Page 1


November 2012

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Angelle C. Fouther Esteban L. Hernandez Hugh Johnson Chris Meehan ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix


We’re On The Home Stretch…

Yep! We’re on the home stretch to another historic event. Four years ago we saw our first African American president elected for the United States of America. The day he was elected plans were put in place to make sure he was a one-term president. We are ALL on the homestretch – working hard to counteract those plans. Over the last few months, we have witnessed hate like no other. It’s not being said but we all know that’s what it is. And although half of President Barack Obama is just like them, it is sad that the hate for the other half is consumed so deep that it has reared its ugly head by any means necessary to win. This month, as in years past, we dedicate our November issue to our seniors. Several of DUS’s contributors present three musical geniuses on the cover who are no stranger to the Denver community – Dianne Reeves, Pernell Steen and Charles Burrell. This close-knit family of musically talented relatives has brought joy and admiration to Colorado – and the world. Read their fun-loving stories and find out who did what, who said what, and who told what about the other. The epitome story this month as a salute to seniors is about a woman who has achieved what many thought was unachievable. Read Barbara Hillary’s compelling story: African American woman; went to the North and South Pole (at age 75 and 79); is a lung cancer and breast cancer survivor – need I say more? These stories and others prove we can beat the odds under many circumstances. And sometimes it takes making informed decisions. Read how some young people at HopeOnline at Hillcrest are preparing for their student senate race. And if you are confused on which judge to pull the lever for on Nov. 6, the Judicial Performance Commission has made it a little easier for you by visiting their Web site. We have a few days to go. We are on the home stretch. We can’t turn back now. And it will be another historic election. If you haven’t voted yet, vote! If you have, head to a campaign office and make phone calls or knock on some doors. In a few days, the country will know who fought the good fight. I hope you did your part. Rosalind “Bee” Harris DUS Publisher



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 2012 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise, LLC. 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. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


Romney’s Delivers Unbelievable Debate Remarks On Immigration

out of step with the public on the issue of immigration, Romney blurted out he would pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first year if elected. That is simply unbelievable. “What we do know about Romney is that he said he would snatch away the dreams of deserving young people by ending President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects undocumented immigrant youths from deportation. We know that Mitt Romney has promised to veto the DREAM Act. We heard him say that he would offer a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers only if they serve in the military – so that in his eyes, they are good enough to sacrifice their lives but not to earn legal status. “We also know that Romney supports Arizona’s xenophobic immigration laws which were written by his key advisor, Kris Kobach, who also is advising the Republican Party. Mitt Romney has never taken back his preference for ‘self-deportation’ of undocumented immigrants. He has never said what he would do about the 11 million who are now in the country without documents. “If Mitt Romney believes otherwise, he hasn’t shown the courage of his convictions.”

Editor: During the second presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, voters saw the first faceto-face encounter over immigration, with Romney proving again why public opinion polls show him badly trailing among Latino voters. Rather than explain his support for “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants – a stated policy to make life so miserable for them that they would leave – the Republican tried to change the subject. On this question, President Obama showed his understanding and commitment to enacting a sensible and comprehensive immigration reform law. “In choosing a president, Latino voters are looking for someone who has the guts to fight for what they believe in. Following tonight’s presidential debate, it is clear that President Obama believes in comprehensive fix to the immigration system, and is committed to enacting the needed reforms. “With Mitt Romney, however, we do not know what he believes. Nor does he have the guts to do what’s right for our economy, for families and for workers. Ignoring the fact that polls continue to show Republicans

Eliseo Medina SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


For editor’s note: For ads that demonstrate what Mitt Romney has said about immigration visit content/06152012/ and http://action.seiu. org/page /content/09102012/.

Denver Deserves Better – Vote No On 3B

Editor: You need a good business plan before you can run a good business. DPS has neither. Is that a good venture for Denver taxpayers to continue to fund? As Denver Public Schools’ sole investors, we cannot keep throwing good money after bad. DPS has a history of poor financial Continued on page 34 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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Dianne Reeves:

Meaning of Success By Esteban L. Hernandez


t 12 years old, Dianne Reeves decided that perhaps she should begin to take music seriously. For years she had performed in front of family, in the comfort of home and in the company of friends. Nothing serious by any measure, but the slivers of gleam in her tiny voice were enough to ignite aspirations for a career in music. Call it destiny. But destiny is the name some people give to unexpected success and endless luck. Nothing of the sort explains how Reeves developed into one of the most respected jazz singers of her generation. The roots of her musical abilities were hereditary, if such a thing is possible. She found her first musical lecturer in her uncle, Charles Burrell, noted jazz and classical pianist. He decided to nurture her nascent talent, immersing a young Reeves in a world of upright pianos and sheets of music. “My uncle was a stickler on learning music,” Reeves says, “theory, understanding music so that you could speak the language and communicate with the musicians. Writing music and playing the piano, that’s what I did.” She also credits him for being a big influence, saying he was important to her fundamental growth as a musician. “I come from a musical family. I had a lot of great aunts and uncles who were wonderful musicians; and my uncle Charles, who lives here in Denver, Colorado, has been with the symphony for more than 30 years.” By the time Reeves was in high school, she not only inherited the family’s musical affinity, but was bound for a life of distinctiveness. Twenty-two albums later, Reeve’s personal charm and vocal resplendence has only grown. Her career is eclipsing three decades. The Denver

denizen will soon make her way to Europe to begin a tour with stops in Athens, Bratislava, Istanbul, London, and Paris. When she takes the stage at the 1,300-seat Salle Pleyel in Paris later this month, memories of her time at The Toolshed will surely seem like a different time and era. In some sense this seems correct, as Reeves began performing for live audience during high school in the early 1970s at a club no longer in existence called The Toolshed. She had just arrived from a school choir summer trip when she was contacted by the club owner, who said he wanted her to perform there after hearing her sing. The Toolshed was the downstairs counterpart of the much larger club called The Warehouse, whose stage hosted such talent as Tina Turner. Her gig surprisingly paid well - she earned $200 a weekend. “It was just really nice and intimate,” she says about The Toolshed. “My mother and sister, who was older than me, would chaperone me because I was still in high school. My folks were really cool with it.” While performing at The Toolshed, she and other high school friends came together to form a group called The Mellow Moods. After graduating from George Washington High School with a full-ride scholarship to the University of Colorado in Denver, Reeves thrived on the opportunity in taking part of a burgeoning jazz program under the direction of Dr. William L. Fowler. She bloomed far beyond the reach of her professor after

two years and decided to have that important conversation with him. “I came to him one day, and I said, ‘You know, I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here, but I really have an opportunity to go out,’” Reeves explained. Like a growing pupil eager to explore the world, the tools and fundamentals were in her hands, or rather her maturing voice, and soon the Mile High City could no longer contain the seemingly milehigh vocal chords of Reeves. Fowler responded honestly, informing her that he wouldn’t encourage her to leave but understood her eagerness to begin another phase of her life. So using money saved up from her days at The Toolshed and blessing of her parents, she was off on a voyage to Los Angeles. She and friends Philip Bailey and Larry Dunn, an aspiring bunch, managed to squeeze into Reeves’ Datsun Honey Bee for a oneway trip to the Sunshine State. Bailey and Dunn would later join a little funk group called Earth, Wind & Fire. The move to Los Angeles sounded like youngster chasing dreams - an African-American retelling of any chapter in Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Reeves is a confident woman, raised to be independent by her parents, she says. So when she found herself in the City of Angels, it was less of a gamble and more of an investment. Sure enough, before long she had released her first album in 1977 called Welcome to My Love. She also worked as a session musician up through the end of the 1970s. “It was pretty cool, it

Denver Urban Spectrum — – July 2008


was different; the beginning of me starting out,” she says. Then the 1980s brought along more studio work and even touring while working with Brazilian piano virtuoso Sergio Mendes and the King of Calypso, Harry Belafonte. The work kept her from releasing her own material. It was 10 years later when her second album, Dianne Reeves, was released by Blue Note Records and produced by her cousin George Duke. “Life just started,” she says about the album’s release and served as a more proper introduction of her. The 1990s were incredibly productive years for Reeves. She released nine albums, including the critically acclaimed I Remember in 1992, which her voice and refreshing new sounds crowned her the new jazz queen. Gone were the days of youthful ambitions. Reeves was now an established act, her voice a burnished mix of archaic soulfulness and contemporary chic. Her personal musical philosophy also began to take shape, saying “I have always been an admirer of what the times we live in bring, because you can’t compare artists.” A question she is often asked is whom she most admires, whom she most sees as an influence to her own style. “I listened to a lot of great R&B singers,” she says, but “I love Marvin Gaye and Sarah Vaughn. So, I used to love listening to Parliament-Funkadelic and at the same time, I was swinging with Ella. All this music was a part of my time growing up. The music of my time was very reflective of the time that really talked about what was going on, it’s a little bit different now.” There, Reeves says, is where her inspiration lies. “That’s my greatest influence, a lot of the songs that I write are story oriented or about the times, they have a message.” She nevertheless still listens to contemporary music. “I listen to a lot of stuff. I came up at a time when music was without

boundaries, so I don’t really think of it in terms of genres of music.” She says she listens to music from all around the world, from Robert Glasper, Adele, Lupe Fiasco to rapper K’naan, whose music she says has a spirit of liberation and freedom. She was also a fan of one of the summer’s colossal hit, Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange.” “I listened to it a few times,” she said about his album. “It’s interesting because his subject matter is very unique, and the way he approaches it.” Reeves still craved the bygone era of Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James, both in the visual and vocal aesthetics. So when she received a call from George Clooney about singing for a movie he was directing, Edward R. Murrow’s biopic, Good Night, and Good Luck, she was very intrigued. “You never know who your fan is,” she says smiling. “I thought, okay, we can do the soundtrack, which means you’re singing and it’s on the credits or somewhere in there.” Clooney had another idea entirely. He didn’t just want the voice, he wanted the whole package. “Here’s the script,” she says Clooney told her. “You’re in the film.” He wanted her delivery to match the delivery of the actors. “He’s extraordinarily smart, and he’s real smart and real funny. He has this easy way about him that allows you to create and it was really great. He picked out all the music, and this other guy arranged it – it was just singing with the respect of the times as if I was back in the late 50’s. It was really cool.” Reeves had introduced herself to another new audience. In the film, her sparkling voice injects the appropriate amount of sunshine to the black-andwhite drama. The soundtrack was released under the Concord Jazz label, and earned Reeves her fourth Grammy award. Winning four awards, in the same category, within a short time span was astonishing for Reeves - Best Jazz Vocal album. These same awards that both Fitzgerald and James once held in their hands. And there was no need to compare when she knows her place is one of a different musical plateau. Working with a longtime friend, she is producing and self-funding an album, a first for her. “It’s totally different direction,” she says. “It is a departure from what I’ve been doing.” Her personal journey has assured an unimaginable sense of gratefulness. And yes the awards are all wonderful, but she knows her voice is enough. “I decided that what was successful to me, and that was being able to have my own voice, without inhibition. I think there are certain ways you have to be responsible for that, because the industry that I am in, they want you to have huge sellers. But I learned early on that there’s so many ways to

approach your piece of the pie, and my music, from the time I left home, which was the late seventies till right now, has sustained my life in a way that I can’t even, explain.” Her success is not measured by albums or awards, it’s not measured at all, but having lived with peace of mind few people may ever experience. “At the end of the day, I can breathe, I feel calm, I feel good, because I did it the way I wanted to,” she says. She doesn’t hesitate when pondering about the legacy that she feels will one day live on without her. She says she just wants to be known as someone who did tell the truth in their

records and the songs, who was willing to forfeit certain things and still be able to be pure and clear in their approach. “There’s a lot of music for you to discover, over 21 albums that I’ve done. I love it. That’s small compared to my predecessors, but it’s a small universe, but it’s mine.” It’s a universe she’s invited us into, day after day, album after album, song after song. It’s the universe of her life, revolving around her success. “It has never been anything but up. It has never done anything but get bigger and grow.” Just like the bright autumn sun.

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Pernell Steen:

Nature of Success

By Hugh Johnson


ome people are destined to do a to play good music and says music special task. Whether it’s because of allows him and others to tell the story of his faith, family and culture. fate, the combination of preparation Now in his seventies, Steen celeand opportunity or a higher calling, brates his talent and culture by playsome people are born with the ability ing with his jazz ensemble Pernell to do a certain job. Pernell Steen is a Steen and Le Jazz Machine. Steen is a musician first by calling and second revered member of the Denver community, a staple of the old swing style by blood. His mother, LaVerne, was of jazz here in town. In spite of his involved in a car accident while she personal success and that of his famiwas carrying Pernell. LaVerne, who ly, Steen hasn’t let it go to his head. was five months pregnant at the time, His extroverted, amicable and comwas devastated when doctors told her passionate nature showcases that the upbeat spirit of his music still plays a that she wouldn’t live long enough to tune of joy throughout his life. give birth to her son. As a way to cope "When you leave job... Soonyour after his days of playing on with the physical and mental his wooden in front of the radio, don't leave yourpiano money behind!" trauma, LaVerne listened to piano Steen took piano lessons from his music. The music tranquilized and church’s organist. Myra her Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFPHe grew from takassuaged her feelings of anxiety. Years ing lessons at age four to playing for Financial Adviser the children’s choir at age seven to later, she experienced the joy of playing for the adults at age watching her son play with hisCherry toy Creek Drive South, #700 3200 10. Steen’s musical career truly began piano trying to replicate the sounds Denver, CO he 80209when his cousin, Charles Burrell, came heard on the radio. visit when he was eight years old. 303-871-7249 - From those early moments on, At the time, Steen was studying to Steen’s life has been inextricably tied become a concert pianist but fell in to music. He is cousin to bassist love withToday jazz music shortly after "Call for a FREE Charles Burrell and singer Diane Burrell’s arrival. Consultation!" Reeves as well as relative to other Steen’s first encounter with jazz vaunted musicians including MC music came when Burrell took him to Hammer a.k.a. Stanley Burrell, saxoa jazz concert. Steen recalls seeing Ray phonist Eddie Vinson and pianist Charles in concert for the first time George Duke. Steen was born into a and asking his mom how a blind man musical and religious family. He could play the piano. When he heard believes that he was put on this planet and saw Ray Charles’ mastery of the

piano, he fell in love with jazz music. However, Steen did not get to indulge in the vibrant spirit of jazz music immediately. His parents and mentors wanted him to steer clear of jazz because of its reputation. During Steen’s childhood, jazz was looked down upon because it was played in bars and clubs. Steen had to learn jazz music behind closed doors. He began by learning to play the violin in homage to Burrell who, 12 years his senior, was already making waves in the jazz community. When Steen turned 15, Burrell paid for Louise Duncan to give him private jazz lessons. Burrell also got Steen into clubs so he could listen to jazz music and see how the professionals played it. Somewhere between the enthralling nightlife and the sense of importance that came from being Burrell’s cousin, Steen’s passion for jazz music grew as he drank in the sweet sounds of Five

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Points swing jazz and Coca-Cola. An alumnus of Denver Public Schools, Steen attended Ebert elementary, Morey middle school and East High school. He graduated in 1959 and went on to the University of Colorado. Shortly afterward, he spent six years in the army as part of an entertainment unit. Steen and the

other members of his unit traveled around Europe entertaining the troops. He continued living in Europe for another five years after his time with the military and spent those years running a business with fellow pianist George Bailey, his best friend and grandson to famous musician George Morrison. Throughout his life, Steen struggled with understanding his purpose as a human being. Obviously he had a talent for music, excelling in playing both the violin and piano in concert and jazz styles but as Burrell liked to point out often, Steen was born 20 years too late. Jazz had experienced its heyday back in the 30s, 40s and even into the 50s. The upbeat, top-tapping medleys of swing jazz were being overshadowed by new forms of music by the time Steen was old enough to really consider the profession. From 1971 to 1981, Steen worked for an oil company, not where he wanted to be but rather where life placed him. Steen refused to let the dream die, however, and continued to practice daily. In 1981, the oil company Steen worked for went out of business. Steen began to play at various clubs and piano lounges in Denver. Under Burrell’s direction, he learned a new song every night in order to broaden his knowledge. Steen is a perennial

student, a musician that younger artists can learn from. In a world of instant gratification where careers in music are reduced to game show prizes, musicians are often misled about the nature of success. They are told that they can be on the red carpet tomorrow. “A lot of young people don’t realize that the harder you work the greater the reward,” said Steen. “It’s misleading. These young kids are shark bait, they do maybe one CD and you’ll never hear from them again.” The fame, the money, the glamor, the superficiality and in some cases the overt negativity of mainstream music detracts from music’s true form and purpose, to display passion, promote love and instill joy. One evening in the early 1990s, Steen and a couple colleagues played a gig together at a local venue. The group was well received and with the assistance of a few connections, friends of friends and word of mouth, Steen created his jazz ensemble, Pernell Steen and Le Jazz Machine. The name is derived from the nature of how the men play together. In ensemble style music, a song begins with all the members of the band playing together, then each instrument gets a solo and after everyone has had a turn, the band plays together again.

