Page 1


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Volume 31 Number 6

September 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence Washington

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

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Khaleel Herbert Portia Prescott Allan Tellis Annette Walker ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAP HERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James - Manager Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2016 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

“Don’t let your mouth get you into something your ass can’t handle.”

Well it’s September and children are heading back to school, fall leaves are turning orange, gold and brown, and Denver is looking forward to Broncos season. This month we look at those who are making noise in the community, from speaking out on civil and human rights to how learning more about Black history has impacted their lives, and to just telling jokes and making people laugh. In conjunction with the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, Portia Prescott shares the organization’s goals and plans for a Call To Activism for African American Women while talking about local and national Black females who are standing up and speaking out. CBWPA is making noise and for good reason – and kudos to them! But I would be remiss not to talk about someone else who is making noise – but all for the wrong reasons. How did we get here? Better yet, how did he get there? National columnist Ofari Hutchinson shares his views and perspectives of whose fault it is that we have such an inept and disrespectful individual governing our country and residing in the White House. After a peaceful and effective administra tion with America’s first African American president to a chaotic and hate-filled administration with America’s first open racist president, I ask again, how did we get here? But most importantly, how will we get out before we are totally destroyed? How long do we have to endure the very sick antics of someone whose mental state is questionable and who also acts like a child having a tantrum? I am frustrated and sad and afraid and angry – not knowing what will unfold in the future. But, I am happy that there are people who are woke and not afraid to speak up or speak out – even at the risk of losing their lives. But we are resilient and will survive but at what cost and at who’s expense? Someone will have to pay…and, I’m just looking forward to the day when that little blondish-reddish hair “b oy” in the White House will get his well-deserved spanking – which should be soon!

This issue is dedicated to the life and memory of comedian/activist Dick Gregory. May he rest in peace.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Hope From The Mountaintop

that the health of the soon-to-be-born is protected and promoted to the greatest extent possible. Then after the child is born, it needs mentoring and care from those who have successfully maneuvered through the morass of the dominant culture to reach levels of accomplishment. Menola was receptive to starting a pilot project to attract woman as mentors from all walks of life – whether suburban or urban, white, Black or other, who have matured and achieved in their own lives. These women would mentor the young pregnant woman, and mentor the child for five years. I convinced Menola that the ability to talk and think in wide a range of language as possible would likely help the young children to be ready to start their education with advantage, not a disadvantage. Sadly, this project never came to fruition as Menola’s health cut her tenure short. Truly, I believe that putting all children in the place of language and education advantage, as soon as possible, can work miracles. Education is not only learning language. It can, as well, be learning music, the arts and kinesthetic miracles of sports. How I hope that the mountain top, we all hope to reach, will let us see how all children, from birth, be given the riches of all aspects that promote and foster the motivation to learn. How I hope that someday, all children will realize that wanting to learn is

Editor: Higher education is extremely important for any student, no matter the ethnic, cultural or racial background. It has been critical for those of color. It is critical not only for its credentials, but also for the skills of thinking and analysis that allow for continued growth, during and after the higher education experience. Higher education can be the inculcator of brilliance and even of genius. Where would Martin Luther King, Jr. have been without his education and his training? Perhaps his genius would have been undiscovered, to the great loss of humanity. The same could be said of Booker T. Washington and the many AfricanAmerican leaders of science, the humanities and theology. The answer, in truth, is that focusing only on higher education is a small part of where the focus of education needs to be. No one is likely to get to the doors of higher education without laying a great foundation that starts at birth, or even before. Twenty years ago I was talking with Menola Upshaw, the brilliant leader of the Denver branch of the NAACP, with whom I served for a few good years as counsel to the NAACP. She was interested in an idea I had that when underserved and undereducated members of the African-American community need assistance, for example a young woman who is pregnant, to make sure

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

3

Rosalind “Bee” Harris Publisher

one of the greatest capacities a person can have. How I hope that color can never be seen as a hindrance to learning. How I hope that the socio-economic position of a child never limits access to learning, access to good food and access to proper housing. I suggest that should be the hope and prayer of us all. This has to be what we look to from our elected leaders. This has to be our demand to all those whose careers and life-paths work with and affect children. This is mountain top from which we will be able to see a future without color, without hunger and without fear of homelessness. I hope someday that our children can see from that mountain top. How I hope that someday this can be true!

Mike Sawaya Denver, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

DenverUrbanSpectrum@urbanspectrum.net

Publisher Publisher@urbanspectrum.net Editor Editor@urbanspectrum.net News & Information News@urbanspectrum.net

Advertising & Marketing Advertising@urbanspectrum.net Graphics & Design Graphics@urbanspectrum.net Distribution & Circulation


What is the New Face of Black Female Activism?

CBWPA, Intersectionality and Women In Colorado Help Define Google may be a household

name for many and the go-to-place for information and research. But when you Google “Black Female Activist,” you will find many amazing Black female activist, mostly from the past, but little information on current Black female activists who are making a tremendous impact on our cities, our community and our country. Defined as a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change, but when Black female is preceded by the word activist, many names come to mind. As a native Coloradoan, I will never forget the political geniuses I grew up admiring. Women like Sen. Gloria Tanner, who worked with my realtor grandfather, Jesse Jackson, who ran for city council under the Republication party in 1969. Or the Honorable Wilma J. Webb, who after 10 years of persistency, sponsored legislation that adopted Martin Luther’s King birthday as a Colorado state holiday, prior to becoming a national holiday. Nor will I forget artist/activist Denver griot Opalanga Pugh, who was a keeper of the culture and a societal leader. Or Arie Taylor, who became the first African-American woman elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives, where she addressed a myriad of issues faced by women and the poor during her six terms in office. Tanner, Webb, Pugh, Taylor and many other Denverites stood tall as pillars of the Colorado political and activist community. CBWPA President Halisi Vinson and Senator Nina Turner

By Portia Prescott

Each state has individual legends and activists to remember, but organizations like the Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) gives rise to an open forum as well as a catalyst for helping groom new Black female activists affecting change across the country. As evidenced in the 2016 annual luncheon that featured Senator Nina Turner as the keynote speaker, CBWPA is a powerful Colorado nonprofit organization inspiring a diverse array of women to become activists and political game-changers. This year’s luncheon, Courageous Women: A Call To Activism emboldens women to vote, advocate, become a member, run for office and support someone who is running. CBWPA will honor outstanding women in the community who are change agents and have had a significant impact on the community. Connie Rule, executive director of Colorado Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs has been involved with CBWPA for five years, is serving as the fundraising chair and leads committee for the 39th annual Tribute to Black Women luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street in Denver. “I was looking for a group of likeminded women and a credible source to learn advocacy skills,” Rule says explaining why she came to CBWPA. “The annual luncheon brings together hundreds of Black women and their allies. The convening is inspiring and empowering – exactly what we need for those who are veteran advocates and those who are just beginning to find their voice.” Images of Angela Davis’ Afro and the Black Panthers come to mind when one thinks of Black female activism. She isn’t the only name though. Davis is joined by Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Bell Hooks, and Alice Walker. And let’s fast forward to names we are still defining – Ava Duvernay, Audre Lorde, Kimberle Crenshaw. And on the

national political scene, Black female activists must include Rep. Maxine Waters, Sen. Nina Turner and many others. So, how do we define the new faces of today’s Black female activism? As the president of CBWPA, Halisi Vinson, executive director at Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center, has had a specific path and role that she feels the organization takes in the community. This year, the organization unveiled the CBWPA 2.0 strategy. “It is imperative that CBWPA remain relevant,” Vinson says. “Not only have we increased the number of social events that gives our members exposure to candidates and elected officials, we have launched new educational series like civics 101, citizen’s lobbyist training, and messaging training. On the day we launched our antiracism series, citizens in the great state of Virginia were subject to a terrorist attack by white supremacists. This tragic event makes it clear that we have a lot of work to do and CBWPA is stepping up to the challenge.” Black female activism has evolved into something much greater than what it was deemed in the 1960’s as our society has evolved at the hand of technology. Why has Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites become so significant over the last eight years? It has helped unite Black

women across the country, who are motivated, to empower the voice and advocacy of community engagement. Social media have helped create new faces of Black female activists who can unite, mobilize, and advocate without being limited to the traditional protests in the streets. So, who are these new Black female activists? A clear example of this mobilization was in 2012 with the creation of Black Lives Matter by three Black women activists, Alicia Garza, Opal-Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, who set out to create a national organization that had local chapters addressing the issues of disabled folks, undocumented Black people, and folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Encouraging community to include intersectionality as part of the new face of Black female activism is part of modern-day activism. “This is an historic, divine Blackfeminine revolutionary moment that is being led boldly by Black female activists,” said Dr. Dawn RileyDuval who is a long-time activist and BLM5280 co-founder, of the Denver Chapter of Black Lives Matter. Continued on page 6

Black Lives Matter creators Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal-Tometi

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

4


Tomorrow Starts Now: Celebrating the Denver Preschool Program’s 10th Anniversary By Councilman Albus Brooks City Council, District 9

E

very time I walk into a classroom, I am reminded why I committed my life to public service. Simply put, I just love young people. They are the future of this great city and I strongly believe it is our shared responsibility as community members to make sure they are prepared to learn and, therefore, to lead. My role as Councilman of District 9, one of the most diverse districts in Denver, is to help improve the systems that can affect a young person’s life forever in any way that I can, starting with education. All children should have equal access to high quality learning environments starting in preschool where they will not only be informed, but also inspired to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, they do not. It is no secret that too often the children who could greatly benefit from the hands-on nurturing high quality preschool provides are kept out of the classroom because of cost. A recent study from the Economic Policy Institute reports that preschool tuition for 4-yearolds costs more than in-state college tuition in 23 states including Colorado, where less than 23 percent of the population can afford it without assistance. Another factor that inhibits preschool participation is race. According to the U.S. Department of Education, children of color (particularly AfricanAmerican and Latino children), are less likely to be enrolled in a preschool program than their White peers, which can contribute to achievement gaps that are noticeable as early as kindergarten. This is a problem we all must care about because our collective future hinges on it. Study after study proves that early education is a catalyst for positive community change. It is something I have the honor to witness when I visit programs in my district like Inner City School or Early Excellence Program of Denver. When children are educated in reading, writing and mathematics it impacts their households, their neighborhoods and eventually their cities, which become magnets for economic development. Furthermore, high quality pre-

school is one of the best financial investments a community can make. Every $1 spent on high quality early education programs earns back $7 in the form of improved school performance, graduation rates, future earnings, public safety and even health outcomes. This is why I am a huge proponent of the Denver Preschool Program (DPP). DPP is a taxpayer-funded nonprofit that champions, funds and increases access to high quality preschool across our community. Since DPP was founded in 2006, it has distributed over $92 million in tuition to support nearly 46,000 Denver families, allowing them to send their 4-year-olds to

the quality-rated preschool of their choice. DPP also has invested over $13 million in the quality improvement of more than 250 preschool providers including community-based centers, child care homes and Denver Public Schools classrooms. Funding is provided by a dedicated .15 sales tax first approved by Denver voters in 2006 and in 2014, I helped sponsor a bill to reauthorize it to extend to 2026 so even more children can benefit. My own children have. Makai, Kenya and Kaya, 10, 8 and 5-yearsold, all participated in the Denver Preschool Program and are now thriving in elementary school. It is extreme-

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

5

ly important to me that they live in a city where other young people are thriving as well so Denver can be positively transformed. On Sept. 14, DPP will mark its 10th anniversary and soon after welcome its 50,000 child beginning the 20172018 school year. I would like to thank every person who played a role in helping us achieve this milestone including the parents who take advantage of every opportunity to improve their children’s educations. Together we are raising the bar. . Editor’s note: To join the celebration and learn more about DPP, visit dpp.org.


Black Female Activisim

Continued from page 4 “So, all of us represent the face of Black women activism. The divine, the universe, our ancestors are calling us all to be involved in creating positive change for ourselves, our beloveds and our communities.” As mentioned by the League of Women Voters, “The most powerful group of voters will be AfricanAmerican women. In both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Black women voted at the highest rate of any racial, ethnic or gender group.” The Huffington Post noted that 94 percent of Black women voted for Hillary Clinton. And although we don’t necessarily vote monolithically, these statistics and the rise of the number of Black female activist demonstrate the significance of the Black female voice. Dr. Dawn Riley-Duval

It’s time we start to acknowledge some of our new leaders - even if Google hasn’t caught up. CBWPA is cultivating new young Black female activists to help engage youth and young Black women on activism and the political process. Oliva Hunte provides Case Management for the youth in Colorado, and was first introduced to CBWPA at the 2016 annual Tribute to Black Women luncheon. When asked what the new face of Black female activism is, Hunte said, “It’s time we made acknowledgement of other

FFirstBank irstBank believes in findin finding g you a mor mortgage tgage tha thatt fits your li life. fe.

