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BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2013

Champions of the

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DREAM IT. DO IT. OWN IT. This Black History Month, the King Soopers Stores proudly honors and pays respect to those incredible men and women who dared to dream big. Their vision not only brought forth change, but also inspired the world. Today, their legacy lives on and challenges our youth to Dream it. Do it. Own it.

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MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Volume 26 Number 11

February 2013

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa

FILM and BOOK CRITIC Kam Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tabatha Deans Angelle C. Fouther Hugh Johnson Chris Meehan Chandra Thomas Whitfield ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert, Kolor Graphix

PRODUCTION AND OFFICE ASSISTANT Cecile Perrin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHES A Star Photography Lens of Ansar Sweetz Photography WEB SITE ADMINISTRATOR Tanya Ishikawa DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

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

Experiencing Life and Living History…Is it worth it?

Every day that we breathe we are experiencing life and living history. On January 21, 2013 I was fortunate enough to attend for the second time the inauguration of President Barack Obama, events that will be imbedded in my psyche forever. And in spite of the freezing temperatures (in 2009) and an unrelenting flu bug (in 2013), I ask was it worth it and would I do it again – you betcha! This month is OUR month – the shortest month of the year and we have so much to show and tell. As we celebrate Black history, we pay homage to our military, troops and servicemen – those who protect and serve our country. DUS contributor Chris Meehan pens our cover story this month with a long overdue story on Colorado’s Tuskegee Airmen. His story goes beyond the lights, camera and action portrayed in HBO’s The Tuskegee Airman and George Lucas’ Red Tails. Find out how much it meant to them to be a Tuskegee Airman and what it was worth to be one. Chandra Thomas Whitfield goes boundless and talks with several Colorado veterans; and how, over the years, they have endured the life-long effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although a subject seldom talked about, Don Brown, Billy Scott, Sid Wilson and John Marsh share their poignant yet thought-provoking life-altering experiences. Are the challenges they still face worth the service they gave to their country? And Tabatha Deans talks about the Breakfast Bunch, a group where veterans can go and “socialize, tell lies about the good old days, and exchange information…for military retirees/veterans.” As always, we celebrate the quiet “movers and shakers” from the community who have been nominated by their peers. Find out who the 2013 African Americans Who Make a Difference are and why they were selected. Lastly and certainly not least, Hugh Johnson talks about the 2013 Inauguration of President Obama and how President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King impacted this historic event as he was sworn in. So as we experience life, live history and celebrate the achievements of Black people, from President Obama to the African Americans Who Make a Difference and everyone in between, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices they have made to make this world a better place to live for you and me. Believe me, it’s worth it.

This issued is dedicated to all the Lonely Eagles.

Rosalind J. Harris

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Those Who Say “I Support the Troops” Should Just Stop, Out of Respect for the Troops

Black’s History in Vietnam Muzzled Editor: As we near another national Black History month, I’m taking inventory. President Obama and the 42 empty suits and dresses that comprise the Congressional Black Caucus have allowed the major sacrifices made by Black men during the Vietnam War to be largely ignored. Hey! We were over-represented during this 11-year undeclared war. Fifty five percent of the 58,000 American patriots killed in Vietnam were African-Americans. Like today, we only comprised 12 percent of this nation’s entire population during that war. To say we were financially, physically, and emotionally raped, would be an understatement. I’m still gasping for air that I was drafted and my younger brother and step-brother were also drafted. My younger brother (USMC - Purple Heart) died from gunshot wounds and exposure to Agent Orange. I saw a lot of death and destruction during my three deployments in Vietnam and a tremendous loss of life on all sides. But during my second deployment there, I witnessed something I hope to never see again. I was in Vietnam when Dr. MLK was assassinated. On the night of his death, Black sailors on most U.S. Navy ships stationed off the coast of Vietnam rioted – just as our brothers and sisters did during the Watts riots. Why won’t the white-media tell this story?

(An open letter from Michael Moore) Editor: I don’t support the troops, America, and neither do you. I am writing this as I have just learned of the suicides of two more of our active duty reservists who live here in the Traverse City, Michigan area. That brings the total number of soldier suicides (that I know of) in the past year, in this rural area, to four. I am tired of the ruse we are playing on these brave citizens in our armed forces. And guess what – a lot of these soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines see right through the bull**** of those words, “I support the troops!” spoken by Americans with such false sincerity – false because our actions don’t match our words. These young men and women sign up to risk their very lives to protect us – and this is what they get in return: 1. They get sent off to wars that have NOTHING to do with defending America or saving our lives. They are used as pawns so that the militaryindustrial complex can make billions of dollars and the rich here can expand their empire. By “supporting the troops,” that means I’m supposed to shut up, don’t ask questions, do nothing to stop the madness, and sit by and watch thousands of them die? Well, I’ve done an awful lot to try and end this. But the only way you can

James J. Tenant Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, Retired Centennial, CO

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Publisher

honestly say you support the troops is to work night and day to get them out of these hell holes they’ve been sent to. And what have I done this week to bring the troops home? Nothing. So if I say “I support the troops,” don’t believe me – I clearly don’t support the troops because I’ve got more important things to do today, like return an iPhone that doesn’t work and take my car in for a tune up. 2. While the troops we claim to “support” are serving their country, bankers who say they too “support the troops” foreclose on the actual homes of these soldiers and evict their families while they are overseas! Have I gone and stood in front of the sheriff’s deputy as he is throwing a military family out of their home? No. And there’s your proof that I don’t “support the troops,” because if I did, I would organize mass sit-ins to block the doors of these homes. Instead, I’m having Chilean sea bass tonight. 3. How many of you who say you “support the troops” have visited a VA hospital to bring aid and comfort to the sick and wounded? I haven’t. How many of you have a clue what it’s like to deal with the VA? I don’t. Therefore, you would be safe to say that I don’t “support the troops,” and neither do you. 4. Who amongst you big enthusiastic “supporters of the troops” can tell me the approximate number of service women who have been raped while in the military? Answer: 19,000 (mostly) female troops are raped or sexually assaulted every year by fellow American troops. What have you or I Continued on page 23


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Achievements and Contributions of African-American Admirals and Generals Profiled

“Great Black War Fighters: Profiles in Service” by Ben L. Walton sets a precedent. This book was been written to meet three documented and validated needs. One, to inform readers of the phenomenal achievements and remarkable contributions made to the defense and national security of the United States by African-American admirals and generals since President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, abolishing segregation in the nation’s armed forces. Two, to captivate, enlighten, and inspire students in training programs such as ROTC, the service academies, and OCS, who upon graduation, will be commissioned as officers in the military. Furthermore, it creates a resource for personnel on active duty or serving in the reserves to read how a group of black officers reached the pinnacle of their career, and doing it against enormous odds. Three, to produce a collectible, gift or keepsake for former service members, their loved ones and friends, so they can all take pride and be moved by the life stories in this book. “Great Black War Fighters” chronicles 29 Black flag officers from among the 250 researched for the work “Great Black War Fighters: Profiles” in Service, with foreword by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert G. Gard, Jr., PhD (former president National Defense University, now chairman Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation), will be launched during Black History Month. The event will commemorate President Truman signing Executive Order 9981 that abolished segregation in the nation’s armed services. The 33rd commander-in-chief’s awesome, bold, and courageous act opened the door for Black men and women to earn stars in the regular military. On Feb. 1, the kick off will be at Fort Huachuca, Arizona where two all-Black infantry divisions, i.e., the 92nd and 93rd, trained before being deployed to fight overseas during World War II. Also, two of the 29 African-American flag officers profiled in the book, from among 250 researched, served as generals at the

fort. Subsequently, following the beginning of the volume’s major marketing campaign, Truman will be honored throughout the remainder of the month with author book signings at other military installations and large booksellers around the country. Black History Month in 2013 will be a time when all Americans can observe and reflect upon contributions made by Black warriors to the defense and national security of the United States during the past 65 years.  Editor’s note: Walton, a retired U.S. Army colonel, a freelance writer and motivational speaker, resides in Centennial, Colo. with his wife, Ruth. E-mail bwalt27789@ peoplepc.com or call 720-253-9624.

2013 MSU Denver Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship

Problem: America needs more scientists. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, Ph.D. has answers. Q One of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012 Q Presidential appointee to national educational advisory commission Q Featured on “60 Minutes” Learn how Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, 2013 Noel Professor and president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, transformed UMBC into a Ph.D.-producing powerhouse for students of color.

One day only – Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 Q Day: iVÌÕÀiÃʜ˜ÊÕÀ>Àˆ>Ê >“«ÕÃÊUʙ\ÎäÊ>°“°]Ê£Ó\ÎäÊ«°“°]ÊÎ\ÎäÊ«°“° Tivoli Turnhalle Q Evening:Ê œ““Õ˜ˆÌÞʏiVÌÕÀiÊ>˜`Ê œiÊ>Ü>À`ÃÊUÊȇnÊ«°“° ÊÊÊÊÊ-…œÀÌiÀÊ œ““Õ˜ˆÌÞÊ Ê …ÕÀV…ÊUÊΣääÊ,ˆV…>À`ʏi˜Ê œÕÀÌ

All events are free! ÊÊʘvœÀ“>̈œ˜Ê>˜`ʺÈäʈ˜ÕÌiûÊvi>ÌÕÀi\Êwww.msudenver.edu/noel

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The Breakfast Bunch: Where Veterans Unite Tens of thousands of U.S.

By Tabatha Deans

Soldiers spent time at the Lowry Air Force Base throughout its opening in 1938 through the facility’s closure under the Base Realignment and Closure commission in 1994. The base served mainly as an Air Force technically training facility, including preparing bomber crews for combat during World War II. For Retired Master Sergeant Chuck Moss, time spent at Lowry provided him the opportunity to make friends and meet people from all over the United States who were stationed there. After the base closure, Moss transferred to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he finished out his military career before retiring and returning to Denver in 1995. Upon his return, Moss was reunited with an old friend from Lowry, Edie Lutz. She had been a bartender at the NCO club at Lowry for decades, and was a favorite with the enlisted folk. Lutz passed in 1999. “Edie was not good with names, but once she saw your face, she could tell you exactly what your drink was, no matter how much time had passed,” says Moss. He and Lutz began meeting for lunch regularly to reminisce about old times. Moss invited a few friends, Lutz invited a few friends, then their friends invited a few friends, those friends invited a few friends, and, without any intention, the “Breakfast Bunch” was formed. What began as two friends getting together to shoot the breeze, now draws nearly 100 veterans or retired

Chuck Moss, Ann Williams and Norvell Ballard, members of the Breakfast Bunch, all served at Lowry Air Force Base before its closure.

The Breakfast Bunch provides an Honor Guard service for deceased Veterans.

Years of memories, and thousands of hours of military service, are chronicled and displayed.

military personnel monthly. The original goal of the group, according to Moss, was to “socialize, tell lies about the good old days, and exchange information that was pertinent to us as military retirees/veterans.” Plenty of socializing and exchanging of information continues to take place at monthly breakfast meetings, but the group has taken on a new persona that was unintentional – they have become a political force to be reckoned with. “With the exception of one person, every politician who has been supported by our group has been elected, or re-elected,” boasts Moss. Member Michael Davis was invited to introduce President Obama during a recent visit to Denver while beating the campaign trail and fellow member Renee Booker was invited to attend the recent Presidential Inauguration. Dozens of politicians, including Michael Hancock, Angela Williams, Chris Herndon, Ryan Frazier and John Buckner have all spent time in front of the Breakfast Bunch, educating, answering questions and vying for votes. Ann Williams reunited with Moss and joined the Bunch in 1996.

“I ran into Chuck, and started joining the Bunch for breakfast. We’re starting to see more female veterans and retirees,” she says. Addressing the needs of all veterans and retirees is the only specific purpose of the group, with guest speakers covering a wide range of topics such as social security benefits, veteran’s benefits, long-term health care and legal issues. In addition to the camaraderie and information the Bunch provides, members unite to serve their commu-

nities – helping feed seniors during the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner sponsored by the Asfaw Family Foundation International (AFFI), and the AFFI Bicycle Give Away held at Manual High School each year. Of course supporting active military members is a service the Bunch is always happy to provide, gathering donations and assembling care packages to send to military members stationed in Afghanistan. On the more serious side of support, the Bunch provides an Honor Guard service for military families burying their soldier. Retired Master Sergeant Norvell Ballard, has been a member of the Bunch since 1995, and is the owner of Ballard Funeral Home. He has generously donated time and services to insure veterans receive proper burial services. “Nobody knows what a military person deserves but another military person,” he says. The Bunch will be welcoming Denver Police Chief Robert White at their February meeting. Meetings are held the 4th Saturday of each month at The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), 1599 Dayton St. in Aurora, at 9 a.m. All military veterans and retirees are welcome to attend.  Editor’s note: For more information about the Bunch, E-mail Moss at chuck.moss58@gmail.com.

