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Volume 31

Number 7 October 2017

American Dreamers: FIGHTING TO RETAIN DACA...4

Photo by Lauren Cordova


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MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Volume 31 Number 7

October 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence Washington

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

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

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Gran t DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James - Manager Ed Lynch

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

The freedom of “Freedom of Speech”

Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. Freedom of speech means that someone's right to say something is protected within certain limits. A person may have to suffer consequences for saying some things, but they still have the right to say them. This month, our cover story looks at “Denver Dreamers” and others who expressed their opinion on the current status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and how it will affect the country. DACA, which was an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either, entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit, is in jeopardy under the administration of President Trump. This month as well, Gene Policinski senior vice president of the Institute’s First Amendment Center shares insight on the freedom of speech and its consequences. As the president’s administration continues, freedom of speech is tested daily, most recently with NFL players. But what is important and what is often overlooked is the real reason behind the expressions. For the last 30 years, Denver Urban Spectrum has been spreading the news about people of color exercising our r ight and the community’s freedom of speech. It is okay to agree to disagree. If you agree, you will be informed and enlightened along with our thousands of print and online readers. But, if you choose the latter, it is okay to walk pass one of our free distribution points and ignore our award-winning publication or pick it up and feel free to use it as firewood this winter. But freedom of speech is w hat we do. Enjoy and happy reading! Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Time For A New Era For Denver District Four

give an excuse they are not ready? Wouldn’t it be nice to see a public debate on some school issues in public? I’m joining Mrs. Omar Blair (Jeweldine), whose husband was the first black DPS board president, in supporting Tay Anderson. Let’s shock the big-shots and the big money by electing a young, independent candidate who represents our future. Our vote is our voice for our children. At the end of the day, we shouldn’t allow our education leaders to be chosen by the elite and big money that controls the board. Tay is being supported by a new fraction of the teachers’ union that isn’t afraid of change. The two other candidates running for the same seat: the union establishment is supporting one and the other candidate is supported by the education establishment that replaced Landri Taylor. Tay understands the issues facing many DPS students. He went from being homeless to serving as the student body president at Manual High. He got there by showing his fellow classmates he could handle the job. I know Tay faces tough odds in this election but I, too, was once called an underdog candidate. Denver voters ignored the establishment when they elected me as the city’s first black mayor; and our nation did the same when we elected Barack Obama as America’s first black president. Let’s do it again and usher in a new era by electing Tay Anderson to the DPS board as the representative of District 4.

Editor: Someone asked me why I would support a 19-year-old graduate of Manual High School to serve on Denver Public Schools Board of Education. Well, here are some questions that are not asked at these school board candidate forums. One, why have you never taken DPS students to the Blair-Caldwell African Research Library, the only such library west of the Mississippi? Two, have you personally ever been to the Blair-Caldwell Library? Three, how can you as a board member be an independent representative when DPS staff accompanies you to community meetings? Four, why have the majority of the DPS Board’s votes been 7-0 in favor of the administration’s recommendation? That normally only happens in Russia and China. Five, why are board members accepting corporate special-interest money? Does this really put our students’ interests first? Six, will you take a position not to close any more DPS buildings? Seven, which one of these candidates supports vouchers? Eight, wouldn’t it be nice to have a young black male on the board since we have so many issues with young minority males, and wouldn’t Tay Anderson be a beacon for these young men? Now I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the status quo. How often do we ask young people to get involved and then when they do, we

Wellington E. Webb Former Mayor of Denver

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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Black Lives Matter (Does It Matter?)

Editor: We as a people have been through a tour of life hell. This mental madness started when our people, before us, was bought to America in chains, and out of our natural minds. Our people were living in the homeland, chilling, minding their own business, and then the slave catchers came. They put our people on that slave ship, and we have not been right ever since. Just imagine, being on the bottom of a ship, chained up, ass out. You are out in the middle of the ocean, not knowing where you are going. Meanwhile, there are some other victims on that ship with you. You might not like some of them. The slave catcher is choosing certain Africans to be in charge of other Africans. Oh oh! This is where in house Playa Hatin’ begins! Continued on page 27 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

DenverUrbanSpectrum@urbanspectrum.net

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Dreamers,

a Step Closer or Caught in Limbo?

By Urban Spectrum Staff

Mary Ramirez remembers crossing the Arizona desert with her parents in the middle of the night, and slipping past a Border Patrol car gassing up at a filling station. She was 6-years-old at the time. Hector Perez remembers not being able to get a driver license or a decent job after graduation. Eva Galindo’s mission is to become the first person in her family to become a college graduate.

tweeting, “Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA.” Former President Barack Obama called Trump’s actions “cruel” and “self-defeating.” “Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question,” Obama posted on his Face book page. “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer concurred, calling Trump’s decision “heartless.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a DACA critic and adversary from the policy’s conception, called DACA “unilateral executive amnesty,” and said the Obama administration “deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.” “DACA denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans,” Sessions said, “by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs. We cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It’s just that simple.”

T

o the shock, anger and anxiety of 800,000 Dreamers, President Donald Trump made good on a campaign promise last month: repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA immigration initiative instituted by the Obama administration in 2012 affects children and teens that entered the U.S. illegally before mid2007 with their parents. Since the moment Trump took office, those Dreamers’ aspirations have been suspended in a legal limbo. “I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents,” Trump said in a statement. “But we must also recognize that we are a nation of opportunity, because we are a nation of laws.” Trump says President Barack Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by bypassing Congress to create the DACA plan. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program does not offer lawful immigration status. Instead, it grants a deferral from deportation to qualified individuals and offered work permits for a two-year period, which can be renewed every twoyears. However, if Trump has his way, many feel on March 2018, DACA will become an answer to a trivia question. Even though he seemed to slightly bend after meeting with top democratic leaders on Sept. 13, claiming he could support legislation to protect “Dreamers,” if it were accompanied by a wall-free southern border security upgrade. Deal or no deal, political insiders say, Trump has to work with Democrats and members of his own party, to reach any kind of legislative solution.

Quetzalcoatl Lopéz holds a flag with “Aztlàn” written on it infront of the Tivoli. Aztlàn refers to the political, ancestral and spiritualhomeland of the indigenous Mexica and Xicanx people. Photo by Mimi Madrid

Breaking It Down

•No felony, misdemeanor or criminal convictions “We’re not criminals and we’re not going anywhere,” says a Dreamer who’s been in the U.S. since she was 3years-old. “My family didn’t plan to be undocumented, but that’s what we became when we arrived here.”

So what are the ABCs of DACA? •Dreamers could apply for protection from deportation and work permits if they meet the following requirements: •Those under the age of 16 who entered the country with their parents. •ndividuals who are older than 31 as of June 15, 2012 •Youths who have lived continuously in the U.S. since mid-2007 •Youth who are enrolled in high school/college, or have a diploma, degree, or GED •Individuals who were an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. military

Trump’s America First

Trump added that he is looking forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to address immigration issues “in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.’ Famous for his Tweets, Trump punctuated his DACA decision by

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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Law Suits

However, most if not all Dreamers will say their families came here to give them a better life, and they need a permanent solution. You just cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube. Political insiders and law enforcement officials say it’s impractical, if not impossible, to simply round up the usual suspects – 800,000 in fact, 17,000 of which are estimated to live in Colorado. Dreamers will tell anyone, as with all young people in the U.S., they want the American Dream. They work hard, attend school, and are not looking for a free ride. They are Americans, and don’t want to be sent back to a country they don’t remember. The United States is all many Dreamers know. Six Dreamers in California, one of which is an immigration lawyer, was brought to the United States illegally


by her parents, have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Dulce Garcia filed her case in San Francisco federal court, right after Sessions announced the Obama-era policy would start winding down in March 2018.

Educators

Closer to home, on Sept. 5, an estimated 2,500 Dreamers and supporters as far away as La Junta, Colorado, and as close as West and North High Schools, peacefully descended upon the Auraria campus to protest the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA. Many Dreamers took to a stage and told an emotional crowd about their experiences, and hardships of living in Mexico and other countries. The following day, newly hired MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, issued a campus-wide email after Session’s announcement stating that the news is disappointing and that DACA students and employees are valuable contributors to our learning community and among the hardest workers we have on campus. “We value our DACA students and employees and we stand with them,” Davidson writes. “They have come to MSU Denver to better their lives, families and communities; in short, to achieve the American dream. I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that they can continue to do so.” Across town, Trump’s decision prompted Denver Public School Superintendent Tom Boasberg to say in a statement, “Today’s decision by the Trump Administration to end the DACA program is shortsighted, misguided and deeply harmful to the DPS community.” Boasberg added, we are all dreamers, and our nation was built by dreamers from all around the globe. America’s open arms have made us richer, stronger and kinder. “Our DACA students,” Boasberg writes, “many of whom have been in DPS virtually their entire lives, have extraordinary talents and potential to contribute to our community. Our community has already invested much in their education and has so much to gain by fully including them rather than excluding them.” Boasberg says DPS officials will continue to stand up and speak out – with our students and educators, and for them – for a brighter future in a nation that is not darkened by fear. “Instead, we need to continue,” he says, “with strong and open arms, to build a great nation that it is lifted up by the hopes and dreams of all of our people.”

City Hall

Senate to show all Americans that we can still govern with compassion. It’s time for a bipartisan action to protect our DACA youth, and I urge all members of Colorado’s congressional delegation to support that legislation.”

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock says, “There are 800,000 youth living in the United States that know no other country but this one. They didn’t choose to be here, but they are here – contributing to this country and making good on the opportunity to pursue the American dream. Ripping them from the only home and life they’ve ever known is a cruel action unbefitting of this great nation. If the President chooses to forfeit his moral leadership with this heartless attempt to score political points, then it’s up to the House of Representatives and

Hide and Watch

After being sworn into office, Trump told ABC News, that he expressed some compassion toward DACA recipients. “They shouldn’t be very worried,” Trump said. “I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody.”.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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Photo Credits:

Cover: An estimated 2,500 people, including students who walked out of class gathered in support of DACA. Photo by Lauren Cordova; Inset 1: The crowd cheers as Speaker and Field Director for Padres & Jóvenes Unidos Monica Acosta and DACA recipient says, “Over the last 28 years I have called this country my home and I am not going anywhere.” Acosta came to the U.S. at the age of three. Photo by Lauren Cordova; Inset 2: Auraria Campus, Former SGA, Christian Solano Cordoba, encourages others to fight for the Dream Act. Photo by Ali Watkins; Inset 3: Speaker at the Emergency DACA Walk-Out and Rally, Victor Galvan rallies the crowd in a chant on the Tivoli quad on Sept. 5. Photo by Lauren Cordova


TAY ANDERSON

Twenty Five Honored at the MBK25 Luncheon

FOR

DENVER SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 4 Tay Anderson is a recent graduate with the class of 2017 from Manual High School. He has a bold vision where he wants to take Denver Public Schools.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock

“Throughout my education, I have been placed in many marginalized groups and I became frustrated that I did not have a voice. I served for three years as Student Body President and in my second term a decision was made to co-locate our school with a middle school. I was brought to a table to decide what school would go into our building and I wasn't happy – the students were not okay with this decision. Ultimately, we didn't have a say if we wanted this to happen to our school or not. It was then I realized that students deserve a say in the decisions that impact their education. I asked, “How do we get a student on the board of education to represent the students?� I was told I would have to run like any other candidate. So here I am I'm running for our students, teachers, and communities. This is why I need your help this November to finally give our youth a seat at the table.�

Mayor Michael B. Hancock and

the Office of Children’s Affairs recently announced the 2017 class of the MBK25 as part of the city’s local work on the national My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. The 25 individuals were honored during a luncheon on September 30 at Park Hill Golf Course in Denver. In addition to honoring the second class of the MBK25, Mayor Hancock and Dr. Robert Simmons III, Vice President of Innovation and Strategy for the New York-based Campaign for Black Male Achievement, engaged in an on-stage discussion about the current state of boys and young men of color. “These fantastic individuals are on the ground having a real impact in the effort to empower the lives of boys and young men of color across our city, and we cannot put into words the gratitude we have for them stepping up to make a difference,� Mayor Hancock said. “These are unheralded folks who are about the work, not the lime light, so it’s a huge pleasure for me when we can showcase them and the important work they are doing.� The MBK25 is a program under the larger My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in Denver, and is a list of area’s most exciting, innovative, creative and passionate community leaders supporting the work of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Nominations were received from the general public and then trimmed down to the final list of 25 by panel of city staff and program advisors. “The effort to positively change the arc of success for boys and young men of color in Denver continues to be an

-Tay Anderson

Individual and Organization Endorsements:

•Mrs. Jeweldine Blair (Wife of the first African American President of the Denver School Board Omar D. Blair) •Wellington E. Webb (First African American Mayor of Denver) •Senator Lucia Guzman (Senate Minority Leader) •Dianne Ravitch (Assistant Secretary of Education for the United States of America 1991-1993) •Caucus of Today’s Teachers •Run for Something •Resistance 5280 •Parents and Students of Gilpin •Our Denver Our Schools •Montebello Youth Leadership Council •Our Revolution Metro Denver •Denver Federation of Paraprofessionals and Nutrition Services

“How many 19-year-olds do you know who would do something for nothing? An inspirational thing about Tay’s candidacy is that he could be on a whole different road. He was homeless and placed in one foster home after another. He could have turned his back on society but instead wants to be part of improving his community. Let’s elect Tay, a Manual Thunderbolt, whose desire to make a difference is truly like lightning.� -Mayor Wellington E. Webb Tay Anderson - Candidate for D.P.S Board of Education District 4 TOGETHER WE CAN - www.tayanderson.org PAID FOR BY WELLINGTON E. WEBB

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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important one,� said Erin Brown, Executive Director of the Office of Children’s Affairs. “However, we understand that city government cannot take it on alone, so it is our absolute pleasure to showcase these 25 individuals from organizations that have locked arms with us to take on this important work!� About the MBK Initiative Dr. Robert Simmons III

The My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative is a national program put forward by U.S. President Barack Obama. The initiative was born out of an understanding about the issues facing both boys and young men of color and their surrounding ecosystem. The national initiative is coordinated by the MBK Alliance. Their vision is to make the American Dream available to all boys and young men of color by eliminating gaps in their opportunities and outcomes. The leadership team is comprised of leaders from various industries and sectors. The leadership team includes CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, highprofile entertainers, leading nonprofits, and current and former government officials. The Denver MBK Initiative is led by Mayor Michael B. Hancock and is housed in the city’s Office of Children’s Affairs.. Editor’s note: For more information and to learn more about the Denver program, visit www.denvergov.org and select the Office of Children’s Affairs/My Brother’s Keeper.

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Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070 http://ucm.ctsmemberconnect.net


Denver Public Schools Board of Education Director Candidates Speak Out On DACA

Editor’s note: The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is an important issue affecting 17,000 Dreamers in Denver. DUS asked DPS Board of Education candidate voiced their opinion as the best course of action regarding the future of the more than 800,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.

Angela Cobian

District 2 “When I was a teacher, three of my students’ parents ended up in detention and deportation proceedings for unjust reasons. It devastated their families – much less my student’s growth in the classroom. The DREAM act should go forward in congress, as well as permanent protection for those students’ families, the right to work, and the right to travel!”

Mike Johnson

District 3 “I strongly support the Dream Act of 2017 and urge our government to enact it into law immediately. President Trump’s decision to end DACA is contrary to my values and the values of this great nation of immigrants. Our DACA students and educators are part of the Denver Public Schools family. I will do everything in my power as a member of the Denver School Board to ensure that our DACA students and educators are free to remain in the United States without fear of deportation or harassment. I am proud to have been part of the unanimous vote by the Denver School Board to adopt a resolution to provide safe and equitable learning spaces in all Denver schools for all students, regardless of their immigration status or the immigration status of their parents. I am also proud to have been part of another unanimous vote by the Denver School Board to commit DPS to doing everything in our power to protect our students’ confidential information and to ensure that our student’s learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions.”

Tay Anderson

District 4 To all of our DREAMERS, I stand with you! As a student of color within Denver Public Schools, I understand what it may feel like when you think people are

these are not American values—and as a board member, I will do everything within my power to protect the DREAMers in our student body and on our staff. DREAMers have strengthened our DPS community, and we stand by them now.”

against you. The time has come for Congress to take bold action to secure the futures of all 800,000 dreamers. The civil rights movement began necessary work, but we are not done! We need to educate our peers on the significance of what we are rallying to protect. Education is the key to the door for our future. I stand in solidarity with our DREAMERS and want our country to afford them the opportunity to step into their greatness. I understand that you didn’t cross the border the border crossed you! Our revolution will not be televised.

Julie Bañuelos

At-Large “Every human being has a right to earn a living, live in safety and peace, and to migrate when these things are not possible. The DACA crisis calls into sharp focus the bipartisan work toward creating this situation in the first place. “We are largely unaware that all immigrants undergo intrusive government surveillance and have to submit DNA, fingerprints and even biometric data to the government. Yet more than 90 percent of DACA recipients commit no crimes and pursue education without financial aid. “Americans have a moral responsibility to end policies like NAFTA, which did little more than ship jobs to Mexican sweatshops, and at the same time, demand justice for American workers. People on all sides of the immigration debate should be able to agree on these two actions, which

Jennifer Bacon

District 4 “On the day after last November’s election, I visited the classrooms of several of our DACAmented teachers with flowers, knowing that our immigrant community would be especially vulnerable under this administration. DACA recipients are not abstractions they are our students, our teachers, and our neighbors here in Denver. As a school administrator, I’ve supported DACA students. As a non-profit leader, I worked to ensure DACA teachers were recruited and hired within DPS. I deeply support federal legislation that would create a path to citizenship for DREAMERS, as well as broader immigration reform that allows other immigrants to come out of the shadows. I believe DPS can go further in its actions supporting our immigrant community – creating a plan should the program expire for how they will support current DACA employees by sponsoring visas or investing in rapid response resources when DPS families are facing threat of deportation.

present a win-win for everyone involved. What we have now is essentially an indentured servitude in which DACA recipients and their families live under taxation without representation. It is cheap theatrics to only focus on the young person but ignore the rest of the DACA recipient’s family. It’s time for comprehensive immigration reform NOW for all immigrants, with a path to citizenship for those who want it.”

Barbara O’Brien

At-Large “There is no priority of more importance to me than protecting ALL of Denver’s Kids. That is why I worked to pass the Safe and Welcoming Schools Resolution which has set safeguards to protect every DPS student regardless of their immigration status. Whether it’s cuts to the budget, or ending the DACA program I will fight armful Washington policies that could hurt our students and undermine the community values that make Denver so unique. I will work to make sure our schools are safe places for ALL kids, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

JOIN MAYOR MICHAEL HANCOCK VOTE YES ON 2A THRU 2G KEEP DENVER THE CITY WE LOVE

Rachele Espritu

District 4 “Like the DREAMers, I immigrated to the United States when I was very young. And, like the DREAMers, America is my home. Ending DACA is nothing short of a travesty. These young Americans are all either employed or in school, and most of them are providing for their families as the only person who can get legal work in the United States. They are educated, employed, and ambitious. And yet, they will be removed from their homes and sent back to their birthplaces – most of which are impoverished, some of which are war zones – with no regard for what happens to them then. “This is not what America stands for,

OURDENVER2017.COM

BALLOTS DUE BY NOVEMBER 7

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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Paid for by Our Denver


The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver (ULMD) 2017 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Annual Awards Gala was a night to remember!

The night kicked off with two receptions where the five honorees: Geta Asfaw, Linda Childears, Kevin Lofton, the Honorable Wellington E. Webb and Wilma Webb were recognized and presented with the McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior Award. Guests mingled, listened to the live sounds of Tony Exum Jr. and ate soul food hors d’oeuvres with a twist. Starting off the gala program Dr. Claudette Sweet gave a phenomenal acappella performance of the National Anthem and Negro National Anthem. Mistress of ceremonies Tamara Banks lit up the stage with her introductions that included a showcase of Whitney M. Young, Jr. with remarks from his daughter Lauren Casteel, and student Angie Wright of Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design recited her moving poem Social Injustice. The night ended with an electrify performance by the Mary Louise Lee Orchestra with an Aretha Franklin Tribute. The band sounded amazing and Mary Lee Louise sang her heart out! Guests left the ULMD Gala with swag bags and smiles on their faces.

Above: The Mary Louise Lee Orchestra Below Left: Denver City Council President Albus Brooks with Dan Richie and Honoree Linda Childears. Below right: Honorees Kevin Lofton, the Honorable Wellington E. Webb and Wilma Webb with ULMD gala guests and family. Photos by Bernard Grant

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Yoga…It’s Not Just for White Girls

S

ummer is over. Halloween is around the corner as well as the holidays and the end of the year, when we might sit down, take stock and evaluate if the year really went the way we wanted. There is never a right time for self-evaluation. It’s a constant process, and the result might lead us to step out of our comfort zone in melding our mental, physical, and spiritual aspirations. Have you tried practicing yoga?

