Page 1

Inside This Issue

Business Spotlight...6, 7, 8 Montbello In The News...9, 10, 11,12 Voices In The Neighborghood...14, 15 Healthy Living In The Community...16, 17 Happenings Around Montbello...18, 19, 20 Youth On The Move…20, 21

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How Will We Define Ourselves? ...4

FROM tHe editOR’s tABLet

It’s all about communication...

Three years ago, several Montbello residents gathered to discuss their growing concerns about the community. The only full-service grocery store in the community had just closed, there were rumors that the Montbello Park-N-Ride was going to close and bus routes cut, and the community was still grieving the loss of Montbello High School. Over the next several months the group went on a listening tour to talk to residents; we stood outside of Walmart and convenience stores, rode the buses, went to meetings around the community and hosted gatherings at the United Church of Montbello to hear what Montbello people were thinking about and wanting in this community. From those conversations, a community agenda emerged and an organizing movement took form. Eventually, the momentum led to the formation of Montbello Organizing Committee. The leaders of MOC recognized and still recognize that one single organization cannot address all the challenges. The only way challenges can be resolved and a community thrive is when everyone shares the load and pulls in the same general direction. To that end, MOC joins with Montbello 20/20, CLLARO, Families Forward, Denver City Councilmembers, churches, schools, and others to pull the load. To the best of everyone’s ability, all try to “stay in their lane” supporting and complementing the work of all. This is not an easy task – resources are limited, outside forces threaten to step in and “fix us” without really hearing what we know and want. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy as we inadvertently or intentionally undermine our respective efforts. Given these factors, there really is only one way to be the drivers of our own fate - communication. A resounding message all those months ago was that the community needed a platform for communicating. From that, the MUSE was created. By no means is it the only way of communicating, but it is one mechanism by which neighborhood voices can be heard. The purpose of the MUSE is to help engage the community in discourse by putting diverse viewpoints on the page. You will notice that, mostly, the authors of stories and articles are the residents of this community. With a little bit of editing and scaffolding, their opinions, experiences, and ideas are laid out for others to consider. I invite you and those affiliated with you to submit your voice for inclusion in the MUSE. Email me at or call me at 720-810-5475 to discuss how to be heard. Respectfully, Donna Garnett Editor, MUSE

LetteRs, OP-eds And Musings...

forced to pack up and leave for another neighborhood, one that offers a similar price range as their former neighborhood. Most likely, it will once again be a neighborhood that does not have the amenities they had finally experienced before they were unceremoniously ousted. This process is cyclical. This process prevents low income families from having comparable amenities. It fractures communities and the cultural norms therein. Gentrification exists when wealthier people are lured by or precipitate improvement developments. Gentrification brings about increased property values and changes an area’s character and culture. Vulnerable populations are at risk of displacement; senior citizens, people with disabilities, fixed and low-income families. The City must respond to the growing number of families moving into Denver communities with the increased income and economic impact that those increases present. Denver cannot simply ignore the situation hoping that existing families pack up and leave. When low-income families leave cities, middle income jobs do follow, and this boom will bust quickly if the City cannot push through meaningful and creative solutions to the housing crisis. Let’s hope City Council and other community leaders work collaboratively and quickly to address gentrification and the need for affordable housing.

Gentrification and Affordable Housing Editor: At a recent meeting in which affordable housing was the topic of the day, there was discussion around how Montbello can prevent the involuntary displacement that has occurred in other areas across the City. We have seen the national attention received by the situation brewing between Five Points and Ink Coffee over gentrification, juxtaposing the pain that real residents experience and the admitted lack of knowledge on the very issue by the business owners. One side sees progress where the other sees cultural expunging. The problem lies in experiences. Who experiences the benefits and who experiences the burden of the city’s burgeoning. No one is arguing against progress but there is a fine line that must be walked between neighborhoods receiving the economic and governmental resources, supports, and infrastructure that it requires and requests and how that boon affects the ability for the existing residents to stay in their homes. What Montbello and other neighborhoods like Five Points want is for that progress be more natural; that it considers the people who currently live in the area and would like to stay once improvements roll out. For those who are not sure how gentrification works or who it may hurt, imagine low-income families living in a neighborhood. Improvements arrive to their neighborhood — improvements that other neighborhoods already have (grocery stores, sidewalks, wider roads, better parks, etc.). With the improvements, housing rental costs and property taxes climbs. The family is

PUBLISHER - Montbello Organizing Committee/denver urban spectrum EDITOR And LeAd WRiteR - donna garnett

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS - Angelle C. Fouther, Chris Martinez, Latoya Petty, Roosevelt “RJ” Price ii, Zahra Mohamed Ali, Alyssandra greene, dwayne Warton PHOTO CREDITS: Lifestyle Photography by Vanesa, terri Baldwin, CBs4, denise Wanzo


erik Penn denver the Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition (MUSE) is a bi-monthly publication produced and published by the Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) and the Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC). Contents of MUSE are copyright 2016 by denver urban spectrum and the Montbello Organizing Committee. no portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. MUSE is circulated throughout denver’s Far northeast community. MUSE 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 and may be submitted to the editor at For advertising information, email or call 303292-6446.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


Montbello –

How Will We Define Our Community? FRONT COVER

By Donna Garnett, PhD, ABD

Montbello – How Will We Define Ourselves? (Use a bold blocky type for font – maybe


Times New Roman, Palantino, Tahoma, or Trebuchet MS)

Many defining moments are seared into the

illegally. She is distressed that her children were told by other students at their school after the new presination’s memory this year and those moments have dent was elected, that now “they were going to be re-defined the image of those communities in which sent back.â€? the events occurred. Can you think of Charlottesville, The discrimination is not limited to race and ethnoun big¡ot¡ry \  --  \ : obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices: Virginia without imagining the hatred and angst that nicity. Nor, is it limited to interpersonal interaction. Disturbing concerns were aired relative to the place defined the hit and run murder of a young woman as of gays in the church community. Rampant evidence she participated in a counter-protest? Can you define verb em¡brace \ im-  \ of institutional racism was called out. Questions like, the outrage in Five Points caused by the racially : to take or receive gladly or eagerly: “why do we have so many fast food restaurants, offensive slur - proudly created by a “happily gentriliquor stores, and more marijuana stores than anyfyingâ€? ad agency - that brought negative national where else in the whole city?â€? were posed. “Is it noun rac¡ism \  - -zm al o -  - \ media attention to one of our historic African : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and because we are seen as a poor community with a high American communities? For long-time Denverites, capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of concentration of people of color? “Why are there so a particular race: what image conjures up when you think of the Park many cell towers in our community – don’t they think Hill neighborhood that was defined decades ago as we care about the health of our children?â€? noun tol¡er¡ance \ tä-l-rn(t)s , täl-rn the first integrated neighborhood in the country? Or, Prospective business owners relayed convincing stoa : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or Montbello residents do you cringe at the old conflicting with one's own: ries about “financing redliningâ€? as Black, Brown and b : the act of allowing something: “Montghettoâ€? moniker? What do you think of the women entrepreneurs strive to get business loans. Professionals conveyed stories about the lip service promise of a new affordable, integrated neighborhood some employers give around equity and fairness but when it comes down to it that turned into Stapleton? the actions bely the rhetoric. Families told of situations where the rent they The point is that we can be defined from within and outside of our own pay was increased two or three-fold with barely a month’s notice. geographic space. Whether the characterization is true or not, those definiIn a recent meeting of residents with DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, tions color everything; they drive business and governmental decisions and Montbello residents, past and present, confronted the District’s decision seven resources. Those definitions impact people’s lives. years ago to shut down Montbello High School and divide up the resources The assignment for this issue of the MUSE was to seek out how residents among a plethora of charter and innovation schools rather than putting the of Montbello define our community in light of the growing concerns about racism that seem to be sweeping the country. For some, the subject was anxi- resources into addressing the issues that would have helped turn the school around. In many ways, residents shared, this approach has actually created ety-provoking; for others (after moments of hesitation) the opportunity to speak their truth was thought-provoking, even exhilarating; and for others the segregation and competition among students who attend different schools in subject was unspeakable. Over the course of a month conversations were had the same shared space. The decision has resulted in a net zero game – while overall some schools have been re-defined because they can demonstrate that at meetings, in churches, at schools, in passing in the grocery store, in the students make gains over the course of the school year, there is ultimately litgarden, and so on. Sometimes residents were caught off guard by the questle to no change in overall proficiency in math and reading among students. tions – “How do you experience racism, bigotry, intolerance in Montbello?â€? Bottom line – a new definition doesn’t necessarily mean students are better “Do these words define the Montbello neighborhood?â€? Black people, brown off. people, white people, Muslims, Jews, Christians, agnostics, gays, straights, Invariably, the conversations turned to how do we address the problems children, middle aged adults, seniors contributed to the conversation. From and begin to define ourselves in accordance with a vision virtually everyone these discussions several themes emerged. can embrace. People recognize that history cannot be changed (perhaps reFirst and foremost, the overwhelming response was, “yes, racism, bigotry, defined but not changed). But what can happen is that people can keep the and intolerance live in our community.â€? More than one respondent told stoconversation going that as individuals and as a community we can call out ries of being called racial slurs, having things thrown at them, and being unfair treatment and organize against the inequities foisted on us by large treated with disrespect by teachers, pastors, and businesses. There is a palpainstitutions. We can sit down with our neighbors and have a conversation ble tension in the schools between black and brown students that gets played over a meal or a beer. We can define a better vision for our community where out in our parks, classrooms, and even in nearby movie theaters. Parents our diversity is what defines Montbello. We can show up for our children and talked fearfully about their concerns that their black sons might not make it teach them tolerance and acceptance based on our many similarities and home at the end of the day. Despite public affirmations of community policembrace our differences. ing, their sons are still at risk of being detained “driving while black.â€? One At the end of the day, across the board, we all have the same goals. We mother was horrified that teachers and administrators at a particular school allowed students to dress up in Halloween costumes that mocked the Muslim want our children to be safe and healthy, we want to earn an honest living, religion. And, more than one white person commented on their lack of know- and we want to be able to take care of ourselves and our families. Montbello – We can define ourselves. ing what to do about racism in their Montbello neighborhood. Editor’s note: Donna Garnett is Editor of the MUSE and Program Director of the A 15-year, Spanish-speaking resident and home owner commented that she Montbello FreshLo Initiative – an initiative of Montbello Organizing Committee. is tired of people who assume that she doesn’t have papers that she is here noun ac¡cep¡tance \ ik-sep-    , ak- \


: the act of accepting something or someone : the fact of being accepted: APPROVAL

embrace racism


MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018



Montbello – ¿Cómo Vamos a Definir Nuestra Comunidad? Por Donna Garnett, PhD, ABD - Traducido por: Marta Welch