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Photos by Rod Dawkins

Barack Hussein Obama Sworn In For a Second Term as President of the United States...By Hugh Johnson

S

econd term presidential inaugurations typically lack the hype of their predecessors. President Obama’s was no different. One million people gathered at the national mall this year as opposed to the 1.8 million of 2009. This year’s two inaugural balls were a drastic scale-down from the 10 official balls of the first go around. Though it could be argued that “Obamamania” has slowed down in the wake of his first term, President Obama isn’t backing off from the change he promised. This time four years ago, America was fighting two wars, unemployment was on the rise, and a fever pitch surrounded the 2009 inauguration of the first African American President in over 200 years of American history. Today, America has ended one war, is ending the second and unemployment is on the decline albeit slowly. Yes, this year’s inauguration is evidence of the president’s victory over former Governor Mitt Romney in November, but the unbridled brinksmanship and political divisiveness of Congress’s clumsy handling of the fiscal cliff at the end of last year, leads to the question: how will things be different this time around? What will the president do to bring about the change he promised? Ironically, Americans present at the March on Washington in 1963 likely asked a similar question during their quest to end segregation: How can things change? Much like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama pro-

posed that every citizen shares a responsibility to preserve the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The president focused on the fact that these sacred rights will only endure as long as people are willing to fight for them. The irony doesn’t end there. President Obama was officially sworn in during a private ceremony on Sunday, January 20 per the rule set in the constitution. As is customary, the public inauguration was moved to Monday which also happened to be Martin Luther King Day. The president took his oath of office upon both President Abraham Lincoln’s and Dr. King’s Bibles. On the steps of the Lincoln memorial on August 28, 1963, Dr. King proclaimed that like a bad check, segregation and discrimination left many American men and women with an unfulfilled promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Dr. King said that 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation the Negro still was not free. Now almost 50 years after King made his fateful speech, America has made progress, but the work is not complete. President Obama stated that the country must strive to “continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words [life, liberty, pursuit of happiness] with the realities of our time.” Dr. King believed that solidarity between all Americans, regardless of their race, was absolutely essential for progress to continue. “Many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their

presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny,” said Dr. King. “We cannot walk alone.” The president took a similar approach, speaking to the challenges of Medicare, clean energy and closing the gap between middle and upper classes. “My fellow Americans we are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together,” said the president. “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.” Perhaps the most shocking part about the president’s address was the tone in which it was delivered. The president still spoke with his calm and assured demeanor but this time, he brought a little backbone to his words. While his speech included his usual call for the people to band together to form a better America, the America in his vision was distinctly liberal. He championed climate change stating that its opponents may deny the science behind it but they could not deny the hard evidence of more destructive storms and extreme weather. President Obama defended entitlement programs saying that programs like Medicaid and Medicare are commitments that make this country stronger, not weaker. The president became the first in United States history to mention gay rights in an inaugural address. “Our journey is not complete until our gay

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brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” President Obama said. “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” The president’s words haven’t gone unnoticed. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) believes that with this speech, the president has made it clear that he isn’t interested in a bipartisan approach but is going with a “my way or the highway” attitude. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) believes that the speech is the beginning of an effort to annihilate the Republican Party. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the speech proudly declared the return of the era of liberalism while ignoring the transcendent issue in America today, the debt and deficit. In his famous “I have a Dream” Speech, Dr. King made it clear that the humility with which he and others civilly and peacefully demonstrated was not to be mistaken for weakness. “Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual,” said King. “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” In many ways, the president followed in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s footsteps in his second inaugural speech. With partisan politics looking to rear its ugly head for another four years, the president’s resolve will need to be as strong as Dr. King’s if he hopes to bring change to America.


L

ife is simply never the same after you bury your child. Seven years ago, I laid my son Javad to rest after he was gunned down outside of his Aurora apartment. The grief will haunt me for as long as I live. Regrettably there are now 20 more families in Newtown, Conn., who will share in this same hellish nightmare. Their loved ones were just six- and seven-year-old children, and they were slaughtered in an elementary school classroom before any of them had the chance to grow up and lead long, fulfilling lives. It is a shameful day for our country when it takes an atrocity of this magnitude to finally break our leaders’ long-held silence on gun violence. It is perhaps even more shameful when we still have to plea for a plan to end the bloodshed. Those pleas, however, are quickly turning into demands. Americans from all walks of life are speaking out loud and clear: Candlelight vigils and moments of silence are no longer

Enough Is Enough:

A Case for Gun Policy Reform enough. We need action, and we need it now. As an elected representative for Colorado it is my leadership obligation to help find solution to gun violence that seeks a balance between keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people and upholds the rights of law abiding citizens. One of my top legislative priorities will require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check. Such a measure is the only systematic way to prevent convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill from purchasing guns that can be turned into deadly weapons. Over the last 15 years, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has thwarted millions of illegal transactions before they went through – saving countless lives, to be sure. Unfortunately under our current system, only licensed gun dealer are obligated by federal law to conduct background checks. Private sellers, as they’re called, are free to sell every-

Op-Ed by Rhonda Fields

thing from handguns to hunting rifles with no paperwork and no questions asked. It is a loophole that caters to criminals and allows more than 40 percent of U.S. gun sales to be completed without any semblance of a safeguard against abuse. Reforming the system to make it foolproof is a commonsense proposal on which gun control advocates and gun owners alike have found common ground. Gov. John Hickenlooper has bravely said “the time is right,” even before the massacre in Connecticut last week. Colorado is already partway there, as voters closed the guns how loophole in 2000 (70 percent -30 percent) – we should keep moving forward now. Of all states, ours should be leading the charge on this issue after the tragedies that have claimed far too many of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors. It wasn’t all that long ago that a midnight showing of the new Batman film at the Century 16 in Aurora

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quickly turned into a deadly rampage that left 12 moviegoers dead and another 59 injured. It wasn’t all that long ago that two students in trench coats, wielding pipe bombs and shotguns, walked into their Littleton high school and gunned down 12 fellow classmates and a teacher. And it wasn’t all that long ago that my baby boy was murdered in a hail of bullets, along with his beautiful fiancée Vivian Wolfe, not even two weeks after finishing college. After every shooting, we always hope the carnage will stop. But hoping and waiting won’t get us anywhere. We need to put passivity aside and come up with a substantive plan to ensure our safety and that of our loved ones. Anything less would be an insult to the victims of gun violence and all of us who live with the pain of their absence.  Editor’s note: State Representatives Rhonda Fields represents Colorado’s 42nd district.


PTSD

CASUALTIES OF WAR:

Long After Combat Ends the Effects of Linger On For Many Local Black Veterans

By Chandra Thomas Whitfield

D

onald W. Brown is a veteran on many fronts. Firstly, more than 40 years ago he spent a year on the front lines of Vietnam as a security policeman in the United States Air Force. He returned home only to be ravaged by combat-induced nightmares, violent flashbacks and the intense emotional turmoil that ultimately wrecked his closest interpersonal relationships. His battle to get financially compensated for it all; is ongoing. “It’s hard to move on when you spend a year of your life surrounded by death and destruction,” remembers Brown, 64, a Northeast Denver resident and co-owner of DBLS Limousine Service. “I saw my friends get killed; saw people’s heads blown off and their flesh burned off. You never forget what man can do to man in the name of war. All I want is to get the benefits I deserve for all that I went through for this country.” Brown struggles with a myriad of health problems: hypertension, liver cancer and diabetes. None is more debilitating than his bout with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition that often results from experiencing or witnessing lifethreatening events such as assault, abuse, natural disasters and, as in Brown’s case, combat exposure. Some of the most common symptoms include: recurring nightmares, sleeplessness, loss of interest, feeling numb, anger and irritability. “It destroyed my first marriage; it got so bad that a few times I woke up in the middle of the night choking my wife; I thought she was the Viet Cong,” remembers Brown, who has received veteran disability benefits in relation to PTSD since 2008, the same year that he’d first applied. “I still have the same nightmares; see the same faces and smell the same smells.”

Photos by Lens of Ansar

(Left to Right): Sid Wilson, Billy Scott, John Marsh and Don Brown

He is still lobbying to get the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay him benefits dating back to 1969 – the year that he was discharged – due to the very same symptoms officially declared as PTSD in the 1980s. The illness has wreaked havoc on Brown’s life, which has been wrought with depression, drug abuse and tumultuous relationships. His story, unfortunately, is not unlike thousands and perhaps millions of African-American veterans nationwide who struggle to pick up the pieces of their pre-combat existence, after offering up the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting the country – their lives. “When I got back I didn’t really care about nothing, so to speak, because I just got so used to living for nothing more than the next second,” said Brown, noting that he was one of only two survivors among a group of 13 deployed together. “My whole future was destroyed. It was no longer bright.”

United States Army vet John Marsh, 66, of Northeast Denver can relate. “When I was 19 my dream was to play for the New York Yankees; at 19, instead I had to go to Vietnam,” remembers Marsh, formerly of the infantry unit. “That turned my life completely around; that restricted my choices. Once I got back, with PTSD I had no way to pursue my way back to my dreams.”

Race Matters

Although VA brass reported last year, “more than 15 percent of service members and veterans suffer impaired functioning as a result of PTSD,” other experts and support organizations assert that statistic is dramatically higher. Estimates on the number of African-American war fighters of color deployed to Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan, who’ve been affected by PTSD, are disturbingly disproportionate in comparison to other racial groups. “The majority of them are dead, in

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Photo by Lens of Ansar

prison or in the insane asylum,” adds Brown, a hint of sadness creeping into his voice. “They got no help. All we did was suffer when we got back.” Some Vietnam veterans have estimated that since that war, suicide brought on by the mental health challenges that plagued many who return from battle has killed more of the soldiers who fought in the conflict than the 58,000 U.S. troops that reportedly died in combat in Vietnam. Now experts are seeing the same trend rising among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans. According to Congressional Quarterly Weekly, more U.S. servicemen committed suicide than were killed in combat last year in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some 468 servicemen reportedly took their own lives compared to 462 killed in action. Mental health experts say this is a testament to the stress on the nation’s military personnel after 10 years of fighting. A report published last year in the journal Injury Prevention showed that


Veteran Facts and Information

According to current estimates, there are slightly fewer than 400,000 veterans in Colorado, a little less than half of those live in the seven county metro Denver area. For the state of Colorado, about 35 percent of all veterans who served in war time (vs. peace time) served in the Gulf Wars. Vietnam veterans are still the biggest numbers. It is important to note that not all veterans need behavioral health services. But, both statistics and the conversations confirm its importance. As an example, it is estimated that 39 percent of returning veterans have a behavioral health diagnosis, 20 percent meet the criteria for PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression and only half of that number seek treatment. The VA cannot and does not treat all veterans and their families. Finally, in few cases does the presence of one need exist in isolation; it is important to note that behavioral health issues may impact a veteran’s ability to succeed in almost all areas. The specific issues normally classified as behavioral health include post traumatic stress and trauma spectrum disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders and traumatic brain injuries). Also included are substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, military sexual trauma, and family trauma. The following are some programs skilled in addressing the mental health issues of veterans: •Aurora Mental Health Center •Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Total Force program •Mental Health Center of Denver •Rocky Mountain Human Services (formerly Denver Options) Operation TBI (PTSD often co-exists) •Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Stout Street Clinic and Victory House facilities/programs •Sobriety House •Phoenix Multi-Sport •Mental Health Partners (Boulder/Broomfield) •Craig Rehabilitation Hospital (spinal cord injury and TBI) •Freedom Service Dogs (PTSD support) •Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network •Veterans Helping Veterans Now

Editor’s Note: Information is provided by Linda G. Niven, Special Consultant on Veteran’s Issues, The Denver Foundation

suicide rates among U.S. Army personnel increased 80 percent between 2004 and 2008. Out of the 255 soldiers who had taken their own lives between 2007 and 2008, 17 percent had previously been diagnosed with a mental health problem. “About 50 percent of those who return from a combat experience will return sick [from PTSD] and they will be sick for the rest of their lives,” predicts Marsh. “You can’t put someone in a combat situation and not have help waiting for them when they get back. Help didn’t come until Desert Storm and beyond.”

more predisposing factors than Whites, which appeared to account for the higher rates of PTSD. After controlling for these factors, the differences in PTSD rates between Whites and African-Americans largely disappeared. “All combat veterans who are Black are suffering from PTSD, but combat veterans of all colors are suffering,” contends Vietnam veteran Billy Scott, 64, the Aurora (Colorado) resident served in the First Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, which he refers to as “the finest combat Division in the world.

The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) in 1990 found differences among Hispanic, African-American and White Vietnam Veterans who served on active duty, in terms of readjustment after military service. The study, conducted in response to a 1983 congressional mandate for an investigation of PTSD and other postwar psychological problems among Vietnam veterans, also revealed that a substantial number of Vietnam vets of color suffered from a variety of psychological conditions. Many experienced a wide range of life-adjustment problems, including marital issues and work difficulties. Unfortunately only a small number of these Veterans, the study indicated, actually sought treatment from mental health providers. “PTSD became an official condition in the 80s, but most Black men did not get treated until between ‘96 or 2000; the White men got treated for it first,” adds Marsh. “A lot of people tried to hide it; they didn’t want people thinking they were crazy.” Sid Wilson, 68, a Southeast Denver resident who served as a U.S. Army Sergeant in Vietnam, says PTSD is a consequence for many who’ve served on the front lines, because war is a “life-altering” experience. “You participate in things that require the death of your former existence; your values die,” says Wilson, owner of A Private Guide Inc., a local group tour event transportation service. “All of the things that keep you alive in war are dysfunctional when you get back home.” The NVVRS study also found that both Hispanic and African-American male Vietnam veterans, had higher rates of PTSD than Whites. The study listed rates of PTSD in 1990 as: •28 percent among Hispanics •21 percent among AfricanAmericans •14 percent among Whites. It also found that AfricanAmericans tended to have greater exposure to war stresses and had

“You participate in things that

The Price of Vietnam

require the death of your former existence; your values die. All of

the things that keep you alive in

war are dysfunctional when you get back home.”