A fan of the band, once remarked that their style of play was similar to a discussion between friends, where each instrument is its own voice. But the importance of music goes deeper for Steen. The music isn’t just about success but rather sharing his Godgiven talent with anyone who will care to listen. Every time Steen plays the piano he shares his purpose with others, he shows his audience why God spared him and his mother from that accident all those years ago. Jazz music is rooted in the Blues and the Blues came from spirituals sung by African slaves who combined their own musical knowledge with those of their captors. That said, it makes sense that Pernell Steen and Le Jazz Machine forms an acronym of PSALM. Whether the music he plays is considered secular or religious, the act of playing brings Steen spiritual joy. “For the longest time I asked God, ‘Why am I on this planet? What do you want me to do?’ The answer came in the form of a comment from one of my childhood friends who said your gift in life is music...I attribute my success to knowing who I am and knowing that it was God’s design for me to do this,” he said. Steen’s music and spirituality has empowered him with a voice that cannot be silenced and a language that

knows no barriers. “Not only is jazz democratic but jazz is colorblind,” Steen said. “In the 20s, this was virtually the only medium in which races could come together.” For Steen to be the musician he is today, he had to put aside his own prejudices and love his enemies. “During the civil rights movement I saw people who despised us because of our color. Under the leadership of Dr. King, I was a student of nonviolence... There was a woman in Denver 1961; She was the epitome of America’s sweetheart grandmother and she spat on me right here in Denver at the corner of 16th and California. She spat this big gob of spit on my face. I went around the alley and broke three toes because I kicked a telephone pole...I had to pray to God to allow me to forgive my try and understand that we’re all children of God.” Now this child of God shares his gift with people all around the city. “I like that swing,” said Steen. “Where everybody has a little rhythm and it makes their toes tap and next thing you know they’re on the dance floor. When I play with the band, I want to replicate that swing style I heard in Five Points, the sound of African American music.” It’s wonderful music, produced by a man who was born to play. 

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Charlie Burrell: By Chris Meehan


ne of Denver’s musical treas-

ures, Charles Burrell is a pioneering

paterfamilias that broke color barriers

when in the 1950s he became one of

the first African-Americans to play in a nationally recognized symphony,

right here in Denver. That’s when he won a seat with the Denver

Symphony, an orchestra he ended up

playing with for decades. At the same time he played jazz in juke joints and

hot spots in Denver, San Francisco and elsewhere. He’s also mentored countless musicians. In fact, he mentored

two family members here in Denver,

two-time Grammy-winning jazz

vocalist and niece Dianne Reeves, and pianist and cousin Purnell Steen,

whom he still plays with on a regular

basis. Burrell knew he wanted to be a barrier-breaker in music at a young age. “My ambition, even when I was 16 or 18, was to be the first Black in the classical field, to make it possible for the

Pioneer of Success Pernell Steen, Dianne Reeves and Charles Burrell enjoying the moment. Photo by Bernard Grant

Black musicians who were playing in dives and so forth to aspire to something a little better and higher than just the joints,” he explains. He was inspired in part, by a tragedy. Florney Hacker, a violinist, auditioned for the Detroit Orchestra when Burrell was younger. “He won the audition hands down, but they told him his race was wrong. He went home and blew his brains out. That gave me inspiration and influence to really study and I did,” he contends. By the time Burrell won his first position with the Denver Symphony, little had changed. He was preceded for one season at the orchestra by viola player Jack Bradley, but he was a light-skinned African American, which meant that it might not have been obvious to concert attendees that a Black was playing with the orchestra. Burrell is darker, and it would have been obvious to all concert-goers that he was Black. Still, based on his talent, then conductor Saul Caston chose to hire him, making Burrell the first dark-skinned Black in the Denver Symphony, if not the first in a U.S. symphony. After winning the seat, his mother came out from Detroit to see him perform. “That was the only time she had ever got to see the symphony [at that point],” he says. It was glorious for her. “She was so proud of her little son who was called Chunky-Nut Charles.” Within in the dream of becoming the first Black to play in a nationally recognized orchestra, Burrell had another dream, to play in the San Francisco Symphony, a dream he realized when he was around 40. Becoming such an accomplished musician wasn’t easy. He practiced four to eight hours a day, and for the first 18 years of his musical life, he never once had a vacation. He also had to support himself while reaching for the symphonies. “My whole musical career was built on jazz playing an important part in making it possible for me to carry on my study, and the waiting period for getting in the symphony. If

it hadn’t been for jazz, I don’t think I could have made it. So that was very important,” he says. At 92, Burrell is no longer playing with the orchestra or teaching, but he does maintain a robust daily practice routine, keeping his feet firmly planted in both forms of music. “Normally in the morning I get up and I play both, I have it down to a science, I play one hour of classical music and one hour of jazz, and 15 minutes of television,” he says. Playing helps keep his skills sharp, as does playing out. “I play with Purnell once a month down at Dazzle, on the first Friday of every month. That helps keep my hand in, it helps him and helps me,” he said. Family has always played an important role in Burrell’s life, from growing up with a strong, encouraging mother, to mentoring family members, who include George Duke, a classically trained pianist who played with Frank Zappa and wrote an opera. “People didn’t know he was a phenomenon until he wrote two acts of an opera. He’s the only Black dude I’ve ever known that has done that.” Burrell and Duke have a fatherand-son-like relationship. In fact, on his recent visit to see Duke in California, Duke gave him a bottle of Armangnac liquor. Their relationship harkens back to when Burrell was in San Francisco, playing with the San Francisco Symphony and teaching

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. “He studied with me for about five years. Every Sunday we would play together for at least eight hours.” Burrell’s mother played an integral role in encouraging him and family members to get into classical music and jazz. “She wanted to push us into the good life. There were seven children in my family. If it hadn’t been for the grace of my mother, I could never have made it. She was the real backbone for my inspiration. Not only was my mother an inspiration for me, she was an inspiration for Sharon P. Hill, who was my niece and Diane Reeves. If not for my mother, Dianne Reeves would never have been,” he says, explaining that when his mother moved to Denver in the 1970s, she babysat Reeves until she was about 10. Reeves has a special place in Burrell’s heart. “For about four years I had the pleasure of mentoring her and she came out smelling like a rose,” he says. “Dianne was a natural. The good lord gave her a voice.” But she did need some help. “She was a tomboy and that was a big thing to get her out of - that tomboy stage - because she had a temper. Good as gold, but a temper and a mind of her own,” Burrell reminisces. “(She was) not only beating up girls, she was beating up boys in school and for years people didn’t know her whether her mother was going to school or if she was

Today’s Republican Party Out of Touch

he’s a little too sloppy, and I straightened him out quickly,� he says. “They respected me for what I was doing. I respected them but wouldn’t let them get away with anything.� Both Duke and Steen were classically trained as youth and Steen’s mother and teacher didn’t want him to learn jazz, which was then considered “the devil’s music,� Burrell said. He was introduced to jazz by Ted Alexander. “Ted was a magnificent person, but he couldn’t swing. He could teach (Purnell) all the rudiments but, as they say, ‘It don’t mean a thing if it don’t got that swing,’ he learned it

After the

Op-ed by Crisanta Duran

U.S. presidential race, the most important political question in Colorado this election season is which party will control the Colorado House of Representatives. If the Democrats in the 65-member House gain just one seat on Election Day, the Republicans’ current 33-32 edge will be reversed. Under our majority-rule system, Speaker Frank McNulty will hand the gavel to a Democrat. Democrats will head up all the legislative committees, and all the committees will have Democratic majorities. If control shifts, the implications for policy will be seismic. We can start with the issue that brought the House literally to a standstill at the end of the 2012 session, when Republican leadership, knowing they didn’t have the votes to kill a bill permitting civil unions in Colorado, refused to allow the bill to come to a floor vote. If Democrats controlled the House, a bipartisan majority would have passed civil unions. And no matter what the issue, you can be sure Democrats would not have resorted to antidemocratic procedural tricks to thwart the will of the majority. A House controlled by Democrats would also have passed Colorado Asset, the bill that would have given

Tribute to Charles Burrell at City Park in June, 2012

going to school. Her mother had to go to school almost every day for a year or two to help straighten her out. She finally learned the message of respectability and how to be lady-like. Religion helped with that.� For the most part, all his relatives took to music and his mentoring, “Like a duck to water,� he says. He only recalled one instance where he had to razz Steen, who was studying classical violin as a child. “When Purnell was 11 years old he got a little big-headed. He was studying with a teacher here who was with the symphony. We were talking about the magnificence of Jascha Heifetz (i.e., one of the most famous and respected violinists, ever). And Purnell said, I don’t particularly care for him because

on his own. After he came back from Europe, he really got into it.� These days, Reeves is off touring a lot in places like Europe, so they don’t all get together often. But when they do, they don’t play music together. “We get together and eat. Dianne is a fabulous cook. We normally get together at her place and we scarf back,� he says. The family, he says, will gather at Reeves’ home where they’ll enjoy her cooking, for meals like Thanksgiving. 

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


undocumented immigrants who graduate from Colorado high schools a break on their college tuition. Last session’s bill called for more than the instate rate, but less than the out-of-state rate. I was the House sponsor of the Asset bill in 2012. Republicans on the House Finance Committee killed it on a party-line vote. But beyond Civil Unions and Colorado Asset, my conversations with my constituents, and the statewide polls, say jobs and the economy are far and away Coloradans’ No. 1 priority. But the House Republican caucus introduced zero – that’s right, zero – jobs bills in the 2012 session. The bills they publicized as “jobsâ€? measures involved deregulation of business or defunding government. I’m all for getting rid of unnecessary red tape. But deregulation is not some magic potion for jobs. Let’s not forget that deregulation, or the failure to enforce existing regulations, triggered the 2008 Great Recession, when 8.7 million Americans lost their jobs. Defunding government can be a job killer too, unless you happen to think teaching and law enforcement aren’t real jobs. In contrast, House Democrats introduced a package of real, practical jobs bills in 2012. Here’s a partial list: •Rep. Pete Lee tried to give a preference to bidders who hire Colorado workers to execute state contracts. The idea that Colorado taxpayers’ money should put Coloradans to work seemed lost on Republicans, who killed the bill on a party-line vote. •Rep. Joe Miklosi wanted to give veterans the option to allow the state to share some of their personal information with the over 200 organizations in Colorado dedicated to finding jobs for veterans. The bill would have helped connect these groups with veterans in search of work, if only the Republicans hadn’t killed it on a party-line vote. Continued on page 15

Barbara Hillary, Taking It To The Poles

The environment our children learn in is essential to their success. The bond and mill proposals will improve teaching and learning environments by controlling class sizes, making common sense safety upgrades and maintenance, and putting cooling solutions in every school. YES-on-3A3B @yeson3A3B Paid for by Together for Denver’s Schools w w 3 03.340.2444 303.340.2444 AK K–8 –8 c co-ed o - ed s school chool ffor or g gifted if te d c hildren o ll b ackgrounds. children off a all backgrounds. To T o ur s a re happening ha p p e nin g n no ow. Tours are now.

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” — Roger Lewin

Engage. E ngage. Explore. Explore. E Empower. mpower.

By Chris Meehan

Photos courtesy of Modernage Digital Processing

When most folk retire they

choose to opt to do something they’ve always wanted to do, but it’s usually kind of relaxing, like go on a cruise or become a snowbird. That’s not the case with Barbara Hillary, at a spritely 72 or 73 she decided it was time to take a trip – to the North Pole. She realized that goal at 75, and last year at 79 she completed her trek to the South Pole, becoming the first AfricanAmerican woman, if not the first African American to make it to both poles. She also may be the oldest woman to make it to both poles. After all, the oldest person on record to make it to both poles – via airplane – was British Major Will Lacy, who was 84 when he made it to the South Pole. Hillary reached the North Pole – on skis. At 81 Hillary is warm and whipsmart, with an infectious laugh and a humble attitude, considering her accomplishments and accolades. In addition to being an Explorer’s Club Member, awards received include an honorary doctorate from Metropolitan College of New York (she studied nursing and did undergrad and graduate work in gerontology and did some graduate work in political science and international affairs at New School University), the Twisted Spike Award (for reaching the North Pole on skis), the Woman of Courage Award from the National Organization of Women – oh, and just a Resolution from the 110th Congress honoring her achievements. Not bad for a retired nurse from Harlem, who survived both breast and lung cancer.

