Denver Urban Spectrum - November 2021 - Art Collector Paul Hamilton

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PAUL HAMILTON'S Enlightening Art Collection…4

Unexceptional COVID-19 Vaccination Statistics…7 Candid Exhibit about Jazz Legend Billie Holiday…8 Heartfelt Interview with TV Anchors White and Adams…12


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MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER Time brings all things to pass –Aeschylus Volume 35

Number 8

November 2021

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Barry Overton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Danielle Dickerson Theresa Ho Thomas 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 SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Theresa Ho DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

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

And as we all know…time waits for no one. For the last two years, the African American communities have endured challenging and unimaginable times including racism, police brutality, mental health crises, criminal justice failures, and most importantly, COVID-19. As the 2022 election approaches, 19 states have enacted laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote. The National Nonpartisan Conversation on Voter Rights, hosted by Denver Mayor B. Hancock and co-chair Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, was recently held in Denver. Stakeholders were invited to develop a framework for implementing national strategies to protect, defend and promote voter rights and access to the ballot box. Event organizers say the time is now to set a national action plan to end gerrymandering, ensure safe access to the ballot, and prevent partisan efforts that diminish voter access, especially in communities of color. As we maneuver through these tumultuous times, our cover story by Daniele Dickerson sheds a brighter light on Dr. Paul Hamilton who has dedicated his time and life to educating his community on the African diaspora and his collection of art artifacts from all parts of the Motherland. But as ancient Greek author Aeschylus is quoted, “Time brings all things to pass.” And the country was saddened by the passing of General Colin Powell. President Barack Obama said it best when sharing his thoughts on the character and life of Mr. Powell. “Years ago, when he was asked to reflect on his own life, Gen. Colin Powell described himself as ‘first and foremost a problemsolver.’ It was true, of course. But he was far more than that. “General Powell was an exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot. He was at the center of some of the most consequential events of our lifetimes – serving two decorated tours in Vietnam; guiding U.S. strategy in the Gulf War; serving as National Security Advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State; offering counsel to four presidents; and helping shape American foreign policy for decades. Everyone who worked with General Powell appreciated his clarity of thought, insistence on seeing all sides, and ability to execute. And although he’d be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get every call right, his actions reflected what he believed was best for America and the people he served. “Along the way, General Powell helped a generation of young people set their sights higher. He never denied the role that race played in his own life and in our society more broadly. But he also refused to accept that race would limit his dreams, and through his steady and principled leadership, helped pave the way for so many who would follow. It was the way Colin Powell saw the world – not as a starry-eyed idealist, but as someone with deep and abiding faith in this country and what it stands for – that made him such a central figure. “On a personal level, I was deeply appreciative that someone like General Powell, who had been associated with Republican administrations in the past, was willing to endorse me in 2008. But what impressed me even more was how he did it. At a time when conspiracy theories were swirling, with some questioning my faith, General Powell took the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter in a way only he could. “‘The correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian,’ General Powell said. ‘But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?’ “That’s who Colin Powell was. He understood what was best in this country, and tried to bring his own life, career, and public statements in line with that ideal. It’s why, for all the battles he fought and problems he solved, Michelle and I will always look to General Powell as an example of what America – and Americans – can and should be if we wish to remain the last, best hope of earth. “Our family sends our thoughts to Alma, their three children and grandchildren, and everyone mourning his loss today.” In other articles in this issue, we continue our coverage of COVID-19 vaccinations with Theresa Ho’s reporting on updated statistics and Thomas Holt Russell’s reluctant message about anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately, as witnessed with Powell, the virus continues its disastrous impacts, and DUS once again said farewell to a friend, multi-talented artist Sheldon Johnson, who lost his will to live as he battled COVID19. Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back. How are you using your time? Make the most of it, especially with those who are important to you.

We dedicate this issue to General Colin Powell and my dear friend, Sheldon Johnson. May they both Rest In Peace

Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

LETTER TO THE EDITOR faces don’t threaten – are easier to relate to – easier on the American eye disappear easier into the melting pot. Afghan faces are faces you don’t object to seeing in your neighborhood. Haitian faces seem oddly out of place. Thousands of dark faces denied entry to `friendly’ places lan-

Darker Than You Editor: We people darker than you, must live in a world of unfriendly places. We people with Haitian faces, darker than Afghan faces, are turned away from `friendly’ places that should offer relief. Caucasoid

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


guish in squalid spaces – unwelcome and when able, leave such places. Other faces unlike Haitian faces, find comfortable spaces and welcoming places. We people darker than you – are your brothers and sisters too! Antonius Aurora, Colorado

Paul Hamilton’s African Art Collection:

Denver’s Hidden Treasure By Daniele Dickerson


ome moments in life render you absolutely speechless. Opening the door and walking into Paul Hamilton’s Whittier home is one of them. When you enter Hamilton’s home— beautiful, but not visually unlike the other houses on the street— your eyes adjust and you realize that you didn’t step into just any house. This space is more like a museum, a library, a treasure trove of wondrous and intricately crafted objects. Every surface, in every direction on every floor of the home, displays sculptures, masks, tokens, statues, carvings, paintings, textiles, and more, all from tribes across Africa. Each piece is labeled with tribal information and dates, with some works created hundreds of years ago. Hamilton is used to the shock. “It’ll take at least an hour just to see everything, but we could be in here all day, truly,” he laughs as we begin a tour. “I used to say it’s everywhere but the bathrooms, but now it’s there too!” Over the next couple of hours, the writer, educator and activist points to and contextualizes hundreds of pieces of artwork. The sense of awe I felt walking through the front door never leaves me. “Do your neighbors know that all of this is in here?” I can’t help but ask. He smiles. “Nope.” When some people speak, it is best to just listen, take notes, and learn something. Hamilton is one of those people. When he tells you about his life, about the world and how it has (and has not) changed in his lifetime,

Art Collector Paul Hamilton...Photos by Daniele Dickerson

it’s impossible not to feel inspired. He casually mentions friends and memories that most of us find in textbooks and movies. He traveled with Freedom Riders, demonstrated for Civil Rights, hosted and was

hosted by royalty, and his friend, Kwame Ture, used to speak with his classes at the University of Denver. To hear from a true griot the tales of your people, the history of your people in your state, in

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


your country and on your globe, is truly an unforgettable experience. In this house, one’s context rings loud. Each piece seems to whisper from its carefully catalogued place, “We are connected.” I try to soak everything in. After viewing Hamilton’s collection, one fact rings clear and true above all others— Black people are both from here and from elsewhere, and are part of something more important and larger than we can conceptualize. To walk through this home with this man, to hear his wisdom and see his artwork feels like a precious gift. His art collection is truly a gift, and it begs to be shared. He has collected, catalogued and lovingly cared for over 1,200 pieces of art. They range in size from talismans a few inches high to sculptures that tower over rooms. They come from tribes across Africa, representing different regions, migrations and dynasties. The pieces sing out from their spots around the house. Hamilton explains that he started collecting in the 1980s and never stopped, but the last 15 years of collection have been “absolutely mad.” Collecting this art has become an obsession for which he is widely known, and now art traders contact him when they find African art. “The pieces just find me now,” he says. “I attract them.” Walking through the house, he points at and explains each piece— its history, its tribe, its context. More than 250 people have walked through his home

over the years. Now he is ready to pass the positions of curator, tour guide and art historian on to others, and maximize the impact of the collection by allowing it to have a permanent home in Denver. “Denver means a lot. It’s where I became who I am. It’s where my son and grandsons are, and where so much has happened. It means a lot that this collection will live here, beyond any of us,” he explains. Born in Pueblo in 1941, Hamilton is a man who has seen that city and this state through much fundamental change. Since arriving in Denver in 1959, he has pushed the city forward and thoroughly entrenched himself in the Black community. Whether through his career as an educator at every level of the school system, his time as a Colorado State Representative for Five Points, his entrepreneurial and self-improvement programs, or his collaboration with famed Denver artists, he has done and been a lot for Denver. At 80 years old, he still hopes to do a lot more. “Sharing this collection will free me in a lot of ways. I still have a lot to do, and pretty soon I can.” As a sign of his character and endlessly giving spirit, his highest hope for the collection’s future is that it continues to inspire others. He wants artists to be able to visit the pieces and

perhaps because he has already seen how artists respond to his powerful collection. One of Hamilton’s favorite modern Black artists and recent collaborator, Thomas “Detour” Evans, created a photography exhibit in collaboration with entitled “They Still Live.” The exhibit showcased the impact of bringing Hamilton’s ancient African art into the present. Detour borrowed African masks from the collection and had Black models pose in the masks across Colorado. The resulting photographs encapsulate what is so important about the Hamilton art collection. They Still Live makes the African in African American more real through the incredible power of the photographs. The collaboration with Detour is one of Hamilton’s favorite results of his years of collecting. He shows me the powerful photos one by one, holding them up and smiling, proud to have played a part in

let the artwork influence their own work. He believes art can and will change the world, perhaps because he knows so much about its power— to transfix, obsess and transform. “I’m ready for my next chapter and I’m ready for all of this to belong to everyone now.” This collection of art will make Denver a worthy stop on the path of art seekers and historians. He intends to donate his personal library with the art collection as well. With more than 2,000 titles on African art and Africa’s global history and impact, his book collection came first, all those years ago, and led to his decades-long love affair with collecting. While doing the research for what would become his landmark book, “African Peoples’ Contributions to World Civilizations: Shattering The Myths,” he began to collect information and objects that affirmed what he was discovering about Africa’s undeniable impact on global culture. The resulting collection of rare books, posters, objects, and art make very concrete the ephemeral knowledge he has collected over a lifetime. He hopes the context people gain from interacting with the art collection and library “mobilizes them to keep seeing, keep seeking, and to participate in the act of creation.” He believes art begets art,

bringing this art into the world. Hamilton has loaned pieces from his collection to several artists, gallerists and museums across the world. By working with Detour and others, the collector has found a way to remind us all in new and exciting ways that the ancients are still here because we are still here, and because our roots run deep our foundation is strong. Continued on page 6


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


in Whittier, he can continue making the world more beautiful and more informed about Africa’s influence on culture, art, architecture, music, and as Hamilton puts it, “every last thing there is.”

