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Volume 25, Number 7, October 2011


spreading the news about people of color


Million Dollar Smile

Photos from Website

Dr. Farrah Gray

Reallionnaire Author Inspires Denver‌4



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October 2011

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tanya Ishikawa Randle Loeb Sheila Smith ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte The Creative Spirit



We all have them in our families. A father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, or godfather who has been a role model and inspiration in our lives. I idolized my grandfather, who with my grandmother raised five boys and two girls. He always worked hard, gave great advice, and was the epitome of manhood. That is why I am proud of another issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum that spotlights the 27-year-old self-made millionaire, Dr. Farrah Gray. He is quite a character and blew me away with his entrepreneurial spirit and drive. Who could have imagined any young Black boy like Farrah making their first million dollars by age 14? This is what every young African-American male should strive for in life: to be successful. Gray was the keynote speaker at the Black M.O.D.E.L men (Men of Distinction, Excellence and Leadership) awards luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the downtown Marriott Hotel. The Epsilon Nu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. sponsored the event and paid tribute to the cream of the crop of Black men in Denver. It was such an honor to witness a history-making event to celebrate what Black men have accomplished in our city. I love what Patricia O’Neal, president of the AKA Denver chapter, had to say: “When you raise up our Black men, you raise up an entire race.” Yes, it is all about Black men being committed and responsible role models in our society today. Like Dr. Johnny Johnson, obstetrician and gynecologist, said: “If you are not at the table (or program), then be prepared to be part of someone's menu." Basically, Black men have to step up to the plate, take part in their children’s lives, be a part of the community, and set an example for others to follow. This month’s issue also focuses on the health of African Americans. Contributor Cydnie Wilson takes a look at a family of women who have overcome health obstacles and are healing together through Zumba exercise classes, while Randle Loeb reminds us of the health issues facing the homeless. Dr. Isaiah Harris discusses how obesity affects the reproductive system of African-American women, and Dr. Johnny Johnson reminds us about loving our heart and being at risk of heart disease. Grant Jones, founder and executive director of the Center for African-American Health, also talks about the effects of diabetes. So please enjoy reading another outstanding issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum, aimed at educating, inspiring, and enlightening our community.


Sheila Smith Managing Editor

WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR ConnectMe/SpectrumTalk Tanya Ishikawa DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2011 by Rolado, LLC. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. Office address is 2727 Welton St., Denver, CO 80205. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


Teachers Reflect the Student Population at Whittier

their same reflection in the mirror. Our Whittier PTA also reflects this diversity in our leadership team and in our parent membership. In my opinion, the keys are intentionality and fostering a safe environment. You have to seek to build a diverse team; it doesn’t happen by accident. And, I feel that diversity breeds more diversity. A more diverse team will naturally attract top-notch diverse talent as it becomes apparent when the potential staff member enters the building that they have found a safe place. I feel the safe environment is fostered when every person in the building is made to feel equally valued and a collaborative atmosphere is created. Whittier K-8’s staff turnover rate is virtually 0 percent. There are many reasons for this, but I believe a key one is that the school has created a safe place to be a professional of color.

Editor: Your headline last month “Where are the teachers that look like me?” jumped off the page and I immediately cried out, “I know where they are: at Whittier K-8!” “It is so important for children to ‘see themselves’,” wrote Tamara Rhone in your article on the dearth of African-American teachers in our classrooms. At Whittier K-8, the students “see themselves” in the staff members of the school. With a principal and assistant principal who are both AfricanAmerican, and over 60 percent of the staff members being people of color (African-American, Asian, Latino and Multi-ethnic), I feel that Whittier K-8 has been able to create a model for intentional and successful diversity within DPS. With a student population that is 45 percent Latino, 40 percent African-American, 12 percent Anglo and three percent Asian and Native American, the administration at Whittier feels it is critical for the students to see staff members throughout the building that share

Karen Mortimer President, Whittier PTA

African American Families Need Paid Sick Days

Editor: Our country and our city are at a crossroad – to move forward in a

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


direction that will support working families or to know the big corporations that are profiting at the cost of our African- American families. In November, we can vote to solve at least one of the problems that is hurting our families, our communities and our entire city. The problem that so many hard-working people in Denver face - being forced to go to work sick. Continued on page 33 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

Publisher Editor News & Information

Advertising & Marketing Graphics & Design

Distribution & Circulation


Dr. Farrah Gray Share His Experiences at M.O.D.E.L Awards in Denver By Sheila Smith

S elf-made millionaire Farrah Gray is an interesting role model.

The 27-year old began his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 6, selling hand-painted rocks to people to use as bookends and later starting his own lotion company. At 7, he was already carrying around business cards that read “21st Century CEO.” “According to statistics, I should have been a Black man in prison or dead. I grew up very poor. …ebonically speaking, I grew up ‘po’. But I continued to dream. My mother had a heart attack, and as a young man I wanted to help her pay the bills. So by age 6, I saw oversized rocks on the street and began to paint them. I then knocked on people’s doors and asked them if they wanted to buy my rocks as bookends or paper weights,” said the impressive 27-year old about those early days, sparking his entrepreneurial spirit and making his first million dollars at age 14. Gray came to Denver to speak at the 2nd Annual 2011 M.O.D.E.L. (Men of Distinction Excellence and Leadership) Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 17. Nationally, Gray is the epitome of what a role model should be. He acknowledged many great Black men are out there. He said you hear very little about what they are doing because it’s deemed unpopular. He added, “We as Black men always hear what’s not possible and what we can’t do.” What is unheard of is how a young 8-year-old Black boy from the south side of Chicago became a business genius and co-founded the Urban

Neighborhood Enterprise Economic Club (U.N.E.E.C) that went on to raise $15,000. By age 13, Gray expanded to another level by developing a venture capital fund headquartered on Wall Street. Many wonder if Gray is for real and how he did it. He simply has proven how ambition and ingenuity led him to be soaking in success.

He pointed out how people need to challenge themselves, and offered a few tips to those at the luncheon: “Don’t get caught up in a job that you hate, never settle, do what you love, look at how you can be of service and give back.” Gray’s business ventures over the past decade have been quite lucrative. This includes him establishing a pre-paid phone card business, the One

Dr. Gray signs autographs for excited luncheon attendees.

Stop Mail Boxes & More franchise, Teenscope “Youth AM/FM interactive teen talk show” and producing a comedy show on the Las Vegas strip. He even went into the food industry by manufacturing a strawberry-vanilla syrup product that generated orders exceeding $1.5 million. Now he is the youngest CEO of a book publishing company, Farrah Gray Publishing, distributed by HCI Books. He also celebrates the triumph of being a contributing author in a New York Times Bestselling book, Chicken Soup for the AfricanAmerican Soul with its merchandising topping $1.3 billion. His other books include “Reallionaire” and “The Truth Shall Make You Rich.” And then there is his latest no-holds-barred book, “Get Real Get Rich.” Among all of Gray’s other accolades that he received over the years, he is not only one of the youngest Black entrepreneurs in the country and one of most influential Black men in America, but also on the same list as Sean “Diddy” Combs for being one of the sexiest Black men in the country. Gray isn’t just business savvy. He has a sense of inner pride in being socially and politically responsible. He established The Farrah Gray Foundation that provides at-risk students with financial assistance to attend historically Black colleges. His philanthropy also supports the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Bone Marrow Donor Program. And yes, he said, “I will be voting for President Barack Obama again. He is like most brothers with a janitorial job who have to come in and clean up the mess.” Continued on page 6

Photo by Lens of Anser

Dr. Gray takes time to visit with young future leaders. Photo by Lens of Anser

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


The Adverse Effects Of Obesity T

By Dr. Isaiah Harris

he incidence of obesity continues to rise in the United States, such that with over 64 percent of women being overweight and over 35 percent being obese. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that obesity related illnesses accounted for $147 billion in medical care costs in 2008. Obesity rates among minority women are particularly high, and we are gaining a better understanding of the health consequences that obesity causes. Besides obesity being associated with a multitude of life threatening health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it is also correlated with a plethora of deleterious reproductive consequences. These include menstrual disorders, infertility, increased miscarriage rates, and elevated risks for several adverse pregnancy related problems. The adverse impact of obesity on the success of assisted reproductive technologies has also been well documented. Obese women take longer to get pregnant and have decreased success with fertility treatments than normal weight women. Our team at the University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine clinic has conducted research on the impacts of obesity and success of fertility treatments. The research found that obese patients are almost half as likely to have success with fertility treatments as normal weight women. In addition, obese patients often require higher doses of fertility medications to stimulate their ovaries effectively which increases the cost of their treatments. The adverse effects of obesity are particularly troubling to minority women because we already know from research done at the University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine clinic and other national data that current fertility treatments are less effective for minority women. In a recent study of our most advanced fertility treatments, we showed that minority women were successfully able to achieve pregnancy only half as often as white women. This combined with the increased rates of obesity among minority women presents one of the most serious challenges to the reproductive medicine community.

There is hope, however, researchers at the University of Colorado continue to exam specific and targeted research options for obese and minority populations. The most effective long term treatment is weight loss through diet and exercise. We have shown that a five to 10 percent weight loss will increase the likelihood that a woman will ovulate and often these women will go on to have successful pregnancies without using any fertility medications. If fertility treatment is required, weight loss increases the effectiveness of the fertility treatments and their likelihood for success. Because we know that many women struggle with losing weight, women can improve

their ability to lose weight by seeking the assistance of nutritionists, dieticians, and physical therapist. Although women’s natural inclination is to eat low fat foods, it is likely more effective to focus on reducing the carbohydrate intake. With respect to exercise, a gym membership is certainly not required and the best exercise can be accomplished with fast pace walking or jogging for 30-60 minutes per day, at least 3 days a week. Take the stairs, not the elevator whenever possible, and purchase a pedometer that calculates the number of steps you take each day is a great way to keep track of your activity. If you have a Smartphone, download an app like BodyFitness that

allows you to keep track of your weight, exercise, water intake, blood pressure, and more. In addition to diet and exercise, there are research studies ongoing at the University of Colorado Hospital including the AMIGOS and PPCOS trials that are helping many women. While these particular studies are not restricted to minorities or obese patients, you can qualify to receive free fertility treatments that are beneficial to obese and minority populations. Those in the fertility (research) community continue to investigate new treatment options, and it is my personal mission to optimize fertility outcomes for obese patients and minority women. 

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Denver Health Surprised? Insist on Denver Health Denver Health accepts most insurance plans.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Dr. Farrah Gray

Continued from page 4 He laughed when talking about his own crusade for success during his childhood, remembering when, “People always told me I gave ‘selling rocks in the ‘hood’ a new meaning.” Gray, however, did leave one poignant message for Black youths in steering them to tap into their spirituality, which will fuel their success in life. “That is where the term ‘Reallionaire’ for my book came from,” he said, “To be rich from the inside out.” “Our entrepreneurial skills really start in the lunch room. Young people are really thinking of things to do and have aspirations. But you got to talk about money and that is something we don’t do in our community.” West Middle School student, Clarence Butner, 13, was inspired by what Gray had to say. He was among the few young men who attended the awards luncheon. “I felt he is a realist and didn’t sugar coat anything. And he was an inspiration to me,” he said. Another West Middle School student, Noah Willoughby, 13, said, “I thought what Mr. Gray had to say was phenomenal. It made me feel that everything and anything is possible… the sky is the limit.” For Brian Simpson, 14, who attends Eaglecrest High School, it was a memorable day. “It was very inspirational on what he had to say. I just hope that I grow up to be half of what he is and has accomplished.” Gray continued to enlighten and inspire those at the awards luncheon, even quoting Proverbs 29 from the good book: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” He has set no boundaries and is like many of the 2011 M.O.D.E.L. award recipients, who don’t see themselves as living the American dream, but making a difference to help others achieve their dreams. “If you drive a Land Rover or Land Cruiser and still have a landlord then something is wrong,” said the entrepreneurial icon. 

2011 M.O.D.E.L Men Honored

“It is important to give back to your community. Raise your families, take care of your wives and take care of your mama.”

Denver has proven to have a lot

KC Matthews, traffic engineer and specifications manager for the Colorado Division of Transportation

By Sheila Smith

of good Black men. That’s what happens when you have a former NFL player, mortuary owner, federal court judge, sheriff, obstetrician, editor, pastor and a couple of entrepreneurs who end up as part of a pool of successful Black men trying to make a difference in the community. These men are strong leaders and catalysts for change, explained Patricia O’Neal, president of the Epsilon Nu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She added, “These honorees serve as the true model of what a man is. When we lift up our Black men, you then lift up an entire race.” The sorority honored several men with the 2011 M.O.D.E.L. (Men of Distinction Excellence and Leadership) award on Sept. 17. O’Neal said the Black men of distinction honored at the luncheon were recognized in areas of education, career and community service. All the M.O.D.E.L. award recipients share a common theme in their focus on family and the community.

“When you see something going wrong in the community, you want to try to do things to correct it…. The community is important to me and part of our mission is giving back.” William “Bo” Matthews, former NFL player and founder of the Bo Matthews Center

“The community helped to mold and shape me into the kind of person that I am today.”

David Reed Jr., managing partner of Community Auto Center, LLC, who is keen on mentoring Black youths in the Cherry Creek School District

“Giving back is the best way to repay those who paved the way for us and then we make it easier for those who come after us. And it’s an honor to do my part in making this community better.”

“You change society with one person at a time….. reaching out and helpingothers.”

Richard Lewis, founder of RTL Networks Inc., who believes it’s important to have integrity and be excellent in all that you do

Federal District Court Judge Wiley Daniel, who has fed thousands through his Agape Ministry

“We have all stood on the shoulders of someone else. So everyday ask yourself when you wake up, how I can help someone today.”

“I think we still need a lot of help and would love to see us do more in our community,”

Ryan Ross, dean of students and retention at the Community College of Denver, who is considered one of the top emerging leaders under age 40 in the city of Denver

Gary Wilson, sheriff of Denver County

“Young Black men need to be motivated to do what is right. We need to help make them employable and be able to support a family.”

Elvin Caldwell Jr., owner and president of Caldwell-Kirk Mortuary

“You have to give 100 percent effort…. Be at your best.”

Gregory Moore, editor of the Denver Post

“We should know our neighbors and not be so busy with our lives that you can’t be a part of your community.”

Scott Gilmore, wildlife biologist and education coordinator with the Colorado Division of Wildlife

“We define a model man as a reflection of what Jesus Christ taught and that was empowering those he came in contact with. God made each man in order to fulfill a purpose.”

Rev. Frank Davis, senior pastor of Zion Baptist Church, who established 62 churches in Africa and created job programs in the Denver area

“Men throughout life have always had a problem with romancing the truth. We (as men) have to be at the table. If you are not at the table, then be prepared to be part of someone's menu.” Dr. Johnny Johnson, medical doctor, surgeon of obstetrics and gynecology

Photos by Bernard Grant

Congratulations to former gang member Terrance Roberts who was honored for founding the Prodigal Son Initiative, which is dedicated to serving youth and strengthening community in northeast Denver Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Inspiring Rejuvenation: Living A Fabulous Life Of Fitness After Chronic Disease By Cydnie O. Wilson


it, fierce, fabulous, and over 50 is one way to describe the members of Zion Senior Center’s Zumba Gold Program. Fitness trainer and community organizer Geraldolyn D. Harris believes that they are all “more than conquerors.� In fact, every single person in her Zumba Gold Program, the only certified Zumba classes in the Park Hill neighborhood, has overcome a chronic disease of one form or another. Even Harris is on dialysis due to kidney failure. “She considers me her mentor, but she doesn’t understand. She’s actually my mentor,� comments local fitness guru and personal trainer, Rudy McClinon, who also teaches Zumba. He became Geraldolyn’s instructor a year and a half ago, right after she recovered from her bout with a staff infection contracted after a surgery. McClinon was amazed by her abilities even while undergoing dialysis, as most dialysis patients he had ever encountered had “given in to their disease.� Not Harris. Harris – initially dragged into the exercise class with her mother, Ruby Horton, who will be 82 come October – actually excelled and did not stop there—she sought out certification for herself. That is simply the spirit that encompasses the Zumba Gold Program at the Zion Senior Center. “People have come in on walkers, and now they are leading the class,� says a beaming McClinon, who has had both of his hips replaced after playing for a Canadian Professional Football league back in the ‘70s.