– Sid Wilson, Vietnam Vet and PTSD Sufferer

Adds Scott: “If we are fortunate enough to live past combat, flashbacks are forever with us,” says Scott, who has helped many local vets fight for benefits from the VA and emphasizes compensation is 15 minutes away. “Flashbacks are persistent intrusive memories of traumatic events; those

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events can’t ever leave your mind. The smell of blood at 100-plus degree weather is all over me, so I tend to take longer showers than a normal person.” Studies specifically documenting the impact of PTSD on service men and women of color are not plentiful; but one universal fact rings true: PTSD does not discriminate. The millions of African Americans who have served the country in the military bring his or her life experiences to that situation; which often includes discrimination, abuse and poverty. Race-related stressors and personal experiences of racial prejudice or stigmatization are considered potent risk factors for PTSD. “About 18 percent of AfricanAmerican veterans who get PTSD in a combat situation will have it for a lifetime,” says Sidney A. Lee, president and founder of the Seattle-based African American PTSD Association (AAPTSDA). “We are more susceptible to having it for a lifetime because of the environments that we are brought up in and what we endure in life coming up even before the PTSD.” Although harder to document, sufferers and experts also agree that PTSD impacts the entire family. “Anybody who’s married to someone with PTSD has experienced PTSD themselves,” contends Marsh. “It Continued on page 14


Contined from page 13 affects everyone in the family. That’s why it is important to seek help.” Adds Lee: “The effects of PTSD are handed down through families; children emulate what they see at home.” Lee, a Vietnam vet and PTSD sufferer too, says that’s mainly why he founded AAPTSDA in 1996 as a vehicle to “make vets and the public aware of the symptoms.” The organization seeks to help “all veterans in need” with an array of issues – from navigating VA paperwork to helping literally pluck homeless vets from the streets. In 2002, after an intensive training process, Congress and the VA recognized it as an official national veteran’s organization. “We’re a one-stop shop; we do it all,” says Lee of AAPTSDA, which boasts 50,000 members and offices in six states. Due to racial and social upheaval in the military and the U.S., particularly during the Vietnam War years, many observers say, PTSD often compounds the conflicting feelings that many Black Vietnam veterans often harbor about their wartime experiences. Unlike veterans of wars past and present, Wilson says he and his comrades were not warmly welcomed back home. “We did not come back as heroes like the other veterans,” he says.

“They were calling us ‘baby killers’ and all kinds of nasty things. We did not get a hero’s welcome. We had to come back home and fight society and PTSD too.” Research shows that Black veterans, just as Black patients in general, often tend to get misdiagnosed, especially due to the varied manifestations of PTSD in alcohol and drug abuse, along with medical, legal, personality and vocational problems. “A huge misconception is that treating PTSD is very time-consuming,” adds Scott. “Although treatment is free, the time lost from work and business makes it next to impossible for most people to attain proper treatment. And even in treatment, that doctor has never been in combat firefights; they just simply cannot imagine the effects of gun shells exploding all around you. They can’t imagine 52 bombs hitting the ground all about the same time at night and the smell it produces when people and animals burn.” Dr. Franklin d.b. Jackson, regional commander for the National Association for Black Veterans Inc. (NABVETS) says racism within the U.S. military is also a major contributing factor. “I would like people to stop saying, ‘there goes that crazy nigger;’ people

(LtoR): John Marsh, Sid Wilson, Billy Scott and Don Brown

give Black vets a hard time,” says Jackson. “I see lots of discrimination; there’s a big difference between the way Blacks and Whites and White females are treated [by the VA] for the very same thing. You’ll see a Black vet get awarded 30 percent [of benefits from the VA] for a condition, which is a very low amount of money. Then you will see a White person get 100 percent benefits for the very same condition; that’s about $3,000 a month. It’s just part of the culture of racism throughout the United States; the military is no exception.” Jackson says part of the problem is

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14

Photo by Lens of Ansar

that that the majority of those operating vet organizations – about 90 percent – are White. “They have no clue that they are treating the Black person the way that they are,” he says. “It is part of American culture to treat the Black person badly; it’s the American way of life. When you call their hand on it, they’ get defensive and say ‘I’m not a racist.’“

Help Is Here

The promising news, though, is that there is more help available nationwide and locally within the metropolitan Denver area than ever before. “The VA has been wonderful,”


says Wilson, noting that Scott encouraged him to pursue his application for VA benefits. “I have received counseling for many years now. We’ve been working through all of the issues with my wife and my family. I am definitely seeing a difference in my life.” Marsh is a member of a PTSD support group for Black vets that meets twice monthly at the Vet Center on East 1st Avenue in the Lowry community. Affected vets get referred through the VA. Jackson’s NABVETS organization also has a monthly support group that meets every third Thursday at the American Legion in the same area (www.nabvetscolorado.org). The organization also supports Black vets in other ways. “Our only criteria is that they are a vet who has been discharged from the U.S. military,” he says. “We provide them food, shelter, safety, housing, furniture, rental assistance, dollars to pay their bills and we even help them with their benefits package. We are there for them.” There are also several local PTSD specific support groups advertised online, including several at www.meetup.com (search for keywords “PTSD” and “Denver”). Brown says he has met with numerous counselors through the VA, but he says smoking marijuana twice a day has ultimately worked best at alleviating his symptoms. He fills his medical marijuana prescriptions twice monthly. “I didn’t want to turn to alcohol or become drug addicted,” says Brown. “Marijuana was the least offensive thing for me to do. It keeps me in a happy mood, especially during the holidays when I wish I could be with my family.” Interestingly, Brown admits that he did not vote in favor of the state ballot initiative passed in November legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana in Colorado. “I’ve been dodging the police for 40 years and now they go and legalize it,” quips Brown, with a chuckle. “I didn’t think that it would pass. I thought it was a joke.” Wilson says in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s help was sparse, but “the VA has really stepped up its game” in the last 10 to 15 years. “Nowadays there is absolutely no reason to suffer alone; depressed and abusing drugs,” says Wilson. “There are lots of resources available out there.”

On The Bright Side

He’s right. Last June, in observance of PTSD Awareness Month, the VA’s National Center for PTSD launched a new online initiative. AboutFace is focused on helping Veterans recognize PTSD symptoms and motivating them to seek treatment.

“We must do all we can to help veterans identify possible indicators that they may be suffering from PTSD,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced during the launch. “It requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to be effective. We hope that this initiative, while just one aspect of our program, will play an important role in that effort.” Through personal videos, the AboutFace campaign introduces viewers to Veterans from all eras who have experienced PTSD and turned their lives around with treatment. That campaign was designed as a companion effort to the VA’s current Make the Connection (www.MakeTheConnection.net) campaign, which uses personal testimonials to illustrate true stories of veterans who in the face of life events, experiences, physical ailments, or psychological symptoms, reached out for support and found ways to overcome their challenges. These campaigns are also part of the VA’s overall mental health program, which last year provided specialty mental health services to 1.3 million veterans. The VA, since 2009, has increased its mental health care budget by 39 percent. Since 2007, has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of veterans receiving mental health services; and a 41 percent increase in mental health staff. In April, as part of an ongoing review of mental health operations, Shinseki announced that the VA added approximately 1,600 mental health clinicians and nearly 300 support staff (including nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers) to its existing workforce to help meet increased demand for mental health services. Also last year, the VA and the Department of Defense announced that it would be investing more than $100 million in research to improve diagnosis and treatment of mild Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD, conditions that often run in tandem. That news is too little too late from Brown’s purview, but he is hopeful it will ultimately help with his appeals to the VA for back pay. Lee, however, is more optimistic. “Many African-Americans are scared of having it be known that they have a mental illness, because they feel that they will be ostracized,” he says. “That perspective needs to stop. This is an illness, but it’s treatable. Once you get help understanding what your triggers are, you can go on with life. I know, because my life is a testament to that.” Editor’s note: Award-winning journalist Chandra Thomas Whitfield is a former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow whose work has been honored by Mental Health America.

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King is a Big Reason for Obama

I

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

t was more than fitting that President Obama’s inauguration fell on the national day of celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was even more fitting that he took the oath of office on the bible that King used. More than any other resident of the White House, Obama understood that King is a big reason for his political success. Then Democratic presidential candidate Obama first publicly expressed deep

THE HUTCHINSON REPORT

gratitude to King and the civil rights movement in a speech in Selma, Alabama in March, 2007. He’s referenced King many times since then. An accurate, but often overlooked read of King’s legacy was not just his monumental fight against racial segregation. King was also a masterful political analyst and strategist. He recognized that winning battles against segregation was much easier than breaking the strangle hold of Jim Crow political disempowerment. White political domination and black political disfranchisement were the twin cornerstones to maintain economic and social segregation for a near century. If Blacks in the South and elsewhere could not vote, they could not hold political office. If they could not hold political office, they would have absolutely no chance to change the rigid laws that entrenched segregation. King understood that ultimately the battle for political enfranchisement didn’t solely entail challenging the dominance of bigoted white Southern politicians. He also had to challenge the Democratic and Republican parties nationally. He led massive protest marches at both the 1960 Democratic convention and Republican conven-

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tions. He did more. He also put forth a pointed agenda for civil rights to both conventions demanding an end to Jim Crow restrictions on voting in the South. In the next few years, King stepped up the assault on Jim Crow politics. He coupled his mass marches against segregated public accommodations with voter registration and education drives, relentless court challenges to the poll tax, literacy tests, and political gerrymandering. These along with naked terror were the ancient weapons the white South used to chase blacks from the polls. King relentlessly pushed the Justice Department and the FBI to protect blacks that sought to register from the organized terror campaign. King backed to the hilt the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, and its challenge to the seating of the lily white Mississippi delegation at the 1964 Democratic Convention. He was instrumental in brokering the deal with Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Party stalwarts to seat some members of the MFDP. This was the first real crack in the armor of white political power and dominance. It set the stage for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that blew apart whites only political domination and paved the way for the explosion in the number of black elected officials in the coming decades. King also quickly realized that transforming the political process would insure that more elected black officials could be advocates for political equality in the South and in major urban areas in the North where blacks increasingly were the majority of the population. This was especially important to King who never lost sight of the fact that the legacy of segregation, bigotry and discrimination trapped thousands of poor blacks and that offered no easy resolution.

Obama has publicly taken exception to the notion that the civil rights movement is outdated, or worse, that he somehow supplants the ongoing work of civil rights leaders. He has not bought into the notion that his election signaled the nation has reached the nirvana of a post racial society. Since the first public acknowledgement he made of the debt of gratitude he owes King and the civil rights movement, he has repeatedly praised past civil rights leaders for their heroic battle against racial injustice and not just yearly during the King holiday celebration. This is an appropriate tribute to the civil rights movement that challenged the nation to make King’s dream of justice and equality a reality. Obama faced that challenge and defied the racial odds in winning the White House. But he could not have beaten the odds without the hard, patient, in the tranches effort of and recognition by King that political empowerment was the key to racial uplift. King, though, would likely temper his cheers at the towering progress that blacks and minorities have made in the political arena with the admonition to be vigilant against the attempts by the GOP to rollback those gains through voter gerrymandering, and the passage of a tangle of racially tinged vote restricted laws. Adding to the danger, some conservatives are loudly trying to prod the Supreme Court to do away completely with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. King was the driving force to meet and overcome the barriers to black political empowerment. His success is the big reason Obama took and again took the oath of presidential office.  Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He hosts of the Hutchinson Report on KPFKRadio and KTYM Radio. Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

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2d


Editor’s note: Each year during Black History Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum honors African Americans who are making a difference in the lives of others. In honor of our 26th year of publishing and based on past recognition, number of times nominated and questionnaire response, we have selected (from 22 nominations) 16 recipients as the 2013 African Americans Who Make A Difference. They told us about their achievements, what motivated them to become active in their community, suggestions to address the challenges facing the community, and how they would like to be remembered. Once you read their profiles, you will understand why they were chosen.

ANTHONY WILSON SR.

Senior Pastor, Sure Foundation Community Fellowship Church Campus Monitor, Hinkley High School

Anthony Wilson Sr. would like to be known for his love for people and his desire to see and help them reach their God given potential. As a pastor and a campus monitor, Wilson provides a positive environment for children, youth, and adults to learn the word of God, share the gifts and talents that God has blessed them with, and learn how to minister in everyday places such as work, school, and coffee shops. When asked why he chooses to take an active role, he replied, “I believe God has called me to be a difference maker not a spectator.” Wilson believes that the biggest challenge in the African American community is lack of unity and support and says that through the churches, we can bring that support back.” In the future he would like to see his church support local schools by providing scholarships and grants in the area of athletics for the young students who would like to play but cannot afford to. “I would like to be remembered as a doer and not a talker. I want people to see my love for God, my neighbors and my community through my actions.”

CHERRELYN A. NAPUE

Area Director and Co-Owner Club Z! In-Home Tutoring

CAROL E. MCCALLISTER

President Champion Business Services Inc.

