issues like trash. People have the fundamental right to vote and people died for those rights to vote,” Calderon said addressing members of the city council. “Racial equality and economic equality are not things of the past. The (redistricting) maps should be redrawn to take into account the economic, historical and cultural experiences of the neighborhoods. ” District 9 City Councilwoman Judy Montero made it clear that those redistricting maps presented by Herndon and Lopez did not represent “those communities of interest.” “This is about protecting incumbents seats for 2015, and I have been deeply disturbed by this whole process,“ claimed Montero. Herndon’s response was, “I just wanted to make sure people had a collective voice. There will not be a perfect map but what I proposed was keeping neighborhoods whole.” Elet Valentine waited her turn among the more than 30 people waiting to state their opinions at the public hearing. Now that it’s over with and unable to sway council members to delay the redistricting process, Valentine is relieved it was Herndon’s map that got the majority vote. “There will still be disconnect among neighborhoods... and the map can be tweaked,” she said remaining hopeful of keeping her Montbello neighborhood intact. 


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College And Career Confidence

acquiring vocational training,” asserts Ms. Cancino. “For students who have a well-defined goal, ICAP offers important resources. For others, without such a well-defined career goal, ICAP offers insight about the student’s skills and paths for them to consider.” One student exploring his options is Alex, a Hope Online student from Action Learning Academy in Aurora. He and his classmates are learning a lot about themselves through ICAP. While deciding on a final career goal, the sequential milestones that students meet as they complete their individual plans keep them on a path toward continued education following high school graduation. After taking an interest and skills assessment at, the official organization and website affiliated with ICAP, Alex realized that his ability to organize, as well as his sense of responsibility and outgoing personality, could be useful in a career. As part of his ICAP exploration, Alex is writing a resume which requires stating a specific career objective. Thoughtfully developing this resume will help Alex further assess if he has the background and passion to become a talent agent – one of his interests – or if his character strengths and aptitude are better suited for a different career path.

By Heather O’Mara and Ruth Márquez West

(Top) HOPE School Counselor Kristie Richardson, (Bottom) HOPE Seniors Lonesha and Unique are proud to have a college and career plan,

Student Goals are crucial to college and career planning


"When you leave your job... don't leave your money behind!"

“It is wonderful that our students’ thinking is shifting from ‘I can’t go to college’ to realizing that there are actually resources to help them get there,” notes Richardson. “Having a plan with steps and goals makes all the difference.” Areli and her friend, Jesenia, both Hope Online high school students at Action Learning Academy are gaining awareness about the importance of a plan. They find it humorous that they were ushered toward similar careers after they took their online surveys. They encourage each other to accomplish future ICAP targets, including crafting their own resumes, applying for jobs to earn money for college and establishing personal budgets to fortify the personal discipline needed for long-term success. Ending the day’s ICAP session, Richardson inspires students with a story about overcoming obstacles similar to those they face. She, too, had few resources and little hope of ever going to college when she was in high school, and yet, she followed her dream, worked hard and not only earned her bachelor’s degree but, eventually, a dual master’s degree as well! Sharing her experiences with students is just another way she helps HOPE students not only develop a plan, but act on it, for a better future – one that includes an excellent education. 

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Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP Financial Adviser

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New Car Seat Fitting Stations Opens to Serve Families in Northeast Denver

In an effort to increase the use of car seats and protect children in the Denver Metro area, Denver Health and Street-Smart, Inc. have partnered with the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol to establish two new car seat inspection and fitting stations in northeast Denver. The new stations will be located at Denver Health’s Eastside (Five Points) and Montbello Family Health Centers. The new sites will add to the CPS Team Colorado network of more than 140 fitting stations across the state.

Monthly, Free Checks

With more than 90 percent of car seats improperly installed, the Denver Health monthly fitting stations will provide free car seat checks, installations, and seat belt education to help parents and caregivers make sure their car seats are safely installed and are appropriate for the child’s age and

Tim Durst is one of the certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians that will be inspecting car seats at Denver Health’s monthly Car Seat Fit Stations in Five Points and Montbello.

under the age of eight who are not properly protected by a car seat or booster seat will face an $82 fine. “Our new stations present an excellent opportunity for our patients and our community to protect their children and be in compliance with the law at a price that’s affordable for them,” notes Richard Castro, Denver Health’s Clinic Administrator. “We cannot be more excited about offering such a valuable service for our families.”

Inspection Appointments

size. Inspections will be conducted on site by a team of certified child passenger safety technicians provided by Street-Smart, Inc., a Whittier neighborhood-based organization dedicated to promoting a solid family foundation in low-income families. “Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for African Americans from birth through 14 years of age, and the number one cause of death for Hispanics between one and 24 years of age,” said Ilana

Erez, manager of Child Passenger Safety programs at CDOT. “We are thrilled to partner with Denver Health and Street-Smart to effectively reach these families and save more lives.”

It’s the Law

The new fitting stations are also intended to help increase awareness among parents that Colorado law now requires that all children under age eight be properly protected in a child safety seat when traveling in a motor vehicle. Parents who have children

Parents should call 303-602-KIDZ (5439) to schedule an appointment for a car seat inspection. A $5 donation is requested for services that may require replacement of a car seat. Parents must bring their child and vehicle to the inspection appointment. The days and time of operation for the Denver Health fit stations are: Eastside Family Health Center, 501 28th St., in Denver on the 3rd Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Montbello Family Health Center, 12600 E. Albrook Drive, Denver on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information, safety recommendations or to find a fitting station near you, visit 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012



ornel West is a philosopher endowed with poetic discourse and a commitment to social transformation grounded in courage, compassion and love. The Princeton University professor was the keynote speaker at the recent Art of Social Justice conference at the Auraria campus. The evening event attracted a crowd of 1,000 people. Organized by the Collective for Social Justice, a student group, the three-day conference explored a broad range of topics, such as labor, corporate responsibility, the prison complex, food production, indigenous rights, education, women’s issues, ethnicity within the current political atmosphere, and the Occupy movement. “The main goal of the conference was to speak to the interconnectedness of a broad range of issues and to provide tangible definitions to the term “social justice” by showcasing the people doing the real work,” said Candace Johnson, a member of the Collective. “Another goal was to bring together activists from a wide range of fields and have them connect with each other to see the overlap and fill in the gaps,” she continued. The conference, however, involved more than these traditional social issues. There were also workshops on self-empowerment and uses of new media. West’s talk was preceded by a powerful presentation by local poet Dominique Ashaheed whose themes ranged from the present controversy regarding Trayvon Martin to the murder of Emmet Till in Mississippi in 1955. West was an appropriate person to address art and social justice because he seamlessly blends both into his scholarship and activism. During his Auraria presentation he described life in 2012 in the United States as “. . . .a disappearing middle class on the vanilla side, gangster activity on Wall Street, a shadow banking system, the prevalence of greed, and the Horatio Alger mystique still remains in America.” He then applauded writers that he called “truth tellers” for their portrayals of various aspects of American society. “Thank God for Eugene O’Neill for The Iceman Cometh and Steven Sondheim for Pacific Overtures; and thank God for Toni Morrison for Beloved as well as James Baldwin who didn’t need to go to college to make his contributions,” West exclaimed. Jazz great John Coltrane and other musicians, such as Charles Mingus


Links Art, Social Justice and the Meaning of Humanity By Annette Walker

and Bruce Springsteen frequently become metaphors in West’s oratory. West acknowledges the tremendous influence that some artists, writers and musicians have had on his thinking. Most notable is the impact of the groundbreaking work of Anton Chekhov, the 19th century Russian playwright and short story writer. West even defines himself as a Chekhovian. His fascination with Chekhov involves the main fundamental question that motivates his writing. What does it mean to be human? As a philosopher, West says that “the existential quest for meaning is at the center of my thought.” “I find the incomparable works of Anton Chekhov – the best singular body by a modern artist – to be the wisest and deepest interpretations of what human beings confront in their daily struggles,” West writes in his introduction to The Cornel West Reader. “His salutary yet sad portraits of the nearly eight thousand characters in his stories and plays comparable only to Shakespeare’s variety of personages – provide the necessary ground, the background noise, of any acceptable view of what it means to be human,” he continues. West admires Chekhov’s avoidance of facile solutions to social problems. “I find inspiration in his refusal to escape from the pain and misery of life by indulging in dogmas, doctrines

or dreams as well as abstract systems, philosophic theodicies, or political utopias. Although Cheknov was a religious agnostic, West affirms his own Christianity and also refers to himself as a ‘Chekhovian Christian’. “By this I mean that I am obsessed with confronting the pervasive evil of unjustified suffering and unnecessary social misery in our world,” he writes in the Introduction in the Reader. “And I am determined to explore the intellectual sources and existential resources that feed our courage to be, courage to love and courage to fight for democracy.” Although West’s Ph.D. dissertation was entitled The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought, he considers himself a non-Marxist socialist. He considers Marxist thought a legitimate part of the Western stream of the larger modern articulation of historical consciousness, and he accepts some of its doctrines, but questions others. However, he emphatically rejects the trashing of Marxism by the U.S. liberal academy. West serves as honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America which he describes as “...the first multiracial, socialist organization close enough to my politics that I could join.” Regarding the recent phenomenon known as the Occupy Wall Street movement, West actively supports it. In October 2011 he participated in the Occupy protest on the steps of the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Supreme Court and was arrested for violating a law against protest signs at that location. He later participated in an Occupy protest in Norfolk, Virginia. At the Auraria conference he described the Occupy movement as “the deep democratic awakening in America.” Last Fall during an interview with Amy Goodman on her Democracy Now television and radio program, he responded to those critics who contend that the movement lacks a clear and unified message. “It’s impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We’re talking about a democratic awakening. . .you’re talking about raising political consciousness so it spills over all parts of the country, so people can begin to see what’s going on through a set of different lens, and then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be. Because in the end we’re really talking about what Martin Luther King would call a revolution – a transfer of power from oligarchs to everyday people of all colors – and that is a step-by-step process.” West cautions against the temptations of our market-driven, materialistic society in which people yield to the frivolous and superficial rather than to serious matters. “It is easy to become indifferent to evil and to other people’s suffering,” he said during the Auraria lecture. “Indifference is more evil than evil itself.” He also warned against confusing philanthropy with justice. “We want to create a society in which charity is not needed,” he said. There has been some controversy about West’s comments about President Barack Obama. In 2008 he publicly supported Obama and addressed a crowd of 1000 people at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. However, he has been critical especially of the President’s war policy. In his talk at Auraria he pointed out that under President George Bush there were 44 drone attacks and under President Obama there have been 239. He is also critical of increasing military spending while cutting the budget for housing, health and education. “I support principles, not individuals, nor some of Obama’s policies,” West said. He also called the Democratic Party “spineless” on many issues and characterized Obama as a liberal. Cornel West remains in the struggle. He and Tavis Smiley have coauthored a new book entitled The Rich and The Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. 

