Page 1

Volume 35

Number 2

May 2021

Calling Out Rising Anti-Asian Harassment...7 Recognizing the Webbs' Community Contributions...10 Retracing the Path to the Guilty Verdict of George Floyd's Murderer...12

In memory...16-17

Mama Moore:

Acknowledging the Legacy of Five Points Businesswoman & Matriarch Zona Moore...........................4

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Exhale: Breathe out Volume 35

Number 2

May 2021

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Barry Overton FILM CRITIC Samantha Ofole-Prince CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Theresa Ho Angelia D. McGowan Alfonzo Porter T. Holt Russell COLAB Tanya Ishikawa - Story Coordinator ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris ADVERTISING & DIGITAL MARKETING Theresa Ho GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant

The blockbuster 1995 American romance film, Waiting to Exhale, featured a stellar cast of African American women who were searching for true love and would ultimately express their finding it by exhaling. Exhaling can be expressed in several forms – happiness, worry, exercise, sadness, meditation, loneliness, relief, and farewell. Today, many African American women still find it difficult to exhale for other reasons, simply because they can’t breathe. They can’t breathe from the pain and suffering that has been inflicted on their children, parents, spouses and friends…and feel helpless. Several stories this month reflect on the farewell exhales of those who have taken their last breaths. This month and in honor of Mother’s Day, Angelia D. McGowan shares the journey of “Mama” Zona Moore – a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother who passed away at 95. Zona was a Five Points icon who for decades kept her eyes on the prize of operating her own restaurant. We also pay tribute to Denver Urban Spectrum friend and associate, businessman Herman Malone, a stalwart in the business community who recently took his last breath as well. New contributor Theresa Ho looks at the challenges that the Asian communities are facing as anti-Asian harassment increases. While on a lighter note, Dr. Ryan Ross recognizes and salutes former Mayor Wellington E. Webb and First Lady Wilma J. Webb for jobs well done and continuing to serve as public servants. Lastly and certainly not least, Editor Alfonzo Porter reflects on the last year starting with the murder of George Floyd through the verdict of Derek Chauvin. On April 20, I was waiting for my number to be called at the motor vehicle office as I watched Headline News on my phone. Where were you? It was one of those days I will always remember like when President Kennedy was assassinated, and when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died, and after several days of anxiety, seeing my TV announce that President Joe Biden was the 46th president of the United States. Similarly on April 20, I watched and I heard: Count 1 – Guilty! Count two – Guilty! Count three – Guilty! And it was over. And I exhaled! I exhaled for so many reasons with so many mixed emotions. I was happy that justice was truly served. I was sad that it took an innocent and simple life of one man to start this movement. I was worried that there is still so much work to be done. But I was relieved, and believed that this was a beginning to improve race relations in our country. As I left the motor vehicle office, I popped in my Sam Cooke CD and listened to “A Change is Gonna Come” and I thought to myself, “Yes Gianna, baby girl, your Daddy did change the world.” And I exhaled again, and again and again.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Theresa Ho DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

Member 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 2021 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 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR the first and only AfricanAmerican to serve on the Colorado Supreme Court. Justice Scott died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Anderson, Indiana on March 31.   Justice Scott was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1992 by then Governor Roy Romer.  During his time on the Court, he participated in the determination of approximately 1,000 cases, including a concurrence to the historic Romer v. Evans opinion.  Justice Scott

Reflecting on the Life of First African American Colo Supreme Court Justice Editor: It is with deep sorrow that the Sam Cary Bar Association announces the passing of one of its most beloved members, the Honorable Gregory Kellam Scott, who was

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


resigned from the Colorado Supreme Court in March of 2000 in order to accept a position as Vice President and General Counsel of Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC. the entity managing the clean-up of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility. In August of 2002, Justice Scott was appointed Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of GenCorp, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed, multi-national manufacturing company.  Continued on page 30

“She’s the strongest

woman I know,” said Darnell Ward about his grandmother during her celebration of life service on April 12 at Zion Baptist church. Zona Moore passed away in her sleep at the age of 95 on March 27.

It was indeed the land of opportunity. According to ModernCities.com website, “Located along the railroad, Denver attracted African Americans seeking jobs at nearby railyards, creating a thriving community and commercial corridor along Welton

During his remarks he highlighted historical milestones that she witnessed in her lifetime, including four-time gold medalist Jessie Owens at the 1936 Olympics, Jackie Robinson integrating Major League Baseball in 1947, the 1954 Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka decision prohibiting racial segregation in public schools, and Rosa Parks pivotal role in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. Ward continued by noting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, as well as the 1990 release of Nelson Mandela from prison and his subsequent role as president of South Africa. The proud grandson pointed out that Zona voted for Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States and she was alive to see Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of Asian and African American descent to take office as vice president of the United States. Finally, Ward added that Zona was alive to witness her favorite NFL team – the Denver Broncos – win multiple Super Bowl championships. The truth is that “Mama Zona,” as she was affectionately known, made her own history as the owner of Zona’s Tamales Stand located at 713 E. 26th Avenue, directly at the center of Denver’s historic Five Points

Street. Between 1950 and 1960, the neighborhood’s Black population doubled, exceeding 30,000 residents. During its heyday, Welton was home to more than 50 bars and clubs, attracting popular traveling Black musicians, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. Like many Jim Crow-era Black communities, Five Points declined in the years following integration as its economic base could no longer remain dependent on segregation.” Zona secured fulltime work as a nurse’s aide for five years. During this time, she had her 14th child. The deep desire to operate her own business was nonwavering. The businessoriented mother found opportunities to buy houses with her husband, a liquor store with her son John when he returned from the military, as well as a restaurant called the Tamale King. After the owner died, she immediately made an offer to take over the restaurant. It was well established, manageable, and in a great location. It was a significant location at the corner of 26th and Welton Streets, according to three-term Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb. Zona’s “was a community landmark. As a child growing up in Denver, I remember when that location was the home of Ritz Cab and to see it continued as a Black-owned business maintained some continuity of

Mama Zona : She Lived the Dream By Angelia D. McGowan

before she and her husband established a restaurant across the street from their home. That would be shortlived when she received a heads-up from her sister, Rosie Lee Haggerty, who had relocated to Denver and told her it was a city of opportunity. Eventually deciding to make the move, her husband went ahead of the family to secure work. Three months later Mama Zona and the children followed. Their first stop was the Five Points neighborhood, also known as the “Harlem of the West.”

neighborhood. Her historic run from 1972 to 2010 started as a dream for the Texas native. Denver-bound with a Dream Born Zona Porter in Longview, Texas in 1925, she attended school in the nearby city of Tyler and worked to help family. She married twice before moving to Texarkana with her second husband, Willis Moore, and their 13 children. During this time, she also amassed a lot of experience working in the biggest, poshest hotels in Dallas. She was inspired to be her own boss one day, specifically by owning a hamburger place. It wasn’t long

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


Black ownership and business,” says Webb, Denver’s first African American mayor as well as a frequent visitor of Zona’s Tamales. “It’s very important to support minority and women-owned businesses citywide. That’s why as mayor I pushed for women and minorities to have a seat at the table for all projects, including being the first mayor to open contract bidding for the concessionaires at Denver International Airport.”

served as special assistant to U.S. President William J. Clinton and deputy director of the President’s Initiative for One America, the first freestanding White House office in history to examine and focus on closing the opportunity gaps that exist for minorities in the country. He points out the many challenges facing Black-owned businesses from limited access to capital to the select words res-

taurant critics may use in their reviews when describing what part of town the restaurant is located. Zona’s challenges also included the ramifications of gentrification, often relegating her place of business as a destination restaurant as opposed to a place where once-loyal neighbors could just visit with a walk down the block. Nelson adds, “Zona’s Tamales endured the multi-year construction of Denver’ light

Meet You Down at Zona’s Over the years, everyone seemed to have taken on their own term of endearment for Zona’s Tamales. In any given conversation, it would be referred to as “The Pig Ear Stand” or “Zona’s,” but everyone knew where to go. Charleszine “Terry” Nelson, senior special collection and community resource manager at Blair Caldwell African American Research Library located in the Five Points neighborhood, recalls going to Zona’s to get pig ear sandwiches after attending formals with her husband. “It was a big to-do,” says Nelson of the popular meeting spot that also offered chicken feet, pig snout and hot link sandwiches. “Soul food is a taste of home,” according to Adrian Miller, Denver-based author of the book “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time” and executive director of Colorado Council of Churches. Miller, who underscores that there is not one type of food for Black people, says that Zona’s pig ear stand offered a connection to the community. It was also unique as it was on the checklist for many out-of-state business leaders to visit when in town. Restaurants in faraway places, such as Tennessee, would often order her pig ears. The longevity of Zona’s is a “serious success story,” says Miller, also a lawyer who Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


rail on Welton Street. It opened in 1944 and runs from downtown to the 30th and Downing Street. The construction was happening just yards away from the business.” In this day and age when the spotlight is being directed on the accomplishments of African American women, Miller says, “Black women as entrepreneurs is an old story. They’ve been in the money game for a long time.” Continued on page 6

Mama Zona Moore Continued from page 5 Case in point, Zona, who was among businessowners who helped to organize the Five Points Business Association, continued investing in new business ventures after her pig ear stand was well established. In the early 1990s, she added Zona’s Cafeteria – a sit-down restaurant with meals served on China dinner plates. She passed along her passion for business to her family. Daughter-in-law Jacqueline Moore notes, “Almost everybody (including herself) learned how to work at the cafeteria or the pig ear stand.” Her great-grandson Tavaris Williams says that she “was my first boss. We’d have great conversation then get back to work.” He adds, “She didn’t care about your walk of life; she loved everybody.” Her daughter Reta Ward describes her mother as a jewel.

