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Volume 29 Number 8 November 2015

Jamie Foxx

Beverly Johnson

Kenneth Faried


Photos by Bernard Grant

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Volume 29 Number 8

November 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson KimFarmer FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kris Colley II Angelle Fouther Tanya Ishikawa Angelia D. McGowan ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix



ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT Byron T. Robinson DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James 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 2015 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

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” –John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Happy November! It’s official. We are entering the holiday season, full of cheerful giving and quality time with loved ones. It won’t be so hard to go with the flow for those who have already set the tone for giving. Our cover story by contributing writer Angelle Fouther highlights the “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself” fashion show, created, in part, by legendary artist Quincy Jones to raise funds and awareness for those with Down syndrome. Annually, the Denver-based event features people with Down syndrome and a number of celebrities who deeply care about the cause, and this year’s event welcomed Terrence Howard, star of the FOX TV series, “Empire.” We also highlight the work that veteran TV journalist Soledad O’Brien has done in talking about race relations in America as well as her future endeavors to keep the conversation going. As the keynote speaker for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado annual luncheon, she encouraged young girls to pursue their passion. This month we welcome Kristopher Colley II to the Denver Urban Spectrum family as a contributing writer. The Morehouse graduate has written two stories; one about the new Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellbeing set to open soon and the other about steps officials are taking to keep Wyatt Academy open. Yes, it’s November. But with so much going on it seems like it’s the beginning of the year. The stories in this month’s issue confirm the upcoming holiday season is destined to be full of cheer, hope and purpose.

Congress Needs to Stop the Political Witch Hunt on Benghazi

OPINIONS...LETTERS TO THE EDITOR College shooting that we’re all just waiting for the next massive killing spree and praying it won’t be in our backyard. As Clinton very elegantly shared, she deeply regrets those lives lost in the Benghazi attack. She has cooperated for two years since the tragedy happened to get the details and find out what went wrong. But while the spotlight has glared on this attack – and ramped up because of the presidential race - as a society we are allowing the thousands of American lives lost to gun violence to become our new “normal.” Everyone – including Congress – needs to say enough is enough with politics and if there is another committee formed, let it address the very homegrown terrorism of gun violence and the racial profiling by some police departments. Editor’s note: Wellington Webb served as Mayor of Denver from 1991-2003. He also served as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Instead finally focus on gun violence at home

Op-ed by Wellington E. Webb

Last month, Hillary Clinton spent 12 hours being grilled about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya when she was secretary of state with no new information revealed and the majority of Americans polled agreeing the whole “investigation” by Republicans is politically motivated. And while this witch hunt is costing taxpayers millions Congress continues to ignore the 33,000 gun deaths yearly, including the massive shootings in our public schools, college campuses and theaters. Where is the committee investigating those deaths? Nor has Congress formed a committee to seriously deal with the many African American youth and males killed by police under suspicious circumstances. As a country, do we just accept this as a part of our ugly nature? Is it more important for Congress – and for that matter the media – to wring their hands over emails than to care about gun violence against our own citizens? The headlines about Benghazi blare on front pages while the gun deaths from domestic abuse, violent crimes and by the mentally ill are often buried inside. What are our priorities? How sad that after all of the political rhetoric after the Columbine High School and Sandy Hook tragedies and Oregon’s Umpqua Community

Death Penalty in Colorado Op-ed by Leslie Herod

In the last six months, two Colorado death-qualified juries in horrific mass murders concluded that life in prison was a more appropriate sentence than death. If these Colorado juries decided James Holmes and Dexter Lewis do not deserve the death penalty, who does? Both juries were unanimous on guilty conviction but neither could muster the unanimity needed to convict them to death. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that there is not a compelling

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor

argument to support the death penalty. So why is it still an option for Colorado jurors? Let’s take the arguments one at a time. Many have asserted that the death penalty deters violent crime. Study after study disputes this assertion. Indeed, 88 percent of our country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide. Nationally, police chiefs rank the death penalty as last when asked to name priorities for effective crime reduction. Our nation’s South accounts for 80 percent of America’s executions and yet homicide rate is the highest in the nation. States that have repealed or abolished the death penalty see no correlation whatsoever to their murder crime rate. Many, including District Attorney George Brauchler, who prosecuted James Holmes, say the death penalty is needed for the “worst of the worst.” But it is difficult to imagine a crime worse than the Holmes mass murders or the deliberate lethal stabbing of five people in a robbery gone terribly wrong at Fero’s Bar and Grill in Denver. The death penalty is used so rarely and inconsistently that any execution now seems random, an accident of time, place and race. Let’s look at race. Nationwide, 34 percent of all executions are of African Americans and 42 percent on death row are African American. But African Americans represent only 13.7 percent of the nation’s population. In Colorado, the numbers are starker. Our death row consists solely of African Americans. 100 percent of our death row is African American and African Americans represent only 8 percent of the state’s total populaContinued on page 5

You’re So Beautiful…Terrence Howard Joins National and

Local Stars for “Be Beautiful” Fashion Show

By Angelle C. Fouther

Photos by Bernard Grant

DeOndra Dixon and Terrence Howard


eemed the Black “Dynasty,” the FOX TV show “Empire” has risen to epic levels of popularity — showcasing both the electrifying raw talent of its ensemble cast, as well as their devilishly raw storylines. At the center of the Empire is Terrence Howard. A veteran actor, with roles in movies such as the Best Man, Winnie, Ray, Crash, Four Brothers, and Hustle and Flow (for which he was nominated an Academy Award for Best Actor), Howard is best known these days for his role as Lucious Lyon, the unscrupulous patriarch of the Lyon family, and president of the entertainment corporation for which the show is named. Just as the show has sparked controversy for its themes of murder, homophobia, hostile takeovers and the corruption of the recording industry, many believe its star, Howard, mirrors Lucious in many ways due to personal and emotional issues as well as rumors of violent behavior that have followed him over the years. Yet, while the breakthrough television show has taken the country by storm, Howard, himself, was a gentle breeze—the bad boy image set aside for a day as he came to Denver to support the 2015 Be Beautiful, Be Yourself Fashion Show. “The issue of Down syndrome is personal to my friends, so it’s important to me.” Howard said. “That’s a part of growing. If you stay in your own area, only looking at things you know about, you don’t grow. You

have to look at the larger human family and what troubles exist out there.” Howard attended the event with Tara Pak, the actor’s third wife, whom he reportedly divorced this past summer. The two appeared to be reconciled as Pak walked arm–in-arm with the actor on the red carpet. In an ethereal mood, Howard shared privately, “We are not made in God’s image, but are all pieces of God. When we come together we show all the best parts of God.” That sense of benevolence played out through the night, as the couple demonstrated a great deal of generosity in their support of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, which had a goal of raising $2 million through the event. Approximately 70 percent of the proceeds of the Be Beautiful event go toward research through the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, both based in Colorado. The opening auction item was a glass of water, for which the winning bid came from none other than Howard and Pak, for the hefty sum of $5,000. Auctioneer Jim Nye jokingly stated, “I’m not sure what he [Howard] is going to do with that glass of water; perhaps build an Empire.” The couple also won the bid ($14,000) for two tickets to Super Bowl 50, which will be held in San Francisco on Feb. 7, 2016. The auction package included an official jersey and helmet autographed by Bronco’s Quarterback Peyton Manning. Really getting into the swing of things, Howard offered an impromptu auction item: two days on the set of Empire (airfare included), along with two courtside seats to the Nuggets game. Bidding occurred while the Empire song, “You’re So Beautiful,” made popular by the show’s breakout stars, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y. Gray, played. That package went for $16,000. The star-studded event featured Beverly Johnson, who attended with niece Natalie Russell. Johnson is credited with redefining American parameters of modeling and beauty with

Jamie Foxx and daughter escort two young models

respect to race and age, making way for a new class of “seasoned” models and those of all hues. Most recently she joined other women who share common allegations againt actor and comedian Bill Cosby. Johnson, by supporting the Be Beautiful event, which strives to destigmatize children with Down syndrome and help them gain confidence and self-acceptance, has helped redefine beauty in this realm as well. “I take a great deal of pride in seeing the self-confidence that has been built in my niece,” she shared. “I have a cousin who has Down syndrome also. I have been around people with Down syndrome all of my life. It is incredible to finally have the opportunity to do something about it.” Jamie Foxx shared a similar sentiment: “When someone has the money to do something and gets to work to doing it, like Michelle (Sie Whitten and her family) it’s a great thing.” The Grammy and Academy Award winning actor, who has been a participant in the Be Beautiful event since its inception, says of the event’s evolution: “At first there was a serious feeling about the cause and the kids. Now people are coming to this event for the fun.” He adds, “We are all taught to think about it that way until we remember, it’s just regular people. The kids like to dance and have fun and are just regular. I’ve been dealing with Down syndrome for 30 years, so I know.” Foxx was referring to his sister; DeOndra Dixon, an ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, who has lived with him for the past 12 years. She walked down the aisle with Howard this year.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Each year, Global presents the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award to an individual who has tirelessly advocated for the rights of the differently-abled. This year’s recipient was American Horror Story actress and Down syndrome self-advocate, Jamie Brewer. Jones, who was one of the masterminds behind creating the event, was not able to attend this year, but taped a message for his friends John and Anna Sie, who received the 2015 Exceptional Advocacy Award. The couple, along with daughter and executive director of Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Michelle Sie Whitten, has worked to find research and treatment for the condition since the birth of Sophie, Michelle’s daughter who was born with Down syndrome 12 years ago. Whitten said that since they began their efforts medical care has improved, there are more guidelines, and scientists are making headway on research. She also made an uncanny correlation as well. Since her mother was diagnosed, in 2013, with stage four uterine cancer, research has uncovered ties between Down syndrome and cancer (as well as Alzheimer’s and auto immune deficiencies). “Scientists have forged a way for a diagnosis for my mother, and Sophie has paved the way,” Whitten said. The highlight of the evening was a fashion show, where the kids strutted their stuff on the runway. They included: 2015 Ambassador Clarissa Capuano, Jamie Foxx’s sister, aspiring dancer and former Quincy Jones Continued on next page


Continued from page 3 percent of the state’s total population. Interestingly, all three men on death row are from the same city and they even went to the same high school. Additionally, they were all prosecuted out of the same district attorney’s office. A recent University of Denver study found that between 1999 and 2010, only 1 percent of cases that were death-eligible – meaning they met the factors set forth in statute – actually sought death. This is not a penalty that is saved for the worst of the worst, but rather is imposed more inconsistently. As Gov. John Hickenlooper stated when granting Nathan Dunlap a temporary reprieve, “if the State of Colorado is going to undertake the responsibility of executing a human being, the system must operate flawlessly. Colorado’s system for capital punishment is not flawless.” The death penalty is not a deterrent, is not reserved uniformly for the worst of the worst, and does not represent fairness or justice. The arguments favoring the death penalty are flawed and there are many reasons to oppose it. It is costly for the state - far more expensive than a non-death case. Death penalty prosecutions cost every agency involved more. Every day in court requires high level attorneys, high level clerks, judges and investigative personnel. There are more lawyers per side, more courtroom security, more jurors, more experts and simply more days in court. These costs do not include the many years of appeals after conviction or the cost involved in housing prisoners on death row as opposed to in the general population for a life sentence. Many would say the system should be streamlined and this would make it

