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Volume 28 Number 2

May 2014

Essie Garrett:

Reflections of a superhero in our midst...4

Photo by Bernard Grant

Image by SOM Architects

big. bold. modern. transit. An architectural icon, RTD’s new Union Station Transit Center will offer fast, fluid connections, enhanced services, and easy access to all modes of transit under one roof. Arching high across LoDo, this world-class transportation hub officially opens on May 9 with a new 22-gate underground bus concourse, within steps of light rail, SkyRide, the new Free MetroRide, Amtrak, and (in 2016) commuter rail. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s modern, and it’s all yours.


see it 5.9.14

Volume 28 Number 2

May 2014

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson Wanda James

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams BlackFlix

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Angelle C. Fouther Charles Emmons LisaMarie Martinez Angelia D. McGowan ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris


The Spirit of Denver...

It may sound strange, but it is sincere. I’m honored to be a part of this issue where our cover story delves into the reality of life and death and all that comes before, between and after. Thanks to Angelle Fouther, our cover story unveils the many layers of the life of ultra-marathon runner Essie Garrett and her humanitarian journey raising more than $1 million for charity. In this issue, you’ll also read a profile by LisaMarie Martinez on Diedra Garcia, the new leader of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver. Charles Emmons shines the spotlight on the ever-expanding, award-winning Regional Transportation District (RTD) and its impact on the city. You’ll also find an article on the efforts of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance to build relationships that yield an environment of justice. Columnist Wanda James sheds light on the powerful role of women in Colorado’s growing cannabis industry. The stories and perspectives in this issue demonstrate the dynamic talent and ambitious spirit that has existed and continues to exist in the city of Denver. Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor

The Dash$

Whenever I hear that someone has passed and they mean a lot to me to me, I think of my special friend the late Hiawatha Davis. I received an email telling me that Essie Garrett had passed. It was only two years ago that we honored her as one our 25 Timeless Legends. She was a special person and still is more so today. You can find out why after reading our cover story, and a tribute to her, by Angelle Fouther. Why do I think about “Hi” you ask? I fondly remember him talking about the dash. His dash was phenomenal much like my special friend Essie. I will always remember him saying that the numbers before or the numbers after were not important – it was always about the dash. I didn’t talk to her much over the years but when I did, Essie embraced me like no other. Her dash between 1940 and 2014 was relevant because she dashed, and dashed, and dashed...for humanity. Essie Garrett, you phenomenal woman - we dedicate this issue to you. Rest in peace my friend.


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Sweetz Photography


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 2014 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.


American Depression, Keys To Happiness

federal governments all trying to figure out ways to impose more tax. There are five keys to American’s overcoming our depression dilemma. Be involved in meaningful daily activity. An idle life is a depressing life. Human beings need activity. We need to use our hands and minds. Mindless hours of television, staring at the computer or the walls will eventually put you under. Develop a daily life of being busy with meaningful activity. We all need jobs, exercise, gardening, housework, community activities or charity service to enrich our lives. Develop and maintain meaningful relationships. This may be family, church and work relationships or it could be people from other circles. Everybody needs somebody to talk to. People can be irritating but the same irritating people will keep you from focusing on you all the time. Total self-focus leads to depression. Give some. I grew up hearing that we should give 10 percent to God, save 10 percent and live on 80 percent. Giving is more than writing a check although checks are significant. Giving and helping others requires exerting positive emotional and physical activity that takes the focus off self. There are all kinds of ways we can be helpful to others. Develop a spiritual peace. Before you jump off the Golden Gate Bridge or hang yourself from a doorknob, try

Editor: Mick Jagger’s girlfriend L’ Wren Scott committed suicide recently. There have been different speculations as to the reason. Unfortunately suicide often is a response to deep depression. Hanging herself in her apartment was a quick and reckless way out of her despair. Americans are more depressed than ever. Over 16 billion dollars were spent last year on anti-depression prescription drugs. This does not take into consideration illegal drugs and alcohol that millions of Americans consume just to fight the blahs. Medical costs to fight depression cost our nation close to 60 billion dollars a year. Average America has had a lot to get us down and depressed. Millions are unemployed. Millions more are classified as being underemployed and are considered the working poor. At least 60 million people are living in poverty with another 50 million very close to poverty. Working Americans with mid-level incomes pay more and more taxes and get less and less help. The middle-class work harder but get further behind. They have house payments, tuition payments and a growing medical insurance load. In the meantime they face local, state and

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

talking to God. Not every day goes our way. Work can be frustrating and people can disappoint us. Problems can break us down. We all need the power and peace that are greater than ourselves as well as our problems. Get some sleep. A rested mind and body thinks more clearly. Charles Spurgeon was a great minister from England. He once said, “I have so much to do I must go back to bed.” Everybody faces down moments in life. Don’t let depression get the best of you.

Glenn Mollette Newburgh, Indiana

Editor’s note: Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author. He can be reached at GMollette@aol.com. Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum


Publisher Publisher@urbanspectrum.net Editor Editor@urbanspectrum.net News & Information News@urbanspectrum.net

Advertising & Marketing Advertising@urbanspectrum.net Graphics & Design Graphics@urbanspectrum.net

Distribution & Circulation Distribution@urbanspectrum.net

Essie Garrett:

A Life Spent Running for Humanity By Angelle C. Fouther


ince the 1930s, when the “Man of Steel” first appeared in comic books, Americans, young and old, have maintained a strong predilection for superheroes – those larger than life superhuman beings who are faster, stronger and longer on compassion than any of us mere mortals. Perhaps a universal longing for a sense of protection and justice is behind the spawning of the ensuing legion of caped and masked crusaders that continue to thrive in our imaginations. And although we know it all to be fiction, we continuously look to Hollywood and Marvel to keep our hero stories alive, as evidenced by the consistent number of “super” movies released each year. While each possesses a unique power, those box office superheroes definitely have a “type”: they are male, brawny and white (although sometimes green). They don’t appear as an African American female vegan with dread locks down to her knees. But Essie Garrett, who fit this description, was a superhero – one who lived right in our midst – the first African American ultra-runner who logged over 25,000 miles, making each step count by raising more than $1,000,000 for countless causes along the way. And when she died at the age of 74 on April 1, 2014, she left the most selfless gift of all. At the time of Essie’s death, she had no living family. She never married and had no children. Although she touched the lives of thousands of individuals, the closest people to her throughout her life were two friends: Gail Porch, who died in 2010, and Marilyn Easter, who resides in California. The three “adopted” each other 35 years ago, according to Marilyn, and they stayed very close over all of those years. Gail was a roommate to Essie, and lived with her in her Park Hill home. She had battled an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis for years, a cause for which Essie championed both personally as a care-

The many travels of Essie Garrett

dreamer,” Marilyn shares. “She wondered what it would be like to have wings and move like the wind.” Essie’s “dream time” was a means of escape, as was her running. Her mother battled chronic illness and fatigue until she succumbed at a very young age. Essie shared that at the funeral, just after her mother’s casket went into the ground; her father dropped her hand and walked away from the cemetery, never to return. This left 16-year-old Essie with the responsibility of caring for her younger sister, a task she did her best to uphold even with little help from extended family. Many years later, she sought and found her father, who was living in a Texas nursing home, and forgave him before he died, an act that offered her a measure of peace. Her sister died in the early 1990s leaving her with no immediate family.

giver for her friend, and as an ultrarunner and fundraiser. Marilyn and Essie spoke daily after Gail’s passing, often for hours, and were collaborating on a book before Essie’s death last month. It will detail many neverbefore-shared facts and stories of Essie life, including the tolls of being an ultra-runner. Many of the details shared here are derived from Marilyn’s conversations with her friend, as well as others who knew, loved and admired Essie.

Essie’s Early Years

Riesel is a small farming town in East Texas. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone. This is where Essie was born and lived along with her parents, younger sister and grandmother. “The town was so small that everyone shared one mail box,” states Marilyn Easter sharing Essie’s accounts. “Each day, once Essie heard that the mailman had come by, she would run a half mile so she could be the first to get the mail.” She soon became the messenger running up to 10 miles a day delivering mail and communications throughout the town (this was before everyone had telephones). Essie didn’t mind. She loved to run, and would often fall on the ground afterwards, lie on her back, and look up at the clouds or the stars at night for hours on end. “She was a

Developing the Grit

It was at age 16 that Essie joined the army. Although she was too young for recruitment, there was minimal attentiveness to checking enlists’ ages at that time. The army proved to be a turning point in Essie’s life; she learned many new skills and got the opportunity to run long and hard. After serving for three years she moved to Denver, where she studied and obtained degrees from Metro State College, Park School of Business,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


and Signal School of Broadcasting (she also received several honorary doctorates). Professionally, Essie helped to run a co-op restaurant for many years. She also taught heating and refrigeration at Emily Griffith Opportunity School, where she worked until taking medical leave in 2012. But Essie’s passions were running and helping those in need, and she found entre’ into networks for each in the 1970s when she joined a track club and began participating in the 5- and 10-K races they organized. She soon found those races to be “depressing.” “I didn’t want to be running for some T-shirt,” she shared. Essie wanted more of the money raised from the runs to go to people. “You need to hire people to organize the race, pay the police to close the street, and buy those Tshirts.” It didn’t add up for her. She came to learn about ultra-running from an African American man in her track club, and something clicked. She decided she would become the first “negro” woman to become one.

Carrying the Banner for Countless Causes Along the Way

Vern Howard, long-time coordinator of Denver’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Marade says he met Essie while working at Denver City Park. Continued on page 6

Phen Kicks Off The 2014 Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer

Black America’s largest prostate cancer education and awareness event

The Prostate Health Education

Network (PHEN) expects to exceed last year’s reach of 1 million persons during the Sixth Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer on Sunday, June 15 held in partnership with churches nationwide. This is the largest and most visible prostate cancer education and awareness effort with a focus on Black America. The rally is held during the churches’ regular worship services where church leaders recognize prostate cancer survivors and family members who have lost loved ones to the disease and call them forward to join hands in prayer for healing and support. PHEN provides educational materials to distribute to the congregations of each church and continues providing online educational support beyond Father’s Day. “The annual Father’s Day rally has proven to be a highly effective outreach initiative for African American families who are the ones suffering most from prostate cancer. We are committed to maximizing our reach and having an impact on saving lives and reducing suffering through this rally,� says PHEN founder and President Thomas A. Farrington. The Father’s Day Rally breaks the silence amongst men and families who suffer or have suffered from the disease and opens the eyes of those who have no knowledge of the disease’s devastating impact in the Black community. Last year’s rally had a lasting impact at New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Washington DC where prostate cancer survivors formed small groups after the church asked for prostate cancer survivors to stand during the rally, said Rev. Christopher Starghill, pastor of fellowship. “As we went through the three [church] services, tears began to blow our minds because we just didn’t know the (disease’s) impact as men began to form connections,� Starghill said. “I was excited to have PHEN present in our worship service.� Black men die at a rate 2.5 times higher than men of all other ethnic and racial groups in the United States. In July, this disparity led the U.S.