Mama Zona Moore over the years

mother-in-law would tell them to come get a plate. “Everybody was her family. There’s no one she wouldn’t feed. Feed them with love. But lecture about changing their life for the better. She was a virtuous woman. She taught hard work and diligence. Everything had to be with God and through God.” Because most knew Zona’s name and her heart, she was considered the mother of Five Points, but she was also the mother of 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 83 great grandchildren and 27 great-great grandchildren. As a final farewell to her Five Points family, a horsedrawn carriage with her casket traveled through the Five Points community she served – the one where she lived dreaming of owning her business for nearly 40 years.

During Zona’s service, numerous resolutions and condolences were read, including one from Bishop Jerry Demmer of The Absolute Word Church who noted that she fed so many people whether they had money to pay or not. Jaqueline, also an evangelist, recalls during family events that passersby would mistake the gathering for a church service or public event. Mama Zona didn’t mind. Jacqueline says her

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Webb says, “She will be truly missed as she provided a resource and stability on the Welton Street corridor.” Jacqueline says she was a matriarch of the Five Points community as “her life touched many in this community down through the years.” Pearls of wisdom that she often shared with her family were shared in the Celebration of Life program. “Follow your own dream…she would tell you don’t let anyone talk you out of it.” “Don’t mix with the wrong people. If you see trouble coming, get out of the way.” “When trouble comes and you’re facing a problem, say a prayer. Try mine – ‘Lord, help me and show me which way to go.’ I guarantee God will answer you. Do everything possible to help yourself. Sometimes it’s hard but you have to keep pushing, no matter what.” With the pig ear stand closed for more than a decade now, the phrase: “Meet you down at Zona’s” is no longer spoken. But because of the memories she created at that spot, owners and employees at new businesses in the area might as well give in when identifying their location and say something to the effect of: “We’re around the corner from where Zona’s used to be.”.

This issue is dedicated to the lives of: Mortgages

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Bob Ragland: Dec. 11, 1938 - April 16, 2021 Carrie Marie Scott: March 4, 1940 - January 26, 2021 Charles R. Smith: May 4, 1941 - March 21, 2021 Fannye Belle Evans PHD: March 31, 1933 - March 18, 2021 Gregory Kellum Scott: 1949 - March 31, 2021 Herman Malone: May 25, 1947 - April 12, 2021 Jeweldine Blair: June 4, 1925 - March 22, 2021 Leta R. Holden: August 11, 1966 - March 15, 2021 Zona Moore: October 10, 1925 - March 27, 2021 Pastor Harold Hicks: October 9, 1944 - March 29, 2021 Margarita Yancey Annie Wade (Greenwood, MS)

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021



ccording to the New York Times, more than three million people have died from COVID19. The pandemic has shaken the world’s economic, social and healthcare systems. And in the past year and a half since the virus started spreading, anti-Asian hate and discrimination has been on the rise. Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that documents antiAsian hate and discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic, released a statement stating that the coalition has received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents all over the country. Violence towards the Asian community has been reported multiple times in just the past few months. On March 16, the Atlanta massage business shootings killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. On April 15, the Indianapolis FedEx building shooting also killed eight people, including four Sikh community members. The University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Ethnic Studies presented a panel on anti-Asian violence, silence, race, and patriarchy on March 24 in a response to the Atlanta massage business shootings. The panel was moderated by Nishant Upadhyay and featured Luna Beebe Ly, Irene V. Blair, Jennifer Ho, Cheryl Higashida, Seema Sohi, and Q.C. Phan. Ly is a CU Boulder alum and a member of Asian Communities Together, a Denver metro-based group of Asian Americans “committed to the collective liberation of Black and Indigenous folkx and people of color.” She argued that one of the difficulties of processing the Atlanta shootings was the lack of a unified language. “In so many ways, we are taught on U.S. land to assimilate and adopt [English] and to

An Epidemic of Anti-Asian Harassment Asian Americans suffer escalating discrimination and violence By Theresa Ho

Sohi also expressed her frustration when individuals hear about incidents of racist violence and discrimination but are dismissive because their personal communities were not affected in those incidents. In a phone interview, she said, “The real challenge is to get folks to realize that it does have to do with us [...] and what is happening to Asian American people right now should teach us that we are not anywhere near resolving the histories of racism, and we won’t ever will be until we are able to engage in solidarity in a really meaningful way and can understand the workings of race beyond the borders of our own ethnic or racialized community [...] Once the political winds shift, anyone is vulnerable to that kind of violence.” Many incidents of anti-Asian discrimination took place even before the pandemic. Around 15,000 Chinese workers helped build the first transcontinental railroad. They worked in harsh weather conditions with little safety or shelter and were paid less than their American counterparts. Once the railroad was completed in 1869, Chinese

enforce the policies and practices that this language teaches us [...] We gate-keep who gets to be included in these conversations, who gets to be included in how we discuss these conversations, [...] and who gets to speak up. We follow in a lot of communities of color’s footsteps in terms of mobilizing, but we haven’t really taken a look back to analyze: how do we want to show up for one another? How can we approach this movement and this event with radical love for one another [...] to sort of develop a sense of community on this ethnocidal land?” she noted. Sohi, an associate professor of CU Boulder’s Ethnic Studies Department, said during the panel, “There is a complete failure to even understand what must be understood, which is that there are clearly racial dimensions to the hypersexualization of Asian women and Asian American women. You cannot take those things apart. You simply can’t. And I think that denial is reproducing an environment that makes this violence against Asians more vulnerable to racialized, sexual, gendered violence.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


laborers worked on at least 71 other rail lines all over the United States – a move that worsened rising anti-Chinese sentiment and violence. American laborers blamed Chinese immigrants for taking their jobs and led Congress to pass The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was the first law that restricted immigration into the United States due to race. The law prevented Chinese laborers from entering the country for 10 years. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which forced around 117,000 Japanese Americans to live in internment camps. Sohi added that another problematic factor for the Asian community is the Model Minority Myth, which perpetuates the idea that all Asian Americans are intelligent, successful and can accomplish the “American Dream.” This stereotype, she said, was used to suppress the struggles that Black Americans experienced due to racial discrimination. The Model Minority Myth is also sometimes perpetuated within the Asian American community. Continued on page 8

Anti-Asian Harassment Continued from page 7 “When you talk about Atlanta and you talk about women, some folks don’t want to claim them,” she said. “This is why the Model Minority Myth makes us fleece our own communities and assign values in our own communities. It is always, always about excluding certain people from the category of fitting that modelminority stereotype.” Phuong Tran, a recent Metropolitan State University graduate, experienced antiAsian discrimination and harassment in many stages of her life. She said that people have ignored her or been rude to her because they were annoyed about her Asian accent. As a child, Tran was bullied by kids who told her Asians were ugly, had squinty eyes, and were boring. But since the pandemic started, she has noted that the incidents have

become even more frightening and violent. “People have aggressively stared at me when I’m walking, and in one event, a man came up to me and said, ‘I will kill you and your family for bringing coronavirus here,’” Tran said. “COVID-19 made my life feel hopeless,” she said. “It has negatively impacted me mentally and financially. I got laid off from a job that I enjoyed and had trouble getting approved for new jobs. I was poor before the pandemic, but at least I used to have a steady income. Now I make some money for a few months and then get laid off again and again. And I never really got to celebrate my four-and-a-half years of hard work in college.” Lien, a warehouse worker who asked for her last name to be withheld for fear of her personal safety, has also experienced alarmingly increasing anti-Asian hate incidents since the pandemic started. Several

months ago, Lien took a leave of absence to undergo an important surgery. When she returned to work, a coworker approached her and began accusing her of being responsible for COVID-19 in front of some of their other coworkers. “I looked at him as he yelled at me, and I looked at the eyes of everyone around him that was watching,” Lien said. “Almost everyone looked angry – like they agreed with him. And no one said anything to defend me.” Several days later, the man approached Lien again and asked where she came from. Lien told him that she was a Vietnamese-American citizen. He responded, “I like Vietnamese people. I just don’t like Chinese people.” Lien told him that it shouldn’t have mattered whether she was Chinese or Vietnamese. She also said that she does not feel like she can report the incidents to human resources staff

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


because they have not helped her in the past. And she has seen other Asian women at the warehouse get harassed at work without much change. “I’m afraid for my husband, my children, my friends. They don’t care who we are. They just see that we’re Asian,” Lien said. “I had a friend who was driving. When he stopped at a red light, there were two cars in front of him and one car to his left. Several young people came out of the car to his left and approached his car. They started dancing and making crude gestures at him for being Asian. But it makes me think: what would have happened if he was alone at night and the people harassing him weren’t just kids messing around? What if they had guns? He wouldn’t have been able to do anything to defend himself just as much as he couldn’t do anything to make them stop making fun of him during a red light.”.

