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Volume 31 Number 8 November 2017

100 Men: Stirs Up Stuff to Serve Community…4 Mike Sawaya: Gives More Than Legal Advice…9 CABJ: Congratulates Real News Journalists…10 Octavia Spencer: Hidden Figure Actress Shares Life Lessons…12 Photo by Bernard Grant

Samir Paige, Norma Paige and Chuck Moss - 100 Men Who Cook




Volume 32 Number 8

November 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence Washington

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Ofaria Hutchinson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Khaleel Herbert Allan Tellis ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

Tis the Season of Giving and Gratitude!

When you went to bed last night, did you give thanks for another day before dozing off to sleep? Better yet, when you woke up this morning did you give thanks for being able to open your eyes again? Although it is designated as the season for giving, it is also the season of gratitude. You can’t have one without the other. This month, our cover story features the 100 Men Who Cook, a five year program that actually began in 1984. Go figure that! Read about how that happened by DUS Managing Editor Laurence Washington and see how this organization is giving back to Denver’s youth. Laurence also sat down and talked with well-recognized Denver attorney Mike Sawaya who shared why the Denver community means so much to him and his ways of supporting it. Former intern Khaleel Herbert joined fellow journalists at the Colorado Association of Black Journalists at the annual awards banquet, witnessing the presentation of several awards to Denver Urban Spectrum contributors. Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock gives thanks to the Little Rock Nine for their courage to ride the storm and stand up to racial inequality 60 years ago. And journalist Dr. Barbara Reynolds pays a special tribute to Dick Gregory giving a personal account on the importance of his life and how he impacted hers. These and other stories you can read about in the following pages as we move into the holiday season. And as we do, just remember to something nice for someone, be kind and give thanks for everything you are grateful for everyday and not just when you sit at the table for your traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Rosalind “Bee” Harris DUS Publisher

This issue is dedicated to the memory of the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was recently ambushed by ISIS fighters in Niger. May he rest in peace.


Jared Polis Is the Governor We Need in the Trump Era

people of color are systemically denied the opportunity to break into high-paying careers. He knows that “improving our schools” is meaningless if a child’s race, disability status, sexual orientation, or gender identity is a barrier to receiving a high quality education. He knows that “upgrading our infrastructure” means nothing if those upgrades include community displacement and mass incarceration. Why does Polis understand these things? In part, because he spends the time to meet and talk with Coloradans from all walks of life. I’ve spent my career working in community advocacy in Colorado. My mission has always been to give a voice to those who are so often left out of our political discussions, including communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and those with disabilities. So please trust me when I say there are few politicians, from either party, who go to the lengths Polis does to listen to these voices firsthand, and to witness in person the challenges they face. He goes out of his way to spend time in underfunded classrooms, homeless shelters, health clinics, and detention facilities that most politicians, sadly, steer clear of. Prior to serving in Congress, Polis founded nonprofit schools for underserved students like homeless youth, pregnant girls, and new immigrants. As a representative, he talks about education the way so many black and brown families throughout our country talk about it: as an issue of basic civil rights — and he is a leading voice for investing in underfunded public schools where more help is desperately needed. Polis stood up to both the Obama and the Trump administra-

PUBLISHER/PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Be rnard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James - Manager Ed Lynch

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 2017 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

Op-ed by Leslie Herod

We live in a nation led by people intent on not only taking our country back to a time where blatant racism was commonplace, but to a time where white hoods are no longer needed and tiki torches illuminate a path toward hatred, division and violence. This is the reality of being an American in 2017. With so few reliable federal allies in the fight for justice and civil rights today, we must seize every opportunity at the state level to elect bold, progressive leaders. That’s why I’m going to do everything I can to elect Jared Polis as Colorado’s next governor. Around the country, too many Democrats are shying away from important, impactful battles, convinced the path to victory lies in catering to the white, working class voters the party lost in the last election. They talk as if it’s a choice — either stand up for economic fairness or stand up for equality and basic civil rights. Jared Polis knows that there is no choice. He knows that “economic fairness” is meaningless if we’re talking about an economy where women and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


tions when he didn’t believe either was doing enough to protect the safety of LGBTQ immigrants fleeing potentially deadly persecution. And after Trump gave his implicit endorsement to the hate groups rallying in Charlottesville, Polis immediately stood up and called these groups out for what they are: white supremacists who fundamentally oppose everything our nation stands for. Polis has demonstrated a tough backbone when it comes to standing up to the daily chaos of the Trump administration. He also knows that simply playing defense is not enough. He’s running on a bold platform to move our state forward in the areas of education, renewable energy, and economic justice — a platform that should excite every Coloradan who cares about making our state a safer and better place to live and a place that treats everyone equally.

Colorado’s Sickle Cell Solution May Come Through Trial, Error and Courage

Editor: I’ve been a nurse in Colorado for 54 years and I’ve seen many people struggle with chronic diseases. It hasn’t been easy. One disease that stands out among African Americans is sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell is terrible and impacts roughly 14,000 Colorado residents each year, and around 100,000 nationwide. Here is what it looks like: Small, abnormal sickle-shaped cells ravage the body with crippling pain causing severe anemia by sticking cells to blood vessels which often leads to death. The average life expectancy for someone Continued on page 29

Denver’s “Celebrity Chefs” Cook For A Cause

“Over the past four years this event has fulfilled its reputation of being the premier black-tie community fundraiser.” – Chuck Moss, President, 100 Men Who Cook


o you like good eats? Jambalaya? Beef Stroganoff? Or maybe a Crusted Bread Pudding is more to your liking. A Puerto Rican Chicken Fricassee followed by the Greatest Carrot Cake Ever chaser wouldn’t dare miss. Right? What about attending a black-tie gala that’s dedicated to supporting Denver’s youth by helping grassroots community nonprofit organizations? Sound good? Then dust off your tuxedos and evening gowns and head to the Renaissance Denver Hotel at Stapleton on Nov. 25, for the 100 Men Who Cook food-centric fundraiser.

The Fifth Anniversary

The 100 Men Who Cook was founded in Denver in 1984 as a fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund, (UNCF)” explains 100 Men Who Cook Vice President Norma Paige. “It coincided with the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon. So, though we are celebrating our 5th Anniversary this year, the gala is actually 33 years old. We incorporated in 2013 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This has given us the flexibility to fund a host of grassroots organizations serving youth in our community.” During its four-year history, the event has reached the capacity of 700 guests. Page says an interesting piece of trivia is that the 100 Men Who Cook was actually founded by her sister Vivian Kerr who served as the Regional Director for UNCF from 1980

By Laurence Washington

to 1988 and left the community with this gem of an event. Page says the event organizers have stayed fairly close to the original model. The 100 Men Who Cook, Inc. is dedicated to supporting Denver’s youth by helping grassroots community nonprofit organizations that have a proven track record of making a positive and significant impact on youth in the community by raising operating capital to sustain their goals and objectives. We are so proud of and grateful for the small grassroots organizations that we have in our community who are on the ground every day with our youth,” Paige says. “They are doing tremendous work. They go where we won’t go to serve youth and their families. Their purpose is to educate and equip them with the tools that garner success. Our goal is to also shine a light on their efforts making them visible to a larger audience of volunteers and support.” The chefs, all of whom are volunteers, are a combination of professionals, amateurs and foodies with one thing in common. They have a passion for cooking and giving something back to the young people in the community. Samir Paige, this year’s 2017 event Chair says the menu is inclusive of a variety of foods each year, and they put a lot of thought, time and effort into the dishes they prepare. He adds that many of the chefs are mainstays, and that core of chefs grows bigger and bigger each year. “They all want to win our People’s Choice Award which is voted on by

our guests based on the categories of Grilled/BBQ, Entrees, Soups/Stews, Sides, Desserts & Baked Goods and Healthy Flare,” Paige says. Comedian A-Train will host this year’s event which includes a Masquerade Ball, live entertainment featuring Linda Styles, dancing to DJ K-Tone, Casino Royale and a silent auction. The gala colors for the 2017 event are intended to add more ‘spice’ to the proceedings with the signature color of “Silver.” Paige concedes that although the event is named the “100 Men Who Cook,” there are normally around 80 chefs who bring their dishes already prepared for the hotel catering inserts. However, if there are those with culinary desires who wish to participate, they can simply go online to, click on “Chef Registration” to input their information along with their dish. “Hopefully they will submit their recipe which would be displayed in

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


our souvenir book or beautiful recipe cards,” Paige says. Chuck Moss, President of 100 Men Who Cook, says. “We are thrilled to celebrate five years with a masquerade ball. Our volunteer ambassadors have done a phenomenal job of putting this together. The support of Mayor Michael B. Hancock of Denver, continuing to serve as our honorary Chair, speaks volumes to the positive impact we have on the community. Having both Rich Jennings of Comcast and Gary Harris of the Denver Nuggets participating this year adds to the excitement we feel, as we move forward in this effort.” Continued on page 6

2A-2G Will Benefit Many Communities By Wellington E. Webb

One of the main reasons I urge

voters to approve


$973 million bond on the

Nov.7 ballot

the standard four-minute response time. Without the bond money, the new fire station likely won’t get built for years. The District 5 police station, which serves Stapleton, Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, would be rebuilt with the bond. Less than 10 years ago, District 5 housed 57 officers and staff but because of growth now 117 are based at that station. I pushed hard to make sure the bond included improvements to the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, which Wilma and I helped design and build when I was mayor. The library is now more than

14 years old and is beginning to show the signs of wear and tear due to high use. Other benefits from the bond include a new indoor pool constructed in Green Valley Ranch, which has been delayed since 2007. I was fortunate that voters approved a bond package when I was mayor and those projects helped our city thrive. If approved, 2A thru 2G will continue the good work of helping our neighborhoods meet their needs. I hope you’ll join me and vote yes on all the measures. . Editor’s note: Wellington E. Webb served as Denver’s 42nd mayor from 1991-2003.


is that

neighborhoods all around

Denver - including Five Points,

Montbello, Park Hill and Green Valley

Ranch - will benefit. We’ve all seen the enormous growth Denver has experienced in the last few years and the changes to our neighborhoods. The bond money will help the city maintain and improve the unique qualities of our neighborhoods in northeast Denver. Many people are not aware that voting yes means your tax rates will stay the same. The city needs the voters to approve the bond or these projects and others will be delayed, could eventually cost more or may never be complete. Developed with more community input than any bond in our history, since last year the City received more than 4,000 suggestions, ideas and comments on possible bond projects. In the end, City Council voted unanimously to support 460 individual projects. Projects in northeast Denver that will be paid for with the bond money include new sidewalks for Bruce Randolph Avenue, Colorado Boulevard, Smith Road, Peoria Street, Quebec Street and Green Valley Ranch Boulevard. Improvements would also be made to neighborhood recreation centers, including Hiawatha Davis, Montbello, St. Charles and Martin Luther King. In addition, the money would be used to build a new $16 million fire station at 72nd and Tower Road, a new District 5 police station, and for delayed improvements at the BlairCaldwell African American Research Library. The new fire station is needed because 89 percent of emergency incidents in this area of Denver exceeds