Oliva Hunte

- Honesty & Local D Decisions ecisions - Competitive Rates and FFees ees - Affor Affordable Aff ordable Housing Pr Programs ograms - FFast, ast , FFriendly, riendly, Convenient S Service ervice S Sanai anai FFennell ennell A Assistant ssistant Vice Pr President esident - Cherry Cr Creek eek Mark Market et 303. 303.336.2160 336.2160 S Sanai.Fennell@efirstbank.com anai.Fennell@efirstbank ennell@efir com NMLS ID# 9 976022 76022

efirstbankmortgages.com ef irstbankmor tgages.com

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

6

Black individuals that exist and understand Black Trans individuals and intersectionality. Black women must, through intersectionality; look at how we navigate the world…there is no one way to be an activist.” CBWPA is 40-years old and will present the 39th annual Tribute to Black Women luncheon in next month. Keynote speaker Tara Dowdell, is a highly accomplished marketing and communications strategist, and is the founder and president of TDG Speakers and Tara Dowdell Group. In addition to her consulting practice, Dowdell is a respected television commentator and speaker. She appears regularly on MSNBC and Fox 5 New York where she provides progressive insight and analysis on a range of political, government, and business topics. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. Dowdell’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. After being selected out of more than a million applicants, she competed for a job on the third season NBC’s hit show, “The Apprentice.” She has also been honored by the NAACP, the Political Action Committee, BALLOT, and the child advocacy nonprofit organization, Project Re-Direct. Aside from her work in government, Dowdell has a wealth of political experience. She has served in senior positions on several high profile federal, state and local campaigns. Additionally, Dowdell managed an issue-advocacy campaign for Emily’s List, one of the largest Political Action Committees in the nation. So the next time you Google Black Female Activist, and if the java developers or coding programmers who power the algorithms to the search engines have not updated the names and faces of Black female activism – and are completely lost on the definitions, let’s hope they wake up soon and get the coding right for the New Black Female Activist search. . Editor’s note: For more information including ticket and sponsorship information, email Connie Rule at Fundraisingchair@cbwpa.org or Portia Prescott at Luncheonprchair@cbwba.org or visit www.cbwpa.org. For more information on the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, future workshops and its mission or tickets to the luncheon, call 720288-0119 or visit www.cbwpa.org.


L

atasha Bell’s journey and humble beginnings from Denver’s Five Points community becoming and entrepreneur and the successful owner of Ashae Soaps is not filled with the many clichés’ one would expect from such a story. For her, the first steps did not necessarily include an immediate mastery of business but rather an intricate look inside. That self reflection allowed her to tap into her purpose and let her gifts manifest to commercial success. Due to the extremely trying circumstance of her mother’s passing, Bell was forced to look at her life through a different light. “I looked through my life with an honest approach to my self-worth. I had to let go of a lot of unnecessary baggage and avoid self-sabotage,” she said. “We only have one shot at life and with that, I grew an ambition to build.” These newfound conclusions about the possibilities of life allowed Bell to unleash the incredible amount of courage it took to take a leap of faith and start her own business. Bell has been making incredible soaps for more than 15 years but has only been selling her product for the last five years. Although she was able to overcome those initial trepidations, many of the logistical hurdles new businesses face continued to seem daunting for Bell as she set out on this new journey. Running a business is hard. Running a business as a mother of three children ranging from 5 to 19 years old, with youngest of the trio battling with life threatening seizures, is even harder. When she first started her business she knew this would be a major chal-

Chocolate Soap

Ashae Soaps:

Powerful and Complete By Allan Tellis

Latasha Bell

Photos by Adam Makulis

lenge recalling and thinking at the time, “It may be impossible to balance the

force behind Ashae Soaps, she is grateful for the tremendous

amount of supWhite Soap with Charcoal port she has received and acknowldesire to grow as a mother and to grow as a edges successful brands aren’t created solely by individuals. Women, and business.” With the added clarity of hind- more specifically Black women, have helped groom her into the confident sight, Bell can now business women she is today. Bell quiet those concerns noted how these women have been as she has proven it “supportive and patient with me to be totally possible and every step of the way.” It is important now advises all budding business to Bell that as a community we continwomen to “Start where you are, think ue to strengthen our local economy by creatively and prosper according- keeping our dollars circulating ly.” within our comBell recounted munity. how thankful she Through this was, especially at process, she also this point having realized her recently opened a business success storefront at 725 is not purely for Santa Fe Drive in southwest Denver, her benefit but that she did not let also benefits her peers and the the fear of failure stop her from pur- generations to come after her suing this dream. tenure has run Although she has its course. As been the driving Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2017

7

Bell said “I feel in love with the concept of ownership – the idea that this could create generational opportunities and I could hand it over to my children.” Not only does she want to be able to hand that tangible wealth over to them, she would like to fill the minds of the next generation with that very philosophy starting at a young age. Bell encouraged the community to take her lead and as she said, “Never walk past a black child selling something. We have to reinforce that they have the right mindset.” Bell also encourages her children to practice what she preaches by making sure each of her children start their own business each summer. Her business allows women and especially Black women to experience the benefits of hand made luxury soaps that as Bell says “Are produced from love. I wanted to create a business where Sistas could get quality products to take care of themselves.” She takes that part of her mission very seriously; and Ashae Soaps does produce an extremely quality product. All of her soaps are handmade body soaps, made with all natural plant based ingredients that can work a variety of wonders on the skin. Some of Bell’s soaps are capable of treating skin ailments like eczema and dry skin, while others keep otherwise healthy skin hydrated and strong. Major skin care companies often neglect the needs of the AfricanAmerican community and create soap products that are harmful to the skin and further inflame issues like dryness and damage our skin. Bell began her foray into soap making simply to avoid these harsh chemicals present in most soaps and body washes. Bell is living proof of her belief that “You can work hard and create something great for yourself.” Latasha Bell is a powerful and complete businesswoman. Ashae! . Editor’s note: For more information and to see a complete list of products, services and testimonials, visit www.ashaesoaps.com . Visit the new retail shop at 725 Santa Fe Dr. or call 303-263-9852. Dead Sea Enzymatic Mud


Developing Future Leaders Through History

Left to right: Te Anna Brown (parent), Jamaika Elliott, Chayah Brown, Synaya Samoeun Keo-Reed, Executive Director Dr. Robert Fomer, Micah Ari Brown, Ta'Jeon Davis, Andrew Brown, Devyn Humphrey (board member)

By Charles Emmons

School buses, minivans and SUVS

are dropping of kids as they begin the new school year. It seems like summer breaks are getting shorter, so it is prudent, if not imperative, to make sure that summer vacation experiences also have value. The Youth With a Future leadership program is doing just that, and while the number of student participants is relatively small, the impact of the program aims to be big. This summer, in late July and early August, six students capped off their summer with a trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. (NMAAHC), as well as visits to the Holocaust Museum and Howard and Georgetown Universities.

When asked, ‘what did you do on your summer vacation?, who can say they saw the dress Rosa Parks wore when she was arrested or Chuck Berry’s cherry red 1973 El Dorado Cadillac convertible? These are just a few of the more than 3,500 artifacts and exhibit displays covering 600 years at the museum. The purpose of this excursion east was to show these students their history, what people have gone through for equality and progress, and to examine how that will inform their futures.

Before they left, the students met at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in July, and were challenged to think about: •What did we do? •What are we doing? •What will you do? It’s instructive for everyone to think about this as we make choices and grow into adulthood and careers. So it is important to see and know about the Stearman biplane Tuskegee Airmen used in flight instruction, or the Woolworth’s counter from

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

8

Greensboro, NC where young people sat in protest of Jim Crow laws. Our stories of accomplishment and contribution are woven throughout history. This trip gave these students an opportunity to delve further beyond the highlights of the scourge of slavery and the civil rights movement. Given recent events, these critical questions are that much more important. Despite efforts to frighten and minimize our experience and contributions – earlier this year, two nooses were found in the NMAAHC exhibits. This new treasure for the country is undaunted in presenting our history to everyone. It’s the hardest ticket to get in Washington D.C. and more than one million attendees have visited since its opening a year ago. It is a history depicted as painful, as well as joyous, where Harriett Tubman’s hymnbook and George Clinton’s otherworldly spacecraft both are significant. The wreckage of a Portuguese slave ship, iron shackles used in the Middle Passage, glass shards from the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Birmingham Baptist Church, school desks from Hope School that served rural African American students in South Carolina, Michael Jackson’s fedora from the Victory Tour, are all items in our narrative. But what purpose do these


Every one of these students is well into their own story, and like previous generations it’s up to them to determine its chapters. Georgetown has a special tuition program for students who were descendants of the slaves who built the university and the representative noted that other major institutions like Harvard, Princeton, and UVA are also grappling with this issue. Howard University, a longstanding well-known, academic institution for African Americans, speaks volumes for itself. Before this trip, these students may not have considered these institutions outside of Colorado as a possibility. But at Howard, in a brief informal meeting in the hallway, a med center student told a hesitant Jamaika Elliott to “Chase your dreams!” Dreams, after all are stories created in our imaginations. We just need to take the steps to make them a reality. “This trip has made me more inspired to be a leader for all the people and children who need it, and how they all are being mistreated in some way. I want to tell how to deal with those problems and to be motivated to move on. The most exciting thing I learned about was the colleges and how great they are, like the basketball team, all the famous people that went their and how they have lots of history with African Americans.” -Micah Ari Brown, 14, DSISD

Left to right: Chayah Brown, Synaya Samoeun Keo-Reed, Andrew Brown, Jamaika Elliott, Ta'Jeon Davis, Michael Ari Brown

have if they don’t inspire future generations of leaders to not be confined by how they have been defined? “I thought it was very impactful and important to know about because it shows you all about history, no matter what race you are. And it shows how the people lived in that time and what they had to go through.” -Synaya Samoeun Keo-Reed, 14 East High School

“I was fascinated by all the things Black people have done and been through. The most exciting thing I learned was learning more about Black history and how it applies to me and my everyday life. Learning the struggles that my ancestors had to go through was amazing but heartbreaking.” -Jamaika Elliot, 16, East High School

“The trip helped inspire me to be a leader through seeing all the Black firsts and how they achieved milestones for their people – my people. Seeing what it took for them to accomplish their dreams helped to inspire me to carry on their vision through mine.” -Chayah Brown, 17, South High School The Holocaust Museum and NMAAHC brought new and lasting perspectives, and these students came away with fresh insights and inspiration. And this is what must continue to drive us no matter who we are and where we come from. Success often does not come easily, and hardship is often necessary to goal achievement, but if we don’t know what others have done before us, how do we know where we can go. The $500M NMAAHC was made possible in part by generous private donations, from community leaders. Oprah Winfrey and Denver East High alumnus Robert F. Smith were major donor supporters who provided this gift to the country. This is what leaders do, and Youth With a Future Executive

Director Robert Fomer is grateful for the generous large and small contributions of support that made this experience for the students possible. We have been and are businesspeople, entertainers, inventors, athletes, scientists, doctors, educators, engineers, builders, poets, and writers. Young people today are still faced with challenging futures, and continue to look at forging their own path first through education. They visited Howard and Georgetown Universities to see what college is about. At a meeting with a Georgetown representative they gained valuable advice for their preparation for college. “Thinking about most applications for scholarships to undergraduate institutions, whatever choices you make, you will have to write a personal narrative. What is your story? What is that journey? What are the challenges? What is it that you are most proud of? What are things within your family or your own interests that help define who you are? What are your passions? How can you live authentically in your own spirituality, faith, family? It really is about who are you.” -Georgetown University professor

“The most interesting thing I learned on the trip was college life, as we toured through Georgetown and Howard University. As a high-school senior myself, I was excited to learn more about college life since I’ll be sending college applications very soon. It helped me to realize what was ahead of me within the coming year of this new chapter of my life.” -Chayah Brown, 17, South High School “The Washington DC trip was amazing. Going to Howard made me realize

that a HBCU would be a great choice for me. I never even thought of going to an HBCU and I am really considering it now. The African American museum was an eye-opening and jaw-dropping experience! I’ve learned so much about African American history in my classes but going to a museum projecting more about our history was a great thing for me. I cried, I laughed, I learned! I fell in love with history. My history.” -Jamaika Elliott, 16, East High School

We can look forward to the individual histories these students will make for themselves. We will need strong leaders who know their history and its significance. “The trip has inspired me to become a leader in my community because it has thought me that being a leader is more than just doing something for others but leading a way for future leaders.” -Synaya Samoeun Keo-Reed, 14 East High School

“The stories I read in the Holocaust Museum had the most impact on me. It was so emotional and powerful to hear the stories from survivors. The way they had to find hope in the midst of the horrors they faced was mind blowing. They went through so much, and had to live with much more. That brings me back to this mentality the world has made up – forgive and forget. That’s not what these survivors did. They never forgot. The pain didn’t shut them down. It woke them up. They continued to live through the pain of the past, but enjoyed their future. It was truly eye opening.” -Chayah Brown, 17, South High School

Yes, we must move forward with our eyes open and continue to confront every injustice with all the tools that we have at our disposal. Knowing our history in the development of future leaders is fundamental, and it starts at home. Editor’s note: For more information or to support ongoing activities of Youth With a Future, visit www.ywfleaders.com and follow them on Facebook.