McClinon, who has been volunteering at the center for eight years, has seen the effectiveness of camaraderie in enriching lives. His philosophy is simple: Do what you CAN do, not what you can’t do. Over the years, the exercise group has grown from 10 to 45. Along with being a contractor, personal trainer, and entrepreneur, McClinon teaches three classes per week. He trains a group at New Covenant Christian Church in Sable Ridge in Montbello, as well as various other locations in the metro area. He believes in what his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, says about the body – that it is our temple. We must take care of it. His wife is also onboard as a trainer, and teaches the more advanced courses. The secret behind his courses’ success, McClinon explains, is that, “By nature, we are very competitive creatures. People that come here and see their neighbor doing well, excelling despite all of their disabilities, naturally it makes them want to out-do their neighbor.� McClinon see’s his work as a joy; it is not about the money. He enjoys getting to know his clients, and works with people from all different walks of life. Cancer survivors, stroke victims, and people with severe arthritis, pacemakers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, lupus, or MS come together. These people of all cultural and religious backgrounds join each other with one goal in mind, body, and spirit — health and vitality. McClinon sees it as a privilege to serve his community and bears witness to the results everyday, adding, “Once you find something that you love, you will be rewarded, both financially and spiritually.� He also sees his work as God’s way of preparing him for himself, as he gets older.

who among other things is a survivor of Breast Cancer, attends the courses at the Red Shield Community Center on High Street. Cancer has gone down through the generations in Harris’s family. Her mother, Ruby, is the only sibling of four who did not get cancer. Ruby’s two sisters, Harris’s aunts, both fought breast cancer and lung cancer. Harris’s younger aunt lost that battle. Though Harris has been blessed to escape the grasp of cancer, she has had to deal with a number other health issues. In her early adulthood, she was prone to fibrocystic breast disease, and had seven lumps removed. A few years later, after she had three children, Harris made medical history. It all began with a diagnosis of hypertension 25 years ago, after she had birthed her last daughter. Harris was in Chicago when doctors told her she would need surgery. Shortly after

the first surgery she became very ill. Doctors were telling her she would need to be on dialysis. After she declined another suggestion for surgery, a tumor was discovered on her adrenal gland. At that time, there were only four surgeons in the country who knew the procedure for removal of a tumor from the adrenal gland. Thankfully for Harris, one of those surgeons was in Denver. She needed this surgery, and miraculously, everything was set in place for her to get it. The procedure itself was very unusual. The surgeon opened up Harris’s abdomen and removed her organs, placing them outside her body to get to the back where the adrenal gland is. The surgery was a success, and completed in half the time it was supposed to take. Due to the unusual success of completing an eight-hour Continued on page 8

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A living phenomenon, as her doctors like to say, Geraldolyn Harris is no stranger to physical ailments. Her positive outlook on life comes “only by the grace of God� as she puts it. Along with her classes at Zion, Harris teaches a faster-paced version of Zumba Gold on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Red Shield. Her sister, Cherrelyn Napue,

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Continued from page 7 surgery in just four hours, her experience has since been published in medical books. It was also the first time that doctors did not have to do a blood transfusion in such a surgery. Some years later, Harris’s kidney function dropped to 20 percent, which could lead to more serious problems. Fortunately, Harris’s sister was able to become her first kidney donor. The transplant lasted for seven years before it was rejected. In the 10 years since then, Harris has been on dialysis. Harris is now at the top of the list for a kidney donation. Finding a good match is a challenge, due to her high antibody rate. Two years ago, her brother was set to be her next donor when Harris contracted a severe staff infection. The infection set in after a surgery was performed to correct the fistula (dialysis connections) in her arm. Because the infection caused her antibodies rise considerably, her body will reject any transplant that cannot match the high antibody rate. Still, Harris is faithful that the right match will come along at the right time.

Facing Forward

For now, Harris goes in three times weekly for the overnight, nocturnal dialysis—an eight-hour treatment that she finds to be much easier on her body and

lifestyle than the traditional four-hour daytime treatments that most dialysis patients are accustomed to. The key for Harris — “Dialysis is not your life.” She points out that dialysis patients look at it like it is a life sentence, when the reality is, it serves as a portion of their life that helps to increase their life. “You don’t let it dominate to the point that you don’t enjoy your life,” she advises. Like many who live on dialysis, Harris found it to be time consuming, and very draining, but she took a new perspective. “For most people, it’s four hours. People watch TV for longer than four hours.” With that in mind, Harris took that time to study the Bible, and worked towards acquiring her bachelor’s degree in biblical studies. Just like the achiever she is, Harris did not stop there. She is currently working on completing her master’s in Christian education, and beginning her doctoral studies. After just one year of working out, Harris has been able to ease off of all of her medications. “There’s just so much you can do, you give with all you have to give— God can use you at any stage of life,” she says.

Climbing Mountains

Anyone with chronic illness can attest to the pain, fatigue, and insomnia. Harris has battled with each and every symptom. She recalls sitting on the couch, eating sandwiches, and watching the workouts on TV. Sometimes they drain too much fluid out in dialysis, leaving patients with severe body cramping and low energy. Then one day, Harris decided to purchase a Wii. Soon after, something motivated her to take it a step further, and like the self-starter she is, she decided to go to one of Rudy’s classes. The rest is history. “The hardest thing is just getting out. I have been hardly able to walk all day [at times], but once I start moving God just takes over. Next thing I know—I don’t feel the pain, and we’re workin’ out!” Working out relieves stress, releases endorphins, and is a good cure for depression and anxiety. “The reality is, most of the time we want God to take us over the mountain or around the mountain—not really to help us climb the mountain,” Harris admits. The key in the road to rejuvenation for Harris: “It starts out first as a spiritual thing. Having our trust in God, no matter what.” Harris motivates herself with the following goals: •[Come what may], I can trust God. •Understand what your personal challenges are. No one should know more about my body than me.

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•Be diligent in taking medications you need to function—don’t try to cut corners. •Be aware that the illness is a part of your life, not dictating your life. •Understand that it is a progression. The Zumba Gold course with Geraldolyn Harris at Zion Senior Center in Park Hill on Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m. is geared for seniors age 65 and up, but welcomes all ages. The focus is balance and range of motion. People may spend their first six weeks sitting and doing the movements from their chairs, but today, the majority spends the entire time on foot. Classes are a $2 donation per session. It is a fun, friendly atmosphere with people who are not just there for the workout, but also to build community. “We’re a community. We become a family. We’re not the typical class where you can just come in, exercise, and just leave out and nobody knows who you are,” says Harris. They do extracurricular activities, movie outings, and are seeking sponsorship for more outings and activities. For her 54th birthday, Harris went indoor skydiving for the 1st time, she would like to go parachuting next summer. She also has a newfound passion for whitewater tubing. Now all she needs is swimming lessons. Summing up her philosophy, she says, “The Word says do all you can, and all you can do is examine it and live my lifestyle the best that I can, doing all that I can and encouraging others.”

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Work it! Work it!

Harris pictured with her mother.

Civil Rights Legend Memorialized

Menola N. Upshaw

Menola N. Upshaw was born April, 16, 1921 in St. Louis, Missouri and left to meet the Lord on September 3, 2011 while in Dewitt, Michigan. A long time resident of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Mrs. Upshaw moved with her family to Denver in 1957 and resided there until 2011. She was a graduate of Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, received a B.A. in education from Tennessee State University, her master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, and a specialist in education degree from the University of Northern Colorado. Mrs. Upshaw often said, “I believe I was born to be a teacher,” and she was a great teacher. She was a longtime elementary school teacher and after moving to Denver switched to special education. After years in the classroom, Mrs. Upshaw became the first Black coordinator in the Denver Public Schools. She remained in that position until her retirement. In 1967, she was named Colorado Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Upshaw was a longtime member of New Hope Baptist Church, then Zion Baptist Church, where for many years she was Sunday School Superintendent. She was very active in the National Baptist Sunday School and BTU Congress, serving on the faculty. Mrs. Upshaw had a lifelong, unfailing passion for gaining and preserving civil rights for African Americans and all people of color. She served multiple terms as president of the Denver National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was driving force in the multi-state Region Four of the NAACP, and was a member of the National Board of Directors, and National Executive Committee of the NAACP. She had met United States Presidents, governors, mayors, CEO’s of Fortune 500 Corporations, and yet she remained humble and down to earth. Working to mentor those willing to learn; willing to listen, console and share with those who needed a friend, Mrs. Upshaw was an outstanding and exemplary educator, activist, mother, grandmother, friend, and colleague. We may never see another like her. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Pearl and Will Neal, and her brother and sister, Dewitt Neal, Sr. and Reathel Neal; her husband Charles F. Upshaw, Sr., and cousin Helen Ladd and nephew Dewitt Neal, Jr. She is survived by her son Charles F. Upshaw, Jr., daughter-in-law Barbara Daniels Upshaw; and grandchildren Kayla and James Upshaw; sister-in-law Stenola Neal, niece Brenda Neal and cousin Carlene Ladd.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Speaking Out Against Genocide In The Sudan

The 2011 Walk For Sudan 1 to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16 Campus Middle School and Cherry Creek State Park 4785 S. Dayton St., Denver For more information and to register: Contact Martha Riley (303) 435-2073

Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail

By Sheila Smith

came to Denver and talked about the bombing and burning down of his home and office in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.

speaking out against the war and mass killings of people in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. The rally was sponsored by the Coalition for Genocide Awareness. “It is too dangerous to go back,” said Bishop Andudu amid posters displaying images of the atrocities being waged against the Sudanese people including children being maimed or killed. Derek Okubo, executive director of human rights and community relations with the city of Denver, called the ethnic cleansing in Sudan as “infallible and unthinkable.”. “We your consider our Sudanese broth"When you leave job... ers and sisters as community members don't leave your behind!" Omhagain Dayeen is heartbroken who have lost money loved ones, killed or about the government starving people still trapped behind borders. But I Myra Donovan, CLU,atChFC, and soldiers raping women in the villook you asCFP being the strongest of lages and refugee camps in the Sudan. Financial Adviser the strong,” he said as the rally’s repShe just returned to Denver after resentative from the mayor’s office. spending five months in the Sudan. all do more by continuing to 3200 Cherry Creek“We Drivecan South, #700 Then, there’s Arok Garang, 29. The let others know what is going on.” Denver, CO 80209 Denver resident is one of the original Andudu came to the United States 303-871-7249 - in Lost Boys of the Sudan who fled at July to seek treatment for an ailage 7 after his parents were massament, when he found out that his cred. office and home at the Diocese of "Call Today for a FREE “President Bashir is a killer and he Kadugli Episcopal Church of Sudan Consultation!" is not going to stop. That is why I left had been burned down. and now the killing is still going on,” He said the killing of people is nonsaid Arok who after some 20 years stop, sparked only by rich oil reserves later is still afraid to return to his and other natural resources that the homeland. Sudanese government is controlling. A month ago, these individuals “We are treated like slaves, secondstood on the steps of the state capitol, class citizens. When all our people

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wanted to do is share the resources of the land.” Andudu explained how Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir and his Islamic Arab government continue to allow millions of the Black Christian Muslims to be killed. The war in Darfur and the region of the Republic of South Sudan started back in 1983. Despite efforts of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was signed, the genocide of people continues. This summer, brutal fighting and

ravaging of villages reached its peak in the mountains in Northern Sudan. After Andudu’s visit to Denver, he headed to Washington, D.C. to plea for help, and plans to go before the United Nations. He said his main goal is to make the people in the United States and internationally aware of the recent bombings and killings. Secondly, he hopes humanitarian organizations will be allowed to come and give people food. Third, he wants the U.N. to put pressure on the Sudan government to allow peacekeeping troops into the country. The world’s eyes are being diverted from what is truly going on in the Sudan, said Roz Duman, founder of the Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, and she is not sitting by quietly. “People in Colorado and around the country need to know what is going on,” she said. “We are trying to put pressure on our congressional

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness & Action Roz Duman, founder

leaders and President Barack Obama to act.” So far, Duman is launching a media campaign in Denver and other cities across the state to get out the stories and images of what is happening in the Sudan. Omhagain Dayeen is trying to do her part about the injustices and annihilation of her people in the Sudan. She was an artist and professor at the Khartoum University in Sudan. She and her husband, Kamal Khamis, had to leave the country in fear of being killed. During her trip to the Sudan, Dayeen helped provide medicine and supplies to many of the displaced people trapped in refugee camps. “I met this one lady who was raped and had a baby. She didn’t want to feed it because it is considered shameful in our culture (to be raped),” she said on how the government’s soldiers use rape as a weapon against the Muslim women in Sudan. “I also met a lot of widows whose husbands were killed. They have no income and no clothes. They have nothing.” The Rev. Oja Gafour with the Sudanese Community Church in Denver is also very troubled over the recent outbreaks of war and terror on a country where his roots are deeply embedded. “Faith does not uphold the freedom of the human spirit. Temporal life itself is inseparable from faith in God. Therefore, what is going on in the Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile region is unforgivable oppression,” Gafour said. “The irony is in the attitude of the international community and inaction. It is not that they lack knowledge of the tragedy in marginalized areas of the Sudan, but their lack of interest shows how it serves those in power at a cost to the weak.” Alicia Fall with Her Many Voices, a local organization of artists who respond to humanitarian needs, agreed, “As Americans, we live in our bubble and don’t want to know what is going on (in the Sudan).” 