Paul Hamilton Continued from page 5 This self-knowledge that builds a strong personal foundation is something he wants to bestow upon as many young people as possible. As he puts it, “It’s all about and for the future.” Following the success of They Still Live, Hamilton, Evans and AncestryDNA collaborated with Arts Street@YEA, a Denver-based organization dedicated to helping high-risk youth channel their talents and natural curiosity into art. Through the collaboration’s “We Still Live” project, young people were invited to Hamilton’s house to view the collection, get inspired, and connect to their roots. The group of 49 kids toured the home, where they learned about African art and made their own masks. The group then learned about their roots through the AncestryDNA process, and

remade their masks, armed with the knowledge of their personal heritage. Knowing who they were changed how they saw themselves. The experience was fun and transformative for all involved, with Hamilton saying that because of this project he “really understood how this art could change the lives of our youth, and get them to express their creativity.” His backyard has a large sculpture of a Sankofa bird, a word and concept originating with the Akan people of Ghana. He explains its meaning as “you have to look back to move forward, the past and the future are connected through the

actions in the present.” He believes that the people of our city deserve a way to deeply know themselves, to look back and move forward. The Denver African Art Collection group, a network of several individuals dedicated to preserving and housing Hamilton’s collection, has been diligently working, organizing and fundraising in an attempt to keep the collection together and in Denver— where future generations can continue to benefit from it. Should they succeed, this important facet of Denver’s art scene will find a permanent home and Hamilton can rest assured that his legacy will remain in the city he loves so much. His dream is for the collection to serve as a cultural resource center and gallery, so more people can educate themselves, find community, and use what they learn to better the world. When the details are finalized and the general public can finally view and enjoy his art collection what is now a micro museum hidden in plain sight can return to its original purpose — a house. From his home


What does someone like Hamilton, who has already done so much for the culture, hope to do next? He wants to keep giving to Denver, keep sharing and doing all that he can to inspire social change. He wants to write books, train researchers, publish educational theory, and revolutionize the school system. He has no plans to stop shaping the world; he simply looks forward to doing it from a home with a bit more free shelf space. .

About the Cover Art Artist's Statement Dwayne Glapion earned a Bachelor's degree from the Art Institute of Colorado in Graphic Design after serving in the military. Since the beginning of his art career, Dwayne has focused primarily on the black diaspora - spiritual, historical, and political. From portraits, landscapes, florals, and contemporary illustrations, he strives to capture the essence and the emotion of the subject. A self-taught artist, who has worked with traditional media: Conte, Acrylic, Oil, etc. Dwayne now specializes in merging traditional art techniques with digitally-based applications. This gives him unparalleled freedom to explore and experiment artistically. After teaching art k-12 Dwayne embraced technology and uses it as a teaching tool for children as an important part of his artistic mission. His one man show Faces In The Crowd: 100 Portraits of A Community was featured at RedLine Contemporary Art Center in 2020 to critical acclaim. Dr. Paul Hamilton was one of the featured portraits. Follow Dwayne on Facebook and Instagram @DwayneGlapion_Artist Website:

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


Vaccination Rates Closely Match Population Demographics Missing Work Still Most Commonly Cited Reason for Vaccine Hesitancy By Theresa Ho


hen the COVID-19 vaccines first became available to the public, access was limited and inequitable. In late January 2021, Colorado Public Radio reported that Black Coloradans made up less than 2% of the people vaccinated in Colorado while Latinx Coloradans made up only 4% of the state’s vaccinated. Current data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) indicates that rural counties tended to have smaller vaccination rates than urban areas. According to CDPHE’s data, San Juan, San Miguel, Mineral, Summit, Eagle, and Broomfield counties had the highest vaccination rates by county, ranging from 83% to 96% of their populations fully immunized. Counties closer to the state’s borders such as Pueblo and Jackson counties tended to have lower vaccination rates, ranging from 34% to 59% of their populations fully immunized.

The CDC has warned that unvaccinated people have an increased risk of infection, illness and death due to the more transmissible delta variant. Current CDPHE data indicates that 77% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The Latinx population makes up a larger proportion of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 than other communities of color. Of the patients who are unvaccinated, around 56% of those patients are white, and about 27% of those patients are Latinx. The other racial demographics for hospitalized patients are smaller, roughly equivalent to the state’s population demographics. Black individuals make up almost 6%, Asians make up 2.4%, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives make up 1.1% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. While there are still vaccination disparities between communities of color and their white counterparts, the CDPHE data suggests that the differences in vaccination rates are beginning to narrow – especially for the Latinx and Black communities. Current analysis indicates that Latinx Coloradans make up 20% of the state’s population but only about 12% of the state’s vaccinated population. The Black community makes up almost 4 % of Colorado’s population as well as about 3.3% of the state’s vaccinated population. Asian Coloradans are 3.4% of the

state’s total population and almost 3% of people immunized in the state. Finally, American Indians and Alaskan Natives make up around 0.7% of Colorado’s population and also 0.6% of the state’s immunized population. An article written by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) theorized that the vaccination gap in Colorado between white Coloradans and Latinx Coloradans was caused by inadequate access to healthcare. According to a report from the foundation, nearly 16% – more than double the rate for white Coloradans – of Latinx Coloradans are uninsured. Health organizations and community groups providing the vaccine frequently emphasize that the vaccine is free, widely available in the United States, and does not require insurance. The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor is an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations. Using a combination of surveys and qualitative research, this project tracks the dynamic nature of public opinion as vaccine development and distribution unfold, including vaccine confidence and hesitancy, trusted messengers and messages, as well as the public’s experiences with vaccination. The most recent data from the monitor was collected in April, June and September of this year. According to the monitor, more than seven in 10 U.S. adults now

report being at least partially vaccinated, with the surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the Delta variant being the main motivator for the recently vaccinated. Factors like full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine and an increase in vaccine mandates also played a small role in moving people to get vaccinated. Data from the monitor indicated that people of color were more likely to list concerns about COVID-19 vaccination barriers to access and negative health effects. Of those surveyed, 58% of Hispanic adults under age 50 were concerned that the vaccine may negatively impact their future fertility. Meanwhile, 55 percent of unvaccinated Black adults and almost 64 percent of Hispanic adults were concerned about having to miss work due to vaccine side effects. Larger shares of Black and Hispanic adults compared to white adults were also concerned about not being able to get the vaccine from a trustworthy place, having to pay to get vaccinated, and far distances to travel to a vaccine site. As of October 16, almost 80 percent of eligible Coloradans have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and around 72 percent of eligible Coloradans are fully immunized. With the federal government, State of Colorado, and City of Denver having recently issued mandatory vaccine policies for certain industries, vaccine rates are expected to continue increasing..

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Thanks to a photo exhibition,

a book, and a short lecture, I got a chance to know Billie Holiday more intimately. Billie Holiday could have been a good friend of mine. If space and time would have somehow made our lives cross at the right time, I am convinced we would have been buddies. Even though I can’t prove we would have been great friends, I am still sure of it. Billie’s voice is unique. Her entire soul is revealed in every note. I hear the pain, sorrow, and loneliness in that voice, all of which she could not hide from when under the heat and glow of adulation and acclaim. For me, she was not a star to be admired but an artist to be respected. I visited the American Jazz Museum on a recent visit to Kansas City (which also houses the Negro Baseball League Museum). There was an exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic that was on display in one of the halls. The photographs were taken in April of 1957, only two years before her death. Dantzic was on assignment for Decca Records to photograph Holiday performing at the Sugar Hill nightclub in Newark, New Jersey. It was a weeklong engagement. Holiday had lost her club card because of a drug conviction year earlier and could not perform in New York. But Jersey was close enough for her fans to see her perform without going out of their way. I entered the museum at the right time. Museum employees were closing, and most people had already left. So I had a small window of 20 minutes to

and despair, we get a chance to see her happy. The photographs in this exhibition and the accompanying book are not polished. Some are grainy or out of focus. However, this is what makes it By Thomas Holt Russell appealing. It seems that photographer Jerry Dantzic was not paparazzi at work but an artist at work. He respected his subject, choosing to shoot without the aid of a flash. Billie Holiday most have really trusted Dantzic. In some of the photos, she is not looking at the camera but straight into the photographer’s eyes. It was like she had a friend following her around who also just happened to take her photographs. My favorite photograph is somewhere in the middle of the book. Billie new book is onstage. based on the On the exhibition upper left titled Jerry of the Dantzic Billy Grayson Dantzic, speaking with Dr. Lisa Bennett, American Jazz photo, a Holiday at Museum. Photos by Thomas Holt Russell single spotSugar Hill. The light illuminates only a sliver of book contained the photoher face and microphone. The graphs in the exhibition and rest of the photograph is in total more. Most of these pictures darkness. Even though we only were never printed or seen stroll through the gallery and have a very slim sliver of her before. Jerry led his son take in the photographs alone. face, there’s a weariness that Grayson to the Twenty minutes is not photos when enough time to take in the 375 Grayson asked running foot exhibition. But during that time, I felt that I got him more about him. What to know Billie better. Every Grayson found photograph seemed to be a was apparently glimpse behind the curtain of a treasure trove celebrity. Even the photos of Billie on stage seemed to be inti- of unknown photographs of mate and private as if she was mega-star Billie performing for an audience of Holiday. one. Some photographs are of Billie on the stage, a solitary fig- Holiday’s photos did not feaure cloaked in darkness. Her ture her signaband members are dimly lit, ture white garghostlike figures that seem to My favorite! denia; instead, fade away as our eyes are comes across. That photo alone her hair was turned back into a drawn to the lady in the center, is worth the price of the book to ponytail, mimicking the style of under a smoky shaft of light. me. These are rare and intimate the beatniks of that time. Her As fate would happen, that photos and a great exhibition. face, which was as expressive as day was also when Grayson I feel I had spent a couple of her voice, was on full display in Dantzic, Jerry’s son, gave a lecminutes catching up with a these photos. Instead of sorry ture on the exhibition and his dear friend..