The six students traveled to Washington D.C. for a memorable experience in history exploration. The trip speaks for the value of getting out of your neighborhood and learning about your history and the history of others. There are numerous resources in Colorado. Start with Blair-Caldwell Library as the students did, or the Black American West Museum. Outside of Denver there is Lincoln Hills and the Winks Lodge in Gilpin County or other sites like the Barney Ford Museum in Breckenridge. African Americans are getting out, and there is great value in doing this. Winston Walker, a founder of the James Beckwourth Mountain Club 28 years ago, still takes small groups out into Colorado to historical sites, on walking tours or just to hike. Postings of past activities of the club can be found on the Facebook page ‘Beckwourth Doers.’ Walker calls himself an OG in exploring Colorado, and says that meetup.com groups are the trend to organize these activities, and suggests these: •Beckwourth Doers •Outdoor Afro Colorado •Black Girls Hike •Girl Trek Black Women’s walking group •Aurora Women and Men of Color •Greater Colorado Black Friends Walker says “Our neighborhoods are like fishbowls. There is a huge world out here.” So what is your perspective? Get out there. You never know how a change in perspective can impact a life. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2017

9


Feeding Travelers at Denver International Airport! E

ver wonder what it would be like to own a business at the Denver International Airport (DIA) – one of the busiest airports in the country? The Rodgers family – BJ, Toni and their daughter Serena, are the proud owners of the three McDonald’s restaurants in the three terminals at DIA. The Rodgers family has been in the McDonald’s ‘family’ since 2004, when they first purchased four restaurants in Michigan. They became owners of the DIA locations in February of 2015. BJ and Toni have six children – four girls and two boys. A previous Ray Kroc award winner, Serena decided to embark on a career with McDonald’s as an owner/operator. Daughter, Nicole, is also in the business directing the Human Resource and back office operations. Prior to owning McDonald’s restaurants, BJ was the CFO for the General Motors Foundation and Toni was a marketing brand manager for General Motors. Their experience with General Motors served them well when they became McDonald’s owner/operators. Moving to Denver from Ann Arbor, MI was an adjustment, but Toni, BJ and Serena love Denver – especially the weather and the people. “Denver residents really opened their arms to welcome and help us get adjusted,” said Toni. “And there is so much sunshine that it just makes you happy all the time. My joke is there are 300 days of sunshine here and Michigan has the other 65. Also, Denver is a growing metro area with lots of vibrant activity and that is exciting to us.” Owning McDonald’s restaurants at an airport is very different than a traditional McDonald’s location. There are special government regulations and processes that a traditional store

Serena Rodgers, BJ Rodgers, Toni Rodgers and Nicole Mansion

does not have to adhere to and the restaurants are consistently busy without a break throughout each day. Of course, finding crew in Denver’s vibrant economy can also be a challenge but the Rodgers has loved working with their international work force. It’s also fun to meet the occasional celebrities who come through, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock who often stops by one of the three locations. The Rodgers family would like to grow their McDonald’s business and contribute to the growth of the brand so the next generation of owners and employees can prosper and give back to the communities in which they live. BJ, Toni and Serena support many nonprofit organizations and programs such as the United Airlines Fantasy Flight for Cancer that provides travel to deserving families to the “North Pole” around the holidays. Ronald McDonald entertains the kids as they take a flight to Colorado Springs, receive gifts and enjoy great food. The Rodgers also support the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Denver and Aurora, EspeciallyME, Inc., Hallett School, White Rose Foundation, Delta ETA Boule Foundation, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Arches of Hope Bicycle GiveAway, Aim High Scholarship Program, Pi Phi Fraternity, The Links Inc. Kappa Alpha Psi, Incorporated,

DIA Concession Association, Airport Minority Advisory, NAACP, Colorado Uplift and the Black McDonald’s Owners Association. Toni is currently the Rocky Mountain Region president of the McDonald’s Women Operator Network (WON). The Rodgers are happy with the direction McDonald’s has been going with its quality food over the past several years, like removing artificial preservatives from several items – which also don’t have artificial colors or flavors – including its iconic Chicken McNuggets. Across the breakfast menu, the pork sausage patties and omelet-style eggs served on

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

10

McGriddles, Bagel and Biscuit breakfast sandwiches, along with the scrambled eggs on its breakfast platters have no artificial preservatives. McDonald’s has eliminated high fructose corn syrup in its buns and have made a major commitment to only serve chicken not treated with antibiotics. The transition to cage-free eggs has also been a great step, with more than 12 million cage-free eggs purchased yearly in the U.S. By 2025, McDonald’s will source all cage-free eggs for its restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. In total, these changes touch ingredients in nearly half of the food on McDonald’s menu and feedback from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive. ‘It’s great to own and operate restaurants with a brand that truly listens to the consumer,” said Serena. “Every generation is more educated about the food they eat and we’re proud to work with a company that truly cares about what we’re serving our customers.” When you stop in at one of the three McDonald’s restaurants at Denver International Airport you can feel good about supporting local owners BJ, Toni and Serena Rodgers, and all they do for the community..


Intersections will offer a varied breakfast and lunch menu along with coffee and pastries. Harris lives near both of her businesses in Conservatory Green and enjoys the walkability, open spaces and views she has from her home. “My favorite part of the day is watching the sunrise from my porch.”. Editor’s note: The Stapleton community is filled with passionate people who believe in strong community involvement. Stapleton is home to an eclectic mix of growing families, young professionals, empty nesters and numerous community leaders who are making positive change throughout Denver, the region and the world.

Winifred Harris Stapleton resident and business

Faces Of Stapleton:

owner, Winifred Harris has made it her life’s work to cultivate self-expression and to inspire creativity in those around her. Whether it be teaching the performing arts in her Stapleton dance studio, Your Soul’s Movement, or creating a space where people can connect and exchange ideas at her next endeavor, Intersections, a breakfast concept opening soon in Northfield, she is passionate about creating spaces where people can speak their truth. Harris brings a passion for “opening up the soul” to the Stapleton community through her entrepreneurial efforts. A Denver native and Stapleton resident, Harris grew up in Five Points and discovered dance early on– taking lessons from local choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson. She realized dance ignited her spirit and that it would likely be her life’s work. She began performing regularly and later went to the California Performing Arts Institute. After graduating, Harris ran her own dance company in California for 18 years before returning to Denver and opening Your Soul’s Movement. Your Soul’s Movement is a lifestyle studio focused on human expression through a healthy mind, body and spirit. The mission is to foster the building of a community that can contribute to their own creativity, by providing an inclusive environment offering arts education with professional performance arts training, inspiring a social connection to the arts. “Our vision is to contribute to the appreciation and growth of the Performance Arts in all aspects of life, personally and professionally through creative expression in dance, theatre, and music programs,” said Harris. “I love to see people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds come through our doors and let their souls shine.” The opening of her new restaurant, Intersections offers a similar mission– continuing her goal of igniting passion and connectedness among those around her. “I wanted to create a place where people could connect with others without a screen in front of them and instead engage in conversation around good food in a lively space,” commented Harris. “This will be a community gathering place for all the neighborhoods of Northeast Denver for all ages, races and backgrounds.” Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2017

11


Colorado Comedy Headliner

Stephen Agyei Shares His Hilarious Triumphs & Defeats By Khaleel Herbert

Comedian Stephen Agyei has

reached a feat in Denver that other

comedians dream to achieve. He headlined Comedy Works in Greenwood Village July 23 and Downtown

Denver August 3. From his humble beginnings performing at the

University of Colorado–Boulder to performing around the nation and

South Korea, Agyei’s comedic career is just getting started.

Watching the Greats

Agyei is a Colorado native who found his calling in comedy through watching the greats. “In second grade I spent the night at my friend’s house and his mom used to take us to Blockbuster and let us get whatever,” Agyei says. “I got Chris Rock’s Bring the Pain, because I had seen him on TV and thought he was funny. Went home and watched it and I didn’t get all the jokes. I was seven. But the things that I got, I’d repeat the next day at school,” Agyei says. “But what hit me was, ‘Oh, that’s a thing you can actually do.’ From then on I was like, ‘I wanna do standup.’” Agyei’s comical influences include Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Robin Harris and Redd Foxx just to name a few. “Bernie Mac is straight attitude. Chris Rock is political and his analytical abilities are amazing,” Agyei says. “And there’s Dave Chappelle for his storytelling.”

Agyei’s Joke-Making Philosophies

Agyei says the best inspiration for writing jokes is living life. He explains that some people can sit down and force jokes. But his best jokes come from real things that happen to him. “Whether it’s something that’s happened to me or I’m just thinking about something weird, I’ll try to make a joke out of it,” Agyei says. “There’s no better way to come up with jokes but living life – trying new things, going new places, meeting new people.” Agyei takes time to write at least one joke a day. “I, for sure, write at least a joke a

day, whether that joke is good or not,” Agyei says. “It takes such a long time to craft a good joke. Even if I come up with an idea, I might let it sit for a while and then rewrite it and try it out a bunch of times before it gets to a place where I’m like, ‘Ok. This joke is good now.’” Bottom line: Agyei likes telling clean and dirty jokes, but he feels more natural with his dirty material. “I’m more on the dirty side. If I’m specifically trying to do dirty stuff, I have very dirty stuff,” Agyei chuckles. “I really don’t think of my jokes as dirty or clean as much as I think of

them as jokes that I like to do. But there’s definitely a line between my dirty and clean jokes. “Dirty is a lot more fun,” Agyei continues. “I think the reason I say that is because it’s natural to me. I don’t feel like I’m trying to be in a classroom and not make the teacher angry. I just feel like I’m in the living room at a dinner party and we’re just messing around. There’s no malicious intent.”

Tales of Bombing

In June 2010, Agyei took his first baby steps into comedy by performing stand-up at the University of Colorado–Boulder’s Hale Building. “I was running track at CU-Boulder and I quit. I told one of my friends I wanted to do stand-up,” Agyei says. “Three days later this kid, Brandon,

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

12

saw the sign for that stand-up and called me. He sent me the information and that next week I was trying to figure out jokes and watching comedy. The next thing I know, I did that show and never looked back.” Agyei says he did well at the show, especially since all his friends were there to cheer him on. But he got a different tune from the audience at his second show. “It was at the Mercury Café in Denver. It was an open mic for everything. Not just stand-up,” Agyei recalls. “There was a guy walking around in a wizard costume, tall hat and everything. He gets on stage with his wife, who’s playing the piano, and he’s playing the guitar. They’re singing and stuff. I go up next. “I start telling jokes and bombing. It is not going well. It’s quiet in there,” Agyei adds. “Then I said, ‘Oh. Maybe you guys just didn’t get it.’ Then the wizard guy says, ‘No. You just weren’t funny.’ So then I was like, ‘Oh no, you weren’t funny.’ And I started clowning on him playing piano with his wife and saying, ‘Y’all trying to fix your marriage or something?’ The crowd started laughing. Then I tried going back to my material and bombed again.” This was not the first time Agyei bombed. His second unpleasing crowd was about 300 people in New Jersey. “At this point I had seen enough shows to kinda sniff out whether or not it was going to be a good show. We get in there and it’s in a ballroom of a La Quinta Inn. I’m like, ‘Ok, this is not going to go well,’” Agyei says. “Walk in and everybody is dressed in white. They weren’t there for comedy. They were there for this little dance party. “I saw the MC get up and he’s killing it. I just knew with the material and the stuff he was doing, I thought, ‘They ain’t gonna like me. I am not that guy,’” Agyei says. “I got up and proceeded…to bomb. There was one table of three or four girls that I saw laughing. At this point, I thought they were laughing because the jokes were funny. In retrospect, they were probably laughing because I was dying up there. I was supposed to do 10 minutes. I looked at my recorder. I was up


there for like three minutes, 45 seconds. That felt longer.” Agyei was embarrassed about bombing. But looking back on it, he can’t help but laugh at it. “It sucks while you’re doing it, but then you walk out and it’s so funny to look back like, ‘Holy shit! I was doing so bad!’” Agyei says. “I’m always good with processing things. It was like, ‘Well, I just gotta get better and do it again.’”