When yoga entrepreneur Shelby Holly-Page started posting images of practicing yoga on her Instagram page, friends from her hometown of Ann Arbor, MI responded ‘Black people don’t do that. That’s a white girl thing.’ “It was just a cultural norm that it is a white girl thing,” recalls Holly-Page. “So I saw that and thought this doesn’t make any sense.” The ambitious 25-year old has been practicing yoga for just less than five years. Yet what she had seen and researched on Google indicated that Black women reviewing yoga classes, the prevalent opinion was ‘That’s for white girls and some went even further in delineating why Black women don’t practice yoga. This topic has even been addressed in national publications like The Atlantic and Forbes. But Holly-Page is resolute in bringing yoga practice to the Black community. There are studios run by African Americans on the west and east coasts, but none are known in Colorado. But Holly-Page believes that there has been a bit of a paradigm shift. She left Ann Arbor to join her older sister and attend the Maharishi School in Fairfield, IA. There she took instruction in transcendental meditation and was introduced

to yoga. As she continued studying she found yoga on YouTube and her practice developed from there. As a young woman now living in Boulder, she has found the positive impacts in her life as a result of practicing yoga. “A lot of the time if I have a lot going on, the greatest benefit to me personally is I just like to get on my mat. It helps me release a lot of stress, a lot of tension,” said HollyPage. “And I think as far as the African American community, we just have so much built up frustration. There are so many complications and health issues. I think the health aspect is going to be a huge factor in a community for people of color, even if they aren’t just African American.” Holly-Page believes that there a numerous issues that practicing yoga could change for African Americans. There are perceived barriers to practicing-cost being one. Resources are often scarce. Yoga mats alone are $20, and drop-in classes are $20 as well. Most, when faced with a choice between groceries and a yoga class we choose to eat. We may be willing to change what we do or what we eat, but the shift is challenging. “I think that just as a whole if they are interested in healthy eating, you know being healthy is a mental thing as well as a physical thing. It’s not just if you exercise, then you are healthy,” said HollyPage. “I think if we can get everyone on that ball or partially interested, you

have to start somewhere, you have to start with baby steps, it will be a huge factor. Who knows…there are a lot of things, high blood pressure, diabetes, that would benefit from the yoga practice – communication skills, the list is kind of endless.” Holly-Page’s consis-

tent, disciplined practice of yoga has brought great opportunities as she forges a career as a yogi and model. She wants to focus on teaching athletes, who surprisingly are strong but often inflexible, and she believes, despite some doubters that the path she is on and the flow she has established is due to her practice. “You know once I got in tune with my yoga and my meditation, I realized it was really easy to manifest a lot of things into my life. During my practice, I would focus on my meditation, I would meditate on them and things just started to flow super easy,” said Holly-Page. “One prime example was ‘I am really going to focus on getting scouted for a modeling contract’. I really want to do that. So during my meditations, I would zone in on that when I was getting into my yoga practice. I felt centered and one with my body, and I would focus on that and within two months of being in Boulder, I was at the farmers market and a girl came up to me and slipped a modeling agency card into my basket. And, I signed for almost a year with an agency, and that was after maybe a month of harping and focusing on that for my life.” Our being is an integration of mentality, physicality and spirituality. In making efforts to improve our lives, we often concentrate on a singular aspect, rather than a holistic approach. It’s important that we be open, and not get in our own way, by focusing on inhibitions that sidetrack our pur-

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By Charles Emmons pose. Yoga came to the United States in the late 19th century, and grew out of communities of color in Asia. It seems in the late 20th century it became primarily equated with exercise. Often we take the easier

aspects of something and ignore the deep dive that takes more effort. “If you aren’t practicing everything, you are just bending and twisting and doing some things that look cool, is what I have said to people. They say ‘You are the best yogi’, and I am good, but I still have my mental practice and everything that I am doing. So it’s a package,” said Holly-Page Physical exercise and postures or asnas, is just one of the eight different “limbs” in yoga practice. Others focus on our actions, behaviors, breathing, and mental states. Yoga is all about getting in touch with ourselves, and using our renewed self-knowledge to constantly and consistently better ourselves. It is a long path of improvement. And it is up to each individual to make the effort and take the steps to develop the practice. Today, it could not be easier with the rich content found on the internet. If you are really interested, do the research, read books, Google yoga topics, view YouTube videos for asnas and direction. Change requires baby steps, but you get nowhere if you don’t take the first steps. Do it, and don’t be concerned how you look or what other people think of you. Holly-Page says Hatha yoga is an easy starting point. “Just like anything, you don’t want to try this because it makes you look different or standout or be noticeable. Just do your own thing. I think we are so worried about other people and other people’s opin-


ion of what we are doing and how we look,” said Holly-Page. “Let go of all those expectations of what you are supposed to look like and how you should look like to other people. Just do whatever feels right for you, and you will find that over time you are going to get better and better and get over this idea of how am I looking in class. Are people looking at me and laughing? This blocks that flow and easiness when practicing.” Practicing yoga is not going to the gym. Each asna has a specific purpose. Some poses help with lower back pain, some with digestion, some detox the organs and some will help you sleep. “Every posture and every pose has significance and meaning,” said Holly-Page. “There are yoga restorative poses. You just lay there and you do nothing and you restore the body. Every single one has a benefit to it.” When Holly-Page moved to Boulder she was ready for a life change. On a visit she was taken with the mountains and the scenery, and within a month had moved to Colorado. She says the question she is asked most often by both women and men is “How do I get started?” The first thing to do is get a mat, and then do the research. “A lot of people don’t know what to do once they get started, and you

wonder when you are alone by yourself, ‘What in the world do I do?’ That’s how I was. And then I got on YouTube. Granted I didn’t have a teacher to actually make physical corrections to my body in certain poses. But when you get a good enough

YouTube Channel, which I hope to start soon, the teacher should be able to give you verbal corrections, cues and adjustments, which should help you get yourself into proper positioning. You don’t particularly need anyone. After a while it’s good to go to a class, so that is when you can get a private lesson. Just start somewhere. In order to start anything you have to start somewhere, and most people don’t want to start at the bottom of anything. But that is what it takes sometimes.” The information and the technology is out there, it just needs to be leveraged. Colorado is known for having one of the most highly educated populations, but African Americans aren’t necessarily experiencing the implied benefits. We are also known for having a healthy population. We don’t create another ‘Colorado paradox’. As you look forward to making life changes, keep your mind open to maximizing your whole being. “I don’t think that there is really anything stopping us (African Americans), except taking the initiative to get up and try it and go do it. So the biggest setback would probably be our mindset and not being open to the possibilities of practicing,” said Holly-Page..

Editor’s note: Start a conversation and learn more about Shelby Holly-Page and her yoga practice on Instagram, @chocolate_yoga. clude ahimsa (non-violence or non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), bramacharya (sexual restraint), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness).

The 8 Limbs of Yoga Practice

1.The Yamas are rules of moral code and include ahimsa (non-violence or non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), bramacharya (sexual restraint), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). 2. The Niyamas are rules of personal behavior including saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (discipline or austerity), svadhyaya (spiritual studies), and Ishvara Pranidhana (constant d evotion to God). 3. Asana refers to yoga postures but in Patanjali’s initial practice, it referred to mastering the body to sit still for meditation. The practice of yoga asanas came about eight centuries later, which helped disciples ready their bodies for meditation. 4. Pranayama are yoga breathing techniques designed to control prana or vital life force. 5. Pratyahara means withdrawal of the senses. 6. Dhar ana refers to concentration. 7. Dhyana is the practice of meditation. 8. Samadhi is merging with the divine. (From the Chopra Center, www.chopra.com)

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On Ending Cannabis Prohibition

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hy are there so few people of color in the cannabis industry? Since some would argue Blacks and Latinos use cannabis disproportionately more when compared to whites, it would stand to reason this imbalance would be witnessed when engaging with people within the industry, but it’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are more than 3,600 cannabis dispensaries and related companies throughout the U.S., and of that total, less than 40 are Black owned – approximately one percent. How could this be, particularly, if we interact with cannabis as much as some say? Some may believe it’s due to Nixon’s “war on drug” which began in the 70’s, but the vilification of cannabis and connecting it to Blacks and Latinos began four decades earlier. Harry Anslinger was the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics giving him the distinction of being the first drug czar of the U.S. He began the “Reefer Madness” campaign which claimed cannabis “makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him.” To further the paranoia surrounding cannabis, Anslinger connected cannabis to Blacks and Latinos. Anslinger deliberately used the Mexican name for cannabis marihuana connecting the plant to Mexican immigrants. He further prayed on white fears about Blacks with statements like, “Colored students at the

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University of Minnesota partying with (white) female students, smoking (marijuana) and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: “pregnancy and two Negros took a girl 14 years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.” And this was just the beginning. Fast forward to the 70’s when Richard Nixon declared the War On Drugs which gave law enforcement permission to patrol Black communities – among others – disproportionately more than white communities in hopes of finding would-be felons. The impacts of this so called war on drugs and its effects within the Black community are persistent as we continue to realize Black incarceration rates for cannabis possession is up to 10 times greater than that of whites. And despite the legality of cannabis in several states and evidence that they are less likely to use cannabis, Black teens are cited for illegal cannabis use six times more often than white teens. All of these statistics are used in various ways to discourage the use and legalization of cannabis, and particularly to discourage the participation of people of color from working within the industry. We need to combat these statistics with a greater presence within dispensaries and other cannabis related companies. We need to have real conversations about the legitimacy of a career in the industry, whether that is in the area of finance, marketing, or sales. The more normalized the conversation about cannabis becomes, the greater the possibilities to participate in an economic sector from which we’ve been excluded. And we are not blowing smoke.. Editor’s note: Londell Jackson has been a Simply Pure dispensary budologist, patient, and connoisseur. At Blowing Smoke, we feel it is time to show a variety of opinions from people of color.

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Breast Cancer Prevention Through Lifestyle Changes

By Kim Farmer

Worldwide,

breast cancer remains one of the most common causes of death in women, and men are affected as well. While this cancer has no cure, there is growing awareness that one of the best ways to combat it is by making positive changes in lifestyle. Being ‘breast healthy’ is vital not only for cancer prevention but overall health. Women and men who are breast healthy should be aware of risk factors for breast cancer, know about their family history of cancer and undertake proactive measures to lower the risk of this cancer. For many of us, our lifestyle choices are determined by where we live and work, income, the standard of housing, quality of air we breathe, food that we eat and access to public places and healthcare centers. The good news is that in most cases these lifestyle factors are modifiable and can have a major impact on future health. Some of the lifestyle measures that can be undertaken to lower the risk of breast cancer include the following: Healthy Weight: There is ample evidence available today which indicates that obesity by itself is a risk factor for many types of cancer. In addition, obesity is unhealthy and leads to many complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression and a negative body image. So start by lowering your body weight.

Eat Healthy: Today we have come to realize that eating fast and processed foods is not good for health. Plus, many of the foods available are unregulated and contain an unknown number of chemicals and hormones. So start eating more fruits, veggies, low fat dairy, nuts, whole wheat and fish; at the same time, work to reduce your intake of meat. Animal meat has been linked to high cholesterol and heart disease. Exercise: The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. It is the lack of exercise which is partially responsible for the obesity epidemic and the rising incidence of several cancers. When it comes to exercise, any type of physical activity is better than no activity. One does not have to join a gym or run a marathon every weekend. Simply walking is one of the best exercises one can do. Walking is free, it allows you to lose weight, you can enjoy nature and it is complication free – unless you get hit by a car or bus while texting on your smartphone – so pay attention! Discontinue Smoking: Smoking has been linked to many cancers for both men and women and it leaves a bad odor. Despite the availability of many types of aids to help people stop smoking, it is known to be one of the hardest habits to break. If you have stopped smoking, congratulations! If you are still working on it, keep trying and don’t give up! Not only will this save you a lot of money, but your overall health will improve.