Publicist Turned Genealogy Buff

Breathes New Life into Old Family Photos


hronicling the untold stories of my ancestors and their colorful heritage (European, Sub-Saharan African, and Native American) became vital to me,” says publicist-cum-family history researcher, Regina Lynch-Hudson. After a glamorous 25-year career that has cast her access into the “all that glitters” environs of privilege and status, the Black Mountain, North Carolina native realized that she wanted to tell the stories of her forebears. Her writing had cast her penning celebrity profiles, travel reviews, and rubbing shoulders with diplomats in exotic ports of call like South Africa, “yet, I knew very little about kinfolks who originated right under my nose throughout humble hamlets in Western North Carolina.” From rummaging through records of all types, to implementing a proposal that won genetic DNA testing for family members, Lynch-Hudson began to chronicle the lives of five triracial family lineages in 1999. Her pic-

torial tribute “Family Gems: A Pictorial Treasury of Western North Carolina Ancestors” yielded a magnificent full-color 420-page coffee table book, depicting hundreds of restored black-and-white photographs, some dating back to the late 1800s – a decade long project. Lynch-Hudson sold the book to family members nationwide, by exclusive distribution. Next, stumbling upon a “goldmine” of elaborately bejeweled ruby frames at an antique shop, LynchHudson encased her family’s red, black, brown, and white faces in the

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gems, and hung them from a towering Georgia pine. Dubbed “the AncesTree,” it has become a revered conversation piece. Past home décor creations landed Lynch-Hudson on multiple episodes of Home & Garden Television (HGTV) before millions of viewers. Over the past two years, as she settled into semiretired status (she only represents select clients), the inventive 54-year-old started her next project by gutting out vintage pocket watches, with the idea of collaborating with a jeweler to create a Foremother’s Necklace. “Not only am I one of few women that I know who can actually identify five generations of foremothers, but people are in awe that I can actually picture five generations of maternal foremothers,” she says. “I couldn’t let the visual opportunity surrounding such a blessing go to waste.” Lynch-Hudson began procuring vintage pocket watches on Ebay ($3,000 worth). She then searched the country for a jeweler who could seal her ancestor’s faces in the watches in glasslike resin, and who could bring her Foremother’s Necklace concept to life. “The jeweler with the resin pouring expertise, and the artisan who could carry out my very detailed design concept ended up being two different parties,” she says. “Both argued that they couldn’t imagine me being able to carry off the weight and size of five pocket watches around my neck, but I was insistent. I am six-feet tall, and I could envision the necklace in my mind.” Lynch-Hudson photocopied her ancestor’s images in sepia-tone on laser transparency film (the kind used for overhead projectors) and then purchased bronze-colored leather cording and brass wiring – providing the materials to her contactors. Her artistic direction yielded an ancestral masterpiece showcasing five foremothers, beginning with Lynch-Hudson’s maternal great-great-great grandmother, Sarah “Sallie” Freeman (1820-1900). “As the oldest recorded maternal link that we have a photograph of, the family photo of Sallie Freeman, reveals unmistakably prominent Native American features – stereotypical high cheekbones, and straight black hair, parted down the middle.” Though Sallie is of Cherokee and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


French ancestry, Native Americans who lived in predominately black or white households blended into their households, and did not identify themselves as Native American. Sallie is listed in the 1860 Polk County, North Carolina Census as “mulatto,” living on the G.J. Mills Farm. Also depicted on the necklace, Lynch-Hudson’s greatgreat grandmother, Francis Freeman Payne (1848-1892) was the daughter of Sallie Freeman. Francis’s father was said to be white planter, Jim Wright. Francis was the wife of George Washington Richard Henry Lee Payne (1838-1927), a proud Western

North Carolina blacksmith, who was the first blacksmith for the famed Biltmore Estate. Francis bore him 12 children ─ a tri-racial mix of European, Sub-Saharan African, and Native American children. (George’s father was fullblooded African and his mother was reported to be Cherokee.) Hattie Othella Payne Burnette (1892-1986), Lynch-Hudson’s maternal great-grandmother, was the youngest child of George Payne and Francis Freeman Payne, born only three months before Francis died. Lynch-Hudson’s grandmother (Helen Juanita Burnette Lynch) and mother (Hattie Geneva Lynch) also dangle from the stunning ancestral necklace. For Lynch-Hudson, the euphoria of creating ancestral-themed heirlooms is unparalleled. What’s next on the drawing board? Her latest brainstorm is gutting old clocks to fill them with pictorial collages. “Family pictures speak to us. They are our personal links to history. As we blow off decades of dust, we uncover both the triumphs and tribulations of our forebears, and a powerful connection to the identities that shape us.” 

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Trayvon Martin And The Blood Of A Black Man N

By Christopher Jack

ationwide ( – Many years ago, I was privileged enough to go on a safari in Africa with a small group of friends. I remember it like it was yesterday. This safari was to just observe the animals in their natural habitat and to take pictures. As we were speeding to the area where most of the animals like to congregate, I started to notice hundreds of signs that said, “No Hunting or Poaching of Any Animals.” I guessed that the area we were going to was only for picture-taking. When we arrived to the site, you could feel the excitement inside of the jeep with the four of my friends. These large beautiful creatures were there grazing and taking advantage of the land that God has given them. The tour guide was telling us about what particular species of animal we were going to be observing; then it happened... another jeep came out of nowhere, fired a shot, and wounded one of these huge, beautiful animals. We were all shocked to see this huge creature laying there gasping for air, and barely clinging on to life. Then the hunter walked up and put another shot into it. As you probably know, all of the other animals scattered from the sound of the gunshot, and because of us rushing over to the scene. The hunter got to this poor animal first and then, the people from our jeep. I asked the hunters (from London), “Did you guys see the signs posted everywhere that hunting these animal are illegal?” One of the hunters said, “I know it is illegal, but nothing will

happen to me. So, who cares?” I looked at our tour guide, and he said, “He is correct. The law will do nothing.” These guys hunted and stalked that animal. Even though they broke the law, the law will not do anything about it. We convinced our tour guide to call it in to the authorities. This is when the story became more complex, complicated and convoluted. The authorities said that they would not

we should live by. One of the commandments was “Thou shalt not kill.” There were no signs posted that told Mr. Zimmerman “No Hunting or Poaching.” He killed that young boy because he was after his prize trophy catch. Mr. Zimmerman’s trophy came at a high cost. He shined a light on the proverbial white elephant in the room. He showed us that it is okay to hunt black men in this country year-round,

get involved because when people come here for the animals they bring a lot of tourist money. The authorities do not want to stop that flow of money coming into their area. Let me see if I understand this: The killing of these animals is illegal, but, if they can make money from it then it’s okay? That’s in Africa. Here in America the same thing happens, not with animals, but with people. Travon Martin was hunted, stalked, and killed; and the authorities did nothing. He laid there on the ground like an animal while the people, who knew this was wrong, looked the other way. Thousands of years ago, Moses gave us the Ten Commandments that

and you do not need a license. I’m sure the head of that animal that was shot in Africa is worth quite a large sum of money. Is Travon Martin’s killing worth millions? Yes. When this happened all of the major networks carried this as their top story for weeks. Newspapers and magazines are making millions from this story. And yes, do not fool yourself; the blood of a black man is still very valuable in America – especially, if he’s shot and killed by Tarzan.  Editor’s note: Christopher Jack, is a college professor, nationally syndicated columnist, and public speaker in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He can be reached at



À)22')257+(63,5,7Á Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Justice For Trayvon By Benjamin Todd Jealous

All of last week, I was in Sanford, Florida, pursuing justice for

Trayvon Martin. I listened to community concerns about the Sanford Police Department, and rallied with Trayvon’s parents and 30,000 others in Sanford, a town with only 50,000 residents. As a son, father, brother and uncle, the loss of another young Black man in an avoidable, violent confrontation hit close to home. I recalled my teen and early adult years, where making it to adulthood was considered an accomplishment among my peers. I understand the fear that lies in the hearts of millions of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles – the fear that this could happen to their loved one. Despite the awful truth of February 26, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton have been pillars of courage. Like Mamie Till after the brutal murder of her son Emmett, Tracy and Sybrina have stood and shown the world what hate and violence have done to their child, and the nation and the world have responded. Their leadership has

resulted in a global movement for justice for Trayvon and, most recently, in the appointment of a special prosecutor to review their son’s case. The Seminole County branch of the NAACP has played a critical role in

men by law enforcement. Across the country, our precious sons and daughters are being sacrificed all too frequently, with justice arriving far too infrequently, if ever. We won’t let it continue to happen. We will keep speaking out, and we will keep raising our voices for Trayvon and for all of our precious children. In Sanford, I saw a strong community willing to band together in the face of tragedy and raise its collective voice for justice. We need a continued national commitment to ensure that we fix the Sanford Police Department, and we need to keep the movement rolling to demand justice for Trayvon. Editor’s note: Ben Todd Jealous is the President and CEO of the NAACP.

igniting this movement for justice in Sanford. On Thursday – in light of pressure from Seminole County NAACP President Turner Clayton and the branch to step aside – Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee temporarily resigned from his post. Along with the ongoing Department of Justice investigation, it is heartening to see that the wheels of justice are in motion. It is clear that the Sanford police badly mishandled the investigation into Trayvon’s death. The routine mishandling of similar cases by police, prosecutors and judges has eroded the Sanford community’s trust and fueled the perception that justice for our young men and boys is of little consequence to law officials. It is vitally important that the state’s attorney assigned to this case handles it with passion and an eye for justice. Trayvon’s family, the Sanford community and the world lost a precious gift in Trayvon. Unfortunately, he is not the only young person we’ve lost to senseless violence. Trayvon’s killing and the city’s failure to bring his killer to justice exemplifies patterns of racial profiling and the devaluation of black Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Lost Your Joy?