Senate to pass a resolution recognizing prostate cancer to be of epidemic proportions among African American men. All churches nationwide are invited to partner with PHEN in the fight against prostate cancer by participating in the Sixth Annual Father’s Day Rally. There is no charge for churches to participate. Churches can register at www.prostatehealthed.org/churchreg ister2014. Prostate cancer survivors play a crucial role in the success of the rally by mobilizing their churches and communities around the Father’s Day effort. PHEN is appealing to all prostate cancer survivors and their family members to join and help lead

the rally. Survivors are invited to join the Survivor Network by visiting www.prostatehealthed.org/phen_regi stration.php Editor’s note: PHEN was founded in 2003 by Thomas A. Farrington, a prostate cancer survivor and author, with a mission to eliminate the African American prostate cancer disparity. Prostate cancer survivors play a crucial role in the success of the rally by mobilizing their churches and communities around the Father’s Day effort. PHEN is appealing to all prostate cancer survivors and their family members to join and help lead the rally. For more information about PHEN, visit www.prostatehealthed.org.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070 http://ucm.ctsmemberconnect.net

Essie Garrett

Continued from page 4 The two fostered a friendship as they worked together on a youth conference and subsequently on a run to support the Black American West Museum. “Essie was always running in the parks and had all kinds of funding going on,” he recalls affectionately. “‘We’d be talking and she’d say ‘see you later Vern, I gotta run,’ and a few days later I’d hear she was in Wyoming or somewhere running for some cause. She meant it literally.” In 2005, the MLK Commission started the MLK Unity Torch Run and tapped Essie to lead it. She had received a torch from the U.S. Olympic Committee for her humanitarianism, which spurred the idea. “We told her what we wanted to do and she got a bunch of young people together. They ran with her from community to community to bring unity ─ they ran through each and every county,” Vern says. “Ironically while they would run, some of our commissioners and volunteers would drive to the final location. But Essie was content to take a back seat; she never wanted the limelight or the media attention.” Vern says that Essie was a true humanitarian. She could also be very asserting. “When she set her mind to

− a feat that was going to take the course of the summer. If that was not a challenge enough, the trail was a historic one through back roads and woods, and Essie would be wearing pioneering type gear – a long dress and boots. Along the route, Essie fell in a ditch and broke her knee, Judy says. Sympathetic to this fact, all who made financial pledges agreed to honor their full commitment, even though she only reached the halfway mark. Essie said no. She wanted to finish the race. She had to go to a small town to get examined, where the doctor’s office didn’t even have an X-ray, but Essie finished the balance of the race – more than half the distance – on crutches. She also raised thousands of dollars for the foundation in the process. “There was an article in the school paper about her incredible run,” Judy says. “I cut it out and posted it on the wall it in my office to share with the kids. When I went in my office, Essie had taken down. ‘Why did you put that up,’ she asked me; ‘it’s not about me, it was about those kids.’” Essie was also well known for her Thanksgiving Run. Each year starting in 1991, she would literally run around the State Capitol Building for 48 hours to raise money for the homeless. Others would join her in running, but none went the distance as Essie did. On Thanksgiving morning she would also hand out sandwiches to the homeless from a soup cart by the school. “They need something for the morning,” she’d share. “Everyone feeds them for dinner.” Essie would give out gloves as well. Her dedication to homeless individuals led her to run for Sacred Heart Shelter and Denver Rescue Mission among many other providers. Among the dozens, if not hundreds, of other organizations for which she raised funds there was Curtis Park Day Care, Colorado AIDS Project, and Maxfund Animal Adoption Center, from which Essie adopted her beloved dog, Peaches. Essie amassed a room full of trophies, medals and awards for her efforts and was named Most Inspirational Athlete by Sports Women of Colorado.

something, she was committed. She didn’t want you to think she was asking you something when you had no choice.” He recalls a time when the two were approached in City Park by a young woman with three children. When the lady shared with Vern that she was homeless, he told her there was nothing the MLK Commission could do at the time. Essie interjected: “Vern, we are going to help this woman and we are going to help her today.” Essie had Vern fill up the woman’s gas tank, and then she put the woman and her three children up in her house for three months. The arrangement would eventually go sour, but Essie shared that her belief was “regardless of how it turns out, you can never go wrong helping another human being.” Judy Alexander worked with Essie Garrett at Emily Griffith from 2000 to 2012 and also recalls her unwavering willpower. “I remember you never had to guess where you stood with her. She never bit her tongue about what she thought you were doing, whether right or wrong. Whatever she did, she did with commitment.” And Essie was committed to fundraising for Emily Griffith Foundation and found many ways to support the organization. In one instance, Essie planned to run 1,000 miles to Chicago

Together to End Stroke Praise Dinner Thursday




Potter’s House 9495 E. Florida Ave. Denver, CO 80247 6:00-8:00 p.m

Featuring musical guest Brian Courtney Wilson Dinner

Join us for a night of celebrating our faith and promoting wellness as we raise awareness about the danger stroke poses to our community but most importantly the things we can do to get healthy and prevent it!

Blood Pressure Screenings

Live Music

Guest Speakers

The Last Leg of Essie’s Journey

Essie was diagnosed with kidney failure three years ago. “The years of ultra-running took a toll,” Marilyn learned from Essie. “There was dehydration, the effects of consuming thousands of energy drinks, and harsh wear and tear on her body.” She made the move from her Park Hill home, along with Peaches, into an apartment building for former Denver Public School teachers in 2010. An activist to the end, Marilyn says that Essie shared with her of the efforts to help fellow residents address the concerns

Simple Cooking with Heart Demonstration


Educational Materials

For questions or to RSVP please contact Lindsay Hayden at Lindsay.Hayden@heart.org or 303-801-4640

Locally sponsored by

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Run for Essie!

Help Keep Essie’s Legacy Alive

The Denver Urban Spectrum is soliciting donations to purchase a permanent bookcase to house the legacy, rich history and contributions that Essie Garrett has given to Colorado. The bookcase will be a permanent display at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. If you would like to help, make a donation to the Run for Essie Memorial Fund at First Bank. Donors and the public will be invited to the bookcase exhibit debut and tribute walk/run. For more information, call 303-292-6446 or email publisher@urbanspectrum.net.

about various issues within the apartment complex, many of which were structural. Essie did not put a lot of stock into Western medicine. She was a devout disciple of Sri Chinmoy, an Indianborn spiritual leader who used strenuous exercise and art to spread his philosophy of world harmony and inner peace, and who believed “prayer and meditation are medicines to cure us.” She did, however, consider dialysis, but a visit to the treatment center left her resolved; she decided against it and chose what she felt was quality over duration of life. Those who knew Essie well say she began spending a lot more time to herself during her final years, perhaps not wanting others to see her in her decline. “We made a pact to call each other daily,” states Marilyn, who became worried when she didn’t hear from Essie after trying to reach her for three days. She called to have the management check in on Essie, and waited on the phone while the building manager knocked on Essie’s door on two different occasions. Both times Essie responded that she was “alright.” The decision was made to wait 24 hours before entering the apartment. A day later the 74 year old was found unconscious and dehydrated on her apartment floor. An ambulance was called and Essie was taken from her apartment in a wheelchair, wearing only a t-shirt with the bottom half of her body exposed. She was rolled out in front of residents, many of whom shared that they were shocked to see the state Essie was in. Continued on page 7


Elder Abuse and Guardianship By Ayo Labode, Esq.

Elder Abuse Suspicion

Q. I work as a home health provider for a lovely woman I’ll call Mary. Mary is 71 years old and has suffered from multiple strokes that have resulted in short-term memory loss and frequent falls. She lives with her son and daughter-in-law. Because her memory is so poor Mary often asks the same question over and over again. On several occasions I have seen Mary’s son and daughter-in-law become so aggravated about her forgetfulness that they yell at her. I have even seen them lose control and slap her. When I could not watch this happen any longer I intervened. Mary’s family informed my agency that they no longer want me to work with Mary. I consider Mary a friend. When I have stopped by to just say hello, the family tells me that she does not want to see me or that she is at a doctor’s appointment. I know that this is an excuse. I am very worried that Mary might be mistreated or is in real danger. What can I do to help Mary?

Phyllis Northglenn

A. Phyllis, what you witnessed is Elder Abuse. Elder abuse includes physically hitting and physically isolating an elder so that her friends or family members are not able to visit with her. Elder abuse could also be caretaker neglect, such as failing to provide an elder with health care or failing to provide a clean and safe living environment. Starting July 1, Colorado will join 47 other states that require certain professionals to report any mistreatment of at-risk elder that they witness or become aware of. The professionals who are required to report elder abuse are referred to as mandatory reporters and include home health providers such as you, pharmacists, social workers, bank and credit union personnel, hospital workers, physicians, and clergy. Members of these professions who witness or become aware of elder abuse, caretaker neglect or exploitation are required to report the incident to law enforcement within 24-hours. Phyllis, after July 1, you are required to report Mary’s situation to the police department in the city where Mary lives. Your employer should provide training to you and

Essie Garrett

Continued from page 6 Although she had the paperwork on file proving her to be Essie’s power of attorney, Marilyn found that she was not able to affect Essie’s outcome in the end. After having arrived to Denver, she attempted to share her concerns, and those of Essie, with the building managers and says she was treated as a trespasser. She left and went to the hospital where she spent the last of her friend’s days by her side. Essie’s friend Bob adopted her beloved canine companion, Peaches, and he, along with his family, are providing a loving new home for her.

your co-workers about the new reporting requirement. However it is your responsibility to report your observations. The best way to think about the reporting requirement is that the law requires you to do the ‘right thing’ and report your suspicions of abuse. You should contact your local police enforcement as soon as possible.

Seeking Guardianship

Q. My little sister is 35 years old. She was born with an intellectual developmental disability that makes it impossible for her to live independently. She lives with my parents who are her court-appointed guardians. As my parents age, how can I assist them care for my sister?