Muchos momentos definitorios se han grabado en la memoria nacional

este aĂąo. Lamentablemente, muchos de estos momentos han redefinido la imagen de esas comunidades en las que ocurrieron los eventos. ÂżPuede usted pensar en Charlottesville, Virginia, sin imaginar el odio y la angustia que definiĂł el asesinato de carrera y ĂŠxito de una mujer joven cuando participĂł en una contraprotesta? ÂżPuede usted definir la indignaciĂłn en Five Points causada por el insulto racialmente ofensivo - creado orgullosamente por una agencia de publicidad que estĂĄ “felizmente gentrificandoâ€? -que trajo la atenciĂłn negativa de los medios de comunicaciĂłn nacionales a una de nuestras comunidades histĂłricas Afroamericanas? Para los residentes de largo tiempo de Denver, ÂżquĂŠ imagen evoca cuando usted piensa en el vecindario de Park Hill que fue definido hace dĂŠcadas como el primer vecindario integrado en el paĂ­s? O, a los residentes de Montbello - Âżse retrocede en disgusto por el viejo apodo de “Montghettoâ€?? ÂżQuĂŠ piensa usted de la promesa de un nuevo vecindario asequible e integrado que se convirtiĂł en Stapleton? El punto es que podemos ser definidos desde dentro y fuera de nuestro propio espacio geogrĂĄfico. Si la caracterizaciĂłn es verdadera o no, esas definiciones colorean todo, conducen decisiones y recursos, e impactan la vida de la gente. La tarea de esta ediciĂłn del MUSE fue buscar cĂłmo los residentes de Montbello definan la comunidad en la luz de las crecientes preocupaciones sobre el racismo que parecen estar barriendo el paĂ­s. Para algunos, el tema era provocador de ansiedad; para otros (despuĂŠs de momentos de vacilaciĂłn) la oportunidad de hablar su verdad era provocador de pernsamientos, incluso estimulante; y para otros, el tema era inexpresable. En el transcurso de un mes, las conversaciones se tuvieron en las reuniones, en las iglesias, en las escuelas, de paso en la tienda de comestibles, en el jardĂ­n, y asĂ­ sucesivamente. A veces los residentes fueron tomados por sorpresa por la pregunta: â€œÂżCĂłmo es que usted experimenta el racismo, el fanatismo, la intolerancia en Montbello?â€?. ÂżDefinen estas palabras el vecindario de Montbello?â€? La gente negra, la gente mestiza, la gente blanca, Musulmanes, JudĂ­os, Cristianos, agnĂłsticos, homosexuals, heterosexuales, niĂąos, adultos de edad media, y las personas mayores contribuyeron a la conversaciĂłn. De estas discusiones varios temas surgieron. Primero y ante todo, la respuesta abrumadora fue: “SĂ­, el racismo, el fanatismo y la intolerancia vive en nuestra comunidadâ€?. MĂĄs de uno de los encuestados contĂł historias de insultos racistas, que les tiraron cosas y que los maestros, pastores y empresas los trataban con falta de respeto. Hay una tensiĂłn palpable en las escuelas entre los estudiantes negros y mestizos que se desarrolla en nuestros parques, aulas e incluso en cines. Los padres hablaron con temor acerca de sus preocupaciones de que sus hijos negros posiblemente no podrĂ­an llegar a casa al final del dĂ­a. A pesar de las afirmaciones pĂşblicas de la policĂ­a comunitaria, sus hijos aĂşn corren el riesgo de ser detenidos “conduciendo mientras son negrosâ€?. Una madre estaba horrorizada de que los maestros y administradores de una escuela en particular les permitieran a los estudiantes vestirse con disfraces de Halloween que se burlaban de la religiĂłn Musulmana. Y, mĂĄs que una persona blanca comentaron sobre su falta de saber quĂŠ hacer acerca del racismo en su vecindario de Montbello. Un residente de 15 aĂąos, de habla hispana y propietario de casa comentĂł que estĂĄ cansada de personas que asumen que no tiene papeles, que estĂĄ aquĂ­ ilegalmente. Ella estĂĄ angustiada porque otros estudiantes le dijeron a sus hijos en su escuela que despuĂŠs de que el nuevo Presidente fuera elegido,

Montbello – How Will We Define Ourselves? (Use a bold blocky type for font – maybe


Times New Roman, Palantino, Tahoma, or Trebuchet MS)

noun ac¡cep¡tance \ ik-sep-    , ak- \


: the act of accepting something or someone : the fact of being accepted: APPROVAL

embrace noun big¡ot¡ry \  --  \

: obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices:


verb em¡brace \ im-  \

: to take or receive gladly or eagerly:

que ahora “ellos iban a ser noun rac¡ism \  - -zm al o -  - \ : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and devueltosâ€?.â€? capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race: La discriminaciĂłn no se limita a la raza y la etnia. Tampoco, se limita a la interacciĂłn internoun tol¡er¡ance \ tä-l-rn(t)s , täl-rn a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or personal. Las preocupaciones conflicting with one's own: b : the act of allowing something: que disturbaban fueron aireadas con relaciĂłn al lugar de homosexuales en la comunidad de la iglesia. La evidencia desenfrenada del racismo institucional fue llamada hacia fuera. Preguntas como, â€œÂżpor quĂŠ tenemos tantos restaurantes de comida rĂĄpida, tiendas de licores, y mĂĄs tiendas de marihuana que en cualquier otro lugar en toda la ciudad?â€? fueron planteadas. â€œÂżEs porque somos vistos como una comunidad pobre con una alta concentraciĂłn de la gente del color?â€? â€œÂżPor quĂŠ hay tantas torres celulares en nuestra comunidad - no piensan que nosotros nos preocupamos por la salud de nuestros niĂąos?â€? Los empresarios anticipados transmitieron historias convincentes sobre “la restricciĂłn de financiaciĂłnâ€? como Negros, Mestizos y los empresarios de mujeres se esfuerzan por conseguir prĂŠstamos comerciales. Los profesionales comunicaron historias sobre la palabrerĂ­a que algunos empleadores dan alrededor de la equidad e imparcialidad, pero cuando se trata de ello las acciones desmientan la retĂłrica. Las familias contaron de situaciones donde el alquiler que pagan fue aumentado a doble o triple con apenas el aviso de un mes. En una reciente reuniĂłn de residentes con Superintendente Tom Boasberg de DPS (Escuelas Publicas de Denver), residentes de Montbello, pasado y presente, enfrentaron a la decisiĂłn del Distrito hace siete aĂąos para cerrar la Escuela Secundaria de Montbello y dividir los recursos entre una plĂŠtora de escuelas autĂłnomas y de innovaciĂłn, en lugar de poner los recursos a abordar las cuestiones que habrĂ­an ayudado a girar la escuela. En muchos sentidos, los residentes compartieron, este enfoque ha creado en realidad la segregaciĂłn y la competencia entre los estudiantes que asisten a diferentes escuelas en el mismo espacio compartido. La decisiĂłn ha resultado en un juego neto cero – mientras que en general algunas escuelas pueden demostrar que los estudiantes ganan en el curso del aĂąo escolar, en Ăşltima instancia, no hay poco a ningĂşn cambio de la habilidad total en matemĂĄticas y leyendo entre estudiantes. Invariablemente, las conversaciones se giraron a cĂłmo abordamos los problemas y empezamos a definirnos de acuerdo con una visiĂłn que prĂĄcticamente todo el mundo puede abrazar. La gente reconoce que la historia no puede ser cambiada (quizĂĄs reescrita pero no cambiada). Pero lo que puede suceder es que la gente pueda mantener la conversaciĂłn, que como individuos y como comunidad podemos llamar el tratamiento injusto y organizar contra las injusticias criadas por instituciones grandes. Podemos sentarnos con nuestros vecinos y tener una conversaciĂłn durante una comida o una cerveza. Podemos definir una mejor visiĂłn de nuestra comunidad donde nuestra diversidad es lo que defina a Montbello. Podemos mostrar a nuestros hijos y enseĂąarles la tolerancia y aceptaciĂłn sobre la base de nuestras muchas similitudes y abrazar nuestras diferencias. Al final del dĂ­a, en general, todos tenemos los mismos objetivos. Queremos que nuestros niĂąos estĂŠn seguros y saludables, queremos ganar la vida honestamente, y queremos ser capaces de cuidarnos a nosotros mismos y a nuestras familias Montbello - Podemos definirnos a nosotros mismos.


Nota del editor: Donna Garnett es Editora de MUSE y Directora del Programa de la Iniciativa de Montbello FreshLo – una iniciativa del ComitÊ Organizador de Montbello.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


Business sPOtLigHt

Agreeing to Provide the Best for Montbello Residents Good Neighbor Agreement with New Save-A-Lot Store By Angelle C. Fouther

In 2014, when the Safeway store on 48th and Chambers closed its doors

for the last time, residents of Montbello began to fret. Neighbors, led by the efforts of Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC), also began to voice their concerns and organize to bring a new full-service grocery store to the community – one that would meet the needs and desires of both the 34,000 residents in Montbello as well as the 30,000 who reside in neighboring Green Valley Ranch. Regular meetings were (and are) held through MOC’s Retail and Economic Development Committee, which commissioned a third-party to conduct a market scan detailing the capacity that exists within the community to support a grocery store – enough to support three grocery stores the size of the old Safeway (and five grocery stores by 2020) as it turns out. Community forums were held with Mayor Hancock and then Executive Director of Office of Economic Development, Paul Washington, to highlight the needs for the Far Northeast food desert communities. Private meetings were also held in the Mayor’s chambers to reinforce the message and relay the desires of the community for a full-service grocery store in Montbello. So, when the news, in 2015, about a potential Save-A-Lot store moving into the old Safeway building surfaced, it was received with very mixed reviews. While many in the community recognized the need for budget-conscious grocery offerings in our neighborhood, most acknowledged the difficulty in getting any grocery stores to develop out in Montbello much less more than one. Would this Save-A-Lot become the final answer to our requests, meeting only a small portion of the community’s needs? To ensure that the ensuing development of a Save-A-Lot would meet as many needs as possible for the neighborhood, a community meeting forum was organized by MOC for the Leevers (owners of Save-A-Lot) to meet with residents and hear their concerns and desires. The requests included a scratch bakery, a butcher onsite, and a community room for meetings, classes, and gatherings. Almost two years elapsed with no communication between community members and the Leevers. “We were reluctant to communicate because we did not have all of the funding in place and felt there was no new news to share. That was not the best approach,” said Save-A-Lot owner John Leevers of the Leevers Supermarkets. The family-owned company has a total of 19 Save-A-Lot stores throughout Colorado and Florida. Moving past the disappointment of communication and toward a reality of a new store in Montbello, the resident leaders and the Leevers (facilitated on their end by community engagement liaison Flossie O’Leary and on Montbello’s side by MOC) met several times the second half of this year to develop a Good Neighbor Agreement. The Agreement details commitments from both sides to ensure that patrons of the Montbello Save-A-Lot have the best shopping experience possible, and that Save-A-Lot engages with the community in the most respectful way possible, providing economic benefit to the store’s neighbors, specifically hiring the majority of staff directly from Montbello. It is signed by John Leevers and the new store’s manager, Raul De Anda. It is also signed, in representation of the community, by Montbello Organizing Committee, Early Success Academy, Montbello 20/20, Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, Denver Food Rescue, Families Forward Resource Center, Far Northeast Health Alliance, OCCUR, and CLLARO. The following are key agreements: •Save-A-Lot agrees to expand grocery options of quality, affordable, customized foods including produce, meat and seafood, bakery items, boxed and canned goods.

