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October 2015

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Rosalind J. Harris Angelia D. McGowan Melovy Melvin Charlene Porter Annette Walker

“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.” – Venus Williams

Many a champion can attest that achieving their goals did not come without obstacles. Therein lies the powerful stories the Denver Urban Spectrum has been proud to share since its inception more than 28 years ago. This month’s cover story by contributing writer Charles Emmons highlights one of the country’s most prolific directors – Tyler Perry. Through adversity he has created a brand that connects with everyday people in every walk of life. The media mogul has created characters that remind us of family and friends that are dear to our hearts. DUS publisher, Rosalind J. Harris, has penned a piece on Organo, highlighting a recent conference that recognized its distributors for their accomplishments in business and in the community and shared where the company is headed. Congratulations to Denver’s own John Brand who soared, receiving his Eagle as a new Sapphire consultant. Our story on the Black astronaut’s reunion at the Shades of Blue, Inc annual gala reminds us that our dreams, if we dare to dream big enough, can take us out of this world. Author Charlene Porter reminds us that entrepreneurship in the African American community is not new in her story on Denver’s legendary restaurateur, Zona Moore, who is celebrating her 90th birthday this month. As the country marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, we take a look at how far we have come as a nation and how far we still need to go as a nation to restore one of America’s most culturally and historically rich cities.


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Angelia D. McGowan Managing Editor



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The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2015 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at


Colorado- State of Arrest

to a 2014 report on mass incarceration by the National Academies of more black men born in the post- Civil Rights era have served time in prison than graduated from a four0 year college. States like New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland, and South Carolina have made changes in their sentencing laws that have reduced their prison populations, saved millions of dollars, and saw crime rates drop an average 45 percent. Colorado is heading in the opposite direction. Colorado’s 2015/16 fiscal year budget for the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) is $868 million. That’s a $60 million increase over the prior year’s budget. When one divides $868 million by the total number of state prisoners (approx. 22,000), the average cost of incarceration, per inmate, per year, is nearly $40,000. $868 million is a staggering outlay of money for Colorado taxpayers, what makes it even more staggering is over half of all Colorado prisoners are serving sentences for non-violent offenses involving less than $3,000. For example, suppose an offender was serving a three-year sentence for check- kiting $23,000; for taxpayers to shell out $120,000 to the CDOC to fund the prisoner’s term of incarceration is ludicrous.

Op-ed by Michael J. McCarthy

The long arm of the law is nabbing citizens off the streets and isn’t releasing them anytime soon. Colorado’s penchant for prisons has gone too far. It’s time to rethink harsh sentences for non- violent crimes. Leaders from both ends of the political spectrum are joining together to reduce America’s bloated prison populations. So why isn’t more happening in Colorado? In recent news, President Obama toured El Reno Federal Correctional Institute near Oklahoma, City. Obama said he is struck by how many people face years in prison because they made foolish mistakesmany of them similar to the kind of mistakes he made in his earlier years. Much of the mainstream media is covering the bi-partisan effort towards prison reform. When President Obama, the liberal ACLU, and the conservative Koch brothers all agree on something, it is probably worth paying attention. Hilary Clinton decried, “inequities” in our system that undermine American ideals of justice. According

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


I’m a prisoner at Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. I’m serving a six-year sentence for a walkaway escape from community corrections (CAE in El Paso County). My original crime was theft (a nonreturned rental car) in Summit County in 2005; for which I received a threeyear sentence, and owe $4,000 in restitution. When all is said and done, Colorado taxpayers will have spent over $350,000 for my stay in prison. This expenditure comes from the state’s general fund. The more taxpayers spend on corrections, the less money there is for schools, infrastructure improvements, health care, etc.… Continued on page 26 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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Tyler Perry:

The Storyteller, Businessman and Father

Familiar Characters and Teachable Moments Key to Tyler Perry’s Success By Charles Emmons


adea is coming to Denver!

Tyler Perry’s beloved character,

created nearly 20 years ago, will grace the stage of the Ellie

Caulkins Opera House at the

Denver Performing Arts Complex

on Oct. 20 and 21 in a new musical stage play, “Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run.”

Tyler Perry, a writer, storyteller, producer, director, actor, philanthropist, mogul – we ran out of nouns to describe him – has evolved into a significant force in the media. After successful television shows on TBS, “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne,” he spends his days with the series that revolve seasons on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), “The Haves and the Have Nots,” “Love thy Neighbor,” “If Loving You is Wrong” and “For Better or Worse.” The series has caught on with audiences, since debuting in 2011. He works hard and seems to move easily from projects on the stage to television to the movies, but has been somewhat private about his life. But Perry, a close friend of Winfrey, opened up in a 2010 article for

that inspired you to keep going?

Winfrey’s O Magazine and gave us a glimpse into the world of the man –Tyler Perry. It is that interview that we primarily reference for this interview. The interview revealed that Perry had struggled with a tough life in his native New Orleans, a life riddled with abuse and confusion, and what appeared to be little love. He eventually moved to Atlanta in 1992 where for nearly seven years he worked every kind of job imaginable, all while writing and putting on his plays to small audiences but always with the expectation of packing the house. Perry’s story is one of resilience. Like many artists, his art is borne of personal pain and a particular view of their world. At times he was homeless and living out of his car. We are grateful he made time to share some thoughts about his story with the Denver Urban Spectrum.

Perry: My faith has always been the thing that keeps me going. I thank God every day that my mother took me to church when I was a little boy to help build a foundation that sustains me today. Perry was finally able to produce his play, I Know I Have Been Changed, to a packed house in 1998. Madea is just one of the characters he brought to life on stage and then to the screen. In the O Magazine interview he related that as a young man he was inspired to write by watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, but he gave characters voice in his writing to mask some of his pain. A friend saw some of his writing and thought he had something worthwhile to share. Madea is a compilation of the sympathetic softer side of his mother

DUS: When you were living in your car, what is the vision

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


and the gun-toting aunt who rescued and protected him from an abusive father. Madea has been his most enduring character.

DUS: Madea has been the most successful franchise both on the stage and on the screen. What do you want audiences to learn from her? Why do you think she continues to resonate with audiences?

Perry: Madea has the same kind of no nonsense approach that is needed in this day and age. She is not politically correct and she says what we’re all thinking so that’s the connection. With the significant presence on television and in the movies, Perry has gone back to his roots with the road tour of the stage play Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run. After nearly 20 years, Perry still believes audiences will glean something good from the character and the story. Winfrey noted in the O Magazine interview that attending a Tyler Perry play was like going to church. DUS: With your substantial presence on television, why are your plays still relevant and important?

Perry: The plays are still relevant because it’s such a unique and different experience. It’s a concert, its church, it’s a comedy show, and a good time all wrapped into one. A good dramatist captures the attention of the audience and draws them in. We should feel a connection to the characters and like them often feel empathy for them. Perry does this on the stage and in his teleplays and screenplays, and like any good artist he raises the level of conversation and starts discussions about issues that we sometimes need to confront, both individually and collectively. “The Haves and the Have Nots,” the steamy drama reminiscent of the legendary “Dallas” and “Dynasty” television shows, tackles not only the expected deceit and infidelity but also homosexuality. Continued on page 6

The Bridge Summit Connects U.S. Police Chiefs to Create New Community Engagement Model and Police Professionalism Denver Police Chief Robert C. White Among Discussion

Phoenix, AZ ( – On Sept. 10, police chiefs from seven cities across the U.S. convened in Phoenix to discuss developing a new model for community engagement and police professionalism. The discussion took place as part of The Bridge Summit: Connecting Community Engagement with Police Professionalism. The event took place on the heels of community demonstrations in several cities sparked by officer-involved shootings. Participating police chiefs included: •Chief Joseph Yahner - Phoenix, Arizona •Chief Calvin D. Williams Cleveland, Ohio •Chief Robert C. White - Denver, Colorado •Deputy Chief Cerelyn CJ Davis Atlanta, Georgia •Deputy Chief Danielle Outlaw Oakland, California •Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant Seattle, Washington Lonnie Lawrence, a retired MiamiDade Police major and former director of the Miami-Dade Corrections Department served as a panelist. Major General (Ret.) James “Spiderâ€? Marks, executive dean for the College of Security and Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix and CNN military analyst, served as the event’s host. During the summit, the panel of law enforcement officials and experts explored and developed best practices that address conscious and unconscious biases contributing to the dynamics of community engagement and perception of police officers in the community. The goal is that these practices will form the foundation for increased understanding and improved relations. Over 150 local Public Officials and Community Leaders representing every possible constituent participated in the Summit and explored opportunities to engage their communities with law enforcement leaders. The community leaders participated in developing best practices for communications, protocol, community engagement and police professionalism.

The University of Phoenix assisted with research and compiling the data generated from the forum, and provided insight on possible training and education opportunities supporting the event’s outcomes. The summit was an invitation-only event and was presented by the Black

Chamber of Arizona CEO & President, Kerwin V. Brown and Checkered Flag Run Foundation Founder, Alan AP Powell, whose mission is investing in education to ensure every student gets to cross the finish line.  Editor’s note: The Checkered Flag Run Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization whose mission is to provide diverse educational programs that impact underserved students. The Foundation strives to deliver programs like the Bridge Summit out of its desire to teach, educate and innovate with investments in human talent and have a direct bearing on future economic prosperity and quality of life.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


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Tyler Perry

Continued from page 4

DUS: How much of you is educator, entertainer and peacemaker?

Perry: I think they are all equally important. I wouldn’t want to do this if I couldn’t leave a strong positive message in people’s hearts and leave them thinking in their minds. Perry’s characters are often flawed, as we all may be, but they have the commonality of being capable of good. In the O Magazine interview, Perry revealed that just prior to having his first successful runs of his play, he had an epiphany involving his father. After years of cowering to his father he stood up to him in a telephone conversation. His father told him he loved him, something that Perry had not heard before. At that moment, despite years of traumatic pain, he was grateful for his father who had made him what he was. DUS: What is the price for getting what you want? What values ring true for your characters? Perry: I think we all need to weigh the price for whatever we want. What I try to do in my work is be a beacon to show how to get it the right way. For Perry, finding the right way is often reflective of how he was shown

by his interactions with his mother, whom he spent the most time with away from his father. This is evident in the God-fearing Black women who dot his plays and screenplays. Madea is a strong personality as is Hanna the mother and hardworking domestic worker on “The Haves and the Have Nots,” and they all want the best for their families, often through struggle or sacrifice.

deficit of some 7,000 civilian and military jobs. It is estimated that 5,000 jobs will come to the south Atlanta area when TPS is operational. Ten to 20 movies and television programs will be produced there. TPS will occupy most of the land on the nearly 500-acre former army base, with the rest of the development of some 145 acres being managed by the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority (MILRA). Other development will be businesses that will support the studio and other mixed uses.