Stop “Othering” Op-ed by Oscar H. Blayton

I won-

dered how long expressions of empathy would continue to be front and center in the minds of Americans following the hatefueled multiple murders of Asian women in and near Atlanta, Georgia. To be clear, two of the victims of Robert Aaron Long’s homicidal mania were not of Asian ancestry. But their proximity to clearly and stereotypically identifiable Asian ethnic tropes brought them within the sights of the killer.  The fact that most people have already forgotten the names of the eight victims murdered at three Asian American spas in the Atlanta area tends to strengthen the argument that generally speaking, empathy for “the other” is fleeting.  When we fail to stay in touch with our humanity and abandon our ability to have empathy for all people, we fall into the trap of enabling those among us who use hate and fear as tools to separate us in order to serve their greed and lust for power.  At many points along the path of American history, the ugly truths of our country are shrouded in the shadows of lies, misinformation and ignorance. Sometimes these truths emerge from the shadows, and we even hear some Blacks and Asians demonize Asians. It is common knowledge that some Black folks speak disparagingly about merchants of Asian ancestry who operate businesses in Black communities. Recently, there are reports of Sery Kim, Congressional can-

didate of Korean ancestry from Texas and a supporter of Donald Trump, speaking publicly about people of Chinese ancestry, saying that she does not “want them here at all.” Rather than drawing gasps and condemnation from her audience, her remarks generated cheers and applause. The modern-day “othering” of people of color in America and elsewhere is a direct result of Western imperialism and colonialism. For the sake of their stability, these socioeconomic processes required creating and maintaining the global myth of white supremacy. Europeans used white supremacy to place themselves at the top of the social hierarchy in lands they controlled. They also maneuvered the inhabitants of color into opposing each other based upon their ethnic or cultural backgrounds. “Divide and conquer” is not merely a trite and meaningless saying. It is a political, social and economic strategy that has resulted in the successful looting of entire continents by a few relatively small countries in the western end of the Eurasian land mass. By creating separate classes of “haves” and “have nots,” European imperialists created tensions between identifiable groups that prevented them from joining forces and throwing off their oppressors. Two very clear cases illustrate how this has been done and its disastrous effects. In the 1980s, the world watched in horror as a conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda resulted in the deaths of thousands of men, women and children. But little thought was given to the fact that the schism between these two peoples had been exacerbated for decades in large part by the Belgian colonial administrators who ruled over the lands that were to become Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians formalized the “othering” between the two groups by forcing Hutus

and Tutsis to carry ethnic identity cards. To create a class division, the Belgians allowed only Tutsis to obtain a higher education or hold positions of limited economic power within the colonial structure. The British did a similar form of “othering” in the colonial lands that were to become Sudan. By encouraging Islam in the northern part of that colony and severely restricting it in the south, a religious divide developed. Additionally, the British invested heavily in the north – considered Arab – but underdeveloped the south, which they identified more with their East African colonies. These divisions led to a tragic “othering” of the people of northern Sudan and southern Sudan that continued even after Sudan’s independence and led to its splitting into two nations. It would take numerous volumes of history to catalog the countless instances where white supremacy pitted one group of

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


people of color against another. But what we know now is that it must be stopped. In the biblical tradition when God asks Cain about Abel’s whereabouts, Cain responded by asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In this story, Cain abandoned his empathy in order to pursue his own selfish desires. We cannot be like Cain. We cannot abandon our empathy for our fellow human beings. We must all be our brothers’ keepers as well as out sisters’ keepers. We all face a common struggle against those who use hate and fear as tools to separate us in order to serve their greed and lust for power. Because we are all of one earth, we are all essentially of one mother. And in our struggle against white supremacy, we must all link arms to protect and care for one another.. Editor’s note: Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.

When Leaders R.I.S.E.: Thanks to and Lessons from Real Heroes Op-ed by Dr. Ryan Ross


e live in a perplexing era. Many would argue that there is a leadership crisis. It’s a time when common sense is a punchline. Inequity is normalized. The most deserving people lack access. At every turn, people in positions of power are taking advantage of those without it. The examples are countless: voter suppression in Georgia and no accountability for police who commit murder. There are disproportionate education funding models, pay inequality for BIPOC, and no food and water while waiting in line to vote. (Governor Kemp: Jim Crow, much?) The list goes on and on. The reality is that there is a constant attempt to assassinate authentic leadership and altruism in this country. While this is the case, and we must stand against the trending hypocrisy, we can’t lose sight of authentic leadership’s goodness and power. We see these examples in individuals like Colorado’s Honorable Wilma J. Webb and former Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb. They serve as beacons of hope and are a guiding light for our communities. Authentic leadership exists, and we can learn so much from servant leaders like the Webbs, who are the inspiration for this piece.

Representative J. Wilma Webb, mother of the Colorado King Holiday and Wellington E. Webb, Denver’s first Black mayor lead the annual Martin Luther King Marade in Denver with Governor Jared Polis, Senator John Hickenlooper, Rep. Leslie Herod, Angela Williams and Mayor Michael Hancock

In the age of two pandemics, racism and COVID-19, we can never have too much inspiration; we must be intentional about finding it and sharing it with everyone. I have made it my business to seek out the best in my community and people in general. Inspiration was not hard to find. Goodness is everywhere. Stupidity, isms, and supremacy may overwhelm the news, but they do not conquer the village. My furnace of eternal optimism continues to burn bright because great people inspire me, and I feel compelled to express appreciation. Thank you, community, but today I express gratitude to these titans of grace, service, and altruism: the Honorable Wellington and Wilma Webb.   Authentic leadership is rooted in inspiring service in the public’s interest and selfless concern for the welfare of others. It is doing the right thing because of who we are rather than because of who is watching. Real leaders understand that our calling is to flex our purpose, not our power.

Authentic leadership is intentional, and real leaders inspire. Thank you to the Webbs for the encouragement, example, and authentic leadership they display every day, even when they don’t have to. Collectively these two have served our community for nearly 80 years. We watched Mayor Webb serve in the Colorado House of Representatives and sponsor legislation that allowed women to get credit on their own legally. He built 85% of the Denver International Airport and created Black wealth through his minority and women’s airport concession program. We watched him walk every neighborhood in the city and county of Denver to become the 42nd and first Black mayor of Denver. He created the Denver Health and Hospital Authority and even received President Barack Obama’s appointment as U.S. representative to the United Nations.   Denver’s forever first lady, the Honorable former Colorado State Representative Wilma Webb, served 13 years in the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


Colorado House, sponsored and passed legislation, and created all of the activities of the Inaugural Holiday throughout Colorado as she coined the term Marade, a joining of words “march” and “parade”, which symbolizes fighting for civil rights and celebrating the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  While in office Webb sponsored legislation for a statewide drug treatment program, long-term health care for the elderly, and mandates that Denver Public Schools must elect board members who are from the districts they are serving. She added to her sponsored bills full-day kindergarten and created the Denver Art, Culture, and Film Foundation. She was also appointed by former President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Department of Labor’s chief administrator for Region 8, which serves Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Together, the duo worked to bring the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sculpture to

Wellington and Wilma Webb discuss the civil right bill at Colorado House of Representatives

City Park and the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library’s construction and opening. These community titans are living legends and more than worth the words written and the time it takes to read this. Their story should be told, accomplishments recorded and celebrated, because they are literally walking Black excellence.   While appreciative of their past, my thanks aren’t for those accomplishments. These roses today are for what they are doing now – the right thing when nobody is looking. What can you do for living legends who don’t care for acknowledgment, have won every award, have no more room for plaques, who don’t need much? It’s simple; you say, “Thank you. We see you.” Honorable Wellington and Wilma Webb, I see you. I have watched over the past year as you faced existing chronic ailments as the pandemic affecting all people made you captives in your home and medical challenges, emergencies, and loss of family compounded an already challenging time. I watched you face this thing with grace. I saw Black love through the care,

concern, and commitment of a wife who loves and adores her husband. I saw the vulnerability of a lion of a man as he reluctantly agreed to listen to his doctors and bride and sit down to rest even though that wasn’t his will. Even though no one would blame these champions if they politely closed their blinds and looked internally to heal and rest, they didn’t. I saw no signs of leaving the community. I saw resilience and altruism. I saw people in the midst of their own storm R.I.S.E. I watched the Webbs give Roses, Impact organizations, selflessly Serve in a season of suffering, and Empower everyone around them. This selflessness, authenticity, and altruistic mindset is why they are true living legends and why a THANK YOU is more than warranted. From pain and exhaustion, there was mentorship, advice, and sponsorship. There was information sharing and advocacy. There was learning of technology to cope and adapt to the new connective realities of COVID-19. Were my glasses clean? What was I witnessing? How was this possible from an in-home hospital bed, provid-

ing 24-hour care, nursing a husband back to health, and honestly being in their 70s? Even in the middle of a personal storm, the Webbs never missed a beat. Truly the time and talent were enough, but understanding the trying time, they also gifted the treasure. The Webbs gave roses and honored the work of more than 30 organizations in our community with a collective gift of more than $150,000. Organizations ranged from churches like Zion Baptist, youth programs like Kids Above Everything and community impact organizations like the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado to the fire department, hospitals, and homelessness organizations, education funds, youth sports organizations, and more. During one of the hardest years of their lives, I watched them make other lives easier. Their impact over the last 15 or so months has been nothing short of amazing. I want to

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


thank them for their selfless service and for yet another lesson. The Webbs’ real leadership example teaches us that we are all we need, that we are the superheroes we have been waiting on. No matter our storm, we can choose to shine brightly on those around us, make positive impacts in the lives of those we care for and our community. They show us that happiness is something we must create. We have a choice in a world full of hypocrisy and isms to create intentional spaces where we thrive. The Webbs demonstrate that each member of the village doing “what they can when they can” will indeed change the world. We sometimes forget how a simple deed empowers others to move forward, not quit, and adopt a pay-it-forward attitude. Honorable Webbs, thank you for the reminder. We see you.  Thank you for your excellence and leadership.  We salute you..