In 1986 Carol E. McCallister established Champion Business Services Inc. (CBS), which is a business training program that has served more than 7,000 individuals. She was recognized by Diversity Business as one of the “Top Fifty Woman Owned Business in Colorado” in 2010 McCallister’s most notable contribution to the African American community in the past year was retraining an individual after she was involved in a serious school bus accident who is now volunteering and providing support at the Forest Street Compassionate Center. In addition to training, McCallister is a government contractor and employs veterans nationwide for government contracts. “Their performance has been outstanding and fortified with integrity, commitment and respect,” she says. Her goal for the future is to develop a project called “Honorable Comfort,” where CBS will hire and train retiring veterans to be care givers for disabled veterans “because only a veteran knows how a disabled veteran feels.” When asked why she chooses to take an active role in the community, she responded, “God has blessed me with too much to let His blessings go to waste. When I meet Him face to face, and He asks me what I have done with the life that He has given me, He has only to look at the ocean of faces.” McCallister believes the biggest challenges facing the African American community are lack of jobs, training and education. “By getting trained, jobs can be obtained which will promote higher education and incomes.” She would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference and did not quit. “My motto is: ‘you never fail until you quit.’”

Congratulations

to the 2013 African Americans Who Make A Difference!

Cherrelyn A. Napue is best known for her role in supporting non-profit organizations and being a champion of education. She serves as the President for the Colorado I Have A Dream Foundation Board of Directors and is co-owner of Mustard Seed Educational Services, LLC. dba Club Z! In-Home Tutoring. “I can see the difference our company is making in the lives and education of youth one child at a time. It was a risky move to leave higher education to start a tutoring company; however the need is so great it is worth the risk. Our tutorial services provide the personalized support the student needs while empowering the family members to move beyond that feeling of helplessness,” says Napue. She is proud to go out into the community and share her journey as a breast cancer survivor. She chooses to take an active role in the community because she was raised that way. “I also personally believe you lose your right to complain if you do not take a role in helping to create change and be a part of the solution. Everyone can make a difference whether in big or small ways; it all makes a difference in the bigger picture.” Napue believes the greatest challenge facing the African-American community is quality education. “A poorly educated community impacts the economics, health, and safely of our community. It increases incarceration and reduces family stability,” she says. Napue wants to be remembered as a woman who loved and served God through her actions, not just in words. And someone who lived in her passion and used adverse situations and challenges to show the power of God to overcome them.

LLC. He advocates for the success of small African American, women, Latino, Asian, and Native American business owners by matching the goods and services provided, with procurement opportunities within the public and private sector. Jones’s most notable contribution to the African American community was serving as the former Director of Membership and Business Development at the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce. When asked why he chooses to take an active role, Jones replied, “It has been said that wisdom comes with age, but it also helps when you are gifted to have people that motivate you directly or indirectly in your life to help you navigate the road to success. I’ve been blessed to have both. Being a transplant to Denver, it was our civic leaders and successful business owners that inspired, motivated and mentored me.” Jones believes the challenges being faced within the Denver African American community is there are too many individuals, organizations and lobbying groups that practice micro-economics versus macro-economics. “The solution is up to each of us to individually choose how, when and to what extent to make a difference. We must continue to educate ourselves and our youth. If we could just get our youth to just read the front page of the newspaper every day, they would become more informed on what’s happening on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.” When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said “All I can do is my part to the best of my abilities and for that of others when needed. It’s really a matter of how other people will remember me. I have my father’s politeness and my mother’s temper at times, but like the keel on a sailboat, I’m able to keep things in balance, so I should be ok!”

GEORGE E. HAILEY

Certified Financial Planner

Hailey Family Scholarship Foundation G E Hailey Scholarship Endowment Foundation

FLOYD L. JONES JR.

Legal Administrator/Chief Marketing Officer Colorado Affordable Legal Services, LLC

Floyd L. Jones Jr. is a legal administrator and chief marketing officer at Colorado Affordable Legal Services,

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George E. Hailey has been an active member of Scott United Methodist Church for more than 50 years. In the past year Hailey has contributed to the African American community by being a mentor to young African American boys and for the success of the Hailey Family Scholarship Foundation and the G E Hailey Scholarship Endowment Foundation, for African American High School Boys. Seven scholarships were awarded in 2012.


In the past five years, Hailey helped raise more than one million dollars in scholarship monies for African American students in Colorado and around the U.S. Hailey believes African American health and learning to improve your overall health is a challenge in the community. “Taken control of your health, realize that you are really the one in control. ” He also stresses the importance of voting, “When a young person turns 18 years old they must understand just how important it is to get registered to vote and to understand their voting rights and to exercise them.” In the future Hailey would like to be able to provide more scholarships to deserving high school students, and to be able to educate the masses about the importance of saving and preparing for the future. He would like to be remembered as “someone who tried to help others.”

GWENDOLYN H. SCOTT Educator/Actor/Re-anactor

Gwendolyn H. Scott is known in the Denver community as an educator and re-enactor. She teaches Black history through first person portrayals of Colorado Black pioneers such as Aunt Clara Brown and Dr. Justina Ford. Her most notable contribution in the past year is presenting re-enactments at various venues promoting Black History such as at the American Black West Museum in 2012 for a fundraiser for Denver Arts and Museum week. In addition to re-enacting at Denver Public Schools from January through March for Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Black History month, and Women’s history month, she also facilitates workshops. Scott believes the biggest challenge facing the African-America community is maintaining a crusade and instilling in parents and children that the pursuit of a quality education is fundamental and key to the success and viability of the Black community and America. “I am 85 years old, and during my time left, I intend and want to continue acting and educating.” Scott would like to be remembered as having been an inspiration that helped young and old find the joy in lifelong learning, in particular, the appreciation of Black history and culture.

LASHAWN DIXON

Director Charity’s House for Women Ministries

“After giving the Fed’s 10 years of my life for distribution of drugs,” LaShawn Dixon says “my contribution to the African community is giving back to the community by being a solution – not the problem – and empowering women to be productive positive individuals in society.” Dixon, along with a business partner, opened up Charity’s House for Women Ministries to help women coming out of the prison system, homeless women with and without children, and drug addicted women, transition into society. As a way of contributing to the African American community, Dixon volunteered at Agape Christian Church in the community kitchen feeding more than 100 homeless people over the past five years. Dixon feels one of the biggest challenges facing the African-American community is the lack of opportunity for felons to have a second chance in life, and says “the solution would be to design more programs that are felony friendly.” Future plans include expanding Charity’s House for Women Ministries with community involvement to include re-entry programs, and providing housing and job opportunities for ex-felons as well. Dixon would like to be remembered as someone who wanted to make a difference and one who provided opportunities for other’s to make it in society.

LYNN KING-JACKSON

Teacher, Denver Public Schools

Second grade teacher Lynn KingJackson is a community activist, mentor and dedicated educator. “My most notable contribution has been educating, tutoring and mentoring at risk youth, as well as volunteering as a coordinator for the Montbello High School cheering squad.” When asked why she chooses to take an active role, she said, “In order for us to receive a withdrawal from successful youth, a deposit must be made.”

King-Jackson feels that the biggest challenge facing the African American community is not being academically equipped in reading, writing, math and science. “This can be resolved by having affordable academic programs within the schools all year round for every child and their parents,” she said. In the future, King-Jackson would like to have 100 percent of her students academically proficient in reading and writing, and in order to achieve this goal, she would like to open a reading and writing learning center in the heart of the Montbello/Green Valley community. When asked how she would like to be remembered, she answered, “Simply as ‘Ms. Lynn,’ a woman of God who believed that the power of youth begins with the deposits that are made.”

NATHAN L. O’NEAL, PHD, MBA

Senior Pastor, Light Of The World Church Executive Director, Men Behaving Dadly

Nathan L. O’Neal is best known in the Denver community for innovative and inclusive service to African-American families and communities. “While this work is challenging, the reward is seeing physically, emotionally, and intellectually healthy children because of the involvement of their fathers. Data tells us that children do better physically, have fewer behavioral issues, and graduate high school at higher rates than children who do not have involved fathers. “Growing up in an era when the color of one’s skin was seen as a barrier, it is important to me for our community, particularly, our young men, to be encouraged to continue their education, become productive, positive participants in society, and a model for those who will follow. African Americans must understand that success is available to all who are willing to work and not settle for what is given versus what can be earned..” O’Neal believes that the African American community will continue to be challenged until we begin to question the ‘status quo.’ “We must not settle for what is traditionally our ‘role’ or our ‘party’ (political), or accept that certain individuals are to be excused because of their position in the community or the church or politics.” O’Neal believes resolution to these issues will only come about when African Americans begin to fully support each other. In the future he would like to see African American families stay intact. “Married families will stay married, and

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those who are not married will work cooperatively for the best interest of their children.”

QUINCY HINES

Midwest Regional Director Barbershop Talk

Best known as co-founder of Barbershop Talk, Quincy Hines works diligently to reach men in Denver to instill lost values such as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Hines contributes to the African American community by volunteering for organizations and community events. “I have been self-educated on our history and see how we’ve been treated, as well as, how we’ve behaved. My plight is to see us freed from all bondages, whether internal or external. We (BT) are simply passionate about people, however disgusted by vanity, hypocrisy, injustice and fear. So, rather than sitting, watching and waiting for something to happen, we’d rather get dirty working,” said Hines. He feels that the biggest challenge facing the African American community is fear of being uncomfortable. “We encounter so many men who would rather function in their comfort zones than to actually deal with the truth.” In the future, Hines “would like to open the minds of “MEN” to reclaim their rightful place in our society. Hines would like to be remembered as a man who was not afraid to step out on faith, someone who cared and loved all, who fought for justice for all, and truly left his loved ones with an inheritance they could be proud of. “Short of money – the least I could do is leave this place better than I found it.”

SHERRI R. LANDRUM

Medical Records Coordinator Let Us Pray Mothers Movement

Medical Records coordinator, Sherri R. Landrum, is an advocate and speaker for stopping violence. “I have had the opportunity to meet with John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted and had my son’s case portrayed to bring awareness of the


many cold cases in Colorado, and bring awareness world-wide to our gang violence situation.” She started Let Us Pray Mothers Movement to help mothers and families who have had children taken away by violence, suicide etc. She feels a big challenge in the African American community is parents who are afraid of their children. “We need to get back to showing our children who is the parent and who is the child.” In the future, Landrum would like to accomplish bringing this community together as a whole. “If I had a choice, gangs, violence, and guns would have no place in our community. I would like to bring more awareness to my Let Us Pray Mothers Movement and work closer with our community leaders on all the issues that affect our community.” Landrum would like to be remembered best by the love she’s shown. “I want people to be able to say, ‘that lady was one of the strongest, strong-minded women who cared for our community and stood strong for what she believed in, not only for her family, but for the whole community’.”

TARIQ SHABAZZ

President and Founder Mile High BULLDOGS Youth Association

As president and founder of the Mile High BULLDOGS Youth Association (MHBYA), Tariq Shabazz is best known for coaching youth league sports, while advocating for youth in the community. Shabazz started MHBYA at the age of 25 and has more than 20 African-American board members. When asked how he has contributed to the community in the past year, he said, “Although there were many obstacles and challenges, we were able to persevere with our goal of providing our youth the necessities to participate in youth league sports. Through hard work and staying focused, we raised more than $10,000 to aid our cause.” Shabazz believes lack of discipline is the biggest challenge facing the AfricanAmerican community and feels the simple solution is accountability. He credits his father as to why chooses to take an active role. “I was blessed to have an incredible father who taught me the importance of serving community.” Opening a community center in the Denver area that focuses on academic enrichment, before and after-school care, athletics, social activities and credit counseling, is Shabazz’s dream.

He wants to be remembered as, “a man who relentlessly pursued better opportunities for youth in the community. Never giving up on dreams and not allowing others to write my story.”

TERESA PAGE

CEO and Founder, Colorado Starlites

Teresa Page is the CEO and founder of the Colorado Starlites drill team and marching band. She’s been mentoring and coaching youth in the Denver community for 34 years. Through the Colorado Starlites, Page helps to build self-esteem, discipline and spiritual growth while making a positive impact in the lives of young men and women. “My most recognized contribution to the community over the past five years has been serving as an activist and role model for African American youth by planting seeds and watching them grow.” Page chooses to take an active role because, “my mother took an active role with me who helped shape me into becoming the woman I am today. I also know that I am gifted in making a difference, and not to share it would be selfish.” She thinks the lack of endurance from positive influences is the biggest challenge facing the African American Community. “There are successful people who are willing to start a great work but choose to not to complete their task which leaves children without direction and resources.” In the future Page would like to provide an end result of those things that have been deposited. She feels that “children are not our future – they are our present.” A woman of integrity who had a purpose to serve others is how Page would like to be remembered.

THEO E.J. WILSON

Founding Executive Officer/ National Head Mentor Barber Shop Talk, Colorado Division

Theo Wilson is best known in the community as a National Poetry Slam Spoken Word champion and as a public

speaker who motivates and inspires through the gift of word. He is also an op-ed contributor for the Denver Urban Spectrum, a youth mentor, and the face of Barber Shop Talk Denver. “I take an active role because the God I serve will not let me sleep without contributing. The creator built me for this – from my voice, to my speaking ability, to my street and book smarts – the path he has set me on. He has granted me too much not to contribute to the community that nurtured my development. My people have suffered too long and sacrificed too much to cast aside the sacrifices of those who went before me for selfish ambition.” Wilson believes the biggest challenge facing the African American community is “complacency driven by our fear of spoiling our meal ticket into the good life because we’re afraid of taking a stand. We have been taught to feel guilty for being openly Black until tragedy strikes. This stems from a generational wounded-ness never healed since the plantation, so we never face the real challenges that institutional racism present to us.” Wilson would like to be remembered as an ordinary man who was too small to do the impossible, so developed into the man that could. “My life shall be the blueprint to follow toward your own personal greatness, a unique gift the creator gives to us all.”