Generosity Even in Death

During her life, Essie Garret was a tireless advocate ─ a superhero ─ for the disenfranchised. In death, Essie’s humanitarianism continues, as she arranged donation of her body to the Anatomical Institute. There she will be studied by doctors and dentists for the next two years aiding in the discovery of causes and cures of disease. It is in death, also, that Essie’s

William Denver

A. William, you are wise to think about planning ahead to provide for your sisters care. Guardianship is a court proceeding in which a court appoints an individual called the guardian to make decisions for an individual who the court has determined decisions about housing and healthcare. In your case, your parents are guardians and your sister is referred to as a “protected person.” Guardians are required to submit annual reports about the welfare of the protected person. You should discuss provisions for your sister’s care as a family. Your parents know your sister better than anyone else. What are their concerns, dreams and fears for your sister’s care? Your family should consult with an elder law or special needs attorney and discuss the possibility of you becoming a co-guardian for your sister. Becoming a guardian is a major decision and should not be taken lightly. Whether you become your sister’s guardian or not you should become more involved with the day-to-day care that your sister receives. You should attend her doctor’s appointment, become familiar with her daily routine, medical concerns, and her likes and dislikes. Your proactive approach will prevent difficult decisions to be made in the time of crisis that could occur as your parent’s age. Editor’s Note: This column is to provide readers with an understanding of issues faced with aging from the perspective of an elder law attorney. It does not give legal advice, but will provide practical information that can be used to better consumers. As a Q&A format, readers are invited to participate; email info@labodelaw.com or call 720-295-9509. For more information, visit www.labodelaw.com.

spirit is undoubtedly now twinkling brightly amongst the stars that she, as a girl, would so often lie in the darkness and gaze upon.  Editor’s Note: Friends of Essie state that she did not want a big production of a funeral. But a walk in the park, or better yet a run, to benefit a good cause would be fitting. Details are in the works. Caring for a Loved one From a Distance

Many of us could find ourselves in the difficult position of caring for a loved one from a distance. A loved one can be a dear friend, aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling, mother-figure, or a person you love. Nothing is better than frequent visits and spending extended periods of time with your loved one. However, we all have demands and it is not always possible to be physically present. When providing care from a distance it could be helpful to have an extra set of eyes and ears. Geriatric care managers (GCM) can provide invaluable information for loved ones who live at a distance. GCMs can visit your loved on a regular basis; attend medical appointments, or even organizations social activities. Most GCMs are social workers with experience working with elders. To find a GCM in your area contact the Colorado Guardianship Association at www.coloradoguardianshipassociation.org or the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers at www.caremanager.org For questions regarding housing options contact the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Every county in the United States has an important organization called the AAA.The AAA for the Denver metro area is housed at the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and can be contacted at www.drcog.org or 303-455-1000.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


The view west down 17th Street in

RTD Expansion and Changes Will Impact all of Denver By Charles Emmons

Denver metro area, and through downtown into the Five Points neighborhood, ridership and demand has grown. A year ago, an award-winning new line opened west through the Denver Federal Center, and the development and opening of Denver Union Station is a significant milestone for implementing commuter rail lines to Denver International Airport (DIA), which will serve employees as well as passengers. The east line to DIA is scheduled for completion in 2016, just two short

RTD General Manager and CEO Phillip A. Washington


downtown Denver has changed. The longstanding landmark, Union Station, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art transportation center that will eventually accommodate passenger rail, commuter rail, light rail, commercial buses and RTD buses. The grand opening will be May 9, and many changes will affect RTD system riders, which peaked at 101 million boarding passengers in 2013. The RTD transit system is one of the larger systems in the country, and according to RTD General Manager and CEO Phillip A. Washington, the aim of RTD is to also be the best and safest transit agency in America. Most recently in 2008, three times RTD has been rated the best in North America. On track for more success, RTD was honored in 2012 by the White House’s “Transportation Innovators Champion of Change” for its regional Workforce Initiative Now (WIN) program. With 1,000 buses, 200 light rail vehicles, and the 101 million boarding passengers, its base system is large, but poised for an even larger expansion. Since the first light rail lines began servicing the southwest and southeast

years from now. There will be stops at 40th and Colorado Boulevard, 40th and Central Park Boulevard, and 40th and Airport Boulevard. The line currently ending at 30th and Downing streets will be extended to 38th Avenue to meet the new east line as it heads toward DIA. Rail stations will be within miles of Park Hill and Montbello. Convenience for passengers is a primary concern for Washington, the 2013-2014 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Outstanding Public Transportation Manager of the Year in North America. He has been at the helm of RTD since 2009 and is determined to not just provide surface lots for these stops in northeast Denver, but to also make them pedestrian and customer friendly, more viable and vibrant. “We want to be the catalyst that attracts development,” said Washington. Transit-oriented communities have popped up around the metro area. The backside of Denver Union Station has been transformed; around it, housing and new developments are abundant. Transit oriented development (TOD) has also come to areas around light rail stations in the southeast and southwest metro areas. By making these stops a destination, perhaps with the inclusion of affordable housing,

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


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A Quick RTD Profile

Rating: #1 transit agency by U.S. News and World Report

Primary Contractor: Kiewit subcontracted 100 minority firms for the expansion of light rail system

Service area population: 2.8 million

Square miles in service area: 2,340 Annual regular fixed-route service miles operated: 45,246,715 (includes light rail) Park-n-Ride facilities: 74 Total number of fixed routes: 137

open space and retail they become more attractive. He contends that smartly developed transit can reinvigorate communities of color. Washington firmly believes, “Light rail is a community builder and enhancer.” He says that TOD will help alleviate the stigma associated with public transit. There are numerous reasons driving these changes in Denver’s urban areas. The major force is population returning to the urban core. The population in Denver increased 11 percent between 2000 and 2010, and it is forecasted to increase 13 percent in 2014. There are 2.9 million people in the Denver metro area. In the country and the world, 80 percent of the population dwells in urban areas. All these people in our cities are stressing everything according to Washington. Upgrading and improving infrastructure makes good conversation in political circles, but beyond the talk, it is a necessity. Washington sees his position at RTD as right for continuing to facilitate this. He credits previous Denver mayoral administrations for their smart land use decisions. Federico Pena, Wellington Webb, John Hickenlooper and Michael B. Hancock have all had a hand in the development of the system. Washington believes it is appropriate for projects to span administrations with managers leveraging their strong suits. His predecessor was good at getting votes to build FasTracks. Washington comments, “I’m good at building stuff, someone coming behind me may be good at maintaining things.” Voters first approved the building of FasTracks in 2004. Ten years later Denver is on the cusp of having a system that reaches all four corners of the metro area and a line that goes from downtown to the airport. “The central question that must be answered by transit agencies is do you provide service where I need to go?” said Washington. RTD’s growth follows a national trend. The APTA released a

report in March finding that across the country in 2013 transit experienced the highest annual ridership numbers since 1956. Denver experienced a 14.9 percent increase. Denver Union Station is poised to see rider activity that it hasn’t seen since the late 1950s when it served more passengers than the old Stapleton Airport. The multi-modal transportation center will connect passengers through the Central Valley spur to Denver’s various sports venues and then out to other areas in the core city and suburbs. Light rail serves education centers like the University of Denver and the Auraria campus, and it serves employment centers outside of downtown like the Tech Center and the Denver Federal Center. Whether one goes to these destinations for work, pleasure or enrichment, there will be a way to get there on the RTD system. “The mobility discussion is so important,” said Washington. “Employers understand that their workforce has to come from places where housing is affordable.” Younger people and technology are driving these changes. The median age of Denver’s population is under 34, and the AAA Foundation completed a study finding that teenagers are waiting until they reach their twenties to obtain their driver’s licenses. If they are working or going to school how else will they get there? Public transit systems must respond with innovative solutions. These solutions continue to be implemented, with notable public-private partnerships financing the system expansion as a foundation. Reloadable smart cards are in use in a pilot program on the new west line. A number of mobile apps help riders with finding services and schedules to complete their trips. Denver Union Station will be a transportation hub with not only rail, but buses. A 1,000foot concourse with 22 gates will be available for arriving and departing buses on 16 different routes. Riders should be aware that the Market Street Station will officially close on May 11. Additionally, a free MetroRide will begin shuttling riders from Denver Union Station to Civic Center Station along 18th and 19th streets with limited stops. This will offer an alternative to the 16th Street Mall Shuttle. Construction on the east line from Arvada and Westminster to DIA and the I-225 line in Aurora are scheduled for completion in 2016. Where do you need to go? Check the RTD website for schedules and mobile apps to help you get there, http://www.rtd-denver.com. 


Dr. Marybeth Gasman

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014



Mother’s Day and Marijuana: Stories from the Battleground


By Wanda James

he media would have us believe the cannabis movement is dominated by stoned 18-year-old frat boys and snowboarders. When in reality, the cannabis movement is an undertaking fueled by women, moms and grandmothers. Children and moms have become the new face of America’s discussion about marijuana. Forget Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog — that’s old pot thinking. The stories of women overcoming obstacles to lead this new industry are not hard to find. Women are a growing powerhouse of entrepreneurs, scientist and activists that have found success in the cannabis industry. An industry that has discovered there is no glass ceiling on a product that has both value as a medicinal and a recreational treatment – women such as Toni Fox, a mom and owner of 3D Cannabis Center, who was the first person to make a legal a sale of recreational cannabis. And who could miss the announcement by Whoopi Goldberg who just became the second Black woman to write a monthly cannabis column in a Denver paper. Organizations such as Moms for Marijuana, Parents for Pot, Beverly Hills Marijuana Moms and the NORML Women’s Alliance are changing the face of cannabis. The women of cannabis are creating powerful organizations and alliances that are fighting for their children, their grandchildren and their businesses.

The discussions in the courthouses are now about giving kids access to cannabis who suffer hundreds of seizures a month because of epilepsy and other neurological disorders. A growing number of health professionals, sustained by new research and positive results, say medical marijuana, specifically an oil extract called Charlotte’s Web, can help children. Paige Figi, is the mother of Charlotte, a 6-year-old girl whose life threatening epilepsy produces over 900 seizures per month, resisted all treatments except medical marijuana. When Charlotte was given cannabis oil, her seizures immediately dropped to 2 or 3 seizures per month. This prompted CNN’s medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta to change his opinion about cannabis use and produce a series of documentaries about cannabis and children.

Paige Figi speaking on the benefits of medical marijuana during a New York State hearing in Buffalo last December.

