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Volume 25, Number 6, September 2011

Where are the teachers that look like me? Page...4

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September 2011

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris



COLUMNISTS Regina Lynch-Hudson Soul Watson

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Misti Aas Angelle Fouther Raymond Dean Jones Charis Garrett Sheila Smith Lisa Walton ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Gillian Conte - The Creative Spirit PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cecile Perrin

It wasn’t unusual for my 12-year-old nephew to start another school year at Morrey Middle School and not see more teachers like him. He doesn’t question why there aren’t more Black teachers, but only knows it has been that way over the past two years he’s attended the school. Around 70 percent of the student population at Morrey is made up of Black students, at a school located in the heart of Denver. Yet, there are no more than five Black teachers and even fewer Hispanic teachers in the classrooms at the school. We as Blacks have come so far, but still need to see more progress when it comes to our children’s education. That is why we are proud of this September issue of the Urban Spectrum that addresses the shortage of Black teachers in Denver Public Schools, describes the degrees that Black college students are pursuing, and explains where Historical Black Colleges fit in today’s society. Larry Borom with the Black Education Advisory Council said it best regarding how those relationships developed between teachers and students can be the motivating factor for youths. “Every kid is not going to rise above, based on an African-American teacher, but some kids need that, and I think Caucasian kids need to see people of color who are successful and professional and contributing members of the system,” he said. There is definitely a disparity in the number of Black teachers being hired and working in Denver Public Schools that is quite embarrassing. What happened in the time frame of the 1990s, when Black teachers were at a high peak, compared to now? What are DPS and other school districts doing or not doing to make sure our Black children feel better about being taught by someone of color that looks like them and they see as a role model in the classroom? Supposedly, Historical Black Colleges have designed new teaching programs with intentions of recruiting more Black, male teachers nationwide. Then, the Teach for America program aims to recruit college graduates to teach in urban and rural schools. But the problem seems to be not enough Black youths want to pursue a higher education degree at Historical Black Colleges and Universities. You wonder why more parents are not pushing their children to attend these institutions, which would raise the low enrollments. Some students cite lack of credibility and prestige for not attending these institutions, which is not the case for highly academically celebrated colleges like Howard, Morehouse, Spelman, and many others. However, there is some good news in knowing the number of Black students actually getting college degrees continues to rise from a decade ago. No matter what career path that Black child chooses to head down, his and her education started from the time they could walk, dropped off at daycare, elementary school, junior high, and high school up through college. Having an education is what shapes and defines a child’s life, especially a Black child. So please enjoy this month’s Urban Spectrum, as we continue to inform, educate and engage our community. Sheila Smith Managing Editor

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


Chastising BBC For Saying Whites Have Become Like Blacks Editor’s note: The following is an open letter from the National Association of Black Journalists to the BBC on recent coverage by the network which the NABJ has deemed racially insensitive. The National Association of Black Journalists, the oldest and largest organization of black journalists, is disappointed to learn that the BBC, an organization long known for accuracy and impartiality, is failing to adhere to its own values. In the height of recent riots in Britain, the BBC simplistically asked on the global phone-in program World Have Your Say, “Is there a problem with young black men?” In asking such a question, the BBC offended many in its global audience. The question infers that young black men were the only ones rioting and looting, which we find to be inflammatory. If that’s the case, we call on the BBC to provide the proof. We are struggling to understand this stunning lack of sensitivity because the BBC has a longstanding reputation of integrity, accuracy and impartiality with very clear editorial guidelines. In another incident, the BBC allowed historian David Starkey, a guest on the Newsnight television program, to say that “whites have

become blacks” in reference to the race of rioters. Even more disturbing, the Newsnight presenter did not challenge that bizarre assertion - on a program that regularly holds people accountable for their views. By allowing the comment to go unchallenged, was the BBC agreeing with the inference that becoming black is monolithically synonymous with being violent? All of this in a week when a BBC presenter inaccurately said that veteran civil rights campaigner and broadcaster Darcus Howe had been involved in previous riots when in fact he was not and had to correct the presenter on-air. Is this just a case of shocking incompetence or racism – as others have said? Why have black people in Britain not been afforded the same respect given to others? Why is the assumption that if something is negative pertaining to black people it is deemed acceptable by the BBC? What happened to the BBC’s duty to provide accurate and balance reporting? This raises the question of whether the BBC’s senior editorial ranks need better racial and philosophical diversity to avoid being blind to such insensitive incidents. NABJ represents black journalists worldwide. We call on the BBC to return to practicing the type of jour-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


nalism that has won it international acclaim. We will continue to monitor the BBC to ensure that its reporting about blacks lives up to its own values.

Gregory H. Lee Jr. NABJ President

Democrats And Educational Equity

Editor: Alexander Ooms may be right in his viewpoint expressed in the Denver Post on Mon., July 25, that elected Democrats may now favor so-called “education reform.” At least, Democratic politicians in Colorado’s state legislature appear to favor a conservative approach to education or acquiesce to it. SB 191, for example, was sponsored by State Sen. Michael Johnston and supported by former State Sen. Chris Romer. This is the face of the Colorado Democrats on educational issues, one that adheres to amateur educators and ignores teachers and verifiable research. Johnston represents the leadership of the Colorado Democratic Party. While most middle class and poor families with school age children seek a neighborhood school that offers a comprehensive education, corporate Democratic legislators such as Johnston, often favor replacing neighContinued on page 34

Diminished Number Of Black Teachers Causes Concern By Misti Aas

“When I think about the short-

age of Black teachers in Denver, I think about the kids, and who they are being educated by, relating to them from a cultural context,” said Jeff Campbell, the dean of students at Girl’s Athletic Leadership School, a standards-based, college preparatory, Denver charter school for girls. The number of African-American teachers in Denver decreased by 52 over a 10-year period from 1999 to 2009, while the overall number of teachers increased by 504 in the same time frame, according to Denver Public School (DPS) reports. In 1999, there were 299 Black teachers. In 2009, the number dropped to 247, or 5.4 percent of the total teacher population. The number of Black students decreased as well, from 20.8 percent of all students in 1999, to 16.1 percent in 2009. In the Aurora Public Schools (APS), the disparity of Black teachers is even greater, with a ratio of 4.2 percent of teachers who are African American and 20.2 percent of students who are African-American, according to the school district’s 2009 statistics. DPS and APS are hardly alone in these trends. The percentage of Black teachers in five of the states’ six largest school districts also has declined slightly or flat-lined during the past decade. The one exception is the Cherry Creek School District, which has seen a slight increase. Throughout Colorado in 2009-10, Black teachers

made up only 1.4 percent of state’s force of 50,000 teachers. Some people believe that the imbalance in the Black student-teacher ratio in DPS is due to a smaller pool of applicants nationwide. Some feel that it is due to minority teachers applying increasingly to outlying districts where the opportunities may be greater. There are those who cite instances of racial discrimination within the district, both in hiring and with practicing teachers. The theories range from the benign to the malignant. But whatever the reason, the result is the same: the ramification of a low number of educators of color is that African-American and other minority students don’t see themselves reflected in the system. “There is a lot to be said for relevance and identification,” said Dedrick Sims, the founder and CEO of the Sims-Fayola International Academy Denver, which is awaiting approval from the district as a charter school. “If you have a classroom full of Black or Latino kids, a qualified teacher who looks like them to stand in front of them, and motivate them to do more with their lives – I think that is something a district should strive for, because it is a high leverage point that has proven to make a difference in student performance and to their families.” Larry Borom, a member and past chair of the Black Education Advisory Council (BEAC), a non-partisan body that advocates for excellence and equity in DPS, shared several studies that

have been conducted, which demonstrate how the influence of AfricanAmerican teachers can make a big difference in the lives and the progress of some students. “Every kid is not going to rise above, based on an AfricanAmerican teacher, but some kids need that, and I think even caucasian kids need to see people of color who are successful and professional and contributing members of the system,” explained Borom. The kind of relationships you can develop as a teacher can be so motivating to youth,” continued Borom. “You become an extension of the best values that family is trying to teach. It’s very reinforcing, and both the parents and kids trust you.” The Perspectives… Borom believes the numbers have dropped significantly because there is not a strong commitment by the central administration to see the kind of diversity that was originally intended by the Civil Rights Act, and was directed at trying to correct the actions of discrimination that had kept African Americans out. “I don’t see a true commitment from DPS to hire African-American teachers. If you don’t have a specific numeric goal, you won’t get there,” said Borom. “What makes it worse and troubles activists is that our Black elected officials do not seem to be supportive of the need for a critical change either.” Tamara Rhone, a retired DPS educator, spoke about how retiring African-American teachers are often not replaced by the school district.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


When a large volume of teachers retired in 1992, a significant number of African-American teachers and administrators were included in that process. “We did not hire teachers of color in large numbers to replace them,” said Rhone. “DPS has never recovered from that loss. Not only did we lose the teachers, we lost the wisdom and expertise.” Campbell of Girl’s Athletic Leadership School believes the disparity is due to a combination of factors. Part of the responsibility lies within the Black community in terms of a lower number of African-Americans pursuing careers in higher education, due in part to the low pay and prestige. And an equal or larger part of the blame, he believes, is the disconnect of the dominant culture not knowing where to look for teachers of color. “I haven’t seen anything that would make me think there was an intentional movement to discriminate against people of color who pursue teaching,” Campbell said. Rather he believes it is an unconscious and linear approach to hiring, due to a lack of connection with the community. “They may not know any African Americans or Latinos, and so they stay in their comfortable paradigm, shrug their shoulders and say ‘Where are they?’” he continued. “The power is in the relationship, and there is a lack of relationship to disenfranchised and marginalized communities in DPS.” “I have observed that there is very little recruitment of prospective Continued on page 6

Metropolitan State College of

Denver has been awarded a three-year grant, anticipated to reach over $2 million, to establish and operate an Equity Assistance Center (EAC) to help Mountain West public school districts deal with equity and civil rights issues. The multimillion-dollar grant awarded earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Educationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs provides an initial grant amount of $681,931 for the first year. On Aug. 4, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office notified the College about the grant, which begins October 2011. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Metro State educates more students of color in STEM fields than any other four-year Colorado higher education institution,â&#x20AC;? says President Stephen Jordan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are well positioned to effectively address the specific needs outlined in the grant because we have the tools and experience supporting both urban and rural communities with diversity programs and customized education curriculum.â&#x20AC;? The new Metro State EAC will offer technical assistance and training to public school districts, at the request of school boards, in desegregation and equity issues regarding race, gender and national origin. The center will have a focus on two primary issues: (1) improving school safety, decreasing the incidence of racial and sexual harassment and bullying; and (2) promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in order to reduce achievement disparities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the demographics in Colorado â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and in many other states in the Mountain West â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are changing, many of the equity issues around race, gender and national origin are becoming even more pronounced. Meeting the evolving needs of our school populations requires specialized training,â&#x20AC;? says Percy A. Morehouse Jr., executive director of equal opportunity/assistant to the president and principal investigator on the grant. The grant establishes the new center at Metro State as one of only 10 Equity Assistance Centers around the country. The EAC program is funded by the DOE under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to promote equal educational opportunities and assistance to public school districts in the areas of race, gender and national origin. The Metro State EAC will serve DOEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Region 8, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already had a request from

U.S. Department Of Education Awards Metro State Multimillion-Dollar Grant To Operate Equity Assistance Center

a district in Wyoming to do something to address bullying,â&#x20AC;? says Morehouse, who previously led the Mountain West Equity Assistance Center at Metro State from 1993-1999, and also ran a similar center at Weber State University in Utah in the 1980s. He

has been a member of the American Association for Affirmative Action for 24 years in various roles supporting professional development and best practices. Furthermore, because the school districts in Region 8 are primarily

rural, Morehouse says, Metro Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expertise in online and distance learning were particularly relevant. 

About Metropolitan State College of Denver

With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Coloradoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. The College now offers masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degrees in accounting, teacher education and social work. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts more than 70,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.


EFOWFSIFBMUIPSH * based on the Clinical Outcomes Report produced by University HealthSystem Consortium Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2011


three-yearDepartment probationary period, so elected To Advise State Health teacher candidates of Africanthey do not ever get signed on as perAmerican descent,” commented RulesRhone. For “Time TheandMedical Marijuana Registry manent employees, even when in time again, I hear Continued from page 4

district do not make it through the

The federal TEACH campaign was launched last fall to persuade minorities – particularly males – to enter the education field. The federal government also developed the website, a one-stop shop for anyone wanting to enter teaching, including professionals hoping to switch careers. MSNBC contributor and social activist Jeff Johnson launched a task force that aims to put 80,000 more Black, male teachers in classrooms across the country in the next four years. Other national programs such as Teach for America recruit committed recent college graduates of all backgrounds to teach in urban and rural public schools. The relatively short training program brings up questions on qualifications, particularly in the realm of cultural competence with the large number of non-minority teachers placed into urban settings. “The aspect that is toughest is that they are going into school systems where the majority of the population is minority, and so this can sometimes result in a cultural misalignment,” observed Sims of Sims-Fayola International Academy.

that ‘We couldn’t find any candidates.’ many instances they have good Yet, I have many former students who records and positive evaluations. f Public Health and •Christian C. Thurstone, M.D. – licensed health care “My fight in all of this is that the have attempted to get an interview members for its Medical worker specializing in addiction medicine community is not looking out for and are never contacted.” e. The committee will advise •Daniel S. Bennett, M.D. – licensed health care worker teachers,” said Annette Sills-Brown, There seems to bespecializing a widespread ctor regarding rule-making in chronic pain management the chair of the Denver Classroom perception that DPS is not making uana bills recently passed by •Daniel W. Bowles, M.D. – licensed health care worker Teachers’ Association Black Caucus. enough of an effort to recruit Africany (SB10-109 and HB10-1284). specializing in oncology/cancer care “They are looking out for big busiAmerican teaching candidates. “You nthly starting this month to •Lt. Ernest Martinez, Denver Police Department – repnesses and folks who have money to don’t just hire from your own town,” rding rules for implementa- resentative of Colorado law enforcement community put into controversial school reform said Borom. “They are recruiting department’s Executive •Ted C. Tow III, J.D., Colorado District Attorneys’ programs. At what point will the comSpanish speakers from as far away as consider the recommendaCouncil – Colorado District Attorney or representative of munity get involved with helping Spain. If you can do that, you might tee for official rule-making the district attorney community teachers?” look in the (U.S.) South •Mark at Historically h. Johnson, M.D. executive director, Jefferson Black Colleges for HealthADepartment National Issue… e received for nine public and Universities, County Public – representative of a instance, where there are larger numAlthough African Americans have committee. The departlocal public health agency bersproponents, of Black young people graduating pursuedMarijuana teaching and cal marijuana •Bob O’Doherty –traditionally director of Medical to teach.” other publicofservice ic health organizations Registry, Colorado Department Public professions, Health and Black, male teachers are in critical shortage in Accusations mittee members. The state of discrimination Environmenton most schoolmedical districtsofficer, acrossColorado the counthe district level are not limited to hira representative from a •Ned Calonge, M.D. – chief according to the Schott(Committee dded. Two ing staffand members of practices, Department of Publictry, Health and Environment recruitment based Foundation for Public Education. To e chief medical officer (orlawsuits his Chair) on numerous from teachers help address the theory of an actual e Medical Marijuana Approximately 105,000 people have successfully applied of color, according to the Black shortage the applicant pool, colleges ommittee.Education Advisory to the registry this year. Of thatinnumber, approximately Council. Twelve the nation are designing nd the position they repreapplicants in the backlog of applications stillnew complaints were filed73,000 with BEAC by are around teacher programs thatregistry help to reduce being their official card. teachers in 2009 alone, andprocessed have beenand awaiting theCommittee amount of time an individual The state’s approved supplement taken to the U.S. Department of Joint Budget spends acquiring a teaching license. y caregiverEducation with very funding last month allowing the department to add 56 little resolution. Some Historically Black of Colleges and marijuana center owner temporary employees to process the backlog applica“These teachers were let go for no Universities areThe designing new teachian who recommends medtions. All are not yet filled. department plans good reason,” said Borom. He positions has ing over programs with the intention of to the eliminate the backlog the coming eight months. observed that many of Africanrecruiting more Black, male teachers. American teachers who start with the

Cultural Competency… Even when cultural competence is taken into consideration, and training is put in place, a cultural clash can still occur – conscious or unconscious, subtle or overt. “I witness quite often that there is undeniably cultural differences that can cause unnecessary frustration and confusion,” said Campbell. “What I often see is fear. When a young person who is African American raises their voice, they’re often perceived as being loud and rude. White teachers will often have a fear around that. Because of cultural differences, certain behaviors are seen bigger than they need to be seen, resulting in a higher level of suspensions, and a feeling on the part of students of being disenfranchised.” The importance of role models who look like the student population cannot be overlooked. “It is so important for children to ‘see themselves’,” remarked Rhone, the retired educator. “We have been told both verbally and non-verbally that we are not significant, positive, worthwhile contributors to society. It is our responsibility collectively to raise and educate our community.” An honest look at personal judgments and predispositions is imperative for non-minority teachers and administrators. Parental influences and past conversations and attitudes that an individual may not be aware even exist can come to the surface when situations and circumstances become difficult, and can result in damaging generalizations and consequences.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


“An in-depth immersement into the culture is the best way to see and achieve cultural competence,“ added Sims. He looks for certain characteristics and traits that demonstrate cultural competence when hiring nonminority teachers, such as working with a similar population for more than one year, an attitude of personal responsibility for how students learn, and not pointing fingers at why a student did not succeed. “People undervalue the cultural competence piece,” he said. “It’s a current in this river of change that if you don’t account for it, it can drown you.”