And she’s by no means ready to rest on her laurels, as she says, “Go to that big expedition in the sky.” She’s already planning her next terrestrial expedition, but can’t talk about the details yet. When Hillary retired, she realized she hadn’t traveled as much as she wanted to and now had the time. “I looked at cruise ships and thought that’s boring. I could think of nothing worse than being stuck on a ship with boring married people,” she explains. “Then I saw a photograph of polar bears in Manitoba Canada and I said to myself: ‘That sounds different and interesting, and I should meet interesting people,’ and so off I went. I photographed polar bears and then I fell in love with the beauty of the arctic. I found I was very comfortable with people…who think and do things different and not just follow the sheep.” She learned how to snowmobile and dogsled in Canada and Minnesota and set her sights farther. “I started reading about the North Pole and I could find no written evidence that any Black woman had ever reached the North Pole, and that’s how it began.” When she mentioned what she was thinking to friends – well: “The first reaction from people was a long stare. The stare they give people who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


they’re going to admit to a mental institution when everything else has failed,” she says. “With Black folk it was really outrageous to the point of being funny because Black folk always like to add a little drama. So, they said something like this: ‘Girl you’re going to go there to the North Pole and be eaten by polar bears.’ “Once you get a taste of this type of retort and thinking, you don’t really discuss it anymore, unless it’s with people who are of like thinking,” Hillary contends. So she largely had to go it alone. “One of the problems was: Who do you discuss it with? I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But I did know that this was something I was going to try my best to do.” Ultimately the decision to push ahead led to more freedom. “Once you’re free of the luggage, not even luggage, it’s a whole steamer trunk, of what people think and what they say, you free yourself of a tremendous weight that you can better redirect in a more positive direction.” The hardest part is just starting. “The difficult part of doing this type of thing doesn’t start when you’re in the harsh environment. It started the minute I said this is what I’m going to try to do,” Hillary asserts. “I had no source of reference or support system.…You’re going to do this incredible thing and you no longer try to seek emotional support, because you know that that’s only going to drain you more.” Getting to the North Pole became a full-time job – it costs $22,000 – to start. “Where do you get that on a fixed income,” she asks. “You’re unknown, you think of calling a corporation and saying to someone in that corporation in terms of funding ‘Good morning. My name is Barbara

Hillary. I’m a 75 year-old African American woman and my goal is to ski to the North Pole.’ – Silence. This is what I had to do 10 to 12 hours a day almost every day to raise the money.” The first vote of confidence came when a manufacturer offered her some cold-weather underwear. “That was such a vote of confidence, that someone believed in me.” Ultimately she raised the funds to support the trip, and later the trip to the South Pole, and she’s grateful for her sponsors. Now that Hillary’s completed two expeditions, she’s also finding it easier to approach them. Asked how it felt to reach both poles, she responds: “As a colored Negro Black African American I have been four things in 80 years – four classifications in 80 years. How did I feel? A tremendous sense of pride of personal accomplishment – that’s what kicked in first,” she says, of completing the adventure to the South Pole. “And then after that it sort of mushroomed out. But that first initial knowledge that you are standing on top of the world. That you’ve done it…it’s a rush that’s hard to describe, but tremendous pride.” Afterwards the larger impacts of her accomplishments settled in. “As I thought about it later on, I thought, I just hope that Blacks will realize they

infantile mentality and Black TV producers who perpetuate this. They do themselves and the race disservice for the almighty dollar.” When Hillary isn’t off gallivanting around the poles or planning her next adventure, she spends time as a motivational speaker and has traveled across the U.S. – although she hasn’t made it to Colorado, yet. “I hope that someone will invite me out to speak because I enjoy public speaking, and sharing my adventures with people. I would love to come to Colorado,” she says. She speaks to diverse audiences, “but I do want to reach the minority community.” She also thinks it’s important to show that Black athletes aren’t just participating or capable of ESPN sports. “We can do more than play basketball, we can do more than dance and sing – all due respect. And if you heard me sing, you would know that all Black people can’t sing,” she quips. While Hillary is pleased with the recognition and awards she’s received for her achievements, there’s still one she’s waiting for. “I found it very interesting that I was never acknowledged by the mayor of the city of New York. I’ve seen people who have received keys to the city,” she says. As a native New Yorker, “I feel somewhat slighted when I see other people

don’t have to be buffoons and perpetuate the Tyler Perry image of Blacks in this day and age.…There is no justification in this day and age to be a modern Aunt Jemima or village idiot, the buffoon with the big eyes and everything that goes on with it, an

that receive the key to the city for other endeavors.” She asserts, “I mean, how often in her lifetime does a woman, at 75 and 79, get to the North and South Poles – as a lung cancer survivor, as a breast cancer survivor, how much more do I have to do? I think that says it all.” As a pioneer, it can get lonely, but for Hillary that was by choice. “If you wait for people to do things in this in this world, you may not do anything,” Hillary contends. “At the last minute, a traveling companion could call and say: ‘Barbara Look I’m so sorry my husband is pregnant and we didn’t expect another child, really illogical things. That’s how ridiculous it gets and people are totally insensitive to how they leave you stuck.” She says traveling with a good companion is nice, but there’s something to going it alone, too. “When you travel alone you are more open to communicate and interface with other people. I have two best friends, Nancy and Pam, who I met at the pole and on my way to the pole – we are the best of friends even now. So, go with an open mind to meet interesting people because interesting people are doing the type of thing that you like to do – whatever it is.” Editor’s note: To view a video on Barbara Hillary, visit

Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity for African-American Women About 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese. Physical activity is an important part of weight management and can also prevent and treat many health problems. However, only about 1/3 of U.S. African-American women meet national physical activity goals, as compared to 1/2 of Caucasian women.* The Center for African American Health is seeking to better understand barriers to physical activity for Black women. If you are interested in volunteering for a 1-visit research study to identify barriers to physical activity for Black women, and you are 18-75 years of age, please call the Center for African American Health at 303-355-3423. Study participants will receive compensation. University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

COMIRB Approved 10-12-12

Co-Principal Investigators: Lucille Johnson, MA and Amy Huebschmann, MD; COMIRB study #11-1779 *Source:

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Weighi ng In On The Presidential Debate s A

fter three rounds of presidential debates and a single bout between the vice presidential candidates, the big news surrounding the debates is that Republican candidate Mitt Romney has gained significant ground with undecided voters. Where Romney once faced a daunting deficit after his infamous 47 percent comment, he now has a lead in some polls. Though President Obama, “won the series,” taking the second and third debates back to back, many analysts believe it’s too little and too late after the shellacking he took from Romney in the first debate on Oct. 3rd. After being down by as much as four percent in national polls as of late September, Romney stormed back into the race after a decisive win at the first presidential debate held at the University of Denver on Oct. 3 when 67 million people watched as Romney scored a knockout blow to the president. For every eloquent point made by former Governor Romney, the president made a shaky and lackluster


By Hugh Johnson

rebuttal. The president’s few catchy one liners, including an allusion to President Clinton’s focus on arithmetic at the Democratic National Convention, did little to hinder Romney’s dominance of the debate. Luckily for the president, vice president Joe Biden had a strong showing

against vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan a little over a week later. Biden’s victory sparked some electricity in the Obama camp as the president regained some ground after taking a more aggressive stance in the town hall style debate held on Oct. 16. The president followed that up with a definitive win over Governor Romney in the foreign policy debate on Oct. 22. Some even went as far as saying it was as big a victory for the president as the first debate was for Romney. With the debates in the rearview mirror, the big question Obama supporters are asking is, ‘Was the president’s comeback enough to put distance between himself and Romney? That’s the short version of what happened in the debates. Over the past month, the near 60 million people who watched all three debates have been inundated with repetitive talking points, witty comebacks and numerous assurances from both candidates that the other isn’t telling the truth. The biggest issue Americans face is no doubt the economy and both presidential and vice presidential candidates went back and forth on the issue. The president has often reminded people that yes, America has made strides but sadly, there’s still a lot of work left to be done. Despite the economic fallout of 2008/2009, Americans have come back in the public and private sectors. But that’s in the past. This election is about the next four years. The president began the first debate saying that the question is “not where we’ve been but where we’re going.” The Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year and both men plan to extend them in their

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


own way. Governor Romney wants to continue tax breaks across the board, stating that the economy is too stagnant to considering raising taxes on any American and President Obama believes that families making over $250,000 a year can play a crucial role in creating a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. Deficit spending is at a record-high of a trillion dollars a year. For Governor Romney the deficit goes beyond economics and into morality. “I think it’s frankly not moral for our generation to keep spending more than we take in,” said Romney. “Knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation.” The governor’s answer to controlling the insurmountable debt is to ask what programs are so essential that America needs to borrow from China to have them. President Obama believes the approach should be more balanced. The president proposed that the government take in $1 in tax revenue from higher income families for every $2.50 in tax cuts. Governor Romney counters by saying that raising taxes on the high income Americans also endangers small businesses, as many small businesses are taxed on the individual level. According to the governor, 3 percent of the small business companies that would see an increase in taxes employ half of all employees working for small business, which totals out to a quarter of all working Americans. President Obama said that budgets reflect choices. That America was not built on principles that lead to teachers having 42 students in a single classroom, most of whom have to sit on the floor – that those who have been fortunate enough to survive and in some cases thrive in this economic climate have a responsibility to open the doorway of opportunity to those who were not so fortunate. Another big issue in the debates was the Affordable Care Act, president Obama’s landmark healthcare reform. Governor Romney continued his attack on the act saying it takes $716 billion out of Medicare for funding. Obama countered by saying that his administration was able to use that money to fund the Act instead of overpaying insurance companies who aren’t helping seniors. Romney’s response went hand in hand with the philosophy of his campaign, decreasing government involvement in private lives. Romney

stated that he would not change anything for current and near-future retirees. For younger Americans, Romney would like to give them the option of choosing either private insurance or Medicare. “By the way, if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums that are as low as the private sector, people will be happy to get traditional Medicare... I’d rather have a private plan. I’d just as soon not have the government telling me what kind of healthcare I get,” said Romney. Romney’s focus on small government continued into talks about Wall Street reform. Romney conceded that regulations are necessary but they shouldn’t be excessive and should be removed if they become outdated. Romney attacked Dodd-Frank, the Wall Street reform act created in response to the economic collapse of the late 2000’s. Romney stated that Dodd-Frank, named for financial services committee chairman Barney Frank and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, recognized banks in New York as too big to fail. Romney called this a boon for big banks while smaller community banks are being forced to close. President Obama responded by saying that his administration introduced the toughest Wall Street reform since the 1930s. The president recapped the situation and said that even though banks were given bailouts, they were forced to pay the money back including interest. At a rally held in Madison, Wisconsin after the first debate, the president mocked Romney saying that he would roll back regulations on Wall Street but bring the hammer down on Sesame Street, referring to Romney’s talk of cutting the public broadcasting station. Domestic issues weren’t the only ones on the table. In the wake of the attacks on American embassies in Libya, Yemen and Egypt, both presidential candidates were drilled on foreign policies ranging from responses to the attacks, to Iran’s nuclear weapons program to the end of the

war in Afghanistan. Governor Romney’s arguments continued to try and show the Obama administration as weak, which in turn, depicts weakness to the enemies of America. The former governor believes the best approach is a stronger America. While he doesn’t condone sending troops to any new territories in the near future, he does believe in tighter sanctions on Iran who is an enabler in a volatile Middle East, strengthening America’s relationship with Israel and would like to see America take a leadership role in Middle East. The president used his track record as a response. He said that as Commander-in-Chief, he is responsible for the lives of all those who help to protect and serve America overseas – from Army generals to diplomats. Every decision he makes, he does so with the knowledge that his men might be put into harm’s way. “These aren’t just representatives of the United States, they are my representatives. I send them there,” the president told a member of the audience at the town hall debate. “I know these folks and I know their families...When folks mess with Americans we go after them...Not everybody agrees with some of the decisions I’ve made but when it comes to national security, I mean what I say.” The president pointed to the fact that Osama Bin Laden was killed during his presidency and under his watch. Governor Romney agreed with the president on many foreign policy issues which caused him to look weak in the final debate while the president stood tall on the fact that he takes a no-nonsense approach to national security. The past month has been a roller coaster in this election and it proves that even a few weeks can be an eternity in this race. With the Gallup polls reporting 48 percent to 47 percent lead for President Obama among registered voters and a 50 percent to 47 percent lead for Romney among likely voters, rest assured that every vote counts. 

Promises Made • Promises Kept

Re-Elect Crisanta Duran Q

Passed bipartisan legislation that invests 8 million dollars in job training for unemployed Coloradans to work for a local employer or start their own business.


Encouraged parent involvement in our low performing schools and eliminated the use of trans-fats in school lunches.


Fought for a woman's right to health care without government interference, a modified rate of tuition for undocumented students, and fair elections.


Cut bureaucratic red tape in state departments that handle affordable housing, childcare access, and higher education.


Renamed Metro State College to Metropolitan State University of Denver to reflect their 21st century degree programs.

If you need someone to pick up your ballot, please call 720.296.2928!


IS The I-70 East Eteam invites you to a project

e d i w r o d i r cor g n i t e e m public for an update on the project and a review of the alternatives under consideration.

Tuesday November 13

Wednesday November 14

5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Commerce City Recreation Center 6060 E. Parkway Dr. Commerce City

Swansea Recreation Center 2650 E. 49th Ave. Denver

Food, childcare, and Spanish translation will be available. Disability assistance available by calling 720.475.7061 prior to the meeting. 303.757.9413 Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Students Elect To Make Informed Decisions By Heather O’Mara and Ruth Márquez West

HOPE Online Learning Academy

Co-Op (HOPE) at Hillcrest Academy (Hillcrest) students are preparing to cast important votes this election season. The Hillcrest Student Senate race, featuring candidates who must qualify to run for office and then present their platforms to their voting classmates, is energizing high school students about the right to vote. “Only a few of our students are voting age,” notes Hillcrest Learning Center Director Amener Williams, “Yet, we believe that educating our young people about the civic responsibility of informed voting prepares them to become engaged citizens in the community. This being an election year, we timed our Student Senate race to parallel the presidential elec-

First time voter Ianna and HOPE at Hillcrest mentor Ramsey Stewart

tion as a study of the election process.” One senior running for president of the Student Senate, Ianna, will also vote in her first presidential election in November. She is keenly aware of the “misconception that we are only selecting a president when,” she points out, “there are other important laws and leadership roles – judges, for example – on the ballot that require voters to be informed.” Applying the critical thinking skills she has learned, Ianna emphasizes, “With every voting decision I make in the national election, I have to answer for myself, ‘what is the potential outcome for my community, my country?’ I have to think about the consequences for the next generations as I participate in this election. It will require hard decisions; I may choose to vote against a candidate or law or

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HOPE at Hillcrest Student Senate hopefuls surround their Learning Center Director Ms. Amener Williams

in favor of a candidate or law. Either way, my vote is going to be informed.” Similarly, Hillcrest students are considering their votes for Student Senate carefully, based upon candidates’ platforms, not their popularity. Students appreciate learning about the importance of informed decisions, leadership, and using one’s voice for good. Initiating the Student Senate program, staff sponsors thoughtfully defined the Senate’s scope of influence, conveying, according to Williams, that, “There are limits to what a democratic government, a private citizen and a student can influence.” She elaborates, “We established criteria for potential presidential candidates, who had to be seniors and had to choose a vice-presidential running mate from the junior class. Additionally, only students with letters of support from staff members, affirming the student’s ability to participate in Student Senate without

Formal attire The Masters of Ceremony:

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Celebrate with us the Power, Promise, and Potential of twentyfour amazing African American young men, at this rite of passage extravaganza. It will be the most beautiful and magical event of your holiday season! For more information or to purchase tickets, contact

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


compromising their studies, were approved for candidacy.” Hillcrest Student Senate encompasses public speaking training, instruction on formally presenting a bill and the process for its passage or defeat. Students will follow a similar process to participate in effective decision making. “One of our mentors, Ramsey Stewart, is a retired attorney. He infuses students with knowledge and inspiration so that they envision ways that they can have impact in the community and affect change,” Williams shares enthusiastically. “We will also invite civic and community leaders to share with us about their commitment to responsible citizenship and how they made a positive influence.” Whether in the national election or their Student Senate election, HOPE at Hillcrest students are becoming informed about the purpose and power of an informed vote.

Today’s Republican Party Out Of Touch

Continued from page 9 •Rep. Dave Young sought a pilot program to integrate reading skills and technical education. No one testified against the bill, but all the Republicans voted against it anyway. •Rep. Dan Pabon tried to prevent employers from posting job openings specifically barring the unemployed from applying. Republicans seemed to think fairness should not be part of the job market, and they killed the bill on a party-line vote. •Rep. Andy Kerr’s bill would have encouraged more visits from out-of-state tourists, creating more jobs for Coloradans. Republicans killed it on a party-line vote. •Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst tried to put a $500,000 cap on tax credits to any single claimant in a state-designated enterprise zone. The EZ system has become bloated and inefficient, with huge subsidies going to companies which don’t need them. The savings from her bill would have gone to other more productive economic development programs. But no — another party-line knockdown. •Rep. Max Tyler wanted to invest $300,000 in the state Small Business Development Center system, which gives advice to startup companies. SBDCs give the biggest bang for the buck of any state eco-devo program. Republicans killed the bill on a partyline vote. •Reps. Lee and Hullinghorst had a related bill to provide state eco-devo assistance to small and medium companies, modeled on a highly successful, homegrown program launched by the city of Littleton. There was no opposition testimony, but not a single Republican voted for the bill. I’m not going to claim that if all these bills had passed, Colorado’s unemployment rate would be cut in half. But I am 100 percent sure that with these bills the state jobless rate, now at 8.0 percent, would have had a positive impact. Time after time, Republicans’ ideological opposition to any government involvement in job creation drove them to vote against practical measures that would have helped connect Coloradans to good jobs. I’d say that today’s Republican Party has amply demonstrated that they are out of touch with the concerns of average Colorado families. I’d say the Republicans deserve some time in the minority to rethink their priorities.  Editor’s note: Crisanta Duran represents House District 5 in downtown Denver.