Alone with Billie

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


You’re Not Going to Convert Anti-Vaxxers — Just Save Yourself

Funeral Pyre — AP Photo/Anupam Nath, File

By Thomas Holt Russell


ata, statistics, celebrities, doctors, and common sense is not enough to convince those people who are fearful of the COVID-19 vaccinations. But I am good with it.

skeptical about the vaccinations than any other group in the world. I am included in that way of thinking.

I was watching Michael Che’s HBO Max comedy series, That Damn Michael Che. One of the skits that took place in a barbershop in Harlem was a discussion about COVID-19. In the skit, various barbers and patrons talked about why they were not getting the vaccine. Reasons ranged from the vaccines injected microchips into Black people, or it was all part of an experiment to control Black people, or it’s a continuation of the Tuskegee Experiment, or it did not have time to be sufficiently tested, and many other reasons. Che did that skit for laughs. But I recently attended a community forum on COVID-19, and participants at the community forum actually mentioned every one of those excuses in the forum. This was not a joke. Most Black people agree whether they are for or against the vaccination: Black people have a better reason for being

However, a little common sense can go a long way. Without getting into a bunch of statistics, it is evident that the vaccinations have done their job of slowing the infections and lowering the hospitalizations and death rate among all people. If the vaccination would have taken an ordinary course as far as development, we would still be waiting for the vaccination. The process had to be quickened in order to save lives. Imagine what the country would look like under that scenario. We would be in a lockdown, but not a self-imposed mandated lockdown, but a lockdown imposed by the virus itself. We would not have the workers or the customers to run the country, and the economy would plummet into territory that we have never imagined before. Hospitals would lack healthcare workers, and facilities would overflow with dead and unattended bodies lying on

gurneys in hallways and waiting rooms. This view is not hyperbole. Take a look at India. India experienced a second wave of COVID-19 infections in October of 2020. It was the Delta variant, a highly infectious strain. Hospitals ran out of oxygen. In one large hospital, 80% of the beds were taken up by COVID19 patients. The government had to take over what little supply of remaining oxygen. India’s healthcare system buckled and collapsed under the pressure the Delta variant had put upon it. America’s healthcare infrastructure is much more robust than India’s healthcare system. But an extended surge can turn America’s healthcare system into a third-world system in a surprisingly short amount of time. Without vaccinations, we would be like countries like India. We were well on the way to that scenario before the vaccinations arrived. For those that say that this could never happen, I say look at the last five years. Like millions, I watched the shenanigans of January 6. Though the attack on the Capital was surprising enough, the lack of outrage of those in political power is most alarming. We are faced with overwhelming statistics, data, and empirical knowledge that show that vaccinations work. Even if we count every breakthrough

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


infection, it will amount to a minuscule percent of the infected people. We (the vaccinated) have to face the fact that no amount of talking or statistics, hospitalizations, or ridiculous death rates will be enough to convince anti-vaxxers to change their views. The antivaxxers already have all of the information they need to make an informed decision. I have been visited by death and sickness in my family, and I, along with other immediate family members, have contracted COVID-19. My sister has died of COVID-19, as well as former co-workers. I have written about this several times, yet I still cannot convince my family or close friends that they will be safer with the vaccine than without it. So what should we do? Since I am not a person in a position of power, there will be no mandating any safety measures for the people I encounter. But I can still protect myself by continuing to wear my mask, not attend large gatherings of people, wash my hands as much as possible, and… That is all I can do. I know it sounds lame, but convincing people to take the vaccination is a waste of time. They will have to figure it out themselves. The deathbed confessions of those anti-vaxxers are a little too late to make any difference. Most of those anti-vaxxers, who are now sick or dying from

COVID-19, already had people like me who tried to convince them that getting a vaccination is an excellent move, and they did not listen. As a vaccinated person, I appreciate those former anti-vaxxers lying in hospital beds telling the other anti-vaxxers the importance of vaccinations. However, I still wish (along with the loved ones of the anti-vaxxers) that they would have listened in the first place. I am so tired of writing about this. There seems to be no threshold of how many deaths it takes to convince people. We have to protect ourselves by being vigilant in our interactions with the rest of the world. We cannot save non-believers; they have to save themselves. Meanwhile, COVID-19, without conscious or even malice, will continue to kill across the lines of race or political affiliation we have drawn up for ourselves. If a cluster of killer bees invaded a sporting event, both

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teams face the same threats and would work together to fight the common foe. The lines that separate the players into two different groups would suddenly disappear. Or they can deny that the bees are actually killer bees or deny they are bees at all, and they can stay on the field and eventually die, while others put on a ventilated bee suit. Hmmm, never mind, that is an awful and ridiculous metaphor. Americans are so much smarter than that..

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Getting Ready for 2022 Medicare Annual Enrollment – Tips for Navigating Plan Options during the Ongoing Pandemic By Zach Kosky, Central West Medicare President at Humana The annual Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan enrollment period is approaching. From October 15 to December 7, millions of people eligible for Medicare can sign up, switch or leave a health care plan to fit their coverage needs for 2022. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare information and resources are available to help you choose the plan that’s right for you while staying safe. Websites, online educational events and one-on-one meetings with sales agents are all great ways to learn about your Medicare plan options. At the same time, it’s important to access Medicare resources online while protecting your personal information and avoiding fake offers and other scams. Here are some tips for how to prepare for the Medicare annual enrollment period: Use an online tool Go to the Medicare Plan Finder on to compare plans, benefits and get an estimated cost for each plan based on an average member. If you are interested in Medicare Part D, which helps cover the cost of prescription medications, you can also enter the names of prescription medications you take to ensure those medications are covered by the plan you are considering. On, you can also learn about and enroll in Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes called Part C or MA Plans, and visit an insurance company’s website to understand more about what they offer. Insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans can provide detailed information about their plans and services, plus prescription pricing information and other benefits. You can also check whether your primary care physician or other providers are in-network with the Medicare Advantage plan. Connect with experts Many insurance companies are offering online workshops to review 2022 Medicare Advantage plan options. Also, check to see if you can schedule a one-on-one meeting with an insurance company sales agent in-person or by phone or video chat. Before you attend an education event or meeting, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions so that you can ensure you get the information you need. Does the plan include vision, hearing and dental coverage? Will telehealth services be covered? Is transportation to your medical appointments included? Protect yourself against Medicare scams The federal Medicare agency has warned that scammers may try to use the pandemic to steal Medicare beneficiaries’ Medicare numbers, banking information or other personal data. Scammers may try to reach out to you by phone, email, text message, and social media or by visiting your home. Only give your Medicare number to your doctor, pharmacist, hospital, health insurer or other trusted health care provider. Do not click links in text messages and emails from unknown sources, and hang up on unsolicited phone calls. If you are not comfortable accessing plan information online, you will have the option to meet in-person with an agent this year. Or has an option for setting up a phone call. To learn more, go to or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


Colorado TV Anchors Mekialaya White and Justin Adams

Mekialaya White CBS4 Anchor This Morning Weekends

Tells Us What It’s Like Being in the Rapidly Changing TV Business

Justin Adams CBS4 Sports Anchor This Morning Weekdays

By Danielle Dascalos


olorado’s broadcast TV stations are changing at a rapid pace and so are the people who deliver the news. Viewers used to have to sit down in front of a television to watch accurate, local news and programs. Now, up-to-the-minute updates are available anywhere, on any device. Local anchors and reporters who know the community and understand it deliver the news in innovative ways on TV, on the internet and via 24-hour streaming services.

We sat down with CBS4 Anchors Mekialaya White and Justin Adams who are both Colorado natives. Mekialaya joined CBS4 Denver in 2018 as a part-time writer and in January 2019 became the morning reporter for CBS4 This Morning weekdays. She has served as a fill-in anchor on multiple newscasts but was just recently given the weekend morning anchor desk. Justin started at CBS4 as a part time reporter. He was just named a full-time sports anchor

and is also contributing to digital platforms, producing stories for and special segments for CBS Colorado News. Justin is a native of Denver and graduated from Montbello High School and the University of Colorado. Mekialaya, how did you get your start in the television business and what is it like covering the community you grew up in? Mekialaya: I got my first taste of the TV business as a writer, reporter, and anchor at my alma mater, the University of Northern Colorado. (Go, Bears!!!) My journalism class produced a campus-wide newscast called “Bear News.” It feels like forever ago – I still had so much to learn! But I was honored to give back to my fellow classmates in telling stories that mattered to them. I remember covering the 2008 presidential election, the excitement on campus at that time, and how my classmates wanted to stay informed on such a monumental event. I’m a proud Coloradan, raised in Colorado Springs, and it’s been an absolute dream to empower people in communities I am passionate about. Justin, what about you? Justin: Ever since I was six years old I knew I wanted to be on TV. I remember watching Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals where the Portland Trail Blazers were playing the Chicago Bulls, where Michael

