DUS - Denver Urban Spectrum: September, 2021

Page 1

Photo by Jerry Metellus

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 51 History-making Years...4

Vaccine Facts Not Convincing Enough...8 COVID-19 Protocols at Schools and Nursing Homes...10 & 16 New Superintendent at Denver Public Schools...12 COVID-19 Conversations with Doctors...14

Photo by Martha Wirth

MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER Journey…an act of travelling from one place to another Volume 35

Number 6

September 2021

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Barry Overton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joshua Glen Theresa Ho Lisa Marie Martinez Angelia D. McGowan Thomas Holt Russell

We are all on journeys, often not knowing what the outcome will be. This month we share the outcomes produced by Denver icon, Cleo Parker Robinson, and her 51 years with her dance company. Angelia McGowan shares the history of how, when and who helped make it happen. Read about the road Cleo travelled and where the company is today as she looks forward to celebrating this achievement with their upcoming performance, Journeys. Denver Public Schools has been on journey in search of a new superintendent. Alfonzo Porter shares thoughts and plans by the new superintendent, Alex Marrero, who met with community members and education advocates to discuss issues facing families. The world has been on a journey and COVID-19 continues with twists and turns daily, producing uncertainty and confusion for many. Theresa Ho talked to parents, teachers and administrators about COVID-19 protocols as youth prepared to go back to school. Lisa Marie Martinez checked in with residential care centers to find out how they are combatting COVID-19 with an array of protective measures. Thomas Holt Russell and Joshua Glen share facts about vaccines and opinions of people who aren’t convinced, after a community conversation with doctors – revealing there are still unanswered questions, hesitancy and confusion. One realization that was shared is that the journey of this virus will continue for years to come, so we must all continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Journeys do come to an end and DUS once again is paying tribute to those who we have lost: Samuel “Sam” Batey and John Cary whose lives were full and dedicated to helping others as they journeyed through life. May they both rest in peace. Until next time, enjoy!

Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

COLAB Tanya Ishikawa - Story Coordinator ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris ADVERTISING & DIGITAL MARKETING Theresa Ho GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Theresa Ho DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

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 2021 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303292-6543 or visit the Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

LETTERS / OPEDS / OPINIONS cial legislative debates around housing, gentrification, criminal justice, and education. That is how the district has always been drawn, and that is why all of the representatives for those districts – King Trimble, Wilma Webb, Glenda Swanson-Lyle, Penfield Tate, Rosemary Marshall, Leslie Herod, and yes, yours truly once occupied that seat a long time ago — have been African Americans/ Black.” Editor’s note: Wellington E. Webb and his wife, the Hon. Wilma J. Webb, served as District 8 representatives in the Colorado State Legislature.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb Lambasts Proposed Legislative Boundaries Editor’s note: Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb told Colorado’s Legislative Redistricting Commission that proposed legislative boundaries in their preliminary staff map would dilute Denver’s historic capital city representation, and fractures communities of color, including Black churches. “Voters in the City and County of Denver should not be treated as the forgotten stepchild of Colorado,” Webb testified before the state’s redistricting commission. “Denver is not an afterthought. The arbitrary way your staff approached the task of drawing the State House and State Senate maps - starting their work from the borders of our state and then carving up Denver last - must be revisited. “There is a historic community of interest that runs from the neighborhoods of North Park Hill all the way to Welton and California Streets in Five Points,” Webb said. “To divide them is to clutter the community voices in the ear of that legislator, and risk marginalizing those communities for cru-

Sha’Carri Richardson, was not the only one robbed Editor: And what’s wrong with an athlete having a few hits of marijuana before a race, or a glass of wine or a beer for that matter? In the case of wine and beer, the right amount is converted by the body to energy. Energy is essential in athletics. In the case of cannabis, the THC and other similar compounds, puts the user in a state of relaxation or sedation, also a state of disinhibition.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


I view these effects as a plus, especially for runners who have to focus and concentrate on the sound of the shot of the starters’ pistol. I feel the more relaxed, the less likely they would be to anticipate and jump the gun. What cannabis does is slow time – connect one to a greater perception of reality or one might say, greater awareness of the natural world and the ways in which we connect with it, and are without for the most part ignorant of the fact we are connected to it. We are rarely, if ever, one with it. What are called “mind altering drugs” can be gateways to higher consciousness if used responsibly. Now I know researchers have a grocery list of negative side effects from cannabis use. I never experience any of these, but then perhaps that is because I am not a chronic user. I see no Continued on page 28

Dancing with Cleo

Arts and Culture Institution Celebrates 51st Anniversary By Angelia D. McGowan


n 2020, countless milestones around the world were celebrated on a much different scale than most anticipated due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD), which marked 50 years as a Denverbased artistic and cultural institution, was no different. They were on a roll, looking forward to tour dates in the U.S. and abroad, when everything stopped. Tours to Senegal, China and Mexico were all canceled. The 2020 Dance/USA Conference, which was scheduled to be held in

Denver in June 2020 with a keynote by Cleo Parker Robinson, was canceled. This national service organization shifted its conference to a virtual format, leaving the world-renowned choreographer delivering a keynote to participants worldwide — from an empty studio. It was odd at first, but the company found its rhythm online. In honor of its golden anniversary, CPRD also debuted its first-ever virtual concert entitled, “Out of the Box.” While deeply disappointed that they missed their 50th anniversary on a larger scale, Parker Robinson believes that it allowed time for selfreflection. “I had to get to a place where I could try to see what others were seeing in regard to the 50 years,” says the artist who is also warmly known around the world as simply Cleo. “I had to ask myself ‘Who are we? The big we. Who is me?’ I really was all of the ‘we’ and blessed to be me in the ‘we,’ in something larger than myself.” Parker Robinson, who cofounded the institution in 1970

with Schyleen Qualls and other community leaders, recalls using the stillness of 2020 to sit and view archival dance footage and documentaries of performances that they rarely, if ever, went back to review. “It was truly Sankofa, looking back at ourselves and sometimes laughing at ourselves, and sometimes being in total awe of what we were able to do. We’d ask, ‘How’d we do that? How did that happen?’ It was remarkable,” she explained. “We weren’t just busy. We were doing things that were meaningful. We stopped to revisit that meaning, and how so many people made a dream a reality for this community. So much sacrifice was made. People were so bright, committed, courageous …how risky and how young we were.” Today, Parker Robinson is the recipient of numerous honors and awards from civic, community and artistic organizations around the world, as

well as four honorary doctorates with the most recent being from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is called on by organizations and performance venues to bring her ensemble for performances, and conduct workshops, master classes and motivational seminars. Her philosophy of “One Spirit, Many Voices” is reflected in all she does, and is the vision she brings to everyone she meets, everywhere she goes. That vision has taken her company around the globe to such places as Iceland, Singapore, Belize, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and throughout Europe and the African continent. She extends the reach of the company as one of the five founding dance companies of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, along with Philadanco in Philadelphia, Dallas Black Dance Theater in Texas, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in Ohio, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. “Cleo is a treasure, but what she has created with the company is bigger than her,” says

CPRD Fall Concert “Journeys,” Sept 25-26. Ellie Caulkins Opera House: The Four Journeys explores Mexico’s four root cultures – indigenous, Spanish, Asian, and African. Freedom Dance, created by Grammy Award-winning jazz icon Dianne Reeves, will be performed live, and choreographed by Cleo Parker Robinson, as is Standing On The Shoulders, a celebration of unity, renewal, and reunion. Fusion by Haitian, by Haitian Jeanguy Saints, is a myriad of Haitian, African and French influences. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


Gary Steuer, president and CEO of BonfilsStanton Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering, through arts and culture, a creative, inspiring and connected community in the Denver region. The foundation has funded CPRD with more than a $1.1 million since their grant-making relationship began in 1989. Steuer has personally known the Denver native since he became head of the foundation in 2013. Prior to moving to Denver, he recalls hearing of the reputation of the cultural organization. He notes that Denver has a lot of great arts institutions, but CPRD is one of a few Denver-based companies that tours. He believes that for some people around the world, the first way they may know Denver is through CPRD. Within the first seven years of being established, the dance ensemble was one of only two U.S.-based Black ensembles to perform in Lagos, Nigeria at Festac 77, known as the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. Parker Robinson jokingly says, “Once we went to Africa it was over. We knew exactly who we were. There was no doubt. We were not the lost tribe.” The ensemble toured for various organizations, including the NAACP and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. One tour took them to an air force base in Florida where the ensemble was racially discriminated against and not served food. Situations like that reinforced her intention to be a force for change. “You couldn’t just dance. You had to be an activist,” she says. “We didn’t have the luxury to just be artists. We had to be activists because you have to change things not only for

to use its influence and social capacity to help elevate up-andcoming arts organizations in the region, and that includes providing an alternative space to places such as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) complex. Because DCPA is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit theater organizations, Robinson says “a lot of organizations just can’t get dates at the DCPA. If they could get dates, they can’t

yourself but for those who would come after you.” It’s a sentiment that registers with her son, CPRD Executive Director Malik Robinson. “We don’t take comfort in being one of the few Black performing arts organizations in the region,” he says, adding that CPRD wants

afford it. The difference for us is we’re much smaller and we have a focus on Black, brown and indigenous people. If you look at the 30 companies that perform in our space, I’d say 50% are led by people of color. It’s providing access for folks to come in to create and build test works and be in the laboratory in a space that’s in downtown Denver where they just wouldn’t have access otherwise.” Continued on page 6


TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY September 25 @ 7:30pm September 26 @ 2pm At the Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Grammy Award winning Dianne Reeves

International Choreographer Amalia Viviana Basanta Hernandez

Tickets and Pricing at Cleoparkerdance.org

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


Cleo Parker Robinson Continued from page 5 “Cleo as a mentor has inspired so many young dancers to start their own companies,” says Deborah Jordy, executive director of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), which is the only cultural funding model in the nation that serves a region of seven counties. SCFD funds nearly 300 organizations across the Front Range urban corridor, including CPRD, distributing more than $60 million annually. “Not everyone takes on that mentor level that she has.” Not everyone is positioned to speak to social movements the way Parker Robinson does. For example, on March 6, 2020, CPRD hosted the signing ceremony for the Crown Act with Gov. Jared Polis. The bill was introduced in Colorado by state Rep. Leslie Herod, state Rep. Janet Buckner and state Sen. Rhonda Fields, who were all in attendance. Also in attendance was Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed Black youth shot by a neighborhood watch coordinator in 2012 while visiting relatives living in a gated community. The Crown Act prohibits discrimination based on a person’s traits that are historically associated with race, such as hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles, including locs and braids, The interchange between art and activism is seamlessly intertwined for Parker Robinson, whose life is steeped in the civil rights movement. On any given day, the cultural institution can be in either space. However, when she was commissioned by the Vail Dance Festival to create a piece to bring people together in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder she was

Our Black legacy of talent from Hollywood was, and is, irrepressible!” She went on to say, “Lena Horne, the Nicholas Brothers, Hattie McDaniel (who was a member of our Historic Shorter AME Church, our headquarters!), Carmen de Lavallade, Geoffrey Holder, Sidney Poitier…we stand on their shoulders. Watching the film “Stormy Weather” reveals a Who’s Who of Black talent. In it, we see Katherine Dunham, my mentor; Donald McKayle, my inspiration; Harry Belafonte, my friend…and so many more stars.” Although her name is on the entrance to the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance facility, the building pays homage to those who helped to make the dream a reality. When visitors take the stairs or elevator up to the

surprised. The process was not easy because it brought up a lot of anger. She wondered how she could turn that anger into something that could unite. Then over time, the ancestors started revealing themselves to her, easing her process. The performance in August was a success in many ways, including bringing her full circle at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater, where in 1987 she performed as part of the amphitheater’s opening ceremony. It was also where she met legendary photographer Gordon Parks. Everywhere she turns there is a journey worth sharing, and ancestors worth remembering. Also in August, CPRD presented its Dancing with the Denver Stars Gala. The event, created by CPRD Board Chair Gwendolyn Brewer, met its fundraising goal of $100,000. It supports kindergarten to 12th grade Arts in Education (AIE) residencies for dance movement and culture as well as their expanded Movement Diaries for preschool and eldercare participants throughout the eightcounty Denver metro area. Building on virtual outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic, both AIE and Movement Diaries continue to connect communities in support of mental and physical health. The evening’s goal was to significantly grow these programs and expand new cultural themes and choreography in program content. Following the event, Parker Robinson said, “Black actors and dancers in Hollywood continue to inspire Sankofa moments for us all. The Akan people of Ghana taught us that we look back on the past as we step forward into the future.

theater or down to the academy, they will pass by a mural on the wall and door created by Denver artist Adri Norris. It displays faces of founding board members and advisors and sweeping visuals of the ensemble members that reach two floors in height. At the top of the stairs from the front entrance of the building, (once the oldest African American Church in Denver) is a baobab tree graphic on the lobby wall which also recognizes the supporters of the organization. “We’re all here and we’re breathing together,” says Parker Robinson, who acknowledges her ancestors, parents, husband, son, artists, and community in the village of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. “Life is so precious. It can be so beautiful if we think beyond ourselves.” Editor’s note: For more information, visit cleoparkerdance.org/.

Moving Forward: Five Pillars for Growth and Change In a concerted effort to support their performances and outreach, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance has developed five pillars to enrich their foundation as they grow. Academy of Dance: The year-round academy teaches students of all ages, and collaborates with Metropolitan State University of Denver in a bachelor of fine arts degree program in dance, the International Summer Dance Institute (ISDI), and an in-school lecture demonstration and teaching residency series during tours. Arts-In-Education: The outreach program with multiple curricula reaching (before COVID) 80 schools and more than 15,000 students (now reaching more than 40 schools in Colorado and globally), and the STREAM theater technology program for middle and high school students (offered virtually). Dance Ensembles: A modern dance ensemble (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble) and second company (Cleo II), which tour both nationally and internationally, a youth ensemble, and a junior youth ensemble. Health and Wellness: Starting this year, the art outreach expands into wellness and creates collaborative partnerships in the areas of health, performance art, civic engagement, and community events, as well as policy development for arts advocacy in education and health equity. Theater: A renovated 240-seat CPRD Theatre is also home to 30 nonprofit and arts organizations who rent it to develop, rehearse and perform their works. It features a rebuilt stage with technology upgrades and a new sprung floor launched in January 2021 to enable rental groups to present their virtual performances.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021




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Darryl and Lori Collier, Georg Hill, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Cleo Parker Robinson, Rosalind “Bee” Harris, Tanya Ishikawa and Rev. Quincy “Q” Shannon Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


Hard Sell Most anti-vaxxers still not convinced of facts By T. Holt Russell


s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths are rising, health and social organizations across the country are working to improve the vaccination rates of Black and Hispanic people, who historically experienced a low rate of vaccinations rates for several reasons. Most of the people contracting COVID-19 are unvaccinated. A New York Times analysis of 40 states and Washington, D.C. stated that breakthrough infections (those infections that the fully vaccinated catch) are only a tiny fraction of one percent of the total of all infections. Even though efficacy in clinical trials and the effectiveness in the real world have undeniable evidence of the vaccination’s efficiency, the Black and Hispanic communities are not yet on board with the idea of taking a vaccine. Data on the efficiency of vaccinations is everywhere and easy to access. Across the globe, studies from places such as Israel have backed Pfizer’s claim of up to 92% effectiveness at preventing infection and 87% effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations due to COVID-19. A study published by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine supports the claim of high effectiveness rates as reported worldwide. However, none of this information is enough to convince a large number of people who are totally against taking the vaccine or are on the fence about making a decision.

Citizen Panelist Sandra Williams explains why she got vaccinated against COVID-19 to the other panelists and participants in the Community Conversation, hosted by Denver Urban Spectrum and the Struggle of Love Foundation. Photo by Melovy Melvin

obstetrics and gynecology physician; Dr. Terri Richardson, internist and vice-chair of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative; and Dr. Lane Rolling, a nationally known infectious disease specialist and director of the Tropical Pathology and Infectious Disease Association. Even this group sometimes had slight disagreements, and on the whole, the message on vaccinations was sometimes ambiguous at best. As one of the participants pointed out, “This is one of the reasons we don’t have confidence. You guys can’t even agree on this stuff.” A quick survey of the people attending the COVID-19 conversation event indicated that approximately 50% of them were vaccinated. Each doctor spoke about the benefits of vaccinations, and in fairness, acknowledged there is a problem convincing African Americans that the vaccination is safe. The reasons for not trusting the vaccinations covered a wide range of causes of confusion and mistrust. Some of the reasons for not getting a

Dr. Oswaldo Grenardo is a family medicine specialist from Aurora, Colorado. In my conversation with him, Grenardo made this point when I asked him how to convince the population to trust the vaccine. “We need to make sure that people are getting accurate information from sources that can be trusted and that they should be trusting, so whether or not those are from medical sources, Black providers, Black organizations, we need to make sure that the data and information that is given to them is as accurate as can be. There is a lot of obvious misinformation going on. There is any number of different of fallacies or mistruths or incorrect data that are being used that affect a person’s ability to make a good sound judgment.” A few weekends ago, I attended a Community Conversation about COVID-19 and the Vaccines. Denver Urban Spectrum sponsored the event and featured a panel of prominent community and nationally known African American doctors: Dr. Johnny E. Johnson,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


vaccination included a history of medical experimenting on Black people, the vaccine is safe for white people but not Black people, a hoax perpetrated by the drug companies to line their pockets with cash, God’s punishment on his people, the FDA has not authorized it yet, and even the biblical mark of the beast was mentioned. The facts about Black people participating in trials, the reallife success with fully vaccinated Black people and the vaccines having been made in part by Black scientist made little to no difference to the people in the room, or apparently to Black people in general across the nation. Sometimes it is the messenger. One of the panel members suggested that former President Obama would have been the person who would have been able to convince the Black population to get the vaccine. Still, a few of the anti-vaxxers groaned at that suggestion and said even Obama would not change their mind. What should we do to get Black and Hispanic populations vaccinated? Lately, there have been a lot of confessions made by anti-vaxxers from their hospital beds. They admit to making a mistake by not getting the vaccination earlier. These attempts are honest and sincere but just like the lack of effectiveness of those violent car crash videos in stopping drunk driving, those sickbed confessions of people who used to think and sound like the antivaxxers are not even moving people to change. In the end, the difference between the death rate of the vaccinated and unvaccinated will determine who is right, even if not everyone believes the numbers. However, if our tolerance and indifference for the number of deaths caused by COVID -19 continue to grow, the entire nation will be in for a very bumpy ride..