The Solutions… Although many feel that the district has turned a deaf ear, and is not making strides in disparity and diversity issues, efforts are underway to address the multitude of concerns. In July 2009, Jeanine Carter joined the district as director of diversity initiatives. Her role is to work with internal and external stakeholders on diversity issues including recruitment, retention, organizational culture, diversity, cultural competency education, and strategy. In addition, the district launched a teacher residency program with a strong cultural outreach component. Carter was out of the office and could not be reached for comment for this article. “I’m not saying they’re not doing anything and changes aren’t being made,” expressed Sills-Brown of the Classroom Teachers’ Association Black Caucus, “but we’re not seeing the needed results. The numbers are not changing.” Various steps to a solution have been proposed by stakeholders with a vested interest in the needed changes. Of primary importance is a commitment to the legal responsibilities of diversity and federally funded organizations. Specific ideas on a local level are many, including having teacher education programs partner with ethnic studies departments at colleges and universities, raising funds to provide college scholarships to AfricanAmerican students who major in education, and attempting to eliminate some of the bureaucratic red tape that plagues the system. “We need more than reform,” said Campbell. “The system needs to be broken apart and rebuilt for any of these things to work. Organization by organization, school by school, there are beautiful things that are happening, but not on a large enough scale. The community is in a crisis and we need a quantum leap in these small miracles.” Editor’s note: Misti can be reached at


The Reading Crisis: Have We “Checked Out”?


By Towanna “The Mama” Henderson

month ago I decided that I wanted to write an article regarding the crisis of students reading at a 3rd grade level in middle school and high school. I thought that it would be an easy article to write. All I had to do was site some statistics according to the recent CSAP scores and offer some suggestions to parents on how to be proactive in ensuring that their students were reading at grade level. It sounded simple enough to do, right? However, the more I thought about how our ancestors were denied the privilege of reading as slaves, and what they went through during the Civil Rights Movement in order to have equal access to education, the more upset I was at the current education system. Why am I writing about students not being able to read in middle school and high school even though they are attending school nine months out of a year? How can this crisis go on for many years without any intervention? There were just so many things that I didn’t understand about this dilemma. I didn’t understand why so many parents don’t know that their kids are only reading at a 3rd grade level in middle and high school. So many questions come to mind. Don’t parents ask their kids to read to them every now and then? Don’t they take their kids to the library for books? Why are parents and teachers allowing the students to move on to the next grade knowing that they can’t read? Reading material progressively gets harder in each grade level, so it’s logical for parents and teachers to understand that students need to continuously develop their reading ability in order to succeed. Well, here’s what I learned.

Why Does Reading Stop At 3rd Grade?

According to a report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters,” a child’s reading proficiency by third grade has a direct correlation to his success in high school and beyond. The study found a link between those students reading below the proficient range in third grade and the likelihood they would

graduate from high school. The report states that 83 percent of all lowincome students read below the proficiency level by the end of third grade. The numbers were higher than average for African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. Whites and Asian-Americans scored higher than the national average for low-income families. Only 55 percent of moderate and high-income students scored below the level of proficiency. Why do third grade reading assessments predict a child’s academic success? The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s director of evidencebased practices, Abel Ortiz, says, “Up to third grade, children are learning to read. Starting in fourth grade, they are reading to learn.” If children don’t have good reading skills by this time, it directly impacts their ability to learn properly and succeed in school. I was told by an early childhood educator that this is why students mentally “check out” of school after 3rd grade. When students realize that they don’t have the reading skills to understand and comprehend assignments, they get discouraged and make a determination at an early age that they are not going to be successful in school. According to the Colorado NAEP 2009 Report Card for Reading, 38 percent of African-American students were reading below the basic reading level and 47 percent had basic reading skills. Only 14 percent of AfricanAmerican students were proficient in reading. Latino students almost mirrored those statistics, with 39 percent reading below basic and 45 percent at a basic reading level and only 15 percent at a proficient reading level. In the case of the current high school and middle school students who are reading below grade level, one has to wonder if teachers and parents “checked out” as well. Did they also determine by 4th grade that students were not going to be successful in school? Where was the intervention?

his/her classroom teacher and family will develop an Individual Literacy Plan (ILP) to assist students in mastering reading skills. A body of evidence must be gathered over time by schools to determine a student’s reading level. The body of evidence is a collection of information about a child’s progress. This information could include: teacher observation of a student’s ability to read out loud, written work, short tests of reading skills, and other information as appropriate. The teacher will use this information to see if a student is reading at grade level. If a student is not reading on grade level, schools should contact parents to develop an Individual Literacy Plan (ILP) for students. The ILP includes both activities to help students improve on reading and a home reading program. A home reading program could consist of: •Listening to your child read •Letting your child see you reading •Encouraging your child to read a wide range of reading material - comic books, magazines, poetry books, mysteries, etc. •Discussing the stories you read together •Making reading a regular part of your family time, getting a library card

This Act encourages and guides schools in developing plans to meet all students’ needs. Therefore, the Individual Literacy Plans should provide the boost needed for struggling students. At the end of the third grade, students not reading on fourth grade level can go on to fourth grade but should continue receiving reading instruction at their reading level. Children are not held back in third grade. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs. With those statistics in mind, I would advise all parents to hold schools accountable for the Coloraydo Basic Literacy Act and develop a home reading program for their kids at any grade level. Don’t forget to obtain a library card for your child and yourself! 

Editor’s note: Towanna Henderson is the parent representative for the State Council on Educator Effectiveness. She is also actively involved in the community promoting academic excellence and community service with the Asfaw Family Foundation International.

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The Colorado Basic Literacy Act, enacted in 1997 by the Colorado General Assembly is suppose to ensure that all students by the third grade have the literacy skills essential for success in school and life. CBLA calls for local school districts to identify students who are reading below grade level and give them the necessary reading interventions. It requires that all children read on the third grade level before they move to a fourth grade reading class. Schools must carefully monitor the reading growth of all students from kindergarten through third grade. If a student does not read on grade level,

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


Is The HBCU Still Relevant? H

By Charis Garrett

istorically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) hold positive relevance in our past, but do they still hold this relevance in today’s mainstream culture? With rising tuition costs, declining enrollment from Black students and declining philanthropic contributions from alumni, HBCUs are struggling to maintain their place in higher education as well as in the African-American community. One of the main issues in higher education is fiscal competency, which determines if an institution of higher learning has the economically stability to continue operation. These established institutions must maintain sources of incoming revenues to manage their fiscal affairs. In commerce, a corporation cannot continually operate in the red without the possibility of eventually shutting down, and the same is true in higher education. Governments have made massive cuts to education within the past few years, causing the majority of institutions to rely more heavily on philanthropic contributions from alumni and other supporters. However, President Obama’s HBCU Initiative brings a $98 million increase to funding for HBCUs according to a 10-year plan. While it is great that HBCUs are receiving more government funding, endowment numbers are low as the collective endowment of more than 100 HBCUs is $2 billion. This is a marked contrast to endowments of other private universities like that of Harvard University which by itself was around $26 billion in 2009, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With low financial contributions to HCBUs, these institutions are beginning to raise tuition. In-state students at Virginia State University will experience a 7.9 percent tuition increase from last year, and out-of-state students will pay a 5.6 percent increase. While Langston University students will pay a 5 percent increase in tuition, the university will still offer the lowest tuition in the state of Oklahoma according to While the tuition of most HBCUs is less than their competitors, enrollment by African-American students is low, causing the institutions to begin recruiting from predominately caucasian and Latino schools, according to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). At present African Americans make up 82 percent of the

student population at HBCUs according to TMCF, but this number is expected to drop because some students do not find HBCUs to be appealing in their needs for higher education, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Many Black students are citing several reasons for not attending HBCUs, including lack of preferred degrees and the lack of prestige of the HBCUs. “Many HBCUs don’t have the credibility and prestige behind them, so I

College of Music. The truth of the matter is HBCUs produce the most African-American professionals in the workplace over all traditional higher educational institutions, according to the United Negro College Fund. UNCF also states Xavier University can boast that they send more African-American students to med school than any higher education institution. HBCUs have provided undergraduate training for three-fourths of all

wanted to attend a school that would make me more marketable for a job,” said Denver native Bradley Jackson, a junior at Seattle University. “My choice wasn’t affected by race. I chose Berklee because of the prestige that it has and because it had my major. However, if Berklee was nonexistent I’d probably go to a Black school,” said Denver native Brionne Wright, a sophomore at Berklee

African Americans holding a doctorate degree, three-fourths of all AfricanAmerican officers in the armed forces, and four-fifths of all African-American federal judges, according to the U.S. Department of Education. USDE also reports that 50 percent of AfricanAmerican faculty in traditionally caucasian research universities received their bachelor’s degrees at an HBCU. With a track record such as this, it is

safe to say that HBCUs have historically fulfilled their purpose. Many graduates choose HBCUs not only for the academics, but also for the experience and pride in being a part of the rich history of HBCUs. For many HBCU students, attending these institutions has become a family tradition, where many are second, third and even fourth generation students. “I chose an HBCU because it was a family thing. I had three sisters, a cousin and a friend from church that all attended an HBCU and I wanted to follow in their footsteps because they were my examples,” said Darius Beaty, a senior at Langston. HBCUs aim to support, encourage and inspire their student populations. Many students and graduates of HBCUs love their college experience because of the support they received from their institution. With most campuses being small in population and class size, they take on the feeling of being a home and a family. “A benefit of attending an HBCU is always knowing what positive and helpful events and resources are available for students and the community,” said Adrienne Ford, a former HBCU student. In response to the question of whether HBCUs are still relevant in to today’s mainstream culture, the answer appears to be yes. HBCUs will continue to maintain cultural relevance as well as academic relevance as long as they continue to receive support from those who are cheerleaders for the institutions, as well as from alumni. These colleges and universities are still continuing to serve their purpose, which is to educate and serve the community at large. 

Black College Weekend Comes To Colorado

HBCU grads get ready for the first ever Colorado Black College Weekend, Friday Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept.25. The weekend’s events include an alumni party, tailgate party, football game, step show, and Sunday morning worship service. In conjunction with the Tennessee State University vs. Air Force Academy football game, the weekend is hosted by the Colorado TSU National Alumni Association and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce. Friday presents many opportunities for HBCU alumni to network. The day starts with an invitation-only TSU President’s Welcome Reception, Coloradoans can meet reception host, TSU President Dr. Portia Holmes Shields. Also on Friday, the Black College Happy Hour/Mixer is from 6 to 9 p.m. and the Black College Alumni Party starts at 9 p.m. Both events will be held at the Marriott Courtyard Denver Cherry Creek, 1475 South Colorado Blvd. The cover charge for the happy hour and party is $10, or $15 for the party only. Saturday is the weekend’s main attraction, featuring a tailgate party, football game, and step show. The Ultimate HBCU Tailgate Party is from11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All are welcome, including Black Greeks and community organizations. HBCU organizations have been asked to bring a superlative dessert selection for the “Taste of HBCU Contest.” Immediately following the tailgate party is the TSU vs. AFA football game from 1 to 4 p.m. The 7th Annual Step It Up in the Colorado City Step Show, sponsored by the Denver Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., will be at 6 p.m. at the Auraria Campus Event Center. All proceeds from the show will support Delta Sigma Theta’s scholarship fund and youth programs. The weekend will conclude with a worship service at New Hope Baptist Church at 10 a.m. on Sunday. New Hope is located at 3701 Colorado Blvd. in Denver.

• • • • •

For discounted ticket information for the TSU vs. AFA game, call (888)894-2538. For ticket information for the step show, visit TICKETMASTER.COM or e-mail For information on the Taste of HBCU Contest, e-mail Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


In the current economic climate, a Seeking A Higher Purpose

degree seems to have become less of a safeguard against unemployment –

especially for Black college graduates. According to a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., the unemployment rate for Black college graduates under 27 was 13.3 percent during the first nine months in 2009. The unemployment rate for white college graduates under 27 was half of that number, 6.2 percent. This discrepancy is commonly attributed to racial discrimination and the fact that graduates may have the degrees but lack the connections or professional skill. A high percentage of current Black college graduates are first generation, and may not have the same professional networks within their families and communities that white college graduates may have. With the downturn of the economy, more people than ever are enrolling in college, and a growing number of Blacks are obtaining degrees in various fields. In the 2008-2009 school year, more than 150,000 Blacks obtained bachelor’s degrees, 50,000 more than a decade ago. Black Enterprise magazine published findings from a study by the

Colorado Students Follow Hearts In Choosing College Degrees And Careers Unequal Employment Opportunities Not A Factor In Degree Choices By Lisa Walton

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, which identified a list of lowest and highest paying college degrees for African Americans. Among the list’s lowest paying career fields were elementary education, mass media, liberal arts, and social work. Highest paying degrees on the list included computer networking and telecommunications, medical technologies technicians, architecture, nursing, and general engineering. Some of the most popular degrees among both Blacks and whites include business, psychology, biology, communications, education, and criminal justice. According to a report released last summer by the Institute of Education Science’s National Center for Education Statistics, “Blacks had the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded in business (25 percent) and the lowest percentage awarded in engineering and engineering technologies (3 percent). Of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Blacks, 37 percent were in education, compared with 15 percent for Whites, and 19 percent for Hispanics.” Interviews with Black students in Colorado revealed that they seem to be considering more than economic Continued on page 10