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


Jordan his six 3-pointers in the first half, and I knew I wouldn’t grow up making shots like MJ, but I wanted to be the broadcaster calling that play and that moment. It was the birth of a passion that’s still burns deep inside me. It’s truly a blessing to cover the same community where I grew up walking the streets. The best part is being able to further let the viewers know why something is so important to a particular portion of the community. It helps me to paint a clearer picture of a story to those watching every day. Now that you’ve been in your new roles for a bit, is it what you expected? Mekialaya: It has been a dream! After two years reporting for CBS4 This Morning during the week, and several months working my way up behind the scenes prior to that, moving into the role of anchoring Saturday and Sunday mornings is such a thrilling

new challenge to take on. I am so grateful to everyone who’s helped me grow immensely in this journey. Having grown up in Colorado, it is ALWAYS home. I pinch myself daily that I get to do what I love! Justin: This role has been what I have expected and so much more. It’s great to be in a position where one day you’re informing the audience of the top news stories of the day, and then you are updating viewers on breaking news, and finally, getting the chance to anchor the top sports stories of the day. It’s the opportunity to sharpen my skillset in so many different areas that keeps this role so intriguing. What story have you covered that has had the biggest impact on your life? Mekialaya: I do a weekly story called “Wednesday’s Child” that highlights a child in the foster care system who is in need of a permanent home. Without a doubt, those stories have changed my life and are among some of the most important I tell. The child and I typically spend a morning doing an activity together to make the child feel special, which is everything from hanging out at the zoo, getting pampered at a salon day for the first time, even riding roller coasters. Just spending that time together is meaningful and it’s an honor to be a part of their journey to adoption. Justin: The biggest story I’ve covered so far that has had

an impact on me personally is when the Montbello Warriors (Far Northeast Warriors) won the 5A high school football championship this past spring. The reason why this had such a major impact on me was that this was the school I graduated from. As alum, it was great to see how the win helped bring the Montbello community closer together to celebrate the achievement of the young men. What advice would you give someone who wants to be a broadcast journalist? Mekialaya: Be tenacious! Being a journalist can be demanding and A LOT of work, coupled with A LOT of joy. My biggest piece of advice I’ve always given to students aspiring to get into the journalism field is that “it only takes one yes.” Also, you can never be too curious. Justin: Don’t wait for an opportunity to come your way. Just get started. You don’t need anyone’s permission to follow your dreams of being a broadcaster. Develop a website, rent camera equipment from Denver Community Media, and start putting together stories for your resume reel. It’s also important to network and to put yourself out there. Also, be flexible and prepared to move to where the broadcasting opportunities are. This will not only help you get your foot in the door, but it will also help lead you to your first job in the industry..

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021



Volunteers Sought for Theatre Productions The DCPA is looking to recruit 220 volunteer ushers to assist with local productions As the Denver Center for the Performing Arts returns to the stage for its 2021/22 theatre season, the non-profit organization is actively recruiting more than 220 volunteers to serve as ushers for its locally produced Theatre Company, Cabaret and Off-Center productions. Individuals who love theatre and engaging with the public are encouraged to apply. Volunteer ushers are asked to commit to one shift every other week during the theatre season where they scan tickets, distribute programs and assist guests in addition to other responsibilities.


In addition to complimentary tickets to Theatre Company productions, volunteer ushers receive: •Occasional complimentary ticket offers to Broadway and Cabaret shows •Offers to Off-Center experiences •20% discount on DCPA Education classes •Parking stipend •Ushers are asked to: •Be 18+ •Show proof of COVID-19 vaccination •Able to stand for a minimum of one hour, navigate stairs and lift a box of programs •Provide and wear basic uniform essentials and a mask as detailed online The theatre season begins November 18 and training sessions are underway. Interested individuals may visit to register.

Please join us for our Virtual Conference on

Genocide and Slavery …… Similarities and Differences Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021

• •

9:30 am – 3:30 pm (MST) 9:30 am – 12:00 pm (MST)

Featuring scholars, human rights advocates, NGO leaders and other experts to explore the genesis of slavery and genocide in commonplace acts of dehumanization and to identify the institutions and ideologies that incite, promote and sustain these crimes against humanity. Speakers and presenters include: Lonnie G Bunch III

Dr. Gregory H. Stanton

Wellington E. Webb

14th Secretary, Smithsonian Institute

Founding President and Chairman Genocide Watch

Founder & President Webb Group International

Former Director, National Museum of African-American History and Culture

President, International Association of Genocide Scholars; 2007 - 2009

Former Mayor of Denver, Colorado; 1991-2003

Our Mission:

COST: General Admission: $75

Students: $30


Mayor Hancock Appoints New Chief Equity Officer Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced his appointment of Dr. Aisha Rousseau as the new Chief Equity Officer of the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation. Dr. Rousseau will continue to expand the administration’s foundational work to ensure Denver is a more equitable city for all residents. As Chief Equity Officer, her primary focus will be to continue advancing the inclusion of equity – in the form of education, processes and policies – into all city departments and programs, with the goal of providing those we serve with a more accessible, diverse and inclusive city government. “Dr. Rousseau has demonstrated a unique expertise in balancing the exposure of racial and social injustices with the very critical work of improving the systems and processes that created them in the first place,” Mayor Hancock said. “Her candid approach and passionate leadership are exactly what we need and I’m proud to have her leading this effort.” Dr. Rousseau will prioritize bringing to fruition Mayor Hancock’s vision of creating the first-of-its-kind Denver Institute of Equity and Reconciliation, establishing Denver as a national leader in research related to racism, bias, inclusion, practices of reconciliation, and development of programs and trainings for law enforcement, the public, and private and education sectors. Dr. Rousseau most recently served as the Director of the Division of Disability Rights for the City and County of Denver and comes into this role with a proven record of creating spaces for marginalized people

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


that enable their voices and perspectives to influence and shape inclusive and accessible policies and environments. She brings a breadth of knowledge and experience as a professor at a major research university before coming to the city. “I have enjoyed leading the cultural shift in Denver around equity as it specifically pertains to physical and programmatic accessibility these last six years,” she said. “I look forward to partnering with internal and external stakeholders and continue to set Denver on a track towards leading the way in dismantling systemic racism through the development of more equitable processes, practices, and policies.” Significant MOSEI accomplishments to date: •The formal creation of the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation •New Executive Order 146, establishing the office to develop and implement the policies, programs, regulations and initiatives of the city, related to social equity and race and social justice. •MOSEI created Citywide Equity Plans, supporting each agency in developing strategies to address inequities in their policies, programs and practices. •Citywide Budget Equity Framework to prioritize equity in the city budget. •Citywide Race and Social Justice Academy where city staff and leaders can learn about race and social justice and activate the learning in their work. •Launched large citywide learning and engagement opportunities such as a Book Club in 2020 and the Racial Equity challenge in 2021 •Launched a community Racial Equity Council •Passage of an equity package banning discrimination of natural hairstyles and removing the term “illegal alien” from city documents .


EQUITY IS BAKED IN: Denver’s Citywide MentorProtégé Program Scales Minority and Women Owned Firms to Success Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) announced the outstanding results of the Citywide Mentor-Protégé Program, a business development initiative that helps expand the capacity of minority and womenowned businesses (MWBEs). The program, led by DEDO’s Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO) pairs MWBEs with larger, more established firms that can help the small business leaders develop the skills necessary in scaling their businesses to success, including winning contracting opportunities with the City and County of Denver. The Citywide Mentor-Protégé Pilot Program was designed to encourage long-term business relationships between established prime contractors, MWBE firms, and city agencies. Through the program, mentors can enhance the business management and technical capabilities of the protégé; whereby increasing the potential of the protégé to be utilized on city contracts. Mentors and Protégés must enter the program jointly and are expected to establish a mutually agreed upon development plan for the one-year period. Teams participating in the program also commit to designating both time and resources to successfully achieve program goals. “The Mentor-Protégé Program ensures small, disadvantaged businesses have access to large city contracts by removing barriers to the skillsets they need to access them,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock, “Denver Economic Development and Opportunity has also gained valuable insights through fostering these partnerships, and that will help us to better support these businesses to grow and thrive.” The program is helping address some of the challenges faced by

small firms as they pursue city contracting opportunities and is driven by the overarching mission of encouraging the city’s utilization of certified firms on city-managed construction and professional services projects. The program also addresses the procurement of goods and services purchased by the city. One of the biggest success stories coming out of the pilot program is Select Building Group with subsidiary Four Star Drywall, which was matched with PCL Construction, a global construction company with headquarters in Denver.The partnership resulted in the three companies collaborating on a response to Denver’s RFP (Request for Proposals) on the upcoming 16th Street Mall reconstruction project.The PCL proposal was awarded the 16th Street Mall reconstruction project (design build). In addition, Select Building Group gained access to over 15 new clients in the 18-month period and was also awarded the Poudre Valley Hospital Expansion Project. All accomplishments, according to Select Building Group, would not have happened without the relationships, and more importantly, lifetime friendships, that were formed during their mentorship from PCL Construction. “This (Citywide Mentor-Protégé) program made my company so successful in a year and a half. It would have taken several years to accomplish the access and relationships we made through PCL,” says Jose Amaya, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Select Building Group Commercial. “The 16th Street Mall renovation is an iconic project that I feel proud to be a part of.This is going to help all the businesses around the 16th Street Mall, and it is meaningful for me to bring my family from other countries and visit.This was a win-win-win for the city, for our mentor, and for us.” Ryan Schmidt, Denver district manager for PCL Construction, says he was thrilled with the outcome of the program. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a core pillar at PCL. We firmly believe elevating

a diverse group of business owners and workers within the construction industry will make us stronger together, and we share in the City and County of Denver’s commitment to continuing to create opportunity for MWBE’s,” Schmidt said. The City has taken feedback from many of the small firm participants and has immediately applied the tactics to make it easier to do business with Denver. For a couple of teams, understanding the city’s procurement process proved quite challenging, yet through interaction with agency staff who provided insight and guidance, it became less of a barrier. Four city agencies committed to offering educational and networking opportunities for selected MentorProtégé teams throughout the duration of the one-year period. As part of the application process, each mentor-protégé team selected one city agency from which they wanted to receive technical assistance. Upon acceptance into the program, each team was assigned an Agency Liaison who served as the point of contact to ensure the Mentor-Protégé team had access to appropriate personnel and training courses offered from the selected department. Participating city agencies were: •Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) •Parks and Recreation (DPR) •Denver International Airport (DEN) •Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center (NWCO) 2020/2021 Mentor-Protégé Teams include: •Hensel Phelps (mentor), Sky Blue Builders (protégé) •Sky Blue Builders (mentor) and True Crew Insulation (protégé) •ECI Site Management (mentor) and Ascend Landscaping (protégé) •Triunity Inc. (mentor) and HG Consult (protégé) •PCL Construction (mentor) and Four Star Drywall and Select Building Group (protégé) •Swinerton (mentor) & Imperial Welding (protégé) “We started this pilot pre-pandemic and we were hopeful, but still uncertain what the outcome