Charlotte inspired Charlotte’s Web cannabis oil, which is now being produced for hundreds of children in Colorado and inspiring an exodus to Colorado of families in states that do not allow medicinal marijuana. The big question is why do these families have to move to Colorado to get it? Even the national Epilepsy Foundation says the treatment should be available everywhere. The issue is if people bring the oil home to a nonmedical marijuana state, they could be arrested. The Colorado company which produces Charlotte’s Web has received thousands of calls from parents across the US. They say it cannot produce enough to meet demand and has a waiting list of 2000 families, who are considering moving when it is available. One hundred of those families have already moved to Colorado to get the oil. Fighting for your children in the cannabis industry isn’t always about medicine; sometimes moving to a cannabis legal state is about the welfare of your family. Diana Fornbacher sits on numerous high powered Boards including National

Charlotte Figi, 7 years of age, suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the NORML Women’s Alliance Foundation, the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey and is the publisher of Ladybud Magazine. She is also a patient, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the mother to two young sons. Fornbacher’s public appearances, media coverage and legal work in the hemp and cannabis movement led the New Jersey Child Protective Services to her doorstep. She soon discovered that her six-year-old son was interrogated by the school administrators, without parental permission or knowledge, about his parent’s activism surrounding cannabis. Nothing came from the investigation, but it was enough of a warning sign. “My husband and I have worked with so many people that have lost their children because of their medicinal use of or involvement with cannabis. There was no way we were going to chance having that happen to our family.” Last month, Fornbacher, her husband and two kids moved to Diane Fornbacher with 9 year-old son Jack

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Colorado where patients are protected and working in a legal industry is not grounds for losing your children. In an age of women powerbrokers, the Marijuana Moms, the Women of Weed and Stiletto Stoners are changing the conversation and winning the war on our children. Happy Mother’s Day and we are not Blowing Smoke.  Editor’s note: About Blowing Smoke - We would like to answer your questions. Please send any questions or comments to Wanda@NoBlowingSmoke.com. Blowing Smoke is written each month by Wanda James. She is the managing partner at the Cannabis Global Initiative and is a leading advocate in the cannabis industry. She worked with the regulatory process to bring medical marijuana to fruition and was appointed to the Colorado Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force Work Group. Her political and professional work on cannabis reform has led to her being featured in numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on CNBC’s Marijuana USA. She and her husband Scott Durrah, also own Jezebel’s Southern Bistro + Whiskey Bar in Denver.

Statement from the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance

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recommendations for how individuals, churches, community organizations, leaders and elected officials can be part of the solution. Bailey said she is “struck by the persistence of institutional racism. People want to see change, make change, but don’t know how. We need a bridge (from conversations) to affectively advocating for change.” Dorothy Hayden-Watkins, Ph.D., who wrote the “Introduction” for the CBRT report, warned the attendees to “not underestimate the power of the law. (We do not need to be) relegated to suffering harassment without recourse.” Phillips said the alliance will “continue to work with the Citizen Oversight Board and the Office of Independent Monitor to ensure changes are being made and our concerns are being addressed. Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson has provided an opportunity for the GMDMA to serve on three committees within his department that will allow us to review current practices and recommend change.” Editor’s Note: For more information about the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, email revgolson@aol.com. For more information about the Colorado Black Round Table, email drsrbb@yahoo.com.


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014

Rev. William T. Golson

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“The district attorney’s office will not recommend or pursue criminal charges for any case without believing they can obtain an affirmative court room decision. This was the reasoning behind their decision not to file criminal charges in regards to the death of Marvin Booker. This is not new information; the disposition of the DA’s office was officially rendered in writing after their office filed their report. The DA’s office cannot go back on their decision unless new evidence or testimony was to be presented that would warrant criminal charges. The FBI and Federal Justice Department made inquiries into the case and also did not choose to pursue criminal charges against the officers involved. “The recent ruling of the appellate court cannot be used to create a criminal case against the officers involved in the Booker case. This judgment comes from a lower ranked court and the findings of the civil appellate court can only be used in the pending civil case but cannot be used to substantiate a filing in a criminal court. The appellate court rulings will allow the family to pursue, and rightly so, civil litigation against the city, and the GMDMA stands with the Booker family to that end.”

The GMDMA provided updates about Booker’s case at the Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) meeting on April 19 at the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center. The CBRT is comprised of African American leaders from around the state. The updates were a continuance of dialogue the alliance has had with the community over the years, including press conferences, to engage concerned citizens on various issues impacting the African American community. But they emphasized that fighting civil rights violations and violators is about more than holding press conferences and organizing marches. During the meeting, Phillips said, “It’s about the long-term commitment necessary to bring policy changes necessary to protect victims of injustice and punish perpetrators. We are not totally dismissing a radical approach. It [our actions] needs to be done knowing what our ‘ask’ is and what we want at the end of the day.” He added that it’s important to understand what can be proven in a court of law. Under Golson, the alliance is working to become “proactive instead of reactive and to be in a position to ask ‘is this policy or outside policy?’ The more justified noise we can make the better. We just can’t get upset when we don’t know the facts.” The attention of ministers to such matters is invaluable according to H. Malcolm Newton, Ph.D., president of the Denver Institute for Urban Studies. He emphasized that the leadership role of churches has “always been the way that we have been able to mobilize” to address issues of concern in the African American community. The timing of the alliance’s presentation coincided with the CBRT’s response to a report by the Rocky Mountain PBS I-Team’s “Losing Ground” report released January 2013. It revealed that many gains African American and Latino Coloradans made with the 1960s civil rights movement have now been lost. Sharon Bailey, Ph.D., director of the Colorado Black Round Table: Losing Ground Community Education Project has authored a report called, “Gaining Ground in Colorado’s African American Communities.” It makes

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ted, who is watching? Most importantly, who is prepared to do something about it? After nearly four years of standing beside a family as they maneuvered the legal system in a quest for justice (for Marvin Booker), the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDMA) is on a renewed mission to change policies that impact civil rights. The death of Booker on July 9, 2010 and the attack of Anthony Waller while in a courtroom on Sept. 11, 2012, stand as two of Denver’s more recent and memorable cases involving a detained African American man and a deputy or deputies. The spotlight is on their cases, but they are not the only ones to face such incidents, according to Rev. William T. Golson, president of the GMDMA. “Although there are many others these two have been, and are, of particular concern to the alliance due to

Ministers’ Mission Spurs Discussion at Black Round Table Meeting


When a wrong has been commit-

Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance.” She added, “I understand that including the alliance in conversations will help to collectively find meaningful solutions to issues that often arise throughout Denver’s diverse communities.”

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By Angelia McGowan

the video record that has been observed in the news,” wrote Golson in a column published in the April 2014 issue of the Body of Christ newspaper. “As we view these videos, in particular, it leaves little doubt that a violation of rights has occurred.” The alliance has met with Denver city officials, including the mayor’s office and the district attorney’s office, to better understand the city’s disciplinary process, specifically their “concerns with the use of excessive force and law enforcement personnel malbehavior. We have learned that there are administrative and legislative barriers that are responsible for outcomes that have repeatedly plagued our community with these types of reoccurring events,” said Pastor Del Phillips, vice president of the alliance. Establishing a relationship is important according to Department of Safety Executive Director Stephanie O’Malley. “A public-facing agency like the Denver Department of Public Safety is better able to meet a particular community’s needs when it develops strong government-community relationships,” said O’Malley, who assumed her role in December 2013. “Recognizing the benefits that result from these types of interactions, I support instances that bring community members to the same table as decision makers, as is the case with the Greater


Ministers Commit to Working for Policy Changes

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Hispanic Chamber President Diedra Garcia Emphasizes “Outward Focus”

Diedra Garcia is the proud presi-

By LisaMarie Martinez

dent and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (DHCC) of Metro Denver. “This chamber has been a beacon of leadership in our community for very many years,” says Garcia, voted into the CEO role by the chamber’s full board of directors, effective Feb. 4.

“People come to it for the sense of family and community that they get. We have members from other ethnic groups who will come up to me and say ‘I really like this chamber. I really like your events because everybody makes me feel so welcome. I feel like I fit right in, and I’m not even Hispanic.’ It makes me smile (to hear that).” A longtime member, Garcia felt the opportunity to lead the chamber was

very appealing because it represented an avenue for her to perform in a role much different from her previous roles: a community-based role versus a for-profit role. Prior to her new role with the chamber, Garcia served as the CEO of her family-owned commercial construction company. Two months in the position, she has developed three guiding pillars based on time spent with the chamber staff, members and board members to learn and determine what the focus of the chamber should be. She says, “They represent the barometer through which we will evaluate our work: Are we creating jobs for Hispanics? Are we creating business opportunities for Hispanic companies? Are we contributing to an environment of economic vitality for those companies who do business in Hispanic markets?” Garcia, who was responsible for the Small Business Resource Committee during her term a few years ago as a DHCC of Metro Denver board member, cautions, “If there’s anything we identify that we’ve just been doing for a long time because we’ve been doing it, I like to ask the question so what? Who is it benefiting? Is it serving our purpose? So as we answer those questions, some things go by the wayside; and we need to stop doing it. If this would be the case, we would need to communicate the need to discontinue the program or initiative or program. From all this, I have been working on our strategic planning process.”

An Outward Focus

For Garcia, being the CEO of chamber requires an outward focus. “It’s easy for any not-for-profit organization to get so focused internally, on operations, because they have to do a lot with very few resources. We want to elevate our experience within the community. We want to elevate our influence within the community. That can’t happen inside these walls. So much of our focus must be outside these walls. We’re not going to create jobs sitting in this office. We’re not going to create business opportunities by sitting in this office. We’re not going to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that exist. So it’s about the DHCC of Metro Denver having an outward focus to make us more sustainable, relevant and credible.” She adds, “I have been out in the community responding to meeting requests, talking to community people, and talking about new community Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver Diedra Garcia

projects. I have been meeting with city and state legislatures to find out what their issues are and express to them what our focus is see if there are ways that we can work together. I have been listening to all of the legislative proposals that are out there for this legislative session; to see if we may or may not take a position on those proposals.” The chamber has a Public Policy Committee comprised of a variety of its members, who listen to proposals that are in front of the legislature get to weigh in on them. “We vote as an organization to support, oppose or seek other outcomes of the proposals,” she says. Having been on the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of her current role, Garcia says, “I am used to being on the other end of phone calls, being approached by other organizations like the DHCC of Metro Denver, and being asked for a contribution or sponsorship. My question to them was always: ‘How are you making the best use of my sponsorship dollars?’” Her intent is to prevent people from needing to ask this same question when the chamber approaches them for fundraising or to support an event. “I expect for them (who are approached for such reasons) to see the value the DHCC of Metro Denver

brings and for that to be the driving force which compels them to want to make contributions to our organization,” she says. For Garcia, “The key to making improvements is to ask our customers because they will tell you where you need to improve. I want to be better at that. I want to be sure that our customers are getting the most value for their dollar; they’re getting whatever they are coming for” from small businesses to corporations. A positive attitude also helps, especially in the face of perceived barriers including economic downturns. “I’m a firm believer in if you have a valuable service or product people will find a way to pay for it. So I do not readily accept the notion of the economy presenting a barrier. You might have to modify your pricing structure, the product or service that you put out. To me, that notion is not a valid reason to not sustain your organization.” “We (Hispanics) are growing in terms of numbers so we need to make sure there is ample opportunity for those businesses. We need to create leaders who are poised and ready to take the helm in corporate America, the non-profit world, or representing Hispanics on board of directors.” “We have partnerships with the entire minority chambers of commerce in metro Denver. The presidents of