Five Points Business District Ready to Launch Community Redevelopment Interim Executive Director Dante James Says Stars Aligned


he stage is set for the revival of Five Points through commercial, residential and community redevelopment, declares Five Points Business District Interim Executive Director DANTE J. JAMES. The actors are all cast, and the Business District office is ready to help coordinate the long-awaited production. “What the community really wants to see is the beginning of redevelopment,” says James. “I honestly think that the stars are aligned, and know this is the time that Welton Street can and will be developed.” Five Points’ designation by the state in 2009, as one of the first four “downtown” areas to participate in the Sustainable Main Street Initiative was pivotal, James explains. The initiative identified Five Points as the only urban area with top priority for receiving multi-agency governmental support for redevelopment. As a result, the city of Denver, the Denver Urban Renewal Area (DURA), the Regional Transportation District (RTD), and many other entities “are now conscious of the development possibilities and probabilities in Five Points,” James says. “The focus is here.” He reports that DURA was doing a study this September to determine if Five Points could be designated as eligible for urban renewal area funding. The Five Points Business District is funded by Denver’s Office of Economic Development as part of the city’s Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative, launched in 2008, to strengthen business districts and surrounding neighborhoods. The district’s goals are to improve community health and wellness, create a business destination, develop jobs and educational opportunities, promote it as a tourist attraction, and preserve, integrate and restore the area’s historic culture. Former Executive Director Wil Alston began the effort of forging relationships between the various stakeholders in the area’s futures, from property and business owners to developers and funding sources. Alston left the office this summer when he accepted the position of communications director with Denver Michael Hancock. James, an attorney and political consultant, began serving as interim director on Aug. 22, and plans to step down by November when a new exec-

By Tanya Ishikawa

utive director is found. A longtime supporter of the Five Points community, James recently served as state director for the Center for Progress Leadership, a political leadership training program. With more than 35 years of martial arts training, he is currently the international director of education for the World Hapkido Association. His career has also included time as a project director for the African American Voter Information Project, an appointed executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Compliance under former Mayor Wellington Webb, and the team lead for on-site events in the White House Advance Office during President Bill Clinton’s administration. Commenting on his interim position in Five Points, James says, “I saw a need that I could fill for a short time “I plan to maintain the partnerships, the nonprofit’s functions, and community outreach.” He describes the director’s role as being the point person to facilitate and coordinate the partnerships in Five Points’ development, and ensure the vision and mission of the community are incorporated. The next director must also develop more diverse funding streams to sustain the office. Plans include pursuing grants for a store front improvement program and developing a Five Points business chamber, as well as other revenue streams that benefit the community while funding the office. James suggests the community can support the office’s efforts by attending the monthly public meetings and continuing to make their voices heard. Property owners and the community are interested in attracting visitors from all over like a LoDo or Highland neighborhood, James says, “but with the basic understanding that development is based on the Black history and culture of the area.” “The area has been historically Black-owned and Black-patronized, so the goal is to maintain a significant amount of Black ownership and management, with the understanding that there are not enough Black folks in this city to sustain it by itself,” he adds. “As people move in, the demographics will change but the culture and history will still remain.” James also points to Five Points’ convenient proximity to downtown Denver as a selling point for redevelopment, as well as the need for

improving the pedestrian experience. “RTD (light rail) has really made it unfriendly for pedestrians, so we are in discussions with RTD about street cars,” he explains. “All these possibilities really exist here: opportunities for mixed use development, housing and business in the same buildings. The opportunities are truly endless,” he says. The challenge is in getting all the government players “to come together and recognize the financial necessity of doing this, and putting funding into doing this.” “Anytime you’re dealing with government bureaucracy, it can be slow and unwieldy. There have been architectural drawings to redevelop this area for years, but not the will. I think the will is coming to fruition,” he concludes. “This office is trying to hold that consciousness and keep it moving. All the people in the bureaucracies have been at the table and expressed willingness. Things are in the process. It’s about trying to keep all entities moving forward so there is a domino affect.” 

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


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In hindsight, Derek Faison recog-

nizes he had many of the symptoms of diabetes. He was tired all the time, very thirsty, and his vision had

become blurry. And even though both his mother and father were diabetics,

Diabetes Prevention And Control A Serious Health Concern In The African-American Community By Grant Jones

he didn’t put two and two together. “I’m an educated man,” said Faison, retired founder of Faison Office Products, “but AfricanAmerican men, especially ex-jocks, we think that something is always going to happen to someone else, not us.” But statistics show that diabetes is very likely to happen to African Americans, even more than other racial/ethnic groups. Compared to white adults, the risk of diabetes is 77 percent higher among African Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4.9 million African Americans ages 20 and older – 18.7 percent – have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes) accounts for about 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. It occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effec-

Participants in the Center for AfricanAmerican Health’s free diabetes self-management class learn about eating healthy foods, being physically active, taking diabetes medicine as prescribed and testing blood sugar levels.

tively. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Other complications include kidney failure, blindness, and amputation.

Diabetes Can Be Prevented

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But while you can’t control some risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as your race, age and family history, you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by taking these three steps: •maintaining a healthy weight, •eating low-fat, well balanced meals, and •making physical activity a habit.

Prescription For Living Well With Diabetes

Diabetes is a self-managed disease. People with diabetes must take responsibility for their day-to-day care. The chances of having diabetes complications can be reduced or delayed significantly by keeping blood glucose (blood sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol in the target range. As a community-based organization the Center for African-American

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Health is focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the AfricanAmerican community. The Center offers a diabetes self-management class licensed by the Stanford School of Medicine – an evidence-based model proven effective at improving knowledge, confidence and self-management skills for participants. Focus on Diabetes is a free six-week class that meets once a week for 2-1/2 hours. It teaches individuals with diabetes, and their caregivers, skills related to living with the disease. Subjects covered include: • Healthy eating • Developing and maintaining a long-term exercise program • Monitoring diabetes • Making informed treatment decisions • Using prescribed medications correctly • Managing fatigue, pain and stress • Dealing with anger, depression and other negative emotions • Communicating with healthcare professionals Each participant receives a copy of the companion book “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.” The meetings are highly interactive, and focus on building skills, sharing experiences, and providing support. Each class is led by two certified class leaders, often people living with diabetes themselves. Faison has taken the Center’s Focus on Diabetes class. He learned to modify the foods he eats, about the importance of regular exercise, and how to monitor his diabetes. Today, Faison’s 30 pounds lighter than when he was diagnosed. His glucose level is back to normal and he’s on the lowest dose of diabetes medication. “Even in educated, affluent circles, I find that people don’t know what their blood sugar level should be, let alone what it is,” says Faison. “We’ve got to stop the epidemic of diabetes in the African-American community.”

Where Can I Go for Help?

The Center for African-American Health offers ongoing diabetes selfmanagement classes. It also offers workshops at churches and in other community settings across the metro area about preventing diabetes. Contact the Center at 355-3423 or go to the Web site for more information at Editor’s note: Grant Jones is the founder and executive director of the Center for African-American Health.

Health Care For The Homeless: Under One Roof, One Life At A Time

Through the Stout Street Clinic at

By Randle Loeb

2100 Broadway, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has been providing basic services for all homeless citizens of the metro Denver region for more than a quarter century. Now with the Federal Health Care Plan, and the inception of the Health Care Exchange in 2013, 10,000 lowincome people who are ineligible for medicaid will be enrolled and start receiving services, 10 percent of which will be paid for by the state of Colorado and the rest by the federal government. This means that many people who received services as a write off to the healthcare providers will now be eligible for reimbursed standard fees. In 2010, the coalition provided medical and mental healthcare services to 13,364 men, women and children, ranging in age from infancy to over 85. Common diagnoses include hypertension, diabetes, and asthma. Frequently, homeless patients suffer from multiple diagnoses, making treatment and care significantly more challenging than for people who are not homeless. Overall, the life expectancy for most Americans is almost 80 years – yet, for those who experience life on the streets, the probable lifespan is between 42 and 52 years. Young women, aged 18 to 34, are four times more likely to die prematurely than their housed counterparts. The coalition strives each day to better these devastating odds. Assessing the causes of early death, it is clear when we have the memorial service for homeless people nationally on December 21, the first day of winter, that the greatest cause of morbidity is being isolated and unable to access services that provide palliative and preventive maintenance for trauma. Early onset of debilitating diseases is prominent in the habits and means of the patients to escape from their harrowing experiences in early childhood. These patients are often victimized, experiencing domestic violence, neglect, abuse, mental stress, and

blunt and persistent trauma. Studies of 14,000 patients through the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) at Kaiser Permanente have shown that in the course of a lifetime, without a stable place to live and basic life skills associated with case management and an environment of support, most people will have shorter lives and hardships that most people never see. The Health Care Exchange puts managed comprehensive care in reach of people who for the most part were left out in the cold or were subjected to the beneficence of programs like Stout Street Clinic and the Homeless Outreach Program or HOP van. Many homeless are intimidated by clinics, and adverse conditions make them trauma victims who have no other source for services than direct contact on the street. The HOP van costs $300,000 annually, and despite the support of generous donors, had to be kept off the street over a year due to lack of state funding to maintain the program. The cuts were made in the Tobacco Tax Settlement that was supposed to ensure that subsidized medical care was available to indigent citizens in the community. Stout Street is growing to double the current size in 2014. By the summer of 2012, ground will be broken for the new clinic across the street from the Off Broadway Lofts of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and next door to the Spot of Urban Peak and the mercury Cafe at the corner of California and 22nd Street. Through contributions of New Market and low income tax credits, with loans from banks and business investments, the Stout Street Clinic will have a campus that provides a place for people to wait inside for treatment. They are employing an approach called trauma informed care, and making it possible for all their clinics to be housed under one roof. In addition there will be 78 units of housing on top of the twostory clinic. These plans make it possible for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to serve the patients in substance treatment, family and children clinics, optometry, pharmacy, dental, mental health, and medical treatment under one roof. In addition, a satellite clinic will operate out of the new West End Flats at Zenobia and Colfax, augmenting the already extended services at St. Francis Center at 2323 Curtis Street. There will be opportunities for a full range of services for longterm care and advances in the quality of patient care from these operations that are integrated with electronic files and opportunities for records to be shared throughout the system completely.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless believes that managed care must rely on customer satisfaction and input into the services that are delivered. The annual satisfaction surveys indicate that the clinic’s homeless clients view the care as superlative, because it is based on the interests and goals of the patient through listening and responding to the person. 

Editor’s note: Randle Loeb is a Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Board Member. The nonprofit’s philosophy is: saving one life at a time through lasting solutions. For more information, visit or call 303 293 2220.

Cleaves Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 2222 Marion St., Denver, CO 80205 Reverend Mark J. Hill, Pastor

2011 Annual Foneda Cox Lay Banquet Honoring Mrs. Jerilyn Hitch-Fuller Saturday, October 8, 2011 Program begins promptly at 2 PM

Souvenir Program Rates

Full Page…$50 Half Page…$25 Quarter Page…$15...Patron Ad…$10

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For more information or to place an ad in the souvenir program, call Valorie Miller at 303-725-5662.

Minority Student Medical Career Awareness Workshops and Recruitment Fair Register now at Saturday, November 5, 2011 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Registration 11:00 am - 6:30 pm Workshops and Fair


Colorado Convention Center – Exhibit Hall B Lobby AAMC Annual Meeting s Denver, Colorado College and high school students, parents, prehealth advisors, school administrators, and other interested individuals: s meet diversity affairs and admissions officers from U.S. medical schools and other health professions schools s listen to panel discussions on medical school preparation, admissions and the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT) s learn about the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) s participate in hands-on medical and health activities and more

Association of American Medical Colleges

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


CBWPA Present Annual Tribute To Black Women Luncheon

Relevant and Results Oriented is the theme of the Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) 32nd annual tribute to Black women luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Claire Garcia, Second Lady of Colorado and a distinguished African American Published Professor of English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She teaches a course on Black writers in France, and has just developed a new course on Women of the Negritude Movement for Feminist and Gender Studies. Dr. Garcia’s current research and writing is focused on gender, race and modernism in the Atlantic triangle. CBWPA will present their annual tribute awards to seven outstanding women in the community. The 2011 honorees include Diana Whye (education); State Representative Rhonda Fields (politics); Emily Tarleton (community service); Emma G. Jackson, RN (senior citizen); Larissa Renea Borne (youth), Belinda Hooks (business) and Hazel Miller (cultural arts). Jeannie Davis, 2011 Nomination Committee Chairperson said,

“Excitement is mounting as CBWPA’s 23rd annual luncheon approaches. We anticipate more than 400 people in attendance to celebrate the achievements of our award recipients.” CBWPA is a non-profit organization that depends on corporate donations, grants, and fundraising for administration, development, and implementation of programs, including scholarships and other educational and training programs. The Board of Director’s is responsible for developing a plan of action and promoting the goals of CBWPA. Tickets are $60. For more information, call 303-388-4983. CBWPA 32nd Annual Tribute to Black Women 2011 Award Recipients Business - Belinda Hooks serves as

Director of Operations for the Rocky Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council and is President of PromoLinks, LLC. She is a successful business woman and an extraordinary advocate for the growth and sustainment of minority businesses in the Rocky Mountain Region. Community Service - Emily Tarleton earned her reputation as a community volunteer in Denver through her serv-

ice on various boards of directors and involvement in numerous community and civic organizations, political campaigns and her church. Her picture is mounted on the Legends Wall at Manual High School for her professional accomplishments. Cultural Arts - Hazel Miller has been a sought after performer in Colorado for the past 27 years. Whether she is singing blues, jazz, pop, or Gospel, her voice charges the songs with a primal dose of genuine soul. Most recently, she is enjoying a great year of festival appearances in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Wyoming, Kentucky, Utah and more. Education - Diana Whye, Executive Director Community College of Aurora Foundation, has made a career of ensuring that students who want to attend college are able to accomplish that goal and was instrumental in establishing the Mile High United Way Pathway Scholarship program.

Politics - State Representative Rhonda Fields has

served for the past year in the Colorado State House as the representative for State House District 42 in Aurora. A longtime believer in the values of her community and state, she was chosen and recognized as the 2011 Colorado Democratic Party Rising Star. Senior Citizen - Emma G. Jackson, MS, RN, MA Congregational (Parish) Nurse, is a retired registered nurse whose current professional practice focus is community health, specifically, health and wellness preventive education and service for African Americans and other underserved populations. Youth - Larissa Renea Borne is a firstyear student at Prairie View A&M University whose goal is to obtain a future full of success and happiness. She aspires to become a mechanical engineer and dreams of becoming founder and CEO of a major enterprise that constructs, designs, and manufactures planes for the U.S. government. 


FREE DAY Explore your Museum by taking part in our SCFD Community Free Days. Enjoy entertainment, family activities, and shows all for free.

Monday, October 31 Sunday, November 13 Monday, December 5 For more information visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Phenomenal Women By Joan Wallach

Editor’s note: This article was first published in the Greater Park Hill News ( and is reprinted with permission from the publisher.


r. Robbie Bean can take your breath away. Her elegance, intelligence and perseverance are legendary. Dr. Bean taught in Denver Public Schools for 35 years, was honored as one of Denver’s 150 Unsung Heroes in the 2008 celebration of Denver’s 150 year anniversary, and received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement in January of this year. Dr. Bean, a long time Park Hill neighbor, was one of the founders and long-time President of Celebration of Families-Students Inc., a nonprofit organization created to celebrate the efforts of students, teachers, families and elders, and to create intergenerational travel and educational opportunities. The organization showcases students and the arts in their annual spring celebration, drawing people from throughout northeast Denver.

Passing of the Torch

On August 7 the house was packed at Kate’s Restaurant located on 35th Ave. in Denver. Celebration of Families-Students Inc. volunteers, supporters, and board members, African American educators, gathered to eat, listen and watch as Dr. Bean “passed the torch” to Sara Murphy, the organization’s new president. The Pass the Torch Ceremony included musical performances by Ollie Smith and a swearing in ceremony with Richard Smith presiding. Murphy gave an energetic presentation about the mission/vision/committee structure and themes for the 2011/2012 school year. She described the theme for this year’s school celebration as Spoken Word, and explained that children would strengthen their reading and writing skills with contest entries as brief as Haiku. Murphy acknowledged the collective wisdom in the room and her appreciation of their support as they move forward together.


Sara Murphy is a young working professional, single mom, and a believer in giving back. Her grandparents helped raise her. Sara spent much of her life in Park Hill, starting at

Philips Elementary. Sara often summered in Chicago and said, “I had the best of both worlds.” She loves urban living. Summers included free blues and poetry performances including Nikki Giovanni and B.B. King. Sara’s grandfather was Irish and Native American and a believer in karma. He instilled in Sara the idea that you get what you give. Murphy is proud mom to Zoe, a 7-

year old entering third grade in a Spanish immersion program at Denver Language School, where Sara serves on the board of directors. She loves being a mom and providing the tools for Zoe to succeed. Murphy is on the board of SMOC - Single Mothers of Color, a nonprofit organization that helps working women of color focus on family time, providing workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities.

how to knit at Pauline Robinson Library. Mother and daughter deliver the Greater Park Hill News. Murphy‘s grandmother died in 1997. Her grandfather passed in 2006. Honoring his wish to stay out of a nursing home, she and Zoe took care of him in their home. Murphy called this a profound illustration of her grandfather getting back what he had given to her.