WILLIAM C. MIDDLETON, III CEO and Founder Middleton Executives

William C. Middleton, III is the CEO and Founder of Middleton Executives and is known as a peer leader. He organizes community events ran by students to help keep them out of trouble and off the streets. These events range from gardening parties to talent shows, from tutoring in the schools to traveling to different colleges and historical sites in the U.S. Middleton’s most notable contribution in the community in the past year was motivating 183 people to improve their lives through mentorship, public speaking, home tutoring, and motivational publications. He believes the biggest challenge facing the African-American community is lack of knowledge within the younger generation. And because of this; the statistics of teen pregnancy, gangs, violence, drug abuse, dropout rate, and loss of jobs is so high. “I taught a class on the in-depth history of dance, drum lines, and African American History. The class

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

19

helped to educate students on the cause and effects of certain life situations.” He wants to be remembered as an individual that did everything in his power to help the next person. One who feeds the hungry before he feeds himself without looking for any benefits.

YOLANDA JONES

Owner/Coach, Just B U

Owner of Just B U, Yolanda Jones, is best known as an advocate for an active lifestyle. She has worked to take a stand against obesity, poor diet, and nutrition by educating others through fitness coaching and community outreach. Over the past year, Jones was honored to be selected to serve as Ambassador for the Denver Chapter of Black Girls Run! Jones chooses to take an active role because, “Taking an active role has made me more accountable to the challenges that lie ahead not only for myself but for those who seek my direction. Three years ago I could have not seen myself in this role as a mentor and role model to others, but when unhealthy choices give you an option between life and death, it then becomes an eye opener for not only changing who you are but helping others to embrace living a healthier and fulfilling lifestyle.” Jones believes one of the biggest challenges the African American community faces is, “the impact of unhealthy lifestyles. “ African American women are dealing with health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes at alarming rates. I believe that once we receive the knowledge to make better choices, the road to healthier living will be a priority and not an option.” In the future Jones would like to create resources for the African American community – with a focus on girls and women – that would include empowerment workshops, program management, fitness clinics and other health related services. “I would like to be remembered as a person lived the life the God created. Knowing that during my lifetime, I made a difference in the lives of others (even if just one person) would let me know that my work has been done and accomplished.”


Student-Centered Learning Is Family-Centered

A

By Heather O’Mara and Ruth Márquez West recent letter from a Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op (HOPE) learning center director to the school’s homeless student liaison encapsulated the school experience of Colorado students whose stability – social and academic – is regularly interrupted: “…Your support for our struggling families helps ease the burden for those students allowing them to concentrate on learning instead of worrying so much.” It was just one of many calls, letters and emails received by HOPE about helping families cope with hunger, cold, transportation and basic home necessities that affect a student’s ability to “concentrate on learning.” Understanding how a student’s mobility can impact their education is crucial to establishing an environment that cultivates academic success. For Colorado online students, many of whom select an online-based education after attending several other

HOPE Learning Centers offer student-centered education

schools, mobility figures significantly into their potential achievement.i Research further indicates that kindergarten students who are not fluent in English and who begin school without early childhood learning readiness skills tend to remain behind academically well into middle school.ii Thus, at HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op (HOPE), where 41percent of our students are English language learners and only 18 percent of kindergarteners are learning-ready upon enrollment, we want to reduce

mobility to foster and maintain learning growth among our students. One way we combat mobility is through student-centered instruction. By definition, this includes addressing the individual needs of our families, which affect our students’ school engagement. For example, Our students were hungry, so HOPE became the first online school in the nation to participate in the National School Lunch Program. Our students often lacked appropriate clothing for winter. After years of clothing drives, we established a HOPE warehouse accessed by students and families in need of proper clothing. Our students’ families struggle against instability and uncertainty as the cost of living continues to rise. We hired a homeless student liaison to connect families with additional resources for their shelter, transportation and food needs. Our students’ families move frequently. Our network of neighborhood Learning Centers allow students to stay within HOPE even if they move, with much less risk of falling behind academically. Our students lacked the sense of belonging at school through sports, athletics and social activities. Today, our HOPE prom, sports leagues, tour-

naments, cultural arts programs and social-oriented opportunities build the esteem and affiliation that keep students in school. Our students were largely underrepresented in academic competitions of any kind. Today, our annual competitions in persuasive argument, science, art and math are thriving, providing an array of critical opportunities for success among students. Our student-centered approach is a proven, practical solution to reducing mobility and its consequences. Addressing the uncertainties of living a mobile life gives students hope to face their challenges. School must be much more than an academic program. HOPE addresses basic provisional concerns to help our students build a positive self-image, one success at a time, and provide meaningful extra-curricular outlets for our students. At HOPE, we believe it’s the right thing to do; it earns the trust of our students and their families and allows us to move forward as a community together toward achievement.

i Heiney, Amanda, Dianne Lefly and Amy Anderson. 2012. Characteristics of Colorado’s online students. Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Education. ii Kieffer, Michael J. 2011. Converging trajectories: reading growth in language minority learners and their classmates, kindergarten to grade 8. American Educational Research Journal. Volume 48, Number 5 (October): 1187-1225.

Please Join Us!

“Empowering the Community to Live Well”

Saturday, March 2, 2013 Q 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Renaissance Denver Hotel – 3801 Quebec Street Free Self-Parking! (Valet Parking $8)

The Center for African American Health is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the African-American Community. Blood Pressure Pap Smear  Dental

Take advantage of FREE health screenings:

Health Risk Assessment Glucose  Prostate (DRE & PSA)

Vision Bone Density  Clinical Breast Exam

Lung Function Depression  EKG





















Foot And Much More!

New This Year – Free CPR Training

Learn how small changes can make a big difference in maintaining and improving your health.

Enjoy other FREE activities such as:

Preventing Falls Workshop  Complete Physical & Medical History Exam 

Visit with Health Experts  Medication Consultation 

Visit Health Exhibits  Massage Therapy 

Vaccinations  Food Tasting 

 

Cooking Demonstration Weigh and Win

This event made possible with the generous support of our community partners. For more information, please visit our website: www.caahealth.org or call 303-355-3423.

P hysical Activity Exhibitions and Much More! Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2013

21


Trends of Africa,

Service is the Trend at This Local Shop By Tabatha Deans

Photos by Robert Stewart

Want a chance to win a million

dollars? How about a free iPad? Perhaps a free side of beef with every purchase would influence your shopping decisions. Or, maybe you would just like to shop in a pleasant atmosphere, receive great customer service, and pay reasonable prices for quality merchandise. Customers of Trends of Africa and Alterations in Colorado Springs know they won’t be bombarded with gimmicks or promotions, but instead enjoy walls full of beautiful necklaces and bracelets, racks of brightly colored bags, dashikis and hand-made dresses. And

to top off their shopping experience, they will receive personal service from the owner himself, and perhaps a nice hug to send them on their way.

Jerome Ajavon opened Trends of Africa and Alterations nine years ago, and designs and creates many of the traditional clothes himself. His muscular physique is in direct contrast with the intricate details he incorporates into his designs, but his easy, welcoming manner and dazzling smile make every customer feel at ease. “I make my business on relationships,” he says. “I make sure my customers get what they want. You have to really take care of people, be honest and give them good service. Then they tell other people.” A tape measure draped around his neck serves as one of Ajavon’s necessary tools for his craft, and the clothing alteration service he provides is serious business for some of his customers. “I get a lot from the air force base, the military. They have to have things uniform, so I make sure to do it well for them,” Ajavon says of tapping into the endless market of military alterations. Taking advantage of formal events also helps keeps his name circulating throughout the community, and provides the opportunity to reach new customers. Taking his show on the road is a lot of work, but, he says, very worthwhile. “I like to go to all the festivals and jazz events, like Taste of Colorado, Cinco de Mayo, Juneteenth and Winter Park.” Born in Togo, West Africa, 43-yearold Ajavon credits his mother’s influence for his entrepreneurial drive and success.

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

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“My mom is an entrepreneur,” says Ajavon. “I watched her work hard. Africa is a poor country, it opens your eyes to what else there is. But we are a tough people. If I was born here, I probably wouldn’t have seen the opportunity.” The oldest of four children, Ajavon left his homeland and headed to Germany when he was 20, with the intention of learning a trade – sewing and alterations. Under the tutelage of his uncle, Ajavon spent 15 years perfecting his talent, before following his heart, and the woman he loved, to Colorado Springs. As often happens, the relationship waned, but Ajavon’s dream of owning his own business continued to flourish. Not afraid of hard work, and with a goal and perseverance on his side, he took a job at Walmart, where he spent the next 12 years saving every penny to invest in his shop. “When I came to the US, I decided to take every advantage I could. It’s a lot of hard work, and sometimes you make money, sometimes you don’t,” says Ajavon. “For about three years I worked at both Walmart and at my store.” Ajavon runs the daily operations of the business single-handedly, but employs his niece several days a week to help around the shop, paying forward the opportunity of help that his own uncle gave him when he was younger. “He gave me a chance to learn from him. I want to give back where I can,” says Ajavon. While business is not always good, Ajavon says even a bad day living your dream is a good day. “This is something I love to do, something I’ve dreamed of doing,” he says. “I don’t complain. Sometimes customers can be difficult, but I just smile and help them. When you’re doing what you love, even the bad stuff is good.”  Editor’s note: For more information or to contact Jerome Ajavon, call 719-591-0810 or visit www.trendsofafrica.com.


Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 done to bring these criminals to justice? What’s that you say – out of sight, out of mind? These women have suffered, and I’ve done nothing. So don’t ever let me get away with telling you I “support the troops” because, sadly, I don’t. And neither do you. 5. Help a homeless vet today? How ‘bout yesterday? Last week? Last year? Ever? But I thought you “support the troops!”? The number of homeless veterans is staggering – on any given night, at least 60,000 veterans are sleeping on the streets of the country that proudly “supports the troops.” This is disgraceful and shameful, isn’t it? And it exposes all those “troop supporters” who always vote against social programs that would help these veterans. Tonight there are at least 12,700 Iraq/Afghanistan veterans homeless and sleeping on the street. I’ve never lent a helping hand to one of the many vets I’ve seen sleeping on the street. I can’t bear to look, and I walk past them very quickly. That’s called not “supporting the troops,” which, I guess, I don’t – and neither do you. 6. And you know, the beautiful thing about all this “support” you and I have been giving the troops – they feel this love and support so much, a record number of them are killing themselves every single week. In fact, there are now more soldiers killing themselves than soldiers being killed in combat (323 suicides in 2012 through November vs. about 210 combat deaths). Yes, you are more likely to die by your own hand in the United States military than by al Qaeda or the Taliban. And an estimated 18 veterans kill themselves each day, or one in five of all U.S. suicides – though no one really knows because we don’t bother to keep track. Now, that’s what I call support! These troops are really feeling the love, people! Lemme hear you say it again: “I support the troops!” Louder! “I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!” There, that’s better. I’m sure they heard us. Don’t forget to fly our flag, wear your flag lapel pin, and never, ever let a service member pass you by without saying, “Thank you for your service!” I’m sure that’s all they need to keep from putting a bullet in their heads. Do your best to keep your “support” up for the troops because, God knows, I certainly can’t any longer. I don’t “support the troops” or any of those other hollow and hypocritical platitudes uttered by Republicans and frightened Democrats. Here’s what I do support: I support them coming home. I support them being treated well. I support peace, and I beg any young person reading this who’s

thinking of joining the armed forces to please reconsider. Our war department has done little to show you they won’t recklessly put your young life in harm’s way for a cause that has nothing to do with what you signed up for. They will not help you once they’ve used you and spit you back into society. If you’re a woman, they will not protect you from rapists in their ranks.And because you have a conscience and you know right from wrong, you do not want yourself being used to kill civilians in other countries who never did anything to hurt us. We are currently involved in at least a half-dozen military actions around the world.

Don’t become the next statistic so that General Electric can post another record profit – while paying no taxes – taxes that otherwise would be paying for the artificial leg that they’ve kept you waiting for months to receive. I support you, and will try to do more to be there for you. And the best way you can support me – and the ideals our country says it believes in – is to get out of the military as soon as you can and never look back. And please, next time some “supporter of the troops” says to you with that concerned look on their face, “I thank you for your service,” you have my permission to punch their lights out (figuratively speaking, of course).

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

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There is something I’ve done to support the troops – other than help lead the effort to stop these senseless wars. At the movie theater I run in Michigan, I became the first person in town to institute an affirmative action plan for hiring returning Iraq/ Afghanistan vets. I am working to get more businesses in town to join with me in this effort to find jobs for these returning soldiers. I also let all service members in to the movies for free, every day.

Michael Moore Filmmaker, author, social critic, and activist

Editor’s note: Email Moore at MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com, follow @MMFlint or visit MichaelMoore.com.