•Save-A-Lot agrees to build and make available a community room within the store to be used free of charge for cooking/nutrition classes, community meetings, etc. It is 500-600 square feet and has kitchen for warming food. •Save-A-Lot and the Montbello Community agree to develop an advisory council to provide feedback to the store. Between 9 – 13 members will serve staggered terms, the majority of which will be residents of 80239 zip code. •Members will be invited twice a year to meet at the Montbello Save-ALot store to share two-way feedback with store managers and owners. Save-A-Lot will support employee participation in some community events as staff and financial resources allow. •Save-A-Lot agrees that the majority of the 32-38 store jobs – which include management, minimum wage, and mid-level positions – will be filled by residents of Montbello. The store also strives to promote from within whenever possible. •Being an employee-owned store, all-eligible full-time and part-time employees automatically become owners in the employee stock ownership program earning stock at no additional cost to them. To be eligible, employees must be with the company for at least a year and work 1,000 hours or more. •Keeping the interior and the grounds around the store (including the adjoined fitness club, and ensuring dialysis center) will be kept clean and maintained as a part of the Good Neighbor Agreement as well. As you check out the new Save-A-Lot, which is now open, be aware that these agreements are in place. A full copy of the Good Neighbor Agreement is available by emailing for a copy. Let us know if you’d like to serve on the Community Advisory Committee for SaveA-lot or if you notice that there is a lack of accordance with the agreements set forth in the Good Neighbor Agreement. The Montbello Organizing Committee and community residents are still working diligently to develop a full array of grocery store options to meet the needs of all residents in Montbello. If you want to get involved, email

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


Business sPOtLigHt

Acordando proporcionar lo Mejor para los Residentes de Montbello Acuerdo de Buen Vecino con la Nueva Tienda de Save-A-Lot Por Angelle C. Fouther, Traducción de: Marta Welch

En 2014, cuando la tienda de Safeway en la Avenida 48 y Chambers

Save-A-Lot en Montbello tengan la mejor experiencia de compra posible, y que Save-A-Lot interactúe con la comunidad de la manera más respetuosa posible, proporcionando un beneficio económico a los vecinos de la tienda, específicamente empleando a la mayoría del personal directamente de Montbello. Está firmado por John Leevers y el nuevo gerente de la tienda, Raúl De Anda. También está firmado, en representación de la comunidad, por el Comité Organizador de Montbello, Early Success Academy, Montbello 20/20, la Concejal Stacie Gilmore, Denver Food Rescue, Families Forward Resource Center, Far Northeast Health Alliance, OCCUR RNO, y CLLARO. Los siguientes son los acuerdos clave: •Save-A-Lot se compromete a ampliar las opciones de comestibles de calidad, a precios asequibles, y alimentos personalizados incluyendo productos de verduras, carnes y mariscos, productos de panadería, productos en caja y enlatados. •Save-A-Lot se compromete a construir y poner a disposición una sala comunitaria dentro de la tienda para usarla sin costo para clases de cocina/nutrición, reuniones comunitarias, etc. Tiene entre 500 y 600 pies cuadrados y tiene una cocina para calentar alimentos. •Save-A-Lot y la Comunidad de Montbello acuerdan desarrollar un consejo consultivo para proporcionar comentarios a la tienda. Entre 9 y 13 miembros servirán términos escalonados, la mayoría de los cuales serán residentes del código postal 80239. Los miembros serán invitados dos veces al año para reunirse en la tienda Save-A-Lot de Montbello para compartir comentarios en dos sentidos con los gerentes y dueños de la tienda. •Save-A-Lot apoyará la participación de los empleados en algunos eventos comunitarios a medida que el personal y los recursos financieros lo permitan. •Save-A-Lot está de acuerdo en que la mayoría de los 32-38 trabajos de la tienda—que incluyen puestos de gestión, salario mínimo y nivel medio— serán ocupados por residentes de Montbello. La tienda también se esfuerza por promover desde adentro siempre que sea posible. •Siendo una tienda poseída por los empleados, todos los empleados elegibles de tiempo completo y tiempo parcial se convierten automáticamente en propietarios del programa de propiedad de acciones para empleados, ganando acciones sin costo adicional para ellos. Para ser elegible, los empleados deben estar con la compañía por al menos un año y trabajar 1,000 horas o más. •Mantener el interior y los terrenos alrededor de la tienda (incluyendo el gimnasio contiguo y asegurar el centro de diálisis) se mantendrá limpios y cuidados como parte del Acuerdo de Buen Vecino también. Al revisar el nuevo Save-A-Lot, que ahora está abierto, tenga en cuenta que estos acuerdos están en su lugar. Una copia completa del Acuerdo de Buen Vecino está disponible. Por favor envíe un correo electrónico a para una copia. Déjenos saber, también, si usted desea servir en el Comité Consultiva de la Comunidad para Save-ALot o si usted nota que hay una falta de conformidad con los acuerdos establecidos en el Acuerdo de Buen Vecino. Por favor, también sepan que el Comité Organizador de Montbello y los residentes de la comunidad todavía están trabajando diligentemente para desarrollar una amplia gama de opciones de tiendas de comestibles para satisfacer las necesidades de TODOS LOS RESIDENTES en Montbello. Si quiere participar, comuníquese conmigo a Y

cerró sus puertas por última vez, los residentes de Montbello comenzaron a preocuparse. Los vecinos, liderados por los esfuerzos del Comité Organizador de Montbello (MOC), también comenzaron a expresar sus preocupaciones y organizarse para traer una nueva tienda de comestibles de servicio complete a la comunidad— una que satisfaría las necesidades y deseos de ambos los 34,000 residentes en Montbello así como a los 30,000 quienes residen en el vecino Green Valley Ranch. Reuniones periódicas fueron (y son) realizadas a través del Comité de Minoristas y Desarrollo Económico del MOC, que encargó a un tercero proveedor para realizar un análisis de mercado que detalla la capacidad que existe dentro de la comunidad para apoyar una tienda de comestibles— suficiente para apoyar tres tiendas de comestibles del tamaño del antiguo Safeway (y cinco tiendas de comestibles en 2020), como resulta. Los foros de la comunidad fueron realizados con el Alcalde Hancock y el Director Ejecutivo de la Oficina del Desarrollo Económico, en ese tiempo Paul Washington, para resaltar las necesidades de las comunidades del desierto de alimentos del extremo Noreste. También se realizaron reuniones privadas en las cámaras del Alcalde para reforzar el mensaje y transmitir los deseos de la comunidad para una tienda de comestibles de servicio completo en Montbello. Así que, cuando las noticias, en 2015, acerca del potencial de la mudanza de una tienda de Save-A-Lot en el viejo edificio de Safeway surgió, se recibió con críticas muy mixtas. Mientras que muchos en la comunidad reconocieron la necesidad de ofertas de comestibles conscientes del presupuesto en nuestro vecindario, la mayoría reconoció la dificultad en conseguir cualquier tienda de comestibles para desarrollarse en Montbello, mucho menos más de una. ¿Sería este Save-A-Lot la última respuesta a nuestras peticiones, satisfaciendo sólo una pequeña parte de las necesidades de la comunidad? Para garantizar que el desarrollo subsiguiente de un Save-A-Lot satisfaga tantas necesidades como sea posible para el vecindario, el MOC organizó un foro de reunión comunitaria para que Leevers se reúna con los residentes y escuche sus preocupaciones y deseos. Las solicitudes incluyeron una panadería desde cero, un carnicero en el sitio y una sala comunitaria para reuniones, clases y reuniones. Casi dos años pasaron sin comunicación entre miembros de la comunidad y los Leevers. “Estábamos mal dispuestos a comunicarnos porque no teníamos toda la financiación asegurada y sentimos que no había nuevas noticias para compartir. Eso no era el mejor enfoque”, dijo el dueño de Save-A-Lot, John Leevers, de los Supermercados de Leevers. La empresa familiar tiene un total de 19 tiendas de Save-A-Lot a lo largo de Colorado y Florida. Pasando la decepción de comunicación y hacia la realidad de una nueva tienda en Montbello, los líderes residentes y los Leevers (facilitado en su lado por el enlace de compromiso de la comunidad, Flossie O’Leary, y en el lado de Montbello por MOC) se reunieron con varios vecinos la segunda mitad de este año para desarrollar un Acuerdo de Buen Vecino. El Acuerdo detalla los compromisos de ambas partes para garantizar que los clientes del

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


Business sPOtLigHt

Save-A-Lot Opened in December

comestibles. Después de meses de trabajar con los líderes y residentes de la comunidad y de promesas de que esta tienda iba a ser mejor que sus otras tiendas, la tienda abrió el 2 de diciembre. Esto fue realmente un evento comunitario. A las 8:00 am cuando la tienda estaba programada para abrir, más de 300 personas fueron alineadas fuera de la puerta delantera y más estaban llegando. Un grupo diverso de vecinos estaban en línea para ser uno de los primeros 200 para obtener una tarjeta de regalo de $25 de SAL. No hace falta decir que la tienda rápidamente se quedó sin las tarjetas de regalo de $25, pero siendo un verdadero socio comunitario, le ofrecieron a todos los demás en línea un cupón de $10. Una vez dentro de SAL usted rápidamente realizó que esta tienda era diferente de su tienda de comestibles promedio. Los clientes que entraban a la tienda se encontraron inmediatamente con los aromas de la panadería. Los trabajadores estaban realmente haciendo tortillas frescas. Esta panadería ofrece un montón de artículos frescos horneados junto con una gran variedad de pasteles mexicanos. SAL también tiene una buena variedad de productos frescos y un mostrador del mercado de carne con un carnicero en el personal. Eran fieles a sus marcas en productos secos, pero los compradores se quedaron gratamente sorprendidos por la cantidad de marcas nacionales que llevan a lo largo de la tienda. Una característica única de la que hablaban los residentes era la “sala comunitaria” que estaría abierta a las organizaciones comunitarias para sostener sus reuniones. Esta es una característica muy necesaria en la comunidad de Montbello. Con una mirada total a la tienda uno realiza que los estantes no son tan altos como en otras tiendas. Esto hace mucho más fácil alcanzar artículos en el estante superior. Aunque la tienda estava llena de compradores y sus carritos de la compra, fue fácil subir y bajar por los pasillos. Y, aunque mucha gente estaban ahí para conseguir la tarjeta de regalo de $25 de SAL, todos capitalizaron de las ventas fabulosas de la gran apertura. Una vez que los compradores estaban listos para la salida, era como una reunión de la comunidad. Las líneas eran largas pero la gente hizo lo mejor de ella, hablando de las gangas que encontraron en la tienda. El espíritu de la comunidad era evidente como los compradores siguieron volviendo a correr de nuevo para conseguir uno o más artículos mientras otro comprador miraba su carrito de la compra y salvó su lugar en la línea. Fue un gozo ver a los vecinos conversando entre ellos y compartiendo sus cuentos. La gente estaba hablando de cómo estaban comprando artículos para la cena de Navidad y que las ventas de SAL eran una gran ayuda. La gente también hablaba de la conveniencia de tener otra tienda en el vecindario y de aprovecharon de los precios de venta. Todo el evento se sintió como un evento de ciudad pequeña como viejos amigos y recién llegados estaban hablando y compartiendo. Este autor estaba muy orgulloso de la comunidad. Sólo podemos esperar que más aperturas de negocios vendrán a la comunidad y que como vecinos frecuentaremos aquellos negocios también.Y

By Chris Martinez

Save-A-Lot (SAL) is the newest grocery store in the Montbello community and folks weren’t sure what to expect. Three years after losing the last remaining full-service grocery store located in the Chambers Plaza, SAL has stepped into that long vacant storefront with a new grocery store. After months of working with the community leaders and residents and promises that this store was going to be better than their other stores, the store opened on December 2. This was truly a community event. By 8 a.m. when the store was scheduled to open, more than 300 people were lined up outside the front door and more were arriving. A diverse group of neighbors were in line to be one of the first 200 to get a $25 gift card from SAL. Needless to say, the store quickly ran out of the $25 gift cards, but being a true community partner, they offered everyone else in line a $10 coupon. Once inside SAL you quickly realized that this store was different from your average grocery store. Customers walking into the store were immediately met with the aromas from the bakery. Workers were actually making fresh tortillas. This bakery offers plenty of fresh baked items along with a huge assortment of Mexican pastries. SAL also has a good variety of fresh produce and a meat market counter with a butcher on staff. They were true to their brands on dry goods but shoppers were pleasantly surprised at how many national brands they carried throughout the store. One unique feature, residents were talking about was the “community room” that would be open to community organizations to hold their meetings. This is a feature sorely needed in the Montbello community. An overall look at the store one realizes that the shelves aren’t as high as in other stores. This makes it a lot easier to reach for items on the top shelf. Even though the store was filled with shoppers and their grocery carts, it was easy to go up and down the aisles. And, though many folks were there to get the $25 SAL gift card, everyone was capitalizing on the fabulous grand opening sales. Once shoppers were ready to check out, it was like a community gathering. Lines were long but folks made the best of it, talking about the bargains they found in the store. The community spirit was evident as shoppers kept running back to get one or more items while another shopper watched their grocery cart and saved their place in line. It was joyful to see neighbors talking to each other and sharing their stories. People were talking about how they were buying items for the Christmas dinner and that the SAL sales were a huge help. Folks were also talking about the convenience on having another store in the neighborhood and were taking advantage of the sale prices. The whole event felt like a small-town event as old friends and newcomers were talking and sharing. This author was very proud of the community. We can only hope that more business openings will be coming to the community and that we as neighbors will patronize those businesses as well.Y Editor’s note: Chris Martinez is president of Montbello Organizing Committee and is a long term resident.