Lifelong Learner

Murphy and Zoe journeyed to Paris and London in 2010. Standing before the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and seeing a musical in London were highlights of the trip. Murphy is a lifelong learner, a woman whose journey doesn’t stop when she returns from a grand adventure. Instead she envisions how others can travel and be introduced to other cultures, languages and history. She believes it is a mistake to be monolingual in today’s changing world. The Travel Committee for Celebrating Families-Students is exploring the possibility of a six-week trip to France, pairing families with seniors. Journaling, math and history would be building blocks of the program. How could someone as busy as

Living Large

Murphy sign on to a commitment as large as that of Chair of Celebration of Families-Students, Inc.? To have an opportunity to help children of color understand their history and the struggles for free education and its value are priorities for her. Murphy felt that college was a requirement for her. She never questioned going. She would like northeast Denver’s children to set goals including high school graduation and college or trade school. She is concerned that the number of African American teachers in DPS is declining. In 2010 just 233 of 4,700 educators were African American while the African American student population continues to grow. Also, Murphy was in the audience for one of the organization’s celebrations and heard Zoe, who was in kindergarten at the time recite excerpts from Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s Last Will and Testament. How proud could a mom be? “Phenomenal Woman” is a poem by Maya Angelou. Sara Murphy used the same phrase to describe Dr. Bean. Those two words easily describe Sara Murphy as well - a young working professional, single mom, and believer in giving back – indeed, another phenomenal woman.  Editor’s note: For more information or to volunteer for Celebration of FamiliesStudents Inc., call 720-425-4681.

The T he F Farm arm Is Coming! Coming!

As a first year college student she attended Fisk University, a historic Black university in Nashville, Tennessee. A serious car accident prevented Sara from returning to Fisk for her sophomore year. She broke her jaw and chin and spent three months with her mouth wired shut and many years with braces. She returned to Denver, lived with her grandparents and held on to her goal of graduating. After internships in San Francisco, a University Co-op in Dallas, time spent at the University of Michigan in Detroit, and learning database design, Murphy returned to the University of Colorado where she graduated with a degree in Marketing in 1995. She was the executive director of a foundation operated by Terrell Davis and is currently the Assistant to the Executive Director of Denver Bronco Daniel Graham’s foundation. She is also a Project Manager for CenturyLink.

A Free Family Event Saturday,, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Saturday Sunday, Oct. 16 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 26th 2 6th Street and Lawrence Street The T he farm farm is is coming coming ttoo the the city! city! Celebrate Celebrate the the harvest harvest season season by by taking taking home home a pumpkin what p umpkin aand nd eexperiencing xperiencing w hat llife ife iiss llike ike oon n tthe he ffarm. arm. The will barnyard music, T he eevent vent w ill aalso lso ffeature eature b arnyard m usic, painting, pumpkin produce more. fface ace p ainting, p umpkin ccarving, arving, ffarm arm ffresh resh p roduce aand nd m ore. For F or more information, visit www FarmInT armInTheCity heCity.html Produced P roduced bby: y:

Home Again

Murphy and daughter Zoe live in Park Hill. She is particularly interested in the revitalization of the Holly and has helped to connect efforts of the Daniel Graham Foundation with the neighborhood. Zoe recently learned Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Sponsored by: by:


Parents, can you take time to make time? M

By Towanna “The Mama� Henderson

y daughter’s school-day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:45 p.m. So, for almost seven and a half hours each day she is being influenced and taught by seven different individuals, with seven different personalities and seven different approaches to learning. The teachers have diverse expertise with diverse teaching styles. However, every day they all are charged with the task of providing an environment conducive to learning, utilizing curriculums that will prepare my daughter for college and equip her with the skills she needs to succeed in a 21st century global environment. In each class, she must demonstrate that she has the ability to analyze and

interpret data (be a critical thinker), be creative, collaborate with others, communicate effectively, and solve problems. Now, I am aware of the remedial dilemma in college and as a parent of a teenage daughter in high school, it is my role to make sure that those seven and half hours are well spent every day. So, I make time to find out what is going on in each classroom because she has no time to waste. I encourage other parents to do the same.

Visit The Classroom

Most schools host back-to-school nights shortly after the beginning of the year. Take advantage of this opportunity every year to learn about the school and teachers (or any changes if it’s not the first year your child is attending the school) and begin to build that all-important home-school connection. If you’ve never been to a back-to-school night, they are very enlightening and provide you with valuable information. During back-to-school night you have the ability to visit classrooms and learn about each teacher. Teachers provide an overview of students’ daily routines, schedules, goals, and activities. They may also discuss homework policy, discipline plan, and any other

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important information such as a classroom website and contact information. I think the best part of the evening is spent going over the curriculum and the methods each teacher uses to teach each subject. If your child has several teachers for different subjects, you may go from classroom to classroom, usually in the same order of your child’s school schedule. At each point, your child’s teacher will likely stop and take any questions you have about the classroom or his/her teaching background. It’s your chance to ask general or detailed questions about what you see and hear. Don’t stop attending Back-toSchool Nights once your student starts high school! It’s important that you continue this routine throughout your student’s academic career. Also, don’t listen to your student if he/she tells you not to attend, you need to be there!

Parent/Teacher Conferences

While we expect teachers to prepare for these meetings, parents don’t always take the time to do the same. That’s unfortunate, since the parent/teacher conference is often one of the only opportunities parents get to meet with their child’s teacher oneon-one. You gain the perspective of a trained professional who spends an enormous amount of time with your child. Teachers are just as interested in your input. They want know about any changes your child is facing in his personal or family life, and how he/she behaves at home in comparison to school. Your child’s comfort level in the classroom, with fellow students, and whether he/she seems stressed or happy are all important clues to social and emotional well-being. By working together with teachers as partners in your child’s education, you can identify possible obstacles, uncover hidden potential, and explore valuable resources. Again, don’t stop attending

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


parent/teacher conferences after your student enters high school. It’s very important that you stay actively involved and engaged. It does make a huge difference!

Parents As Partners

When parents and educators work together, students have higher grades, better school attendance and fewer instances of violent behavior. Research overwhelmingly indicates that parent involvement not only positively affects student achievement, it contributes to higher quality education and better performance of schools overall. However, The U.S. Department of Education reports that the rate of parent involvement drops to 55 percent by the time children reach age 14, and it continues to drop as children progress through high school. A study conducted by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in 2002, analyzed existing research on parent involvement in education. Results of the study was released in a report titled “A New Wave of Evidence,� and found that students whose parents are actively involved in their education are more likely to attend school regularly, adapt well to school, take advanced classes and excel academically. These students also tend to have better social skills, and they are more likely to graduate from high school and attend post-secondary school. Parents, your involvement counts and is important to the academic success of your students. Please take time to make time and become actively engaged in the education of your children!  Editor’s note: Towanna Henderson is the parent representative for the State Council on Educator Effectiveness. She is also actively involved in the community promoting academic excellence and community service through her involvement with the Asfaw Family Foundation International.

Should President Obama Have Spoken Out On The Troy Davis Execution? By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

T he instant the Georgia Pardons

and Paroles Board turned thumbs down on clemency for Troy Davis the quiet murmurs grew to a crescendo in some quarters that President Obama should speak out on the pending Davis execution. Filmmaker Michael Moore went even further and mused that Obama should make like President Eisenhower and take federal action to stop the execution. Moore was referring to Ike’s sending in the troops to quell racial rioting and enforce the federal court order ordering desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. Ike, of course, had the federal power and authority to take action precisely because it was a federal court order. The Davis horror was a state matter, prosecuted by a local District Attorney, tried in state courts, and grotesquely settled by the state pardons and parole board. Obama had absolutely no legal power to intervene in the Davis case. But that only quashes the misunderstanding of the law about Obama’s powers. It doesn’t answer the question whether Obama as former President Jimmy Carter did, had the moral obligation to have expressed doubt or misgiving about the pending execution. The heartbreaking and painful answer is no. As much as we would have cheered the president if he had broken political protocol and weighed in on the Davis execution, it wasn’t going to happen. Obama as all sitting presidents don’t take positions on controversial state issues, and that’s the key. They are state issues, and to interfere is to step into a political minefield that would do far more harm than good. It would violate the rigid separation of federal and state powers. It would open the floodgate for any and every individual and group that has a legal wrong, grievance, or injustice to expect, even demand, that the president speak out on their cause. While there were tens of thousands nationally and globally that rallied behind Davis, there were millions more that

quietly and openly rallied behind the Georgia prosecutors, and back capital punishment. Polls show that a narrow majority still back the death penalty and judging from the lusty and embarrassing cheers GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry got at the recent GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire for virtually boasting about Texas’s obscene record of trying and killing em’ relatively quickly. The death penalty is an issue that any sitting president faced with a tough reelection fought would avoid like the plague. Presidential statements on a controversial issue will polarize, and fuel political backlash. Sadly, this would have certainly been the case if Obama had uttered a word about Davis. The Davis case was a near textbook example of the fury and passion that racial leaden cases and issues always stir. Davis is African-American, and his alleged victim was white. Obama is African-American and there’s rarely been a moment during his tenure in the White House that he hasn’t been relentlessly reminded of that. The one time that he did gingerly venture into the minefield of a racially charged local issue was his mild rebuke of the white officer that cuffed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in 2009. The reaction was instant and furious. Polls after his mild rebuke showed that a majority of whites condemned Obama for backing Gates and, even more ominously, expressed big doubts about his policies. The president relearned a bitter lesson. If you speak out on an issue that involves race, police authority, local law and local matters you will pay a heavy political price for it. Some say but presidents have routinely spoken out on the deaths of police officers, political initiatives in states, and other local issues. That’s true. But there is no implication or inference of political partisanship or interference in a state matter. Speaking out on a controversial racial issue, as the Davis was, would have a direct political inference, namely that the president was taking sides. President Obama has voiced support for reforms in the criminal justice system, especially in the area of sentencing, and has even expressed his personal qualms about

some aspects of the death penalty. During the presidential campaign, he was clear “I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes.” Now in the wake of the Davis atrocity with the horrific glare on the gaping racial and legal disparities and flaws in the death penalty and its application, the far better thing that Obama can do is to push ahead within federal law for reform and hold that up as a model for states to follow to reform their death penalty procedures or ideally do as many states have done abolish the death penalty. That’s a reasonable expectation of the man that sits in the White House. To break silence on Davis as brutal and barbaric as the sentence and execution was, was not realistic. Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on podcast on and internet TV broadcast on Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter:

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams ExcellentJJJJJ. Very GoodJJJJ.. GoodJJJJJJ... FairJJJJJJJ.. PoorJJJJJJJ.

    No stars

During the Black Power


Movement back in the Sixties and Seventies, most folks only got to know its leaders mostly by way of sound bites disseminated by the mass media. Whether it was Stokely Carmichael’s demand “We want black power!” or H. Rap Brown’s appeal for riots via “Burn baby burn!” or Eldridge Cleaver’s assertion that “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solu-

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 

Black Revolution of the Sixties Revisited via Swedish Cinematic Collage

tion,” the icons were mostly reduced to incendiary slogans for the purposes of entertainment masquerading as news. But I bet you didn’t know that Stokely was also a momma’s boy born in Trinidad. Or that Angela Davis was



from Birmingham, Alabama where her family was close friends with those of the four little girls slaughtered in the Baptist church bombing in September of 1963, a couple of weeks after the historic March on Washington. These are the sort of intimate aspects of African-American luminaries’ lives explored in The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, an eye-opening documentary directed by Goran Olsson. His enlightening cinematic collage was culled from found 16mm film of vintage interviews conducted by fellow Swedish journalists with everyone from Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Huey Newton to radical attorney William Kunstler. The archival footage has been augmented here with current-day voiceover commentaries by the likes of Danny Glover, Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Melvin Van Peebles and Talib Kweli, and features an appropriately-sweet Hip-Hop/R&B soundtrack scored by Questlove and Om’Mas Keith. Nonetheless, what makes the movie so moving are the original tete-a-tetes probing the psyches of its freedom-loving subjects. For example, when asked about whether or not she advocates violence, Angela Davis offers this heartfelt response: “When someone asks me about violence, I just find it incredible because it means that the person asking the question has absolutely no idea what we have gone through in this country since the first black person was kidnapped on the shores of Africa.” An absolute must-see for anyone interested in fully appreciating the mindset and motivations of the charismatic militants who emerged to capture the collective imagination of an impatient generation of AfricanAmericans in the wake of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King. Unrated In English and Swedish with subtitles Running Time: 100 Minutes Studio: Sundance Selects To see a trailer for The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, visit: 

Concert Flick Features Highlights of Funnyman’s 90City Tour

Entry Deadline: Monday, October 10 at noon


Rated: R for sexual humor, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity. Running Time: 88 minutes Distributor: CodeBlack Entertainment To see a trailer for Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain, visit:

Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain

Example Text: FUNKY 80246

Texting 43KIX is free. Standard text message rates from your wireless provider may apply, check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 10/11 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on 10/12 at 7:00PM at a local theatre. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated PG. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theatre. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Roadside Attractions, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!

banana in dozens of films such as Not Easily Broken, Soul Plane, and Scary Movie 3 and 4 before landing a role as a leading man in 2011 in 35 and Ticking. Also this year, the 5’4” funnyman embarked on a 90-city standup tour entitled “Laugh at My Pain” where he brought his unique brand of observational humor to venues all across the country. This concert flick of the same name ostensibly features his act at its best, as it was recorded on the last stop of the traveling show at the Nokia Theatre in L.A. While undeniably hilarious in spots, the uninitiated ought to be forewarned that Hart’s delivery is peppered with plenty of curses and ethnic slurs. For example, in one bit about the children’s game “Duck, Duck, Goose,” he replaces “goose” with the N-word. As for the subject-matter, most of the jokes are of the self-deprecating variety in which the diminutive complains about having to deal with his size and with being abused by various members of his dysfunctional family, especially his father. Via personal reflections, we learn that Kevin was left traumatized by his drug-addicted dad who never wore underwear (“You’re gonna learn what a long dick looks like today”) and who also threw him into 7 feet of water before he had learned how to swim. Too bad the material is often needlessly raunchy, since Hart is colorful enough to entertain without needing to rely on so many salty adjectives. Brace yourself to laugh as much at Kevin’s profane language as at his pain!


evin Hart has enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity lately after having basically divided his time over the last decade between acting and making the rounds on the comedy club circuit. He’s played the second

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain

Que Sera, Sanaa!