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


Corporate Support

This will be the first year that Comcast Senior Vice President Rich Jennings will be serving as the corporate chair. “The unique approach taken to support grassroots nonprofit organizations provides much needed resources to organizations that have proven to significantly impact Denver’s youth,” he says. Jennings adds that he was drawn to the event for a couple of reasons, which include the unique way funds are generated and targeted directly to the community where they are needed most and the ability to partner with many other community leaders around this effort. “And finally,” Jennings says, “anything that has great food attached to it, is good with me. As long as there is food there, I’ll enjoy all of it. The one thing I know for sure is, it’s going to be a great event for a great cause.” Moss says the event has raised approximately $200,000, and has contributed to more than 15 community organizations over the past four years. And that the Renaissance puts a feather in the cap of the event by offering guests a room rate of $96, which

includes a breakfast buffet for two fit for royalty. This year the word “fundraiser” has been added to the event. In fact, the event officials have affectionately dubbed the gala the 100 Men Who Cook Black Tie Fundraiser A Party with a Purpose. Paige explains, “It is a community event so we have attempted to keep tickets to the general public below what you will find for your average dinner or luncheon, and offer our guests a total experience.” Each year we have a volunteer staff of 50 to 75 people,” Moss says. “The planning, coordination and production of the 100 Men Who Cook Black Tie Fundraiser is volunteer-driven. Without the dedication, perseverance and willingness of our ambassadors to donate their valuable time, efforts and talents, we would not be able to complete such a huge undertaking.”

introduced to major corporations that appreciate the role they play in the community. “They fund us so we in turn can provide sustaining funds to grassroots organizations offering programming for youth,” she says. “There are two sponsors that have been with us the entire five years that we must highlight. Jerome Davis and Xcel Energy has been the longstanding major corporation that has stood by us offering council, collaborations and financial support. “As a small business owner, Norvell Ballard of Ballard Family Mortuary, has partnered with us as a title sponsor for all five years. He has set an example to other small businesses as to the responsibility they have to give back to the people that patronize them.” Ballard says being involved in the event with good people for a good cause is always a plus. “It’s our duty to participate in the community,” Ballard says, “and we welcome the opportunity to meet and help people within our community.” And as for favorite dishes? “I must say I truly look forward to some of the southern comfort foods and the spin some of the participants put on classic dishes,” Ballard says. “If there is peach cobbler in the house, I am sure you will catch me near that dish at some point during the evening!” Ballard says that he’s sure that he’ll enjoy himself and that the overall spirit of the event will be positive and uplifting.

Sponsor Support

Paige underlines the fact it’s the event’s sponsors who has made the gala possible. She says, thanks to the support of the gala’s Honorary Chair Mayor Michael B. Hancock, they have been able to be

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Paige add that she and Moss, with more than 80 years of combined volunteer service to the community, are taking their responsibility seriously to raise up the next generation of community servants. “We are not taking a seat,” Paige says, “but we are passing the baton to ensure the sustainability of the 100 Men Who Cook. If we let it stop with us, the organizations that do the hard work for our children will continue to struggle to maintain their missions.” Bon Appetit! . Editor’s note: For tickets and more infomation, visit Former Denver Bronco Rod Smith and Mayor Michael Hancock

Denver socialites Jim and Lil Bracken enjoy the festivities at a recent 100 Men Who Cook

Chefs, volunteers, family and friends dance the night away at a recent 100 Men Who Cook Gala.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


Exercise and Nutrition Tips for Type II Diabetics T

By Kim Farmer

here has been a global increase in the number of people with type II diabetes. And this increase is not only limited to adults, but we are now seeing more cases of type II diabetes in children. One of the key reasons why type II diabetes has increased over the past four decades is because of the lifestyle choices we make for ourselves and our kids. Unfortunately, there are fewer people do any type of consistent exercise and this problem has been compounded by the ready availability of fast foods that are high in fat and calories. There is no cure for type II diabetes but years of research reveals that one of the best ways to lower blood sugar and reduce the need for diabetic medications is in some form of exercise. In the past the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended physical movement for every 90 minutes of sedentary time. Today, the ADA has changed its position; it now recommends some type of movement every 30 minutes. Sedentary behavior such as watching TV, surfing on the computer or attending a meeting has a negative effect on health including diabetes. Recent studies show that management of increased blood sugar can be significantly improved when a sedentary lifestyle is interrupted every 30 minutes. With only three minutes of light physical activity such as walking up a staircase, leg lifts or overhead arm stretches, blood sugar levels may be positively affected. The old saying is true: Any type of physical activity is better than no activity at all. Even though many types of exercises are regularly promoted for type II diabetes, there is no evidence that one particular type of activity is better than the other for all populations although the following guidelines do exist: When you are exercising, your body needs extra energy or fuel (in the form of glucose) for your muscles. For short bursts of exercise, such as a short sprint to catch a bus or running to get out of the rain, the muscles and the liver can release stores of glucose for

fuel. With continued moderate exercising, however, your muscles take up glucose at almost II0 times the normal rate. This can lower blood sugar levels. If you engage in higher intensity exercises, the opposite effect is true and your blood sugar levels increase since the body recognizes the intense exercise as stress and releases stress hormones that tell your body to increase blood sugar to fuel your muscles. You may need insulin after an intense workout which is why you should monitor your glucose levels. It is most important that you select an activity that you prefer because this will ensure compliance in the long run. However, to prevent boredom and monotony, be sure to add other exercise routines to your program. Alternate between cardio, resistance or balance training or simply adopt a generally active lifestyle. Additionally, type II diabetics should pay strict attention to their food choices. As opposed to trying to adopt a ‘diabetic diet’ just use a common sense approach; eat a diet that has an abundance of veggies and fruits, some fish and lean protein, whole grains, low fat dairy and nuts; and avoid excess meat and saturated fats. Enjoy sweets in moderation and control your portion sizes. Since many type II diabetics are overweight or obese, the simplest and most effective exercise is walking. Walking at least 45 to 60 minutes a day is recommended. Each walking session can lead to a loss of 300 calories (depending on your weight), which amounts to 2,100 calories a week which could lead to over two pounds in a month or 24 pounds in a year assuming your nutrition allows for the deficit. There is ample evidence that diabetics who walk cannot only lower their blood sugar, but lose weight, decrease their blood pressure and cholesterol- and some of the biggest benefits of exercise is that it decreases your stress levels, improves your self-esteem and builds confidence. Walking can be done almost anywhere, it is free, and allows you to enjoy nature (but be careful texting while walking!). Now is the time to adjust your lifestyle to allow for regular activity and proper nutrition intake. Learning to purchase and plan your meals properly is a great first step, and involving your children in the process is important for them to learn early and make it a lifestyle for themselves. Thanks for reading! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


Little Rock Nine:

Inspiring the World 60 Years Later By Michael B. Hancock

“Don’t be selfish, Melba!”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. charged a tearful, 16-year-old Melba Pattillo as she hesitated to attend Little Rock’s Central High School in September 1957. “Stop complaining! You are not doing this for yourself, you are doing it for generations you have not seen, who you have not met,” he strongly admonished. Melba Pattillo was one of nine students – along with Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrance Roberts, Erie Green, Carlotta Walls, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray and Thelma Mothershed – who courageously integrated Little Rock’s Central High School 60 years ago [this week]. What would become a defining moment in the South’s resistance to civil rights began quietly with a plan by the Little Rock Board of Education to integrate the city’s schools. What happened after transformed the country.

While most students were met by the smiling faces of friends the first day of school, the Little Rock Nine (LR9) were met by the Arkansas National Guard – sent there, Governor Orval Faubus proclaimed in a statewide broadcast, “for their own protection.” The Governor’s actions, and community’s reaction, would focus the eyes of the world on Little Rock and nine brave young students. America will never forget the heartbreaking image of Elizabeth Eckford walking alone through a gauntlet of threats and racial slurs. “I looked for a friendly face in the crowd, when I thought I found one, an older lady, I looked at her again and she spat on me,” she later recounted. I heard these stories and lessons firsthand during this past weekend when I had the honor to represent Denver in Little Rock at the 60th Anniversary commemoration. I was invited to attend by Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest of the LR9, a Denver resident since 1962.

Like all the LR9, she inspires me and so many in our community. One thing she said stuck with me: “In spite of the constant bullying, being pushed down the stairs, sitting in spittle, being spat on, and having my heals walked on until they bled, I still made the honor roll! I couldn’t allow them to think they had won.” These students are a lesson in perseverance and purpose. I sat spellbound as Ms. LaNier and the other seven remaining LR9 shared their personal reflections about that seminal moment six decades ago, and watched as others were moved to tears and reacted to them as celebrities, much to their own surprise. What to us was a watershed moment for civil rights, was to them, simply trying to go to school. Several of their children and one of their spouses commented how many years would go by before they even knew their loved one was a member of the famed LR9. The emotional weekend was a reminder of how incredibly important it is that our youth remain connected to our history. Whether it’s our fight for independence, the Holocaust, the Little Rock Nine, slavery or the Sand

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


Creek massacre, our young people need to understand that someone fought hard, often paying the ultimate price for rights that they would never fully enjoy themselves, so that we may enjoy them freely today. These moments should educate, inform and inspire our youth, so that they avoid repeating the mistakes of previous generations. And today, in the face of efforts to roll back the progress of our nation for racial unity, equality and opportunity, courageous men and women must step up where they see injustices. Now is the time to show courage, the same courage displayed by the LR9. As one speaker said during the 60th Anniversary dinner, “They showed courage by showing up on day one, but they came back on day two and three and so on.” We, too, must display that courage again and again. Ours is a nation where everyone does matter, and where everyone’s contribution is necessary to carry forth opportunities to the next generation – the generation we have not seen, who we have not met. Thank you, Little Rock Nine, for having the courage to make a difference for all of us!.

Noted Denver attorney Michael

Sawaya attributes his attorney-client “hands on” approach to a story his grandmother once told him. She said a lawyer had driven her and her family from Segundo to Trinidad, a 34-mile round trip, so they could have their day in court. “This is an immigrant Lebanese family,” Sawaya explains. Then with a shade of sarcasm to underline the prejudicial atmosphere of that period, he adds, “They are not important, okay, you understand?” The year: 1905. The Sawayas, a Centennial family, had been in Trinidad since the early 1900s. Sawaya says his grandmother told him how impressed she was that this lawyer would actually take the time to pick up their family, and take them to court. She emphasized to young Michael how that one gesture, meant so much to her. “We’ll, I’m doing it the same way,” Sawaya says who meets with every client who has been involved in an automobile accident. Then pointing to one of the two reddish brown chairs strategically placed in front of his dark brown finished wood desk, he adds, “Everybody who sits in that chair, they’re going to think, ‘I get to talk to this lawyer. He must be pretty important.’ So I want to make sure they feel important, because it’s their case, not mine.”