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Parents, Teachers and Administrators Concerned about COVID-19 Protocols By Theresa Ho


his school year is filled with uncertainty due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, which the CDC has warned is more than two times as contagious and can possibly cause more severe symptoms than previous variants.

ing. But you know, its kids, so ultimately they’re gonna mix.” Though he is concerned about his children’s safety, he wants his kids to be able to live their lives as normally as possible. He and his wife try to keep their kids healthy mentally. Most of them are athletes, so they go beyond the school

John Whiteside with (left to right) wife Gina, and children Maya, John Gregory, Gianna and Alana

John Whiteside, a parent with four children – two in college, one in high school, and one in middle school – said that he wants his kids to have inperson learning but wants to make sure that schools have comprehensive plans for preventative measures against COVID-19. “The masks are one thing, but you hope that the schools are checking for temperatures and the symptoms people have when they’re sick,” Whiteside said. “We’re just trying to prep them to think logically about constantly washing their hands, staying sanitary, social distanc

day to do athletics and participate in other activities. According to Whiteside, most of his family is also vaccinated, and they are trying to follow CDC guidelines. He himself is not vaccinated, but he plans on getting the vaccine soon for work. One Colorado parent, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed frustration that different schools have different COVID-19 prevention protocols. As a parent of four children, ages 16, 18, 20, and 21, she said that she receives so many messages from schools that it is difficult to keep track of what

the current mandates are. For example, some of her kids need to wear masks while others do not. “Primarily, the schools are trying to require fully-vaccinated individuals, but there’s always a loophole because you can just submit a personal exemption in place of it and then be okay,” the parent said. “No one is really requiring the vaccine and saying, ‘You will not be able to attend class without it. We just need your status so that we know.’” According to the parent, three of her children have opted for personal exemptions so that they do not have to get vaccinated, but she and her 18 yearold daughter are fully vaccinated. “They are more comfortable just wearing masks if that’s the requirement. They don’t seem to mind them, but with them being on social media constantly, they get the good, the bad, the ugly out there … they’re just not comfortable with the vaccine,” the parent said. She said that she is not really bothered that her kids do not want to get vaccinated because she did not expect to be vaccinated herself, but her job required her to be. “I’ve sort of been with the same persuasion … For many, many years I’ve never even gotten the flu vaccine. I’ve never gotten any optional vaccines for my kids. Not a huge advocate of that,” she said. “I’ve got adult children, basically, so I can’t say, ‘you get this or else.’ I didn’t want it myself. But I had to modify my plan. But yeah, they’re really not budging.” She has also seen some of her children struggle with virtual learning and worried all summer that the three children that are not vaccinated would not be able to attend classes without the vaccine. “The girls did fine with the virtual,” the parent said. “The

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


boys, they’re learning style was much more in person: ‘I need to see it and feel it and hear it.’ It was hard for them to grasp the virtual. I think my college-age sophomore, at the time, felt like he was being robbed of the college experience.” The parent also added that last year, she and three of her kids contracted COVID-19, but they were fine. “It wasn’t anything … it sort of passed through the household, and that was it,” she said.

Layered Mitigation to Protect Students in School Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, was a guest on SiriusXM POTUS, where she spoke with host Laura Coates about topics like reopening schools as well as vaccine and mask mandates. During the conversation, Weingarten said, “It’s a matter of getting our kids back and making sure that they thrive. And if it requires being in masks in schools, let’s make sure there’s good ventilation, let’s make sure we can be outside and have some mask breaks, but ultimately it’s more important to get them in school and to keep them safe.” According to her, schools need to have a layered mitigation system of vaccinations, mask mandates, and COVID-19 testing to help combat the virus. In an email, Dr. Rand Harrington, the head of Kent Denver School, wrote, “The unpredictability of the COVID19 pandemic has been very challenging for educators at Kent Denver and across the nation. We feel extremely fortunate that our teachers have shown flexibility and resilience as we all navigate this everchanging landscape. One thing that has not changed – thanks to the efforts of our teachers, Kent Denver students have continued to learn and excel.” For classes to remain fully in person for the rest of the year,

Harrington wrote that the private school in Englewood plans to continue layered mitigation strategies that allowed them to remain fully in person for most of last year. Such strategies include indoor masking regardless of vaccination status, promoting vaccinations for those who are eligible, increased ventilation, encouraging their community to stay home when sick, and regular testing of unvaccinated employees and students. “Kent Denver School strongly believes that vaccination provides the best possible protection for individuals and our wider community,” Harrington wrote. “More than 95% of our employees are fully vaccinated, as are the vast majority of eligible students.” Last summer, the school also brought their Breakthrough program, a partnership with Denver and Englewood Public Schools back to campus for inperson classes and enrichment. The program seeks to increase the educational and social opportunities of financially under-resourced middle and high school students through a year-round program and to motivate and train college students for careers in education.

A Teacher’s Perspective Broderick Hartman is a new high school teacher at Strive Prep Schools, a network of charter public schools across Denver. Hartman was a student teacher at Columbia Middle School in Aurora Public Schools last year when the pandemic first began. “In a way, it was easier in not having to go anywhere, but it didn’t also feel as fulfilling as in-person feels because you don’t get to see the learning happening with students, and it’s a lot harder to create those relationships virtually over Zoom. So it had its pros and cons,” he said. His high school students will be attending class in person this year. All staff and students will

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be wearing masks, but with the Delta variant on the rise, he’s not sure what the school year will look like. “I think from teachers and students both, the biggest issue was there was so much more of a disconnect,” he said. “It didn’t feel as ‘real’ as in-person teaching would feel. And there was just not a lot of learning getting done. Students didn’t care as much when they were sitting in bed with their cameras turned off, sort of just half paying attention. It was really, really, really hard just getting students to care.” While Hartman emphasized that he felt supported by the administration and his fellow coworkers both when he was a student teacher at Columbia Middle School and as a new teacher at Strive Prep, he also thinks that there are many teachers that have felt unsupported. “They had to completely change curriculum and change course with very little support or very few models for how to do that. So I think I mostly just got lucky with my administration being so supportive,” he said. He has yet to meet a teacher that’s against getting vaccinated, but he is interested in seeing how his high school students feel about the vaccine..



Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


After Tumultuous Year DPS Selects New Superintendent

New DPS Superintendent, Dr. Alex Marrero, meets with community members and education advocates to discuss issues facing families at an event in early August. Photo by John Allen

By Alfonzo Porter


ver the past year, Denver Public Schools (DPS) looked as if it were a ship without either a rudder or anchor. The school district suffered from a revolving door leadership, fractured relationships, multiple competing community interests, instructional practices interrupted by a global pandemic, disparate achievement among its diverse student population, and long-term grievances among policymakers. With three leaders within nine months, DPS has experienced its share of challenges. The 92,000-student district is in the throes of a leadership evolution both on the board of education and within the district’s top administration. In November 2020, after a brief stint, Superintendent Susana Cordova suddenly resigned and accepted a position with the Dallas Unified School District as its deputy superintendent. In December, Senior Deputy Superintendent Dwight Jones was named as interim superintendent. Now, the school board has announced the hiring of the district’s third superintendent within a nine-month stretch. This leadership turnover was set against a backdrop of allegations accusing School Board Director Tay Anderson of sexual impropriety. Then on May 26, the district announced the appointment of Alex Marrero as the new superintendent. But a few days later, Marrero was named in a federal lawsuit stemming from his last job as superintendent of the 10,000-student City School

District of New Rochelle in New York State. In the lawsuit filed in federal court, the former medical director accused a number of administrators and a school board member of sidelining her and retaliating against her, related to the handling of the COVID19 pandemic. The school district has denied any wrongdoing. The suit also asserts that Marrero implemented a plan for districtwide staff vaccinations, but abandoned the idea once state health officials notified the district that staff members were not eligible for vaccination yet. Several community groups including the Colorado Black Roundtable and the Latino Education Council called for the search to be reopened in search of stronger candidates. However, in a near unanimous 6-1 vote, the DPS school board approved Marrero’s contract, which began July 6 and will run through June 30, 2023. The board expressed its confidence in their hire, saying that schools are working closely with state and local health officials to address issues related to COVID-19, and will continue to do so.