Be Beautiful

Continued from previous page Exceptional Advocacy recipient DeOndra Dixon, aspiring model and internet sensation Gigi Cunningham, and 18-year-old Devon Adelman who attended First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Beating the Odds” summit at the White House earlier this year, among several others. Other celebrities who modeled with the youth included Beau Bridges, Minka Kelly, Amanda Booth, Denver Broncos Brandon McManus, and Britton Colquitt and Denver Nugget Kenneth Faried, among others. “I love the joy and energy the kids have,” said Faried, who marked his fifth year supporting the event. “The advice they gave me when I started was ‘just smile and the kids will take care of everything else.’ That’s been true.”

less costly. But when someone’s life is on the line, justice compels us to get it right and a streamlined approach is not justice guaranteed. There have been 155 death row exonerations in the U.S. The system is not flawless. Public opinion favoring the death penalty is waning. A recent survey released by Colorado’s Better Priorities Initiative shows that 62 percent of Coloradans now prefer a sentence of life in prison over the death penalty. Few people have a more personal connection to the death penalty than Rep. Rhonda Fields – a personal friend and a champion for the rights of vic-

tims. Two of three men on death row are there for murdering her son before he could testify against one of them. Although Rep. Fields continues to believe in the death penalty, she recently conceded that she’s not sure her son’s killers will ever be executed. She honors her son’s memory through the Fields Wolfe Memorial Fund, a non-profit committed to empowering youth. But while time, cost, the deterrence debate, public opinion and a lack of a streamlined process are all critical factors in the death penalty argument, we cannot ignore the bigger moral

question our society faces. Should individuals within our legal system be in the business of determining which mitigating factors are compelling enough to warrant ending a life? We must address this difficult question to fully understand the debate. But while our country debates this question that continues to plague our justice system, our state cannot continue to employ the death penalty as an option for Colorado juries. Colorado’s death penalty law is in tatters. Let’s legislate its repeal. Editor’s note: Leslie Herod is candidate for Colorado House District 8

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Soledad O’Brien on Making a Difference By Angelia D. McGowan

welve-year-old Imani Andoh has learned how important it is to “uplift young women to reach their highest potential.” Sophie Carpenter, also 12, has learned that “there are girls all over the world and no matter how useless you may think you are, you can always help someone.” Andoh and Carpenter are part of the Girl’s Leadership Council, a program of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, which held its annual luncheon on Oct. 12 at the Colorado Convention Center. As one of the state’s largest annual gatherings focusing on women and girls, with traditionally more than 1,900 in attendance, the luncheon carries a long-standing tradition of hosting well-known keynote speakers who bring messages of empowerment, collaboration and inspiration to support its mission to build resources and lead


change so every woman and girl in Colorado achieves her full potential. The GLC inspires girls to be leaders and philanthropists. GLC members had the opportunity to hear words of wisdom from Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist, documentarian and originator of the CNN series, “Black in America” and “Latino in America.” The storyteller told the crowd that her value in journalism was a “lack of fear in telling stories.” And while she said that, “we cannot sugar coat the issues facing the country,” journalists need to be careful in how the stories are told. The world of journalism provides a ripe environment to demonstrate how words can affect people, according to O’Brien. She said when the media covers minorities and the impoverished, they can choose to lead with negative information and labels or find a more human way to tell the story. “We need to think carefully about the words we use. They like to make a shorthand swipe of who they are. It dehumanizes

people…We are not the sum of our dysfunctions.” When talking about her documentaries on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she said that he was a regular man, determined to do extraordinary things. “Once you figure out what you’re doing, what you are going to put your passion into, go do it,” said O’Brien, who continued following her passion after CNN when she started the New York-based Starfish Media Group in 2013. SMG is a leading production and distribution company focused on real stories, authentic characters, and rich storytelling told across a broad range of content formats and media platforms as well as around the world. SMG and Soledad O’Brien report and produce series, documentaries, digital series, documentaries, digital content, live events and filmed entertainment. SMG explores critical social issues, including the divisive issues of race, class, wealth, opportunity, and poverty and the personal stories of people

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


who face these obstacles and attempt to overcome them. In the telling of stories that may appear to be an uphill battle against insurmountable odds, she asks, “What lessons do you learn from people who try anyway?” The answer is to “make a difference,” said O’Brien, a founder of the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation which provides hardworking young women of color from low-income families with the resources necessary to succeed, particularly to get them through college. “Be that difference.” O’Brien’s work can be seen at CNN, Al Jazeera and HBO. She also hosts the National Geographic Bee and “Live From Space” on National Geographic. The GLC, along with some of the biggest supporters of women and girls, also heard words from Lauren Casteel, named president and CEO of the WFC at the beginning of the year. She reminded the crowd that “together, we are powerful.” Casteel was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014 and is recognized as the first person to lead three foundations in Colorado. She previously directed the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and the Hunt Alternatives Fund.

The Race to Save Wyatt Academy...

By Kris Colley II


o close or not to close? This is the question many in the Denver Public School District are pondering regarding Wyatt Academy. As a Dec. 3 charter renewal deadline quickly approaches, Wyatt and the DPS Board are tussling with the fate of the school. Since 1998, the K-8 charter school has been a mainstay educational institution for youth in Denver’s Cole neighborhood. Community influence has remained a key stimulus since the school’s opening and it is one that when operating at absolute volume makes Wyatt remarkably special. The original golden era for Wyatt Academy occurred in the school’s first five years, when it was recognized for its academic achievement at both the state and district levels. Scholars were consistently moving up in grade level reading and proficiency, and this growth was continuous throughout their time at Wyatt Academy. When a deficiency in resource management and allocation, by their original charter partner Edison Learning, became apparent, those achievements started to dwindle and separation with Edison soon transpired. “Early on, Wyatt which was then Wyatt-Edison, was a very successful charter. Edison Learning changed focus and they failed to provide a needed level of support. It was because their business model changed and they decided to move in a different direction other than operating urban charters,” said Wyatt Academy Executive Director Joe Taylor, with the academy since 2003. “And so, a lot of supports were withdrawn and a once very successful school started to decline.” He has seen firsthand, the hills and valleys that the school has journeyed and was named to head the academy in 2014. From 2005 to 2012, Wyatt went through seven different principals. As a result, the school and the scholars

were in flux. That was Wyatt and Edison’s relationship until 2012 when the Wyatt board made a firm decision to move away from Edison for good. “Not until 2012, when our board took a stand and made a commitment to change did we start to see improvement again. In 2013-2014, we felt that we started to take steps towards revitalizing and reinventing a culture unique to our school that met the needs of our community,” Joe Taylor said. Since the 2013-2014 school year, Wyatt has been an independent charter. A three-year contract agreement was worked out with the DPS Board allowing them to become an independent charter associated with DPS. That contract is set to expire in December. The expectation of the Wyatt administration is now that the school is returning to academic promise the district will renew their charter status or keep them as an active school within the district. Accepting their renewal will allow Wyatt to continue to affect the community. Hitting close to rock bottom allows for a miraculous resurrection. 2014 was the first year in the transition that Wyatt saw an increase on its SPF and is continuously meeting their interim achievement goals. Along with SPF, PARCC scores are critical for judging performance at baseline. The Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers is a Pearson-published assessment of common core standards. Several states, including Colorado, accept this assessment as an indicator of a school’s academic growth. “All we need is two years of PARCC data for us to really tell our story, for us to really be able to show that we are making success on the common core,” Joe Taylor said. In 2015, 58 percent of kindergarten and first-grade scholars will go onto the next grade level at or above grade level reading, compared to just 28 percent in 2012.

“Wyatt’s future really is going to depend on the strength of the student’s assessments and whether or not that school is going in the right direction. So if Wyatt is able to show growth, then Wyatt is moving in the right direction. It makes the decision for DPS and the board easier. When a school, like Wyatt or any other school, is right on the borderline then it makes our decision a little bit more difficult as we look at specific indicators that gives us a clear picture of the direction that the school is heading in,” DPS Board member Landri Taylor said. Melody Means, a Wyatt teacher and parent, said, “For a student to be successful it takes three people: me as a teacher, and it takes the student, and it also takes family effort. For us, we are lucky to have tons of parent involvement. In my class alone, I have three parents that come in and volunteer on a regular basis and make sure that my students are succeeding.” Michelle McKinsey, a teacher at the academy, said, “I love our community. I have never felt more a part of a family at a school.” Early in the 2014-2015 school year, the academy provided a strategic action plan to DPS’s Office of School Reform and Innovation. They also have worked with Portfolio Management to maturate strategic

benchmarks that will indicate where exactly the academy is closing the achievement gap. This achievement gap has narrowed since the commencement of Wyatt’s three-year turnaround goal. “Wyatt’s turnaround is moving in the right direction. They have a strong board now that isn’t under the dictates of the Edison charter and they can now move in a more constructive direction for the kids in the school. They were handcuffed under the Edison charter and now they are no longer handcuffed and they will benefit because of that,” DPS Board member Taylor said. Weekly peer forum meetings are hosted at Wyatt on Wednesday evenings. At these meetings administrators provide information about the charter renewal process. “We have an event on November 19, where we have public comment with the DPS Board and we are encouraging not just our families, but also the entire Wyatt community and the extended Wyatt Academy community and all of our partners to be a part of that public comment hearing before the DPS Board.” He added that Wyatt Academy “is going to be an example of a very success turnaround, if we are given the opportunity.”