Save-A-Lot Abrió en Diciembre

Por: Chris Martinez, Traducción de: Marta Welch Save-A-Lot (SAL) es la tienda de comestibles más nueva en la comunidad de Montbello y la gente no estaba segura de qué esperar. Tres años después de perder la última tienda de comestibles de servicio completo ubicada en el Chambers Plaza, SAL ha entrado en la tienda vacía con una nueva tienda de

Nota del editor: Chris Martinez es presidente del Comité Organizador de Montbello y es residente de larga duración.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


MOntBeLLO in tHe neWs

Chris Martinez – New Executive Director of HCC Colorado’s Diversity

Transportation District (RTD) Board of Directors, Martinez served as an advocate and consultant for Minority Women Owned Businesses (MWBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) companies in the construction industry. Martinez has a background and experience in establishing policy, working with governmental agencies, public sector and with several non-profit organizations. “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead HCC Colorado’s Diversity Leader in helping the diverse contracting industry reach their goals in the construction industry,” remarks Martinez. It is all about building partnerships with the large, medium and small businesses in order to succeed.” HCC Colorado Diversity Leader is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization whose collective goal is connecting businesses and contractors within the public and private sectors through information, education and advocacy for all diverse businesses. Y

HCC Colorado’s Diversity Leader, premier construction industry organization since 1991, has announced the selection of Mr. Chris Martinez, as its new Executive Director. Martinez will fill the vacancy created by Ms. Helga Grunerud who is retiring in December. “We are very excited to have Chris Martinez join HCC” said Board Chair Ale Spray. “As a Colorado native, Chris has developed meaningful and valuable connections in the community and his extensive experience as public servant, community leader, business advocate and relationship builder will support HCC’s mission while providing excellent service to our members” Martinez’ resume includes over 25 years as an accomplished community leader, positively and directly impacting local, citywide and regional stakeholders while building lasting partnerships with business and government leaders. As a former Director of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO) for the City and County of Denver and serving eight years on the Regional

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Housing and Gentrification – Implications for Montbello Last September, Denver released a

MOntBeLLO in tHe neWs

Op-Ed by Roosevelt “RJ” Price, II with Donna Garnett

comprehensive housing plan designed to guide its investments and programs for the next five years and seeks to turn the tide of what officials are deeming a housing crisis. As proposed, the plan, entitled Housing an Inclusive Denver, calls for creating or preserving 3,000 units of affordable housing and helping 30,000 households with programs that will provide stability for people at risk of displacement. Under the proposed plan, 40 to 50 percent of the fund would go to help the poorest people, those earning 30 percent or less of area median income and those experiencing homelessness. The rest of the fund would be divided equally between those earning 31 to 80 percent of area median income and trying to find or stay in rental housing and those who are trying to become homeowners or stay in homes they already own. In essence, the plan purports to help people like so many of Montbello’s current residents. Established 51 years ago, Montbello is one of Denver, Colorado’s largest neighborhoods (3.50 square miles) with an estimated population of 34,483 comprised of 8,484 households and an average household size of 4.06 – almost one and a half times the average household size of Denver overall. Twenty-five and a half percent of residents live in poverty, but among those, 30 percent of African Americans and 26 percent of Latinos live in poverty. Thirty-four percent of all children in the neighborhood live in poverty. Among Montbello residents, 64.25 percent are at less than 100 percent of Denver’s median income of $60,000. With rent and mortgage prices exceeding $1,600 a month, housing can easily consume as much as 50 percent of a family’s monthly income. These facts make Montbello especially vulnerable to the pressures of gentrification and displacement that Mayor Hancock addressed in announcing the plan. “When we have pressures around housing, which means people are being squeezed out. We know we need to move to address this. This new plan outlines strategies to create and preserve strong neighborhoods with diverse housing options that are accessible and affordable to all Denver residents,” he said. The plan is timely considering that, as Jamie Siebrase wrote about Montbello a year ago in Confluence Denver, “after decades of disregard, real estate prices – coupled with other bonuses: spectacular mountain views; proximity to downtown Denver – have spurred an unprecedented interest in Denver’s largest neighborhood, the quadrilateral district wedged between I-70 and Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Peoria Street and Chambers Road.” But not everyone believes the plan is enough. We live in a good city, with good people, and a good Mayor, but the City’s five-year affordable housing plan falls woefully short of what is needed. As Terese Howard of Denver Homeless Out Loud commented to Denver Channel 7 News, “It just scratches at a wound.” Before we can tangibly address the affordable housing crisis as a means to ameliorating displacement, we need to consider the roots of gentrification. Those roots extend back over decades and generations. Communities of color across this nation have been historically marginalized and relegated to the lower income brackets of this society.

These historical practices continue to have deep ramifications for Montbello today. These include the practice of redlining where the Federal Housing Administration systematically denied mortgages to neighborhoods of color. Redlining, which should be a thing of the past has survived in other forms. Candace Girod, a research fellow for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that subprime mortgages and predatory rental practices are perpetuated against black neighborhoods 67 percent more often than in white neighborhoods. Local experts identify two other practices impacting the present. Allison Cotton of Metropolitan State University of Denver points to the disproportionate jailing and incarceration of black and brown people as another practice. A third practice noted by Beverly Kingston, University of Colorado Boulder is the lack of investment in a youth violence prevention infrastructure. These practices in the past meant that many people of color didn’t have the advantage of buying their own home and building wealth that would mitigate their vulnerability to displacement. For the city to have an effective inclusive Denver housing plan, efforts must be taken to identify and remove barriers to social progress. Other practices that require scrutiny include the City’s use of eminent domain and those that make it possible for predatory landlords and developers to control a community. At the same time, things like creating community land trusts to preserve housing for long-time residents must be considered and employing local residents in the new jobs associated with the boom economy must be a priority. The Housing an Inclusive Denver plan differs from previous city policy in that there is more focus on direct assistance that will help people right away. One criticism of the city’s efforts to date has been that housing that takes years to plan and build doesn’t help the people being priced out today. Already in the 2018 budget, the city has set aside money to pay a month’s rent or utility bills for people at risk of eviction — or who have been evicted and need a new place to stay. Offering more immediate assistance means the housing fund can help people well beyond the number of new units that are constructed — a number that will never keep pace with demand. Even so, that is not enough. Across the country, neighborhoods are organizing to stop the impact of gentrification. Some say that those efforts stand in the way of revitalizing neighborhoods and economic development. This writer has a new definition for gentrification: Unhealthy re-development of communities that rapidly destroys existing cultures and further marginalizes persons whom historically have been disenfranchised from participating in the economic prosperity of the citizenry. We live in a good city, with good people, and a good mayor, but why settle for good, when we have the capacity to be great. Removing barriers to upward social mobility is good for us all. Montbello is alive and strong, but removal of barriers as outlined above is needed to help this historically marginalized community truly flourish. As Mayor Hancock campaigned, “We are all Denver.” Y

Editor’s note: Roosevelt “RJ” Price, II, PhD is Community Site RepresentativeMontbello for the Youth Violence Prevention Center-Denver which is associated with the University of Colorado Boulder. He wrote an article on gentrification for the 2017 May/June issue of the MUSE and has spoken on the topic. He may be contacted at Donna Garnett is Editor of Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition (MUSE). At this writing, the Housing an Inclusive Denver plan must still be passed by City Council and may not be possible under the current proposed federal budget.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


Elderly and Disabled Property Tax Refund MOntBeLLO in tHe neWs

The Elderly and Disabled Property Tax Refund provides a partial refund of property taxes, or the equivalent in rent, paid by Denver residents who are 65 years of age or older and are income limited or totally disabled. This refund is a gift and, therefore, there is no lien attached to the property. Who Qualifies and What Are the Restrictions? Seniors, aged 65 or above and disabled persons are eligible for this refund. You must have been a Denver resident during the entire calendar year for which the application is being made. Only one spouse needs to be 65 years or older to qualify. The applicants must qualify based on residency and age or total disability. The maximum amount an applicant can receive is based on income.

able), or if the applicant is a resident of a qualified Denver Housing Authority property. •Living temporarily away from home does not negate your residency. However, renting the dwelling to others, while you are away, disqualifies you from the refund. •Nursing home residents are not eligible. To apply, visit the Montbello Satellite Office (for residence zip codes 80238, 80239, or 80249) at 4685 Peoria St. Denver, CO 80239 or contact the office at 720-944-3666 to have an application sent to you.Y

Applicant restrictions include: •Income for 2016 eligibility year on the application must not exceed $15,900 for single persons or $23,100 for couples. •All income counted includes social security and retirement benefit but excludes outright gifts and Medicare payments. If married, both incomes must be included, even if only one applicant is eligible. •Applicants can not apply refund towards their property taxes. Property taxes must be paid in full prior to receiving the refund. •Mobile homes and/or mobile home spaces only qualify for the refund if they are subject to property taxes. •Only one refund may be claimed by a married couple, whether they live in the same dwelling unit or separate dwellings because their incomes are combined. However, if only one spouse is living in the home, that spouse must be 65 or older to claim the refund. •In the case of a spouse’s death, a living spouse would be considered married only for the year of eligibility and, in subsequent years, the living spouse would be considered single. When filing the application, the living spouse must include the death certificate and income for the deceased spouse, up until the time of their death. •A personal representative or administrator of the estate may file for the deceased, providing the deceased was living during the entire calendar year of eligibility and a death certificate is provided. •Unmarried individuals who are living in the same dwelling can claim a refund only if each is renting from an owner or one owns and the other is a renter. •If the applicant is living in someone’s home, such as a family member, the applicant can claim only rent (room) payments. •Applicants do not qualify for the refund unless the dwelling unit has been subject to property taxes (and is at least 25 percen tax-

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


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Report from the Denver African American Commission

Editor’s Note: On December 6, 2017 the Denver African American Commission Denver Human Rights and Community Partnerships presented this report to Mayor Michael Hancock at the Blair Caldwell Library. The report is printed in its entirety here.

Introduction: The Denver African American Commission (DAAC) is charged with advising the Mayor on issues and concerns that impact or has importance to the African American community. The Commission is comprised of a group of dedicated corporate leaders, media personalities, financial experts, professors, authors, local and federal officials, community advocates, entrepreneurs, healthcare workers and educators. We serve as a bridge between the African American community and policy-makers, and engage in responsible activism and consensus building. DAAC represents four important pillars in our community: •Convener: Forums, panels, and focus groups. •Communicator: Via website, directory, flyers, local newspapers and magazines, other city offices. •Connector: Work with city agencies, policy makers, and community stakeholders to find equitable solutions. •Resource: For mayor, city council, and community. DAAC is proud of Denver, its diversity, and its commitment to providing the best atmosphere for all its citizens. DAAC wishes to forever remain a staple in the community producing strategic value politically through continuous engagement and advocacy. Denver is on an exceptional track to be the greatest city in this nation and arguably the world. DAAC wants to assist the Mayor and other City leaders to make sure no one is left behind as it pertains to the City’s recent prosperity and growth. In our effort to do so, DAAC met with a variety of community and City agencies to find out where we might be able to put forth the most value. After hours of research and meetings with City officials, DAAC concluded that our talents and resources would be best utilized in assisting Denver Department of Safety.