BLACK HISTORY: Profile of an Abusive Relationship

exist in their domain. But we all know America put the “trap” in “trappings.” The immigrant experience reads like a bad Lifetime movie, where a people were seduced by the shining hope of this country, only to be battered upon arrival. Well, with African-Americans, we didn’t even have that: This relationship started with a kidnapping! We were thrown into the trunk of a car and By Theo Wilson beaten until we had amnesia of who we used to be. How’s that for a cultural hen Ike love story? Turner slapped Tina And like Tina Turner, we must ask, half-way across the “What’s love got to do with it?” Well, room in the movie, for Dr. King, love was everything. The Christian doctrine states that we must “What’s Love Got love our enemies, even when they are To Do With It,” the solution to her most unlovable, for this is how Christ problem became clear to audiences: loves us. Dr. King taught us to love Either you fight back or leave, and the ice right off of the racist White preferably the latter. What needed to American heart, and to a large extent, be done was so obvious to us, wasn’t it worked! But institutions have no it? We could see that no wealth or heart, they are machines, and late in fame was worth the price of admislife, Dr. King started to see that. As the War machine of America trampled sion to the kingdom of Ike Turner. Vietnam, King woke up to the unreSo, why didn’t she just get out of deemable nature of war-for-profit, and Dodge instead of choosing to endure? America’s addiction to it. Well, that’s the million dollar quesLooking at the epidemic nature of tion, because in answering it, we will Black-on-Black violence that swept the unlock many mysteries concerning community after King’s death, it Black history in America. appears that we in fact learned to love It’s been said that mental prison America at the job... expense of loving ourhave emotional bars; it’s not that you "When you leave your selves. We esteemed “them” more than can’t see outside of your cell, it just don't leave your money behind!" “us.” Can a person who lacks love for hurts too bad to get free. The first self in turn love their abuser without assumption is that battered women Myra Donovan, further CLU, ChFC, CFP enabling that abuse? Can the have low or no self-esteem. Nothing Financial Adviser bruises from palm-prints really be could be further from the truth. Like dressed as flowers? What about when many oppressed peoples, many batabused tered women actually have high self3200 Cherry Creekthe Drive South,enables #700 the abuser to abuse others? As America expands its military esteem, and are quick to check anyDenver, CO 80209 dominance, Arab blood is now on forbody who challenges their worth. So, 303-871-7249 - www.myradonovan.com mer-slave hands, so everywhere Ike it’s not that abused women have low leaves his palm prints, so does Tina! self-esteem, it’s just they esteem their But before Dr. King, was violent husbands more than them"Call Today for there a FREE another leader nearly lost to the annals selves, or love him for the promise of Consultation!" of history. His name was Marcus who he’ll never become. America and abusive husbands have Garvey. He first piqued my interest because of our common Jamaican a lot in common, profile wise. Like ancestry. In fact, my great-great uncle, America, they are often charming and glitter with the trappings of success, and Vernon Wilson, was a key player in the promise a life of luxury to those who Garvey’s Jamaican operations. You

W

see, the modern dialogue of liberation often focuses on a “Martin vs. Malcolm” paradigm, where non-violence vs. violence is debated. This is a dead end. A “Marcus vs. Martin” debate would be more appropriate. Does true freedom look more like selfreliance or integration? Whereas King believed in the U.S., Garvey believed in “US.” Marcus Garvey could in fact be called, “The father of Black self-esteem.” He took Booker T. Washington’s do-for-self philosophy and turbo-injected it with his electrifying oratory, pumping spiritual steroids into a people who had been taught they were weaklings. Garvey would likely ask, “What’s SelfLove Got To Do With It?” Answer: Everything. In fact, the first post-colonial African presidents were Garveyites, from Jomo Kenyatta, to Kwame Nkrumah, and Patrice Lumumba to name a few. Keep this in mind as you praise Africa for shaking off the bonds of colonialism. Garvey’s “Back to Africa” movement was 10,000,000 strong at its height. No one has duplicated these numbers since. Even still, many Black Americans were extremely attached to the fact that we built this empire with our blood and sweat, and thereby should stay to enjoy the fruits. Yet, Tina Turner had a revelation: If she was good enough to build Ike’s empire, she was good enough to build her own. That’s right folks, Tina went the Garvey route. Even if Ike had stopped abusing her eventually, her career would have sank along with his ship. We’d have never known the glory she became after stepping out from his shadow. By the time I was born in the 80’s I couldn’t imagine her with Ike at all. The very idea seemed lame to me. For Tina to get free, she had to plunge the depths of her soul, and even adopted a different belief system than the one she was raised with. She realized that her energy was better spent loving herself than loving the ice

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

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"Call Today for a FREE Consultation!" Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2013

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off a man who may not change, and she was rewarded handsomely. In this modern world, any talk of Black self-love is met with the accusation of reverse-racism. People say, “There you go with that ‘divisive’ talk,” and so forth. This is understandable. My retort is; How are we supposed to heal with these institutions raping us under veil of a post-racial wonderland? The only answer for structural racism is to create a structure of your own. Calorie for calorie, it’s the better energy investment. The current institutions have too many safeguards to change them from within just to suit our needs. Moving back to African en masse is far less feasible now than it was in Garvey’s day. Back then, the Black community was forced to be more unified. In short, Jim Crow was just good for Black business. We had the skillseconomy and political will to do for ourselves out of necessity. In fact, Blacks have never been more dependent on the American power structure. The Black businesses that used to employ us for survival are now a charity cause. But here’s the good news. Brothers and sisters of all colors are now waking up to the fact that they’ve been abused by America, especially young White people. Self-reliance may not look like it did back in the day. Allegiances are being formed across racial lines out of the necessity of building alternatives to this corrupt money system and the power structure it feeds. You may be able to go back to Africa in your own back yard, networking with people who realize our common brotherhood and how to collaborate rather than compete. The only way race still plays a role is that the majority of our people are asleep to the fact that these alternative movements are happening, and the forces that make them necessary. The question is; if the American ship were going down, would you love yourself enough to wake up and have a fighting chance? 


A Response to Willie Lynch (From A Healed Heart)

A propitious survival blueprint For African Americans alike, We have unshackled our souls, from stories untold, And survived you in spite We have dedicated a new black birth For our children from our ancestry tribes Grandchildren’s children’s thereafter are to be Now recognized as free and alive

Oh yes we now, are proud to be called black Beautiful black people from every rainbow colour From the darkest of, but to the lightest of We have you to thank for that

Your hateful persuasions, yet unstoppable borders Never worked let me tell you why, Our blood sweat and tears That helps build this nation continuously Will never be denied We are educated proud, and politically involved We weren’t emancipated to proclamation But still historically evolved, The power of our minds, the storms of our souls Are made to be resolved I know you and yours alike Will turn over in your graves And wondered what’s happened to your mental nigger slaves?

Scorned, blooded and beaten You’ve watched while we’d holla Generations later, we in turn Have now a “President Barack Obama” Lynne Mckinnie Copyright 11.25.09

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

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Love and Heritage

By Cassandra Johnson, Sena Harjo and Dorothy Shapland

F

ebruary is a month filled with

love and heritage with Valentine’s

Day on the Feb. 14 and Black History celebrations throughout the month.

New research in child development

indicates children cultivated in racial

pride and engaged in family activities that promote racial knowledge will

socially and academically progress.

The Nest Matters wants to share tips

on how you can increase your child’s sense of love and heritage.

10 Tips For Instilling Pride In Heritage Teach your child to love the skin they’re in.

S o m m o r e

Deray Davis 7-10 JanFeb. 11-12, 2013 Special Event

G a r y O w e n

Godfrey Feb. 14-17 Jan 24-27, 2013

Deray Davis

Pauly Shore Feb. 22-24 Special Event Feb 7-10, 2013

8246 E. 49th Avenue # 1400 Northfield @ Stapleton • Denver, CO 80238 USA

For special New Yearʼs Eve show packages, call:

(303) 307-1777 or http://denver.improv.com

1. Create a Family Creed (a system of principles and beliefs). A family creed can be less than 25 words and defines why your family exists. Creating a family creed with your children or grandchildren is a great way to instill pride in your heritage.

2. Learn about local heritage. Learn about the history of the area from a cultural perspective by visiting local museums such as the Black American West Museum, Stiles African American Heritage Center in Five Points or Museo de las Americas on Santa Fe. Explore books at the Blair-Caldwell African American Heritage Library and be surrounded by the richness of history, literature, art, music, religion and politics of African Americans in the West. Get to know Denver’s history from your cultural point of view.

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

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http://www.denver.org/what-todo/attractions/detail?memid=12442

3. Read a book together and talk about it! There are beautiful picture books young children can relate to and place their experience at the center of the story. Some of our favorites are “I Love My Hair” by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and the poetry and art book “In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall” by Javaka Steptoe. Take the time to look at the artwork and discuss a book with characters like your child, or that your child can aspire to be more like.

http://www.scholastic.com/resources/articl e/read-with-me/

4. Write your own story. You don’t have to trace your roots back 300 years to find interesting stories to tell. Why not spend a week snapping photos of your own family in their regular routines and write the story of you? Young children love seeing and drawing pictures of themselves and their families and older children loving hearing stories about when they were little. Print pictures and work with your child to caption each and tell the story of a typical week in your lives together. Honoring the routine parts of your lives makes them important and helps your child to recognize the culture of the household they live in. Take it a step further and create a family tree to help your child appreciate the whole community that surrounds them. 5. Create autonomy and independence. Allowing children to think independently and make choices gives


them the ability to find their interest and develop self-identity. Encouraging pride in oneself opens the door to instilling pride in their heritage. Create environment infants and toddlers will love... ♥ picking out their own outfits and learning to dress and undress themselves ♥ choosing the order of their bedtime routine: brush teeth before pajamas ♥ helping with household chores

6. Expose your family to events and activities that celebrate cultures. Exploring the world we live in and discovering the sounds, tastes, smells, and feel of other cultures will help children appreciate their own even more. New experiences and new friends can lead to opportunities to try new foods, see new traditions and learn about the world. Find reasons to celebrate how we are alike and how we are different. When introducing a child to new cultures expect lots of questions. This is an opportunity to instill pride in heritage and exposure to other’s heritage and traditions at the same time! 7. Instill pride in the color of their skin and culture. Sandra L. Pinkney’s “Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children” uses real life photos to explore beauty in skin color. “I am the smooth brown in a chocolate bar” and “I am the velvety orange in a peach” are descriptive ways to teach your child there is no “good” skin or “bad” hair, just different shades and styles of beautiful. Let them see and know black comes in many unique shades and is always beautiful beyond measure. Instilling how to love the skin you’re in promotes a sense of pride and connection to your heritage.

http://www.amazon.com/Shades-BlackCelebration-OurChildren/dp/0439148928/ref=sr_1_1?s=bo oks&ie=UTF8&qid=1358226389&sr=11&keywords=shades+of+black

8. Praise your child’s effort and not his or her personality. How you comment on your child’s accomplishments or failures can change their views about themselves and their

world. Rather than praising their personalities “You are so smart” or criticizing them “You are so stupid,” praise their efforts or strategies and cultivate their mindset: “Look, you tried very hard to put your shoes on the right feet.” Children that receive comments to reinforce their problemsolving strategies are less likely to give up or walk away from a struggle. Teaching your child to take pride in their accomplishments is a key component in developing pride in their heritage.

Learn. Achieve. Graduate.

9. Turn homework into “your history.” When there is a homework project due, help find the connections to those in the field who look like your child. When assigned a report on the 1920’s why not explore the history of jazz and talk about the contributions of African American musicians? When given a science fair project, why not help re-create the Gong and Signal chair patented by Miriam Benjamin in 1888 and learn about Black women inventors? Help your child to know and have pride in the heroes in every field that they share a heritage with.

10. Find the richness in family recipes. Food is such a huge component connecting people and heritage. Collect family recipes from Grandma, and allow your child to learn at the hip of the family chef. Traditional recipes are so important to preserve, especially those that center family celebrations. Help your children learn the “real” way to make that cobbler, and to make “mama’s mouth-watering rolls” the way they have always been made.

A Free Public School Proven to Help Students Succeed

http://blackdoctor.org/category/healthy-living/healthy-recipes/ Then take those old-school fried foods and rich buttery meals, and find ways to create every-day versions that will keep diabetes and heart disease away. 

HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op provides k-12 students with: s)NDIVIDUALIZED#URRICULATHATMEETSOREXCEEDS STATECONTENTSTANDARDS

Editor’s note: The Nest Matters is an advice column from “egg to flight” from early childhood educators and leaders. The Nest Matters focuses on early child development from prenatal (the egg phase) through the stages of tweens when children prepare to leave the nest (the flight phase). For more information, visit TheNestMatters.blogspot.com

s)NSTRUCTIONFROMHIGHLY QUALIlEDTEACHERSAND FACE TO FACE-ENTORSUPPORTATAUTHORIZED COMMUNITYBASED,EARNING#ENTERS s,EARNING#ENTERSLOCATEDTHROUGHOUT#OLORADO

Call 720-402-3000 or visit www.HOPEonline.org.

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

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Movie Reviews

By Kam Williams

ExcellentGGGGG. Very GoodGGGG.. GoodGGGGGG... FairGGGGGGG.. PoorGGGGGGG.