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Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellbeing Aims to Revitalize Neighborhood, Encourage Healthy Habits By Kris Colley II

The new Dahlia Campus for

Health and Wellbeing, scheduled to open in late December, is set to become a mainstay and hallmark of a Northeast Park Hill neighborhood searching to be revitalized. Throughout the 1950s, the Dahlia Square Shopping Center was a flourishing economic hub in the heart of Northeast Park Hill. Composed of a handful of locally owned shops and a popular King Soopers grocery

store, the shopping center employed hundreds of the neighborhood’s residents. During this prominent time, it was the largest African American-owned shopping center in the United States. A half century later, the shopping center and neighborhood went through years of turmoil, mirroring the low economic situations many predominantly African American communities experienced during the same time span. Dahlia Square was no longer the lifeblood of the neighborhood and its iconic, big blue sign, which stood proudly for many years, came down in the mid-2000s. The former vibrant shopping center was left vacant. The new Dahlia Center for Health and Wellbeing, a family site for the Mental Health Center of Denver, should reinvigorate and fill that vacancy. Lydia Prado, PhD, vice president of Child and Family Services for MHCD, said, “Our hopes are many: to address food scarcity through production of fresh produce and healthy proDenver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


tein; to address nutrition and nutrition related health concerns through cooking classes; to address tooth decay by providing access to pediatric dentistry; to address isolation and loneliness by providing inviting community spaces; to address unhealthy relationships through family therapy; and to pro-

mote overall health and well-being across the lifespan.” The center’s various amounts of services also include early childhood mental health and an urban farm, a gym, community rooms, support groups, day

treatment programs, preschools, childcare network supports, prevention programs, deaf and hard of hearing services, play spaces and health navigators. Maya Wheeler, who has been a vocal member in the community for many years while working with the Forest Street Compassionate Care Center, just a block away from the new Dahlia Campus, said, “There are all types of classes. Like there will be cooking classes, exercise classes, and parenting classes – just a wealth of knowledge and information there. It’s not supposed to be a place where you

think of where people can go get help for mental health issues; it’s supposed to be a place to help people prosper and do better in the community.” Wheeler, a community activist and candidate for Aurora City Council, was an instrumental liaison in community relations with the MHCD during program planning. The organization started really engaging the community in late 2013 and early 2014 about the new Dahlia Campus project, but discussion on the idea of the project started a couple years prior. She said, “Initially the concern was that they were just going to pit people here just to come get prescription drugs.” That is not the case. “This facility is just a way for people to have an outlet so that they can be successful and have a good quality of life,” she added. The 45,000 square-foot building space sits on four acres of land between Dahlia and Eudora streets on 35th Avenue in East Denver. A major goal of the Dahlia Campus is to establish an inclination and passion for the outdoors. One way in which those strides are being taken is by creating a large outdoor community garden. “The goal (of the community garden) is that no kid will have to go without a meal over the course of the month because of this resource,” Wheeler said. This is the Mental

Health Center of Denver’s solution for a community with whom many of its members come from low economic status backgrounds. They wish to maintain that every individual in the community has access to fruits, vegetables and various types of fish. Prado said, “The Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellbeing will provide a place for community members to connect with their neighbors, learn new skills and find support they need to increase their health and wellbeing…. Our goal is to offer a welcoming place to children, families and adults where everyone can engage in activities that will help them feel good and live well.” The relationship with the community must be stable and ever cultivating if the campus wants to have a sustaining future in the neighborhood. Not only in their services to the residents, but also in its lasting value to the community members and youth. Wheeler said, “They would like to have Black social workers and psychiatrist that could work with the community as well, but there are not high numbers of African-Americans who are in those career fields in Colorado. The MHCD would like to work with youth in this community to get more people interested in those career fields in Colorado.”

There is hope that this facility can help foster and funnel more children and young adults into pursuing careers in each of these particular fields. The Dahlia Campus anticipates addressing various health issues that concern the community. They are putting a strong emphasis on pediatric dentistry. “There will be a dental office for children because 70 percent of children on free and reduced lunch have cavities and cavities are the number one childhood disease,” Wheeler said. The dentist will be open to the public via appointment when the facility opens later this year. “This facility is truly one of the first of its kind,” Wheeler said. “One thing that Dr. Prado talks about is kids can’t just be successful through education alone, they need to know their community is safe, they need to have a stable place to live, and they need to have food. It takes all of those things together. Also, it will help parents put more things in their toolkits to help them to be a better parent.” For a neighborhood that has waited many years for development to occur, the new Dahlia Campus will become a symbol of revitalization and healthy living. The future for the historic Dahlia neighborhood is promising once again for Park Hill residents. 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


For more than 10 years, passion

has driven Banneker Watches CEO Derrick Holmes to deliver classic timepieces and share the story of pioneering African-American clockmaker and scientist Benjamin Banneker. Over the past few months, the Denver businessman returned to his musical roots to create a new timeless classic – a love song for the ages. Holmes teamed up with multiGrammy nominated producer and multi-platinum composer and songwriter Herb Middleton and Motown legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Otis Williams, the last original surviving member of The Temptations to record “It’s Time for Love.” The single, which will be released on Jan. 1, 2016, is a gentle rallying call for people to come together and love each other. “It was great working with Herb Middleton. He is a great talent. And it was fun seeing D-Man (his nickname for Holmes) hit those notes and bring his special sound to this song. And we have to keep a close eye on my God Niece Ne’Vaeh Holmes, she could be our future Beyoncé, that kid can sing,” said Williams. Middleton shared that positive experience. “To record this was a legendary experience with Mr. Williams and then having this vocal presence with Derrick singing this song was great,” he said. Middleton, who wrote the lyrics to “It’s Time for Love,” has been a musician since childhood and began his songwriting career under the mentorship of Emmy award-winning musical director and composer Loris Holland. The CEO of NuVybe Records in Philadelphia, Middleton has written and produced for such artists as Bobby Brown, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Mary J, Al Green, Usher, Raheem DeVaughn, Faith Evans, and the late Teddy Pendergrass.

Ready For Love

Watch Entrepreneur Delivers Song To The World By Tanya Ishikawa

Otis Williams, Derrick Holmes, Herb Middleton and Ne’Vaeh Holmes.

The music producer and Holmes were introduced by phone through mutual friend Warren Wortham of Waterloo, Iowa. “Derrick sung to me, and listening to him and hearing him talk blew me away. His story and Banneker’s story was cool. Plus, he has a range from high alto, maybe even higher with falsetto, down to a bass that rumbles,” Middleton explained. Holmes also pulled Williams, who is the chief ambassador for the Banneker brand and a loyal customer, into the project. Still performing at 74 years old, more than 50 years after founding The Temptations, Williams recorded a spoken introduction over the song’s entrance. “We’re in the sound engineer’s booth and we heard this voice talking and I’m listening to what he’s saying – I was literally fighting back tears. The way he sounded, it went right to the heart. It was a historical moment, one of those moments that can’t ever be duplicated. It was spontaneous. I love spontaneity as a producer – those moments you don’t plan for, where the artists sing

from or talk from their soul. It generates reality,” Middleton said. Holmes was just as blown away. “We looked at each other and were like, ‘Did we just experience that?’ It shows how Otis was really doing music before we were born. His microphone cred just kicked in. For him it was like nothing; for us it was like boom. Watching Herb, too, I thought about how many people he’s worked with and what a musical genius he is. So for him to be so visually touched by it said a lot,” Holmes recalled. The watch designer has always loved music, and sang in groups in high school and college, making money singing at parties and weddings. He also wrote and sang commercial jingles for his advertising company, but has concentrated on promoting Banneker for the past decade. When he had the epiphany to create a song for his watch company, he realized he could return to his early love of singing, and the song could have deeper meaning.


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Williams agreed. ”This song is more than a song – it is a call, and a cry for change. It should be the world’s new mission,” he said. Middleton explained, “The song promotes Banneker Watches and Derrick’s gift but more than that it has a message, which is something I believe in very strongly and the world needs to be conscious of: the need to love.” “The song deserves attention. It could stand the test of time. It’s not a song created on a whim just for today. The message that it represents is timeless,” he added. Reality inspired his lyric writing, as he reflected on life in America today. “I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a world where they won’t have to fear for their lives. Why do we have to fear for our lives? I understand being angry, but murdering people comes so easy these days. I can’t make it any simpler – look at what we are doing to one another,” he implored. While the elder statesman, Williams, starts out the song, the ending is graced by the sweet voice of Holmes’ 7-year-old daughter, Ne’Vaeh. “There’s nothing like the love between a father and daughter. I wanted to leave listeners with that and send that message of love out,” Middleton explained. He concluded, “My hopes for the song are that people tie into this brilliant brand of watch wear, that people really see this product and start to read into the history, not just of Benjamin Banneker but also Derrick Holmes, who to me is a hero with a really special mission. I hope that people buy into the idea that it is time for love and we see unity displayed among people.”  Editor’s note: Look for updates on the release of the single, “It’s Time for Love,” and its video at and Banneker Watches are high quality timepieces with unique, one-of-a-kind wood grains in the watch faces, luxurious jewel adornments, and fine leather, wood and metal bands.

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Holton Buggs Helps To Answer Your “WHY?”

Who is Holton Buggs? He is often called the Michael Jordan of network marketing. Holton Buggs is the executive vice president of International Sales of Organo, one of the most admired network marketing companies in the world. He is also the #1 income earner in the world of network marketing.

His in-depth knowledge of network marketing was a driving force behind the wide variety of complementary Organo products. Holton’s expertise helps enable the distributors to work with the system to build successful businesses. “In life you don’t get what you want – you get what you picture. One must be able to conceive and fully believe that he or she will be able to achieve their endeavors and desires,” says Buggs. The history of Holton Buggs is a true “rags to riches” story. He started as an engineer, and always had some incredibly frustrating financial situations. Just 45 days away from foreclosure, over $250,000 in debt, and having just experienced the humiliation of having his car repossessed, Buggs made a decision that would forever shape his future. He knew that the reason WHY he needed to succeed was the most important factor. “I launched my Organo Gold business on Sept. 28, 2008. There were already about 7,000 distributors in the company so I wasn’t the very first to get in. I started as a distributor with a Gold Pack, just like everyone else, and worked the business for the first 90 days as if I was $250,000 in debt, 45 days away from foreclosure and facing repossession again. I hardly slept,

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ate, or saw my family – a sacrifice well worth it because I knew those 90 days would set us up for a lifetime.” During his leadership trainings, Buggs encourages network marketers and other entrepreneurs to be conscious of their “why” or their motivation for building their business in the first place. It will guide them to stimulate their enthusiasm to take personal initiative to achieve their definite chief aim, even during tough times. Success is surely attained once the importance of their dream is realized. Buggs knows what it takes to have success with networking marketing. He is world renown, and people from around the world travel many lands in order to see him. After 18 years of experience in network marketing, Buggs was able to transfer his knowledge into Organo with the company’s mission of spreading the knowledge of Ganoderma to the four corners of the world and partnering with thousands of people along the way. Organo coffee, which is the leading product, is not acidic. The secret ingredient is Ganoderma, known as the King of Herbs. There are countless benefits to consistently give a flow of energy throughout the day and bonds to the body’s system to function at optimum levels. Organo Gold started with an extraordinary cup of coffee in 2008 in

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Richmond, B.C., Canada, in a small shop with only three employees. In just two short years, it became one of the fastest growing network marketing companies in the world. In 2009, coffee sales increased from $2 million to $9 million. In 2010 and under the leadership of Buggs, who was named executive vice president of sales, coffee sales increased to $47 million – over a 500 percent increase. After achieving great results because of the system, sales increased to $152 million in 2011, over $300 million in 2012, and through steady increases, now over $400 plus million in 2015. Organo is now doing business in 47 countries with earnings in excess of $1 billion and growing. Holton Buggs will be in Denver for two days to share his knowledge and four principles of network marketing to anyone who is looking for an answer to their “why?” On Friday, Nov. 20, the public is invited to hear a free business presentation on network marketing. On Saturday, ticket holders will be trained and led by Holton Buggs, who says, “let me tell you how network marketing changed my life.” Editor’s note: Holton Buggs will be in Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 P.M. and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For tickets, to register or for more information, call 720-849-4197 or 303-292-6446.