those organizations get together once a month to share ideas. We are just now in the process of doing our own strategic planning to figure out how all of our organizations can work together toward a purpose this year. We can speak with a stronger, more credible voice, and get our message more effectively heard when we can find issues upon which we can all be in alignment,” says Garcia. Garcia says, “Our purchasing power is growing, our legislative influence is growing, and so there are a variety of reasons why any company or organization might want to tap into this community. So if people who are not Hispanic, have an economic interest in this community, then the DHCC of Metro Denver welcome their participation as a member and will help them with that.” To meet the professional growth needs of its members, the chamber offers a curriculum of relevant business training. “Whatever training offerings we provide in English, we provide in Spanish,” she says. The chamber also provides a series of in-demand networking events. She says, “These tend to be the most popular aspects of the DHCC of Metro Denver. We do a business after-hours event once a month with attendance ranging from 150 to 200 people. These events are designed for our members

to go to a member business, and they in-turn get the exposure and promotion by having approximately 200 of our members come to their business to sample their food and/or drink.” The Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver Annual Business Awards “is something that our members probably value most of all,” says Garcia. The event averages 800 people and will be held 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 9 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver. It provides the opportunity for professionals to be nominated, recognized and showcased for their business and leadership success in several categories, including corporate advocate of the year, small business woman and man of the year, lifetime achievement, to name a few. The chamber’s signature event, Sabor, will be held on August 1 at the Denver Botanic Gardens and features a culinary and networking event with about 40 restaurants providing samples of their food and drink. The event averages 2,000 attendees. She says, “I like to call it the ‘Kentucky Derby’ of the Hispanic community in Denver. Everyone who is anyone is there or wants to be there.” Editor’s note: For more information about the Denver \Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, visit www.hispanicchamberdenver.org.

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Home Loan Requirements

The most

By Anthony Murphy

important and most frequent question I entertain from Main Street regarding the state of the mortgage industry is about the rules associated with getting back in the homeownership game. We’ve not only gone to the edge, we went over the edge and we’re climbing back. We’re getting stronger. What does the lending community want to see before they will lend me money to buy a home again? Qualifying for a loan to purchase a home in the traditional sense has not changed. A potential borrower should have verifiable employment, enough capital for the required down payment and closing costs, and reason-

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ably good credit.

Verifiable Employment

Your lender will be looking for documentation of two years on the job or same profession. Changing jobs is fine as long as there is continuity and a reasonable explanation. Retirement is fine and requires an annual award letter, bank statements and 1099s. Selfemployment is fine as long as it is backed up by tax returns and a business registration and demonstrated, solid business experience of two to three years with revenues and profits trending upward. Your lender will require that you sign an IRS Form 4506T at inception so that they can verify that tax returns were filed and that your submitted W-2s, 1099s and tax returns (personal and business) match what IRS has on file. It is important to be able to determine your ability to pay. So, anything less than two years will require additional information and a reasonable explanation.

Down-payment and Closing Costs

Your lender will request bank statements. Anyone seeking to purchase a home needs to demonstrate that they have the ability to save money and that they have good overall financial habits. Typically, two bank statements (no overdrafts) are required or statements for wherever the dollars are being used for the transaction. Your lender will be looking to see that the funds that are being used for the purchase transaction are “seasoned”. Seasoned simply means older than two months. An example of non-seasoning is a bank statement with recent large unexplainable deposits being used in the transaction. The ability to consistently save money is important because home ownership comes with maintenance and upkeep. Your down payment amount will depend on the loan that you are being qualified for and closing costs and escrows typically amount to roughly 3% of the purchase price.


Your lender will require a three bureau credit report to determine creditworthiness. First and foremost, they will be looking at credit scores. The middle credit score for an individual and the lowest middle score for more than one applicant is a major factor used to determine your loan product and interest rate. The current marketplace requires a minimum score of roughly 600. There are lenders who can do a deal at 580 and there are some that hold the line as high as 640. It is up to the lender.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Your lender will be looking at the depth of your trade lines meaning how long you’ve maintained the credit and the limits in relation to your outstanding balances. They will be looking at the minimum monthly payments for each trade line in order to calculate your debt to income ratio. In general, a minimum of three to five trade lines with at least a solid two years of history will be required. You will be required to provide letters of explanation regarding any late payments, multiple addresses, collection accounts, public records and name variations. If you are seeking an FHA or VA loan, you are allowed to use alternate credit to help enhance your credit profile. Things like car insurance, utility payments, phone payments, and verifiable buy/here pay/here accounts can all be used as alternate trade lines if your credit depth is light.


In normal real estate market conditions, if you can’t afford to pay due to whatever the circumstances may be, you would put a sign in the yard and sell your home and pay off your loan in full. The recession of 2008 brought with it major property value depreciation which made selling and paying off loans in full difficult if not impossible for some folks who found themselves unemployed, underemployed, divorced or simply unable to pay due to extenuating circumstances like increasing payments due to untimely adjustments. Foreclosure for Main Street meant relinquishing homes to the mortgage company. Foreclosure during these tumultuous times ended one of three ways. The most common way was simply riding out the process until required to vacate the home or simply walking away in the middle of the night. The second way is to end the process by giving over the deed in lieu of foreclosure. Last but not least, is the short sale where you would request that the lender allow you to sell the home for less than what you owe. So, now that rents have increased to the point that homeownership makes sense again, it’s time to think about buying again. The rules for reentering the home buying process can be complicated after surviving the worst economic calamity since the “Great Depression.” There were some consumers who literally forgot that homeownership was a long term proposition and that over the long haul, homeownership almost always is your best bet. Over the long haul, real estate increases in value. Along the way, what you pay annually for interest and property taxes, for most


homeowner’s, is tax deductible. In some situations, the gain from the sale of real estate can be deferred for tax purposes when that gain is used in buying another property of equal value or more. In most instances, a homeowner can exempt the first $250,000 ($500,000 if married) on the sale of a principal residence as long as the home was a principal residence two out of the last five years. A homeowner after reaching age 62, can reverse their mortgage, remodel the home for aging and stay in the home assuming they have enough equity. Upon death, the home can be passed to heirs, given to charity, put in a trust and professionally managed and disposed of based on your wishes. So, just like other long term investments, the value of the underlying asset will fluctuate. In saying so, everyone who jumped ship because of loss of value, on paper from 2008 2012, are finding that five years later in 2013, that the value in the property they left behind is almost back. Homeownership is and will remain one of the best investments if done for the right reasons. That being said, there are special rules for folks re-entering the homeownership process tied to the resolution of the prior experience. For those of you who made a financial decision and decided to walk away, you most likely will be shut out for seven years. A foreclosure is considered as a “significant derogatory credit event” and requires a waiting period as well as re-established credit. Keep in mind that foreclosure laws vary from state to state and the tough part will be determining when the clock actually starts on the waiting period. In most cases, the reported date on the credit report with regard to the end of foreclosure is not the date your lender will be using. For any loan that carried mortgage insurance, the ending date will be after the mortgage insurance claim is settled, not the date that the home is sold by the lender to someone else. For loans without mortgage insurance, the date indicated on the credit report will be used unless there is other documentation that is conclusive indicating an earlier date. The credit reporting is important in that the manner of payment (MOP) codes will indicate an “8” for foreclosure and a “9” for charge-off and collection. An MOP of a 9 could pose a problem in that the trade line on the credit report may show an outstanding balance left over after the sale of the home. In addition, the actual mortgage trade line will typically contain foreclosure related remarks which will give

a good indication when to start counting. Significant derogatory credit events take on two pathways where foreclosure is concerned. First, in general, most foreclosures will be viewed as “financial mismanagement” and the seven year waiting period will apply. A borrower giving a deed in lieu of foreclosure or completing an approved short sale will have a four year waiting period. Second, foreclosures with well documented “extenuating circumstances” are eligible after three years while deeds in lieu and short sales with extenuating circumstances have a two year waiting period. Conventional conforming loans sold to Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) will allow for a five year reentry with additional requirements used to qualify the borrower. Additional requirements might include a 10 percent minimum down payment; re-established credit and middle score above 680; and owner occupancy. For a foreclosure with well documented extenuating circumstances, the waiting period could be as short as three years for a principal residence purchase with 10 percent down. Check with your lender up front and ask the appropriate questions. In the case of bankruptcy, and in the category of financial mismanagement, the waiting period is four years after a Chapter 7 “discharge” or Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 “dismissal” and two years after a Chapter 13 discharge. In the category of extenuating circumstances regarding bankruptcy, the waiting period is 24 months after discharge or dismissal of a Chapter 7 or 13. In a situation where there is more than one bankruptcy in a seven year period of time, the waiting period is five years. All other significant derogatory credit events accompanied by documentable extenuating circumstances require a two year waiting period. It is important that consumers understand the process. Knowing the rules helps with setting goals along with setting the proper expectations and timeframes. The process is onerous and frustrating after a financial calamity, but with a little information and determination, anyone can bounce back and become homeowners again.  Editor’s note:Anthony Murphy is an author, public speaker and financial and small business consultant with AJ Murphy & Company with focus on financial literacy. He is a retired mortgage professional. Readers are invited to respond and submit questions to antmurphy2001@yahoo.com.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


HOPE Students Prepare for Graduation HOPE Online

By Heather O’Mara

We’re Back and It’s On!

The Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation summer print and digital journalism camp for youth ages 13-17 will be a two week program. July 14-July 25, 2014 Sims Fayola International Academy 6850 Argonne St.

For an application, email info@usyf.com.