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


would be even in the best of economic times. As we entered the worst recession our generation has even seen, it was inspiring to watch as effective working relationships were built between leaders of established as well as emerging MWBE firms in order for the latter to benefit from the knowledge, experience, and social capital of the established firms,” said DSBO Director Adrina Gibson. “Our intent is to build long-term, sustainable inter-company relationships within the business community of metro Denver, and I am proud to say this cohort has done that and I commend them for doing so.” While the city created the program out of a pursuit of equity, many other benefits were realized throughout the 18-month process. The initial pilot proved that MWBEs can learn from the Mentor-Protégé teams and gained additional educational and networking opportunities directly from participating city agencies. “This program’s success came after extensive program development process that involved research on national and local programs including CDOT’s Mentor Protégé Program and through conducting focus groups with large and small firms,” Said Program Manager, Gloria Owusu. “The community response was incredible, and we received a high number of very impressive and well thought out applications.” The city is now accepting applications for the 2021/2022 cohort. Those interested in participating, or learning more can visit this landing page.The public is invited to an information session on November 10 from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Editor’s note: Denver Economic Development and Opportunity is leading an inclusive and innovative economy for all Denver residents, including local and global business development, workforce development programs, and stabilization efforts in Denver’s diverse neighborhoods. For more information, visit

We Are Responsible For Our Own Education By Thomas Holt Russell

Don’t hold your breath

waiting for politicians to do what’s right. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and each other. Paulo Freire — Pedagogy of the Oppressed

I no longer have faith in the American system. It is not as if I had a lot of confidence in the first place. It’s just that I thought Martin Luther King’s words were valid, “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” As African Americans, we have fought long and hard just to be treated as humans. It has been a very long and slow grind, and you will not have any trouble meeting people that feel this bending towards justice is too slow. Meanwhile, we’ve had laws and court decisions that helped the arc bend on its journey towards justice. Since 2008, I have witnessed an evolutionary change in America that seems to be a bit unsettling. That is the year we elected a Black president, and that is about the time when America started to show parts of itself that I never thought that I would have seen. Racism in all forms is back in a big way. At least, that may be what a majority of the people think. I think racism, even at the level it is now, has never left us. One of our major political parties seems to be hell-bent on returning to the good old days. When they say the good old days,

they are not considering what they want to return to. The vast majority of African Americans lacked fundamental rights such as jobs, housing, and healthcare. Oppressors do not consider the violence and degradation that African Americans endured during that time. It was a time when simply driving across the country was a risky decision. Yet, they seem to go back to a time when my parents and grandparents were not allowed to vote. They are reaching for a nostalgic, utopian America that does not represent reality very well. If American democracy is destroyed while they make their way back in time, well, that is the cost of staying in power. Even with that bleak outlook, I don’t think democracy, as we know it, will be destroyed. But it is definitely in a really bloody fight. A considerable part of this battle takes place in education. This battle can be won. It will take the work of everyone who believes the truth is essential. Conservatives, or to be more clear, the far-right, think critical race theory is the beginning of the end of American society. Every time we put a number or phrase to our own social and political thought, the other side uses those words against us. Case in point: Defund the Police. As soon as I heard those words, I thought it was the dumbest slogan that an idiot could ever come up with. It is still being used as a weapon against liberals and the Democratic Party. As Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, the UCLA law pro-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


fessor who coined the term critical race theory, has said, “It’s only prompted interest now that the conservative rightwing has claimed it as a subversive set of ideas,” Crenshaw also stated that news outlets covered CRT because the right-wingers had banded together and used their money and power to made it a focus. So, what the hell is critical race theory? According to the New York Times: Critical race theorists reject the philosophy of “colorblindness.” They acknowledge the stark racial disparities that have persisted in the United States despite decades of civil rights reforms, and they raise structural questions about how racist hierarchies are enforced, even among people with good intentions. We now have a huge problem that is just another topic that will have us killing each other, and it goes along the lines of issues like abortion, voting rights, and face masks. I will not get in the weeds by talking about the views of both sides of this issue. It is not very complicated. Suppose there was no philosophy called critical race theory. In that case, the people looking for topics that divide and country would have found something else to distort to their followers and continue to throw wood in the fire of racial strife. In a local meeting with the school board in Colorado Springs, I stood up and said, let’s not call it critical race theory. Let’s call it American history. I went further by pointing out that American history consists of redlining, lynching, environmental rape, voter sup-

pression, slavery, and I could go on, but I don’t need to. If those things that have actually happened and still are happening, does not match their views on what America is, that does not mean they should suppress it from being taught. On the one hand, they tell us that they had nothing to do with slavery; that was their ancestors. And on the other hand, they tell us that critical race theory makes them look bad. This is a fight that may go on for a while. However, that does not mean we can’t take matters into our own hands and resist this march towards whitewashing history by taking out all of the bad parts the oppressive right-wing thinks are offensive to them. We have a responsibility to our children to make sure they know their history, not flooded in sentimentality and fake patriotism. And while we are looking under the hood of education, it has to be also pointed out that other issues were going on long before the pandemic and CRT, which must also be addressed. We need to take each of our holidays more seriously. Holidays such as the 4th of July, Labor Day, Juneteenth, and veteran’s day should be a sad reminder of the work done and the work yet to be done as we continue our journey towards justice. The holidays are hidden behind barbeques, picnics, and online sales. It is not only crucial for me to believe positive

change can be made; this belief has to be backed up by action. This belief is what motivates me. From this point on, I will work to ensure that holidays are not for leisurely activities but are also a solemn reminder of why we are celebrating in the first place. Community forums and activities should be organized around activities that promote history and awareness and should lead to action in any small or large form. Without the action behind these activities, there is no point or meaning to our celebrations. Some may think that calling the Republican Party oppressors is too strong a term. But that term fits perfectly, especially when they are using everything in their power to suppress votes. When I think of an oppressor, I do not think of hate groups and white supremacists; instead, I think of the power structure. The MAGA crowd does not concern me. They may not think of it this way, but they are pawns in this struggle. The people in power are the ones that I am more concerned with. I am speaking about the people who make laws and legislation designed to keep a minority controlling the majority. The lawmakers, judicial system, and financial systems are unorganized groups, meaning they do not come together under a single cause but act individually in their reality. All of the work combined from these institutions

play a vital role and are the primary cause of the angst America is experiencing. It is imperative to remember that the world we live in is malleable. People can transform themselves and institutions. This is a necessary outlook for change. But again, it means nothing without action. The humanization of all people should be the goal of the oppressed. I was born with some of the markers that society says should make me fail; single-parent home, poor, Black, etc. However, at a certain point in my life, I am responsible for making my own path because, despite the obstacles placed before us, the ability to change through thought and action is as embedded in us as our consciousness and in the reality we experience through our consciousness. When I say we should reimagine holidays for our survival and do this through education, I do not mean we should suddenly schedule a bunch of history classes on those days. We need to start a pedagogy that is based on conversation and inquiring. This will help stimulate creativity and reflection. We do not need to treat students as mere items to be filled with data. Both teachers and students need to be critical investigators. We need teachers that are simultaneously students, and we need students that are simultaneously teachers.

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This is especially helpful for the younger generation, who are sometimes accused of being detached from the historical events that put them smack in the middle of the reality they presently occupy. That assessment is probably not entirely accurate and may be based on our older folks’ opinion, whose judgment on the younger generation is framed in disdain and disappointment and the overriding belief that they care little about their history. If we don’t find a way to preserve our history, those in power will slowly change out facts with opinions about what happened and the meaning of those events. Their approach to education is inorganic and static. It is mechanical. We will counter that by valuing experience over memory. We will transform the inorganic to organic. As teachers (all of us are teachers in one way or another), our job is not to regulate the way the world enters students’ minds. Education is not only about depositing information into students; it is a peep into possibilities, a taste of love, and a thirst for creativity. Only by continuing the fight for the restoration of our own culture will we combat systemic education that the right is trying to put in place. We cannot waste time by waiting for the politicians to make things better. That is not their nature..