Chronicle of Events Leading to the Guilty Verdict for George Floyd’s Murderer By Alfonzo Porter


ver since the video-taped beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in March 1991, the African American community has born witness to, and been victimized by, brutality at the hands of those sworn to protect us. The ubiquity of cellphone cameras, over the past two decades, has stripped away all attempts at disavowing the truth and exposed the depth of a crisis that Black Americans have been trying to shed light on for as long as police forces have existed in the U.S. Although footage exists for many cases of police-involved killings of unarmed African Americans, this proof has been rendered virtually useless in the conviction of those who continue to deliver death for infractions that would otherwise not even merit a traffic ticket. So, when cellphone video emerged of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin slowly choking the life from George Floyd by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes on May 25 last year, many viewed it with disgust and heartbreak. However, few thought it would lead to the arrests of the policemen involved, not to mention charges of murder and an eventual verdict of guilty. What began at a neighborhood grocery would galvanize the world in ways never seen in support of an African American cause. Based on trial testimony, it was just shy of 8 p.m. when a

clerk at the store believed that Floyd passed a bogus $20 bill and called the police. Officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane arrived on scene at 8:08 and approached Floyd’s SUV. Lane demanded that Floyd show his hands. Seconds later, apologizing to the officers, Floyd opened the car door to Lane’s drawn gun, which he placed back in the holster as Floyd complied with his orders. At 8:10, a brief struggle ensued and Lane dragged Floyd from his vehicle and handcuffed him. At 8:12, officer Kueng placed Floyd on the sidewalk against the wall of a restaurant across the street. One minute later, Floyd was placed under arrest by Kueng. They walked back across the street to the police cruiser where the police tried to place Floyd in the vehicle, but he explained that he was recovering from COVID, was claustrophobic and begged the officers to be placed on the ground instead. At 8:17, two additional officers, Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao, arrived, and Chauvin took charge. At 8:18, video footage captured a struggle between Kueng and Floyd

with Floyd being pulled from one side of the car to the other. Being pulled out of the car, Floyd fell to the ground. At 8:19, Chauvin is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he was on the ground. It was at that time that eyewitness Darnella Frazier began to record the event. Minutes later, Floyd appeared unconscious. When the ambulance arrived at 8:27, Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck. At 8:29, the limp body was placed on a stretcher by paramedics who attempted to resuscitate Floyd with no success. George Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Emergency Center at 9:25. Two autopsy reports later ruled his death a homicide. After the department’s decision to place the officers on administrative leave, they were later fired that same day. Here is a chronology of the events as they unfolded thereafter: May 26 — Police issue a misleading statement indicating that Floyd died after a “medical incident and that he forcefully, physically resisted police intervention and directives and

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


appeared to be in medical distress. Minutes later, bystander Frazier’s video is posted online. Police then reissued their statement saying the FBI will help investigate. Chauvin and three other officers — Lane, Kueng and Thao — are fired. Protests begin. May 27 — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey supports criminal charges against officer Chauvin. Protests lead to unrest in Minneapolis, with some people looting and starting fires. Protests spread to dozens of other cities across the nation. May 28 — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz calls up the Minnesota National Guard amidst the chaos with police evacuating the 3rd Precinct station as protesters overtake it and set it ablaze. May 29 — Chauvin is arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. U.S. President Donald Trump tweets a cryptic message about “thugs” in Minneapolis suggesting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Violence continues in Minneapolis and elsewhere. May 30 — Trump, in typical fashion, suggests that his words

were taken out of context and tries to walk back his tweet. Protests sweep the nation and spread to some 200 cities. May 31 — Walz announces that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead prosecutions in Floyd’s death. Protests begin to spread around the world. June 1 — The county medical examiner rules that Floyd’s heart stopped as a result of police restraining him and compressing his neck. He indicates that Floyd had underlying health issues and lists fentanyl and methamphetamine use as “other significant conditions.” June 2 — A civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department is announced by Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights. June 3 — Ellison files a tougher second-degree murder charge against Chauvin and issues charges for the other three officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest. June 4 — Floyd’s funeral takes place in Minneapolis. June 5 — Chokeholds are banned by Minneapolis police. It would represent the first of many changes to be announced in coming months, including an overhaul of the police department’s use-of-force policy. June 6 — Peaceful protests grow in size and continue to occur nationwide demanding police reform. Funeral services are held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, his birthplace. June 7 — Minneapolis City Council members say they support dismantling the police department. The measure would fail to gain traction but sparks a national debate over police reform. June 8 — Thousands turn out to pay their respects to Floyd in Houston, where he grew up. He’s buried the next day, June 9.

June 10 — Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about police accountability. June 16 — Trump signs an executive order to encourage better police practices and establish a database to track officers with excessive use-of-force complaints. July 15 — The Floyd family files suite against Minneapolis and the four former officers. July 21 — The Minnesota Legislature passes police accountability measures that include bans on neck restraints, chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training. Oct. 7 — Chauvin posts a $1 million bond and is released from state prison, causing protests to intensify. Nov. 5 — A request is made by Chauvin’s defense attorney to move the trial from Minneapolis. Judge Peter Cahill rejects the request. Jan. 12 — Cahill rules Chauvin will be tried alone. The other officers will be tried in August 2021. Feb. 12 — The intersection where the incident occurred, now known as George Floyd Square, is barricaded. Officials suggest it will reopen to traffic after Chauvin’s trial. March 9 — The jury selection process begins for Chauvin’s trial. After a brief delay for pretrial motions, potential jurors are questioned. March 12 — Minneapolis awards a $27 million settlement to the Floyd family. March 19 — Concerns about the settlement tainting the jury pool are rejected by Cahill who again refuses to move or delay the trial. Continued on page 14 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


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Continued from page 13 March 23 — Jury selection process concludes, naming 12 jurors and three alternates. March 29 — Opening statements begin. April 11 — Another fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man is caught on video in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, sparking days of protests. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, is fatally shot by a white female police officer with 26 years of experience. She claimed that she had mistaken her handgun for a taser. April 12 — The Wright incident impacts the Chauvin trial but Cahill declines a request to immediately sequester the jury. April 15 — Trial testimony concludes. April 19 — Closing arguments are heard. Jury begins deliberations. April 20 — After a little more than 10 hours of deliberation, the jury reaches its verdict. Derek Chauvin is found guilty on all three counts. He is immediately taken into handcuffs by sheriff’s deputies and taken to jail where he awaits sentencing, now scheduled for June 16. April 21 — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces a widespread investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. It was as if time stood still last week as the world held its collective breath awaiting the verdict of the jury. Once announced, cheers rang out throughout George Floyd Plaza followed by tears of joy and relief. Many leaders, and ordinary citizens alike, expressed surprise at the guilty verdict as the Black community has typi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


cally experienced not-guilty verdicts in similar cases like those related to the assaults and murders of Rodney King, Eric Garner and Laquan McDonald, to name just a few. According to Newsweek, since the death of Floyd a year ago, 181 African Americans have been killed by the police. Because the nation has witnessed Black Americans killed on video in the past with police ultimately acquitted or not even charged, tension among city and state leaders was palpable. Dozens of major cities around the U.S. called up the National Guard in preparation for a not-guilty verdict. The tension was released with an explosion of relief when Chauvin was found guilty. The precedent-setting, threeweek trial was televised in its entirety. For the first time, police officers, including the chief of the department, testified against a fellow officer on trial. Prosecution witnesses openly wept during the proceedings expressing feelings of guilt for not intervening more forcefully to save Floyd’s life.

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In a national address following the verdict, President Joe Biden said, “This can be a moment of significant change,” as the country continues to wrestle with systemic racism. “It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see,” Biden said from the White House, calling American racism “a stain on our nation’s soul.” He told the country that the verdict represented a step forward and was far too rare in cases against police violence. Later, in a phone call with the Floyd family, the president said, “Nothing is going to make it all better but at least, God, now there is some justice.” Biden left the call pledging to work to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“We’re gonna get that done and much more,” the president promised. Vice President Kamala Harris added, “This is a day of justice in America,” adding, “We really do believe that with your leadership and the president that we have in the White House that we’re going to make something good come out of this tragedy, OK?” The other three officers involved in the case, Kueng, Lane and Thao, are scheduled to stand trial together. That trial is set to start on August 23, 2021..