DUS: Your television programs seem to feature and even be dominated by strong Black female characters. Why do you think this is what audiences want to see?

DUS: What is your responsibility as a mogul?

Perry: I never thought about it in the since of what the audience wants to see, rather me being a story teller and most of my influences growing up were strong Black women. And people like to see themselves and their own faces on TV. Perry puts a lot of himself into his dramas. In the O Magazine interview we learned that he did not graduate from high school or college, and is essentially self-taught. Nevertheless he draws audiences around the country to his plays, programs and movies. He is a media mogul, and in June took steps to expand his brand and Tyler Perry Studios (TPS) in Atlanta with the purchase of 330 acres of land at the former Ft. McPherson Army base. The base was closed in 2011, leaving a

Perry: My new studio has my fullest attention right now as far as business goes. Turning 330-acre former army base into a movie studio takes some doing. That’s my next 24 months. I’m most excited about building something that my son can look at one day and know that his father made history. Perry is trying to stay ahead of the curve in a city that has become the Hollywood of the south. There is a pent-up demand for production facilities because of Georgia’s generous tax incentives for the film industry. Dormant factories have been razed and redeveloped into movie studios, and there are production houses rising all over the city. Amidst all of this, Perry believes in the importance of staying relevant. His films and television programs, whether he is in front of the camera or behind it, capture the lives of African Americans, from all walks of life and their everyday struggles, and his ongoing hope is that audiences will learn from them. DUS: You have this substantial platform. How do you keep it from being fleeting? Perry: I always try to infuse new ideas and life into what I’m doing. That’s why I go from movies to plays to TV and so on. I don’t want to stay in one lane too long. My responsibility as a human is the same as any other, to teach what I’ve learned and lift humanity as I go. Perry’s output is astounding. According to Box Office Mojo, since 2005 he has directed 16 films, grossing more than $740 million at the box office. That’s about one film a year. Even films which were considered less successful like last year’s, “Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club,” grossed at least $15 million at the box office. In 2014 Perry made Forbes magazine’s top 100 list of highest paid celebrities, ranked at number 56. Through all this Perry remains committed to his art and telling the stories he wants to tell. DUS: Through your media projects you wield a lot of power and influence. How do you stay humble?

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Perry: Again, knowing that all I have comes from God, my mother’s lessons burn in my heart. This could all be gone tomorrow. And our final question reached out for future plans. DUS: What is next for Tyler Perry projects, theatre, film and business?

Perry: I think people will be surprised with my next three movies. I’m going into some different directions. But I will never leave my base. It may be true that empires rise and fall. But there are few legacies like Perry’s. It is a story that has perhaps been steeped in traumatic pain, but also tremendous resilience. He has somewhat made peace with his past and at 46 is creating a future anchored in a new purpose, the only one that really matters.  Editor’s Note: Tickets are on sale now for “Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run,” and range from $55-$75. For more information, visit

I’m coming and can’t wait to see all you Denver peoples!

Fight Against Human Trafficking Detailed at Denver Summit Op-ed by Melovy Melvin DUS College Intern

On Sept. 11, Angela Graf, presi-

dent and founder of Chosen Advocates Association, hosted the first CAA National Human Trafficking Summit in Denver, Colorado to educate people about human trafficking and the precautions everyone can take to prevent it from happening – especially with young adults and children. Presentation after presentation, speech after speech, I sat in awe taking everything in as emcee of the event, Donjia Gale, introduced each speaker. Jerome Elam, a human trafficking survivor and awareness advocate was one of the first speakers. He described brutal abuse, torture, a numb feeling physically and emotionally, that he, like so many other victims, had dealt with every day until he made it out. He described how numerous young

boys and men are also victims of human trafficking. Being one of those “rare” victims, he told himself that, “Either I was going to have the nightmares, or the nightmares were going to have me.” Tears slowly dripped from my eyes as images of victims appeared on the screen along with the stories. The summit educated the audience on the things to be aware of when it comes to sex trafficking and how to look for signs. There were victims, parents of victims, doctors and also law enforcement officers who all knew the characteristics of human trafficking and wanted to encourage others to join them and put an end to it. Most human trafficking cases are introduced due to greed, poverty, survival and lack of resources such as education or even family. Victims are usually left with no choice. Dr. Laura Lederer, anti-trafficking advocate for 20 years, believes that victims are usually the ones that get punished for these unbearable acts when it should be the “pimps” or the traffickers that make the victims. In explaining the process of human trafficking, she described the victims as the “supply” and the traffickers as “distributors.” Yvonne William, co-founder and president of the Network for

Graf addresses the panelists, Dr. Laura Lederer, Global Centurion; Celhia DeLavarene, Stop Trafficking Of People (STOP); State Rep. Rhonda Fields, HD 42; Greg Bristol, Human Trafficking Training Institute; Sgt. Daniel Steele, Denver Police Department; and Theresa Flores, Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution (SOAP).

Cultural Change, said, “If we can stop the demand, we can stop the supply.” My outlook on this crime has changed because I attended this summit. Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations and it needs to be stopped. Not tomorrow, not next week, not when the next president is elected, but now. Victims of this crime are suffering and going through things that I still cannot imagine despite the number of presen-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


tations I saw. I consider Graf a hero for not only bringing attention to this violation of human rights but also for bringing the attention to people who are going through this today. Human Trafficking is a real problem and these victims are real people that should not be treated as a product but as human beings. Editor’s note: For more information or to get involved, call Angela Sandoval-Graf at 720-325-3239 or visit

Ed Dwight Joins Peers in Honoring Nichelle Nichols at Astronaut Gala

By Angelia D. McGowan

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, lots

of information makes it into the headlines, onto our social media platforms and eventually into our minds. Some of it is truly newsworthy some of it not so much and within seconds can fade from our conversations. When more than a dozen African American astronauts landed in Denver in August for a historic gathering, the occasion was something to talk about. More than a month later, the news is still relevant. Achievements of this caliber don’t fade. They shine brighter and brighter with the passing of time. Shades of Blue, Inc. held its 15th annual gala and fundraiser at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum on Aug. 29. During the evening, Black astronauts were honored and the Shades of Blue Ed Dwight, Jr. Award was presented to Nichelle Nichols, an actress, singer and recruiter for (NASA) National

Aeronautics and Space Administration. “This is the first time ever all these folks were in the same room,” said Willie Daniels, president and founder of Shades of Blue, Inc., a nonprofit organization conceived and created by a group of airline pilots, educators, and business people who have an interest in aviation and aerospace and who wish to help introduce students to the career opportunities available in the field of flight. “Many have spoken to each other but they have never met each other in person.” The event, emceed by CBS4 meteorologist Dave Aguilera, attracted more than 300 people from around the country, including Dr. Yvonne Freeman, president of the Georgia chapter of Shades of Blue, Inc. She said it was a great success to assemble this many astronauts in one place. “This is our season to celebrate collective achievements,” said Freeman, NASA Associate Administrator from 1993 to 1996. As a member of the senior executive service, she was the highest ranking African American female in NASA in the United States. Freeman added that Ed Dwight’s story is one of “thriving. Thriving is a whole different armor than surviving. Before his life as a fine art sculptor of large scale memorial and public art projects, Dwight was a U.S. Air Force test pilot and America’s first African American astronaut candidate, among many other entrepreneurial ventures. It was his story and so many others lighting up conversations around the museum as the Ret. Col. Frederick Gregory delivered the keynote address, filled with rich details about the history of black pilots and astronauts in the U.S., dating more than a century ago. Gregory, himself, attended the U.S. Air Force Academy where

he received his undergraduate degree in military engineering. He logged approximately 7,000 hours in more than 50 types of aircraft as a helicopter, fighter and test pilot. He flew 550 combats rescue mission in Vietnam. In 1978, he was chosen as a member of the first class of Space Shuttle astronauts. Gregory became the first African American to pilot a space craft, the orbiter Challenger on mission STS-51B. The 82-year-old Nichols, known for her role as Communications Officer Lt. Nyota Uhura aboard the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise in original series “Star Trek,” was recognized for her gallant efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to prove that women and people of color are capable of serving leadership positions in the pinnacle of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industry. Many of those people were standing with her at the gala. Nichols officially lent her support as an adult, but as a young girl she had written to NASA often about her desires to be an astronaut. At one point NASA officials applauded her tenacity, saying that maybe her son, or in short, the next generation might be an astronaut. Her inclination was more immediate. She believed, “It might be me.” When asked what she would say today to the younger Nichelle who

wrote those letters to NASA, Nichols said I’d tell her, “Job well done. We did it.” Dr. Guion Bluford, recruited by Nichols and the first African American astronaut to go into space said the gala was a “great opportunity to see other astronauts I haven’t seen in a while. Also to encourage and support the program.” Shades of Blue, Inc., has more than 2,000 students worldwide that are pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace. Astronauts and pilots in attendance with Bluford, included: Lt. Commander Victor Glover, Leland Melvin, Stephanie Wilson, Livingston Holder, Dr. Robert Satcher, Dr. Bernard Harris, Captain Willie Daniels, Dr. Jeannette Epps, Ret. Captain Winston Scott, Dr. Yvonne Cagle, Joseph Tanner, Dr. Joan Higginbotham, Ret. Col. Fredrick Gregory. Daniels said once the evening was completed, the astronauts wanted to know if and when there would be another reunion. He’s been asked to put reunions together at different places around the country. No plans are in place, but he said that he’s thinking about it.  Editor’s note: For more information about Shades of Blue, Inc., visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Headquarters in Washington D.C. to Serve Again as the National Mobilization Headquarters for the


20th Anniversary Of

Illustration by Kyle Malone

The Million Man March

Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. (left) and Dr. Benjamin Chavis (right). Mason shakes Dr. Chavis hands after presenting him with the keys for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Headquarters, which will serve as the National Mobilization Headquarters for the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March.