Home Workout Guide: Football Season Edition W

By Kim Farmer

e just started the new NFL season, and for some it’s the best time of the year. The jerseys come out of the closet, the fantasy rosters fire up on the laptop, the grill is sizzling on high, and the coldest beers are unearthed from the bottom of the cooler. Yes, football is a staple of fall, but it’s not exactly kind to our waistline. Carbs and calories from booze and delicious barbecue can make our guts expand faster than Eddie Murphy from The Nutty Professor, especially if you are not aware of the easily distracted fork-to-mouth action. A 2013 study found that fans of bad teams are more likely to eat more junk food and gain more weight, and there are plenty of teams to cause fans across the country many headaches. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Turn Sundays from binge to buff with these easy tips to keep in shape during the season and keep the spirit of the game alive. Make It a Game Chances are, you’ve already done this with alcohol or heard about it. “The X Drinking Game” is a college classic, but instead of taking a swig every time the camera catches Bill Belichick with a scowl on his face, busts out a quick workout. An NFL exercise game could look something like this: •Tony Romo lifeless on the ground = 5 pushups •Pete Carroll looking smug on the sideline = 10 air squats •Marshawn Lynch snubs a reporter = 15 jumping jacks •Tim Tebow plays in a game and throws a touchdown pass = run the New York Marathon The possibilities are endless, but you’ll have more fun if the game is more creative than “10 pushups for every first down...” Snooze. The Ultimate Halftime Workout When was the last time you watched an NFL halftime (except the Super Bowl of course) – Beyoncé’s reunion with Destiny’s Child –

maybe? Halftime is a throwaway and instead of reaching for the next beer or chicken wing while Pam Oliver asks the coaches the worst and weirdest questions imaginable, design the perfect halftime workout. An NFL halftime is exactly 12 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time for a high-intensity, high-interval workout. Some of the workouts require a barbell or other equipment, but there are some that you can do right in the living room. A fast-paced 12-minute workout will be just the thing to kick your metabolism in gear and keep it revved for the second half of the game.

Pre-Game Warmup; Post-Game Cool Down What’s the second most useless part of an NFL game next to halftime? Pregame and post-game, hands down. The only thing worse than sticking around for an NFL post-game is watching a recap of “Real Housewives of Wherever.” It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a workout game during play or busting out a grinder during halftime, use the pre-game to stretch out and the post-game to cool down to make your workout complete. Don’t Be a Tool about It Listen, not all your friends are going to be down to do this and that’s

OK. Just roll with the punches and do your own thing. They’ll be off to the side, snacking on wings and turning up beers... and that’s OK, too. You’re doing this to keep your waist smaller than a tractor tire, not create a bonding experience with the guys. So next time you watch the game push the wings and chips to the side and make room for your workout.  Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit or email


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Rep. Rhonda C. Fields and Young Activists, Blanca Trejo and Jesse Ramirez, Receive Hunt Awards; Katherine Archuleta Receives Parr Widener Civic Leader Award

For the past two decades, The Denver Foundation has presented the Swanee Hunt Leadership Awards to community members who make major contributions to improving life for people in metro Denver. Hunt, for whom the award is named, is a worldrenowned philanthropist, author, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria. She now lives in Massachusetts, but offers these awards as one of the ways she keeps ties with the Denver community where her philanthropy began with The Hunt Alternatives Fund. On Monday, October 19, Anna Jo Haynes, a leader in early childhood education and former trustee of The Denver Foundation, presented the awards at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Community Leadership Awards. The 2015 Hunt Emerging Leaders Award was given to Blanca Trejo and Jesse Ramirez.

From left: David Miller, Rep. Rhonda C. Fields, Katherine Archuleta, Jessie Ramirez, Blanca Trejo, Anna Jo Haynes

Trejo is a graduate of West High School and the Center for International Studies Program. As a Boettcher and Gates Scholar, she triple-majored, earning degrees in Spanish, political science, and international business from the University of Denver in 2010. She has been an advocate for immigrant rights and for Colorado ASSET, the program which allows eligible students without documentation to pay in-state tuition, since she was 15. Ramirez is Trejo’s husband and cofounder of INSPiRE. Jesse is a firstgeneration Mexican-American and a first-generation college graduate having earned a B.A. in political science and minors in Chicano Studies and Latin-American Studies from Colorado State University. He has worked to promote college access for low-income and immigrant youth for

seven years. In 2014, Ramirez and Trejo co-founded a nonprofit called INSPiRE designed to empower young people to be change agents in their schools, families and communities. State Rep. Rhonda C. Fields was the recipient of the Swanee Hunt Individual Leadership Award. Running on a platform of protecting the most vulnerable, promoting economic growth and education reforms in Colorado’s legislature, Rep. Fields was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2010. She is the first African American woman elected in House District 42 in Aurora. In 2014, she became the first African American woman appointed Speaker Pro Temp for the House of Representatives. Rep. Fields is also the founder of the Fields Wolfe Memorial Fund, a nonprofit started in memory of her son Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe, who were murdered in 2005. In 2007, Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Rep. Fields to the Colorado Commission on Criminal Juvenile Justice, where she fought to improve public safety and our criminal justice system. In 2014 and 2011, 5280 ranked Rep. Fields 37th on its list of the 50 “most powerful” people in the Denver metro area. Rep. Fields was inducted into the Aurora Women’s Hall in 2013 and has been recognized by the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Denver Women’s Chamber. She has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Leadership for Healthy Communities Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce President’s Courage Award. The Denver Foundation presented the eighth annual John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award to Katherine Archuleta. The award was presented by David Miller, president and CEO, who had strong ties to both John Parr and Sandy Widener for whom the award is named. The couple died tragically in a car crash in December 2007, while traveling on vacation with daughters Chase and Katy. Only Katy survived. Most recently, Archuleta served as director of the Office of Personnel Management for the Obama administration, the highest ranking Latina in the federal government. She also worked as national political director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and spent two years as chief of staff at the Department of Labor under the leadership of former Secretary Hilda Solis. Archuleta was a senior advisor to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper on policy and initiatives.

Urban League of Metropolitan Denver Presents the 2015 WHITNEY M. YOUNG JR. ANNUAL GALA AWARDS

More than 400 members, sup-

porters, and community leaders came out to support the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver’s (ULMD) Whitney M. Young, Jr. Annual Gala held on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Denver Marriott City Center in downtown Denver. Highlights of the event included vocal performances by Brhandi Ray and Natalie Tatum, the presentation of the McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Awards and the Chairman’s Award, and a powerful keynote address by Lauren Casteel—the daughter of iconic Urban League leader Whitney M. Young, Jr. and the current president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. The Voice of the Denver Nuggets, Kyle Spellers served as the master of ceremony. Awards were presented to the following individuals and company. McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Award: Comcast Corporation (accepted by Rich Jennings) - Comcast is a national company dedicated to bringing together the best in media and technology, and drives innovation to create the world’s best entertainment and online experiences. They have a rich and long partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver where they have provided financial support as well as board leadership, along with program support through internships and job training. David Cole, Principal - David Cole & Associates - David Cole is one of the area’s biggest names in government and community relations, and he has been a longtime friend to the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, providing political advice and leadership support for policy and political issues that impact The League and the communities it serves. He has over forty years of combined experience specializing in corporate lobbying; memberbased associations; political campaigns; and community involvement. David’s commitment to the greater Denver Metropolitan area has literally changed the landscape of Denver and made for a better quality of life for all. Grant Jones, Founder/Executive

Grant Jones, Rich Jennings, Lily Cole (accepting for David Cole), Gaylene Harris, and Sean Bradley

Director; Center for African American Health - Grant Jones is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for African-American Health (CAAH). Under his leadership, CAAH has played a critical role in reversing the health disparities that have persisted in the African American community. Grant’s professional journey can easily be framed as one with a life-long commitment to community improvement and the overall health of the African American community. Syl Morgan-Smith, Retired Media Pioneer - Syl Morgan-Smith is a pioneering communicator and community leader. She was one of the first African American television news anchorwomen in Colorado and further broke the journalism color barrier as a sportscaster, a television talk show host, and as a newspaper editor. She is equally known for her dedication to honoring outstanding community leaders with the creation of the Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame where she has honored more than 450 individuals over a period of 31 years.

Denver’s Robert Willis and Loop Capital’s Rita Kahn. 

About The Urban League

The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver was established in 1946. Since that time it has worked tirelessly to assist African Americans and others of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds in need who reside in the greater Denver metropolitan area with securing a first class education, achieving economic opportunity, and obtaining equal respect of civil rights by providing exceptional programs and services in a highly diversified city. Sean Bradley is the current president and CEO.

Chairman’s Award: Dawn Bookhardt, Founder; Bookhardt O’Toole Law - Dawn Bookhardt is an award winning attorney and founding partner with the law firm of Bookhardt & O’Toole, a small, boutique law firm that ranks consistently as one of the country’s top law firms in the area of project development and public finance. Dawn has become a life-long friend to the Urban League, providing financial and strategic planning support and has established herself as a champion for education here in Denver. Sponsors for the event included Miller Coors, Noble Energy, David Cole & Associates, and Vista Equity Partners, and many others. In addition, co-chairs for the event were honorary co-chairs Moses and Gwen Brewer, along with the University of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Sean Bradley, Lauren Casteel, and Robert Willis

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, there are more than 100 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.