Nifty-Fifties, North East Park Hill

Sawaya, 68, was born in Trinidad, Colorado. Three years later his family moved to Denver. An even though an oil painting of Fishers Peak, Trinidad’s iconic 9,600 foot landmark hangs behind his desk, and Sawaya will tell you that he’s “proud of where he came from,” the distinguished trial lawyer has deep roots in the Mile High City – especially in the AfricanAmerican community. As an East High School graduate, Sawaya grew up in Northeast, Park Hill on Thrill Place and Glencoe during the ‘50s. “We moved into the neighborhood when I was 5-years old,” he says. “I feel like that’s part of my community.” Sawaya says he’s been blessed to have lived in an integrated neighborhood with families of AfricanAmerican, German, Russian, Jewish and Japanese decent – a rarity in those days. “We were the LebaneseAmerican family, he says. “The Seymours, an African-American family lived next door. Mr. Seymour was the secretary for the Brotherhood of

Denver Attorney Michael Sawaya,

Every Client Is Important To Him By Laurence Washington

Sleeping Car Porters. So he was pretty prominent. We had a little bit of everybody. You didn’t see that much in the ‘50s. “Mr. Dolan lived across the street. He was the first Black man to build a house east of Colorado Boulevard in 1950. He was the nicest man. He had to carry a shotgun out there with him when he was building his house, because he was not wanted.”

their entire culture. So that way we wouldn’t limit them to poverty and language that was only fit in poverty circles.” Sawaya says the project stills interest him, because once someone becomes imprinted with language and once they have had deprivation of nutrients in their early years – they’re not going to stand the chance as somebody else who had those advantages.

It was the 1960s television series, “Perry Mason” that inspired Sawaya to become a lawyer. He says at the time, everybody wanted to be Perry Mason. So he said to himself, ‘I like that,’ but had no idea what a lawyer’s job really entailed. “But I learned that when I went to law school,” Sawaya says. “The more I got to know, the better I liked it. I like to help people with their problems. I like to know that there is an organized and honest way to resolve problems. That’s what lawyers do when we are doing it right.” Early in his career, Sawaya served as a lawyer for the Denver branch of the NAACP for about 20 years. During that period, he worked with the former Denver NAACP branch president, Menola Upshaw who passed away in 2011. Sawaya says he and Upshaw had talked about launching a pilot project, which would take young pregnant mothers and mentor and help them during their pregnancies. “And then once their child was delivered,” he says, “we would mentor the child for the next five years with someone who was familiar with

However, it’s Sawaya’s groundbreaking holiday cab fare program that many Denverites may recognize his name. Sawaya picks up the tab for drivers who called a cab instead of getting behind the wheel because they’ve had too much to drink. “I decide to try it 10 years ago,” Sawaya says. “First we only did it on New Year’s, and then we started with major holidays. I don’t like the idea of people driving drunk.” Sawaya’s says his sister had died in a car accident where alcohol was involved. So, he’s not happy to see anyone driving drunk. “I mean, how many people have gotten behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink, he asks – probably everybody in this country. Because of the fact that we all drink too much at times and we all believe we are safe, even when we’re probably not. Sometimes the drunker you are, the less you realize how drunk you are. “It has worked out giving something back to the community,” he says. “Frankly, it’s just a small drop in the bucket. I figured it does make people stop and think, ‘Should I be driv-

Perry Mason

Cab Fare

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


ing a car with any alcohol?’ Maybe, I’m doing them and somebody else a favor.” Sawaya says if it’s just a tiny little drop, maybe it will ripple off to other people. “At least it lets me know, I did all I can.”

Different Cases

After graduating from law school, Sawaya says jobs were scarce. So he worked out of his mother’s house the first year until landing a job in April 1976 with George Ashen, a successful general practitioner. During his tenure as a lawyer, Sawaya has tried just about every kind of case under the sun from big bond houses to divorce cases to working with civic associations. He’s represented more than 40,000 people in his career including a first-degree murder case involving a young man from North East Park Hill. “I got the guy off,” Sawaya says. “They dropped the charges, proving that he did it out of self defense. I’ve represented people in large value cases; people who have been severely injured, and I’ve represented lots and lots of folks in the community for just their ordinary legal affairs. I started this law firm when I was 27; it was a lot smaller of course for the first 15 or 16 years.” For the past 28 years, Sawaya has been exclusively working automobile accidents, personal injury, workman compensation and Social Security disability cases. Since 2002, Sawaya’s offices have been located in the historic Bailey Mansion, 1600 Ogden St., with 100 employees and 22 lawyers.

Music and Culinary Arts

It isn’t just legal wrangling that defines Michael Sawaya. The counselor is also a musician. “Well, I’m studying the piano,” he explains with a slight smile. “I can’t say that I’m performance ready, but I could play by ear for the melody; which I have done before. But, the flute and saxophone are my instruments.” Sawaya started playing the saxophone at 8-years-old when his father, a musician in his own right, gave him a saxophone. “I still remember the day he gave it to me,” Sawaya says. “I was in the East High school band, and since then, I’ve played with musicians, but I’ve never been in group. I have played around town a few times, and played at my friend Clint Williams’ funeral where I soloed.” Sawaya says if he can’t spend time with music everyday, then he feel like it’s not a very good day. “It could be piano, or one of my other instruments, but I have to Continued on page 11

A Night of Journalists: The CABJ Praises and Awards Journalists in All Mediums at 30th Annual Gala

By Khaleel Herbert

CABJ President Gabrielle Bryant, TaRhonda Thomas, Ama Arthur-Asmah, Eddie Randle and Nelson Garcia Photos by Eliott Faust

Various African-American jour-

nalists were praised and honored at the Colorado Association of Black Journalists’ (CABJ) 30th Annual Scribes in Excellence Gala on Sept. 29 at the Denver Marriott City Center. Kicking off the program with jokes and humor was CABJ communica

tions board member Gellilla GebreMichael, who was the emcee for the evening. CABJ President Gabrielle Bryant addressed the audience while providing encouraging words to the journalists in the room. “This is such a trying time to be a journalist. Despite our best efforts, our

ethics and our dignity are being questioned,” Bryant said. “The tragedies just don’t seem to end. But this is when we shine. This is when we get creative. This is when we persist. “To the students – aspiring journalists, mid-level–and to the veterans, please continue to innovate,” Bryant added to the crowd’s roaring applause. “We’re trend-setters and really, the true history book writers.” As part of the program, Gregory Moore, former editor of Denver Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Boston Globe newspapers; Gloria Neal, the CEO of GloKnows Unlimited LLC, a multimedia management company that specializes in strategic media training and advocacy journalism; and Tim Wieland, the news director for CBS 4 Denver took the stage to discuss journalism under attack. As the moderator, Neal asked Moore and Wieland various questions about journalism trends under attack. And with no surprise, President Trump came up a few times in this discussion. “The way I describe Trump is, if you’ve ever been in a book club and somebody didn’t read the book but they do all the talking. That’s what Trump is like,” Moore said, which gained laughs from the audience. “I say to the journalist, pay attention to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


CABJ President Gabrielle Bryant and DUS contributor Theo J. Wilson

the book. Stay focused on the book. And I think the best journalism is focused on the book, focused on the facts, focused on what matters.” “We’re a deeply antagonized group. We’re very proud of the work that we do. We’re very defensive of it. So when we are under attack we go down that rabbit hole of wanting to defend ourselves,” Wieland said. “So we do take our eye off the ball. We do focus on the salad, and not the meat and potatoes, because it’s so easy for us to do.” “There have been presidents like John Adams and others who didn’t like the press. We had the Alien and

CABJ President Gabrielle Bryant and DUS contributor Melovy Melvin

CABJ President Gabrielle Bryant and DUS contributor Allan Tellis

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For all your real estate needs Sedition Act where editors and publishers were put in jail for saying things the politicians didn’t like,” Moore said. “This is not new. Here we are 200 years later, and we’ll survive this too.” Asia Black, a sophomore at the University of Colorado–Denver studying Communications, received the $1,000 2017 CABJ Journalism Scholarship. The scholarship is also in partnership with DJ Ktone’s Communication Grant. “As a young woman who had lost her way, I’m really glad that I have the support of so many people. CABJ and DJ Ktone, thank you so much,” Black humbly said to the crowd. “I really appreciate this because it’s going to help me to pursue my dreams and to live up to what I promised to myself, to my family, to my friends and to my colleagues to finish college, and be part of such a huge organization that does so much in the lives of people every single day.” The Scribes in Excellence (SIE) Awards were given to deserving individuals in the various mediums of journalism. The Denver Urban Spectrum picked up numerous awards. Graphic designer Jody Gilbert won a SIE Award for News Print-Art Design for the DUS February 2017 Celebrating Black History cover. Managing editor Laurence Washington’s 2016 “African-American Women Inspire and Dominate the Summer Olympics” scored an award for News Print-Sports. Contributor Allan Tellis won the News Print-Feature for his article, “Tommy Davidson: Flying Fearless and Using Laughter to Shape Perceptions.” The News Print-Overall Excellence Award went to Melovy Melvin for her article, “Challenging Choice for First Time Millennial Voters.” The News Print in a Series Award went to contributor Theo E.J. Wilson for his stories, “Police Murder Expose Need for Nationhood ASAP!” “Integration May End with Obama,” “White Conservatives Deserve Trump,” and

“Steve Bannon and the Dangerous Myth of White Genocide.” DUS contributor Tanya Ishikawa received the Print Business award for “Inspiring Young Banneker’s in the Inner City.” And for News Print-Specialty, publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris was the recipient for the Spectrum’s January 2017’s “Reflections On a Legacy: Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States.” The 2017 Print Journalist of the Year Award went to DUS contributor Allan Tellis. “We have to help inform and empower the people or things will never change,” Tellis said to the audience. “I’m a freelancer, so I appreciate everyone that gives me an opportunity. I’m a young Black man. I’m 24. We don’t get heard from too often, especially about things that matter.”.

