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Volume 35

Number 3

June 2021

Juneteenth Music Festival Norman Harris Executive Director Juneteenth Music Festival Photo by Danielle Webster

Taking it to the streets again...4 Juneteenth 2019 - Photo by Jensen Sutta

Black Music Month Vaccinating Communities of Color…........................8 Introducing Denver Juneteenth DJ Al Your Pal…..10 Combating Vaccination Hesitancy.......................…12


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Sweet Harmonies born out of the Tragedy of Slavery Volume 35

Number 3

June 2021

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alfonzo Porter COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Barry Overton FILM CRITIC Samantha Ofole-Prince CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Theresa Ho Alfonzo Porter T. Holt Russell COLAB Tanya Ishikawa - Story Coordinator ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris ADVERTISING & DIGITAL MARKETING Theresa Ho GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix PHOTOGRAPHERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant

As you read the first paragraph of our cover story, it states that Juneteenth is commemorated across the country, celebrating the ending of slavery and the beginning of African American independence in the United States. That event was in 1865 – almost 250 years after the first African slaves were brought onboard an English privateer ship in the colony of Virginia. That event was in 1619 – more than 400 years ago. In June, we also recognize Black Music Month, which was initiated by President Jimmy Carter on June 7, 1979. He decreed that June would be the month of Black music, an annual celebration of African American music in the United States. The music of African Americans can be traced back to the days of slavery. In the fields as slaves worked, you could hear them singing songs to pass the time and as a way to share their life stories. Even during the Middle Passage as they were transported to the U.S., there was a moaning and a groaning down in the belly of the ships – songs of lamentation, expressing their deep sorrow. Over the years, music genres progressed from spirituals to gospel to the post-slavery society genres known as the blues and ragtime, followed by jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, soul, reggae, hip-hop, and rap. Today, all are recognized as significant contributions to American music. Theresa Ho talks with Juneteenth Music Festival Executive Director Norman Harris on how the panacea of music will soothe the souls of Denver after a year’s absence due to the pandemic. Zilingo talks with longtime DJ Al “Your Pal” Taylor about his longevity in the music industry and how he will be participating during the festival. In spite of COVID-19, this year’s Juneteenth Music Festival promises to be like none other. Safety will be at the forefront for all the attendees with required CDC guidelines in place. We celebrate Juneteenth and Black music, lest we forget that for more than 400 years, African Americans faced challenges and endured unfathomable circumstances. And quite honestly as we review history, not much has changed. But through it all, music has always been there to tell the stories of life. It is said that music provides comfort and eases pain. But most of all, music soothes the soul. Make plans to attend Juneteenth with your friends and family and take in some of the sounds in the historic Five Points community this month. And if not, turn on your radio, listen online, pop in a CD, play your iPod – and listen to some jazz, gospel, reggae, rap, or R&B. Reflect on where it came from and appreciate how and why this music soothes your soul. Enjoy!

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Theresa Ho

Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher

DISTRIBUTION Ed Lynch Lawrence A. James - Manager

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Today, 47 states have decided to make it more restrictive to register to vote and to vote. Amazing how these restrictions suddenly need to be made after people of color turned out in record numbers to vote in 2020 and turned red states blue. This confederate rebellion against the United States is to preserve white power and to oppose white progressives and anything black, brown, yellow, or red. Some outsiders have ignorantly said new laws are similar to what we have in Colorado, which is wrong. Colorado allows everyone to vote by mail. While we have many ballot drop off sites, other states are restricting drop offs and impacting the elderly, disabled and communities of color.

Days of Jim Crow Voting Laws Will Not Be Tolerated

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

Editor: Zeitgeist: the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time. The confederacy continues to try to pull itself out of the grave by spreading lies, and like every other cheater will change the rules of the game. For example in 1956, during Wilt Chamberlain’s freshman year in college, the NCAA banned dunking free throws, as a result of rumors that Chamberlain had been doing that in high school. Later, the NBA also banned dunking free throws. They changed the rules because they didn’t want him to have the upper hand because of his immense talent.

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Say it like it is. The only reason the Republican controlled legislatures are changing voting rules is they didn’t like the election outcomes so they are going to try and keep the will of the people down. I say the days of Jim Crow voting laws will not be tolerated. Georgia lost the MLB All-Star game and other states should also feel the economic wrath if they make voting more difficult. In addition, there is the name calling with the most recent incident in Colorado. Last week a Republican state representative ignorantly using the term “buckwheat” when addressing a colleague then said we talk like that in eastern Colorado. Well, that excuse is not true. I attended Northeastern Junior Continued on page 30


Denver’s Juneteenth Returning Bigger Than Ever

By Theresa Ho

Photos by Jensen Sutta

Scenes from the 2019 Juneteenth Music Festival

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n June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger’s regiment of Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that General Lee had surrendered and the war was over. The presence of Granger’s troops allowed Union forces to overcome resistance to Lincoln’s Executive Order. Juneteenth is now commemorated across the country and celebrates the ending of slavery and the beginning of African American independence in the United States. Photo by Danielle Webster

According to Norman Harris, who has been the executive director of the Juneteenth Music Festival since 2012, Five Points witnessed one of the biggest Juneteenth celebrations ever in 2019. That year, the festival had a virtual broadcast that reached more than 200,000 people, and

in-person programming included performances from renowned artists like Ashanti, Trev Rich, Danette Hollowell, and DJ Envy. There was even a beauty market and AstroTurf in a VIP section. “The streets were filled with crowds from Park Avenue to 29th on Welton, and the energy was phenomenal,” Harris said. His pride in the festival stems from his desire to apply his expertise to improving his community and leave behind a legacy in Colorado, as well as his deep love for Denver, especially the Five Points and Park Hill neighborhoods. He also works for the Holleran Group, a Black-owned, urban development firm with a vision and objective to create sustainable wealth in the Black community through asset-based community development.

The elders in Harris’ family valued education highly. He attended great schools with phenomenal teachers, who he credited for the foundation of his overall development as a leader and entrepreneur. Additionally, he said the real world gave him the opportunity to apply the knowledge and information he gathered to make good business decisions. The real world also

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provided risk and potential for failure, so it was important for him to learn how to find lessons in losses. “I’ve always had a passion for business and being an entrepreneur,” Harris said. “What has evolved over time is my personal commitment to dedicating my full focus and energy towards developing myself and my businesses,” he explained.


He has many fond memories from Juneteenth dating back to the early ‘80s. But one of his favorite memories happened in 2012, when he organized the Juneteenth Music Festival for the first time. His grandfather, Norman Harris Sr., led the parade with the American Legion Wallace Simpson Post number 29. “The night before we gathered in his building on the corner of 26th and Welton where he told the crew stories about Juneteenth and the importance of the parade. Chiniqua Jackson and Stanisha Evans, the organizers of the parade, giggled at Grandpa’s humor. Seeing him in front of the parade the next day was touch touching,” Harris recalled. Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival is typically one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the nation and annually attracts 50,000 people. Thousands of individuals attend the Juneteenth parade, which traditionally represents the flooding of the streets with newly freed slaves. Then, the pandemic shook the world’s social, economic and healthcare systems. But the JMF Corporation was able to find a way to celebrate Juneteenth safely and bring the Denver com community together during that uncertain time. The 2020 Juneteenth Music Festival presented a full day of online programming with positive, educational and entertaining panels and performances to celebrate African American history and culture. DJ Jazzy Jeff also hosted a “’90s vs. Everybody” virtual house party. “COVID-19 pushed us to reimagine what it means to celebrate Juneteenth,” Harris said. “We used COVID-19 as an opportunity to refocus and retarget our effort to grow the celebration.” 2021 Juneteenth kicks off Denver’s summer This year, Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival will return as an in-person outdoor

event in time to celebrate its 10th anniversary as a music festival. Harris said it will be Denver’s first in-person festival since the pandemic, and he appreciates the opportunity to dream big and work to do something better than what was done before. “We’re resilient,” Harris said. “At the core of it, we understand how important it is for people to come together through the common under-

standing that we’re gathering about Juneteenth and fellowship, and enjoy each other’s company and kick off the summer with our city’s biggest family reunion.” The festival will start at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 18, with a six-hour live broadcast featuring performances, music, entertainment, panels with special guests, and the annual Dream Big Awards presented by Verizon.

The Dream Big Awards honor individuals who have set high standards for achievement in business, education, arts, and service. This year’s awardees include Chauncey Billups, Ashlee Wedgeworth, and the Know Justice, Know Peace podcast. Denver Urban Spectrum is also proud to announce that its publisher, Rosalind “Bee” Harris, is being awarded the Dream Big Award to honor her Continued on page 6

A 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization

To register by Saturday, June 12, visit www.simmonsfoundationfyc.org

15 th Annual Life Skills/Basketball Camp East High School - 1545 Detroit St. June 14-25, 2021 - From 10 AM to 3 PM The Basketball Camp will be directed by Hall of Fame 2014 State Champion Coach Rudy Carey of East High School. Life Skills Workshop will be conducted by Civil Rights Activist Alvertis Simmons.