(new shell space for women) at the Denver County Jail. Through our research and various meetings with inmates, the Sheriff’s department, and community groups, we found two main areas of concern. 1. The Sheriff’s Department offers some training around culinary skills and basic life skills, but nothing trade-related. Inmates are not being taught any skills that could be considered marketable to the Denver economy. 2. Denver inmates are not given a choice as to whether they can work. Work is mandatory and the inmates are not paid. To accomplish developing a curriculum for the Denver Department of Safety that would include Behavioral Health with an African American focus, DAAC met with Executive Director Regina Huerter and the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies. Through our conversations, we found that the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies had established a curriculum on behavioral health for the Department of Safety; however, they did not have the capacity to teach the content. DAAC volunteered to step into leadership by working among ourselves and other stakeholders in the community to interject some additional knowledge centered on African Americans into the curriculum, and then discuss how the curriculum could support training and development. The Commission will schedule a follow up meeting with the Department of Safety to determine the feasibility for using the curriculum and how to prioritize analyzing next steps.

Scope of Work: DAAC has been working to assist the Denver Department of Safety since May of 2016 with overall inclusivity, awareness, and academic instruction as it relates to the Denver African American Community. This memo provides a synopsis for the various meetings, activities, and partnerships that were formed to meet this end. While there are many groups in the community that have worked, and are still working on similar initiatives, DAAC uses its platform and resources as a Mayoral Commission to act as the eyes and ears for the Mayor. In said capacity, we deliberately examine structural inequities in employment, housing, and within our city departments to ensure that our recommendations are conducive to eliminating oppression and promoting equity for African Americans in Denver. We continuously work with the community, the Mayor, City Council, and other City officials to reach an achievable consensus around all issues that promote DAAC’s mission.

Conclusion: DAAC has worked diligently over the last 2.5 years to assist the Denver Department of Safety, and ultimately the City in being a safer place for all its residents. While our efforts will continue, we understand that there is much work left to be done in other areas such as financial literacy and education that we must address. Moving forward, we will focus our talents and resources to assist in more areas, and ask that the Mayor hear our findings and act on them. Again, DAAC is a proud partner to the Mayor and the City and County of Denver. We look forward to continuing this very important work that leads to real equity, prosperity, and an overall improved quality of life for the Denver African American Community.

Background/Analysis: DAAC began its initiative to assist the Denver Department of Safety in two core areas. 1. Creating effective and comprehensive programming in Denver Jails. 2. Developing a curriculum for the Denver Department of Safety that would include behavioral health with an African American focus. To accomplish comprehensive programing in our jails, DAAC met with male and female inmates as well as officials within the Sheriff’s Department, including Sheriff Patrick Firman and Elias Diggins. DAAC partnered with the Community Reentry Project (CRP) to conduct focus groups with female/male inmates to inform the design plans for Building 24

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


Racism in Social Media

when your words are causing more harm than good. It’s easy to spew hatred and racism when you don’t have to look a person in the eye and feel their reaction. Suicide has taken more teenage lives than ever, and social media is to blame. Social media has changed the way our youth are learning. Traditional educational methods are no long effective in the classroom. Youth have access to information and learn faster by using Google and Yahoo than their teachers can teach them. There are a few pro’s and con’s to having unlimited access to knowledge. Knowledge is a necessary tool for the advancement of mankind and within our human nature we are always seeking greater understanding and wisdom. On the flip side, knowledge also requires great responsibility and maturity. We all have our life lessons to learn and in our life journey we grow wiser and more mature. We develop patience, virtue and compassion. We learn that time is a friend and not an enemy. Our youth are living in the days of instant gratification… they want everything to magically appear before them without putting in the time. And when things don’t happen the way they think it should, they find themselves looking down a dark hole. Where is the light? Here we are spewing hate, accessing unearned knowledge and being deceived by unfiltered journalism. What we believe to be truthful and accurate information may in fact be fake news, propaganda to further divide our communities, families and the minds of our young people. How do we combat the negative effects Social Media is having in our lives? WE TURN IT OFF. We learn how to unplug and have real interactions with each other. We have less TV time and more game nights, family time, interactions with other people from different backgrounds and we learn to share life experiences with each other. We focus on being more human by having more human interactions. Y


Op-ed by La Toya Petty

e live in an age of instant gratification, unlimited access to knowledge, and very little self-accountability. The more we utilize technology to communicate, the less empathy we show. Racism is in America’s DNA. We can’t remove it, we can’t act like it doesn’t exist and we can’t go back in time and change the horrific acts that took place in this country. Some people try to rewrite history, some try to sugarcoat what actually happened and some try to justify their cruelness and use of hatred and bigotry by hiding behind the ignorance card. Guess what, it’s all catching up to us right now because of the unlimited access to knowledge, unfiltered sources of journalism and the desensitized human interactions modern day technology and the use of social media allows. You’ve been caught in the act! That internal guilt you feel when you know you’ve said something on Facebook that you would NEVER say to a person’s face is addicting. We all like to think that Facebook is our own personal and private medium to say what we want without repercussion, but even that false sense of security is quickly being revealed. Using poor language on social media can cost you real world consequences. You can lose your job, reputation, and strain relationships which lead to depression, isolation and acts of self-destruction. The comfort you feel behind the screen of your computer or phone is deceiving. The social and mental affects you experience from cyber harassment, bullying and cruelness are real. Social Media is dehumanizing. When we are talking to someone on Facebook, Messenger or via text you can’t see that person’s reaction to what you’re saying. You can’t read their nonverbal body language. You can’t pick up on the social cues that trigger our natural ability to show compassion and empathy. You don’t know when you’ve been completely misunderstood or

Editor’s note: La Toya Petty, Masters Nonprofit Management (MNM) says “Giving up cable is the best thing we could have done in my household. Now we have conversations, we research credible sources and we take the time to debate with each other.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


VOiCes in tHe neigHBORHOOd - eLeCted OFFiCiALs sPeAk Out

Your Voice Matters In State Politics. Don’t Be Afraid To Use It.

As the holiday season rolls past, I can’t help but reflect on the wonderful

By Senator Angela Williams

opportunity I’ve been given to serve people of my district. State legislature politics may not be flashy or capture many headlines, but the stakes couldn’t be higher — something I’m reminded of every time I hear my constituents’ stories. With the start of the 2018 legislative session fast approaching, it’s crucial that state legislators take as much time as they can to stop and listen. Here’s what I’m hearing. Coloradans want stable, wellpaying jobs that allow them to put down real roots in the community. An affordable place to live with a good school down the street. To know that getting sick won’t cause them to go thousands of dollars into debt. In short, they’re not asking for much. But with seemingly everything getting more expensive and middle-class income stagnating for decades, the good life so many strive for is slipping further and further out of reach. Housing costs are skyrocketing, pushing people out of neighborhoods they’ve lived in their entire lives. Far too many schools can’t find enough teachers to give our children the education they deserve. And our aging transportation infrastructure is driving traffic to near-unbearable levels. Yet, Colorado’s economy is booming, with tens of thousands moving here each year. If we’re not smart about how we manage this growth, the burdens that come with poor planning will continue to fall squarely on the shoulders of the working class. In a state as wealthy as ours, there’s no excuse to leave working families behind. When I go back to the State Senate this month, basic quality of life issues will be at the top of my list. At its core, a policy agenda that works for the people should be rooted in bringing cost of living down and incomes up. We elected officials must take action to address the ever-increasing cost of putting a roof over your head. Every Coloradan should be able to afford to live near where they work, or at the very least know they won’t have to sit in hours of traffic to get to their job. We also must fight for truly affordable healthcare as medical costs continue to eat up huge portions of family budgets — a task made even more urgent by Congress’ wildly irresponsible delay in renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And perhaps most importantly, we must make the investment in education that our kids deserve. Despite having the seventh fastest growing economy in America, Colorado spends $2,147 less per K-12 student than the national average. These issues (and many others too numerous to list) are a good start to my “to-do” list, but it’s my hope that my constituents will continue to add even more. State politics is uniquely accessible to members of the community, and that’s the way it should be. My goal is to ensure that making your voice heard is as easy as possible. My community advisory cabinet is a group of constituents who serve as liaisons for every neighborhood in my district and give each community a liaison to advocate for their specific needs. Or, if you’d prefer a direct line, you can reach me anytime at Please visit

my website at to sign up for the Senate District 33 monthly newsletter. Opening Day of the 2018 legislative session is January 10th, and I invite everyone in District 33 to join me at the State Capitol to be a part of it. This is your government, and you deserve to be a part of it — to push us every day to truly represent the people.Y

Editor’s note: Angela Williams represents State Senate District 33 in the Colorado General Assembly which includes Montbello.

Working Together For Our Community A

By Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore

s I sit at my kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee, I begin to reflect on my home in the Montbello community. My family and my husband’s family have long, deep roots and ties to Montbello. This is the community that I chose to raise my children in and I want my grandchildren to visit me in this same home. Our home is more than a place. Our home is a connection to our past generations, and a symbol of our community and family both present and future. Some may just see four walls, but these walls are full of memories of family, friends, neighbors and community. Some may just see “four walls” to our community: Peoria, 56th, I-70 and Pena, but they are full of strong, diverse and vibrant community members. They are full of celebrations, stories, and history. They should be acknowledged for these attributes, not defined by what others outside our community think we deserve. However, that is exactly what happened. When we look at the historical inequities of resources to our Montbello community compared to others, we are seeing what others outside our community stereotyped us to be and decided what we deserved without our voice. Basic community needs that should have been resolved long ago, such as poor roadway infrastructure like 56th Avenue in 2017 still being a 2-lane rural roadway, affecting our safety and quality of life. As Denver continues to grow, we must prepare to meet the future of an evolving city and neighborhood. It should be a right, not a privilege to have access to housing, healthy food, clean water and air, accessible transit, quality education, and safety. Institutionalized racism and historic social injustices make Montbello families vulnerable to involuntary displacement and gentrification. Every member of our community deserves to have the necessary support and education to allow them to self-determine their own futures and make decisions based on facts. In May, 2016 my council office, brought together a group of registered neighborhood organization leaders and community members to form the Montbello Leadership group. We have has been meeting to talk about community priorities and ensure residents, especially seniors or those on fixed incomes are able to stay in our neighborhood as property values continue to rise. Affordable housing and financial literacy are two top priorities we identified. Carrying this work forward, I requested and supported specific budget items that were accepted into the 2018 Denver City Budget, including: •Adding $350,000 to provide for 4 additional full-time Financial Literacy coaches through the Office of Financial Empowerment bringing the citywide

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


VOiCes in tHe neigHBORHOOd - eLeCted OFFiCiALs sPeAk Out

total to 6.5 employees in 2018. Coaches meet one to one with residents to provide comprehensive financial planning to help them reduce debt and build wealth; •Adding an additional $500,000 for the Elderly and Disabled property tax rebate program for a total allocation of $1,725,000 in 2018. As a community we need to identify other actions we can take both in the short- and long-term. In 2018, I also want to explore how through policy we can look at additional property tax relief for those on fixed incomes in neighborhoods vulnerable to displacement. To learn more, a couple good resources are the Mile High Connects: Access to Opportunity Platform - A Regional Call to Action to Address Our Gentrification and Displacement Crisis and the Urban Land Institute - ULI Colorado Six Principles for Equitable Revitalization. I invite you to become part of the Montbello Leadership group to share your ideas and help to develop strategies to address these issues. Please email me at or contact me at 720-337-7711 to get more information. I look forward to continuing our work together and making sure that all members of our community are supported and we can keep making those important Montbello memories together.Y

Editor’s note: Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore represents District 11 which includes Montbello on Denver City Council.