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We love you Popalopes,

Celebrating the l If I recall correctly, the first time I met Herman Malone was (AKA Popalopes, Pops, the Herm during a business fast May 25, 1947 – track program more than 35 years ago. I had By Rosalind “Bee” H not yet started the Denver Urban Spectrum but we became friends immediately and that friendship continued over the years - professionally, socially and personally. On a professional level Herman was always about business. His business savvy and integrity helped mold me into the business woman I am today. Early on he advised me on a very challenging business situation that I will remember as the best decision I followed. I was the first African American woman to serve as a director on the CBCC board when he was the president. We also served on the Colorado Ghana Children’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that supported students in Africa. We both had a special affinity in our hearts for the Motherland and travelled to South Africa with then Mayor Wellington Webb. Our paths constantly crossed, many time expected and when not, we were always happy to see one another. He was deeply committed to the Denver community and supported it whenever and however he could to make it a better place to live. Although I didn’t care about the game, I always looked forward to his annual Super Bowl parties. He was the “hostess with the mostest” and always bragged about his great tasting oxtails. I was happy to participate in his infamous all white 60th birthday party where he entered by helicopter. On a personal note, I will cherish the time we had together - the laughter, the smiles and especially talking about business with other business friend Sid Wilson, who called him the “Herminator.” He was my brother from another mother. He was a man of integrity who loved his family and they loved him. My last conversation with Herman was about a week before his passing. The bulk of the conversation was about business but we also talked about the fact that we both became great grandparents last year around the same time during the pandemic; a very proud moment for both of us. Watching his children grow up, I have always referred to those four beautiful spirited souls as my children – Leon, Miles, Pamela and Carie. I am as proud of them as much as he is. I was very saddened at the loss of my friend but I find comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. As I gathered my thoughts to share my memories of Herman, I found out so much more about the man I call my friend. Herman Malone, president and CEO of RMES Communications of Denver, Colorado, was born in Camden, Arkansas on May 25, 1947. He attended Jarvis University in Hawkins, Texas, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) on an academic scholarship for Business Administration. He later served honorably in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War era being discharged in 1968. Herman worked in corporate America before launching his business Rocky Mountain Electrical Supply (now known as


Leon, Carie, Pamela and Miles

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


life of my friend,

RMES) in January 1976. Over the next few years, Rocky minator and so much more…) Mountain Electrical – April 12, 2021 Supply became the first minority owned Harris, DUS Publisher wholesale electrical supply house in the country. Because of its achievements in the industry, RMES became the national distributor for US West Communications. During this time the name change of Rocky Mountain Electrical Supply became RMES Communications and was the first equal joint venture partner of public payphones at a major US Airport. As a result of his business success, Herman was instrumental in working with national boards and organizations promulgating rules and regulations, some of which are universally recognized in Federal programs today. Herman was a founding member of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce as well as the National Black Chamber of Commerce, where he served as its chairman during separate terms. Herman was also a founding member of the nationally recognized Minority Supplier Development Council in addition to serving with distinction on several appointed state and city boards and commissions during his business career. He is the proud father of four children, two of which are currently involved in the business in fulfilling his legacy of helping people of color with opportunities to pursue careers and dreams. He is also the author of the book called “Lynched by Corporate America” currently available on Amazon. Herman enjoyed travelling, playing golf, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was a remarkable man who gave so much to the business community and did it with grace, wit and integrity. He was a faithful community servant and the city of Denver was fortunate to have had such a wonderful resident. Herman was a very faithful man. In his final years, he had unwavering faith in Jehovah, and no matter the circumstances he believed through Jehovah, all things were possible. He enjoyed his bible study meetings every Thursday. Herman Malone passed away on April 12, 2021 in Las Vegas. He will be missed and remembered by many. He leaves to cherish his memory: four children Leon, Miles, Pamela (Andre Cordova) and Carie Bradshaw-Malone; six grandchildren, Brandon Malone, Jaelynn Malone, Desmond Malone, Rudy Vasquez-Malone, Dray Malone-Cordova, Milian Malone-Cordova; and one great grandchild, Nour Malone; and a host of family, friends and business associates.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


Black Girls At Risk Program Seeks to Elevate Identity and Self-Perception

By Alfonzo Porter

The achievement gap between white and Black students has existed for decades. While thousands of books, studies and research have been dedicated to addressing this issue, it remains pervasive. Much of the focus has been placed on Black boys as they have been viewed as most at risk. However, data now suggests that equally at risk of underperformance are Black girls – a demographic in public schools that has largely flown under the radar. While programs exist that focus on African American males, programs that concen-

trate specifically on the academic performance of African American females are significantly lacking. The consequences are proving devastating. This lack of focus on Black girls has resulted in increased suspensions and expulsions along with other disciplinary actions, ultimately leading to an increased number being pushed out of school due to so-called behavioral issues. As a Denver Public Schools (DPS) administrator, Plashan

McCune, Ed.D., began to notice this lack of programmatic support. “I was working with programs targeting African American male students through the Black Male Initiative when I realized that there was no similar program for our girls,” McCune said. As a member of the district’s leadership, she was privy to student data so began to take a deeper look at the academic outcomes of Black girls in DPS. Her suppositions were con-

firmed. Programs aimed at the needs of Black female students were essentially non-existent throughout the district. When she was a student attending school in south Chicago, McCune admits that daily interactions with positive, professional Black female teachers made all the difference in the world. “At least I was connected to my blackness in positive ways. Our girls here don’t see that they are beautiful and amazing,” she said. When she inquired about girl’s programs, she was told, “You’re lucky to have a male program.” Somewhat stunned and disappointed by the reply, she set out to change the situation by building a program of her own. She established Higher Learning U in 2017. “Although Black girls here in Denver may not have to contend with the harsh realities of growing up in an area like

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south Chicago, they suffer from a real connection with role models who look like them. As a result, they have few links with their identity. There are real issues of self-perception. They can’t be what they can’t see,” McCune insisted. But, it wasn’t until she began to visit schools around DPS, while considering a potential program model that she truly recognized how deep the need was. “Walking into schools as a professional Black female dressed in executive, corporate attire seemed to stop Black girls in their tracks,” she admitted. “I found myself surrounded with them asking who I was and if I was coming to their school to work? I found myself saddened by this.” Following those experiences, McCune became even more determined to develop programs for Black girls in the school district. She convened a meeting with educational colleagues at George Washington High School—people who she believed might share her passion for the mission—as a preliminary planning effort. She said there were tons of questions and discussion. She presented the data that established the need for the program. While the group agreed on the necessity, there was zero consensus on the how and what of the program. “I left the meeting discouraged. But, after a brief conversation with one of my mentors in the district, I decided that I should forge ahead alone,” she said. “I had no resources, no contacts and no money but I was determined to find every amazing Black woman in Denver and ask for their help.” What came from her initial effort was a program that was basically intended to be a onetime event. The negative feedback continued, with others suggesting that she’d be lucky to get 30 girls to attend from the entire district. She began to ask

family and friends to help. More than 160 girls and almost as many volunteers showed up for the program. “It was amazing. Teachers from around the district brought their students to participate; members of the mayor’s staff, state legislators, and members from the religious community as well as business professionals took part in the day. It felt very spiritual and communal,” she said. However, as she tried to replicate her effort, the support waned. Nevertheless, research indicates that programs of this nature can yield positive results. According to an article titled “Protecting Black Girls,” by Monique W. Morris with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, we must pay more attention to the development of Black female students. “We need to establish culturally-competent, genderresponsive tools—like decisionmaking instruments that help teachers respond equitably to students,” Morris wrote. “It is critical that investments be made immediately in the following areas: engaging them actively in leading and learning in schools; providing information about internships, financial aid, and programs for students who are among the first in their families to attend college; and bringing in speakers who show them a variety of career and college options. This helps girls connect what they’re learning in the classroom with skills required for the workplace.” The programs under Higher Learning U are designed for students ranging from middle school to college. Thus far, the program has included: a series of training sessions on career readiness; a virtual sister-tosister effort, which focuses on mentoring relationships between college students and middle and high school girls; a leadership retreat to the moun-

tains; a program called Worthy of Love and Respect that brings in Black male professionals to speak with the girls about relationships; and the Black Excellence Virtual Fashion Show, held April 23. Additionally, McCune said she is hopeful to take the girls to Uganda, Africa, when COVID-19 is no longer a travel issue. “We have a group that we are working with in Uganda, and are in the process of planning a possible leadership summit there,” she said. The biggest challenge facing the program is its ability to attract the funding needed to sustain its offerings. The founder has largely funded the program herself through sales of her book, “Trauma and Postsecondary Success,” which presents tools to help view and change the behavior of traumaimpacted children. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the program is eligible for tax-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


deductible contributions and has received support from the Denver Foundation and Rose Foundation, but much more is needed to keep the program viable for the 2021-22 school year. Programs are scheduled to begin in September.. Editor’s note: For more information or to make a contribution, email Plashan McCune at the Higher Learning U Program at higherlearningu@gmail.com or call 720441-4308.