Seeking A Higher Purpose

Continued from page 9 viability when choosing a degree. Arlisha Lawson graduated with a music education degree from Colorado State University at Pueblo this last May. While many recent college graduates are still looking for a job, Lawson has just completed her first week of school as a music teacher at Wildflower Elementary in Colorado Springs. While the road to her first teaching job was short and sweet, Lawson wasn’t always so sure that it would happen, noting that finishing college felt surreal. Additionally, with budget cuts affecting schools across the nation, and supplemental programs like music bearing a large brunt of the cuts, Lawson says, “I was scared that I wasn’t going to get a good job. I was scared that I wasn’t going to be a good teacher. “ She acknowledges that most people don’t get into education for the money. While she says an education degree may better guarantee a job in comparison to other types of degrees, the economics of an education degree was not her motivation. “I’ve always wanted to change lives. I wanted to inspire people like I was inspired,” says Lawson, who was inspired to go into teaching by her Black 5th-grade teacher. “I emphasize personal relationships in my lesson plans....we have so much influence as teachers. I want to give kids hope.” Priscilla Bessick is a junior, also studying music education at CSU Pueblo. “I think sometimes teachers forget that their job is not just to teach their subjects, but also life lessons and skills to become not only better citizens, but better people,” Bessick says. The importance of such a role is highlighted in a career field characterized by a rapidly diversifying student demographic, an achievement gap between whites and Blacks, budget cuts, wide sweeping reform, and a shortage of Black teachers. “I believe there are only two Black teachers where I teach,” says Lawson, describing a situation that is not foreign to her. In college leadership groups and award ceremonies she says she was the minority. “I was the only one. I’m always the only one... When I’m the only one, I wonder why.” However, she adds, “I’m not going into education because of the race thing, but because I’m good at what I do.” “There’s always going be a shortage as far as race goes. There’s always going be a shortage of teachers,” Bessick says, explaining that it’s something to come to terms with right off the bat. “In all my classes I’m always the only Black person. Right now I feel

like I’m the only Black person in the school of music. While being the “only one” can be discouraging, both Bessick and Lawson agree that race doesn’t really matter in their college or career environment. “I feel like people forget I’m Black,” Lawson says. The first-year teacher explains that she feels like many of her Black peers want things handed to them. “As much as they want to empower themselves, it’s almost like they don’t know how. I think a lot of us have our guard down because we don’t have to defend our race anymore...I think a lot of us have forgotten the struggle,” says Lawson. She feels that many students are comfortable with just passing and adds that people should blame their shortcomings on themselves, and not on society. She also makes a personal observation with Black males in particular. “I think a lot of younger guys are trying to get by with the least amount of effort possible.” According to the Institute for Education Science study, a discrepancy exists between the number of degrees conferred to females and males, and is consistent among all racial and ethnic categories, but is most pronounced among Blacks. Black females receive close to 70 percent of all degrees and earn twice as many (219,200) as Black males (104,300). Bryant Perryman completed his final semester with a heavy workload, before graduating recently from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He took 18 credit hours, while putting in an average of 15 hours of coaching for a local high

school basketball team and working 38 to 40-hour weeks as an assistant manager at a movie theatre. Time management, he says, was his biggest struggle. “You want to be successful at everything....but you realize you can’t,” Perryman says. He chose a degree in political science and a minor in criminal justice, because he wanted to be a lawyer, and then eventually a judge, due to the potential impact he could have on lives, especially young ones. “People are so quick to lock [kids] up instead of help them out.” As a basketball coach he’s already impacted young lives. In fact, he says if he wasn’t currently coaching he’d be on his way to law school. Perryman believes that in addition to education, what really determines success in the job world is hard work, professionalism and the overall way you carry yourself, not race. While he is a counterexample of the type of Black male observed by Lawson, the two recent graduates share a similar opinion. “We use the race issue too much,” he says, giving examples of excuses he’s noted among Black students: “They’re not going to give this to us because we’re Black....the teacher doesn’t like me because I’m Black.” Perryman has not yet decided what he’s going to do with his bachelor’s degree, but he may soon join the ranks of those with master’s degrees. He mentions his strict mom as a big factor in his success. “It’s good to watch your parent’s struggle,” Perryman says, explaining that he’s learned an ethic of hard work from watching his single mom. “But you don’t want to go through that.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


He believes Black kids are missing positive role models and parents who hold both themselves and their kids accountable. However, he comes from a family with a college tradition. Out of his four older sisters, three have college degrees; his mom has one more year left to finish hers. College junior Adrianna Fernandez also comes from a single parent home. Her mother was the first of six kids to graduate from high school and college. Fernandez is inspired and empowered by the women in her life, including her grandmother, who came from being “dirt poor” in Arkansas and raised six kids by herself in Colorado. Fernandez studies speech communications with a concentration in production at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She is passionate about her chosen field, but doesn’t feel ready for the real world yet. She will graduate in December of next year. “I like to talk. And I figured why not get paid to talk?” Fernandez jokes. “I like to see something come from nothing. I like to tell stories. And everyone has a story to tell.” Fernandez hopes to be a television and film producer, a career field traditionally dominated by males. She says she’s ready to prove herself as a Black female. Military veteran Justin Norman also attends Metro State studying criminal justice. Like Fernandez, he plans to graduating in December 2012. He wants to become a U.S. Marshall, not for the money, but because he wants a job that he can enjoy. Additionally, he wants to help to improve society. As he puts it, “It doesn’t hurt to make something better.” 


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Husband-Wife Team Encourages Early Activism By Angelia McGowan

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nderstanding how any country works is the foundation for making positive changes in local communities across the world. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an understanding that the organization, Young African Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA), strives to instill in high school students through higher education workshops, community activism and conversations with state legislators. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Through activism and education we can redefine the standards that have been placed upon us,â&#x20AC;? says Janiece Mackey, who co-founded YAASPA with her husband Ernest in 2010 and serves as its executive director. In 2006, they both earned bachelors from the University of Denver, but their accomplishments were not without obstacles. Both ran into walls as they navigated the transition from high school to and through college, including securing funds to cover their tuition trimester by trimester. Though she earned a double degree in criminology and political science and he earned degrees in marketing and finance, their experiences left bitter-sweet memories. More importantly, their journey ignited a passion to lay an easier path for those that would come behind them. Once in their careers, they both also found themselves frequently being one of the few, if not the only, African Americans participating in local activities associated with local and national political campaigns. Janiece often

Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2011


would say to herself, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something wrong with this. There has to be more people involved to represent our interest.â&#x20AC;? Based on these shared experiences, the parents of three children under five launched YAASPA to offer related service-learning activities. Their first event was a scholarship fair where participants received scholarship information and applications on the spot rather than having to look online. What made the fair unique was â&#x20AC;&#x153;the intimacy of it. The people (panelists) who were invited were the ones reading the essaysâ&#x20AC;? for students applying to college, says Janiece. During their inaugural year, they introduced six high school juniors and seniors to a better understanding of their community through more than nine events, from a Christmas food drive for the Colfax Community Network, which is comprised of families living in motels on Colfax, to a day visiting the state capitol where they held conversations with legislators. They could ask whatever questions they wanted to ask of the legislators, according to 18-year-old Bryant Brown, who is heading to Columbia University to work toward a dual degree in political science and economics, with a law degree slated to follow. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m registered and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m so excited. I love the location. Everything is there,â&#x20AC;? says Brown, who graduated from Cherokee Trail High School in spring 2011 and earned 22.5 activism hours through YAASPA. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s college-bound with at least two scholarships under his belt, thanks to YAASPAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s direction. When asked what kind of career he would like to pursue, Brown says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just want to help people and however that manifest, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what it will be.â&#x20AC;? Amber Wilson, an 18-year-old graduate of MLK Jr. Early College plans to attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to study organizational communication. She has her eyes set on hospitality management, specifically running a big event center. Madison Square Garden is what comes to mind for her. She worked 19 activism hours with YAASPA and secured at least three scholarships. YAASPA is currently recruiting students as young as sophomores for the upcoming academic year. If there were any testimonial that would capture the eye of future participants it would be that of Brown who says the young and passionate couple â&#x20AC;&#x153;gave me exactly what I need.â&#x20AC;?


n the summer of 1989, one of the most chronicled love stories of a generation was set in motion. An aspiring young African American man went to work as an intern for Sidley Austin, a prestigious Chicago law firm. He was assigned a mentor – a young intellectual-property lawyer and fellow Harvard Law grad named Michelle Robinson. The rest, you could say, is history. Yet, there’s another facet to this love story that often goes un-highlighted —that of two brilliant young Ivy League graduates from modest origins, who first turned away from the corporate world in order to make a mark in the nonprofit sector, and who later reached the highest heights of public service. While most such stories don’t end in marriage – or in the Presidency – similar stories of dedication to public service are increasingly embraced by a new generation. An inspiring personal story of overcoming early-life adversity helped to catapult Michael Hancock to the office of Mayor. Hancock’s love for public service was demonstrated through photos and videos dating back to his high school years where he confidently proclaimed, “I am going to be the first Black mayor of Denver.” Although he was to become the second Black mayor of the city, Hancock staked his claim in the public sector with this statement and by fully utilizing the many guides and opportunities that were availed to him along the way. Further, embedded in his declaration was a rare and bold claiming of heritage. To achieve success, people of color feel pushed, all too often, to be silent about their racial identity—as if doing so will render it

A Love Story Nonprofit Interns: By Angelle C. Fouther

obsolete. But a diverse and inclusive presence serves the public interest in manifold ways—a public servant who brings with him or her minority voice, and the voice of the underserved, has the unique ability to advocate and serve with a passion that emanates from simply “having been there.” If you look closely at each successful individual, it is apparent that those who are truly able to rise to the top not only possess this sense of understanding but have undoubtedly been strengthened somewhere along the way by mentorship and an environment that welcomes their perspective and encourages them to grow.

Lauren Casteel understands, firsthand, the potent combination of mentorship and an environment that encourages growth. Throughout her career she has worked closely with interns, such as Hancock, former Lieutenant Governor Barbara O’Brien, and Ashara Ekundayo. Now the Vice

President of Philanthropic Partnerships for The Denver Foundation, Casteel has ventured, along with her team, to foster such an environment with the Nonprofit Internship Program. The program pairs students from underrepresented communities, who are either attending Metro Denver colleges, or who are residents of Metro Denver, with area nonprofits through paid internships. This summer marked the program’s fifth year, hosting the largest class ever of 17 students placed at 15 different organizations. “The greatest joy of my career has been the opportunity to work with new talent,” Casteel states. “When Mayor Michael Hancock interned with Mayor Federico Peña’s administration, he worked closely with me. What was most compelling about Michael at 19 was his eagerness to learn. He was willing to engage in projects at any level and sought feedback. I was Senior Communications Advisor at the time, and would have Michael draft pieces and then edit them ruthlessly. He never cringed and always wanted to know why I suggested certain changes. At the same time, we actively listened to Michael’s suggestions about neighborhood or youthrelated issues. He offered an important perspective.”

Fl o y d Jo n es J r.

Membershi p & B us i ne s s D e v e l o pm e nt Di re c tor 410 17th Street Suite 1110 Denver, Colorado 80202 303.831.0720 (v)

303.831.0755 (f) Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


“I can remember my internship with the office of Mayor Federico Peña like it was yesterday,” says Mayor Hancock. “The lessons that I was afforded during that time are ones that I have carried throughout my career. Numerous mentors took me under their wing during my internship, including Lauren Casteel, Tom Gleason, Michael Simmons, Kevin Marchman, Susan Barnes-Gelt, and of course Mayor Federico Pena and the late John Parr, who taught me the importance of staying focused on the job and remaining attentive to your responsibilities.” Ashara Ekundayo moved to Denver from Detroit when she was 14, and attended Manual High School. A high school dropout, and teenage mother, her early years were fraught with adversity, but she got back on track and received a BA in African American studies and Speech Communications from Metro State University. While there, Ekundayo recalls attending a lecture series during her last semester, where Lauren Casteel was the last speaker. “She was talking about the nonprofit sector and using words like ‘philanthropy,’” Ekundayo recalls. “I was like, ‘what is a nonprofit, what is she talking about?’ But this one person’s perspective shifted my entire career.” Ekundayo says she was so intrigued that she called Lauren the following week and asked her if I could be her intern at the Hunt Alternatives Fund. Ekundayo also recalls her first internship that was with Gerri Gomez Howard at CBS4. “I have had the experience of having very influential women mentor me. All of my internships have been with Black women, purposely—others included Khadija Haynes and Reynelda Muse. Continued on page 14

Nonprofit Interns

Continued from page 13 Internships and mentorships are invaluable,â&#x20AC;? Ekundayo shares. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It starts with a modeling of the wayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the best practice. If you want to teach someone how to do something, do it.â&#x20AC;? Ekundayo has worn many hats in the nonprofit sector including Executive Director of CafĂŠ Nuba, Blue and Yellow Logic, and the Denver Pan African Film Festival. She currently works with the International Food Justice Fellowship, an African exchange program. Former Lt. Governor Barbara Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien grew up in a farming family in Southern California and moved to Colorado with her husband after receiving a PhD in Literature from Columbia University. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had trouble finding someone who would hire a newly minted PhD in Literature back in 1982 and I knew I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be a professor, so I figured I would get an unpaid internship in radio or television,â&#x20AC;? Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien states. She made a cold call and talked to Lauren Casteel during her tenure at KRMA-TV Channel 6, where Lauren

produced the community affairs program â&#x20AC;&#x153;Smith and Muse.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The running joke between Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien and me is that I resisted bringing her on as an intern at first because she had just gotten her Doctorate in English from Columbia University,â&#x20AC;? Casteel says. But Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien stands firm: â&#x20AC;&#x153;She did have two candidates and first she said no to me. I called back and said â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;are you crazy, I am freeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;of course you should take me.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brienâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skills fit perfectly with her intern position, which she held while simultaneously volunteering for political campaigns and networking. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was a wonderful researcher and writer with a passion for civic engagement,â&#x20AC;? Lauren states. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien went on to work for Governor Lamm as a speechwriter, a position that solidified her love of working in the public sector. She has also served as President of the Colorado Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Campaign, prior to meeting Bill Ritter, who asked her to become Lieutenant Governor. Today she works as the first Piton Fellow at the Piton Foundation. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien says she got some really good advice early on: â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you are just starting out in the adult world, you ought to look around at the folks that have the jobs you want and get to know them, dress like them, and ask them questions . . . Learn from people

ahead of you. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find that people are so happy that you are looking. They are happy to mentor you. There are folks who I have been learning from for 30 years, and I have still more to learn.â&#x20AC;? Casteel notes that the young people who work through the Nonprofit Internship Program are very similar to Hancock, Ekundayo, and Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The interns we have hosted or placed the Nonprofit Internship Program this year are not dissimilar from these high achievers mentioned here,â&#x20AC;? Casteel says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are especially smart, passionate, undaunted, and eager to learn more. And while they come from diverse backgrounds, and many come from extremely adverse situations, their profoundly human stories and common goal of service to the community brings them together, and in each case the ambitions lead them to achieve, not solely for achievementâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sake, but for the sake of fostering reciprocity within Metro Denver communities.â&#x20AC;?




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She says she was given the opportunity to do administrative-level work and direct service alongside the Executive Director. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They wanted to expand services, and they relied on me to help them do that. When the position ended, my Executive Director gave me a gift card and said, any questions I have personally or professionally, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s there.â&#x20AC;? Cobian, who graduated this past spring from Colorado College, says that she always assumed she would go to law school after college. But after working at a law firm, she realized that was not her path. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Social justice was always my reason for going to law school and when I was a senior, I looked more closely at what I was motivated by: the education gap.â&#x20AC;? She currently works for Teach for America teaching bilingual education, which she says has been a great opportunity for her. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is exactly what I wanted to come back to my community to do: teach folks what I had the benefit of learning.â&#x20AC;? Angela says she plans to be

November N ovember 20


Angela Cobian, a 2010 nonprofit summer intern who worked at Colorado Bright Beginnings last summer, describes it as one of the more formative experiences sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s had personally and professionally. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I did Latino outreach; building up partner services in the neighborhood that I grew up in and my parents received services in, which was a very moving experience.â&#x20AC;? Cobian moved in late 1980s from Mexico to California and to Colorado in 1995, because work was more plentiful for her parents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My family had a pretty rough start,â&#x20AC;? Angela says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were very fortunate in what happened to us. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that we worked harder than any other immigrant family, but my parents always placed a very high value on education.â&#x20AC;?

Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2011


Angela Cobian

in education for the long run, in an administrative or policy role. Her goal is akin to what she was tapped to do as an intern last summer: building relationships with Latino communities. Nathan Brown, Jr. recounts that his friends and family members experienced many obstacles through the years, and received help from nonprofits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This instilled a value of helping others in me,â&#x20AC;? Nathan says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In high school, I got very involved with community service through the Kappa League, as a Danielâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fund Scholar through their service projects, and as a Jack and Jill Beau. These opportunities were fertilization for the seeds that were planted in my childhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;seeing the overall impact of the nonprofit sector.â&#x20AC;? Brown learned a great deal more about the sector, gaining an even broader view, while serving as one of two Denver Foundation interns this past summer.

Nathan Brown, Jr.