Black Moms And The Seeds They Plant By Christopher Jack Nationwide (

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stepped up to the plate. I heard my buddies say, “Get a good hit Chris!� The pitcher threw the ball and it was the pitch a little boy dreams of. Just as I wound up and prepared to smack this ball into the stratosphere,

my heart filled with joy because I knew there was going to be a parade with floats in my honor, as I was about to become the youngest kid to hit a ball to the Middle East. Just as I started my perfect swing, I heard a loud voice saying, “Chris, come in the house. It’s time for dinner.� Now as a little boy I learned a few colorful metaphors from my dad. I didn’t have a clue what my Dad meant when he would say, “What the hell� but I figured this was a good time to say it. With her voice ringing in my ear, I swung as hard as I could. Strike three, the catcher said. With

I believe God was busy elsewhere at the time I was receiving my sentence. I always tell my students the story of October 17 – way back when. My job cut the hours of 90 percent of all the employees, my rent was past due, my car was repossessed, my refrigerator was empty and the electric company was at my door preparing to turn off my electricity. I am an adult but I will tell you the truth. I sat on my couch and began to cry. I recall saying, “Lord I need your help�. Then I prayed myself to sleep. The next morning my phone rang, it was my boss from work. My heart began to pound because I thought I was going

laughter all around me, I threw the bat on the ground and gave my Mom the worst look I could muster. Who cares if I was only 3 feet tall, afraid of leaves and the sound of the dryer running at night? My mother had messed up the perfect pitch, but I couldn’t stay mad at her, she was the person who kissed me when I fell and scraped my knee. As I got older, I realized that I was not the only one Mom did that to. She called all of my brothers and my sisters in for dinner. I noticed that our family did something else I never saw my friends do. Every night Mom had us all come into the living room and pray before we went to bed. Let’s see here, we ate dinner together, we prayed together and we went to church together. I have to be honest. All of this drove us crazy. Come on, we were kids, and on a Sunday morning we thought we should be playing baseball. I remember my Mom saying, “One day you will be thankful that I took you to church�. And Mom would always say, “If you get in trouble you can ask God for help�. I remember trying it once when I got a spanking...

to be fired, he said “Chris, I have a full time job for you if you want it.“ I was speechless. “Absolutely, I said.“ A week later a friend at the job said he had a car he wanted to get rid of. Things began to look up for me, and I never looked back. But the question still rings in my head. Why did this happen to me? I’m a good guy. Why? I come from a family of 12, and I have never shared any of this with them. Years later, I shared with Mom about what happened. I told her about the electric truck in back of the house and everything. She sat quietly listening as I told her my story, then she said she’s glad things worked out for me. I look at how blessed I am today and still wonder, what took me so long to ask God for help. Arrogance is a terrible thing. I’m glad I made it through it. Still, I hate to wonder where I would be if Mom did not introduce me to God... Thanks again Mom.  Editor’s note: Christopher Jack, is a college professor, syndicated columnist, and public speaker in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He can be reached at

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012



will never forget that day, it felt like the worst day of my life at that moment. That was the day they took her away from me. I cried and begged them no to take her. You would have thought that I was never going to see her again. My father says he can remember the day I was conceived. I guess he felt something good would come out of that evening. He was right, because nine months later on December 25, 1976 my sister was born, and three minutes later I was born. That’s right; my mother had twins on Christmas Day. My parents couldn’t decide what to name us, so for the next couple of days they called us baby A and baby B. Then they finally decided to name us Roshelle and RoShawn. When we went home, my sister and I shared a crib. This would be the beginning of our special bond, although I believe that we bonded way before we came into the world. When we were one-year old is when my parents noticed that my sister’s lips ad fingertips would turn a purple like color every so often. They took her to the doctor and found out that she was having problems with her heart and would need open heart surgery. She stayed in the hospital for a while after her surgery, and I stayed with my grandmother. They say that while she was gone, I went into a deep depression because she wasn’t next to me like she’d always been. As toddlers it was hard to keep us apart from each other. I remember being at a babysitter’s house and her taking my sister to the bathroom. We both started crying and screaming because we couldn’t be away from each other for five minutes. When it was time for us to start talking we developed our own language – twin language as they called it. My parents said it would sound like we were speaking French. No one could understand what we were saying to each other and that’s how we like it because it was our language only. People would talk to us and we would look at them like they were crazy and just keep speaking to each other in our own language. In pre-school, we didn’t play with anyone else, just ourselves. I remember when we would

The First Time I Understood The Meaning Of Love By RoShawn T. Ford-Bryant

RoShawn and her twin sister Roshelle

stay at my grandmother’s house, and the room we stayed in had twin beds. When it was time to lay down, my grandmother would say goodnight and turn off the lights. As soon as she walked away, one of us would get out of bed and climb into the bed with the other. We would even go to the bathroom together. My grandfather used to say “They have to go to the bathroom together”? My grandmother would laugh and say “That’s their thing.” I remember our first day of school; we were so excited to be starting the first grade. My mom got us ready that morning and drove us to school. I remember the school looking very big and intimidating but we were still excited. When we got to the school, the lady in the office told our mom where our classes would be. My sister and I looked at each other like “what do you mean classes.” We found out that we would be in separate classes because at that time they didn’t allow siblings in the same class. My sister and I got nervous. We weren’t just siblings, we were like one person. We

cried and begged them to let us be in the same class. My mom even begged them, but they couldn’t change their policies. I cried and begged them not to take her (my sister). You would have thought that I was never going to see her again. They tried to calm us down but couldn’t and it took about thirty minutes to separate us. My mom says that when she left the building she too started to cry because she knew that we couldn’t be apart from each other. Getting through the day was tough. They took my air, my other half away from me. I thought about her every minute, what she was doing, was she still crying, was she O.K. I don’t remember but I’m sure we got to see each other during lunch. Towards the end of the day, I got anxious. I knew that it would soon be over and I would reunite with her. When the last bell ran, I couldn’t get out of that class fast enough. We met in the hall and when I first saw her face it was the greatest feeling, and I could breathe again. We walked down the hall to go outside where our mother was waiting for us. We talked about our experiences of that day. It

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


was then when I realized she was more than my sister, more than my playmate – she was my love. And that is when I first understood the meaning of love. The next year we moved and had to go to another school. At this school, they decided to allow me and my sister to be in the same class. They had never done this before but wanted to see if twins worked better in the same classroom or in separate classrooms. So we were the first twins at this school to try this experiment. We did great being in the same class! Our grades were always high and our involvement was even better. Today, me and my sister are 34 years old and have learned to live apart. She lives in Las Vegas, NV and I live here in Denver. We live in two different places but our lives are quite alike. We are both married, we both have a step son, and neither one of us had children of our own. Although we are apart, we talk on the phone for at least an hour every day. I believe we have twin ESP (extra sensory perception) because we tend to call each other at the same time. We are apart but our love for one another keeps our twin bond together.  Editor’s Note: RoShawn T. Ford is a published author and has written this essay about the love that she has for her twin sister, Roshelle.

Prom Is Prime Time For Teens To Drink Speak to your teen about alcohol before the big night

Dazzling dresses and dashing tuxedos are sure to be the talk of the

town this prom season. As high school students get ready for their big night out, the Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (Denver RAP) program urges parents to speak to their children about the risks of drinking alcohol. Here are some ways to approach the subject with your teen as you shop for dresses, pick out a corsage, help tie a bow-tie or take pictures. Remember, teens value what you say. Parents often feel like what they say goes in one ear and out the other. But when parents regularly talk with their kids about not using alcohol or other drugs, their kids are up to 50 percent less likely to use alcohol. Start talking about the risks of alcohol and drug-use on a regular basis. Pick an everyday life example to bring up the subject. Sometimes it is hardest just to get the conversation started, but great conversation-starters are all around us. A news story about addiction; a TV show, song, or movie that talks

about alcohol and other drugs; or a real-life story of someone you know who has been harmed by alcohol and drug use can all serve as conversation starters. Make your position on alcohol and drug use clear. When discussing alcohol and drug use, clearly state what you expect from your son. For instance, you can say, “I know you may see other kids in your school drink, but let me be clear, I expect you to not drink. I don’t want to see you risk your future by getting in trouble or getting seriously hurt when you drink.” Tell your teen about what will happen if he breaks your rules. Be sure to follow through if he does break the rules with the consequence. Find out the when, where and who. It is important to know where your daughter will be on prom and afterwards. And, equally important to know who she will be hanging out with and what time she is expected home. These types of questions will show how much you care about her. Suggest tips to avoid peer pressure. You can teach your son to stay real to himself when he is being pressured to drink; REAL stands for Refuse, Educate, Avoid, Leave. Some easy ways for teens to avoid being pressured to drink is to say, “No thanks; it’s not my thing.” If a friend continues to pressure him, he can say, “No way. My mom told me not to drink. She’ll ground me for the rest of the year if I do.” Finally, if he still gets pressure to drink, he can avoid the situation by saying: “I love this song. Do you want to dance instead?” If all else fails, he can excuse himself and leave the situation by saying he needs to go the bathroom or going to another party. For more tips about speaking to your teen about alcohol, download the Parent Toolkit – How to Speak to Your Child About Alcohol at or visit Denver RAP on Facebook, 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


State Lawmakers Reignite School Wars Over Religion By Charles C. Haynes First Amendment Center


ontrary to culture-war mythology, God is alive and well in many, if not most, public schools. Visit almost any school in America and you’ll find students sharing their faith, reading their scriptures, saying grace before lunch and, in high

schools, meeting in religious clubs. But in a growing number of state legislatures around the country, lawmakers want more. Barred by the U.S. Supreme Court from turning the clock back to the days of state-sponsored prayers and devotional Bible reading, state legislatures are discovering creative new ways to get more religion through the schoolhouse door. Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law encouraging local school boards to create a forum at schoolsponsored events for students to offer inspirational messages. Although the state can’t require students to give a

prayer, critics of the legislation say “inspirational message” is a euphemism for prayer and student-government leaders charged with deciding who speaks will inevitably favor the majority faith. Texas passed the first of what opponents dub “prayer bills” in 2006. Other state legislatures, including Oklahoma and Tennessee, are currently debating similar legislation. Creating a “free speech” forum at school events may indeed be constitutional, but lower courts remain divided on where to draw the line on student speech before a captive audience. Beyond the murky legal issues, giv-

&21*5$78/$7,216 0(75267$7(*5$'8$7(6   Your hard work and dedication inspire us to continue providing Colorado students with a high-quality academic experience—relevant and rich with diversity. You are a vital resource to Colorado’s economy. Best of luck in your future endeavours.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


ing control of the microphone to student speakers strikes many school administrators as a risky business. Get ready for conflicts and lawsuits when some students offer Christian prayers, others pray Muslim, Wiccan or fill-inthe-blank prayers, and still others speak out for atheism. Meanwhile in Arizona, lawmakers in the state House voted in February for a “Bible bill” designed to encourage schools to set up Bible courses (it’s now before the state Senate). Although public schools in most states can offer Bible electives now, some legislators want to provide state support and incentives to encourage more such courses. Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and South Carolina already have “Bible bills” – and other Bible Belt states are likely to follow suit. Bible literature and history can (and should) be part of the public school curriculum – but only if the material is taught objectively using scholarly materials. Most of the Bible bills, however, give little or no guidance on what safeguards schools should put in place to ensure that Bible courses are academic, not devotional. And little provision is made to prepare teachers or to provide scholarly resources for teaching about the Bible. A proliferation of Bible courses in public schools, taught by unqualified teachers using the Bible as a history textbook, will be a boon for lawyers – but a legal quagmire for school officials. Prayer and Bible bills are part of a larger legislative effort by many conservative Christian groups and lawmakers to reverse what they see as a secularization of American schools and society that is hostile to (their) religion. Religiously motivated opponents of evolution, for example, are pushing hard in many states for legislation that would require teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution and other topics they deem “controversial” in science. Louisiana passed such a bill in 2008. A similar bill was enacted by the Tennessee Legislature last month and awaits the governor’s signature. Critics of these bills charge that this nationwide effort to change science education is another attempt by the Christian Right to undermine teaching the well-established theory of evolution – and a back-door way to promote religious views as science in public schools. Supporters counter that opening the science curriculum to other views promotes critical thinking. It’s worth recalling that over the past two decades, groups on the left and right managed to reach consensus on a range of issues, from the importance of teaching about religion to the necessity of protecting student religious-liberty rights. Continued on page 21