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By Angelle C. Fouther

he Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GDSF) held its fourth “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself Jet Fashion Show” in October. It is such an exceptional event that folks like singing sensation Natasha Beddingfield, the legendary Quincy Jones, and Academy Award winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx were not even the biggest superstars of the event. The true stars were the 27 youth models with Down syndrome who strode down the runway—their beauty emanating from the purest joy you’ve ever seen. Proceeds from the fashion show support research and treatment advances for those living with Down syndrome. This year, $1.5 million dollars was raised, all to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, located on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. “The millions of dollars we have raised have helped build the Linda Crnic Institute into a national model of cooperative science and have put pressure on the National Institutes of Health to invest more federal money in research,” says Michelle Sie Whitten, Executive Director of GDSF. “From an awareness and fundraising perspective, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the institute and care it supports is changing the paradigm and breaking all sorts of records. The outreach alone is extraordinary. It is very clear to our supporters that this is not only about Down syndrome but about discrimination, equality, human and civil rights, and believing that diversity of ability is part of a broader spectrum.” Advocating for the rights of individuals with Down syndrome became a personal mission when Whitten’s daughter, Sophia, now 9, was born with the disorder. “I have met some of the most amazing people because of my daughter,” Whitten states. Quincy Jones is one of those amazing people who has become a partner in the mission. Jones was a friend of Whitten’s father, John Sie, international businessman, philanthropist, and former CEO of the Starz Entertainment. Sie invited Jones to

she lives with Foxx along with her father and another brother and sister in Los Angeles. Dixon, a jubilant young woman of 28, with more personality than three, writes poetry and has received multiple medals in the Special Olympics. She also loves to travel and is proud to have been to all four of the “Be Beautiful” events. “It makes me happy that they want me to come back,” she smiles. “I inspire others. I am beautiful and talented,” she says without a hint of self Actor Luke Zimmerman and DeOndra Dixon consciousness. She really lights up when talking about big brothQuincy Jones er, Jamie. Dixon, who appeared in Foxx’s video, “Blame it on the Alcohol,” says the two often engage in dance-off’s at home. “Jamie loses all the time,” she says giggling. “All he does is oldschool. I am all hip hop. I’m the best.” Although Foxx, who has appeared at “Be Beautiful” in prior years, was unable to attend this time, due to being delayed on set in Canada with his upcoming movie, he was present via a warm and funny videotaped message. “Show mogul, who has been a life-long advo- ‘em what you got,” he encouraged cate of children’s causes, met Sophia DeOndra in his closing remarks. as a baby, he “fell in love.” He was And show ‘em was exactly what named the first International she did. She modeled to a joyfully Spokesman in 2009 at the inaugural receptive crowd, and also received the fashion show, and has returned for the 2012 Quincy Jones Exceptional event each year since.” Advocacy Award along with Luke “I come back for the people,” Jones Zimmerman, who stars on “The Secret exclaims. “These are the most loving Life of the American Teenager.” people you’d ever want to meet. Just By any account, this event has a pure love.” magical recipe – family, a great cause, Jones encourages people to get past local and international celebrities, whatever differences they perceive in models, fashion, and incredible music. people with Down syndrome. “Live But what is most awe-inspiring is the with them, get to know them,” he resounding message: that beauty rises shares. “They are bright.” He above one’s fashion status, health, describes one time at the event when size, or ethnicity. he was on the dance floor with about Quincy Jones, who has traveled the “17” youth. “They took me out,” Jones world many times over, and who has laughs. “I thought the kids would be worked with greats such as Ray shy. Was I ever wrong. The first time I Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Michael met DeOndra, she told me “I am a Jackson, says it best: “You can never star.’” live from the outside in. Not one drop DeOndra (Dixon) is the sister of of my self worth is determined by Jamie Foxx. Named as the 2011 Be your acceptance of me.” Beautiful, Be Yourself Ambassador, What a great reminder to us all.  engage with the Foundation to help raise awareness. When the music

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Rosci Rocks The Vote For Obama In Denver...By Hugh Johnson

Win or lose, Mitt Romney will inevitably have to look at his 47 per-

cent comment as a turning point in this election. A video released by liberal magazine, Mother Jones, shows Romney speaking to a small group of people at a fundraiser in May. Romney outlined his campaign strategy to win the office of president. Romney went on to say that the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax are dependent on government and believe they are entitled to health-care, food and housing. “They will vote for this president no matter what...and so my job is not to worry

about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” said Romney. Now in the face of being overlooked and cast aside by a man who could be America’s next president, people are fighting. Perhaps the most inspiring tales come from the voices of Denver students who will not be voting but are determined to make a difference in an election that will affect their future. Colorful posters with words of encouragement adorn the walls of an indoor basketball court. A mix of instrumentals and beats from today’s hottest hip hop tracks ring throughout the gymnasium from the deejay’s

booth. High schoolers file in to the gym eating slices of pizza and chatting with their friends. Some of them wear cheerleaders’ uniforms, while others still have on their jerseys from the morning football game. And what seems to be a pre homecoming pep rally is actually a rally for youth to get involved and support President Obama. Saturday, Sept. 29, Mayor Michael Hancock teamed up with former cohost host of BET’s 106th and Park Rosci Diaz to host a youth jam at the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation center. The goal was to get high schoolers fired up and excited about the impact they can have on the coming election. The jam is one of the events created and fostered by the Forward Club, a group established by high school students in the Denver Public School system. The Forward Club is dedicated to seeing the President re-elected and plan to do so by informing students so they can vote or, if they are not of age, get their parents active as well. The club is the brainchild of Dominic Diaz, a sophomore at East High. As one may expect, Diaz keeps a busy schedule. He is the democratic chair at his

school and is on the student council. He also plays baseball for the East Angels. That Saturday, Diaz penned the words “Foreign Policy” and “Education” in black marker on both his forearms, displaying the issues that matter most to him in this election. Diaz would like to venture into politics when he is older but for now, he’s making waves in his community by prompting students to consider why this election is important. “I think its common sense,” says Diaz. “The president stands for values the middle class can relate to...I love the president’s idea of growing from the middle class out.” Diaz’s plan is simple. They are roughly 2000 people at East High according to Diaz, if those students have two parents each, that’s potentially 4,000 votes. That potential is only possible if the students and parents stay informed. Students, parents and volunteers joined Diaz in sharing their dreams for America’s future by making posters for the president. Whole sections of walls boasted posters in support of President Obama. Among the standard Obama 2012 posters, there was a

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


section of blank paper on which attendees stated why they supported the president. Some feel that the president will best support their children’s future; others say that he understands that giving people the opportunity to help themselves gives them the ability to help others; and for others, the answer is much simpler – President Obama is tight. While there is a diverse pool of reasons to support the president, those who attended the youth jam stand united against an opponent that seeks to sweep them under the rug. Mayor Hancock reminded the people why they can’t afford to lose this election. “Listen, I’m going to tell you a little secret. Republican nominee Mitt Romney believes you don’t matter and that you’re not going to show up,” said the mayor. In a way, Governor Romney is right, underage students will not show up to vote but they can show up in a different way. Much like the students of Denver, Rocsi Diaz is no stranger to the feeling of being on the outside looking in. A native to Honduras but raised in New Orleans, Rosci wasn’t allowed to vote because she was not a citizen. Despite the hurdle, Rosci campaigned for President Clinton during his years and continued to work as a volunteer during the early 2000s. In 2008, Rosci earned her citizenship and placed her vote for the first time. “President Barack Obama was the first president I was ever able to vote for,” said Rosci. “I’m so proud of that, but not being able to vote never stopped me from speaking to those who could vote and persuading them to get out there and let their voices be heard.” All too often Americans young and old are trapped in the pitfall of apathy. The arguments against voting abound, “it’s not voting for someone as much as against someone else”, “all politicians are the same” or “it always comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils.” While there is sure to be some merit and validity in all of these arguments the end result shouldn’t be

indifference. Who knows? Perhaps encouraging children to engage in elections and politics at an earlier age might foster significant change down the road. Whatever the reasoning, every American has something at stake in this and every election. For Rosci, this election is a chance to safeguard the only life an alien child knows. Immigration is among the top issues in this election. Congress recently rejected the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) act which would grant temporary citizenship to minors with no criminal background. During the trial period of six years, a minor could earn permanent citizenship by graduating from an institution of higher learning or serving in the military for at least two years. President Obama kept hopes for the act alive, however, by giving a directive to the Department of Homeland Security that halted deportation of alien minors who met one of the two criteria. As an immigrant who came to America and rose to success, Rosci believes that others deserve the same opportunities she had. She believes that alien minors matter. Healthcare is another issue at the top of Rosci’s list as it’s important for everyone to enjoy proper healthcare as so many Americans and American children don’t have any. Rosci’s sentiments go hand in hand with Mayor Hancock’s views as he believes that a future of inclusivity is

at stake in this election. Part of that discussion of inclusivity surrounds education. The president and Governor Romney have two different plans for how to make sure every child in America gets a good education. President Obama has focused on “Race to the Top” a program which gives $4.35 billion in grants to schools that find more innovative ways to teach students. In contrast, Governor Romney’s plan, “A chance for every child,” emphasizes qualified teachers in every class and the option for parents to choose what school their child goes to. The plan has been said to be akin to a voucher program, in which parents are given a sum of money to send their kids to better schools.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Mayor Hancock argues that vouchers favor parents who can supplement the money and afford private schooling. “We need to focus on quality programs and education in every neighborhood in this nation,” said Mayor Hancock. “Zip code should not determine quality of education and that’s why I think focusing on choice, and designing traditional and nontraditional schools that go into the neighborhoods and really make a difference in the lives of those who are most economically challenged is more important than looking at vouchers.” The most important goal of the event was to empower the youth of surrounding neighborhoods. The mayor believes that it is important for adolescents to see people like him and like Rosci Diaz who came from the same or similar neighborhoods. It’s important for student athletes to remember that Chauncey Billups played and practiced in that same gymnasium when he was younger. While a few more years of education still lie before most of the high school students and hopefully time in college as well, it’s important to remember that one day they will not just be able to vote, but to lead this country to a future of their choosing. They need to nurture their voice for the day when that voice will be the strongest in our nation. 

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Colorado delegates, local politicians, and community leaders attended the event including Rhonda Fields, Khadija Haynes, Chris Martinez, Jarrad Jackson, Happy Haynes, Leslie Herod, and Quincy Hines who all proYoung gentlemen dressed in burvided words of wisdom and advice. gundy jackets greeted guests at the I “We need to knock on doors, we Gotcha Back Voter Registration Drive need to make phone calls and do and Celebration held at Sims Fayola everything we need to do to make International Academy on Sept. 30. sure everyone gets out and vote,â€? said Presented by the Denver Urban Happy Haynes. “If Spectrum and The Weekly you get 10 people and Issue/El Semanario, and they get 10 people other participating partand everyone volunners, attendees came with teers weekly, just a one purpose in mind – to two hour shift until check their voting status the election, we will for the upcoming election get the votes needed so that casting their vote for President Obama on Nov. 6 will go to win Colorado.â€? smoothly. State Rep. Rhonda With the onslaught of Fields had the crowd Chris Fresquez, Jarrod Jackson voter suppression, the chanting “fired up and Rosalind “Beeâ€? Harris two community papers and ready to goâ€? after came together to edushe shared words on cate the African President Obama’s American and Latino Allegra accomplishments and “Happyâ€? communities on the the importance of Haynes importance of voting and making sure he gets to encourage them to four more years in the exercise their right to White House. vote. The Colorado Organizers rallied to Justice Reform get as many people out Coalition, NAACP as possible for the event Branch, and the Let for a variety of reasons. My People Vote camSocial activist Deborah paign were on hand to Fard said, “This election provide important is critical to one’s health information on our right to affordvoting rights and able health care regulations. for everyone is on The Sims the line. It’s less Fayola Men about “Obama directed attenand more about dees to a classyour mamaâ€? as Al room set-up Sharpton stated. with 30 laptop Your vote is one computers to way to ensure check their votyour individual ing status during voice is heard colthe 4-hour event. lectively.â€? Chris State Rep. Rhonda Fields with Fayola Men Many people got FrĂŠsquez, Photos by Quincy Hines registered and CEO/Publisher of some even The Weekly Issue/El became aware that some of their inforSemanario stated “The voter suppresmation was outdated and needed to sion that is currently taking place not be corrected. just on a local level, but on a national Although a lot of registration busilevel as well, is both offensive and outness was taking place, attendees were rageous.â€? And “It’s upsetting that also entertained by Denver’s comedithere are people trying to keep people an September who served as the misfrom exercising their right to vote. We tress of ceremonies and Gary Ashton are seeing this more in this election of Cocktail who provided smooth because they are taking desperate sounds all afternoon. Live entertainmeasures to keep President Obama from getting a second term. This really ment was also provided by spoken word artist Theo Wilson, vocalist has become an opening for people to MarChelle and recording artist Julius. show their true colors,â€? commented Rounding out the festivities was givBee Harris, CEO/Publisher of Denver ing away door prizes from ACW Urban Spectrum. “It’s really just a sad Marketing while enjoying chili hot and unfortunate situation during this dogs by Pit Stop BBQ.  time in America’s history.â€?

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


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A Season Of Incivility T

By Rev. Dr. James Ellis Fouther, Jr.

he zeal of hosting the first Presidential debate right here in Denver—a coup coveted by colleges and universities nationwide—should have lasted, at least, until Christmas. But instead, this occasion rode in and out of Denver on what has become a growing wave of incivility, manifested in the form of ads, videos, and social media messages. Before the telecast was even finished at Magness Arena, the President was already being criticized for “not showing up for the debate,� and for not clarifying the positions of his political party with the same gusto as his opponent, whose posture was more that of a bully than a statesman. The call from the President’s supporters in the wake of this performance was for a pouncing on his opponent in debate number two. The stakes being as high as the tensions, folks seemingly felt the only tact was for the Commander and Chief to show up and show out. Ironically, the second “match� offered an arena more suitable to a street fight. Both candidates were able to walk freely, physically, giving the appearance of stalking and confronting one another. And while the President was able to “right� much of the misleading information put forth by Romney, it was not without the theater of bravado and a knockout punch required by the people. I have to admit, I understand. In an earlier season of my life, I followed the boxing career of Muhammad Ali closely. Ali backed up all of his rhetorical swagger with his world class skills in the ring. When he said he was going to knock out his opponent, he’d actually declare in which round he would do it. During President Obama’s third and final debate, the internal struggle was noticeable—to knock out the opponent with full bravado or to temper the responses with civility. As an incumbent, and our first African American, President Obama is well aware of the importance of striking the right tone. And overall, he remained classy, in command, and outmatched his opponent, I believe.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


While political life or death is a strong motivator, it appears that overall; we as a nation are in a season where the accepted norm is one of incivility. I must admit to a personal sadness that this is so. Is it the violence all around us that pushes us towards an acceptance of greater violence in our patterns of speech, debate, and conversation? This further begs the question: is meaningful discourse in America still possible without it being laced with anger, accusations, and statements that tear down rather than build up? I fear we have largely become a nation of citizens who count the win or loss by who shouts the loudest or who pushes the hardest for their perspective. None of us, by far, are immune to this. Yet, as a Pastor, I believe the case for tolerance should be self evident in faith houses of every religion; churches, mosques, and synagogues; and respecting diverse views of diverse peoples is a hallmark of who we should all be as God’s people. I long for a day in America where all can be respected, even and especially, when they disagree politically. I’m searching for a new season in our lives where civility at every level of society will be the rule rather than the exception. I agree with that former Chicago Theological Seminary professor of mine, the Rev. Dr. Michael Dyson who wrote: “I believe that true leadership in bringing people together in a way that is understandable and acceptable to them is the first step in having people respecting and sharing their thoughts and beliefs with humanity. When people have reached the time in their lives when they can accept others as they are, then we might have a world fulfilled with tranquility!� I long for that day of tranquility. I work for it every day.  Editor’s Note: Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr. is the Senior Pastor of United Church of Montbello, and an adjunct professor at Iliff School of Theology.