“What stuck out the most was when I was at Lauren’s house for our first intern gathering of the summer. Sara Anderson (a 2010 intern) and I were talking, and she mentioned that she’d received services from several nonprofit throughout her life. A light bulb went off for me: this holds up. If we didn’t have these resources, we would self-destruct. Where would the city be without these services provided by the sector?” Brown, who collaborated to start the Uniting Neighboring Initiative at University of Denver, where he is a junior, has political and philanthropic

aspirations and says his dreams are big. “I have a big heart, so when I say I want to be a philanthropist, you can bet on it. We are on a bad track as a species, and I want to be the one to help get us on a systematic path to betterment.” Kiara Calbart came from a single parent household in Park Hill. Divorced when Calbart was three, her mom raised her sister and her, as her dad struggled with addiction. “I’m fifth out of his six children, and the first to go to college,” she states. Kiara says that the role of nonprofits has been invaluable in her life. “I have been a part of Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation since 3rd grade. It has been instrumental in helping my mom expose us to things she would not have been able to—it’s opened many doors.” Calbart attended East High School where she was very involved. She recalls the power of mentoring provided by one special teacher, Tamara Rhone, and her basketball coach at East, Dwight Berry. “Coach worked with seven of us closely. I was the only one who graduated from college in four years and without children,” she states. Calbart, who graduated this past spring from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles with a degree in

Kiara Calbart

Biochemistry, says she was profoundly influenced by the passing of her grandfather during her sophomore year in college. He died from complications of diabetes, which she believed stemmed from his lack of healthcare as a child. I want to use my medical degree to focus on inner city health – because I can help my community in a different capacity,” she says. “A lot of folks don’t want to go to doctor or don’t have options where they live. I look at granddad and what could have been prevented with adequate medical attention.”

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


“My internship experience was incredible this summer,” she adds. “The environment was very family oriented at Colorado Center for the Blind. It was also very hectic, but I learned that it’s ok to not do everything at once. And the Executive Director, Julie Deden, was so often doing the same things as the rest of us—busy work, running errands—she was very accessible. I never want to be in an environment where you don’t have access to the ED.” Calbart says she gained a new group of supporters this summer. “. . . People I can got to for advice.” She says she knew Lauren back in high school, but never knew exactly what she did for a living. “She and Holly (Kingsbury, who is the Assistant Program Officer) showed me how to execute whatever you do in a professional manner.” She adds: “I knew professionals in Los Angeles, but didn’t have that same type of base here. This program has given me a new base network in the city where I want to affect change.” It seems as if a new love story has begun.  Editor’s Note: Angelle Fouther is the Senior Communications Officer for The Denver Foundation. For more information on the Program, visit or call 303-300-1790.

Footprints Of Hope O

By Ruth Márquez West

n the corner of 32nd and Dahlia, an invigorating assembly kicks off the school day at Hope Online at Hillcrest Academy. With strong role models challenging him to, “inspire learning through leadership,” a onceaimless senior logs in for his online assignment, then heads for speech and debate class. There, no-nonsense direction and affirmation from a veteran teacher-turned-mentor will provide guidance on the rhetorical criteria for today’s assignment. Her powerful example and wisdom will benefit students not only in her class but well into their futures. In these halls of learning, many students model conscientiousness, cooperation with rules and authority and service to others. Their previous achievement setbacks now being addressed, they are accountable for communicating well with the educational team that embraces their values and hardships. Actual learning is reinforced daily by mentors from their

neighborhood. Engaged in their learning, these students are empowered to own a vision of their graduation - from high school and college. Across town at 3400 West Nevada Place, at Hope Online at Redeemer Learning Center, energetic elementary students fill the rooms of a former private school. In the computer lab, their myriad of questions are answered with encouragement by their reliable mentor who compassionately holds them to a high standard in their work. Down the hall, a cozy classroom is brimming with bright posters, projects, bulletin boards and the handiwork of second-graders. After time outdoors to swing, run and climb, many raised hands show eager-

ness to earn praise in spelling, math and reading as a calm, patient mentor moves from student to student. A reading circle forms in the back of the

room. A brightly illustrated story book is their focus and the students’ delight in their ability to read it is obvious. Here in this safe environment, hope is on every face, no matter the difficult roads many students have walked here. As they are led from room to room, younger students spy the middle school classrooms where art masterpieces line the walls and student presentations echo through the hallway. For some, despite years of instability, their confident faces seem to seem to reflect their assurance that they, too, will someday be in that classroom, doing “big kid stuff.” Many neighborhoods away in Aurora, two focused classmates at Hope Online at Roca Fuerte Learning Academy work with enviable concentration on their respective assignments. These studious young ladies have spent most of their day pursuing a disciplined sequence of lessons. With daily mentoring, they work independently, confident that their questions will be answered in an affirming and understandable way as they progress at their own pace. Though they are in a “no excuses” learning environment, they enjoy a warm rapport with their Hope Online teacher, who will carefully monitor their academic performance throughout the year. This particular learning center, now expanded into two separate cam-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


puses, thrives on discipline and compassion, guided by neighborhood leadership that points its students toward learning excellence. As another day comes to a close at Hope Online, students

who truly reflect Colorado’s diverse learning population (throughout the urban and suburban neighborhoods of Denver, its outlying cities and rural areas) have taken another small step toward their graduation. They have access to the technology they need for developing 21st century skills, they enjoy healthy, organic meals during school hours and they are learning to overcome their academic and life challenges as they are mentored from within their own communities. Their daily footprints toward graduation are leading others to follow in their steps as healthy learning communities are being built one student success at a time.  Editor’s note: Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op is a unique online public charter school that bridges the digital divide by affording k-12 students the benefits of online education in a safe and supportive classroom environment. Chartered by the Douglas County School District, Hope Online enrolls students statewide, with the majority of students representing minority populations that qualify for free and reduced lunch. Hope Online provides the only opportunity for Colorado’s at-risk students with working parents to participate in online education. For more information, call 303-989-3539 or visit

What You Can Do To Guarantee “No Child Is Left Behind” Teacher Encourages Local Involvement in Education Topic Summary

“Test Cheating Scandal!” “Budget Cuts!” “Accreditation Lost!” These are the types of headlines associated with school districts around the nation today. With issues like these mounting on the front lines of education, even the best and brightest teachers need reinforcements. “That’s where you come in,” said Paddy Eger, a 20-year teaching veteran who also trains adult classroom volunteer assistants. “When adult assistants become part of classrooms and study groups, they help our country’s education stay strong. When all we read about education today revolves around budget cuts or the standardized test cheating scandals like in Atlanta, GA and Washington, D.C., it’s clear that blaming teachers is not going to yield any answers. I believe that most teachers are doing the best they can but, like what happened in Atlanta, some feel pressure by administrators to focus on hitting mandated test score goals rather than encouraging critical thinking. Add to that higher student to teacher ratios and it’s easy to see that something needs to be done to help our educators help our kids. So, where do we start?” Eger, author of Educating America: 101 Strategies for Adult Assistants in K-8 Classrooms (, believes that anyone who is concerned about the seeming downward spiral of public education can help by becoming an adult assistant. “Children, teachers, schools, communities all benefit from the help of adult assistants,” said Eger. “Participation on this level is a viable way to promote local involvement in school districts where the main concern has become test score quotas tied to funding. When the focus on education becomes budgets and test scores, we can never go wrong by adding a more human element like this as part of the solution.”

As a veteran teacher of 20 years, Eger has seen how the sluggish economy and unfunded mandates like the “No Child Left Behind” law has left classrooms overcrowded and teachers stretched and stressed. Because performances on standardized tests are tied to funding, some teachers can be pressured into the “education of regurgitation” to meet district goals, quotas and bonuses. “We can avoid classroom environments like those by getting involved locally as an adult assistant, whose presence allows teachers to create extra learning groups and provide one-on-one time for students,” she added. “Additional hands and minds enhance student learning and helps them reach their potential. I believe every good educator would prefer to focus on instilling a love of learning and fostering critical thinking. While that’s an admirable goal, the realities of our educational system mean that teacher must also concentrate on helping students pass standardized tests. Having another adult in the classroom can help teachers find the time to serve both masters.” Eger said that becoming a difference-maker at your local school only requires a desire to help and any amount of consistent time you can spare. “With a little training and a handful of strategies, most adults can successfully assist teachers in guiding students along their educational paths,” she said. “The bottom line is that the amount of time and effort to be an adult assistant is miniscule compared to the number of benefits and advantages enjoyed by the students who get that extra attention.”  Editor’s note: Paddy Eger is a veteran (20year) teacher from the Edmonds School District 15 in Washington State. She’s participated in classrooms as a community volunteer, a parent volunteer, a parent trainer as well as a teacher in primary and intermediate grades. Her years in the PCEP, the Parent Cooperative Education Program, as teacher and trainer created the basis for the book, Educating America: 101 Strategies for Adult Assistants in K-8 Classrooms. All the practices, suggestions and examples grew out of daily use by Paddy, other teachers, parent helpers and other adult assistants. Paddy graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in elementary education. Her dedication to children and her profession has resulted in her receiving two awards: a PTA Golden Acorn and a Teacher of the Month from her local educational association. Paddy is a Washington native. She and her husband have two adult children. They divide their time between Edmonds and Hood Canal and enjoy international travel as well. Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


Julius –

Corner Flower Shop off Colfax and Franklin streets, where she first met Julius more than 25 years ago. She said she stood by him through many highs and lows in his life. Watching him perform at Jazz@Jack’s for the first time on

Julius and Coco Brown

Standing On The Shoulders

By Sheila Smith

Thank goodness, what happens

in Las Vegas doesn’t really stay in Vegas, because Julius is back in Denver with his lively “Standing on the Shoulders: A Salute to Legends” show at the downtown club, Jazz @ Jack’s. This seasoned soulful crooner knows how to entertain with his wide vocal range and performances like no other. Julius Williams, better known as “Julius – the man of a thousand voices,” was named Las Vegas entertainer of the year in 2006 and 2007. But since returning to Denver in April, he is placing all bets on the Mile High City. He can quickly go from singing the deep bass sounds of Barry White to scatting the high pitches of Al Jarreau. When Julius belts out those velvet

sounds of legendary artists, it leaves you amazed and wanting more. His debonair appearance lights up the stage even before he opens his mouth. Julius has performed all over the world and sung with the best of the best, including Aretha Franklin, Jeffrey Osborne, Will Downing, and Toni Braxton. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., and realized he had a golden voice at age 7 while singing in church. While pursuing a singing career, he made Denver his home for a number of years. One of his biggest fans is Stephanie Holle, who he considers his adopted Godmother. She used to own Fanny’s

The Julius Show

“Standing on the Shoulders”

Sunday, Sept 4 and Sunday, Sept 18 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 & $20 VIP



Denver Pavilions - 500 16th St. #320, Denver, CO 80202

Aug. 14, during his Denver debut of the “Standing on the Shoulders” show, brought tears to Holle’s eyes. She had never been able to go to Las Vegas to see his shows. “His voice is fabulous and even richer over the past 25 years,” said a proud Holle. “And I always knew he had to share himself with others. He is the best person in the world.” During his show, Julius yelled out to the crowd, “If you feel good, somebody say ‘Yeah.’” And they did before his resonant rendition of Barry White’s, You’re the First, the Last, My Everything. Julius allows his spiritual and humble side to illuminate when paying homage to the greats. During his opening number, he immediately got the crowd riled up and clapping while singing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, as a tribute to Otis Redding. He loves interacting with his audience and shaking hands. He has a special greeting for the ladies; he’ll politely take their hand and kiss it like the gentleman that he is. Julius cannot only sing like many of the legends but absorb their characteristics into his show. He pulled out a trumpet, and wiped his face with a cloth before serenading the audience with What a Wonderful World. He made his cheeks puff out in the familiar way that great jazz trumpeter, Louis Armstrong, did. Another exhilarating performance was when Julius sat on a stool, put on dark sunglasses and rocked back and forth like his idol Ray Charles before breaking into the 1930 classic song Georgia on my Mind. “There are things we did in Las Vegas and when you introduce it somewhere else, it’s a treat,” Julius told his new Denver audience.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


One show stopping moment was when Julius placed a black derby hat on his head, twirled it around and whistled the tune of Mr. Bojangles. For those few moments when he sang the entire song, he became Sammy Davis Jr. Not to mention, the audience went wild during his tribute to the late king of pop, Michael Jackson. He put on a glittery white glove and stretched his hand to the sky that seemed to freeze in midair. He even hit all the high notes when singing Jackson’s hits Human Nature and Man in the Mirror. Of course, no one could make the ladies swoon like Motown legend Marvin Gaye. But Julius went there with Let’s Get It On and had all the ladies screaming. Others he emulates in his show are Nat King Cole and Luther Vandross. His audience couldn’t get enough of his energized version of Takin it to the Streets by Michael McDonald or the swanky rock sound of “Missing You” done in a style reminiscent of Rod Steward and Tina Turner. Julius also makes sure to sing a few duets with his background vocalist, Coco Brown. He knows the show depends on his band: musical director and keyboardist Tom Sandquist, percussionist Chi Chi Tafara, lead guitarist Tum Kepri, drummer Phil Redden, and bassist Frank Baier. Julius didn’t let his audience down with the finale, letting them hear his funky, upbeat, newly released single I Gottcha Bak. When Julius was asked how he felt after performing his first “Standing on the Shoulders” show in Denver, he simply said, “It was a very receptive audience, and I felt their heartbeat.” He continues to prove what a star he is to those who know him and wow those who don’t. He is truly a multitalented entertainer who feeds off making people happy with his music. Denver is lucky to have the man with a thousand voices back home. And Julius is just happy to be back in Denver, where he said he plans to stay. 


African American Dancers To Tackle Stage During The Rugby World Cup

World renowned Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRDE) from Denver, CO, will travel down under in early September as New Zealand sets the stage for the Rugby World Cup. Invited to participate in the fourth Takitimu Festival, 41 year old CPRD Ensemble is the first African American dance group to be invited by New Zealand’s indigenous people – the Maori – to participate in a performing arts festival established by Maori, celebrating tribal history, culture and custom. As a coming together of descendants of the Takitimu Canoe, the 2011 festival will expand this year to include international guest artists from further afield including indigenous groups from Tahiti and Canada, providing a more diverse appetite for the international stream of visitors expected to land on New Zealand shores as the country hosts its biggest sporting event in history. “We are honored to be the first dance company from the US to be invited by New Zealand Maori to participate in this special tribal celebration taking place during such a momentous occasion as the Rugby

World Cup” said CPRDE’s Senior Director Malik Robinson. Executive Artistic Director and Founder Cleo Parker Robinson will travel with the ensemble to work with dancers of New Zealand’s Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre on a collaborative choreography and composition that celebrates the harvest according to both African American and Maori cultural traditions. CPRDE will perform their signature piece, Raindance as well as excerpts from their new work, Dreamcatcher, before it premieres in Denver a week after their return. “The culture of the Maori people is evident in the diversity of their language, music and art and it has been a life-long passion for me to share my experiences with them on their homeland” said choreographer, cultural leader appointed to the National Council for the Arts in Washington DC from 2000-2005 and a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor recipient. This exciting opportunity has been made possible in part through funding from US Artists International. The ensemble arrives in New Zealand at the start of the Rugby World Cup and takes the stage on Sept. 17 in Hastings.

The Man of a 1,000 Voices presents

Standing on the Shoulders...