Washington, DC (— In a move symbolic of its commitment of service to humanity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (PBS) International President, Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. turned over the keys to office space in the community service organization’s headquarters to Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis to serve as the National Mobilization Headquarters for the 20th Anniversary Million Man March. In 1995, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.’s international corporate offices served as the official headquarters for the inaugural Million Man March. Twenty years later, Dr. Chavis, a member of Phi Beta Sigma, is proudly returning to 145 Kennedy Street, NW, Washington D.C. (PBS Headquarters) to assist with organizing the historic gathering. Scheduled to take place on Saturday, Oct. 10, Justice or Else! The 20th Anniversary Million Man March will focus on justice for individuals of every ethnic background. “We are once again proud to announce our commitment to the Million Man March. Twenty years ago, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. stepped forward and offered our headquarters as the staging location for the historic march, said Jonathan A. Mason Sr. Today, we celebrate the march’s milestones and reinforce our I Am My Brother’s Keeper initiative, as we wholeheartedly support the Million Man March 20 years later, Mason enthusiastically added. Since celebrating its centennial in January 2014, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. has paid homage to its founders by leading the charge on several national issues. The service based

fraternity has been a leader in eradicating hazing among fraternities and sororities; participated in the National Day of Protest in wake of the suspicious killings of young African American males; hosted a Prayer Vigil and Youth Summit in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the Michael Brown killing; issued a statement supporting racial tolerance in the aftermath of the senseless killing of nine congregants at Emanuel AME Church in Charlestown, South Carolina and hosted REAL TALK, a panel discussion which featured some of the nation’s top thought-leaders on the topic of securing the future for the next generation of boys and men of color. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. remarked, 20 years ago Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. made the historic decision to provide its headquarters building on Kennedy Street NW in Washington, DC as the national office of the Million Man March. We are once again grateful to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity for continuing its national leadership role by providing their resolute support of the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March. The best way to celebrate Black history is to make more history.” Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. members from across the nation will journey to Washington, DC on October 10th to stand together in support of equal justice for all people. Editor’s Note: Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., founded on January 9, 1914 at Howard University, is a global organization with over 450 chapters and 150,000 members. To learn more about PBS, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


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Five Points Icon Zona Moore Celebrates 90 Well Lived Years Hail to a Virtuous Woman:

By Charlene Porter

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies…Proverbs 31:10, KJV.

The writer of Proverbs set the bar

sky high when describing a virtuous woman. Nevertheless, a beautiful young Black woman from Tyler,

Texas, was determined to live her life

in just such a manner. Ultimately, she became an icon in Denver, Colorado’s Five Points community. As she prepares to celebrate her 90th birthday on Oct. 10, “Mama” Zona Moore is more beloved than ever. Not just by the 14 children she brought into this world but, because she “loves people,” and they, in turn love, admire and respect her. Zona Porter was born in 1925 to a mother and father who could retell firsthand accounts of enslavement including toil in cotton fields, segregated schools, racial slurs, “whites only” water fountains, belligerent N——- name calling, and midnight lynchings. At the young age of 16, Zona married her high school beau, Willis Moore and soon thereafter, she became a mother. While working at the biggest, poshest hotels in Dallas, Texas, Zona was inspired that one day, somehow she would be her own boss. Specifically, she dreamed of owning “a hamburger place.” In the meantime and by 1958, she and her husband were the parents of 13 children- Betty, Saalim (Charles), Barbara, Donald Ray, John, Reta, Brenda, Rhonda, Sandra, Gary, Michael, Willis and Sharon. Older sister, Rosie Lee Haggarety, who had already relocated to Denver, convinced her baby sister that Denver was the land of opportunity. After Willis and Zona decided moving to Denver was a great idea, Willis went ahead of the family to secure work. Three months later Zona and the children followed. As soon as they arrived in Five Points, Zona knew they’d done the right thing. Within a short time, Zona also acquired fulltime work as a nurse’s aide for five years. Also, during that time, she had Calvin, her 14th baby.

Zona “Mama” Moore is pictured above with grandchildren 10 years agon and below as she is today and in her younger years. Photos courtesy of the Moore Family.

It was then that Zona knew she was ready to achieve her dream of being a business owner. The first venture, J and Z Liquor Store, was a co-proprietorship with son John who had returned home after serving in the U.S. Army. About the same time, Zona and Willis started saving to buy property. First one small house, then another, and then another. A business not far from the store was also very successful called the Tamale King.

When the owner of Tamale King passed away, Zona immediately made an offer to take over the lease. While not grand, it was ideal. It was well established, manageable, and in a great location at the corner of 26th and Welton Streets. The food she served wasn’t hamburger, nevertheless, in every other way it was her dream come true. Moreover, she’d worked tirelessly to achieve it. In 1972 the establishment reopened as Zona’s Tamale Stand.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


For more than 30 years, seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to sometimes 3 a.m., you could find Zona at heartily greeting her customers (many by name), and taking their to-go orders for her renowned pig ear and hot link sandwiches. Mayor Wellington Webb, among other city dignitaries, made it one of their favorite stops. New dreams led to new goals when the houses the Moore’s invested in were demolished, and with a bank loan in hand, a brand new building was commissioned. Zona’s Cafeteria, just a few blocks east of her tamale stand offered sit-down dining with meals served on china. “We only had the bare minimum to work with,” the elegant matriarch stated. “That made us even more determined to do and be our best. Above all, God has always been there to guide and bless me.” Zona’s off-springs, which today extend to great-great grandchildren, stand on her virtuous shoulders with whom she shares her Pearls of Wisdom. •Follow your own dream…and then, when you do, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. •Don’t mix with the wrong people. If you see trouble coming, get out of the way. •When trouble comes and you’re facing a problem - say a prayer. Try mine - “Lord help me and show me which way to go.” I guarantee God will answer you. •Do everything possible to help yourself. Sometimes it’s hard but you have to keep pushing, no matter what. “I was raised in the church. I am a Christian woman…an A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopalian). God, discipline, and never giving, up are my formula for success,” said Mama Zona Moore.

Editor’s note: The community is invited to Zona’s 90th birthday celebration on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 E. 35th Ave. in Denver at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and to RSVP by Oct. 5 by calling to 303-386-2915. Editor’s Note: Charlene Porter is the author of The Denver Post #1 local bestselling historical novel “Boldfaced Lies.”

Mayor Hancock Names Happy Haynes as Executive Director of Parks and Recreation Mayor Michael

B. Hancock announced the appointment of Allegra “Happy” Haynes as the new Executive Director of Parks and Recreation for the City and County of Denver. In this role, Haynes will oversee recreational programming at 280 city and mountain parks and 27 recreation centers in the Denver area, serving hundreds of thousands of Denver residents and visitors. Haynes will also ensure the continued expansion of free services offered to more than 100,000 Denver kids through the MY Denver Card as well as manage the build out of Denver’s first downtown recreation center. “Denver takes great pride in our parks and rec centers, and in Happy Haynes we found a champion who will continue to elevate our treasured public spaces for generations to come,” Mayor Hancock said. “Over a lifetime of working on behalf of the residents of this city, Happy has more than proven to be a strong Denver advocate with the resolve to do what’s right. I know she will do great things to continue the progress we’ve achieved.” Haynes’ currently serves as an atlarge member and President of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, having been elected in November 2011. She served 13 years on the Denver City Council from 1990 to 2003, including two terms as President from 1998 to 2000. Following her tenure on Council, she was appointed as then-Mayor John Hickenlooper’s City Council liaison and later Chief Community Engagement Officer for Denver Public Schools. “Our parks, open spaces and recreation centers are foundational to creating thriving neighborhoods, and it is a great honor to be appointed by Mayor Hancock to lead this venerable city institution,” Haynes said. “This is an appointment of a lifetime, and I look forward to getting to work advancing the exciting vision the Mayor has for the future work of the department with our community.”

A Denver native, East High School Angel and a City Park neighbor, Haynes’ career of civic involvement spanning 30 years in state and local government has positioned her as a local leader on neighborhood, parks and youth issues. Her passionate work in parks and open space advocacy is extensive: •Trust for Public Lands – Colorado Council, Chair •City Park Jazz, Board of Directors •State Parks Board (Past) •City Park Alliance, Founding Board of Directors (Past) •The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Chapter Trustee (Past)

•Sand Creek Regional Greenway, Founding Board of Directors (Past) She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Board of Directors for the Center for African American Health, and is a member of the Citizen Advisory board for the Stapleton Foundation. With a passion for supporting the city and state’s children and youth, Haynes was also a past vice chair of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, a founding board member of the Foundation for Educational Excellence and Mile High Youth Corp, and board member of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


“Happy has been a phenomenal public servant and a great partner with the community during her time on the school board,” said Leslie Twarogowski, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “The board and I look forward to working with her to keep our parks system the envy of cities across the country.” Haynes is a graduate of Denver Public Schools and received her B.A. in Political Science from Barnard College at Columbia University and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Colorado at Denver. She took the helm of the department on Monday, September 21. 

Being The “First” Is Not Always Easy

Denver’s first Black mayor reflects on America’s first Black president By Wellington E. Webb


Barack Obama and I have something

in common. He is America’s first

African American

president and I was

Denver’s first African American

mayor. That designation carries extra responsibility because we know our records will help or hinder others who seek high office. When the first African American runs for office, the first question many voters ask is can he or she govern well? As “firsts” we had the challenge to answer that question so it would never be asked again.

We also know that once we overcame the long odds to get elected unfortunately racism, however subtle, affected our terms. Even if racism is there, we have to overcome it in order to be successful. I faced it during my 12 years in office and I believe Obama has successfully dealt with it during his two terms. I’m not saying that racism is why Congress has fought President Obama on nearly every proposal he has made to improve the lives of Americans. Leaders who support and fight for such things as the Affordable Care Act; economic recovery of Detroit; managing the recession and recovery; the numerous budget battles; same sex marriage and other LGBT issues will face opposition. But, in my view, some members of Congress just want Obama to fail – even at the expense of Americans. Some have labeled him as arrogant because he is unwilling to compromise. Some, including Democrats, have criticized him for being calm and cool and not forcing change. But that demeanor also helped the country through some of the greatest acts of violence during his terms, including the recent church shootings in Charleston, the Aurora theater massacre and the bombings at the Boston Marathon. But I’ll let the Republicans speak for themselves, and at the same time prove my point.