The “Contagion” Interview by Kam Williams


A-List Cast Executes Soderbergh’s Apocalyptic Adventure


decade ago, Steven Soderbergh won an Academy Award for Traffic, a multi-layered potboiler highlighting the hypocrisy and corruption permeating political bureaucracies entrusted with waging the war on drugs. With Contagion, the iconoclastic director has fashioned another international mindbender, although the focus this goround is on the medical community’s attempt to allay the public’s fears about a fictional outbreak of a deadly virus bubbling into a global pandemic. Soderbergh assembled an impressive ensemble to execute his apocalyptic vision, an A-list cast featuring a quartet of Academy Award-winners in Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as a trio of Oscar-nominees in Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne and Elliott Gould. Based on a sobering screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, the distressingly-realistic adventure paints a relentlessly-grim picture of the paranoia apt to accompany the rapid transmission of an inscrutable affliction imperiling the bulk of humanity. As the film unfolds, we find corporate executive Beth Emhoff (Paltrow) fighting a cough as she flies back to Minneapolis following a business trip to Hong Kong. En route, she takes a phone call from an ex-boyfriend she apparently just shared a rendezvous with during a brief layover in Chicago. Upon arriving home, Beth’s symptoms escalate to include a fever, seizures and finally foaming at the mouth before she succumbs to the disease in less than 48 hours. Her grieving husband (Damon) has to come to grips with his sudden loss while simultaneously worrying whether or not he and the kids (Griffin Kane and Anna-Jacoby-Heron)

might have somehow caught the mysterious malady. After performing a gratuitouslygruesome autopsy, the coroner identifies the cause of death as “MEV1,” a fast-acting pathogen they’ve never seen before. Retracing Beth’s route back to Asia, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) subsequently dispatches an epidemiologist (Winslet) to Hong Kong in search of answers, although that proves a little late as the infection rate has already escalated exponentially into a planetary plague. Soon, folks are dropping like flies in every city with less than six degrees of separation from proverbial Patient Zero, and the authorities are tempted to participate in a cover-up to prevent mass hysteria. And it falls to an intrepid internet blogger (Law) to disseminate the truth about a readily-available herbal antidote, if only he isn’t discredited for a past indiscretion. Contagion’s complicated storyline contains a plethora of additional plot points, ranging from an avaricious pharmaceutical peddling an ineffective vaccine to a renegade scientist (Gould) being pressured to destroy the fruits of his promising research to the ethical dilemma of a CDC official (Fishburne) who selectively uses top secret information to direct his wife (Sanaa Lathan) from a hot zone to a safe haven while leaving thousands around her to perish. Though paling in intensity to Soderbergh’s far more compelling Traffic, the convincingly-scripted and adroitly-acted Contagion nonetheless presents a chillingly-plausible peek at how quickly civilization might unravel in the face of a rapidly-accelerating, extinction-level, biological event. Not exactly a pleasant prospect to behold. Rated: PG-13 for profanity and disturbing images. Running Time: 105 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Contagion, visit: iler-1


anaa Lathan earned a Tony Award nomination for her Broadway performance as Beneatha Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, a role she later recreated in the highly rated and critically acclaimed ABC production, alongside Sean “Puffy” Combs. Sanaa most recently appeared in the title role in the comedy By The Way, Meet Vera Stark in an extended engagement at the 2econd Stage Theatre in Manhattan. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage, the play chronicles a 70-year journey through the life of a headstrong African-America maid and budding actress, as well as her tangled relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star desperately grasping to hold on to her career. Lathan was previously seen on stage as Maggie in London’s West End in the critically-acclaimed, award-winning revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Currently, she lends her voice to the character Donna Tubbs on FoxTV’s animated series The Cleveland Show. Her additional credits include Tyler Perry’s , alongside Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard; A Wonderful World, opposite Matthew Broderick; Something New, for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Actress; and the FX Network series Nip/Tuck, for which she received another NAACP nomination. Among Sanaa’s other feature film offerings are Alien vs. Predator; the thriller Out of Time, with Denzel Washington; the romantic comedy Brown Sugar, alongside Taye Diggs,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Queen Latifah and Mos Def, which reunited her with Rick Famuyiwa, who also directed her in The Wood. And of course everyone remembers how she wowed audiences and critics opposite Omar Epps in Gina PrinceBlythewood’s romantic drama Love and Basketball. She received her first NAACP Image Award nomination, for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, for the romantic comedy The Best Man. The film, co-starring Morris Chestnut and Harold Perrineau, received rave reviews and is one of the top ten highest grossing African American films in history. Here, Sanaa talks about her new film, Contagion, an apocalyptic thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh and featuring an ensemble cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Elliott Gould. Kam Williams: Hi Sanaa, thanks for the time. I’m honored to have another opportunity to speak with you. Sanaa Lathan: Oh, my pleasure, Kam. How have you been? KW: Great, thanks. I told my readers and editors that I’d be interviewing you, and they sent in so many questions I’d like to get right to them. Larry Greenberg says: Contagion has such an amazing cast, yourself included. Was there anyone in particular that you felt a strong affinity with whom you would like to work with again? SL: Well, the truth is, I only worked with Laurence [Fishburne], because Steven Soderbergh kept each of the movie’s storylines separate, although they’re obviously intertwined cinematically. So, all of my scenes were with Laurence. KW: What was Soderbergh like as a director? SL: He was amazing! I would love to work with him again. KW: The film struck me as very similar to Traffic except revolving around an outbreak instead of around drugs. SL: Exactly! Here, the virus is the main character. KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles says: Your role in Vera Stark was a marvelous, breakthrough theatrical performance. It was a privilege to be in the audience. How does your preparation and performance change when you move from stage to screen? SL: I feel that every role is different regardless of whether it’s on the stage or on the screen. The great thing about the stage is that you have a structured month-long rehearsal period where you’re going in every day. You have to have lots of run-throughs with Continued on page 20

Sanaa Lathan

Continued from page 19 theater because there are no second takes in front of a live audience. It’s very different with film. There, the preparation depends on the role and how much time I have. Each character speaks to me differently. I have to assess the demands of the role and what’s going to bring the character to life. So, I don’t have a set approach with film. But I’m always trying to get to a realization of truth with each character. KW: Harriet also says: For Raisin in the Sun and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, you took on parts that had been made famous by others. Did you study their performances in preparation? SL: No, in fact, I made a point to not watch any of the movies. That is one of my rules. If someone has already done a role I’m about to do, I won’t watch the original until after I’m finished playing the role. KW: Why is that? SL: Because I believe the subconscious is very impressionable. At least mine is. Whenever I take on anything where I might be tempted to emulate a prior performance, I try to go off the text in order to ensure a fresh interpretation. KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman says: I just saw you in Meet Vera Stark

off-Broadway recently. You are great on screen and in theater. How do you think growing up in show business influenced you during your formative years? SL: Let’s see… I really don’t know, because I don’t know anything else. I was always around the arts. My mother [actress Eleanor McCoy] was in the original productions of Timbuktu and The Wiz on Broadway, and I was always in the way, running around backstage. And I was always taking art and dance classes. One good thing I do have is compassionate parents who understand my trials and tribulations because they’ve been through it before as well. KW: Bernadette has a follow-up. Are you interested in directing? SL: One day. I’m presently into producing. I have a partner with whom I’m developing some projects right now. Directing is something I might try further down the line. You never know. KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: What African-American icon would you like to portray in a movie? SL: I don’t think that way. I’m already living my dream having the opportunity to play Vera Stark, Maggie the Cat [in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof] and so many other wonderful characters. Instead of thinking about what icon I’d like to play, I am looking



PREACHER BY TEXTING THE WORD HOPE AND YOUR ZIP CODE TO 43549! EXAMPLE TEXT: HOPE 80246 ENTRY DEADLINE: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4 THIS FILM IS RATED R. RESTRICTED. UNDER 17 REQUIRES ACCOMPANYING PARENT OR ADULT GUARDIAN. Texting 43KIX is free. Standard text message rates from your wireless provider may apply, check your plan. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per cell phone. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via text message with screening details by 10/4 at 5PM. Each mobile pass admits 2. The screening will be held on Thursday, 10/6 at 7:00PM at a local theater. Sponsors and their dependents are not eligible to receive a prize. Supplies are limited. The film is rated R. Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee a seat at the theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of prizes assumes any and all risks related to use of prize, and accepts any restrictions required by prize provider. Relativity Media, Allied-THA, 43KIX, Urban Spectrum and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of prizes. Prizes cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Not responsible if, for any reason, winner is unable to use his/her prize in whole or in part. Not responsible for lost, delayed or misdirected entries. All federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. NO PHONE CALLS!


to be challenged. I want to be scared, I want to work with great actors and directors, and I want to tell stories about women that will inspire people. It’s more about the quality than any particular person I’d like to portray. KW: Patricia also says: Many young people think they can make it in the movie industry without an education. You earned a master’s degree at Yale University’s School of Drama. Was it helpful to you to have earned that degree? SL: Many very successful people have made it without an acting background and some are even proud that they’ve never taken any acting classes. But I wanted to be the best that I could be for me which meant studying drama at Yale where I got a great education in theater after I was fortunate enough to be admitted. People may know me from films, but theater is my first love. I did about 35 plays before I even landed my first screen role. I’m very comfortable on stage, and theater is not something you can just wing. KW: Patricia asks: What was the best career advice you got from your father? SL: Early on in my career, when I was frequently frustrated while going out for auditions, my dad [producer/director Stan Lathan] told me, “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a job. And always give it your best because people in the industry talk, and even if you don’t get that role, someone might remember you and hire you later.” KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would? SL: No, I’ve been asked pretty much everything. [Laughs] KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid? SL: All the time! In fact, I believe that “fear” is an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real” and that when you have a fear, it’s almost a signal that you have to do whatever it is you’re afraid of. What makes you grow as a human being is stepping outside of your comfort zone. KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy? SL: I am. I’m definitely a happy person in general, but I cultivate that happiness. I think that to a certain extent happiness is a choice. KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh? SL: This morning I was cracking up watching America’s Funniest Home Videos while I was jumping on my Rebounder, which is like my treadmill. KW: Ola Jackson asks: What is your opinion of how reality-TV shows depict black women?

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


SL: I think there have been some positive portrayals as well as negative. One thing reality-TV is definitely providing for us is variety. KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure? SL: I love going to the movies and getting Raisinets, a big tub of popcorn and a Coke. That’s definitely a guilty pleasure because I can’t be doing that all the time. KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read? SL: I just re-read a book about acting by Susan Batson called Truth. KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to? SL: I’m really feeling Beyonce’s new album. I like that a lot. KW: What is your favorite dish to cook? SL: I don’t have a favorite dish, although lately I’ve been eating a lot of salad in preparation for the premiere. I can make a great gourmet salad like nobody’s business. KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see? SL: It depends on the day, and on the moment in the day. KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for? SL: Wow! That question’s so good! That I could eat whatever I want and still be a size 4. KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory? SL: I don’t know exactly how old I was, but I remember my mother playing Stevie Wonder’s “Song’s in the Key of Life” while I was sitting on the floor in our New York apartment. KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? SL: Never giving up. KW: Dante Lee, author of “Black Business Secrets, asks: ”What was the best business decision you ever made?” SL: I haven’t made it yet. KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered? SL: I want to be remembered as one who left behind a legacy of great art that entertained and uplifted the world. KW: Thanks again for the time, Sanaa. I hope my questions weren’t too heavy. SL: Not at all. They were a lot of fun. KW: Best of luck with Contagion. SL: Thanks for such a refreshing interview, Kam. To see a trailer for Contagion, visit: ex.html#/videos/trailer-1.


Mayor Hancock’s 2012 Budget Closes Shortfall, Keeps Libraries And Rec Centers Open


By Sheila Smith

ayor Michael B. Hancock announced his 2012 budget in September. The budget trims city spending by abolishing 95 positions without laying off anyone and putting more police officers on the streets. The mayor’s first budget since taking office will also maintain current service levels at libraries and recreation centers, grow the city’s financial reserves, and help strengthen Denver’s economy. “Despite four years of economic crisis, Denver is successfully weathering the storm thanks to responsible fiscal management, tough but necessary decision-making, and thoughtful stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Mayor Hancock said of his administration’s first spending plan. “This is a lean budget and it is not without pain or sacrifice. But it provides both flexibility and stability, and by building on successful strategies of prior years, it will serve as a blueprint for a better, faster, stronger city government we can all be proud of.” The main goal is to close a $100 million shortfall in 2012, through a combination of efficiencies and savings ($62.4 million) and revenue

enhancements and improved projections ($37.6 million). This will be the fourth consecutive year the city has been forced to close recession-caused shortfalls, totaling $446 million. Key elements of the mayor’s budget call for: •Maintaining current hours, service and staffing levels at libraries, recreation centers and other facilities, with the new Stapleton Library and Crime Lab scheduled to open in 2012. •Requiring city employees to take five unpaid furlough days, saving $1 million per furlough day. •Setting aside funds for a potential merit-pay increase, averaging 2.1 percent, for Career Service employees if revenues allow. •Increasing contributions to the retirement system by 1.5 percentage points; the city and employees will evenly split the additional contribution levels. •Eliminating 95 mostly unfilled positions for a $12.4 million General Fund savings, and carefully filling only the most critical vacancies. The city’s workforce has been reduced by 7 percent since 2009. •Delaying police recruit classes for another year. •Abolishing the $25 Occupational Privilege Tax registration fee the city currently imposes on businesses each year. •Increasing the business incentive program from $200,000 to $500,000 to retain, expand, and attract companies that will bring good jobs with good wages to Denver. •Increasing financial reserves from 10.5 percent of expenditures to 10.8 percent, helping to ensure the city maintains strong credit ratings in the bond and investment markets. Mayor Hancock said his overall goal is to create jobs, strengthen the environment, and grow Denver. The mayor under his economic growth plan under the proposed budget was

to craft a new and targeted economic development strategy, while also refocusing the Office of Economic Development on job creation and customer service. Additional efforts will include advancing the South Terminal Redevelopment Program at Denver International Airport, redeveloping Denver Union Station, building out FasTracks, and continuing the strong progress of the Better Denver neighborhood improvement projects. The mayor is rethinking government. He and his administration have identified new opportunities for efficiencies, cost savings, waste elimination, and streamlined operations. Other advances include new technology to allow residents and businesses to pay all city taxes online. Hancock’s Education Compact will take full flight in 2012, bringing together the city, Denver Public Schools, higher education, businesses, and nonprofits to improve the quality of education and increase opportunities for all children. Denver Seeds also will take shape in 2012 as a network of urban gardens, greenhouses, and local farming operations. The city also will expand the BCycle bicycle lending program and aggressively address chronic home-

lessness through Denver’s Road Home. Cary Kennedy, chief financial officer and deputy mayor, stated, “The 2012 budget is disciplined, conservative, and a sound financial plan that will attract new businesses….It reflects the current economic reality.” The proposed $931 million general fund budget for 2012 is $50 million more than what the former Mayor Hickenlooper proposed for the 2011 budget. A series of budget hearings will take place by Denver City Council members before a final adoption of the 2012 budget in November. “Like families and businesses everywhere, Denver city government must live within its means. I want to personally thank city employees, residents, companies, and other partners for helping us to achieve that goal,” Hancock said. “The budget is a blueprint for a faster, stronger government. And I am proud of this budget.” The mayor also acknowledged the work of former Mayors Hickenlooper and Vidal and their administrations for laying the groundwork for the 2012 budget proposal. City Council committees will begin budget hearings later this month, with final adoption in November. 

Denver Coordinated Election To Be Conducted By Mail

The November 1, 2011 Coordinated Election will be conducted as a mail ballot election. Ballots will be mailed to voters in midOctober, and voters will have the option of mailing their ballots back or dropping them off at a Voter Service Center. “Along with the cost savings created by conducting the upcoming election by mail ballot, an additional benefit is that Denver voters who have grown accustomed to using mail ballots won’t have to adjust to another voting model this year,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. As an additional cost-saving measure, the Denver Elections Division will reduce the number of Voter Service Centers, but will offer drive-through ballot drop-off at all locations for added voter convenience. Denver elections officials have spent three years working on enhanced mail ballot procedures to make them cost effective and convenient for Denver’s voters. Efforts have included: establishing Voter Service Centers across the city, developing Ballot TRACE technology to provide voters with a method to track their ballots through the postal system, and procedures to maximize efficiency, accuracy and transparency.