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


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

• Sunday, September 4 • Sunday, September 18


$15 General Admission, $20 VIP Doors Open at 4 PM. Show begins at 5 PM

For tickets:

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

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


Miss Colorado Blair Griffith’s Post-Crown Plans

Back in June, many watched Blair

By Sheila Smith

Griffith glide across the stage proudly representing her state during the nationally televised Miss USA Pageant. Her sash was draped across her body with bold letters proclaiming that she was Miss Colorado. While Griffith didn’t make it to the semi-final round in hopes of winning and bringing home the title, her big accomplishment was coming back to a home. The caramel-colored beauty queen had become the new face of homelessness, since winning the Colorado pageant, and her story had been shared nationwide. Now, she is in the transition of moving to Philadelphia, Pa. Her mother, Bonita Griffith, 58, has already moved there and is living with family members. Griffith plans to join her mother after she gives up her crown to the next Miss Colorado to win in October. “I will look for a job and take advantage of some of the scholarships that I won as Miss Colorado. I want to get my master’s degree in business administration and study screenwriting at the New York Film School where I won a $13,000 scholarship,” Griffith said. “My dad wrote screenplays and that is what peaked my interest.” Griffith will continue to make the most of her few months left reigning as Miss Colorado. She is excited about all the opportunities and doors that the title has opened for her. She plans on speaking about the struggles that

she and her mother went through so it will bring hope to others. “I will continue to do what I did as Miss Colorado in being a motivational speaker, and inspire young girls going through things in their lives and encourage them to pursue their dreams. I was able to travel and speak to different organizations. And what was interesting is how so many youths are going through different things today. They are in survival mode and forget about that dream aspect of it,” she said. The downturn in the economy ran havoc in Griffith’s life. She shared her homeless plight with local media, besides making appearances on ABC’s 20/20 and NBC’s Today show. Just a month after winning Miss Colorado, sheriff’s officers showed up at the doorstep of her and her mother’s home and served them an eviction notice. All their possessions were tossed into trash bags. Years earlier, Griffith’s father had died of prostate cancer. Not long afterwards, her mother’s ailing health left her unable to work, and a lot of medical expenses took a toll on the family’s finances. Griffith found herself unemployed after The Saks Fifth

Avenue store closed its doors upon falling victim to the sinking economy. The mother and daughter were lucky that a family friend took them into her Denver home. The situation did not deter Griffith from keeping her eyes on the prize of representing her state as Miss Colorado in a spirited and dignified manner. Griffith said it many times before: “Anyone can fall victim to this with the situation going on in today’s economy.” Around 11,377 people in the Denver metro area experienced homelessness in January 2011. Women made up 45.4 percent of these homeless, and 62 percent were adults with children. In July, a new high of 23 families sought services for the first time at The Gathering Place, the nonprofit reporting the above numbers. The Gathering Place is a drop-in day center for women, children and transgenders experiencing homelessness and poverty. The Denver facility’s mission is to provide basic emergency needs, resources for self-sufficiency, has a food and clothing pantry, provides job training and other services such as an art programs.

major part of her many other duties as the reigning Miss Colorado. “You have to shock people into realizing who’s homeless and who is being affected today in this country.” “It affects more people than in the public eye. You don’t see the 8-year old child standing on the street with a sign saying can you give me some money,” she said.

Blair Griffith with Happy Haynes and Terrance Carroll

She reflected on the title is what you make of it, as long as it’s doing something in the community. Denise Wallace, the co-executive director of Future Productions that produces Miss Colorado USA and Miss Colorado Teen USA Blair Griffith volunteering time with future Miss pageants, agrees Colorado’s there are many facets and opportunities to “Not everyone who comes to The being the title holder of a state. Gathering Place is homeless, just “Wearing that banner and crown impoverished and in need of a little allows young people to see the title extra help to make ends meet,” said holders as role models. Being the title Tanya Wheeler-Berliner, the director holder engages these young women in of public relations. “The cost of housthat crucial career building step, from ing or rent, losing a job and not being enhancing their skills in dealing with able to get one are just some of the people, networking and moving unexpected things that happen.” toward that career goal,” Wallace Wheeler-Berliner said she very explained, adding that any organizaappreciative for Griffith hosting a tion can request Miss Colorado to be fundraiser and being the spokesperpart of what they do, no matter how son at The Gathering Place’s 25th small or big the event. anniversary gala event. Miss Colorado It took Griffith four years to win became a big advocate of The her crown that she’ll give up on Oct. Gathering Place because of its support 31. Despite a few setbacks, she has for women and children. bounced back on the road to recovery “Blair’s experiences are a blessing with plans of continuing her educaand curse. She has this platform to speak out about homelessness. A lot of tion. She is thrilled that her mother is looking for their new home, and now people’s stories won’t ever be as pubhas health coverage for hospital visits. lic as hers and to say it happened to For Griffith, it seems like her life is me,” she said. just beginning again. “The biggest thing is for me to “I will miss Colorado but will come share my story with a new awareness back. It’s not a goodbye forever,” she about homelessness,” said Griffith, said.  who made the issue her platform and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


The Way Of The Superior Man By Soul Watson

2. Live with an open heart even if it hurts.


Closing down in the midst of pain is a denial of a manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true nature. A superior man is free in feeling and action, even amidst great pain and hurt. If necessary, a man should live with a hurting heart rather than a closed one. He should learn to stay in the wound of pain and act with spontaneous skill and love even from that place.

3. Know your real edge and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fake it.

This month this article is dedicat-

ed to the men and the women who love them (which means itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your divine duty to cut and paste this on the refrigerator so that your husband who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t usually read â&#x20AC;&#x153;relationship stuffâ&#x20AC;? can get a glimpse of it). This month we are going to go over 12 principles that all men should seek to implement into their life-daily. Remember, that Jesus had 12 disciples and each one served a specific purpose to the unfolding of his mission and ministry. Consider each of these principles, as a disciple in your ministry and you must make them serve the purpose of your mission and ministry. These principles are borrowed from David Deida who wrote an incredibly insightful book entitled â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Way of the Superior Man.â&#x20AC;? It is suggested reading for all men. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to add some Man Up! commentary on these principles:

1. Stop hoping for completion in anything in life.

Most men make the error of thinking that one-day it will be done. They think, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I can work enough, then one day I could rest.â&#x20AC;? Or, â&#x20AC;&#x153;One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.â&#x20AC;? Or, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my lifeâ&#x20AC;? The masculine error is to think that eventually things will be different in some fundamental way. They wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. It never ends. As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, and make love with the present moment while giving your unique gift.

It is honorable for a man to admit his fears, resistance, and edge of practice. It is simply true that each man has his limit, his capacity for growth, and his destiny. But it is dishonorable for him to lie to himself or others about his real place. He shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pretend he is more enlightened than he is â&#x20AC;&#x201C; nor should he stop short of his actual edge. The more a man is playing his real edge, the more valuable he is as good company for other men, the more he can be trusted to be authentic and fully pre- sent. Where a manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge is located is less important than whether he is actually living his edge in truth, rather than being lazy or deluded.

4. Always hold to your deepest realization.

Eternity must be a manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home, moment by moment. Without it, he is lost, always striving, grasping at puffs of smoke. A man must do any- thing necessary to glimpse, and then stabilize, this ever-fresh realization, and organize his life around it. Make your life an ongoing process of being who you are, at your deepest, most easeful levels of being. Everything other than this process is secondary. Your job, your children, your wife, your money, your artistic creations, your pleasuresâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they are all superficial and empty, if they are not floating in the deep sea of your conscious being.

er decision is wiser, you are, in effect, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t trust my own wisdom.â&#x20AC;? You are weakening yourself by telling yourself this. You are weakening your womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trust in you: why should she trust your wisdom if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t? When you deny your deep truth to please your woman, everyone will feel your lack of authenticity. However, if you listen to your woman, taking everything she says into account and making your own best decision, then you are acting in accordance with your core. You are saying, in effect, â&#x20AC;&#x153;My deepest wisdom is leading me to this decision. If I am wrong, I will learn from it, and my wisdom will have deepened. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m willing to be wrong, and grow from it. I trust this process of acting from my deepest wisdom.â&#x20AC;? This attitude of self-trust engenders othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; trust in you. You may be wrong, but you are willing to find out, and thus grow from the experience. You are open to listening to others, but in the end, you will take the responsibility for making your own decision. There is nobody else to blame.

6. Your purpose must come before your relationship.

Every man knows that his highest purpose in life cannot be reduced to

any particular relationship. If a man prioritizes his relationship over his highest purpose, he weakens himself disserves the universe, and cheats his woman of an authentic man who can offer her full, undivided presence. Your mission is your priority. Unless you know your mission and have aligned your life to it, your core will feel empty. Your presence in the world will be weakened, as will your presence with your intimate partner. Your woman will be more fulfilled with 30 minutes a day of undivided attention and ravishing love than she will with a few hours of your weak and divided presence when your heart really isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t into it. Time you spend with your woman should be time you really want to be with her more than anything else. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d rather be doing something else, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll feel it. Both of you will be dissatisfied.

7. Do it for love.

The way a man penetrates the world should be the same way he penetrates his woman: not merely for personal gain or pleasure, but to magnify love, openness, and depth. The next time you embrace your woman sexually, feel your ultimate desire â&#x20AC;&#x201C; your deepest desire in life. Continued on page 22

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

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

5. Never change your mind just to please a woman.

Sal Mancini Christopher Tye

If a woman suggests something that changes a manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, then he should make a new decision based on his new perspective. But he should never betray his own deepest knowledge and intuition in order to please his woman or â&#x20AC;&#x153;go alongâ&#x20AC;? with her. Both she and he will be weakened by such an action. They will grow to resent each other, and the crust of accumulated inauthenticity will burden their love, as well as their capacity for free action. You should always listen to your woman, and then make your own decision. If you choose to go with your womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suggestion even when deep in your heart you feel that anoth-

Friday October 21, 7:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10:00 13HERMAN%VENT#OMPLEXs$ENVER Tickets $20 in Advance or $25 at the Door


Available Now at All King Soopers, s 1-866-464-2626 s   Tickets also available at M & Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cafe 2000 E. 28th Ave. Denver   

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Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2011


What’s your flavor?


Continued from page 21 Feel why you are doing anything at all in life, and, specifically, why you are uniting with your lover. There may be many lesser reasons, but what is your deepest, ultimate reason? Neither woman nor the world is predictable. They will often seem to resist your gifts and test your capacity to persist. And, just as surely, they will tenderly respond to the authenticity of your relaxed support, the freedom expressed in your humor, and the invasion of your adamant love. They will open in love and receive you fully—only to resist and test you again, moments or days later. Neither woman nor world can be secondguessed, or fooled. They know when you are just clicking around. They want to receive you for real.

Make it up close and personal with Julius, the man with a 1,000 voices.

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011 7:30 to 11 PM Admission: $10

Flavor of Havana Cigar Bar and Cocktail Lounge 2295 S. Chambers Road @ Iliff

8. Enjoy your friends’ criticism.














A man’s capacity to receive another man’s direct criticism is a measure of his capacity to receive masculine energy. If he doesn’t have a good relationship to masculine energy (e.g., his father), then he will act like a woman and be hurt or defensive rather than make use of other men’s criticism. About once a week, you should sit down with your closest men friends and discuss what you are doing in your life and what you are afraid of doing. The conversation should be short and simple. You should state where you are. Then, your friends should give you a behavioral experiment, something you can do that will reveal something to you, or grant more freedom in your life. Your close men friends should be willing to challenge your mediocrity by suggesting a concrete action you can perform that will pop you out of your rut, one way or the other. And you must be willing to offer them your brutal honesty, in the same way, if you are all to grow. Choose men friends who themselves are living at their edge, facing their fears and living just beyond them. Men of this kind can love you without protecting you from the necessary confrontation with reality that your life involves. You should be able to trust that these friends will tell you about your life as they see it, offer you a specific action which will shed light on your own position, and give you the support necessary to live in the freedom just beyond your edge, which is not always, or even usually, comfortable.

9. If you don’t know your purpose, discover it now

Without a conscious life-purpose a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events.

Denver Urban Urban Spectrum Spectrum — — –– September September 2011 2011 Denver

22 37

Without knowing his life-purpose a man lives a weakened, impotent existence, perhaps eventually becoming even sexually impotent, or prone to mechanical and disinterested sex.

10. Be willing to change everything in your life

A man must he prepared to give 100 percent to his purpose, fulfill his karma or dissolve it, and then let go of that specific form of living. He must be capable of not knowing what to do with his life, entering a period of unknowingness and waiting for a vision or a new form of purpose to emerge. These cycles of strong specific action followed by periods of not knowing what the hell is going on are natural for a man who is shed- ding layers of karma in his relaxation into truth.

11. Don’t use your family as an excuse

If a man never discovers his deepest purpose, or if he permanently compromises it and uses his family as an excuse for doing so, then his core becomes weakened and he loses depth and presence. His woman loses trust and sexual polarity with him, even though he may be putting much energy into parenting their children and doing the housework. A man should, of course, be a full participant in caring for children and the household. But if he gives up his deepest purpose to do so, ultimately, everyone suffers.

12. Stop hoping for your woman to get easier

A woman often seems to test her man’s capacity to remain unperturbed in his truth and purpose. She tests him to feel his freedom and depth of love, to know that he is trustable. Her tests may come in the form of complaining, challenging him, changing her mind, doubting him, distracting him, or even undermining his purpose in a subtle or not so subtle way. A man should never think his woman’s testing is going to end and his life will get easier. Rather, he should appreciate that she does these things to feel his strength, integrity, and openness. Her desire is for his deepest truth and love. As he grows, so will her testing. MAN UP! Editor’s note: Hasira Watson-Ashemu (HSoul) is a relationship coach and is a syndicated columnist in N. America, Europe and Africa. He is a radio host at 89.3 KUVO and the producer of Souliloquy, a two minute audio tape on topical issues of the week. He also has conducted relationship seminars and trainings for the past 15 years. You can follow him on his weekly BLOG at or contact him at

Harvest Of Hope Dinner Feeds Dreams In Africa And America

“Giving Hope” is this year’s theme for the 10th Anniversary Harvest of Hope Dinner. The Harvest of Hope is a unique dinner fundraiser that works with all faiths and cultures to raise awareness and money for the most vulnerable, while celebrating the beauty and culture of Africa. The funds raised are for the Giving Hope program of Church World Service, in Africa and for It Takes a Village. It Takes a Village is a nonprofit located here in Denver and Aurora. The event will be held Thursday, Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Temple Emanuel located at 51 Grape Street in Denver. Caroline Thuo-Reggy will be this year’s guest speaker. Thuo-Reggy coordinated the Giving Hope program in East Africa. She is directly responsible for program implementation, which allows her to bring her passion of youth empowerment to life. ThuoReggy has over eight years experience working with children and youth development programs in various

Caroline Thuo-Reggy

countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Her focus during that time was empowering youth charged with family caregiving responsibilities. The 10th anniversary Harvest of Hope will celebrate the collaborative successes of Church World Service and It Takes a Village. In two years, Church World Service’s, Giving Hope program has helped 31,183 AIDS orphans create their own “household dreams” and develop action plans for creating small businesses that will allow them to accomplish those dreams. It Takes a Village uses resources to reduce health and social

disparities among people of color living in the Denver metro area. Many of their clients have been affected by HIV/AIDS. They work with their clients to create solutions to their needs. In 1999, Pauline Miles and Kathryn Roy met in Senegal while on a mission trip. After seeing the effectiveness and success of Church World Service, through partnership and team work with the local agencies, they both decided to tell the story in Colorado. In 2001 inspired by the tragedy of 911, Mary Ann McGeady lent her vision to an event that has built common purpose for all faiths and cultures in Colorado. And in 2002, they created the Harvest of Hope. Since its inception, Harvest of Hope has raised $742,000, touching so many lives in Africa and America. The funds raised have gone to programs such as Safe School Zones, The Lost Boys, AIDS Orphans, Water for All, and Women, Water, & Wellness. In previous years, they collaborated with the Women’s Bean Project, Work Options for Women and Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services. The public is invited to celebrate 10 years of success, join in with all faiths and cultures to build a global community. The celebration will include the Frederick Douglass Community Drum

Circle and the Cleo Parker Robinson Trainin’Group celebrating Africa, followed by a Tour-of Africa buffet. Enjoy shopping at the unique African marketplace offering artisan craft pieces from Africa and join in the silent auction for even more exclusive items. Harvest of Hope looks forward to 10 more years of African partnership programs to solve Africa’s greatest challenges. Editor’s note: Tickets are available through for $100 per person or $50 for students.

th for the 10 event: Join the 2011 Harvest of Hope

Giving Hope

Come celebrate the beauty and culture of Africa with a delicious Africa-inspired buffet, African art at the marketplace and silent auction, and African entertainment.

This year we will focus on a vital Church World Service program for child-headed households in eastern Africa called “Giving Hope.” Through it, more than 30,000 children and young adults have gained skills necessary to support their family and begin to achieve their dreams.