Opening for Dave Chappelle, Headlining and Other Milestones

While bombings occasionally showed up on Agyei’s comedic record, he gained epic accomplishments and milestones. Agyei headlined at the Liquid Laughs Comedy Club in Boise, Idaho, independent shows in Colorado and even South Korea. His first headlining show for Comedy Works was at the Greenwood Village location July 23. “It felt good to be able to deliver, invite people and headline finally. It was unreal,” Agyei says. “When you start stand-up, you’re like, ‘Man, one day I want to headline Comedy Works. That’d be great.’ Then you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m headlining at Comedy Works.’ That’s my name on the sign. That’s my name on the site. They’re all here for me.” Wende Curtis, CEO of Comedy Works, gave a hand in developing Agyei into the comedian he is today. “Stephen was easy to help develop. He’s teachable. He’s humble, he’s hungry, he’s eager to learn,” Curtis says. “He listens to anyone that has something to say about the business and that’s rare, rare, rare in young comedians. He reminds me of myself when I was young in the business on the other side of the stage. “Too many people let their ego get in the way. If you want to be successful at this or anything else, you’ve got to let it go,” Curtis adds. “You have to be ready to learn, ready to bomb, ready to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and do it again. Stephen had that quality.” “She’s truly a mastermind when it comes to developing comics,” Agyei says. “She gets you to develop and gets you in the right space at the right time.” Curtis says Agyei went to her about headlining at the Comedy Works and she saw that he was ready. “He was ready. He’s got a charisma where, even if he wasn’t strong, he’s so likable. But he is strong,” Curtis says. “He holds his own up there, and he’s going to be an amazing headliner one day. He’s going to sell out arenas!” One of the best gigs Agyei had was his first time opening for Comedian

Dave Chappelle at the South Comedy Works in 2014. “I went down just to watch the show with my friend, Troy Walker, and Wende peeped out of the green room and waved me and Troy over,” Agyei says. “She knew Chappelle was going to ask us. She probably facilitated that a little bit. Chappelle starts talking. He’s the nicest dude I’ve ever met. He asked if we wanted to open up and we said yeah.” The show sold out and Agyei killed so hard that Chappelle was laughing. “It was amazing. He watched our sets too and he said, ‘You really funny, man,’” Agyei says. “When he says you’re funny, it was a cool thing. But I was like, ‘He didn’t watch it.’ A lot of comics say that but they never watch your set. But I was walking out and the staff said he was standing there watching the whole time and laughing. It was kind of a surreal thing when you’re a few years in stand-up. I think I was three and a half years in at that time.” Agyei has also performed at the Denver Improv, Loonees Comedy Corner, the Bellco Theater with Mike Epps and other Colorado cities including Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Fort Collins and more. He’s also been to Nebraska, California, Wyoming, Nevada, Virginia, Washington and other states. He would love to do comedy in Europe and Australia one day.

Next Steps

The future looks bright for Agyei in the comedic and entertainment worlds. “I want to get on TV. I would love to be on Saturday Night Live,” Agyei says. “I want to have my own sitcom or sketch show. I want to be one of the best stand-ups/entertainers of my time.” Curtis says Agyei has the potential to go into TV and film and also return to stand-up. “He’s very charismatic, handsome and likeable. I can see him on television and film,” Curtis adds. “I think he will stay to his stand-up roots even if he ends up going in one of those directions just like a lot of comics. They may follow other paths but their hearts really lie in stand-up. So they’ll always go back to where they started.” As a comedian and human being, Agyei wants to be remembered as a good person who loved to make people laugh. “A lot of people specifically remember me by my smile. They always say I have a good smile,” Agyei says. “I just want to be remembered as a fun guy who’s nice and generous.”. Editor’s Note: For more information about Stephen Agyei and his next performances visit: www.stephenagyei.com.

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

13


Diverse Community Coverage Comes to the Gulf Coast and Baltimore Areas By Tanya Ishikawa I

n age of shrinking media options, diversity is celebrated with launch of Urban Spectrum monthly news magazines in two metro areas. Communities of color in southern Mississippi and Maryland gained new voices this month with the launch of two monthly online news magazines, the Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum and Baltimore Urban Spectrum. The two inaugural publications featured African American mayors in unification with the Denver Urban Spectrum’s annual State of the City Address by Mayor Michael B. Hancock. The sister publications are all assessable from each respective website (www.denverurbanspectrum.com, www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com, www.baltimoreurbanspectrum.com). Published by Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris, the two new publications with local editors and contributors will continue the 30-year Spectrum tradition of informing,

entertaining and inspiring with stories highlighting the issues, personalities and milestones of people of color. DUS is recognized and sought after for its coverage about community events and multi-generational human interest stories around the Denver metro area, as well as its stories of national importance, such as politics, the plight of Black young men, and health epidemics – in America and abroad. Winning multiple journalism awards annually for the quality work of its contributors, the high value placed on the print and online publication by the whole community is proven year after year as the publisher is honored by local civic organizations for having long-term, positive impacts. The two new Urban Spectrum publications plan to share the same significant service with their local areas. Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum Editor Gordon M. Jackson Jr. promises to bring a unique prism to life on the Mississippi

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

  

    

    



    

   

    

    

    

   

    

    

    

  

Gulf Coast and surrounding areas, with a motto of “South Mississippi’s Dynamic Diversity.” Primarily covering the three Mississippi coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson, the news magazine’s coverage will also include upper southern Mississippi counties and cities, the Jackson metropolitan area and the northern part of the state, as well as New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama. “We will especially be focusing on that ‘Dynamic Diversity’: the Coast’s people of color community, which consists mostly of a highly visible and progressive African American community, a diligent and industrious Asian community and a rapidly-growing Hispanic community,” Jackson explained in the inaugural issue, featuring stories about NAACP Interim President/CEO Derrick Johnson, Moss Point Mayor Mario King in Jackson County, the Girls and Boys Club Youth of the Year, and America’s first all-Black community of St. Augustine. Baltimore Urban Spectrum Editor Tiffany C. Ginyard is excited about approaching her community’s stories from a fresh perspective – one of a longtime, dedicated advocate for people’s rights. The former managing edi-

 

    

  

  

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

14

tor of The Afro-American Newspapers, the “mothership of Black media” in Baltimore, described how her diverse community involvement will inform her editorial decisions. “As a former Baltimore City Public School student, a former secondary English teacher, a mother, an adoptive parent, youth advocate, and fellow alum, who knows Baltimore’s story so intimately, I speak from the place of someone who has vicariously experienced the trauma of gang violence, drug addiction, illiteracy, mass incarceration, and poverty in an overcrowded classrooms,” Ginyard wrote in her inaugural issue, which featured stories about Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, the “Baltimore Ceasefire: Nobody Kill Anybody” campaign, playwright Ursula V. Battle, and more. Reflecting on the successful launch of the two new Urban Spectrums, Publisher Harris concluded, “This opportunity to share a tried-and-true media source in other metropolitan areas is a dream comes true for many. Sharing this method of exposing mostly untold but valuable news with communities that have been craving such an outlet for years is truly a blessing.”.


Dancing Gala Raises Funds for Arts In Education Program

The 8th annual

Dancing With The Denver Stars gala, deemed as the

best dance party in Denver, raised $250,000 to benefit Cleo Parker Robinson

Dance Arts-In-Education outreach. “Isn’t she lovely…Made from Love,” was heard throughout the ballroom as the evening’s Motown Gold theme uplifted the more than 700 gala attendees at the downtown Denver Marriott. Master of ceremonies Shedrick Garrett, aka comedian Shed G, introduced Founder and Artistic Director Cleo Parker Robinson to a capacity record crowd on Saturday, August 19. Reverend Terrence Hughes led the invocation and honored a list of ancestors while acknowledging the diversity of faith, belief, and goodness in the room. The annual fundraising event, benefitting Arts-In-Education programs at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD), began with a grand entrance of the 13 celebrity Denver stars and their professional ensemble partners; and young dancers from the junior and youth ensembles. This year’s mystery dancer, Denver’s own Grammy award winner Dianne Reeves, joined Robinson on stage to a cheering audience. In addition to the two large screens stage, a newly raised stage allowed better view of an outrageous pair of red vinyl dancing boots sported by Ken Greene, Chief Operating Officer of Denver International Airport, as he

Executive Director Malik Robinson with CPRD Board Chair Gwen Brewer. Photo by Bernard Grant

Submitted by Pat Smith

Photos by Bernard Grant

Mystery dancer (Grammy Award winner) Dianne Reeves joins the grand entrance with Cleo Parker Robinson and members of the Dancing With The Denver Stars cast and MC Shedrick Garrett. Photo by Bernard Grant.

Western OB/GYN Dr. Johnny E. Johnson, Jr. and CPRD Professional Ensemble member Amelia Dietz dance to “I Can’t Get Next To You” by the Temptations in a tango variation. Photo by Bernard Grant.

and partner Chloe Abel danced to “You And I” by Rick James. Robinson acknowledged the 80 community star alumni, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee, who “competed” with one another during a previous gala. Denver Center for the Performing Arts CEO Janice Sinden was impressive wearing 80s-style hot pink crinoline and a beaded bustier executing a robust routine with twirls, dips, and a lift by partner Cedric Hall, an 11-year member of the CPRD Ensemble.

A break between dancers gave CPRD Executive Director Malik Robinson a few moments to share news of program growth at the creative campus and plans for expanded facilities with the capacity campaign. Other Denver start were Jonathan Adelman, XCEL Energy; John Bolger, AON Denver; Ivan Burwell, Street Source, Celia Dietrich Wattles, Dietrich and Co.; Evan Dreyer, Deputy Chief of Staff, Denver Mayor’s Office; Scott Gilmore, Deputy Manager for Parks, Denver Parks and Rec; Bruce Johnson, Polsinelli; Dr.

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

15

Johnny E. Johnson, Western OBGYN; Britt Moreno, CBS4 Denver Morning Anchor; Huy Pham, Innovative Retail Group; and Marica Romero, CoBiz Bank. Auctioneer Reggie Rivers deftly guided gala attendees above and beyond a $200,000 evening goal with $50,000 more dollars to enable the CRPD Arts-In-Education (AIE) team to add 15 more schools to the 43 already in the program. The program reached 20,000 students during the 2016 - 2017 school year at 250 community and educational venues throughout Colorado. The CPRD Educational Outreach Team just began a new school year at Hallett Elementary, Garden Place, Ponderosa Elementary, Manual High School, the Denver School for the Arts, and Studio School. “When we first began this gala idea, eight years ago, we weren’t sure who would participate,” said Gwen Brewer, CPRD board chair. “This year, we surpassed a long-time fundraising goal, and have people eager to dance each year.” Closing out the gala, the 2017 Event Chair Kim Bimestefer handed over the reins to 2018 Event Co-Chairs George Sparks, CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Dr. Shandra Wilson, Associate Professor at CU Denver and Urologic Oncology Surgeon at University Hospital. Bimestefer and Sparks are each DWTDS alumni. .

Street Source CEO Ivan Burwell and CPRD member Rai Goshea dance to “Let It Whip” by Dazz Band. Photo by Bernard Grant.