Denver Film Festival Presents 44th Edition of the Rocky Mountain Region’s Largest Film Festival The Denver Film Festival announced its full slate of inperson screenings, Red Carpets, special presentations and guest panels, as well as a robust lineup of virtual screenings for the 44th edition of the Rocky Mountain region’s largest film festival, Nov. 3 to14. Following a predominantly virtual 2020 edition of the Denver Film Festival, the curtain will rise for DFF44 with the Nov. 3, 8 p.m. •Opening Night Red Carpet presentation of Spencer directed by Pablo Larrain, UK (2021). The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year, things will be profoundly different. Spencer is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days. In the days to follow, 233 films, including 140 featurelength films, shorts, music videos and episodic content, will screen at the remodeled Sie FilmCenter, as well as the AMC 9 + CO 10 and the Denver Botanic Gardens Sturm Auditorium. The five Red Carpet events are scheduled for the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with a wide range of virtual reality and immersive experiences taking place at the Festival Annex at the historic McNichols Civic Center Building. Denver Film will require all festival patrons, guests, media, sponsors, employees and volunteers entering DFF44 venues

or event host sites from Nov. 314 show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine. In addition to in-person screenings and events, DFF44 will offer a robust selection of approximately 50 films to watch at home on its virtual platform. The lineup and platform are available at and by downloading the Denver Film app for Roku TV or Apple TV. “As fortunate as we were to continue our festival tradition in a mostly virtual format in 2020, the heart and soul of our work is centered around the communal experience,” said Denver Film Festival Artistic Director Matthew Campbell. “We’re excited to welcome audiences, both in person and virtually, to explore the best in contemporary cinema from the past year, and take an in-depth look at the art of film as it reflects life across our world. From films created during and about COVID, to the romantic, familial and friend relationships, both healthy and strained, and the tactile connectivity of our virtual reality and immersive experiences, there is tremendous diversity in this year’s storytelling lineup of narratives, documentaries and shorts. And, most importantly, there is a coming together to share those experiences, conversations and growth.” Rounding out the lineup of Red Carpet presentations are: •Centerpiece, Friday Nov. 5, 8 p.m., Ellie Caulkins Opera House, C’MON C’MON directed by Mike Mills, USA (2021) 108 min. Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix)

King Richard

and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future, from writer-director Mike Mills. •Big Night, Thursday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m., Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Jockey directed by Clint Bentley, USA (2021) 94 min. An aging jockey (Clifton Collins Jr.) hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer (Molly Parker), who has acquired what appears to be a championship horse. But the years – and injuries – have taken a toll on his body, throwing into question his ability to continue his lifelong passion. And the arrival of a young rookie rider (Moises Arias), who claims to be his son, and whom he takes under his wing, further complicates the path to fulfilling his dream. Clifton Collins Jr. will be in attendance to receive the 2021 John Cassavetes Award Closing out the Red Carpet lineup on the final full day of programming will be: •Red Carpet Matinee, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m., Ellie Caulkins Opera House Torn directed by Max Lowe, USA (2021) 91 min. Using never-before-released archival footage of legendary climbers Alex Lowe and David Bridges ill-fated 1999 expedition, Torn follows Max Lowe’s quest to understand his family’s

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


complex relationships in the wake of his father’s death. •Closing Night, Saturday, Nov. 13, 8 p.m., Ellie Caulkins Opera House, King Richard directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, USA (2021) 138 min. From Warner Bros. Pictures comes King Richard, starring two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green. Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts - rain or shine - the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. -Co-Presented with Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival’s The Color of Conversation -Sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, CEAVCO -Pre-recorded Color of Conversation with Reinaldo Marcus Green and Floyd Rance to follow screening. . Editor’s note: The full lineup of films and screenings is available at: For tickets, call 720-381-0813, visit the DFF44 Box Office at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave., or visit

Newman Center Announces 2021-2022 Performance Season The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver announced its 2021- 2022 season of Newman Center Presents, the venue’s multidisciplinary professional artist series, a season of 16 captivating, diverse, and inventive performances.

The Jazz Series season opens with jazz vocalist Veronica Swift on November 19. In February 2022, the Newman Center debut of Jazz at Lincoln

Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is a not-to-be-missed experience with two available performance dates. Jazz piano prodigy Joey Alexander will round out the series. The Dance Series celebrates a diversity of movement forms that include the Nashville Ballet with Rhiannon Giddens performing an original production Lucy Negro Redux with spoken word by poet Caroline Randall Williams. The Dance Theatre of Harlem brings forward-thinking repertoire that uses the language of ballet to celebrate African American culture and renowned flamenco artists Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca returns to the Newman Center. The Director’s Choice Series includes Dance Theatre of Harlem, The King’s Singers for a Christmas special, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Joey Alexander, Nashville ballet with Rhiannon Giddens, and

Veronica Swift. Director’s Choice series subscriptions start at $150 for all five performances. Popular series, National Geographic Live returns for a third year of family friendly speakers perfect for all ages. Paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim with Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous, the story of how Spinosaurus was found, lost to science, and found again. Egyptologist Kara Cooney’s When Women Ruled the World explores Egypt’s female leaders. Secrets of the Whales with underwater photographer Brian Skerry, showcases a mesmerizing glimpse into the culture of whales. This year Newman Center adds Mrs. Krishnan’s Party, an intimate evening where the audience joins the actors on stage. Newman Center has a popular holiday performance with the return of The King’s Singers, a sextet from Cambridge. Fiesta Navideñas

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


begin our holiday season featuring Fiesta Colorado and Mariachi Sol de Mi Terra who will take you on a Christmas tour of Mexico. For the family, this season B – the Underwater Bubble Show transports you to the magical underwater world of Bubblelandia and Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience returns, a parody that condenses all seven Harry Potter books into 70 hilarious minutes. This year, two classical ensembles include New Morse Code, a cello and percussion duo that champion compelling works of young composers and the iconic Kronos Quartet will perform works from their innovative commissioning project, Fifty for the Future. Newman Center Presents subscription package options starting at only $87.. Editor’s note: For more information, visit

Raising your Credit Score with Grant Funding A New Program That Helps More African Americans Qualify for Homeownership

Making transmissions well since 1983.

By Barry Overton


f you have read my articles over the years, you know I am a big proponent for building wealth in the Black community by way of home ownership. For years, our white counterparts and other races, have utilized home ownership and owning investment properties to build wealth within their communities. The current percentage of African Americans that own their homes in this country is anywhere from 42% to 45%, which is pretty much unchanged since the 1970s. There are many real estate organizations and economic equality groups that are on a mission to change the narrative for African Americans, when it comes to home ownership. One of the biggest challenges for home purchasers comes down to credit. This has been an ongoing problem in minority communities. Having a low credit score puts people in a position preventing them from

not being able to purchase a home. In many instances, most potential homeowners are frustrated with bad credit and don’t necessarily know the steps to take to put their credit in a better situation. Then there are some people that just don’t have the funds that it takes to pay off some of the debt they have accumulated. That’s where Central Park Mortgage, a local company, and the City and County of Denver are making an impact in the Denver community. Central Park Mortgage in collaboration with the City and County of Denver, have created the Open Hands Home Ownership Initiative. This initiative allows for potential buyers, who are experiencing credit setbacks due to high balances or needing to pay off debt, attain a grant anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to either pay down or pay off debt that helps to boost their credit score and put them in a position to purchase a home. I sat down with the co-owner of Central Park Mortgage, Cleo Lewis to learn more about the program who shared, “My partner and I were approached by the City and County of Denver, and we were asked what would be some steps on the lending side that would help to breakthrough some barriers for home ownership within the African American community? And that was where we came up

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


with the Open Hand Home Ownership Initiative. There are so many down payment assistance programs, but there’s nothing to really help with credit. The Open Hand Initiative provides unique financial aid to our clients, by paying off debt. That aid can make big difference in helping someone become a homeowner.” Even while there are plenty of programs that do help restore credit, this is one of the only programs I’ve seen, as a real estate agent that assists by giving grant funds to a client to help them pay off debt, or pay down debt, that will ultimately increase their score. Programs like the Open Hand Initiative are potentially the game changer for those families who are looking to become homeowners. For more information, reach out to Central Park Mortgage NMLS 1507888 at (720) SayHome or visit Also, feel free to reach out to me for additional loan programs and grants that will also help with your down payment and closing costs.. 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: or call 303-668-5433.


Enough Is Enough Op-ed by Oscar H. Blayton

In 2015,

then Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison predicted on ABC’s Sunday program “This Week” that if Republicans were not careful, Donald Trump would become that party’s presidential nominee. This bit of political realism was met with derisive laughter by the show’s host, George Stephanopoulos, and the other guests. And herein lay the first major clue of the downward spiral of American democracy that would follow for the next four years and beyond. The laughter of everyone on that panel, except Ellison, came from white people. The reason for their laughter was their refusal to see America for what it is. Like most white Americans, they refused to recognize the degree of racial hatred that has simmered below the surface of our society for decades. White people are not required to recognize the dangerous rot that is white supremacy and systemic racism in America. But for people of color, being able to recognize and avoid or deflect these phenomena is a matter of survival, and all too often, literally a matter of life and death. Keith Ellison, like many people of color in this country, saw the appeal Donald Trump held for millions of white Americans. Trump, an unabashed racist, constantly and loudly blew dog whistles of bigotry, and his name became the rallying cry for white grievance politics.

To a certain segment of white America emerging from the confusing eight years of a Black presidency, Trump was the medicine they needed to relieve them of their perceived assault on whiteness. Whiteness had always been their castle keep, that last line of defense to protect their sense of self-worth. They believed in their hearts that if all else failed them, at least they were white – and that gave them worth. But the very existence of the Obama presidency threatened to shatter that last line of defense because a Black man had reached the highest position of power and esteem in the nation – something most white men had failed to do. At first, attempts were made to separate Obama from his blackness, and white supremacists clung to his white mother like castaways clinging to one of the few pieces of flotsam after the capsizing of their pleasure cruiser. But eventually, this effort was abandoned, and Obama was labeled as a foreign born, illegitimate interloper. With this white discontent stirring, Donald Trump stepped forward, claiming to have proof that Obama was not born in the United States and making highly charged attacks against the Black president and his administration. In Trump, white supremacists found not only their rescuer, but one who also would right their whitesonly ship of state so that they could continue their dominance. Donald Trump was so strident in his racism and misogyny and presented his unethical and antisocial behavior so brazenly that many people came to believe he was an aberration poisoning the well of democracy in this country. But the truth is Donald Trump is a product of today’s hate-filled America, not the creator of it. The people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were

wound up and emboldened by Trump, but the sentiments that led them to attack the seat of democracy had been stewing for years. And now, whipped up into a lather and tasting blood, this segment of American society intends to press its attack on everything they consider to be “unAmerican.” These people have targeted Critical Race Theory and a woman’s right to an abortion They also are targeting immigrants, liberals and their institutions, people of color and their cultures and anything that is contrary to the mid-20th century notion of a white, male dominated America. And as these hate-fueled Trump supporters run amuck across the country, political leaders are either enabling them for the sake of their own personal ideology or a hoped-for political benefit, or they are standing aside, clucking their tongues and assuring a horrified public that things are not as bad as they seem and will work out in the end. Facing the dire consequences of inaction, it is the time for the people to act. We must tell selfserving and timid politicians that enough is enough. If the majority of people in this country believe in justice and the right of all people to live with dignity and the ability to live the best lives that they can without infringing upon their neighbors’ ability to do the same, then it is time we stand and be counted among the brave and the just. The level of vitriol is rising in this country, and it will not go away on its own. Positive action is required to turn this tide. It is time to stop underestimating these dangerous people. The federal government, under the current Biden Administration, acknowledges that white supremacists and the militia groups they spawn are the top national security threats,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


but these extremists are finding friends in the state and federal legislatures, executive mansions and courts. The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but the current trend of American politics is bending towards enabling racists, misogynists and xenophobes while strangling the rights of anyone who does not fit easily into their narrative of America. It is time to get serious. We must get rid of weak, ineffective politicians whose only answer to our grievances is for us to vote for them and return them to offices where they have done so little for so long. A politician who tells us to vote and do nothing more is akin to the preacher who tells us to pray and do nothing more. It has been said that prayer without action is no prayer at all. And voting without action is no vote at all. If we do not take action to create the society we want, we have not only the politicians to blame – we must also blame ourselves. As people who call this country our home, it is impossible for us to simply be witnesses. We must either be activists, or we will victims. We can no longer wait to decide which we will be.. Editor’s note: Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia. His earlier commentaries may be found at