    No stars

Django Unchained 

Ex-Slave Exacts Vengeance in Tarantino Variation on Spaghetti Western

T

here’s a sensible reason why nobody ever wanted to be an Indian whenever we played Cowboys and Indians as kids. That’s because the white man was invariably the hero of the Westerns on which we’d been weaned, while the red man had always been presented as a wild savage dismissed by the dehumanizing affirmation that, “The only good Injun is a dead Injun.” Sure, a few films, such as Apaches (1973), The Sons of Great Bear (1966) and Chingachgook: The Great Snake (1967), flipped the script by portraying Native Americans as the good guys and the European settlers as the bad guys. But those productions were few and far between. Hollywood has also promoted a set of stereotypes when it comes to the depictions of black-white race relations during slavery, with classics like The Birth of the Nation (1915) and Gone with the Wind (1939) setting the tone. Consequently, most movies have byand-large suggested that it was a benign institution under which docile AfricanAmericans were well-treated by kindly masters, at least as long as they remained submissive and knew their place. Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to put a fresh spin on the genre, much as he did in the World War II flick Inglourious Basterds (2009). With Django Unchained, the iconoclast writer/director again rattles the cinematic cage by virtue of an irreverent adventure that audaciously turns the conventional thinking on its head. Set in the South in 1858, the picture is visually reminiscent of the Spaghetti

REEL ACTION

Westerns popularized in the Sixties by Italian director Sergio Leone, being replete with both big sky panoramas and cartoonish, one-note villains who are the embodiment of evil. But instead of cattle rustlers, its inveterate racists being slowly tortured or blown away to the delight of the audience. The movie stars Jamie Foxx in the title role as a slave lucky enough to be liberated by a German dentist-turnedbounty hunter (Christoph Waltz). Abolitionist Dr. Schultz altruistically takes Django on as an apprentice, and proceeds to teach him how to ride a horse and handle a gun. The grisly business of tracking down outlaws “Wanted Dead-or-Alive” conveniently affords the revenge-minded freedman many an opportunity to even the score with folks responsible for his misery, from the scars on his back, to the “R” for “Runaway” branded on his cheek, to being separated from his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). As you might guess, the action gets pretty gruesome, as is par for the course for any Tarantino vehicle. Slavery reimagined as a messy splatterfest where massa gets exactly what he deserves, and then some! Rated: R for profanity, nudity, ethnic slurs and graphic violence Running Time: 165 minutes Distributor: The Weinstein Company To see a trailer for Django Unchained, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pKZbJHa17c Gangster Squad 

Sean Penn Shines in Crime Saga about Legendary Mobster

Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) was

born and raised in Brooklyn where he started out as a prizefighter before moving to Chicago during Prohibition to become an enforcer for Al Capone. In the Forties, he was sent by Meyer Lansky to Los Angeles to establish extortion, gambling, prostitution and loan shark operations on behalf of the Jewish Mafia. Mickey gradually began to make inroads, which didn’t sit well with LA Police Chief Bill Parker (Nick Nolte)

who was determined to prevent any crime syndicate from gaining a foothold in his city. But that would prove easier said than done since the vicious mobster had already succeeded in bribing and/or intimidating many cops, judges and powerful politicians. Given the frightening degree of corruption, Parker decided that the only way to bring down Mickey was to behave just as ruthlessly. So, he asked one of his most fearless officers, Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin), to form a top secret team whose mission would be to enforce the law by breaking it. For, the so-called Gangster Squad’s mission was simply to enter each of Cohen’s establishments anonymously in order to break kneecaps and generally trash the place. Of course, if any of O’Mara’s goons were killed or captured, the Commissioner would have to disavow any knowledge of their actions. Thus unfolds Gangster Squad, a stylized costume drama with far more charm than one would ordinarily expect to find in an old-fashioned shoot ‘em up. Directed by Ruben Fleisher (Zombieland), the film is based on the clever Paul Lieberman best-seller of the same name. The production was blessed with an A-list cast which includes Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick and Mireille Enos. Therefiore, there are no throwaway roles here, with even lesser characters benefitting from development as a consequence of veteran thespians putting their all into their performances. As a result, you come to care not only about whether or not Mickey will ever be brought to justice, but about surprisingly-engaging subplots involving a lawman (Gosling) going gaga over the gangsta’s moll (Stone), and about a pregnant wife’s (Enos) worry about whether her gung-ho hubby’s (Brolin) will live long enough to witness his baby’s birth. Nevertheless, the front story does feature all the staples of the genre, from flashy Zoot suits to Tommy guns to street smart dialogue mixing slang and savoir faire in a manner reminiscent of Damon Runyon. A high body-count showdown between rogue cops and the Kosher Nostra for the future of Los Angeles! Rated: R for profanity and graphic violence Running Time: 113 minutes Distributor: Warner Brothers To see a trailer for Gangster Squad, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qilrVR0miPU

Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary 

Reverential Biopic Paints Sympathetic Portrait of Controversial Cause Célèbre

W

esley Cook, aka Mumia AbuJamal, was born on April 24, 1954 in the

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Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary

City of Brotherly Love. There, he founded a branch of the Black Panthers at the age of 15 after being kicked by a cop at a rally for segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. After attending college in Vermont, he returned to Philly to pursue a career in journalism. He proceeded to provide a voice for the voiceless as a politicallyprogressive reporter while simultaneously moonlighting as a cab driver, until the fateful night in 1981 when he and his brother William crossed paths with a police officer named Daniel Faulkner. The cop was killed during the traffic stop, when the bullets from a gun registered to Mumia were emptied into him at close range. Faulkner managed to get off a few shots, wounding Mumia. At trial, the jury deliberated only a few hours in what seemed like an openand-shut case, and the defendant was convicted and subsequently handed a death sentence. However, because of Mumia’s previously clean record and his having served as such an articulate mouthpiece for the poor and disenfranchised, he soon became something of an international cause célèbre. Was he indeed a murderer or had he been railroaded to prison because of his radical views? The left and the right would disagree strongly on the issue. Eventually his sentence was commuted to life with no parole, and the fundamental question of guilt or innocence was essentially left unanswered. The same can be said after viewing Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary, a documentary which doesn’t seek so much to clear the controversial figure’s name as to showcase his intellect and longstanding defiance of The Establishment. To director Stephen Vittoria’s credit, he hauls out a long line of luminaries like Dr. Cornel West, Ruby Dee, Hurricane Carter, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Dick Gregory and Amy Goodman to take turns heaping praise on his sympathetic subject. While their heartfelt testimonials leave no doubt about Mumia’s commitment to the struggle and considerable talents as a writer, none of them were eyewitnesses to the murder. Thus, this is not a biopic which seeks to poke holes in


the prosecution’s case or to indict the State of Pennsylvania for a rush to judgment. Rather, it merely endeavors to highlight the squandered potential of a gifted, if fatally-flawed individual. Love him or hate him, no one watching this inconclusive piece can deny that Mumia has a way with words. A film that wisely leaves the damning evidence on the back burner in favor of focusing on everything about Mumia Abu-Jamal except for what exactly transpired at the corner of 13th and Locust in the wee hours of December 9, 1981.

Unrated - In English and Spanish subtitles Running Time: 120 minutes Distributor: First Run Features To see a trailer for Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJUMKrwAYJk The Impossible 

Tsunami Drama Revisits Family’s Harrowing Ordeal

REEL ACTION

Bayona (The Orphanage). The Belons’ nationality has admittedly been changed from Spanish to British for the sake of the film, but one can only assume that the rest of their terrifying experience has been accurately recreated here. The film opens with a relatively serene tableau covering their uneventful, Christmas Eve flight to Khao Lak as well as their subsequent celebration of the holiday opening presents and snorkeling. Of course, that deceptively idyllic setup is just the quiet before the storm. When the tsunami hits the following morning, their hotel is engulfed, and from that point forward the picture is presented primarily from Maria’s point of view. We first witness her clinging to a palm tree, and then saving eldest son Lucas (Holland). The kid eventually escorts his profusely bleeding mother through the chaos to a makeshift hospital for some urgently-needed medical attention. While she teeters between life and death, Lucas perambulates the devastated region for any sign, living or dead, of his missing father and siblings. Did they make it? Sorry, far be it from this critic to spoil the resolution of any edge-of-your-seat thriller, even if based on actual events. Forget National Lampoon, this flick chronicles the real vacation from Hell! Rated: PG-13 for brief nudity, disturbing images and intense disaster sequences In English and Thai with subtitles Running Time: 114 minutes Distributor: Summit Entertainment To see a trailer for The Impossible, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU4mXJRHIcQ

O

n the day after Christmas in 2004, a magnitude 9.3 earthquake, the third largest ever measured on the Richter scale, triggered a mammoth tsunami in the Indian Ocean which cost a quarter million people their lives. Thanks to the ubiquity of surveillance and cell phone cameras, the world was able to witness much of the tragedy, including tidal waves crashing ashore and creeping deep inland before sweeping humans, cars and everything else in its path back out to sea. Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry Belon (Ewan McGregor), a married couple from Spain, had the misfortune to be vacationing in Thailand with their three sons (Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast) that fateful day. Because they had rented a ground level cottage at a luxurious beachfront resort, they were engulfed by water and separated from each other the moment disaster struck. The family’s ensuing ordeal is the subject of The Impossible, a harrowing tale of survival directed by Juan Antonia

ers have turned to using their vessels to smuggle needy refugees to Europe. The story was inspired by the over 30,000 souls who attempted the transoceanic voyage between 2005 and 2010, and it is dedicated to the 5,000 of them that perished in the financial freedom flotillas. The captain of the pirogue at the center of the adventure is Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye), a married man who requests that his wife be paid his fee of a million Francs before his departure on the dangerous journey. The boat is outfitted with a radio, a GPS device, 260 gallons of gasoline, 80 gallons of water and 300 pounds of rice. And the passengers have brought along musical instruments like bongos, bells and a kalimba to break up the monotony of what they expect to be long boring days. Not so fast, kimosabe. After passing the point of no return, they encounter a host of horrifying ordeals ranging from homesickness to madness to sexual tension to infighting to a hurricane to leaks to starvation. Ultimately, their plight becomes so overwhelming that they end up praying to Allah for divine intervention. A compelling cross of Life of Pi and Lifeboat, a seafaring tale of survival sans the Bengal tiger and Tallulah Bankhead. Unrated - In French with subtitles Running Time: 87 minutes Distributor: ArtMattan To see a trailer for The Pirogue, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXU28K1gTpc Zero Dark Thirty 

Riveting Docudrama Recounts International Manhunt for Bin Laden

The Pirogue  1/2

Senegalese Peasants Set Out for Spain in Seafaring Tale of Survival

Y

ou might find the title of this movie a little misleading, since to most people a “pierogi” is a puffy Polish delicacy stuffed with potatoes, sauerkraut and ground meat. However, the similarsounding “pirogue” is also the name of the flat-bottomed, wooden boat used by West African fishermen for centuries. Directed by Moussa Toure, the factbased drama revolves around 30 Senegalese peasants, 29 men and 1 woman (Mame Astou Diallo), who make a break for Spain by sea in search of a better life. Because of their country’s bad economy, even the fishing industry is dying, which means some ship own-

A

fter 9/11, the United States intensified its efforts in the international manhunt for Osama bin Laden (Ricky Sekhon). Nevertheless, the elusive mastermind of the terrorist attack continued to orchestrate mass murders in Bali, Istanbul, London, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere around the world. Dismayed by the ever-mounting death toll, the authorities rationalized the use of rough interrogation tactics

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bordering on torture in the hope of expediting the capture, dead or alive, of the slippery al-Qaida leader. He was ultimately tracked down to a walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where he died on May 2, 2011 during a daring, helicopter raid conducted by Navy SEAL Team Six. Directed by two-time, Academy Award-winner Kathryn Bigelow (for The Hurt Locker), Zero Dark Thirty (military speak for 12:30 AM) is a riveting, superrealistic account of the decade-long search for bin Laden. Bigelow has again collaborated with Oscar-winning scriptwriter Mark Boal (also for The Hurt Locker), with the pair apparently gaining access to classified materials in preparing the project. The film is structured as a tale of female empowerment revolving around Maya (Jessica Chastain), a cool, calm and collected CIA agent who manages to keep her head even when so many around her seem to be losing theirs, literally and/or figuratively. She also has an uncanny knack for deciphering which clues might be worth following, cutting a sharp contrast in this regard to bumbling colleagues who fritter away most of their time on wild goose chases. At the point of departure, we find Maya finally getting her first taste of fieldwork after starting her career boning-up on bin Laden behind a desk in Washington, D.C. She’s been reassigned to participate in the questioning of alQaida members and sympathizers being detained at secret sites located outside the U.S. where the Geneva Conventions provisions relating to torture presumably don’t apply. Soon, Maya’s chasing clues from Pakistan to Kuwait to Afghanistan and back, alongside tone-deaf bosses (Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler) who could crack the case quickly if they weren’t such male chauvinists suffering from Persistent Disbelief Syndrome. That’s the shopworn plot device which pits a frustrated, unappreciated protagonist against an army of stubbornly skeptical naysayers. Whether a convenient, cinematic contrivance or an accurate portrayal of what transpired, Zero Dark Thirty’s version of history certainly makes for a very convincing piece of patriotic storytelling. Credit Jessica Chastain for imbuing her character, Maya, with a compelling combination of vulnerability, sagacity and steely resolve in a memorable, Oscarquality performance. CIA Agent Strangelove, or how I learned to stop worrying and love waterboarding! Rated: R for profanity, disturbing images and graphic violence. Running Time: 157 minutes Distributor: Columbia Pictures To see a trailer for Zero Dark Thirty, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly77Wgd-DHA


Anita Joyce Washington

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

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

November 17, 1927 - November 13, 2012

Mentor, role model, mother, sister, friend, and hero...Are a few of the words used over the years to describe the incredible and inspiring life of Dr. Joyce B. Washington. Washington received her doctorate degree at the University of Northern Colorado and became involved in numerous local, regional, and national organizations, including co-founding the Rocky Mountain Region of Association of Black Psychologists. She was one of the original board members of the African American West Museum and was the national president of The Association of MultiCultural Counseling. During her service at UNC, she was on a three year appointment by Governor Romer for the Colorado State Board of Licensed Examiners, and appointed to the North Central Association of College Schools Commission on higher education to name a few. Washington received numerous awards and honors during her career including, Presidential Citations for Distinguished Service, Who’s Who in Women of the West, Who’s Who in Black America, Leadership Service Recognition, Branch Leadership Citations, and the Honor Society Professional Women in Education. Washington is survived by her son Ronald James Washington, and a host of loving nieces and nephews.