Individual Seats $100 and $250 Sponsor Tables $1,000 to $10,000

The 2011 Harvest of Hope Benefits:

It Takes A Village

Visit or call 303-979-0699 for sponsorship, reservations, or volunteer opportunities.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 • 5:30 pm Temple Emanuel • 51 Grape Street • Denver Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011



Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams Excellent. Very Good.. Good... Fair.. Poor. The Help

    No stars

entrusted to her over the years, namely, “You is kind; you is smart; you is important.” By contrast, Aibileen’s relativelymercurial best friend, Minny (Octavia Spencer), is not nearly as stoic, which explains why she frequently finds herself fired for insubordination. After all, the strictly-enforced housekeeper code of conduct calling for no spanking, touching or sassing white folks, and especially no using their bathrooms

Fire in Babylon

Fire in Babylon 

Cricket Documentary Recounts Rise and Dominance of West Indian Team


The Help 

Segregation Era Saga Explores Unquestioned Socialite-Maid Relationships


athryn Stockett made an auspicious debut in 2009 with the publication of The Help, a poignant period piece examining the unquestioned relationships of entitled, white socialites and their deferential black maids in Mississippi. Although the story is set in the author’s hometown of Jackson in the early Sixties, her bestselling novel is more fictional than autobiographical in nature. The screen adaptation unfolds from the point of view of Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis); a long-suffering nanny left bone-weary by a life spent “lookin’ after white babies.” Born in 1911, she is currently raising little Mae Mobley Leefolt (Emma and Eleanor Henry), a recent addition to a prominent Southern family. As narrator, Aibileen is able to admit to the audience the existence of a “bitter seed” planted deep inside of her soul since the recent death of her only son. Still, she is not one to risk her job by allowing her face to reveal even a trace of that resentment in the presence of her employers. Instead, the grammatically-challenged domestic dutifully nourishes the impressionable toddler in her care by regularly reciting the same spiritual mantra she’s shared with all 17 other children

tends to test her patience. Passive-aggressive Minny is lucky even to be alive after her latest outburst which led to her being dismissed by Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), an insufferable shrew who only got what she deserved. Minny next lands a position with Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain), a newcomer ostracized by other well-to-do ladies because of her white trash roots. The plot thickens, upon the arrival back in town of cotton plantation heiress Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone). Having spent time away from the racist region, the aspiring journalist now finds herself offended by a way of life everyone else around her seems to take for granted. Feeling for the plight of the longsuffering black servants who had raised her and her friends so lovingly despite the discrimination, Skeeter decides to write a book recounting what life in Jackson is like from their perspective. So, starting with Aibileen and Minny, she starts approaching sisters to cooperate with the project, which is no mean feat, given that this is Mississippi at a time when it was often fatal to challenge the status quo. Truth and reconciliation belatedly achieved, like a dream deferred.

uperficially, cricket looks a lot like baseball, except the players use a flat bat, hit the ball on a bounce and don’t bother to run around the bases. But you won’t need to understand all the fine points of the baseball-like sport’s rules to enjoy Fire in Babylon, a documentary detailing the exploits of the athletes who represented the Caribbean against a host of colonizing countries during their glory days of the Seventies and Eighties. What makes the politically-tinged documentary so compelling is the fact that the West Indian team had to endure racist taunts while on tour whether in Great Britain, Australia or elsewhere around the former English empire. But again and again they prevailed, despite the fact that white fans were not prepared to sit idly by as the descendants of their former colonial subjects beat their heroes at their own game. Plus, the West Indians apparently irritated opposing audiences by adopt-

Rated: PG-13 for mature themes and ethnic slurs Running Time: 111 Minutes Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures To see a trailer for The Help, visit:

ing an aggressive approach to what had previously been thought of as a genteel contest. Nonetheless, they enjoyed a 15-year run as undefeated champions. To the extent that the picture has a plot, its tension thickens when the team was invited to participate in a tournament in South Africa. This transpired during the reign of the Apartheid regime, so they had to decide whether to enter the country in defiance of international sanctions in return for a big payday. We learn that those who did defy the boycott were called traitors, mercenaries and sellouts not only by their fellow West Indians but by their leaders like Jamaica’s Prime Minister Michael Manley. No longer welcome in their own homelands, some of the shunned sought asylum from South Africa’s allies like the U.S., only to end up living out their days in obscurity, broke and often drug-addicted. An invaluable lesson that there can be social consequences attached to playing a sport without a conscience even if you’re the best around at throwing, whacking or catching a ball. Just ask Muhammad Ali. Unrated Running Time: 84 minutes Distributor: Tribeca Film To see a trailer for Fire in Babylon, visit: Rise of the Planet of the Apes 

Prequel to Fabled Franchise Again Pits Primates against People


ise of the Planet of the Apes is the seventh installment in the fabled Fox franchise which began way back in 1968 with the legendary Charlton Heston as the leading man. This episode stars James Franco as the protagonist of an origins adventure dedicated to explaining exactly how an antagonistic army of anthropomorphic primates came into existence.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


The film unfolds in present-day San Francisco where we find Dr. Will Rodman (Franco) working feverishly on a cure for Alzheimer’s at Gen Sys, a prominent biotech corporation. Besides having an altruistic concern for the general welfare of victims of the disease, the dedicated scientist also has a personal stake in the research, since his father (John Lithgow) has recently started showing signs of senility.

Dr. Rodman meets with some very promising results after testing a genetically-engineered retrovirus he’s developed in the lab. ALZ-112 appears to not only repair damaged brain cells, but the miracle drug even has his favorite chimp, Bright Eyes (Terry Notary), exhibiting several signs of human-like intelligence. Unfortunately, on the very day that the doctor arranges to announce the exciting news to the company brass, the chimp escapes from her cage and goes on a destructive rampage all around the facility. And when she finally crashes through a plate glass window into the meeting of the board of directors, she is shot to death on the spot by a security guard. Next, Gen Sys’ mortified CEO (David Oyelowo) impulsively orders Will to euthanize any other animals already administered ALZ-112. However, with the help of a sympathetic orderly (Tyler Labine), he secretly saves Bright Eyes’ newborn by sneaking it out of the suddenly hostile institution. Will and his gorgeous veterinarian girlfriend, Caroline (Freida Pinto), are able to raise little Caesar (Andy Serkis) like a child because of its ALZ-112 altered DNA. Although the sensitive couple manages to forge a tender bond across species, sadly, the same can’t be said for their neighbors and the rest of humanity which remains cruelly inclined to judge a chimp by the covering of its skin instead of by the content of its elite mind. Therefore, it’s no surprise when Caesar finally gets fed-up enough to steal some canisters of Will’s new and improved formula, ALZ-113 in order to free and inoculate legions of fellow apes from zoos and labs en route to a bloody showdown on the Golden Gate Bridge.


A feel-good flick which proves that primates are people, too! Rated: PG-13 for intense violence and frightening images Running Time: 105 Minutes Distributor: 20th Century Fox To see a trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, visit:

Cowboys & Aliens Cowboys & Aliens 

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig Co-Star in GenreBlending Adventure


owboys & Aliens might be the most poorly-executed blend of movie genres since custard pie slapstick was mixed with a Martian invasion in The Three Stooges in Orbit back in 1962. The good news about this campy Western/sci-fi combination is that it has about just as many laughs per minute as the Stooges’ ill-advised adventure. The bad news, however, is that director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) probably wasn’t trying to make a comedy. Regardless, the audiences mostly likely to enjoy Cowboys & Aliens are those ready to laugh at the improbable sight of gunslingers in ten gallon hats trying to get the drop on aliens who have arrived on Earth with designs on mining all the gold out of the ground. Loosely based on Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s illustrated novel of the same name, the film co-stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, bona fide matinee idols whose presence in a cheesy B-flick with cheap special effects only adds to the unintended hilarity. The story unfolds in 1875 in Absolution, New Mexico where we find the town folk initially disturbed by the arrival of Jake Lonergan (Craig) a grizzled drifter wanted dead or alive for the murder of Alice Willis (Abigail Breslin). But then a mysterious mothership descends on the desolate desert and starts abducting people one-byone while simultaneously extracting ore. So, local lawman Woodrow “Don’t call me Colonel” Dollarhide (Ford)

decides to join forces with Jake whose futuristic bracelet proves a better weapon against the invaders than his standard issue six-shooter. In fact, all the humans in the vicinity put aside their differences in defense of the planet in an uneasy confederacy of settlers, Indians and outlaws. Unfortunately, there’s nothing convincing about their ensuing Old West showdown with extraterrestrials, and it’s hard to believe that it took a collaboration of eight screenwriters to craft such a hokey, cliché-ridden script. Sorry, judging from this disaster, cowboys and aliens simply don’t look like they ever belong up on the big screen together. What’s next, the Lone Ranger and Tonto take on the Body Snatchers?

Rated: PG-13 for violence, brief nudity and a crude reference Running Time: 118 minutes Distributor: Universal Pictures To see a trailer for Cowboys & Aliens, visit:

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love 

Moore, Carell and Gosling Co-Star in Midlife Crisis Comedy


fter 25 years of marriage, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is still as smitten with his high school sweetheart as the day they first met. Consequently, when Emily (Julianne Moore) suddenly announces “I want a divorce!” one evening, he’s so stunned by the bombshell that he goes into shock, opens the car door, and tumbles out while it’s still moving. Still, his bruises heal way before his broken heart, since his wife remains resolved to kick him out of the house on account of the steamy affair she’s been enjoying with a colleague (Kevin Bacon). With no choice but to bite the bullet, Cal grudgingly moves into a tiny apartment where he watches helplessly as his once-idyllic life continues to unravel. For, not only has he lost his wife,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


but he also soon finds himself alienated from his kids, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and Molly (Joey King), because he now only gets to see them occasionally, on weekends during visitation. And he is even being abandoned by guys he thought were his good pals, like Bernie (John Carroll Lynch), who ends their relationship after being henpecked by a spouse who has sided with Emily. Lonely and depressed, Cal ends up frequenting a singles nightclub where he proceeds to strike out with every woman he approaches. Luckily, his futility is observed from across the crowded bar by a regular, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Out of pity, the suave ladies man takes the terminally-nerdy newcomer under his wing, and teaches him how to dress fashionably, what manly drinks to order and how to deliver a pick-up line. In due time, the makeover magically changes Cal from a wallflower into a womanizer, and perhaps foremost among his many conquests is a flattered schoolteacher (Marisa Tomei) he charms by calling her “the perfect combination of sexy and cute.” Curiously, his transformation is completed just as confirmed bachelor Jacob finally falls in love for the first time in his life with Hannah (Emma Stone), a brainy knockout he’s prepared to build his life around. Meanwhile, Emily’s relationship with sleazy David has soured, leading her to have second thoughts about dumping Cal. Thus, the question looming over the horizon reads, if she changes her mind about breaking up, will it already be too late to reconcile? So unfolds Crazy, Stupid, Love, a delightful and deceptively-complex, midlife crisis comedy co-directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. The film features a colorful ensemble embroiled in a hilarious fashion in an array of ill-advised liaisons. Ryan Gosling shines in a comic outing which is a bit of a departure for the accomplished dramatic actor. Other standouts include Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Emma Stone and Marisa Tomei, while Analeigh Tipton makes the most of a support role as a sex-starved, 17 year-old babysitter. A refreshingly-tasteful, romantic romp which manages to entertain and elicit lots of laughs without relying on a vulgar brand of humor. Rated: PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and coarse humor. Running Time: 118 Minutes Studio: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Crazy, Stupid, Love, visit:


South Carolina From top of Wentworth Mansion

By Regina Lynch-Hudson

City Smarts: As the second largest city in South Carolina (Columbia, the capital is first), Charleston’s population is 107,845 residents. Charleston’s location makes it a “regional hotspot” drive-market for tourists from the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia. Charleston’s cruise port lures the world’s most esteemed Cruise brands, including Celebrity, Holland America, Regent Seven Seas, and Princess. Visitors can also take a short boat ride to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. A growing influx of history buffs and foodies nationwide scurry to the town known for its historic inns, B&Bs, military forts, and award-winning “lowcountry” cuisine. The historic district showcases buildings dating back before the Revolution, with many dating back from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. High-dollar shopaholics will be more than satisfied by the town’s outlay of retail therapy. And to satisfy those on the souvenir-list, there’s the five-block Old City Market, offering a plethora of local foods, crafts, artifacts and casual garb. Golfers can get in the swing of things too, on over a dozen courses sprawled throughout the area. It’s no wonder that tourism is Charleston’s largest industry. Jetsetter: Craves Soul Food, a family owned and operated catering company, serves Gullah/Geechee Soul Food that upstages that in any restaurant in Charleston! Though the family specializes in the greens, sweet potatoes and fixings that their ancestor’s grew in the area, they’ve catered functions for companies nationwide, including conventions and employee appreciation luncheons. For more info: Getting Around: No need for a

cab! You can easily navigate downtown Charleston by foot. If you get tired of walking, jump on a bus, trolley or horse-drawn carriage. Survival Kit: Pack your binoculars and your walking shoes ─ birding tours and activities such as canoeing in the marshes and fly-fishing are available on Kiawah Island, about 45 minutes south of Charleston. In Charleston, you’ll need your flats to traipse downtown’s boutiques, parks, shops and historic buildings.

courses, two award-winning tennis complexes, a 21-acre Night Heron Park, three pool complexes and 500 villas and luxury private homes. For more info: 800-654-2924, One Sanctuary Beach Drive, Power Lunch: The Charleston area offers countless eateries for biz execs Catching ZZZ’s: Spend a few cozy to gather for “food for thought”. For a nights at Charleston’s five diamond one-on-one business lunch, the quaint, Wentworth Mansion, www.wentopen-air, 82 Queen,, a 21-room luxury property that oozes is ideal. Then, for authentic antebellum Charleston Kiawah Resort top dinner destinaappeal! The 24,000tions (not open for square-foot storied lunch), there’s the downtown mansion, intimate (seats 50) was originally built as and historic (former a Second Empire carriage-house) Victorian family home circa 1886. For more in 1886, by a wealthy info: cotton merchant. For a, workout, climb the or take a leisurely spiral staircase to the drive to The Ocean top floor of the Room at Kiawah Wentworth Mansion. Charleston Wentworth Mansion

Charleston Ocean Room

Island Golf Resort. For On the cupola deck, Charleston Kiawah Resort more info: www.kiawahreyou’ll take in views of the room.php. A parting tip: city’s quaint tin order fried green tomarooftops, lush parks toes anyplace they’re and the sea beyond. offered ─ I’m hooked! Beach bums can dart She-crab soup is anothover to Sanctuary at er local must-do! Kiawah Island Golf Cultural Chow: Resort for a totally difMagnolia’s Restaurant ferent experience! is the go-to spot for an Kiawah (KEE-a-wah) unrivaled taste of the Island earns its name South. Got there, but it from the Native was difficult to get up, American tribe who after devouring an lived there during the appetizer of fried green tomatoes over 1600s. The waterside resort unfolds a grits- with local goat cheese, and 150-room inn, five championship golf Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011



tomato chutney, followed by Pan Seared Sea Scallops. For more info: 843577-7771, 185 East Bay St.; To De-STRESS: You’ll smell like a delectable dessert and your limbs will be as limp as Jell-O after The Avocado Coconut Wrap at the luxurious nature-based Sanctuary Spa at Kiawah Island Golf Resort! First, I was drenched in a hydrating body mask of luscious avocado butter blended with omega-rich coconut oil which was massaged into my skin. THEN, a mini facial massage and scalp massage was icing on the cake! For more info: he-sanctuary/ Footloose & Fancy-Free: Charleston was once the capital of Southern slavery, and no visit to the area is complete without a tour of its many plantations. As a humbling reminder of how far the country has come, stop by Magnolia Plantation. You’ll explore four original slave cabins, as well as a neighboring cemetery. For more info: The Aiken-Rhett House, a former governor’s mansion built in 1818, offers an audiotape tour of the house and its slave quarters. For more info: Someone Helpful: Thanks to our friends at the Charleston Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and other tourism destinations, for providing data, facts and figures for this article. For more info: Editor’s note: Doing Biz In features continuously updated coverage of a full spectrum of top cities where readers conduct business. Publicist and travel writer Regina Lynch-Hudson has penned destination catalogs and articles for companies such as Vacation Express, AirTran Airways and North American Airlines. Along with husband, photographer Courtland Bivens III, she handles destination marketing for resorts, bed and breakfasts, and tourism boards. More information on The Write Publicist & Co. can be found at

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Destination Health Promotes Living A Healthy Lifestyle


The Center for African American Health launched the first Destination Health 5K Walk/Run and Health Learning Expo on July 30, 2011 in Denverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s City Park. More than 400 people participated and 100 volunteers gave their time and talent to ensure this inaugural year was a success. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you see City Park on any other day, you might not see more than four or five African Americans walking or running at any given time,â&#x20AC;? said Center for African American Health Board Member Brother Jeff Fard, â&#x20AC;&#x153;This event is an example that says Africans Americans can come out in mass and change a norm by getting up, getting active, moving around and being healthy.â&#x20AC;? With over 30 exhibitors on-hand, participants had the opportunity to learn about healthy choices and receive educational information from a variety of non-profit organizations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we think about the health disparities in our country and in our community, we know every event like this helps increase awareness,â&#x20AC;? said Happy Haynes, at-large candidate for the Denver Public Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Board of Education in a recent interview with KUVO radio, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We can only close that gap if we all get involved. I really want to commend the Center for African American Health for starting this event and hopefully next year


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Denver Urban Spectrum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2011


even more people will hear how much fun we had and participate.â&#x20AC;? On-hand to kick off the race was Denverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mayor Michael Hancock, CBS4â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gloria Neal, and former Denver Bronco Haven Moses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are trying to create a better appreciation in community of how important our health is,â&#x20AC;? said Haven Moses, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and to support one another in living a healthy lifestyle so we can be around a lot longer.â&#x20AC;? The Mary Louise Lee Band rounded out the day with music from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;back in the day.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re grateful for the leadership of Haven Moses as the chair and all the members of the steering committee for contributing so much to the successful outcome of the event,â&#x20AC;? said Executive Director Grant Jones. The Center would also like to thank all of those involved in making the event a success with a special thanks to sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers and participants. Stay tuned for a save the date announcement on next yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event. 