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How Sen. Bennet can help save community news in Colorado

Op-ed by Gregory L. Moore and Tim Regan-Porter


o matter what issue you care about most – public education, the environment, affordable housing, economic opportunities – Colorado news outlets like this one connect you to the news you need to think globally and act locally. Yet the financial collapse of reliable local news is a statewide and even a national crisis – and too few Coloradans recognize the serious threat to our communities. Between 2004 and 2019, in small towns and suburbs across the state, Colorado has lost 33 newspapers – about one out of every five – including the Rocky Mountain News in 2009. Nationwide, some 1,800 communities have lost newspapers over the past two decades, leaving “news deserts” across the country – especially devastating in rural areas and communities of color. Too often, the local news vacuums are being filled by social media, partisan hyperbole, and harmful disinformation. Without good, accurate local information, Colorado families cannot make good decisions for themselves – and communities cannot solve their own problems. Rebuilding local news and a healthier public square will require a massive effort that must include a significant increase in philanthropic support, which is why the Colorado Media Project has helped to raise millions of dol-

lars from private foundations since 2018 to help stimulate innovation in the local news ecosystem. Individual readers and civic-minded businesses are stepping up too, increasing donations, memberships and sponsorships for local news nationwide. But philanthropy alone is not enough. Community news organizations are vital, local businesses that also need and deserve some (smart) public support — and Sen. Michael Bennett is in a unique position to make it happen. Public support, you might ask? How on Earth can newsrooms take money from the government? Isn’t that like the muckrakers taking money from the muck makers? Fortunately, there is a shrewd way to help save local news businesses without the government gaining influence over journalists or their coverage. It’s called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. This clever, bipartisan bill would provide more help for local news than at any time in about a century – and it’s done in a very First-Amendmentfriendly way. It helps small media outlets as well as larger players, nonprofits as well as commercial models, digital and print, communities of color and rural areas. The key provisions are: A tax credit of up to $250 for consumers to buy local newspaper subscriptions or make donations to nonprofit local news organizations. A refundable payroll tax credit of up to $25,000 to incentivize local news organizations for keeping local journalists on the payroll. A tax credit of up to $5,000 for small businesses to use to advertise with local news publishers.

Because these are tax credits, there’s no government involvement in picking winners or losers – it’s more akin to the Postal Service subsidy implemented by the Founding Fathers. This stands to be particularly good for smaller local news businesses and those covering communities of color. They do not have to hire an expensive lobbyist in Washington; if they do local reporting, they would qualify automatically. The refundable tax credit for small businesses to advertise has two beneficiaries: the newsroom and the small business, which basically gets free marketing money. Local businesses from Aurora to Aspen would essentially get almost $5,000 to advertise their services, as long as they do so through local media. The payroll tax credit goes right at a core problem facing journalism today – that the current business models aren’t enough to support labor-intensive investigative or accountability reporting. This tax credit could change the dynamics within newsrooms by making the hiring or retaining of journalists relatively more appealing. Because it’s a payroll-tax break – rather than an incometax break – this is also available for nonprofit organizations. The House Ways & Means Committee included a portion of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act – the payroll-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


tax credit – in its budget reconciliation bill. Now it’s up to the Senate Finance Committee – on which Sen. Bennet is an influential member – to decide whether it survives in the Senate. It is supported by groups representing more than 3,000 medium and small newsrooms around the country, and many of their countless supporters. We hope Sen. Bennet can help pass this vital bill. This bill is not just a stopgap, but rather would help create a stronger and more inclusive local news system in the future.. Editor’s note: Gregory Moore is former editor of The Denver Post and a member of the Colorado Media Project’s Local Advisory Committee and Public Policy Working Group. Tim Regan-Porter is CEO of the Colorado Press Association.

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Opposition to CRT obscures the point that we are talking about American history By James Michael Brodie


the country, lawmakers, educators

(including the Board of Regents at my alma mater, the University of Colorado), and other interested parties are taking up discussions regarding Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project. The conflict among many White Americans is whether or not to acknowledge what actually happened to enslaved Africans and their descendants, and the role that American laws, policies and actions have played in the institutionalization of racial disparities. Some, when faced with longrunning evidence of race-based discrimination, continue to not only deny that evidence, but argue, incorrectly, that teaching about racism is in itself racist. Their solution is censorship and denial of any true exploration of race in the halls of Academe. This partial history is a short examination of how the United States has codified the denial of full citizenship to Black Americans: •Africans were enslaved people. As such, they had no citizenship rights or rights to patent inventions, own property, get married, raise families, or build familial wealth. •Enslaved Black women were used as guinea pigs for gynecological experiments, operated on without anesthesia. •Southern Whites created the

“One-Drop” rule to determine whether a person was “pure” or had blood that was tainted by blackness. •The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 6, 1857, (Dred Scott v. Sanford) that Black people had no rights that White people were bound to respect. •The Southern states, in their Articles of Secession, cited their desire to keep Africans enslaved because they were deemed genetically inferior. •After the end of the Civil War, and two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, federal troops came to Texas to tell Blacks that they were free. “Juneteenth” became a federal holiday in 2021. •The end of Reconstruction meant that every Black elected official was removed from office. Black men were stripped of their right to vote by use of the Grandfather Clause, literary tests, making Black voters correctly guess the number of jellybeans in a jar, and the murdering of Black people who attempted to vote. •The Ku Klux Klan was founded as a terrorist organization that lynched Black citizens. Confederate monuments sprang up to reinforce the rise of the Klan. This would happen every time major headway was made toward equal rights. •The Supreme Court ruling in 1896 in the Plessy v. Ferguson case established the doctrine of “Separate but Equal.” The Supreme Court would not strike that down until 1954 in the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case. •Woodrow Wilson became president and purged every Black employee from the rolls of the federal government in Washington, D.C. Wilson screened DW Griffith’s racist homage to the Klan

“Birth of a Nation” in the White House. •Black athletes were banned from every major sports league. •Black communities in Wilmington, N.C., Tulsa, Okla., Rosewood, Fla., and several other towns were burned to the ground by White mobs. •Lynchings of Black people were commonplace, with postcards created to commemorate the acts. •More Confederate monuments were built. •Black people who were light enough to pass for White did so just to keep jobs or to avoid persecution. •The military was segregated by law. •Charles Drew, who was the first person to figure out how to store blood plasma for transfusions, resigned from the American Red Cross because of its policy of segregating the blood of Black and White donors. •Redlining kept Blacks from getting loans, credit, or buying homes. •Black soldiers were denied benefits they earned under the GI Bill. •In 1951, Henrietta Lacks became the unwitting source of the HeLa cell line developed by Johns Hopkins University Hospital. She was being treated for cervical cancer. While the cell line has driven a multi-billion-dollar industry, her family says it has not been compensated for her cells support, nor consulted on how her cells are used. •In protest against the 1954 Supreme Court’s Brown decision, Georgia added the Confederate emblem to its state flag. •Politicians such as Lester Maddox, George Wallace, and Strom Thurmond promoted the preservation of segregation. •After passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, several Southern Democrats left the party to become Republicans — what became known as the Southern Strategy. •More monuments to the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


Confederacy were built (see earlier notation as to why). •Black people are more likely to be pulled over by the police than Whites (who, by the way, are more likely to be arrested for carrying illegal substances). •Blacks are more likely to be arrested for committing the same offenses as Whites, more likely to get charged, more likely to be convicted, given longer sentences, and three times as likely to die in police custody. •A 2020 lawsuit revealed that the National Football league used the controversial practice of “racenorming,” which assigned Black players a lower level of cognitive function than white players. This made it harder for Blacks to prove they qualified for payouts from the 2017 $1 billion concussion settlement for players suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). •Today, at the state university where I earned my degree, only 1 percent of the students on a campus of more than 35,000 are Black. The football team, however, is 70 percent Black. That we have reached a point in our nation’s life where we are literally arguing whether our documented history should be taught in a democratic society should shame those who insist on running from the truth. This is an argument that we should not be having at all. History is history.. Editor’s note: James Michael Brodie is a Baltimore-based writer, journalist, and author. His books include Created Equal: The Lives and Ideas of Black American Innovators and Sweet Words So Brave: The Story of African American Literature. A University of Colorado graduate in English, Brodie is also president of The Black and Gold Project Foundation, which includes the podcast collection of personal narratives titled: The Black and Gold Project: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future.



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Audio Stories: This boundary-breaking program, Destination Freedom Black Radio Days, illuminates the lives of great figures in African-American and other people of color past and present in the struggle for human rights.