Free lunch served daily! $100 Free Throw Shooting Contest!

This is a FREE community event for youth (co-ed) ages 7 to 18. Special Basketball Game - June 24: Campers VS. Denver Law Enforcement •Posthumousely Awards Presented to John Mcbride and Landri Taylor •Vendors Row - June 24 and June 25 “Field Trip to the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library”

For more information, call: 303-521-7211 or 303-249-2196 Platinum Sponsors: Walmart, Webb Group International (Wellington and Wilma Webb), Colorado Rockies Gold Sponsors: Nike, Hensel Phelps, Radio Host Tom Martino Silver Sponsors: Dave Logan, Maria Garcia Berry, Roger Sherman (CRL), City and County of Denver, Dawn Bookhardt Bronze: Colorado Convention Center, David Cole & Associates, King Soopers, Dr. Renee Cousins, Denver Urban Spectrum Supporting Sponsors: Geta Asfaw/McDonalds, Black Denver Sheriffs, Black Police Officers, Fraternal Order of Police, Moses Brewer, Tish Maes, Kroenke Sports (Denver Nuggets), Sista Love (Joy Walker), VIP Productions, All In 1 Hosting, Prof. Richard Jackson (MSU), Coach Rudy Carey, Fundamental Fund, Inc., Simmons & Association, Alisha Gafney, Greg Levhan, Roy Gentry, Eash High School, Tilyn Walker, Albus Brooks, Harris Kocher and Smith, UFCW, Hair Works, Target, Mike Dino, Ramos Law, Denver Broncos, Justin Simmons

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Juneteenth Music Festival

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Continued from page 5 mark on this city by highlighting achievements and stories of people of color. Other highlights of the live broadcast will be podcasts, a virtual cypher, virtual dance competition, comedy, financial literacy segments, and more. The program can be viewed via social media platforms and on Denver Community Media channels Comcast 56 and 881HD. Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival will also offer ShopBlack.org, the official Juneteenth Marketplace with merchants that sell items such as crafts, art, beauty supplies, and clothing. In-person festivities will jumpstart with the Juneteenth R&B Summer Kick Off, featuring double-platinum, Bad Boy recording artists 112 on Friday, June 18 at the Levitt Pavilion at Ruby Hill Park. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The Juneteenth parade will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 19 at Manual High School. The two-day street festival at Welton Plaza will begin at noon on Saturday and end at 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 20. The festival will span 10 city blocks with artisan merchants, food vendors and interactive activities, and music and entertainment at the Welton Street Corridor, Charles Cousins Plaza, Five Points Plaza, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater. Some highlights include panels with community leaders and a Juneteenth Buckdown Competition. The JMF Corporation has also partnered with Denver Health to provide onsite education and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. “We think it’s very important that we stand at the forefront of helping our community get equitable access to healthcare services, and vaccination is an important part of that,” Harris said. He added that the festival would not be possible without

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partnerships and sponsors such as Amazon, Rose Community Foundation, Chevron, Verizon, Jack Daniels, Coors, Denver Urban Spectrum, the Five Star News, Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center, Five Point Atlas, and the planning committee. “I get a ton of credit for Juneteenth,” he said. “However, it would not be what it is without our planning committee who are the backbone to our success. We contribute everything we can to create a celebration that we hope people will enjoy and be proud of.” Colorado began recognizing Juneteenth as a ceremonial holiday in 2004. This February, the Denver City Council also declared Juneteenth a commemorative holiday. The JMF Corporation is encouraging the community to come together and push to make Juneteenth a national holiday in order to create a day of healing from systematically erased AfricanAmerican history. Individuals can submit a blog, video or creative project on social media about why they think the nation should recognize the end of slavery and celebrate the culture and achievements of African Americans. Submissions should be posted along with the hashtag, #IamJuneteenth. Individuals can also support the Juneteenth Music Festival by getting a meal at any of the 14 Colorado Cheba Hut locations for Juneteenth Eats on Tuesday, June 15. A portion of the proceeds from the entire day’s onsite and delivery sales will go towards funding the Juneteenth Music Festival’s community programs for entrepreneurs and artists.. Editor’s note: For more festival details visit www.juneteenthmusicfestival.com or follow Juneteenth Music Festival on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the social media handle @JuneteenthMusicFestival.


Denver Police Department. He has helped organize numerous clinics for the Vietnamese community by working with COVID Check Colorado, Governor Polis’ mobile vaccine bus, and CDPHE directly. Now Tung works with Denver Mobile Health to set up clinics. He estimated that he has helped about 40,000 Vietnamese people get vaccinated. The numbers are starting to dwindle now that the vaccine is more widely accessible, but he said that is a good problem to have. “Each week about 50 Vietnamese people go to get vaccinated now,” he said. “At the beginning, during the elections, I had a lot of people from the older generation thinking that we were putting out a hoax.”

Healthcare System Faces Mistrust and Equity ty Issues in Effort to Vaccinate Communities of Color By Theresa Ho

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ccording to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pandemic has particularly impacted communities of color. Latinx communities are two times more likely to contract COVID19 and three times more likely to be hospitalized for the virus compared to non-Latinx white communities. Black communities are 2.8 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID19 compared to non-Latinx white communities. Native Americans are 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized than non-Latinx white communities. Vaccination is expected to improve health outcomes in communities of color, but they did not have adequate access to vaccines in the first few months of distribution. To ensure that more vaccines are available for people of color, many local organizations have been partnering with healthcare providers, county public health departments and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) to host pop-up vaccine clinics. John Yee is a member of the Pastoral Council at St. Lawrence Korean Catholic Church in Aurora, Colo. He became involved in planning one such pop-up vaccine clinic when Colorado State Representative Naquetta Ricks and Aurora Councilwoman Alison Coombs contacted the

church about a potential partnership. The leaders at St. Lawrence Korean Catholic Church agreed to be the host organization for a vaccine site, and Ricks’ office contacted CDPHE to obtain 100 vaccine doses. “We shared the concern of the COVID-19 pandemic among our church community and wanted to help vaccinate as many people as possible – including the Korean community – to overcome the pandemic,” Yee said. Though communication was initially difficult because multiple parties were involved, he said that once direct communication was established with CDPHE, organizing the clinic was a very smooth process. As a result, 103 people registered for the vaccine, and 97 showed up on the day of the clinic. In his opinion, the turnout was very good. Most of the registrants were from the Korean community around Aurora. He believes that easy access to the vaccine contributed to the high turnout. “Advertise and share clinic info to as many people as possible,” was Yee’s recommendation based on his experience. Father Joseph Tung is the community liaison for the Vietnamese American Community of Colorado, a community liaison for Denver Health, and the chaplain for the

Misinformation about Vaccines Breeds Mistrust He remembers one such individual who told him to stop scaring people because COVID19 wasn’t real, and after the election, the virus would disappear from the news. A few weeks later, that individual contracted COVID-19 and died. Tung struggled to convince people in the community to social distance. Some older Vietnamese people kept their nail shops open even when the state was telling them to close. Children and teens would go out with their friends and bring COVID-19 home to their parents and grandparents. He said that he had to attend a lot of funerals. At the same time, many Vietnamese people have been experiencing antiAsian discrimination but don’t report it, so he works with the police when cases occur. He believes misinformation and mistrust are rampant in the Vietnamese community. “There was even a rumor going around that there was a cure for COVID-19 after Trump recovered from it,” Tung said. “And just yesterday, I heard people saying that the vaccine

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puts a chip into your body to control you, and it’s China’s fault.” He explained that some Vietnamese people feel antipathy towards the Chinese government because of how China has influenced the Vietnamese government, and commented that such hatred and bias are wrong. According to Tung, many older Vietnamese immigrants do not speak English, and they rely on YouTube for their information because there are Vietnamese speakers available. The danger, Tung said, is that people on YouTube don’t necessarily provide good information. And when popular Vietnamese people make a video saying COVID-19 is not real, Tung said those videos create fear and doubt within the community. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, he felt that he needed to make sure that Colorado’s Vietnamese community got correct, official information from the state and the CDC about COVID-19. He started a talk show called “Niep Song Viet Colorado,” which translates to “The Vietnamese Way of Life Colorado.” The show runs Monday to Friday from 8 to 9 pm and features discussions of daily news, unemployment benefits, and social distancing. He also brought Denver Health doctors and other local doctors that could speak Vietnamese to educate people about the vaccine on his show. The show takes a lot of effort, especially in combination with Tung’s other priestly duties, but the reward has been seeing the show gaining popularity in the community. He said that he repeats the same message every day: “I’m doing this with my heart, my whole heart for the Vietnamese community. So please wear your damn mask.”