A Recipe for Success for Montbello Students

Seventh graders baked the best cookie I have ever tasted: the Madison

By Jennifer Bacon, DPS School Board

Middle School Muncher. It was crunchy, the right amount of sweet, a blend

of chocolate, cinnamon sugary goodness. The students made it for a math les-

son on fractions - they needed half a cup of this or two thirds of a teaspoon of

that. Their assignment was to bake 20 cookies using a chocolate chip cookie recipe. But they had to make more than the recipe called for, and make the cookies without particular ingre-

dients. It took a few tries but the cookie was amazing! The best part though wasn’t the cookies. It was watching my students make them. Even though they argued, they leaned on each other to solve problems. Knowing they didn’t have every ingredient didn’t hold them back. They found uncommon resources. They used oatmeal instead of flour, and Sweet N Low for sugar. They were thoughtful: “Let’s ask our neighbors for some oatmeal, but we can’t take too much because the babies need breakfast.” “Don’t we see packets of sugar at every coffee maker? But be careful, because teachers really need their coffee in the morning.” The task represented my class. We didn’t have all the ‘ingredients’ to make the perfect school. My students were the lowest math performers. I had 42 students but only 35 desks. We deserved more, we deserved better. But we had to become something great. As I walk past Rachel B. Noel and Evie Dennis’ plaques; as I chuckle at True Light’s sign: “CH_ _ CH, What’s Missing?”; or even as I stand in line for aguas frescas at Ascension’s Annual Bazaar, I think about the recipe of

success for myself and for Montbello. We deserve better, we demand better, we should have better. But we are resilient, and we make our own unique recipe for success. We may not have the perfect ‘ingredients’ or always agree, but we can think differently, lean on each other, and create something new and wonderful for our neighborhood. I ran for office in hopes to lead that way. I have hope that DPS can be a premier urban district. Hop that we can trust our Board and District leaders again and our public schools can be responsive to our needs. For the past few years DPS has asked Montbello what we want, but we have seen little action. This election proved the time is now for a different type of leadership. My vision for Denver’s students is that they not only master reading, math, and science, but they know who they are and their place in this world as leaders.

For our schools this looks like: •Putting comprehensive high schools on the table. •Building an educator base that is loved, respected, and committed to our community for their longevity. •Requiring a deep level of understanding of the cultures of our community. •Providing college credits, career internships, art and unified athletic opportunities for students while also maintaining high expectations of excellence. •Focusing on teacher experience and increasing instructional and management support for our middle schools. We should also expose this special age group of students to career and engagement opportunities so that they can frame their future. •In elementary schools, we will focus on increasing literacy in reading and math. We will demand and expect our youngest learners to be on grade level.

Each of us must play a part in realizing this vision. For our communities this means: •Students commit to build and maintain respect for their neighborhoods and their education. Their voices are regularly heard and included in decisions made about them. •Neighbors will celebrate and lift up community pride, but hold us accountable to our learning. •DPS invests in neighborhood organizations and parents as partners for our schools. DPS will also be honest and transparent about our finances and achievement. As for me, I will be a steward for you. I will be available and accessible to you. I will confront the lack of equal educational access and success that has disenfranchised our community. I will work with students, families, and educators to resolve these issues through careful and compassionate analysis so that our District will thrive. I look forward to the recipe we can make together over the next four years.Y

Editor’s note: Jennifer Bacon is the newly elected DPS District 4 School Board Director. You can reach her at (720)5939618 or at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


HeALtHy LiVing in tHe COMMunity

How a Lack of Access to Healthy Food May Destroy Your Mind as Well as Your Body By Dwayne Warton

Editor’s note: This article first appeared online at www.the in July, 2017. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.


t is widely known that a lack of access to fresh, healthy foods can contribute to poor diets and higher levels of diet-related diseases. In the case of brain health, we know that everyone who has a brain is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with the greatest risk factors being aging and genetics. But there is growing evidence that other risk factors may also result in declining brain health. The lack of a healthy diet increases the likelihood of chronic medical conditions like hypertension, obesity and diabetes, and these diseases increase the likelihood of cognitive impairment. Nearly half (45 percent) of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease; and more than 1 in 4 Americans have multiple chronic conditions. For many of these health conditions, black people have higher risk factors, occurrences, morbidity and mortality rates than whites. As the nation’s population ages, we should stop viewing chronic disease as simply a normal part of growing older. Our environment influences our health. In my role as leader of the National Working Group on Food & Health Equity at the Food Trust, a nonprofit organization working to increase access to healthy and affordable foods, I’m particularly interested in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities and focusing on understanding how other social factors intersect with food and influence our health. Evidence shows that a diet rich in vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, is associated with better health and a reduced rate of cognitive decline. Studies also show that people who ate a Mediterranean diet (fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil) had a 28 percent lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and a 48 percent lower risk of such impairment progressing to actual Alzheimer’s disease. Simply put, the better the food a person eats, the lower his or her risk for diet-related chronic diseases and the increased likelihood for a healthy brain. And conversely, a diet consisting of unhealthy foods can be detrimental not only to our physical health but also to our cognitive health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 40 million Americans live in neighborhoods without easy access to fresh, affordable and

nutritious food options. This problem impacts residents of both urban and rural and tribal areas – especially those living in lower-income areas and communities of color. In general, poorer areas and communities of color have fewer fruit and vegetable markets, leaving African-American and Hispanic people less likely than whites to eat fruits and vegetables each day. And, as a result, lowerincome and African-American and Hispanic people have higher episodes of diet-related diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Evidence is showing that if left unchecked, these diseases can also increase a person’s risk of developing and increasing the progression of dementia. At every level – local, regional, state and federal – there are examples of community residents, business owners, advocates and policymakers coming together to find innovative solutions to strengthen access to healthy food. One program to support the development of fresh-food retail, Healthy Food Financing Initiatives (pdf), has a proven track record of helping to grow grocery stores and other healthy-food retail in underserved communities across the country while creating jobs and improving health. Organizations like the Food Trust, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association have teamed up with local community groups across the nation to help advance policies that reduce health disparities and promote health equity through the Voices for Healthy Kids initiative. We are partnering with groups like the NAACP, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, MomsRising, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Balm in Gilead and many others to tackle multiple social determinants of health because neighborhoods with access to healthy food and safe places for physical activity should be a right, not a privilege. Across the country, there are a dozen states with active campaigns to create healthy-food finance initiatives. Please urge your elected officials to prioritize the issue of inequitable food access in low-income, underserved areas and adopt programs and policies that have been proved to bring fresh, healthy and affordable food to underserved neighborhoods. As one study demonstrates, produce consumption for African Americans increased by 32 percent when African Americans lived near a supermarket. Let’s encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles and understand the connection between their physical health, brain health and overall well-being. And, at the same time, let’s encourage our lawmakers to endorse smart public health policies like Healthy Food Finance Initiatives that give everyone the opportunity to access better food and lead a healthy life. Y

Editor’s note: Dwayne Wharton is the director of external affairs with the Food Trust in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the keynote speaker at the recent HEAL Summit hosted by LiveWell Colorado. LiveWell Colorado is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


HeALtHy LiVing in tHe COMMunity

Colorado Is Still The Least Obese State in America – But What About Montbello?

Hidden Sugar Campaign notes that sugary beverages are the single largest contributor of calories to our diet. By drinking just one sugary drink a day, a child has 25 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, 55 percent greater risk of being overweight or obese, and 150 percent greater risk of developing fat deposits in their liver, contributing to diabetes and heart disease. Consumption of sugary beverages is the single largest contributor of calories and added sugars to our diet. These calories contribute to weight gain and provide little to no nutritional value. One 10-ounce bottle of Fruit Punch has 38g of sugar, equivalent to about 10 chocolate chip cookies. In Colorado, approximately one in three adults and one in five children consume at least one sugary drink per day. This is a simple step we all can take toward eradicating obesity in children and adults in the Montbello community. Y

MOC Receives Colorado Health Foundation Grant for FreshLo

The Denver Post reported at the end of the year that while Colorado remains the least obese state, obesity surged 10 percent in Colorado over the past year. This finding is according to the annual America’s Health Rankings report by the United Health Foundation. John Ingold of the Post reported that means 22.3 percent of Coloradans are now considered obese, up from 20.2 in the 2016 report. Obesity is measured by body mass index, a simple calculation involving height and weight. Not all neighborhoods in Colorado are equal in terms of low obesity. For example, In Denver, one in six children is obese; however, the percent varies widely by council district. The Obesity Rate in Montbello is 43 percent with Child Obesity at 24 percent – that’s more than one in three adults who are obese and roughly one in four children. When educational level, race, and income level are factored in, the statistic becomes even more startling. These social determinants of health predict the health of our population. Obesity is a common and preventable disease. Exercise and nutritional habits are learned early. According to a 2016 report on the health status of Denver residents by City Council District, the number of students in 2013 achieving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day decreased every year as grade increased from middle school to high school. LiveWell Colorado reports that Colorado ranks 24th in the nation for our children’s level of physical activity with nearly 55 percent of kids not getting the recommended amount of 60 minutes of physical activity each week. Thirty percent of Colorado kids live in neighborhoods without parks, community centers and/or safe sidewalks, limiting their ability to be physically active. It certainly doesn’t help the situation that Montbello is flooded with fastfood restaurants and far too many people at all ages balance their busy lives with foods high in carbohydrates (starchy foods) and heavily processed foods (those foods that come already prepared). The solutions to the problem are multi-faceted involving changing personal habits, addressing public policies and business practices that encourage and stimulate the saturation of a community with unhealthy food and lack of access to physical exercise. Finally, the solutions require that a healthy system of food access exist so that all residents can have access to healthy, fresh food. The policy and system changes may be slow in coming, but every parent can do something today to address the childhood obesity problem. The

The Colorado Health Foundation (CHF) recently awarded a “Healthy Places: Designing an Active Colorado” two-phase grant to Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) to implement the Montbello FreshLo Initiative. The Healthy Places grant aims to improve the health of Coloradans by making it safer and more appealing to walk, bike, or participate in other daily activities that keep residents active. Through a community-led approach, Healthy Places supports communities to build upon their current assets and identify new possibilities to increase physical activity through changes to the built environment. Montbello is one of only three communities selected to receive the Healthy Places award. In Phase One MOC and a cadre of residents and other stakeholders will participate in a Foundation-funded Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Service panel. Early in March, 80 – 100 stakeholders will work with MOC Leadership and the FreshLo Project Team with consultation with ULI to examine the feasibility of fully implementing the Grocery-Anchored Cultural Hub envisioned in the FreshLo plan. Upon completing the weeklong panel, the Montbello community will receive recommendations to improve upon the plan. Using these recommendations, community input, and existing plans and strategies, the community will flesh out a more in-depth strategy and financing plan to support the implementation of FreshLo. Phase Two of the grant involves MOC submitting a set of strategies regarding the plan with a goal of making Montbello a healthier community. This revised plan will be reviewed by the Foundation and up to an additional $1mm will be awarded for implementation. The implementation plan is expected to launch in early summer, 2018 MOC announced the FreshLo Initiative in the September/October issue of the MUSE. Montbello FreshLo will activate the community by creating places that promote cultural heritage, artistic expression, animate public and private spaces, rejuvenate structures and streetscapes, improve local business viability and public safety, and bring diverse peoples together. Tagged Montbello FreshLo (for fresh and local), these places will collectively improve access to healthy, affordable food for all residents, but especially within low-income communities, build social cohesion, and increase physical activity within a vibrant cultural context. Preliminary estimates are that approximately $10mm must be raised to construct and launch the envisioned grocery store and cultural hub. Initially, Kresge Foundation funded MOC to undertake a community-wide planning effort for FreshLo. That grant was matched by the Colorado Health Foundation. In October, Kresge also awarded MOC an additional two-year grant to begin implementing the plan. MOC Leadership has appointed a FreshLo Project Team to guide the implementation of the Initiative and to assist in fundraising. Angelle Fouther, chair of MOC’s Retail and Economic Development Team, and Khadija Haynes, MOC’s treasurer, will co-chair the Project Team. For more information regarding the Initiative, contact Donna Garnett, FreshLo project director, 720-810-5475. Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