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Is it Still An American Family Tradition?

t’s early Thursday morning but Big Mama has already been in the kitchen cooking all night long. The house is filled with the tantalizing aroma or her mouth-watering masterpieces and her angelic voice touches every soul who hears it as she sings a gospel you just know she believes in. There is a sort of peaceful anticipation in the air this Thanksgiving day. You are looking forward to everything from Aunt Madelyne’s famous sweetpotato pie, to seeing old Uncle Willie who always manages to have too much to drink but never fails to add lots of excitement to the occasion. It’s been years since you saw your favorite cousin Tootie and the thought of having all your loved ones together in one place overwhelms your heart with an almost uncontainable joy. But that seems like such a long time ago, and so much has happened since then it’s almost as if it was from another life because this year Big Mama won’t be cooking at all. No hymns will be sung from the kitchen, and a feeling of despair will try its best to replace the sense of peace you once took for granted. All the pies will be store-bought and neither Uncle Willie nor cousin Tootie will be able to make it to this year’s get-together. In fact, most of the clan has decided to do their own thing this season and none seem compelled to honor the timeless tradition that once united and defined you as a family. Well, for millions of Americans this scenario hits much too close to home and they find themselves mourning those former holidays as they would the loved ones who have passed on to a place unreachable yet still very much longed for. In contrast, there are those who may passively acknowl-

By G. Bramlett

edge the occasion but will not celebrate it with any resembling traditional zeal, while countless others will simply ignore the holiday altogether. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1970 the U.S. Population was roughly 205 million and over 87 percent of it celebrated Thanksgiving in a somewhat conventional fashion. But as of 2010, that number dropped to less than 60 percent although the population increased to over 300 million. That is an astounding statistic and naturally raises the question: Why has there been such a dramatic decline in the observance of what is still a hallmark of our American Heritage? In response, one might very well take the following into consideration: America has become a completely different nation in a relatively short period of time. Also according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 9½ million foreign-born U.S. citizens in 1970. But as of May 10, 2012 that number increased to over 40 million. The organization also reported that foreign-born households are on average larger than native households, have more children under age 18 and are more likely to be multi-generational. There should be no doubt that the consequences of this national ethnic transformation are far-reaching and affect every aspect of our society including how we collectively view certain holidays. While some may have chided President Obama for saying, “We are no longer a Christian nation,” during his televised speech in August of 2011, it does not erase the facts substantiating his observation. W.A.S.P. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) is simply no longer the national standard. We currently have an African American presiding over the country who identifies with Islam

as much as he does Christianity, and for the growing population of neoAmericans from places like Mexico, China, India and the Middle-East, pilgrims and pumpkin pies have little or no relevance. This country has also experienced extreme internal changes that have little to do with immigration. Less than one generation ago, Television shows like The Waltons, Little House on The Prairie and even The Cosbys were fairly accurate portrayals of the average American lifestyle. Family celebrations of Thanksgiving with all of the trimmings were as American as apple pie and going to church on Easter Sunday. Since then, T.V. shows like Married with Children, Seinfield and The Simpsons have come to just as accurately reflect the customs and values of today’s society, and Christian-style observances of traditional holidays are neither common nor assumed. And there is yet another factor which is prevalent in every society that has always contributed to why people break off from traditions. Because families often remain united

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


by a particular head (Grandfather, Big mama, a particular Aunt of Uncle) who serves as a nucleus that keeps them relatively close, once that person dies the families often drift apart. Time, distance and the everincreasing pace of our technologicallyadvancing world can tear away at the fabric that knits even the strongest families together. But oh hallelujah and gobble gobble! The good news is we are still one nation that recognizes itself as being under God and for the vast majority, giving thanks to The Almighty while enjoying a veritable feast with family and friends remains a tradition to be honored every 4th Thursday in November. This year an estimated 280 million turkeys will be sold and close to 200 million citizens will enjoy the holiday in its entire splendor. There will also be lots of not-so-traditional turkey tastings this year, but that’s okay too. What matters is that from the year 1621 all the way to 2012, Americans as a whole, have not forgotten to give thanks to a Creator who has certainly not forgotten us. 

Second Judicial District Commission On Judicial Performance Evaluates Performance Of Local Judges Standing For Retention Election

DPS Launches Online Tool To Help Families “Match” Students To Schools

Denver Public Schools has launched an online, user-friendly tool called “SchoolMatch” that will help families search and filter schools so they can find the best fit for their students. To help families find a school that best meets the needs of their students, DPS created SchoolMatch, which allows families to find their neighborhood, attendance-area school and additional programs and areas of academic focus. For example, users may search for a neighborhood school that serves sixth-grade, has achieved “Meets Expectations” on the School Performance Framework, and offers after-school programming. Enrollment for school year 2013-2014 begins in early December, and the first round of SchoolChoice ends on Jan. 31, 2013. The launch of SchoolMatch kicks off the SchoolChoice process for families to select and apply to schools for 2013-14 enrollment. SchoolChoice was launched last year by DPS, and it is a simple, streamlined system that is used for researching, selecting, and applying to all DPS schools. To further assist families with researching the array of schools available to them, the district each fall publishes its SchoolChoice Enrollment Guides, which give families detailed information about the full range of elementary, middle, and high schools available in DPS to serve their children. The Enrollment Guides are available at all DPS schools following the DPS Middle and High School Expo, which was held on Oct. 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Infinity Park Event Center, 4400 E. Kentucky Ave. The Expo featured principals and staff from virtually every DPS middle and high school, and provided a great

opportunity for families to see the array of schools and programs that are available to meet the distinct learning needs of their children. Throughout the SchoolChoice period, DPS will host a wide range of school and community events, in multiple languages, that will help families do more in-depth exploration of the schools they’re interested in and to assist them in making their selections for the SchoolChoice process. In addition to the citywide Expo, there will be Regional School Expos across Denver to provide parents with information about the elementary, middle, and high schools in their neighborhood. Below is a full rundown of all of the outreach that DPS is doing over the next several months, prior to the Jan. 31 SchoolChoice application deadline: • Regional School Expos: Each event will be held Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. • Far Northeast Denver – Evie Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St. • Near Northeast Denver –Bruce Randolph, 3955 Steele St. • Northwest Denver –North High School, 2960 N. Speer Blvd. • Southeast Denver – South High School, 1700 E. Louisiana Ave. • Southwest Denver – Kepner Middle School, 911 S. Hazel Court. • SchoolChoice Parent Information Session: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at George Washington High School, 655 S. Monaco Parkway • SchoolChoice Parent Information Session: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade

Editor’s note: Families can also visit the SchoolChoice website or call 720-423-3493 for additional information.

The Judicial Performance Commission for the Second Judicial District (Denver County) has evaluated the performance of the 14 judges standing for retention in the November 6, 2012 election: District Judges Ann B. Frick, Shelley I. Gilman, Morris B. Hoffman, Kenneth Martin Laff, Catherine A. Lemon, and R. Michael Mullins, District-Juvenile Judge Karen M. Ashby, and Denver County Judges Doris E. Burd, Robert B. Crew, Jr., Kerry S. Hada, Alfred Harrell, Claudia Jean Jordan, John Michael Marcucci, and Andre L. Rudolph. Colorado citizens have the opportunity to review important information from the commission about the performance of the judges. With the information, voters can read down to the end of their ballot to the judges section and cast informed votes in the November election. The role of the non-partisan commission is to present fair, responsible, and constructive information to the citizens in order to cast informed votes in the November election. The results of the evaluations also provide judges with information that can be used to improve their professional skills. Politics does not play a role. The judicial performance process evaluates the overall performance of judges over a period of time on established criteria, and not agreement or disagreement with any particular decision. There is a judicial performance commission in each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts and one state commission. The District Commissions evaluate the county and district judges in their respective districts. The State Commission evaluates the court of appeals judges and the Supreme Court justices. The volunteer members are appointed by the Colorado Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House. Each commission consists of 10 members: six non-attorneys and four attorneys. The members of the Second Judicial District Performance Commission are: Dan Recht, Chair and Public Information Liaison, Barbara Biondolillo, Vice-Chair, Jeffrey Haber, Leslie Herod, Angela Hutton-Howard, Wesley Martin,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Norman Mueller, Pauline Olvera, Patricia Powell, and Joan Ringel. The commission evaluated the judges on a wide range of criteria, including integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, and administrative performance. To do this, the commission reviewed information from several sources including, written decisions, individual caseload statistics, courtroom observations, a self-evaluation completed by each judge; and the results of surveys. Earlier this year, surveys were sent to people who have had recent involvement with the judges, including prosecutors, public defenders, and private attorneys, litigants, jurors, crime victims, law enforcement officers, court employees, court interpreters, and probation officers. In addition, interim survey results from past years are reviewed. The commissions then produce a narrative for each judge, with a recommendation stated as “retain” or “do not retain,” and if the vote is spit, “no opinion.” The commission may also recommend that improvements for the judge be reflected in a performance plan. The narrative and recommendation are included in the “Blue Books” published by the Legislative Council. The Blue Book is an informational booklet which provides voters with an analysis and arguments for and against every statewide ballot measure and also includes the evaluations of the judges standing for retention. It is mailed to every active registered voter household in the State. Also on the ballot are the following appellate judges who were evaluated by the State Commission on Judicial Performance: Supreme Court Justice Nathan B. Coats, and Court of Appeals Judges Laurie A. Booras, James S. Casebolt, Dennis A. Graham, Gale T. Miller, Daniel Marc Taubman, and John R. Webb. The narrative, recommendation, and complete statistical survey results of all the judges on the ballot are available on the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation website at www.coloradojudicialperformance.go v. The website also contains information about Colorado’s judicial performance evaluation program and process. 



can say what I want, even if it offends you. And so can you. No American government official, high or low, federal, state or local can silence our freedom of expression – whether it’s our views on politics, public issues or religious faith. If someone says something we don’t like, we can freely express ourselves in opposition, even if that speaker is a mayor, governor or – as we see clearly this election year – the president or his opponent. Not so in many other nations, where governments control news and information, and an intemperate remark or nonconforming view can bring condemnation, prosecution or even death. Americans simply view freedom of speech differently from much of the world, where freedom from some speech also is seen as a right. For example: Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, speaking Sept. 26 at the United Nations: “Egypt respects freedom of expression. One that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. One that is not directed towards one specific religion or culture. A freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence. Not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.” Under the First Amendment, and over the past 90 years in our courts, we have developed law that sets specific criteria for the rare times we can be prosecuted and punished for what we say. Threats must pose real, imminent danger against a specific person to run afoul of the law. Criticism and public commentary, however vile, are seen as less of a negative than the alternative – government control of what we say, leading to control of what we think. Vulgarity may shock public tastes, but no government officials have the right to silence us simply because they are offended. Bigotry may be condemned by the many even as it is embraced by the few, but no court sits in judgment on the viewpoint. Blasphemy may enrage the faithful or entertain the faithless, but no religious council has secular power to silence the blasphemer.



First Amendment Center



By Gene Policinski,

Still, in the wake of the video “Innocence of Muslims,” angry mobs overseas have demanded prosecution of the film’s maker and action by the Obama administration to force YouTube to remove it. Failure to do so is seen by many abroad as American government acceptance if not encouragement of the anti-Islam message. Why the disconnect? The reasons for the violence, including the despicable attacks that killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya and three other Americans, are complex. But consider that in many nations, any public expression occurs with official approval or support. In those places with an official state religion, no blasphemy is tolerated. Let’s not forget that even in the United States, we’re still trying to determine the proper role of religion in the public square more than 220 years after adopting the Bill of Rights. Think of prayer in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings and religious influences on public policy on matters ranging from birth control to euthanasia. There are some positive elements amidst the chaos of recent weeks. We should not be too bothered by the Obama administration’s request that Google, which owns YouTube, determine whether “Innocence” violated the company’s own terms of service, and should be encouraged that, when Google said it didn’t, nothing happened. It’s troubling when our government criticizes any free expression or the speaker, as it did with the film. But we should find some comfort in the fact that even when high officials condemn a message, they don’t feel empowered to censor the speaker. In some ways, we all – Americans and those caught up in violence overseas – are paying the price for foreign governments that control speech and religious liberty. Those rigid systems fear dissent and diversity, and teach by example that cabal and conspiracy are behind every public utterance. Societies used to the give-and-take of public debate are not so easily shocked by a video or cartoon with a contrary view. In nations where religious liberty exists for all, no faith need fear for its survival. The only long-term solution in the Middle East and elsewhere to the outrage, destruction and death over speech that offends rests in the First Amendment’s core provision for more speech, not less.  Editor’s note: Gene Policinski is senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S., Nashville, Tenn., 37212. Web: E-mail:


Much Of World Wants Freedom From Speech







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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


2012 Starz Denver Film Festival Announces Full Festival Line-Up

Focus on Argentine Cinema; Shorts, Panels, Workshops, and Student Filmmakers in Competition

lection day is not the only big event happening this November. The Starz Denver Film Festival will celebrate its 35th edition with signature events and a diverse line-up of films from around the globe featuring everything from student shorts, to a 15-hour film, to some of Hollywood’s most buzz-worthy Award Season releases,� said Festival Director Britta Erickson. “New this year, is a central downtown hub for the Festival at the Denver Pavilions to complement the Denver Film Society’s permanent cinematic home, the Denver Film Center/Colfax, and our special presentation house, the L2 Arts and Culture Center.�


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How to Spot a Victim of Domestic Violence

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning Signs

In the United States, women are assaulted or beaten once every nine seconds; worldwide, one in three women have been battered, raped or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to women’s advocacy organizations. “That means most of us – while grocery shopping, at work or at home – come across several women a day who have either been abused, or are currently enduring abuse,â€? says Linda O’Dochartaigh, a health professional and author of Peregrine ( “It’s a terrible fact of life for too many women, but if there is something we can do about it and we care about fellow human beings, then we must try.â€? There are several abuse resources available to women who are being abused, or friends of women who need advice, including: •, National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1-800799-SAFE (7223) •, provides unbiased, advertising-free mental health

