DUS October 2013

Page 1

Volume 27 Number 7 October 2013


Volume 27 Number 7

October 2013

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris




FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Hanifah Chiku Tanya Ishikawa Angelia McGowan Jan Thomas ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris



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 2013 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.” ― Augusten Burroughs

No matter how you feel about that quote, there’s no doubt that we’ll all face a health battle in our lives – whether it’s directly or indirectly through our family and friends. It’s important for everyone, particularly the African American community, to stay on top of their health. Just as important is the spirit necessary to persevere. In our health issue you’ll read about It Takes a Village, an 11-year-old nonprofit organization that serves as a safe haven for people of all races and genders living with HIV/AIDS and the personal journey with breast cancer for two of Colorado’s prominent African Americans – Valeria HowardVason and Roland “Fatty” Taylor. Taylor’s story sheds light on a little-known fact that men can have breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates 2,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men in the United States this year, with about 410 men dying from breast cancer. Taylor has been diagnosed twice. Our health focus also looks at a simple blood test that can reveal kidney disease in its early stages, hopefully long before irreparable damage begins. With the November municipal elections around the corner, this issue also profiles candidates running for school board in Denver Public Schools and Aurora Public Schools as well as candidates seeking city council seats in Aurora. We posed the question: “Upon election to a board seat/office, what two issues would you address first?” Their answers will help you to know if you are on the same page when you check that box. Angelia D. McGowan

What’s Happening in RTD’s District B?

OP-ED AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR International Airport and the I-225 Light Rail Line will travel through Aurora before connecting with the East line to DIA. We are adding 33 miles of commuter and light rail in northeast Denver and Aurora and we ask for your patience as we experience shortterm construction inconveniences. Please remember that temporary street closures and lane restrictions ensure the safety of our workers and the public. In three short years we’ll see the pay-off when we have two wonderful new rail lines in operation. Public Meetings/Community Events To keep you informed of our construction progress, RTD participates in public meetings and community events. As such, we encourage you to attend the following: Thursday, Oct. 10, we’ll host an East Rail Line informational event at Market Street Station in downtown Denver from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Saturday, Oct. 12, RTD’s East Rail Line contractor Denver Transit Partners (DTP) will host an annual open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Swigert International School at 3480 Syracuse St. At the open house, DTP will serve hot dogs and hamburgers and you can learn about the new commuter rail line’s vehicle and other transit details. Career Opportunities Finally, I am often asked about career opportunities on RTD FasTracks projects. I am delighted to tell you about RTD’s Workforce Initiative Now (WIN) program. This year alone, 323 people have attended WIN sessions and 66 have been hired. In my district, 63 people have received career-building services and 19 have new jobs. For more WIN information, call 303-299-2WIN (303-299-2946) or

RTD Bus Service Changes and Construction Progress in Denver and North Aurora Big changes are happening all around the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) District B in northeast Denver and north Aurora, and we offer many ways for the public to stay informed. From construction on the new East and I-225 rail lines to bus schedule changes and other projects – I am here to help you stay informed. Bus Service Changes For starters, we are currently offering a great opportunity for you to learn more about the minimal bus service changes in our area that could take effect in January. RTD adjusts schedules three times a year, and it takes a lot of planning to coordinate service across 133 bus and light rail routes and 10,000 stops. You can review proposed service changes and provide feedback through Oct. 8 by visiting www.rtddenver.com/servicechanges-january2014.shtml. You can also fax your thoughts to 303-299-2227 or email them to service.changes@rtd-denver.com. My colleagues and I on the RTD Board of Directors will vote on these changes Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at 1600 Blake St., and you are welcome to attend this public meeting. You can also provide us with feedback at our website www.RTDDenver.com and look for updates at Facebook and Twitter at RideRTD. New Rail Line Progress Of course, the really big thing happening in District B is the construction of the East and I-225 rail lines, which will open in 2016. The East Rail Line commuter rail project will connect downtown Denver to Denver

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Guest Managing Editor

visit www.rtd-denver.com/win. Of course, you are always welcome to reach out to me at 720-273-9520 or by email at Barbara.Deadwyler@rtddenver.com. I look forward to meeting you in person, over the phone or by email, and to talking with you about all the exciting transit progress taking place across our district. Barbara Deadwyler, RTD Director District B

Reader Appreciates Words of Forgiveness to Trayvon

Editor: I've heard speeches and opinions for a year now and I found the article by Theo Wilson, “Spoken Words of Forgiveness to Trayvon (Denver Urban Spectrm, August 2013)” to be direct and insightful. When 30 young Black men (mother's children) die on a weekend in Chicago; not even the "every life is precious crowd" peeps. As we rue the denials of society's ills, let us not abandon self-determination. This may be a "free" country but some are freer than others.

Terri M. Garrett Denver

Reader Disappointed with State Rep’s Message

Editor: Check yourself. I hope that the article submitted, “At the Corner of Justice...by Angela Williams (Denver Urban Spectrm, August 2013)” was written by an immature aide. I would hate to think this came from you. I cry to think that “being safe” has become the heartbeat of political life.

Terri M. Garrett Denver

“I’ve lived longer with it than

nity outreach 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. in the West Side piers of Manhattan – a popular gay cruising spot at the time – and with “women who trade sex for money,” she says. When she relocated to Denver in 1994, she began working for the Colorado AIDS Project (CAP), where she worked in several roles, from case manager to head of wellness and pre-

without it. It’s not a death sentence anymore,” says 54-year-old Corlyn

Jones, who was diagnosed with HIV at 26 after required testing when she

It Takes A Village: A Home Away From Home

was admitted to the hospital for a drug overdose.

“It was a big deal. At the time everyone was dying. Some wanted people to go live on an island because they had it. As long as you take meds you can be healthy. If I had cancer, people wouldn’t want me to go live on an island. They’d help me,” says Jones, a mother and client at It Takes a Village (ITAV), an 11-year-old nonprofit organization providing services in the Denver metropolitan area to people living with HIV and AIDS. Although program participants include people from all races and walks of life, the organization primarily serves those who have felt disenfranchised and need a friendly, welcoming place to go for support and services. ITAV funders include Denver Office of HIV Resources, Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Center for the Church and Global AIDS, Harvest of Hope Colorado, Latino Coalition for Community Leadership, U.S. Department of Labor, The Empowerment Program, Walmart Foundation, and the city of Aurora through Aurora Mental Health. “The staff at ITAV is extraordinary,” says Bob Bongiovanni, who manages CDPHE’s Care and Treatment Program in the STI/HIV Section. “They work with a very diverse client base, and they bring the same level of compassionate, professional service to everyone who comes through the door.” Jones says, “They show concern and don’t judge clients. I know they care about me. I feel at home and part of the family.” October is World AIDS Awareness Month, though several countries and governmental agencies have designated various times of the year to promote awareness. Just as the growth of awareness days has evolved to meet the varying audiences, so has the focus of ITAV. It Takes a Village provides medical case management, financial assistance, housing assistance, transportation, emotional support, substance abuse treatment, meals and clothing to more than 300 individuals living with HIV

By Angelia D. McGowan Photos by Lens of Ansar

It Takes A Village Founder and Executive Director Imani Latif (left front) with ITAV staff.

per year. Through its various programs, the organization touches many populations in the community from immigrants to recently released inmates. “We’ve grown because of responding to anticipated needs,” says ITAV Founder and Executive Director Imani Latif, who began the organization by serving as the only HIV testing center in Aurora. “Everything is connected from poverty to substance abuse to mental health.” According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2009, the most recent year this information was available. Of those people, about 18 percent do not know they are infected. The CDC also shows that African Americans are most affected by HIV. In 2010, African Americans made up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, but had 44 percent of all new HIV

infections. Latinos are also strongly affected, making up 17 percent of the U.S. population, but had 21 percent of all new HIV infections. The CDC also reports that at some point in their lifetimes, an estimated one in 16 Black men and one in 32 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. The birds-eye view, however daunting, provides Latif direction for programming to help understand and address the challenges the African American community faces that contribute to the higher rates of HIV infection. They range from socioeconomic issues to stigma, fear and discrimination about HIV testing. Many at risk for infection fear stigma more than infection and may choose instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing. Her work history also helps with engagement. Latif began working in the health industry nearly 30 years ago in New York at the height of the “big mystery” of AIDS, doing commu-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


vention services. “More and more people of color and women were coming in,” says Latif, who eventually left CAP to form It Takes a Village. Within two years, she had secured funding for three programs – Phenomenal Women, Brothers4Ever and Just Us Project. Through Phenomenal Women, a prevention program for AfricanAmerican women, ITAV has served more than 700 women since it started 10 years ago. “We wanted to get to underlying problems and address power in relationships,” says Latif of the program that meets every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, from 5:45 to 8 p.m. She adds, “From my experience, (contracting HIV) is not because of promiscuity, but because of serial monogamy – three or four partners in three or four years. There are a lot more Black women than Black men because of incarceration. Women are sharing men and don’t know it. We want that dream (of a relationship) so much, and even if we suspect something, we turn a blind eye.” A more recent program is Sisters in Spirit program. Launched in July 2012, the program unites all AfricanAmerican women, including transgendered women, to prevent HIV transmission among women in the community. During the past year, 18 opinion leaders, selected based upon their influence upon women with their social networks, provided HIV prevention education, condoms and HIV testing information to more than 1,600 African American women. Outreach has taken place in beauty salons, homes, house parties, clubs, and other venues where casual conversations can be held to influence the norms and values of African American women around condom use, assertive communications and HIV testing. Another long-running ITAV program is Brothas4Ever, a support group for African-American men who love men. An estimated 800 men have participated in the program. It not Continued on page 6

African Americans at Higher Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Every heartbeat pumps about onefifth of blood to the brain. Brain cells need the oxygen and nutrients carried by blood in order to think clearly, speak and remember. Conditions that damage the heart and blood vessels, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, can also interfere with the brain’s vital supply lines. Studies show that AfricanAmericans have a higher risk for these conditions, which may increase the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. African-Americans may have a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke because of factors that can’t be controlled, such as age and family history. However, there are risk factors that can be controlled if steps are taken to keep brains healthier as people age. Watch numbers •Blood pressure – desirable blood pressure is less than 120/80 •Blood sugar – desirable fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL •Body weight – keep body weight in the recommended range •Cholesterol – desirable cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL Make healthy lifestyle choices •Stay mentally active •Remain socially involved •Stay physically active •Reduce intake of fat and cholesterol •Don’t smoke According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, older African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias as older whites, and Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias as older whites. In order to take a closer look at this increased incidence, researchers released the results of a recent study at this year’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston. The study looked at whether differences in dementia rates by race existed among a group of community dwelling elders and whether any of those differences could be explained by socioeconomic status including income, financial adequacy, education and literacy as well as health-related factors. Kristine Yaffe, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and colleagues evaluated dementia risk among 3,075 black and white elders (mean age 74.1 years)

participating in the ongoing prospective Health, Aging and Body Composition Study who were free of dementia. During 12 years of follow-up, 18.7 percent of participants were determined to have developed dementia, based on prescribed medications, hospital records and cognitive decline. In this population, African-Americans were 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia than whites (21.9 percent vs. 16.4 percent). However, after adjusting for socioeconomic factors including education level, literacy, income and financial adequacy, the researchers found that the difference in risk was no longer statistically significant. “Our findings suggest that differences in socioeconomic factors may, in

and develop treatments that will prevent, slow or stop the progression of this fatal disease. Members of the community can help support the work provided by the Alzheimer’s Association at no cost to Colorado families by volunteering, donating, participating in fundraising events like the Memories in the Making Art Auction or the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and by becoming an advocate (alz.org) joining with the voices of millions of Americans who believe Alzheimer’s can’t wait. Editor’s note: The Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado provides counseling, education, support and a 24-hour bilingual Helpline at no cost to families across Colorado. Reach out for help and support by calling 800-272-3900 or go online to alz.org/co

large part, explain racial and ethnic disparities in dementia rates,” said Yaffe. “Future studies that investigate these disparities should take a broad range of socioeconomic factors into account.” Yaffe suggested that more studies are needed “to explore the potential benefits of improving socioeconomic risk factors as a way of reducing dementia rates.” (Disclosure: Dr. Yaffe is co-chair of the AAIC 2013 Program Committee.) Like other parts of the body, the brain may lose some agility with age, however, it can deteriorate even more if it’s not taken care of. Science is unlocking many of the mysteries of the brain, but there is still a great deal to learn and additional funding is necessary in order to determine the cause

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


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3 Reasons to Get Tested

1) The sooner you know the better. You can live with HIV and have a healthy life with early medical treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle to stay well. 2) Knowing your status protects you and your partner. You can prevent transmitting HIV to him or her. 3) Be proactive and in charge of your health. Knowing the ends and outs of your body is essential to living a long healthy life.