Favourite Regina: Transcending the Fate of the Refugee Experience Featured in New Film Sauti By Annette Walker

Although Favourite Regina spent

her childhood and teenage years in a refugee settlement in Uganda (East

Africa), she has broken many barriers

imposed by that stark existence. A scholarship recipient and college graduate who was an exchange student in Paris, Regina was invited last year to speak at a United Nations program. She also is featured in a new film, Sauti, which focuses upon the refugee phenomenon. She speaks six African languages including Swahili as well as English and some French. This contrasts with the reality for many who grow up in refugee settlements where secondary schools often do not exist. Furthermore, there is a tendency for more boys than girls to complete whatever schooling is available. Regina was one of four girls in her settlement to complete high school and go to college. In July she came to the United States as part of a Golden Bridge program in Boulder, Colorado. She also participated in an event in Vermont and Texas. Before returning to Uganda in August, Regina was a speaker at a screening of Sauti, an event sponsored by the Colorado Committee on Africa and the

Caribbean and held at The Mercury Cafe in Denver. The film Sauti, which means Voice in Swahili, was produced by the Boulder-based NeeNee Productions and directed by Gayle Nosal. Born in Rwanda which underwent a genocide beginning in 1994, Regina’s family fled to the Congo. Returning briefly to Rwanda and finding conditions inhospitable, the family made its way to the Kywangali Refugee Camp in Uganda. Kywangali was established in 1996 when the area was mostly forest and bush. The refugees had to get involved in clearing the land and growing food, for which they were given seeds. Most families survive on subsistence agriculture, carry water from borehole pumps, lack electricity and are sometimes afflicted by a variety of health issues. Since they are from traditional African societies, girls over 16 years of age are encouraged to get married.

Helping you create wealth, protect wealth, and leave a legacy!

“People think there is something wrong with a young girl who is not yet married,” said Regina. “I thought about the cooking and what might happen if there was a baby,” she continued. “I decided that there was nothing I can do for a man, if I get married now.” She is the oldest child in her family and in the film describes her family unit. “My father emphasized education, she said.” “He sold everything he planted, such as peanuts, beans and rice to pay for my school fees,” she continued. “He also transported me 62 kilometers to school on his bicycle. Later he insisted that I learn how to drive a motorcycle. For many people a girl riding a motorcycle is almost a sin,” she laughed. “My father insisted that I learn how to prepare for the future,” she continued. Regina’s father passed away before she completed high school, and she feels responsible for her mother and younger siblings who still live in the Kyangwali Refugee Camp.

Mable Sutton, CRS, GRI

Myra Donovan, CLU, ChFC, CFP 3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 - Denver, CO 80209 303-871-7249 - www.myradonovan.com

Currently, she has two main tasks. First is her commitment to the people, especially children and youth at Kyangwali. She mentors and is involved in educational programs. Second is her commitment to Africa. She is an active member to CIYOTA (Coburwas International Youth Organization to Transform Africa), an organization created by African refugee youth. Its mission is to expand educational programs and generally help displaced children and youth prepare for their future. Favourite works with secondary school students in a CIYOTA program at Kyangwali. According to their research, 50 percent of African refugees are under the age of 18. With little access to education which hurts their employment possibilities, their future is bleak and makes them dependent upon receiving different forms of aid. “My work is based on the concept of giving-back,” said Regina. People like Regina are needed not only in Africa, but globally. According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement in recorded history. An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from their homes due to political conflict and persecution. Over half are under the age of 18. More than 10 million people are stateless and, for all practical purposes, have no recognized nationality. This situation denies them access to basic rights, such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. . Editor’s note: For more information about the film Sauti, visit www.sautifilm.org.

Independent Real Estate Broker

Financial Adviser

Office 303-313-8929 Cell 303-995-7621 Fax 303-313-9800 Email msmable3@aol.com

Call today for a free consultation!

Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency. Financial Adviser for Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

For all your real estate needs

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

16


College Track Students Ready to Embark on the Next Academic Journey The mountains visible from

By Kelie Kyser

Aurora, Colorado are often seen as symbols of great possibility, but the college enrollment rate tells a different story – less than 25 percent of high school graduates enroll in a four-year college. As a community, we should believe this can – and must – change, drastically. College Track, a national nonprofit organization which opened its doors in Colorado in 2011, has focused on offering a helping hand in shaping the future of a segment of the population reflected in this statistic. The site located in Aurora, Colorado currently serves nearly 300 students and 94 percent of the program’s high school graduates are enrolled in college. Over the next two years, the site will serve nearly 400 students annually. With the right support, students can reach any academic height and see their dreams become a reality.

In May, the community gathered to celebrate the success of the third cohort of students to graduate from Rangeview High School (a partner of the program) in pursuit of college with an event appropriately entitled Launch to College. During the ceremony that took place at CU South Denver, College Track students were honored for surmounting obstacles that had potential to prevent them from forging a path to college. The students applied to more than 300 schools nationwide and this fall, they will attend some of Colorado’s top universities, in addition to what many consider some of the nation’s best Harvard, Dartmouth, George Washington and Wake Forest. Students applied to more than 200 scholarships and collectively received over $1 million in support of their academic endeavors. Facilitators of the program attribute the success of the students to the holis-

tic framework of the organization. The concept is simple: empower individuals from underserved communities by addressing the barriers that stand in the way of their personal growth. The staff at College Track works with colleges and local businesses to help young people figure out the trajectory of their life. The aspect of the program that sets it apart from others is the degree of time and effort that goes into fostering each student’s growth – the process starts as early as middle school. According to Jason Clark, site director of the Aurora campus, “Many places have components of what we do, but there are few programs as comprehensive as College Track.” Vanecia Kerr, regional executive director, reinforced this assertion stating, “What sets us apart from other programs is that we are not solely focused on college access; our focus is on college completion.” To that end, the staff at College Track supports students throughout their academic career by providing them access to educational, vocational, and financial resources.

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

17

A great deal of time is spent with each student having conversations about the future, locating internship opportunities, and visiting college campuses. Most individuals in the College Track program are low income and/or first-generation college students. Consequently, college completion managers at College Track include the entire family in the process to ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of assessing affordability and preparing for the predicted stressors sometimes caused from the college experience. In the next two years, students from the first cohort that started in 2011 will be graduating college. In preparation for this milestone, College Track is collaborating with employers who are interested in helping the program’s graduates enter the workforce. Kerr says she is “laser-focused” on reinforcing this aspect of the program in Colorado. “We’ve been telling our students that a college degree is a game changer and we want to make sure that when they finish and complete college, there is opportunity for them to work in the field of their choice.”. Editor’s note: For more information or to learn more about College Track visit https://collegetrack.org. Donation, employment, and career opportunities are available to the community.


WE’RE WE ’RE HI HIRI HIRING! RIN RI N G! Nurses //CNAs CNAs Dietary Aides Aides Housekeeping Maintenance Assistant Full-time, part-time, PRN and multiple shifts available. Forest Street Compassionate Care Center is a 5 star, 60-bed Skilled Nursing Facility nestled in the residential community of Park Hill. We are owned by the Zion Baptist Church and operated by Senex. We are proud to serve the residents of Denver and the surrounding communities. Apply

in

person

at

3345 Forest Street Denver, CO 80207 or Jon at 720-929-0086

“ATTENTION ALL VETERANS” VETERANS The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System is looking for dedicated Veterans for immediate job openings as Housekeeping Aids (WG-2 at $13.26 to $15.46/per hour)

1) If interested, please stop by with your Resume and DD-214. Our office is located at 820 Clermont Street, Denver, Colorado 80220-3808. 2) Or you may fax your resume to (719) 202-7986. 3) Or apply online at www.usajobs.gov using job announcement number: EC137-17-CAL-1983362-BU Preferred Experience:

A specific length of training and experience is not required, but you must show evidence of training or experience of sufficient scope and quality of your ability to do the work of this position as a Housekeeping Aid. Evidence which demonstrates you possess the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform the duties of this position must be supported by detailed descriptions of such on your resume.

Join our team today! Point of Contact:

Herminio Maldonado Jr.

Human Resources Specialist (Recruiter)

(303) 202-7965

herminio.maldonado@va.gov

Charlottesville is the GOP’s Frankenstein’s Monster

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

I

wasn’t mad at #45 Trump for his initial mealy mouthed, say no name, whitewash of the white nationalist rampage in Charlottesville. I wasn’t mad at the Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel‘s, equally mealy mouthed, say nothing, statement on the racist perpetrators of the violence. call My anger only rose after watching and listening to the parade of GOP senators and congresspersons stumble over themselves with pious, self-righteous, hand wringing denunciations of the white nationalists, and of Trump, for not denouncing them. There are two standard explanations given for why Trump didn’t specifically finger point the Klan and the Nazis and Vanguard America by name. One was because they are his political cheer leaders and he will do nothing to offend them. The other is that given Trump’s well-documented history of race pandering and baiting, it is just simply a case of birds of a racist feather flocking together. Neither explanation hit the mark. Even for Trump, the crude, naked, crackpot, violence incitement of the white nationalist fringe groups is an embarrassment. He was right when he fired back that white nationalists didn’t put him in the Oval Office. GOP voters, and the very same GOP senators and congresspersons rushing to condemn him and the white nationalists, did. Take the very issue that brought the hate mongers to Charlottesville, namely the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee. Several formal and informal polls showed that the overwhelming majority of respondents were adamantly opposed to junking the Lee statue. The sentiment in these

poll findings are pretty much the same as those in other polls taken throughout the South on knocking down the Confederate statues and monuments. The legions that back preserving the racist trappings of the past would never dream of joining a white nationalist rally, or throwing a fist in a demonstration, or publicly uttering a racist epithet. They roundly condemn those who do. But the same sentiments are there and in a refined, acceptable, political form they show up in the winning tabulations for GOP incumbents and candidates on every Election Day. These voters are Trump and the GOP’s much touted base. From the moment Trump flirted with a presidential candidacy, not in 2016 but in 2012, many in the GOP saw Trump’s mediagenic persona, brashness, and take-no-prisoners style as an asset. He could tap the basest instincts among a

wide swatch of disconnected and alienated GOP hard-right faithful. They were the ones who stayed away from the polls in droves in 2008 and 2012. Their absence was the tipping factor that assured the election of former President Obama and his return to the White House. There were two keys to try and get them back. One was to pander hard to their fear and xenophobia of minorities, gays, immigrants and Muslims. The other was to have someone willing to spew as much verbal bile at Obama as possible. Trump fit the bill. The issue of choice in 2012 was the thoroughly phony and idiotic issue of Obama’s supposed foreign birth. This was not an insignificant point since polls repeatedly showed that a majority of Republicans believed that Obama was foreign born and even a closet radical Muslim fellow traveler.

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

18

Trump’s slander of Latino immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists” got quiet nods among many, tons of media clips, and the crafting of him as a candidate not afraid to tell it like he saw it on an emotional issue no matter who it offended. It didn’t much matter how much of a polarizing figure he was. He made stupendous copy, brought oceans of attention to the GOP, and suddenly made ultra conservatives cheer lustily for him. GOP presidential candidates handled him with the daintiest of kid gloves. The GOP’s good cop, bad cop ploy with Trump was not new. 2012 GOP presidential contender, Mitt Romney, and the entire GOP establishment publicly hammered Trump for dredging up the phony birther issue. And in a political self-righteous pique, they pretended to distance themselves from him claiming he did not represent what the GOP purportedly stood for. A few GOP contenders took an occasional swipe at Trump again during the 2016 campaign for his naked bigotry, but stopped way short of taking that same swipe at the virulent racist supporters who screamed their lungs out and assaulted counter demonstrators at his rallies. Charlottesville is an exact repeat of that script again this time with GOP leaders publicly expressing indignation at Trump’s tap dance around the white nationalists. But Trump is not doing anything that he hasn’t always done, and that’s spout any foul mouthed, incendiary racial, Muslim, immigrant slur that came into his skull. This is the Trump the GOP turned loose hoping to provide fodder for media sensationalism, while stoking the frustration and rage of packs of unreconstructed bigots, America firsters, and ultra-conservatives. The white nationalists are only the latest and most extreme of this bunch. And when they got out of hand in Charlottesville, like Frankenstein’s monster, it didn’t change the brutal fact that the GOP, not Trump, created it. . Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. His forthcoming book, The Trump Challenge to Black America (Middle Passage Press) will be released in August. He is a weekly cohost of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.