Early Focus on Vaccination Equity Complicated Dr. Anuj Mehta, a critical care and ICU physician at Denver Health who advised the state on vaccine allocation, can understand why some people do not trust the COVID-19 vaccines. He is also a member of the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce, which exists to ensure that all groups – regardless of race, ethnicity, ability and other factors – have all the facts to make informed decisions about the safety of vaccines for their families. “We have not always done right by communities of color,” Mehta said. According to him, the CDPHE was very focused on ensuring vaccine equity early on. In the initial phases, the state brought on many experts in the field to help advise and develop priorities through the Health Equity Office of CDPHE. Immunize Colorado is a nonprofit working with healthcare providers, public health departments, policy makers, and community organizations to protect Colorado families from vaccinepreventable diseases, and was also involved. The CDC tasked every state with coming up with a vaccine rollout plan that included priority groups. He was asked to chair the group advising the state about the plan. “We discussed whether there should be explicit prioritization based on race and ethnicity just because of high morbidity rates,” he said, “but we decided not to make an explicit prioritization.” Legally, such a prioritization wouldn’t have worked. But, the issue about high morbidity rates also wasn’t biological, he said. Rather, structural, systemic issues are at play that cause inequitable vaccine distribution

and healthcare. As an example, he said that when the pandemic started, people of color struggled to get proper testing because they were not always believed when they had COVID-19 symptoms. According to the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce’s website, “Our communities [of color] have experienced more negative impacts from the pandemic because of systemic racism that has created a chronic lack of access to quality, affordable healthcare, which leads to underlying health conditions that put individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19. Additionally, our communities have higher percentages of individuals in jobs, which do not allow them to work from home.” “We really tried not to make too many recommendations on the pragmatic rollout because we were medical experts and not implementation experts,” Mehta said. Still, he explained, the group tried to make sure vaccine distribution was equitable. They wanted to keep the definition of healthcare workers broad so that people such as licensed practical nurses and medical assistants, careers that have higher representation in communities of color, would be included. Essential workers, which are at very high risk for contracting COVID-19 and more likely to belong to communities of color, were also included. Messaging about the vaccines was also distributed in multiple languages. CDPHE runs a Champions for Vaccine Equity Program. Local communities can sign up for a healthcare professional to speak to groups of up to 100 people about vaccine effectiveness, safety and access. Mehta has given 30 vaccine talks in just the past few months to groups such as the Colorado Center for the Blind, Aurora Public Schools and the Dairy Workers Union. Continued on page 10 Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2021

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Continued from page 9 “My job is not to convince you to get the vaccine but to give you the best information so that you can make that decision for yourself,” Mehta said, adding that people have common concerns about the vaccine: “Safety, efficacy, side effects … Even the smallest thing becomes news.” He said that side effects are normal for all vaccines. When asked about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he said that it is important to acknowledge that the individuals that developed blood clots had terrible experiences and that side effects can happen, but only 15 cases of blood clots developed out of nine million doses given. “Now that we know about it, we can detect it and have good treatments,” he said. “Single doses can also be convenient for people that work nights and have difficulty setting up appointments.” He added that research is

increasingly showing that the vaccines are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. While the clinical trials happened quickly, the way they were run would be the same outside of the pandemic, plus vaccine equity was also considered during the trials, he said. “There is hard, good clinical data from clinical trials,” he said. “The clinical trials that were authorized in the United States here match the effective population.” In other words, he explained, people of color were also included in the trials. He also wanted to emphasize that the vaccine is free and does not require people to have insurance. “If people ask for insurance, it’s only so that an insurance company can be charged a fee, but you will never be charged or need to provide insurance,” he said. “INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) is not allowed to be anywhere near a vaccine site.”.

AFRICAN LEADERSHIP GROUP “If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu”

6th Annual Afrik Impact Celebration Month: August 2021 African Leadership Group (ALG) is an established 15-year-old Colorado nonpro昀t created to serve and improve the quality of life of the African immigrant community. Every year during the month of August, we celebrate the impact African immigrants have in the state of Colorado. RootED Denver is a proud supporter of African Leadership Group.

For more information, please contact us: www.usalg.org | info@usalg.org | (303) 862-4062

Introducing Denver Juneteenth DJ

Al Your Pal By Zilingo Nwuke

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l “Your Pal” Taylor has been in the entertainment business for more than 45 years entertaining folks locally, nationally and internationally. His passion as a DJ started as a hobby in high school and turned into a career after college. Al Your Pal was born Alfred E. Taylor III in New Orleans. He has lived in Denver since 1980, working as a DJ ever since he touched down in the Mile High City. His first DJ’ing gig was right after he graduated from high school in Louisiana in 1975, when he hosted and DJ’ed a very successful going away graduation party. And he was hooked! “DJ’ing wasn’t really popular back then. And in the ‘70s, live bands were actually the thing and since a lot of people could not afford them, I started DJ’ing with 8-tracks,” said Taylor.

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Music is in his blood – as they say. Growing up, his father was the first Black business owner of a recording studio in New Orleans. The studio worked mainly with gospel artists, and Taylor worked on a lot of the church albums including mixing down the recordings. His job description as a DJ is a person who plays recorded music for an audience, but he does that and so much more. Al Your Pal Productions, AYP Productions, provides service for all types of events and venues including concerts, nightclubs, weddings, festivals, proms, and almost any event that requires a DJ. He is known from and popular at many high-profile events such as the Los Cabos Jazz Festival, Cancun Jazz Festival, NBA All-Star Game (in 2013), and Winter Park Jazz Festival. “At home I do the Winter Park Jazz Festival. That’s one of my biggest projects I have been doing for almost 40 years. It’s a three-day weekend event; one I


look forward to every year,” he said. He works for the people and loves being around people. It’s all for the love of his craft. “I truly love my job. Not to say that the money isn't an incentive, but it is not the primary reason I do what I do. I just love DJ’ing and love to see people smiling and having fun at the events,” he said. “People have asked me to DJ on the radio, but honestly I don’t think I would enjoy radio. And the main reason being is I’ve got to have people in front of me. I need to see the people,” he said. If you have not experienced the work of Al Your Pal in action, you can at this year’s Juneteenth Music Festival where Taylor will be DJ’ing and hosting the live performances. He has been working Juneteenth for more than 10 years with other festival participants and vendors, and said he is excited for the job and honored to be working with Festival Director Norman Harris. Taylor hopes to continue providing entertainment for Juneteenth for many years to

come. “Especially for an event like this, as long as people will have me, I’ll do this until the day I die. I plan on DJ’ing until the day I die,” he said. When asked what did Juneteenth and Black Music Month mean to mean to him, Taylor said, “They basically mean the same. Black Music Month is a time that I reflect to celebrate and pay homage to the artists who've pioneered and paved the way for me. Juneteenth is a day of freedom, a day to celebrate my ancestors who survived atrocities and the stain of slavery. And they survived it with grace, love and strength. It celebrates a time that should never be forgotten – America's Greatest Sin.” Hopes are high for this year’s festival after the devastating effects of COVID-19 prevented an in-person 2020 event. He is among many looking forward to gathering in the streets of Five Points. Head on down to check Al Your Pal out, and in between his spins, make sure you give him a Mile High “High Five!”.

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After a steady climb in vac- Vaccine Supply Higher than Demand cinations earlier this year, the nation has experienced a slowdown in the rate of daily shots since the middle of April. Demand no longer outpaces vaccine availability, due to the hesitancy of some groups and individuals, especially the Black community, to getting vaccinated. Half of American adults have received at least one vaccination shot, according to U.S. government statistics. Those who were vaccinated had both the desire and the most access to vaccines. Now that vaccines are widely accessible, public health officials and partners are reaching out to those who are reluctant to receive a vaccination. Strategies to convince those people to get vaccinated are as varied as their reasons for not getting vaccinated. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, 13% of the U.S. population definitely does not plan to get vaccinated. Another 17% is concerned that the vaccine is too new and may have long-term effects, and 8% do not believe the vaccines are effective and do not know what is in them. Other reasons for not getting vaccinated include concerns about side effects, not liking vaccinations in any situations, and lack of concern about contracting COVID-19. More than a half million Americans have died of COVID. The vaccination is free, no insurance is needed, and vaccines are plentiful presently. The vaccinations have already proven to be effective among the large majority of the 263 million vaccinated people. Though vaccination seems like an easy decision or an easy sell for the healthcare community, the percentage of people not yet

due to Vaccination Hesitancy U.S. Vaccination Goal for Ending Pandemic is at Risk By Thomas Holt Russell willing to be vaccinated has turned into a crisis within a crisis. Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID and three times as likely to die from the virus. Blacks have the lowest rates for vaccinations of any group. According to the CDC, among those receiving at least one dose of the vaccination, only 5.4% are Black people while 60% are white people. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 35% of Blacks say they do not plan to get the vaccine. Black Americans have a long and turbulent history when it comes to their interactions with the medical community, including the tragic history of the Tuskegee Experiment, other medical experiments and involuntary sterilization. One specific case was Henrietta Lack, whose cancer cells were used for research without her permission or compensation for her family. Gynecologist J. Marion Sims experimented on Black women, cutting them open without any anesthesia. He is renowned for his work, even though he tortured Black women in the name of science to benefit white women. The country is divided along political and social lines, and building trust in a system that many see as corrupt will be a

challenging undertaking. Black people, in particular, can base their fear and distrust on factual stories, often passed down through generations. For these and many reasons, skepticism is embedded in Black culture and will not be easy to change for the sake of the current public health situation. To convince people of color that vaccinations are safe, effective and necessary, many organizations and government agencies have ramped up information campaigns. The hope is that good propaganda will win over bad propaganda and misinformation. Though some people are skittish due to the quick development of the vaccines, each of the vaccine trials conducted by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, in fact, included more than 40,000 participants. The participants included Black, Native American and Latinx people, and all vaccines were had very small margins of serious side effects and were nearly 100% effective. One reason for the swiftness in developing vaccines was the international cooperation. Governments worldwide made vaccine development a priority, and they opened their wallets to support development and testing. This influx of money saved a lot of time.