Continued from page 4 only offered support to Lonnell Callum, but also a job opportunity. The 42 year-old Denver native has been HIV positive for 13 years and is ITAV’s early intervention service outreach worker. Callum learned of his diagnosis on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2000 after agreeing to get tested because he was in a new relationship. “I wasn’t surprised. I had lived a reckless life. I was young and seeking validation. I had dated men who were HIV positive.” He informed his mother, his best friend and his pastor. But he didn’t take his medicine for years. “I was healthy and going to the gym. But under all that I suffered from mental illness. Now I have to take meds (for mental health and HIV) to stay healthy.” ITAV Substance Abuse Supervisor CAC III Harvey Bowden says “With a

Affordable Care Act Training

dual diagnosis – HIV and Mental/Substance Abuse – it makes it more complicated. But we meet people where they are and use clinical skills to work with them toward change.” Callum credits his progress to having a good support system, a transparent relationship with his doctors and the strength to advocate for his own health. “We have to begin trusting our doctors and start getting the help we need,” he says. “Bring a notebook and write questions down. Give your pain descriptions to doctors. Ask ‘what does this mean to me?’ ” He concurs with other long-time survivors of HIV. “It’s not a death sentence anymore. Just a part of my journey,” says Callum, whose motto is, “You do you. You be you. Take care of you. Love you more.” The Just Us Project provides support, assistance, counseling and referrals for HIV positive AfricanAmericans, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age or background. Alexiendia Chasmeon Abrams, an ITAV client since 2004, says Latif “Provided me permanent housing, got me off of alcohol and drugs, and now I am in my first year of college. “It Takes a Village is home away from home for anyone. Went to other places, but they were sterile and uncomfortable. I felt like another num-

By Angelia D. McGowan People living with HIV or AIDS have many of the same questions as the general public surrounding open enrollment for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act beginning this month. “What type of coverage is best suited for me? Will I move to Medicaid or to coverage offered on the Colorado Health Insurance Marketplace? What happens if I still can’t afford the premiums and out of pocket costs, even after the subsidies through the Affordable Care Act? It Takes a Village, in collaboration with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is offering enrollment training to its clients. ITAV Founder and Executive Director Imani Latif says, “Because of the importance of taking medications on time, it’s important that there are no lapses in coverage. The staff at ITAV is teaming with staff at CDHPE and “other clinics and organizations to make sure people have the support they need to make the best choices and get ongoing support with remaining costs,” says Bob Bongiovanni, who manages the care and treatment program in the STI/HIV section at CDPHE. “We share a common goal — for people to get the care they need, at a price they can afford, and take charge of their HIV infection now and in the future. Bongiovanni adds, “The Affordable Care Act is opening new opportunities for coverage. We expect that very few people with HIV or AIDS will remain uninsured after it is fully implemented. “But the transition to this coverage requires many complicated choices.” For more information about training sessions, visit www.ittakesavillagecolorado.org or call 303-367-4747.

ber, a statistic. I was able to breathe and exhale when I first met Imani, she gave me a hug. When I met Imani, I knew everything was gonna be okay.” That feeling is something another population of people living with HIV/AIDS wants to know. In 2005, ITAV established Community Without Walls. ITAV has representatives in Territorial Prison and county jails, to help recently released HIV positive men who need assistance transitioning back into the community. “Our employees are situated in medical department in jails and advocate for inmates to get proper medications,” says Latif. Once they are released, ITAV picks them up, brings them to the office, does intake, gets them to their parole office and secures temporary housing. Bongiovanni, who has worked with ITAV since its founding, says, “My more recent work with ITAV goes back to July 2010 when our program began funding them to do case man-

agement for people of color who are living with HIV or AIDS, particularly those who have been recently released from incarceration.” He adds, “Our department recognizes that people recently released from incarceration face many challenges; finding a home and employment can be very difficult. For people living with HIV, the situation is even more difficult, adding the challenges of finding health care and a dependable, affordable way to stay on HIV medications. It Takes A Village is one of very few organizations available to help with not only the challenges of meeting basic needs, but also the complex needs of people living with HIV or AIDS.” HIV, Hepatitis C and STI testing is available at It Takes a Village for free five days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Editor’s note: For more information, visit www.ittakesavillagecolorado.org or call 303-367-4747.

Centers for Disease Control: The Numbers of New HIV Infections

African Americans accounted for an estimated 44 percent of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents (aged 13 years or older) in 2010, despite representing only 12 to14 percent of the U.S. population. In 2010, black men accounted for 70 percent (14,700) of the estimated 20,900 new HIV infections among all adult and adolescent blacks. The estimated rate of new HIV infection for black men (103.6/100,000 population) was seven times as high as that of white men, twice as high as that of Latino men, and nearly three times as high as among black women. In 2010, black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represented an estimated 72 percent (10,600) of new infections among all black men and 36 percent of an estimated 29,800 new HIV infections among all MSM. More new HIV infections (4,800) occurred among young black MSM (aged 13-24) than any other age or racial group of MSM. In 2010, black women accounted for 6,100 (29 percent) of the estimated new HIV infections among all adult and adolescent blacks. This number represents a decrease of 21 percent since 2008. Most HIV infections among black women (87 percent; 5,300) are attributed to heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women (38.1/100,000 population) was 20 times as high as the rate for white women, and almost five times as high as that of Latinas.

Source: Centers for Disease Control. Estimated HIV incidence among adults and adolescents in the United States, 2007–2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012; 17(4)

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Verizon Awards Sims-Fayola Teacher Training Grant

Teachers are the “backbone of the

By Angelia D. McGowan

education system,” said Verizon Wireless Associate Director Shawntel Wells at a press conference on August 29 where the telecommunications giant awarded Sims-Fayola International Academy a $50,000 professional development grant for its teachers. Denver’s first and only all-boys charter public school was awarded the competitive grant from the Verizon Foundation to provide on-going training to help educators more effectively and innovatively use technology to enhance student learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. The academy is one of 12 schools nationwide selected this year for the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS), a two-year program presented by the Verizon Foundation, in partnership with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) – the premier membership association for educators and education leaders advancing technology in PK-12 and teacher education. Carol Duran, the academy’s principal and founding board member, said, “I’m humbled…people coming from across the nation. We appreciate another partnership in helping our

Photos by Lens of Ansar

young men achieve greatness.” Verizon Foundation National Program Director Kristin Townsend said the foundation’s “sweet spot” is “investing in professional development.” Under the program, teachers receive two years of professional development that will prepare them to better incorporate existing mobile technology into classroom learning with strategies that support teaching STEM subjects. The only other Colorado school participating in the program is Riverside Middle School of New Castle, Colorado -- among 12 schools awarded last year. Between the two cohorts (2012-2014 and 2013-2015), a total of 24 schools are participating in the program and are expected to reach more than 12,000 students. Dedrick Sims, executive director and founder of Sims-Fayola International Academy welcomed a host of leaders to the press conference at Sims-Fayola where they were able to interact with academy staff and teachers during their ISTE. Lindsay Neil, director of Children’s Affairs in the Mayor’s Office of Education and Children, says they don’t want to “close the achievement gap,” they want to “eliminate the achievement gap.” She adds that these students are “future leaders of Denver. They are going to run the city and not be satisfied with having a seat at the table.” Such a task will require leaving a

positive “digital footprint that will go with them their entire life,” said ISTE Senior Project Manager Melissa Stern. She adds that students can use social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram to evaluate research and be “good digital citizen.” Rep. Angela Williams, who visited the school a year earlier, echoed the feeling of the fellow leaders. “Invest in school and teachers…our kids will succeed,” she said. Acknowledging the academy’s collaborations, including the most recent one with Verizon, CEO of the Denver Urban League and Denver Public Schools Board Member Landri Taylor said, ”No one, no entity, no organization can do it by themselves. Doing the impossible is what gets us out of

Serving Colorado for 40 years. www.lupuscolorado.org 303-597-4050 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


bed every day. Possible is boring.” The grant will fund the position for Rebecca Parrent, who will serve as stem coordinator and technology coach. She looks forward to “teaching students to be innovators.” ISTE CEO Brian Lewis, in a June 24, 2013 press release, said “For schools to realize the potential of mobile devices as powerful learning tools, teachers must be supported with the professional development necessary to integrate these tools into teaching and learning. According to the recently EdTech: Revolution in Education report from STEMconnector.com, 80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S. require STEM adequacy, but the U.S. is currently not graduating enough students who are able to fulfil this grown need…as many as 3 million STEM jobs have gone unfilled. The VILS program is making a difference in preparing students to qualify for these jobs. For example, participating teachers report that 37 percent of students demonstrated improvements in learning STEM subjects; 38 percent of the students have demonstrated increased engagement, and 52 percent have shown increased proficiency with mobile technologies. Editor’s note: For more information on Sims-Fayola Internataional Academy visit www.simsfayola.org or call 720-515-7342.

Black Tie Benefit Features 100 Gentlemen Chefs

"When you leave your job... don't leave your money behind!" Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP Financial Adviser

By Hanifah Chiku

Where can you find Jalapeno Mac

3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 Denver, CO 80209

303-871-7249 - www.myradonovan.com

and Cheese, Salmon A’La King, Shepard’s Pie and Citrus Greens all under one roof? At the 100 Men Who Cook - of course! On Saturday, Nov. 30, from 6 p.m. to midnight “The 100 Men Who Cook Black Tie Gala” will take place at the Renaissance Denver Hotel located at 3801 Quebec. A diverse group of 100 gentlemen chefs representing corporate executives, celebrities, athletes, military, and government officials will present their favorite dish to be sampled by guests. The elegant evening will include a silent auction, live entertainment by Ron Ivory and the Miles Apart Band, strolling saxophonist Yasuo Ishikawa, songstress Larea Soul and DJ Regina Johnson. The mistress of ceremonies will be Tamara Banks. “We are proud to have commitments from distinguished gentlemen from across the metro area, who are not only successful in their careers, but open to creative ways of investing in our youth,” says Chef Committee Chair Samir Paige, noting Denver Undersheriff Gary Wilson, DJ KTone, The Turf DJ, long time participating chef Walter Gray and Gilbert Wheeler, with the Tuskegee Airmen have signed on to participate. Additionally, helping to round out the 100,the City of Aurora will be represented by Mayor Steven Hogan, City Manager Skip Noe, Police Chief Dan Oates and Fire Chief Michael Garcia. This black tie gala is a fundraiser to assist grassroots organizations, whose focus is on supporting, educationing and the development of youth. Funds raised support operating capital to sustain their goals and objectives. This year’s recipients incude: • The Struggle of Love Foundation (SOL) offers mentoring and sports programs; summer/winter camps; back to school assistance; and toys for the holidays. Founders, Joel and Lakeshia Hodge have operated SOL for the past five years with in-kind donations and their own finances.

"Call Today for a FREE Consultation!"

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


•The Colorado Starlites Drum and Drill Team has been serving youth in the Denver Metropolitan area for the past 30 years. Along with the benefits gained from participation in a precision driven, teamwork activity, youth are also taught life skills. •The Jazz C.A.F.E. (Cultivating a Future of Excellence) is an innovative program that promotes and develops music and leadership skills through music education and academic preparation in youth grades 6-12. In addition, The Jazz C.A.F.E. equips students with 21st century technological skills that assist in advancing their music and leadership abilities. Charles L. “Chuck” Moss, Sr. president and planning chairman for the 100 Men Who Cook organization says, “I have been working with this gala for about 30 years. I have always thought of it as the premier black tie fundraiser in Denver. Because of what we do in assisting small non-profit organizations serving youth – I see more and more young people from our community being empowered by the benefits they receive from the groups the 100 Men Who Cook supports. They will go out into the world representing Colorado as educated, upstanding citizens that will make our city proud.” Chuck envisions the future for the Gala as “I see the 100 Men Who Cook, LLC becoming an institution in the Rocky Mountain Region that’s known for playing a major role in supporting youth in their pursuits of excellence. This gala offers grassroots organizations the opportunity to be showcased. Oftentimes these groups are under the radar, just continually doing what they have always done to support kids in our community. We want individuals that could possibly offer help, not just financially, but by bringing their skills to the table as well to become acquainted with them. This gala offers individuals an opportunity to give back all while having fun – I believe volunteerism and people power is our greatest asset.” This year the Title Sponsor for the Black Tie Gala is Ballard Family Mortuary with the following supporting sponsors: Denver Urban Spectrum, Renaissance Denver Hotel, UrbanDwellers and the Denver Black Pages. Editor’s note: General admission tickets are $50; reserved tables are available. For tickets or more information, visit 100menwhocook.co, or call 800-998-5984 ext. 101.

Surviving and Living With Breast Cancer

Two Spiritual Journeys Diagnosis, Decisions and

Valeria Howard-Vason

My life’s journey continues to be

one that I embrace each day, no matter how many challenges or obstacles that are presented. My story is one of survivor, making life choices, and my journey to self-discovery. In 1992, at the age of 39, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, I celebrate being a 21-year breast cancer survivor. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, best friend and the senior vice president at Van Gilder Insurance Corporation overseeing the commercial lines and risk management operations. The Diagnosis As a human, my immediate reaction was the thought that “I was going to die.” Then, being the daughter of a southern preacher, my instincts kicked into that deep embedded spiritual place. I knew this was just a bump in the road and that ‘My God’ was there with me. I knew this was the start of a spiritual journey where certain things occurred within minutes of me being told about my diagnosis. My doctor of four years asked if I had a surgeon. When I said no, he immediately picked up the telephone, and called a college buddy. My doctor told his colleague the story and within a few minutes asked me if I could go see him. I said, yes and it was at that moment, things were in motion. My doctor offered to cancel a couple of his appointments and personally take me to see the surgeon. I

Self-Discovery I am the CEO of Classic’s Event

looked at him in disbelief; at the same time feeling very fortunate that I had a doctor that cared. I assured him I was okay; in a good place, and would call my husband. Decisions I called my husband to inform him of the cancer diagnosis and asked him to meet me at the surgeon’s office. Within the hour, we both were sitting in the surgeon’s office as the treatment options were explained. The first option was a lumpectomy. The second option was a mastectomy. Listening, I was somewhat overwhelmed with all the information the surgeon provided about treatment options. Even though I was processing all of what had happened on this day, the one thought that was going through my head was that I wanted to get this cancer out of my body as soon as possible. My husband inquired about whether we should obtain a second opinion. In my heart, my interfaith was telling me to move forward with the more aggressive treatment. I decided to have the mastectomy and not the lumpectomy. Reconstruction My surgeon suggested that I have reconstructive surgery because of my young age. He then asked if I had a plastic surgeon and once again, I had to say, no. This felt like one of those ah-ha moments. The same actions that my doctor took to find me a surgeon were repeating themselves as the sur Continued on page 10

Roland “Fatty” Taylor

Center and for almost 10 years, the founder of two basketball organizations serving youth – The TaylorMade Playaz and Fatty Taylor Basic Fundamental Basketball Camp. I’m also a former ABA and NBA basketball player. I played with the Denver Nuggets. In March 2000, at the age of 55, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After years of being cancer free, in September 2010 it returned. And I’m battling it today. Routine Physical I went to the doctor for a physical but my doctor was out sick. A female doctor said she’d give me the exam. She said take off your shirt and her eyes went up. Pointing to how half of my nipple was inverted, she asked “How long has that been there?” I said about three or four years. She said forget this physical go straight to the hospital. My doctor was in Aurora, but I was registered at Denver Health. I’m on the highway, nervous as hell. She didn’t tell me (about cancer). She just said go straight to the doctor, go to the emergency room. She gave me an envelope and it was sealed. I was too scared to open it, probably couldn’t understand it anyway. I gave the lady who was checking me in the envelope. I told her my doctor gave it to me. They came out and got me.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