Superintendent Connects with Community Marrero, 38, will receive a salary of $260,000 per year to run the district, which boasts nearly 5,000 educators. Appearing alongside AnderAson on July 24, at a town hall for parents and community members at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center in Five

Points, Marrero posed three questions to the audience. “I have three primary questions for the community,” he stated. “First, what’s going well in Denver Public Schools? Two, what needs to improve in Denver Public Schools, and three, what feedback and advice can you as parents, teachers, students and community members offer that can get us there?” For Anderson, it was his first community event after stepping back from official duties in light of the sexual allegations against him. He said that it was time to move on with the business of the school district. The investigation is still pending. “This is the first time in 20 years that DPS has a leader that understands the direct stories of our students and can walk the halls of any school in this system and understand the needs of our most challenged learners,” Anderson said. “He is the first person in a while that I can say that I can see myself in our leader. I am sure that others in the district can see the same thing.” Anderson said the process to find and select Marrero was rigorous with some 85 candidates having applied for the job. “We literally held hundreds of community engagement opportunities, spoke multiple times via Zoom and a number of face-to-face interactions,” he

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


said. “We had some amazing candidates from all around the nation, but when I sat in on Dr. Marrero’s interview, I remember saying that I can see myself and my story in him.” Marrero admitted that the interview was a two-way street. “While they were interviewing me, I was also interviewing them. We are here today to discuss the future. Our system is not perfect, and we want fruitful discussions and together we can make it better,” he said. Marrero would again participate in a similar event on August 3, hosted by a coalition of DPS families, education advocacy organizations, and charter and innovation school educators. The evening gathering was held at the Kepner Campus, home to Kepner Beacon, Rocky Mountain Prep and Strive Prep schools. Families attended from across the city for the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns in English and Spanish directly with Marrero. Parents expressed their worries about their children’s mental health, and whether their learning can accelerate this year with the continued challenges of the pandemic. They talked about what defined a high-quality education, and what needs to happen so kids’ futures are not defined by their zip codes. The new superintendent shared the story of his child-

hood growing up poor in the Bronx, and how educators pushed him and believed in him, encouraging him to see beyond the horizon. “There is a world and there’s folks like you who need support outside your bubble,” Marrero recalled them saying. “I believe things happen for a reason. I’m here because I know that I can impact change. I’m hoping that you all can help out, because I know that I can’t do it by myself.” TeRay Esquibel, who served as the event moderator, is the executive director of Ednium Leaders, a collective of DPS alumni who advocate for more equitable educational experiences for students. Esquibel asked Marrero, “How do you plan on engaging and sparking nuanced dialogue in order to bring people together to create a shared positive vision for the future?” “I believe in making shared decisions. But, whenever it is impossible to come to agreement on a shared decision, I go into informed decision-making,” he answered. “The only way I know how to function is by being informed by the folks who are going to be impacted the most. And that’s students, of course, parents, community members, and of course, our staff. No particular order with the exception of students always being first.” He went on to describe his wish to have a transition team of community advisors who can help him identify priorities to establish a vision for the next several years, adding, “Community empowerment happens when I’m prepared to relinquish some of my power so you all can help me make a decision.” He admitted that he would need the help of the community in his quest at transforming the district. “I am here to engage on a macro level,” he explained. “I am a true community person. I

will continue to communicate with the entire community. What I lack at this point is the institutional and community knowledge that must come together in order to be successful.” Members of the board have said they expect Marrero to take a collaborative rather than competitive approach to managing the district’s schools and tackle longstanding opportunity gaps between students of color and their white peers.

Marrero began his education career as a guidance counselor and has said reducing the school-to-prison pipeline is a priority. He said he will hold all students to high standards and work to gain the confidence of the community. He has pledged to start his tenure with a listening tour and include students and teachers in his decisions. “I am grateful for Dr. Marrero for going through our

process,” Board Member Jennifer Bacon said. “It is not for the faint of heart. It took a lot of time, courage and commitment to go through it, but that is what our community is owed. And now it is time to move forward.” The new superintendent concluded, “Every student deserves intellectual, social and emotional respect that’s been challenged more so than ever before this pandemic.”.



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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


Community Conversation Reveals Continued Hesitancy about COVID-19 Vaccines


internet, has caused many Saturday, Americans to August 14, remain distrustful with Denver Urban 14% of the Spectrum’s overall popCommunity ulation saying Conversations that they will featured a definitely not frank discusget the vacsion about cine and COVID-19 another 10% vaccine hesisaying that LtoR: Dr. Lane Rolling, MD, Moderator Alfonzo Porter, Dr. Johnny Johnson, Jr., MD, Dr. Terri Richardson, MD Photo by Thomas Holt Russell tancy. The they will wait “The Delta variant of the cussed the safety and efficacy of event was funded by a Rose and see, according to the Kaiser coronavirus is the largest threat the vaccines for Black people. Community Foundation grant Family Foundation. to public health since the start They were joined by a group In an attempt to play the racial and hosted by the Struggle of of citizen panelists comprised of of the pandemic last March,” blame game, Texas Lt. Governor Love Foundation in Montbello, community leaders and parents she said. “This strain poses an Dan Patrick claimed that the a nonprofit created to support who continued to challenge the even larger threat to unvacci“biggest group in most states are underprivileged youth and experts to convince them to nated individuals. The overAfrican Americans who have not families with education, food change their minds about the whelming majority of those been vaccinated.” He went on to and other resources. vaccine. Some members shared dying from COVID are the assert that since more than 90% The conversations were led that they had not been vaccinated unvaccinated.” of African Americans vote for by DUS Managing Editor and had no plans to do so. Nevertheless, parent Essence Democrats. Therefore, African Alfonzo Porter and a panel of Citing misinformation and a Brown remained doubtful sayAmericans are causing the surge medical doctors: Dr. Terri constant change in messaging ing her family will not receive in COVID cases. Richardson, an internist and from national agencies like the the vaccine. The fact is that 86% of vice chair of the Colorado Black Centers for Disease Control, the “I have four children and I Democrats have received at National Institute for Allergy Healthcare Collaborative; Dr. have no plans to get the vaccine least one dose of the vaccine. and Infectious Disease at the Lane Rolling, a nationally myself or to have them vacciThe total of Black citizens who National Institutes for Health, acclaimed infectious disease nated,” Brown told the physihave taken at least one dose and the media, citizens specialist and director of the cians. “There is just too much stands at 65%, ahead of white expressed extreme skepticism Tropical Pathology and misinformation circulating, about whether the vaccine is Evangelical Christians at 60% Infectious Disease Association; with one expert saying one really needed. thing and another saying some- and rural residents at 57%, and Dr. Johnny Johnson, an Richardson implored the while 54% of Republicans have thing else. We do, however, obstetrician, gynecologist and audience to do everything poswear masks.” taken a shot, according to the president of the Mile High sible to protect their health and The conflicting messages Medical Association. They Kaiser Family Foundation. that of their families and comfrom media, particularly on the Some in the audience at answered questions and dismunity members. By Joshua Glen

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Struggle of Love were concerned about the racial make-up of the initial clinical trials, suggesting that most of the trial participants were white. Therefore, evidence that the vaccine’s effectiveness for African Americans would remain uncertain. “The lack of representation of people of color in the clinical trials for vaccines was a primary source of hesitancy amongst community members,” said community resident Andrea Mosby. The group of physicians disagreed about whether African Americans were, in fact, a significant part of the clinical trials. However, they’re primary message to the community was to follow the science. “If you understand the science, you can’t go wrong,” according to Rolling. It was Rolling who insisted last year that there was growing evidence that low levels of neutralizing antibodies indicate vulnerability to COVID-19. At the time, he received significant criticism for this assertion. Yet today, Rolling’s contention is being affirmed by the medical establishment who now suggest booster shots may be required as a result of low antibody levels in the blood. “You don’t have long-term antibodies,” Rolling insisted in a similar discussion last year. “Antibodies developed after receiving a shot will last only about 80 days. As the virus mutates into more sophisticated strains, the efficacy of the initial vaccines will decrease.” Johnson added that booster shots may become an annual requirement for this virus. “The booster shots may well become commonplace to ward off the stronger variants,” he said. “You will be getting a booster, just like a flu shot, every single year.” With the Delta variant surging through the nation, government officials have approved

booster shots for the most vulnerable. The booster is intended to further strengthen the immune system against stronger variants of the original Alpha strain. According to Rolling, antibody levels will vary depending on which brand you take. “While Pfizer produces an antibody level of 250-500, the Covaxx vaccine (which is not available in the U.S.) creates 32,000. Getting vaccinated creates antibodies, a protein in the blood that attacks antigens, or viruses, in this case.” Parents in the room expressed concern about the beginning of the school year and the safety of their children. Johnson also conveyed concern about children and in-person learning environments. “I think that 12 and under is really concerning, even as a doctor and a parent,” he said. “The best way for us to protect our children is to protect ourselves. We as a community must remain mindful that vaccinating the population creates herd immunity, a powerful way to fight the virus that continues to spread throughout the population.” The general consensus throughout the conversation was that we as a community must do our part to stay healthy and conscious of others. The doctors agreed that we should eat healthy foods, wash our hands, wear a mask, and maintain positivity as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. Immediately following the discussion, a vaccination clinic was held in the parking lot. Even with uncertainty about the vaccine hanging in the air, a couple participants in the conversation joined the line of people who had come just to receive the vaccine. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment staff reported that 44 people got vaccinated at the event. .