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Continued from page 19 have music,” he says. But I’m mostly a lawyer, and I don’t have a lot of time to go out and develop my music. I would if I could.” Another passion of Sawaya’s is cooking. He’s a family man, and loves to cook recipes handed down by his grandmother. Sawaya’s home pantry is full of spices from around the world, and he especially enjoys cooking food from his garden. “Maybe get some collards and some green tomatoes, and I’ll start cooking something up,” he says. “I’ve been cooking for some 50 years, so you just give me your refrigerator, whatever you got in there, and I’ll cook something up.” In support of the 100 Men Who Cook, Sawaya will be lending his skills as one of the celebrity chefs on November 25. But again, Sawaya’s main passion is addressing issues in the community that are near and dear to his heart. “I’m part of the community – having been in and around it for the last 62 years. Everyone who sits in that chair is important to me.”.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017Urban Spectrum — – January 2010 Denver



Film Star Octavia Spencer

Talks Movies, Math, Minny,

and Much More at Women’s Foundation Annual Luncheon


By Angelle C. Fouther - Photo by Flor Blake

ince making her film debut in the 1996 dramatic film, A Time to Kill, actress Octavia Spencer has been a regular presence on the big screen, but her real breakthrough came in 2011 when she starred as Minny Jackson in the period drama film The Help, for which she won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress. She’s also been critically acclaimed for her roles in Fruitvale Station, The Divergent Series, and Get on Up, among other films. But it’s her role as NASA mathematician, Dorothy Vaughan, in the hit movie Hidden Figures that really propelled her to stardom, while simultaneously demonstrating that Black women not only can, but have been key players in the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) throughout the last century. This fact is one of the key reasons that the Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) tapped her to be their 2017 annual luncheon keynote speaker. The Women’s Foundation, just coming off the heels of another very influential guest speaker, also presented Octavia in a dialogue format with WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel who also engaged Michelle Obama in a similar format in July, in front of a crowd of more than 9,000 audience members. It was the former First Lady’s first speaking engagement since leaving the White House. “The only ground rule for today is: keep it real,” Lauren shared as she opened up the discussion with Octavia. And keep it real they did –

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, stands with Octavia Spencer after their live conversation at The Foundation’s Annual Luncheon. Photo by Molly McCormick

discussing everything from growing up in the South to Minny’s chocolate pie, to art, philanthropy, STEM and girls’ empowerment. In fact, in the midst of talking about her reasons for buying out a theater for girls to watch

the movie Hidden Figures, Spencer was so moved by tears, she could barely express her thoughts. “My mother had seven kids and, like, four jobs,” she shared. “We didn’t go to movies a lot. When I was in Toronto promoting the movie [Hidden Figures], I wanted little girls to know that no matter what your status in life, you can do what you love. These women were doing what they loved. Every little girl should get to see that if they want to do something, they can do it.” Spencer said she suffered from Dyslexia as a child, which was challenging because she loved to read. “My mother was a fireball,” she shared. “She would never allow me to say ‘I can’t.’ She’d say ‘Whatever your challenge, that’s your superhero power.’” The actress worked around her disability to become a voracious reader and author, penning “The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit,” and “The Sweetest Heist in History.” When considering the roles she has played over the years, Spencer said “none of them have resembled me. I think I learned a lot from each of them, though. For example, I learned from Minnie Jackson (The Help) that you don’t know if a glass is half empty of half full, if you don’t own a glass. Minnie didn’t own a glass, but Spencer does.” Spencer has also recently taken on a role behind the

camera, as a film producer. She shared that in this role she is able to discover new voices coming out of Hollywood. The actress breaks the mold in many ways and said she constantly encounters people who ask her, “How are you successful as an actress without being skinny, or how can you be happy as a single woman with no children?” In response, she shares, “Are you happy getting to do what you love? Your view of your life should be the only one that matters. God gives us what we know we should have. I can’t keep plants alive. I get it, God. I get it.” Some key advice for young and old, rich and poor, Black and white: “Try to treat triumph and disaster the same. Don’t allow success of the lack thereof to define you. When you are in this business, people throw things and money at you and it can distort your view. I’m glad I have an Academy Award so now I can choose the roles I want. But if I choose one and I am terrible at it, I’m not devastated. I just say, “oh well, that didn’t work, and move on to the next thing.” During the conversation with Casteel, the actress praised the work of the Women’s Foundation and to support the efforts to empower young women, especially those striving in the areas of STEM training and work, Spencer donated back her speaker’s fee.. •The decisions you make early in life impact your future.

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Ella Coney Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


On Dick Gregory’s Birthday,

I Recalled His Encouragement to Write About ‘the Seen and the Unseen’ By Dr. Barbara Reynolds

( - The celebration of the life of Dick Gregory on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the City of Praise church in Landover, Md. was more than seven hours of eclectic diversity that included a serenade by Native Americans, a musical tribute with Ayanna Gregg’s daughter and Stevie Wonder, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’ Donnell, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the fiery Rep. Maxine Waters, who vowed to help impeach that “thing” in the White House. There were torrents of Hallelujahs and especially As-Salaam-Alaikums as Nation of Islam Min. Louis Farrakhan began a profoundly uplifting eulogy. It was fascinating to see how a man born on Oct. 12, 1932, so far down in the cracks of society could rise so far: jailed countless times in the fight for human rights; wrote 13 books; a star

on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, movie roles, a celebrated humorist and global humanitarian. Born 85 years ago in the slums of St. Louis, his mother, Lucille Gregory, had to put plastic on her feet to keep them from getting wet as she walked to work. A white man knocked out two of his front teeth at 10-years old for touching a White woman as he shined her shoes and the family was chronically evicted for the inability to pay their $18 monthly rent. What kind of journalist would I have become if it had not been for Gregory becoming my mentor and coach for more than three decades as I tried to survive as a pioneering Black woman journalist in White newsrooms? I have pondered this thought since his death, but intently on his birthday, Oct. 12. He had an incredible impact on my career.

He was the one who pushed me to go out on a limb for unpopular people and for causes even if the limb broke off; how not to discount conspiracies just because it is safer to believe a lie rather than an unpopular truth; and how to look and expose the liars, the exploiters in high places, no matter who and where they were.

that in Ethiopia accountable. Gregory’s amazing success in Ethiopia did not get press in the United States. But he told me his mission was saving lives, which was all that mattered. Even amidst such tears, Gregory could bring humor. On the way home

Richard Claxton Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017) Should I state the obvious of how badly Gregory is still needed today? Of course, following the Dick Gregory style book meant you wouldn’t have a job long. In some newsrooms the reward for not toeing the company line, disbelieving that white is always right, and caring more for the masses at the bottom than the big shots at the top means a swift kick out the door. It was not unusual for Gregory to entice me to venture off to distant lands or to stick my nose into events that sounded and looked correct, but would turn out to be rotten to the core. Gregory was a renowned health enthusiast who developed weight loss products, such as the Bahamian Diet, which was popular in the states. In 1985, he developed a low cost nutritional product to fight famine and took 50 truckloads of it to Ethiopia. I went with him and I saw hundreds dying from starvation in resettlement camps in the desert. I held in my arms, 5-year-old children who were so emaciated, they looked half their age, and women who were so exhausted, they collapsed as they walked. The products he delivered saved many lives. I began to understand that hunger and homelessness in the world, where people were dying from obesity was criminal. It is not because of a lack of resources, but a lack of will, and the failure to hold governments, such as

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


from Ethiopia, the plane stopped briefly in Rome and much to the surprise of his friends, he grabbed his bag and headed for the exit. “Why are you getting off here?” I hollered at him. With a smile and a swagger he answered, “Don’t forget I am an international nigger,” which left the rest of us laughing. Dick Gregory was often shunned and slammed as a “conspiracy nut.” In time, he usually would be proven right. Greg and I would often meet at some out of- the way place. He would pull out his big battered brown brief case jammed with reports and facts counter to what the news bosses wanted to see. One day in 1996, he called me and said, “Barbara, you know they murdered Ron Brown.” Brown was the first Black U.S. Secretary of Commerce. On April 3, Brown died in a plane crash on a mountaintop in Croatia along with 34 others. “C’mon Greg, don’t tell me that. I am in enough trouble on my job.” I knew news executives generally hated conspiracies. Besides, who would murder all those people to get at one man even though Brown had been threatening to expose others in high places involved in illegal campaign funding rather than taking the fall himself? Nevertheless, I met with Greg. He showed me some disturbing

reports. First the New York Times had reported that Brown’s body was so mangled it would be virtually impossible to identify. Yet, Greg had a picture that clearly showed Brown’s body in tact at the crash site. Time Magazine had reported there had been a terrible storm that contributed to the crash, but later reports showed only drizzling rain. Several investigators at Dover Delaware, where Brown’s body was carried for examination, reported a circular hole in his skull that some forensic experts said appeared to be from a gunshot but the x-rays which could have cleared up the matter turned up missing. In addition, the manager of the airport where the plane crashed reportedly committed “suicide,” before investigators could conduct an interview. Whether or not Brown was murdered was never proven and few, if any, news groups tried to get to the bottom of how he died. Gregory and Rep. Maxine Waters planted yellow crime scene tape banners around the Institute of Pathology to highlight the case and Gregory was arrested for refusing to leave the scene. I was also able to write several columns about Brown for USA TODAY and several schools were named after Brown. And for many that appears to be enough. When the establishment would not budge to find the truth behind the assassination of leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Gregory wrote books to shame the system for their closed minds. In Callus On My Soul, he told how “the brothers who shot Malcolm X were paid by the CIA,” who he said had rented the Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was murdered a week before. In Code Name Zorro: The Murder of Martin Luther King Jr. (with Mark Lane) he wrote how on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was murdered in a conspiracy between the Memphis Police Department, the Mafia and the CIA, which had a Black man planted on the balcony of the Memphis Lorraine Motel at the time of the shooting. The kind of information Gregory unearthed hardly ever received major news coverage because his facts ran counter to the acceptable narratives of the news operations. In addition to those of us who insisted upon using Gregory’s truths, rather than that of the major institutions, were viewed as untrustworthy and soon fell out of favor. The Iran-Contra story, with my determination to ensure Greg received his just due, was the last straw that helped separate me from my job as a national reporter at a major Chicago newspaper.

In 1979, 66 hostages had been taken by Iranian revolutionaries who were threatening to kill them. Greg made his way to Iran to pray and fast for the hostages’ release. The State Department and newsrooms were feverishly looking hard for an American who could talk to the Ayatollah. When the Ayatollah learned that Greg was in Iran and had fasted for peace during his four month stay, losing 51 pounds, he invited him to meet with him. Greg said the Ayatollah thanked Greg for coming and also prayed that the hostage crisis would end peacefully.

Greg called me from Tehran giving me a first-hand report of this significant development. One time, the bombing and shootings in the background sounded so real I literally ducked under my desk, thinking the noise was from outside my window. The Chicago Tribune ran the story for one edition but pulled it in later ones. I was terribly upset by this because I knew if a white man had met with the Ayatollah in the midst of such a crisis it would have been major news. Eventually, I wrote of his heroic venture in a cover story for Playboy Magazine. Shortly after that, I

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


was forced to part company with the newspaper. On page 199 of Gregg’s book “Callus on My Soul” he wrote: “There is no better writer than Barbara Reynolds ..... She understands the way this government works and the trickery that comes with it.” Clearly, my understanding of the workings of certain institutions and government came from my coach Gregory. It has left me well equipped to monitor and write about the Trump presidency and those to come - what is seen and unseen. Thank you, Mr. Gregory..