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First-Ever End of Summer Tailgate a Success

be well initiative challenges community members to Get in the Zone! Leading up to the first-ever End of Summer Tailgate sponsored by the Stapleton Foundation’s be well Health and Wellness Initiative, the publicity collateral posed an important question – “Why be well?” The answer, “Because healthy communities start with us.” The residents of the six be well Zone neighborhoods: Greater Park Hill, Northeast Park Hill, Montbello, East Montclair, Stapleton and Northwest Aurora certainly took the question to heart and responded in resounding agreement with a great turnout at the Initiative’s inaugural event held at Skyland Park on Saturday, Sept. 19. More than 500 local residents of multiple generations officially registered for the “Get in the Zone” tailgate initiative, with many others unofficially jumping in on the fun. And why not, as former Denver Bronco Rod Smith and D.J. K-Tone set


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the stage for the upbeat program while serving as emcees for the family-friendly fitness concert. “Everyone has a role in creating communities where we can all achieve the good health we desire, and we are so proud of the way the community embraced this event,” said Alisha Brown, be well vice president. “Programs such as the be well/be EPIC End of Summer Tailgate provide our team an opportunity to interact with a large number of community members and introduce more citizens to ongoing physical fitness activities available right here in our community. This event also helps us tout the importance of community involvement in addressing the need for essential services and programs that address the health disparities found between African Americans and other groups.” Event activities including a sports combine for the youth, various fitness demonstrations, food tastings featuring local chefs, juicing and food prep demonstrations helped participants “Get in the Zone” and realize the goals of this be EPIC campaign. Prizes provided by event sponsors such as Reebok, Northeast Transportation Connection and many others as well as plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks helped to make the event exciting for all who attended. The partner turnout was impressive, with more than 21 be well partner organizations sharing in the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


festivities with booths and programming. Organizations and community partners were invited to share messages regarding the importance of health and wellness with their supporters by taking part in a friendly competition to see which organization could grow the largest team of participants for the event. In the Zone with over 100 men, women, and children in attendance, the Disciples Football Club took home a $1,000 bonus prize as the winner of the be well/be Epic 2015 Tailgate Party Challenge. City officials were also on hand for the tailgate, including executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation Happy Haynes who took the opportunity to welcome all of the local residents to Skyland Park, while encouraging those gathered to continue to impact their zone by exercising and utilizing the city’s parks to stay physically active and engaged in their own health and wellness. Knowing the challenges many African Americans face when it comes to physical activity, the be well/be EPIC End of Summer Tailgate program is a welcome addition to the growing list of events supporting community health. Be on the lookout for other free programs presented by the be well Health and Wellness Initiative and it’s be EPIC platform. Nominations are now being accepted for the upcoming be well Awards 

CBWPA Luncheon Honors Black Women A who’s who of people that

By Angelia D. McGowan

make up Colorado’s political landscape attended the CBWPA’s (Colorado Black Women for Political Action) 36th Annual “Tribute to Black Women” luncheon on October 10 at the Renaissance Hotel Denver. Veteran and award winning journalist Tamara Banks served as mistress of ceremonies. Throughout the luncheon, attendees heard inspirational words from a host of leaders from Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Senator Michael Bennet to CBWPA leaders, including its current president, Maya Wheeler. African-American candidates for elected offices were also recognized. The keynote speaker was educator and activist Dominique Christina. The award-winning author lit up the room with powerful words and memories as she read a few poems, including one inspired by her grandmother and another inspired by the16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama–a church with a predominantly Black congregation that served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders. Four young girls were killed and many others injured on Sept. 15, 1963. The 2015 CBWPA 36th Annual “Tribute to Black Women” honorees included a host of women from diverse backgrounds. Jeweldine Blair, a woman of courage, faith, family and community, was recognized as the 2015 Trailblazer honoree. Dawn Riley Duval, a minister, mother, journalist and a co-founder and co-leader of Black Lives Matter 5280, was recognized as the 2015 Politics honoree. Dr. Claudette Evette Francoise Sweet, gifted vocalist, pianist and community activities, was honored as the 2015 Cultural Affairs honoree. Claudia E. Abernethy-Feliciana, a practicing attorney who has fought for more than 20 years for the tenant rights of single mothers, senior citizens, veterans, the physically and mentally disabled, to name a few, was recognized as the 2015 Business honoree. Barbara Walker-Allen, a teacher for 42 years in Denver and a recognized leader in innovative history education in

Colorado and the nation, was honored as the 2015 Education honoree. Jandel

Allen-Davis, MD, vice president of government, external relations and research at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, was recognized as the 2015 Community Service honoree. Daryn Alexandria Fouther, a freshman at Colorado State University, who led city-wide efforts to highlight police brutality by organizing a peaceful rally and march at her high school, received the 2015 Youth award. Rosalind “Bee” Harris, owner and publisher of the Denver Urban Spectrum, received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement and Excellence award. The CBWPA President’s Award recognized Lady Jane-Frances Echeozo,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


RN, MS, for her work to advance greater collaboration and integration of all ethnic groups, including immigrant and refugees in our community. During the event, Historic Denver, Inc. presented its newly created Cultural Impact Award to the CBWPA for engaging AfricanAmerican women in the civic process. This year, the organization is recognizing five local non-profits with the award to honor each organization’s four decades of service in Denver and for contributing to the city’s rich cultural tapestry. 

Cosby, Not Ebony Magazine, Fanned Stereotypes of the Black Family E

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

bony Magazine stirred a mini-firestorm of rage when it dredged up an old photo shot of the TV Cosby show family, plopped it on its November cover, and then fractured the picture. The obvious point being that embattled comedian Bill Cosby not only disgraced his legacy but disgraced the hitherto near sacrosanct image and legacy of the celebrated Cosby TV show family, the Huxtables. The premise of the show was that there is fully intact, respectable, high achieving, prim and proper Black middle class families. The Huxtables

was an in your face, counter to the ancient damaging, hurtful and false stereotype of the Black family and by extension Blacks, as crime, drug ridden, dysfunctional, eternal wallowing in ignorance and poverty single parent Black families. The show’s wild success and popularity was evidence that it gave many Blacks a positive, upbeat look at themselves, and the strengths of many Black families. It also gave many nonBlacks a glimpse of an upwardly mobile Black family that seemed to be no different than any other such family. The Ebony cover is under fire because it seemed to tear down the last remaining shred of what was

good and decent about Cosby and the Black family. The criticism badly misfires and ignores too much. Namely, that it was Cosby who in lectures, speeches, press appearances, and a best-selling book went on a one man crusade to tell the world how supposedly lousy the Black family was. Along the way, he cobbled together a mish mash of his trademark anecdotes, homilies, and personal tales of woe and success, juggled and massaged facts to bolster his self-designated black morals crusade. He made the stock claim that Blacks can’t read, write or speak coherent English, and are social and educational cripples and failures because of

their own ineptitude, sloth, and indolence. Cosby was lionized by conservatives as the ultimate truth speaker for hammering Blacks. While Cosby was entitled to publicly air Black America’s alleged dirty laundry, there was more myth than dirt in that laundry. Some knuckleheads in Black neighborhoods do kill, mug, peddle dope, are jobless untouchables, and educational wastrels. They, and only they, should be the target of wrath. But Cosby made a Grand Canyon size leap from them to paint a half-truth, skewed, picture of the plight of poor Blacks and the reasons and prescriptions for their plight. At the time, Cosby publicly bristled at criticism that he had taken the worst of the worst behavior of some Blacks and publicly hurled that out as the warped standard of black America. Cosby insisted that he did not mean to slander all, or even most Blacks, as derelict, laggards and slackers. Yet that’s precisely the impression he gave and the criticism of him for it was more than justified. Even the title of his book, Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors (a hint they’re all losers) conveyed that smear.


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Cosby did not qualify or provide a complete factual context for his blanket indictment of poor Blacks. He made the negative behavior of some Blacks a racial rather than an endemic social problem. In doing so, he did more than break the alleged taboo against publicly airing racial dirty laundry; he fanned dangerous and destructive stereotypes. That was hardly the call to action that could inspire and motivate underachieving blacks to improve their lives. Instead, it further demoralized those poor Blacks who are doing the best to keep their children and themselves out of harm’s way, often against towering odds, while still being hammered for their alleged failures by the Cosby’s within and without their communities. Worse, Cosby’s blame the victim slam did nothing to encourage government officials and business leaders to provide greater resources and opportunities to aid those blacks that need help. Come on People, intended or not, continued to tar the black communities and the black poor as dysfunctional, chronic whiners, and eternally searching for a government hand-out. Cosby’s one sided, stereotypical laced crusade against alleged Black dysfunctionality was a zero sum catch 22 contradiction. If any of what Cosby said about the Black family’s alleged chronic dysfunctionality was true, then that must mean that his be knighted Huxtable family was nothing more than a made for TV fraud. And that he and the show gamed millions to believe that such a Black family really existed, when it didn’t. There were more than a few critics even then who knocked the Huxtables as just that, a myth, and lambasted the show and Cosby for creating the fairy tale image of an intact, achieving Black family. Ebony’s fractured cover of the Huxtables merely messaged what Cosby had done long before his disgrace and fall; and that’s publicly malign the Black family.  Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Torpedoing Hillary: The GOP Plan to Stop a Clinton White House (Amazon ebook). He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly cohost of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

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Ferguson, America, and Moving Forward Toward Truth

By David Ragland and Mark Lance


ecent grassroots mobilization against police killings of African Americans has thrust a long-standing pattern of racial violence into the consciousness of the world. There is nothing new about state violence against African Americans: from slave patrols, fugitive slave laws, and the Klan/state violence of Jim Crow, right up to today’s racial profiling, stop and frisk, mass incarceration, and shoot-first practices, the segregation and racial oppression of the US has always been maintained by violence. Establishment response to this movement typically fall into one of two camps: either, the condescending hostility of “all lives matter,” “blue lives matter,” “black on black violence,, and other Fox News talking points, or city, state, and national commissions, designed to implement topdown reforms around issues like finebased revenue generation, racial profiling, police training, or the use of body cameras. The former amounts to a refusal to confront, if not outright denial of, our racist history; while the latter have been mild, reformist, and

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not translated into meaningful change. So far in 2015, according to a count by The Guardian, 862 people have been killed by police in the U.S., with Blacks killed at a rate more than double that of whites. But even apart from ineffectuality, there is a basic orientation that top-down reform shares with blame-the-victim backlash: both ignore and disempower communities on the front lines of these assaults. Experts on both sides attempt to manage the situation while people living with the day-to-day realities of police violence have no voice in the process. In the face of a systematic problem like racism – a complex mix of economic disparity and disempowerment, mass imprisonment, conscious and unconscious bias, daily police harassment, and outright violent attacks against unarmed citizens – an underlying power disparity is central. Communities of color need to be treated better, but also to be recognized as having a voice, agency, and as deserving the same level of participation in all aspects of social and political life as dominant groups. The first step in any effort to challenge the prevailing power dynamic, then, must be to allow the voices of those most directly affected to be heard. Without direct testimony from those affected by police violence, we cannot appreciate the scope and nature of the problem as it is experienced by those affected. With this goal, organizers in St Louis/Ferguson, with the support of people all over the country, created The Truth Telling Project. TTP, on behalf of the citizens of Ferguson, will launch The Truth Telling Initiative for Ferguson and Beyond, November 13 and 14, to allow national and international audiences to listen to first-hand accounts of persons impacted by police violence in the city of Ferguson and beyond. This initiative will convene hearings in front of a panel composed primarily of citizens of Ferguson.