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Another reason for swift vaccine development was that doctors did not start from scratch; they developed the vaccination based on decades of existing knowledge. All manufacturers had to follow stringent Federal Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines to get the emergency use authorization in the U.S., and full FDA approval is expected this summer. Each person who is reluctant to receive a COVID-19 vaccination can find scientifically based information about the necessity, effectiveness and safety of the vaccinations from institutions without political agendas. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Prevention collects data from independent sources. The Colorado Dept of Health & Environment and the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center has well-researched information on how and where to get a vaccination. However, skeptics are often untrusting of these government entities, so vaccine advocates who are trusted messengers are answering the call to spread pro-vaccination information. Churches and Black organizations as well as community leaders, sports stars and celebrities are taking the lead. Black doctors are also a valuable source of information on why getting vaccinated is a good idea. Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, the African American director of the Maryland Center for Health and Public Policy, has said that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black people and other minorities due to historic disparities in healthcare. “COVID-19 is simply magnifying problems that have already existed,” Dr. Thomas explained. “In minority communities, the trusted messenger may not be an M.D. or a professor like me. It may be a local barber or a beautician, or the grocery store owner – people they trust in the neighborhood who have credibility.”.


H aving spent more than 20 years as an influencer, innovator, and coalition builder, LaDawn Sullivan knew the landscape of philanthropy needed to change. Even before COVID-19, Black-led and Black-serving organizations were historically under-resourced. The pandemic further threatened the ability of these organizations to provide much-needed resources to vulnerable communities. A 2021 study by Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy reviewed giving in the first half of 2020. It found that only five percent of foundation and public charity funding that specified recipients designated it for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, despite these populations being dispropor disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The events of 2020 laid bare the societal constraints that Black communities face every day. Access to financial resources, racial divides, police brutality, health and medical accessibility are but a few of the challenges that Black communities are endeavoring to over overcome. Sullivan’s diligence and bold vision led to creating the Black Resilience in Colorado Fund (BRIC) on June 19, 2020. Now, nearing its first anniversary on Juneteenth, the fund has surpassed its goals, raising more than $2 million and awarding more than $1 million to 60 grantees across the seven-county Metro Denver region. Resiliency continues to be a thread woven into the fabric of Black communities, and this narrative is not new. Although Black-led and Black-serving institutions have experienced challenges in obtaining the same level of funding as their White counterparts, resilience among these groups has remained at their core. Now, BRIC can direct philanthropic resources to assist community-embedded Blackled and Black serving organizations. “BRIC is built on the foundation of Black history and culture...

Black Resilience in Colorado Fund Marks Historic First-Year Milestone on Juneteenth Furthering Equity in Philanthropy Through Authentic Relationships Rooted in Trust our resilience. BRIC makes room for the collective investment of our 5 Ts, our leadership and our vision of the change we want to see for ourselves, our communities and for future genera- LaDawn Sullivan tions - BRIC by BRIC,” said Sullivan. Housed at The Denver Foundation, BRIC emerged as one of the organization’s fastest-growing funds, thanks in part to the generosity of individual donors, local businesses, foundations and fundholders. The Denver African American Philanthropists- an allBlack male giving circle was among the first to invest in the fund, and The Colorado Health Foundation made a significant contribution of $500,000. By Aug. 31, 2020, more than $1 million was pledged to BRIC. Over $2 million was raised by mid-May 2021, surpassing the first-year goal of $1.5 million. A study by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation examined identitybased philanthropy, a category of giving that aims to democratize philanthropy from the grassroots up by activating and organizing its practice in marginalized communities, particularly communities of color. The Kellogg Foundation reported that African American households give away 25% more of their income per year than whites on average. These philanthropists often invest in their own communities. Encompassing African and AfroCaribbean descent, including African immigrants and refugees, BRIC was strategically established to broaden the access to funding

for smaller organizations that have not always been successful in obtaining resources through traditional fundraising. This access could mean the dif difference McBoat Photography between keeping their doors open and closing. Sullivan noted that Black-led and served organizations have fewer resources and less access to mainstream, White-dominant philanthropy even in regular times. “Black-led and Black-serving organizations have faced historical inequities in obtaining resources. BRIC brings Black communityfocused philanthropic resources to organizations that are using them to address myriad challenges in their communities,” said Sullivan. BRIC was the first fund launched explicitly to support Black-led and Black-serving organizations in the state. The resources made available can help organizations in their efforts to address community-identified needs or issues and dismantle racism. As these organizations rebuild their communities to be more resilient than before, Black communities gain strength — BRIC by BRIC. Given the initial outpouring of support, BRIC funded 31 grants in October 2020, awarding a total of $467,500 to qualified nonprofits. In February 2021, another 29 grants totaling $535,500 were awarded. Priorities supported by BRIC funds include the following areas: emerging community issues or needs, health, housing, job retention and transition, racial justice and youth. Organizations with limited funding are prioritized. Grant

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recipients are permitted to use the funds for costs associated with sustaining their operations, which has helped nonprofits adjust their service operations to respond to the realities of COVID-19. Grants and resources for capacity building help organizations withstand crises, build long-term sustainability, and increase resiliency. Nonprofits interested in funding may apply once a year. Grants are awarded at the discretion of a community-led advisory committee dedicated to improving Black communities in Denver. In addition to grant funding, BRIC partnered with the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) to establish a loan program. The low-inter low-interest loans support up to $50,000 in pre-development and capital expenditures for Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits. The initial pool totals $250,000. Beyond direct funding supports, BRIC invests in the current and next generation of leaders through the Executive Directors of Color Institute (EDCI). This two-year leadership development and the organizational capacity-building program bring together dozens of nonprofit leaders of color. In the decade since the EDCI launched, more than 130 participants have graduated. The 14 members of the graduating class of 2020 represented organizations that support youth, seniors, individuals in poverty, Latinos and more. A small sampling of these organizations includes Operation Hope, Gang Rescue and Support Project, Montbello Walks,VIVE Wellness, Senior Hub and NEWSED Community Development Corporation. This year, there are 33 EDCI participants. The Landscape Project Initiative connects Black and white-led nonprofits to work on organizational policies and practices related to equity and inclusion. This year, 18 organizations are participating, including eight Black-led and ten white-led.. Editor’s note: For more information about the BRIC Fund, email LaDawn Sullivan at lsullivan@denverfoundation.org tion.org.


THE SPOTLIGHTS ARE ON YOU!

Congratulations!

History Makers

Thomas Jefferson Spartans 4A Class Colorado football champions

Far Northeast Montbello Warriors 5A class Colorado football champions

Congratulations Wellington and Wilma Webb Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2021

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Geett Out! The after-effects of the pandemic on housing in Denver Op-ed by Barry Overton

We have seen significant effects coronavirus has had on the world, our nation, our state, and the Denver community from a health standpoint. Most of us know someone that lost their life to coronavirus. We may have even had coronavirus ourselves. Some are still dealing with the after-effects of having the coronavirus; creating significant health concerns for them. But the true attack of the pan pandemic is just beginning. Many loss jobs and wages and were placed into financial peril, particularly in the case of housing. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, the effects of the coronavirus have been and will continue to be felt. With the eviction moratorium in place, many landlords were affected by having tenants living in their property and were not receiving rent, and they could not evict. This put many property owners in a bind of still having to pay a mortgage, but not receiving any rental income. Some landlords have fallen behind on mort mortgage payments and some are currently in foreclosure. As we are now coming to a point where landlords will have the opportunity to regain their properties, while that could be a plus for the real estate market, it creates a devastating effect for tenants who will be evicted. Many property owners who are landlords are deciding to place their homes on the market because they are so behind on their mortgage. The only way for them to “right the ship” would be to sell their rental property. In a market where housing supply is in demand, most landlords know they can

get top dollar for their properties. So it makes sense. On the other side of that, we have renters who are now going to be evicted, and in many instances, still in the position where they can’t afford to pay rent. This is causing many tenants to now scramble in an attempt to figure out the next steps to keeping a roof over their head. From the health side of COVID-19, many people are suffering lingering side effects from the dreaded disease. We will also see the financial effects linger for many as they try to get their lives back on track. While it can potentially be an uphill battle, I feel confident that we will slowly rise up again as a community. As in the health treatment that survivors of coronavirus are going through to regain 100% of their health, there are many people that will need financial treatment to be able to get back on track with their housing. Within the state and the city, there are organizations that are reaching out to help tenants keep a roof over their head. The important steps are that you act swiftly and don’t wait until the last minute to start putting some of this assistance into action. If you are in need of assistance, reach out to one of the following organizations: Denver Office of Financial Empowerment and Protection, Consumer Financial Protection Unit (Call 720-944-2498 or Email FEC@denvergov.org) FEC@denvergov.org