Finding the Competitive Edge in the Denver Real Estate Market Some Little-Known Strategies to Keep Buyers Out of Bidding Wars, and Paying Appraisal Gaps By Barry Overton

Denver still continues to be one of the hottest markets in the country. With low interest rates and low inventory, we have a record number of people attempting to buy homes from a record low amount of houses available. Before revealing some of the secrets of becoming a competitive buyer, let me dispel one of the frequently stated beliefs of buyers. It is often said that buyers delay purchasing a new home with the mentality that “I’ll wait until the market takes a turn so I will be able to get a house at a much lower price.” Like in 2008, many buyers think that housing prices will take a tremendous dip. But, it is important to understand that in 2008 not only were we in a recession but we also had a crash of the mortgage industry. However, many safeguards have been put into place to avoid another crash in the industry. As far as a recession goes and although global economists say we have been in a recession for the last year, we still have a very strong, thriving housing market. So the problem with waiting “until the market turns” is the waiting could be very long time while prices continue to go

up. It is not likely to see the opportunities that 2008 presented. Here are three different strategies I use with my clients to overcoming the bidding wars who are frustrated with paying tens of thousands of dollars over asking price and having to bring in extra funds for an appraisal gap. 1. Cash is King. We have all heard the term, especially in the real estate market. But unfortunately, most of us don’t have an extra $400,000 to $500,000 just laying around to purchase a home with cash. But there are a couple of mortgage companies in the metro Denver area that are making it easier for buyers who don’t necessarily have the funds to become cash buyers. Imagine if you were able to identify the home of your dreams, and you are working with a lender that gets you fully qualified. Then that lender agrees to purchase the property for you – for cash. After the purchase has been completed between the lender (as the buyer) and the seller, the lender then completes the loan for you to purchase the property at the same price the lender purchased the property. Because of the lenders ability to do quick closings, they tend to be able to negotiate a much better pur-

chase price and not have appraisal gaps become part of the issue. It’s a unique method, but very effective. 2. Buy New. Now this one is not as much of a secret as the other two. Many buyers are frustrated with losing out on bidding wars and have turned to new construction homes. Because of the new growth of housing in the Denver market, there are plenty of builders around the metro area to choose from. Some builders have wait lists, others have lottery systems, but overall the process is a lot less frustrating than multiple losses with a bidding war. By purchasing new construction, your price is locked in and in most cases you never have an issue with having to worry about the property appraising for the purchase price. In addition, you’re getting a brand new home that is usually covered from roof to foundation on a warranty for the first year giving homeowners peace of mind. 3. Stale Listings. Stale listings are properties that have been on the market for a period of time and have not gone under contract. In this fast-moving Denver market, anything that’s been on the market for more than 15 days, I consider a stale listing, which is available for

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


my clients through a stale listing search. Currently, there are 700 homes in the metro Denver area that has been on the market for 15 days or longer. And in many instances, some have been on the market for several months. This does not necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with the property. In some cases, the seller has actually listed the property too high, which causes buyers to avoid putting the offer on the property. Consequently, in the mindset of most buyers, when they see a property that has been on the market too long, they often automatically think that something is wrong with it. But this is actually a great opportunity for buyers to find some hidden gems and renegotiate a lower price than what the seller is asking. In many instances, you may even be able to get the seller to pay closing costs. There are some methods and ways to better your chances of purchasing that home without breaking the bank so to speak – so no more waiting. It’s time to get in the game and find the home that fits you and your family at a price that you can be happy with.. Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate with New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information email: barrysellsdenver@msn.com or call 303-668-5433.

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The Importance of Quality Sleep By Kim Farmer


leep has an essential role in our life for physical and mental health, yet many people struggle to get enough of it. Insufficient sleep is a medical problem which is known as insomnia or sleeplessness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, acute insomnia is brief and often happens because of life circumstances – like a night before you have a big test. Whereas chronic insomnia is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months, acute insomnia usually goes away on its own, and chronic insomnia may require treatment. Why Sleep Is Important Sleep plays a critical role in all bodily functions, including protection from physical and mental stress. It also promotes healing and repairing of cardiac blood vessels. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Psychology, individuals sleeping less than five hours are at risk of developing sleeping disorders. The recommended amount of sleep is 7 to 9 hours for most adults. A proper amount of sleep is crucial for maintaining your active lifestyle; poor sleep can lead to various health complications. Following is a list of some health advantages of sleep for your body and mind.

Sleep Reduces Anxiety and Stress Sleep plays a vital role in reducing anxiety and stress. Various research studies have reported that sleep is one of the best and most effective ways to minimize the symptoms of anxiety and stress. Sleep provides improved mental stability and relaxation because you will feel more rested, energized and ready to take on everyday challenges. Sleep Improves Focus and Productivity Sleep provides psychological and physical rest which gives you more mental energy for improved focus and productivity. Research studies have revealed that quality sleep is vital for promoting concentration at work and school. Sleep Boosts Immune Functions Sleep has a close association with the immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that individuals who don’t get enough sleep (or quality sleep all night) are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold virus. Conversely, a lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. Sleep Improves Memory Sleep is also associated with improved cognitive functions and boosting memory.

According to a recent study, after two different groups were studied, the group with proper sleep showed a significant improvement in recollection of short and long term events. Sleep Promotes Weight Loss The amount of sleep you get directly affects your diet. People who are sleep deprived tend to weigh more and have more trouble losing weight than those who get adequate rest, even when they follow the same diet. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body over produces ghrelin, a hormone which produces hunger often called the “hunger hormone,” therefore causing you to feel hungrier during the day. As part of your overall physical and mental health plan, getting enough sleep or quality sleep is very important. A lack of sleep can increase your appetite, decrease your energy levels and cause other adverse conditions, sabotaging your quest for improved health and wellness. If your condition is ongoing then it is chronic and you may want to speak with your healthcare professional. Thanks for reading!. Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers inhome personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021



‘It is time to tell Black stories,’ says Night of the Kings director Philippe Lacôte By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photos courtesy of NEON

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that fills the screen with magnificent visuals, thrills with charismatic actors and offers an engaging storyline. Night of the Kings is that movie.

A film which not only explores the rich traditions of African culture and delightfully delves into the rituals of oral storytelling, it also gives viewers a glimpse into the political diatribes of Ivory Coast, a West African country which has been caught up in conflict for several years. For director and documentarist Philippe Lacôte, it presented the opportunity to spotlight his country’s history, share Africa’s rich culture and spark a conversation on politics. “We have this strong oral tradition and I wanted in Night of the Kings to pay tribute to griots who are very important in our society because they’re story tellers, poets and historians,” shares the filmmaker

who we virtually caught up with from his home in Abidjan.  “African cinema is very underrepresented, and it is time to tell black stories. With dancers, griots, singers, martial arts fighters and all these young talents from Ivory Coast, we wanted to present our culture and different talents. As a young boy in Africa, Ivory Coast, I grew up hearing stories. I had a neighbor who came from a village who told us stories each night and even

with families, when your father wants to explain something to you, it is always with a story.” Lacôte, whose previous offerings include the political drama Run and the documentary Chronicles of War in The Ivory Coast, deserves plenty of praise for this superb project which takes place in a day and is set in Ivory Coast’s notorious prison La Maca, a place he is familiar with. In Night of the

Kings, a young criminal (Koné Bakary) is sent to La Maca for pickpocketing. It’s there he’s forced to regal his fellow inmates with a story or face repercussions. He chooses to tell the story of Zama King, a young outlaw, and takes his ardent listeners on a journey to a pre-colonial time of kings and queens as a power struggle between prison gangs plays out off stage. “I wanted to use this prison as a metaphor of people who want to fight for power,” shares the filmmaker, who was a regular visitor at the prison while growing up. “My country is in the same situation. My mother was a militant and an activist and was sent to La Maca

because she was fighting for democracy in Ivory Coast. She was part of a group who wanted democracy. Finally, after 10 years they succeeded. It’s not easy in Ivory Coast or even Africa as a whole to speak on politics. There are not too many people who have a voice and given the opportunity, I need to say something about my country. It’s important that I speak about what I see in my country. Some people accuse me of try-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


ing to portray a bad image of Ivory Coast while others have thanked me for it.” Politics aside, there’s something incredibly whimsical about the way Lacôte has crafted this project which was named Best Foreign Film by the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). Fresh faced Koné Bakary who makes his film debut is a gifted storyteller while Steve Tientcheu from the Oscar-nominated French film Les Misérables plays the prison boss in a film which paints a very realistic portrait of prison life–a world with its own histories, hierarchies, and rituals. “African prisons are full of young people being incarcerated for years in collective cells without being tried. A childhood friend coming out of La Maca told me about the “Roman” ritual where they choose a prisoner who has to tell stories. So, the story of the film is definitely based on a real tradition there and prison always got me interested as a place where the balance of power we can find in our societies is being experimented. Being sent to prison today in Africa is something which can happen easily, either because you are poor or because you are being made an example to ensure the laws are respected.” Poetic and touching, tragic and raw there’s a lot of beauty to be found in Night of the Kings for the richness of culture and the artistry elevate this masterful tale to stirring heights. Night of the Kings is out in select theaters and on Premium Video On-Demand..