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The Truth Telling Project is an essential step, but it is only a first step. By helping facilitate community-based truth telling, the TTP will contribute to broader understanding of the lived reality of African American communities, join efforts at city, state, and national levels to build pressure for structural change, and ultimately support healing and reconciliation. The ultimate goal of the TTP, in conjunction with many other initiatives in the U.S., is the eradication of racism in all of its structural, institutional, and social forms. Following its initial witnessing of testimony in Ferguson in November, the TTP will broadcast the testimonies presented to national and international audiences. It will then invite nationwide, community-based participation in truth seeking, truth telling, transformational, and healing processes through the encouragement of “Watch, Exchange, Formulate and Implement” gatherings where citizen groups host Watch parties, Exchange ideas, Formulate a plan of action, and ultimately Implement that plan. There can be no genuine healing without honestly, courageously and collectively involving the citizens of Ferguson, MO in exposing and confronting truths surrounding police violence and fully acknowledging the direct and indirect suffering associated with those experiences. Giving recognition to individual experiences and truths is the beginning of justice, and the beginning of healing and resolution; each is a necessary step if we are to move our society through, and then past, the pain associated with the legacies of racism in the U.S.  Editor’s note: For more information on the TTP, visit Dr. David Ragland is from North St. Louis, MO, writes for Peace Voice and is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College/Co-Director of the Truth Telling Project. Mark Lance is a professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.

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BLACK PR NEWS Scholarship Programs Still Available for Women

Nationwide ( - Billions of dollars in scholarships have already been given away this year to students who need financial assistance, but there are still quite a few programs available. Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: a scholarship award of up to $10K and an opportunity to attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat in Mountain View, California. Deadline is December 1. Apply at National Student Nurses Association Scholarships: for female students that are enrolled or enrolling in a nursing degree program; also special scholarships available for racial or ethnic minority students. Deadline is January 29, 2016. Apply at Burger King Scholars Program: awards scholarships to students ranging from $1K to $50K, for tuition, fees or books; must not exceed educational costs. Deadline is December 15. Apply at /burger-king-scholars-program.html

Microsoft’s Women Scholarship/ Fellowship Program: a scholarship award of up to $15K plus a stipend toward conference and travel expenses for recipients to attend a conference. Deadline is December 31. Apply at /microsoft-research-graduate-womens.html Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP): primarily for women who have critical financial need and a desire to complete their undergraduate education. Single mothers with young children are encouraged to apply. Deadline is December 31. Apply at For other 2015-2016 scholarships for both men and women, visit www.Scholarships-

Paid, Federal Diversity Internship Opportunities For Spring And Summer 2016

Washington, DC ( – Via the Washington Center’s Federal Diversity Internship Initiative, the Washington Center and HBCU Connect are working with selected government agencies to provide

African American students with fullyfunded, paid internship opportunities for Spring and Summer 2016. The government agencies where students will be placed include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Archives and Records Administration, and others. The Washington Center provides students with housing and supplemental programming activities. There are no application or program fees for students who are interested in applying, but there are several requirements that must be met. The deadline to apply for the spring internship program is November 18 and the summer deadline is January 15, 2016. To apply, visit 1058/twc-content-ad.

In New Urbanized Book, Peter Pan Vows to Save Two African Slave Children

Philadelphia, PA ( – There are numerous versions of the Peter Pan fairytale; however, the Peter

Pan classic has received an injection of modern day excitement with an urban spin. In Peter Pan and the Adventures of the Lost Slave Children, written by Ki’el Ebon Ibrahim, Peter Pan vows to save the lost slave children and return them safely to Africa with their parents. But this is no easy task for Peter, as he has to battle the evil Seaman Hook, who has had many battles with Peter, and is set out to destroy him once and for all. Individuals who purchase this book will not only be giving their children the thrill of an inspiring and captivating story, but they will also be making a contribution to ending hunger in Africa. The publisher will donate $1 towards the World Food Program, which feeds children in Africa through Ibrahim’s Food for Art Program. Peter Pan and the Adventures of the Lost Slave Children is available in eBook format on and on Barnes and Noble. For further information about the book, visit:


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Thanksgiving Is More Than One Day By Jonathan McMillan

November is upon us and the

unofficial start to the holiday season.

The first holiday Thanksgiving, is traditionally a time where people take a day to feast with family and loved

ones and take time to reflect on all the things for which they are grateful.

This is great, but is it enough? Why do we as a society only devote one day to expressing gratitude? How do we recognize and express gratitude any other day – especially, days when things don’t always seem so great? I’ve learned a very important skill from my two-year-old son. Every morning when I wake him up, I ask him “How are you?” “I great, Daddy!” he always responds sleepily but enthusiastically. It’s with that mindset that he soldiers through his day excited for everything and everyone that he will experience before bedtime even when things are out of his control and don’t always go his way. As a rational adult, I came to the realization that if a two-year-old can do it, despite not having much control over anything in life except for his mood, I should follow his example. No matter the circumstances or situation. I had every intention on waking up early this morning and meditating and doing some reading, writing and watching some lectures for a couple of classes I take. I had planned on getting homework for the week completed or at least make significant progress to that goal. However, as soon as I got out of bed, a funny thing called life began to happen.

My phone began to malfunction in a major way. I spent a huge amount of time talking with a technical support agent. Unfortunately, the solution she suggested only ended up making the original problem worse. The solution she promised to email never arrived so I had to do the research myself. After doing everything I could to back up all my info and data, I completely reset my phone to the original factory settings and crossed my fingers hoping that I wouldn’t lose anything irreplaceable. Just as I set my phone down to concentrate on another task, Julian, who is super curious and busy, accidently knocked the new blender off the table and shattered the glass carafe. I could’ve easily decided then and there that today was going to be a bad day. Up to that point, all evidence was pointing towards that obvious verdict. But one thing made it literally impossible for the day to be declared bad – my refusal to let it. Unless I happened to drop dead at that very moment, I still had the power to create the day that I wanted. I immediately stopped and thought of all that I have at that very moment to be grateful for. At the top of that list was my ability to change the direction in which the day was headed and secondly, simply knowing that I had that ability. Almost instantly, the tension and stress I was feeling practically melted away. Then I looked at all of the opportunities my minor trials had presented me. 1). I learned something new about my phone. 2). I took the time to backup my data on my phone which was something which was long overdue. I acknowledged how fortunate I was that Julian didn’t hurt himself when he broke the blender. I acknowledged how fortunate it was that we have a working vacuum cleaner to pick up all the glass pieces off the floor. Julian probably learned an important lesson about being careful

around glass objects. And pleasantly, the entire morning was an opportunity for me to purposefully practice being grateful for every experience that life will present me and to write about and share it in a practical way that may help others. Today is great. I refuse to view it any other way and this is why. Last night I was scared half to death. I was making some hot tea before bedtime and had just filled a cup with very hot tap water and set it on the counter. Julian, my uber-curious twoyear-old son came in the kitchen and before I had an opportunity to stop him, he had grabbed the cup and accidently spilled it all over his face and torso. Like in a Michael Bay movie, the two seconds it took for him to reach for and tip the cup over and scald himself seemed to unfold in slow motion as I rushed to stop him as soon as I saw him. By the time I was able to react, he was already releasing a blood curdling scream of agony. I immediately scooped him up and ran him to our bedroom. His mom and I checked him over very carefully and after some minor first-aid, some cold washcloths, a lot of TLC and some warm dry pajamas, The Buddha was good as new – just a bit shocked. Half an hour later he was lying contently in his bed watching his

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


favorite movie, fighting sleep like any other night. And when I woke him up this morning and asked him “How are you?” Without missing a beat, he replied just as sleepily and enthusiastically as usual, “I great Daddy!” In order to build and live a better than average life we must learn to be habitually, powerfully, purposefully grateful. That is the habit of being grateful for every person, circumstance and experience we encounter. The more grateful we are for the things in our lives, the more things come into our lives for us to experience more gratitude. I challenge you to increase the level of gratitude in your life this month by listing at least 10 things for which you are grateful for every day. You can either do this online in your social media accounts or on traditional pen and paper like a journal. However you choose to participate, I’m certain that you will almost immediately see the benefits of being habitually, powerfully, and purposefully grateful. You will experience Thanksgiving every day. Editor’s note: Jonathan McMillan is a motivational speaker who lives in Denver. Follow him: Facebook: https://www.; Twitter: @Be_BTA; Google+: com/u/0/+JonathanMcMillanBeBTA/posts

MAYOR’S CORNER Mayor Hancock Appoints Patrick Firman as Next Denver Sheriff Mayor Michael B. Hancock appointed Patrick Firman as the next Sheriff for the City and County of Denver. Firman will lead a department undergoing an extensive reform process, and will work alongside the Implementation Team led by Executive Director of Safety Stephanie O’Malley to effect the recommendations provided in the comprehensive report for reform of the Denver Sheriff Department. With over 24 years of uniformed and jail management experience, Firman served as deputy chief of Corrections for the McHenry County, IL Sheriff’s Office from 2009 to 2014, and deputy chief and chief of corrections for the Lake County, IL Sheriff’s Office from 2000 to 2009. In these roles, he has overseen jail systems of hundreds of inmates and department

staff as well as managed multi-million dollar budgets. Firman carries significant expertise in corrections, penology and criminology along with a keen eye for process improvements and organizational accountability. He served as vice president of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Correctional Association, and is a certified American Correctional Association auditor and executive, and Department of Justice PREA auditor. He is also certified in approved instructional expertise in human behavior by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. Firman shared his expertise as a professor at the Chicago area’s College of Lake County and Trinity International University. In the coming weeks, Firman will meet with members of the Denver Sheriff Department, as well as members of the Denver community, to introduce himself and gather feedback on the continued reform efforts. The national search for Denver’s new Sheriff was conducted by Hillard Heintze, one of the independent assessment firms selected to deliver a comprehensive report for reform of the Denver Sheriff Department.