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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


Fully Vaccinated Residential Care Centers Fight COVID19 with Array of Protective Measures By LisaMarie Martinez, MSN


o vaccinate or not to vaccinate, to mask up and maintain social distance, or to be isolated and unseen by friends and loved ones. These are the dilemmas faced by people since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. When it comes to managing the lives of those who depend on others for their daily needs, such dilemmas are redefined. For facilities that provide services for individuals with varied health and wellness needs, their work was heavily impacted by the continuing unknowns surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccines. As critical service providers, the staff took on new roles during the pandemic to support and maintain the health, safety and the psychosocial needs of the residents they serve.

Vaccinations Key to Protection at Care Center

a memory-support section, located in the residential community of Park Hill. The center serves residents in northeast Denver and the surrounding communities, who are mainly African American but also other races and ethnicities. When interviewed in early August, 100% of their residents were fully vaccinated, 92% of their staff was fully vaccinated, and there were no active COVID-19 cases among its residents or workers. They attributed their ability to vaccinate all residents to providing education about COVID-19 and the vaccines, and their ability to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks to the vaccine. They had plans to continue to encourage their unvaccinated staff to become fully vaccinated. Nursing Home Administrator Grace Nailing said, “We are doing everything we can to protect our residents and team members. All staff members, family members, visitors and providers are required to wear a mask. We screen all team members, visitors, family members and providers upon entrance. We follow the infection control guidelines.” In addition, she said that their community works to ensure there is enough personal protective equipment (PPE) available to residents and staff.

Photo courtesy of Forest Street Compassionate Care Center

Forest Street Compassionate Care Center is a quaint 60-bed skilled nursing residence, with

Certified nurse aides Brenda and Carlos said it is less hard to protect their residents from get-

ting COVID-19 now that all their residents are fully vaccinated. They said efforts to protect them are ongoing, such as staff wearing masks, properly hand washing between resident visits, disinfecting all surfaces on a regular basis, and checking staff vital signs every shift. Keeping their residents happy and safe at the same time involves flexibility in operations. Activities Director Beverly Canaday said, “Currently, fully vaccinated family members can enter the center and visit with their loved ones face to face while wearing masks, and unvaccinated family members can visit by making an appointment and visiting with their loved ones in a designated area.” She said the center makes changes to fulfill whatever health requirements they must meet, to keep their residents safe. If they are required to maintain social distance, the staff does so by keeping the residents six feet apart from each other when in group activities, offering more one-to-one activities in residents’ suites, and having families schedule visitations through a glass door. Previously, all family members were entering through an alternate building entrance and had to sit six feet apart while being in the same room as their loved ones. Administrator Nailing said, “We work hard to provide for our residents the way we would want our family members cared for. We believe our residents deserve the best.” To better fight COVID-19 she wants to see more people getting fully vaccinated and for all organizations to always have enough PPE supplies.

Caring Policies and Procedures to Prevent a Return to 2020 Located in the city of Westminster is Greenridge Place, a memory care community operated by Anthem,

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


which provides highly specialized care for individuals affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias including Lewy Body, vascular and Parkinson’s dementias. Greenridge Place serves a variety of races and ethnicities and is one of four Anthem memory care communities located in the Denver metro area. In early August, Executive Director Lisa Anderson said 100% of the community’s residents were fully vaccinated and 69% of their team members were fully vaccinated. She said they have a vaccination roll out, which requires all their unvaccinated team members to receive their first vaccination by Sept. 1, and to receive the second dose so they would be fully vaccinated, or to provide documentation of religious, medical, or allergy that would prevent them from receiving it. New hires would be mandated to be fully vaccinated, also. Greenridge Place uses education to approach the topic of vaccination with residents who are hesitant or unwilling to get fully vaccinated. Anderson said, “We partnered with our preferred pharmacy provider, Medication Management Partners, and asked their pharmacist, Patrice Johnson, Rph, PMP, if she could possibly provide Anthem Communities with an educational presentation filled with factual and statistical information.” Residents are also provided with the expertise and guidance she receives from local, state, and national authorities to ensure guidelines are understood and followed, Anderson said. There were no active positive cases of COVID-19 amongst her residents or team members at the time she was being interviewed. Her community requires weekly surveillance testing of team members and residents, and unvaccinated team members or team

Photo courtesy of Greenridge Place

members who are out of the building for 24 hours or more have to produce a negative COVID-19 test result through rapid testing prior to caring for residents. Masks are required of all team members, residents wear masks when in direct contact with team members, and masks are to be worn by the resident when with visitors. Visitors are required to pass a pre-screening questionnaire, wash their hands, wear a mask, and socially distance while in their community. Greenridge Place offers its residents outdoor, window, virtual, and indoor scheduled visitations. Third-party providers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result from the past seven days prior to entering the community. One of the challenges faced by Anderson is the ability to keep up with the sometimes conflicting, guidance and mandatory policies and procedures put out by the local, state and national authorities, as well as the multiple updates throughout the day that change prior practices, despite the timely responses and clarity she receives at the local and state levels. Nevertheless, she said, “We just want to keep our residents and team members safe and healthy by whatever the means possible.” Caregivers Lina Weaver and Susan Teer were among the fully vaccinated team members. Weaver said, “I was willing to get vaccinated after having COVID and seeing firsthand how residents and compro-

mised individuals suffered from the virus were affected. I wanted to do my part to help prevent and not spread the virus.” According to Teer and Weaver, caring for cognitivelyimpaired residents requires extra time and effort to keep them safe during the pandemic. Teer explained, “For me, the hardest situations to manage were keeping residents out of other resident rooms and encouraging or redirecting residents to maintain social distancing.” Weaver added, “Our population is made up of residents who are cognitively impaired with diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. It has been very challenging to encourage them to wear masks and to practice social distancing. I think all the care providers wearing masks and full PPE also frightened some residents since it was not a normal practice in the past to see care providers dressed in this sort of protective wear.” Psychosocial wellbeing is in the forefront of Life Enrichment Director Michelle Meyer’s mind, even more so during the pandemic. “With 100% of our elder population vaccinated, we have noticed a significant change in participation and socialization in day-to-day activities. Our elders are appreciating the fact that they can now travel to both wings of the community freely and interact with their peers. They are also enjoying family and friend visits regularly. Our activities

department is now able to offer a variety of social activities throughout the day; it put a large focus on one-to-one activities, small-group clusters, and being mindful of social distancing throughout the day," she said. She said families express gratitude for the ability to sign up for both daily and weekly visits with their loved ones through Greenridge Place’s online portal, and its ability to keep their loved ones safe and protected throughout this pandemic. Anderson concluded, “No one wants another version of 2020 to arise when at this point, it can be prevented.”

Vaccinations Mean Time Together

residents are fully vaccinated. Staff members receive weekly COVID-19 tests due to being out in the community, and so do any residents who leave the property. In late July and early August, daily COVID-19 screenings and temperature checks were being implemented prior to allowing any visitor to enter the home, and visitors and staff were required to wear masks. Screening logs are documented, and safety plans are in place in case of a COVID-19 exposure. The residence was on lock down for safety reasons, but made sure residents were seen by a doctor every month and a psychiatric doctor for mental issues.

Photo courtesy of Just for Seniors Assisted Living

A few miles away from Sloan’s Lake, located on the northwest side of Denver, is the Just for Seniors care home. This assisted living residence is licensed to have eight residents. It serves as a home to individuals of all races and ethnicities, which include veterans, people with mental health needs, and many individuals who could not make it on their own. “The staff and residents here do not consider it a facility, they consider it their home,” said House Manager Wendy Mitchell Mitchell said that Just for Seniors works to follow the national guidelines regarding the pandemic, and 100% of the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


All residents are happy to be fully vaccinated, so they can spend time and dine together, she said, and all staff is willing to get fully vaccinated. “We give a home to the ones that feel alone and forgotten. Birthdays and holidays are special, celebrated with joy and love,” she said. . Editor’s note: This article and the comments included in it reflect a snapshot of three residential care centers and their situations in late July and early August. While they provide insight into conditions in care centers related to COVID-19 and the vaccines, the writer would like to point out that they may not represent other center’s situations.