Cut Down On Alcohol: Over the years, the benefits of alcohol have been overhyped. Many people cannot control their intake of alcohol and this often leads to liver problems, addiction, dysfunctional behavior, breast cancer and an increase in body weight. The minor benefits of alcohol on blood, cholesterol and the heart can easily be overcome by walking instead. Breastfeed: In general, women who breastfeed their babies have a much lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who have not breastfed. So continue breastfeeding for at least 9 to 12 months if you can. It is hard in the beginning but if you keep trying, your baby will love you for it and the hard work will pay off for both of you. Avoid HRT: While many women are prescribed hormonal replacement therapy to treat symptoms of menopause, this treatment, if prolonged, is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. Even bioidentical hormones may not be safe so be sure to check with your doctor. Know Your Family History: If you have a family history of breast cancer tell your doctor. You may benefit from earlier screening with early detection and easier treatment.

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Mammograms If You Are 40: One of the best ways to beat breast cancer is by detecting it early. Most experts agree that an annual mammogram can help detect breast cancer early and result in longer survival. Do not put off a mammogram because of fear of what may be discovered or discomfort. Today, the procedure can be done in a few minutes and the discomfort is well worth it. Self-Exams. Finally examine your breasts and if you feel anything abnormal, go and see your healthcare provider. Get familiar with any lumps that native so you will be able to quickly detect any changes. Breast cancer in women and men affects all of us in one way or another. If you don’t have it, you likely know someone who does (or did). Prevention is one way to avoid the diagnosis and lifestyle changes are a great way to start. Tell your friends and family to pay attention to their food and alcohol intake and to be consistent with regular physical activity to decrease the prevalence of this disease. Thanks for reading! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com


Boomers Are Changing Retirement So “What’s

By Adam Dempsey

Next?” That’s the question being asked by many Americans of all cultures age 60 to 70, the upper half of the Boomer generation. While observing their parents, essentially duplicating the retirement or non-working model of their grandparents, Boomers are deciding the being put “out to pasture” roadmap is not a direction many will be following. The week of September 24, this year, was designated as Active Aging Week. Initiated by the International Council on Aging to promote healthy lifestyle benefits and age friendly wellness activities, it is also a good time to explore the new positive direction and

perspectives Boomers are generating regarding aging in America. The generation that took on civil rights, feminism, anti-war and sexism will not be changing ageism. And the first place that starts is refashioning the traditional notions regarding aging in America. “One of the exciting things happening right now with retirement is there are so many new options available,” indicates Khristine Rodgers, president of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors in an interview on The Active Generation television series for boomers. “With all the options that we know, not only are we talking about but I think now showing support for, there’s not one prescription as to how we should retire anymore,” she adds. Two terms rising from a study of retirement by Merrill-Lynch are aiding boomers to frame a different retirement future. “The Longevity Bonus,” meant to illustrate the additional contributions and volunteer assistance non-profits may receive from boomers working and living longer. Boomers are seizing the term as defining as they will be living longer, the “forever” part of “forever young” will be later than sooner, so the new longevity can be done their way. The second term “The Freedom Zone” is exactly that – what Boomers will do with those 2000 hours freed

from career work. The Boom has always been a future-forward thinking generation and now viewing “The Freedom Zone” as a new time to recover dreams long on hold and to sample new life options. Former retirement coach Madeline Hughes observes, “Sometimes we talked about them (clients) having an extra 2,000 hours, what am I going to do with it, how am I going to use this time.” She continues, “So I think it’s important to set some boundaries, because people around you, your family, your friends, suddenly you have all this time in the world and people can encroach on your time. So I think it’s helpful to have some idea of what you’re going to do and have some flexibility within that basic framework.” The Merrill Lynch Retirement study also indicates that 55 percent of the respondents view retirement as a fresh period in life, not the epilogue or credits roll, so change is cool with them. Founded by Marc Freedman, the Encore movement is also facilitating this rethinking of aging in America. The Encore view is people in later life can be an essential resource who can contribute to creating better futures for generations of young people. Toward this end, Encore challenges traditional thinking regarding aging to allow fresh perspectives to be developed which can in turn facilitate personal growth and have new impact on society. Encore.org created The Purpose Prize to evidence that older Americans are a largely untapped and little resourced treasure of solutions to a myriad of today’s most pressing social challenges. In the decade since the inception of the Purpose Prize, they have received an excess of 10,000 nominations which led to just under 100 recipients in awarding more than $5 million to support additional work of social innovation and creativity in the latter years of life. Persons of color in multicultural communities have long been among the recipients of the prize, now being administered by AARP. Another outreach program, The Encore Prize: Gen2Gen Challenge, will award two $50,000 prizes to organizations or individuals of any age with new ideas for engaging older adults in improving the lives of children and youth. These are the types of actions and activities at work that lead to changing the old perceptions of aging. In Denver, the organization Boomers Leading Change and their association with AmeriCorps senior corps are among the leaders of the Encore vision in the Rocky Mountain west. Surveys are also indicating more than 80 percent of Boomers prefer “aging in place”, in their present

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homes or other residential options in lieu of typical senior retirement communities. Also, the term “downsizing” is currently morphing into “rightsizing.” Perhaps the present home continues to be right, the place where key family memorabilia, materials and equipment for hobbies and pastimes, along with artifacts from careers remain present. The things we need that in many places cannot fit into a smaller retirement community dwelling space. Fashioning an active health plan to accompany your financial plan is another new notion surfacing. “The things you want to focus on when going in (for a checkup), when you are fairly well, to talk about, is how to stay well maybe even get healthier,” indicates Dr. Wendolyn Gozansky, Vice-President, Colorado Medical Group for Kaiser Permanente. She also notes, “We’ve seen a lot of folks when they have the additional time to exercise more or even take up new hobbies or interests, they actually become more engaged in life and actually get healthier.” “My philosophy is you don’t grow old because you played, you go old because you stopped playing, so that’s why you age, “indicates Rocky Mountain Senior Games Director Kate Amack. “You’ve got to move. Motion is lotion for your joints and muscles, you’ve got to move.” Typical aging models such as men sitting on benches sharing war or sports stories and women in knitting circles and cooking classes, or both men and women solely focused on the grandchildren are currently undergoing real transitional change by boomers. Just how much or little you get involved with the new program will determine your answer to “What’s Next?”. Editor’s note: Adam Dempsey is the producer/host for the series “The Active Generation,” Boomers Changing Aging to Ageless” telecast three years on RMPBS, and a member of the Denver Commission on Aging.

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Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation to Honor Student and Montbello Resident at Annual Gala

Beyond achieving his own personal dreams of going to college and earning an MBA, Abdul Mberwa aspires to make a difference in the lives of other people in the same way the Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation® (CIHAD) has impacted his life. Mberwa, a senior at Collegiate Prep Academy in Far Northeast Denver, will receive CIHAD’s Summit Award during the nonprofit’s annual gala on Thursday, Oct. 26. The accolade is presented to individuals who have excelled academically, triumphed over personal obstacles, and demonstrated a commitment to the betterment of community. For almost 30 years, CIHAD has been encouraging youth in Colorado to follow their passions and, more importantly, to believe in their dreams. The organization provides Denver metro youth, who are affectionately called Dreamers, with longterm support and engagement through one-on-one educational enrichment programs to bridge the educational gap and ensure that there is a level playing field. Mberwa is a Dreamer in the organization’s Weill Class and one of 45 youth adopted in 2008 by Dick and Judy Weill during CIHAD’s 20th anniversary. As the oldest son in the family of nine children, Mberwa strives to be a good role model for his siblings and to lead by example. “What motivates me is that I want to make my family proud and to be able to make a difference in their lives,” explained Mberwa, an outstanding player on the Northeast Warriors football team who achieves academic honors while taking on the challenges of AP classes.

Abdul Mberwa to Receive Summit Award at CIHAD Annual Gala

“As a student athlete, I’ve had to demonstrate the ability to balance my time. What I’ve learned from not only playing sports, but through my involvement with CIHAD, is about the importance of being competitive, staying disciplined, having fun and, most importantly, believing in myself. These are the lessons that I will continue to carry with me throughout life.” Though busy juggling school, sports, work and family, Mberwa understands the importance of embracing new experiences and opportunities. He is one of CIHAD’s most active Dreamers, participating in numerous community service programs, going on college tours and interning through the organization’s Work is Success Internship Program. As an intern with the Auraria Campus Recreation Department, he had an opportunity to connect his passion for sports with business. In addition, this summer he attended the annual DreamUp Conference joining other Dreamers from around the country. However, Mberwa’s role was more than just a participant; he was selected to take on a leadership position as a conference facilitator. While the opportunities have been many, and all equally valuable, the ones that Abdul cherishes the most are those where he is able to give back. “One of the things that I’ve gained from Colorado ‘I Have A Dream’® is the knowledge of what it means to give back,” he explained. “I come from a background of not having as much as everyone else, but CIHAD has given me so much and provided me with the chance to give back.” Neither of Mberwa’s parents went

to college, so he knows it’s not an opportunity available to everyone. Therefore, he works hard and takes full advantage of every educational opening given to him. Next fall, Mberwa l will be the third family member to go to college, following the footsteps of his older sisters. After college, his goal is to be in a position where he can give back. Abdul aspires to become an athletic director and describes it as a position where he can blend his love of sports with his desire to maintain his connection with and service to the community. “Being involved with Colorado ‘I Have A Dream’® has impacted me, because I can’t say that my life would have been the same without them and there really aren’t enough words to describe it,” said Mberwa. “They have done so much for me throughout the years and put me in this position by providing me with the opportunities to make my dreams a reality.” Driven by his family’s history and inspired by what the future holds, Mberwa is on the path to doing great things. His advice to other students is

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simply, “Don’t let your current situation be your permanent destination.” Additional gala honorees include Pat Hamill, CEO of Oakwood Homes, who will receive CIHAD’s Dream Maker Award, which recognizes a community leader whose commitment to quality education has had an enduring impact on area youth; The Rotary Club of Denver Southeast, recipient of the McHugh Award, which honors individuals who have made an extensive and deep commitment to The Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation® and displayed exemplary efforts to level the playing field in education; and Abdul’s fellow Dreamer and Summit Award honoree Chasel Valdiviezo-Perez, a senior at STRIVE Prep Excel High School in Denver. . Editor’s note: For tickets and more information on the Oct. 26 Gala, visit www.cihadevents.com. A cocktail reception will begin at 5:30 p.m.; followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Face, an internationally acclaimed all-vocal rock band from Boulder, Colorado.


The Great Debate: Did Bernie Cause Hillary to Lose?

The Brutal Truth Is That Sanders Did Damage Clinton By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

ping with the political Devil, in this case Trump. So, how much should Sanders, even though he firmly backed Clinton, be blamed for his most rabid backers breaking ranks and crossing the political Rubicon to vote for Trump? Clinton says he poisoned the political well with his drumbeat attacks on her as a war mongering, handmaiden for corporate interests, hard line beltway Democrat. This did give Trump some

as Bill’s shove through of the draconian crime bill, this packed the jails and prisons with Black men, the gut of welfare, and the scrap of financial industry checks. But the Trump Black voters were in the heavily minority cities and counties that went for Clinton overwhelmingly anyway so their vote was no factor in Trump’s win. The same could be said for the Black vote drop-off in 2016. The numbers were still high enough, though, not to be the causative factor in Clinton’s loss.

Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. His forthcoming book, The Trump Challenge to Black America (Middle Passage Press) will be released in August. He is a weekly cohost of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.