My Charter School Saved My Life My college education isn’t some-

By Briana Gilchrist

thing I take for granted. Too many people – family, teachers, and mentors – jumped through too many hoops so that I can be where I am today. The old saying is true: “It takes a village...” And my village made it possible for me to intern with the Eastern Region Community Banking president at Wells Fargo, study abroad in South Africa, gain experience in organizational leadership, and ultimately graduate from Rutgers University with a double degree in Planning & Public Policy and Africana Studies. Coming from my village has also made me all too aware that not everybody has these same opportunities. I can’t recall my K-12 years in Newark, N.J., without including memories of a friend whose path often ran parallel to mine, and whose ultimate divergence weighs heavy on the hearts of everyone in our community. In the fourth grade, we transferred together from a local district elementary school to Marion P. Thomas Charter School. I still remember how upset we were to leave our friends and transfer to this new charter school where we had to come to school earlier, stay later, and wear uniforms. We begged our parents to transfer us back so we could be with our friends. After months of trying to convince my mother, she was still completely against it. But my friend Taylor, whose name has been changed to respect the family’s privacy, had that wish granted and returned to our old school. In the seventh grade I began seeing how our paths began to deviate. After eighth grade graduation I went on to the top magnet school in the city, while Taylor matriculated in a local high school. After high school I went off to college and Taylor went off to work. Fast-forward, six years later, and I am beginning my career in Washington, D.C. My childhood friend did not even make it to age 24 and from my understanding, Taylor passed away from a drug-related overdose. As I write this story I am not attributing my friend’s life-and-death circumstances to the fact that we made different educational choices. Rather, I hope I am illustrating how a school that is intentional in its approach to investing in its students can make all the difference.

I cannot imagine where I would have been had I not had the support of MPTCS while I was in middle school. The people in my school became an integral part of my village: They did not let me fall through the cracks, they challenged me, they exposed me to new things, and they did not allow me to give up – no matter how difficult the road got. They valued me, saw the potential in me, and worked to invest in that potential. My school community supported me from the time I entered their doors, and the community stayed with me even after I left those doors. When I wanted to go to a boarding high school, the founding CEO and superintendent of MPTCS took her personal vehicle to drive me and my mother to Connecticut for the interview. When I was ready to apply for college, the staff at MPTCS was more instrumental in my success than my high school guidance counselors. When I expressed that I wanted to be a doctor, the CEO flew me out to New Orleans to visit Xavier University, because she knew this school helped get the highest number of students of color into medical school. I stayed there for the weekend, and she showed me what life would be like if I went to school there. Not only did my MPTCS CEO – whom I now consider my mentor – show me what college was going to be like, she showed me what life would be like outside of Newark. It was because of my school and my village that I could have these experiences, and these new expectations for myself. When I ultimately enrolled at Rutgers University for college, MPTCS still supported me: I was a recipient of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School Foundation Scholarship for every year of my undergraduate experience. This was a part of their Crayons to College initiative to help their scholars to and through college.

The scholarship came with more than just monetary support: My alma mater held me accountable, monitored my grades and extracurricular activities, and helped me maximize my college experience. They coached me through picking my major and understanding the real-world implications of choosing a major. They showed me different ways to buy or rent books, or how to exchange books with upperclassmen who had already taken the course. They helped me complete my financial aid documents, a process that

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

19

was really confusing to me as a firstgeneration college student. They showed me how to network and dress for interviews. They showed me that college was much more than just going to class. They helped me secure my very first internship under the Eastern Region Community Banking president at Wells Fargo & Co. And in 2016 when I graduated from Rutgers, they helped me find a job. It is because of my charter school that college became an expectation and a reality for me. Motivation is what helped me complete school, and motivation is what I hope to impart to the next generation. So after I earned my bachelor’s degree, I returned to MPTCS to give back to the village that gave so much to me, just like many of the other alumni. We volunteer at the school annually to keep encouraging the students to apply to college. We help prepare them for the MPTCS Foundation Scholarship interview process. And we work with them along the way to make sure they have support as they continue through college. It’s my small way of paying it forward in the village that has done so much to help me succeed. . Editor’s note: Briana Gilchrist is a graduate of Marion P. Thomas Charter School and Rutgers University. She is the press assistant at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.


Remembering

Remembering

Clifton Frederick Davis, Jr.

Mrs. Dorothy Darby

May 11, 1949 - July 18, 2017

lifton Frederick Davis, Jr. was born on May 11, 1949 on the north side of Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in a hardworking, loving family. A 1967 graduate of Technical High School in Omaha, he was awarded for four straight years of perfect attendance. After graduating from high school, he attended Northwestern College in Iowa, becoming the first in his family to attend college. While a gifted student, Clifton’s true passion was music. After finishing up at Northwestern, he packed his belongings and traveled around the country with some of his closest friends, where they shared their love for music while performing. He sang lead vocals in groups like The Duvells, The Showpushers, Loves Private Stock, and Gubment Cheese, eventually earning himself entry into the Omaha Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2007. Relocating to Denver, Colorado in 1976, Clifton continued to call Denver for 41 years. In 1978, he was hired as a youth counselor at the Denver Children’s Home (DCH). Clifton dedicated his life to positively impacting the lives of thousands of youth. In 2001, the staff and children at DCH honored him by renaming their home court the Cliff Davis Basketball Court. After serving 36 incredible years, he retired from DCH in 2014. Shortly after retirement, in 2016, Cliff earned the Denver Nuggets Humanitarian

C

Award for his endless service and commitment to DCH and the community. Clifton truly lived life to the fullest and demonstrated the deep joy that can be found in simple pleasures such as writing music, playing instruments, singing, riding his bike, and playing basketball. After being diagnosed with cancer, he continued to display an unbelievable amount of courage and strength and proved to be the truest definition of a fighter. Until his very last days, he nourished everyone around him with his love, music, and laughter. After a sudden diagnosis of stage IV esophageal and liver cancer on July 1, Clifton Frederick Davis, Jr. passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 18, in Aurora. He was 68 years old. Clifton was preceded in death by his parents, Clifton Frederick Davis, Sr. and Mildred Nina (Munroe) Davis, sister, Virlee Davis and granddaughter, Shanquilla Dunn. Left to honor him and remember his love are his two sons, Clifton Washington and Deitrich Gallion, Sr.; four daughters Tasha Jackson, LaShaia WebsterGrayes, Kisha (Dixon) Artis, and Dominique Davis; fourteen grandchildren; two nieces, Cliffetta and Willa Davis; one nephew, Tony Davis; and many other friends and family who loved and cared for him deeply. His funeral services were held on Friday, July 28 at the Taylor Mortuantry Denver Chapel. Clifton will be remembered as a man who was extremely passionate about his music and who had a smile that could light up even the darkest of rooms. Rest in peace...Clifton

June 23, 1941 - July 3, 2017

The sun rose on the

life of Dorothy Jean Darby on June 23, 1941 in Drew, Mississippi when she was born the youngest child of Bishop Peter James and Lanie “Hanna” Henderson. Later her family moved to Greenwood, MS where she went to school and earned her license in cosmetology while in high school. After finishing school, she worked in a salon for three years and she also worked at General Split Co. Dorothy met and was courted by William Darby, a military man from South Carolina. Later they married and in this union were born three children, Lisa, Derrick, and Kevin. She adopted her sister’s son Glenn Henderson when he was 15. The military took her family to Germany and Texas. In 1966 when her husband William went back to Vietnam, she and her children relocated to Denver, Colorado. She got a job at Trail-ways Bus Co but never lost her passion for cosmetology and set up a shop in her basement. In later years, Dorothy’s 14 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren were an added source of joy in her life.

In her free time, Dorothy enjoyed playing cards, dancing and music. She also enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Her house was always open to others. Her favorite foods were soul food and Mexican food. Dorothy had a huge heart and willingness to put others needs before her own. Her love, generosity and caring nature will be deeply missed by all who were fortunate enough to share her life. To know Dorothy was to love her. The sun set on the life of Dorothy Jean Darby on July 3, when she passed into eternal rest. She is preceded in death by her husband, parents, son, Glenn Henderson and several siblings. Those left to cherish her memory include her sons, Derrick “Deno” (Aline) Darby of Aurora, CO and Kevin J. Darby of Denver, CO; daughters, Lisa (Bryant) Jackson of Denver, CO and Phyllis Henderson of Aurora, CO; brother, Jessie (Carrie) Henderson of Louisville, KY; sisters, Elnazie Ingram, Costella Redmond, Ann Reynolds; brother-in-law, Floyd (Shirley) Hudson, all of Denver, CO and Clara Smith of Aurora, CO; 14 grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends. Rest in peace...

Sick Transmission? We have your medicine!

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

20

Gooch’s Transmission Specialist

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

Making transmissions well Making transmissions . 22 years wellforsince 1983.


Black Entrepreneur Teaching a Fun and Easy Way to Learn How to Buy and Sell Stocks

Every day people hear about the stock market, however, few people really understand how it works and how to actively buy and sell stocks and make money, thus choosing not to participant in the stock market. FLip That Stock (www.FLipThatStock.com) and Hold That Stock (www.HoldThatStock.com) are changing that. These two educational and technology companies specialize in teaching beginners a fun and easy way to learn how to buy and sell stocks. FLip That Stock focuses on trading stocks and generating income over a very short period of time, while Hold That Stocks focuses on buying and holding stocks to build a stock portfolio that increases in value of time. “Millions of people want to know how the stock market works and how they can begin to make money and we

are teaching them,” says J.R. Fenwick, founder and CEO of FLip That Stock and Hold That Stock. “Our unique, fun and easy teaching approach is spreading across the country like crazy, Fenwick continues.” Fenwick has been buying and selling stocks for over 15 years, and started the company when friends and even strangers began repeatedly asking him to teach them how the stock market works and how to make money buying and selling stocks. Our mission is simple: teach everyone how the stock market works and how to actively buy and sell stocks using our fun and easy system and the latest technology to make money and

build wealth. The first part of teaching people is debunking the myths and misconceptions that many people have about the stock market, such as, you have to have millions of dollars, or an MBA from Harvard, and spend all day looking at complicated stock charts or doing hours of research to start buying and selling stocks. Or, that it is just too risky and you will lose all your money. With the proper education, people will understand they can make money annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily and even within minutes and seconds from buying and selling stocks, while minimizing risks. Learning to buy and sell

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

21

stocks is a valuable skill people can use for the rest of their lives,” Fenwick says. FLip That Stock (www.FLipThatStock.com) and Hold That Stock (www.HoldThatStock.com) offer excellent educational programs through their online memberships, live seminars, conference calls, webinars and private and group coaching programs that teach people step-bystep how to start buying and selling stocks using the latest technology. “The response has been overwhelming since we launched. People have been flooding our websites to learn how to get started. Learning how to buy and sell stocks is a valuable skillset that is one of the keys to taking control of your financial future outside of a job and the fact that you can do it from your laptop, tablet or even smartphone from anywhere in the world makes it even more appealing to people,” Fenwick adds. . Editor’s note: J. R. Fenwick is currently touring the country doing LIVE seminars to educate people on the stock market. Details about the tour schedule can be found at www.LiveSeminar Registration.com. For more information on interviews and seminars, email


Ground Rules

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM Detroit

Must See............llll It’s Worth A Look.....lll See At Your Own Risk.ll Don’t Bother.....................l

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

D

Detroit

lll1/2 By Khaleel Herbert

etroit is not for the faint of heart. Based on events from 1967, Detroit is a warzone between African-Americans and the police. The film begins with a hearty welcome-home party for returning soldier Carl Greene (Anthony Mackie) at the Economy Printing club. But the police immediately disrupt the festivities and evacuate the partygoers to the streets for not having a liquor license. Bystanders, who see the incident, start riots–smashing store windows with rocks and chucking Molotov cocktails in all directions. While patrolling the streets, Officer Krauss (Will Poulter) spots Leon (Tyler James Williams) with groceries. Krauss thinks he robbed the grocery store and pursues him on foot. He shoots Leon twice. After barely jumping a fence, Leon rolls under a car whimpering for his wife as he loses a stream of blood a minute. The riots get so bad that the National Guard arrives to patrol the streets too. Krauss is scolded for shooting Leon by a detective, but walks out without facing his homicide charges. Dismukes (John Boyega) is a security guard for a local grocery store. He tries to save AfricanAmericans from getting punished by white officers, but is seen by them as an Uncle Tom. It isn’t long before things escalate at the Algiers Motel after the National Guard believes a sniper shot at them from the above. Krauss and his police unit arrive and conduct an interrogation from hell on Black men and two white women. The “suspects” have nothing but fear and prayer in their hearts as the interrogation persists. As I said, Detroit is not for the faint of heart. It exceeds the intensity of other Black historical movies like Hidden Figures, Red Tails, and Malcolm X. This film reaches the intensity of 1977’s Roots. Like Roots, AfricanAmericans in Detroit are pounded to a

bloody pulp by white supremacy. Instead of sheets, this white supremacy wears a gold badge, tarnishing the reputation of a service trained to serve and protect all people. Instead of lashing Blacks with whips and chopping off their feet with axes, these officers are beating Blacks with their clubs and fists. Then the officers cleverly plant weapons on Blacks to make it look like the officers had probable cause. As tragic as the events in this movie are, it’s history. And history has a way of repeating itself. Look at the cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and many more young Black men in America. Detroit magnified the terrible events of 1967 and today’s tragedies. Detroit was a film that moved and frustrated me. The interrogation was a situation that shouldn’t have happened. After watching and pondering this film, I truly understood the sacri-

fices Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and all of our other Black ancestors made so future generations could have a chance to succeed and thrive in this world. If it wasn’t for them, where would our people be? Although, it’ll be a while before I see Detroit again, it’s a treasure. It’s a powerful film for people of all colors to watch and discuss with each other.