Komen Denver Affiliate Is Celebrating 20 Years Fighting Breast Cancer And Supporting The Community

This year Komen Denver Affiliate celebrates 20 years of fighting breast

cancer in our community. In 1992, a group of dedicated women and men established Komen Denver Affiliate to provide breast cancer education and screening for women in Colorado, as well as raise money for much-needed research. In the last 20 years, the Affiliate provided funds to 87 locallybased community and health organizations to pay for screening, treatment, treatment support and education. “Komen Denver has and continues to invest in our community to help ensure that no individual faces a diagnosis of breast cancer alone. We have made much progress over the years. Early stage breast cancer now has a 98 percent survival rate compared to about 74 percent in 1980. Our efforts helped decrease breast cancer mortality rates by 39 percent impacting the life of Coloradoans,” stated Michele Ostrander, Executive Director of the Affiliate. “Yet we have much to do, in Colorado this year almost 3,400 women will be diagnosed and 500 will die from this disease.” Komen Denver Affiliate is awarding $2.5 million to 15 organizations this fiscal year including: Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, Rocky Mountain Rural Health, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

School Wars Over Religion

Continued from page 21 But now groups on all sides are gearing up for new conflicts generated by state legislation that goes beyond the consensus by encouraging prayers at school-sponsored events, promoting problematic Bible courses, and sparking new debates over science education. Welcome to the latest chapter in the long struggle over the role of religion in schools – an argument that dates to the founding of public education more than 150 years ago. In the spirit of the times, let’s call it school wars 4.0.  Editor’s note: Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20001. Web: E-mail:

Department of Public Health (Women’s Wellness Center), Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Health Foundation, Colorado Community Network, Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation, Yuma District Hospital, McKee Medical Center Foundation, Boulder Community Hospital, Mount Evans Home Health and Hospice, The Raymond Wentz Foundation, Women’s Resource Center, and Colorado Foundation for Public Health and Environment. Grants awarded by Komen Denver Affiliate are targeted to uninsured and underinsured individuals in the greater Denver community and focus on breast cancer screening, treatment and treatment support services. “A high priority for this year’s grant cycle is screening because of the increased need within the community due to state funding cuts, which have resulted in approximately 5,000 fewer women having access to breast cancer screening in the Affiliate’s service area. Komen Denver Affiliate is the safety-net program in the community for women who have nowhere else to turn to receive breast cancer screening and treatment services” said Ostrander. Due to state funding cuts, the Affiliate’s Board of Directors prioritized screening grants to help meet the needs of women in our community. The key to survival is detecting breast cancer early when the 5-year survival rate is 98 percent. The survival rate plummets to 23 percent when the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. Grants from last fiscal year funded nearly 17,000 breast health and breast cancer services for medically underserved individuals in the community. The positive impact this funding has made on women’s lives in the community is significant but not enough, as the need continues to grow. This year, the Affiliate received $3.7 million in requests for funding. Due to prioritizing screening grants and continued economic challenges, the grant requests exceeded the amount of funds available resulting in nine fewer organizations being funded this year. Komen Denver is not an endowed foundation and all the money that we grant each year was raised the previous fiscal year. The Affiliate has a rigorous granting process. Grants are available to any

nonprofit providing breast cancer screening, treatment and support services for low-income and uninsured individuals. All grants are reviewed by an Independent Review Panel made up of community volunteers with knowledge of grants management, medicine, nonprofit management, finance, community groups, as well as breast cancer survivors. The panel members review and score all the applications and make recommendations to the Affiliate’s Board of Directors who have the final approval of the grant funding slate. The Affiliate will continue the work in the community and is committed to realizing a world without breast cancer and encourages the community to get involved to help save lives and end breast cancer forever.  Editor’s note: About Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Komen Denver Metropolitan Affiliate Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982 that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Through

events like the Komen Denver Race for the Cure®, the Komen Denver Metropolitan Affiliate has invested more $30 million in community breast health programs in 19 Colorado counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Park, Phillips, Sedgwick, Summit, Washington, Weld, and Yuma). Seventy five percent of net proceeds generated by the Affiliate stay in the Denver Metropolitan area. The remaining funds go to the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program to fund research. For more information, call 303-744-2088 or visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Dance Africa Denver 2012 T

Sam Williams Memorial Golf Classic Thursday, May 31, 2012

Saddle Rock Golf Course 21075 E. Arapahoe Road 8 A.M. Shotgun Start $100 per player or $400 for team of 4 Sponsorship levels

•Eagle - $3000 •Birdie - $1500 •Par - $1000 •Golfer - $500 •Hole - $250

Awards and Memorial Luncheon is included in golfer registration fee. Also, open to community for $25 or $80 for table of four.

Tournament contests:

•Longest Drive •Straightest Drive •Closest to the Pin •Betting Hole •Speed Hole

Awards luncheon and silent auction will follow the tournament at 1 p.m. Proceeds benefit a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University, prostate cancer research, and the Sam Williams Mentoring Program. For additional sponsorship or registration info, please call 970-396-4266 or email

Registration Deadline: May 15 (Pre-registration is required)

his year marks the 35th anniversary of DanceAfrica! Created in 1977 by Chuck Davis, it is the nation’s first festival devoted to African dance and has become one of the largest celebrations of its kind, uniting dancers the world over to celebrate the cultural vitality of Africa and its diaspora. Growing into the country’s largest annual celebration of African and African American dance and culture, DanceAfrica now has dates in many cities such as Brooklyn, Dallas, Chicago; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; and now Denver. Dallas recently made the festival an annual event, and Denver plans to do the same, with this being the second year for the Festival in our city. This year’s DanceAfrica Denver 2012 features not only performances by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble but also special guests Afriky Lolo from St Louis, Giwayan Mata from Atlanta, and Capoeira Luanda from Bahia, Brazil. DanceAfrica will be held on May 18-20 at Kay Schomp Theatre, Denver School for the Performing Arts, 7111 Montview Boulevard in Denver. The Festival will also feature an African Market, featuring the arts and crafts, food and beverages of various local vendors. Market space is available by calling 303 295 1759 x20. For more information and tickets, call 303-295-1759 x13.

Afriky Lolo

Afriky Lolo, founded and led by Diádié Bathily, is a West African dance non-profit corporation that is committed to bringing West African dance and culture to the St. Louis, Missouri, community through teaching and performing. Bathily is a Master dancer from the Cote d’Ivoire,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


West Africa. He immigrated to the United States in 1998. He has a strong personal and professional desire to share the beauty, culture and passion of West African dance with Americans, especially African Americans. Diádié Bathily has danced professionally for over 30 years and has performed professionally for Marie-Rose Guiraud’s Les Guirivoires, Adama Drame, Wara Danse (his company in the Cote d’Ivoire), and Diádié Bathily Dance (in the United States). Bathily is an experienced teacher who specializes in traditional dances from Mali, the Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Ghana. He teaches and performs in St. Louis elementary and secondary schools and at local universities, colleges, and dance studios throughout the Midwest. Throughout the school year, Bathily teaches and gives workshops at local elementary and secondary public schools, at Washington University and at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Bathily also choreographs original pieces for university dance companies. The Company has 75 dancers — ranging in age from 6 to over 60 and 8 drummers. Afriky Lolo, meaning African Star, performs traditional West African dance at community events throughout the year. Capoeira Luanda was born from the union of capoeiristas from different times and experiences, with the effective participation of all professors, instructors and graduates of Mestre Jelon. Capoeira Luanda was founded on April 6, 2007, after a long process of research and study under the direction and guidance of Mestre Jelon. Capoeira (Pronounced ka-poo-eyhda) is an African-Brazilian martial art that incorporates acrobatics, dance, music, and songs in a rhythmic dialogue of body, mind, and spirit. 

Coors Light and Ice Cube Search for the “Coldest” MC in the Country


oors Light is partnering with hip-hop pioneer Ice Cube for the Coors Light Search for the Coldest program, a national talent search for the best MC in the country. Garnering more than 140,000 online votes in 2011, its inaugural year, the program is quickly becoming a platform for upand-coming MCs to showcase their skills to a broad, national audience. “I’ve had the opportunity to grow my career into many areas, but hiphop is where it all began for me,” said Ice Cube. “As a fresh and innovative brand, Coors Light is a natural fit with the hip-hop community, so I’m excited to partner with Coors Light to find the next Coldest MC in the country.” Coors Light Search for the Coldest will include a regional tour and competition featuring high-octane concerts with celebrity appearances and performances. MCs will compete to make it to the finale in New York City, where hip-hop heavy hitters Ice Cube, DJ Drama and DJ Khaled will decide who will be crowned 2012’s Coldest MC. The grand prize winner will receive the opportunity to develop a single track by a celebrity producer, studio time and their song featured on the Coors Light Search for the Coldest Mix tape. Last year, PyInfamous was crowned the Coldest MC and opened for hip-hop acts N.E.R.D. and Pac Div in New Orleans during the ESSENCE Music Festival. “Coors Light is known as The World’s Most Refreshing Beer and hip-hop has always been about what’s fresh and new in music. Who better than Ice Cube, a hip-hop pioneer, to help Coors Light identify the Coldest upcoming MC?” says Mwanza Lumumba, brand manager, Coors Light African American marketing. “We’re proud to design a program that recognizes aspiring artists within the hip-hop community.”

Coors Light Search for the Coldest also continues its partnership with OurStage, a leading destination for new music discovery, who provides opportunities for emerging artists to open for, be mentored by, or collaborate with established artists. The website,, will allow hip-hop fans to vote for the artist they believe should advance to the final round of the competition. Fans will also have the chance to win daily prizes, including trips to the ESSENCE Music Festival, and the Search for the Coldest grand finale in New York City.

Contest Overview: Contestant Submissions: April 1 – May 15

The competition begins with online submissions in which emerging MCs upload an audio track or video of an original composition to, between April 1 and May 15, to be voted on by fans and celebrity judges.

Voting: April 1 – July 10

Legal-drinking-age consumers can vote for their favorite MC from April 1 – July 10, and the top contestants will be selected to perform in the semifinals.


Eight semifinalists will be chosen through both online submissions and via live performances in select markets. The final eight will fall into the following categories: •New York-based semifinalist, chosen via online submission •New Orleans-based semifinalist, chosen via online submission •Video channel semifinalist, best video submitted •Best live-performance challenge in Baltimore on June 20 •Best live-performance challenge in Philadelphia on June 21 •Best live-performance challenge in Atlanta on June 28 •Best live-performance challenge in Charlotte on June 30 •Wild card semifinalist, best MC among all other markets The semifinal events will feature celebrity appearances and performances. All eight semifinalists will make it to the grand finale in New York City for a chance to be crowned Coldest MC.