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They can assist individuals, families and small businesses with: • Navigation services • Free financial one-on-one coaching • Consumer financial protection (addressing financial fraud and promoting fair housing practices) • Debt management • Credit check-ups Denver Department of Housing Stability (Visit www.Denvergov.org/Housing, call 720-913gov.org/Housing 1534 or E-mail housingstabilhousingstabil ity@denvergov.org They can assist with: • Finding a new home • Staying in a current home • Finding shelter • Paying rent, utility and mortgage bills • Understanding the foreclosure and eviction processes We are certainly in challenging times, but there is help available. These organizations or property management specialist will be happy to assist you get back on track. The motto when the pandemic started was “we are all in this together.” Now is the time when we have to prove those words through our actions.. . Editor’s note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate with New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information email: barrysellsdenver@msn.com or call 303-668-5433.


All Rise... Judge Joseph Whitfield Is Now One Of Three Black Judges Serving In Colorado’s 18th Judicial District Colorado’s 18th Judicial District continues to grow more diverse. 

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overnor Jared Polis has appointed Joseph R. Whitfield, Jr. as District Court Judge, making him the third Black judge now serving in the judicial district, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. Judge Whitfield of Aurora has been assigned to the criminal division of District Court joining the Honorable Don Toussaint and the Honorable Cheryl RowlesStokes as three Black judges now working out of Arapahoe County. “Words cannot express the honor and excitement that I feel, it is truly a privilege to be entrusted by the Governor to serve the residents of Colorado, and specifically the residents of the 18th judicial district, in this capacity” said Judge Whitfield, 45, a married father of two who had served as a Deputy District Attorney in the district since 2011. “The duty and responsibility that comes with serving in this role is not lost on me. I intend to work hard and not only meet but also exceed expectations. It might sound a little cliché’, but as a public servant, this is my passion.” Judges Toussaint and Whitfield were both appointed by Gov. Polis, who has pledged to diversify the Colorado bench during his tenure. As highlighted in ESSENCE Magazine last fall, the governor has appointed a total of six Black women to the bench since taking office in January of 2019 – the most ever in state history. Recently retired Denver

County Court Judge and longtime champion of diversity in the state judiciary the Hon. Gary Jackson says Judge Whitfield’s appointment as well as the governor’s pointed efforts are definitely a step in the right direction for the state bench. “As a 50-plus year member of the Colorado Bar and a judicial historian I am thrilled with the appointment of the Hon. Joseph Whitfield,” he said. “Arapahoe County has 24 District Court judges, yet only two are Black District, Whitfield and Toussaint. There are 82,000 Black citizens in Arapahoe which is 8 percent of the population. Arapahoe is touted as the most diverse county in Colorado.” Judge Whitfield previously led the Legal Redress Committee for the Aurora Chapter of the NAACP, served as the 2019 President of the Sam Cary Bar Association, Colorado’s Black bar association, and was appointed to the Uniform Law Commission, which advised lawmakers dur-

ing the 2019-20 legislative session. He studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta and also earned his B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles. He has a J.D. and a master’s degree in intellectual property and technology law from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Whitfield has a two-year appointment before Colorado voters will get to decide whether to retain him in 2024. Judge Jackson, says the biggest void that persists in the state judiciary is the lack of a Black Supreme Court justice. “There has not been a Black Supreme Court justice for almost 20 years with the resignation of Justice Gregory Scott,” he said. “Another void is in Pueblo which has the fifth largest Black population in Colorado and has never had a Black judge despite its rich Black history. Adams County, the third largest county for Black citizens, has only had one Black judge in its history. County Court Judge Madoche Jean was appointed by Governor Polis in late 2020.” To that end, Judge Jackson, was among a small group of community leaders, including former Colorado Bar Association and Colorado Women’s Bar Association President Patricia Jarzobski, pushing for more formalized diversity efforts in Colorado. As a result, the CBA and Colorado Justice Initiative (CJI) joined

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forces in December of 2020 to create the Diversity On The Bench Initiative, a committee comprised of community stakeholders focused on exploring ways to support and cultivate more diversity in the state’s judiciary. CJI Executive Director Joshua Anderson says he and fellow CJI and CBA leaders are hopeful that their shared initiative will continue to build upon the momentum being created by the governor. “These actions show progress towards more accurately serving the state in their third branch of government and representing the population that they serve,” he said. “I believe that it is imperative that our courts better represent the population that they serve, which includes the wide array of diversity we have in Colorado. We are optimistic that this initiative will be key in advancing that goal.”.


Looking Back at the First Miss Black Denver 1969 Op-ed by Helen P. Rigmaiden

Kathy Abernethy was crowned Miss Black Denver in 1969 by the Five Points Business Association. The event was held at the old Eastside Action Center at 23rd Avenue at Welton Street across from the Sonny Lawson Park in Five Points. I had a chance to sit down and visit with Kathy Abernethy Goode as we both reflected on the beauty contest held each year during the Juneteenth celebration. I asked her to describe the event and her decision to enter the contest. “It was a short event, lasting maybe two hours where the young entrants were asked a question to determine the winner. There was no talent contest or other activities – just one question asked of each. They were also required to wear an African outfit representing the Motherland,” she said. Kathy said she headed downtown to Woolworths to purchase her fabric to make her outfit and headdress, which she fashioned after the Nigerian “gele” headcloth worn in western Africa. She had been making dashikis while away at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts when she was a sophomore. She was an avid seamstress, making her own clothes for years on an old sewing machine she carried with her while away from home. She decided to go barefoot for the pageant because she enjoyed her feet on the soil of the earth, and she imagined that her feet were touching the Motherland.

She wore a simple ankle bracelet as well. She was home from college in the summer of 1969, and working in her father’s law office as a file clerk when she heard about the contest and decided to enter. She had been active in the Joslin’s Junior Club (JJC) modeling program while at Manual High School. The JJC trained the young participants in a “charm school” program where they learned how to walk, sit and model clothing for the department store, as well as how to apply makeup and be a lady. She felt that experience had prepared her well, so she entered the contest. Kathy was given the question, “If you were walking down the street and a group of Black men looked at you, what would you do or say?” and she answered, “I would look at them and smile and nod my head. My Black brothers are my friends and I am not afraid of them. I am tired of people looking at Black men and being afraid to speak to them. But I’m not!” Kathy’s bold statement came from the times we were living in. The ‘60s were a time of a great awakening and Blackness all around the country. At Smith College she was active in the Black Student Alliance. The young Black ladies from around the country, who were at Smith, had protested and demanded a

Black Studies Department. There was a great sense of pride in being Black and the great Black awakening was happening in Denver, too. Slogans like “I’m Black and I’m proud,” “Black is beautiful,” and “Black power” were being used in all communities around the country. Kathy said it gave her a sense of pride and a newfound boldness to wear her Blackness proudly. She was emboldened by the rhetoric of the times and especially the Black Panthers. As a matter of fact, Denver Black Panthers founder Lauren Watson was Kathy’s security guard during the pageant.

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Because this was the first Juneteenth Miss Black Denver contest, she wasn’t required to commit to any other event participation. However, she recalls speaking at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church on the topic of “we hold these truths to be selfevident” as she broke down the Declaration of Independence and how it included Black Americans. Usually in their junior year, young ladies at Smith College went abroad to study for one year. Kathy could not go abroad at the time, so instead chose to attend Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, Texas. She became the first head majorette at the university. She was bold and beautiful on the field using all her dancing and modeling skills. She returned to Smith College where she graduated in 1971 with a degree in African American Studies and a concentration in Black theater. She returned to Denver shortly after graduation, and later moved to Houston where she met her former husband, Rolfe Goode. She earned a master’s degree in transportation planning and management from TSU, and later returned to Denver to retire. Since her days of being crowned Miss Black Denver in 1969, Kathy raised two children, Zahra Goode and Kareem Goode, both of Houston, Texas. She has one granddaughter, Kaylah, who is a high school senior..