T

The Dark Tower ll By Khaleel Herbert

he Dark Tower is Nikolaj Arcel’s lovechild of Man on Fire and Harry Potter. Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) has recurring visions and dreams of a dark tower that sits in the middle of the universe under attack. He watches as children, one by one, are strapped to a chair against their will. Their

heads are hooked to a machine that taps into their minds that send dangerous beams across the sky. Each beam strikes the tower and slowly chips its away. Although these shenanigans are happening on a planet far away, Earth gets backlash from it with massive earthquakes. Jake also dreams of Roland (Idris Elba), the last gunslinger. The gunslingers were sworn to protect the tower from all darkness. But after seeing his fellow men and his own father (Dennis Haysbert) die by the hand of evil sorcerer the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), he’s only fighting for vengeance. While escaping “doctors” who want to escort him to a therapeutic clinic (the Man in Black’s child prison), Jake finds an abandoned house with a portal. The portal whisks him off to another planet where he meets Roland. Together, Jake and Roland travel the land to find an ancient tribe that can find the meaning behind Jake’s visions. The Dark Tower is based on Stephen King’s book series. But this film is said to take place after the books. The film has a Harry Potter-feel to it because of Jake being the chosen one. He gets teased at school for drawing pictures of the tower, Roland and the Man in Black. He lost his father, and to top it all off, his mother (Katheryn Winnick) and her rotten boyfriend find him crazy for having these dreams. It’s an almost-perfect resemblance to the Boy Who Lived. Roland is so much like Denzel Washington’s John Creasy in 2004’s Man on Fire, they could be twins. After serving as an assassin for many years, Creasy is assigned to bodyguard a family in Mexico. He vows not to get The Dark Tower

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

22


REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM Girls Trip

close with the people he serves and is on the brink of self-destruction. But with Lupita’s (Dakota Fanning) childish charm, Creasy becomes fond of the girl and he starts feeling human again. Roland, like Creasy, knows the ins and outs of his gun like a musician knows his instrument. Roland becomes fond of Jake, as if he were his son. He does everything in his power to rescue him countless times from the Man in Black’s goons. McConaughey is funny and diabolical as the Man in Black. He’s as sinister as Lord Voldemort with his simple commandeering spells from “stop breathing” to “kill each other.” People do whatever he says. The Dark Tower is great for its fans. But they should have kept the Man on Fire side of this movie going. After Lupita’s kidnapping, we were focused and captivated by all that Washington was doing. The first half of the film could have been dedicated to showing Jake finding Roland. Then the second half should have shown Roland using his wits and skills to find Jake. This would allow us to know and understand Roland better. Besides wanting vengeance and his love for his father, we don’t know much about Roland. Sony should’ve started with a prequel film. We could see all the other gunslingers and the war they all fought in against the Man in Black. It should end with Roland being the last known gunslinger. Then this movie can step in. I also wish there was more violence. Sure there was the scene in the previews where Roland fired his gun and the bullet flew so far that it pinpointed that monster in the head. But that was the only sweet scene of violence. If it was rated-R, people could lose limbs, have exploding heads and blood spilling everywhere.

This movie could be the start of something – whether it is where this film leaves off or prequels with the different gunslingers from other ages. Who knows? But do us all a favor and give us more violence, for Pete’s sake!

G

Girls Trip

llll By Khaleel Herbert

irls Trip is the comedy 2017 has been waiting for. Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) is living the dream with husband Stewart (Mike Colter). After reaching the #1 spot on the New York Times’ Bestseller List with their book, You Can Have It All, they’ve been on dozens of talk shows showing the world their perfect love life. They’re the hottest American couple since Kimye. When Ryan is asked to be the keynote speaker at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, she calls her FAMU besties, a.k.a. the Flossy Posse, to join her. They haven’t seen each other in five years. Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is the single mother of two who can’t bear to leave her kids. The girls are willing to help her find a man to get some action in the sack. Sasha (Queen Latifah) is a journalist who writes juicy gossip stories about celebrities for her website, but has some financial problems. Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is the fun-loving loudmouth of the group who is up for anything, but has anger issues. It’s all fun and games until the girls suspect risqué behavior from Stewart. Ryan’s judgment and bond with the Flossy Posse is put to the ultimate test. This film has a constant flow of laughs mixed with heartwarming scenes. Haddish made this film with

her irresistible cracks and bad-girl behavior from fighting women in clubs to zip lining above the people of New Orleans and flashing her chest at Diddy (himself) during his concert. Hall, Latifah and Pinkett Smith have their funny moments that steer the movie smoothly along. The girls’ loyalty and bond is similar to the 1996 film, Set if Off. Girls Trip is not your average chickflick. It’s a flick that both women and men can enjoy and chuckle at.

E

Kidnap ll

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

veryone loves a good kidnapping flick. A parent’s fear that their kid could mysteriously disappear off the playground, coupled with the emotional trauma suffered with the search, always proves relatable with Kidnap

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

23

audiences. It’s that adrenaline, which usually keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Sadly, Kidnap delivers nothing more but an over the top and unrealistic fable. In the Luis Prieto directed film, Academy Award winning actress, Halle Berry, plays a desperate single mother who tackles the kidnappers when her young son is abducted. It’s a typical afternoon in the park, when Karla Dyson (Berry) takes a disturbing call from her lawyer. Her cheating exspouse is fighting for custody of their beloved son and while on the heated phone call with her back conveniently turned, Frankie (Sage Correa) suddenly disappears. Without a cell phone (it’s dropped in the panic that ensues) and realizing she has no time to wait for law enforcement, Karla jumps in her car and takes off in pursuit of her prized child down the interstate freeway for several hours. It’s a wildly, astonishingly unbelievable, predictable thriller, which takes place in Louisiana and takes audiences on a white-knuckle, high-speed chase across New Orleans’ urban highways and rural back roads. It’s fun for about 20 minutes seeing Berry, who also doubles as producer, on a rescue mission tracking down the bad guys and causing mayhem all over the freeway on a relentless fight for the life of her child, but the excitement wears off pretty quickly. The action is engaging but rarely exciting; the drama sturdy, but still far from convincing. Berry, herself a mother of two, describes her character as an average mom who has to do something extraordinary to save her child. “I Continued on page 24


Continued from page 23 think every parent around the world will relate to the superhuman strength she is capable of when her child is in jeopardy. The action is so testosteronedriven and so male, but Karla is reacting as a mother.” “You’ve kidnapped the wrong kid!” She yells through clenched teeth in the film, eyes wide like saucers once she delivers her brand of justice. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know the plot. If you haven’t, it boils down to this; it’s about a mother who will rip out your eyeballs if you take her son. Enjoy this one with some popcorn and don’t worry Karla gets her kid at the end.

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM

the connotations behind it and was it the title from the onset? Sabaah: It was always called Whose Streets? It begs the question; who has the right to public property; who has the right to the benefits of our government administration; who is this country made for and where we stand. Samantha: Racial inequality have long plagued the city, Damon, you are from St. Louis, three years on has anything changed? Damon: Not so much has changed. The citizens have been radicalized on a level I have never seen in my life. People are tired of waiting on this system that was not built to receive them as human beings and are doing a lot

Whose Streets?

Whose Streets? Filmmakers Deliver a Gritty Portrait of the Ferguson Unrest

By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

I

t’s been three years since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, St. Louis. A shooting, which prompted protests, weeks of demonstrations and confrontations between protesters and law enforcement officers, it pitted a predominantly black community against a nearly all-white police force. Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis have spent two years collecting footage from the protests for a documentary focused on the Ferguson uprising. The film shows how a community galvanized to fight injustice. Samantha OfolePrince caught up with the duo to talk Whose Streets? Samantha: Sabaah, the title Whose Streets? is a powerful one. What are

of grass-roots localized organizations. You also have very young people who have taken office, but the mayor is still the mayor of Ferguson. Samantha: It’s certainly a brilliantly documented piece showing a generation fighting, not for their civil rights, but for the right to live. Damon, if you had to do it all over again what would you do differently? Damon: We did the best with the tools that we had. There are a lot of things I wish I could have been there to catch on camera, but there were only four of us out there. We did what we could do with the tools we had and I am proud of what we have.am proud of what we have. Samantha: Sabaah, you are both new filmmakers, and as co-directors, what was your working relationship like and how did you distribute the duties in creating the film? Sabaah: It was a case who was available and who had certain skills. My background in pre-med and social work really helped me when it came to interviewing and just getting people to open up. I was able to interact with

Directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis

people and listen and allow them to share their stories. Samantha: Damon, going into this project to document the civil unrest in Ferguson, what were your expectations and what surprised you? Damon: We are intimately aware of how we are portrayed in the media and how this portrayal encourages both conscious and unconscious racial bias and we wanted to give black people some hope and pride. My expectation was to set the record straight for the black community in St. Louis and make sure the black community as a whole can be proud when they look and see themselves. We are uniquely suited to make this film because we ourselves are organizers, activists and deeply connected to the events of Aug. 9th. Samantha: How receptive has the documentary been and what has been the reaction from the community so far? Damon: Very positive so far. The internet is the breeding ground for hatred so we have had some negativity, but we have been getting a lot of love and the people I know from the community are proud of it. Samantha: Did either of you receive any threats while making the film, and were there any concerns for your safety?

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

24

Photo Courtesy of Magnolia

Damon: We got threats directly and indirectly long before we decided to make the movie just by being out there and being active. I’ve had weird personal messages and direct threats. Some from the powers that be that are not so direct that sound friendly, but it’s been countless. Somebody had to do it and I am glad it was us. Sabaah: There were a lot of instances where our calls would get disconnected strangely and we would feel like somebody was following us. Just that kind of sense that we were being watched was very prevalent during our production. Samantha: This certainly opens doors to tackling stories of injustice. Are there other stories of injustice or civil unrest you are interested in? Damon: I am personally working on a documentary about a friend of mine who has been on Death Row for 25 years for something he didn’t do, but after that I want to move out of documentaries. The only way some people want to view black people is through their pain, so I really want to get into narrative. I want to tell Sci-Fi fantasies with black characters in control of their own destinies. .


Denver Film Company Take Top Honors in the New York Lift-Off Film Festival Online

Hush Money and gritHouse Films of Denver, has taken top honors in the New York Lift-Off Film Festival Online garnering a screening at Los Angeles Lift-Off Festival on Sept. 8 at the historic and prestigious Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Hush Money, written by Terrell Lamont and produced under his banner, gritHouse Film, was filmed entirely in the Denver Metropolitan Area. The script was the first full length project that Lamont decided to tackle. And tackle it, he did. Not only did he write the screenplay, he directed the film, operated the camera, edited the film and supervised the music score. Lamont, a Minnesota native, relocated to Colorado five years ago with one objective; to make films that showcase the creative talent in what some say is the most beautiful state in America. Stuart Alson, founder of ITN Films believes that viewers need compelling and relevant storylines and believes Hush Money delivers. “At a time in this industry when the distribution of video content is ubiquitous, viewers need compelling subjects and relevant storylines, especially for today’s demanding audiences. Hush Money provides just that,” Alson remarked. “Terrell Lamont is an amazing new voice in the entertainment space. His ability to tell stories that matter will allow us to engage viewers all over the world,” Alson added. ITN recently signed to release the film globally. Audiences will get their first opportunity to view the film at Walmart for eight weeks starting on Sept. 5. Industry veteran actor, Rod Grier, who has a gritty role in the film, majored in drama at Colorado State University and later played a vigilante leader with his sister, MSU Denver graduate and film icon Pam Grier, in the cult classic, film Foxy Brown. “This story has great potential to appeal to a large and diverse audience because of its universal message of self-reliance,” added Grier. Hush Money has received critical acclaim from several film critics. “I’m extremely pleased with this movie and I’ve been waiting on it for a while now, since I first spoke to Terrell on the podcast last year,” said Kevin Kincaid, founder of www.filmfervor.com. “Terrell is a selfproclaimed overly ambitious filmmaker, but given his level of skill, eye for

detail, and willingness to push the limits, I would rather call him a serious professional with a hell of a future ahead of him. 5/5 is absolutely warranted,” said Kincaid. Actress Portia Prescott added, “I have been blessed to work in Los Angeles and Atlanta recently, and it was great to return to Colorado to work with such great talent. Training with the Denver police, on set, was pivotal to making my role authentic.” Hush Money is just the beginning as gritHouse Films has several other projects in development that will provide a platform for both distribution companies and the amazing creatives

that call Colorado home. A search for the ideal actor and actress to play the leading roles in these upcoming projects, as well as to identify key supporting cast, is being coordinated by Lamont and his team at gritHouse Films. About gritHouse Films Based out of Denver Colorado, gritHouse Films is a film production company dedicated to telling engaging stories by under-represented voices in the industry. From films to television series, gritHouse focuses on developing interesting characters, creative plot lines and motivated imagery.