Mayor Hancock, Commissions Honor 10 Community Members with Mayor’s Diversity Awards

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, along with members of his community commissions, honored 10 individuals who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusive excellence, leadership and civic service with Mayor’s Diversity Awards at a celebration hosted by the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission. The 2015 community champions of equality, justice and unity are: Denver Commission for People with Disabilities – Hal O’Leary, founder of the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) – O’Leary created a whole new system of recreational and therapeutic outlets for people with disabilities. Since the program began in 1970, more than 60,000 people with disabilities have learned to ski and participate in other sports through the NSCD. Denver Latino Commission – Jim Garcia, founder of Clínica Tepeyac – Garcia founded a clinic for the working poor and for those who had little or no health insurance. With limited financial resources, hundreds of volunteers came together to transform a run-down house into a thriving, and growing, health clinic. Denver Women’s Commission – CEO Tamra Ryan and the Women’s Bean Project – The Women’s Bean Project employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women in transitional jobs that help them earn the job readiness, interpersonal and life skills necessary for moving to entry-level employment. As CEO for 12 years, Ryan has increased the number of women served by more than 300 percent, grown sales from $300k to $1.7m and boosted the number of stores from 100 to over 1,000 in 40 states including Colorado. Denver GLBT Commission – Rainbow Alley – Since 1998, Rainbow Alley has provided a safe, welcoming and supportive social alternative for LGBTQ youth and their allies. The organization offers counseling, support groups, health services and adult mentoring, as well as educational and career programs and social activities. Denver Asian Pacific American Commission – Peggy Lore, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Success at UCD – Lore oversaw six departments and still served as a faculty advisor to student cultural clubs, mentored students and staff, and volunteered in the community. She was a consistent advocate for diversity and personally helped students stay on track to graduate despite discouragement, financial problems, alienation or academic hardship before retiring in June.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Denver American Indian Commission – Dianne A. Van Voorhees – Van Vorhees volunteered her time and resources to moderate the recent renewal of the American Indian Scholars License Plate program, which funds scholarships for American Indian students. She has also organized free legal clinics for American Indians for the past three years. Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission – Dr. P.J. Parmar, owner of the Mango House – Dr. Parmar founded the Mango House to offer medical, dental and educational services to international political refugees. No appointments are necessary, clients are served on a walk-in basis, and no patients are turned away. Since opening in 2012, Mango House has received 15,000 visits and served 5,000 patients. Denver Commission on Aging – Patricia Cook – Cook is a retired registered nurse who advocates for older adults who are at risk of losing their public benefits or need housing. She assists those who are navigating through the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems and has done extensive work in the Latino community to ensure that eligible adults are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. Denver African American Commission – Center for African American Health – Dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the African American community, the Center for African American Health provides culturally sensitive disease prevention and disease management programs in metro Denver. Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships Commission – Jeff Hirota – Hirota, who has worked with many local nonprofits that serve a broad spectrum of Denver residents including the Denver Foundation and the Five Points Media Center, is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church who conducted some of the city’s first same-sex weddings. The ceremony, moderated by Jessica Oh of 9News, was held at the Holiday Event Center and included entertainment from Halau Kalama, Mudra Dance Studio, Denver Taiko and the Hype 303/Academy of Raw. Halau Kalama is made up of authentic Polynesian dancers who have been featured on national television. Mudra Dance Studio performs classical dance forms of India that trace back to 6,000 B.C. Denver Taiko, made up of third-, fourth- and fifth-generation Japanese Americans, honors cultural heritage through the art of drumming. Hype 303, one of the state’s leading urban dance teams, performs hip hop and urban dance as the Academy of Raw.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


COMMUNITY NOTES Denver Hosting World’s First Comprehensive Symposium on Marijuana Management

Denver is gearing up to host the first-ever Marijuana Management Symposium, Nov. 5-6 at the Colorado Convention Center. After Colorado amended statewide laws governing cannabis, Denver became the first major city to legalize recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, 2014 and the first success story as well as a valuable resource for other cities attempting to prepare for the administrative, legal, safety and business implications of marijuana legalization. Ashley Kilroy, executive director of Marijuana Policy for the City and County of Denver will present Denver’s collaborative approach toward marijuana management, including how the city manages marijuana-related revenue and expenditures, cross-departmental resource allocation, streamlined inspection processes and the considerable task of coordinating the city’s work on marijuana across multiple agencies and among various interested parties. For more information visit

Owl Club Founders Day Seeks Debutant Applicants For 2016 Scholarship Program

The Owl Club of Denver recently held their Founders Day which celebrated the organization’s long and rich history. The presentations honored the founders of the organization, which was organized in 1941, and val-

idated the clubs’ continued presence in the community and commitment to their established programs that include the Debutante Cotillion, Scholarship Foundation and other civic and social events. The organization is currently offering young women who are in 2016 graduating high school seniors the opportunity to apply to participate in the 65th Owl Club Debutante Cotillion to be held on June 4, 2016. Nominations must be received by Nov. 17. Applicants can inquire with their high school counselors or email Ron Washington at leroil1952@gmail .com for more information.

Erica Papillion-Posey Announces Dual Release of Debut Jazz Album and Book

Erica Papillion-Posey announced the dual release of her debut jazz album, The Standard Reimagined, when jazz... and her book, “Musings from the Mind of a Mezzo, Poetry & Prose of passion, pain & plight” Fresh from her debut at Dazzle Jazz, the songstress previewed selections from her upcoming album soaring through classics like Nature Boy and Lazy Afternoon. A carefully curated collection of jazz favorites, The Standard Reimagined, when jazz... is a soundtrack of love and heartbreak featuring Erica

Papillion-Posey, accompanied by Denver bassist, Ken Walker (Ken Walker Sextet) and the father and son Louisiana jazz duo, Chester Daigle II, piano and Jarius Daigle, violin. In addition to be being a prolific musician, Papillion-Posey is a writer. Musings from the Mind of a Mezzo, Poetry & Prose of passion, pain & plight is a compilation of works chronicling various personal experiences as a child of adoption, a woman, performer, and artist. The Erica Papillion-Posey Quartet will be featured in Lake Charles, LA at The Heist on Friday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. For more information or to preorder the jazz debut album, visit

Denver Foundation Celebrates “Our Future in the Making”

The Denver Foundation, Colorado’s oldest and largest community foundation, turns 90 on Nov. 30. To celebrate this milestone, the foundation invites the public to participate in “Our Future in the Making,” an online community storytelling contest that highlights bold and creative visions for Denver’s future. “Our Future in the Making” runs through Monday, Nov. 30. Each week, the public is invited to submit stories, images, and videos via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a mobilefriendly application on The Denver Foundation’s website. All entries will be displayed on The Denver Foundation’s website. The contest hashtag is #DenverNext90. Contest themes vary by week.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


Three weekly winners will be chosen and winners will select prizes from The Women’s Bean Project online store, Complete contest rules are available via www.denverfoundation .org/About/Contests

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot Is Just around the Corner

This Thanksgiving morning, Mile High United Way will host the 42nd Annual Turkey Trot race in Denver’s Washington Park. The event is expected to host more than 10,000 runners/walkers and another 10,000 spectators and volunteers in support of Mile High United Way’s work to improve the lives of children, families and individuals in our community. The Turkey Trot will include a Start and Finish Village featuring a variety of fun activities including live music and entertainment, vendor booths with merchandise and snacks, a beer garden and appearances by Denver Broncos cheerleaders. Runners will receive a collectible t-shirt and bib with timing tag. Also, there is a quarter-mile family fun run through the park at 11 a.m. The Turkey Trot will be Thursday, Nov. 26, at 10 a.m. at Washington Park, in Denver. Registration and packet pick-up opens at 8 a.m. Cost is $40 for adults $45; discounts for seniors 60+ and youth 12 and under. For more information, call 303-4338383 or email


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


Bridge of Spies

 By Laurence Washington

nce again two-time Oscar-winner Tom Hanks plays an every-man caught up in extraordinary circumstances in Bridge of Spies, a cold-war thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Former Nuremberg-war crimes lawyer James Donovan (Hanks), now an insurance lawyer, is persuaded by his law firm and the CIA to defend captured Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in a preordained public trial to demonstrate Soviet spies

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


can get a fair defense in the U.S. Nod, nod. Wink, wink. However, Donovan’s law firm and the CIA are shocked at his rigorous defense using the Constitution as legal strategy. The public, friends and colleagues despise Donovan, even though he is not a commie sympathizer. He’s an ethical lawyer (Surprise! Surprise!) who believes giving his client the best defense possible. Donovan loses of course, but convinces the court to spare the mildmannered Abel from the death penalty. During the course of the trial, the pair form a heartfelt relationship proving that enemies can become friends. Donovan argues that one day the Russians might want to trade a captured American spy for Abel. That was 1957. Fast-forward to 1963 the height of the cold war. U-2 jet pilot Gary Powers is shot down over the Soviet Union and captured by the Russians. Seeing the errors of their ways, the CIA, is now glad Donovan fought so rigorously to save Abel’s life. The CIA asks Donovan to negotiate and arrange an exchange: Powers for Able, with the stipulation that the CIA will disavow any involvement.


He Named Me Malala

Bridge of Spies

Donovan working supposedly alone tells the Russians he wants to include a captured American grad student who was caught attempting to get his East German girlfriend into West Berlin. And so the negotiations begin. Even through the audience knows the outcome of this true-life story, director Steven Spielberg keeps the drama taunt and tantalizing. Instead of opting for an action-packed spy vs. spy James Bond adventure, the interaction between the characters drives the picture. Bridge of Spies is a terrific movie. ZBro

The Martian

1/2 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

The Martian


he film, which is best described as Castaway meets Gravity, revolves around a mission to save an astronaut (Matt Damon), who has been left behind on Mars. Based on a best-selling novel of the same name, the story begins in Mars and follows several astronauts on the planet conducting an experiment. When a storm hits, the crew are forced back to Earth leaving Damon’s charac-

ter Mark Watney behind who is presumed dead after being struck by debris. Fortunately, Watney is still alive and the rest of the movie circles around his ongoing attempts to survive long enough to be rescued. As well as being an astronaut, he’s also a botanist, which comes in handy when he figures out how to grow potatoes on Mars using fecal matter for bacteria. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character, Dr. Vincent Kapoor, is the man with a mission who is tasked with bringing him back to Earth in this Ridley Scott directed film. Glowering when needed but sympathetic to Watney’s plight (we’ve all had that feeling of being alone in the world), Ejiofor’s character is dedicated to bringing Watney back from Mars and will let nothing deter him from that mission. A survival and rescue adventure flick which is fairly entertaining, it’s easy to root for Damon’s character who is perfectly cast as Watney. Despite facing death, which, he says could come through several scenarios, “one of course which includes starvation,” he’s upbeat and humorous throughout as he records his daily vlogs detailing his ongoing fight for survival. Engaging and entertaining enough, The Martian clocks in at 2 hours and 14 minutes long and is filled with so much scientific jargon you would need to be a layman in physics to understand some of the language. We also learn a lot about Mars in this film. An unwelcoming planet, its wide temperatures range – from -153°C to around 22°C on a summer day and the air is 95 percent carbon dioxide which makes breathing problematic. The soil lacks bacteria needed to grow food and water exists, but only as ice. Certainly fascinating stuff.

He Named Me Malala  By Samantha Ofole-Prince


alala Yousafzai was just 14 when she survived an assassination attempt in 2012 after her calls for equal rights and education for girls angered militants in Pakistan. In this complete and compelling portrait, directed by Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), we learn more about this young girl, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who was determined to defy the odds.