I had been walking around with cancer for three or four years. When I think back about it, to have survived it that long, I was blessed. I’d go take a shower or bath and wash my chest and make a joke to myself. I thought the difference between my left and right breast was part of growing old or a basketball injury. I saw it but there wasn’t any discharge. A nurse told me she didn’t know men could get breast cancer. I never saw that female doctor again, but wrote a letter and thanked her. She is the one that saved my life. Men and Brest Cancer One doctor came in and looked at my nipple took his thumb and pressed on my nipple and walked out the room. Another doctor identified himself and did the same thing. Then a third doctor and the same thing happened. No one said anything! The fourth doctor walked in looked at me, folded his arms and said “I have bad news for you. You have breast cancer. We are operating (a mastectomy) at 6 o’clock in the morning.” It was about 5 p.m. I walked out of the hospital, to the car. I was in a state of shock; but trying to be confident. They didn’t take no X-ray, no mammogram, nothing. I was thinking they misdiagnosed me. I asked my son, Kobie, to come and take me to the doctor, but hadn’t said anything to him. My son came with me and the doctors told him. He stayed with me the whole time. He Continued on page 10

Continued from page 9 geon worked to find me a plastic surgeon. He picked up the telephone and called his medical school friend, told him my story and asked him if he could see me immediately. The plastic surgeon said he would take me as a patient; this being said my husband and I were now off to see the plastic surgeon. During our first meeting, he explained the process and indicated he would be glad to work with my doctors, his friends. Wow. How fast the whole process was moving. In such a short period of time, I have gone from getting a diagnosis of breast cancer, to finding a surgeon and plastic surgeon. My head was swimming, but the one thing I knew was that I was receiving favor from My God. Family The next path on this journey was scheduling surgery and breaking the news to my family. We encountered some difficulty trying to find a date when my doctor, surgeon and plastic surgeon were all available at the same time. I left the plastic surgeon’s office just a little frustrated. However, when my husband and I arrived home, my doctor had already called and left a message that he, the surgeon and the plastic surgeon were giving up their golf game on Saturday and they would all be available, if that worked for me – another blessing for me. I immediately called to confirm that we had a date. Based on how fast things were moving, one could only think the cancer was very bad. I proceeded to call my family and close friends to inform them that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and asked for their prayers. I knew this would be an easy request because I was a product of a praying family. Recovery Surgery went as scheduled and my journey towards recovery started. My doctor was able to provide great news that the cancer was contained, it had not spread and my lymph nodes were all negative. As an additional measure for thorough treatment, my doctor suggested that I speak with an oncologist. I agreed. The oncologist and I met to discuss the pros and cons of doing the chemotherapy or not. I made a decision to proceed with the chemotherapy as I understood it would decrease my chance for a reoccurrence. With the surgery behind me, the next steps of my journey now included the reconstructive surgery process and then the chemo therapy. I had no hesitation about this and constantly told myself I can do this. Laughing now at the 40 pounds I gained during the chemo, it was a long process. But my only side effects were being a little

weak for about 24 hours after each treatment and the weight gain over the six months period of time. As a breast cancer survivor, I look back and ask “Was I scared?� I am not sure, but I think I was. It was my relationship with God and my belief that erased any fears that I would not survive. Support I had a full recovery and started working out again to lose the weight. By the grace of God, I was back to “being me.� My husband and family were with me every step of the way. My family came from afar to take care of, not only me but also my husband. They cooked (maybe part of the reason for the weight gain), cleaned, laughed and prayed. The environment was warm and comforting. I knew I was loved. Because I have a personal belief, “everything that happens in life, happens for a reason and is meant to be, whether it is good or bad.� I truly believe that my cancer journey was for a reason and meant to teach me something. It strengthened my faith in God and taught me that there is nothing more important than family. Advice To have faith and don’t let the negative consume you. You must be positive and surround yourself with a positive approach and believe in God. Be open about your feelings and surround yourself with the people who truly care about you. I can tell you, as you go through the recovery process, you truly find out about yourself and what you are made of. You will also discover those who really care about you and have your best interest at heart. The experience does prepare you for life lessons that are to come. If you were to ask me if I would do it again, I would say, that is not a choice I get to make, but one that God decides. However, if God feels that I need the experience again, I know I can do it.

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Continued from page 9 was a nervous wreck. But the last person I wanted to see before the operation and the first person after operation was my son. I told him “don’t tell anybody.â€? When I woke up, the first person I saw was my son. And then he called people. I didn’t call anyone. When I face adversity, I try to deal with it myself – me and the almighty. I’ve always been basically a strong person and have a strong personality, faith in the Lord and have confidence in myself. Still fighting‌I’m a fighter from way back (from growing up in the ghettos of Washington, D.C.). After the surgery, they took me into the recovery room. The doctor was straight up. He said, “We got everything. We are going to send some tests off. The results will determine whether you have a short life or a long life.â€? Waiting I went home. My emotions were up and down. Second day (after the surgery) I was thinking that I’d had a good life, college degree, played professional basketball, great kids, been all over the world and my mother is still living. Day three, I thought “I don’t want to die.â€? Of course you are nervous and afraid. Day 4, my son, Kellii, called from college and lifted up my spirit, and said, “Dad you’ve been a great dad, I haven’t said this before but you’ve been my biggest hero.â€? My pastor came by the house. I started feeling good about everything all over again. By the 5th day I drove to the hospital (alone) to the doctor’s office. He came in and asked about drainage‌walked out the door (came in and out three times). Fourth time, I grabbed his arm, “You got to tell me something!â€? He said you are a lucky man. He told me they took 21 lymph nodes all of them came back negative. I would do four weeks of chemo – three weeks apart, followed by tamoxifen for five years (2000-2005). I fell to my knees and said, “Thank you Lord.â€? Support My doctor said “Mr. Taylor, this is going to change your whole life and your whole attitude about family and friends. A lot of people who you thought were your friends – don’t be surprised that a lot of them are not going to be there. There’s people that come in your life that you least expect, that are going to support you. The ones you think will do it, will not be there for you.â€? I found that to be true. Bouncing Back Because of health expenses and time away from business projects for chemo treatment, I eventually lost everything. I was feeling okay after the first two chemo treatments. But after the third treatment, all of a sud-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


den everything hit me – depression and anxiety. One morning I got up around 4 o’clock and started jogging to try to get things off my mind. I saw a news stand that said, “You can start today.� I called them that day and got two paper routes, one of them in Cherry Creek. I was serving the newspapers proudly for two months. People were saying “Hey Fatty.� I didn’t care. Then I got a call from Denver Public Schools and started teaching at-risk kids at Kunsmiller. Bob Caton, the PE teacher at Kunsmiller and also the basketball coach at George Washington asked me to come and help. That kept me busy. At the same time I kicked off my basketball camps. Basketball I didn’t miss a beat. I continued coaching and running my basketball programs and kept on trucking. To be honest, I don’t look at it like I got cancer. I don’t claim it. I know it’s there, but I haven’t claimed it. Don’t get me wrong, I got good days and bad days. Some days I wake up and I feel like shit. I take it day by day, and try not to get stressed out about anything. It’s Back In 2010 while walking down the street I couldn’t catch my breath. I thought “something ain’t right. I know my body. I’d been working out and should not have been winded.� I called up my son, Kobie, and told him to take me to the hospital. I went in and the doctor told me “you got a blood clot in your lungs and cancer came back in the left breast.� So they admitted me to the hospital. They said they had to control the blood clots first, and then they could work on cancer that had metastasized to my lung. Three months later I went to see my primary care doctor, who mentioned I had lung cancer and said, “I don’t know how much time you have to live.� I said hold up nobody told me I had lung cancer. I went downstairs to the lobby and sat down holding my hands on my head for three hours thinking “I’m confused.� The next day I went to see my oncologist, who explained that I didn’t have lung cancer. The doctor explained that my breast cancer cell went to my lung. There’s a different type of cell that goes to your lung for it to be lung cancer. So it was breast cancer, but in the left breast this time. Advice Put it in God’s hands. Why pray and worry? Why worry and pray? It’s out of your hands. That’s what keeps me going. Editor’s note: To learn more about Roland “Fatty� Taylor Foundation fundraiser to promote men’s breast cancer awareness, call 720-436-1153.

CBRT Addresses “Losing Ground” Report

On Sept. 21 at Manual High School, the Colorado Black Roundtable held a 5hour summit to address, “Losing Ground” a portrait of Colorado that shows how African American and Latino residents are falling further and further behind their white counterparts. The 128-page report is the culmination of 18 months of investigative reporting done by a veteran team of award-winning journalists at the INews Network, the public service journalism arm of Rocky Mountain PBS. The summit agenda included the following discussions: Politics, Policies, and the Persistence of Inequality; Community Panel I – Black Families in Crisis; Community Panel II – Redeeming the Dream; The Status of Civil Rights in Colorado and the U.S. A host of leaders participated in the event, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver City Council representatives, and Colorado legislators, to name a few. Look for detailed coverage of Losing Ground and the summit in the November issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum. To read the full report, visit www.inewsnetwork.org/LosingGroundEvents. Photos by Lens of Ansar

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Simple Blood Test Can Reveal Early-stage Kidney Disease


By Jan Thomas

ccording to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH), African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure—the two leading causes of kidney disease—than their white counterparts. But don’t assume this means you’re destined to have endstage renal disease or need dialysis or a kidney transplant at some point in life. A simple blood test can reveal kidney disease in its early stages, hopefully long before irreparable damage begins. On Nov. 2 and 3, DaVita and the Kidney TRUST will provide the test for free at the 9Health Fair at Adams City High School, 7200 Quebec Parkway in Commerce City. The three-part screening test begins by taking a small amount of your blood to measure the level of creatinine, a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism Creatinine, which is released from muscle every day, is transported through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The kidneys filter out most of the creatinine and dispose of it in the urine. The kidneys maintain the blood creatinine in a normal range. An elevated creatinine level signifies impaired kidney function or kidney disease. As the kidneys become impaired for any reason, the creatinine level in the blood will rise due to poor clearance of creatinine by the kidneys. Abnormally high levels of creatinine are a warning sign of possible malfunction or failure of the kidneys. Next, a technician will combine your creatinine score with basic demo-

graphic data such as your age, gender and ethnicity to estimate how effectively your kidneys function. Finally, the technician will review the test results with you, discuss both your kidney disease risk factors and ways to support kidney health, and provide a written report for you to share with your doctor. The entire process should take about 15 minutes. No advance registration is necessary. “You should definitely be checked if you have a family member with kidney disease,” says Yolanda Bogaert, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of DaVita’s Lakewood, Colo., dialysis center. “When kidney problems are discovered and treated early, we have a better chance of delaying – or maybe even preventing – chronic kidney disease and the need for dialysis.”

Knowledge is Power

David Miller, a retired nurse, wishes his high blood pressure and kidney disease had been diagnosed early. Miller believes complications from untreated hypertension led to the endstage renal disease that now requires dialysis at a DaVita facility three times per week. “I was diagnosed about three years ago,” Miller says. “I remember very vividly having excessive, excessive fatigue. It was the kind of fatigue you don’t get rid of when you sleep, but I didn’t pay attention until I couldn’t breathe.” Although his African-American heritage increased his risk for kidney disease, Miller thought a healthful lifestyle protected him from renal failure. “When they told me I had kidney disease, I thought they had the wrong person,” Miller says. “I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I’ve never done drugs. I don’t have diabetes. I don’t fit the mold. They started talking about kidney disease and transplants, and I’m, like, ‘Wait a minute! You have the wrong guy. Do those tests again!’ “I found out later that I have hypertension. That’s the underlying factor for me,” he adds. “My kidney disease

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progressed very quickly to the point I needed dialysis. I think, had we caught it in the beginning, we could have turned things around.” Like Miller, Michael Corona believes early diagnosis and better management of a serious medical condition might have reduced the severity of his kidney disease. “I was raised by a lovely, old-world, Hispanic grandmother who just didn’t take me to the doctor. The consensus now is that I probably had juvenile diabetes, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was about 22,” Corona says. By the early 2000s, there were signs diabetes was damaging his kidneys. “If I remember correctly, my doctor said my liver and kidney enzyme readings were a little elevated so I had to be careful with my diabetes. I said, ‘Okay.’ That was about it; that was all the education I got,” he adds. “In the latter part of 2010, I started retaining water; I had high blood pressure. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.” In December 2011, Corona received devastating news from a kidney specialist. “He was pretty blunt. He said, ‘You’re in kidney failure. You need a transplant. You need to go on dialysis,’” Corona says. He began dialysis treatments at a DaVita dialysis facility in March 2012. Although he’s scheduled to receive a transplant in September, many others aren’t so fortunate. According to the U.S. Office of Minority Health, more than 50,000 African Americans and Latinos were on the kidney transplant waiting list in January 2013.

Dealing with Results

Although learning you have kidney disease may be scary, don’t let fear stop you from being tested. “Most Americans with kidney disease are in Stage 3 (there are 5 stages, with stage 1 being the mildest). They have 30-60 percent kidney function, a higher risk of stroke and heart disease because their body and blood vessels are stressed, and need closer monitoring by their doctors,” Bogaert says. “People get frightened when I say Stage 3 because it sounds awful, but I remind them God gave us two kidneys, and we have reserves. “If you’re in Stage 3, be kind to your kidneys: Follow your doctor’s advice. Visit a nephrologist, or kidney specialist, if directed. Manage your blood pressure and diabetes. Keep cholesterol low. And avoid over-thecounter pain medication that may harm your kidneys.”