DUS Among 10 Grantees Addressing COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

Caldwell-Kirk s Remodeled and Open Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary at Caldwell-Kirk FOR MORE DETAILS, PLEASE CONTACT: ALAN PETTIS Location Manager & Family Service Advisor (303) 861-4644 alan.pettis@archden.org

2101 N. Marion Street, Denver, CO 80205 | cfcscolorado.org

Eight Colorado newsrooms and two newsroom-community partnerships received a total of $85,000 in grants to support local journalism and community listening and reporting projects that address critical information needs, questions, and concerns about uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among communities of color and other marginalized groups. In collaboration with Rose Community Foundation and The Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF), Colorado Media Project established its 2021 Informed Communities — Vaccine Equity grant opportunity to support the work of journalism organizations that have existing, trusted relationships with communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “Communities of color and other marginalized groups have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in Colorado, so it’s critically important that they have timely, accurate, culturally relevant local news and information about the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Colorado Media Project Director Melissa Milios Davis. “We are lucky to have a number of strong local newsrooms serving these communities that are well-positioned to directly answer their questions with well-reported, independent journalism that answers real and common concerns, and lifts the voices, experiences and choices of trusted local leaders.” Focus groups and public opinion polls and surveys conducted by TCHF and others such as the Kaiser Family Foundation/Kaiser Health News have found that common

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concerns about the COVID vaccines among communities of color include potential side effects, immigration-related fears, experiences with racism and bias, or lack of trust and confidence in health care and other systems. These same communities also face increased challenges accessing the COVID-19 vaccine due to structural barriers, including a lack of culturally responsive and accurate information, limited interpretation or translation services, and limited access to technology. “Understanding the history and unique perspectives that Coloradans of color have about the COVID-19 vaccines is critical to reporting the type of information and stories that communities of color need to make informed decisions,” said Taryn Fort, TCHF’s senior director of communications and external influence. “This is why we are proud to support trusted newsrooms across the state that are providing accurate and vital information through their local reporting. If we can achieve vaccine equity, we are another step closer to providing Coloradans what they need for their families and communities to be healthy and well.” A total of 22 applicants requested a total of $189,928 from the Colorado Media Project fund. In making its grant award decisions, the CMP review committee prioritized organizations with a strong track record of reaching specific audiences most impacted by COVID-19, and with welldeveloped project plans and partnerships that articulated how grant funds would be used to ensure additional, community-responsive coverage on vaccine hesitancy. The committee also prioritized ensuring the cohort of grantees as a whole serves a range of geographies and racial, ethnic and linguistic groups, as well as other highlyimpacted populations. “We are committed to


addressing inequities around vaccine access in a multitude of ways, and support for community-informed journalism outlets is one strategic component,” said Rose Community Foundation’s Vice President of Communications & Outreach Sarah Kurz. “Local news organizations have a critical role to play in ensuring communities have access to trustworthy information about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID19 vaccines and how to access them.” CMP’s 2021 Informed Communities Fund Vaccine Equity Grantees are the following. Denver Urban Spectrum has served Colorado’s communities of color for more than three decades, through its monthly publication distributed in print, online and through social media. An $8,000 grant will support the outlet in reporting and publishing monthly articles on the COVID-19 vaccine and creating a first-person series entitled “COVID-19 Confessions”, featuring 30- to 60-second videos with trusted community members about their feelings, insights and decisions about getting vaccinated. The Denver VOICE is a Colorado Press Association member that serves the unhoused population throughout the Denver Metro area through a monthly print publication, which covers issues of concern to this population, and also through a face-to-face information network of trusted ambassadors in its newspaper vendor program. A $10,000 grant from CMP will support street outreach, printing costs, and journalism staff costs. El Comercio de Colorado is a bilingual, multigenerational, multimedia newsroom serving Latinx and immigrant communities in the Denver and Northern Front Range metro area through a biweekly print edition and digital products. A $10,000 from CMP will support

a series of culturally-responsive, community-specific reports containing science-based explanations about the COVID-19 vaccine, logistical information about vaccination events, and information about COVIDrelated recovery specific to the Latinx population in Colorado. KGNU Community Radio is a nonprofit community radio station serving Boulder County and the Denver Metro area. The station will use its $6,500 grant to deepen its existing relationships with Boulder County’s growing Latinx community by working with local immigrant-serving groups to coordinate conversations and call-in programs on-air, and to produce and disseminate a series of PSA info-spots featuring trusted Spanish-speaking community members. KSUT‘s Tribal Radio and Four Corners Public Radio serve four counties in Southwest Colorado in addition to Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribal lands. The station will receive $10,000 to support local journalists and digital media content producers in hosting on-air and digital conversations about the vaccine with local tribal leaders and public health experts; increase reporting on vaccine questions and perspectives from tribal, rural, immigrant and homeless communities; and work with community partners to share information about pop-up and mobile clinics.  La Tricolor Aspen is the only radio station serving Spanish speakers and immigrants living, working, and commuting in the Roaring Fork Valley, from Glenwood to Rifle, where Spanish speakers make up around 30 percent of the population. A $10,000 grant from CMP will enable the station to hire Spanish language interpreters for its live interviews with English speakers and authorities, and also help expand the station’s digital presence on social media to reach more listeners.

Mile High Asian Media provides news and information to Asian-American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across Colorado through three plat platforms: Asian Avenue Magazine (an English monthly publication), Rocky Mountain Chinese Weekly (a weekly Chinese print newspaper), and the Colorado Chinese Radio Network. The newsroom will receive $10,000 to increase staff capacity, and expand its already extensive work with AAPI community groups and businesses to con conduct virtual listening sessions and visit vaccine clinics, interview participants on their con concerns and reasons for getting the vaccine, and share their stories. Montbello Organizing Committee is a nonprofit organization serving people of color, immigrants and refugees in far northeast Denver. In partnership with Denver Urban Spectrum, MOC publishes a bimonthly print newspaper, The MUSE, in English and Spanish to feature columns, articles, and opinions written by residents and local elected officials. MOC will use its $5,500 grant from CMP to con conduct interviews and a survey, produce original reporting, and answer common resident questions about the vaccine in MUSE and on its social media channels. Rocky Mountain Welcome Center is an immigrant-led, direct-service nonprofit organization that has shifted its services throughout 2020 to provide immigrant and refugee communities in Aurora with access to



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timely COVID information and resources in 19 native languages through its website and social media. Through a 2020 CMP Informed Communities grant, RMWC started working with respected radio journalist Rodolfo José Cardenas on KNRV “La Buena Onda” 1150 AM to produce a regular halfhour Spanish-language radio segment on COVID for Rodolfo’s popular show, “Hablemos Hoy/Perspectivas.” This $5,000 grant from CMP will support the continuation of that program, to focus on community questions surrounding the COVID vaccine. The Southeast Express is a nonprofit, monthly newspaper and website launched in 2019 to serve the remarkably diverse and vibrant, but economically redeveloping, southeast quadrant of Colorado Springs. A $10,000 CMP grant will support staff in producing a series of vaccine-related community forums to hear from health care professionals of color who are reflective of the communities served by the publication, and investigative reporting on equity and information surrounding communities of color.. Editor’s note: For more information about the CMP Grant Opportunity: Informing Communities to Ensure Equitable Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine, visit the Informed Communities page at https://coloradomediaproject.com/informed-communities.


Locally Owned Gilmore Construction and Nationally Recognized Kiewit Will Partner to Complete Montbello FreshLo Hub After a month-long, rigorous search process involving multiple construction companies, the Montbello Organizing Committee’s (MOC) Board of Directors selected Kiewit in partnership with Denver-based Gilmore Construction as the general contractors for the $55million Montbello FreshLo Hub development. The FreshLo development plan was created by engaging thousands of Montbello residents for more than three years, resulting in the future creation of a largescale project with a communitydriven vision for healthy food, cultural arts, equitable economic development, and affordable housing. “The selection of a general contractor for the FreshLo Hub is one of the most important decisions for the development overall,” said Chris Martinez, chair of the MOC Board. “That’s why we made sure the process was transparent and open for community input. Indeed, it has led to the selection of a team that, we feel, will not only build the best facility but will continue to engage community members throughout the construction process, ensuring the HUB is something the community will be proud of long after we are all gone.” Donna Garnett, MOC Executive Director and FreshLo Project Director, explained the selection process, “A subcommittee including MOC board members and staff and development partners from FLO Development Services put together a comprehensive Request for Proposals that was distributed to interested construction firms. Proposals were reviewed and scored with semi-