Blame Hillary Not Bernie for Her Failure By Kirk Tanter

H

illary Clinton has finally taken the gloves off and spoke her mind about her Democratic presidential rival, Bernie Sanders. She flatly charged that Sanders hurt her White House bid. She got very specific and claimed that the “lasting damage” he did to her campaign did much to put Trump in the Oval Office. She took the big broad side at Sanders in her new book, What Went Wrong. Now that she has made that charge against Sanders, the question is, “Is she right? The brutal truth is there is more truth than vindictive hyperbole in her blame game assault on Sanders. It’s true that Sanders personally voted for Clinton, campaigned for Clinton, and urged his supporters to back Clinton. But, three recent surveys showed that in the three states that put Trump in the Oval Office, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, a number of voters who voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary in those states crossed over and voted for Trump in the general election. They were registered Democrats. They did not simply stay home, cast a vote for a third-party candidate, Jill Stein, or write Sanders name in. They actually voted for Trump, the candidate who seemingly represented almost everything that Sanders’ abhorred. To take that step, a lot of these voters had to really, really, loathe Clinton to the point where they would do anything to keep her out of the White House. This included sup-

ammunition to con voters into thinking that he’d somehow be different from her and any other establishment politician, and really do something for the beleaguered, forgotten, hard pressed workers who watched as their jobs and livelihood and future fled to distant shores. No matter how much Sanders talked about the threat of Trump, and urged Democratic Party unity, thousands of Bernie backers didn’t hear any of that. The loud echo in their ears was that Clinton was just no good, and putting her in the White House would just be Trump by another name. This slammed the door hard on the lock down, requisite party unity needed to beat back the Trump onslaught. There’s the counter intuitive argument that says why pick on Sanders’ backers for the Clinton defeat, didn’t a lot of African-American voters stay home on Election Day? And more disgracefully, almost 10 percent of Blacks voted for Trump. Isn’t this the voter demographic that Democrats absolutely must have come out in huge numbers to offset the GOP’s bread and butter conservative, blue collar, rural, white male voters? A big Black vote turnout certainly made the difference for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Yes, many Blacks did stay home, and many made their dissatisfaction, even bitterness, with and toward both Hillary and Bill plain on such things

The finger still points back to the legion of Sanders’ backers in the swing states whose bellyache over Clinton was severe enough to cause them to punch the fateful vote card for Trump. Clinton says she wanted to say that at the time and warn of this danger, but she was told by Obama and others in the party to keep her mouth shut about that. And instead of hitting back harder against Sanders in their debates and on the campaign trail as she wanted, she had to stay mute. Obama and other key Democrats said that this would further piss off Sanders supporters against her. As it turned out, she could have raged at Sanders during the campaign for sowing enough division to insure her defeat but it wouldn’t have likely changed anything. Many of those that turn-coated from Sanders to Trump would still have cast their vote for him. Is that Bernie’s fault as Clinton complains? No, if one believes that Sanders had no sway over his backers. Yes, if one accepts the reality that his attacks on Clinton were so fervent that they hit home hard with his most diehard supporters. The problem for Clinton was that there were just enough of them to tip the presidential scales to Trump, and that’s the brutal truth about Sanders. .

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I cannot disagree with Hillary

Clinton more about Bernie Sanders nor anyone else - damaging Hillary’s candidacy for President. It was the Clintons that adopted the defunct Lee Atwater strategy of bashing the opponent to win an election. Hillary did not have a strong clearly stated platform on what she would do for the American people. Many Black folks voted for Trump this 2016 Presidential race, or did not vote at all. The deciding blue and swing states that Trump won had low Black voter turnout. Blaming opponents and obstacles in her new book is irrelevant and has nothing to do with her defeat to Donald J. Trump. It is as if opponents should have fallen in line with her Presidential aspirations. The Clintons are self-proclaimed ‘Half-Republicans’ aka ‘Blue Dogs’ or the 90’s term of ‘Tri-Angulaters.’ Repealing the crime bill – important to Black Folks - was not of staunch interest to Hillary. Hillary never said that she would fight to repeal the bill, and further, if repealed, remove all of the people from prison receiving minimum maximum lengthy prison terms. And despite Black Lives Matter protesting at her speeches on the Crime Bill issue, all she could aggravatingly say to them is that they should have ‘set up a meeting with


her’. Neither Colin Kaepernick nor the Black Lives Matter protestors are seemingly ill-allowed to peacefully protest in America, like other Americans have the right to do. The historic “Tough on Black Folks” bills from Bill Clinton you mentioned in the article were all harmful to African-Americans. Why didn’t Hillary campaign in a tough manner to reverse these bills you referenced? Other bills and inactions were not forgotten. Bill Clinton did nothing to prevent, nor stop, the Rwandan ethnic-cleansing where an average of 10thousand people a day for three consecutive months were slaughtered in Rwanda, Africa. Hillary Clinton was there as first lady - it was on the national news - and she could have cleared the air by verbally disagreeing publically with the former president. She could have denounced Bill’s lack of a response during her 2016 Presidential campaign. The Minority Tax-Certificate in broadcasting was repealed by Congress in our radio broadcast field during the Clinton Presidency, coupled with Bill’s signing of the Telecommunication Bill of 1996 forcing Black broadcast owners to sell or else be ostracized advertisement-wise by new owners of multiple stations. There were 146 Black-owned broadcast companies in 1995 compared to just 68 Black station owners in 2013. Hillary could have campaigned demanding a resurgence of more minority voices on the airwaves, fighting to level the playing field. I guess it was Bernie’s fault that nearly 10 percent of Black folk supported Donald J. Trump for President, while the Clinton campaign advertising dollars were low to nil with the aforementioned 68 or so, to date, Black owned broadcast companies, taking our vote for granted again. Combining the near 10 percent Blacks that voted for Trump with the surprising high non-voting African-Americans, reader polls can state that this “Disinterested in Hillary” voting block is the reason for Hillary’s Presidential demise. Is this because of Bernie Sanders, Russia, Comey, WikiLeaks, etc…? Conscience African-American voters from the Bill Clinton era and today’s next generation of even bolder conscience Blacks are having none of this Clinton-like ‘blue dog’ ‘take our vote for granted’ game playing anymore. The ‘60s conscious Black folks are revoltingly proud of this new serious conscience generation. The demand was for Hillary to reverse those dangerous ‘Bill bills.’ The demand was also for new legislation that would benefit us directly, in exchange for vote of confidence. We did not hear this clearly stated enough

with conviction by Hillary R. Clinton. Not even a ‘Hillary would fight’ this Republican Congress to make and attempt to get things done. Bernie Sanders’ seemingly impossible platform tasks were at least planned out meticulously, and you got the sense that ‘with our help’ he would fight for us ferociously. We are tired of choosing the lesser of two evils. Hillary wanted to run unopposed as Obama did in 2012, but Bernie ran and had a greater-thanexpected successful campaign. The DNC brass devised strategies to attack Bernie, his religion etc… via emails, while promoting positively for their chosen one Hillary Clinton. We thought the DNC represented Democrats. Secondly, like Obama, Donald Trump drew more people at his campaign appearances. Trump drew hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) more people in total. It was a simple S.T.P. (see the people) sales success. Trump campaigned personally those last few weeks of the presidential campaign to the swing and closely contested mid-western blue states barely tilting voters his way to win the election. In a nutshell, Hillary Clinton promised absolutely nothing concrete, but did very well bash-campaigning against both Bernie and the Donald, receiving some bashing back, which is par for the course. Sanders and Trump though laid “their plans” out with strong base-platforms. Bernie consistently campaigned on making college more affordable (even free), free health care for all, and fighting the corporate/wealthy powersthat-be. Trump campaigned on his economic and anti-immigration platform, establishing himself as being a non-beltway ‘drain-the-swamp’ candidate, and yes, his popular “Crooked Hillary” bashing. Hillary lost to Trump because Trump out campaigned her. And Mrs. Bill Clinton would have also lost to Bernie Sanders if he got into the race a year earlier. Bernie’s message and gritty fight was much more appealing to the Democratic and independent voter. Hillary did win against Bernie Sanders, however later than expected in the Democratic Primary. Hillary Clinton failed at communicating a convincing platform appealing to the Democratic and independent voters. More than 50 percent of women voted for Donald Trump for President. And, we hope that the Democratic Party does not ever again take voting blocks for granted, nor crown a Democratic nominee for president just for showing up. . Editor’s note: Kirk Tanter is a broadcast veteran, currently Director of Operations for the Reach Media News-Talk Network, a Member of the National Action Network, and blogs at kirktanter.blogspot.com.

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Speaking Your Mind, When Free Speech Has Consequences By Gene Policinski

Some people like Donald Trump, and say nice things about him. Some people don’t like Donald Trump, and some say things about Donald Trump that are unkind, hurtful and downright insulting. Some people say those things on social media. And sometimes people who like Donald Trump respond to those comments. All of that is fine, in free speech terms. And all of that, pretty well sums up the tempest in a TV teapot over ESPN host Jemele Hill tweeting a few days ago that the president was a “bigot” and a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” In one sense, Hill’s tweeted sentiments were hardly unique in the weeks since Trump spawned controversy with remarks after a deadly incident in Charlottesville, Va., involving alt-right and anti-racist protestors. Trump drew widespread criticism at the time for condemning violence “on both sides” and for saying that some “very fine people” marched with the white nationalists in Charlottesville. But Hill’s tweet seemed to cross the boundaries of acceptable speech for some people. At a press conference Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that she was not sure if Trump had seen the remarks, “but I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.” For their part, Hill and ESPN took a proper stand during the kerfuffle, asserting the First Amendment right to speak one’s mind, with awareness that the amendment is designed to restrain the government, not private companies. “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” Hill said Wednesday night. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.” ESPN then issued this statement: “Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on

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behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.” Calls from the White House for anyone to be fired for their speech certainly carry more than a little weight. Sander’s comments raised the twin specters of government censorship and the kind of language reminiscent of the mass firings of the McCarthy era. But so far, the specters have remained such. Hill remains employed, ESPN seems to consider the matter closed and Sanders and Trump seem to have moved on to other issues. But let’s parse the issue a bit more, beginning with the question of whether ESPN has been consistent in its reaction to on-air personalities who take a controversial public stance. Former major league pitcher Curt Schilling was fired in 2016 from ESPN for comments he made on social media that were critical of transgender public bathroom policies. On Thursday Schilling – while calling Hill a racist – said the sports network has a double-standard favoring liberals. Others noted Schilling had been warned at least twice previously about using his ESPN platform to advance his personal views on social issues. Still others said if Hill didn’t heed this first warning, the same punishment should apply. As ugly or argumentative as such discussions may be, they make up the vaunted but messy “marketplace of ideas” – the robust place where ideas, views and philosophies are exchanged, at times with all the emotion that true advocates can bring to such discussion and debate. On the government’s role in the marketplace, the U.S. Supreme Court has set an unwavering standard. In 2011, in a decision upholding the Westboro Baptist Church group’s right to protest, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged the pain that the group’s vile chants might bring to individuals, but wrote, “We cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker...As a nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.” We have a chance to view, and accept or reject, the personal opinions that Hill and others have on Trump’s motivations and racial views. ESPN has a right to say that Hill is speaking for herself, but not for the network, when she airs such views. The most discordant moment – from the First Amendment point of view – in the whole affair was when Trump’s spokesman went beyond mere criticism and suggested that the Continued on next page