Own Your Health

“I’ve had kidney patients reap huge benefits with lifestyle changes,” Bogaert says. “They realize the value of controlling their behavior.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Here are some tips for kidneyfriendly self-care: •Limit Salt - “Many people with kidney disease are very salt sensitive,” Bogaert says. “Taking salt out of your diet is difficult if you like ethnic food. I’m half Puerto Rican and half Dominican. I know it’s labor-intensive to make our favorite foods from scratch, but heavily salted foods really drive up blood pressure.” •Seek Guidance - “Ask your doctor, ‘Where do you see my kidney health in five years?’” Bogaert suggests. “If your lab work shows disease progression, you want to know that. Having the courage to ask that question – which is always hard for doctors to answer – will help give you a better sense of how important lifestyle changes are.” •Work, If Possible - Don’t assume everything in your life has to change if you begin dialysis. “Being happily distracted and having other things on your plate really helps,” Bogaert says. “Working is an excellent example. Generally speaking, my working patients are motivated to stay healthy and do well. They come to dialysis as scheduled. They stay for the entire treatment. They really understand the importance of having their blood cleaned. “Unfortunately, some of my younger patients didn’t have medical insurance because they weren’t working and were pretty sick by the time they started dialysis,” she adds. “Many are now looking for jobs. We support that effort because we believe working while on dialysis has both physical and emotional benefits.” •Speak Up - Earlier this year, thousands of concerned citizens spoke out against Medicare’s plan to cut dialysis funding. Severe cuts may cause some rural and inner city dialysis centers to close. Stay informed about legislative and regulatory action that could impact your access to kidney care, and make sure elected officials know why adequate dialysis funding is essential. •Stay Positive - Not everyone with kidney disease will start dialysis, of course – but maintaining a positive, can-do attitude is important for those who do. “Dialysis is a big physical and lifestyle change,” Bogaert says. “Patients, who take charge of their care, ask a lot of questions, are invested in their health, have family support and interact with other dialysis patients generally do much better on treatment.” • Stay Informed - Make an effort to learn as much as you can about kidney disease before you face a medical crisis. You’ll find a wealth of information at DaVita.com. Editor’s note: Learn more about U.S. Office of Minority Health data at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/.

AfricanAmerican Giving Circles Gather in Denver

The Denver African-American Philanthropists (DAAP) will host the flagship conference for its parent organization, Community Investment Network (CIN), from October 3-6 in Northeast Denver. The conference theme is “Beyond the Mountaintop: Collectively Reaching New Heights by Giving.”

LaDawn Sullivan with DAAP Founders Herman White (left) and Stephan Gator. Through its 15 giving circles, including DAAP, the CIN provides donor education, technical assistance and facilitation of ongoing dialogue to inspire, connect and strengthen African Americans and other communities of color to leverage their collective resources and to create the change they wish to see. DAAP, a fund of The Denver Foundation, includes more than a dozen men from a variety of ages and backgrounds, including Eddie Koen, business development manager for Habitat for Humanity; District 8 City Councilman Albus Brooks and Stephan Gater, mutual fund technical specialist for Charles Schwab. Their formation of the first all-male Denver African Amerian Philanthropists

Circle of community philanthropists

giving circle west of the Mississippi was seeded through CIN’s relationship with The Denver Foundation. “I remember the first gathering of the brothers,” says Gater, who also serves as DAAP chair. “In exploring the traditions of giving in our families and lives, we found a common thread of reaching back to push forward. Now we are a year old and have forged new and deeper relationships with each other and have strategically pooled our (various forms of) giving” for bigger impact. DAAP will announce its first grants to the community at the CIN conference luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 5. But, it’s about more than a check. CIN is about the collective investment of time, talent and treasure to positively impact systemic issues one community, one city and one region at a time, according to CIN Executive Director Chad Jones. “CIN demonstrates the power of community philanthropy and advocates a counter-narrative that challenges traditional philanthropy,” says Jones. “CIN is explicit about why inclusion is a core value: Community philanthropy recognizes that solutions to community problems often originate in unexpected places and from people traditionally excluded from community decision-making. We believe that each of us has the power to become a change agent in our community.”

Photos by Flor Blake and Sino Chum

Planned activities include “The Art and Race” forum at RedLine Gallery on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. and a tour of cornerstones in the African American community including the Black American West Museum, the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument at City Park and Park Hill’s Holly area. The latter will feature a welcome reception and guided tour by the community-led Holly Area Redevelopment Project (HARP) committee leaders. Since its inception in 2004, CIN has convened, engaged, and supported local people to develop collective giving strategies – often called “giving circles” – to address needs in their communities. The giving circles in

CIN have sprouted from church congregations, professional associations, fraternities and other civic groups. Jones says the giving circles provide “a way for concerned citizens to go beyond concern.” CIN Board Chair LaDawn Sullivan, a longtime Denver resident and program manager for The Denver Foundation, is grateful for the expanded view that involvement with CIN has made possible for her. She says, “Whether it was the dedication of my grandmother, Ruth C. Denny, to racial equality through her contributions to Denver Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); the commitment of my mother, Dianne Briscoe, to children’s welfare; or the quiet donations of my father, Big Jim Sullivan, to those in greatest need – their examples of grassroots philanthropy are imbedded in my DNA. “Yet during my 16-year career in institutional philanthropy, CIN has been most instrumental in connecting me with the broader legacy of AfricanAmerican giving that has existed throughout our history.” Editor’s note: For more information about the conference and giving circles visit www.thecommunityinvestment.org. For more information about The Denver Foundation, visit http://www.denverfoundation.orgss/

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A Time to Invest in Community


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Over the last several years, budget cuts have resulted in reductions of nearly $1,500 per pupil in classrooms across the state. While every school district in Colorado has experienced budget reductions, schools that serve communities of color have been some of the hardest hit. Access to a quality education is the civil rights movement of our time. Currently, Colorado is in the bottom 10 percent in the nation regarding per capita spending on education and has not provided minority communities and English language learners with the resources they need to reach English proficiency and advance in our education system. Colorado needs to invest more in education reforms that are proven to help close the achievement gap. You can help by voting YES on Amendment 66. If passed, it would invest in our communities and increase accountability by: 1) Increasing funding for all school districts, particularly those with larger numbers of under performing, lowincome and English as a second -language learner students, 2) Provide preschool to 25,000 new at-risk 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds across the state, 3) and hire thousands of new teachers to reduce class sizes. To learn more about how Amendment 66 will benefit the African American community, attend the community forum hosted by the Black Chamber of Commerce on Oct 2, from 5:30 to 7p.m. at the University of the Rockies located at 1201 16th St., Denver, CO 80202. RSVP at Maisha@coloradocommitstokids.com 303-547-0133.

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Candidates Describe Priority Issues

Editor’s Note: The Denver Urban Spectrum asked candidates for Aurora City Council as well as candidates for the school boards for Aurora Public Schools and Denver Public Schools what two issues they will address first if voted in to office during the November 5 elections. Below are brief profiles and the issues each will immediately address if they are chosen to represent you at the table.

Denver Public Schools Board of Education Candidates

teachers for each neighborhood school. Students will be more engaged and effective at schools if the students can relate to their principal and teachers. Learn more: www.kileyforkids.com or 720336-0125 School District Director At-Large BARBARA O’BRIEN

School District Director At-Large MICHAEL KILEY

Education: B.S., Business Administration, MIS Concentration; Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Profession: Program Manager Kiley, 46, actively volunteers for the Democratic Party of Denver, Northwest Middle Schools NOW and NHS Collaborate School Committee.

What are your two main issues? Finances - Our schools need maximum available resources for proven technology and reductions in class size. With 2,600 district staff supporting 4,000 teachers, I will take every opportunity to shift resources away from the administration and into the classroom. Currently the board does not require the administration to provide complete information about how the money is being spent and the complete student performance data on the results of the taxpayer’s investment. I will require that the administration provide all financial and student proficiency data so the people of Denver can be confident that DPS is maximizing the value of every tax dollar. Neighborhood Schools - We need a renewed focus on quality neighborhood schools, close by for every student. Every neighborhood school must provide arts, music, sports, world languages and extra-curricular activities. Currently parents participate in a DPS lottery and hope to get their child into the right school. Neighborhood schools would be a better option for most students if the administration was effective attracting, mentoring and retaining excellent principals and

Education: Ph.D. and M.A., English, Columbia University; B.A., English, University of California at Los Angeles Profession: President, Get Smart Schools; National Policy Director for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading Recent public offices held: Lieutenant Governor of Colorado

What are your two main issues? Achievement Gap - Closing the achievement gap is one of the biggest challenges we face in Denver. I will work to guarantee that every child gets off to a good start in preschool and elementary school – by giving teachers the support they need to help students meet their full potential and by providing after school and summer programs for enriched learning. Funding - I will also make adequately funding our English language learning programs a top priority. Denver Public Schools serves 28,000 ELL learners and it is essential that we have trained and high quality ELL teachers to serve our students and ensure their success in the classroom. Learn more: www.barbaraobrien.com or 720-432-1584 School District Director District 2 ROSARIO C. DE BACA

No submission

School District Director District 2 ROSEMARY RODRIGUEZ

Education: Metropolitan State University of Denver; St. Joseph’s High School Profession: State Director for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet Recent public offices held: Denver’s Clerk and Recorder; Denver City Council (President of City Council); Commissioner to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (appointed by President George W. Bush) Rodriguez, 58, actively volunteers at A+ Denver, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Advisory Board and World Denver. What are your two main issues? Achievement Gap - I will actively look for ways to close the achievement gap – the difference in achievement between African-American and Latino students compared to white students. All our children in DPS are entitled to a high quality education and I believe that is the way to close the gap. College - I will support programs to prepare DPS graduates for college. Of DPS graduates, 60 percent must take remedial courses at the college of their choice. This is an inefficient use of resources for our colleges and for our students alike. Learn more: rosemaryfordenverskids.com or 909-270-6969 School District Director District 3 MIKE JOHNSON

Education: University of Iowa, Georgetown Law School Profession: Public School Finance Lawyer Johnson, 62, actively volunteers at the Mile High Montessori Early Learning Centers, Allied Jewish Senior Apartments, and the Denver School of the Arts.

What are your two main issues? Neighborhood Schools - I will fight to make sure that every Denver student receives a quality public school education that meets their unique educational needs, regardless of zip code or economic circumstances. We need to make sure there is a quality public school in every neighborhood and provide each

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


student a variety of accessible options so their parents can choose the school that best meets the student’s educational needs. To make sure that choice options are accessible to everyone, we need to locate choice schools strategically throughout the city and provide safe, secure transportation for students who are not within walking distance. Well-Rounded Education - I will continue to fight to make sure that every Denver kid has access to a wellrounded education that includes art, music, physical education and other enrichment activities. Multiple studies show that students who are actively engaged in these activities are more likely to do well academically and to graduate ready for college or career. I have already worked on this issue as co-chair of one of the committees that designed and passed 3A and 3B and co-chair of the mill levy oversight committee directing the use of funds raised by those measures. Learn more: visit www.mikejohnsonfordenverkids.com School District Director District 3 MARY-MARGARET SHOMP

No submission

School District Director District


Education: Associate’s Degree, College of San Mateo; B.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University; M.S, MIT, Civil Engineering Profession: Water Resources Engineer and Certified Instructor Recent public offices held: Board Member of the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority (appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper); Board Member, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado (appointed), Vestry of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (elected) Kilgore, 57, actively volunteers at Denver Public Schools, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority.

What are your two main issues? Achievement Gap - Sadly, the achievement gap between the haves Continued on page 16

Continued from page 15 and have-nots is growing and high school graduation rates are stubbornly low under current policies. These are the first two issues I would tackle with my board colleagues. Both are addressed by insuring that schools in every neighborhood have quality educators, smaller class sizes, tutoring and mentoring, and full access to the arts, music, and PE. Teacher Recruitment - Recruiting to achieve a racial and gender diversity among our teachers that mirrors that of our students is critical. Recreating high-quality comprehensive high schools in Montbello and at Manual to compete with East is essential. Learn more: www.RogerKilgore.com School District Director District 4

Landri Taylor

Education: B.A. in Biology, University of California, Berkely, 1974 Profession: President and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan Denver Recent public offices held: Regional Transportation Board, Denver Library Commission, DPS Board. Taylor, 63, actively volunteers at American Association of Blacks in Energy, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, and Association of Executives for the National Urban League.

What are your two main issues? Achievement Gap - My number one issue to address is eliminating the achievement gap between minority kids and white kids. Although our minority kids are making progress in their growth in core subjects of math, reading and writing, the gap remains the same. We must have focused solutions that address this cultural divide in our schools. Exceeding the Standards - My number two issue is to ensure that a DPS high school diploma from any of our high schools means all of our graduates meet or exceed state proficiency standards. Learn more: www.Landrifordps.com

City of Aurora City Council Candidates

Children; Member, Key Community Response Team


Mounier, 75, actively volunteers at Block Captain, Neighborhood Watch; Citizens Advisory Budget Committee; and Residential Services, Inc.

Education: B.A., Social Work, CSU; M.A. Counseling, UNC Profession: Child Welfare Specialist, Region 8, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services Recent public offices held: Citizen’s Advisory Budget Committee, City of Aurora; Chapter President, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU); HOA vice-president, Fort Collins Busch actively volunteers at North Aurora Neighborhood Organization (NANO). (no age provided)

What are your two main issues? Stapleton Development in Aurora - Water tap fee incentives for Stapleton developers and fast-tracking the Westerly Creek Urban Renewal Area development so that development is completed and Stapleton follows through on a 28-acre park they agreed to build once development is complete on the Aurora side (Ward one) of the Stapleton development, which is stalled due to the high water tap fees. Also, along those lines, getting more alleys paved in ward one, which will increase visual appearances and enhance home values. Access - Enhancing access to services in Ward One for low income, seniors, and immigrant populations. Ward One has a high number of these demographics and is located in both Adams and Arapahoe counties, which contributes to service and accessibility issues. With the Anschutz campus and light rail developments, there are opportunities to improve these conditions.

What are your two main issues? Crime Reduction - Reducing crime in Aurora by 10 percent will be one of my issues. My campaign theme is “Safe, stable neighborhoods where people can live, work and play.” We all want to feel safe in our homes so that our children are protected, and we are free to walk about without fear of being harmed. Relationship Building - Other efforts will include working towards funding for the Moorhead Recreation Center, continuing to build relationships between the Anschutz Medical Campus and us, their neighbors, continuing to take a leadership role in formulating a plan to provide an immigrant center for immigrants and refugees integration to our community, ensuring we have a mix of housing opportunities for people, lowering the unemployment rate in the Ward, bringing in a variety of recreational venues that includes restaurants and cultural activities.