When Barack Obama took the oath of office his attitude going in as president was let’s get busy and do what’s right for the country in a bipartisan way. He wanted to debate the issues and arrive at consensus for what is in the best interest of the country. His actions were like a player on a team sport: pass, block, shoot and score for the country. Yet, at the same time many Republicans were ready to miss an easy layup, throw the ball away and run out of bounds. In October 2010, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” He also reportedly told other Republicans: “If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority. We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.” Vice President Joe Biden said he heard after the 2008 election McConnell told seven different Republican Senators he demanded unified resistance.” “The way it was characterized to me was: `For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’ ” Biden said. It took a while for President Obama to finally determine Republicans were not going to work with him, even to the point of disrespecting the office. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie!” during President Obama’s joint session of Congress in 2009 about immigration reform. House Speaker Mike O’Neal forwarded an email to state house Republicans referring to the First Lady as “Mrs. YoMamma.” Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn said he didn’t even want to have to be associated with President Obama. “It’s like touching a bar baby…” Protocol, dignity and respect for the office have gone straight out the window. The office of the president needs to be respected by everyone in the U.S., including those who disagree with the president’s policies. The Republicans aren’t the only ones who have given President Obama a hard time. Members of the minority communities, including Blacks, have attacked him for not doing more about police brutality. But the president has been outspoken about the need for change – which has to start at the local level. I, too, was sometimes criticized for not doing enough for the Black community during my 12 years in office, even though I was the first mayor to seriously include minority and women businesses in city projects.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


That move was criticized by larger, established businesses that now had to share a piece of the pie. And if anyone who I had known since I grew up in Denver got a city job, suddenly “cronyism” popped up in headlines. My administration also had the most integrated staff in the history of Denver; so many that the press got bored reporting about the first Black judge in Colorado, the first Black fire chief, the first female director of public safety, the first openly gay administrator and many others. I first met Obama when as an Illinois state senator he decided to run for an open U.S. senate seat in 2003. As mayor I hosted a fundraiser for him at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver. Five years later, before he was elected president in 2008, my wife, Wilma and I saw him and Michelle at a fundraiser in Honolulu after the Democratic primary. Then he visited Denver for another event and he walked fast purposefully shaking enough hands to make the handshakes on the rope line meaningful. When the future president stopped to shake my hand, I held him and said, “I know you lost your father when you were young but you just remember every Black man of my generation will stand in for him and we have your back.” Obama continued to walk further down the rope line about 10 people and perhaps reflecting on what I had said to him, he then turned and came back and he shook my hand again and put his hand on my shoulder with brief pause before heading back down the line. That is a special moment I don’t think either of us will forget. I believe that when the political dust settles and we look back on Obama’s eight-year presidency historians will look at his accomplishments and place him among the top 10 American presidents. Being “first” isn’t always easy but we are a country where trailblazers should be celebrated. I’m proud that eight years after I left office the city elected another Black mayor. And when Michael Hancock ran for office the question I heard whispered never even came up. “Can an African American govern as mayor?” I had already answered those doubters. And I believe Obama has answered his doubters as well. Editor’s note: Wellington Webb served as Denver’s first African American mayor from 1991-2003. He is the only mayor to be elected president to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.


Black November, Oloibira and The Portrait Big Winners at The African Oscars By Samantha Ofole-Prince

LOS ANGELES – In a show that clocked four hours and 40 minutes on Sept. 12, at the historic Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Africa’s biggest night saw some big winners and a few stars missing out at the Nollywood & African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) . African films Black November, Oloibiri, The Portrait and Pound of Flesh earned accolades for cinematography and best film in the diaspora category, while the James Brown biopic Get on Up beat out the Martin Luther King biopic Selma to snag the Best Foreign Film trophy. The popular TV show “Empire,� a crowd favorite, lost the crown to “Love Thy Neighbor� and Hollywood actresses Lynn Whitfield and Garcelle Beauvais both received acting nods. Pamela Nomvete and Ken Smart also took home NAFCA trophies. Smart, a previous NAFCA winner earned the best acting accolade for his political drama “Kingmakers.� Filled with inspiring speeches, lavish outfits and stirring tributes, five-time Emmy award nominee Marla Gibbs (“Good Times�) was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award and a special NAFCA People’s Choice favorite Humanitarian Queen Amina award was given

Host Omarosa with her mother Theresa

to Thomas Ousley. The founder of ‘The Infinite Scholars,’ he has facilitated more than a billion dollars in scholarships and financial aid nationwide. Nigerian Senator Ifeanyi Godwin A rarume also received the Patriot award and the Nollywood & African People’s Choice award went to Mike La Duchesse and Canadian based actress Queen Amina. Now in its 5th year, the Nollywood & African Film Critics’ Awards, nicknamed The African Oscars is an annual ceremony that honors individuals whose professional careers have been marked by extraordinary personal and professional accomplishments. A brainchild of Dr. Victor O. Olatoye (CEO of Nollywood & African Film Critics, USA), his goal is to help improve the African film industry’s image and promote African culture and heritage through film. Hosted by Omarosa, performances included an energetic number by the Los Angeles-based dance company LA Unbound, which was choreographed by model Nichole LeShawn Woods. Nigerian singer Emma Nyra, R&B crooners Keith Robinson, Jesse Campbell, opera singer Angel Ng Cantante and poet Tommye Lee Ray also performed. 

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Future Doctor Chooses Cuba for Training

By Annette Walker

Colorado native Darian Zubia

never thought his interest in improv-

ing health care for poor and workingclass people would take him to

Cuba. However, his concept of health

care conflicts with some practices in

the United States. “Medical care here is based on the curative model and less on the broad context of how to treat human beings,” said Zubia, a second-year student at ELAM, Cuba’s international medical school. “On the contrary, Cuba operates on the preventive model and incorporates social consciousness with science.” His family has lived in Ft. Lupton, Denver and Mexico. Upon graduation from high school in Lafayette, Colorado he studied at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, but received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University in North Carolina. “Cuba’s focus is primary health care,” said Zubia while in Colorado over the summer delivering presentations at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as well as the Mercury Café in the historic Five Points neighborhood. ‘I’ve noticed that many U.S. medical students do not wish to become primary care health physicians. Rather, they want to become specialists, and often the reasons have nothing to do with health or research. “When most medical students here graduate, they owe about $300,000 in

education loans. As medical specialists they will get higher salaries and pay raises, which they need to pay back their debts incurred in medical school,” he said. In Cuba education is free at all levels. Zubia believes that the chronic diseases plaguing many poor and working-class people in the United States can be addressed through better primary health care. Many poor neighborhoods lack health clinics or doctors’ offices. “Medical care here is tied-up with money” said Zubia, who considers himself Chicano. “On the contrary, Cuba’s health care system functions with non-monetary incentives.” The essence of Cuba’s national health system lies in the neighborhood health clinics. Depending on their size, they serve from 150 to 500 people. Many medical staff, including doctors, reside in the same neighborhoods where they work. Health care, along with education, is one of the achievements of the Cuban Revolution. One of the best examples is the dramatic change in infant mortality according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1959 Cuba’s rate was 39 per 1,000 live births. Today it is 4.2 per 1,000 live births, among the lowest in the world. That is lower than the United States which is 6.9 per 1,000. Ironically, the infant mortality rate in Colorado’s African-American population is 14.9 per 1,000 or three times higher than Cuba’s rate. Cuba has developed a world-class biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry that has become an important source of well-needed foreign exchange. Cuba has developed four therapeutic cancer vaccines that are exported to 26 countries (not yet to this country due to U.S. trade embargo imposed 50

years ago). Cuban scientists have also developed a medicine that cures diabetic foot ulcers, and this, too is exported. Other vaccines against various viral and bacterial pathogens, including meningitis are sold internationally. In addition, medical research scientists from Canada, China and Spain participate in joint ventures with Cuba. On June 30 WHO declared Cuba the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child. In 2012 the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced that Cuba is the only Latin American and Caribbean country without child malnutrition. In 2009 the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) indicated that despite the fact that Cuba is a poor nation and has been subjected to the U.S. economic and trade embargo, its achievements in health and education are outstanding. WHO has recommended that the island’s public health system be considered “a model for the world,” especially for developing nations.

Medical Internationalism

Cuba’s international medical school, ELAM, is part of the government’s concept of “internationalism,” or assisting nations in need. Since 1960 Cuban health professionals have served in more than 103 countries, including 35 African nations. In 2013, Brazil requested that Cuba send 800 doctors and other medical professionals to assist in rural areas. Cuba has complied. In 2005 Cuba offered to send medical and other personnel to Louisiana and the Gulf coast to assist with Hurricane Katrina, but U.S. President George W. Bush and the State Department rejected the offer. In 1998 Hurricanes Mitch and George devastated some Caribbean and Central American nations. Cuba sent medical personnel to assist, and they noticed the general dearth of hospitals, clinics and health professionals, especially in rural areas. The Cuban government resolved to help by allowing students to go to Cuba for medical training. In 1999 ELAM was established and initially all of the students were Latin American. That has changed. “There are approximately 1,300 African students at ELAM,” said Zubia. I have classmates from Angola, Chad, South Africa, the Sudan and South

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Sudan as well as the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and other countries. A spirit of social justice is intrinsic in ELAM’s curriculum and the basic concept is that foreign students will return to their countries of origin and work in areas lacking medical services and trained personnel. In 2000 a U.S. Congressional Black Caucus delegation visited Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro and the Ministry of Public Health about ELAM. Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, was concerned about the shortage of doctors in his state as well as the high cost of medical education. Cuba agreed to accept some scholarship students from the United States. The State Department classified the program as a “cultural exchange” to get around U.S. restrictions on travel and extensive stays on the island. Ten U.S. students entered in the spring of 2001. By 2014 there were a total of 134 U.S. graduates of ELAM of which 64 are African-American and 38 are Latinos. The U.S does accept ELAM as an accredited medical institution and graduates are practicing doctors or in residency. Currently, there are 92 U.S. students enrolled, of which 49 are African-American and 28 Latinos. U.S. students must apply to ELAM through IFCO (Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizations), a multi-issue national ecumenical agency headquartered in New York City. IFCO was founded by Rev. Lucius Walker, an African-American Baptist pastor who also founded Pastors for Peace. Both organizations dedicate some work to international issues, among them active opposition to the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. Zubia, who also recorded an interview at KGNU for a series on global health to be broadcast later this year, said, “When I complete medical school, I will either work in Colorado or the Southwest, or maybe somewhere near the Mexican border.”

African Bar and Grill Serving: Jollof Rice, African Beer and, Specialty Dishes from Africa

18601 Green Valley Ranch Blvd. Denver, CO 80249

720-949-0784 or 303-375-7835

HELP US SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE OF LOVE ANNUAL SANTA'S WORKSHOP by donating some of the following items: Hats, Gloves, Coats, Supplies, Wrapping paper, Tape, Scissors, Decorative bows, Shopping bags (large trash bags). Bring your donations to TREA, 1599 Dayton St., Aurora, any Tuesday between 5:30 – 7pm during 100 Men Who Cook planning meetings or to the Black Tie Fundraiser November 28th to be entered into a drawing for a gift this year and 2 VIP tickets to next year’s 100 Men Who Cook. FOR INFORMATION CONTACT LaKeshia Hodge, Executive DirectoR Struggle of Love Foundation 720-353-3399

JAZZ CAFÉ Music and Leadership Development for students in grades 6-12. REGISTER YOUR STUDENT NOW FOR FALL Starting October 3, 2015 Sessions Saturdays 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Montbello Recreation Center  15555 E. 53rd Ave. Denver, Colorado 80239 FOR INFORMATION & REGISTRATION CONTACT 720-334-7408


he 2015 Ignite International

Convention can be summed up in just three words: History. Was. Made.