United for a New Economy to Work for Affordable Housing, Good Jobs,

A Voice For All UNE is the New FRESC – Now Led By and For Those the Economy Has Left Behind

With a new commitment to grassroots empowerment, United for a New Economy (UNE) is the new and improved stage for FRESC, an organization that has been a strong and consistent voice on issues affecting low wage workers and their families for 15 years. Led by people of color and others left behind in our economy, UNE is committed to build the people power needed to create a new economy that works for everyone. “Even though Colorado’s skyline is dotted with cranes building new, luxury apartments and the headlines trumpet the state’s business growth, too many of our neighbors are slipping further behind, stuck in low wage jobs and unable to afford rent,” said Felicia Griffin, UNE executive director. “We have a vision for strong, vibrant and thriving communities where everyone can find a good job and affordable housing in a safe neighborhood.” In an effort to build a new economy that works for everyone, UNE is organizing families, youth, workers, Continued from previous page sports commentator be fired – putting a government chill on Hill’s speech, and in no small way the right to free speech all of us have as private citizens. We all should keep close watch to be sure the “bully” doesn’t become the predominant part of the White House’s legendary and powerful “bully pulpit.”. Editor’s note: Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the Institute’s First Amendment Center. He can be reached at gpolicinski@newseum.org. Follow him on Twitter: @genefac

seniors, unions, immigrants, communities of color, refugees and faith leaders to advance local, state and national laws and policies that grow wages, increase affordable housing and create safe and supportive communities for all people. “When my rent for a onebedroom apartment saturated with black mold doubled, I had to sell our furniture and visit food banks to feed myself and my daughter. That’s just not right,” said Inez Martinez, an UNE leader and Westminster resident. “With UNE I started testifying at city council sessions and rallied my neighbors to push for a new Westminster housing trust fund. Now that we’ve built the people power needed to make change, we’re working on a renter’s bill of rights so no one is forced to live in unsafe housing.” UNE intends to build on the 15 years of success achieved by FRESC their predecessor, adding grassroots organizing and leadership development to their well-established policy research and advocacy roles to ensure housing is affordable, safe and accessible, good jobs with benefits are added to the economy and that community members have a voice in the decisions that impact them. “UNE is building an all-important movement of people power to ensure that no one is left behind,” said Felicia Griffin, UNE executive director. “Community members are completely in charge of our campaigns, from identifying the goals and planning the strategy to implementing the tactics. We are of the people, by the people and for the people.”. Editor’s note: For more information, visit http://uneaction.org/ Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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Middle and High School Students Learn to Study Smarter, Not Harder

Do you wonder why your middle or high school teenager struggles so much in school? Does he or she stay up all night cramming for tests, only to blank out on the day of the exam? Is it possible for your teenager to excel at school and balance an active social life? Study skills and time management lay the foundation for success in all of the academic areas. Because teachers do not give official grades for study skills or time management, many parents and students tend to overlook their importance. Students suffering from poor grades across several subjects often struggle more from a lack of study skills than anything else. Without the mastery of essential study and organizational habits, it is hard for any student to make real and lasting progress at school. Who can benefit from study skills? Everyone can learn to study smarter, not harder. Even advanced students need to learn how to find bal-

ance between school and their social lives. Study skills will benefit: •Students struggling across the board in all subjects •Students struggling in a specific subject •Highly social, busy students •Stressed out students, disorganized students, and procrastinators •Athletes and performers who juggle school with road trips and practices •Students with ADD/ADHD and students with learning disabilities •B or C students looking to step up to the next level •High-achievers, honor students, and perfectionists •Students in transition years Club Z! offers a uniquely effective study skills program called Learning Built to Last that targets the different learning styles and habits of high school students. The Learning Built to Last program offers two diagnostics to customize the study skills system and tutoring experience for every student. The Study Skills Diagnostic Test identifies eleven different academic tools necessary for success in school and shows which of those tools each student needs to use better. The Learning Style Diagnostic Test explores the student’s natural method of learning.

Cherrelyn Napue, Area Director of Club Z! In-Home Tutoring, affirms, “Some students learn best by visualization, others by memorization. Club Z! will help determine your child’s learning method and show them how to study more appropriately. It’s amazing how quickly students bounce back academically once they’ve established proper study skills.” Club Z! tutors will help your child learn study skills and have some fun in the process. This program will teach students how to listen, read, and study better…but that is just the beginning. Learning Built to Last will help each student understand study skills in terms of their own interests and experiences. With hands-on exercises, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, students will: •Set short and long-term goals to get what they want from school and life. •Identify weaknesses in their study habits. •Create a pleasant, more organized study environment both at home and at school. •Banish all-nighters with the ultimate time management system.

•Discover their favorite ways to learn with a Learning Style Diagnostic Test. •Apply test-taking and memorization strategies to real practice tests. •Practice listening, note-taking, reading, and participation strategies. •Challenge their reading comprehension with a bonus chapter on Higher Order Thought. •Easily memorize terms, dates, diagrams, formulas, pictures, and charts. •Tackle timed essays, research papers, and standardized tests with confidence. And much more… Beginning of the school year is the perfect time to get an edge on study skills because the book, workbook, and planner are designed to incorporate school assignments in the application, of their daily study. Club Z! InHome Tutoring Services offers tutoring in all core subjects including reading, math, science and foreign language. In addition, Club Z! offers instruction in music, computers, SAT, ACT and other assessment test preparation. . Editor’s note: For more information, call 303-399-2582 or visit www.clubztutoring.com to inquire how a tutor can teach your teen to excel in school, reduce stress, and unleash his or her full potential.

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Girl Scouts to Celebrate 20th Anniversary of Women of Distinction in Denver

Join Girl Scouts of Colorado in celebrating “20 years of Amazing Women” by honoring all the Women of Distinction of the Denver-metro region. This year’s event chairs are Maria Garcia Berry, Woman of Distinction ’97; Jean Galloway, Woman of Distinction ’97; and Arlene Hirschfeld, Woman of Distinction ’97. Since the Women of Distinction program began in 1997, Girl Scouts of Colorado has honored 426 top women leaders in the community based on remarkable achievements as business, community, and civic leaders. They are examples of corporate, civic, and philanthropic leadership and serve as role models for female leaders of tomorrow. The Women of Distinction program brings together a group of women dedicated to raising support for Girl Scout leadership programs. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, seven incredible women leaders are being recognized for their significant and positive impact on their communities and for their dedication to making the world a better place. These Women of Distinction were voted by a group of their peers, and will receive an award in the following category at the 2017 Thin Mint Dinner: Advocacy for Youth – Elaine Gantz Berman ‘02, Former Member, State Board of Education Progressive Community Leader – Juana Bordas ‘03, President, Mestiza Leadership International Accomplished Philanthropist – Arlene Hirschfeld ‘97, Community Volunteer Dedication to Girl Scouts – Jean C. Jones ‘07, Former CEO, Girl Scouts Mile Hi Council Lifetime Achievement – LaRae Orullian ‘97, Retired National President, Girl Scouts of the USA Advocate for Women & Girls – Jill S. Tietjen ‘97, P.E., President and CEO, Technically Speaking, Inc. Commitment to Public Service Hon. Elbra M. Wedgeworth ‘04, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer, Denver Health The Thin Mint Dinner will be held Oct. 19, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event includes Thin Mint Cocktails and dessert made with Thin Mints, three-course meal, and event program. Editor’s note: For information regarding tickets and sponsorships, visit girlscoutsofcolorado.org/woddenver or contact Heidi Books at 303-607-4833 or email heidi.books@gscolorado.org.

COMMUNITY NOTES

DPS School Board Candidates and Ballot Issue Forums Slated

Denver Decides, a consortium composed of the League of Women Voters of Denver, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation and Denver 8 TV, will hold candidate and ballot issue forums for the upcoming November 2017 Election Day, November 7. Four candidate forums and one ballot issues forum will be held. Tuesday, October 10: 7 p.m. School Board District 2 (SW Denver) and 8 p.m. School Board District 4 (NE Denver, Incumbent: Rachele C. Espiritu) Thursday, October 12: 7 p.m. School Board District 3 (E Denver, Incumbent: Mike Johnson) and 8 p.m. School Board At Large (Incumbent: Barbara O’Brien) Tuesday, October 17 at 7 p.m.: Ballot Issues (possible issues: 7 GO Bonds, Green roof initiative, Department of Environmental Health Charter Amendment) Forums can be viewed live on Denver 8 TV. They can also be viewed on the Channel 8 website along with taped candidate introduction. For more information, email Marcia Verba, League of Women Voters Denver at mverba1@msn.com or call 303-629-0614.

Dress for Success Denver Open Door Project Fashion Event

For more information, visit www.bgsgden.org or email Betty Gardner at betty@bgsgden.org.

Ul Guild Hosts Mardi Gras Casino Fundraiser Trip

The Urban League Guild is hosting the Mardi Gras Casino fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 28. Passengers riding the bus need to register and submit names by Oct. 24. Ticket donations are $25 and include transportation, a $5 card play, and $5 towards food another $5 for food when you earn 50 bonus points. For more information, call Joseph Langley at 303-694-3126, Tracey Dickerson at 724-289-0727, Terry Manns at 303-627-6260 or Pat Gatewood at 303-755-1498.

Scholarship Opportunities for African American Students in

Every year, billions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships are given away to students to help them pay for college tuition, books, and other college-related expenses. As the year winds down, top national scholarship programs for African American students and others that are still accepting applications. •NBNA Scholarship Program For Black Nurses: www.scholarshipson-

Dress For Success Denver will present the Open Door Project Fashion event at Cherry Creek Shopping Center on Saturday, Oct. 21. Doors open at 7 p.m. Special guest MC Adele Arakawa, will honor men and women who have opened doors in business, followed by an exquisite Fashion Show presented by Neiman Marcus. There will be a silent auction, cocktails and appetizers. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.denver.dressforsuccess.org or call 303-832-1889.

Black Genealogy Search Group Anniversary Heritage Festival

The Black Genealogy Search Group is presenting the Heritage Festival, “Honoring Our Ancestors and Documenting Our History,” on Oct. 28 at Denver Public Library, 10 W. 14th Avenue Parkway, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The festival will feature speaker Polly E. McLean, associate professor, University of Colorado Boulder. Luncheon speaker is Jim Kroll - manager, Western History/ Genealogy Department, BlairCaldwell African American Branch Library. Storyteller Cassandra Swell is the afternoon speaker. An awards and recognition luncheon will be held. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2017

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line.org/2013/02/nbna-scholarshipprogram-for-black-nurses.html •Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Scholarships: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2015/04/blacks-at-microsoftbam-scholarships.html •Coca-Cola Scholars Program: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/04 /coca-cola-scholars-program.html •Apple HBCU Scholarship Program: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2015/08 /apple-hbcu-scholarshipprogram.html •Will.i.am Scholarship Foundation (The I.Am.Angel Foundation): www.scholarshipsonline.org/2016/01 /will-i-am-foundation-scholarship-iam-angel-foundation.html •Burger King Scholars Program: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/03 /burger-king-scholars-program.html •Microsoft Diversity Conference and Minority STEM Scholarships: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/09 /microsoft-scholarships.html •Malcolm X Scholarship for Exceptional Courage: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2017/09/malcolm-xscholarship-for-exceptional-uncf.html To view and apply for more 20172018 scholarships, visit: www.ScholarshipsOnline.org.