What are your two main issues? Infrastructure - In talking with some of the residents of Aurora in Ward II, I have discovered that this issue is very important to them. They would like to see that pot holes and snow removal from residential streets are addressed in a timely manner. They want to see an improvement in public transportation with more bus routes added and more times added to some of the current schedules in their neighborhoods. Aurora-Denver Relationship Recently, issues surrounding the Gaylord Project and the stock show have caused tension between these two cities and, therefore, I think it is important to improve the relationship between these cities to create a better spirit of cooperation. When we are able to accomplish this, we will be more successful at bringing new corporations to Aurora and thus improve our tax base and our city. I believe a win for Aurora is a win for Denver and also a win for Colorado. Learn more: www.bcelestin4council.com or 717-578-6494 Ward II


Learn more: www.SallyMounier.com Ward II


Education: African American Leadership Institute, 6th Army Intelligence Academy, Los Alamitos, CA Profession: Operator at RTD-Denver; Supervisor of Department of Homeland Security Recent public offices held: Commissioner, Aurora Civil Service Commission; Commissioner, Aurora Human Relations Commission; President, International Cross Cultural Network of Aurora. Bernard Celestin, 56, actively volunteers at Big Brothers of Metro Denver; Board Member, Advocates for

Learn more: www.ericforwardone.org; email ericforwardone@gmail.com; or call 720-324-8322 Ward I


Education: Autodidactic (self-taught) Profession: Career Development, RE/MAX Southeast, Inc. Recent public offices held: City Council, Ward I, City of Aurora

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Education: T.H. Pickens Technical Center, National League of Cities trainings Profession: Current Aurora City Council Woman, Ward II Recent public offices held: Aurora City Council Woman (Ward II), Aurora Mayor Pro Tem Peterson, 58, actively volunteers as the founder of the “School Wish List Project,” Aurora Senior Hub, Comitis Crisis Center, and the Colfax Community Network.

What are your two main issues? Constituent Services - Listening to the concerns of my constituents and always considering any issue’s longterm ramifications. Continuing to vote my conscience based on the facts at hand, not searching for the most expedient or popular response. This is also remaining in alignment with Aurora’s four core values: integrity, respect, professionalism, and customer service.

Water Supply - Ongoing protection of Aurora’s water supply in order to provide residents quality water, readily available, at an affordable cost. This helps to ensure protection of this valuable resource for Aurora citizens. Learn more: bpeterson@outdrs.net Ward III


Education: B.S., Economics and Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude Profession: Current - Aurora City Council Ward 3, Part-time work for an electrical contracting company Recent public offices held: Aurora City Council (elected), Citizens Advisory Budget Committee (appointed), Community Housing and Development Advisory Committee (appointed) Berzins, 63, actively volunteers for the board of directors for the Aurora Mental Health Center, Aurora Economic Development Committee and Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority.

What are your two main issues? 7/20 Memorial Committee - I am currently on the 7/20 Memorial Committee working with the Aurora shooting victims and their families. It’s very important to me and the families to see this effort through to the construction of a peaceful place where they and others can go to remember. Jobs - I’m always looking for ways to bring in jobs (paychecks) to Aurora so people can have a fair opportunity to be self-sufficient, take care of their families, create a larger tax base for public safety issues and schools, create more shopping areas, therefore, creating more jobs. Learn more: www.marshaberzins.com or email marsha@marshaberzins.com At-Large BARBARA CLELAND

Education: East High School and Western State College Profession: Community Relations and legislation for Aurora Mental Health Recent public offices held: Aurora City Council, Colorado State Housing Board, and Aurora Housing Authority Cleland actively volunteers at the Aurora victim service, Aurora Housing Authority Chair, and Memorial for 7/20

What are your two main issues? Jobs - I want to make sure Aurora has its fair share of jobs around DIA and protect the will of the voters to allow Denver to annex into Adams County Immigrant Support - Aurora is a very diverse city and we need to make sure that, that is used to an advantage. I am working with groups that are helping the new refugees and immigrants in the metro area. We are a unique city because of our diversity and as council we need to build on that. Learn more: www.barbcleland.com At-Large


Education: B.A., Metropolitan State University of Denver Profession: Manager of Information Systems User Support Group Recent public offices held: Aurora Public Schools Board of Education, Colorado Association of School Board Association, and Aurora Public Schools Board of Education Cook, 47, actively volunteers for the City of Aurora on the Citizens Advisory Budget Committee, Open Space Board, Blue Ribbon Panel and as a youth sports coach; as a Sunday school teacher at Faith Presbyterian Church, and as a youth sports coach for the Arapahoe Youth League.

What are your two main issues? Economic Development – Want to ensure that Aurora continues to create high quality jobs so that people can work in Aurora as well as live in Aurora. Aurora has great opportunities to do this with the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Gaylord Hotel Project and development along E-470. Enhanced Recreational and Cultural Arts – The city Aurora is home to 340,000 people and we need to offer recreation and cultural arts

opportunities to all of our citizens, regardless of where they live in the city. Learn more: www.voteformattcook.com At-Large


Education: Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics; Master’s degree in Economics, Master’s degree in Business Administration Profession: Finance and Accounting Kaiser, 47, actively volunteers for the Arapahoe Democrat Party.

What are your two main issues? City Government Accountability Of vital importance is accountability and transparency in our city government. I will bring positive changes to the city council and be accessible to all people, whom I will serve with integrity, openness, and responsibility. I will ask the people what concerns them; I will listen to them, learn from them, and care about them. I will thoroughly research all aspects of issues and represent the people in a wise, insightful, and knowledgeable manner. Aurora is wonderfully diverse; our City Council must reflect that diversity. Jobs - Aurora needs jobs. I will encourage small businesses and offer incentives for productivity, expansion, and retention. I will simplify the startup process. As a small business owner myself, I know that the process needs to be improved. These issues are only two among the many challenges I am eager to face, including improved services to veterans and the fine men and women serving our country; a clean and safe environment (land, air, water, health, and property values); safety in our schools and neighborhoods; superior public education, the addition of four-year degree programs, and equal rights for all people

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley; three master’s degrees, from the University of Colorado at Denver: Public Administration as well as Social Science; and Public Policy from Georgetown University Profession: Public service at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office overseeing the lobbyist registration program. Lawson actively volunteers at Aurora’s Citizen Advisory Budget Committee, the Human Relations Commission, and as an advocate for literacy in the Aurora Public Schools Leaders Are Readers Program.

What are your two main issues? Branding – (The city has) blighted and vacant structures in both residential and commercial establishments. I would tackle …finding ways that the city can implement an alluring marketing strategy to attract businesses into the all-American city. Economic development spurs job creation and a strong labor force in the city. Therefore, emphasis needs to be placed on developing a marketing brand for the city and telling our positive story vs. standard public relations. Growth and Development Growth is vital to the economic prosperity of any city, however maintenance of the pre-existing infrastructure is necessary for community well-being, security and safety. It would be a priority of mine to ensure that growth and development projects are consistent with local priorities of the city and provide for services in the most cost efficient manner particularly in designated urban renewal areas of the city. Learn more: www.lawsonforaurora.com or lawsonforaurora@gmail.com At-Large


Learn more: www.vote4kaiser.com At-Large


Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Education: Cherry Creek High School; Associate’s Degree of Applied Science, Legal Assistant, Arapahoe Community College. Profession: President and owner of Bradley M. Pierce Legal Services, Inc. specializing in Elder Law (Estate Planning, Wills, Probate, Conservatorships and Guardianships). Continued on page 18

Continued from page 17 Recent public offices held: Aurora City Council Member At-large (elected twice, appointed once)

What are your two main issues? Jobs - I will continue to help attract new jobs and retain the jobs we already have in Aurora. Through our partnership with the Aurora Economic Development Council, over 1000 jobs have been created or retained this year alone. We are taking steps to solve the Structure Budget Gap, which for a variety of reasons, our expenses are rising at a rate faster than our revenue. Expanding our job base will help greatly. Transportation - We have many transportation needs whether it’s city streets or federal and state highways. I will help ensure the projects are adequately funded.

Constituent Services - I will be committed to neighborhoods and community involvement. I will work with organization, non-profits, churches and neighborhood associations to make sure that resident’s voices are heard. I will work to establish a citizen’s academy to engage individuals in understanding how the city works. Learn more: wheelerforaurora.com or email info@wheelerforaurora.com

Aurora Public Schools Board of Education Candidates JASPER ARMSTRONG III

Learn more: www.bradforcouncil.com At-Large


Education: Bachelor’s degree, Business Administration, CU Boulder; Master’s degrees in Health Administration, Business, and Information Management, Webster University. Profession: Community Outreach Liaison, Forest Street Compassionate Care Center Wheeler, 43, actively volunteers at Colorado Black Women for Political Action (Vice President), Community Housing Partners (formerly Aurora Housing Corporation the nonprofit arm of the Aurora Housing Authority) (Board of Directors), and Aurora Health Access (Board of Directors).

What are your two main issues? Jobs - Aurora is the “Gateway to the Rockies” and continues to be a major center of economic opportunity. For many of Aurora’s residents that means jobs. The Gaylord project inside the I70 Commercial Development Plan will generate thousands of new jobs, according to the Denver Business Journal. I want to see Aurora citizens get some of these job opportunities. I will demand fairness, inclusiveness and transparency not only at Gaylord, but on all economic development projects in the City of Aurora.

Education: B.A., Africana StudiesMulticultural Education, Special Education; M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, Colorado Christian University Profession: Teacher Armstrong actively volunteers for Absolutely Articulate Toastmasters and is a City of Aurora Coach/Official.

What are your two main issues? Equal Funding - I would like to address equal funding across the district especially for pre-school. When we provide early learning experiences for children we can engage them in the learning process. From there they can gain some early literacy skills as we increase their self-concept as capable learners. This provides us an opportunity to create stronger more meaningful learning experiences in the future of their educational career. Teacher Support - In order to give our students a strategic advantage we must also provide our teachers the necessary support to deal with the increasing high academic demands as well as the increasing challenges they see in their classrooms every day with increasing class sizes and having to play teacher, policeman, social worker and counselor.


Education: Community College of Aurora, Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration, Daniel’s College of Business, University of Denver (Summa Cum Laude) Profession: Billing Manager, Tae Kwon Do Instructor for United Martial Arts Center; Kickboxing teacher, Family Martial Arts Center. Lopez-Drevon, 36, actively volunteers at Aurora Frontier P-8.

What are your two main issues? Student Achievement - In Aurora Public Schools we are behind the state in academic achievement of our students and our yearly growth is not keeping pace. We need yearly accelerated growth. With almost three-quarters of our students qualifying for reduced lunch and well over a quarter of them being English Language Learners, I believe we need to focus on meeting the basic needs of students first and foremost. Ensuring that student achievement has a strong foundation on which to grow is essential. Teacher Development - Some teachers are showing above average results with accelerated student growth and I would like to see how those situations are being analyzed and used to aid all teachers. In addition, with the fast pace of technology innovation we need to ensure that our teachers have the flexibility and resources to use technology in ways they feel will support student achievement best. Learn more: adrevon@comcast.net


Learn more: Maisha Fields Pollard at maisha.pollard@gmail.com

Education: Ph.D., Organizational Psychology, Southeastern University Profession: Small Business owner (Global Family Insurance and Financial Services) and Adjunct Professor, Colorado State University Recent public offices held: Aurora Human Relations Commission,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Denver African-American Advisory Commission Nelson, 35, actively volunteers at Aurora and the State Branch of the NAACP, Restorative Justice Victim Offender Reconciliation Program of Denver, Aurora’s Key Community Response Team, Leaders Are Readers/Read Across America.

What are your two main issues? Dr. Nelson is running for Aurora Public School Board to increase academic achievement for all students, garner greater community engagement, and promote accountability in the APS administrative level. Learn more: www.NelsonforAurora.com or email NelsonforAurora@gmail.com


Education: Ph.D., Political Science, CU Boulder Profession: Evaluation and Research Coordinator, Colorado Department of Education Recent public offices held: President, Aurora Public Schools Board of Education Shepherd actively volunteers for the Aurora Public Schools, Guide Dogs for the Blind and 4-H Youth Development program.