39th Annual Tribute to Black Women

Courageous Women: A Call to Activis m By Annette Walker


hat none of us could have predicted was the election of 2016,” said Halisi Vinson, President of the Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA), in her opening remarks at the 39th Annual Tribute to Black Women. “We could not have predicted that there would be a Ku Klux Klan sympathizer in the White House,” she told the 480 persons in attendance at the Renaissance Stapleton Hotel in October. Emphasizing that the political climate is unacceptable and requires meaningful change, Vinson presented this year’s theme, “Courageous Women: A Call to Activism.” Other speakers agreed with Vinson’s description of the national political scene and that the situation requires action. Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne cautioned that a rollback in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will affect maternity care benefits for some women. Congressional representative Jared Polis lamented the divisive actions of the Trump administration which have led to the resurfacing of white supremacy groups. The African-American vote is significant, however, as noted by Congresswoman Diana DeGette, “African-American women constituted the group with the highest percentage of votes in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.” The idea that the community is a force to be reckoned with was reiterated throughout the program. Colorado State Senator Rhonda Fields presented the eight AfricanAmerican state legislators, the highest number to date. “We have come a long way,” said Fields. “Congratulations to the Colorado Black Women for Political Action for celebrating positivity, rather than negativity,” said Tara Dowdell, keynote speaker for this year’s Tribute. Dowdell is a communications strategist with an extensive background in government in New Jersey and New York. She is a commentator on MSNBC and Fox5-New York, providing insight and analysis on a wide

Left to right: Portia Prescott, Janet Buckner, Angela Lawson, Halisa Vinson and Sean Bradley

Photo by Brother Jeff

Senator Angela Williams, Representative Janet Buckner, Representative Dominique Jackson, Senator Rhonda Fields and Representative Leslie Herod Photo by Brother Jeff

Terri Jackson and Norma Paige

Eddie and Andria Koen Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


range of government and business topics. Dowdell urges African-American women and the community in general to take control of their narrative. “We must tell our own stories. If not, others will.” She quoted Frederick Douglass’ powerful statement made in the 19th century: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.” She, therefore, has developed a five-part strategy for the AfricanAmerican community to reclaim its power: 1) Facts: “We must know them,” she emphasized. The example she used is that businesses owned by African-American women have increased considerably since the year 2000. “We must celebrate and support their businesses.” 2) Get Involved: “If not, we may be ceding power to people who wish us ill. We are asking for equal access to opportunities. And this is not new. We have always done this,” she said. Dowdell pointed out that in Kentucky and Connecticut African-American women hold top state positions. In addition, in the United States there are only four Black mayors and 18 legislators in the U.S. Congress. 3) Mentor a Young Person: “Take them with you to your adult activities,” she said, mentioning that she takes her goddaughter to many political meetings. She said that young people need to see Black adults who are involved in solving community issues. 4) Vote: “Do this with discretion, of course,” she said. “And follow-up is necessary in order to achieve accountability.” 5) Support One Another: “We must be careful of those who seek to divide,” she cautioned. Dowdell concluded by emphasizing that “We are the change that we are waiting for.” In honor of the organization’s annual tribute luncheon, Clementine Washington Pigford, Xakema Henderson, Reverend Tammy GarrettWilliams and Janiece Mackey were recognized and received the Tribute To Black Women awards. . Editor’s note: For more information or to get involved with CBWPA, call 720-2880119 or visit



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Known to some as “the Candy Man,� Lonnie Somers will be wearing numerous hats - in addition to the one that’s part of his Candy Man costume - on Sunday, Nov. 12 during the 14th annual Great Candy Run. This sweet event takes place in Denver’s Washington Park and benefits the Fetal Health Foundation (FHF). Somers is a founder and the chief executive officer of the Littleton-based national nonprofit that’s leading the way in supporting families and medical treatment centers dealing with fetal health syndromes. He is also the president and owner of Hal Sports, the timing/scoring partner for more

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than 100 local and national events annually, including The Great Candy Run. And, most importantly, he is the proud father of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) survivors. His daughters are the inspiration that drives the success of The Great Candy Run and the Fetal Health Foundation. In addition to his commitment to bringing help and hope to the many families who are impacted by a fetal syndrome every day, Somers is also dedicated to improving the lives of Colorado youth by facilitating their participation in physical activities. He frequently works with event coordinators and sponsors to make sure local

events are enticing and affordable for young people. For the past several years, Somers has worked with sponsors to underwrite The Great Candy Run registration fees for lowerincome students including the girls running club at Commerce City’s Kemp Elementary. Nearly 80 percent of the students at Kemp qualify for the free or reduced lunch program; typically, these families don’t have the discretionary income to pay for race fees. Autumn Senchuk, the club’s coach, said that participating in The Great Candy Run benefits the students mentally, by providing them with a goal to work towards and helping them focus on skills that aid them in the classroom and boosting self-esteem, as well as physically. The team’s participation in The Great Candy Run also fosters community spirit and engages the parents. “Being part of The Great Candy Run is an incredible experience for the girls and helps them develop confidence,” Senchuk said. “They are so proud to be celebrated for their accomplishments both at the race and in a later school assembly. In previous years, the girls have talked about the Run all year and worn their race shirts on Spirit Days.”


This year, Senchuk is excited to bring 30+ members of Kemp’s girls’ running club to The Great Candy Run thanks in part to the generosity of Somers and event sponsors like the Colorado Fetal Care Center. Through the club, the third through fifth grade girls, become aware of healthy living skills, build team work and develop an interest in running as a hobby. Members also focus on nutritious eating, being role models within the school and doing well academically. Somers is glad to be able to facilitate the Kemp team’s participation in The Great Candy Run. Says Somers, “All physical activities are important for our youth today - both for their health and for the lessons participation teaches, such as goal setting, commitment and accomplishment. I believe that the finish line represents not the end, but the start of what is possible. “ In addition to the 5K Run/Walk, there will be a free Coda Coffee Kids Fun Run, Lolli’s Candy Village, costume contests, prize money, medals for all finishers, entertainment, celebrity appearances by local mascots, post-race expo area, and, of course, plenty of sweet treats.. Editor’s note: For more information visit Learn more about the Fetal Health Foundation at

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


To Trump on NBC ‘License’ Tweet: No! T

By Gene Policinski

here’s only one appropriate, spirit-of-freedom response to the “Trump tweet” on Wednesday asking when it’s “appropriate” for the government to punish NBC News for a story the president didn’t like: Never. And yes, the repetition of “appropriate” and the use of italics are for emphasis. Trump is disputing an NBC report earlier in the day — based on interviews with three officials in the room at the time — that during a July meeting Trump had proposed a massive increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal, which critics immediately pounced on as evidence he was naive and ignorant of the cost, policy and treaty barriers to such an increase. “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” the president tweeted. No — what’s bad for the country is for a president to threaten a news organ-

ization over a story that offended him — and about which it should be noted, the White House did not offer evidence or witnesses to discredit. NBC, to its credit, also reported that no action was taken on Trump’s alleged proposal to increase by tenfold the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal of some 7,000 warheads. Trump supporters said it was likely he was only raising a “provocative” idea to prompt responses from his military advisers — which they said is in line with his combative management style. True or disputed, style or substance, there’s no room in any president’s vocabulary for words that would try to put a news outlet out of business for a report. Criticize, call out or condemn — all fair game, and all tactics that Trump has used frequently to counter news accounts he does not like, even during his campaign and his previous careers in reality TV and real estate. So far, Trump’s most heated attacks on journalists or news operations have

been more hot air than real fire. But raising the idea of a direct challenge on news networks’ licenses crosses the line from complaint to a threat of government censorship. It’s not that Trump has no effective means to get his version of things to the public. His tweets regularly reach millions of people, and he has the “bully pulpit” of his office, which means he can grab headlines by simply deciding to do so. The tweet on challenging licenses is simply a step too far for the leader of a democratic nation, whether he or one of his surrogates takes on the task. Not that he is the first president to consider doing so: Richard Nixon, deep in the pit of the Watergate scandal, discussed going after the licenses of a station owned by the Washington Post Co. and Newsweek because of the Post’s aggressive reporting. Two challenges were later mounted by individuals close to Nixon, but not directly tied to the White House, according to the Post in a story published after Trump’s Wednesday tweet. But, that story noted, “The difference here is that Nixon talked about the scheme only privately.” We’ve been down this road before, and rejected the idea of a subservient press beholden to government at any level. In 1798, eight years after adopting the Bill of Rights (which includes the First Amendment) Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a crime to criticize the president or Congress. Some 20 editors were jailed, but the nation recoiled at the crackdown on free speech and the press, even reelecting one editor, Matthew Lyon of Vermont, to Congress while he was behind bars. The law faded from the books in 1801, and some historians and First Amendment advocates say the experience “inoculated” the country from such overt attempts to muzzle what the nation’s founders protected as the “watchdog on government.” George Washington is said to have decided against seeking another term because of harsh press criticism, and John Adams suffered from insults ranging from “balding head royalist” to words we hesitate to use publicly today. Lincoln briefly jailed so-called “Copperhead” editors whom he saw as Confederate sympathizers — but the action is considered a stain on the record of the Great Emancipator, even

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


though he said at the time it was because the editors were encouraging riots and attacks on Union troops. Going after the business and government licenses of news operations in order to silence critics would echo the strong-arm tactics of the worst dictatorial nations today, something that we see in nations such as Turkey and Eritrea. Joel Simon, head of the worldwide press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists, coined a word several years ago to describe elected leaders who eschewed jailing or murdering journalists they disliked: a “Democrator.” Trump has every right to respond to critics and stories he thinks are unfair, inaccurate or insulting. But the “licenses” tweet is not merely un-presidential, it’s undemocratic and unpatriotic. We’ve made it as a nation since 1776 without the official licensing of printers and publications that was in place under the English king, so let’s not start now. A suggestion to Trump: Feeling frustrated and “demeaned?” Why not just tweet about it? . Editor’s note: Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the Institute’s First Amendment Center. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @genefac


R-U-A PRO FITNESS Host Annual Senior Fitness Appreciation Luncheon

For the past 15 years, Rudy McClinon and his family have volunteered to help the senior community understand the importance of maintaining good physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. On Sept. 22 at the Zion Senior Center, more than 125 of our Senior Fitness Pros from Sable Ridge Residences, Larimer Place, Dahlia Place, The Butler Sisters and Zion Senior Center were invited to enjoy a soul food luncheon in their honor prepared by Regina Jones of Dinner in a Dash and Kijana Bullock of Type 2 Delights. Special tribute was given to several physically active older adults who were 90 years of age and older which included B. Louise Dave (91), Hannah Houston (93), Ulyssess Parker (90), Lugene Harper (96), Loleta Seymour (94), and L. Cecelia Reynolds (99). These inspirational individuals are examples of why it’s important to remain socially and physically engaged. The Senior Fitness Pros were entertained by vocalist Linda Styles, Michael Smith and is Freestyle Urban Dancers and Charles Doss and his Let’s Start Dancing crew. Purpose of the luncheon was to express appreciation to the class participants for their business while providing a service that is much needed to the senior community. Editor’s note: Rudy and Elissa-Diaz McClinon are certified personal and group trainers. For more information, visit

Outstanding Elementary Students from Denver Public Schools Honored As Scholars

Eighteen students from 10 different Denver Public Schools (DPS) elementary schools were honored for outstanding scholarship and academic achievement when the Cyndi Kahn

and Jessica Pearson Awards were presented last month. The awards are sponsored by Scholars Unlimited, a Denver nonprofit founded by Kahn and Pearson to narrow the educational achievement gap for students from low-income backgrounds. The awards ceremony was held at the Denver School of the Arts (DSA) in Denver. The ceremony included a performance by DSA students, dinner and the presentation of awards. The Cynthia C. Kahn Award for Outstanding Participation is presented to one outstanding student from each DPS elementary school that hosted Scholars Unlimited’s signature summer learning program during summer 2017. Winners have demonstrated a positive attitude, an eagerness to learn, a willingness to help others, and have consistently put forth strong efforts to become better readers. Students representing Amesse, Ashley, Columbine, Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, Harrington, Oakland, Stedman, Swansea, and Whittier K-8 were presented with a certificate, books, and a $50 stipend for a college savings account. The Jessica Pearson Award for Outstanding Achievement is presented to the student from each host DPS elementary school who made the greatest gains in reading during the 2016-2017session of Scholars Unlimited’s “Scholars After School” after-school program. Award winners attended Amesse, Ashley, Columbine, Florida Pitt Waller, Harrington, Oakland, Stedman, Swansea, and Whittier K-8. They also will receive a certificate, books, and the $50 stipend.