During its seven-year history, Organo has never witnessed anything like

what transpired in Los Angeles on

August 28-30. Organo Gold started with an extraordinary cup of coffee in 2008 in Richmond, B.C., Canada, in a small shop with only three employees. In just two short years, it became one of the fastest growing network marketing companies in the world. Organo’s world class leadership consists of three strong gurus with one powerful vision. When CEO and Founder Bernardo Chua began Organo Gold, he was already a successful businessman. What made this new venture unique was that it was born out of his vision and commitment to bringing the ancient Chinese herb known as Ganoderma to the rest of the world. It’s widely believed that no one has sold more Ganoderma infused products than Organo’s Co-Founder and Global Master Distributor Shane Morand. His ability to motivate and develop leaders all over the world has been a blueprint for many of Organo Gold’s top distributors and has helped the company expand into six continents. His vision and passion have been instrumental in helping Organo become one of the most admired network marketing companies in the world. Executive Vice President of International Sales Holton Buggs’ indepth knowledge of network marketing was a driving force behind the wide variety of complementary Organo Gold products. His network marketing expertise helps enable the distributors to work with the system to build successful businesses. Former Denver Bronco and twotime Super Bowl Champion Rod Smith was part of the founding members

Organo is Brewing Worldwide and Growing Stron


and brought the company to Colorado. After his seven years of involvement with the company, he says, “The best time to take a really serious look at ORGANO is right now. The company has a proven product (coffee), system, and leadership. If you are tired of working everyday to end up owning nothing, come build you something your family gets to keep. Give us 1 percent of your trust and we will earn the other 99 percent.” The convention opened with a spectacular fire show with international island dancers and fireworks. And with a boom the Ignite Organo Gold International Convention was underway. The 2014 Queen and King of Coffee, Casey Nilsen and Maiyasit Swangthammarat crowned the 2015 Queen and King of Coffee, Lilia Bautista and Carlos Oestby and then introduced the “Three Amigos” – Bernardo Chua, Shane Morand and Holton Buggs. During his welcome address, Philippines-born Chua, who was the youngest of 14 children, called the one million OG distributors his family members as well, and recalled his goal for starting the business. “This is what I am going to do – give back to the distributors,” he said with passion and sincerity. This is a testament to the Organo principles of “Loyalty, Unity and Edification.” And true to its commitment, Organo gives back and edifies. Along with Morand and Buggs, Chua recognized the new OG Diamonds with the “Knighting of the Diamonds” ceremony – truly a sight to behold.

L to R: Holton Buggs, Organo Diamond Consultant Manny Pacquiao, Bernardo Chua and Shane Morand

More than 12,000 people packed the Los Angeles Convention Center to listen to inspirational speakers, learn about new products, and network with fellow distributors from numerous countries including Mexico, Nigeria, Italy, Kenya, Peru, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Spain, Japan, Jamaica, Canada, Haiti, and the UK. Recognition was powerful - from One Star Achievers to Crown Ambassadors and everyone in between including 6-, 12-, 18-, 21-, 23-, and Super Star Achievers, Sapphires, Rubies, and Diamonds. All walked the stage and everyone with achievement was recognized as part of the OG Nation. Special category recognition went to Top Achiever Lilia Bautista and to Beatrice Seu from Kenya for the Rookie of the Year. Leader of the Pack, who was the highest earner, went to Jose Ardon and the Star Achiever Award went to John and Blanca Sachtouras. Three hundred Seas the Moment Top Achievers were honored including Denver’s own Diamond Rod Smith and Ruby Barry Overton. Top Financial Achievers were recognized that also included Overton. A special award was presented to Josie Morand in memory of Blue Diamond, Rene Ikeola who lost her life to cancer last year. In addition to Morand and Buggs, speakers were vast and diverse – all inspiring and educational. Philippinesborn Lilia Bautista, a mother of 12 children and several grandchildren, was the first women Crown Diamond in the organization, stressed the importance on how women should do their best to care for their children and family. Newcomer Beatrice Seu from Kenya shared her plans to build her business to become Crown Ambassador. Diamond Thommaso Alasi from Italy said his journey has been a dream come true and hopes to fulfill as many dreams as he can for others.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


The OG family is more than the one million international distributors. Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao recently added yet another milestone to his storied career by becoming an OG Diamond. Greg Norman is Organo Gold’s Global Brand Ambassador and brings with him a very distinguished history as one of the greatest golfers of all time. The Napoleon Hill Foundation agreed that Organo’s Independent Distributors could benefit from the 13 principles from Think and Grow Rich, by renowned author Napoleon Hill, as the book that elevated mindsets for success. Organo Gold donates all proceeds from the sales of the Collector’s Edition of Think and Grow Rich to fund the work of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Special guest speaker Dr. J. B. Hill, grandson of Napoleon

ng...2015 Ignite International Convention Fires Up LA



Hill, talked about determining your Definite Major Purpose, who also took time to autograph books for convention-goers. The new GOLD magazine was available which featured The Three Amigas - Adeline Chua, Josie Morand and Earlene Buggs on the cover, with profiles of each of the wives who shared where their hearts lie with Organo. As a core pillar of Organo Gold, Chua is still a fixture at both Organo Gold’s Global headquarters and Organo global events. Earlene Buggs is the brainchild of the Women Who Win annual luncheon which is held exclusively for women and designed to empower, engage and embolden the female distributors. And Josie Morand is

one of the founding board members of the OG Cares Foundation. A highlight of the convention was the OG Cares Day and the gala. Distributors, who volunteered for OG Cares Day, served food, painted houses, tended gardens and pulled weeds. The black tie gala raised $87,000 to support at-risk children around the world. There could not be a convention without OG training and before winding down the convention, Morand coached the attendees on Zones and the newly released business mobile App. Two panels of experts provided tips and advice on how to expand and grow your business. Hosted by Blue Diamonds Casey Nilsen and Edwin Haynes, advice ranged from dressing professionally to trusting your mentor; from becoming a coach to having the right attitude; and from being motivated to learning and developing proper skills. As an integral participant at the Convention, Casey Nilsen, who lives in Loveland, Colorado, says “Major events give people an opportunity to challenge the status quo and improve their circumstances. By gaining new associations and perspectives, people receive the emotional impact that supports creating lasting change. The convention had a positive impact on thousands of families, and I believe that a small determined group of people on a mission can change the world for the better. Organo is doing it one cup of coffee at a time. The entire convention was inspirational, but the presentation of the Eagle Award was nothing short of spectacular. The Eagle Award is the launching pad and must be earned before taking a place alongside OG’s Elite. After a moving speech by

Holton Buggs, Morand and Buggs presented the Eagle Award to the new Sapphires to the backdrop of an eagle soaring and the sounds of “I Believe I Can Fly.” Denver’s John Brand was among the new Sapphires to receive the award earning the qualities of fearlessness, vision and leadership. On receiving his Eagle at the recent convention, Brand said, “Achieving the rank of Sapphire Consultant in Organo has been a mile stone on my professional journey. I have heard stories of individuals doing some pretty remarkable things in short periods of time, which I used to think was possible. Having done it, I now see that there is truth in what I have heard.” Closing out the convention, Buggs told the moving story about Paulino who was from a third world country and was living with his family of 14 in a one-room shack, with no running water or electricity. The family was evicted and lived in a tent. The only thing that saved Paulino and his family was his Organo business and his sachets of gourmet coffee. Standing on stage with Buggs dressed in a business suit, Paulino who recently became a Ruby consultant said that his family now lives in a big house with running water and electricity. Since 2008, Organo has changed many lives from around the world and ignited even more at the recent convention. And all because it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s coffee.  Editor’s note: For more information on Organo, call Bee Harris at 303-638-9126, email, or visit http://bizziebee.myorganogold. com/.

New Branding, Logos, Publications, Products and Apps

Within minutes of the event kicking off and presented with fireworks and a motivational video, convention attendees became the first people to witness the brand new logo and branding from Organo Gold to Organo – Taste the Gold by Brandon Scott. Five new products were introduced during the Convention. The Brewing Cups line doubled in size over the weekend as five new flavors were unveiled: Colombian Roast Authentic Gourmet Coffee Blend; Te Amô Decaf Gourmet Blend; Raspberry Cacaò Gourmet Coffee Blend; Rodéo Chai Gourmet Spiced Tea Blend; and African Red Rooibos Sweet Tea Blend This year’s GOLD magazine, Organo’s biggest and most anticipated annual publication featured a women-centric focus and is the first publication to showcase the company’s new logo and branding. The largest recognition section in GOLD Magazine history is included, featuring exclusive interviews with Sapphires, Crown Ambassadors, and everyone in between. One of the most important updates for the company was the new back office Organo Mobile App for distributors and how to build, track, and work an Organo Business both on the go and in the palm of your hand. A brand new incentive program was introduced that will give OG’s best business builders the opportunity to spend four days and three nights in the world’s most magical kingdom, Disney World.

Denver Colorado Recognition Star Achievers Karen and Slade Atkins – 1 Rosalind J. Harris – 1 Al and Rose Powell – 1 Caroline Price – 1 Shirley Thomas – 1 Jeremy Wallace – 1 Robert McGuire – 6 Tanisha Gomez – 12 Michele Wheeler – 12 Eve Evans - 21 John Brand – 23 May Tram – 23 Dr. Shirley Turner Barry Overton – 24 Rod Smith – 24

Super Star Achiever John Brand Barry Overton JuJuan Peterson Marchella Scott Rod Smith Dr. Shirley Turner

New Sapphire John Brand

Organo Top 300 Producers Worldwide Barry Overton Rod Smith

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


NBC’s New Sitcom Brings Politics and Family Life to Primetime


By Samantha Ofole Prince

Family life has been the focus of

Black comedy routines for decades and NBC’s new family sitcom “The Carmichael Show” doesn’t stray too far from that formula. A half-hour situational comedy he says is inspired by his family, Jerrod Carmichael, executive producer, writer and star of the series has garnered a great ensemble cast and created a family that’s easy to relate to. With just six episodes under its belt, the series, which also stars David Alan Grier, Loretta Devine, Amber Stevens West, Lil Rel Howery and Tiffany Haddish, has already tackled religion, same-sex marriage, and protests in the Black community. “It’s inspired by my life,” says Carmichael. “My family was not just

passive television viewers. Something would happen and we would talk about it. When Will Smith was shot on the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ it sparked a whole conversation about safety. We watch classic shows like ‘Cheers’ and we would comment on it. If people can watch this and it sparks a conversation in their own lives then our mission is accomplished. That is what television did for me and I want to contribute in those ways by writing something relatable.” The series follows the Carmichaels, a lower middle class family with staunch morals and values surviving in the middle of all the cultural differences that are going on. Grier, as the

Score everyday.