Learning Academy CoOp provides students with a challenging academic experience with a focus on developing the whole person. HOPE’s diverse community teaches graduates to appreciate and respect differences both among Angel people and across cultures, while the school’s blended learning approach equips students to be more tech savvy and self-directed. This community-based blended learning model ensures that when students leave HOPE, they have all the tools they need to be successful in Tanya life. Each year, as the list of graduates grows, the HOPE community gets to celebrate their past achievements, and look forward to their future successes. Teachers, mentors and staff are always proud and happy to witness their growth as students and as people. HOPE is incredibly Sara excited to celebrate the class of 2014, a group of 80 hard-working, intelligent and unique students who are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. Maranatha Learning Center senior Angel was awarded a scholarship for his service in his community. “I really want to make a difference,” he said. “When I came to HOPE two years ago, I spoke very little English, so I think I want to pursue a language degree.” A talented musician, Angel will also continue to work on his music.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


“Whatever happens, I will always be a musician, even if I don’t do it as a career,” he added. Tanya, a HOPE senior from Ambassador’s Academy also has her eyes set on the big stage. “I plan to study performing arts in college,” she said. “Before I came to HOPE, I was kind of quiet and withdrawn. But with the support of everyone at Ambassador’s, I have really opened up. That confidence has really opened a lot of possibilities for me.” “Tanya is incredibly motivated,” noted Shannel Shepherd, a mentor at Ambassador’s Academy. “In spite of personal struggles, she always has a good attitude. Her classmates really look up to her.” Another HOPE senior who is serving as a role model to her classmates is Sarah, a student at New Hope Academy. “This past year, Sarah had to undergo chemotherapy. She missed a lot of school,” said Ashleigh Singh, a mentor at New Hope Academy. “But when she was here she worked, and she worked hard at home and in the hospital. Our other students noticed, and their slogan became ‘if Sarah can do, then I can do it!’” Sarah plans to attend Aims Community College next year to study nursing. “I am so grateful for everyone who supported me, and I just want to help people,” she explained. These seniors will join the rest of their class at HOPE’s commencement ceremony on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Auraria Campus PE Center. As they cross the stage and transition into the next stage of their lives, they can do so knowing that wherever they end up, they will always be members of the HOPE family. Editor’s note: For further information on HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op, call (720) 402-3000 or email info@HOPEonline.org. Heather O’Mara is Founder and CEO of HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op. .

4th Annual Destination Health: Walk/Run/Learn Set for Saturday, July 26 at the Pavilion in City Park Presented by the Center for African American Health Family event benefits Denver community year-round

Cinco de Mayo Festival Denver 2014 By Andrea Barela, Development Director at NEWSED CDC


he Center for African American Health will host the 4th Annual Destination Health: Walk/Run/Learn Saturday, on July 26 at the Pavilion in Denver’s City Park. A family-friendly event, Destination Health combines exercise, education and entertainment in a not-to-be-missed multigenerational experience. Destination Health t-shirt and bib pickup and on-site registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. near the Pavilion. Warm-up activities start at 8 a.m., with the run/walk getting underway promptly at 8:30 a.m. Runners and walkers can follow a 5K route – or choose the one-mile course – before visiting the Health Education Expo area featuring more than 40 booths filled with important facts about vital health matters. There will be a special Health and Safety Zone providing fun activities and information for families with children. There also will be an awards ceremony and entertainment featuring the Mary Louise Lee Band. Destination Health: Walk/Run/Learn not only benefits those who participate on July 26, but also the larger Denver population that is served year-round by the Center for African American Health. The Center,

The 27th Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival will be the spring experience your family has been waiting for all winter long. Make your way over on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. Not only is this event the largest twoday Cinco de Mayo in the country, attracting thousands of visitors, national exhibits, the best Mexican food Colorado has to offer, vendors, artists, three stages of live music and dance, it just continues to offer more every year. It’s like a visit to mother Mexico with a culturally festive atmosphere that hits all the senses. There is so much to do this year you’ll want to attend both days. Don’t miss the Mission Foods Green Chile Bowl Cook-Off featuring various restaurants and a public “taste and vote” on Saturday in the middle of the park at 1 p.m. The Cinco de Mayo parade kicks off on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. New to Cinco is the United State Boxing League, Amateur Division featuring live boxing matches each day of the event after 2 p.m. The 2nd annual “Que Bueno Mexican Grille” Taco Eating Contest will also be held on Sunday in the middle of the park at noon. Following the contest is the 4th annual Jammin 101.5 Chihuahua Races at 3 p.m. Attending the Denver Cinco de Mayo Festival is a great way to support community.

which is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the AfricanAmerican community, partners with a wide variety of health-education and health-delivery organizations to develop and provide culturally-appropriate disease prevention and disease management programs to thousands of African Americans each year. The Center offers programs on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and colon cancer, as well as a wellness program for seniors and health literacy training. The Center is also a certified Connect for Health Colorado assistance site. Pre-event registration fees are $25 for adults 18 and older until June 20 ($30 after June 20); $25 for active and retired military; $25 for children ages 6 to 17 and adults 50 and older; $10 for children five and under (with shirt); free for children five and under (no shirt); and $25 per person for team participants (four or more). On-site registration on July 26 will be $35. If you are unable to attend but would like to support the CAAH and its programs, visit www.destinationhealth5k.org and select the Sleeping-In for Health option. For volunteer opportunities or more information, email info@caahealth.org or call 303355-3423. 

Editor’s note: Find everything at www.CincoDeMayoDenver.com. If you’re visiting from out of town there’s a link for hotel stays with special discounted rates. Check the site regularly for stage announcements, new updates, registrations and more. While visiting the website be sure to like the event on Facebook. The Denver Cinco de Mayo Festival is organized and produced by nonprofit organization NEWSED Community Development Corporation. Learn more about NEWSED and its community programming that assists low and moderate income individuals and families through affordable housing, economic development and business development services at www.NEWSED.org and www.SantaFeDrive.org.

Coming to The Mile High City of Denver!

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Ground Rules

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

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

Transcendence 1/2

By J.R. Johnson


Transcendence has the lingo, the technology and the outrageous aspiration that feels like the crazy image of the future they’ve created is possible, it just doesn’t back it up enough to put hammer to the entire nail. There’s only so much makeup you can put on a film before it wears off and you can see it for what it really is. The paper-thin layer Transcendence presents is easily disabled and the movie suffers a few stale periods. Visually the movie is great, and the cast can only do so much until the shrill story attempts to carry them through the end. The story isn’t dense enough to require as long of a time as it does. The characters and plot are explained in the first quarter of the film and up until the end, its aching wait. Thankfully the imagination of the film helps ease the flatness. Transcendence has a lot of ambition; it just doesn’t have the right tools to follow through with its vision. 

A Haunted House 2 

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

plagued by bizarre occurrences in the home. In addition to Wayans, returning from the first film are Essence Atkins, Dave Sheridan, Cedric the Entertainer and Affion Crockett who reprises his role as Malcolm’s comical cousin RayRay. Like its predecessor, there’s a string of crude gags, and as usual Marlon finds any excuse to show various male organs and bodily functions. There is a sex scene with the creepy doll from The Conjuring which they discover in their new home that plays 10 minutes too long and a wild exaggeration of stereotypical behavior. Black men dating white women jokes, Black people loving chicken jokes and every Latino stereotype you can think of is displayed. No race or stereotype is safe in this movie, but it’s all in good humor for that’s a Wayans specialty. To get your money’s worth, you need to be familiar with recently released horror flicks such as The Conjuring, Sinister, Possession and Insidious as it lifts scenes from these movies, adds a joke or two, and crafts a whole new movie from them.


ollywood has seen a drought in the science-fiction department. Those that do wave the flag have been remakes more often than not. With its original plots and high profile cast, Transcendence is one of the first original sparks to offer sci-fi fans what they are looking for, but it fails to light a fire. Johnny Depp helms the story of a group of programmers in the middle of one of the most significant breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence. Of course, their vision is not as clear for everyone. A radical anti-technology group tries to assassinate programmer Dr. Will Caster (Depp). He survives the attack; however, he was struck by a radioactive bullet and is dying. Caster’s friends make the decision to save him, or at least his mind by uploading Caster’s consciousness into a supercomputer and then onto the internet. Cardigan wearing Morgan Freeman plays Joseph Tagger, a former colleague of Caster who the radicals want to recruit. Morgan’s acting chops are largely wasted in this film, as he doesn’t have much to do because his character is underwritten.


t’s hard to review a film like A Haunted House 2 for all the usual critical categories collapse when faced with a film of this nature. With a plot just there to hold together a series of skits filled with jokes, it’s all about the script and casting. Written and produced by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez and directed by Michael Tiddes, A Haunted House 2 takes place a year after the first film. Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) has moved on and has left his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins). When we first meet him, he’s moving into a new home with Megan and her two kids played by Ashley Rickards and Steele Stebbins and it isn’t long before he finds himself in a perfect storm of paranormal activity and is once again

At times the film is uproariously funny with the biggest laugh scenes involving Cedric the Entertainer who briefly returns as Father Williams, the dubious priest who became a man of the cloth while serving a 20 year prison sentence. In one scene he riffs that he became a Catholic priest for the “boys” and in another says he’s started a new clothing line called “Jesus Pieces.” Like all spoofs, if you have seen the movies they are spoofing you will get the jokes but even if you haven’t, you will still find yourself laughing. With audacious punch lines, overthe-top gags and unapologetic humor, it only seeks mindless fun and entertainment, and it succeeds at that level.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Draft Day 1/2

By Laurence Washington


et on the NFL’s most stressful day, Ivan Reitman’s gridiron-comedy Draft Day highlights the wheeling and dealings by the league’s top executives during the annual college draft. Enter Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner), the downtrodden Cleveland Browns general manager who makes a series controversial moves, including firing his father as head coach, in aid of bringing a championship to the fledging franchise. The film’s premises has the WorldChampion Seattle Seahawks trying to unload their number one draft pick, flawed Heisman winning quarterback Bo Callahan (Josh Pence) to the Browns for the Browns’ top draft picks over the next three seasons. I should mention with the timing of the film’s release, I can’t help but wonder if the filmmakers waited for the winner of Super Bowl XLVII (between the Seahawks and the Broncos) to cast which team would become Weaver’s foil. That aside, on paper, Callahan looks like he’s a franchise player who could bring a championship to the Browns. However, to the dismay of Cleveland fans and the team’s coaches, Weaver has another pick in mind: ace linebacker Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) and running back standout Ray Jennings Jr. (Arian Foster), who wants to play for the Browns as his father Ray Jennings (Terry Crews) did back in the day. To its credit, Draft Day has a ring of authenticity as Reitman had the full blessing of the NFL to use team’s logos, players, coaches and executives right down to Commissioner Rodger Goodell playing himself, although most the other characters are fictitious.


If you’re a sucker for sports movies, be warned, Draft Day isn’t in the same league as other Costner sports outings i.e., Field of Dreams, (‘89) and Bull Durham (‘88). However, it’s enjoyable when it concentrates on the pressures of negotiating and building a winning football team. The predicable subplots involve Weaver in a secret romance with the team’s salary-cap manager Ali (Jennifer Garner), a feud with Browns fiery coach (Denis Leary) and team owner Harvey Molina (Frank Langella) who is bent on firing him. But those storylines are just warmedover fillers borrowed from other movies. That aside, the cast still manages to score a winning touchdown 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier 1/2 By Laurence Washington

Summer starts earlier and earlier

every year. Enter Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the most anticipated summer popcorn flick of 2014 (at least for me). Maybe that’s because I loved Captain America: The First Avenger (‘11), — a whimsical comic book action-flick where good and evil are clearly defined. However, The Winter Soldier is darker than The First Avenger, and morality becomes grayer. Like the Dark Knight Rises (‘12), The Winter Soldier uses the comic book as a motif, but it’s really a poignant commentary on a post 911 world that drives the film. Relax Marvel fans, Steve Rogers is still true-blue and will gladly throw himself on a live grenade for a buddy. And there are plenty of explosions and car wrecks to keep a personal injury lawyer litigating for decades.