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

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Open Monday - Saturday: 10am to 6pm • Closed Sundays Find us on Facebook by searching: Trends of Africa and Alterations Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2013

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Ed Dwight Honored With Keepers of the Flame Award

To commemorate the second term and inauguration of President Barack H. Obama, The Balm In Gilead and leaders of African American churches recognized this occasion by honoring legends with the once in a life-time Keepers of the Flame award in Washington D.C. The evening was filled with excitement and celebration, as more than 1200 people attended the African American Church Inaugural Ball and watched as honorees were awarded for their dedication and vast achievements.

Colorado’s own sculptor and historian, Ed Dwight, was one of 16 prominent individuals to receive the Keepers of the Flame award, presented by actor, Morris Chestnut, Rev. Dr. W Franklyn Richardson II and Pernessa C. Seele. Dwight was also an Air Force pilot and America’s first Black astronaut candidate. He is one of the most prolific and insightful sculptors in America, creating fine art sculptures, large-scale memorials and public projects. Dwight’s works document significant Black contributions to American culture. He is creator of large scale works including the International Underground Railroad Memorial in Detroit and Battle Creek, MI and The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial monument in Denver. Among the honorees were; actresses Cicely Tyson and Ruby Dee, musician Hugh Masekela, and boxing champion, Muhammed Ali. Journalist, author, and political analyst Roland S. Martin was master of ceremonies. There was also a tribute to Rosa Parks in honor of her 100th birthday as well as a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Promoter, Museum Director and Tour Operator to Be Honored At Tourism Hall of Fame

Denver’s second largest industry will honor some of its top leaders at the Tourism Industry Hall of Fame dinner March 6 at the Seawell Ballroom.

HATS OFF TO...

The 14th Annual Tourism Hall of Fame inductees are rock n’ roll concert promoter Barry Fey; former Denver Art Museum director Lewis Sharp; and popular Denver tour operator Sid Wilson of A Private Guide. The Tourism Hall of Fame serves as the highest award for Denver’s travel industry. The gala is a fund-raising event for the Visit Denver Foundation, which has given out more than $460,000 in scholarships to 189 Colorado students pursuing higher education in the fields of tourism and hospitality since 1999. Rock promoter Barry Fey helped turn live music into a brand pillar for Denver and Colorado tourism by making Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre one of the most famous music venues in the world. Fey also helped to save the Denver Symphony and to create the new Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Lewis Sharp came to the Denver Art Museum (DAM) in 1989. Under his leadership, the DAM was totally transformed to become the most important art center in the Rocky Mountain West and one of the principal art museums in America. During his tenure, the DAM drew approximately 500,000 visitors each year. Sid Wilson has operated A Private Guide for 20 years, becoming one of the best known guides and entrepreneurs in Denver’s tourism industry. Besides serving for more than 10 years on the VISIT DENVER Board of Directors, Wilson is a trustee for the Denver Zoo, recent past commissioner for the Denver Public Library, founding member and past board chair of Beckwourth Outdoors (aka the James P. Beckwourth Mountain Club), the Black American West Museum, and the Plains Conservation Center.

Denver Post Editor Gregory L. Moore Honored By National Press Foundation Gregory L. Moore, editor of the Denver Post, has been named the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation for leading coverage of the Aurora movie theatre shooting spree.

The Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award was established in 1984 to recognize significant achievements that enhance the quality of journalism in the United States. The award is named in honor of Benjamin C. Bradlee who served as Executive Editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991. Moore will be presented the award during the National Press Foundations 30th annual awards dinner on Feb. 27 at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Rosemary Marshall Appointed to Colorado Independent Ethics Commission

Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, appointed former Representative Rosemary Marshall to serve on the Independent Ethics Commission. Following a lengthy career in state government, she was elected in November 2000 to the Colorado House of Representatives, and served for four consecutive terms ending in December 2008. She served on the committees of Finance, Judiciary, Information Technology, Legal Services, Audit and the committee on Business Affairs and Labor, which she chaired during her third and fourth terms in office. In addition, she served on a special legislative Committee on Ethics appointed by Former Speaker Romanoff in 2006 and was the Prime House Sponsor of 07-210, legislation that implemented XXIX of the state constitution, “Ethics in Government”. Marshall is a Denver native and is married to Cleophus Marshall and has three adult daughters. She is a founding member of Colorado Black Women for Political Action.

DU’s Jeff Howard Selected for NCAA Pathway Program

Jeff Howard, University of Denver Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations, has been selected to participate in the 2013 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Pathway Program. Howard is one of only 10 individuals named nationally to the initiative which serves to assist minority and/or women administrators to prepare through

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education, training and mentorship to be athletic directors. Participants, representing all three NCAA divisions, undertake a variety of professional development courses and one-on-one interactions, including being paired with both a director of athletics and a president or chancellor of NCAA institutions. The program acts to provide national exposure to the participants and to facilitate the opportunity to obtain information and career guidance from the leadership of intercollegiate athletics across the country. In his capacity as Senior Associate Athletic Director, Howard supports key initiatives of the Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations, while also overseeing the media relations and technical services departments. In addition to the responsibility of building and maintaining strong community partnerships that promote the University and its athletics programs to multiple constituencies nationally and internationally, Howard also directs special programs that include the biannual Athletic Hall of Fame and the annual Floyd Theard Golf Tournament.

Alzheimer’s Association Announces New Director of Multicultural Outreach

Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado announced the promotion of Rosalyn Reese as its Director of Multicultural Outreach. Reese joined the Alzheimer’s Association in November 2010 as the Multicultural Outreach Coordinator with responsibilities that included leading the African American Advisory Committee, presenting education programs in the community and serving on the Association Public Policy Committee. As the Director of Multicultural Initiatives, Reece will broaden her responsibilities to include the Hispanic community and other ethnic segments of the population with the development and implementation of culturally appropriate programs. Reese has a bachelor’s degree in business management from University of Phoenix and will complete her graduate studies in Healthcare Policy and Regulatory Leadership at University of Denver this year.


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Installation Celebration for Pastor DeWayne Moore

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Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox in Four-Time Tony Award Nominated Musical

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Join Ebenezer Baptist Church in the installation celebration for PastorReverend DeWayne Moore. A native of Denver, Rev. Moore attended Virginia Union University and received his Master’s Degree from Aspen Christian College. Installation activities include a musical celebration on March 1, at 7 p.m., a banquet luncheon on March 2, at 11 a.m., and a celebration installation on March 3, at 4 p.m. This event will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel Stapleton North (formerly Red Lion). For more information, call 720-8704628.

PBS Presents Documentary On Whitney M. Young

e Urban Spectrum — April 2006

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with art, jewelry, clothing and handmade gifts. Located at 2401Welton Street in Denver, the Library Hours are Monday from 12 to 8 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 303-9074589.

Rocky Mountain PBS will present The Powerbroker, a documentary about Whitney M. Young, Jr. at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Denver Film Center. The film will be followed by a panel discussion including Lauren Young Casteel, daughter of Whitney Young and Vice President of Philanthropic Partnerships for The Denver Foundation, and Landri Taylor, President of the Urban League of Metro Denver. Although tickets are free an RSVP is required at http://bit.ly/YqGq1z.

The Art of Black and White

Denver’s Urban Cipher Collective presents The Art of Black and White, guest curated by Helen Littlejohn at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library Feb. 3 through March 3. Featured work is by 13 Colorado artists and three others from South Carolina, Missouri and Arizona, working in several art mediums showcasing the infinite possibilities of black and white in artistic expressions. The artists’ reception is Saturday, Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also feature several community vendors

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Denver Center Attractions presents Jekyll & Hyde staring Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis in the title dual role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, alongside Grammy Award nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox as Lucy. After four years on Broadway and multiple world-wide tours, this love story returns in a stunning new production that includes all the classic songs. The musical is based on the acclaimed novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, about a London doctor who accidentally unleashes his evil alternate personality in his quest to cure his father’s mental illness. Performance dates are Jan 29 through Feb 10. Tickets start at $25 by calling 303-893-4100, at the Denver Center Ticket Office, or at denvercenter.org.

Denver Public Library and Redline Invite the Public to Make a Bone For Peace

In Spring 2013, one million handmade bones - crafted by artists, activists and students - will flood our nation’s capital. The project, One Million Bones, is a collaborative art installation designed to recognize the millions of victims and survivors who have been killed or displaced by ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burma. The 1,000,000 handmade bones made around the world will cover the National Mall in Washington D.C. as a visual petition against humanitarian


COMMUNITY NOTES

crises. The contribution of each bone will generate a $1 donation through Students Rebuild for CARE’s relief and rebuilding work in Central Africa – up to $500,000. The Denver community is invited to participate on Feb. 4 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. in Denver, Feb. 11 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at RedLine Art Space, 2350 Arapahoe St. in Denver, and March 23 at 10 a.m. at the Schlessman Family Branch Library, 100 Poplar St, at 1st and Quebec in Denver. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://studentsrebuild.org/sites/defa ult/files/u901/fact_sheet.pdf or www.studentsrebuild.org.

Free SAT College Prep Test

The Crowley Foundation and The Princeton Review will host a free SAT college prep test for 8 to 12 grade students. The test will take place Saturday, Feb. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Denver East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade in Denver. There will also be a review session on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the same time and location to go over test results. Snacks will be provided.

Black and Latino Caucus Celebrate Diversity

To register, visit princetonreview.com. For more information, call Kenneth Crowley at 720-935-6465 or visit www.crowleyfoundation.biz.

Model Convention in Denver

Middleton Executives and WeAreSoFyne.com present ModelCon which consists of a catwalk, pageant, talent contest, and fashion show. The event welcomes men and women ages 12 to 55, all body types, looks, style, etc. are accepted. Registration is Saturday, Feb. 23 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel, 3203 Quebec St Denver CO 80207. A $40 registration fee is required to participate. After completing registration there will be four more days of events. In order to take part in days two through five you must be present at the registration. 100 individuals will be chosen and have the opportunity to receive the prizes offered, which include a $25,000 modeling contract, $1,000 cash, a trip to Las Vegas, a trophy, five magazine submissions with one guaranteed cover, and certificates of completion. For more information and to preregister, call 720-366-4042 or visit www.facebook.com/ModelCon.

NEWSVIEWS

The members of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado and the Colorado Democratic Latin Caucus celebrated diversity with their 2013 opening session legislative reception. Three hundred guests attended the event on Jan. 14, which welcomed new and incumbent legislators working together to address issues facing communities of color across Colorado. The Colorado legislature opened Wednesday, Jan. 9 with its first openly gay Speaker of the House, Mark Ferrandino, leading the nation with the highest number of women in its Legislature. The Session also began with record numbers of Latino and African American Leaders. Representatives Angela Williams and Joseph Salazar organized and hosted the reception.

DJ Williams Visits Sims-Fayola International Academy

Veteran linebacker of the Denver Broncos, DJ Williams visited SimsFayola International Academy and was greeted with three Fayola chants and the Fayola Creed. As a big supporter of Sims-Fayola, Williams sponsored the scholarship fund for the required blazers and ties that students wear as part of the school culture. He engaged the students in a discussion about careers, character, commitment, football and the importance of experiencing and learning about different cultures. Williams brought a game day helmet to join his jersey in the school hall name after him, DJ Williams’ Inspiration Alley. For more information visit www.simsfayola.org or contact 720515-7342. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – February 2013

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CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING

ADULT SELF-SUFFICIENCY DIRECTOR

Mile High United Way is seeking an Adult Self-sufficiency Director. The Director works in partnership with volunteers and community organizations to plan and implement Mile High United Way’s Adult Self-sufficiency effort to achieve systems changes and positive outcomes for individuals and families. For more information visit our jobs page at www.unitedwaydenver.org or send cover letter and resume to resumes@unitedwaydenver.org

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Kids’ Seats $10 !

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Ages 2-12. All seats $2 more day of show. Additional fees may apply. No double discounts. Valid on all shows. Excludes Front Row and Gold Circle seats. Limit four (4) kids’ tickets with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket. Limit ten (10) kids’ tickets per order.

FEB. 8 – 10

Fri. 7:30 PM Sat. 2:00 & 7:30 PM Sun. 2:00 PM

PEPSI CENTER

Buy tickets at TicketHorse.com/MJ, Pepsi Center Box Office or call 1-866-461-6556

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

34


WHO’S WHO “AROUND TOWN” SEE MORE @

DJ Williams Visits Sims-Fayola International Academy

WWW.DENVERURBANSPECTRUM.COM

Photos by Jim Fierro

Around Town January 2013

Denver, CO

MLK Jr. Holiday Commission Scholarship Program and Dinner

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MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions

Photos by: Lens of Ansar, Sweetz Photography, A’ Star’’s Photography and Kenyetta 23rd Annual MLK Jr. 2013 Humanitarian Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards and Colorado Symphony Orchestra MLK Jr. Celebration Concert

28th Annual

Martin Luther

King Jr. Marade


Two red-hot stars. One cold-blooded thriller.

Photo by Smallz & Raskind

NOW PLAYING!

Now – Feb 10 | Buell Theatre 303.893.4100 | denvercenter.org |

Groups (10+) 303.446.4829 |

TTY: 303.893.9582

Tue–Sat 7:30pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 1pm & 6:30pm JekyllandHydeMusical.com


DUS February 2013 Issue