What are your two main issues? Student Achievement - Upon successful reelection to the board, I will continue to prioritize accelerating student achievement for all students in APS. To do this, the board must engage educators, staff, parents, families, students and community partners. Key to accelerating student achievement is ensuring that all educators have the resources and support to serve Aurora students. Parent Engagement - I will continue exploring ways to effectively reach out to and involve more parents and family members. Meaningful parent and family engagement is critical to student success. The board, as the elected link between the community and the school district, must help cultivate this relationship. Learn more: www.reelectshepherd.com






commitment to serving the needs of Black- owned businesses as well as providing economic opportunity and support to the businesses and communities in which it serves. With its strong programming and community support, CBCC will be able to assist in forging a path that leads to a steady flow of resources beneficial to our business members through relationships, partnerships, and mentorships. Premier sponsor for this year’s event is MillerCoors. Editor’s note: For more information, tickets or sponsorship, call 303-831-0720, e-mail president@coloradoblackchamber.org, or visit www.coloradoblackchamber.org







Amendment will provide the educational foundation needed for African-American and other minority children to increase their opportunities for success. Colorado residents are invited to join CBCC for this event. More information and registration is available on the Chamber website. Additionally, businesses of all sizes are encouraged to join the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce to access numerous professional developments, business growth, and networking opportunities made available to organizations of all sizes. Under its new leadership, the CBCC has demonstrated an invigorated and bold





Benefiting the Struggle of Love Foundation, The Colorado Starlites Drum & Drill Team, and the Jazz C.A.F.E. (Cultivating A Future of Excellence)

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 30, 2013 6:00 PM — 12:00 MIDNIGHT RENAISSANCE DENVER HOTEL 3801 QUEBEC STREET - DENVER, COLORADO Dont’ miss this spectacular, elegant gala as the 100 Men Who Cook returns to Denver! Food Samplings, Live Entertainment, DJ and Dancing, and Silent Auction. This year’s signature color is purple.



plus Strolling Saxophonist Yasuo Ishikawa, Neo Soul Artist SuCh, and DJ Regina Johnson

TO VOLUNTEER AS A CHEF Call 800-998-5984 ext. 105 FOR TICKETS + RESERVED TABLE INFORMATION Call 800-998-5984 ext. 107 or visit 100menwhocook.eventbrite.com $79.00 Special Room Rates At The Renaissance Denver Hotel Hotel Reservation Line: 303-336-5213 or 1-800-HOTELS1

Larea Soul

Tamara Banks Mistress of Ceremony CREME CHEESE POUND CAKE




Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


SPECIAL OFFER ON TUXEDOS + SUITS starting at $100 at the Clothing Connection 15057 E. Colfax, Aurora, 303-366-3672



General Admission Tickets $50 — Reserved Tables $750 Silent Auction Cocktail Hour 6 pm – 7 pm Food Sampling 8 pm – 10 pm




Family Mortuary






Participating Gentlemen Chefs Aurora Mayor Steven Hogan Aurora City Manager Skip Noe Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates Aurora Fire Chief Michael Garcia Denver Director/Undersheriff Gary Wilson Joe Mays Neil Jones Keith Brown Mel Tewalade Dr. Johnny Johnson Tyrone Parks George Goree Walter Gray Saul Hunter Frank Urtnowski Ron Ivory Gilbert Wheeler





The Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) is committed to serving as the voice of Black businesses throughout the entire state of Colorado. Under the leadership of its new President and Chief Executive Officer, Nicole Singleton, the CBCC has a sixpoint thrust of Membership Engagement, Business Growth, Economic Development, Advocacy, Education, and Community Involvement. In a dedicated effort to align with the Black Chamber’s overall mission and its newly defined focus areas, CBCC will once again host its annual gala on Saturday, Nov. 9. During what promises to be a dynamic blacktie affair, CBCC will highlight the accomplishments of many Coloradobased companies and individuals who have positively impacted Black businesses and the overall Colorado business community. This year’s award categories include: •Corporation of the Year •Small Business of the Year •Non- Profit of the Year •Corporate Partner of the Year •Lifetime Achievement Award •Emerging Business Leader of the Year •Youth Entrepreneur of the Year “As in years past, the Ascension Awards Gala will be an inspiring celebration open to all. It is a community affair that celebrates the innovation, hard work, and accomplishments of black business owners and professionals,” co- chair Eyamide Garrett of Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd said. The evening will kick off with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. The dinner program will begin at 7 p.m. and festivities will conclude with an after party event. CBCC’s Ascension Awards Gala is a coming together to honor the endeavors of Black and minority businesses. Business, government, and citizens cannot overcome challenges alone. Hence, the Gala allows the community as a whole – the Chamber, businesses, public officials, and our citizens – to joyously commemorate the success of each other and the 28 years of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, true to its commitment to the community, the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce will host a Community Forum the first week of October 2013, in support of Amendment 66, which is the proposed school finance restructuring ballot initiative. The Community Forum hosted by CBCC will educate the community on the benefits of the Amendment that seeks to expand fullday kindergarten and half-day preschool, while also targeting and directing money to better assist at-risk students. CBCC understands that today’s youth represents tomorrow’s workforce. The organization is hopeful this


CBCC Celebrates Business and Community Success


Class Act

By Tanya Ishikawa

Photo by Tanya Ishikawa

The Denver metro area received

a rare treat from saxophonist Branford Marsalis in late September. The threetime Grammy Award winner graced the Boettcher Concert Hall stage with classical alto saxophone solos, accompanied for the first time by the Colorado Symphony led by conductor Andrew Litton. The last time Marsalis was in Colorado was in summer 2010, when he performed with the New York

Philharmonic at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, but his last performance in Denver was nearly 10 years ago, when his jazz quartet performed at a local club. He keeps himself busy traveling to perform across the nation and the world “roughly 200 to 225 days” a year, he said while resting up before his opening performance with the symphony on Sept. 21. In fact, after leaving the state, his schedule for the next two weeks included three performances with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in

Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland and at the Jazz Me festival in Taipei, Taiwan. Between a full calendar of classical and jazz concerts joining well-known ensembles large and small, Marsalis has been trying to fit in time with Branford Marsalis Quartet members Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums, who released their first CD titled “Four MFs Playin’ Tunes” last year. “We’re practicing and just trying to get better for concerts. It will be another couple years before we make another CD. That won’t be for a while – when we start amassing new material and executing it in a way that is different. I’m not a fan of new. I’m a fan of competent. If it turns out to be new, wonderful, but my goal is to be highly competent. My goal is always to make good music,” said Marsalis. He continues to take on new career challenges as a way to keep growing as a musician. Besides his symphonic solos, his recent forays outside jazz included composing original music for a Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play Fences. For that, Marsalis received a Tony nomination for best original theatre score, and then composed the score for the Broadway premiere of The Mountaintop starring Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett. Describing what drives his musical explorations, Marsalis said, “It’s about constantly being aware of what your weaknesses are and constantly trying to find ways to eliminate them. Classical is the thing that did it for me.” “A chamber orchestra asked me to participate in a project, and I was playing with them when I realized I was over my head,” he said, adding that he sought to overcome his classical weaknesses by studying with Harvey Pittel from the University of Texas. “That deconstructed and reconstructed my whole embouchure and my whole philosophy about playing and my approach to my instrument. I

think the lessons were almost 10 years ago and I am still discovering things that refer back to those lessons.” Marsalis is so personally demanding of musical perfection that he doesn’t enjoy many of the local attractions wherever he performs. “I really don’t have time to do anything else. Like today, the amount of focus that is required to play this music well doesn’t allow you to get sidetracked. When I’m doing other styles of music that rely more on personal expression, I have more opportunities and hopefully I can get out and play golf a couple times,” he explained. And when he gets home, he doesn’t have many free days either. His community service is focused on education. He founded and participates in the Marsalis Jams program, where leading jazz ensembles present concerts and jam sessions in mini-residencies at various American universities. He established an ongoing Marsalis Berklee Jams series with the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. He also helped Harry Connick Jr. build the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village including the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a performance facility with instructional and practice spaces and a recording studio. “I think that it is very easy to bitch and complain about the state of jazz. It’s easy to complain about ignorance in general that is problematic in our youth, who often think the only reason for going to school is to make money. Or, I can go into schools and challenge these kids to learn and think. Very few will have the talent to be a professional musician. But, a lot of things I learned in sports when I was in school I put into my music. And a lot of things I learned from music I put in my life. I have an outlook I think is valuable and people around me allow me to express that viewpoint. Some are appreciative and some can’t stand it, but at least I’ve presented another option to them.”

14007 East 22nd Place Ȃ Aurora, CO 80011 Al R. Combs, Founder/Pastor Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Medicare Experts Provide Answers For 2014 Medicare Changes

Medicare beneficiaries are again faced with that time of the year, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, in which they must review their prescription drug coverage and decide whether to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Health Plan or stay with their current coverage. Premiums, deductibles and co-pays often change from the current year, causing even more confusion for beneficiaries. Many beneficiaries report being confused about the launch of the Affordable Care Act on October 1, 2013 in which Connect for Health will begin to enroll Colorado consumers in Obamacare. Medicare beneficiaries are not eligible for Obamacare and must stay with Medicare as their primary health insurance. Although Obamacare made some changes to Medicare, beneficiaries are not subject to any of the rules for the individual market through Connect for Health. On Medicare Monday, October 21 Medicare experts will present the 2014 changes to help beneficiaries understand the changes in costs and coverages for 2014 in Medicare Part A, B, C, and D. Medicare Monday is sponsored by the Colorado Gerontological Society and will be held in 15 locations throughout Colorado during October and November. Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B are expected to increase, but final announcements are not available as of this writing. Similarly the deductible and co-insurance for Medicare Part A are not available. Medicare Advantage plans or Part C are expected to have stable premiums, co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. Information is available at www.medicare.gov starting Oct. 1, for enrollment starting January 1, 2014. The deductible for Medicare Part D will decrease from $325 in 2013 to $310 in 2014, a benefit for consumers who are looking at ways to save money. Similarly beneficiaries will

have less out of pocket costs in 2014 for prescriptions during the initial coverage period, as well as during the donut hole. In addition to the Part D deductible, beneficiaries will pay an additional $635 of their prescription drug costs in the initial coverage period which is less than in 2013. When the total cost of the drugs exceeds $2,850, the beneficiary will be in the donut hole. Beneficiaries whose drug costs are between $2,850 and $6455 will pay 47.5 percent of the costs for brand name drugs and 72 percent for generic drugs. When the total cost of the drugs exceeds $6455, the beneficiary will be responsible for 5 percent coinsurance or $2.55 for generics and $6.35 copay for brand or non-preferred drugs. No changes have been made by Congress to Medicare Supplements. Medicare recently reported that 90 percent of the Medicare physicians are accepting new patients. Individuals who are having difficulty paying for their Medicare Part B and Part D premiums and co-pays may be eligible for assistance and can call 1-855-293-6911 for assistance. For a list of Medicare Monday locations and times, call 1-855-880-4777. Medicare Advantage plans and representatives have been invited so that beneficiaries can do some comparison shopping following the presentations. Light refreshments will be served at all locations. Pre-registration is encouraged to ensure enough food and materials. Individuals who want assistance with enrollment and counseling can call for an individual appointment. Editor’s note: Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has almost 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-3333482 or at doherty001@att.net.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Learn. Achieve. Graduate.

Roadrunner Walk-A-Thon Attracts Supportive Neighbors

A Free Online Public K-12 School Proven to Help Students Succeed

“Run! Road Runner, Run!” was loudly heard from participants at Hope Center’s 3rd annual Walk-athon event, on Sept. 7. It was a classic autumn morning, a crisp blue sky and a nip in the air over the Stapleton neighborhood’s Central Park with a view of mountain peaks, just right for running a 5k or walking a brisk mile. Participants ran to support an agency that has carried the baton for quality early childhood education, developmentally disabled children and adults before it was the popular thing to do. This award winning non-profit, located in both the Clayton/Cole and Northeast Park Hill community, and serving all populations from high risk and low income to high income and gifted has been meeting this city’s needs for more than 51 years. Hope Center, an innovative leader in the industry, has always had to rely upon the generosity of those it serves – families, communities and those who care, to keep it thriving. “It’s not easy,” said President and CEO Gerie Grimes. “Without people and businesses like our sponsors this year, we would have an even more difficult time maintaining a top-notch school and vocational center for adults.” A premier sponsor this year was the Harvest Meat Company which has operated in the neighborhood and served Denver since 1995. John Rosasco, its branch manager sings praises to the work of Hope Center but also admonishes businesses to do as much as they can in the neighborhoods where they do business. “Many of our employees don’t live in Hope Center’s neighborhoods but we do more than support our 40-plus employee family. We encourage them to care about the families in our community and especially Hope Center with a long track record for serving through good times and bad.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Families from Harvest Meat Company participated with families from Hope Center making up nearly a hundred. “I attended Hope Center’s first event and loved the location and the family atmosphere,” said Virginia Schulz, an employee at Harvest. “I knew it would be a good thing to get our staff involved. It feels good to do something healthy and support an agency like Hope Center at the same time.” Another employee said, “This is so awesome; more people need to come out and experience this!” The Harvest Meat Company said they are committed to making where they work a better place for everyone. Other businesses and organizations that showed how much they value the work of Hope Center through their participation included: the Colorado Rapids, The Denver Zoo, Denver Health Medical, Donut Angel, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, On The Move Studio, Sam’s Club, The Zone Healing Center, Denver Preschool Program, Kids Choice Dental, Stapleton Fire Department and RedLine. Sponsors included Deep Rock Water and Stapleton Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities. Editor’s note: For more information on Hope Center, call 303-388-480l or visit www.hopecenterinc.org.

Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams Excellent@@@@@. Very Good@@@@.. Good@@@@@@... Fair@@@@@@@.. Poor@@@@@@@.

No stars


ing, including the use of guns. However, something in John’s brain snapped when his ex-wife got a restraining order that prevented him from seeing his children. That’s when he decided it was time to pull up roots, relocate to DC and start hunting for humans. I’m not sure to what extent the director would like the audience to empathize with either of these disgusting perps. I know Hollywood Blue Caprice

Blue Caprice

Beltway Sniper Saga Revisits 2002 Reign of Terror in DC Area


n October of 2002, the entire Washington, DC area was practically paralyzed by a series of sniper attacks that was difficult to solve because the murderers didn’t fit the typical serial killer profile and there was neither rhyme nor reason for how they picked their victims. Plus, the shooter’s perch was inside the trunk of a car, a blue Chevy Caprice with a peephole bored out of the trunk. That not only afforded the pair plenty of cover but enabled them to make a fast getaway from the scene of each crime. Meanwhile, the general populace waxed hysterical, having no idea from which direction the next bullet might come. If you’re interested in understanding what motivated the two madmen behind the bloody spree, then Blue Caprice is designed with you in mind. Directed by Parisian Alexandre Moors, the movie co-stars Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond as John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, respectively. Early on, we learn that the former was an ex-Marine who stopped the latter from drowning himself down in Antigua, then adopted the suicidal teen and brought him back to the States. The two subsequently dropped anchor in Tacoma where the Svengalilike taskmaster introduced his malleable protégé to military type train-

likes to make martyrs out of mobsters and murderers, but it usually waits at least a generation or two before romanticizing their life stories. So please pardon this critic for finding it hard to stomach a sympathetic send-up of such despicable characters. At least Muhammad has already been put to death, and his accomplice is serving life without parole and will never again see the light of day. Good riddance! Rated: R for profanity, drug use and disturbing violence Running Time: 93 minutes Distributor: Sundance Selects To see a trailer for Blue Caprice, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btxEOr34nw8 Prisoners

Parents and Police Search for Kidnapped Kids in Mesmerizing, Multi-Layered Mystery


eller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is a rugged outdoorsman and family man with deep roots in rural Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Grace (Maria Bello), are raising their kids, 6 year-old Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and teenage Ralph (Dylan Minnette) in the tiny town of Dover, an idyllic oasis seemingly far removed from big city afflictions. It is Thanksgiving morning, and the doting dad has decided his son is ready to shoot his first deer, a rite-of-passage he’d shared with his own father upon coming-of-age a generation earlier. And after a telling tableau dripping with Christian symbolism reflected in a


A compelling character study of the emotional toll exacted by a kidnapping on the psyche of the victims’ loved ones.