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation’s Announce New Board Trustee Member

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation welcomes CBS4 Denver’s Community Affairs Director, Elaine D. Torres to the Board of Trustees. Torres was named

to the board in July 2017. As CBS4 Denver’s Community Affairs Director, Torres oversees the station’s community partnerships through special events, initiatives, and other signature station events. She’s also the go-to person for the station’s sponsorships, charitable giving, and community outreach.

Along with Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Torres serves on several community boards and committees, including the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, and the Denver Art Museum’s Market & Strategic Alliance Committee. Bonfils-Stanton Foundation also announces the latest awarded grants from a recent quarterly meeting. The Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on the arts and cultural organizations that help inspire people and create and fuel an intellectual economy. The recent grants total $876,500.


Church Usher’s Union of Colorado Support Hurricane Harvey With Donations

The Church Ushers Union of Colorado came together to gather donations for the Hurricane Harvey victims. Donations received ranged from women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes, purses, small kitchen appliances, towels, school supplies and miscellaneous items. Tyler Jones and Cigna provided large donation of diapers, wipes and baby formula. According to President Rugenia Hendricks, it was a great experience for the ushers, the community and volunteers to come together as one to serve and provide for the victims in need. An entire trailer was filled and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


sent to Port Arthur, Texas filled with Love and items that can be used and cherished for those in dire need.

Eyes That Follow You Across the Room: A Portrait of Artist Angela McClellan

By Khaleel Herbert hen Angela McClellan isn’t fulfilling her duties as the executive assistant of Midrange Systems Solutions Technologies Inc., or watching her daughter’s fivemonth-old Rottweiler, she’s hard at work drawing portraits of celebrities.


Falling into the Art of Things

McClellan and her family lived in Wichita, Kanas – the “Doo-Dah” city. McClellan attended Curtis Jr. High where she truly fell in love with art. “In all of my art classes and whenever I’d get the chance on any project or assignment, I would move it to a portrait somehow,” McClellan says. “Or just something with lots of depth.” In her advanced drawing class freshman year, McClellan recalls turning one of her assignments into a portrait of actress Farrah Fawcett. “My art teacher Ms. Tate said, ‘Angie, I think that’s too much.’ I really hadn’t done it myself or attempted it, but I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.” McClellan says. “It came out so good. The color, pastel pencils wasn’t all that great, but it’ll do for a ninth grader. But the pencil side really came out nicely and she loved it.” The next assignment, McClellan was instructed to draw still-life pictures of plants that Ms. Tate brought in. McClellan’s still-life pictures soared with flying colors. Ms. Tate was so impressed that she entered McClellan’s art into an arts and literary competition at Wichita’s Century

II Performing Arts & Convention Center. She won a golden key award for it. “I was so happy,” McClellan says. “And at that point, I said, ‘I’m gonna keep doing my artwork.’” Michelangelo, Frida Kahlo, Monet and Manet are McClellan’s favorite artists. “Mainly, when I go back to the portraits I love most, it would be Michelangelo because they’re so realistic,” McClellan says. “There’s so much depth in them and his portraits are the ones that I began to draw from. When I really got serious about these, eyes have to follow you across the room.”

Leaving Doo-Dah City

In 1979, McClellan and her family left Wichita when her mother’s job at Metz Lumber Company relocated to Colorado. “Metz Lumber had the bulk of their lumber yards here in Colorado, but the corporate offices were in Wichita and Derby, right outside of there, and my mother worked there at the time,” McClellan says. “Mr. Metz Jr. took all the families that worked in the corporate office and transferred all of them to Denver.” When McClellan graduated from Pomona High School, she went to the Art Institute of Colorado to study graphic arts. She stayed only for nine months. “It was a wonderful experience. I did learn during the, what I call, the

fine part of it–drawing people and their bodies, but I was still more focused on portraits which I’ve always loved doing,” McClellan says, “But I learned so much about mixing colors and that really helped me with my backgrounds, because I can’t paint to save my life.” McClellan picked up a job at the real estate company, Moore Relocation for a year. Metz Lumber went bankrupt and her parents wanted her to move with them back to Wichita. “I had to have that talk with my mother,” McClellan recalls. “‘I’m not going back to Kansas with you all. I’m not a child anymore. I got a good job and I can’t risk my onward and upward’ and by that time, I liked it here.”

The Portrait Process

McClellan mostly draws portraits of singers, actors and celebrities that she most admires. She’s also done portraits of her friends and family. “I do celebrities – people who I admire, either what they do and how they do it; their acting ability, the beauty in their faces,” McClellan adds. “And, of course a lot of singers and artists that I love: Biggie, Tupac, Rick James, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone. I love everything that Nina stands for.” Most of her portraits are done in ebony pencils and colored ink. “The whole portrait itself of the person’s face is going to be in the ebony pencils because I love it. I get so

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


much depth and black and I can lift out shades if I don’t go too heavy,” McClellan says. “Then I’ll go in with colored ink and acrylic paint here and there. Lately, and just because they’ve been flamboyant characters, the Rick James portrait and Big Freeda, I’ve put Swarovski crystals on them because that’s who they are. They’re very sparkly and sexy.” It takes McClellan 24 to 36 hours to finish one portrait, which equals a couple weeks, taking one to two hours a day to work on it. Sometimes the results of her portraits come out differently than what she expects. “It just turns out that way,” McClellan explains. “Like after the Michael Jackson portrait, I put the gold on him and to me, it came out looking like angel wings. I thought, ‘Oh, I just like that. How’d you do that, Angie?’” McClellan says she always had a fascination with faces. “I love faces. I don’t know why. I love to look at my artwork and other people’s artwork where I can go over in the corner and look at it,” McClellan explains, “and the piece is still looking at me. I love that. It gives me chills.” McClellan explains why she starts with the eyes. “My art teachers taught me, ‘Angie, you have to do the whole shape of the head and then go in.’ I tried it. I was disappointed,” McClellan says. “And I’m not saying anyone else is making that mistake by the way that they draw. They loved what they saw, but I said, ‘Ms. Tate, I wanna start this portrait the way I think I’m gonna do this, ok?’ “I draw one eye as big or as small as I want it and then I put a cross with a line going right through the pupil so I can get the other one leveled. But depending on the person, it may not be there,” McClellan continues. “But I know where that line is and how far up or down the other eye is gonna be. Some people have eyes that are a little

was very close with him as I am the oldest child. He would call me every Sunday morning at 7 a.m.”

Art Showcases And What’s Ahead

bit farther apart, but all I do in the photo that I’m working with, I measure the eye–the width of it–and I see if that’s the exact same distance between the two points in the two corners of the eye, and if it is, I just go from there.”

The Pain of an Artist

McClellan has overcome great amounts of pain in her life including alcoholism, divorce and losing her father. “I couldn’t draw or I could only draw when I was really, really angry,” McClellan says. “I was not pleased with any of those portraits.” McClellan was battling alcohol from 2006 to 2012. She received a wake - up call when she was charged with a DUI. “I was trying to please everyone – mostly my husband and to handle the pressure of two jobs and paying all the bills.” “I was attending a monthly meeting for my second job where I consumed too much alcohol,” McClellan recalls. “I got into an accident somewhere along the way and ruined a wheel on my car. I was pulled over.” Instead of attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, McClellan attended DUI classes for two years. For community service, she worked at APICS Colorado Chapter 81, the Association for Operations Management representing 55,000+ manufacturing, service and resource management professionals worldwide. This was also her second job. She also made regular probation visits to an Adams County officer. Three months later, McClellan stood before her judge in court. “I came from work and I went directly in front of him and I explained to him what happened,” McClellan says. “I said, ‘I’d been in classes for a month. I’ve been paying my fines. I’m going to pay all the court costs today.’ I laid out everything that I was doing to get through this. He dropped all the charges, except for the

DUI.” McClellan kept her job at MSS Technologies Inc., going on 19 years now, plus her house and vehicle. She’s been sober since December 2012. Then her marriage started to unravel. “Through his eyes, I didn’t go through the proper channels to quit alcohol–that I didn’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous,” McClellan says. “I didn’t want to go to Alcoholics Anonymous and I didn’t need to go to Alcoholics Anonymous because I did everything within the law that I needed to do to get through this. “I kept having it thrown in my face, ‘You were the luckiest person alive,’” McClellan adds. “‘No. I’m one of the hardest-working persons alive is how I got through it.’” McClellan and her husband went to therapy to work things out. But things weren’t improving. She filed for divorce in 2016. She had to pay $30,000 because she made more money and all the assets belonged to her. Plus, $30,000 was the 50/50 mark for Colorado laws. “My lawyer said, ‘You’re going to have to take out a loan, Angie, for $30,000 so you can pay him,’” McClellan says. “I said, ‘I would be good goddamned if I take out a loan to pay somebody that I’ve been taking care of for 19 and a half years.’” The $30,000 came out of McClellan’s 401k and the divorce was final. McClellan wishes nothing bad for her ex-husband. She was married for seven and a half years, but has been together with him for almost 20 years. On October 3, 2017, McClellan lost her father, Ernest McClellan. He was 74 years old. She and her family held services in Newton, Kansas. He was a welder for Prestressed Concrete Inc. in Newton, Kansas. “My father was the most generous man you could ever meet. He would and did give the shirt off his back to anyone in need,” McClellan says. “I