You’re going to get your money’s worth. So fasten your lap strap. The film takes off with Captain America (Chris Evans) leading an elite S.H.I.E.L.D. tactical team against pirates who have hijacked a naval ship. Of course Cap saves the day, but he discovers that his partner on the mission, slippery Black Widow, agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on a secret mission from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Romanoff was sent to recover data from an NSA-like surveillance program on steroids from the ship’s computers. Rogers begins to question S.H.I.E.L.D.’s hidden agenda – using hostages as an excuse to assault a spy ship and recover the data. Not to give too much away, but expect plot twists, the return of old foes and a new villain – the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), a metalarmed assassin with sad soulful eyes. He doesn’t talk much, but he makes

Learn. Achieve. Graduate.

up for his silence by causing a lot of havoc. The highlight of the film is the introduction of Falcon (Anthony Mackie), an Iraqi war veteran who Rogers turns to for help after learning that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised. Falcon teams up with Cap and Romanoff to battle the Winter Soldier, and save the planet from tyrannical rule. The Winter Soldier is a taut, suspenseful thriller – a joyous E-Ticket Ride. It probably goes without saying, but it worth the wait to sit through the five minutes of credits to not miss the teasers for Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out next summer. In fact, just to be sure, stay in your seat until they turn the houselights on and the ushers throw you out. 


Call 720-402-3000 or visit www.HOPEonline.org. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014



A Cut Above


USDA Choice Beef is quite simply a cut above the rest, and at King Soopers, you’ll always find an excellent selection. This is the beef grade preferred by many of America’s great steakhouses….aged for flavorful tenderness in each and every bite.

Get to know great beef.

Mother, Mother Art Show

An art show honoring mothers will be presented May 1 to 31 at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. “Mother, Mother” will feature multicultural art work from local community artists and Washington, DC, including Randy McAnulty, Kiyasha Newson, Helen Littlejohn, Arlette Lucero, Stevon Lucero, Ella Maria Ray, Ron Hicks, Rob Yancey, S A Bennett and others. All art will feature representations of the Madonna – Mother and Child. The Library is located at 2401 Welton St. in the Five Points. For more information, email helenwlittlejohn@gmail.com or call 303 9074589.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Scholarship Reception


Mother’s Day Solidarity Dinner Honors Mothers (And Fathers) Of Murdered Children

The fifth annual Denver NAACP Youth Council and Battleground Christian Outreach Mother’s Day Solidarity Dinner, honoring Mothers (and Fathers) of murdered children will be held on Saturday, May 11, at 3 p.m. at Church in the City, 1580 Gaylord St., Denver. Dr. Carolyn Phillips will be the keynote speaker. This free event, “We Shall Overcome,” will include entertainment and a video presentation. For more information and to make reservations call 720-234-7952, 303-5887296 or e-mail denvernaacpyouth@comcast.net.

Women Of Fashions First Mother’s Day Fashion Show And Luncheon

The public is invited to attend the Denver Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 2014 scholarship reception Sunday, May 18 at 2 p.m. at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 1500 S. Dayton St. in Denver. For more information and to RSVP, visit milehighdst@gmail.com

Women of Fashions will present a Mother’s Day fashion show and luncheon on May 10 at 11:30 a.m. at 5151 E.33rd St. in Denver. Partial proceeds will go to the Sickle Cell Association. Tickets are $40. For more information and tickets, call Brenda Jackson at 303-321-9174.

The Together to End Stroke Praise Dinner is a free community event hosted by the American Heart Association. The event will include dinner, blood pressure screenings, a cooking demonstration, live music, guest speakers, giveaways, and educational materials. It’s a night of promoting wellness and raising awareness about the danger stroke poses and the things that can be done to get healthy and prevent it. The dinner will be at the Potter’s House, 9495 E. Florida Ave. in Denver, Thursday, May 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, email Lindsay.hayden@heart.org or call 303-801-4640.

The Ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Beta Rho Sigma Denver Alumnae Chapter will be celebrating 50 Years of Unwavering Commitment to Culture, Community Service, and Finer Womanhood, during their 50th Annual Debutante Anniversary with a series of events. The reunion will commence on Friday, May 23 with a meet and greet. On Saturday former Debutantes will be welcomed to the Debutante Reunion luncheon and on Sunday the 50th Annual Debutante Presentation and Golden Gala Celebration will be held. All events will be at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 Tufts Ave. in Denver. Tickets are $75 for adults and $55 for children (3-13 years of age).

American Heart Association Hosts Together to End Stroke Praise Dinner

Sigma Gamma Rho Celebrates 50th Anniversary

For more information or tickets, email BRSDenverChp@comcast.net or call Jerilyn Hitch-Fuller at 303-333-7276.

10th Annual Back Home Gospel Shout Out Talent Show

Sisters Enterprise will host its 10th Annual Back Home Gospel Shout Out Talent Show at the House of Hope Christian Ministries, 551 N. Norfolk St. in Aurora on June 21, at 8:30 a.m. The 2014 theme is “Work, Fight & Pray,” and the public is invited to hear keynote speaker, Toastmaster Flora Young. The luncheon event will include a fashion show, baby contest, gospel talent show and random acts of kindness community awards program. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children, $15 through the end of May. Tickets are free for seniors 80 and older and children under five. For more information, call 303-3245927 or email backhomegospel@yahoo.com.

Urban League Sponsors Fundraiser Trip To Blackhawk

The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver will sponsor a fundraiser trip to the Isle of Capri casino in Blackhawk on Friday, May 16. The bus will depart from the Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 E. 35th Ave, in Denver at noon and leave the casino at 5 p.m. Donation for the trip is $20 which includes a $10 rebate and free buffet lunch. For more information, call Bettye Ellis at 303-360-0494, Joseph Langley at 303-694-3126, or Delores MannsMartin at 303-840-9976.

First CCGAA Breakfast In Northern Colorado

The Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action (CCGAA) will hold its first When Will the Sun Rise on a World Without Genocide Breakfast on Friday, May 9 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Xilinx Retreat Center, 3100 Logic Drive in Longmont. The breakfast will introduce the

Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action to the Northern Colorado Community. Founded in 2007, CCGAA, a 501c3 non-profit organization, challenges our society to end complacency towards genocide, raise awareness of genocides past and present, and take action to stop genocides present and future.Guest speaker will be Anahid Katchian, daughter of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. For more information, call Roz Duman at 303-856-7334 or email rozduman@aol.com.

Juneteenth Caribbean Heritage Fair Slated For June 20-22 In Colorado Springs

The African American Voice will hold the 23rd Annual Juneteenth Caribbean Heritage Fair, including a Civil and Human Rights dinner, a neighborhood parade, entertainment, food and speeches. The dinner will be held on Friday, June 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. Dr. James Tucker will be honored. Cameroon born Ada Anagho Brown, founder and president of Roots to Glory Tours, will be keynote speaker. For more information on the fair, visit www.nationaljuneteenth.us. To volunteer, call 719-528-1954 or visit www.africanamericanvoice.net. For more information on the dinner, call Fred Bland at 719-634-4298.

Pastel Damsels Present Art Exhibit At Northeast Denver Walk Fest

A senior group, the Pastel Damsels Art Group of Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center present their annual art exhibit and sale on Saturday, May 10. Attendees can see their art in the Nancy P. Anschutz Center at the far east entrance facing the 3390 Holly St. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Framed and framed ready creations for sale are priced from $15 to $350. For more information, call Michele Dolphin at 303-320-1195.

African Grill and Bar

Serving Jollof Rice, African Beer and Specialty Dishes from Africa Two Locations: •1010 S. Peoria St. in Aurora •18601 Green Valley Ranch Blvd. (in Denver)

Mother’s Day Special

$5 off any $20 Purchase (month of May)

www.africagrillco.com afrikangrill@gmail.com

303-375-7835 - Green Valley Ranch • 720-949-0784 - Aurora


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014

Cocoa Brown: “I get paid well so they can laugh at my pain.” By Samantha Ofole-Prince


Tickets at AltitudeTickets.com or Charge by Phone 303.893.TIXS


he’s a hilarious, brilliant comedian that will surely be looked upon as one of history’s greatest. With an endearing on screen presence and a humble persona in interviews, actress and comedian Cocoa Brown is arguably one of the funniest actors in The Single Moms Club. In the Tyler Perry directed film, the Virginia native plays Lytia, a brash and outspoken mother of five barely making ends meet. Thanks to a generous scholarship program, her son Hakeem attends an exclusive prep school, but when he’s threatened with expulsion along with four other kids, Lytia and the other mothers form the Single Moms Club, a haven for single mothers seeking support and an understanding ear. “She’s definitely brash and loud,” shares Brown. “Her two eldest sons went to jail, so she’s really hard on her middle son, Hakeem. She doesn’t want him to go down the same path, but what I love about my character is that you get to see those brash layers peel off and you do see the softer side of her.” Also starring Nia Long (The Best Man Holiday), Wendi McLendonCovey (Bridesmaids), Zulay Henao (Love Thy Neighbor), Amy Smart (Justified) and Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), it’s a witty film that follows five single mothers from very different walks of life. As Lytia, Brown gives us someone to root for as we watch her deliver some of the movie’s best one-liners. Her character is just as opinionated and obstinate when it comes to her love life, which involves an amorous war of attrition with Branson (Crews). “Branson is a good dude,” says Brown who shares several comical

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


scenes with him. “He wants me a whole lot, but I just keep throwing waffles at him. I don’t want anything to distract me from raising Hakeem and making sure he goes to college.” Brown has long charmed audiences on “Comic View,” “One Mic Stand,” and “Showtime at the Apollo.” She stars in Tyler Perry’s comedy series “For Better or Worse” and can be seen on the TV commercial for Progressive Insurance. Drawing from painful reminiscences and hard-knocked lessons, she weaves in humorous tales with life lessons pulling comedy out of misery. “As comedians, a lot of times we are on stage making our pain funny. I always say I love Kevin (Hart) to death, but he doesn’t have the patent on laugh at my pain because I get paid well so they can laugh at mine,” adds the newly divorced mother of an infant son. “When I started “For Better or Worse,” I was a newlywed, and then I was pregnant when we were filming the second season. When we were shooting the movie is when I made up my mind to leave my husband. It’s then I became a single mother, so for me, this film was life imitating art,” shares Brown who admits she was able to purge much of her pain while filming. In addition to The Single Moms Club, Brown has several projects scheduled to release later in the year including a TV series “Acting Dead” about real life Zombies in Hollywood trying to be actors. She’s also gearing up for a nationwide comedy tour. “We just booked Tampa and Kansas City and in the process of getting Memphis and Miami. I am doing a one-hour special which will air on one of the cable networks. We are still negotiating on which one.” 