OutSmart COVID-19 Black Health Town Hall Slated for May 15 The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) is partnering with the NAACP Aurora Branch and the Colorado Black Health Collaborative to present the “OutSmart COVID-19 Black Health Town Hall,” a virtual event for residents to obtain current information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and get their questions answered. The community-wide Town Hall is scheduled for Saturday, May 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. and available through Facebook Live @cotchd. “We are pleased to partner with two outstanding community organizations in support of our collective efforts to provide consistent and accurate information about COVID-19 and the vaccines available,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-

County Health Department. “We invite Black residents to use this opportunity to get the most current facts and have their questions answered from expert physicians.” COVID-19 topics to be covered include: who’s most at risk, vaccine safety, how do the vaccines work, side effects, who’s eligible, vaccination sites and how to register. Residents are encouraged to prepare their questions in advance. Questions will be addressed on a first-come, firstserve basis. Dr. Terri Richard-son, Internist, Alexander S. Enurah, MD Hospitalist, and Dr. John Douglas will be on hand to answer medical questions. The TCHD COVID-19 Call Center is also available to answer questions and help residents find COVID-19 vaccination providers. For more information, call 303-220-9200 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Let’s Be Pragmatic about Vaccinations The African American community needs to reconcile history with modern facts, data and truth. Op-ed by Thomas Holt Russell

Haunted by the Past African Americans have good reason to be skeptical of the medical profession. We have the night doctors’ legendary tales, those bogeymen of African American folklore, which included the needle men’s folklore and the black bottle men. Each of these stories deals with the attack on African Americans’ physical health, who in these urban legends were either poisoned, medically experimented on, or outright murdered. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these legends is based on fact. Health is not the only part of the nightmare scenarios Black people are still going through. There have been widespread inequalities in other areas such as finance and housing and the redlining policies and sketchy lending practices that enabled it. We see various law enforcement laws and policies directly

targeting poor people and people of color, and then we have the Tuskegee experiment, a plan that is the prototype of some low-budget B movie about a mad scientist holding humans captive to perform diabolical experiments on them. Due to the fact that this actually happened, and not long ago, sensible people can forgive that African Americans are a little cautious about trusting an infrastructure that has historically killed them or made them sick on purpose. Any person thinking logically should understand African American distrust of the healthcare profession and vaccinations in particular. “I’ve always come to the conclusion that ‘but’ is the way of asking for permission to lay something heavy on one’s head.” Stevie Wonder  Joy Inside My Tears

But, we should consider that those who oppose the COVID vaccinations have not actually researched the proper or reputable sources before declining the vaccinations. We can’t let ignorance and fear be the reasons for our decisions not to get vaccinations. Many of those opinions are based on false information doled out by con-

spiracy enthusiasts. Groups responsible for this lie both to the left and right of center. People are addicted to fear and they are addicted to the internet. Many of the lies and conspiracy theories that dominate the internet are driven by people and organizations that rely on chaos. Our population is so full of hate, stupidity and gullibility that even simpleminded people, whose only talent is to destroy things, can easily manipulate a sizable portion of the population. Some of the digital media sources are sketchy, to say the least. A little research from the proper sources and prominent professionals’ writings in the medical profession will give citizens a much clearer view of vaccinations’ value. One person I know tried to prove to me that the moon landing was fake. The proof he showed me was some guy on YouTube sitting on his couch and explaining why we

couldn’t reach the moon; all the while he is wrapped in the technology that we gained from science and our exploration of space. I stopped listening after 10 seconds. The problem is that most people do not make this logical decision. Vaccinations have been effective from at least the 1950s, and all groups have benefitted overall. When was the last time you have seen someone with measles or mumps? We have to be pragmatic about this. Have you ever met or known a person with polio? The whooping cough sounds like some Dark-Age disease thanks to vaccinations. My sister died recently from COVID. The coronavirus still walks among our population. The state of New York allowed people 65 and over to get the COVID vaccine in mid-January this year. Even then people complained that supply was not going to fulfill the need. When

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Mayor de Blasio was asked why the city had not pushed harder to give vaccine doses to people aged 65 and up, he replied that the city was already facing enormous demand for the vaccines. New York Governor Cuomo criticized expanding priority to people 65 years old, stating that the state will not meet the demand for vaccinations. In most normal lives, it is not easy to maintain high levels of happiness or grief. Initially, the first week after my sister’s death, I floated between those two extremes. Now I am somewhere in the middle with an occasional dip into the grief side. I spend my time thinking about vaccinations pragmatically instead of emotionally. I do not know if my sister wanted to take the vaccine or not. I did not know if she was trying to get the vaccine, and it was not available. I was trying to get a vaccine ever since they were available. My wife and I finally got it only a few days ago. It is only in hindsight that I wish my sister and I had a pointed conversation about vaccinations. I was wrong to assume that Andrea would get the vaccination because it was common sense. Some of my relatives and friends told me that they were not planning on taking the vaccination. They are not thinking logically. I am not going to apologize for typing those words. I am 100% sure that if my sister had taken the vaccination, she would be alive and relatively healthy. I do not know if she was an anti-vaxxer or on a waiting list because of unavailability. Either way, vaccination would have given her more years on earth. There is empirical evidence that the coronavirus vaccine works and is not harmful, and all we have to do is look around us; we have tens of millions of cases to prove that point. This has always been a problem of supply and demand. At

the beginning of the pandemic, we created a false toilet paper shortage when people started buying copious amounts of toilet paper to the point it had to be rationed. The vaccine shortage arose because we did not manufacture enough in a short period of time. We started making categories of priorities to compensate for the lack of product, and it has been a mess. Even with a low supply, I would have opened it up to a first-come, first-serve basis and have the entire population line up in cars, wheelchairs, or on their feet to get a shot. Have an extra line for people over 60 years old, and everyone else including people with pre-conditions will wait in the general line. I suppose we would catch many of the people with preconditions in the 60 and over categories. No appointments would have been necessary. Just show up. Put vaccination centers in the most populated areas first and then have those centers in the rural areas. Some people will have to drive further to a vaccination center, but so what? Be an adult, get the transportation if you don’t have your own, get to one of those centers and wait in line. This method would not have been perfect, but it sure would have saved time, energy, resources, angst, and most importantly, eliminate confusion. Are the anti-vaxxers depending on everyone else to take the vaccine to make them safe? Or do they believe the vaccine does more harm than good? Or do they think that the coronavirus is a hoax? We need to be smart about vaccinations. As the vaccines become more available and a high percentage of people become immune, a false sense of safety may set in. I believe those who do not take the vaccine will forever be suspectable to the coronavirus. That is not good news for anyone. .

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021



“We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy” by Natalie Baszile c.2021, Amistad, $29.99 / $36.99 Canada, 368 pages

One little hole in the ground. That’s all it takes, as big around as your little finger, a pencil eraser, a coffee stirrer. A tiny fissure in the Earth, that’s what you need to grow dinner next week or next winter, flowers for your table, sustenance for your animals or, as in the new book “We Are Each Other’s Harvest” by Natalie Baszile, a tie to your past. Years ago, while taking weekly provisions to an elderly relative, Natalie Baszile learned that the presence of food in a neighborhood (or its lack) could be a racial issue. Shortly afterward, she discovered that her ancestors had been involved in farming, long before she was born. That’s not unusual: as we learn in the introduction here, nearly all African Americans today can claim that farming is in their genes. It’s never been a smooth thing, though. Over and over in previous decades, Black farmers paid faithfully each month to buy farms from white landowners, only to ultimately, cruelly be denied ownership. Others persevered, and then lost their land through lack of financial literacy, or problems with

banks, the USDA or the Farm Service Administration (FSA), the latter which, suggested one farmer, seemed to have been created to make problems. And yet, there were bright spots: like folks a century ago, Black farmers know that sticking together is best for all. They’re speaking up and persevering, in planting and paperwork. Black farmers have learned to think around bigger issues by forming Black-owned co-ops, teaching new farmers, making sure the next generation wants ownership of the business, and ignoring old myths that say women don’t farm. Black farmers are mentoring. They’re redefining the word “farm.” They’re doing what it takes to keep possession of their land because for them, there just isn’t any better way to live. So you know where your food comes from. Bonus points if you grew it yourself. Even better, when you read “We Are Each Other’s Harvest” after you’re done weeding. Using a little of this (fiction excerpts, poetry, and quotations), along with a little of that (essays, interviews, first-person tales, and history), author Natalie Baszile gives praise to Black farmers and ranchers, showing that what may seem like a newly-discovered connectedness to the land goes way back. It is, in fact, a slice of the past that’s rich as a fertile field, but also loaded with rocks that crushed many dreams. And yet, while the stories Baszile lets loose need a wider audience today – they can’t be silent anymore – anger at the past isn’t the reason for this book. No, this is much more of a prayer for the Black stewards

of the land, and for those who’ve listened to their hearts and stood, one hand filled with dirt and the other with seeds. Whether you are a farmer, know one, or accept the fruits of one’s labor, this book is the perfect meditation. Lush as a spring morning but sharp as barbed wire, “We Are Each Other’s Harvest” is a book for the well-grounded.