The 35th Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF), sponsored by Starz Entertainment and produced by the Denver Film Society will run Nov. 1 through Nov. 11 in Denver. “This year, SDFF shines a spotlight on Argentine cinema. Fourteen films from Argentina will screen in the Festival and Daniel Burman, a founding member of Argentina’s so-called New Argentine Cinema Wave, will be recognized for having the most films from Argentina play on U.S. screens. For his tribute, we’ll be presenting three of them, All In (2012), Family Law (2006), and Lost Embrace (2004). “Argentina is not only one of the most prolific film industries in South America, but perhaps the most diverse. We are extremely pleased to be screening a robust sidebar of films from Argentina, including a three-film tribute to Daniel Burman, one of the country’s most successful cinematic exports,â€? said Artistic Director Brit Withey. Another SDFF highlight is the inclusion of Mark Cousin’s epic, 15hour, The Story of Film— perhaps the most definitive study of cinema from its inception in the late 1800’s to our information to give people the selfhelp options to help people understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges •, allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender is released, transferred, or escapes •, 1-8887HELPLINE, offers crisis intervention and support services for victims of intimate partner violence and their families Perhaps the best thing friends and family can do for a woman enduring domestic abuse is to be there for her – not only as a sympathetic ear, but also as a source of common sense that encourages her to take protective measures, O’Dochartaigh says. Before that, however, loved ones need to recognize that help is needed. O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs: • Clothing – Take notice of a change in clothing style or unusual fashion choices that would allow marks or bruises to be easily hidden. For instance, someone who wears long sleeves even in the dog days of summer may be trying to hide signs of abuse. • Constant phone calls – Many abusers are very controlling and suspicious, so they will call their victims multiple times each day to “check in.â€? This is a subtle way of manipulating

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


present day digital revolution. Neatly sectioned in two-hour blocks that detail specific time periods with a vast amount of film clips over which Cousin’s almost ethereal voice charts in detail the infinitesimal to the revolutionary changes in our most popular and accessible art form. The Story of Film will screen one section a day over eight consecutive days (The Story of Film Daily Pass) and in two marathon sections on the last weekend of the Festival (The Story of Film Marathon Pass). The 2012 SDFF will screen more than 225 features, shorts, and student films, representing close to 40 countries, along with Denver Film Society’s signature programs such as the Cinema Q, Reel Social Club, The Watching Hour and Women + Film. The complete list of films can be viewed at 

Editor’s note: To keep up to date with the Starz Denver Film Festival and to view a complete list of films, visit, like the SDFF Facebook page denverfilmfestival, follow @DenverFilm on Twitter, and join the conversation by using the #SDFF35 hashtag.

their victims, to make them fearful of uttering a stray word that might alert someone that something is wrong. Many abusers are also jealous, and suspect their partner is cheating on them, and the constant calls are a way of making sure they aren’t with anyone they aren’t supposed to be around. • Unaccountable injuries – Sometimes, obvious injuries such as arm bruises or black eyes are a way to show outward domination over the victim. Other times, abusers harm areas of the body that won’t be seen by family, friends and coworkers. • Frequent absences – Often missing work or school and other lastminute plan changes may be a woman hiding abuse, especially if she is otherwise reliable. • Excessive guilt & culpability – Taking the blame for things that go wrong, even though she was clearly not the person responsible – or she is overly-emotional for her involvement – is a red flag. • Fear of conflict – Being browbeaten or physically beaten takes a heavy psychological toll, and anxiety bleeds into other relationships. • Chronic uncertainty – Abusers often dominate every phase of a victim’s life, including what she thinks she likes, so making basic decisions can prove challenging.

Editor’s note: Linda O’Dochartaigh has worked in health care is an advocate for victims of child abuse and domestic violence.

Legal Lines: Medical Marijuana Patients and the Law

Editor’s note: This column is provided by the Colorado Bar Association as a public service.

Question: I recently became a Colorado medical marijuana patient. What do I need to know to remain compliant with Colorado law? Answer: Staying compliant with Colorado’s medical marijuana laws is as easy as keeping your paperwork organized and on your person at all times that you are engaged in the medical use of marijuana. If you haven’t yet received your medical marijuana registry card in the mail from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Medical Marijuana Registry, and more than 35 days have elapsed since you sent in your application packet, your application to the Medical Marijuana Registry coupled with your physician’s certification for the medical use of marijuana and the certificate of mailing of your packet to the Medical Marijuana Registry constitutes the

legal equivalent of a medical marijuana registry card. “Medical use of marijuana” means the acquisition, possession, production, use, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia related to the administration of medical marijuana to address the symptoms or effects of a patient’s debilitating medical condition. If you have your medical marijuana registry card or its legal equivalent, you can legally possess up to two ounces of raw medical marijuana and you may cultivate up to six medical marijuana plants, three of which are flowering and three of which are nonflowering. As long as you stay within these limitations, your medical marijuana registry card, or its legal equivalent, provides you with an exception to Colorado’s criminal statutes regarding the possession and cultivation of marijuana. You also may possess more raw medical marijuana and cultivate more medical marijuana plants than the presumptive two ounce/six plant limits if your physician has certified that the elevated amounts of medical marijuana are medically necessary to treat the symptoms of your debilitating medical condition. A common reason for an increased plant count or increased ounce amount is if you are making an edible form of medical marijuana that

requires much more raw medical marijuana to produce than if you are merely smoking medical marijuana. However, the Colorado Constitution does not provide an exception to Colorado’s criminal statutes for amounts of raw medical marijuana over the two ounce/six plant limits. The Colorado Constitution does provide an affirmative defense to criminal charges for possession or cultivation of marijuana in excess of the two ounce/six plant presumptive limits, but this defense must be raised once a criminal prosecution is initiated by the district attorney. If you are contacted by law enforcement and you are over these limits, it is even more imperative that your medical marijuana paperwork is organized and accessible so that you may establish that your physician advised that the additional amounts of medical marijuana are medically necessary. If you are a medical marijuana patient and have been charged under Colorado’s criminal statutes related to marijuana, please seek the advice of counsel, as Colorado’s medical marijuana laws are quite complex and judicial interpretations of these laws can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The Colorado Bar Association provides a free directory at

Editor’s note: The Colorado Bar Association welcomes your questions on subjects of general interest. This column is meant to be used as general information. Consult your own attorney for specifics. Send questions to the CBA Attn: Sara Crocker, 1900 Grant St., Suite 900, Denver, CO 80203 or E-mail About Legal Lines Legal Lines is a question and answer column provided as a public service by the Colorado Bar Association. Attorneys answer questions of interest to members of the public for their general information.

About the Colorado Bar Association The Colorado Bar Association is a voluntary bar association with nearly 18,000 members – almost three-quarters of all attorneys in the state – founded in 1897. The bar provides opportunities for continuing education, volunteering and networking for those in the legal profession while upholding the standards of the bar. The bar likewise works to secure the efficient administration of justice, encourage the adoption of proper legislation and perpetuate the history of the profession and the memory of its members. For more information, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams ExcellentBBBBB. Very GoodBBBB.. GoodBBBBBB... FairBBBBBBB.. PoorBBBBBBB.

    No stars

Cloud Atlas 

Halle & Hanks Co-Star in Adaptation of Sci-Fi Best-Seller


ased on David Mitchell’s groundbreaking novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas offers an intriguing and visually-captivating cinematic experience that’s well worth the investment for its unorthodox narrative alone. Be forewarned, however, that you would be well advised to arrive at the theater already familiar with the cryptic best seller’s inscrutable plot structure, if you hope to have a decent idea about what’s going on. Since I hadn’t read the British Book Award-winner, I initially found myself quite baffled by the surrealistic saga’s elliptical storyline. Still, I was able to enjoy it immensely after gradually discerning the underlying method to the time-shifting madness. It essentially consists of a halfdozen insular adventures which ultimately interlock despite unfolding over the course of past, present and future eras. They transpire in locales as far afield as a Pacific atoll in the 1840s, Cambridge, England in the 1930s, San Francisco in the 1970s, current-day London, Korea in the 2140s


and a post-apocalyptic Hawaii in the 2340s. Meanwhile, their equallydiverse themes range from slavery to gay love to corporate mind control. It took a collaboration by a trio of noted directors, Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run) and Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski (The Matrix), to execute this ambitious, $100 million, big screen adaptation. In addition, the principal cast members, including Cloud Atlas

Oscar-winners Tom Hanks (for Philadelphia and Forest Gump), Halle Berry (for Monster’s Ball), Susan Sarandon (for Dead Man Walking) and Jim Broadbent (for Iris), each play multiple versions of reincarnated characters. Nonetheless, Cloud Atlas is as much a morality play about human fears, frailties and failings as it is a mindbending sci-fi mystery. For, while you’re busy deciphering complicated clues, the picture intermittently indulges in pretentious fortune cookie philosophy prompting reflection upon the deeper meaning of life. Hence, the dialogue is needlessly diminished by preachy poster speak like “Separation is an illusion,” “To know yourself is only possible through the eyes of another,” and “From womb to tomb we are bound to others” designed to hit you over the head with a simplistic New Age message. Another minor flaw is the film’s almost three-hour running time, which can easily be explained by the directors’ desire to remain as faithful to the 544-page source material as possible, rather than conflate characters, condense chapters and make other concessions for the sake of a Hollywood formula. A cleverly-concealed, centuriesspanning head scratcher constructed with fans of the original sextet of stories in mind.

Rated: R for violence, profanity, sexuality, ethnic slurs, nudity and drug use In English and Spanish with subtitles Running Time: 172 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Cloud Atlas, visit: feature=relmfu Here Comes the Boom 

Teacher Moonlights as MMA Prizefighter to Save School’s Music Program


cott Voss (Kevin James) is a bored biology teacher at mythical Wilkinson High in Massachusetts, a cash-strapped school suffering from low morale. The apathetic slacker is part of the problem, as he sets a horrible example for his students, between stealing candy from vending machines and always arriving late for class. During recess, the bored, 42 yearold bachelor makes a habit of flirting with the beautiful school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek). However, she just as routinely rebuffs his advances with gentle reminders of how often she’s rejected each of his requests for a date. The plot thickens the day Principal Betcher (Gregg German) assembles the faculty in the auditorium to announce his latest budgetary cutbacks. Those money-saving measures not only include plans to eliminate afterschool activities like the debate club and field trips but even the entire music program. That means Scott’s colleague Marty Streb (Henry Winkler) will be callously laid-off right before earning tenure. And to add insult to injury, the dedicated music teacher’s firing comes at a time when his wife (Nikki TylerFlynn) is pregnant. This dire state of affairs inspires Scott to prevail upon the principal to

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


preserve his pal’s position. But Betcher says he simply doesn’t have the $48,000 to pay Marty. Therefore, Scott, who hasn’t wrestled competitively since college, decides to raise the cash by moonlighting in the ring as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. With the help of Marty and a retired kickboxing champ (Bas Rutten), he proceeds to whip himself into the best shape a middle-aged couch potato might hope for. So unfolds Here Comes the Boom, a sweet-natured, overcoming-the-odds sports saga combining familiar elements of Rocky (1976) and Nacho Libre (2006). Directed by Frank Coraci (The Waterboy), the star vehicle showcases Kevin James’ comic genius at his best, whether he’s doing pratfalls in a mask and ill-fitting stretchy pants or futilely wooing the woman of his dreams. The paint-by-numbers plot inexorably builds to a UFC-sanctioned showdown between Scott and an intimidating adversary (Krzysztof Soszynski) for a purse conveniently matching Marty’s salary. Wouldn’t it be nice if Wilkinson’s student body and school band were on hand in the Vegas arena to cheer for their altruistic teach and better yet if Bella had a change of heart and also arrived ringside for a kiss at the moment of truth? Here Comes the Boom? How about, here comes a pat Hollywood tale of redemption where a perennial loser transforms himself into a beloved hero who wins the cage match, saves his best friend’s job, and gets the gorgeous girl! Rated: PG for sports violence, crude humor and mild epithets Running Time: 105 minutes Distributor: Columbia Pictures To see a trailer for Here Comes the Boom, visit: Here Comes the Boom

Middle of Nowhere 

Wife Weighs Absentee Hubby’s Worth in Introspective Tale of Female Empowerment


iddle of Nowhere is a cinematic masterpiece reminiscent of those rare treasures that have managed to capture an authentic slice of AfricanAmerican life, ala such black classics as Love Jones (1997), The Best Man (1999), The Visit (2000) and Brown Sugar (2002). However, this introspective tale of female empowerment simultaneously touches on a number


tion, and she begins entertaining the advances of a bus driver (David Oyewolo) she’d befriended. To date or to wait, that is the question? Ruby has a couple of confidants to turn to for advice, but neither proves to be of much help. One is her sister, Ruth (Lorraine Toussaint), a single-mom with a bad track record of her own with men. The other is their embittered mother (Edwina Findley) who can only muster up ineffective, if well-meaning, suggestions like “Hold your head up, please.” So, in the end, it’s up to Ruby to decide for herself, but only after lingering interludes of reflection and

where it was relatively easy to approach the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, New Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Pretending to be unemployed, uninsured, suffering from breast cancer and in danger of losing her home, the desperate protagonist sobbed while asking each of the Republican hopefuls how they planned to help someone like her. The upshot is a gotcha docudrama that’s a cross of Borat and Michael

Moore which captures some of the candidates as plastic, some as somewhat sympathetic. The only problem with Janeane from Des Moines is that it feels a bit dated, as it is arriving in theaters a little late since, at this point, we really care more about Romney’s responses than any of the also-rans. Although his callous “Corporations are people” comment is included here, he proves to be about as patient as one might expect of a polished politician Continued on page 28

Janeane from Des Moines

Middle of Nowhere

of universal themes apt to resonate with an audience of any demographic. The picture was written and directed by rising star Ava DuVernay, this year’s winner at the Sundance Film Festival in the Best Director category. The story revolves around Roberta “Ruby” Murray (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a med student who’s on the brink of becoming a doctor when her husband, Derek (Omari Hardwick), is sentenced to 8 years behind bars for a drug conviction. Rather than abandon the love of her life, the loyal wife decides to drop out of med school to give her man the emotional and financial support he’ll need while in prison. This means she’ll have to endure long bus rides just to see him, and also have to pay his legal bills on a nurse’s salary. However, the shame and separation eventually take a toll on the relationship, especially when Derek has a jailhouse romance and sabotages his chances for an early parole with fresh criminal charges for fighting. Suddenly Ruby finds herself questioning the wisdom of her slavish devo-


contemplation. A refreshing alternative to the superficial mainstream fare that tends to stereotype sisters as either sassy mammies or compliant sex objects.

Rated: R for profanity Running Time: 101 minutes Distributor: AFFRM To see a trailer for Middle of Nowhere, visit: Janeane from Des Moines 

Iowa Housewife Weighs Options in Presidential Race Docudrama



ow do you get the Republicans vying for the presidential nomination to appear in a movie which might not show them in the most flattering light? You might have a nondescript, middle-aged actress pose as a Tea Party conservative during the lead up to the Iowa caucus, a time when the candidates generally make themselves available to valuable voters. That was the inspired idea of filmmaker Grace Lee, who followed around Janeane Wilson (Jane Edith Wilson) with a camera at the State Fair


Supplies are limited. Passes are on a first-come, first-serve basis. The screening will be held Tuesday, 11/13 at 7:00PM Supplies 7:00PM at a local theater. Sponsors Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No No admittance once screening has begun. All All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Film Film District, District, Open Open Road Road Films, Films, Allied-THA, Allied-THA, Gofobo, Urban Urban Spectrum Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, Not in whole or in part. N ot responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void Void where prohibited by law. No No purchase necessary. NO PHONE PHONE CALLS


Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Continued from page 27 with bigger fish to catch. And even though he knows how to escape the clutches of a very clingy constituent, you come away feeling he’s actually acting just as much as Janeane, who becomes disenchanted with the whole lot by film’s end. The futile search for a presidential candidate who cares about the average person’s everyday concerns, a quest leading frustrated Janeane to conclude that her only option is to pull the lever for Obama in November.

Unrated Running Time: 78 minutes Distributor: Wilsilu Pictures To see a trailer for Janeane from Des Moines, visit:

How Sweet Yolanda!