From January 2016 to April 2017, McClellan cranked out 15 portraits. She decided to have them displayed at the 2017 Colorado Black Arts Festival. This was the first year McClellan showcased her art at the popular festival. “I said, ‘Ya know what? I’m going to get these framed and I’m going to get a booth at the Black Arts Festival this year,’” McClellan says. “I’m just so happy that I met the few people that I did and they want me to come back next year. I even sold a piece.” Before the festival, McClellan’s art was displayed at other Colorado lounges and galleries including the Core New Arts Space on Santa Fe Drive in Denver, the Mynt Mojito Lounge on Market St. in Denver, the Colorado Plus Brew Pub and Taphouse in Wheat Ridge and more. “Denver is so progressive that a coffee shop is an art gallery now,” McClellan says. She hopes her work is showcased at the Smithsonian or Guggenheim museums one day. “Or have me on Antiques Roadshow, where somebody finds my portrait in a pile of junk and says, ‘That’s Angela McClellan,’” McClellan says. “‘Very, very progressive Black woman. She divorced. She was just awesome. Beautiful portrait artist of all out time.’” McClellan has her business, Acrylic Ebony Ink Originals, where she sells her portraits for about $600-$2,000. “I don’t look at it as a business right now because I’m not living off of it or anything. I hope maybe one day to be able to live comfortably,” McClellan says. “But right now, it’s just something I love doing and I just want to put it out there for people to see. And every so often, someone buys something and I’m happy with that.” McClellan is happy making portraits, spending time with her daughter Aja (named after McClellan’s favorite album by Steely Dan) and Aja’s five – month- old Rottweiller, Cabrini Green Vom Reese McClellan. McClellan is in the process of churning out 30 portraits for her next show at the Coffee at the Point in Five Points for the 2018 Five Points Jazz Festival. . Editor’s Note: You can see more of McClellan’s art at St. Marks Coffee House on 17th Avenue in Denver. Her Nina Simone portrait at the Welton St. Café in Denver and her Facebook page: llan

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


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Harvey Weinstein and the Fall of Male Privilege T

By Theo E.J. Wilson

ell James Brown this is a man’s world, no longer. The ladies brought us into this world, and they can take us out. The “Good Ol’ Boys” club is falling faster than a house of cards, and us guys only have our own bad behavior to blame. I include myself in this club. Being a black man in America, I grappled with the idea that I had any privilege at all. Though I’m far from the worst abuser of male privilege, I certainly have benefited from the ‘benefit of the doubt’ associated with my gender. We can no longer deny that this social hierarchy based on the physical strength associated with our biology just comes at too high of a cost. Scorned women have come to collect on the debt, and how! Since Harvey Weinstein’s scandal first broke in the New York Times, it’s been a firestorm in Tinsel Town. Rose

McGowan and Ashley Judd coming forward caused a domino effect not seen Cosby’s career nosedived. Then came Lupita N’Yongo’s testimony about Weinstein’s lewd proposals and backhanded compliments. The Kenyan starlet’s words seemed to seal the deal for Harvey while simultaneously emboldening even more victims to step out of the darkness. Not only was Lupita’s call effective, but as the uproar grew louder, Harvey’s male associates soon found themselves in the crosshairs. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have long been red carpet mainstays. These two younger white males seem to be heirs to the proverbial throne of Hollywood, long occupied by those who fit their description. Their silence on Weinstein’s behavior was swiftly called into question. How could people who worked so closely with the mogul be oblivious to such horrifying and long-standing patterns of gross behavior? What were the mechanics of their apparent complacency and acquiescence? It was as if their careers depended upon being tight-lipped about this kind of sexual perversion. Sadly, that may not be too far from the case.

The rumored Hollywood “Casting Couch” is looking more and more like a reality. It seems to be an open Hollywood secret that after a certain level of fame, talent doesn’t matter as much as what “favors” you perform on which director or producer. The gateway to the A-List is likely a producer’s zipper. No one seems to be exempt, not even big, physically powerful men. Expendables actor, Terry Crews, released a series of tweets in solidarity with Weinstein’s victims. In the tweets, Crews claims that at a Hollywood function in 2016, a highlevel executive groped his genitals in front of his wife. He jumped back and asked what the guy was doing. The executive allegedly just smiled and kept going. Crews tweeted, “I decided not to take it further because I didn’t want to be ostracized – par for the course when a predator has power and influence.” Is that fear of being ostracized what kept Affleck and Damon silent as well? The likely answer is, yes. Reese Witherspoon of Legally Blonde fame came forward about a sexual assault from a Hollywood producer suffered when she was 16 years old. In her confession, Witherspoon expressed shame in not coming forward sooner, afraid that her own career would be drowned in the conspiracy of silence. The fact that she was a minor when it all happened is sadly not a new phenomenon. In fact, Reese Witherspoon’s case points to a far darker entertainment secret that anything Weinstein had been accused of. The secret is widespread, rampant pedophilia. The 2014 documentary, An Open Secret, is a chilling account of the shadowy side of show business. In the film, we see multiple child stars give their account of sexual abuse at the hands of supposed child casting agents. Former child stars like Corey Feldman, Todd Bridges, and Michael Egan open up about being lured with drinks and drugs into lewd acts with powerful men. Among those implicated is Brian Singer, famed producer of many of Marvel’s X-Men movie series. I remember watching the movie thinking, “I remember that kid. I used to wanna be that kid. There but by the grace of God go I.” The acting bug bit me as a plucky 5th grader after watching the movie, Hook. I wanted to sword fight on the silver screen with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. Had I lived in Los Angeles, my loving parents would have likely let me nudge them into letting me go to auditions. Who knows what fate could have awaited me there, especially back in the 90’s. What do these predators have in common? They are almost universally white and male. All a part of the same

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


power elite that set up Tinsel Town to begin with. Harvey Weinstein’s bold violations of boundaries are part and parcel with un-earned entitlement. Harvey’s downfall comes as the latest in a string of high profile men being exposed as sexual deviants. The dust hasn’t even settled from the fall of Fox News giants, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Something seems to be in the air, and it’s more than just the #MeToo hashtag. CNN columnist, Sally Kohn, seems to be on the scent of the cause. Her op-ed entitled, “Weinstein’s fall grew from rage over Trump” states her thesis. After the liberal L.A. crowd failed to stop the election of Trump, the backlash was imminent. Since the “Grab them by the p*ssy” guy still got into office, they’d look like a bunch of hypocrites if one of their own got busted and didn’t pay the price. It was Weinstein whose head would roll. At the women’s marches last January, a word kept popping up: Patriarchy. This is otherwise known as, “The Good ‘Ol Boys Club.” This club is a social construct that gives immunity to men in the face of their crimes against women. The Hollywood elite are such a social construct. This patriarchy is backed by billions of dollars and a culture of silence that enabled men like Weinstein to go unchecked for literally decades. They should have known all this lip-service to gender equality was going to come back to collect. They should have seen the writing on the wall spelling a new zeitgeist gripping the women and femmes of this nation. Every day Trump sits in that White House, the blowback against his kind collects like storm clouds gathering. To think his presence in that office has nothing to do with the lifelong free pass granted to men like him is to indulge in a cruel self-deception. This may have been a man’s world, but it’s a woman’s planet, and always has been. The man’s world is artifice. It is gendered costuming for power. Too long, our mothers, sisters, daughters and wives have winced under the lash of our entitlement. So much human potential has been wasted in this; I don’t believe the Earth will allow it any longer. Not even your God can protect you from this coming wave of feminine fury. All three Abrahamic religions allow gendered inequality in some form. This will simply not be tolerated any longer. We will have to find a new definition of masculinity. Preferably one that feels secure beside femininity, not smothering it. All in all, the numbers tell the story. If you believe in democracy, then the majority rules, and fellas…we’ve thankfully been outvoted..

Higher Education On Black Lives Matter By Allan Tellis

els, this particular group assembled to provide support for those who work specifically in higher education. Dr. Reed was very clear about the dire need for a direct and intentional push to advance the progression of people of color in the field of education as the lack of representation in higher education is troubling - especially in a diverse state such as Colorado. “I think we have a lot of work to do in higher education in terms of cultivating talent, developing talent, retaining talent and recruiting tale. As you know, we do not have a diverse presence in our state, even though I consider us a diverse state.” The room was filled with all types of professionals ranging from highly

acclaimed professors to administrators, and all the way to those who had just begun their careers in the field. They all shared their frustrations, hopes, and ideas about changing the narrative of people of color in higher education and creating sustainable systems to combat the systematic oppression of disenfranchised faculty and students in the state of Colorado. Dr. Sharon Bailey spoke to this as well noting “A large percentage of our kids do not read at grade level by 4th grade. We have to do a better job of preparing our kids for the future.” Our state government has given Dr. Reed the charge of touring Colorado and finding out what exactly our educators need to become successful.


n February 1, Dr. Kim Hunter Reed was appointed as the Acting Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, pledging to do everything in her power to advocate for students of all ages and reduce the attainment gap in our state. For the last several years, Colorado has made one of the lowest economic commitments to education in the country, and as a result, we continue to see our attainment gap between different student demographics increase. “We’ve gone from a commitment to reducing equity gaps to erasing equity gaps, which is a high bar, but we think that acknowledgment in a state that any gap is acceptable is unacceptable,” said Dr. Reed who has made it her mission to close that gap. Reed has dug her heels staunchly in with her statewide effort to make sure all Colorado residents have access to a quality and promising education. On Monday, Oct. 16 on the campus of Metropolitan State in Denver, a group of experts and professionals in higher education gathered along with Dr. Reed to have a profound conversation about what can help make “Black Lives Matter in Higher Education.” Although student issues are important and almost always reign supreme, the group wanted to take a look at what are the issues faced by the faculty side of the equation and what support they need to excel professionally, and for their students to excel in the classroom. Although all participants communicated they understand the value and importance of educators at all lev-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


Before she left, she made it clear that in order to empower Black people in higher education she needed to have a clear understanding of what was required to propel them forward. And upon her exit, she said “I need each of you to send me two things that would improve your life as faculty and the opportunity for students in your school, so I can take that to the state and give you exactly what you need.” Dr. Reed looks to continue to carry on with her work as the Acting Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and to advocate for inclusion and equity during her tenure in our state government. .