finalists proceeding to interviews with our subcommittee. From the interviews, two companies were invited to dialogue with community members on a virtual platform. Finally, with feedback from the community, the MOC board, in deliberations with our co-developers, has selected the Kiewit-Gilmore partnership to build the FreshLo Hub.” Key to the Kiewit-Gilmore selection as the contractors of choice was their quality work on large-scale projects, especially in the area of affordable housing and a long-standing tie to the Denver community. Kiewit and Gilmore have a long history of working on projects together, including the Denver Union Station Redevelopment, Denver International Airport Hotel Enabling, and I-225 Light Rail. Individually, Kiewit has been active in the development of the Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage Exhibit, the University of Denver’s Merle Catherine Chambers Center, the Clayton Educare facility, and many more. Gilmore Construction is a 24-year-old, Montbello-based, minorityowned company. “Montbello has been home to the Gilmore family for generations and has a rich history filled with strength, resiliency and hope,” said Edweena Gilmore, Vice President of Outreach and Engagement for Gilmore Construction. “The FreshLo HUB is the next chapter, a future with the vision of equity, opportunity and promise.” “The Kiewit-Gilmore team is honored to be chosen as the general contractor and will bring this project to fruition,”

said Gilmore Construction President and CEO Jake Gilmore. “Words cannot express our gratitude and excitement to join the Montbello Organizing Committee team on this journey. We are committed to uplifting the Montbello community and are ready to make history.” With the construction contractors now selected, KiewitGilmore will work with the Montbello Organizing Committee and FLO Development Services to begin pre-construction and constructing the multi-use space. Two seasoned and pioneering brothers in the Latin American community, Mike and Ron Roybal of The Roybal Corporation Architects, are serving as the lead architects for the overall project. The FreshLo Hub, as envisioned by the community, will include a grocery store, equitable economic development, affordable housing, cultural arts (performing, presentation, rehearsal, education spaces), mental health services, small retail spaces, community meeting spaces, and connectivity to the greater Denver community. In addition to the nearly 100 jobs created by the retail, grocery store, and arts space, the build-out of the project will create as many as 120 construction jobs. Above the two commercial floors will sit 97 units of affordable housing. Units will range in size from one- to three-bedroom and will be rented to residents in the 30 to 70% AMI qualifying range, which in 2020 was $24,000 to $56,000 in annual gross income for a twoperson household in Denver County. With a variety of floor plans and sizes, the apartments will house 160 to 230 residents. “Montbello is a diverse and ever-evolving community which deserves to gain this new multi-use project which includes affordable housing, a grocery store and arts center,” said Denise Burgess, President

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of Flo Development Services. “The Montbello Organizing Committee has approved our selection of Kiewit-Gilmore, which has the construction experience and knowledge along with a strategic focus on workforce hiring and training with minority- and womenowned firms. Our team looks forward to working with the Montbello community throughout the duration of this project.” Pre-construction and fundraising will continue over the next several months, with groundbreaking and construction slated to begin in early 2022. With construction expected to span 18 to 24 months, occupancy of housing units and commercial spaces will likely be in the third quarter of 2023..

About Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) MOC’s mission is to galvanize Montbello residents and provide them with the tools and resources necessary to develop their leadership skills to proactively address the issues affecting their community and quality of life. To learn more, visit www.montbelloorganizing.org.

About Montbello FreshLo Initiative Created with multi-year funding from the Kresge Foundation and supported by The Colorado Health Foundation, The Denver Foundation, Colorado Trust, and Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, and dozens of community partners, Montbello FreshLo is MOC’s comprehensive community economic development program designed to create places in the community that promotes cultural heritage, rejuvenates physical spaces, improves health outcomes, and brings diverse peoples together. To learn more and to see project team members, visit www.montbelloorganizing.org /FreshLo.


Musical Intuition Op-ed by Michael Sawaya

Why are Black folks so often the innovators of music? Is there something genetic? Maybe, or is there something else in the Black culture, Black society and the American caste system that has prepared the soil and spread the seeds of Black brilliance in music? Also maybe – but perhaps more so. There is a prevalent theory that in human evolution, music came before language. A basis for this theory is that music is an essential, core function of the human brain. Singing and dancing are considered important for the social, emotional

and language skills of children. These theorists hypothesize that language is a special type of music. To complicate the theories and research on music, it is evident that music melody is a right brain function, and writing it down and processing of some rhythm is a left brain activity. It is the right side of the brain that processes the big picture for the left brain that gives us the script we follow to produce language. To be sure, these are very complicated subjects and a simple article could not in any way do justice to explaining how the brain evolved and how it is structured in modern humans for the production and understanding of music and language. However, there may be something in this that gives us a clue as to why in American history we find the AfricaAmerican, Black folks, who are innovators of what have

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become popular and dominant strains of music in America. The American history of slavery and a continuing caste system has either excluded or severely restricted the involvement of African Americans in nearly every aspect of daily living, education, employment, and more. It is not surprising that American Blacks have had to use their ingenuity to find their own expressions. African slaves brought their own rhythm and music with them, which history tells us was adapted to incorporate aspects of the dominant culture’s music. It seems evident that the creativity and constant innovation of music by American Blacks shows how they are making intensive use of the right hemisphere of the brain. The ideas for this opinion piece have come from one of the most interesting books I have ever read, The Master and his Emissary by Ian McGilcrist, Yale University Press, 2009. Dr. McGilcrist is a British psychiatrist who spent 20 years studying brain research to understand how modern humans use the two hemispheres of the brain. He believes that the importance of the left hemisphere is quite overrated and

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has, in fact, endangered human culture and society by excluding the important big picture role of the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is responsible for most emotions and the development of melody. The restricted position of Blacks in all of American history certainly plays a great role in how creativity has been expressed. A serious study of these restrictions on the brain of American Blacks, in all likelihood, would be quite revealing both for American Blacks and others interested in novel and creative solutions to all of life’s problems. It would also reveal, in all likelihood, the trauma and the torture that Blacks have had to endure over the years. It would let us know something about the emotional response of American Blacks. For those of us who feel an affinity and a close connection to the American Black experience, it would be so wonderful to find Americans honoring and rewarding Blacks for their great contributions, notwithstanding the many restrictions they have endured. What they have had to endure was difficult, and very different, from what other American groups have had to endure. As we would understand more of the Black emotional and mental response, we would thereby open up the understanding we would all have of one another. How fabulous that would be!.

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During a 3-day period between June 10 and June 12, 19 crews will work throughout the Denver metro area to build, install and beautify accessible ramps for 14 individuals living with disabilities. It’s all part of Blitz Build, an annual event put on by the nonprofit Home Builders Foundation (HBF), which is designed to provide those with physical disabilities more safety and independence when entering and leaving their homes. Howard T., a retired pipefitter who has called Park Hill home for the last 37 years, won’t need to wait until June for his ramp. On April 23, a crew of eight visited Howard’s home and installed a ramp leading to his front door as part of HBF’s Train the Trainer Program. This is the second year for Train the Trainer, which provides interested volun volunteers with a day of classroom education, followed by a ramp installation under the supervision of a skilled HBF construction technician. Those that completed the program will utilize their skills to oversee additional ramp installations during Blitz Build – and as needed for other HBF clients throughout the year. Beth Forbes, HBF’s executive director, is excited by the opportunities the Train the Trainer program provides. “Our Blitz Build program receives tremendous support from the community, but each project requires a skilled captain who is knowledgeable about ADA requirements and the necessary specifications to make a ramp wheelchair accessible. This program provides us with that leadership so we can expand the number of ramps we are able to complete.” Participants in this year’s program included framers, a cement layer, a material supplier, a realtor and a rocket scientist. “The hands-on jobsite training was fantastic and it was very fulfilling to see the completed ramp at the end of

Volunteers Prepare to Build Accessible Ramps for People Living with Physical Disabilities During 11th Annual Blitz Build African American Park Hill Man Received his Ramp Early

Park Hill resident, Howard T. poses with Train the Trainer members at the top of his new accessible ramp. The ramp was installed in preparation for the 11th annual Blitz Build event, sponsored by Home Builders Foundation. 14 metro-area individuals living with disabilities will receive no-cost ramps in early June.

the day,” said Joe Wurst, a Train the Trainer participant who is excited to put his new skills to work and share them with other volunteers as a Project Captain during the upcoming Blitz Build. Howard, who suffered a stroke on Thanksgiving eve, was thrilled to receive his ramp so soon. The ramp has already made it easier for him to get to doctor’s appointments and enjoy the spring weather. He’s looking forward to the day that he’ll be able to wheel down his ramp and use his season tickets to cheer for his beloved Broncos. His adult daughter, who watched the ramp build at Howard’s house, was so impressed by the process that she intends to volunteer for Blitz Build. ‘Watching a space go from nothing to a completed, quality ramp in one day was amazing,” said Dei. Blitz Build is an annual three-day event during which teams of volunteers led by experienced project managers build multiple home ramps, free of charge to clients. Since 2011, more than 200 ramps have been built and installed all across the Denver metro area as part of the campaign. The clients who will receive ramps as part of this year’s Blitz Build range in age from 3- to 86-

years-old and are living with chronic disabling conditions or have partial paralysis as the result of an injury. The ramps provide them with the ability to access and leave their own homes safely and independently, so they can elevate their lives and thrive in the community. Builds are scheduled across the entire metro Denver area from Aurora to Westminster to Castle Rock. Funds and materials contributed by OrePac/Fiberon, the presenting sponsor for the 2021 Blitz Build, and other crews and sponsors cover the estimated $80,000 value of the ramps and event costs. In addition, the fundraising component of Blitz Build provides additional funding that enables HBF to complete future accessible home modifications for deserving clients..