Rated: R for pervasive profanity and disturbing violence Running Time: 153 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Prisoners, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpXfcTF6iVk recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and a cross dangling from their pickup truck’s rearview mirror, we find the two deep in the woods where the boy does, indeed, bag his first buck. “Be ready,” Keller ominously advises Ralph on the return trip, not because he has a premonition about any impending disaster, but due to the vague sense of paranoia he has cultivated over the years as an amateur survivalist. Still, a basement stocked with years’ worth of provisions would prove to be of no use in the calamity about to unfold later that day. First, the Dovers travel to the home of Nancy (Viola Davis) and Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard), neighbors with a couple of kids around the same age as theirs. However, after sharing a satisfying Thanksgiving dinner, youngsters Anna and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) vanish without a trace while playing outside unsupervised. The only lead is a suspicious RV parked down the street which the police trace to Alex Jones (Paul Dano), the mentally-challenged village idiot (Paul Dano) ostensibly incapable of pulling off such an abduction. With no other clues to follow, the investigating officer (Jake Gyllenhaal) puts the case on a back burner, much to the chagrin of the missing girls’ anguished parents. Given that time is of the essence, it is no surprise when a very desperate Keller takes the law into his own hands, with his manic behavior cutting a sharp contrast to the relativelymeasured approach of deliberatelypaced Detective Loki. Will the frustrated father or the laid-back cop crack the case first? Or will they join forces and pool their resources? Will Anna and Joy be rescued alive, or found too late to save them? Or will the whodunit simply go unsolved. That is the mystery at the heart of Prisoners, a mesmerizing, multi-layered masterpiece brilliantly directed by Dennis Villeneuve. Screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski deserves equal credit for the film’s intricately-plotted script which oh so slowly ratchets-up the tension in a compelling fashion guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat every step of the way.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Best Kept Secret

Best Kept Secret

Moving Documentary Chronicles Dedicated Teacher’s Selfless Efforts on Behalf of Her Autistic Students


anet Mino teaches at JFK High in Newark, a public school for students with special education needs. By 2012, she had been working with the same small group of autistic boys for four years, which meant that they would all be graduating together in the spring. Understandably, Ms. Mino had grown quite fond and rather protective of her class, given how autistic kids are generally sweet souls of unfathomable innocence. In addition, she knew that upon aging out of the system and receiving their diplomas, they would essentially be forced to fend for themselves in a hard, cruel world not inclined to lend a helping hand. For that reason, she devoted much of their senior year to preparing them for life beyond the protective cocoon that she had so lovingly created. That’s why she asked them where they would like to work, whether in a fast food restaurant, a factory or elsewhere, with the hope that she might be able to help them avoid ending up vegetating at home, institutionalized, or even out on the streets. Therefore, after school hours, she would visit various local establishments to pressure potential employers to take a chance on a child with autism. Otherwise, without the daily stimulation of a structured environment, they were likely to lose the communication and interpersonal skills she’d so carefully cultivated. Ms. Mino’s heroic efforts are the subject of Best Kept Secret, as uplifting Continued on page 24

Continued from page 23 a documentary as you are likely to see this year. The picture was directed by Samantha Buck whose camera captures each of Janet’s pupils so intimately that you feel like you know them by the time that closing credits start to roll. Furthermore, as the tears stream down your cheeks, you can’t help but worry about how each might be faring today. If this movie’s aim is to find the deepest spot in the audience’s heart, then bull’s eye! A magnificent tapestry of touching relationships more like mother and child than student-teacher. When scientists figure out how to clone humans, they ought to start with Janet Mino.

Unrated Running Time: 85 minutes Studio: Argot Pictures Distributor: IFC To see a trailer for Best Kept Secret, visit: http://argotpictures.com/best_kept_secret.html


http://bestkeptsecretfilm.com/videos Four


thoughts about succumbing to Dexter’s powers of seduction so easily, she talks him into taking her out for a ride. Meanwhile, her dad isn’t really away on business, but up to monkey business on the other side of town. Turns out Joe is secretly bisexual and has rendezvoused with a gay kid (Emory Cohen) he met online who is also in the closet but obviously inexperienced and needs to be shown the ropes. Thus unfolds Four, a compelling character-driven drama about a very eventful day-in-the-lives of four lost souls each searching for a little independence on Independence Day. The movie marks the auspicious writing and directorial debut of recent Columbia Film School grad Joshua Sanchez. A cautionary tale featuring spectacular Fourth of July fireworks of the emotional variety.

Rated: R for sexuality, profanity and brief drug use Running Time: 75 minutes Distributor: 306 Releasing To see a trailer for Four, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybjnRE 7VAfw Winnie Mandela


Lust Leads to Ill-Advised Liaisons in Day-in-the-Life Drama


t’s the Fourth of July in suburbia where we find 16 year-old Abigayle (Aja Naomi King) caring for her bedridden mother (Yolonda Ross) while her father Joe’s (Wendell Pierce) job has taken him out of town. Normally, Joe can trust his dutiful daughter to dote on her mom, but on this evening, for some reason, raging hormones have her hot and bothered to the point of distraction. After a little phone sex, she invites a guy she met in the mall over for what he arrogantly expects to be a 15minute booty call. Dexter (E.J. Bonilla) is a former, high school basketball star whose glory days ended abruptly when he graduated from high school. He’s been in a drug-fueled, downward spiral ever since, and all that he has going for him is an ability to charm gullible young girls out of their pants. But when Abby has second

Winnie Mandela

Jennifer Hudson Portrays Infamous Political Icon in Warts-and-All Biopic

dren.” So, it’s understandably hard to put a sympathetic spin on such an infamous political figure. That is the challenge tackled by director Darrell Roodt in Winnie Mandela, a warts-and-all biopic which focuses on its subject’s childhood, college days and marriage while making short shrift of her transition into a war criminal. Along the way, we learn that she was a headstrong tomboy who blossomed into the irresistible beauty that Nelson fell in love with at first sight. Sadly, the two were separated for 27 years while he was imprisoned on Robben Island for treason because of his call for an end to Apartheid. And perhaps that was what led Winnie to rationalize resorting to fighting the government and stool pigeons by any means necessary. As for the acting, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard do their best to adopt appropriate accents, but they both sound fake since they’re surrounded by a cast comprised of actual South Africans. The production’s most glaring flaw, nevertheless, is that the poorlyscripted screenplay simply fails to give the audience much of a reason to invest in unlikable Winnie’s life story. Winnie Mandela, less an honorable “Mother of the Nation,” than a disgraceful, “bad mother-[shut your mouth]!”

Rated: R for violence and profanity Running Time: 107 minutes Studio: RLJ Entertainment Distributor: Image Entertainment To see a trailer for Winnie Mandela, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGn c4FP6eII Things Never Said


innie Mandela (Jennifer Hudson) is a controversial figure in the annals of South African history. For not only was she the first wife of freedom fighter-turned-President Nelson Mandela (Terrence Howard), but she was also convicted of ordering numerous human rights violations. At the height of the anti-apartheid movement, she headed a goon squad which doled out street justice to blacks suspected of collaborating with the white establishment. With Winnie’s blessing, snitches would be sentenced to death by necklace, meaning by having a gasoline-soaked tire placed on their shoulders and set on fire. And after the fall of Apartheid, she confessed before the country Truth and Reconciliation commission to “the murder, torture, abduction and assault of numerous men, women and chil-

Things Never Said

Battered Wife Finds Strength in Poetry in Female Empowerment Flick


iserably-married Kalindra (Shanola Hampton) hasn’t yet found the strength to leave her abusive husband, Ronnie (Elimu Nelson), even though the last time the creep put his hands on her, she ended up in the hospital. Trouble is, it’s hard for her to figure a way out of the situation, given

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


that she’s been struggling just to keep a roof over their heads on a truck stop waitress’ salary ever since her hotheaded hubby lost his job at a gas station after breaking a tardy co-worker’s (Yorke Fryer) arm in a fit of rage. Beleaguered Kalindra copes by crying on the shoulder of her BFF Daphne (Tamala Jones) and by secretly dreaming of moving alone from L.A. to New York where she hopes to make it as a spoken word poet. Meanwhile, she tries to summon up the courage to test out some of her emotional rhymes down at the local café on open mic night. Everything changes for Kal the day she meets Curtis Jackson (Omari Hardwick) at a slam. No, he’s not the rapper 50 Cent, but a gifted wordsmith, nonetheless, and willing to take her under his wings, literally and figuratively. Soon, the two are sleeping together, but the hunky Mr. Wonderful has no idea that his gorgeous new girlfriend has a husband with anger management issues. This recipe for disaster is the ominous point of departure of Things Never Said, a poetry-driven drama marking the directorial debut of veteran TV scriptwriter Charles Murray (Third Watch). Unfortunately, between the campy melodrama and cheesy sex scenes, the film unfolds more like a television soap opera than a feature film. Most problematical, however, is the lousy poetry that’s force fed on us at every turn. For instance, “Roses are red. Violets are blue. Get your ass up. I’m still working on the end.” Equallyunderwhelming was this variation on “This Little Piggy Went to Market.” “This little piggy’s brokenhearted. This little lady turns to stone. This little lady Cupid darted. This little lady’s alone. This little lady goes ‘Wee! Wee! Wee!’ all the way to the poem.” To this critic, the staccato-style of poetry performed in this picture is the equivalent of rap sans the music. Consider lines like “I am the wife of a piece of [expletive]” and “My [expletive for genitalia] does taste like chocolate.” So, if you have a strong stomach for crudity, the N-word and lots of cussing, this foul-mouthed flick might be right up your alley. An uplifting tale of female empowerment tarnished by its crude method of delivering a positive message.

Rated: R for sexuality, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity Running Time: 111 minutes Studio: Ohio Street Pictures Distributor: Codeblack Entertainment To see a trailer for Things Never Said, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HMV67TdWA

Helping Hands Community Garden Teaches Area Youths about Horticulture and Entrepreneurship

What started as a small commu-

nity program is now a full operation. Located at 5770 Niagara St. in Commerce City, the Helping Hands Community Garden provides fresh produce available for purchase by community members, as well as opportunities to learn about health and nutrition. The venture is even more impressive when you consider that it is run entirely by students. Operated by HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op’s Bridges of Silence Educational Center, the Helping Hands Community Garden was established 10 years ago to offer neighborhood youths unique hands-on training in horticulture, nutrition, and entrepreneurship. HOPE students attending middle and high school at Bridges of Silence, as well as other local students, participate in the program. Students not only complete the manual work, but they also make important decisions about the management and operation of the garden. This past year, students opened the Helping Hands Community Garden Market in order to sell the produce they’ve grown directly to local patrons.

Avita, a HOPE student, tends to some peppers in the garden

Lisa Benjamin, Director of Bridges of Silence, said the program aims to help students make healthier choices at an earlier age. “We’re really trying to create an environment where students have access to healthier food and the knowledge to make better choices,” she said. “By getting them involved at a younger age, it’s easier to create good habits and change existing ones.” Program participants learn how to grow, cook, and prepare their own food while also learning how to run a business. Complementing their handson training operating the garden and market, HOPE students at Bridges of

Students help local patrons during the first market sale of the

Silence can take Business 101 and financial literacy courses. Through these learning opportunities, students build self-esteem and confidence. “Youths are amazing, and they can do anything. If given the tools, it doesn’t matter their age, they can achieve greatness,” Benjamin said. “By creating the program with community support, we are helping students develop healthy habits and leadership skills, and gain valuable work experience starting at a younger age.” Residents of Commerce City and the surrounding area may sign up for seasonal memberships to the garden, or purchase produce by the pound.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


There are three membership levels – the $75 Bundle Bunch, which provides enough produce per week for one to two people; the $125 Executive Bunch, which serves two to four people; and the $175 Exclusive Bunch, which serves four to six people. The Bundle Bunch membership is available to senior citizens at a reduced rate of $50. The Garden’s 16-week membership season began in July, so community members can now join for the remainder of the season at a 50 percent discount off the regular membership rate. Helping Hands Community Garden Market accepts cash, debit, credit, and SNAP card payments. Patrons can visit the garden Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but they must call ahead at 303-289-2993. The garden also hosts a market sale on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. where community members may shop on a drop-in basis.

Editor’s note: To contact the Helping Hands Community Garden and learn more about the Garden and opportunities to get involved, or to become a member, call 303289-2993. For more information on HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op, call 720-402-3000 or e-mail info@HOPEOnline.org.

FirstBank continues to offer Free Checking to all. A few banks have decided to bring it back, but it never left FirstBank. We continue to offer the same no minimum balance, no monthly service charge Free Checking that we have since 2003. No asterisks needed. Go ahead, look for them. It’s truly free.

“Our Free Checking Account is just one of the examples of how FirstBank is a customer service oriented bank. We strive to do right by our customers and provide the most sought-after and convenient products possible.” Danielle N. Vaughan Vice President FirstBank Holding Company Community Reinvestment and Fair Lending 303.626.6713


efirstbank.com Member FDIC

The Harvest of Hope Celebrates 12 Great Years

The Harvest of Hope (HOH) is planning its final fundraising dinner on Oct. 24 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom, at DCPA, beginning at 5:30 p.m. “We will celebrate the great beauty of Africa’s culture and continue to learn about challenges Africans face.” Since its original debut in 2002, the HOH has graced the Denver community with an enormous opportunity to experience first-hand the trials and tribulations that have affected our neighbors in Africa. We have experience the effects of the difficulty of obtaining and the shortage of water, the dilapidated, dirt-floored school rooms, living conditions in refugee camps, and have observed the success of micro loans. Over the past 12 years there has been a definite improvement in living conditions and the lives of the people touched by HOH and Church World Service. These glimpses into their lives were brought to us by the extraordinary guest speakers who lived and experienced these situations themselves. This 2013 Harvest of Hope theme is “Reaping the Harvest ~ Ensuring Hope.” CWS Program Director from the East Africa Office, Mary Obiero, will report on lives transformed by CWS programs through Harvest of Hope support. John McCullough will issue the call to continue this life-saving support. Cleo Parker Robinson, founder of the world-renown African dance ensemble of the same name, will highlight her young dancers as a part of the evening’s entertainment. The South African group Low Flying Knobs will provide incredible sounds of African drumming. The African cuisine, the drumming and dancing, the art in the silent auction and items in the marketplace all celebrate the beauty and culture of a great continent.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


HOH founders Kathryn Roy, MaryAnn McGeady and Pauline Miles envisioned working across faiths and cultures in order to raise money and awareness for the needs of our African neighbors through the programs of Church World Service (CWS) and also local nonprofits that have benefited such as It Takes a Village and Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services. Goals set for this final fundraising evening is to surpass $1 million gross monies to support CWS in their continuing work in Africa. This is a fete never imagined when the founder first conceived this idea. The Denver metro areas past participants and sponsors have been wonderful partners and share in this accomplishment. The public is invited to Harvest of Hope on Oct. 24 to join in the festivities, shop at the African Market place, peruse and bid on Silent Auction items, and enjoy a delicious dinner featuring African cuisine, before hearing heartwarming messages from two beloved guest speakers, Mary Obiero and John McCullough. Attendees will learn how people can stay connected to these efforts in the years to come. Seats are $100 for adults. Editor’s note: For more information or to RSVP by Oct. 17, call 303-455-5765 or visit www.harvestofhopecolorado.org.