New Sims-Fayola Board Members

Mail Box Express


Sims-Fayola International Academy welcomed new members to its board of directors. Project One founder, Tristin Gleason has more than 20 years of experience in commercial construction; working on more than 150 projects totaling $2.5 billion dollars. She has worked providing project management and owner representation services on single projects ranging from $100,000 dollars to nearly $400 million dollars. Gleason’s career has included several positions in development, including field engineer, project manager and estimator. Founding partner of Burgher Gray Haile & Jaffe LLP, Arkan Haile, brings legal; financial; and business experience to the board. He represents public and private companies in corporate and transactional matters, including formations, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, commercial agreements, software licensing, corporate governance, loan and credit facilities, and dispute resolution. In addition, he has substantial experience in the issuance of tax-exempt bonds as a former specialist in public finance. Andre Gill has more than 12 years of private and public sector experience working with major colleges and universities, corporate executives and law firms. In September 2012, he decided to return to higher education as the Assistant Director of Admissions MBA Programs at University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. Dr. Ryan E. Ross is a transformational leader and community and nonprofit advocate who is committed to equity, access, and transformation. Dr. Ross demonstrates his talents and commitment daily as the youngest administrator and member of the student affairs leadership team at the Community College of Denver (CCD), where he serves as the Dean of Student Development and Retention.

4860 Chambers Road in Denver 303-375-1683 Bus 303-375-1684 Fax • UPS Drop Off • Domestice and Int’l Shipping • USPS Mailing Services • Truck Rentals - Local and One Way 10-20% Off

Pryor Selected As A Finalist For Scholars Program In Aspen

Ray Pryor, a member of Project Greer Street, has been selected as a finalist for the Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado. The Program was launched by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, who was named Business Person of the Year by Fortune Magazine last year. Only 12 top high school students from the United States are selected annually to participate in this year-long leadership development program. Selected students shall attend the worldrenowned Aspen Ideas Festival of the Aspen Institute, the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in inquisitive and thought-provoking discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.

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Niemela Honored As White House Women Veteran Leader

“Proudly serving you since 1995”

The White House recently honored 10 leaders for its “Women Veteran Leader Champions of Change” for their contributions to the nations business, public, and community service sectors. Denver Human Services staffer, Dana Louise Niemela was among them. Niemela is a veteran of the United States Navy where she served eight years and is the coordinator of the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) at Denver Human Services. HVRP links homeless veterans to housing, job training and employment opportunities that assist individuals in attaining self-sufficiency. The White House recognized Niemela for her work to help veterans of all socio-economic backgrounds. Since becoming a City employee in 2011, Niemela has focused on building relationships with government agencies, the community and private sector to increase employment opportunities for veterans. She has tirelessly worked to improve behavioral health access and funding for veterans in need through leveraging resources through the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1 and providing expertise in grant-making with private foundations and the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Detoxify, Purify and Nurture Yourself Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks, D.Ac., L.Ac., B.S.


ou have heard it before: there are toxic substances all around our environment. Not only is the U.S. at an alltime high in the level of contamination in our environment, but also the world as a whole is extremely toxic. The oceans are packed with garbage. There is an estimated 7,000,000 tons of plastic waste in the world’s oceans, leaching tons of estrogens, BPA’s, and so on from the deterioration of plastics. Mercury is well documented as a major contaminant of our oceans, water supply, dental fillings, our seafood and more. There is lead, bromine, molds, and other contaminants saturating our homes. There is radiation everywhere because we are living in an ocean of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) that come from cell phones, cell towers, computers, TV monitors – especially HD, microwave and other appliances and devices. These EMF’s damage the cells of our bodies, setting into motion the development of cancers. My intention is not to scare you but to write factually about the dangerous situation in which we live today. Our children and grandchildren will inherit this legacy of toxicity unless we make some serious changes within our own bodies and our environment. To be healthy and live in a healthy environment, we must be prepared to sacrifice some of our desires and attachments while using a disciplined approach to our own health care. A 6point plan of action that can accomplish this must include: 1. Improve gastrointestinal health. 2. Improve diet and nutrition. 3. Decrease body fat. 4. Improve estrogen and heavy metal detoxification. 5. Limit chemical and synthetic estrogen exposure. 6. Drink water that is purified and alkalinized. Now as the title of this article states, we must detoxify and purify

ourselves. Here are some things you can do right now: •Drink plenty of clean water, which means about one-half of your body weight in ounces. •Eat dark green vegetable every day. •Eat a combination of fruits, at least three to five portions per day. •Use vitamins like C and E – but be sure they are only high quality. •Fast from eating by using restricted diets at various intervals on a regular basis to give your organs a rest. •Nurture and supplement (as Asian medicine prescribes) to build and tonify the various systems of the body, including the nerves, blood vessels, hormones, muscles, tendons, and digestion. (The subtle, but powerful energetic system of our bodies must be kept balanced as the regulator of all of the other systems). Designed from this article, my patients and I are currently completing a purification and nurturing program that is proven to be effective and non-intimidating. The power of healing our bodies does involve some discomfort and inconvenience, but it is worth the effort to feel your best. The joy and energy you get after accomplishing your healing goal is priceless. Finally, a sound, holistic health plan includes nurturing and purification of your body from the cellular level. Strong, clean cells are the foundation of optimum health and serve as the baseline for a healthy body and lifestyle for the rest of your life. And remember, it’s never too late to invest in your health.  Editor’s note: Dr. S. Abayomi Meeks is the founder of the Moyo Healing & Cultural Center, a 24-year Colorado institution. He has been in practice for more than 27 years with more than 28,000 treatments. For more information, call 303-377-2511, visit www.LifeHealingDoctor.com or email AfrikanArts@netzero.com. For more information about the Moyo Healing & Cultural Center, visit www.AfrikanArts.org.



MAY 16-18

FRI & SAT 7:30 SUN 2:30



Take a trip to Catfish Row, home to the cast of characters who populate Gershwin’s beloved folk opera, Porgy and Bess. Music Director, Andrew Litton will conduct his own edition of this American classic, which is as famous for its historical significance as for songs including “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Loves You Porgy.” With world-class vocalists and the Colorado Symphony Chorus, this production will make you rise up singing.

TICKETS COLORADOSYMPHONY.ORG CALL 303.623.7876 BOX OFFICE MON-FRI 10 AM - 6 PM :: SAT 12 PM - 6 PM STUDENT $10 TICKETS DAY OF WITH VALID STUDENT ID WHERE Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014



A Day On The Floor

On April 16, Colorado Rep. Angela Williams hosted the 2nd Annual African American Youth Day at the state capitol. More than 200 students from kindergarteners to high school seniors – representing more than 20 schools – toured the capitol, spent a half day on the floor with legislators and listened to legislators address issues impacting youth. The first year about 150 attended. Williams hopes to see the day “grow each year, and for these youth to realize that democracy is accessible and that the state capitol is the ‘people’s capitol.’”

Mayor Hancock Joins Youth To State: #Helphelps

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, the Denver Office of Children Affairs and the Mayor’s Youth Commission promoted creative expression as a form of mental health support for Denver’s youth. At #HelpHelps Express Yourself, the Mayor joined more than 300 attendees as they participated in spoken word and live performances, as well as created a wall-art exhibit at Youth on Record. Through the #HelpHelps campaign, which is now in its second year, the Mayor’s Youth Commission is focused on connecting youth to existing school and community based resources that can help address issues such as depression, thoughts of suicide, bullying and more. Denver youth also had the opportunity to participate in a photo and video campaign letting their peers know that help helps. The event was catered by the Denver Housing Authority’s Culinary Academy trainees from Osage Café, and videography was provided by the International Baccalaureate Film Program Students of John F. Kennedy High School. This event was made possible by the Mayor’s Youth Commission, Denver Public Schools Student Board of Education, and multiple local organizations including Youth on Record, Art from Ashes, Mile High United Way 2-11 and Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado.

FNN Donates $500 To Students For Summer Academic Help

Far Northeast Neighbors, Inc., a non-profit organization, donated $500 to five students at Jessie Maxwell School and $500 to five students at Omar D. Blair Charter School. Far Northeast Neighbors, Inc. president, John Smith who recently moved from Colorado due to health reasons said during the presentation, “We are hoping that the monies will help defray the cost of students getting academic help in the summer.”

Dave Espinosa, Carrie Morgridge, Christine Benero, Shane Starr, Nate Broswavic

Mile High United Way Celebrates Major Milestone For The New Morgridge Center

On March 25 Mile High United Way celebrated the construction of their new headquarters - The Morgridge Center for Community Change – due to open in August. Nearly 200 staff, construction workers and donors attended the ceremonial “topping off,” a tradition dating back to 700 A.D., marking the placement of the final piece of structural steel. According to custom, everyone signed the steel beam before it was hoisted 45 feet in the air and placed atop the building. The new headquarters located across from Sonny Lawson Park, at the corner of Park Avenue West and California Street, is a long-term investment in the collaborative community work Mile High United Way does to improve the lives of children, families and individuals. The 63,000 squarefoot building was designed by Davis Partnership Architects and is being built by Denver-based PCL Construction. For more information, visit unitedwaydenver.org. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014


Sam Williams Memorial Golf Classic Wednesday, May 28 2014

FIGHTER EMT EXAM Take a written exam (basic knowledge skills) on June 2 that upon passing can place you on an eligibility list for hiring with 13 fire departments/districts in the Denver metro area. Visit www.drcog.org & click on services and resources or call 303.480-6730

Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills 9650 N Sheridan Blvd., Westminster 8 A.M. Shotgun Scramble

$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.

dropsh ado w802@aol .c om

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 scholarships to Johnson & Wales University and prostate cancer screening and awareness through the Center for African American Health. For additional sponsorship or registration information, call 970-396-4266 or email samclassic1@aol.com.

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

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

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – January 2010 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2014

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Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

DUS May 2014  

Denver Urban Spectrum pays tribute to ultra-maration runner Essie Garrett who raised millions of dollars for humanity.

DUS May 2014  

Denver Urban Spectrum pays tribute to ultra-maration runner Essie Garrett who raised millions of dollars for humanity.