Shaundra Van Wert Named DCPA VP of Human Resources

Shaunda Van Wert has joined the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) as Vice President of Human Resources, a new position at the nearly 40-year-old organization. Van Wert came to the DCPA on September 18 from IHS Markit, a leader in critical information, analytics and expertise that offers solutions for major industries and markets worldwide. During her 10 years at IHS, she served as Director of Human Resources, Director of Global Mobility & Immigration and Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Executive Recruitment, and oversaw every aspect of human resources and integration for more than 60 global mergers and acquisitions. Prior to her positions at IHS, she also worked with Lehman Brothers and ISYS Technologies. At the DCPA, Van Wert will oversee a team of six employees who support the 300 full-time and seasonal staff plus an additional 700 visiting teachers, artists and actors who contribute to the not-for-profit theatre organization’s success. Van Wert holds a Master’s Degree in Communications from the University of Hawaii, Manoa and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications & Business Administration from Michigan State University. She is married with two teenage children and enjoys soccer, hiking, reading and the arts.

DPS Schools Receives Mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards

Place Bridge Academy and The Writing Center at Manual High School Embody Inclusion and Diversity Mayor Michael B. Hancock and members of his community commissions honored 10 individuals and organizations with the 2017 Mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards at an event themed “Denver’s Commitment to Welcoming and Celebrating All,”

HATS OFF TO

hosted by the Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission. “In Denver, we stand firmly for the ideals of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity,” Mayor Hancock said. “These are our values. And the individuals and organizations we’re honoring with these awards are proof that we will continue to work together against hate and will not allow it to divide us or our city.” The Denver Women’s Commission honored The Writing Center at Manual High School with Olivia Jones, in memory of student cofounder Mardale Jay. The Writing Center at Manual High School is the first student-led writing center in the nation, and strives to be a place where students work together to develop the skills and confidence they need to reclaim the power of voice and become powerful agents of social change. The center empowers students to become authors of their own learning and to construct their own knowledge.

The Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission honored Place Bridge Academy. More than 60 languages and over 40 countries are represented at the ECE through 8th-grade newcomer magnet school. At Place Bridge Academy, students receive a standards-based education that leverages English-language development and the ability to access rigorous academic content, as well as support in the social/emotional skills necessary to develop a world view and be successful in a diverse American society. “We are incredibly proud of Place Bridge Academy and the Writing Center at Manual. Both of these Mayor’s Diversity Award recipients exemplify our support for equity and inclusion with all DPS families and the greater Denver community,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg.

Four Women To Be Honored at CBWPA’s Annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon

Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) announced its 2017

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Tribute to Black Women awardees who will be honored at CBWPA’s 39th annual award luncheon on Oct. 14, at the Renaissance Hotel Stapleton in Denver. The event starts at 12 p.m. noon; doors open at 11 a.m. Four courageous African-American women will be recognized by the organization for their call to activism and their impact on the community. For CBWPA’s 40th Anniversary, the organization is honoring two women under 40 and two women over 40. The 2017 “Tribute to Black Women” honorees are: Clementine Washington Pigford - A master researcher, storyteller, scribe and historian of Denver’s AfricanAmerican community. Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams – Founder and CEO of “Above the Waters Project (AWP), and a faith and community activist. Janiece Mackey - Executive Director and cofounder of Young Aspiring American for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA), a PhD student at Denver University and an adjunct faculty in Political Science. Xakema L. Henderson Attorney of law, volunteer at Florence Crittenton Legal Clinic, 5280 High School founding board member, member of Colorado Women’s and Colorado Bar Associations. These four women represent the power of women to transform a community, a state, and a nation. Special guest speaker, Tara Dowdel, nationally known political analyst will highlight this theme and speak on the importance and power of Black women getting involved in the political process at all levels. Editor’s note: For more information about the event, tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.cbwpa.org or email Connie Rule, fundraisingchair@cbwpa.org.


Clifton Powell Graces Denver A

By Allan Tellis

ctor Clifton Powell was in Denver to shoot a new feature-length film, Diamond in the Rough. This inspirational drama is centered on the life of a homeless teenage student who must learn to trust those around her to change her life’s circumstances. Powell plays a pastor who helps the teen become a more positive person.

The Denver Metro area is currently facing a homelessness crisis as the number of individuals with no place to stay continues to be around 10,000. Producers of this film, K.I.M.P. (Keep It Moving Productions), hope not only to grow Denver’s economy by shooting the film locally but to also give back to the community, as a portion of the film’s profits will be donated to Aurora Warms the Night (AWTN), a local antihomelessness advocacy group that provides temporary housing when temperatures reach below 20 degrees. During some free time from the movie shooting, which includes scenes shot from Woodlands Park to the Five Points neighborhood, Powell took time to give fans some insight into the film and his life. Powell, who is very

excited about the film, noted “I really think it’s a really touching movie. I read the script and really loved the direction of it.” Powell is a diverse actor having played characters in more than 100 different films but still often gets pegged as the bad guy due to some of his more prominent roles as the character we hate or fear like in Woman Thou Art Loose and Menace to Society. But Powell says, “People often say you’re always the bad guy; and I say just go on IMBD and look at my credits. I play a wide range of characters and that’s because I’m trained and can bring life to all of those characters.” DUS had a chance to sit down with Powell and asked him about his career path.

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Denver Urban Spectrum: You’ve been part of a couple legendary films. Do you know in the moment or is it realized afterwards the success of a film? Clifton Powell: “You don’t really know if a film will be legendary. When you get a film, you read the script. When I read Menace to Society, I felt like it was going to be a special movie but until it all comes together, you really don’t know; also, how the public receives it. When we were doing Ray, I felt like Ray was going to be epic and it was because Jamie Fox was incredible. But the public really embraced the movie, not just the African American community. The general public loved Ray Charles and embraced that movie – making it epic and legendary. Dead Presidents was another movie I didn’t know when I read the script. Then I read [my character] Cutty and some of the other characters and some of the names attached. I felt like if the public took to it, it would become a classic.” DUS: When reading scripts, do you ever pick roles that you think are important to portray? CP: “When you study as a method actor the bottom line is always the same, try to find the truth in the character. So when I’m playing for instance Dr. King, I find the same truth in Dr. King that I found in Cutty. And when you’re playing a character like Dr. King, part of that is research, find out how he held his hands, getting his speech inclinations right.” DUS: You’re from southeast D.C. which is often a reference point when people talk about struggling neighborhoods, urban decay, etc. Do you have any advice for others who would like to step out of the mold of their environment? CP: “I think the first thing we have to do is get away from where we’re from – not so much whether you’re from uptown or downtown or northeast or southeast. Don’t let where you’re from hold you back. I had some great mentors and I had my sister who raised me and my nephew. I had some great teachers, workshop careers in the arts and I had great family members. All my teachers were instrumental in my upbringing. I had a surrogate big brother, Darryl Harvey. He and his mom helped raise me. My mom died when I was young. “And you have to have something inside of you that says no matter what neighborhood you are from or how bad it is, you have to want to transcend that and that’s what I did. “I think I’ve been blessed and I had good people around me but I made a decision early on that I wanted to do something with my life and knew exactly what it was.” .


Ground Rules

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The Hitman’s Body Guard

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

Crown Heights

llll By Samantha Ofole-Prince

Miscarried justice often provides

the perfect vehicle for emotionally wrenching dramas, and such is the case with Matt Ruskin’s Crown Heights. Powerful and unsettling, this Sundance Film Festival award winner, is based on the true story of a Caribbean immigrant who spent decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The film starts off in the spring of 1980 when a teenager is gunned down in Flatbush, Brooklyn. A child witness is pressured by the NYPD to identify a suspect resulting in Colin Warner’s (Lakeith Stanfield) arrest. Eighteenyear-old Warner, who is from nearby Crown Heights, is picked up while running errands for his mother and ends up being wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. What follows is a battle by Warner’s childhood friend Carl ‘KC’ King (Nnamdi Asomugha), who devotes his life to fighting for Colin’s freedom, eventually becoming a legal courier to lead the fight for his exoneration after tireless appeals.

Throughout the film, Stanfield as Warner, emerges as a likable man with an astonishing ability to reject anger and bitterness. At every point, he is at the center of the story, and he carries the film with an impassioned performance. Stellar in the role, playing the character at several ages between 18 and 48, he does a solid job of bringing dignity and realism to the role. Nnamdi Asomugha, (who produces the drama under his company iAm21 Entertainment) as Carl King, Colin’s crusader, also doesn’t disappoint. It’s a film, which explores the power of friendship, for as the movie chugs inescapably forward, King’s unwavering devotion to his friend is remarkable. He dedicates his life to overturning the murder conviction, even risking his own marriage in a quest for justice that toils through 20 plus years of self-sacrifice and heartache. Ruskin deserves praise for capturing the atmosphere and realism of underdogs fighting against the odds, and its message is noble and notable. Crown Heights

With moving performances and a solid storytelling Crown Heights is a visual trip worth taking and it’s impossible to avoid being tugged into its human drama, which has been prompted by an endless stream of high profile exonerations. “You never know how sacred your freedom is until it is jeopardized,” a dejected Warner shares in one mournful scene after yet another legal setback. If you aren’t compelled to re-examine your conclusions on crime and punishment, then you need to see Crown Heights again until you are. 

The Hitman’s Body Guard

S

llll By Khaleel Herbert

amuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds bring the pain and the laughs in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. In a matter of seconds, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) loses his tripleA status as a bodyguard after his client, Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome), is suddenly assassinated before his eyes. Two years later, notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is supposed to be delivered safely by Interpol to Amsterdam as a key witness for a trial against Russian President Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), who is secretly a tyrant that kills innocent people. Kincaid and Interpol are ambushed by Russian assassins hired by Dukhovich. With her comrades wiped out, Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) has no one else to turn to for help except Michael. She shudders at the idea since her and Michael were an item two years ago and he hates her guts because he thinks she was the one who killed Kurosawa. But she knows he’s good at his job.  Michael visits the apartment after getting a call from Amelia and finds

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Darius. They duke it out for a good few minutes. Darius is Michael’s worst enemy, who attempted to kill him exactly 28 times. But Amelia says if Michael can deliver Darius to the trial unharmed, she can help him earn his triple-A status again. Michael and Darius reluctantly flee together and travel miles abroad fighting goons and forming a bromance. The Hitman’s Bodyguard pairs Reynolds and Jackson like Rush Hour paired Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. They didn’t see eye to eye at first, but they always busted each other out of a jam. The bloody violence (hallelujah!) is similar to Deadpool, Reynolds’ 2016 trademark performance. Like Deadpool,the action follows funny one-liners and attitude from Reynolds and a cocky Jackson with his one-liners, trademark yelling and swearing.  Like the classic good-cop/bad-cop routine, Michael follows the rules and develops plans to a tee. Darius wings it and follows his own rules to get the best results. It’s funny to see Darius question everything Michael does and Michael annoys the hell out of Darius by following the rules.  Gary Oldman gives a strong performance and convincing Russian accent as Dukhovich. His underhandedness in this film is similar to his role in the 1994 film, Léon: The Professional. Oldman played a crooked cop and Léon (Jean Reno), a professional hitman, and Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a girl he took under his wing after her family was killed, fought against him.  He’s a worthy foe for Michael and Darius.  The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the best action-comedy you’ll ever see. Period. Jackson and Reynolds are a great pair that keeps you laughing until the credits roll. You will not be disappointed..