-2,1 72'$< Go to www.naacpdenver.org General Meetings: Every 4th Saturday 10 AM to Noon Dist.2 Police Station 3921 Holly St.

When dealing with health problems it’s important to know how severe the disease is. Knowing this drives a series of treatment decisions, which may improve the symptoms, and in many cases even cure the disease. When the condition’s level of aggressiveness is unknown, a traditionally beneficial treatment may instead cause harm. The aggressiveness of prostate cancer is hard to determine. Traditionally, physicians have used the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, a physical exam, and other methods to estimate the level of prostate cancer to help guide treatment decisions. These are helpful, but they cannot fully determine whether a man has low-risk prostate cancer, which can be managed with active surveillance, or whether he has aggressive prostate cancer, that should be treated immediately. Active surveillance is a plan that employs careful and consistent monitoring of the cancer in a man’s prostate without removing it. Under active surveillance, patients have regular checkups and periodic PSA blood tests, clinical exams and potential biopsies to closely monitor for signs of prostate cancer progression. If the cancer starts getting worse, then an appropriate treatment can be decided on. New diagnostic tests have been emerging, such as the Oncotype DX prostate cancer test, that can help the patient and his physician make a better decision about how to treat the cancer based on its aggressiveness. More than 240,000 U.S. men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. About half of newly-diagnosed patients will be classified as low risk

and may not require immediate or aggressive treatment. Yet many of these men will receive immediate aggressive treatment despite the small chance of their cancer becoming deadly. A new website was launched in September (Prostate Cancer Awareness Month) that helps patients and their families navigate the decision-making process, My Prostate Cancer Coach, found at www.MyProstateCancerCoach.org . The site allows anyone interested in learning more about prostate cancer to gain accurate information on the disease and how it can affect men and those in their lives. Tools from the site include Prostate Cancer 101, providing information about treatment options, side effects, understanding the diagnosis and PSA testing, as well as a glossary of terms that can help patients better understand the disease. By answering a few simple questions about your diagnosis, a man receives a personalized guide outlining how aggressive his disease is likely to be and highlighting key questions to help you have a more productive discussion with the healthcare team. The My Prostate Cancer Coach web site also provides visitors with resources to better understand their risk for getting prostate cancer, questions to ask their doctor, and other resources relating to prostate cancer. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The chances of surviving prostate cancer increase if you detect the cancer early and make an informed decision about treatment. Don’t be another statistic – be proactive – remember prostate cancer is almost 100 percent treatable if detected early and treated right. Editor’s note: To learn more about other prostate conditions, visit the Prostate Health Guide at www.prostatehealthguide.com.

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CCAP Can Help 720.944.KIDS (5437) DenverCCAP.org The Denver Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps eligible families that are working, going to school or looking for a job afford child care. CCAP provides financial assistance for children up to age 13 and special needs youth up to age 19.

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accepting rental applications for the following HUD-subsidized properties:

Editor’s note: Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow them on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork and facebook.com/menshealthnetwork




La Alma Family Brookhaven Apts. Clayton Street Apts. Decatur Street Res. Federal View Apts.

Sheridan Glen Edgewater Plaza Jefferson Terrace *DUĂ€HOG $SDUWPHQWV Corona Residences William Tell

East Bay at Hidden Lake

303-238-0392 t &BUPO 4U &EHFXBUFS "QQMJDBUJPOT BU www.brothersredevelopment.org Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


12th and final HARVEST OF HOPE the


Boys2MEN Education and Empowerment Workshop

The 2013 annual boys2Men workshop will feature Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University. The critically acclaimed Bring Your “A” Game, directed by Mario Van Peebles will be shown. This 22-minute docudrama addresses the plight of young men and provides solutions to change the course of their livest. This free workshop for young men grades 9 to 12 will be held at Manual High School, 1700 E. 28th Ave., on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will receive a t-shirt, lunch, and a special gift. For more information, visit www.crowleyfoundation.biz.

Pursue-Overtake-Recover All Conference

Photo courtesy of Annie Griffiths

Thursday, October 24, 2013 Reaping the Harvest ~ Ensuring Hope Presented by

5:30 pm / Seawell Grand Ballroom at the DCPA Tickets - $100 per adult / Reserve your space by October 17 Call 303.455.5765 or visit www.harvestofhopecolorado.org

The seven mountains of culture are family, government, media, education, arts and entertainment, religion, and business. Christ’s Church Apostolic is using this concept in developing a conference to “re-claim,” or, for the AfricanAmerican Community to “claim” a culture that’s conducive for growth and development of our people. The conference will be held Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 14007 East 22nd Place, in Aurora. For more information, call 303-3600209 or E-mail combsal@aol.com

Former Governor To Be Recognized For His Work Promoting Genocide Awareness

Special Event

Lavell Crawford October 4-6 Special Event

The Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action will hold its third annual breakfast on Friday, Oct. 18 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Select-Cherry Creek, 455 S. Colorado Blvd. in Denver. Former Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. will be honored for his efforts to promote genocide awareness in Colorado. He served as the 41st Governor of Colorado from 2007 to 2011. During his time as Governor, he supported efforts to end the genocide in Darfur through divestment. For more information, call 303-8567334, E-mail rozduman@comcast.net, or visit www.ccgaa.org.

Dress For Success Annual Breakfast Event Loni Love October 25-26

Tommy Davidson November 1-3

Dress for Success (DfS)Denver is celebrating seven years of service in the Denver Community and has touched the lives of more than 7,500 women. DfS Denver has an outstanding record for providing much needed services and programs for women in the area of job-readiness. The Beyond the Suit breakfast event will be Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


the PPA Event Center, 2105 Decatur St.in Denver. For more information and to RSVP, call 303-339-3263.

Who Killed Jiggaboo Jones?

Who Killed Jiggaboo Jones? is a oneman mocumentary performed and written by Jeff Campbell that casts a satirical eye on the “Hip-hop Industrial Complex.” The production is directed by Emmy Award winner donnie l. betts and offers socio-cultural commentary on why we continually choose dollars over dignity in a “post racial society.” Who Killed Jiggaboo Jones? will run from Oct. 4 to 19, at Work Space Denver, 2701 Lawrence St, in Denver. Opening night will feature a panel discussion on race, hip-hop, youth and community accountability. The finale will culminate with a costume party. For more information and tickets, visit www.workspacedenver.org or visit www.facebook.com/whokilled jigaboojones.

Grant Brings Math And Science Program To NE Denver Girls

In August, The Dr. Justina Ford Institute and Earth Force, Inc. received funding from the Women’s Foundation of Colorado to start a STEM initiative, engaging 25 girls in grades 3 to 6 in Northeast Denver. STEM is the interdisciplinary and applied approach to science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The club meets bi-weekly on the second and fourth Sundays and provides tutoring, review of math and science basics, including hands on activities. Programming begins Oct. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Thomas Bean Towers. For more information or to sign up, call Deborah Fard, Program Coordinator at 720-234-4994 or email dsimsfard@aol.com.

Raw Marks a New Series by Michael Gadlin

Michael Gadlin, co-owner of ArtHaus, has created a new series of mixed-media abstracts that examine a primitive and evocative fusion of expressive mark-making and tonal shifts. By combining painting and drawing elements, disassembled and reassembled, Michael re-imagines the interplay of raw elements that act as a deep vista of an imaginary landscape. The series runs through Oct. 4 at ArtHaus, 3343 Larimer St. in Denver. On Friday, Oct. 4 from 6 to7 p.m., Michael will discuss his inspirations and what has been the driving force in creating this new body of work. For more information visit www.arthausdenver.com.


International Christian Leader To Headline Celebration

All Nations Church and Bishop and Mrs. Porter will celebrate a 50th anniversary celebration of service to the Denver community with videos, testimonials, music, and inspiration messages. The celebration will be Saturday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at The Doubletree in Stapleton. Pastor Marvin Winans of Perfecting Church will be the special guest speaker. Bishop Porter is a candidate for the International Church of God in Christ, judiciary board. Elections will be held in November. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.BishopPHPorter.com.

Peoples Presbyterian Church Women’s Weekend

The public is invited to join Presbyterian women for a weekend of fun, shopping, food, fellowship and empowerment at the Peoples Presbyterian Church women’s weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a wide range of arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing, home decor’ and books; and a chili lunch for only $7. On Sunday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. service will be held with Elder Sheila Louder, the first African American and female Vice Moderator of Justice and Peace from the Church Wide Coordinating Committee, Presbyterian Church USA. The Peoples Presbyterian Church is located at 2780 York St. in Denver. For more information, E-mail peoplespres@juno.com or call 303-297-9017.

Zion Baptist Church To Celebrate Its 148th Anniversary

Zion Baptist Church, located on 24th and Ogden St. in Denver, is celebrating its 148th anniversary. Zion has hundreds of members with more than 100 living 50 plus year members, three of which are centenarians. To celebrate, Zion will have a revival Wednesday, Nov. 6 and Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. Guest speaker is Rev. Cleveland Thompson from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. A banquet to honor the 50 plus year members will be Sat., Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel located at 3203 Quebec St. Tickets are $35 and guest speaker is Rev. William Golson from True Light Baptist Church. The anniversary service will Sunday, Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at Zion Baptist Church with Rev. Cleveland Thompson as the speaker.

For more information, call 303861-4958 or visit zionbaptistchurchdenver.org.




Surrounded by Friends, Family and Students

Friends of Blair Caldwell Library Announces New Board Leadership

Dr. Robbie Bean is honored at the 15th anniversary and final Celebration of Families-Students, Inc. reunion of past families, student winners and Intergenerational South Dakota Travelers

The Friends of Blair Caldwell announced their new board officers – Co-Chairs, Wellington and Wilma Webb; Vice-Chair, Sherry Jackson; Secretary, Tish Maes and Treasurer, Landri Taylor. Together, they will work with the community to ensure the economic vitality of the Blair Caldwell by working to fill the gaps from recent city budget cuts.” Denver’s Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library serves as an educational and cultural resource focusing on the history, literature, art, music, religion, and politics of African Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Exhibits highlight areas such as the historic Five Points neighborhood, African Americans in early Denver , the Black West, African American leadership (the Mayor’s Office and other distinguished mayors of Denver) and a gallery of temporary exhibits.

Photo by Lens of Ansar

$9 Soul Food Plate

Representative Angela Williams Wins 2013 Technology Advocate of the Year Representative Angela Williams and Senator Mark Scheffel

Representative Angela Williams was announced the winner of Colorado’s Technology Advocate of the Year for the Colorado at the 2013 APEX Awards, recognizing outstanding accomplishments and leadership by Colorado’s advanced technology companies and professionals. The Technology Advocate of the Year award recognizes an individual legislator whose efforts are making a real and measurable impact on the advancement of Colorado’s technology industry. Over the years, CTA has worked with legislators and government leaders to serve as advocates for the growth and success of technology companies in Colorado. It is critical that we maintain a healthy business environment for our technology companies, including both proactive and reactive work with regards to legislation, regulatory issues, and other circles of influence on behalf of the industry. State Representative Angela Williams represents Denver’s District 7 which includes the communities of North Park Hill, Stapleton, Green Valley Ranch, and Montbello. District 7 is also home to Denver International Airport.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


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Transmission? We have your

att the t Special Guests FIESTA COLORADO Jeanette Trujillo-Lucero, Artistic Director


Fri. Oct. 25 7:30pm Sat. Oct.26 7:30pm Sun. Oct. 27 2:00 pm

CLEO PARKER ROBINSON THEATRE 119 Park Avenue West Denver, Colorado 80205

Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

For additional information and tickets 303 295 1759 x13 or visit cleoparkerdance.org

Photo Credit: Stan Obert 2013

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783 Making transmissions well for 22 years. 30

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013

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P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239

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43r dA nniversar ySeason on C elebration! 43rd AnniversarySeason Celebration!




ith t the Dancing w with Denver Stars Denver Stars Save the Date! Saturday, October 5, 2013 6:30pm-10:00pm

Renaissance Hotel 3801 Quebec Street Denver, CO 80207

It’s Going to be a Thriller!

Individual Tickets: $150 VIP Patron Tickets: $250 Table Sponsorships Start at $2,500 To RSVP, Call 303-295-1759 - www.cleoparkerdance.org

Grown and Sexy Saturday’s Hot Lunch October 5

October 12

Ron Ivory October 19

Kasbah General Schedule of Events

Monday Night Football - Three 105" HD screens; All the Catfish Nuggets and Chicken Wings you can eat for $10; Drink Specials Tuesday - Line Dance Instruction with Charles Dobbs Wednesday - Line Dance Instruction w/ Charles Dobbs Thursday - Denver Soul Line Dance with Instruction w/ Freddie "Chicago" Edmunds Fridays - "The Happiest Hours in Town" , 2 for 1 Drinks , Live Music, Come Early Saturdays - Grown and Sexy Saturdays" all night Long! Sundays - Coming in November "The Jazz Series at The Kasbah"

15373 E 6th Avenue Aurora, CO 80011 (303) 367-0591 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – October 2013


Hope to see you soon!

Shelton Bouknight, Owner


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