HAPPenings AROund MOntBeLLO

Community Channels – Montbello’s First Public Art Project

color and that is critical to the future and success of Denver� said Sean Bradley ULMD President and CEO, adding “The Financial Literacy Workshop is a great opportunity for families to gain skills that will increase economic self-reliance over the long-term�. The program is offered at McGlone Academy at 4500 Crown Blvd. through the Center for Family Opportunity (CFO), in partnership with Mile High United Way. CFO offers free wraparound services to community members 16 or older in order to obtain critical life skills and increase their economic self-sufficiency and the academic achievements of their students. The CFO offers a variety of multi-generation-services at one location, making it convenient for families to benefit from multiple services offered in their school community. Participants do not have to be parents of Denver Public Schools students; all services are open to all community members. Services include GED classes, workforce development, ESL classes, and financial literacy among other services. Open to DPS student’s grades three through twelve, program participants will be engaged in youth-led community activism and advocacy as well as leadership training and personal and professional development and access to youth employment and internship opportunities. There will also be multiple opportunities to develop relationships with influential men of color in the Denver community. “Exposure is vital to the development of our Black youth; they will be what they see. This program gives young men the opportunity to engage with Black entrepreneurs, CEO’s, politicians, and other men that look like them who are leaders in their communities�, said Urban League Director of Community Organizing Linzee Locke. In addition to youth programing, adult financial literacy workshops began in December at the FACE Center for Family Opportunity (CFO) located at McGlone Academy on Crown Boulevard. The workshops cover a variety of topics including coaching sessions on financial control and independence as well as improving one’s credit rating. The goal is to have participants walk

Art Mural: 240 ft. X 16 ft. Volunteers: 125 Breakfast Burritos: 70 Time for installation: 16 hours Gallons of paint: 27

In the spirit of IMAGINE 2020, Denver’s Cultural Plan, Mayor Michael B. Hancock challenged the Denver City Council members to infuse arts and culture into their city council district during Denver Arts Week. The District 11 Council Office took this challenge as a huge opportunity to add art to the Montbello neighborhood. At the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture, District 11 Council Office was honored to win the IMAGINE 2020 District Challenge award for the art piece “Community Channels� named for its Montbello canal location and the incredible community involvement. On Friday Nov. 10 and Saturday Nov. 11, the District 11 Council Office along with artists Pat Milbery, Remington Robinson, Pat McKinney, Hunter Stevens, So-Gnar Creative Designs and the members of the community painted a 240-foot mural in the Montbello drainage canals at 51st Avenue and Bolling Drive. Students of the Montbello Campus and neighbors came out to participate and be a part of this colorful art project. The art mural represents quite a few aspects of the Montbello community and Colorado lifestyle. The artists describe the meaning of this project. “The centerpiece of the design is the very vibrant, warming Colorado Sun aligned with two beautiful mountains representing the core of the community name of Montbello. The mountains are healthy, refreshing shades of greens, teals and blues. Their position provides balance for the piece in its entirety. Along the walls, you see both blue and mint tones of color engaging in a constant flow. This motion is important in the sense of balance and a reminder message to go with the flow. The motion of the water engages the eye complimented through the three tones of color per wave really help tonally to provide dimension to the space.� In addition, the red and blue sections of mountains are inspired by the City of Denver flag. They show Denver’s sunny days, blue-skies, red-earth and snow-capped mountains. All of which can be seen in beautiful views from the Montbello neighborhood. This is Montbello’s first public art piece, but certainly not the last. The District 11 Council Office is working on other art projects that will add more color and reflect our community pride in 2018. Stay tuned and as always, and reach out to or call 720-3377711 if you need anything. Y

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ULMD Joins Forces with DPS FACE

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he Urban League of Metropolitan Denver (ULMD) and Denver Public Schools (DPS) Family and Community Engagement (FACE) recently announced the two organizations will be working together to improve the outcomes of young males of color through programming designed to increase their educational, emotional, and economic potential. “This partnership allows us to create an environment that supports personal development and eliminates barriers to opportunity for young males of

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MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018



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HAPPenings AROund MOntBeLLO

away with the tools and resources to develop an individualized plan for their financial journey. The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver has a long and rich history of empowering African-American communities. Continuing their eighty-year tradition of producing effective programming, ULMD is eager to work with FACE to facilitate authentic and impactful youth engagement which requires that young people have actual authority and responsibility, as well as opportunities to develop the skills needed to make sound decisions. For ULMD and FACE collaboration this means working as partners with young men of color, rather than making decisions for them or only providing services to them.Y

Editor’s note: Zahra Mohamed Ali is a Workforce Initiative Specialist at the Urban League of Metro Denver. She studied Political Science and International Relations at Colorado State University at Fort Collins.For more information visit the Urban League of Metro Denver website at affiliate/urban-league-metropolitan-denver or call ULMD at (303) 377-2790. For more information regarding FACE, email Ambar Suero at

poser, Tchaikovsky; but with a twist! Along with the classical music and classic ballet choreography the audience was entertained with the addition of modern day music and dance genres, ranging from electro-swing, jazz, world dance, dub step, hip hop, and contemporary and pointe ballet. This production also featured work created through collaborations with the NCAS Stagecraft Class (prop creation, lights and sound), the NCAS Visual Arts Program (mask creation), and the brand new NCAS Costume Design Team (designed and created all costumes). I visited the advanced dance class in early December and later watched a dress rehearsal. Seeing the finished product was like icing on the cake. The real story was capturing the work and passion that went into creating the performance. Visiting the classroom was my first introduction to the energy and joy exuding from Paige Farlow, NCAS Dance Director. Like all dancers, she was in nearly constant motion even as she sat on the floor in a modified splits position interacting with her students. The dancers were debriefing from a recent rehearsal and adding their ideas for improving the performance. The idea for this project began nearly a year ago. The creative process began in late August and early September. Farlow explained, “We built our background knowledge by watching different versions of The Nutcracker and learning about the history of the original works. Once the students had a basic understanding of the history, characters, and scenes, we began brainstorming ideas for the scenes we found most entertaining. We also decided that we would modernize the production, and add our own flavor through non-traditional music, twisting a few scenes, varying choreography, and adding a few characters. Some of the scenes are completely student-created.� Several days later, I slipped into the auditorium to watch the students practicing for the two big performances that were just a few days away. The students were in full costume and the simple but creative set was in place. The students were working to integrate the feedback from the week before. So much of the discussion had been around conveying an air of energy to the audience. Clearly a few of the dancers were working to override the jitters and butterflies associated with performing on a big stage in front of strangers and friends. Ms. Farlow pointed out, “some of the dancers have performed before here at NCAS and at other venues. But for some, this is their first performance.� Clearly, there were a few bugs that the technical staff and students were working through – some lighting glitches, efficiently making the scene changes, and so on. As the students moved through each scene, I was struck by the outstanding costumes that were even more impressive when I realized that students had designed and created these. As I finish this story and shoot it off to my publisher, I realize that the students are at this very moment getting dressed for the first night of a twoevening run. I can almost feel their excitement on the other side of the community. Earlier today, I asked one more question of Ms. Farlow. “As a teacher what inspires you?� Without a moment’s hesitation, her answer, “I am inspired by my students. They are kind, caring, creative, and passionate humans and I am honored to know them. “ What more can we ask of both our students and our teachers? Y

Noel Community Arts School Presents Nutcracker With A Twist

In December, Noel Community Arts Dance Company took the tradition-

By Donna Garnett

al Nutcracker Ballet and made it their own! With the assistance of the NCAS Dance Director, Paige Farlow, the NCAS Dance Company students studied the original work and developed ways to modernize the scenes and storyline. Through this creative process, the students developed something truly unique! The modernized version contained music by the original com-

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MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


HAPPenings AROund MOntBeLLO

yOutH On tHe MOVe

Family Leadership Training Institute – New Leaders Graduate

Far Northeast Warrior Athletic Program By Damian Brown

The Warrior Mission The Far Northeast Warrior interscholastic athletic program’s mission is to build well-rounded young men and women through athletics. Teaching and promoting good character, teamwork, and integrity that will empower our student athletes, and develop self-worth and citizenship. What is FNE Athletic Program? The Far Northeast Warriors is a Regional Athletic Program. This is an interscholastic cooperative athletic program made up of eight high schools within the Montbello/Green Valley Ranch area. Schools include Collegiate Prep Academy, Denver Center for International Studies, Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College, High Tech Early College, Noel Community Arts School, Montbello Career and Technical High School; Legacy Options, and Vista Academy. By combining these schools, we are able to ensure that the student athletes in our community can compete at the highest level of Colorado high school athletics (5A). This enables our student athletes to have the best opportunity to display their talents alongside the best in the state. Philosophy We believe that a strong athletic program plays a vital role in the educational development of our student athletes. Providing a variety of experiences to enhance the development of positive habits and values prepares our student athletes with the skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our society. These skills include teamwork, communication, hard work, selfcontrol and selflessness for all levels. We believe in having knowledgeable coaches that are up to-date on NFHS and CHSAA bylaws. Knowledgeable coaches help to teach our student athletes habits that are in line with the DPS core values. Athletics functions as an integral part of the total curriculum in the Far Northeast. DPL Core Values 1. Students First: We put our student athletes needs at the forefront of everything we do. This means that all decisions are made in the best interest of our student athletes. 2. Integrity: We tell the truth and we keep our promises. We are committed to teaching life lessons. 3. Equity: We celebrate our diversity and provide necessary resources and support. We will eliminate barriers to success and foster a more equitable future for all our student athletes. Our program is 99 percent minority student athletes. We understand the life obstacles our student athletes will face each day. We are committed to preparing our young men and women for success on and off the field. 4. Collaboration: Together as a team, we think, we work, and we create to reach our goals. Our student athletes set individual and team goals at the start of every season, and evaluate where they are at the mid-point of the season as well as at the end of the season. 5. Accountability: We take responsibility for our individual and collective commitments; we grow from success; we learn from failure. We teach our student athletes that they are accountable for everything they do. Success lies in them taking responsibility for every choice they make. 6. Fun: We celebrate the joy in our work and foster in our students a joy and passion for learning that will last their whole lives. The FNE Warriors Athletic Program also collaborates with our local area charter schools to offer their student athletes the opportunity to participate with the FNE Warriors Program if their school does not offer a particular sport. The participating charter schools include KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy, DSST GVR High School, and Strive Prep-Rise. Y

The best part about being the

By Donna Garnett

editor and lead writer of the MUSE is being invited to spend time with people in the community – celebrating their accomplishments and documenting their stories. In December, I had the opportunity to interview several soon-to-be graduates of Families Forward Resource Center’s Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI). One of the first parents I met was a dad, Don Julio, who was cheerfully entertaining his infant son. As we got to know each other a little bit, he talked about what the FLTI has meant to him. He described prior situations where he had attempted to discuss an issue with his older child’s teacher. He felt ignored, that the teacher didn’t respond to his concerns. Through the FLTI he has learned more about how to be an effective advocate for his children and how to get the attention of those who have the authority to address a situation. “The certificate that I got at the end was important, it meant that I could make a difference for my son.” The FLTI is a 20-week course designed to build family involvement and leadership skills. More than 1,000 family leaders have graduated from FLTI since it began in 2009. Family leaders partner within the community to support the health, safety and education of children, youth, and families. They provide expertise, program input, recommendations, and real solutions for a range of issues. Anyone can become a family leader: parents, youth, foster parents, professionals, young adults, grandparents, etc. The important thing is that family leaders are passionate, determined, and dedicated to improving outcomes for children, youth, and families. The FLTI at Families Forward is one of many sites across the state where the program is delivered. The program is administered out of Colorado State University Extension FLTI. CSU provides resources and support to FLTI trainers and family leaders. The program is premised on the following beliefs: •Communities are strengthened when the voice of the family is valued. •Positive social change results when voices of families are represented in policymaking discussions and decision making within the local, state, and federal systems. •Systems work better when they involve families in the beginning instead of at the end of system development. •Parent-child interaction increases and improves through family involvement. The conversations with the new leaders were thought-provoking and invigorating as we talked about their experiences as parents and changeagents in the community. They talked about some of the goals they have about addressing the challenges their children and families face. As the potluck drew to a close, the excitement of the impending ceremony took precedence over answering my “reporter” questions, so we took a few photos and the program began. I am hopeful that a few will join with Montbello Organizing Committee, Montbello 20/20, their child’s school PTO, or any number of organizations that can benefit from their knowledge and confidence. Congratulations family leaders! Y

Editor’s note: Anyone interested in becoming a Family Leader can apply online at www.FLTIofColorado.ColoState.Edu or can contact Veronica Armas at 720350-5869 or veronica@familiesforwardrc.orgfor information.