James "Step Back" Williams In the early days of Covid 19, some people suffered because of human error and/or biases. This is the story of one patient who suffered from both.

You Say It - I Create It

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versations with caregivers will demonstrate the power of presence and the willingness to listen to caregivers. Each week offers a different perspective, guest challenges, and heart and thought-provoking conversations.. Editor’s note: Nadine Roberts Cornish is a transformational speaker, a certified senior advisor, gerontologist, and care strategist. Join her free weekly zoom calls and learn more about the Caregivers Guardian and the 101030 Family Caregivers campaign by visiting

Reigniting and Reimagining Caregiving

10 Random Acts Of Kindness: I Will... Now in its 12th year of service, The Caregiver’s Guardian (TCG), founded by Nadine Roberts Cornish continues its mission of empowering, inspiring and supporting caregivers to thrive as they navigate the opportunities and realities of family caregiving. Last year, Roberts Cornish authored her second book, “Prayers in My Gumbo: A Caregiver’s Recipe for Peace” with 40 contributing authors from across the country demonstrating the power of prayer and creating peace in their journeys through a collection of powerful stories, prayers and musings. “Tears in My Gumbo, The Caregivers Recipe for Resilience,” the first book in the gumbo series, continues to thrive as colleges and universities recognize its usefulness as a viable part of nursing, gerontology and social work curriculums. In the newly minted theme of reigniting caregiving, TCG is announcing the next book in the Caregivers Gumbo Series, a cookbook called “Recipes in My Gumbo,” set for arrival Fall 2022 that will include mouthwatering recipes and great stories. In collaboration with the award-winning Chef Lisa Givens of Gourmet Away, they are ecstatic to begin the process

of obtaining and selecting recipes. DUS readers are invited to think about your family favorites, the food that stands the test of time. You know, those entrees, desserts, side dishes and appetizers that make you salivate just thinking about them? We invite caregivers, past, present and future to submit an intent form mboIntentForm. Once submitted, you’ll receive the form for your recipe and story. If selected, your recipe will be included in the book and may be re-created with a video by Chef Lisa. As we commemorate National Family Caregivers month in November, TCG is committed to the caregiver reemerging and reigniting during this pandemic. In its second year, the 101030 Family Caregivers campaign – 10 Random Acts of Kindness, 10K Books to Caregivers in 30 days has been expanded to include tangible support for the family caregiver at work and at home. The campaign continues to encourage all of us to support the caregivers in our world by random acts of kindness and joining the 101030 Family Caregiver campaign. It’s not too late to join in on these efforts. Last year Random Acts of Kindness included: sending

cards to caregivers; delivering meals; providing books and making phone calls. Another part of reimagining caregiving is the importance of self-care and fun! TCG kicks off National Family Caregivers Month on Friday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. MST with a Caregiver’s Dance Party. A free, virtual Zoom Party that allows you to get into the groove and jam! Dance your cares away with a DJ and your favorite songs. You can even request a song or two. Register at Calling All Caregivers Dance Party Finally, as we all reimagine caregiving throughout the month of November – Roberts Cornish will conduct weekly Compassion in My Cup Conversations via Zoom/FB Live Interviews every Tuesday at 1 p.m. from TeaLee’s Teahouse. These important con-

1. Call a family caregiver that I haven’t checked on in a while to ask how they are doing. 2. Send a handwritten note to a family caregiver. 3. Sit with a family caregiver who is eating alone. 4. Offer to buy and deliver a meal to a family caregiver on a Sunday to ease the load for the upcoming week. 5. Surprise a family caregiver with a cup of coffee or tea. 6. Give a family caregiver respite (time off) to enjoy a day of self-care. 7. Ask a family caregiver how they are doing today and listen for a response. 8. Help a family caregiver with household chores. 9. Help with a grocery run or other important errands. 10. Visit a family caregiver. TIP: bring cookies or fresh flowers

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


BIPOC Children with Disabilities Have a Bright Future Show+Tell advocates for families of children with disabilities from birth to 26 years old

needs of their children, S+T believes that true education is holistic. Understanding that not all people learn by sitting at a desk for hours and hours, S+T provides workshops and tips from professionals and parent leaders who have children with disabilities themselves and who understands the challenges families face. The S+T staff are knowledgeable about the school

Families of children with disabilities often face challenges in navigating the resources needed to reach their full potential. Show and Tell (S+T), the sister organization to Thrive Center, is committed to advocating for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) families who are, at times, underserved. S+T strives to build relationships and connect families with the tools they need to better address their child’s disabilities and healthcare needs. As parents search for specialized instruction specifically designed to meet the unique

and health care systems and they want to help. There are tools for getting adolescents prepared for the adult world as well as tips that help take the mystery out of 504 plans. Parents can learn what the difference is between an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and a 504 Plan including the services and supports available for both. Driven by her personal passion in serving the community, Executive Director Yvette Plummer Burkhalter, and her staff, have identified opportunities to collaborate with various partners to provide information

and skills through parent education classes, support programs and youth camps. Whether parents need to better prepare for the transition from preschool to kindergarten or they need to help transition a young adult to employment or higher education, the team always keeps families at the center of their child’s care. “Having a son who is on the spectrum, I have first-hand knowledge of the challenges many of our families face each and every day,” says Burkhalter. “Also, as a person of color, I see the research that shows BIPOC students with disabilities are often located in schools with less qualified teachers, teachers with lower salaries and novice teachers.” Originally founded in 2006, The Thrive Center sought to provide parents with information and training about disabilities and their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Recognizing the disparity BIPOC families are facing when navigating a child with special needs, the organization developed a sister organization to better support those caregivers, parents and guardians. Now, S+T wants families to know that the challenge is society, not our children. Also, parents need to know they’re not alone. There might not be anyone else with the same needs as their child, but there are definitely families facing similar hurdles. It’s a marathon – not a sprint – and building a support team of friends, families and professionals can help empower parents to advocate for their child and make them aware of resources they didn’t know existed.. Editor’s note: For more information about Show+Tell and the free programs, workshops and resources, visit, call 303-632-6840 or email

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


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Vaccinating the globe, one jab at a time

Joint Collaborationof The New Pearl Church and Battle and Company

Request For Proposal (RFP) Greetings Future Partners: This communication is to make you aware of a new funding opportunity sponsored by the inaugural partnership of The New Pearl Church and Battle and Company. This partnership is offering small grants to community-minded organizations interested in the improving the healthcare outcomes of People of Color (POC). The focus will be on those individuals who are either eligible now or will become Medicare eligible within six (6) months of the grant application. This grant’s purpose is to help improve health outcomes of qualified recipients by: a. Increasing relevant information, b. Increasing advocacy, c. Increasing health and social connections. This grant is a funding opportunity, which means that only applicants that are willing to leverage their respective talents, resources and connections with the target group to accomplish the agreed upon goal, will be accepted. Applicants can be either churches or other community groups. You do NOT have to have a 501c3 classification to be eligible! Please email Sharon D. Battle, Grant Coordinator for your grant package. All grant applications are due by Monday, November 15, 2021 and must be sent to Successful Grantees will be notified by email by Tuesday, November 30, 2021. All materials necessary for successful Grant completion will be emailed by Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Please let me know if you have any questions. Sharon D. Battle - Grant Coordinator Project_500@yahoo.com720-892-0387

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Denver Center for the Performing Arts Seawell Ballroom

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1350 Arapahoe St. Denver, CO 80204 Tickets to be Announced

Editor: The word “awesome” is overused. But few other words seem apt when describing the fact that the world has now administered more than 6 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccines. When you consider that the World Health Organization announced the discovery of the novel coronavirus on January 9, 2020, that’s less than two years in which scientists have taken us from zero to 6,000,000,000 jabs. In terms of the sequence of medical research to clinical trials, then to FDA emergency use authorization and market placement, that’s a sprint worthy of Usain Bolt. What’s more is the alacrity with which research companies rose to the occasion to fight Covid-19, a feat that offers the surest proof that IP protections help keep the world safe. Getting a drug successfully to market can cost billions of dollars and take several years of scientific toil. Blood, sweat, tears – and money. Fewer than one in 10 products that enter clinical trials are ever greenlit by the FDA. If those that succeed are stripped of proprietary protection, few investors would risk their money in pharmaceutical research and development. And yet, the very safeguards that made it possible for PfizerBioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to give us life-saving vaccines are now threatened by our own, wellmeaning government. In May, the Biden administration announced that it would back a proposal at the WTO to waive all IP protection on the Covid-19 vaccines. Soon, these companies could find their painstaking research in the hands of governments who would be profiting from the work of our scientists. Among these governments is China,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2021


America’s most fervent competitor, which has made no secret of its own ambitions to dominate the biotech sector. The WTO proposal was submitted in September 2020 by India and South Africa, and has garnered the support of more than 100 countries and countless NGOs. That it was made three months before vaccines were authorized suggests it was a kind of preemptive strike. After resisting pressure for many months, the U.S. succumbed and offered support to the waiver. With respect, I believe the administration made the wrong call and with no good progressive outcome or policy reason. The policy error of stripping IP protection from our biotech companies is compounded by the fact that the waiver will not increase the production of vaccines by a single dose. Every facility in the world that can safely make the vaccines is already running at full capacity. Nowhere else is there the ability to fabricate these complex vaccines. In parallel to this regrettable waiver, the Biden Administration has started to disburse America’s massive stockpile of Covid-19 vaccines to nations in need. The U.S. has committed to donating more than one billion doses. That, surely, is the better way to help the world. As are the calls being made that rich countries pay for the vaccines that would go to the vaccinedeprived. Let the governments of the West and Japan perform this service to humanity. That way, we can help protect those in crying need of vaccines without beggaring our own medicinemakers. Kenneth E. Thorpe

Editor’s note: Kenneth E. Thorpe is a professor of health policy at Emory University and chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.


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