From Africa to America is A Coat of Many Colors Book review by Gene Napue

Emma suddenly finds herself immersed within a wonderfully rich society, full of multiculturalism; the land of her dreams, America! Yet, the joy of her newly adopted homeland, along with its ever-flowing rivers of culture, reintroduced author Emma Eminash to a recurring theme of childhood fear. During her youth, in elementary school (in Uganda), Emma was “rejected” by the more well-known kids including the much more financially well to do popular kids. This early experience of rejection in her own homeland caused a continuing struggle from within to identify, demand and command the individual positive self-image that was being denied her. Compiled with the thoughts of rejection from her past; this very same


foe served as a catalyst in creating a great wall of emotional protection about her, questioning self-worth, dreams of accomplishments and most important, love. However, there was [is] one constant in Emma’s life, which had been there from the very beginning, right along with all of the fears and numerous other negative experiences in which any human being, anywhere in the world undergoes; GOD! Her firm spiritual belief, through time, began the transformation of various lives’ uncertainties, into a multitude of blessings. Life gradually became simpler from her perspective, and easier to manage. America was the place where her maturity had begun to blossom, like a hidden flower finally pushing its way visible from among the green. The path to such interest as journalism took unimaginable detours to various educational and employment opportunities. In addition, common (over the top) desires for luxury items were assessed and traded for honest basic needs, to get by. The desires of what she had prayed for before coming to America, was the adhesive, the focus that turned any exclusion into a world of inclusiveness for her life. The Author gives a detailing, per-

sonal testimony as a “how to guide,” by faith. The book reveals the humanism of Emma in relation to any person, and the many contradictions within, that help make up the total fabric of their entire being-ness. Similarly, as a Coat of Many Colors, Emma was able to let her unique patch of fabric serve as an enhancement within the entire garment. Editor’s note: From Africa to America: A Coat of Many Colors can be found on Amazon at, /Africa-America-Coat-ManyColors/dp/1532009194.

Hidden Figures Author Receives Book Prize

Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures received the Grateful American Book Prize last month. Hidden figures was a #1 New York Times Best Seller and a movie that received three

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Academy Award nominations The 2017 Grateful American Book Prize was officially awarded to author Margot Lee Shetterly for her non-fiction book, Hidden Figures, at a ceremony held at The National Archives. David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Prize, who will make the presentation, said “Hidden Figures is an outstanding work. It chronicles the lives of NASA’s so-called ‘human computers,’ – African-American women mathematicians who were hired in the 1950s by the space agency’s Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia. They overcame great odds and proved to be indispensable. Using primitive tools by today’s standards – pencils and adding machines – they calculated the trajectories that would successfully launch America’s first astronauts into outer space.” Shetterly’s book was published in November of 2016 by HarperCollins; the Academy Award nominated film version-also released last year – starred Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards. The Prize carries an award of $13,000, and a medallion created by American artist, Clarice Smith.

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Blade Runner 2049

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

Blade Runner 2049 ll1/2 By Khaleel Herbert

After the original Blade Runner hit

screens in the ‘80s (excluding the home video director’s cut and final cut versions), fans may be wondering, how could 2049 match its predecessor? Ryan Gosling is K, short for his serial number, the Blade Runner of the future. He locates and retires replicants (robots that are so life-like that they have their own human emotions and memories). After retiring Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), a bug farmer in the rural California regions, K discovers a tree in the backyard. Underneath the tree is a box. The LAPD excavate the box and bring it back to the precinct. The forensics team finds bones and remains of a replicant from the previous age around the time of the major blackout. The replicant died giving birth to a human/replicant baby. Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) orders K to find the child. K, although he’s good at his job, doesn’t know where he comes from. His memories as a child are not his own. In pursuit of this child, he learns more about himself than ever before and the previous Blade Runner before him, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Blade Runner 2049, like its predecessor, has tons of visually-stunning scenes. Los Angeles is done up in a futuristic way with the same flying cars, active and more interactive holograms including holograms of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Blade Runner fans will go nuts over the sudden turns in plot and the ending, let’s just say, has closure. There’s one question I had on my mental throughout the whole film: Why the hell would Ridley Scott and friends wait 30 plus years to make a sequel? The ending in the final cut was ambiguous. Although 2049 fills the holes, I would have liked to see it happen on screen in the ‘80s or even

early ‘90s. These decades were Ford’s movie-prime–the age of Han Solo, Indiana Jones and so much more. What was life like for Rachel and Deckard on the run? What was is it like for them to fully love each other? The movie felt long, but what would you cut? All of it is essential to the story. However, for me, the movie picked up when Harrison Ford graced the silver screen and beat the crap out of Gosling. I put my money on Ford, because even though it’s almost been a year, Gosling still left a bad taste in my mouth from La La Land. His acting was far more superior here. Blade Runner 2049 does its predecessor justice visually and plot-wise. But I won’t cry about it if I never ever see this movie again.

The Mountain Between Us ll By Samantha Ofole-Prince


his survival yarn in which a pair of plane-crash victims struggle to survive, sustains some suspense and a dark atmosphere for the first 40 minutes, but eventually the clichés of the characters and the predictability of the drama drag it severely down. The film stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a couple of extremely accomplished professionals, who decide to charter a plane after a storm forces the cancellation of their scheduled flights. Alex (Winslet) is due to get married in 24 hours, and Ben (Elba), a skilled British neurosurgeon, is due back on the East Coast to perform a critical, life-saving operation. The unlikely strangers join forces and charter a small plan to Denver in hopes of connecting to their respective destinations from there, but when their pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke, the airplane crashes in the deep snows

The Mountain Between Us

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


of the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah and their mission becomes a quest to survive. Trapped in the remote region with meager supplies, that include four individual packs of almonds and a couple of candy bars, the two (three if we count Walter’s dog) embark on an transformative trip across the vast, rugged terrain to find help and fall in love along the way. The most primal story Hollywood can tell; this is not a gritty realistic survival film, and is as predictable as a funeral. It’s pretty convenient, Elba’s character is a skilled doctor, and Winslet is a talented photojournalist, for her camera lens and his medical skills are certainly put to good use. With his medical training, Ben saves Alex’s life after she is injured in the crash, and with her long lens camera, Alex able to find an abandoned cottage where they eventually seek refuge and swap relationship stories while sharing a can of soup. The Mountain Between Us clocks in at 100 minutes and the premise follows the duo falling in love after four weeks, while battling sub-zero temperatures, hunger and hygiene. Elba and Winslet are both engaging actors, but there’s nothing memorable about this soppy love story. This action adventure drama is many things: a meditation on human nature, a tale of survival, and a love story, but overall, it’s a glum, frozen fray which will appeal to Elba’s fans, but all others beware.



lll Laurence Washington

m a fan of courtroom dramas – especially tense dramas. I’m also a huge fan of biopics and superhero movies. So of course, Marshall was right up my ally delivering all three genres for the price of one. In fact, Chadwick Boseman has become a biopic icon portraying Soul Brother #1 James Brown, baseball legend Jackie Robinson and now legendary Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. In Boseman’s superhero column, check the box: Marvel’s Black Panther, and check the box: Justice Thurgood Marshall – a superhero of the Civil Rights Movement. Marshall accomplished so much during his tenure of daring do as the NAACP chief counsel lawyer (Brown v. Board of Education) and as a Supreme Court justice, director Reginald Hudlin wisely focused on one aspect of Marshall’s career – his defense of a young black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) who is accused of attempted murder and rape of his rich employer’s wife (Kate Hudson).


A dapper Boseman effortlessly illustrates young Thurgood Marshall’s flashes of brilliance, as the NAACP’s hired gun defending black clients railroaded by white courts. Marshall’s mettle is tested in a right-wing Connecticut court, where he’s barredfrom addressing the legal proceedings, because he’s not on the Connecticut bar. So Marshall enlists the help of a reluctant young Jewish lawyer Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad) to help mount a defense, despite Bridgeport’s anti-Semitism climate and a racist judge (James Cromwell) and prosecutors. Hudlin does an excellent job of directing traffic, so that story doesn’t become gridlocked and convoluted. There are a couple of diversions, however, involving Marshall and his wife trying to have a baby, and his friendship with noted writer/activist Langston Hughes. But these detours are on screen for a cup of coffee, and offer little or nothing to invest the audience. Gad offers a thoughtful performance as Samuel Friedman, and has as much screen time as Boseman. He’ll probably be mentioned at the Oscar time, but it’s clearly Boseman who drives, steers and carries the picture.


Hopefully, he’ll be an Oscar contender. Marshall offers an insightful view of a an in the making. It’s not a great film, but it’s a good film. Marshall is another demonstration of Boseman’s charismatic acting range, whether he’s portraying a soul singer, baseball player, lawyer or superhero. You become totally invested in the characters Boseman portrays. FYI: The audience at the screening I attended stood up and cheered at the end of the picture. I’m just saying….

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


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Letters to the Editor

Continued fom page 3 with sickle cell disease is just 48 years for women and 42 for men. While improved treatment and medical advances are slowly helping, an underlying cultural concern in the African American community contributes to the sluggish nature of medical progress. I believe we need to have a group conversation about the lack of diversity in clinical trials conducted in many states, including Colorado. Clinical trials utilize volunteers whose participation has generally led to more informed patients and clinicians alike. This knowledge has led to more effective treatment for chronic diseases such as sickle cell. Visualize the medical breakthroughs and how phenomenal it would be if more people from diverse backgrounds were included. The medical-research community has been criticized because the majority of participants have been white males, per the National Institutes of Health. National efforts continue toward easing this disparity, especially focused on diseases with greater impacts on minority populations. However, one of the biggest obstacles in Colorado

LETTERS, OP-EDS, OPINIONS and elsewhere is convincing the minority community to enroll in clinical trials to begin with. For decades, there has been a deep mistrust by many African Americans of medical trials. Generational memories of cruel experimentation in the last century still haunt the psyche of our culture. Sadly, this fear takes a toll on the ability to make progress against sickle cell and other diseases. Recent health reports show nearly one-third of existing sickle cell clinical trials were terminated early due to a lack of participants. This creates significant delays in the ability to gain approval of potential new treatments for this devastating disease. There is hope, though. Not too long ago, sickle cell diagnosis in a child meant an early death. Now, blood transfusions help children with the disease live well into their 40s, 50s, and beyond. Bone marrow transplants are also curing sickle cell disease in some patients. But more can be done. We need a stronger funding stream and more research. Finally, we need more effective treatment modalities. From those in our communities most impacted by this disease, we need your active participation in clinical tri-

als that can offer hope for someone’s health, and maybe, your future grandchild. The past should not be forgotten, but neither should it condemn us to a life of sickness due to our failure to act. Our state researchers and those from the federal government need to continue to open the doors to diversity in clinical trials for sickle cell and other diseases. We need our community’s men and women of color to courageously walk through these doors and sign up as participants who want to help change our world. Some in the medical community believe a renewed focus on sickle cell disease could bring us to a cure within the next decade. There is little doubt that such a goal will literally require trial, error and courage along the way. We need each other to make this fight a great one toward a cure. It’s time to unite in the fight against Sickle Cell Anemia.

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070

Dr. Margie B. Cook Denver

Editor’s note: Dr. Margie B. Cook is CEO of a Denver-based health related business that develops and manages clinics and nursing schools in Africa and is co-chair of the Global Health Ad hoc Committee of the National Black Nurses Association.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2017


DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby





CBWPA 39th Annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon Photos by Brother Jeff

CABJ 30th Annual Scribes In Excellence Gala

Photos by Elliott Faust

Happy Birthday to Mr. Charlie Burrell 97 Years Young! Photos by David Stevens

Denver Urban Spectrum November 2017  
Denver Urban Spectrum November 2017  

This month, our cover story features the 100 Men Who Cook, a five year program that actually began in 1984. Go figure that! Read about how t...