Bill Gates Announces 2012 Scholarship Program For LowIncome Minority Students

Denver Water Renames Montclair Pump Station

Denver Water Board members, employees, local officials, Montclair neighborhood residents and the family of Chips Barry gathered last month to honor Denver Water’s former manager at a ceremony to rename the Montclair Pump Station. The new name, Hamlet J. “Chips” Barry III Facility, recognizes Barry’s 19-year service as the manager of Denver Water. He had planned to retire last summer, but was killed in an accident May 2, 2010. During Barry’s tenure at Denver Water, the utility implemented a conservation program that is nationally and internationally recognized as a model of success, built a recycled water distribution system, invested millions of dollars in improvements at its treatment facilities, monitored recovery from several devastating wildfires in Denver Water’s watershed and led the work to recover from one of the worst droughts in the city’s history. Montclair Pump Station is in the Barry family neighborhood and is part of the recycled water system put into service during Barry’s tenure as manager of Denver Water. Barry was a Denver native who attended Denver Public Schools, graduating from George Washington High School in 1962. He graduated cum laude from Yale College in 1966 and earned a law degree from Columbia University Law School in 1969. Prior to his position at Denver Water, he was the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources for Gov. Roy Romer from 1987 to 1990. He was named manager of Denver Water in January 1991.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program (GMS) will select 1,000 talented students next year to receive a goodthrough-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. Scholars will also be provided with personal and professional development through their leadership programs, along with academic support throughout their college career. The program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established to provide outstanding low income minority students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest. To date, the program has given scholarships to more than 15,000 students. Continuing scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. The deadline for submitting an application is Wednesday, January 11, 2012. To apply, visit

Take Control Birth Control Pilot Program Underway

A pilot program to reduce unintended pregnancy is succeeding at a Denver Health clinic in the Park Hill neighborhood. Nearly one-in-three women say that it’s difficult to pay for birth control. Take Control Birth Control removes that barrier by providing free or low-cost birth control accompanied by free contraceptive counseling at the Park Hill Family Health Center. But, free or low-cost birth control is just one reason behind the program’s success. Another draw is Talese Holston, a health educator counseling women at the Park Hill facility. She listens to women about their needs and concerns and answers their questions before they choose a birth control approach. She also follows up with patients to see if the contraceptive method is working for them. For more information, call Talese Holston at 303-602-3741. The research behind program design was conducted across the Denver Metropolitan area using information from hundreds of women. The

and able Pro-Choice as well, we Colorado might as well NARAL stay with thefunds one person weprogram have chilFoundation the pilot dren, history, and estate Health. with cooperatively withan Denver already. Gregory Lee Elected as 19th Myth #3: Another one that I hear is President National that a coupleofdivorces due to “irreconAssociation of Black Journalists cilable differences.” Association of Black IThe wasNational joking with a client recently Journalists (NABJ) announced that saying that it is almost easier for Gregory Lee, Jr. multi-billion dollar companies to has been elected merge than it is for two people to get the 19th President together and build a truly equal, interof the organizadependent, healthy marriage. It is diftion. to mold two separate lives into a ficult Lee, the Senior marriage. We have different family Assistant Sports background sub-cultures, men and Editor atare The women so vastly different, and Bostontimes Globethere and are differences in many the current NABJ socio-economic backgrounds, religion, Treasurer, won the election with race, age, education, etc. And that294 votes, 57 percent of the vote, defeating doesn’t even account for all of our opponent psychological Deirdre Childress of TheIt is squirrelly baggage. Philadelphia Inquirer who received easier, in some ways, to build false, 168 votes.enmeshed Charles Robinson of – less shallow, relationships Maryland Public Television received pain and hassle up front. The down50 votes. side to that is that they do not last. An Born in New relationship Orleans, LA,isLee interdependent stillis the eldest of three children. The fresh and passionate at age 65 as37 you year-old is the youngest elected walk hand in hand on the beach.president of the 3,400 member organizaDifferences are reconcilable; it is just tion. He has also workedhard for the deep, painful, irritating, work. It Times-Picayune The Washington isn’t the work of and cowards or weakPost. During his career in NABJ, Lee lings. I frequently encourage couples served for four years as the national to “stand in the box” and storm secretaryissues. and has also served an can through Almost any issue unprecedented four terms as chair be reconciled – infidelity, physical of the Sports Journalism Task Force.abanabuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism, The election results were announced donment, etc. You just need a couple following the closing of the at the of very patient fighters whopolls are out of Philadelphia Convention site the victim paradigm. The Center, stakes are of the NABJ Annual Convention too big2011 to not be successful. andMyth Career Five hundred #4:Fair. Another extremelyand fre-fifteen votes were cast by eligible NABJ quently heard refrain is, “We just members in this year’s election which grew apart.” wasThat conducted is what online. happens when a shallow, weakly built relationship is AARP Reflects On The Legacy exposed to busy work schedules, Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. financial childcare, andof time. AARPpressure, announced the release a When weprovoking aren’t deeply connected to thought video that captures each other’s time can cause the true spiritsouls, of Dr. Martin Luthererosion to quitting the lifeKing,that Jr.’sleads legacy. The 48thon anniverless marriage. Frequently, these are


couples who do not comfortable sary of the March onfeel Washington and having conflict. Their unresolved Dr. King’s historic I Have a Dreamconflicts stack like bricks that28form an speech wasup celebrated Aug. at the unseen wall between them. This does official dedication of the Martin not need to beJr.cause for divorce, Luther King, Memorial. This ishowthe ever. It is entirely As each first memorial on fixable. the National Mall to individual pokes behind wallsone honor a man of color andtheir the only for real selves, athen the thattheir doesdeepest, not commemorate presireal dentrelationship or a war. begins to emerge and mature. As they how tomoment, fight, a Reflecting on learn this historic spark starts ignite. Issues begin to AARP’s Myto Generation created a stirget and warm fuzzyLiving feelings ringresolved, video tribute titled “The begin up Luther insteadKing, of distance Legacytoofcome Martin Jr.” that and coldness. is about choice, profiles severalLove contemporary leaders commitment, what is right. who reflect onand the doing ways Dr. King’s Myth #5: Once people are confrontwork changed their lives. Former U.S. ed with the connection Secretary of obvious State Gen. Colin L. Powell between their here and nowColman marriage (Ret.), acclaimed journalist and their childhood I McCarthy, Freedom relationships, Rider Rev. Perry sometimes hearAttorney “I don’t General get it. The A. Smith, U.S. Eric past is the I can’t do anything Holder andpast. a host of others shared about my childhood now. It is over. their thoughts and observations on Move on.King’s The here andlegacy now has nothhow Dr. living continues ing to doour withworld my childhood.” to shape today – including pastnonviolent is not the past. We marry theThe recent revolution in our pasts. Sometimes we do it several Egypt. times. We homage attract and settle for and the to Paying to Dr. King same type and quality of love that the nonviolent campaigns to securewe had children. That he is deeply wired civil as rights for which stood, the into Usuallymomentous this argument for not videous.includes footage wanting work on marital therapy from the to Civil Rights Movement, andin order to clearfrom the way for a divorceofis commentary representatives offered upAmerican by well-guarded individuthe Asian Justice Center, als whoFarm do not have the strength or United Workers and American the courage to face the pain that Islamic Congress. dwells inside that aired has itslive roots The deep special segment at in childhood. the pre-dedication ceremony to an Myth #6: A very common reason audience of 400,000, and also it can be for is that force seendivorce nationally onsome publicoutside television caused stations.the break up. “He had an affair,” “her mother-in-law broke Go or them up,”local or “money pressures call your PBS station for times. In caused “he was on additionit,” toor developing thethe video, Internet.” AARP donated $1 million to the conAffairsofare of a broken struction thea symptom Martin Luther King, Jr. marriage, Memorial.not the cause of it. Beefs with are about Toin-laws learn more aboutour the own manylack of voice, lack ofisboundaries, own ways AARP addressingour topics ofnot having home or interestleft to the 50+psychologically African American choosing to marry community, go to someone who hasn’t left home. Things like money or the Internet don’t cause divorces. They are

tools. Th bad. It is issues int that we b responsib side force choose d and unde Myth biggest r to hopele it will ev their par change. People just need tion. The digm) th need to b judged. T such an e willing to and adju pain of d you only order to dent mar ing some connectio accounta teachable sleeves a lots of tim

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Inequity And Injustice In DPS? Op-ed by Ed Augden


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According to the 14th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law. If one group of citizens is treated unequally, then those citizens’ rights are violated. Do inequity and injustice exist in Denver Public Schools? Why is all this important to the average taxpayer who doesn’t have children in DPS? School climate is one factor that determines where a future business might locate. Future residents, who do have children, won’t move to an area where the school climate is perceived to be unhealthy, or even if they do, may choose another school district (e.g., Jeffco). A healthy school climate contributes to a healthy business environment. Linda Darling-Hammond, in The Flat World & Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, makes the case that the achievement gap between poor students and their peers is growing as the nation’s ethnicity changes from majority white to a diverse nonwhite. Most foretelling, is her contention that the fate of ethnic minorities will mirror the fate of the rest of the country. Without equity and justice, “education reform” is doomed to fail. Yet, the figures that DarlingHammond presents document the increasing appearance of “apartheid” schools across the country almost or at 100 percent ethnic minorities, without any real political clout. Approximately 1100 students were scheduled to enroll at Kepner Middle School in southwest Denver while there were to be approximately 370 students at Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Sunshine Academy at Rishel Middle School, a building of comparable size. Is Kepner overcrowded with a high concentration of ethnic poor while Rishel is underutilized? Regardless of intent, are students at Kepner experiencing overcrowding with, likely, larger classes and a shorter school day? If so, isn’t that inequity and injustice for students and teachers at Kepner? More ominously, is Kepner becoming an “apartheid” school? Possibly the most glaring of DPS’ mismanagement and possibly inequitable and unjust policy is the ignorance of the 2006 Harvard Civil Rights Study Project, “Denver Public Schools: Re-segregation, Latino Style.” The report concluded that since 1995 when court ordered busing for integration ended, DPS has become increasingly segregated due partly to persistent segregated housing patterns

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


and through action, and inaction, of DPS. Minority students, especially African American and Latino, “…find themselves in increasingly high poverty schools with weaker academic outcomes, such as low graduation rates.” It is the charge of the schools, according to the Harvard report, to provide opportunities that reflect the growing multiracial nature of the community. How have the current changes corrected or contributed to the conclusion of the Harvard report? Without even acknowledging the report’s existence, DPS administrators and the Board of Education contribute, in my opinion, to the suspicion held by many community members that DPS is indifferent to the increasing segregation and isolation of students of color and poverty. “Education reform” in DPS and across the nation seems to occur in urban schools with high concentrations of impoverished and disadvantaged students. Rishel and Kepner typify that concentration. As mentioned, Rishel’s charter school, KIPP, has less than 400 students. Kepner, on the other hand, also with a high concentration of impoverished and disadvantaged students, has an enrollment of approximately 1100. Thus, while a few hundred may benefit from fewer numbers, smaller class sizes, a longer school day and school year, Kepner’s students may be in larger class sizes, a shorter day and year. While other high achieving nations (as measured by the Program in International Student Assessment – PISA) assure equal funding, high quality teachers and teaching, challenging curriculum, etc., many “educational reformers” and elected officials, still contend that student achievement on standardized tests should be used to evaluate teacher performance and that unequal funding shouldn’t matter. SB 191 is evidence of that thinking. Various reputable studies, including the 1966 Coleman Report provide evidence that a diverse student (school) population is more significant student achievement than “…is any school factor.” Student achievement is dependent upon a variety of factors, not just an excellent teacher. The conclusion is clear. Parents with political clout succeed in gaining special treatment such as those able to enroll their children in high performing and small exclusive charter schools such as Denver School of Science & Technology (DSST). Parents without political clout, such as Westwood parents, enroll their children at Kepner, low performing and large. For parents without political clout, “choice” is likely an empty promise.  Editor’s note: Ed Augden is a community activist and retired DPS teacher. He resides in Denver.

It Is Trashy and Fresh And Well Preserved At “Dixie’s Tupperware Party”


By Raymond Dean Jones

nly in America could this phenomenon occur, Alabama, Dixie (the woman, that is), and Tupperware parties, in a fake trailer set with cheap wood paneling and shag carpeting from which Dixie escaped to go on the road selling. And only in America could be produced the side-splitting “one-woman” drama that puts them all together at the Garner Galleria Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Starring Kris Anderson as Dixie, the unusual play is presented as a well acted drama concerning an experience that happens every day in American living rooms. But never in the history of Tupperware parties has this kind of drama ensued. Aside from the standup comedy aspects of the play which Anderson carries out wonderfully, both as to timing and as to the ability to transform the usual and even the expected into gut-busting funny

Great American Cookies Selects Colorado Entry As 2011 Great American Mom Great American Cookies has announced that it is presenting the

stuff, he does some very fine acting. Everyone knows that this play will be about selling Tupperware. Who knew that, along with some factoids about Tupperware, we would also learn from Mr. Anderson about Dixie Longate, the hard drinking, trash talking, and fast talking country corn pone woman, who got sick and tired of the Mobile, Alabama domestic scene, and went out on the road to the big cities to sell Tupperware, and actually sells it as a part of the play (Tupperware catalogues are at each seat and table, and people in the audience often make purchases). The show, written by Anderson, as

presented in the Garner, is totally spontaneous, and very personal, based on part on the intimacy on the Garner. You feel that at any moment Dixie is going to be in your lap demonstrating an item of Tupperware or calling you a fag or a lesbian. Her demonstrations are so wonderfully done that you a very well ready to buy some of the products, and maybe admit to being what she called you. Oh, she’s effective. And her character is so wonderfully presented, and her look so right for a southern belle selling Tupperware with her big red hair and sounding so country, while engaging very effective sales techniques, that the


$5,000 Grand Prize to the winner of the nationwide 2011 Great American Mom Contest – Coloradan Dimity Easley and her mother, Juanda Perkins. Easley surprised her mother with the prize during a trip to Great American Cookies at Citadel Mall. Easley nominated her mother as the Great American Mom during a nationwide online essay contest earlier this year. Her winning essay was selected from nearly 900 entries and praised the selflessness and caring nature of her mother, a single parent and Administrative Dean at a Pensacola magnet school. Easley and her mother received a $4,000 Four Seasons Spa Getaway, plus $1,000 in airfare, at the July 22 presentation.