Cast of “The Carmichael Show”

patriarch, is a truck driver who is not always ready to embrace change and Devine is a stay at home religious mother. Both are raising the family that consists of two adult sons. Jerrod (played by Jerrod Carmichael), the more successful of the two is navigating through life with his therapist intraining girlfriend (Amber Stevens West) while his brother Bobby (Lil Rel Howery) is the underachiever with several pyramids schemes up his sleeve. A churchgoer who volunteers in the community, Devine’s world revolves taking care of her two boys and husband. “I think about her a lot like Edith Bunker (a fictional 1970s sitcom char-



Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


acter on ‘All in the Family’) in that she has that strong love for her husband and is running around doing everything and putting everybody first,” says Devine. “Luckily, my character has a much bigger mouth and a lot more to say and that’s because she is a Black woman.” “He is a laid back man,” Grier adds. “As a couple, they are old school Black people who are trying to change, but there is only so much change you will get out of them. It’s a minefield out there and our son is bringing this whole new world to us.” The show has positioned itself, rather surprisingly, as a unique forum for discussing family life choosing to tackle tough topics, especially within the first few months of production. “We talk about these topics in social terms,” Grier continues. “We are not afraid to talk about important issues in a funny, creative and hopefully inventive way.” “We just shot a protest episode where a kid gets shot in our town,” adds Carmichael, “and the discussion is whether to protest and how to deal with it. It’s never preachy. It’s exciting to talk about those things as it reflects real conversations.”

6 Pc. Chicken


Simeon Rice Steps In The Director’s Seat With Unsullied

REEL ACTION - BLACKFLIX.COM Murray Gray in Unsullied

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

A gripping action thriller about a

young woman who gets stranded in the Florida boon-docks, Unsullied marks the feature-film directing debut of NFL superstar Simeon Rice.

Director Simeon Rice Photo Credit- Arlen J

A film that veers into a nightmarish melodrama of imprisonment and attempted escape, it gives Houston native, Murray Gray, one of the chewiest roles of her career. “This film is about what your mind and your body can do when you are put in a situation that involves fear,” says Gray, a taekwondo black expert who tackles her first leading role in this suspenseful thriller. In Unsullied, Gray plays Reagan Farrow, a world-class athlete who finds herself stranded in a remote wooded area after her car breaks down. Unwisely accepting a ride from a pair of charming strangers (played by Rusty Joiner and James Gaudioso), she is rendered unconscious and wakes up to find herself tied up in an isolated dark room. After witnessing her captors raping yet another female victim in a nearby room, she manages to escape, but doesn’t get too far. Taking refuge in the forest, she is relentlessly pursued by the two thrill seeking sadists and it becomes a cat and mouse game that maintains a gripping pace throughout.

“This story is so much more than a suspense action thriller,” shares Gray, who was drawn to the physicality of the role. “I’m a huge athlete and I want to do anything that uses that part of me. I loved the action and adventure elements in this script.” With a few twists and turns, Unsullied has a tight story and structure. Most of it serves simultaneously as female victim and empowered heroine as Gray, who is thoroughly convincing in the part, is pushed to her limit while she tries to outwit her captors. There are plenty of moments of well-crafted thrills in this flick and she reliably carries them off. “I want the audience to be on the edge of their seats, feeling like they are running through the wilderness with her,” shares Simeon Rice who makes his foray into feature length filmmaking with this project. “There’s also the message that we shouldn’t often trust what we see. We travel by what we see, we order menus by what we see and all that glitters isn’t gold. I wanted to create a complicated situation where a female was going to be put in this environment and you could see how strong she was and how much she was willing to fight.” An independent project made under his production company Dreamline Pictures, which he founded in 2011, Rice wrote and directed the film, along with producers Michelle Gracie, Ghana Cooper, John Hermann and John Nodilo. Beautifully directed and skillfully edited with a climactic ending, it’s the sort of action thriller Hollywood studios would clamor for, but Rice says he was forced to take the independent route to retain the film’s vision. “I wrote the role for a girl that looks like my little sister and wanted the Black girl — the hood Black girl, but not in the sense of being so over the top. But I was told that even though it was a great script, it couldn’t

be made without any bankable names and that an African-American lead was not going to translate onscreen.” It’s an advice Rice wisely dismissed. “I don’t believe the public cares about that. If they cared about that, then the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ type movies don’t get made. Those don’t have bankable names. People watch stories and follow stories and what makes it relatable are the characters and the story.” With a solid movie and a great marketing strategy, Rice is likely to

prove Hollywood wrong, although for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s player, that is not his goal. “It’s not about proving anybody wrong, it’s about proving myself right. If you believe in yourself and you see what you want to execute and have total faith in it, that spirit of positivity will carry you to a place of success. A lot of people said this movie would never see the light of day and this is hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I want people to go and experience this film for it will resonate with them.” 

The Denver Foundation and Janus Capital are hosting a gathering! Please join us for cocktails, appetizers, music, and networking with other community-minded professionals, business owners, and business leaders of color. Learn about B:CIVIC and EPIC—two local initiatives that support companies and individuals with their philanthropy.

Tuesday, October 6 | 5:00 – 6:30 pm Janus Capital Group, Inc. 151 Detroit Street – Rooftop Patio, Denver

Hear from B:CIVIC and EPIC leaders starting at 5:45 pm This event is FREE, but you must RSVP. Reserve your space at by October 1. Presented by:

Parking validation will be available for Clayton Lane Garage. In case of inclement weather, the event will take place indoors at Janus.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Ten Years After Hurricane Katrina: Changing Hearts, Minds And Systems In New Orleans

W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron at the foundation's Healing Day in New Orleans

By La June Montgomery Tabron, America’s Wire Writers Group

New Orleans, LA ( – Ten years after Katrina devastated New Orleans, it’s time for midcourse corrections in the restoration efforts. The coalitions of foundations, nonprofits and government should pause to ensure that their investments will improve upon the pre-Katrina condi-

tions in communities of color and that the racial and class inequities that existed prior to the storm are being adequately addressed. Katrina was an awakening: the racial fault lines had been blurred in the city. Visits to Bourbon Street yielded fine food and music, but failed to paint a full picture of the city. Many challenges faced in the surrounding neighborhoods were tucked away from view. But with

Katrina, impressions of New Orleans changed dramatically. When the hurricane struck on Aug. 29, 2005, more than 80 percent of the residents had evacuated, leaving behind the most vulnerable – those with neither the means nor money to flee. New Orleans was predominantly African-American (67 percent) and 27.9 percent of the city’s households were in poverty, including nearly 40 percent of the city’s children. More than 1,800 people died because of the storm, 123,600 people left the city and never returned, and the Black population dropped to 60 percent. The chaos and devastation that unfolded as the surging gulf breached levees designed to protect the city vividly demonstrated the impact of the racial, housing, education and economic disparities. Many with access to information, transportation and funds for hotel rooms escaped; but those without resources were left behind — some desperately seeking rescues from their rooftops — to fend for themselves and depend upon badly flawed public services that failed them at this critical time. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, people had to reconcile our perception of New Orleans. How had we missed the racial inequities for so long? It was so clear that imbalance between haves and have-nots were a major factor in where the blunt of the devastation was felt. Many communities of color were more vulnerable and thus their residents suffered far more. This fueled the passion within the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to address the inequities. The Kellogg Foundation had worked with grantees in New Orleans since 1942. Given these longstanding relationships, the WKKF Board of Trustees was compelled to help the children, families and communities recover. The board immediately approved a $12 million appropriation to help provide food, clothing, shelter, rescue and relocation, though the board’s focus was also on long-term

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


recovery. The swift grant making also helped attract other support, as WKKF funding was at times matched by other foundations, companies like Home Depot, Time Warner, AOL, Walmart, McDonalds, and by religious organizations and government agencies. Since August 2005, the commitment to New Orleans has not wavered: 270 grants totaling $90.1 million have been approved in the last 10 years. Yet, we have learned that one foundation, nor a group of foundations, can successfully address these challenges alone; there must be partnerships that include all segments of the community, especially government, businesses and corporations committed to providing opportunities. Working with partners and coalitions, our work in New Orleans and the region after Hurricane Katrina has sought to lift families and children, helping to provide opportunities for them to thrive and an environment that improves life outcomes and restores hope for the future. The number of coalitions and partnerships is unprecedented in our work; we are energized by so many disparate segments of society uniting and connecting towards the goal of helping these communities rebuild. The tragedy has ignited a true sense of togetherness in this work. Moreover, what we have learned in New Orleans has triggered a significant change in the grant making at the Kellogg Foundation. We learned from community leaders that crime and violence in residential neighborhoods is desensitizing the city’s children, causing them to lose their sense of worth and value. A generation of young people is being rendered powerless, with no security, no protection and believing they have no future. In response, WKKF adapted its funding priorities and is now mobilizing its partners to help heal the wounds of children and young adults, restore their sense of being and create environments where they can thrive. This work is part of a collective community resiliency strategy, one that is a critical segment of achieving racial equity in New Orleans. Ten years after the storm, there also remains a need to rebuild infrastructure and systems. For example the education system, while improving, is largely failing to provide children with the tools needed to be successful. To their credit, the public sector recognized that the old system wasn’t working and boldly embarked into new territory, a system dominated by charter schools. But results are not universally good. Community leaders assert that special education and parent involvement has been shunned. In

a recent poll by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of Black parents were concerned about their children’s education, compared to only 17 percent of whites. Education is an area where the city should pause, work with the community and make corrections to ensure that all children are receiving a quality education. Educational success, achievement and job opportunities are all connected. To be sure, some of the investments are working. In 2011, young Bryaniesha Burks was in a rut. She and teenage friends were mired in poverty sad, angry and depressed, she recalls, because there was little hope that the so-called recovery of the city would ever affect their lives. But life changed for Burks when she found Liberty’s Kitchen. Established in 2008, the social enterprise transforms disconnected New Orleans youths by offering workforce and life skills training to unemployed and out of school teenagers and young adults. I didn’t realize that I kept all that pain inside of me, Burks recalls. “Every day, I would go about things in a negative way. I was a lost soul. Now 22, and working at a job she loves, Burks says, the organization’s leaders “believed in me, when I didn’t

believe in myself... They taught me to be brave.”” In the aftermath of Katrina, her story demonstrated there was hope and successes. It was possible, in part, because funders, such as the WKKF worked with nonprofits, businesses, community leaders, and local government to support Liberty’s Kitchen and the critical work that it performs. It demonstrated that pillars in our society can break away from their sector silos to form coalitions and partnerships that mobilized together to address barriers and help change hearts and minds. Overshadowing many aspects of life in New Orleans is a racial past that must be acknowledged and healed. Portrayals of the 10-year milestone after the storm enunciate the divide in the city. While many gains have been achieved, but for communities of color it is not a celebratory time; it’s merely a marker to gauge the many challenges that remain and lie ahead. Clearly, hearts and minds on both sides must be changed. Racial healing is a national WKKF endeavor that the foundation is bringing to local communities, such as New Orleans. Meaningful change happens locally. The foundation sponsored a healing day on Aug. 25 that brought representatives from all segments of New