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

25

About ITN Distribution ITN Distribution, Inc. is a leading independent film distribution company that specializes in high quality, genre and star driven independent films for the domestic and international TV, VOD, DVD and theatrical markets. ITN releases 24 films per year with ITN’s connection to all major retailers and rentals in North America, such as Redbox, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and Video-On-Demand (VOD) outlets. ITN produces, distributes and acquires films worldwide. For more information, email info@grithousefilms.com or call 720-443-3806.


COMMUNITY NOTES

Eastern Colorado Council of Black Nurses 3rd Annual Scholarship Golf Classic

The 3rd Annual Scholarship Golf Classic will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 a.m. at the Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 East 35th Ave. in Denver. The $90 entry fee includes range balls, breakfast, lunch, team listing in program and prizes. The award luncheon will begin at 1 p.m. For sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, visit www.eccbn.org. For more information, call Elerie Archer at 720-351-5848 or Lee Thomas at 303-617-7220.

a.m. For the second year, Denver City Council president and sarcoma survivor Albus Brooks will serve as the chairperson for the Race. He will kick off the event with remarks before heading out on the race course. Goal of the race is to bring awareness for sarcoma, a rare cancer of bone and soft tissue, and raise money to support research efforts. Nearly 650 runners and walkers raised more than $120,000 for sarcoma research last year. For more information visit, http://support.curesarcoma.org/denver or www.curesarcoma.org.

Xcel Energy 7th Annual Day of Service Planned

African Heritage’s 11th Annual Dinner and Silence Auction

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Host Americas Latino Eco-Festival

Shorter Community AME Church Majestic Praise

Xcel Energy Day of Service will be held on Sept. 9 in partnership with CBS4 to help more than 70 nonprofit organizations that make Colorado great. The public is invited to spend the morning with more than 3,600 Coloradans to make neighborhoods even better. There are a variety of projects and something for everyone. No matter what you do, your time and talent will make a difference. Most projects will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.xcelenergydos.ivolunteer.com/.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is co-sponsor and host for the fifth Americas Latino Eco-Festival, recognized as the largest multicultural event of its kind, Sept. 15 to 17 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This event creates a space that elevates the voices of communities of color and of women in conservation and cultural leadership fostering collaboration to better tackle environmental problems and search for solutions. Arte y cultura are used to explore environmental issues through visual art, films, live performances, artist interactions and activities for families and children to message environmental awareness and shared values. For festival details, visit www.americaslatinoecofestival.org.

The Race to Cure Sarcoma™ 5K Run/Walk Returns to Denver The Sarcoma Foundation of America’s (SFA) Second Annual Race to Cure Sarcoma™ Denver will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Cherry Creek Damn Road in Greenwood Village, CO. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 9

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

26

The African Heritage annual dinner, commemorating the 20th anniversary of Oumar Dia’s murder, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Posner Center for International Development, 1031 33rd St. in Denver from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening will include delicious Senegalese cuisine and entertainment by the legendary singer Hazel Miller. Admission is $40. Tickets will help the African Heritage Celebration continue its work that has impacted thousands of children in Senegal. For more information email Mohamadou Cisse at modu15@aol.com. The Umoja Women’s Praise Choir 2nd Annual Gospel Concert will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Shorter Community AME Church, 3100 Richard Allen Ct, Denver. For more information, call 303-3201712.

EspeciallyMe Middle School Conference Slated for October

The 6th Biennial EspeciallyMe Middle School Conference focusing on African American middle school girls’ grades 6, 7, and 8 will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Prairie Middle School in Aurora. This inspiring and important conference stressing issues of dignity, excellence, respect and selfvalue will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with sign in at 8 a.m. Registration forms are available at most middle schools or downloaded at especiallyme.org. Registration for middle school students is $15 and $25 for parents/guardians and educators. The conference fee includes the workshops, a continental breakfast, lunch, t-shirt, gifts and door prizes. Pre – registration is required and must be received by Friday, Sept. 29.


HATS OFF TO...

for the Denver Elite club lacrosse program. Both students are juniors at East High School where they are both honor roll students and will begin their third year as members of the varsity men’s lacrosse team.

Denver City Council President Announces New Committees

Local High School Lacrosse Players Make History

Mustang Sally and Cole Finley-Ponds were selected for the #1 lacrosse showcases in America, Maverik Showtime. Top high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the United States and Canada are chosen for this annual event. Based on their performance in the showcase, both students were also selected for the Showtime All-Star Team. Sally and Cole-Finley Ponds are alumni of the City Lax Lacrosse Program in Denver and play

Denver City Council President Albus Brooks has announced new leadership and membership for committees in the 2017-2018 Council year. Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure (LUTI) - Chair Mary Beth Susman, Vice Chair Rafael Espinoza; Finance & Governance (FINGOV) - Chair Kevin Flynn, Vice Chair Jolon Clark; Business, Arts, Workforce, & Aeronautical Services (BIZ) - Chair Stacie Gilmore, Vice Chair Wayne New; Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness (SAFEHOUSE) - Chair Paul Kashmann, Vice Chair Deborah “Debbie” Ortega; Special Issues Committee on Marijuana - Chair Kendra Black, Vice Chair Christopher Herndon. Brooks is not assigned to any of the four committees, although he is a voting member of all the committees.

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

27


Want to be part of a winning team! is looking for

“Freelance Writers” and

“Advertising Sales Consultants” Email resume to

publisher@urbanspectrum.net

720-272-5844 We are looking

for a licensed and insured naturo-

pathic physician,

nurse practition-

er,

nutritionist,

or

other

massage therapist, CAM

practitioner who

wants to be a part of a collective of

professionals who are laser focused

on creating a cul-

ture of health in

our community.

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

28

Psychotherapist Yolanda Dandridge


Gangsta Gardener of L.A. to Keynote LiveWell’s Annual Luncheon

Ron Finley, Los Angelesbased artist, designer, and gardener will be the keynote speaker at LiveWell Colorado’s Engage in the Change Luncheon, to be held at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 11:30 a.m. This annual fundraiser raises awareness and funds for LiveWell’s work to increase access to healthy eating and active living by removing barriers that inequitably and disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color across the state. Ron Finley is a creative phenomenon – a renegade horticulturalist – with a strong vision for community gardening and changing culture. Nicknamed the “Gangsta Gardener,� Finley planted organic vegetables in the parkway in front of his South Los Angeles home and a revolution was started. Findley’s belief that gardens build communities has blossomed into a quest to change how we eat. Today, his mission is changing the composition of the soil in communities around the world through The Ron Finley Project. An artist, designer, and gardener, he is featured in a popular TED Talk and numerous articles and videos. When he is not speaking, you can find him in the garden. Finley’s message to LiveWell partners and supporters will emphasize the important work that remains in removing barriers to ensure that all live in environments with equitable access to the nourishing food and physical activity they need to be healthy. LiveWell will also acknowledge the Colorado Contractor’s Association (CCA) as its 2017 Wellness Champion. CCA is the leading professional association for infrastructure construction professionals across the state, proactively driving change and bringing infrastructure to life through the power of advocacy, workforce development, partnerships, training, and education. Engage in the Change is open to the public. Editor’s note: For tickets and more information about LiveWell Colorado, visit www.livewellcolorado.org.

BeHeard Mile High Asks for Your Help to Inform Policy, Practice and Programming By Wivine Ngongo, MPH, Panel Manager for BeHeard Mile High

Too many times, African Americans’ needs and interests have gone unheard in community-level decision-making. Montbello and Denver’s elected officials may not hear us, and that means they don’t create the healthy and equitable communities we want and deserve. That’s what BeHeard Mile High is all about. BeHeard is a new project from the Center for African American Health that is devoted to gathering the wisdom and knowledge of Metro Denver’s African American residents. Our unified voice will be used to build healthier communities and to influence social justice. We aim to get our agenda on the city’s priority list. But right now, without current and trustworthy data on a range of issues affecting our families and community, we don’t get the power we need. We need that data – we need you. We need your opinion, your vision, and your thoughts. Add your voice so we can all be heard. Here’s how it works: The BeHeard Mile High team is working with leaders in communities such as Green Valley Ranch, Montbello and Five Points. In those neighborhoods and across the metro area, the project will gather data. Hundreds of Metro area residents will take voluntary, brief and confidential surveys via phone or computer throughout the year, giving every African American resident an easy and important opportunity to help build a healthier and more equitable state. BeHeard will capture and analyze those responses to reflect our collective wisdom and understanding of what our communities need to be happy and healthy. Then we’ll use this information to collaborate with key decision-makers to help influence policy, practice and programming. You can make a difference and you can raise the volume of our voices by filling out confidential surveys, starting with just a few questions on an enrollment survey that asks about basics like your age and neighborhood. Go to www.BeHeardMileHigh.org and find out more or sign-up as a “panel member.� You’ll be joining hundreds of others who, like you, want to make our communities even better places to raise our families. Once enrolled, you will be contacted through email or text to complete “micro surveys� with fewer than 10

questions, on topics related to healthy foods, housing, access to healthcare providers/facilities, neighborhood cohesion, and mental health. BeHeard is reaching out to the 120,000 metro area African Americans. BeHeard is at local African American events like Juneteenth and the Black Arts Festival, on Facebook, in our faith communities, at barber/beauty shops, at concerts and more. BeHeard is also committed to providing updated information to keep African American communities informed through the website, www.BeHeardMileHigh.org. We’ll report what the findings might mean and how they will be put into action. BeHeard is also collaborating with the Thriving Colorado Dashboard of the North Colorado Health Alliance, a statewide project that will share BeHeard’s results with agencies and organizations. We need your voices, opinions and wisdom to better our community and make Metro Denver an equitable place to live and thrive. Everyone in the Metro Denver area, 18 and over is eligible to join. BeHeard Mile High is funded by a generous grant from The Colorado Health Foundation and is led by a Community Advisory Board.. Editor’s note: For more information, visit www.BeHeardMileHigh.org or call Wivine Ngongo at 303-355-3423.

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

29

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

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

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


Goatfish Tams

Fashionable and fun for men, women and children! •Day Time •Night Time •Cold Time •Rainy Time •Sleepy Time

DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby

Only $8 or 2 for $15

Various Colors and Sizes

To order, call:

720-849-4197

303-819-7784


1729_KSURB

Discover Local Palisade Peaches from the Clark Farms One of the first peach growers in Palisade, the Clark family begins each harvest with peach picking in July and finishes with pears in September.

RFRI02

Available in stores July-September.


6WRSE\RXURIILFHDQGPHQWLRQWKLVDGIRUD           )5((ERWWOHRIRXU6DZD\D/DZ+RW6DXFH         DQGD)5(($FFLGHQW.LW     ,ÊYHEHHQGHDOLQJZLWKSHUVRQDOLQMXU\bDQGZRUNHUV       b   FRPSHQVDWLRQFDVHVIRUORQJHQRXJKWRNQRZWKDWP\          FOLHQWVDUHWKHPRVWLPSRUWDQWSHRSOHLQP\SUDFWLFH          7KDWÊVZK\ZHWUHDWHYHU\FDVHOLNHLWÊVZRUWKDPLOOLRQ           GROODUVDQGHYHU\FOLHQWOLNHWKH\ÊUHDPHPEHURIRXU          IDPLO\ÇDQGQRRQHPHVVHVZLWKRXUIDPLO\b        b

0LFKDHO6DZD\D 

Denver Urban Spectrum September 2017  

Well it’s September and children are heading back to school, fall leaves are turning orange, gold and brown, and Denver is looking forward t...