Spread the news! Federal Heights residents need to vote for


in October. The Federal Heights City Council Election is by mail-in ballot only. Be sure anyone you know who lives in Federal Heights gets their ballot and votes before Nov. 1.

More information will be posted in the coming weeks on the Denver Elections website,

To learn more about Tanya’s campaign, visit

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011



The Man of a 1,000 Voices


Standing on the Shoulders...

(Nat King Cole, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Sammy Davis, Jr., Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Barry White and Michael Jackson)

In concert with The Julius Orchestra

(Frankie Beverly, The O’Jays, Gerald Levart, Stevie Wonder, Charlie Wilson, Billy Ocean, Jeffrey Osborne, Terrence Trent Darby, Santana, The Gap Band, Alexander O’Neal and Julius!


500 16th St., #320 (at Glenarm)

• Sunday, October 9 • Sunday, October 23


$15 General Admission, $20 Reserved Doors Open at 4:30 PM. Show begins at 5:30 PM

For tickets:

For more information on The Julius Show, visit 720-849-4197

8 Pearls of Relationship Wisdom


stormed out of the house, slammed the phone on your mate or even yelled complaints to your mate as if they were Dick Dastardly incarnate? How many times in your thoughts have you seen you mate (or especially your ex’s) as the villain and you as a victim of their behavior? So many people fall into this trap and ruin their relationships because they fail to see the truth of this statement. You choose this path and all that goes with it – so how can you be a victim of someone else?

3. No shame and no blame.

Ok. It should be clear to you that

By Soul Watson

my goal of this article is to make sure that you have no more room on that fancy-smancy refrigerator of yours and instead that you use it as a whiteboard for all of my articles. How else is your mate going to read this unless they are fishing for a late night snack and happen to discover that you strategically placed these pearls of wisdom in their unobstructed view? With that being said this month we have The Sacred 8 Pearls of Wisdom for your relationship and these you definitely most cut and post – not only to remind your mate but to remind yourself why you enter into relationship with another.

Tenets of The Progressive Love Movement

1. Our mates are our mirrors.

Yes, we’ve mentioned this before haven’t we? And how did this tenet align with your beliefs. This is one of those truism that’s easy to see when you are feeling great about your mate but suddenly because obtuse when you think your mate is a lower life form sent to make your life a living hell. Like it or not – what you love and/or hate in your mate is what you love and/or hate in yourself. Search deeply and sincerely enough and you’ll find this to be true.

2. There are no victims or villains.

Ohhhh, if you could only really convince yourself and act accordingly on this truth your marriages and relationships would be transformed overnight! How many times have you

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Shame and blame comes in two distinct but connected forms. The shame and blame that we feel for our thoughts and actions stemming from an early experience in our lives or in a previous relationships and the then there’s the shame and blame we seek to make others feel and accept for something we perceived as them injuring or affronting our personal codes of conduct. The latter is just an extension of the former, which is to say that at the core of us wanting others to feel shame, and blaming them for our hurt lies, the hidden injury of our own unresolved shame and blaming ourselves for being vulnerable. Vulnerability is of course the prerequisite for the experiencing of love, so blaming yourself for opening up to the possibility or feeling ashamed of an early action you may have taken in your quest for growth is self-defeating. Shame and blame are useless and do more harm than many of us ever suspect.

4. No cop-outs. No drop-outs.

While Aretha Franklin bellowed for R.E.S.P.E.C.T and rightfully so, I would love for her to do a sequel to that number entitled C.O.M.M.I.T.M.E.N.T. If you asked anyone who has experienced a high level of success from a pro athlete to a world leader the one element that they will tell you that was crucial to there success was that they never allowed themselves to entertain the idea of failure. Sure we all have those moments when situations invoke that creeping self-doubt. However, it’s imperative to quickly eradicate those thoughts and put your eyes back on the prize. No cop-outs, no drop-outs means just that. No excuses for failure in your relationships will do, that you take full responsibility for the quality and condition of your relationship and resolve to remain committed to the course. Through your commitment to remaining in the game your success is therefore insured.

5. The purpose is growth


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The purpose of being in a relationship comes down to one simple cosmic principle – growth. You are here on this earth to grow and this is an important principle to remember because it answers the oft arriving question “Why do I have to go through this?!!” Just as a seed has to push through soil and dung to become a flower and see the sun, you also must push through the adversity in your relationships in order to blossom and experience love. Where there is no struggle – there is no progress/growth. Challenges present in your relationship are divinely given by the Universe to push you to everincreasing levels of your potential. Imagine wanting to be an all-star athlete without lifting weights or training? Seems silly doesn’t it? But how many of you get mired in feeling upset, angry or sorry for yourself because you are going through relationship training? Where there is no growth, stagnation and death is near.

6. The benefit is love.

Ok, building on the previous principle – if the purpose of relationships is growth, what is the purpose of growth? That of course is LOVE. We are all seeking more love in the best ways that we know how. The benefit of you committing to be in a relationship is growth and the benefit of your commitment to growth is ultimately LOVE. LOVE is your reward and asks anyone who has experienced it and they will tell you there is truly nothing greater or more important to human existence then the experiencing of love.

7. No one is doing anything to me.

How many times in our daily language do we use phrases such as “he made me angry” or “she is getting on my nerves” or “he really hurt me”? This language is so common that most of us never take a moment to reflect on what those words really mean. To say that someone is making you feel or act in any way is an admission that you don’t have a choice in the matter, which in fact is never the case. Being made in the image of the The Creator it guaranteed all of us one in the sharing of an essential quality that it hasFREEDOM OF CHOICE. It’s what separates us from animals who are dominated by instinct. We as humans who possess animal instincts can grow to manage them and in some cases ignore them all together. You are free and therefore no one is making your

feel sad, angry, depressed, shamed, embarrassed, etc. these are simply states that you choose, most of the time unconsciously choose, based upon external stimuli. No one controls you or makes you feel anyway, you are what Invictus says you are “Captain of your ship, master of your fate.” Your freedom is like your sex drive – use it or lose it!

8. I create my own life.

Don’t you? Have you not yet realized that the life that you are living right at this moment is a result of thoughts and choices that you have made in your past? Many of us weren’t raised with this diving understanding thus we often times forfeit our fate and dreams to the whims of the time. From this moment on you must understand and operate from the understanding that you have the power to create your life- no government, economy, political figure, family figure or religion can usurp this power that was divinely placed within you. It’s in your DNA. The only way that others gain power of your life is if give it to them and often times that’s exactly what we do. Today, from this moment on be conscious of the fact that the life you have does not belong to your parents, friends, anything or anyone else. It’s yours and what you get out of life is exactly what you decided consciously or unconsciously to put in to it.  Editor’s note: Hasira Watson-Ashemu (HSoul) is a relationship coach and is a syndicated columnist in N. America, Europe and Africa. He is a radio host at 89.3 KUVO and the producer of Souliloquy, a two minute audio tape on topical issues of the week. He also has conducted relationship seminars and trainings for the past 15 years. You can follow him on his weekly blog at or contact him at

Available for all Holiday Events, Special Occasions and... 303.355.4979 P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239 Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Empowering Black Americans To Love Their Heart By Dr. Johnny Johnson Photo by Bernard Grant

The Center for African American Health is the leading resource for disease prevention, chronic disease management programs and health education for African Americans.

The Heart of the matter is that


Free Diabetes Self-Management Classes This six-week class teaches African-Americans with diabetes, and their caregivers, skills related to living well with the disease. Go to for more details or call 303-355-3423. SAVE THE DATE:

10th Annual African-American Health Fair Saturday, Febuary 4, 8:30am - 3:00pm Denver Renaissance Hotel Free health screenings, exhibits, and workshops on health topics.


cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. For the African-American community, heart disease takes an even greater toll, more so than any other racial and ethnic group. The death rate for white Americans has declined by 20 percent in recent years; the decrease has been only 13 percent for us. Plus, we have a 40 percent higher chance of dying from heart disease than whites. We must realize that all Blacks living in the U.S. have high blood pressure (me included). We as Blacks are more likely to have high blood pressure than any other ethnic group. Also, high blood pressure for us tends to be more common and more severe. This disease is the major reason why Blacks die at an earlier age. High blood pressure is a major reason why Blacks are eight times more likely to develop kidney failure than whites. Black men and women are more likely to die from heart disease than all other racial/ethnic groups. We are more likely to have heart failure and suffer more severely from it. We also develop symptoms at an earlier age and have our heart failure get worse faster, have more hospital visits, and to die from heart failure. Black Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 are more likely to die from heart failure than Caucasians in the same age range. And, when we

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


have a sudden cardiac arrest, we also have a less than one percent chance of surviving (no red flags). One famous African-American said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health are the most shocking and inhumane – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For many disease processes, Blacks have a higher prevalence and an increase in mortality and morbidity: Diabetes, hypertension, end stage renal disease, stroke and obesity. Heart Diseases have been the most studied and reported. But, it appears that we as Blacks have not gotten the memo, yet. Racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive a lower quality of healthcare than non-minorities. We receive less cancer screening, cardiac procedures, dialysis, transplants, hip and knee replacements and pain medicines in the ER. My goal in this life time is to eliminate disparities in health among all populations groups by 2012. The reasons for racial disparity in cardiovascular health are multifactorial, but I see success (insurance and resources), segregated healthcare systems, and quality of c are gaps and discrimination and bias as reasons. So you must realize that these risk factors increase your chance of getting a heart disease and influence your ability to recover if you already have it. Some other risk factors are beyond your control – such as age, gender, family history, race and ethnicity. Other modifiable risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, tobacco use, obesity and physical inactivity. So, the question is how heart healthy are you? So get your BP check, blood sugar and cholesterols screening, exercise for 30 minutes a day, at least four days a week. Don’t eat fast food more than once a week and have an idea of how many calories you take in daily and know the side effects of your medications. By making changes in your lifestyle today, you can begin to reduce your risk tomorrow and let us start by visiting your health care provider and begin regular checkups. This will empower you to take control of your health. Arm yourself with knowledge - I am speaking to both men and women.  Editor’s note: Dr. Johnny E. Johnson is medical doctor and surgeon of obstetrics & and gynecology with an emphasis on family planning, infertility and women’s healthcare. He runs the Western OB/Gyn and Associates private practice in Denver and has delivered more than 15,000 babies. He can be reached at 303-261-3825.

AALI Participants Speak Out On Leadership Qualities

The African- American Leadership Institute (AALI) is a non-profit organization that focuses on leadership development. This service has been provided to adults and youth in the greater Denver metro area since 1990. More than 200 have graduated from the program and AALI has provided mentoring to over 15,000 boys and girls in grades 4 through 12. AALI offers cost effective adult leadership program to address the challenges, misconceptions and pressures faced by African-Americans who are in or aspire to be in leadership positions. They incorporate soul tending, interactive learning, and one-on-one consulting to develop principal-centered, authentic leaders who bridge the cultural gaps to successful leadership. Key components of training are: leadership development, assessment instruments, personal inventory, experiential learning, networking, legacy comprehension and management and other leadership qualities. The class of 2011 was asked: How has the African- American Leadership Institute impacted you and what skills have you gained from your participation in the 2011 AALI class? Following are the responses from the 2011 class participants.


Heidi Y. Casteel Leadership Institute has allowed me to look at my skills and desire of becoming a more practical leader within my community. The Leadership Institute enables “leadership” to become more transparent within the community and leaders to be more functional. The Leadership Institution has changed the way I see leadership as being a consistent role in all phase of your growth, and where it takes earning trust, respect and the title of being a leader for the people, community, family and friends. I will leave AALI Leadership Institute Class of 2011 by striving to become a leader within and for my Community.

I have learned that a good leader is Betty Funderburk

only as strong as its weakest link, the much needed camaraderie and support of each other is a must to assure strength in the community that will lead to ultimate success of whatever that task that is set before us. This was reinforced through a camping excursion with AALI. The experience will stay with me for the rest of my life and I will use it in my endeavors as I give back to my community.

The African- American experience Kenneth Drew

is constantly changing, but the broad culture dynamics remain the same for the whole black diaspora. Yet, we find ourselves in the same paradigms in this alleged post-racial society that we found ourselves in 1981 when Vernon Jordan then the National Executive Director of the Urban League, wrote of and critiqued in the introduction of “The State of Black America 1980”, speaking about the state of blacks in American after the 70’s, high unemployment, broken homes and a large divide not just between the majority society and ourselves, but our own well off and repeating a 1973 Newsweek cover page, “What Ever Happened to Black America?”

What did happen in the first postracial society and second and third? With all of this said why do Blacks in America still look at the same proven failed leadership tactics, strategies and vacuums , to typecast and paradigm ourselves in fettered results and political hyperbole during “kiss the baby”, “I understand you” and “I’m one of you” season (election time). The real difference in our community between Michael Asberry and Michael Hancock is opportunity and perspective. Real change starts now. Get involved, know when to do the shadow work, when to team build, when to hold accountable those who say they represent you, and even when to cut the strings; the real power is not in the Mayor, City Councilor, or Legislator,

it’s in you the gardener, the manager, the business owner, the student and the doctor. At the African American Leadership Institute these are the tools I learned and you will learn. The next great leader in Denver is staring at us in the mirror. Support, join, see, be and help grab and create a new future and diaspora.

The African- American Leadership

Phebe Lassiter

Institute has been such a wonderful experience for me. AALI has inspired me to grow, to learn, and to be fearless when following my heart and dreams in both my personal and professional life. I have gained and developed numerous skills to initiate leadership in my community, the confidence I need to engage with people in my community, the resources and networking opportunities to work with my community, and a deeper love for my community. I have faith, optimism, and hope that we all can work together to change our communities. I have found myself becoming more assertive and self-confidence is greater than before. AALI was indeed a life changing experience for me, as I have learned so much more about myself during this time. I am truly thankful that I have been given this opportunity to be a part of the African -American Leadership Institute.

to be insecure. I have also gained an appreciation and acceptance of individuals whom have goals that might not be inclusive of all community but are willing to share their ideology to help make a difference. I am looking forward to contributing to AALI as an alumni in any way and help continue its commitment to leadership within the African -American community.

AALI has helped push me out of Cecile Perrin

my comfort box. I am a very quiet and shy individual, but I now find myself speaking up a lot more and giving input instead of just sitting back and listening to what everyone else has to say. Although I still have a long way to go, I’ve gained more confidence and my communication skills have improved a great deal. It has been great getting to know my classmates and the AALI staff, each person has some great ideas on improving the African American community. It’s great to attend a class where everybody has such a passion for helping others. I’m proud to be a part of such a great movement, and I can’t wait to see how this organization will evolve.