About Home Builders Foundation For over 25 years, Home Builders Foundation has enabled individuals with disabilities and their families to live more independent, elevated lives. Skilled volunteers and collaborative partners come together to create home modifications that empower greater access, reinforce safety and equip clients with the ability to tackle everyday tasks. HBF has completed home modifications including ramps, room alterations, bathrooms, and much more for more than 1,800 individuals and organizations. The request for modifications has more than tripled since 2007. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, more than 200 home modification projects were completed in 2020 and even more requests are anticipated for 2021.. Editor’s note: For more information and to learn more about HBF visit www.hbfdenver.org.

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HATS OFF TO...

DUS Takes Home 15 Awards for Writing, Advertising & Design By Tanya Ishikawa

Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) staff and writers earned 15 awards in the Colorado Better News Media Contest for work published in 2020. DUS competed in Circulation Class 5, earning the top sweepstakes awards in the category for Advertising Excellence, Editorial Excellence, and General Excellence. Contest results were announced by the Colorado Press Association on May 20. DUS staff won first and second place for Best Print Ad. The first place award was for an ad titled “What if Democracy Fails,” and the second place award was for “Remembering and Honoring 1619-2019.” Late DUS contributor Charles Emmons won first place for Best Editorial Writing for his story, “In Memory of Freddy Rodriquez.” The judges commented, “Clear and persuasive essay on the importance of leadership in today’s world and for tomorrow.” Emmons widow, Jackie Emmons, responded to her husband’s posthumous win, “Thank you for submitting Chares’ article. He would have been excited to be blessed with another award. Congratulations to DUS, all nominees, and award recipients.  I wish you continued success in all your endeavors.” DUS contributor Alfonzo Porter won second place for Best Editorial Writing for his story, “New Direction for Seasoned Executive.” The judges commented, “Interesting and important editorials that appeal

to readers needs and aspirations.” Porter also won first place for Best Education Story for “School Choice Debate Misses the Point.” The judges commented, “Your passion for education comes through in your writing.” DUS staff won first place for Best Use of Digital Advertising for the Weekly Advertising Guide (WAG) emails. The judges commented, “Nice. I liked it very much.” DUS Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris won first place for Best Page Design for the article, “There’s No Place Like Home.” DUS staff won second place for Best Cover Design for the June 2020 Issue, “COVID-19 Coronavirus, Celebrating Black Music Month.” The judges commented, “This is a great idea for a cover!” DUS contributor Ruby Jones won first place for Best Feature Story for her story, “Chocolate Yoga.” The judges commented, “A great story, well written, factual...a memorable story with stunning photos.” DUS contributor Daryn Fouther won second place for Best News Story for “Cleo Parker Robinson, Raising the Beat for 50 Years.” The judges commented, “This was a wellwritten and engaging account of an outstanding woman’s life. I especially enjoyed the lead and the way the story was organized.” DUS contributors Lauren Turner and Angelia McGowan won second place for Best Editorial Special Section for “Colorful Stories.” The judges commented, “Keep up the great work!” DUS contributors Thomas Holt Russell and Tanya Ishikawa won second place for Best Business News/Feature Story for “A Safer Return to Work and School.” The judges commented, “Qualified insight into pandemic.”

Left to right: Deborah A. Deal (Event Organizer), Ann McDonald, Joni Inman (Event Organizer) Rosalind “Bee” Harris and Marlina Hullum (Stain Glass Award Designer)

DUS Publisher Receives Shattered Glass Award Colorado Women’s Day, held May 7 in Lakewood, was also the venue for presenting the annual Women’s Day awards. Rosalind ‘Bee’ Harris was honored with the “Shattered Glass” award for her work as founder and publisher of the Denver Urban Spectrum. Ann McDonald, founder and manager of Thunder Puppy K-9 Rehabilitation and Rehoming was presented with the Unsung Heroine award. One of the first events of the post-pandemic era, activities for the day included morning workshops on mental health, personal health responsibilities, the state of Colorado’s outdoor realm, and two creative workshops. The keynote was delivered by Jo Packham, Editor-in-Chief of the WHERE WOMEN CREATE magazine series. For more information, visit, www.ColoradoWomensDay.co m.

DPS Appoints Dr. Bailey New Ombudsperson Denver Public Schools has selected CBRT Community Education Program Coordinator and DPS Senior Equity Advisor Dr. Sharon Brown Bailey as the new Ombudsperson. DPS Superintendent Dwight Jones said on Dr. Bailey’s

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appointment, “As we continue to strive to become an equity school district, one of our more important priorities is building more equity for all of our students and team members. It’s with this guiding value in mind that we’re excited to announce DPS’ new Ombudsperson role, which will be filled by Dr. Sharon Bailey.”

As the Ombudsperson, Dr. Bailey will work with team members across DPS to hear concerns and assist in resolving conflicts, as well as bring attention to systematic concerns, specifically from educators of color and LGBTQ+ staff. Dr. Bailey has a long history with DPS and the community, as a scholar, leader and former Denver Board of Education member. She is the author of the Qualitative Report on African-American Experience in Denver Public Schools.


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Letters to the Editor Continued from page 3 College in Sterling and played basketball there for two years. Those types of racist terms weren’t used, and if they were, it was done in private because we as Black people know if someone calls you “buckwheat” or some similar term – they will also call you a nigger or have already. The legislature needs to set the moral high ground by each elected official calling each other “Senator” or “Representative” out of earned respect. This was the case when former Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll was in charge. He told legislators to address one another by their title, and when they didn’t he levied a fine against the offender. Legislators don’t have to agree but they should be civil.

Wellington E. Webb Mayor of Denver (1991-2003)

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Editor: I just read the marvelous and thoughtful tribute you created for our friend and my former business partner; Herman Malone. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the many fond memories and photos you shared and brought forward in your caring and compassionate article.  Your words will help us (me) heal during this period of mourning.  Herman was a REAL pioneer for all Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE); as he co-founded the Denver Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Black Chamber of Commerce, while collaborating with people of color needing support. Herman, like you, never forgot others and worked for OUR

common good and progress. I am grateful for the time spent together and the memories. Let’s not forget we also had a fair amount of excitement, joking, laughing, fun and whatever else, at Pierre’s and Fatty’s and selected locations around Denver and the rest of the country. I will miss the weekend golf with Herman and the fellas. I will also miss sending Herman the “Daily Blessings” every day, for the past 3 years, and would distribute to his network of family and other friends. He was always grateful to Jehovah!  Again, thank you for the memories and yes, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Leonard “Len” Murray Denver, CO

Why Coloradans Should Care About the Ethiopian Genocide Editor: If there were daily headlines about mass killings of people in Europe, widespread hunger and women being raped as an act of warfare, there would be an outcry from NATO and Congress. Yet while this exact thing is happening in Ethiopia – in central and eastern Tigray – there is mostly silence from our nation. I contend the reason there has been no loud outcry from the West, Democrats or Republicans is because this is perceived as a Black issue, an African issue, as opposed to a human rights issue. If this was a European country we would have NATO and American pilots in the air to stop this genocide. The United States needs to step up because our true values are rooted in what we do, not what we say, or worse deafening silence. While Ethiopia is 8,396 miles from Denver, we have about 30,000 Ethiopians who have moved here and now call Colorado home. As they fear for the lives of their fellow

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Ethiopians in Africa, we should all call upon our leaders in Congress, the United Nations (UN) and NATO to do something concrete to end this suffering. I commend the Biden administration for deploying a disaster response team to the region last month, but this is not enough. Just review the facts and give me one reason we should not do more. President Joe Biden’s U.N. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned of fresh “reports of rape and other unspeakably cruel sexual violence,” adding that the overall situation was “deteriorating.” The United Nations’ Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) reports that 50 to 100 people are dying every day from causes directly related to hunger. After almost six months of fighting, the conflict has displaced nearly 2 million people, according to the United Nations — with tens of thousands of refugees fleeing into neighboring Sudan. We can debate the root of this political conflict later. Now, we all must stand together and fight for the countless innocent lives lost and horrendous human rights violated. Coloradans must stand with their Ethiopian brothers and sisters. Wellington E. Webb Mayor of Denver (1991-2003)

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Profile for Denver Urban Spectrum

Denver Urban Spectrum June 2021 - Juneteenth and Black Music Month  

This month Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates the Juneteenth Music Festival and Black Music Month. Read more news on COVID-19 and communities...

Denver Urban Spectrum June 2021 - Juneteenth and Black Music Month  

This month Denver Urban Spectrum celebrates the Juneteenth Music Festival and Black Music Month. Read more news on COVID-19 and communities...

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