The “How Sweet the Sound” nterview with Kam Williams

Ever since her late-Eighties debut, “Just as I Am,” Yolanda Adams has triumphantly carried the torch for contemporary gospel and inspirational music via a dozen glorious albums. Stunningly beautiful, exceptionally educated, filled with the spirit and blessed with one of the most powerful voices in any genre of music, this former schoolteacher is a stately beacon of God’s light. Born in Houston on August 27, 1961, Yolanda has earned numerous accolades for her shining efforts, including the first American Music Award for Contemporary Gospel Artist and four Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Among the highlights of her career was winning five Grammy Awards which includes 1999′s Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for “Mountain High…Valley Low” featuring her crossover breakthrough hit “Open My Heart,” and 2005′s Best Gospel Song, co-written by Adams herself, “Be Blessed.” Christened “The First Lady of


Modern Gospel,” Yolanda’s pioneering blend of gospel with R&B infused with a touch of jazz continues to inspire her fans and transform the musical landscape. “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show” can currently be heard on radio stations all across the country. Most of Yolanda’s fans know that she was once a schoolteacher; less known is the fact that she earned her college degree in Radio/Television Broadcasting. Joined by her distinguished co-hosts, the hilarious Marcus Wiley, and insightful Anthony Valary, Yolanda’s show is all about waking up in the sandbox every morning and having F-U-N! “We have a great morning show,” Yolanda says, beaming. “It’s not a gospel show or an inspirational show, but a versatile program. I wanted to create a clean, alternative morning show for people of faith. Faith, Love, Forgiveness, Protection and Praise! These are just five of the ten gifts explored in Yolanda Adams new power-filled inaugural book, “Points of Power.” Inspired by the Points of Power segment from her morning show, Yolanda reveals her own personal experiences to show how the Bible will enlighten readers and provide them with insight and understanding to respond positively to life’s challenges. “Points of Power” provides the tools, the wisdom and spiritual guidance for living a praisefilled, prayerful, and joyful life. Here, she talks about her life and career, and about hosting Verizon’s “How Sweet the Sound,” the country’s most prestigious gospel music celebration and competition. Now, in its fifth year of celebrating the community and the power of gospel music, “How Sweet the Sound’s” national finale will be staged in New York on November 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Kam Williams: Hi Yolanda, I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you. Yolanda Adams: It’s great to talk to you, Kam. KW: What interested you in How Sweet the Sound? YA: First of all, it gave me an opportunity to spend time with my great friends Donald Lawrence, CeCe Winans, Erica Campbell, Fred Hammond and Hezekiah Walker. Whenever we can hang out, it’s wonderful. Unless we’re on tour together, we usually don’t have a lot of opportunities to see each other, other than at something special like award shows. So, I was excited to do this. KW: I told my readers I’d be interviewing you, so I’m going to mix-in their questions with some of my own.

Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: Which of your songs has the most personal meaning for you? YA: That’s like asking: Which of your children is the most precious? When I write a song, it comes from the heart and is based on a specific experience. You can’t really say that one experience is greater than another, because all of your experiences take you through life on this journey. KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer? YA: Me! I have my own fashion line that can be found at I also definitely like Mark Bouwer, Donna Karan and Kevan Hall, and I’ve really been into Etro these days. KW: Dante Lee, author of “Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst? YA: My best was to own everything that belongs to me. My worst was once making a spur of the moment decision because I needed the money. KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory? YA: Having lots of fun and laughter in the house with my mom, dad and siblings. I didn’t grow up in one of those restrictive Christian households where you couldn’t do this or that. We were brought up with a great collection of good morals and good values, but we also had fun. We’d go to church on Sunday, but then have ice cream, roller skate or play in the park afterwards. KW: The Michael Ealy question: If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be? YA: Mahalia Jackson. KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What is your favorite charity? YA: I have several. I love St. Jude’s and The Children’s Defense Fund. And I have my own, The Voice of an Angel Foundation. We mentor kids from 9th grade all the way through college. KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps? YA: Hone your craft, study the history of the music, and sing anywhere that you can. KW: What was it like to be invited to participate in Oprah’s Legends Ball? YA: It was amazing! First of all, I felt quite honored to be acknowledged as one of the young’uns with Shirley Caesar serving as my legend. Oprah was very adamant that she wanted to celebrate the people who had made a difference in her life. I had no idea that I had impacted her that deeply. My

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


invitation came at one of the lowest points of my life. No one knows this, so you’re getting an exclusive, Kam. I was going through a divorce proceeding. And then to get an invitation saying that you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life when your own is going down the tubes relationship and family-wise, can you imagine where I was in that space? So, I had to make a decision, do I go, even though I might not feel up to participating, knowing what’s going on at home with the lawyers? How do I deal with this? Then a soft voice whispered to me, “Go, and be blessed!” And I was like, “Okay, I’m going.” It was the best decision I could have ever made. KW: Thanks for such a great

interview, Yolanda. It actually gave me goose bumps. YA: Thank you, Kam. To see Yolanda participating in Oprah’s Gospel Brunch, visit: NmIW5hKV5E To see Yolanda singing Victory, visit: =player_detailpage&v=B3mINTjVyEw To see the How Sweet the Sound Trailer, visit: HBtPfpHhE


Pictured: Khadija Haynes, Presidents’ Award; Cheryl Williams-Carter- Community Service; State Rep. Angela Williams – Politics; Tammy Booth-Meyers – Business; Elma Hairston, CBWPA President; Kimberly Turner Youth (Mother Pictured); Frances Owens – Legend; Bennie Lucille Williams – Arts; and Daphne J. Hunter – Education. Photo by James Rowe

CBWPA Honor Women At 2012 Annual Tribute To Black Women Luncheon

Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) hosted the 35th anniversary celebration and 33rd annual “Tribute To Black Women” luncheon. More than 450 attended the celebration and luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Denver Marriott City Center Hotel in downtown Denver where former mayor of Atlanta Shirley Franklin was the keynote speaker.

Ronald Wooding Ordained As Associate Minister

Photo and story by Vern L. Howard

Rev. Ronald A. Wooding, community leader and founder of the Agape Project, was ordained as an associate minister at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church under Pastor Rev. Dr. Jules E. Smith. Upon arriving in Denver from Nashville, TN in 1995, Rev. Wooding has played a major role in the Daddy Bruce Thanksgiving Day feed the hungry program food drive and charitable giving to Colorado’s families in need. In addition, Rev. Wooding came to

Denver to attend the Iliff School of Theology and has served as a student pastor at Park Hill United Methodist Church (UMC), assistant pastor at Epworth (UMC), and project coordinator for the Scott Family Resource Center. Pastors and ministers attended the ordination service including Rev. Dr. Jules E. Smith, Rev. Dr. Paul Martin, Rev. Dr. Steven C. Van Ostran, Rev. Dr. Anthony Lester and Rev. Dr. Otis Clayton. Many other ministers and community and faith leaders were in attendances.

Southwest Airlines Company Presents 5th Annual Continuing The Legacy In Aviation Scholarship Essay Contest

Dayla Joy Blackburn is one of the finalists in the Southwest Airlines contest Denver region. The scholarship offers hands-on-aviation experience at Southwest Airlines headquarters in Dallas, TX on Nov. 7-8. The student finalists and their parent/guardian will be provided airfare and hotel accommodations. Blackburn, 11, is a 7th grader at Venture Prep Middle School. She is an honor roll student with a 3.7 grade point average and has won several awards in the Fly Girls Bessie

Coleman Chapter. Taken from her essay, Dayla Blackburn says, “this program has given me hope and it inspires me to be the best, and to continue the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and furthering Bessie Coleman’s legacy.” Dayla Blackburn trained in a flight simulator and wants to become a helicopter pilot. This past August, she had the honor of attending the Tuskegee Airmen Las Vegas Convention and was a part of the Tuskegee Youth Luncheon and Bessie Coleman Breakfast. Last year, Dayla spoke at the Fatherhood Program at Epworth United Methodist Church. She has been volunteering to register voters.

Mayor Hancock Announces Several Appointments For Denver Boards And Commissions

Appointees to Denver Boards and Commissions act in various advisory and policy positions depending on the nature of the body. The Mayor appoints all members of Denver Boards and Commissions and some appointments are subject to approval by Denver City Council. Recently reappointed and appointed members of Denver Boards and Commissions include: Advisory Commission on Youth - Appointed: Natriece Bryant; Board of Environmental Health - Appointed: Former State Senator & Former City Councilwoman Paula Sandoval; Denver African-American Commission Appointed: Carrie Warren; Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs Reappointed: Gillian Silverman Appointed: Stephanie Blake, Leslie Herod, John Montgomery, Jr., Bobbi Walker and James Wallace; Denver Community Corrections Board Reappointed: Shawn Cohn; Appointed: Terrence Roberts, Sylvia Sich; Denver Homeless Commission - Appointed: Kim Easton; Denver Housing Authority Board -Reappointed: Former Mayor Bill Vidal, Appointed: Jeffrey Martinez; Denver Landmark Preservation Commission Appointed: Amy Zimmer; Denver Latino Commission - Appointed: Christina Montoya; Denver Library Commission - Reappointed: Taylor Kirkpatrick, Gloria Rubio-Cortes; Denver Women’s Commission - Reappointed: Jane-Frances Echeozo, Marcia Helfant and Caitlin Quander; Appointed: Perla Gheiler, Maria Irivarren, Terrie Martinez, Maxine Sigala, Amber Tafoya and Robyn VieCarpenter; and Denver Workforce Investment Board - Appointed: Joshua Casto, Cori Charvat, Megan Huffnagle, Mitch Lehn and Kristine Thompson.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012



Book Predicted Obama TwoTerm Presidency Five Years Ago

Book Reviews by Kam Williams

Author Daniel Bruno Is Ignored By Corporate Media Focused On Opinion Polls Nationwide ( — Written in early 2007, Why Obama Will Win in 2008 & 2012 is a study of American business and political cycles since the great deflation of agricultural commodities following the Revolutionary War and Shay’s Rebellion of the 1790s. The author, Daniel Bruno from Oxford University, forecasted the great recession of 2008 and his book was the first to predict that Obama would defeat Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic Party nomination. It is also the first book to correctly forecast the presidential election outcome of 2008 and predict an Obama win for the election of 2012. The thesis is that electoral realignments follow on the heels of deflationary shocks (collapse in asset prices of stocks and real estate) and that these shocks occur in predictable cycles. Recessions, wars, stock market crashes and rotation of power within the two-party duopoly can be predicted years in advance to a degree of probability that is statistically significant. Public opinion and polls are of no value in predicting election outcomes until seven days before the vote. What others are saying: “Detailed and convincing - a solid scholarly study - the author draws from economic data and history, not opinion poll data, to support his case that economic data and a voter’s sense of well-being figure prominently in election outcomes. It’s a solid scholarly study.”

— Sylvan Feldstein, Ph.D Columbia University, New York

The book is available as a free download at: (Black PR News Book Review)

Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps by Greg Palast. Introduction by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. with comics by Ted Pall, Seven Stories Press, paperback, 304 pages, illustrated. ISBN: 978-1-60980-478-7, $14.95.

“When I was a boy traveling in Latin America, I saw colonial societies that were essentially medieval police states ruled by outsiders in cahoots with a few wealthy local families... Maintaining such power required these cohorts to build propaganda machines to deceive the public, control the press, fix elections, break unions, and maintain a strong and often brutal police state in the name of ‘national security.’ America today is looking more and more like a colonial economy, with a system increasingly tilted toward enriching the wealthy 1 percent and serving the mercantile needs of multinational corporations with little allegiance to our country… American democracy is under assault… Our campaign system has become legalized bribery… Voter suppression is real… and it is happening to YOU! Remember, this is YOUR democracy… If your vote isn’t counted, you’re going to lose the presidency—and our democracy.”

— Excerpted from the Introduction by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (pgs. 9-14)


here’s no reason for Democrats to feel giddy about the upcoming election just because President Obama appears to be pulling away from Romney in recent polls. They might be advised to temper any irrational exuberance in light of the late Joseph Stalin’s chilling warning that, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing; those who count the votes decide everything.” Unfortunately, the Communist dictator’s words might be as relevant in the U.S. today as they were when he ruled Russia with an iron fist. After all, it can be argued that Bush only prevailed in 2000 and 2004 with the help of shady shenanigans like the illegal removal of thousands upon thousands of registered Blacks from the voter rolls. That is the contention of investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps. In this very timely tome, he delineates each of the methods employed to steal a contest, namely, purging, caging, spoiling, ejecting, blocking, rejecting, prestidigitating, tossing and stuffing. He further explains that AfricanAmericans have a particular cause for concern, since over 50 percent of the voters prevented from voting are Black. And this was the case before the passage of voter suppression laws in so many states with majority Republican legislatures. In a chapter entitled “Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012,” Palast indicates that conservative strategist Karl Rove is well on his way to achieving his goal of eliminating the six million Black votes needed to insure a Romney win. There is still hope for the democracy, however, that involves an eternal vigilance and a community commitment to fight to leave no vote behind. A practical primer on how to exercise your right to vote on Election Day in the face of a calculated Republican multi-pronged plan to prevent you from casting a ballot by any means necessary.  To order a copy of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, visit: ASIN/1609804783/ref%3dnosim/thslfof ire-20.

Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter. Sentinel HC, hardcover, 336 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59523-099-7, $26.95. “Whites don’t think they have the moral authority to ask anything of Black people, certainly not to judge them. But there’s something wrong with people who

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


have a 70 percent illegitimacy rate. This is a group of people who are lost. But (they) are surrounded by whites who refuse to [say] that. White guilt has never produced anything but catastrophe. White guilt fueled the liberal crime policies that resulted in … hundreds of thousands of murders, to say nothing of maimings, burnings and rapes. White guilt got us huge towers blocks of public housing that are fortresses of social pathology. It produced the entire entitlement-dominated politics we have now. It produced a destructive welfare state… It got us anxiety, anger, fear… and it got us the most left-wing president America has ever seen.”

— Excerpted from Chapter 17, “White Guilt Kills (pgs. 260-261)


ttorney Ann Coulter is an incendiary political pundit given to making controversial remarks which routinely elicit emotional reactions from television viewers. The flame-throwing arch-conservative is also the author of nine best-sellers, the latest being Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama. What makes this book unique is its specific focus on African-Americans, a community the author has a lot of bones to pick with. She basically feels blacks have gotten away with murder, literally (ala O.J. Simpson) and figuratively (ala phony accusations of racism), thanks to a collective white liberal guilt that has lingered around long past its usefulness during the period of the Civil Rights Movement. The author argues that although the United States entered a post-racial age back in the ‘70s, AfricanAmericans have continued to leverage an outdated mindset as though the shameful days of segregation and discrimination still exist. As proof, she refers to a number of racial incidents via trademark sound bites designed to elicit a Pavlovian response from her rabid readers.


For example, Coulter claims President Obama looks more like a killer named Michael LaSane than he resembles Trayvon Martin. And she says that the First Lady is angry because she knows the country “is snickering at her behind her back.” Coulter counters Michael Moore’s publishing Stupid White Men by asking: “Shall we compare SAT scores, cultural contributions and inventions?” She also alleges that “Liberals’ general view of Christians is that they are simpleminded Nazis,” and that it won’t be long before they’ll be attacking “ministers who criticize sin.” She calls Reverend Jeremiah Wright an anti-Semite, accuses the late lawyer Bob Kardashian of being “O.J.’s accomplice,“ and praises the Confederate flag as “a symbol of military valor, not racism.” But perhaps she’s most revealing when sharing a little inside scoop about white people, so Black people won’t have to feel paranoid. “We’re not thinking about you. We think everybody’s inferior.” Aggravating red meat from a politically-incorrect, right-wing zealot unafraid to play the race card.  To order a copy of Mugged, visit: ASIN/1595230998/ref%3dnosim/thslfof ire-20

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey by Gary Golio with artwork by Rudy Gutierrez. Clarion Books, hardcover, 44 pages, illustrated. ISBN: 978-0-547-23994-1, $17.99.