WORD’S WORTH

Black Lives Matter

And so it is We are peopled by Africa For America was at first: African For in the shadows and brilliance of early morning America were the Black Bodies and Bright Souls whose hands brought forth a Nation. Tending its constructs, its fields, its wombs, its roads, lending it their lives, their light, their inventions. Tending its calling and its destiny. Among Dutchmen and Spanish, Seminole and French, En glish and Iroquois, Black Bodies and Bright Souls were the First, by birth and by blood: Americans. Black Lives Matter Ground shook, hearts were pierced, bodies fell for quest and cause. Smoke cleared And rising from it a new banner unfurled To wave in the place of the master before it A banner born of textile grown from rich black soil by poor Black hands A true Blue field above parallel lines White lines along Red lines Along blood lines Upon blood shed Unfurled and waved in defiance of chains Borne by the truth that injustice would try the souls Under Any Banner And the test that justice must come by Any Means Necessary Black Lives Matter And so may it be that where a man might kneel before the God he trusts to ask deliverance from chains, that he might also bend before the waving promise of his Nation To at once and for all time ask the same? - Jeffrey Lopez, Denver

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 And you know how we are, when it’s Black on Black. It’s brutal! And it can hurt! Now, let’s fast forward. And we are living in the concept of ‘’Repeat’’ Dr. King, whites, Jewish people, and some other races died, marched and got killed for our freedom, but still we seem to be caught up in ‘’Real Life Prison’’ with no bars. But we became prisoners in our mind. Thug hip hop culture has played a major role of influencing the mind that is in search of self. With the right 808 beat and a blunt, you will bounce to it in the worst way, and let that negative lyric and beat get into your head, and give you a purpose that means no good. We are what we listen to. If you like it rough and nasty, what song do you play for yourself? Of course Black lives matter, but the question is do we matter to ourselves? Black on Black crime and hate is off the hook. When we hate each other, it’s really bad, along with bad talk and gossip- the other leading killer of Black people. Gossip is a killer. Thug rap culture has represented a deep part of our race. Some women want a thug or a roughneck. MC Lyte said it back in the day. She planted that seed for it. So when other races react to the illusion of what we created and represent, what do you expect? Yes, Black Lives Matter, but do we matter to each other? Hmmm. A lot of young Blacks, who march in the street, have no idea what they are marching for. Some just want to be seen, and promote their hot rap track called ‘’I Kills a Nigga’ with my Trigga’’ written by a Black youth from Littleton, Colorado. We are caught up in Nigga Negro madness in its purest form, and cannot seem to get out of it, because it has become the norm. We as a people, have to be very careful. Our services will soon be no longer needed. We gave up our cultural secrets of who we are. We taught other cultures what to do when it comes to how to do it. Therefore, what do we have left? Robots are soon coming in, and doing what humans use to do. You see it, just look around you. What we really need to worry about is do we MATTER to ourselves. As a matter of fact, ponder that...

The Rexx Denver, CO

Former DUS Reader Lambastes DUS Publisher Behind Trump

Editor: Your editorial on page 3 (DUS Sept. 2017) was the most disgusting piece I have ever read. It was filled with hate, spite and hypocritical racism all direct-

ed toward President Trump. The election has been over for almost a year. Time for you to get past that. It’s obvious you can’t. Let me just say President Trump will do more for our country in one year than Obama did in his first four years. The hate-filled column that you wrote will not begin to fix the division that plagues our country. Although it’s getting better now that President Trump is our president. The jelly belly and gutless wonder that occupied the White House before President Trump was elected is the reason for the division in the U.S.A. To you I say “Don’t let your pen get you into something your ass can’t handle.” Needless to say, I will not be reading the Spectrum – although I might pick-up a copy in December to use it to start a fire in my fireplace.

Rocky Olheiser Arvada, CO

Time to Welcome More AfricanAmerican Sickle Cell Patients Into Clinical Trials To Find Breakthrough Treatments

Editor: For many years, the treatments developed to treat the chronic and rare conditions that people in our communities live with each day have succeeded because of those who have been willing to participate in clinical trials. As too many African-American families know all too well, Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a very painful, chronic genetic disease that can affect every organ in the body. While, in a normal body, blood cells are round and can move through the body easily, however, patients with sickle disease develop cells that are malformed into a “sickle” shape and can be hard and sticky. They cannot move as easily and get stuck in blood vessels causing immense pain. In addition, the sickleshaped cells die off faster, creating a deficit of red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Although there have been breakthroughs in finding life-saving treatments for sickle-cell anemia in Colorado and across the country; we need to greatly step up efforts to overcome decades of understandable fear and skepticism within the African American community about medical research, and help move progress forward. It’s a healthcare crisis in our backyard that we can solve. This debilitating and life-shortening disease affects more than 100,000 people in the U.S., mostly AfricanAmericans. Life expectancy is 48 Continued on page 28

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27

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medicine! Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

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years for females and 42 years for males with Sickle Cell Anemia. For many decades, we in the African-American healthcare community have been battling SCD and its effects. Progress in finding treatments has been extremely slow and frustrating for our patients. However, as we see increased hope, we are also shining a spotlight on the challenges that researchers are grappling with as they seek solutions. First, the good news. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first new drug for treating SCD complications – the first such approval in two decades. In fact, it’s only the second approval overall. Many new drugs are in the development stage. Any drug that is brought to market has undergone extensive clinical trials, and success of those trials requires the participation of patients. Trials for SCD treatments are no exception. Yet one of the biggest challenges in our community is convincing patients to enroll in clinical trials. For decades, there has been a deep mistrust and even fear of the medical community among African Americans, tracing back to tragic and cruel experiments conducted in the last century. That memory has left a deep scar in the black psyche. That fear has taken a toll in the ability to make progress against SCD. Recent reports show that nearly one-third of existing SCD clinical trials had to be terminated early due to the lack of participants. This creates significant delays in the ability to gain approval of potential new treatments for the disease. Groups such as the Colorado Council of Black Nurses, Inc. and Colorado Sickle Cell Association, Inc. along with many others in the African-American community have been urging sickle-cell patients to talk to their providers about participating in clinical trials. We spend a great deal of time, explaining to every patient the safety and security inherent in these trials, as well as the great service that they can provide for the sickle-cell community worldwide. It is very difficult to make headway. We need much more focused efforts from within the research and medical community. We know the massive expenditures of time and treasure these innovators invest in bringing a medicine to the clinical trial phase and we’re ready to partner with drug developers, the public health community, elected leaders and others to step up advocacy for patients and their families.

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It’s not sufficient to just throw up our hands because patients aren’t coming through the doors. We must understand the deep-seated and emotional reasons why African-Americans are apprehensive and then work collectively, aggressively and collaboratively to calm those fears and create a safe and welcoming path to participation in clinical trials. It is absolutely essential – and long overdue - for African Americans to be included in these clinical trials. In addition to the lives at stake in Colorado and around the country, SCD exerts a massive cost on the American healthcare system, with estimates that each patient costs nearly $1 million in treatment by age 45. And for those patients who rely on emergency room visits to seek treatment, that cost is sharply higher. It’s time to unite in the fight against a disease that, while rare, has had a devastating effect on AfricanAmerican families. We know that breakthroughs are on the horizon and without an effort to greatly expand the number of patients stepping up to join clinical trials those life-extending innovations will remain, sadly, out of reach.

Dr. Margie Bell-Cook Eastern Colorado Council of Black Nurses Inc. Denver, CO

Health Care Should Be Universal For All Americans Editor: We’re at a unique time in our country, with more support for universal health care than ever before. Because of this, those who want to keep the status quo—for their profit, not yours—will rail against universal care using tired arguments like socialized medicine. They’ll try to pit us against one another. They’d like to convince you that helping fellow Americans takes money out of your pocket, when in fact, they are the ones doing the taking. How many times have you heard this gem? “This is the United States of America, son! We pay for our OWN health care here. We don’t expect someone else to...” I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you already are paying for “other people’s health care” and have been for some time. I’m just your average working American. Each one of my paychecks shows what I made and the many deductions from that amount. The taxes withheld from my check help


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 pay for three government run healthcare programs: 1. Medicare 2. Medicaid 3. The Veteran’s Administration Then, on top of that MORE is deducted to help pay for private health insurance for me and my family. Before President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, all that existed were private insurance plans which operated then the same way they do today: They take monthly premiums paid by customers, pool that money together, and use it to pay claims made by those same customers. Regardless of what you think, even if you have insurance through Cigna, United Healthcare, or one of the other giants, you’re paying for someone’s triple bypass in Michigan. Or a kid’s broken arm in Idaho. Or the emergency room visit for that guy in California who drunkenly decided to fire a bottle rocket from his teeth on the 4th of July. Now, in no way, shape, or form am I saying the poor, elderly, and especially our veterans don’t deserve

health care, but I have to question why we have to have a total of FOUR SEPARATE SYSTEMS, each with their own administrative network to do it? I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, so I’ve been paying to support these systems all that time. If consumer choice is a concern, why can’t I simply pay a little more and take the government plan? Why am I forced to use only the most expensive and least efficient one? Instead of the viewpoint of someone undeservedly getting something YOU paid for, look at it from the perspective of you paying for something you’re not allowed to access because of your age, income, or lack of military enlistment. This is the inherent flaw in our patchwork system that breeds anger and division. When people are struggling to put food on the table and past due bills are piling up, they lose their will to help others and start seeing the world as dog-eat-dog. They see money being taken out of their hard-earned pay to help someone who they feel is undeserving because they’re hurting too and no one’s helping them. Wouldn’t it be better to look at those deductions from your hard-

earned pay and think “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about medical care if I need it”? We already pay for health care in many different ways. Why not do so in the most efficient way possible? We pay more for health care in this country than any other advanced country pays. How American is that? How American is it to pay more and get less? How American is it to leave people out in the cold without looking at ways to make sure we’re ALL better off? Unfortunately, health care costs will never go away and we’ll continue to pay them in the future. The forprofit and employer-based private insurance system that’s become the norm has failed us so we need to look at other ways. Thankfully, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Reams of data from other industrialized countries exist that demonstrate different ways of achieving a system that works for all. Let’s dig deep, put ideology aside, and find a uniquely American universal health care system that we can be proud of.

Chris Marye Littleton, CO

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Denver Urban Spectrum October 2017  

This month, our cover story looks at “Denver Dreamers” and others who expressed their opinion on the current status of the Deferred Action f...