Since I have been a part of the Phyllis Reed

During my time with AALI, I have Janis Mosley

been introduced too, impacted by, worked and shared with some very resourceful and remarkable people whom are making a difference in the community, in their own way they represent the mission statement of AALI (To develop leadership skills that empower individuals to design & implement programs that address the needs of the African- American community), it has been a pleasure to be a part of this group. The most memorable experience was on our outdoor camping trip teaming together to help overcome a fear and accomplish a goal, laughing at myself and not being afraid

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


AALI, I have met various speakers. One who stands out was state representative Angela Williams. I learned a lot about how our law making process takes place and other activities taking place within my community that I wasn’t aware of. Sometimes we take for granted what is going on around us. From this class, I will take with me an awareness of needing to inform our community not only with holistic information that I bring to the table, but vast opportunities that we will miss out on if we do not stay informed. I am excited about sharing with future classes and inspiring others to get in touch with the nutritional side of life and healthy eating. AALI is a great vehicle to stay informed and give information. Editor’s note: For more information or to register, visit

Tom Joyner On President Obama


e’ve all expressed our opinions, vented, aired it out, and in my heart of hearts, no matter how we got to this point, I believe most of us share a common goal – to re-elect President Obama. That can only happen if we take all the time and energy we’ve been using to debate, defend - and yes, digress (Tavis didn’t patent that word, did he?) and move forward. Like the mamas on my staff tell their little boys when they’re distracted by whatever is on the PSP, DS or Wii screen, “Let’s focus.� If we can learn anything from Republicans, it is that they have the

ability to not just rally together, but to grab onto a single candidate, issue, piece of propaganda, whatever, and clamp down like a pit bull. Once they make a decision, they will not be swayed. How many times have you listened to one of them recite the party line, and you think to yourself, I KNOW they don’t really believe that? Maybe not, but by being consistent and steady until the end, they come out victorious – or, at the least, united. That’s what we need to do more. Of course, we are not all “like minded� across the board, and no one is expected to believe that every single thing that President Obama says or does is perfect and beyond reproach. But, let’s look at the big picture and remember that if he’s going to win, he needs all of our votes – every very last one of them. At one time, I didn’t see the harm in the public criticisms from Black leaders, but a conversation I had with a friend and colleague who voted for Obama last time around made me think differently. This guy is Black, high school-educated and gets most of his news from our show, CNN, MSNBC and C-SPAN. A few weeks ago, when Tavis Smiley and Cornel West began to make the rounds on the cable networks, he started to have second thoughts about Obama. He actually began to let the negativity seep into his brain and said, “What IS Obama doing for Black people? Look at how many of us are unemployed; he’s not doing anything about that.� That’s when I knew that more harm was being done than some people realize. Keep in mind that was just one person who happened to express his opinion to me. How many more Black people will stay home from the polls this November because they think the prez is turning his back on Black people? Forget that that’s a lie – that he has done plenty for African-Americans and will do more if he gets the chance to serve another term. Forget that bin Laden was captured and killed under his watch. Let’s not even deal with the facts right now. Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride - and loyalty. We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as Black people, we should do it because he’s a Black man. There are a great number of people who are against him because he’s a Black man. That should be enough motivation for us to band together and get it done. I’ll be making an announcement soon about voter registration and what we’ll do on the TJMS to make sure that everybody is ready come November. In the meantime, we need

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


to start showing the same kind of enthusiasm as we did when we were electing the president – the first time. Please don’t think it’s going to be any easier because we made it happen before. In fact, this time it will be harder. For years, I’ve heard people who weren’t around during the civil rights movement say that they wished they had been there. They have a deep need to be a part of some great historic moment that will make a difference, not just to us but to future generations as well. Well, this is our moment. And before I hear the haters say President Obama is no Dr. Martin Luther King, of course he isn’t. There will never be another Dr. King, Malcolm X, JFK – and there doesn’t need to be. We’re not dwelling on the past – not 50 years ago, not even 50 days ago. Whether you’re in a race to the finish line, the goal post or to making history, you’ve got to keep your eye on the prize if you’re going to win. The naysayers have a vested interest in chunking rocks. We can’t stop that. What’s our interest? What are we willing to stand up for, fight for, make a sacrifice for? When is the last time we did more than talk about how much we support the president? When is the last time you mailed a check to his campaign? When you hear people who claim to represent you and Black America saying things you don’t believe or support, you ought to light up the phones, send emails, tweets, write blogs, fax. Every little bit helps. Don’t let hate, pettiness, jealousy, whatever, overshadow truth. We’re on a mission, and a mission isn’t always fun, sexy or comfortable. When you step out there and believe in what you say and what you do, you’ve got to take the heat and keep it moving. From the words of that great philosopher Jay-Z: on to the next. Focus on November. We’re moving forward. Can we do it together? That’s the only way we will be victorious. 

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

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

Great Expectations for College-bound 9th Graders in the Far Northeast

Collegiate Stage for

Prep Academy Principal Karen Alexander Sets Graduation and Free College for Students


Transmission? We have your

By Chyrise Harris, Communications Specialist

medicine! Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783 Making transmissions well for 22 . for 25 years years.

The Urban Spectrum — April 2006


Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Hope Online Students Explore “New” Pages In Baseball History

The eager learners were introduced to a few more prominent athletes of yesteryear and then discussed the contributions of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson to the world of baseball, including their exam-


By Ruth Márquez West

ith the World Series around the corner, local k-8th graders from Hope Online at New Beginnings Learning Center recently learned about a chapter in sports often unknown to even the most enthusiastic fans – the history of AfricanAmerican baseball heroes. During a field trip to the Aurora History Museum for the exhibit, “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience,” students enjoyed photos and displays that made “old time” baseball come alive. In preparation for their field trip, the students attentively listened to their teacher and mentors read about the gifted sluggers, pitchers and outfielders who played in their own separate leagues. The students heard for the first time about key figures in African-American baseball such as the remarkable pitcher, Leroy “Satchel” Paige and power hitter, Josh Gibson. On a day set aside for some very spe-

cial history lessons, the stories of James “Cool Papa” Bell, a legendary outfielder who could also steal bases at lightning speed, and Rube Foster, the founder of organized AfricanAmerican league play in the 1920’s, were highlighted as well. “I saw the children’s eyes light up as the mentors and I read to the students about these baseball champions while they thumbed through their baseball heroes coloring pages,” shares Hope Online Teacher Annie McKnight. “It reminded me, as a new Hope Online teacher, that our students enjoy a wide variety of learning experiences here,” she added, referring to the field trips, activities and offline lessons her students participate in at New Beginnings and other Hope Online learning centers.

ples of service to others. Students enjoyed the opportunity to pose with a bat signed by Ken Griffey, Jr., while also learning about some defining moments in the history of the game. With time lines dating back to the 1800’s, the names of Bud Fowler and Moses Fleetwood Walker proved to the students that Jackie Robinson’s dramatic entry into the major leagues was preceded by many baseball accomplishments of African-American athletes across the decades. Particularly memorable for the Hope Online students was a photo of a former hometown team they had never known was part of their local history. The Denver White Elephants, an African-American team in the 1930’s, featured the pitching of future Kansas City Monarch star, John “Buck” O’Neil. O’Neil went on to become the first African-American coach in the major leagues. In 2007, the commissioner of baseball established the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award given to those players known for a level of integrity and character that elevates baseball legacy.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


“They loved it,” said New Beginnings Learning Center Director Detrice Brown. “Field trips like the ‘Pride and Passion’ exhibit expose students to learning experiences that are particularly relevant to them. At Hope Online we combine the benefits of online learning and classroom experiences so our students get the best of both worlds.” After the exhibit, the students reflected on the images and stories of the day and what knowledge they could take with them from their field trip experience. Ready to move around, they stepped onto the lawn in front of the municipal building complex, excited to make the most of a foam bat and ball. To the delight of their mentors who cheered from the sidelines, some of the students swung the bat hard enough to evoke images of the great slugger Josh Gibson himself, ending their day with pride and passion, indeed. 

About Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op

Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op is a unique online public charter school that bridges the digital divide by affording k-12 students the benefits of online education in a safe and supportive classroom environment. Chartered by the Douglas County School District, Hope Online enrolls students statewide, with the majority of students representing minority populations that qualify for free and reduced lunch. Hope Online provides the only opportunity for Colorado’s at-risk students with working parents to participate in online education. For more information, visit or call 303-989-3539.

Two Worlds Dos Mundos I

By Angel Barrientos

n today’s uncertain times when the country’s economic state is being defined on a weekly basis, uncertainty in the quality of life for many people looms as a source of ongoing concern. This is especially true in communities of color, when even under “normal” conditions, there always seems to be special challenges. But, as in the past during such times, great challenge has also brought new and great opportunity. Now is a time that gives new meaning to the term “grass roots initiative.” Such an effort that redefines this term in Denver is an emerging organization and initiative called The Brothers Community Collaborative aka “The Brothers.” The Brothers Community Collaborative is a grass roots initiative that has been established, and is now being developed and nurtured, for the purpose of promoting community unity and cross community collaboration from within Denver’s communities of color and expanding out to the greater Denver community. This is being accomplished through the efforts of a core group of music and entertainment event producers and promoters. The Brothers vision of unity and collaboration also includes a strong community focus through a commitment to making a difference in the area of community needs and issues common to communities of color. This includes fundraising efforts involving donations from Brothers events to youth and community programming and, in some cases, support of community friendly, faith based efforts that incorporate youth and community outreach – maintaining a particular focus on youth at risk, prevention

of the value of unity through music and giving back to the community. Beginning with the first installment of the Festival of the Arts evolution, The Brothers will to Denver the Jammin’ Super Show 1on Saturday, Nov. 12 at The Red and Jerry’s Event Complex in Denver. This gathering of prominent artists will include the legendary L to R: Angel Barrientos, La Familia Denver; Terry Minggia, Minggia Entertainment; Cedric Pride, Cedric Pride Entertainment; Skip 80’s R&B and Funk Reeves, A Funk Above the Rest Radio Network; Renee Candelaria, Brothers Community Collaborative Associate; Gary Wilson, Bride fire music productions; and Randy Cloud, Red and Jerry's Proprietor. Members not pictured: Henry "Kiki" Delgado, Delgado Boxing group, Midnight Star, the Latin Showcase Promotions and John Hernandez, John Hernandez Realty group the DTown Latin education, and traditional education The establishment of the Denver All Stars featuring from the Latin needs and issues. With the addition of Festival of the Arts will unfold over Kings, and other local Denver groups. the Denver Festival of the Arts Project, the next year, and will incorporate Events planned for 2012 include: supporting the arts has been added. several promotional events leading up Denver Festival of the Arts; Denver While the Brothers efforts mainly to the festival in September of 2012 Festival of the Arts Jammin’ Super include for profit events, the value of The Brothers will be working diligent- Show (a 10-hour concert); Rumble in the long term success of this group ly to make sure that what is offered at the City Championship/Golden can be measured by the impact of the the Denver Festival of the Arts is not Gloves Boxing; Kruzin’ Classic positive, pro-active example to comonly “one of a kind,” but to establish Custom Car and Bike Show; LA munity youth and young adults in the an annual event that is inclusive to all, Mercado Chili Harvest Festival and work that is done and the example of but still incorporates activities and Farmers’ Market; Green Chili and unity that the organization seek to focuses that represent the commonaliBBQ Cook-off; and a special maintain. It can also be measured by ties, cultures, and rich traditions of Remembering “911” Observance.  the continuing financial support from Denver’s communities of color in a Editor’s note: For more information about donations that most events are most excellent fashion. The goals of The Brothers Community Collaborative, designed to allow. the organization are to raise awareness call 303-433-2097. The Brothers vision is born of desire, opportunity, and timing. Difficult economic times bring challenge and varying levels of hardship; but they also promote initiative and opportunity. In this case, The Brothers efforts as a grassroots movement is to unite and collaborate with those members in communities of color who seek to rise above the challenge. How? Brother’s projects are designed to be mediums of opportunity, a voice of encouragement for many people in Denver’s communities of color, and a community support tool. The Brother’s statement is clear: “We can do it too … we can do it well … and we can do it together!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


African Americans Desperate For Bone Marrow Donors


Minneapolis, MN (




livia Saddler is one of thousands of African Americans fighting diseases like sickle cell anemia, leukemia and lymphoma. These patients face a staggering challenge. They need donors, and because the tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, they are most likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. This is particularly true for African Americans, as some African American tissue types are rarely found in donors from other ethnic backgrounds and may be unusual, even among other African Americans. Unfortunately, donor matches are found within families only 25 to 30 percent of the time. Of the 9 million people in our country registered as bone marrow donors, fewer than 10 percent are African Americans. With the odds stacked against them, the majority of African American patients can’t find donors. Olivia Saddler has been searching for a donor for nine months now,

while undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. Extensive screening of family members has failed to identify a match. National donor base searches have been unsuccessful. We understand that we are only one among thousands of African American families desperately searching to find a donor to save the life of a beloved family member. “My mother devoted her professional life to mentoring and teaching first and second grade students in the Detroit public school system. She understood that our best hope for the future lay in her commitment to encourage the young minds under her care,� said Laurie Crutchfield, a healthcare practice administrator. “Today, my mother’s best hope depends upon the African American community’s commitment to step forward and register as donors. With your help, we can save countless lives by encouraging more African Americans to register as donors,� said Crutchfield. “My mother’s life reflected her faith in the promise of an educated community. We are encouraging our African American community to respond by contacting the National Marrow Donor Program (, or call 800-627-7692.�

About Bone Marrow Registries In The United States

There are several bone marrow donor registries in the United States, the largest of which is the nonprofit National Marrow Donor Program (, listing more than 6 million donors. These organizations are dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the bone marrow transplant they need, when they need it. Seventy percent of people, like Olivia, do not have a donor in their family and depend on registries to find a match to save their life. Donation has never been easier. Advances in bone marrow collection have made actual bone marrow collection similar to giving a blood transfusion.


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6th Grader Spelling Bee Champion Heads To New York For Finals

Dhivya Senthil Murugan, a 6th grader at T. H. Rogers Elementary School in Denver spelled her way through more than 20 rounds of words to become the Local Champion of the Macy’s Spelling Bee. The winning word was “correspondent.” Dhivya went to compete in the finals at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City. In total, 50 students ages 8 through 11 participated in the Spelling Bee at Macy’s at Park Meadows on Saturday, Sept.10. Macy’s held its 6th Annual Spelling Bee competition in stores across the country in partnership with Reading is Fundamental. Each regional Spelling Bee champ will took home great prizes including a year of online learning from Kaplan Tutoring and a $150 online gift card from Scholastic.

Lt. Col. James H. Harvey III Wins Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Noel Parrish Award

On Saturday, Aug.7, The Tuskegee Airmen, Hubert L. “Hooks” Jones chapter nominee, Lt. Col. James H. Harvey III, was awarded the Noel Parrish Award by Tuskegee Airmen Inc., during the national convention’s grand gala, at the Gaylord Resort Hotel on the Potomac in National Harbor, Maryland. All nominees are nominated by his or her Chapter’s nominating committee for outstanding acts that “enhanced” equal access to knowledge, skills and opportunities for a person or entity during the award year. The Parrish Award is the most prestigious award presented by Tuskegee Airmen Inc., consisting of a gold medallion, a certificate of achievement and a $500 cash award. Harvey is one of the two remaining “Top Gun” pilots of four that won the 1949 Gunnery Meet in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year he has used this Weapons Meet platform as a basis to educate Americans around the country on the Tuskege project.


Denver Foundation Honors Community Leaders with Hunt, Kaufmann, Parr-Widener Awards

spirit of contribution and leadership. The Foundation presented the third annual Parr-Widener Civic Leadership

Left to right: City Councilman Albus Brooks, Lisa Duran, Chiquita Cole, and Brad and Libby Birky.