Orleans together business, religious, community, academia and others to talk openly and frankly about race, its impact on the city and how wounds from the past can heal. As some champions are emerging, we do see progress. Mayor Mitch Landrieu made clear in his recent public apology for the city’s prominent role in the slave trade no conversation about the city’s future is possible without a discussion of race and an acknowledgement of the devastating role that racism has played in the city. Through our work, WKKF has a better understanding of the trauma and the barriers presented by structural and systemic inequities. Our appreciation has grown for the resilience of the residents, their resourcefulness and their hope that better days lie ahead. The seeds for healing and progress are being planted and will blossom over time; we will continue nurturing teenagers and young adults like Burks. Her generation will be the light at the end of the tunnel. A better New Orleans is on the horizon, but we must recalculate, taking what we have learned to implement fresh, informed ideas. And racial healing must be a part of it.  Editor’s note: La June Montgomery Tabron is president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Top 10 Back-ToSchool Scholarships for Black and Minority Students in 2015-16

Nationwide ( — It’s that time of the year again! School is back in session, and high school seniors are being advised to start looking for and applying for available scholarships and internships. Every year, thousands of non-profit organizations, government agencies, and companies give away billions of dollars in financial aid. Quite a few of these programs are specifically for minority students - that is, African Americans, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and sometimes even disabled students of all ethnicities. Here are the top back-to-scholarships for Black and minority students in the 2015/16 school year:

#1 - Tom Joyner Foundation “Full Ride” Scholarship: awards a full scholarship to one student to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors with high academic records. Learn more at #2 - Ron Brown Scholar Program: provides scholarship awards to African-American high school seniors who are excelling in their academics, exhibit-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


ing exceptional leadership potential, and actively serving in community service activities. Learn more at #3 - Coca-Cola Scholars Program: a very competitive program for high school seniors throughout the United States. Sponsored by the largest soft drink company in the world The Coca-Cola Company, the program awards millions every year in college funding. Learn more at #4 - Apple HBCU Scholarship Program: offered to eligible college students who are in their final year of college at a HBCU institution. Eligible students include those who are majoring in Computer Science, Information Science/Technology, Mathematics, and/or Engineering. Learn more at #5 - Amazon Student Scholarship: open to high school students who plan to attend college full-time. Students must plan to enter college in the Fall immediately after graduating from high school. This scholarship is based on merit, community service and leadership experience. Learn more at #6 - Gates Millennium Scholars Program (The Bill Gates Scholarship) For Minority Students: awards scholarships each year to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American students who plan to enroll full-time in a two-year or fouryear college or university program. Learn more at #7 - CIA Graduate Scholarship Program: open to graduate students who are in their first or second year of graduate studies. All eligible graduate students may apply, and minorities and people with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply. Learn more at #8 - Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship: designed to help cultivate minority students for potential recruitment in the field of technology. The scholarship amount award depends on the student’s tuition balance, academic excellence and classification. Learn more at #9 - United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Scholarships: provide an extraordinary amount of scholarship opportunities for minority students with financial need. Scholarships include educational assistance for students attending participating Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and other colleges as well. Learn more at #10 - Buick Achievers Scholarship Program: awarded to students who excel in the classroom and give back to their communities. Special consideration is given to students who are female, minorities, first-generation college students, military veterans and military dependents. Editor’s note: For more information visit Find hundreds of more 20152016 scholarships online at

Acclaimed Documentary on Post-Katrina New Orleans Marching Bands “The Whole Gritty City” Released On VOD New York, NY ( - Ten years after the natural and humanmade disaster called Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, an award-winning film focusing on New Orleans children struggling to reach adulthood as they rebuild their lives and the city’s musical culture is being widely released on VOD platforms. The Whole Gritty City, an 89-minute documentary that plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans school marching bands, is now available on VOD and DVD on Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video, and on Hulu and Hulu Plus. It is also part of the opening lineup of films on the new streaming service specializing in independent films of the African diaspora, KweliTV. The film follows children growing up in America’s most musical city, and one of its most dangerous, as their band directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades, and teach them to succeed and to survive. Navigating the urban minefield through moments of setback, loss, discovery, and triumph, these children and their adult leaders reveal the power and resilience of a culture. The Whole Gritty City features three marching bands in the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city: the O. Perry Walker and L.E. Rabouin high school bands, and The Roots of Music, a new band for middle schoolage children. These young beginners in Roots are put through their paces by the program’s founder Derrick Tabb, drummer for the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band. As Mardi Gras approaches and the young musicians’ progress, the film focuses on a few of these kids. Partly

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Reactions to The Whole Gritty City:

“Gritty City is glorious. Alternately joyous and heartbreaking, one moment to the next...THE Whole Gritty City understands what ultimately powers New Orleans, and therefore, it champions what the American urban experience offers us all in terms of culture, community and ultimately, meaning.

-David Simon creator of HBO’s Treme, the Wire, Show Me a Hero

through video they create with portable cameras, we discover their passions and quirks, their personal struggles and tragedies. We come to see the powerful positive role being in the band plays in their lives. Elevenyear-old Bear, determined to master the trumpet, lives in the shadow of an older brother murdered at age 19. Eighteen-year-old drum major Skully shouts out to love ones he’s lost to violence, including the band director who was a father figure. Twelve-year-old Jazz aspires to be a musician like her father, even as her mother struggles to provide for the family. Along with their bandmates these kids enter into the rigors and glory of marching in Mardi Gras parades in front of thousands of cheering spectators. The film culminates in a different kind of musical performance: a moving funeral tribute by band members from across the city to a young man who was one of their own. This New Orleans marching band story is at the same time a unique portrayal of an American inner city. It highlights men with an open-eyed, deep commitment to the community they’ve grown up in and the children in their charge. Viewers who know first-hand the African American urban experience find a celebration of the strength and insight of these men, and the potential and resilience of their students. Others find a moving, empathetic portrayal of an unfamiliar world, and come to feel a stake in the struggles and triumphs of these children and their mentors. The Whole Gritty City was nationally broadcast in February 2014 as a twohour CBS News Special 48 Hours Presents: The Whole Gritty City, hosted by jazz great Wynton Marsalis. I was honored with a 2015 Christopher Award for work that affirms the high-

est values of the human spirit, and was a documentary finalist in the 2015 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Awards. The Whole Gritty City producer and director is Richard Barber; co-director and director of photography is Andre Lambertson.  Editor’s note: Watch the trailer and learn more about the documentary at:

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


“A documentary in the Fred Wiseman mold...sensitive, intelligent and inspirational.”

-David Bianculli, Fresh Air, NPR

“The Whole Gritty City takes viewers into the heart and soul of New Orleans’s youth marching band community... an inspiring and moving documentary.

-Common Sense Media

“The Whole Gritty City is both a celebratory film...and a very emotional one, an at-times heartbreaking portrait of our attimes heartbreaking city.”

-Mike Scott New Orleans Times Picayune

College Matters for Denver N

Op-ed by Rep. Angela Williams


ine years ago, Denver voters made a strategic investment in expanding access to preschool because we understand the tie between early childhood education, readiness for grade school, and success in the classroom.

This November, Denver has a similar opportunity. By voting ‘Yes’ on Referendum 2A, we will expand access to college education for Denver residents. We know that achieving an education beyond high school—a technical degree, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree—is the key to economic opportunity. Unfortunately, far too many young people do not get a fair shot to attend college because of financial obstacles. There is a growing crisis in the affordability of college here in Colorado. In just the last five years, the costs of attending college in Colorado have increased dramatically. Voting 'Yes' on 2A will help thousands of qualified, smart and talented Denver students overcome cost barriers to attend college. 2A is also designed to provide the support services that students need to keep them on track to graduate. This is a groundbreaking proposal, the first of its kind in the US. Denver can lead the way to supporting our Denver students who put in the time

and work to earn college admission, particularly those who come from a low-income background or are the first in their family to attend college. Denver’s 21st century economy is dependent on an educated community because technology is changing the needs of our workforce. In just five years, three out of four jobs in Denver will require a post-secondary certificate or degree. Without an education beyond high school, Denver residents will largely be left out from the majority of jobs that are being created in Denver. In the big picture, expanding access to college is a benefit to Denver’s longterm economy. Study after study shows that people with postsecondary educations have greater job opportunities, earn higher wages, contribute more in taxes, and are less dependent on expensive public services. A college degree can change the life of one person, as well as entire families. Vote ‘Yes’ on 2A as a smart investment in our young people and our economy by creating opportunity. In Denver’s 21st century economy, college does matter—and our residents, neighborhoods and entire city benefit from making that investment.  Editor’s note: To learn more about ‘Yes’ on 2A, visit www.DenverCollege

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Seven Ways To Eat And Drink Healthy Without Even Trying By Leysa Noone

Food can taste good and fats add flavor. Healthy eating does not mean dieting and deprivation – make sure you consume healthy fats at each meal. Have some healthy fat (like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, hummus, and pesto) with every meal. There are new nutritionists graduating school every year. Seek one out and let them share their excitement about the newest research that has revealed lots of information that has debunked many old food myths. Remember the original food pyramid? Force your veggies to taste fantastic! Add real butter, real cheese, and real olive oil – hopefully not all at once. Experiment with different combinations. One Denver nutritionist offers a cauliflower recipe with cheese, breadcrumbs, butter, onions, and seasoning. It’s delicious. Eating vegetables don’t have to feel like punishment. In this case, it’s time to play with your food. Drink a healthier coffee. There’s a healthy coffee that’s taking Colorado by storm. It HELPS – to balance your pH levels; oxygenate the blood for improved circulation; the body use water more efficiently; to increase sustained energy with no jitters, no headaches, and no stomach aches; you relax and promote restful sleep. Organo leads the charge with its full line of herb infused ganoderma mushroom delicious products. The taste and smell of the herb have been fully removed so all that remains are the benefits of the herb in a superb tasting cup of jo. Plan your meals. Don’t let your work / class schedule tell you when and what to eat. Instead, plan your meals. Select one day of the week to prep most of your meals for the week. Sunday is typically a great day. Start early. Grab your favorite healthy coffee — black, latte, mocha, etc. and enjoy the enhanced clarity and focus to complete this important task. Preplan your cheat meal. It’s dangerous to your healthy eating plan if you jump into your busy week without having any expectations when you will let your hair down and indulge a little (or a lot?). There’s nothing wrong with a little planning. Dinner date? Friends in town? Special party? Decide ahead of time how important a

role you want food and drink to play in your experience. Keep healthy snacks, coffee and tea in a small bag to stave off hunger. Hungry people are annoying. Just think of that famous Snickers commercial that ends with “You’re just not you when you’re hungry.“ Don’t be one of those hungry people who don’t preplan. Grab a handful of your favorite protein bars and your favorite coffee sachets and tea bags. The next time you’re on the run, get some hot water and choose which Organo coffee or tea flavor you feel like in that moment. With several delicious varieties, you’ll look forward to your next snack time.