What Goes Up Must Come Down or Does It? The Current State of the Denver Real Estate Market By Barry Overton

For the

Destination Freedom

Join us Sept 21st starting at 7pm for:


(show 1)

Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, New York. February 21, 1965, the day of Malcolm X’s assassination


(show 2)

The Lorraine Motel (Memphis, TN). The night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

By Clinnesha D. Sibley Directed by: donnie l. betts

broadcasting live kgnu.org

past 10 years we have seen rising costs in the real estate market in the Metro Denver area. Reports for July of 2021 show that that trend continues. Although we have lower number of sales compared to the same time last year, the demand is being fueled by low mortgage rates that continue to outdo the Colorado supply of homes and when the supply is low and the demand is high, it causes a surge in prices. This is made clear in a side-by-side comparison of the total new listings in July of 2020 to the total new listings in July of 2021. In July, 2020 there were 1,806 new listings that hit the market. That number was down 7.6% in 2021 to 1,668 new listings. With still a very strong pool of buyers in 2021, this decline causes prices to continue to rise. This is further demonstrated by looking at the total sales of July, 2020 and July, 2021. In July, 2020 there were 1,640 sales and in July, 2021 there were 1,443 sales. This is a 12% decrease in sales, but the lower amount of inventory caused properties to sell 47% faster compared to last year. If you look at single family homes in the city and county of Denver, in July, 2020 there were 933 homes sold, while in July, 2021 there were only 798. This was a

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


sale decrease of 14.5% compared to the previous year in single family homes. The average prices surpassed last year’s upward surge by 18.7%, going from $673,767.00 in July, 2020, all the way to $799,914.00 into July, 2021. Townhomes and condos, sales went down 8.8% compared to 2020 in July, but the average prices went up 17.43% from last year. While this doesn’t seem to bode well for our current status in the market, the likelihood of prices continuing to rise is becoming less. With the ban on eviction moratoriums, and forbearance for many homeowners coming to an end, there is a strong possibility of an abundance of houses hitting the market. As the supply goes up, the demand goes down and thereby will allow prices to stabilize and possibly decrease. The biggest question is when will this happen? And unfortunately, there’s not a real answer to that, but a safe bet is to say within the next six to twelve months we will start seeing some changes in those prices. This market can’t continue to rise. We will see the market adjust, but we can’t expect for tremendous price reductions. So the up and down of real estate is likely to remain more up than down.. Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate with New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information email: barrysellsdenver@msn.com or call 303-668-5433.

Denver Native B.J. Joyce Hopes His Online Directory Will Help You #BuyBlack in Colorado

B.J. Joyce

When you mention Black businesses B.J. Joyce’s eyes light up. The native Denverite and East High School grad who grew up in the Five Points and Curtis Park communities is President/Owner/CEO/Found er of Black Biz Colorado an online directory of Black businesses in Colorado. He has long believed that economic empowerment is an integral part of the upliftment of the Black community. He’s doing his part these days, overseeing the Black Biz Colorado Facebook page (which exploded in popularity in 2020 amid the pandemic and social justice protests) and the www.BlackBizColorado.com online directory, which he launched this summer. He wants both to become the “goto source” for finding Blackowned businesses in the Rocky Mountain state.

How did you initially get involved with the Facebook page? The page came about because of the need for Black people in the state of Colorado to find businesses that were owned by people who look like them. Many people want to support Black owned businesses, but had no real way to find them. The Black Biz Colorado page and now the website has now brought them

that place. We saw the need and are filling it with the help of the Black community. We’ve been inspired to keep pushing for Black business recognition and financial support because no one else will. It’s up to the Black community to solve its own problems and that’s what we are doing. Ninety-nine percent of the ills that plague the Black community can be solved through economics. The way we do that is to keep as much of our money, which is our power in this economic democracy that we live in, and use it for our people and our agenda that helps us. We need Black businesses to not only survive but to thrive.

Tell us more about how it evolved recently into this new website directory.

Cleveland King (right) of the Legacy Home Buyer Program is featured in the online Black Biz Colorado directory.

developers and tax professionals. You can find clothing sellers to janitorial, to brand experts and more. We’ve got it all!

What is your long-term vision for this project? I hope that we can rally the Black community here in Colorado to use this directory

So, we’d been operating as a Facebook group of nearly 18,000 followers, business owners and those looking to find and buy from Black owned businesses, but Facebook has its limits, so, early on we realized we needed to build a website directory. We recently launched www.BlackBizColorado.com w here we want all of the hundreds businesses that are in our Facebook group to list their businesses. We want everyone all over the world, to be able to find and buy from Black owned businesses in Colorado. Just type in the business or service that you are seeking into the search and start supporting! Businesses can post a basic listing for free or pay a nominal fee for an enhanced listing.

What types of businesses are on the website? We have all kinds of businesses on the website — from realtors, to auto mechanics, to food businesses, to website Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


to be fully engaged with supporting Black businesses. I would like to see us #BuyBlack and then use the money to uplift our community now and for the future.. Editor’s note: For more information or to list your business, visit the Black Biz Colorado Facebook page and www.BlackBizColorado.com.

Nutrition Tips for the Entire Family By Kim Farmer


alanced and nutritious diets are vital ingredients for healthy living regardless of age. While it can be a challenge to entice younger children to eat meals and snacks focused on nutrition packed fruits and veggies, there are ways to make the meals fun and interesting. Unless there is a medical reason dictating otherwise, there should be a complete portion of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fiber in daily meals to ensure the complete nourishment of the body.

Read these tips for a colorful blend of important vitamins and minerals in the daily meals of all family members: Include lean protein sources – Proteins are the most important body-building elements which help in muscle building, proper functioning, and strengthening of the various organs in the body. Ensure a good portion of protein sources, i.e., beans, fish, poultry, and nuts, in your family’s meals and make it interesting for kids by making things they enjoy like chicken nuggets or popcorn chicken using grilled boneless, skinless chicken and fries using sweet potatoes. High fiber foods – Fibrous foods help maintain good metabolism and rapid functioning of the body’s digestive system. Making a salad full of high

fiber fruits and vegetables like beetroot, cucumber, carrots, etc. will help you feel fuller longer and help your digestive system as well. For kids, be sure to include foods that they love in the colorful salad and use foods like raisins or dried cranberries to make happy faces, etc. to keep it interesting. Teach kids how versatile salads can be and show them the endless possibilities for foods to include. Whole grain carbs no-carbs – Carbohydrates are an important nutrient and should not be avoided for long periods of time. They are your body’s main source of energy and help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. While there are many proponents of a no-carb diet which eliminates almost all carbs and encourages high intakes of fat and protein, it is not necessary to cut all carbs to experience the benefits of weight loss. Whole grain carbs are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Be sure to add whole grain sources to your family’s meals. Calcium sources – Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones, and some studies indicate that calcium may have benefits beyond bone health like protecting

against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Your heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Other than milk (which most kids love), there are some other great calcium sources like yogurt, cheese, butter, buttermilk, etc. Incorporate calcium for the family by adding yogurt for breakfast, salads using dark green leafy lettuce, beans, and cereals to your meals.

Health is Wealth for the Entire Family Start early by teaching your children about the importance of including all nutrients into their foods and help them choose (and make) healthy snacks. Making sure their meals have bright colors are helpful, so throw in chopped carrots, beets, zucchini, apples and other nutritious veggies and fruits to their meals and snacks to ensure they get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Plan ahead and allow them to become part of the planning process so they feel empowered in choosing their food. Mix things up and have fun with the creations – your health is your wealth so invest your health now to create habits that last a lifetime.. Editor’s note: Contributor Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness. com.

MENOPAUSAL HOT FLASH STUDY Participants must be: • Female, age 40-65 • Not taking hormonal or non hormone treatment for hot flashes, or willing to stop treatment while participating in the trial • Having frequent hot flashes/night sweats

Qualified participants will receive: • Investigational study medication or placebo at no cost • Study related medical exams at no cost • Up to $1,000 compensation for time and travel

Anschutz Medical Campus • 303-724-5276 reprostudies@ucdenver.edu • Katherine.Kuhn@ucdenver.edu Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


Former Mayor Wellington Webb and First Lady Wilma Webb donate $40,000 to Manual High School

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and First Lady Wilma J. Webb have donated $40,000 to Manual High School for yearly college scholarships, and include an immediate $15,000 for three Manual programs: the school’s food bank, fund for students to learn the health care industry, and a student travel fund. The couple, who both graduated from Manual in northeast Denver, announced that the remaining $25,000 will be used for yearly $1,000 scholarships beginning in May 2022 and be named The Wellington and Wilma Webb Annual Scholarship. The scholarship committee that will pick the recipients include the couple’s children, Anthony Webb and Stephanie O’Malley, and their granddaughter, Jaime Webb. “Wellington and Wilma are both graduates of Manual High School, Wilma in 1961 and Wellington in 1958. Their interest in their alma mater has been ongoing and much appreciated by the school,” said Mary Salsich, Board Chair of The Friends of Manual, a nonprofit that supports the school. The Friends of Manual was started in 1999 by Manual High School alumni. The mission is to support the academic achievement and overall high school experience of the students at Manual High School, and raise funds for programs and activities that are important to student success. “We are Thunderbolts for life and want to help Manual students continue their educa-

tions at universities and colleges throughout the country,” the couple said. “We also believe the three programs that will immediately receive the $15,000 will help the students and their families succeed.” The three programs each receiving $5,000 for a total of $15,000 is: •MedSchool at Manual is a program that targets resilient and motivated youth who come

from socioeconomically disadvantaged and underserved communities and works to improve academic and health outcomes. In collaboration with Inner City Health Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital, the program provides opportunities for high school students to learn about health career options and gain the confidence, skills and support to pursue their dreams. •Manual Market provides fresh non-perishable foods as well as personal items (shampoo, deodorant, etc.) are available. Students and their family members are given the oppor-

tunity to stock up on what they need. •Class Excursions is a longterm plan to have an organized class trip each year to encourage students to experience places they have not been in the city, the state, around the country and abroad.. Editor’s note: Wellington and Wilma Webb have been political activists in Colorado for more than 50 years. They served as Denver’s first African American mayor and First Lady from 1991-2003. They also served in the Colorado State Legislature as representatives for District 8.