The Denver Foundation recently hosted its annual Community Leadership Awards ceremony. The event honored five outstanding leaders in the Metro Denver community in partnership with special funds created for this purpose by Foundation donors. The Swanee Hunt Individual Leadership Award was presented to Lisa Durán, Director of Rights for All People and co-founder of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Lisa is also a member of Colorado Jobs with Justice’s board and the Leadership Circle of Let Us Rise. The Swanee Hunt Youth Leadership Award was given to Chiquita Cole, a graduate of Manual High School and University of Northern Colorado. She has been a volunteer with Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) for the past 12 years and also an Americorps Volunteer coordinator. The Hunt Awards honor women and men who spend their lives making life better for others. Hunt, for whom the award is named, is a world-renowned philanthropist, author, and former U.S. Ambassador to Austria. The Judith M. Kaufmann Civic Entrepreneurship Award was given to Libby and Brad Birky, the founders and owners of SAME Café, which offers healthy and delicious meals for donations of money or time. The award is given annually in memory of Judy Kaufmann, a former employee of the Piton Foundation, who died tragically in a car accident in the 1990s. Created by her family and friends, the Judy Kaufmann Civic Entrepreneurship Award connects her memory with the creative and entrepreneurial work of community leaders who shared her

Award to Albus Brooks, District 8 Councilman of Denver and former Director of the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership. The award is named for the late John Parr, political strategist and former President of the National Civic League, and his wife Sandy Widener, co-founder of Westword Newspaper, and honors people who have worked to improve life in Metro Denver. The well-known and beloved Denver couple died in an automobile accident along with daughter Chase in late December of 2007. The couple’s youngest daughter, Katy, the only survivor of the crash, is now a student at the University of Colorado and helped pinpoint Brooks as the recipient because of his commitment to transform the lives of youth.

Robert J. Shoates Life Achievement Celebration

The Denver community celebrated the life achievement of Robert J. Shoates a trailblazer and community leader on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Shorter Community AME Church, 3100 Richard Allen Court. Shoates is a great community leader and an outstanding member of Shorter Community AME Church, The greater Parkhill Sertoma Club International, The Chi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Owl Club of Denver. Shoates is considered one of the most influential black leaders of his time. He was recently honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Humanitarian Award, as well as many other awards for his dedicated public and community service. Shoates continues to demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities in his profession with the United States Post Office as Post Master, in politics as a successful campaign manager and community advocate. Some of his accomplishments consist of raising a strong, productive, and loving family, serving as one of the highest ranking officials with the United States Post Office, managing a successful campaign for Omar Blair as the President for the Denver Board of Education, providing outstanding community service as the President of the Sertoma Club International, and working tirelessly in raising scholarship funds for deserving high school seniors as a member of Chi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Random Acts Of Kindness Awards Presented At Annual Back Home Gospel Shout Out

“Young Gifted and Blessed” was the theme of this year’s annual Back Home Gospel Shout Out. Guests packed the Dominion Christian Center on Saturday, August 20 to enjoy the 7th Annual Back Home Gospel Shout Out program sponsored by Sisters Enterprise. Co-founders and sisters, Betty Funderburke and Elinora Reynolds, presented Random Acts of Kindness Awards to the following honorees: Bethlehem Apostolic Church, the late Shane A. Davis, Brandon D. Garrett, Hand of God Ministries (John Mustian), Annie Howard, Vernita Huff, Leonard McGinnity, RPh, Dr. Chris Pellow, D.C., Lina Rodrigues, Larry Smith, Mike Thompson, James West, Constance Sauls Wilkins and Linda Williams. The program events also included a baby contest, fashion show, liturgical dance performance and vocalist Mike Thompson. Minister DeShawn D. Alexander of Bethesda COGIC was the keynote speaker.

Pro Players Association, CODA-Inc., Jazz89, The Urban Spectrum, and Care Chiropractic Present an Evening of Blues, Soul & Funk with the Prince of the Blues

Tommy Thomas Winner of Living Blues Critics Award for Best Soul-Blues Recording of the Year! Special Guests: Christopher Tye, Producer Kevin Delaney, Sal Mancini, Emcees Tom Hannan & Virgil Carr, and Dance to Old School Music by DJ Mike

American Workers Deserve Respect

“T he middle class would not

By Roger Smith

exist without organized labor.� So

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And with unemployment stuck above 9 percent, the need for strong unions

has never been greater. I am the CEO of an international life insurance company. If you think a management perspective automatically means opposition to labor unions, think again. I am humbled to witness the impact of millions of workers’ voices as they proudly affirm, “Workers matter, and we are one!� America’s middle class and workers are under systematic attack. Our failed and reckless economic policies, the Wall Street raid on Main Street, the coddling of millionaires and billionaires, and the gaming of a tax system that favors Big Corporations and offshore tax havens - taken together, all of these amount to a thinly veiled attempt to silence American workers and profit at their expense. It isn’t working. What started in Wisconsin with thousands of union members clad in red, battling to keep the rights they earned through their collective voice, has transformed into a national struggle. The stakes are towering, and there is no place for bystanders. Havens of hope are turning up everywhere. A record number of Wisconsin voters spoke in a recent recall election. Though they fell short of reclaiming a state senate majority in favor of workers’ rights, they won back two seats and reenergized the spirit of American workers, who are now readying themselves for the next round at the ballot box. In Ohio, when the state legislature approved SB 5, a bill that gutted years of hard-won worker rights, over 1 million people joined in petitioning for a state referendum to overturn it. Once again, a sea of red is spilling into the streets. Even if you don’t believe, as I do, that organized labor is the surest path to a solid middle class and that collective bargaining creates the type of shared prosperity we need in this country, you must join the fight for fairness. This is not about union or non-union. It’s about respect for

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


American workers and the value of their labor. The few at the top are grabbing all the gains for themselves, leaving nothing for the workers whose increased productivity has resulted in record corporate profits. CEO pay jumped 27 percent in 2010, while the pay of workers in the private sector grew little over 2 percent. This fundamental unfairness must come to an end. This battle will be fought at the worksite and at every polling place in America. Last month, 45,000 courageous workers went on strike against Verizon, a corporation with over $22.5 billion of profits in the past four and a half years. The strike has since been put on hold while union officials negotiate a new contract with Verizon. Shockingly, Verizon wants to renege on benefits for retirees, eliminate sick days for new hires, abolish disability benefits for workers injured on the job, outsource company jobs, and stick already struggling families with over $20,000 in annual concessions. I hope millions of America’s workers see this fight for what it is - another attempt to devalue labor and silence workers. American corporations must be brought to understand that they can remain competitive, be profitable and do right by their workers. It’s important that we support American workers seeking a fundamental transformation to a fair shake for all: a fair wage while working and protection for rightfully earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare. All people of goodwill should join our protestors clad in red, the unemployed and underemployed, and business leaders who want to do right by our workers. Their voices ask all of us, including CEOs such as myself, to do our part and pay our fair share in rebuilding our great country and our middle class.  Editor’s note: Roger Smith is the president and CEO of American and National Income Life Insurance Companies.

Continued from page 3 Lots of people do it because their employers do not offer paid sick days, and in this economy, not many of us can afford to take time off. A recent study of Denver workers showed that 46 percent of African American men do not have paid sick days, nor do 44 percent of African- American women. This is the case for a full 80 percent of low-wage workers nationally. The people who can least afford to lose a day’s pay are the most likely to work through illness, injury, or leave a sick child at home. These low-wage workers forced to choose between their families’ health and their financial security are our brothers, sisters, neighbors and our colleagues. They are struggling already to support their children. So we must come together to fight for the paid sick days that will help them and their families and make a healthier Denver for all of us. Denver is the next front in a movement to require sick pay for all workers that is standard in the rest of the developed world, but America is slowly catching up. San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have similar laws in place. Connecticut just adopted the first statewide law. If Initiative 300 – our paid sick measure on Denver’s November mail-in ballot – passes, all workers in Denver will be able to earn one hour of paid sick and safe time for every 30 hours they work, up to nine days annually for full time workers and pro-rated for parttime employees. Smaller businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be able to cap paid sick and safe time to five days per year. Let’s not forget that working while sick is everybody’s problem. The whole public – those of us with and without paid sick days – is at risk when workers in restaurants, delis, nursing homes, and day-care centers bring a flu or stomach virus to work. Public health experts estimate that during the swine-flu outbreak in 2009, eight million adults went to work while infected, and spread the virus to as many as seven million co-workers. And that doesn’t account for the ripple effect whenever children who should be staying home are sent to school by parents who can’t take a day off. Any parent or teacher in our community, with so many working and single parents, can tell you what happens next. It’s how chicken pox and the flu hit the entire second grade at once. Another reason to vote “yes” in November is to stop an accelerating


race to the bottom in low-wage industries. In the current anything-to-cutcosts atmosphere, the fear of the being in the red often wins out over sensible and humane business practices, even when policies like paid sick days have proven to have no effect on profit margins. It’s also why we have laws regulating wages, hours and workplace conditions. It’s a way of leveling the playing field by requiring everyone to meet the same minimal standards. Many responsible employers realize that a sound sick-leave policy benefits them, too. In San Francisco, which has required paid sick days since 2006, two-thirds of employers say they now approve of the law. To date, 46 Denver-based Christian Clergy and Rabbis and five faithbased organizations have signed on in public support of the Paid Sick Days initiative in Denver. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophet Jeremiah relates God’s desire for his people’s health and wholeness this way: “I will bring health and healing to the city; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” (Jeremiah 33:6). God knows we need some peace and security for Denver’s workers in this current economic recession! Still, expect the corporate lobbyists to complain that sick pay is too expensive. That’s what they have claimed everywhere, and they have been proven wrong. Economists have found that working while sick, or “presentee-ism,” is more costly to employers than absenteeism. And one recent study showed that employers offering sick pay would achieve savings from reduced turnover and the higher productivity of a healthier workforce. And in some states where paid sick days is already the law, business owners say it has no effect on profitability. The ballot initiative should be a shoo-in if a recent poll of Denver voters is any guide. Two-thirds supported the measure, and support was especially strong for the provision allowing workers to use sick time to care for family members. But this is no time for complacency. We have too much to gain and more than we can afford to lose. Please join me in supporting Initiative 300, the paid sick days ballot measure, and vote to make Denver a healthier, more prosperous city for our families.

Kilgore Blasts Mayor’s Haynes Endorsement

Editor: At-large candidate for the Denver School Board, Roger Kilgore, calls Mayor Hancock’s endorsement of one his opponents “a foregone conclusion more about political alliances than the kids.” Kilgore cited Hancock’s stated reason for his endorsement of Allegra Haynes as “being best for the kids” with the claim that she would make every decision based on that assertion. “You might think the Mayor asked every candidate what would provide the best education of students in the Denver Public Schools,” says Kilgore. “But I have not been invited by the Mayor to talk about education or any other topic.” According to news media accounts, the Mayor also has not met with any of the other at-large candidates in the School Board race. For any endorser (and voter), it is better to look closely at the options and make a decision based on facts and to answer the important questions such as: what strategies and tools are the best approaches to improve our schools?” says Kilgore. “The Mayor has made his choice without considering the options. I ask the voters of

Rev. James Fouther United Church of Montbello Denver Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011


Denver to evaluate candidates fully before making their choice. That is in the best interest of our kids.” Kilgore has put forth several such strategies in his “Plan for Sustainable Educational Excellence” for the Denver Public Schools. They include a revamp of the DPS administration putting the schools at the top and the administration in a supporting position. Kilgore’s plan also emphasizes more clearly the role of the Denver School Board, which has the responsibility for educational policy. Neither the Mayor or city administration has that authority.

Roger Kilgore Denver School Board Candidate

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NAACP Host Village To Educate A Child With DPS Candidates

The NAACP Education Committee will have a Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 15 at the African American Research Library located at 2401 Welton St. in Denver. Denver Public School Board candidates will be available for the community to ask them questions from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 303-3372110.

Black Genealogy Search Group Of Denver Host Festival

The Black Genealogy Search Group of Denver (BGSG) will host a Heritage Festival “Remembering The Past by Celebrating Family,” on Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Denver Central Library, Conference Room Lower Level, 10 W. 14th Ave. Parkway in Denver. Speakers include Leslie Anderson, Dr. Derrick Hudson, PhD and James K. Jeffrey. There will be family exhibits, other genealogy oriented organization and door prizes. For more information, e-mail Shirley Milligen at or T. Entzminger at

Pastoral 25th Anniversary Celebration Planned

Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church will host the 25th silver pastoral anniversary celebration honoring Rev. Dr. Jules E. Smith and First Lady Ida Gice Smith at “Celebrating the Journey – Looking Back – Reaching Forward,” Oct. 5 to 9. Events include nightly services, a celebration banquet at the Renaissance Hotel and closing celebration service at St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church. Guests for the dinner include keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Bayard S. Taylor from Calvary Baptist Church, Chester, Pennsylvania; master of ceremony Shedrick Garret (comedian and actor “Shed G”); recording artist Rochelle Lowe and Salt of the Earth. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for 12 and under. For more information or tickets to the dinner, call 303-752-0546 or 303751-7342.

Stepping For A Cure Event For Breast Cancer Awareness

Fighting Together to Save Lives is hosting its first annual ‘Stepping for a Cure,’ a breast cancer awareness event at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 1500 S. Dayton St. in Aurora on Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stepping for a Cure will focus on breast health, nutrition and featuring


exercising through dance styles of Urban Line dancing hosted by Shed G and the newly exciting dance/exercise Zumba. The cost of $25 includes healthy snacks, information on breast health care, nutrition, exercise dance classes, and a thank you gift. For more information, call Jackie Wesley at 303-704-2958 or e-mail

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Sertoma Club Host October Casino Trip In Black Hawk

The Greater Park Hill Sertoma Club is hosting a casino trip to Isle of Capri Sunday, Oct. 16 from 2 to 8 p.m. The $20 ticket includes the bus ride to Black Hawk, a coupon booklet, and a buffet dinner. The bus will leave for Park Hill Golf Course at 4141 E. 35th Ave. in Denver. To make a reservation, e-mail before Oct. 10. For more information, call Dr. Faye Rison at 303-773-6852 or e-mail

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Free Community Luncheon Event Planned For Seniors

Forest Street Compassionate Care Center and the Zion Senior Center present a senior appreciation luncheon to honor seniors with an afternoon of free entertainment, food, raffles, and door prizes. The luncheon will be Friday, Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Zion Senior Center located at 5151 E. 33rd Ave in Denver. For more information or to RSVP call 720-202-6898.

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LBDM Community Outreach Drive Benefit Women’s Shelter

Life by Design Ministries (LBDM) women’s ministry is sponsoring a community outreach drive that will benefit the women and children who desperately need the services of Gateway Women’s Shelter. Gateway Women’s Shelter provides services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence and are seeking refuge that will safely restore, replenish, and heal their lives. This shelter provides services in the city of Aurora, Arapahoe county, rural cities, and other surrounding counties. From Nov. 4 to 6, LBDM will be collecting toiletries and hygiene products items, during their annual women’s conference workshops, services and Designer ball. Life by Design Ministries is located at 1756 South Chambers Road in Aurora. For more information and a list of items needed, call Life by Design Ministries at 303-368-4093 or visit Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2011




M.O.D.E.L Luncheon Keynote Speaker

Author and motivational speaker Dr. Farrah Gray

Epsilon Nu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Photos by Lens of Anser

2011 M.O.D.E.L.

(Men of Distinction Excellence and Leadership) Awards Luncheon

Rally for Genocide Awareness in Sudan

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Around Town Denver, Colorado Spiritual’s Project Red Gala with

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September 2011 Photos by Lens of Anser

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DUS October 2011  

Denver Urban Spectrum October 2011 Issue

DUS October 2011  

Denver Urban Spectrum October 2011 Issue