Invest in meal prep storage containers. These are great for portion control, grab and go meals, and they look quite good in your fridge. Preprepped meals on display in your fridge say “boo ya” to anyone who’s on the edge of a hungry episode because they didn’t preplan. Some wellness centers stock these meal prep storage containers at a really affordable price. From fridge to microwave to table, these containers keep you in control. Bonus Tip: Add a healthy habit each week or two. At the end of one year, you’ll have a minimum of 26 to 52 new small, healthy habits that will help you nurture and protect your

precious health. Here’s the bottom line: Make a decision to start something. Be bold. Take action. Goethe is famous for saying…. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” Editor’s note: Leysa Noone is the owner of Vedaluz Wellness Center located in southeast Denver. The Center offers intuitive health and wellness coaching, healing laser therapy, acupuncture, Swedish and sports massage. They specialize in helping people who want to avoid dangerous medications and costly surgeries yet want to experience healing of their physical, mental and emotional discomfort. For more information, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 Not everyone is for reform. A CDOC case manager said to me, “It sounds like you are feeling sorry for yourself.” Of course her meal ticket comes at my expense. The dynamics of prison life in Colorado have changed. When on thinks: prisoner, no longer can they just think of tattooladen thugs. At our “summer barbeque,” prisoners were hopping around like joyous children during the potato- sack races. Potato-sack jumping is something no prisoner would have done in the ‘60s or ‘70s. More and more, ordinary folks are landing behind bars. Now drunk drivers by the hundreds will be in prison too- at $40,000 (a year) a pop. Do drunk drivers really belong in prison for years and years? In May, Gov. Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that turned a fourth DUI into a class F4 felony, which carries a two to six-year sentence. Bear in mind there are over 30,000 citations per year for DUI in Colorado. Soon, Colorado prisons will be full of business professionals and college students. Another area of injustice that keeps Colorado prisons more full than necessary are trumped- up escape

charges. Presently, over 4, 000 in Colorado State prisoners are either at large (on escapes) or serving time for escape from community corrections (halfway houses) or intensive supervise parole, costing Colorado taxpayers over $150 million annually. American socialist, Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926) wrote, “While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am in it, while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” Something has to give. In order to minimize crime in America, we must minimize the hopelessness, futility, and alienation from which it springs. Nationally, members of Congress in both chambers, in both parties, have joined to sponsor measures that would give more discretion in sentencing particularly for low- level nonviolent offenders. Colorado’s prison population is being padded with non- violent offenders at a tremendous cost and detriment to society. No one is seeking for a freeride for criminals. However, over incarceration is a form of oppression. Colorado has crossed the line. Editor’s Note: Michael J. McCarthy is a prisoner at Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. He can be contacted at: DOC #106515, CTCF, P.O. Box 1010, Canon City, CO 81215


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Race Matters Art Exhibit Opens at Blair Caldwell

Cherry Creek Harbor 13740 E. Quincy Ave. in Aurora


“Race Matters: An Intercultural Dialogue of an Artificial Construct” will feature local artists showcasing work that explores both the intersection of race and the connectedness of people as it overlaps and illustrates shared humanity. The show will offer artists an opportunity to explore their feelings about race, cross over to a new expression of their art and deconstruct the whole concept of race. An artist reception and conversation will be Saturday, Oct. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. The show will run Oct. 1 to 31 at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. in the historic Five Points. Participating artists include Jay Paul Apodaca, Houda Alaoua Apodaca, Emeka Joel Cook, Nashon Cook, John Davis, Michelle Davis, Jerry de la Cruz, Juliette Hemingway, Jeff Hughes, Dwayne Glapion, Julius Lester, Helen Littlejohn, Carlos Lucero, Walt Pourier, Daniel Luna, Randy McAnulty, Faatma Mehrmanesh, Amanda Scott, David Stevens, Thompson Williams, Irving Watts and Rob Yancey. For more information, email

For reservations or for more information:

Su Teatro Opens Season With Chicana Kitchen Comedy


Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center will open the 2015-16 theatrical season on Oct. 8 with the nationally acclaimed audience favorite, Doña Rosita’s Jalapeño Kitchen. Doña Rosita invites the audience to the last supper in the barrio of Salsipuedes (get-out-if-you-can) while she decides whether or not to sell her restaurant of 23 years to make way for a new shopping mall. Acclaimed San Antonio actress Ruby Nelda Perez, a veteran of Teatro de la Esperanza and Teatro Bilingue de Houston and Rodrigo Duarte Clark created the play as a one-woman show for Ruby to tour. In this version, Su Teatro creates an ensemble version of the play starring company powerhouse, Debra Gallegos. The play will perform Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on Oct. 8 to 24 at 7:30 p.m. A matinee will be on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $17 for students and seniors. For more information, call Mica Garcia de Benavidez at 720-300-6915 or Tanya Mote at 303-296-0219

Cherry Creek Harbor features down-home Creole/Cajun food of the Bayou Café, along with authentic Nepalese/Indian cuisine of the Kathmandu Kitchen.

OPEN: Tuesday-Friday3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday,11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Monday. On Oct. 6, a lunch buffet will be avaialable from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday.

Monday-Friday, 6-9am

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015



DPS Dedicates New Paul Sandoval Campus

On Saturday, Sept. 12 at noon, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, Superintendent Tom Boasberg, other DPS educators and community members dedicated the new campus in northeast Denver named in honor of Paul Sandoval. Family members of Paul Sandoval, a Colorado statesman, Denver “tamale maker” and champion of public education were on hand for the dedication, campus tour and tamale lunch followed the program. The Paul Sandoval Campus is home to the school system’s newest

high school facility, Northfield High School, which opened on Aug. 10th. This state-of-the-art educational facility was built on the campus thanks to more than $40 million in funding tapped from a $466 million bond issue that Denver County voters approved in 2012. Through the 2012 bond, Denver Public Schools is creating new facilities and renovating several buildings across the school system. The Paul Sandoval Campus, located at 5500 Central Park Boulevard, is one such project. Editor’s note: For a preview of this new facility, visit, or

Historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records Released

The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, Black Genealogy Search Group, and FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world announced

the digital release of four million Freedmen’s Bureau historical records and the launch of a nationwide volunteer indexing effort. FamilySearch International is working in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum to make these records available and accessible by taking the raw records, extracting the information and indexing them to make them easily searchable online. Once indexed, finding an ancestor may be as easy as going to the site, entering a name and, with the touch of a button, discovering your family member. The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized near the end of the American Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. From 1865 to 1872, the Bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing and even solemnized marriages. In the process it gathered priceless handwritten, personal information including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records on potentially

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


four million African Americans. Throughout the year, volunteers with each of these organizations and interested individuals from the general public will search and index these priceless records, making the information, details and histories readily discoverable for free online genealogical searches. The goal is to have the records fully indexed in time for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. It only takes a little training for anyone with a computer and Internet access to join the project. Technical assistance will be available at FamilySearch centers throughout the nation. An event, held at the BlairCaldwell African American Library in Denver, was conducted by Adrian Miller, executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches, and featured speakers from partner organizations; Blair-Caldwell Library, Black Genealogical Search Group and FamilySearch. Editor’s Note: For more information about the effort or to see how you can help us restore records of millions of freed slaves, visit and on social media using #DiscoverFreedmen.




Doug E Fresh

Nigeria Denver, CO


Photos by happy OG Distributors! Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015



Henrietta Palmer Mitchell January 4, 1955 – September 10, 2015

Henrietta, known to her close friends and family as “Rainey,” was born to Elector Garrett and Napoleon Palmer on January 4, 1955 in Shreveport, Louisiana; she was called home on September 10, 2015. Henrietta attended Bossier City High School, prior to joining the United States Army in November of 1975. While serving in the military Henrietta found her first passion of cooking; received the Good Conduct medal; and was awarded the Marksman medal for her efficiency with an M-16 rifle.

After an honorable discharge from the military Henrietta decided to make a life in Colorado and made her home in East Denver. After waitressing for many years Henrietta decided she wanted to work with children and completed several certificates in Early Childhood Education from the Community College of Denver. She worked as an early childhood educator for Armstrong’s Day Care during the summers and as a para-professional for Denver Public Schools during the school year. She also became a known community mother, working to ensure care for her own six children, as well as, opening home and heart to their friends and many other young people who lived in the Denver housing developments near Schafer Park. Once diagnosed with partially progressive aphasia, nearly eight years ago, Henrietta “Rainey” Palmer never gave up. She never complained, maintained a brave and cheerful outlook of an optimistic future – even through multiple hospital stays and slowly deteriorating mental and physical abilities. She continued to be the matriarch of her family; raising grandchildren, serving as confidant to many, and refusing to let her diagnosis stop her from living her life on her terms. Henrietta loved old western movies, the television show “Touched by an Angel,” and Motown music. On any given Friday night you would hear the music from the likes of: The Marvelettes, Al Green, and The Dramatics; while simultaneously smelling the delicious aroma of Catfish and cornbread. Henrietta is survived by her siblings: Thomas Palmer; Rose (Michael) Davis; Bernice (Anselmo) Lawrence; Mary Palmer; Bertha Palmer; Barbara Johnson; Marianne Walker; and Marie McRae. Children: Stevie Palmer; Dr. Ryan (Simone) Ross; Eric (Erin) Jones; Jamie Mitchell; Jennifer (Lawrence) White; and Gary (Adele) Mitchell. Grandchildren: Breanna, Stevie Jr., Natasha, Kira, Si-anna, Jaden, and Sidney Palmer; Trinity Jackson-Jones; Jalil Mitchell; Jada Webb; Eric Jr., and Naomi Jones; Gavin and Zoë Ross and a host of beloved loving nieces and nephews.


Transmission? We have your medicine!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – October 2015


Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

Myron Gooch, Manager 760 Dayton Street Aurora, CO 80010 303-363-9783

Making transmissions well Making transmissions for 22 years. well for 32 years.

Denver Urban Spectrum October 2015