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According to Forbes magazine, the unprecedented pandemic wiped out nearly half of all Black-owned small businesses. But one conference is ready to restore and reset the economic force of Black-owned enterprises. Sponsored by Black Business Initiative (BBI), the 5th annual Black Boss Summit “Resilient” will launch a threeday summit at the Clayton Club Sept. 10 to 12. Emmy award winner actor and author Hill Harper will headline as the keynote speaker for the Sunday brunch at the Black Boss Summit. The Black Wall Street App’s multi-talented author, community activist, and FinTech leader highlights black businesses’ disparities while offering a financial way forward for people of color. Hill, often outspoken on the importance of the contributions of Black people, continues to champion the Black businessperson through his rousing speeches and industry insights. The weekend event will feature the inaugural Pitch Black Contest with real estate investor Chris Senegal, business experts including Amanda Gordon, CEO of GOJO Auto Charles Gilford, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Denver; Richard Lewis, founder, and CEO of RTL Networks; and Danielle Shoots, CFO of Colorado Trust/CEO of Daily Boss Up.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


The 2021 season of Destination Freedom Black Radio Days will examine the issues facing communities of color – exploring police shooting, immigration, health disparities and gender bias. This boundary-breaking program, Destination Freedom Black Radio Days, illuminates the lives of great figures in African-American and other people of color past and present. Destination Freedom will present two live radio broadcasts, The Cleaning Ladies and Bound By Blood by Clinnesha Sibley on www.kgnu.org on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. This audio drama features Ghandia Johnson, Michaela “Mikki” Murray and Latifah Johnson and is produced by No Credits Productions LLC and donnie l. betts. The original series by Richard Durham walked a daring line between reform and revolution, and was shut down by its network in 1950, as McCarthyism and anti-communism tightened its grip on American broadcasting. Using new scripts as well as drawing on archives, Destination Freedom Black Radio Days shares a largely unknown, but important chapter in the history of human rights and tells how radio played its part from the very beginning. For more information, call 720-282-5751 or visit https://www.nocredits.com/.


Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Calls for Nominations The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is seeking nominations of outstanding women for its Class of 2022. The deadline is October 1. Visit cogreatwomen.org for detailed information and to download a nomination form. Founded in 1985, the Hall now includes 172 contemporary and historic women. These women with ties to Colorado represent remarkable achievements in medicine, business, philanthropy, politics, education, engineering and activism. Each woman is a pioneer, having made a significant and enduring contribution to her profession and to the advancement of women and society. “Too often, the contributions of women have been overlooked,” says board chair Barb Beckner. “Women are virtually

ignored in history books. The mission of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is to inspire by celebrating and sharing the enduring contributions of Colorado’s extraordinary women.” Nominations are judged by a selection committee comprised of community members from around Colorado, using these criteria: •The woman must have strong ties to Colorado and have: •Made significant and enduring contributions to her field (40%) •Elevated the status of women and helped open new frontiers for women and for society (40%) •Inspired others, especially women and girls, by her example Editor’s note: For more information, email Peggy Gonder at peggy.gonder@gonderpr.com or visit www.cogreatwomen.org.

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Sam McNeil is a creative artist in Denver who does much of his work by welding recycled metal into amazing sculptures, benches, fences, doors, window coverings, and even colorful flowers. After a year’s work, he is now completing a large sculpture of Frederick Douglass which is approximately 12 feet tall. This astonishing sculpture of the famous 19th century abolitionist, social reformer, orator, and author also has a swing incorporated into it in the shape of a globe which symbolizes world peace and unity. The swing is an added attraction for children so they will not only look at it but can touch it and have some fun swinging on it as well as perhaps being inspired to learn more about this historic person. McNeil started welding in junior high school and would weld projects in his parents’

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garage. After graduating from South High School in Denver, Colorado, he attended Emily Griffith Opportunity School as a student. While learning his trade, people would bring projects to the school to be repaired. Usually, he would be the first to volunteer to do the jobs. Later, his two welding instructors recommended him to be the welder instructor at the school. When he received the call from the school asking if he would consider taking the job, he didn’t give them an immediate answer. He waited until he talked to his mother who was a teacher. After she told him to take the job, he then sealed the deal. McNeil often recalls that he got the job without even applying for it, saying “people are always watching you, so always be at your best and do your best.” He worked at Emily Griffith for several years before

starting his own company where his experience and creativity has evolved for more than 40 years. He believes that a person must always have a purpose in life and succeed in it. McNeil has created his own custom hand-crafted designs and outdoor furniture using recycled material. Much of the materials are found through internet searches and material left from other jobs. He located two tons of bicycle chains that he used and is using to create the look of hair on the heads the Miles Davis sculpture playing his trumpet and the Frederick Douglass sculpture.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


South of McNeil’s studio on Arapahoe St. and in the lobby of the RedLine Art Gallery showcases a combination bench and sculpture of Denver’s famous classical and jazz musician, Charles Burrell, with his very unique cigar and string bass. McNeil continues to work, inspire, and encourage others every day. He has three highly creative master welders who make his vision come alive: Matthew, Sam (the other Sam) and Minerva Spencer. Minerva

is a creator of incredibly unique and colorful metal flowers. She finishes many of the projects with a vibrant flare of paint colors that defines the finished look.. Editor’s note: The public is invited to visit Superior Iron Works studio at 2630 Arapahoe Street in the Five Points community. To schedule a time, call 720-435-8502. For more information, visit http://superiorworkplus.com.

Current redistricting plans threaten Colorado’s communities of color Historically diverse communities deserve representation at the Capitol By Portia Prescott


fter years of hard work and struggle, Colorado’s communities of color have reached a level of power in the Colorado state legislature that should not be erased. The Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus has 13 members, including Senate President Leroy Garcia. The Colorado Black Legislative Caucus has nine members, including Senate Assistant Majority Leader Rhonda Fields and House Appropriations Committee Chair Leslie Herod. Communities of color should have representation that addresses their voice, concerns and needs. But as it stands, the current state legislative maps from the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission could undo that power and seriously undermine the strength and cohesiveness of Colorado’s new and historically diverse communities. The commission with a pen stroke will completely obliterate a community that has helped thousands of Black and Brown people. This isn’t fairness. This isn’t “fair maps” at all. It’s sacrificing hard-won gains by legislators of color like the Honorable Wellington Webb and Honorable Wilma Webb while hurting the people most in need of empowerment in a changing Colorado. Just imagine if the community was not able to vote the first Black woman into the legislature like Sen. Gloria Tanner. The leadership of these three have strengthened genera-

tions of Coloradans of color. The redistricting must consider the legislative and empowerment benefits that Blacks gain from being represented by someone who looks like them. As noted in the Denver Post by Rep. Jennifer Bacon and Rep. Herod, “For example, the current House District 8 has been split down the middle in the new maps, separating the historic Five Points neighborhood from North Park Hill. Both of the new districts, House Districts 4 and 6, will have a lower percent Black population, effectively diluting our voting strength and making it more difficult to get Black representation in the state House.” The importance of electing minority legislators is usually achieved by sustaining historically diverse districts. And who’s in power now determines who’s in power next. Representation matters. Leaders of color bring communities and future leaders with them. Diluting our influence so that minorities have a weaker voice in legislation is an insult to the will of the voters. And it erodes the policies that have been enacted to empower others. Former Denver mayor and ex-state legislator Wellington Webb told the Legislative Redistricting Commission that the preliminary maps dilute representation for the city’s Black communities and “to divide them is to clutter the community voices in the ear of that legislator, and risk marginalizing those communities for crucial legislative debates around housing, gentrification, criminal justice and education.” Wellington argued that the maps treat Denver voters as “the forgotten stepchild of Colorado.”