Everest College – Aurora Names Barton President

Carissa Barton was recently promoted to president of Everest College’s Aurora campus. In her new position, Barton will oversee all administrative departments, including admissions and student affairs as well as community and business relations. Barton received her bachelor’s degree

from Hastings College in Nebraska where she double majored in human service administration and sociology. She spent three years working at career colleges in Colorado before joining Everest College. Barton began her Everest College career at the Thornton campus in 2007 as the director of admissions. After three years she was promoted to the role of vice president where she partnered with the campus president to support overall campus operations. Prior to joining the Everest College team Barton spent two years at DeVry University’s Westminster campus as the senior mentor-admissions advisor.

ABTP Announces 2011 Scholarship Winners

To celebrate their accomplishments and to continue their educational pursuits, the Alliance Of Black Telecommunications Professionals announced and presented a $1,000 scholarship to the 2011 scholarship award winners at an awards ceremony on June 22. The award recipients were Ashley Ajayi from George Washington High School in Denver; Vincent Brown Jr. from Colorado

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


audience suspends belief and gets into the party. Her off-the-cuff-humor, and non-stop repartee has the audience in a non-stop laughing binge. Some of her most effective humor is in spontaneous reaction to actions and reactions from audience members, such as their skepticism or non-belief concerning the attributes of certain Tupperware products, many of which have dual purposes which she reveals in a sneaky, salesperson way, and sometimes in a sexually suggestive manner. Woe to the audience member who displays derision as to her or the Tupperware; after all, it is American and used to prepare or store good old American things like chocolate cake, brownies, cup cakes, and the like. If you don’t like it or its uses, you must be a pervert or worse. I do not know whether screams, shouts, yelling, and threatening people sells Tupperware. I can tell you that it certainly sells Dixie, and sells her audience, and will have you fighting to remain in you chair from some of the deepest and heartiest laughter you have ever had. And, if you would like, she will actually sell you some Tupperware, or a can opener. After all, she didn’t become one of the top five sellers of Tupperware in the country from just sitting around drinking strong, clear liquid from mason jars.

Academy in Lakewood, Ashley M. Gaffney from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, and Corbin C. Jones from Kent Denver School in Englewood.

Noel Honored As 12th Recipient Of DPL’s Eleanor Gehres Award

Thomas Jacob “Tom” Noel is one of Colorado’s most celebrated historians and authors. Known as “Dr. Colorado,” Noel has written or co-written over 40 books about Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, and has won many local and national awards including the Colorado Book Award. On Sept. 14, the Denver Public Library will recognize Tom as the 12th recipient of the Eleanor Gehres Award, which was established in 2000 in honor of Gehres, who headed the Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department for 25 years. For over 20 years, “Dr. Colorado” has been involved with the Library serving on several committees, and has donated numerous materials and photos to the Western History and Genealogy Department. For more information call 720-8651820 or E-mail

Nominate Your Favorite Black Teacher For An Award

TheEduCtr is now accepting nominations from the public. The nomination can be a self-nomination or come from a third party. Categories include: Lifetime Achiever in Education; Stellar Performer in Education; Post Secondary Educator of the Year; and Cornerstone Educator Award. There will also be Excellence in Education Awards. Nominee must be an outstanding Black Educator in a public or private school in the State of Colorado. The deadline to nominate is Nov 30. Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship and Awards Banquet 2012 will be Friday, March 2, 2012. For Information about awards please call: 720-331-2576

CBWPA Hosts Annual Tribute To Black Women Luncheon

The Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) will celebrate its 32nd annual Tribute to Black Women Luncheon honoring African American women who have a history of commitment to excellence and service within our community and state. Seven outstanding women will be honored for their contributions to the community, The keynote speaker will be Dr. Claire Garcia, Second Lady of Colorado. Dr. Garcia is a published professor of English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Her current research and writing is focused on gender, race and modernism in the Atlantic triangle. The luncheon is Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street in Denver. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. If you have additional questions please call 303 388-4983 or E-mail us at

3rd Biennial EspeciallyMe Middle School Conference

Framed by the philosophy “The Price of Dignity,” and “The Standard of Excellence,” the EspeciallyMe Conference will address a multitude of issues impacting the lifestyle, spirit, dignity and personal values of African American young ladies in high school and the many factors that diminish personal self-worth and self-value. The conference is Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Prairie Middle School, 12600 E. Jewell Ave. in Aurora. Registration fee is $10 for students and $25 for parents and educators. The deadline for registration is Oct 7. For more information and to register, visit or email Patricia Houston at

2nd Annual boys2MEN Workshop


The boys2MEN Workshop is a resource to help expose boys to positive adult MEN and reinforce the positive things they can do with their lives. The program was designed for boys ages 8 to 18. Topics covered include: spiritual balance, dress for success, goal setting, anger management, dating and sexual harassment, and arts and expression. Ronald K Cook, author of “13 Years of Misunderstanding,” will be the special guest. Participants will also receive scholarship information, a t-shirt, tie, and a gift bag. Lunch will be provided. Pledges are encouraged to sponsor five young men for $100. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Montbello High School, 5000 Crown Blvd in Denver. For more information, visit or call 720-935-6465.

Advocates For Recovery To Host Rally For Recovery

The Colorado-based Advocates for Recovery rally will include speakers representing all stages of recovery from addiction, including some of the community’s most recognizable faces of recovery. Non-profit organizations offering pathways out of addiction will be on hand to offer information on their specific recovery programs, including Arapahoe House, Turnabout, Denver Health, It Takes a Village, ARTS. Participants will join together to proclaim that recovery from addiction is real and that there is hope for those currently suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. The Rally for Recovery will be Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fort Logan in Denver. For more information, visit or call 720-435-5320.

Grant Writer’s Workshop

Learn how to write proposals for funding projects, programs, and events. This informative workshop is packed with details on: how to get started, collaboration and partnerships, identifying how much to ask for and from where, learn the “Real” behind the scenes info, and why you may need a fiscal sponsor. Write your first proposal during the workshop! The workshop is Saturday, Oct.1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2291 South Joliet St. in Aurora. To register, visit click on “locations near you” tab and select the city where you want to attend a workshop.

Early registration is $99. For more information, E-mail or call 720329-6094.

Fall Festival Planned At UCM

On Saturday, Sept. 24, from 11a.m. to 6 p.m., the United Church of Montbello invites the community to the Fall Festival at 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver. There will be food and beverages, live music, free professional massages, a community clothes trade (bring clothes, in good condition, and trade with others), arts and crafts, holiday gifts, inflatable rides, Karaoke and dance contests with cash prizes, a raffle for a laptop computer and much more. Proceeds go to benefit the Montbello Cooperative Food Bank Ministries. For more information call 303-3730070 or visit

DARE to Lead Workshop

Building excellence in leadership: The Denver Foundation, through its Inclusiveness Project, is sponsoring a two-part workshop: Saturdays, Oct. 1 and 8, from 9 a.m. to noon, held at The Denver Foundation, 55 Madison St., Suite 745, Denver. Breakfast will be served at 9 a.m., and the program begins at 9:30 a.m. This series DAREs emerging leaders to make the most of their leadership capacity. Assessment tools will be offered to help you define, analyze, apply and flex your leadership style. Targeted to early-to mid-career people of color, the workshop is free to enrolled participants and will be facilitated by Angela Davis. Participants must be able to attend both sessions. To register visit

MED Week Business Award Winners Announced

Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, celebrated locally, regionally and nationally, was started by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. It is a week that is set aside to honor the many minority owned businesses that are operated throughout our nation, and the corporations and advocates who have endeavored to promote these businesses. The MED Week Partners are responsible for the planning of the full week of activities in Denver. MED Week 2011 will be held September 12 – 15. The list of the activities and registration information for the week can be found at

Calling All Seniors: Free Fun, Food, & Games

Hospitality House (The Bosworth House, 1400 Josephine St., in Denver),

Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


opens for seniors on the 1st, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, from September through June. Assistance League of Denver hosts seniors to a variety of fun activities including crafts, Bingo, movies, live entertainment, a book club, popcorn and candy, and lunch. The first Wednesday of each month offers a rotating schedule of events including crafts, Book Club; Movie Day, a luncheon followed with Bingo. For more information about the big luncheon and to reserve your place, call 303-439-7554, for all other Hospitality House activities, call 303807-0619.

Colorado Youth At Risk Seeks Mentors For New Fall Programs

Colorado Youth at Risk is seeking 100 new mentors to help change the lives of youth in the Denver Metro area. CYAR is launching a new generation of their Steps Ahead for Youth program at George Washington High School in Denver and Aurora Central High School in Aurora. CYAR is the only youth mentoring organization in the area that focuses on long-term partnerships with students starting their freshman year of high school. This approach reaches teens before they fall through the cracks, pairing them with successful adults who are with them through their entire high school experience. For more information attend an informational meeting dubbed “Creating Promise,” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and at CYAR offices at Manual High School on Sept. 6 and Oct. 4; George Washington High School on Sept. 27 and Oct. 11; or Aurora Central High School on Sept. 20. To RSVP, E-mail or call 303-623-9140. For more information, visit

Literacy Day Events Benefit Colorado Libraries

International Literacy Day, Thursday, Sept. 8, will be noted in the state by a partnership between Library People – Friends of Colorado Libraries and Barnes & Noble Colorado. The International Reading Association estimates that 780 million adults, nearly two-thirds of who are women, do not know how to read and write. They also estimate that 94 to 115 million children worldwide do not have access to education. A percentage of sales from Sept. 8 through Sept. 13 will benefit Library People if the purchase is identified with the bookfair number 10508869 or a voucher presented. For information,

DAVA Presents Our Stories

In the exhibition, Our Stories, the job training youth from Downtown Aurora Visual Arts explores personal identity and community diversity through art. Prints by guest artist Ameet Patel add to the exhibition, which opens to the public from Sept. 9 through Nov. 18. The opening reception on Friday Sept. 9 from 4 to 8 p.m. will feature hourly screenings of short films produced by DAVA youth in collaboration with the Colorado Film School. DAVA (Downtown Aurora Visual Arts) is located at 1405 Florence St., one block south of East Colfax in the Aurora Arts District. This exhibit is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or by appointment. For more information, E-mail, visit or call 303-367-5886.

It Can Happen To You Opens In October

NMG Productions and Blueprint Ministries come together to present It Can Happen To You, based on a true story. Paris, an urban inner city teen from The Bay faces trials on a daily basis that have wrenched her soul. Worst of all, it comes from those who


she trusts the most. Left to face the harsh realities of the world alone she decides to try God as a means for change. As Paris enters a new life with Christ she quickly finds out that problems exist everywhere. Come see why this production is taking the city by storm as Paris tells her story in this inspirational, riveting play. Showings are Oct. 7 through 9 at Afterthought Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. in Aurora. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information, E-mail

Colorado Sickle Cell Annual Gospel Musical Fundraiser

Maxwell Theatrical Self Image Inc. and No’ Mo Violence Cultural Dance Group present “I Almost Let Go!” and “A Taste of Broadway.” The Fundraiser will be at the Absolute Word Church, 11001 E Alameda Ave. in Aurora on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information and tickets, call 720-857-9262.

Free Health Fair For Baby Boomers

Colorado baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are invited to

a free health fair where a variety of nonprofit health organizations will discuss ways to become healthy and stay healthy while living with a chronic disease. The health fair will be Saturday, Oct 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn at 600 S. Colorado Boulevard in Denver, For more information, call Nancy Steinfurth at 720-917-3965 or E-mail

League of Women’s Voter’s Denver Kick-Off Meeting

Education is currently a hot topic in Denver and elsewhere. The national League of Women Voters’ study on the federal government’s role in education will be the focus of the Denver League’s kick-off meeting. The study will include an in-depth look at the history, funding and equity issues, common core standards, early childhood education and special needs students. Michael Griffith, senior policy analyst for the Education Commission of the States, will discuss the federal government’s role in funding and equity issues. The meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at Montview


Around Town

David Sanborn

Marcus Miller and


Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St. For more information, call the league office at 303-321-7571.

The Blue Shoe Run For Prostate Cancer Slated For September

Join The Urology Center of Colorado Foundation for The Blue Shoe Run for Prostate Cancer, a 5K run/walk, 1.5mile family walk and kid’s fun run. All monies raised from The Blue Shoe Run will go toward TUCC Foundation’s efforts to improve local prostate cancer screening, community education and research programs. A free prostate cancer screening will also take place inside TUCC the morning of Sept. 24. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Colorado today, but it’s very treatable when diagnosed at an early stage. African-American men and men with a positive family history should begin annual prostate cancer screenings at age 40. The Blue Shoe Run For Prostate Cancer will be 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 2777 Mile High Stadium Circle in Denver. The cost is $35 for Adults ($40 race day), and $20 for youth and seniors ($25 race day). For more information and to register, visit



Show at

August 2011


Denver, CO

George Duke at Denver Botanic Gardens Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


Letters To The Editor

Continued from page 3 borhood schools with charter schools that many students won’t be eligible to attend because they fail to gain entrance through a lottery system that is, by its nature, discriminatory. Further, they ignore studies concluding that, while the teacher may be the most important factor in a child’s life at school, the effects of poverty diminish that influence. For example, a malnourished child who starts school at age five, lags behind peers in vocabulary development and without extra help will never catch up. Ooms further accentuates this growing gap between privileged and struggling or impoverished Democrats in his comments regarding the 2010 Colorado primary Democratic campaign between Andrew Romanoff and Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff was likely the candidate of those folks who work for a living while Bennet represented those who apparently believe that the best candidate is the wealthiest candidate. Perhaps Bennet won because he accepted contributions from PACS and wealthy contributors. Romanoff rejected PAC money. Ooms also represents the dubious view that “reforms” are succeeding. He uses Lake Middle School as an example of this success. In reality, it is the International Baccalaureate program that is succeeding with approximately 400 students while West Denver Prep, a charter school appears to be struggling to reach 100 enrolled students. By the district’s standards, West Denver Prep at Lake is a failing school. Most notably, Ooms ignores the failure of the “redesign” of North High School. With great enthusiasm and little study, the principal, who had instituted reforms that were succeeding, was reassigned and the faculty forced to reapply for their positions. Most did not and were reassigned. Within two years, student achievement declined, the dropout rate increased and the school population declined. Most important, students lost trusted teachers who were replaced by inexperienced and often indifferent teachers. Not since, has the district acknowledged the results and, instead, will launch a similar effort in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch this fall. Certainly, Mr. Ooms represents the prevailing viewpoint of “reformers” – high stakes standardized testing (that causes increased stress among poor students), charter schools that enroll the privileged and the lucky and ignore those left behind in regular schools, and teacher evaluations that link teacher appraisal, retention and promotion to student test scores

Make an impact on our community!

despite evidence that such an approach is flawed. This viewpoint appears to be based on personal opinion and anecdotal information and rejects any evidence that contradicts the false paradigm. Educational reform in other countries such as Finland contradicts that paradigm. Teachers are highly respected and their appraisals, retention or promotion are NOT linked to student test scores.

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School Vouchers, Code For “Whites-Only” Welfare Program

Editor: Douglas County is waging judicial warfare with their demands for school vouchers. Again, blacks are being asked to fund this “whites-only” program, just like we’ve done for decades with regards to gas, oil, and farming subsidies. There are nearly zero black owners in any of these industries, which are cash-cows for white folks. Don’t be fooled. Proponents of school vouchers want us to fund white private and public schools. I don’t know any black family along the Front Range that are sitting around their kitchen tables sweating over school vouchers, with regards to where their kids will attend expensive private and religious schools. All voucher initiatives are nothing more than an attempt by bigots to stop taxpayer funding in our public schools (white flight). Fact is, blacks can’t afford to pay their potential share of where school vouchers stop short of full student funding. AWOL-MIA! On both sides of the political aisle, not a single black politician in Colorado has stepped up to the plate regarding this racist and plantation-style issue (vouchers). Back in the day, these type of efforts were called segregation. I worked and paid taxes as a teenager. However, I was denied admission to the University of North Carolina (UNC), simply because I am Black. I can also remember when I attended segregated public schools in Asheville, NC, we were given used books that white students has already defaced. It was the norm to read in these books where white kids had written the N-word because they knew us black kids would be getting their used and outdated books. Ooops! Progress is where I am known paying the college tuition of criminalillegal Mexicans at UNC.



James J. Tenant Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, Retired Centennial, CO Denver Urban Spectrum — – September 2011


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DUS September 2011  

Denver Urban Spectrum September 2011 Issue