Grand Finale: July 26

Contest finalists will battle it out in New York City. Celebrity judges Ice Cube, DJ Drama and DJ Khaled will select the contestant who will be crowned the Coldest MC and awarded the grand prize. For competition rules and details, visit m. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Born in Welch, West Virginia on January 17, 1956, Steve Harvey is a

media conglomerate personified whose career began doing stand-up in the mid-1980s. His success as a comedian eventually led to a long stint as host of It’s Showtime at the Apollo, multiple TV shows and movies, assorted acting roles, and to hosting, writing and producing. Steve starred on the big screen in such movies as Love Don’t Cost a Thing, You Got Served, Johnson Family Vacation and Madea Goes to Jail. This year, he’s celebrating his 12th year as longtime host of BET’s Celebration of Gospel. In 1997, he toured as one of the Kings of Comedy alongside Cedric The Entertainer, the late Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley. That led to the taping of one of the most successful comedy concert films in history – The Original Kings of Comedy – directed by Spike Lee. Currently, Steve serves as the host of the long-running syndicated game show Family Feud. His presence since his debut in September 2010 has rejuvenated the series and increased the Feud’s TV ratings by more than 40 percent. This fall, he will debut a new syndicated daytime show, a one-hour daily program covering relationships, parenting, the workplace and a range of other topics. September 2000 marked the premiere of the Steve Harvey Morning Show, a nationally-syndicated radio program which airs Monday – Friday, from 6 to 10 a.m. in over 60 markets with a total of approximately 7 million listeners. The show enabled him to share love advice with his listeners through the “Strawberry Letter” segment, where he responds to relationship questions. That segment’s popularity led to the publication of Steve’s first book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” in January of 2009. Love guru Harvey’s must-have guide to unlocking the male mind, understanding his game, anticipating his moves and countering with unstoppable offense and defense, the widely-acclaimed book was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for 64 weeks, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. Here, Steve talks about the opus’ screen adaptation titled, Think Like a Man, starring Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Gabrielle Union and Kevin Hart. Kam Williams: Hi Steve, thanks for another interview. Steve Harvey: Hey, no problem, Kam, How you been doing? KW: Great, thanks. When did it occur to you that Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man could be turned into a movie?


Steve at Ease...

The “Think Like a Man” Interview with Kam Williams

SH: It actually never occurred to me. In fact, as a first time author, I didn’t expect the book to be a #1 best-seller. So, I had no idea that the book was going to be such a success. And when they came to me about adapting it into a movie, my foremost concern was that they not make a mockery of my book. So, they promised to keep me involved every step of the way, including the script and the casting. I think everybody they put in the film was a great pick. KW: I know you play yourself in the film. But which of the characters in Think Like a Man would you say you’re most similar to? SH: Michael Ealy’s character, Dominic. I was definitely more of a dreamer. That was me. Of course, I never met the chick who was making six-figures. I was always a dreamer with high aspirations, but I kept coming up short my whole life. I couldn’t quite nail it down. So, I thought Michael’s character was closest to me, other than that fool, Kevin Hart’s. KW: What message do you want people to take away from the film? SH: That men and women really do want the same things. We just need each other to bring it out. That’s really the truth of the matter. KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: From whom have you learned your greatest lessons about love? SH: From my father. My father was married to mother ‘til the day he died, for over 64 years. He’s why I kept trying to get the marriage thing right. All I knew growing up was that my father was married to and loved my momma, period. He worked hard, made some money, and put it on the dresser. She spent it on the family, and he went out and earned some more. He taught me the most about love. KW: Children’s book author Irene Smalls asks: Of which of your many achievements are you most proud? SH: Wow! I’d have to say I’m most proud of my mentoring camp that I do in Dallas every year for one hundred boys from single-parent homes. I was raised by a mother who was a Sunday school teacher and a father who worked hard. Together they taught me to give back. Other than

that, I’m also very proud of my stand-up career. I’m sure it’ll be a pretty emotional night on August 2nd when I hang it up for good at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Those two things have set the benchmark of who I am. KW: I think of stand-up as one of the toughest things to do in the world. It’s just you and a microphone. SH: Let me explain to you just how difficult it is. You can take lessons to become almost anything: flying lessons, piano lessons, skydiving lessons, acting lessons, race car driving lessons, singing lessons. But there’s no class for comedy. You have to be born with it. God has to give you this gift. And there are only a few who can earn a living at it. It’s been an honor and a blessing. KW: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier asks: What message do you have for someone who believes that a woman should not think like a man? SH: Don’t think like a man, and let’s see where that gets you. Thinking like a man doesn’t mean you have to stop acting like a lady. “Think like a man” is just a catchphrase. What I really want is for women to know how a man thinks. Patricia, you don’t have to think like a man at all if you don’t want to. But, good luck, call me, and let me know how it works out for you. KW: Yale grad Tommy Russell asks: What do you think of the Trayvon Martin case? SH: It’s very simple for me. Let’s remove the race issue for a second, because as long as we make it a racial issue, it forces people to take sides, and that’s the part I don’t like. So, let’s forget all the 911 calls and the fact that the police said “Don’t follow him.” And let’s ignore all the speculation about who was hollering for help. Just imagine that your child goes to the store to buy an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. And on his way home, he’s shot dead by an adult male with a gun who admits shooting him. What should we do about that? Let’s go from there. KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see? SH: I see a man who finally found some joy in his life, and I’m overjoyed about that. It has a lot to do with my wife and my faith. I finally figured out

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


the difference between fun and joy. Joy resides on the inside. You don’t have to go anywhere to get it. It’s all really cool. KW: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person? SH: It taught me how powerful women really were. And it made me respect them all the more. I said, “Wow! I’ve just discovered something. I have to have one of those to feel good about myself. And when they don’t want me anymore, it hurts.” KW: Dante Lee, author of “Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst? SH: [Chuckles] The worst was asking my parents to borrow $5,000 so I could buy a carpet cleaning machine. I couldn’t pay the loan back and they lost the entire $5,000. That was heartbreaking, man, because that was a lot of money for them. I resolved right then that I would never disappoint them again. And I paid them back a million times over before they passed. I tell you, Kam, the smartest business move I ever made was writing this book. It really turned my career around by making Hollywood see me as general market as opposed to multi-cultural. After the book’s success came Family Feud and invites to appear on shows like Oprah, Ellen and The View. And now here comes my own talk show. All that flowed from the book. KW: I thought you were going to say the best business decision was when you were transformed spiritually when you did that “He Ain’t through with Me Yet” concert. I got goosebumps watching the end of that show. SH: Wow! You’re absolutely correct. There has been nothing more impactful on my life and meaningful to me than the introduction of Christ. That, hands down, blows away every joke I’ve ever written. When I did it that night, it was the first time I’d ever done it on stage. And the whole room exploded. That was the most powerful performance of my entire career. But that wasn’t a business decision. KW: Bernadette also asks: What is your favorite charity? SH: The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered? SH: As a guy who made it and then helped as many other people to make it as he could. KW: Thanks again for the time, Steve, and best of luck with the film and your many other endeavors. SH: Thank you, Kam. Let’s talk again, my man, when the talk show debuts in the fall. 

Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams ExcellentEEEEE. Very GoodEEEE.. GoodEEEEEE... FairEEEEEEE.. PoorEEEEEEE.

    No stars

Think Like a Man 

Guys and Ladies Match Wits in Battle-of-the-Sexes Comedy


omedian/actor/radio and television show host Steve Harvey shocked the world a few years ago when he added love guru to his repertoire with the publication of “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. The popular relationship primer, which earned the #1 spot on the New York Times best-seller list mapped out a step-bystep strategy designed to help any woman turn her man into Mr. Right, merely by understanding and manipulating the male psyche. Think Like a Man, the movie, is less an adaptation of the book than a bat-


tle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy revolving around a quartet of conniving females who secretly rely on the tenets of Steve’s philosophy to try to land the men of their dreams. This proves easier said than done once the guys discover what the objects of their affection are up to, and then decide to beat them to the proverbial punch by reading the opus themselves. Directed by Tim Story, the film features an A-list cast with stars in both the lead and supporting roles. Calling the play-by-play is Kevin Hart, who does double duty as narrator and as Cedric, a trash-talking blowhard going through a difficult divorce. Luckily, the four ill-matched couples at the heart of the tale are so simplistically-drawn that they’re easy to keep straight. Earnest Dominic (Michael Ealy) is an unemployed chef who dreams of opening his own restaurant. He goes to extraordinary lengths to impress Lauren (Taraji P. Henson), a status-conscious corporate executive he thinks wouldn’t give him the time of day if she knew he didn’t have a job or a Mercedes. Meanwhile, Michael (Terrence Jenkins) and single-mom Candace (Regina Hall) can never get together between the distracting demands of

Special Engagement

Cedric the Entertainer - May 17 Trevor Noah

May 24-27

Think Like a Man

his meddling mother (Jenifer Lewis) and her precocious, 6 year-old son (Kaleel Harris). Then there’s Kristen (Gabrielle Union) who has grown weary after 9 years of waiting for her immature boyfriend (Jerry Ferrara) to pop the question. And finally, we have Mya (Meagan Good) who refuses to sleep with hot-and-bothered Zeke (Romany Malco) for 90 days after having been seduced and abandoned by her previous suitor. Overall, the banter is so laugh-outloud funny that I strongly urge you to sit near the front of the theater, since the audience din drowned out a lot of dialogue at the screening this critic attended. Many of the film’s most memorable moments arrive courtesy of celebs making cameo appearances, especially talk show host Wendy Williams, comedienne Luenell, hunky Morris Chestnut, The View’s Sherri Shepherd, singer Chris Brown, pro basketball players Ron Artest and Lisa Leslie, and Steve Harvey himself. Still, I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to forewarn that the picture’s politically-incorrect brand of humor is apt to offend those sensitive about homophobia, misogyny and the use of the N-word. One only hopes all is forgotten, if not necessarily forgiven, by the time the canoodling couples disappear into the sunset. The male mindset as the path to happily ever after. Who knew? Rated: PG-13 for sexuality, crude humor, ethnic slurs and brief drug use Running Time: 123 minutes Distributor: Screen Gems To see a trailer for Think Like a Man, visit: Marley 