It’s no secret that Black women are always disproportionately impacted by bad public policy, whether it’s environmental discrimination or barriers to reproductive health care. Black women legislators like Sen. Janet Buckner and Sen. Rhonda Fields have had to enact several recent bills to address these barriers and significant police and justice system reform policies. We are not interested in going backward because a so-called “independent” redistricting commission says so by taking away seats from legislators of color. You can call gerrymandering “fair maps,” but it’s still gerrymandering. . Editor’s note: Portia Prescott is managing Partner at Jefferson Prescott Strategies. She has over 20 years of extensive experience in government affairs and community relations, and is a board member for Cobalt Advocates and Western Resource Advocates.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


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he Coalition Against Global Genocide (CoAGG) works to educate, motivate, and empower individuals and communities to oppose genocide and crimes against humanity. As part of this mission, CoAGG is organizing and seeking participation in a conference focusing on genocide and slavery to be presented virtually in November 2021. “Our aim in convening this conference is not to make moral judgments about whether the experience of genocide or slavery was worse. Rather, we seek to explore the genesis of slavery and genocide in the common acts of dehumanization and to “identify” the institutions and ideologies that sustain genocide and slavery,” said CoAGG founder and director Roz Duman. Slavery and genocide have been separated in both ordinary discourse and in the scholarly community because of radically different outcomes. Slavery is connected in modern times with the exploitation of human beings for economic gain. Genocide is only rarely and marginally about saving people because populations chosen for destruction are usually obliterated, not utilized for economic gain. It is for this fundamental reason that genocide scholars and slavery scholars rarely come together to discuss common themes of “man’s inhumanity to man.” In the Americas, slavery and genocide are often separated along racial lines, both in ordinary discourse and in the scholarly community. Slavery is most often connected with the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – September 2021


exploitation of black lives, which presumed African Americans needed to be kept alive. In organizing the conference, we raise three specific questions for presenters and attendees alike. 1. What are the experiences of “social death” in slavery? 2. How does slavery rob their victims of full membership in society? 3. How does stripping victims of names, cultural traditions, and other forms of identity allow crimes against humanity to be tolerated and sustained? The following are additional critical factors that will be considered and explored in these presentations: •Economy of Slavery in the U.S. •Prison Industrial Complex: 21st Century Slavery •Addressing the Lingering Social, Emotional, Psychological Effects of Slavery •Slavery and the Building of the World Economy •Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as a Form of Genocide •Dehumanization: The Key Ingredient to Genocide (and slavery) •From Slavery to Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter: The 400 Year Journey of African Americans in the U.S. •What Social, Economic and Moral Conditions Promote, Accelerate and Sustain Genocide? We can generally maintain that it is not just the targeting of a people or nation, but in a broader sense (as the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide stressed) the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. So too will be the key factors behind the genesis and the continual advocation of such inhumanity. •Hate Speech—The Evolution of Genocide •Genocide’s Vicious Cycle •Nations At-Risk of

Genocide 2021/2022 •Dangers of Rising White Supremacy •Surviving Genocide and the Process of Re-Building •The Normalization of Cruelty and How Ambivalence Leads to Genocide •Dehumanization: The Key Ingredient to Genocide (and slavery) •US response to World Crimes Against Humanity/Current Problems of National Sovereignty •The Use of Military Force as a Key in the Commission of Genocide •The U.S. and its Role in Teaching the World Industrial Scale Massacre •The Development of Early Warning Systems •Slavery and Genocide: Definitions, Differences and Similarities By incorporating the factors below, the presentation will also examine one of the most contentious debates today, in terms of genocide and slavery, which are reparations. Given the scope of the conference, we must ask if reparations must be only in the form of financial compensation for illicit economic gains, or might reparations include social and emotional responses to restore the injuries associated with social death? •Violation of National Sovereignty and Barriers to Addressing Genocide •Ethnocide •Genocide as a Conspiracy Theory •Silence of the Majority and Its Contributing Role in Genocide •Rape as a Weapon of Slavery and Genocide •Issues for Those Working in the Field of Genocide Prevention •The Role of Educators in Addressing Genocide •Issues for Advocates Working in the Field of Genocide


•Codification of Crimes Against Humanity •The United Nations and its Programs to Prevent Genocide •The Psychology of Bystanders, Perpetrators and Victims and How Each Contributes to or Enhances the Possibility of Genocide Editor’s note: For more information about the conference or the Coalition Against Global Genocide, call Roz Duman at 303-856-7334 or email rozduman@aol.com.

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Letters to the Editor Continued from page 3 reason why a compound that does not give any advantage to an athlete over another should be disallowed. Cannabis is a natural plant given to us by nature that should be freely grown anywhere it can grow, without the restrictions placed upon it by a powerful cartel of the super wealthy, because it is both profitable to restrict its distribution, and because it competes directly with synthesized pharmaceuticals that are both dangerous and unnatural. What happened to Sha’Carri Richardson because of the long arm of the law extending into the Olympic Games is a travesty. Our paternalist government tells us we are not grown up enough to decide what is in our best interest. I would have them know that cannabis has been around for millions if not billions of years; and humans have been using it medicinally, ceremonially and recreationally, for at least a million years to give a

conservative estimate – long before the idea of government was even introduced; and it was introduced because the intent of those who govern is to control by curtailing freedom. Should we not as adults have the freedom to decide if we want or don’t wish to use mushrooms, peyote or any other non-and addicting substance? The banning of Richardson from the games not only robbed her, but robbed the world of an opportunity to see her fantastic talent on display… not to mention potential medals loss. She may participate in future Olympic Games but a lot of things can happen to an athlete in the span of three years. I hope we are blessed with the opportunity to see Sha’Carri run in the next Olympic Games. If she does though, it won’t give us what was lost. The world should be fuming over this. Never again! Antonius Aurora, Colorado

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Samuel Richard Batey Sr., Ph.D. February 23, 1942 - July 19, 2021 Samuel Richard Batey, Sr. was born in Nashville, TN to Charles Frank Batey Sr. and Thelma Batey. He is the younger brother to Charles Batey Jr. Sam moved to Denver, CO with his family in 1946 and attended East High School where he graduated in 1960. He was named to multiple All-City and All-State basketball teams throughout his career and was inducted into the East High School Athletics Hall of Fame and the DPS All-Century Basketball team, along with his son, Sam Jr. After graduating from East, Sam earned a full scholarship to play basketball at the Southern Colorado State College (CSU-Pueblo). In 1963 he married his college sweetheart, Barbara (Bobbie) Jackson. He was inducted into the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. After graduating from the Southern Colorado State College, he began his career as an educator in Denver Public Schools. He taught at Stedman Elementary School and East High School. He went on to become assistant principal at Thomas Jefferson High School and finished his career at DPS as a beloved principal at Montbello High School. His advice to all of his students was to “study hard and play smart.” He received his Master’s from The University of Northern Colorado and in 1999, Sam and Barbara received their PhD in Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. He continued his tenure in education working for the Colorado Department of Education and retired in 2000. Sam is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Inc. He was initiated into the Denver Alumni Chapter on July 28, 1984 and served as Vice Polemarch in 1991 and 1992. He was a life member of the Esquire club which promoted fellowship, civic improvement and provided social activities in the Denver community. He was also a member of the Denver Urban League Guild and served as a board member for Black American West Museum, Colorado Academy and many other boards and committees throughout the city of Denver and state of Colorado. Sam enjoyed chasing jazz festivals across the world, playing golf, coaching his grandchildren from the stands, and most of all, family time. Friends and family alike will remember his strong faith, his calm yet assertive demeanor, compassion, and for simply being a good man. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. As Sam always said towards the end of his time, life is “amazing.”

After a well-lived life, Samuel Richard Batey, Sr. known by his family as “Sam” passed away on July 19, 2021, at the age of 79. Sam is survived by his wife, Barbara and their son Samuel R. Batey, Jr. (Cherie Knight-Batey) of Atlanta, GA and daughter Dana L. Batey-Hurd (Jeff Hurd) of Denver and his brother, Charles Batey, Jr. (Jeanne) of Denver. Sam leaves behind four grandchildren, Jordan N. Batey of Jupiter, FL, Brooklyn J. Batey of Washington, D.C., Morgan L. Batey of Atlanta, GA, Pryce S. Batey of Denver and a host of many other family and dear friends.

John Edward Cary Jr. October 27, 1946 – August 15, 2021 John E Carey Jr. was born October 27, 1946 in Denver Colorado to Opal and John Kerry Sr. John was a very curious child, who loved life. As a child he had the privilege of enjoying the great outdoors with his father, golfing, fishing, and hunting. He grew up in the Denver metropolitan area and attended the Denver Public School system attending Denver’s legendary Manual High School. He eventually gained his General Equivalency Diploma GED. He went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps from 1964 to 1968, where he was the recipient of a Purple Heart. He joined the Denver fire department in 1974. On July 15, 2000 John married the love of his life Michelle Freeborn. They were a blended family consisting of daughter Jacqueline freeborn and son Marlin Cary. John was a caring and devoted father, papa, uncle, brother, and most of all a loving husband. John’s passion was service. He served his country in the Vietnam War, is community as a fire fighter for 36 years, along with many other charitable works. He helped his family whenever they were in need. He helped people even when he was in need of help himself. Never would a friend be alone for Thanksgiving dinner if he had anything to say about it. John’s smile would light of the world. There truly isn’t enough that could be said about his compassion, humanity, humility, and kindness. John is preceded in death by his mother, Opal Cary Molock; father John Cary Sr., and son John Wayne Cary. John E Carey Jr. passed away peacefully in his home in Elizabeth Colorado with his loving wife and on August 15, 2021. Those left to cherish his memory and live out his legacy are his wife Michelle Cary; son Marlene Kerrie; daughter Jacqueline Freeborn; sister Velois Whiteside Rausch; brother Lauren Kerrie; and four grandchildren, Grayson, Jacob, Shamar and Jadin.

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