“Music and religion were the twin forces that shaped John Coltrane’s early years. Both of his grandfathers were Methodist ministers, and each of his parents was a skilled musician. In North Carolina during the 1930s, the church was the center of black community life. At a time when discrimination was widespread, the church offered comfort, hope, and guidance. One way it did this was through music…

Perhaps more than any other jazz musician, John Coltrane let his religious feelings guide and inspire his work. Of his recovery from drug use, he wrote, ‘During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.’ It was his commitment to sobriety for the last 10 years of his life that allowed him to pursue his vision and to create some of the most enduring music in the field of jazz.”

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ohn Coltrane (1926-1967) pioneered a new sound on the saxophone prior to passing away at an early age, but not before leaving behind a much beloved collection of innovative recordings. Sadly, his untimely demise from liver cancer was likely the result of the heroin habit he had kicked a decade before. But is the life of a legendary jazz great with such a checkered past the appropriate subject of an illustrated children’s book? Yes, argues Gary Golio, author of Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey. After all, over a million of AfricanAmerican men are currently behind bars for non-violent narcotics offenses, and millions more are ostensibly dealing with drug addiction. For that reason, a biography detailing Coltrane’s failings and ultimate triumph over substance abuse might serve as a warning to kids apt to face similar temptations. Golio relates how ‘Trane’s troubles started with alcohol while still in his teens in the wake of the deaths in rapid succession of his father and several other close family members. Regrettably, when the young man subsequently encountered adversity in the form of racism, relationship problems and money woes as an aspiring musician moving around the country, he gradually graduated from that gateway drug to illegal stuff. In the end, we learn that he cleaned himself up with the help of a return to his religious roots, a spiritual path that undoubtedly provided considerable comfort when he was forced by an incurable affliction to prepare to meet his Maker. A warts-and-all, cautionary tale chronicling both Coltrane’s personal flaws and incomparable genius.  To order a copy of Spirit Seeker, visit: ASIN/0547239947/ref%3dnosim/thslfof ire-20

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


BAWM And Marie Greenwood Celebrate Price and Progress


TSTC Company Debuts With In The Presence of God

The Black American West Museum (BAWM) and Heritage Center presents the 4th Annual Pride & Progress Gala fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This year’s event will be celebrated in conjunction with the 100th birthday of Colorado pioneer, author, educator, activist and philanthropist Dr. Marie Greenwood. Master of ceremonies will be The Honorable Terrance Carroll, former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. Tickets are $75 and may be purchased at the Black American West Museum, 3091 California St., in Denver. For more information, call the Museum office at 720-242-7428 or visit

The SOURCE Theatre Company (TSTC) is a non- exclusive AfricanAmerican theatrical company dedicated to cultivating an ensemble of indigenous artists to create original theatrical works of cultural and historical significance about the African-American experience. This summer, The SOURCE held a workshop for Hugo Jon Sayles’ poetic In the Presence of God - which will now be presented in full production Nov. 15-17 at the Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center. In the Presence of God is a play that deals with faith- that inner spiritual journey that touches the heart and moves the soul. The play is a series of vignettes telling the stories of spiritual journeys. For more information, call 720-2381323, e-mail, or visit

The Denver Section of the National Council of Negro Women presents the 21st annual Founder’s Day Harambee Brunch, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Doubletree Hotel, 3203 Quebec St., in Denver. This annual event recognizes the achievements of women of color and youth who exemplify the legacy set forth by founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935. Gospel jazz artist, pianist, and composer Carl Victor Moore of Oklahoma City and Denver vocalist Coco Brown will be the featured entertainmen. Keynote speaker is State Representative Rhonda Fields. 2012 Harambee honorees are Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister, Owetta McNeil , Aaliyah Carter, and Alyse Harris. For more information, call (303) 296-4359 or E-mail

Great Western Art Gallery will be hosting a Denver Arts Week opening reception on Nov. 2 from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring the Alliance of Artists of Evergreen: Gale Gatto, Jessica Wicken, Rodgers Naglor, Cathy Jones, Gail Posner, Pixie Glore, Jean Widman, and Gayle MacDougall. Their artwork will be featured at the gallery, located at 1455 Curtis St. in Denver, from Nov. 2 through Dec. 31. For more information, call 303-3962787 or visit the GW web site.

NCNW Presents Annual Founder’s Day Harambee Brunch And Awards Program

Great Western Art Gallery Host A Denver Arts Week Reception

Alzheimer’s Association Offers Multicultural Fair Healthy Family/Healthy Future Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado offers a community health fair on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Centro Comunitario Encuentro Cristo Rey Church, 501 Raleigh St. in Denver from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Healthy Family/Healthy Future offers an opportunity for families to

come and learn more about Alzheimer’s disease while enjoying a day full of fun activities. During the all day fair participants have access to resources, and education as well as giveaways, door prizes, clowns and face painting, children’s gifts, and vendors. The event is free and open to the public. For information call 800-272-3900, or online

International Artist Erica Papillion-Posey Will Perform At Spirituals Project Concert

International artist mezzo soprano Erica Papillion-Posey is the featured guest artist for the 10th anniversary of The Spirituals Project’s annual concert at the Newman Center, Nov. 16-17. Papillion-Posey, an up and coming classical vocalist who is currently in Italy, will return to perform in The Spirituals Project’s production of “Changed My Name.” To honor the 10th anniversary of this performance, The Spirituals Project will recreate the performance of “Changed My Name: A Spirituals Cantata,” featuring the full Spirituals Project Community Choir, under the direction of Bennie L. Williams. For concert information call 303871-7720 or t 303-871-7993.

Thanksgiving Basket Distribution Annual Fundraiser

All funds raised will benefit the 2012 Thanksgiving Basket Distribution in honor of “Daddy Bruce Randolph”. For $25.00 you can provide a basket with enough food to feed a family of 8, with a little left over for the pantry. The Fundraiser will be at Bogeys Restaurant at City Park Golf Course, 26th & York Street in Denver, Friday Nov. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


There will be snacks and entertainment. All Donations are accepted. Make checks payable to: The Epworth Foundation (Feed A Family) For more information, email or call 720435-5738

The 4th Annual Kids’ Marketplace

The Kids’ Marketplace invites you to come out and support young entrepreneurs at the 4th Annual Kids’ Marketplace at Clayton Early Learning Center in Denver( Martin Luther King Blvd. and Colorado Blvd.) on Saturday, Dec. 08 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as they showcase a vast array of goods and services created by them. The Marketplace provides community youth, ages 5 to 18, an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of selfemployment skills through their innovative and unique products. If your child is interested in participating in this year’s Marketplace vendor marketplace applications will be accepted through Nov. 23. Applications are available at For more information, call Tammi Holloway 303-564-8308.

29th Annual Beautillion

The Denver Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. will present the 29th annual Beautillion on Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel, located at 1550 Court Place in Denver. The doors will open at 4 p.m. and close at 5 p.m. for the presentation, dinner and dancing to begin. Formal attire is requested. The Members and Associates of the Denver Chapter invite you to join us for this time honored rite of passage celebration, honoring 24 African American male high school seniors. For more information, email, or visit

Ruth Cousins Denny November 1, 1920 – October 9, 2012

Ruth Cousins Denny was born on November 1, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri, from the union of Stanard S. Cousins and Mamie Louise Carr Cousins and as the granddaughter of a slave. Her father was the chauffeur for the Rands, owners of International Shoe Company. When she was about 4 or 5 years old, her father died leaving her mother with five young children to raise as a single parent. Her mother worked as a domestic and nanny for the Rands. Mrs. Denny’s four siblings predeceased her. From her marriage to Eugene Ambrose Briscoe, she had two children: Michael Eugene Briscoe and Dianne Louise Briscoe. She later married Galloway H. Denny and enjoyed traveling and entertaining with him until his death in 1987. Mrs. Denny earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Stowe Teacher’s College in St. Louis, Missouri and later earned graduate credits at St. Louis University, Denver University and Colorado University. She began her teaching career in St. Louis at her alma mater, Sumner High School in 1944. She moved to Denver in 1951 and worked at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center, later teaching in the Denver Public Schools for 26 years. Even after retiring, she continued to tutor children. Mrs. Denny was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in Denver during the 1950’s and 60’s. She was one of the organizers of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and led the fundraising project to take a contingent from Colorado to the March on Washington in 1963. She was active in the planning and picketing of businesses in Denver that used discriminatory hiring and promotion practices in areas other than traditional occupations for people of color during that time period. Before and during this period, she was active with the YWCA, serving on the program committee and with the teenage girls group. She served for two years as a member of the Board of Directors for Denver Opportunity (War on Poverty). Mrs. Denny was active in promoting fair policies in the Denver Public Schools regarding not only teachers but also the children. Her family was the first African American family to purchase a family membership at the Sportland YMCA when membership was finally opened to all citizens. Some of her other community activities included: temporary chair of the Barrett Elementary School PTA when the school opened in 1960; Board member of United for Progress, UNICEF, NAACP and OIC. She also served on the Colorado Bi-Centennial Committee and on the African American Advisory Council of the Colorado Historical Society and volunteered for the Set Free Prison Ministry. Mrs. Denny held membership in: Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Alpha Wives, and was a Lifetime member of the Urban League. Before her health began to fail, she initiated the “Rebels Remembered” project with the vision of compiling a written and video history of the Civil Rights Movement in Denver to be available for high school students and to ensure that the history would not be lost. Her life was committed to working for equality for all, in education, employment and housing. As a member of Peoples Presbyterian Church during the 50’s, she served as Assistant Superintendent of Sunday school. She later became a member of Montview Presbyterian Church (1964) where she was the first Black woman to serve as a Deacon. She organized the Montview Integration Committee and was an active member of Presbyterian Women. Mrs. Denny was a devout Christian woman and gave her time, talent and treasure to the community. Both Peoples Presbyterian Church and Montview Presbyterian Church have been the benefactors of special gifts. She also gave generously to other charitable organizations including the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth, the Sam Cary Bar Association, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity and The Southern Poverty Law Center. Mrs. Denny was a devoted and loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She will be missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew her. Editor’s note: The Denver Urban Spectrum was proud to honor Mrs. Ruth Denny as a Timeless Legend on April 28, 2012 during DUS’s 25th anniversary, Celebrating 25 Years of Time.

J.C. Tunson

February 1, 1934 – March 4, 2012

J.C. Tunson was born February 1, 1934 in Paris, Texas, to the late Curtis and Eva Mae Tunson. J.C. was the second of 10 children. At the age of five, the family moved to Denver. He attended Denver Public Schools and graduated from Manual High School. J.C. joined the United States Army in 1953 as a Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1958, he united in holy matrimony with Irene Yvonne Pate. Three children were born to this union: Carmen, Gina and John. J.C. worked for Norwest Pipe and Steel (formerly Thompson Pipe and Steel) for 47 years. J.C. enjoyed restoring cars, landscaping, drawing, painting and welding black steel into sculptures. J.C. and Irene owned Tunsons Art Gallery for 23 years. His sculptures are in numerous private collections throughout the United States and Germany. He has many one man and invitational; exhibits. He juried many shows, gave lectures and demonstrations to community centers, public schools, art clubs, and the Job Corps. Those lefty to cherish his memory include his wife, Irene Tunson; three children, Carmen Holland (Aurora), Gina (Michael) Smith (Aurora), and John Tunson (Denver); two brothers, Ernest (Celia) Tunson (Denver), Floyd (Florence) Tunson (Manitou Springs); five sisters, Essie V. Thompson (Aurora), Juanita Haney (Denver), Evelyn (Russell) Bishop (Denver), Brenda (Henry) Amprey (Denver), Linda (Lloyd) Smith (Kansas City, MO). His sister Geneva and brother Randy preceded J.C. in death. He had four grandchildren in Denver and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends. Denver Urban Spectrum — – November 2012


Letters to the Ediror Continued from page 3

decisions, and it is time to stop funding the wrong construction projects. In 2008 we voted for a bond which provided DPS with $454 million to improve its facilities. This bond contributed $230 million (51 percent) to much needed maintenance on its existing buildings. However, $224 million (49 percent) was spent on remodeling and constructing new buildings for charter schools and collocations. (A collocation is a charter school which shares a traditional school’s building.) Yet, overwhelmingly, in 2003, our taxpayers voted for a mill levy specifically for the revitalization of neighborhood schools. Since then, at community meetings across the district, parents and community members have continually told DPS that they want good, neighborhood schools, not charters and collocations. Our DPS leadership is now asking us for an additional $466 million in bond monies. Of that $466 million, DPS has identified $230 million in maintenance projects for its existing schools. Had the $224 million of new construction monies in the 2008 bond been spent for maintenance on existing schools, perhaps no monies would be needed for our current buildings, and the vast majority of our 80,000 students would already be enjoying new windows, new roofs, technology upgrades, fire and safety improvements, and AC. But, not only is DPS asking us to fund this oversight, they are also asking us to provide them with an additional $197 million (42 percent) to fund more new buildings and increased capacity. That is almost as much as we spent four years ago on new construction. Before you vote on this year’s bond ask yourselves, “Have we received a good return on our investments? Has DPS spent our taxes in the way we intended, and, are we satisfied with


the results?� If the answer is “no,� then don’t vote to send good money after bad. This bond will add another half billion of debt to our increasing debt load. In less than five years that is nearly $1 billion for buildings and infrastructure, not teachers, curriculum, nor operating expenses. Doubling our debt in four years is reckless. We taxpayers can’t afford it. Denver can’t afford it.

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Denver Urban Spectrum Openings: • Freelance Writers • Advertising/Marketing Sales Consultants Email resume to:

Vote NO on 3B. Kristen Tourangeau DPS Parent

Vegan Life Style Advantages

Editor: Recent news reports suggest that a growing number of Black Americans are going vegan. I hope this encouraging trend continues. By eating more meatless meals, we can help stop animal suffering, conserve resources, combat climate change, and reduce pollution. Consider this fact: Animals raised for food in the U.S. produce far more excrement than the entire U.S. human population, roughly 89,000 pounds per second. According to the Pew Environment Group, the 523 million chickens raised and killed each year in Maryland and Delaware alone generate enough waste to fill the dome of the U.S. Capitol about 50 times, or almost once a week. Factory-farm waste often winds up in our waterways, sickening people and killing aquatic life. If we all choose mock chicken, black bean and corn chili, pasta primavera, and other plant-based foods, we’ll have cleaner rivers – and cleaner arteries, too. Unlike animal-based foods, vegan foods are cholesterol-free and generally low in fat and calories. They’re tasty, too.


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Around Town Denver, CO

“I Gotcha Back” Voter Registration

Willie Houston Blues Concert

Photos by Quincy Hines


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*CARDS HAVE NO VALUE UNTIL ACTIVATED. TERMS AND RESTRICTIONS APPLY. Only purchases made with your loyalty card from The Kroger Co. Family of stores or 1-2-3 REWARDS® Visa® are eligible. Excludes The Kroger Co. Family of Stores gift cards, Green Dot® prepaid reloadable products, MoneyPaks® and American Express® Variable Load, Visa® Variable Load, 1-2-3 REWARDS® Reloadable Visa® Prepaid Debit Card and MasterCard® Variable Load gift cards. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Fuel discounts are limited to up to 35 gallons of fuel per vehicle per purchase, subject to fraud prevention limits on the amount of purchase. Not valid where prohibited by law. Subject to availability. See gift cards for details, terms, conditions and (if applicable) fees. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. Third party participants are not a sponsor of the promotion. Product and offer may not be available in all states. **Save up to $2 on fuel, when you redeem up to 2000 fuel points.

DUS November 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum November Issue 2012

DUS November 2012  

Denver Urban Spectrum November Issue 2012