“The Son of Mr. Suleman” by Eric Jerome Dickey c.2021, Dutton, $27/$36 Canada, 560 pages

The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son. That’s what’s said, that a son pay for his father’s misdeeds, but maybe the old man didn’t intend to leave a negative legacy. Maybe he tried his best, but something went wrong. Maybe, as in the new novel “The Son of Mr. Suleman” by Eric Jerome Dickey, Pops meant well. Adjunct Professor Pi Suleman didn’t want to be at his employer’s event. He had better things to do, better places to be than a room at UAN, but his boss, the white woman who hired him, the wife of a powerful judge, demanded that he be there or else. Like a fool, he’d taken gifts from her, things given in what he understood was an effort to

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


make his job easier. She was helpful to him but it came with a price: whenever she wanted to sexually assault him, she did, and when she threatened to say that he was to blame, there was little a Black Man from Memphis could do. Meeting Gemma Buckingham was the only good thing to happen at that UAN event. She was one of the most beautiful women Pi had ever seen, this child of London and Africa, and he wanted to know her better. Even when she mentioned that she was a fan of his father, a man who impregnated Pi’s mother and then disappeared, a famous man, a writer Pi had never met but hated, Pi still wanted to know Gemma Buckingham. She was coy with him, teasing him with information and curves. She was apparently well-off and she didn’t care that Pi wasn’t yet tenured, didn’t have the salary he needed, drove an old car. Yes, she had secrets – but then, so did he and the white one who was blowing up his phone with demands and traps and tricks was the secret who was going to pay... There is an old rule for writers that says, “Kill your darlings,” meaning that a good writer should eliminate unneeded passages and overused phrases. If you’ve ever read anything by the late author Eric Jerome Dickey, you know that he generally ignored that advice; “The Son of Mr. Suleman, filled as this bricksized novel is with “darlings,” is no exception. And yet, it’s hard to even slightly dislike a story that makes its characters tackle DWB, racism, classism, white supremacy, ill-placed power, and a dozen other societal issues between bodice-ripping erotica and page-ripping thrills. It’s hard to let go of a book that makes you absolutely, one-hun-

COVER TO COVER dred-percent need to know what happens next. The surprise is that Dickey does all this as he pushes readers to accept a degree of discomfort: unlike with his past novels, the sex isn’t always sexy here, and the thrills are more threatening than thrilling. Be prepared to be turned every which way with this book. Be set to let “The Son of Mr. Suleman” eat up your weekend. Just be ready, because missing it would be a sin.

“Beyond the Sand and Sea: One Family’s Quest for a Country to Call Home” by Ty McCormick c.2021, St. Martin’s Press, $28.99/$38.50 Canada, 279 pages

The brochures have been sitting on your counter for months. Once, everything was planned: flight times, luggage restrictions, hotel reservations, tickets to the places you wanted to see. The pandemic put a halt to all that but you know you’ll take the trip eventually – maybe this year, maybe in five years. As in the new book “Beyond the Sand and Sea” by Ty McCormick, the journey is worth the wait. Born in Dadaab, a refugee camp in northeast Kenya, to parents who’d fled the Somali civil war before his birth, Asad

Hussein grew up in a makeshift shack that flooded every rainy season. With no ID, no birth certificate, and no way to legally get either from Kenya or Somalia, he was a person inbetween. McCormick met Asad “a day or two after Trump announced his travel ban.” He was an editor for an American magazine then, assigned to cover Africa when he read an article in New York Times Magazine that was written “by a young man who had grown up in Dadaab.” It never occurred to McCormick that the writer was “still... stranded in the camp.” Stranded physically, but not in his mind. Ever since he was small, Asad had dreamed of getting a good education. As a child, he’d eagerly taken advantage of whatever formal schooling was offered at Dadaab. He devoured all printed material he could find and he seized every opportunity he could get to learn, becoming largely selftaught. Still, though Asad experienced a discouraging avalanche of educational setbacks in his lifetime, his tenacity attracted supporters and McCormick soon became one of them. It hadn’t been easy, but it had finally appeared that a near-miracle was in sight and Asad’s dream might be possible in America. With no personal paperwork and no country as anchor, would the travel ban – “an executive order... that changed everything” – put a stop to the journey? Open the newspaper, click on the news, and you’ll probably hear about immigration in pretty short order these days. You have opinions. Now read “Beyond the Sand and Sea.” Step in, and that sand isn’t pleasant: author Ty McCormick writes of its relentlessness, the heat, the squalor of camp and

danger of war, a destructive rainy season. Or might sand be a metaphor for grit? Surely, that could be true for the laserfocused Asad, and more so with Asad’s tougher-than-steel sister, Maryan, a woman who threw aside cultural laws to save her family. She’s a big presence in this story, and you’ll wish it was bigger. Alas, the sea is choppy and so is the last half of this book. Not to be a spoiler, but it’s a whirlwind of Asad’s more recent past and his future and despite that it’s inspirational, it’s also uneven. Pay attention to the time-frame on chapter headings; that helps. The inspiration, though: don’t miss it. Don’t pass up a chance to be thrilled. If you need a book that’ll make you stand up and cheer, “Beyond the Sand and Sea” is just the ticket..

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First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions Making a good first impression is important, especially for young men getting ready to emerge into adulthood. An oil and gas industry advocacy organization partnered with the Sims-Fayola Foundation to help three young men to make a difference in their lives. On April 11, three graduating seniors from three different school districts, all pursuing higher education, were fitted for custom designed suits at Moda Man in Downtown Denver. “It is known that communities of color, especially African Americans, are underrepresented across the energy industry and we’re hoping to change that by helping with interview training, resume-writing, and fitting them with custom made suits!” said founding member of Energy Strong Colorado Jack Hamlin when

asked what inspired him of the idea and providing the generous gift. Hamlin reached out to Dedrick Sims, CEO of the SimsFayola Foundation, an organi-

zation that works with young men and boys of color, making this an ideal partnership. After selecting the three young men from their respective high school, Sims-Fayola

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


board treasurer Richard Lewis, reached out to managing partner Jon Johnson of Moda Man who without hesitation agreed to be part of the Dress for Success team who said, “For men to look good, it’s all about the fit.” “Changing the narrative and making the futures of young men of color look like their dreams, that’s what we do at Sims-Fayola Foundation,” said Dedrick Sims. “Working together with partners like Jack Hamlin and Jon Johnson, we gave these young men a memorable experience.”. Editor’s note: For more information on the Sims-Fayola Foundation, visit www.sffoundation.org or call 720-557-8443.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 3 Earlier in his career, Justice Scott served with distinction as a member of the teaching faculty of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. In that capacity he chaired the Business Planning Program and taught Corporations and Federal Securities Regulation.  Among Justice Scott’s students are countless Black attorneys and former officers of the Sam Cary Bar Association, many of whom attribute their career trajectories and success to the dedicated mentoring they received from Justice Scott.  In January 1993, the Board of Trustees of the University of Denver appointed him Professor Emeritus.  The University also awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Law degree in 1998.  Justice Scott was active in many civic and community organizations, serving as the head attorney for local chapters

of the NAACP and Urban League. He received several awards for his tireless service on behalf of social justice causes.  He was also appointed to several American delegations traveling abroad, serving as cochair of the U.S. delegation that observed the 1997 presidential elections in Gabon, Africa.  Justice Scott received his BA from the Rutgers University College of Agriculture in 1970, and a graduate degree from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 1971.  He earned his law degree with honors from the Indiana University Law School.  Justice Scott is survived by his wife, Carolyn, a talented lawyer in her own right and a past president of the Sam Cary Bar Association.  Even though Justice Scott was a formidable businesslawyer, professor and jurist, members of the Sam Cary Bar Association will always

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remember with great fondness his sharp wit, infinite wisdom, love of family, infectious laugh and signature bow ties. Justice Scott dearly loved attending Sam Cary meetings and events, and he was one of the organization’s most loyal and passionate members.  He leaves behind a strong legacy of civility, justice and deep commitment to achieving greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  Sam Cary Bar Association Denver, CO

SB 21-182 Misleading For Black America Editor: We all know of the problems Black students have encountered over the decades, being forced to attend so-called integrated schools. They have never felt welcome nor have they felt respected or valued. As a matter of fact, at times Black kids have felt down right assaulted on a psychic level by white teachers charged with educating their mind. We know that Black kids in schools, where are those in authority don’t look like them, are made to feel that they are members of a minority group who have not built anything of note, and have to rely upon white people to receive anything of value. Black people are abused and denied entry for the most part, into the main stream of society and on top of that they are forced to be “educated” by people who are covertly hostile to them. Is it any wonder Black kids act out in schools where their values are not validated? In my view, the “integration” of schools was a conspiracy hatched by white minds. The motive from my point of view would be to take control of what Black people are being taught, so to more effectively control them. Control the mind and the body

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – May 2021


will follow. As long as white “educators” are charged with caring for Black minds, Black students will have white controlled institutions feeling they are inferior members of a minority group. There was a time in America, when Black people had more say in their destiny. They had their own prosperous businesses, their own schools thriving communities. Apparently this independence was viewed as a threat by the dominant group, so it had to be turned around. Rumor has it that certain interests funded the Black leadership to push for school desegregation. As I stated, integration was not something Blacks wanted because they had their own. Now look at them… incapable of building anything in America. Jews would not send their children to schools to be educated if those schools were run by Nazis. Yet Black folks are forced to send their children to white people to be educated. So in summation…this Senate Bill 21-182 that appears to be an attempt to keep Black kids from being disproportionately discipline by white administrators, has gotten no traction because white America, generally speaking, is indifferent to the pedagogy of the oppressed. White teachers turn to view Black kids as a problem; hence their interaction with them is covered by their negative perception of Black people. Black should have their own schools, as well funded and staffed as the best white schools. If this were the case no one would have to float a bill like SB 21182. Black people are unwelcome in America. It is no surprise Black kids are unwelcome in America’s schools. Antonius Aurora, CO

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Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum - May 2021  

Denver Urban Spectrum - May 2021 Issue pays tribute to the legacy of Zona Moore and businessman Herman Malone. Editor Alfonzo Porter chronic...

Denver Urban Spectrum - May 2021  

Denver Urban Spectrum - May 2021 Issue pays tribute to the legacy of Zona Moore and businessman Herman Malone. Editor Alfonzo Porter chronic...

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