Special Engagement

Lavell Crawford - June 1-3

8246 E. 49th Avenue # 1400 Northfield @ Stapleton Denver, CO 80238 USA (303) 307-1777

Revealing Biopic Chronicles Personal Life and Musical Career of Revered Reggae Icon

beloved icon admired all over the world? That little-known side of Bob’s life story is the subject of Marley, an intimate biopic produced by his son, Ziggy, and directed by Scotsman Kevin Macdonald. Because of the participation in the project of so many relatives, friends and colleagues, the picture paints a fascinating portrait which fully fleshes out its subject, thereby resisting the temptation of merely placing him on a pedestal. At the point of departure we learn that Robert Nesta Marley was born in 1945 to Cedella Malcolm, a young local gal, and Captain Norval Marley, a British plantation overseer already in his 60s. Bob never really knew his father or the rest of the Marleys, a prominent family with a construction business on the island. In fact, his request for financial help to kickstart his career was rebuffed out of hand by his relatively-rich white relations. Rejection was a recurring theme during Bob’s formative years, when he was teased as a “half-caste” by other boys for being mixed. And he was equally unpopular with the opposite sex, since “Every girl’s dream in Jamaica was to have a tall, dark boyfriend.” He was even abandoned by his mom who moved to America while he was still in his teens. Fortunately, Bob eventually found salvation through a love of music and the embrace of the Rastafarian community. Seeing his guitar as a way out of poverty, he let his hair grow while writing popular songs about equality, world peace, and cannabis, which is considered a sacred herb by the dreadlocked adherents of his pot-smoking religion. After struggling to make it for over a decade while getting ripped-off by unscrupulous producers and promot-


hen most people think of Bob Marley, what probably comes to mind is reggae, Jamaica and marijuana. But how did a street urchin raised by a teen-mom in a country shack with no electricity manage to become a

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012



ers, Marley finally landed his big break in 1973 when he and the Wailers signed with Island Records. The group went on to record such hits as “One Love,” “Jammin’,” “No Woman No Cry,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Redemptive Song,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Stir It Up” and “Is This Love?” to name a few. The 2½ hour combination concert/interview flick allocates a decent portion of time to archival footage of The Wailers’ performing many of the aforementioned anthems. Attention is also devoted to the reflections of folks like Bob’s widow, Rita, who talks about how she was really more of her his guardian angel than his wife. After all, he had 11 children by 7 different women and often needed help juggling his groupies and babymamas. As Bob’s attorney, Diane Jobson, explains it, her client considered himself faithful to God, if not his spouse. Among Marley’s many lovers was gorgeous Cindy Breakspeare, Miss Jamaica 1976, who went on to win the Miss World title. Not so lucky was Pascaline Ondimba, the daughter of the African nation of Gabon’s prime minister. She recounts how Bob had called her “ugly” because she straightened her hair, and had encouraged her to cultivate and appreciate her natural beauty. Sadly, Marley’s life was marked by tragedy, too, including an assassination attempt and later the skin cancer to which he would succumb at the tender age of 36. Still, his “One Love” legacy is likely to withstand the test of time and inspire generations to come with its all-embracing message of understanding and tolerance. A wonderfully-revealing, wartsand-all tribute to the human spirit of a Rasta rock god!

Rated: PG-13 for violent images, mature themes and cannabis consumption Running Time: 145 minutes Distributor: Magnolia Pictures To see a trailer for Marley, visit: We the Party 

L.A. Teens Come of Age in Millennial Generation Morality Play

Whether by design or merely by

coincidence, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that We the Party is being released the same day as American Reunion, the 4th installment in the American Pie series. After all, the original American Pie revolved around a quartet of horny, high school students competing to lose their virginity

We The Party


before graduation, and we find the testosterone-driven quintet at the center of We the Party in pursuit of the same rite of passage shortly before their senior prom. However, despite sharing that deceptively-identical point of departure, We the Party actually proceeds to morph into something far more substantial than males merely bonding around the attempt to mate indiscriminately. For, this inner-city dramedy seamlessly blends that rather raunchy theme with a timely cautionary tale about the pitfalls of failing to plan for one’s future. Plus, it has some inspired comedy and a cutting-edge score, featuring performances by a number of emerging hip-hop acts, including Pink Dollaz, The New Boyz and The Rej3ctz. Unfolding like a 21st Century update of African-American cinematic classics such as House Party (1990) and Love Jones (1997), We the Party might very well come to serve as the seminal adventure capturing the angst and aspirations of the Millennial Generation. Written and directed by Mario Van Peebles, the film stars his son, Mandela, as Hendrix Sutton, a kid more concerned with buying a flashy automobile and finding a girlfriend than with getting good grades and going on to college. This unfortunate focus frustrates his divorced parents to no end. After all, Hendrix’s father (Mario Van Peebles) teaches at his high school, and his mom (Salli Richardson) is the principal. So, the slick slacker has to listen to endless lectures about the consequences of not applying himself academically. Still, Hendrix’s dad’s warning that “Minimum effort now means minimum wage later,” only falls on deaf ears since the recipient is a teenager with raging hormones. After all, his head has been hopelessly turned by a cute classmate called Cheyenne (Simone Battle). Yet, to land the girl of his dreams, he not only has to compete for her hand, so to speak, with a handsome jock, but he has to convince her “Ro-bro-cop” of a father (Michael Jai White) that his intentions are honorable.

Meanwhile, Hendrix’s motley posse, Quicktime (Moises Arias), Chowder (Patrick Cage II), Que (Ryan Vigil) and Obama (Makaylo Van Peebles) are experiencing their own unique relationship drama during their separate searches for sexual satisfaction. Be forewarned, much of the R-rated humor here ventures to the crude, like when the boys mount a tiny camera on a shoe in order to look up girls’ dresses; and the language is both profane and peppered with the N-word. Look for Snoop Dogg, Tiny Lister and the director’s legendary father, Melvin Van Peebles, in supporting roles, although they’re not the reason to see We the Party. What makes the movie worth its while is its anti-materialistic message that your character, what you are, is of far more import than where you live, what kind of car you drive, and your sexual conquests. The African-American answer to American Pie!

Rated: R for profanity, sexuality, ethnic slurs and teen drug use Running Time: 105 minutes Distributor: Arc Entertainment To see a trailer for We the Party, visit: 9i6GvfPE

Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans 

3D Sequel’s Spectacular Showdown of the Gods Improves upon the Original Episode


wish somebody would help me understand why the characters in movies set in ancient Greece invariably speak with British accents, since the English language didn’t even come into existence until centuries later. Other than that glaring anachronism, I have no complaints about Wrath of the Titans, a 3D sequel which is a rarity in that actually eclipses the original in quality. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles), this visually-captivating action-adventure revolves around another epic battle between the forces of good and evil. Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Danny Huston and Ralph Fiennes have Continued on page 28




to Example text: HIT 80202 Entry Deadline: Monday, May 14

BATTLESHIP HAS BEEN RATED PG-13 (PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED - SOME MATERIAL MAY BE INAPPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN UNDER 13) FOR INTENSE SEQUENCES OF VIOLENCE, ACTION AND DESTRUCTION, AND FOR LANGUAGE. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 5/14 at 5:00 PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Tuesday, May 15 at 7:00 PM at a local theater. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Universal Pictures, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. NO PHONE CALLS!


Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


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Continued from page 27 returned to reprise their lead roles as Perseus, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, respectively. The story unfolds a decade after the initial installment which ended with hero Perseus’ defeat of the Kraken. Since slaying the monstrous sea monsters, the widowed demigod has been passing an unassuming existence as an ordinary fisherman, quietly raising his now 10 year-old son, Helius (John Bell), in obscurity. But Perseus suddenly has a good reason to take his mighty sword back out of its scabbard when he learns that Hades and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) have imprisoned his father, Zeus, in an underworld dungeon. For, after killing Poseidon, the two renegade titans entered into a diabolical pact with world domination in mind. Accompanied by the lovely Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) with the goofy Agenor (Toby Kebell) tagging along for comic relief, altruistic Perseus and an intrepid band of warriors descend into a subterranean hell on behalf of humanity. While searching for Zeus, they encounter a host of mythological creatures, including one-eyed Cyclops (Martin Bayfield), half man-half bull Minotaur (Spencer Wilding), an addlepated fallen god (Billy Nighy) and fire-breathing dragons. Of course, the quest inexorably culminates in a spectacular showdown which takes full advantage of advances in 3-D technology. Be prepared to find yourself frequently ducking or squinting to avoid boulders or flaming embers which appeared to be aimed straight at your head. Graphic, high body-count bloodsport born of man’s imagination, harking back to the days before modern science provided plausible explanations for thunder, lightning, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other seemingly-supernatural phenomena. The gods must be on steroids! Rated: PG-13 for action and intense violence Running Time: 99 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Wrath of the Titans, visit: Mirror Mirror 

Snow White Saves Prince in Refreshing Overhaul of Beloved Classic


verybody knows that the story of Snow White is about an expiring damsel-in distress who’s ultimately revived by a handsome Prince’s kiss on the lips. But the world has changed considerably since the Grimm Brothers first published the fairytale in

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Mirror Mirror

1812, so why not tweak it a tad to reflect 21st Century sensibilities? That is ostensibly the idea behind Mirror Mirror, a novel overhaul of the original into a female empowerment flick featuring a spunky heroine capable of saving herself rather than having to rely on a knight in shining armor. Directed by Punjab-born Tarsem Singh, this incarnation even includes a Bollywood dance number during the closing credits. Furthermore, it renames the seven dwarfs to Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), Butcher (Martin Klebba) and Chuckles (Ronald Lee Clark). But before you suggest that it might be blasphemous to take such a liberty with the supposedlysacrosanct source material, consider the fact that the septet had previously been popularized as Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick and Whick by a 1912 Broadway production before subsequently being dubbed Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey and Doc in Disney’s 1937 animated version. Here, despite several superficial changes, the essence and message of the fable remain intact. It revolves around the attempt of a wicked stepmother (Julia Roberts) to become queen by preventing her beautiful stepdaughter (Lily Collins) from ascending to the throne following the disappearance of the King (Sean Bean). So, the evil Clementianna not only banishes the grieving orphan to the forest to die, but soon sets her sights on replacing her hubby with Snow’s suitor, Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer), a wealthy prince from a neighboring kingdom. However, after placing the young nobleman under a spell, the vain monarch still finds herself frustrated by her magical mirror’s answer to “Who’s the fairest of them all?” For instead of perishing, the enterprising, exiled princess survives her ordeal by bonding with a band of diminutive men living in the woods. And, with their help, it’s just a matter of time before the rightful heir returns to reclaim her inheritance, flipping the


script in the process by breaking the Queen’s spell with a peck on the Prince’s lips. Between the elaborate costumes and splendid principal cast performances by Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane and Armie Hammer, Mirror Mirror adds up to an enchanting update of a much-beloved classic guaranteed to delight kids of any age.