Editor’s note: Damian Brown is the Regional Athletic Director for Far Northeast Warriors. He can be reached at or by calling 720423-5990.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


How We Learn Tolerance

yOutH On tHe MOVe

By Alyssandra Greene

Editor’s Note: A few months ago, I met this sixth grader from Marie L. Greenwood Academy when her teacher contacted me regarding Aly’s interest in becoming a journalist. I was duly impressed with her questions, ideas, and passion, so I asked her to write an article for the MUSE. This is her first published article.

At my school we have a

reading program called Each One Teach One: No More Gap that teaches kids in first through fourth grade new, interesting vocabulary during school hours. After school we have Each One Teach One Horticulture Club that teaches diversity by cooking different foods to teach kids to be tolerant of other cultures’ cuisines. You might be asking yourself what does the word tolerance even mean. To me tolerance means to put up with behaviors or things we aren’t used to. Many of the children’s books we study in Each One Teach One teach students to be tolerant and to accept others’ differences. For example, in Can I Keep Him by Steven Kellogg second graders learn how a boy named Arnold learns to be aware of the people around him like his neighbors and his mom’s likes and dislikes. Arnold learns that neighbors don’t always have the same opinion when it comes to animals he wants to keep as pets; but in the end, Arnold finds a friend instead of a pet who he can play with that share his interests. Other books we study that teach tolerance include Weslandia, The Good Garden, Katie’s Cabbage and My Friend Rabbit. In Weslandia third graders learn about tolerance for kids who have different likes and interests than them. From Katie’s Cabbage, third graders learn tolerance for homeless and hungry people who need extra help and support. Fourth graders study The Good Garden and learn tolerance for new ideas that are different from what their parents understand. In Each One Teach One even four-year-olds learn tolerance in My Friend Rabbit when mouse learns to be tolerant of using other animals’ help - like an elephant, rhino, grizzly bear and ducks - to solve a problem even when he wants to be independent. Mrs. Bash, the Director of Each One Teach One, is also the head of our Horticulture Club. Using the school’s garden helps us to use fresh ingredients and incorporate food from different cultures for all of us to try. Through my six years in Horticulture Club and Each One Each One, I’ve learned that tolerance for people who are different from me, for new ideas, for unfamiliar food, and for all animal species is very important in your life as you are growing up. At my school, Marie L. Greenwood Academy, students represent many different cultures and ethnicities. Not only do we speak different languages and eat different foods, we also come from many different places with different customs, so it is a wonderful place for kids to learn and practice tolerance.Y

Editor’s note: For more information about Each One Teach One visit,;;

Cómo Aprendemos la Tolerancia Por Alyssandra Greene, Traducción de: Marta Welch

Nota del Editor: Hace unos meses, conocí a esta estudiante de sexto grado de la Academia Marie L. Greenwood, cuando su maestra me contactó con respecto al interés de Aly en ser periodista. Estaba muy impresionado con sus preguntas, ideas y pasión, así que le pedí que escribiera un artículo para el MUSE. Este es su primer artículo publicado.

En mi escuela tenemos un programa de lectura llamado Cada Uno

Enseña a Uno: No Más Brecha, que enseña a los niños de primer a cuarto grado un vocabulario nuevo e interesante durante las horas escolares. Después de la escuela tenemos a Cada Uno Enseña a Uno Club de Horticultura, que enseña la diversidad cocinando diversos alimentos para enseñar a niños a ser tolerantes de las cocinas de otras culturas. Es posible que se esté preguntando ¿qué significa la palabra tolerancia, realmente? Para mí, la tolerancia significa aguantar comportamientos o cosas a las que no estamos acostumbrados. Muchos de los libros para niños que estudiamos en Cada Uno Enseña a Uno enseñan a los estudiantes a ser tolerantes y a aceptar las diferencias de los demás. Por ejemplo, en [el libro] ¿Puedo Quedarme Con El? por Steven Kellogg, estudiantes de segundo grado aprenden cómo un chico llamado Arnold aprende a ser consciente de la gente a su alrededor como sus vecinos y los gustos y disgustos de su madre. Arnold aprende que los vecinos no siempre tienen la misma opinión cuando se trata de animales que el quiere tener como mascotas; pero al final, Arnold encuentra un amigo en lugar de una mascota con quien puede jugar y que comparte sus intereses. Otros libros que estudiamos que enseñan tolerancia incluyen Weslandia, El Buen Jardín, El Repollo de Katie y Mi Amigo Conejo. En Weslandia, los estudiantes de tercer grado aprenden acerca de la tolerancia para los niños que tienen gustos y intereses diferentes que ellos. De El Repollo de Katie, los estudiantes de tercer grado aprenden la tolerancia para las personas sin hogar y hambrientos que necesitan ayuda y apoyo extra. Los estudiantes de cuarto grado estudian El Buen Jardín y aprenden la tolerancia hacia nuevas ideas que son diferentes de lo que sus padres entienden. En Cada Uno Enseña a Uno, incluso de cuatro años de edad aprenden la tolerancia en Mi Amigo Conejo cuando el ratón aprende a ser tolerante con el uso de la ayuda de otros animals - como un elefante, rinoceronte, oso pardo y patos - para resolver un problema, incluso cuando quiere ser independiente. La Sra. Bash, Directora de Cada Uno Enseña a Uno, es también la directora de nuestro Club de Horticultura. El uso del jardín de la escuela nos ayuda a usar ingredientes frescos e incorporar alimentos de diferentes culturas para que todos lo intentemos. A través de mis seis años en el Club de Horticultura y Cada Uno Enseña a Uno, he aprendido que la tolerancia para la gente que es diferente de mí, para las nuevas ideas, para los alimentos desconocidos, y para todas las especies animales es muy importante en su vida mientras que usted está creciendo. En mi escuela, la Academia Marie L. Greenwood, los estudiantes representan muchas culturas y etnias diferentes. No solo hablamos diferentes idiomas y comemos diferentes alimentos, también venimos de muchos lugares diferentes con diferentes costumbres, así que es un lugar maravilloso para que los niños aprendan y practiquen la tolerancia.Y

Nota del Editor: Para más información sobre Cada Uno Enseña a Uno:;;

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018


January/February 2018 Jan. 9: 6:30 to 8 p.m. MOC Retail Development Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee. United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. Denver, CO 80239 For more information email

Jan. 10: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Community Enchancement Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste 110 Denver, CO 80239 For more information email Jan. 13: 10 a.m. to Noon. Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Green Valley Ranch Library, 4856 Andes Ct, Denver, CO 80249 For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email

Jan. 15: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Transportation Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste 110 Denver, CO 80239 For more information email Jan. 23: 10 a.m. to Noon. Steps To Success Community Board Meeting Montbello Recreation Center 15555 E. 53rd Ave Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact R.J. at

Jan. 25: 10 a.m. to Noon. Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore 4685 Peoria St. Suite 215, Denver, CO 80239. For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email

Jan. 30: 6 to 8 p.m. District 11 Town Hall & NPI Far Northeast Area Plan Public Meeting #3 Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 1-West Commons Building, 4800 Telluride St. Denver, CO 80249. Food, childcare and Spanish interpretation will be provided. For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email In the event of weather-related closures of city offices or schools, the meeting will be postponed to Thursday, February 8.

(February 2018)

Feb. 1: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Montbello 20/20 Community Meeting. Arie P. Taylor Building. 4685 Peoria St. Denver, CO 80239 For more information email

Feb. 10: 10 a.m. to Noon. Green Valley Ranch Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore. Green Valley Ranch Library 4856 Andes Ct, Denver, CO 80249 For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email Feb. 13: 6:30 to 8 p.m. MOC Retail Development Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee. United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. Denver, CO 80239 For more information email

Feb. 14: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Community Engagement Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste. 110 Denver, CO 80216 For more information email

Feb. 19: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Transportation Development Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste. 110 Denver, CO 80216 For more information email Feb. 22: 10 a.m. - Noon Montbello Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore. Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office, 4685 Peoria St. Suite 215, Denver, CO 80239 For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email

If your organization has a Save The Date activity to be listed in the 2018 March/April issue of MUSE, send details to MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2018



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Monarch Montessori Charter enrolling Kindergarten Monar ch Mon tessori of Denver Denver Chart er is enr olling Kinder garten through thr ough 3rd 3rd grade grade for for the 2018-19 school yyear! ear! aree w welcome elcome tto o join us tto program ogram aatt Monar Monarch Montessori FFamilies amilies ar o learn about the amazing our pr ch Mon tessori of Denver Den ver Charter! Charter! Meet Meet the Leadership Leadership Team, Team, learn about the Montessori Montessori Method Method and how how yyour our child ccan an EX EXCEL CEL in this en environment. vironment. Kindergarten Jamboree

Tuesday, Tuesday, Januar Januaryy 9, 2018 @ 9-10 and Sa Saturday, turday, Januar Januaryy 27, 2018 @ 10-11

Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade) Enrollment Meetings Tuesdays, Tuesdays, Januar Januaryy 9, 2018 and FFebruary ebruary 6, 2018 @ 9-10

Or Sign Up for a Personal Tour on our Website

Round Round 1 of Denver Denver Public Schools, School of Choice deadline is FFebruary ebruary 28, 2018.

¡Monarch Montessori ¡Monarch Montessori of Denver Denver Charter Charter está está garten hasta hasta el 3er grado grado para para el inscribiendo Kinder Kindergarten año esc escolar olar 2018-19! ¡Las ffamilias amilias son bien bienvenidas venidas a unir unirse se a nosotr nosotros os par paraa cconocer onocer el incr increíble eíble pr programa ograma de Monarch Monarch Mon Montessori tessori of Den Denver ver Chart Charter! er! Cono Conozca zca al EEquipo quipo de Liderazgo, Lider azgo, apr aprenda enda sobre sobre el Mé Método todo Montessori Montessori y ccómo ómo su hijo puede des destacar tacar en este este entorno. entorno. La ffecha echa límit límitee de la 1r 1raa R Ronda onda de Esc Escojo ojo MiE scuela de las Escuelas Públic Públicas as de Denver, Den ver er,, es el 28 de febrero febrero de 2018

-100+ Year Proven Learning Model -Individualized Learning -All Day Kindergarten

-Before & After Care -Multi-Aged Classrooms

Presentado en español Kindergarten Jamboree Martes, 9 de enero Martes, enero de 2018 @ 10-11 y sábado,, 27 de ener sábado enero o de 2018 @ 11-12

Reuniones de inscripción de Lower Elementary (1 ° a 3 ° grado) Martes, Mart es, 9 de enero enero y 6 de febrero febrero @ 9-10

O Regístrese para un recorrido personal en nuestro sitio web

MUSE Janaury/ February 2018  
MUSE Janaury/ February 2018  

The purpose of the MUSE is to help engage the community in discourse by putting diverse viewpoints on the page. You will notice that, mostly...