Thorough and involving, music and animation emphasize most of the messages of this documentary, which was filmed over 18 months that Guggenheim spent with the Yousafzai family in the United Kingdom and on the road in Nigeria, Kenya and Jordon. Recounting not only what happened to Malala, he introduces audiences to her father Ziauddin, mother Toor Pekai, and brothers Khushal and Atal who she playfully banters with as he shares her culture and childhood detailing how the schoolgirl turned into an educational campaigner. It’s there we get the real, honest details of her daily life. In one scene, Malala is asked about the different words she has written on several post-it papers in her room. One piece of paper has the word “Cat burglar.” Why did you write it down? She is asked. Her answer, humorous, childlike and refreshingly candid garners laughs as she explains that she found the meaning interesting. Shot fighting for what she believed, she was named after one of the greatest heroines of the Pashtun people: Malala of Maiwand, a girl often compared to the French saint, Joan of Arc, for her selfless acts of inspiration in Continued on page 28




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REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM Continuef from page 27 war. As a child, Malala’s her father instilled an understanding that she was not barred from doing great things because she was a woman. She was barely 11 years old when she began championing girls’ education, speaking out in TV interviews. The Taliban had overrun her hometown terrorizing residents and threatening to blow up schools and she could not bear the unfairness of it, which fueled her urge to speak out for what she saw as a basic human right. The film, which begins in 2013, also offers a fascinating look back at the history of her troubled nation, wisely placing its current political volatility in an easily graspable context. As it reaches an end and the lights come up, you leave the theater feeling moved by her courage, sickened by the crime and frustrated by the ignorance and violence that plagues society.


The Walk

1/2 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

aunt, tense but surprisingly funny, The Walk stars Joseph Gordon-

Levitt as French aerialist Philippe Petit, who in 1974 walked back and forth across a cable strung between the twin towers of the World Trade Center A high-octane drama, it opens with Petit talking directly to the audience while the twin towers stands in the background. He’s perched on the torch of the Statue of Liberty and it’s where he stays throughout the entire film as he narrates the story of how he came to climb what where were previously the tallest two buildings in the world. The film, which is the subject of 2008’s Oscar-winning best documentary feature, Man on Wire then doubles back to Petit as a kid showing how he

The Walk

became mesmerized by wire walking after seeing local circus performers who came to his town in France. He then learns the skills of tightrope walking from Papa Rudy, a Czech mentor played by Ben Kingsley, falls in love with a street musician, Annie, played by Charlotte Le Bon, all while hashing out a plan to make his vision of walking across the towers a reality. The film then shifts into mission mode, and the set-up for the World Trade Center walk begins as he picks his eclectic accomplices for what has become to be known as the “artistic crime of the century. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the master director of such marvels as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future, and Flight, The Walk is an epic, brilliant, big-screen cinematic spectacle. Made in 3D, it gives moviegoers the chance to go where only one man has been or ever will be – 110 stories in the air, on a wire, walking between the towers of the World Trade Center. KAWIw

ACTOR MARQUES HOUSTON: Romantic Movies Are My Favorite By Samantha Ofole-Prince

Keshia Knight-Pulliam and Marques Houston

Monday-Friday, 6-9am

Romantics will feel their spirits soar in this Marques Houston starrer, which is a genuine and delightful tribute to love. A film that’s impossible to dislike... no matter how cynically we might try,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015


it follows Houston’s character Jamal who is given three months to find a wife in order to inherit his grandfather’s estate. “It has a twist and the concept is very original and creative,” shares Houston, who not only stars in the piece but wrote and produced the film. Directed by Chris Stokes, Will To Love circles around Jamal Hawkins (Houston). The CEO of a million dollar company, he’s a single and extremely successful businessman whose ailing grandfather is willing to leave everything to him if he finds a wife and gets married before he dies. With just a few months before his grandfather’s impending death, it’s a race against time as Jamal tries, through any means necessary, to find the perfect wife and receive the inheritance. Add a scheming sister, a sexy secretary and an over zealous best friend to the mix and the result is a heart-warming rom-com with plenty of laughs. “Romantic comedies are the best movies in the world because they make you laugh and make you cry at the same time,” adds Houston who admits to being a romantic. “I love relationships and love being in love and I love romantic movies. They are my favorite.” Also starring Keshia KnightPulliam (who is best known for her childhood role as Rudy Huxtable on the “The Cosby Show”), Draya Michele, Shondrella Avery, Valarie Pettiford and Marlon Yates Jr., there are some good laughs to be had, as well as some heartache. With excellent acting from an all-star cast, Black Thomas provides plenty of comic relief as the over zealous best friend who sets up a casting call to find Jamal a perfect match. There’s so much heart and genuine sentiment delivered it’s impossible to suppress a smile for the film’s heart is in the right place. “Being part of this film was a great experience,” adds Houston, a former singer with the group Immature who has had a successful solo career in television and movies. “You always want to walk away from an experience having nothing but positivity. I like to be part of sets where I can work with people that I know. With this movie, we had lots of positive energy and positive vibes and it plays on camera and comes off onscreen.” Only the most hard-hearted and cynical won’t find something endearing in Will to Love.  Editor’s note: Will to Love is out on Digital and DVD. Watch trailer https://www. /watch?v=ZG0nkZslSFU

Juanita “Kay” Rogers

March 23, 1963 - September 27, 2015

Juanita Kay Rogers, the widow of the late Honorable Joseph “Joe” Bernard Rogers, Colorado’s Second African American Lieutenant, passed away on Sunday evening, Sept. 27, surrounded by her loving family after a long battle with cancer. She was the second African American woman who served with grace as Colorado’s Second Lady from 1998-2002. She was always at her husband’s side as a devoted wife, mother, partner, advisor and confidante. She served with grace, energy, and commitment as she fulfilled her historic role as a young Colorado’s Second Lady and mother caring for young children. She is survived by her three children, Trent J. Rogers, Jordan K. Rogers, and Haley N. Rogers, her three siblings, Michael O. (Pamela) Hardy, Angela C. (Tony) Hardy-Wilhite and Terri L. Hardy and a host of many other relatives and friends. Throughout her life, Rogers was a woman of faith and a lifelong learner. From an early age until her time, she kept her love and devotion for the Lord and enjoyed the fellowship that she shared with her church. She had been educated in the Denver Public Schools throughout her young life and moved forward later as an adult to the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Services and Bureau of Land Management and ended her career with 30+ years of service with TriCare. Juanita lived her life caring for others, supporting her husband and family, being a dedicated worker, and brought laughter and joy to the ones she left behind. She was 52 years old. Ironically, she passed away on Race for the Cure Sunday, and just days before the second anniversary of the sudden death of her late husband on Oct. 7, 2013. Kay fought a good fight and she will always continue to be

Gone but not forgotten - Rest In Peace

As a child, Chris was very outgoing. He loved dancing which was one of his many passions along with singing, doing impersonations, telling and playing practical jokes. Chris had a special bond with his brother Cameron, who, at an early age preceded him in death. Between college and the military Chris met and fell in love with Essence Champagne Renée Smith creating a unique bond which led to the union of holy matrimony Feb. 23, 2001. From this union, they shared three children – two sons and one daughter. Christopher Michael Swain died on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. He was preceded in death by his father, Tyrone Swain Sr. and his brother, Cameron Smith. Family left to love him include his wife Essence Champagne Renée Swain, his sons Christopher Michael “CJ” Swain Jr., Caulen Joshua Swain; his daughter London Caylie Marie; his mother, Pauletta Mosley, his brother, Tyrone (Danielle) Swain Jr.; his grandmother Anna Marie’s Swain; and his son, K.C. Swain.

the guiding voice to her children. On October 3, at True Light Baptist Church in Denver followed with a burial in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, close family and friends gathered together in celebration of her life where she will be remembered and truly missed.

Christopher Michael Swain January 7, 1976 - September 24, 2015

Christopher Michael Swain was born on January 7, 1976 in Denver Colorado to Pauletta Mosley and Tyrone Swain Sr. Christopher had two brothers, Cameron Smith and Tyrone Swain Jr. Chris attended and graduated from Thomas Jefferson high school in Denver. He then continued his education at BethuneCookman college in Daytona Beach, Florida in later ITT Technical Institute in Denver, Colorado. He was currently enrolled at Ecotech Institute in Aurora, Colorado where he was studying to be an engineer. Chris served a two-year term in the U.S. Navy. He also served in the 3-157th Field Artillery in Iraq for the Army National Guard of the United States. Chris was honorably discharged. With guidance from his mother, Chris obtained a sense of God and family during his childhood. He and his family attended Zion Baptist Church in Denver where he was baptized at the age of eight. Later the family became members of New Covenant Church in Denver.

Dr. Peter Warren

September 30, 1938 - October 15, 2015

Dr. Peter Warren, emeritus dean of the University of Denver and former Dean of University College, passed away Oct. 15. He was diagnosed in February 2015 with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) – a rare and untreatable neurological disorder. Peter Warren was born in New York City and lived in the Los Angeles area for many years. He attended Stanford and graduated

from the University of California, Berkeley. After extensive travel and study at the Institute Henri Poicare in Paris, he was hired by IBM in Stockholm where he worked in the early 1960s. He returned to the US and after completing his PhD in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison he moved to Denver and became part of the faculty of the University of Denver. He was the primary architect of the development and growth of University College, the college for professional and continuing studies, where he served as Dean until 2001 when he was named Vice Provost for Global Development. Dr. Warren was a life-long technophile and motor head. He built his first motorcycle as a teenager living in California. He once had his pilot’s license and flew glider aircraft over the Rocky Mountains. He used artistic expression to capture genuine beauty in nature and people through photography and film. In his later years, he became a student of ceramics. Dr. Warren was an animal lover who was especially fond of felines – from his own house cats to lions and cheetahs. He traveled extensively during his life and spoke several languages. He was an education ambassador to countries in Asia, Africa, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. In his retirement, he founded the International Education Corps, a non-profit that helped place retired educators as consultants with third-world universities across the globe. Most recently, he and his colleague Dr. Martin Robbins were instrumental in helping establish the Namibia University of Science and Technology (currently Polytechnic of Namibia.) Dr. Warren is survived by his wife, Katharine Smith-Warren, his stepson Tyler Chafee and daughter-in-law Sally Richards Chafee and three grandchildren, Anna, Nora and Will Chafee. A memorial event will be held on Friday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. at Hamilton Hall, Newman Center University of Denver. The family requests memorial donations go to Cure PSP at to help find cures for brain diseases like MSA.

Keep the Tradition Alive! 2015 Denver Feed a Family Thanksgiving Distribution Scheduled for

Saturday, Nov. 21, at 10 AM (as funding permits)

Make donations at or call

303-296-6287 Mail checks to

The Epworth Foundation, 1865 Bruce Randolph Ave., Denver, CO 80205 Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2015



Happy 90th Birthday Charlie Burrell

KUVO Memorial Tribute to Scottie

Million Man March 20th Anniversary

Tyler Perry Brings Madea on The Run To Denver

Justice Or Else

Photos by Lens of Ansar CBAM Webb Arts Award Gala

Urban League Whitney M. Young, Jr. Annual Awards Gala

Edna and John W. Mosley School Dedication Ceremony


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Denver Urban Spectrum November 2015  

Denver Urban Spectrum has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987. It is the most sought after publication in the Denver,...