Rated: PG for action and mild crude humor Running Time: 106 minutes Distributor: Relativity Media To see a trailer for Mirror Mirror, visit: The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods 

College Kids Hunted at Haunted House in Harrowing Horror Flick


t first blush, The Cabin in the Woods reads like your run-of-the-mill slasher flick. After all, it revolves around unsuspecting teenagers isolated at a secluded setting who suddenly find themselves stalked by a homicidal maniac. Furthermore, at the picture’s point of departure, we’re introduced to five, naïve college kids embarking on a weekend getaway by Winnebago to a lakefront cottage located so far from civilization that it has no cell phone reception and can’t be tracked by GPS either. Such a break off the grid is just what the doctor ordered for the overstressed quintet assembled by Curt (Chris Hemsworth), a jock who’s been blessed with free use of a cabin by a long-lost cousin. Each of the classmates invited to join him represents a readily-identifiable horror film archetype. There’s Jules the blonde bimbo (Anna Hutchinson); Marty the wasted stoner (Fran Kranz); Dana the innocent virgin (Kristen Connelly); and Holden the straight-A student (Jesse Williams). En route, the motley crew blissfully ignores the ominous warning to turn around while they still have a chance issued by a creepy local yokel (Tim De Zarn) familiar with the grisly history of the estate where they’re headed. And it isn’t long after their arrival that

evil forces residing at the haunted house start picking them off one-byone. That is where the similarity to the stock scary movie plot begins to unravel in this genre-bending adventure marking the auspicious directorial debut of Drew Goddard. For, our ill-fated heroes have no idea that their ensuing struggle for survival is a hightech ordeal being very-carefully orchestrated from an underground bunker at the whim of a couple of jaded government bureaucrats (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) with an army of technowizards. It’s impossible to discuss the storyline further without spoiling an abundance of surprising supernatural developments, but suffice to say that waiting to be unleashed are a host of bloodthirsty ghouls and goblins capable of killing in endlessly-creative, if gruesome fashion. Overall, this hairraising roller coaster ride keeps you on edge for the duration, although its frustrating game frequently feels unfairly rigged in favor of the sadistic puppeteers over the intrepid protagonists you’re so futilely rooting for. While this howl-inducing splatterflick definitely deserves its R rating given the incessant gore, it nevertheless remains highly recommended for fright fans interested in a more cerebral brand of bloodletting. Rated: R for profanity, drug use, sexuality, nudity and graphic violence Running Time: 95 minutes Distributor: Lionsgate Films To see a trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, visit: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games 

Teens Forced to Compete in Fight to the Death in Futuristic Sci-Fi


icture a post-apocalyptic North America left devastated by a combination of fire, famine, drought and wars. The U.S. has collapsed only to be replaced by a centralized, totalitarian regime run with an iron fist by the President (Donald Sutherland) with the approval of effete elites barricaded inside the wealthy Capitol. That pampered class remains blissfully insulated from the ongoing suf-


Congresswoman Diana DeGette Announces Winner of First District Congressional Art Competition

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO01) announced that Glynn Rosenberg won the First District Congressional Arts Competition. Rosenberg is a student at Denver School of the Arts. The winning piece is a drawing in pencil entitled The Awakener. Several members of the local arts community including Cathey McClain Finlon, Denver Art Museum president, volunteered to judge the competition. The First District Congressional Arts Competition is part of a nationwide program entitled An Artistic Discovery, in which Members of Congress raise awareness of the importance of art education by recognizing outstanding art students from their Congressional District. The winning piece will be displayed with others from across the country in the Canon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. “As a member of the Arts Caucus in Congress, I am committed to advocating for legislation that strengthens art programs in schools and offers children the opportunity to grow,” said Congresswoman DeGette. “Glynn’s work exemplifies the benefits of a strong art program for someone with such talent.” Jazmin Ocon from Montbello High School won both 1st and 3rd Runner up with two photography pieces. Emily Abramson, who also attends Denver School of the Arts, won 2nd Runner up with a collage entitled The Portrait. Rosenberg will be invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony in June in Washington D.C. with Congresswoman DeGette. The winning piece, as well as the other 40 entries, is available to view at RedLine Art Galleries. fering of the citizens trapped in any of the country’s dozen outlying districts. For, since an attempted coup 74 years earlier, the government has been punishing the proletariat by staging an annual fight to the death in the wilderness in which each district is represented by a boy and a girl. The 24 participants are chosen by lottery and, as the story unfolds, we find 16 year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) consoling her younger sister, Primrose (Willow Shields), who has had the misfortune of having her name picked to represent District 12. However, Katniss altruistically volunteers to take her terrified sibling’s place, and soon finds herself shipped off by train to the site of the nationally-televised Hunger Games. En route, she and fellow District 12 entrant, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), are supposed to be mentored by former-winner Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). But the fatalistic alcoholic only has discouraging words to share, warning them to, “Embrace the possibility of your imminent death, and know there’s nothing I can do to save you.” Nonetheless, Katniss is determined to survive the ordeal, knowing just how much her sis and widowed mother (Paula Malcolmsen) might

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


mourn her demise. Fortunately, the spunky tomboy already has a host of survival skills at her disposal, being adept at archery and camouflage. Based on the first installment of Suzanne Collins’s popular trilogy of the same name, The Hunger Games is a riveting, if gruesome adventure which definitely will not disappoint its legions of loyal fans, a demographic every bit as rabid as readers of the Harry Potter and Twilight series. While this eagerly-anticipated cautionary tale of Orwellian dimensions does address a litany of timely themes ranging from greed to loyalty to exploitation to corruption, it nevertheless remains, at heart, a high attritionrate, splatter flick designed to satiate the bloodlust of kids weaned on gory computer games. How else would you describe a futuristic sci-fi revolving around a reality show where humans hunt humans they don’t even know purely for sport, spectacle and survival? The Most Dangerous Game meets Lord of the Flies. Rated: PG-13 for intense violence and disturbing images Running Time: 142 minutes Distributor: Lionsgate Films To see a trailer for The Hunger Games, visit: 

Hick’s Sig Ices Metro State Name Change


Metro State College of Denver’s transformation to Metro State University of Denver became official when SB12-148 was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Sen. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) was the Senate sponsor. The bill does not go into effect until July 1. Cutline: Surrounded by the Metro State Roadrunner mascot, student trustee Jacob LaBure, faculty trustee David Kottenstette, Rep. Crisanta Duran and Metro State President Stephen Jordan, Gov. John Hickenlooper signs SB12-148.

Denver SafeNite Program Underway



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Denver Safe City diversion officers and Denver police officers team-up every year from April to September to run the Denver SafeNite Program. The program offers court diversion opportunities for youth 17 years of age and younger while police actively enforce Denver’s Curfew Ordinance. Denver’s Curfew Ordinance prohibits youth from being in a public place or on public property from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., Sunday through  Thursday, and 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday, unless:  The minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (an adult friend does not qualify as a legal guardian) The minor is accompanied by an adult (18 or older) AND that adult is in possession of written permission from the parent or legal guardian The minor is in a motor vehicle being used in INTERSTATE travel The minor is working, traveling to work, or returning from work WITHOUT any detour stop For more information, contact Tiffany Vu from the Denver Safe City Office at 720-913-4619 or Lieutenant Magen Dodge from the Denver Police Department at 720-913-6023.

Sims-Fayola International Academy Receives Grant

Sims-Fayola International Academy will receive a $70,000 Daniels Fund grant to support its professional development program for its founding staff. The professional development priori-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


ties are building capacity in singlegender instructional strategies, projectbased Learning, and supporting English language learners. Sims-Fayola International Academy Denver (SFIA-D) is Denver’s first single-gender public school uniquely poised to engage young men in the rigorous, but rewarding work of a College Preparation Curriculum with a focus on International Studies. The school will be located in Far Northeast Denver in Green Valley Ranch’s High Point area. The vision of SFIA-D is to prepare boys to become creative, innovative thinkers, and responsible world citizens through international awareness, competence, and a global perspective of excellence. The school’s learning environment uses researchbased, proven instructional approaches designed to naturally increase the relevance and engagement levels of male students. An authentically delivered standardsbased curriculum allows “boys to be boys,” while teaching them to think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively; these are all skill necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Core values include: discipline, hard work, character, commitment, and vision. The school is now enrolling students entering the 6th and 9th grade for the 2012-2013 school-year. For more information about SimsFayola International Academy, call (720) 515-7342 or visit

Venture Prep’ First Graduating Class Achieves 100 Percent College Acceptance

This year marks the first graduating class for Venture Prep, a fastgrowing 6-12 charter school in the Park Hill area. While the class is small at 17 scholars, its achievements are mammoth, as all 17 seniors have been accepted into at least one college for next year, amassing total scholarship offers of almost $700,000. College offers range from close-tohome (Colorado State University, CU Boulder, University of Northern Colorado, and Metro State) to across the country (Drake University in Iowa, Kansas University, Xavier in Ohio, and Marshall University in West Virginia). The school achieves this success through a multi-faceted approach. Like many high schools, Venture Prep offers AP classes and concurrent enrollment in high school and college courses. Venture Prep is a free, public charter school founded on the belief that rigorous preparation in middle and high school will lead to success in college for all students, regardless of


New Web Site Features Latest College Scholarships

Nationwide ( – Finding college funding can be tough for students, but one organization is aiming to solve that problem. The National Online Directory of Scholarships (NODS) has launched a new web site at to help students easily find scholarship opportunities and education grants. The web site,, promises to post a new scholarship opportunity every single day, and each opportunity is real and legit. The site is 100 percent free to use, and does not require a membership of any kind. For more information, visit




Boston, MA ( — The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) in partnership with churches nationwide will mobilize its “Fourth Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer” on Sunday, June 17. The Rally takes place within participating churches on Father’s Day, where prostate cancer survivors within each congregation along with family members of those who have been victims of the disease are recognized and join hands in prayer for healing. PHEN provides each partnering church with materials for distribution to their members on Father’s Day. Also, as part of its ongoing partnership and support PHEN provides awareness posters, access to its educational resources, speakers, monthly enewsletters and webcasts. In addition, PHEN enrolls prostate cancer survivors within each church to assist with these ongoing education and awareness efforts. All churches are invited and encouraged to join the PHEN Father’s Day Rally by registering at: ister2012.php

Washington, DC ( – The Links Foundation, Incorporated launched the application process for its 2012 Grants-In-Aid program. Since 1979, the philanthropic arm of The Links, Incorporated has funded transformational programs that impact lives and change communities contributing more than $24 million dollars to date to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Not-for-profit organizations that are addressing the needs of their communities and have a history of sustainable impact are encouraged to apply. Applications can be found at Each grant application requires an endorsement from a Links chapter in their community. The deadline to apply is April 30. For more information on the Grants-In-Aid program, contact


Phen Launches 4th Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer

The Links Foundation, Incorporated Launches Its 2012 Grants-In-Aid Process


To the delight of thrilled audiences and rodeo fans across the United States, some of the nation’s most skilled and entertaining Black cowboys and cowgirls will ride into a town near you. The nation’s only touring Black rodeo competition - the thrilling Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) - will celebrate its 28th year showcasing its skilled athletes’ performances and competitions. Annually, the BPIR tour schedule takes the show to cities like Denver, Memphis, Phoenix, Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. To learn more about the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, its competitors, tour calendar, and local ticket purchase venues, please visit View Bill Picket Invitational Rodeo segment on the “Today Show” p/41702279#41702279

Miami, FL ( — A Black Doctorates conference will be held on June 29-30 in Miami, Florida. The theme will be “Black Doctorates: Building Our Future/ What’s Next?”, and the conference will serve a twofold purpose: (1) To discuss a plan of action of how to increase the number of black doctorates; and (2) expose black youth to black doctorates as a motivational tool to earn a doctorate and make a difference in the lives of others. For more information and to registers, visit or contact or call (786) 231-9820. The deadline for registration is April 16, 2012.


Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo Announces 2012 Nationwide Tour Schedule

Black Doctorates Conference


background. Venture Prep serves students in grades 6 to 12 with a unique blend of intensive skill-building and engaging hands-on project-based learning. For more information about the school or enrollment for next year, call 303-893-0805







Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


Denver Community Blood Drives May 2012


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In less than an hour you have the potential to save as many as three lives by donating whole blood. By giving blood, you’ll help Bonfils Blood Center maintain a state of blood supply readiness, while meeting the needs of Colorado’s patients. Bonfils Blood Center provides blood and blood products to nearly 200 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the Colorado and beyond. Bonfils needs nearly 3,000 people to donate blood every week to meet the needs of the community and be prepared for any unforeseen events. For more information about Bonfils Blood Center and upcoming blood drives in May, visit or call 303-363-2300 or 800-365-0006.

TFSRP Is Seeking Nominations For Father Of The Year Award

The Father’s Show Resource Program (TFSRP) is seeking nominations for its third annual Father of the Year Award program. The deadline for submitting nomination forms is Friday, May 4. The awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 16, location and time to be determined. For more information and nomination forms visit, e-mail or call Mike Thompson at 720-280-4793. To mail your nomination form, send to: Mike Thompson, The Father’s Show Resource Program, 4860 Chamber Road, #108, Denver, CO 80239. All mailed-in forms must be postmarked by May 4.

African Heritage Celebration’s 6th Annual Dinner-Silent Auction

The community is invited to enjoy an evening of cultural engagement. All proceeds will support educational projects in Senegal. The event will be Friday, June 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center on 650 15th St., in Denver. Donation is $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Table reservations are available. For more information, call Mohamadou Cisse at 720-732-4638 or Vance Johnson at 303-321-2470.

Announcing Steps To Success Project To Support Montbello Youth And Families

Beginning in early May, trained interviewers will be visiting randomly selected homes in Montbello to conduct an anonymous and confidential survey with eligible families. If your Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012


household is selected to participate, please take part in this very important community-driven project to help promote positive youth development and reduce youth violence. Interviewers have had background checks and will be carrying name badges that identify them as part of this project. The Lowry Family Center is assisting in the coordination and administration of the survey. Information obtained from the surveys will be used by the Montbello community to set priorities and make decisions which will help young people thrive and succeed. This project, Steps to Success, is a unique partnership between the Montbello and Northeast Park Hill communities, the University of Colorado and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, call 303-7353655.

Whittier K-8 Hosts Family Event

The Whittier PTA presents a family event, Walk for Whittier, at Whittier K-8 School at 25th and Downing on Friday, May 18. A community walk will be held from 5 to 5:30 p.m. followed by an affordable family celebration with a non-profit fair, carnival games, food and entertainment from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the event. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at and $100 business sponsorships are available. Proceeds from the event will help bring music to the school. For more information, visit or contact Karen at 303-986-5929 or e-mail

Metro Denver Lemonade Day Is Back

Metro Denver Lemonade Day is a free, community-wide event dedicated to teaching children how to start, own and operate their own business through the simple and time-honored act of building and running a lemonade stand. Through this enterprise, children will learn the entrepreneurial skills necessary to be successful in the future and become contributing members of their communities. The best part of the program is that after covering their expenses and paying back their investors, children are encouraged to open a youth savings account so that they may save a little, spend a little and give a little, donating a portion of their profits to a local charity of their choice. Lemonade Day will take place throughout Metro Denver on June 3.


For more information about Lemonade Day, or to become a participant, volunteer or sponsor, visit

Grill & Chill at the Safe Summer Kickoff

Families are invited to Grill & Chill at the Safe Summer Kickoff. There will be face painting, balloon animals, food, a salsa demonstration, games, live entertainment and many more fun activities. The Safe Summer Kick-off kick starts summer, demonstrates the community’s commitment to keeping families strong, and reminds families there are many ways to have fun and keep children safe during the summer months. This event is free and open to the public; and will be Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kepner Middle School, 911 S. Hazel Ct. in Denver. For more information, visit or call 720-944-4225.

Memorial Day Remembrance Parade And Tribute Ceremonies

The Memorial Day Remembrance Parade, Wreath Remembrance Ceremony and Tribute Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 26 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Downtown Denver near Civic Center Park. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Experiment! At DAVA

This exhibition explores the creative process and the importance of experimentation in art. DAVA Youth


Train for a Career YOU Can Be Proud Of!

used unusual techniques and materials to discover new ideas. Artists Rosane Volchan O’ Conor and Gary Parkins add dimension to the exhibition, which opens to the public from May 11 to July 13 with the opening reception on Friday, May 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. Both artists will talk about their works during a closing reception on Friday July 13 from 6 to 8 pm. DAVA (Downtown Aurora Visual Arts) is located at 1405 Florence St., one block south of East Colfax in the Aurora Arts District. This exhibit is free and open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday or by appointment. For more information, e-mail

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Prepare for a career in corrections, probation, law enforcement, immigration and security administration.

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Annual Fundraiser Planned To Provide Scholarships

Day and evening classes. Financial aid available for those who qualify. Career placement assistance available for graduates. Programs and schedules vary by campus. Law enforcement agencies may require additional training. Accredited Members, ACICS.

Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios will host its largest fundraiser 6:30 p.m. June 1 at Ninth Street Park on the Auraria Campus. The fundraiser provides over 100 students scholarships to attend the community-based school, which is celebrating its 41st year of serving disadvantage Latino communities. The Flor y Canto Festival and Champions of Change Awards will honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Latino/Chicano and indigenous communities in the areas of education, business and community development, human rights and social justice. 2012 Honorees are: Michael & Ron Roybal, of the Roybal Corp. (Business and Community Development Award); Romana Martinez, member of the Democratic National Committee (Politics and Social Action Award); Maria Guajardo, University of Denver Trustee (Liberatory Education Award); Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, Humanitarian Award. For more infomation or to donate, contact Nita Gonzales at

Transmission? We have your medicine!

Career Training

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at

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Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783 Making transmissions well for 22 years. Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012



Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 to die rather than live under American rule; the loss of identity, the loss of the self. Trayvon, we failed to learn from the Jewish People, who also chose to survive, but systematized their survival with Hebrew Schools, Traditions and Bar Mitzvahs to fortify their young against the mind-control of their oppressors. Not to leave their impressionable psyche’s open to MTV, BET, Toxic Rap Videos, Internet Porn, and a host of other exploitive factors that only take hold when parents fail to prepare a generation to survive. A generation that now rots in the belly of the largest Prison Industrial Complex ever known to man. These privatized prisons that happen to fatten private pockets and only serve as modern day slave plantations. Who‘s to say that the souls of the young brothers who died in street-gang warfare weren’t sent here to die in the fight for our liberation? That those young Crip and Blood warriors weren’t born to pave the way for a self-determined future? Trayvon, we underestimated the enemy, and you are gone because of it! We let a President who resembles you symbolize progress that we as a whole did not make. It’s hard to tell who was more self-deceived; a country who won’t admit its race problem, or your people, who think income and not wealth equals freedom in the long run – a people in drastic need of selfhealing and self-reflection from undiagnosed “Plantation Sickness.” A people who let themselves believe that integration has added up to anything more than a creative marketing ploy. A ploy that has drained our communities dry, and left us defenseless against a monster who invests trillions of our dollars in its defense! We can no longer afford to forget that we are Black until something tragic happens. This government is far from color-blind. Ask the elected officials who continually attack Obama because of the color of his skin, and his wife for the African shape of her body. Ask the Cops who didn’t know they were racist until a Black boy lay dead at their feet. Is this tolerable? Were we born to live and die this way, tragic, broken, and cliché while those who look like you wallow in learnedhelplessness? No, Trayvon, No. But Trayvon, I regretfully inform you that our denial issue will not be cured by your passing. This is because the loss of your life will not be enough to spur us into effective action. We still won’t face ourselves, the get healing we need, or find the courage to use a new way to assert ourselves.

The American can dream is too sweet to wake up from, and there WILL be others like you.

Straight To The Pulpits

Theo Wilson Denver

Editor: This is an open letter to Denver’s Northeast Ministerial Alliance, which claims to be a local Black church association in the metro area. I’m not sure if your association still exists, but as an African American and local Colorado resident I would like to put a few questions to you all. Where are you? And what have you all been doing lately? Please tell me and the Black community what accomplishments your association has achieved in the last 12 months? What are your political/economic plans and strategies for the local community this year and next year? Please also explain to the black community why Black churches in the Denver area collect tens of thousands of dollars every Sunday and then deposit the funds in local banks Monday morning that don’t even make loans to Blacks. Have you all ever thought about creating your own Credit Union for the Black community? It sickens me to see the millions of dollars Blacks spend on businesses that completely leaves the Black community and never recycled back to it. I’m sending this letter to the Urban Spectrum and hoping they will publish it because I believe this is a good way to communicate to the Black community and the many Black organizations that seem to be AWOL in the development of our communities. I would like the DNMA to respond to these concerns through the Urban Spectrum to dispel the many negative rumors that have been going around about their association.

Available for all Holiday Events, Special Occasions and... 303.355.4979 P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239




for an update on the I-70 East study and a review of existing and new alternatives on the current alignment of the highway from Brighton Boulevard to Colorado Boulevard.

Corridor-wide Public Meeting

Perrier Jackson Denver


May 2, 2012

Adults Without Dependent Children Expansion

5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Adults who do not have dependent children receiving Medicaid, and who are at or below 10% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), may apply for Medicaid. Enrollment in the adults with Dependent Children (AwDC) will be limited to 10,000 people due to funding. The AwDC Medicaid expansion will cover: ages 19 to 64 who do not have a Medicaid-dependent child; at or 10% of the FPL; not eligible for Medicaid under any category; and not eligible for Medicare. Applicants can apply the same way as other Medicaid applicants or contact the D enver Department of Human Services.

Commerce City Civic Center 7887 East 60th Avenue Commerce City


May 3, 2012

5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Swansea Recreation Center 2650 East 49th Avenue Denver

Food, childcare and Spanish translation will be available. Disability assistance available by calling 720.475.7039 prior to the meeting.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – May 2012



DUS May 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum May 2012 Issue

DUS May 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum May 2012 Issue