MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2021

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Inside This Issue Montbello In The News...6-10 Elected Officials Speak Out...11-13 Voices From The Neighborhood...14-15 Resources For Residents...15-18 Montbello Family Portraits...18-19 Montbello Viewpoints...20-22

Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition • Volume 5 Number 3 • January/February 2021


In Action...4


MONTBELLO IS A COMMUNITY IN ACTION As we look in the rearview mirror at 2020 and contemplate the crises, grief, and restrictions we all faced we can also see clearly the resilience that this community has shown, the compassion this community has exemplified, and the herculean efforts put forth by so many of our community-based nonprofits. Throughout 2020, The MUSE focused on the many viewpoints expressed by our friends and neighbors on the topics of COVID-19, racial justice, mental health, education and more. In 2021, this publication will focus on Montbello in Action as we collectively endeavor to ensure that our community is healthy, vibrant, strong, and economically viable. A community where we take action to ensure that the people who live here are healthy in mind, body, and spirit; are safe and self-reliant; and where we honor the cultural heritage and diversity of the community. You, the reader, will be able to follow the progress about buildings and centers being constructed – Montbello Organizing Committee’s FreshLo Hub, Environmental Learning For Kids’ Education Center and Montbello Open Space Park, Struggle of Love Foundation’s Love Center, the Flyway in Gateway, and the 56th Avenue expansion. We will continue to feature stories about the actions of other non-profits as they build a community of support – efforts such as Steps To Success Montbello’s Power of One Campaign; Colorado Changemakers Collective’s Covid-19 Outreach program; the many good works of Athletics and Beyond, Montbello 2020, Children’s Farms in Action, Consumption Literacy Project, the Confluence Center at McGlone, and many more. We will continue to report on the work of our schools as they work toward a new normal for our students. And, you can count on the MUSE to be vigilant in its reporting on the developments surrounding DPS’s Reimagining the Montbello Campus process. The MUSE will continue to feature the viewpoints of Montbello residents and to tell their stories – stories of everyday heroism, advocacy, sacrifice, joy, and resilience. Your perspectives and ideas for articles and columns are deeply appreciated by this editor. We at the MUSE welcome submissions from residents of and stakeholders in the greater Montbello community. The paper is published bi-monthly in English and Spanish and focuses primarily on the good news about Montbello. For all of you and all of us, we wish that 2021 will be filled with action, perseverance, patience, equity, prosperity, hope, and love as we all move toward a new normal.

Editor, Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition

MONTBELLO URBAN SPECTRUM EDITION PUBLISHER Montbello Organizing Committee/Denver Urban Spectrum EDITOR AND LEAD WRITER - Donna Garnett CONTRIBUTING WRITERS - Stacie Gilmore, James Coleman, Jennifer Bacon, Mary Ann Bash, Vernon Jones, Emily Cervantes, LaToya Petty, Carly Daehnick, Mary Davis PHOTOGRAPHER - Katy Tartakoff TRANSLATOR - Marta Welsh ART DIRECTOR - Bee Harris AD SALES - Mary Etta Curtis

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). MUSE is circulated throughout Denver’s Far Northeast community. Contents of MUSE are copyright 2021 by Denver Urban Spectrum and the Montbello Organizing Committee. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. 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 303-292-6446.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


Editor’s Note: Montbello OrOrganizing Committee is one of only 12 statewide develdevelopments to receive state and federal housing tax credit awards in a critical step totoward completing a cultural hub that will include 97 affordaffordable housing units.

Denver, Colo. – Recently, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) announced the recipients of state and federal housing tax credits awarded in its second competitive allocation round of the year. The Montbello FreshLo Initiative, a program of the Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) that will include a grocery-anchored, cultural hub with affordable housing received an award of $1,267,504 in federal housing tax credits and $1,000,000 in state housing tax credits. The credit allocation will allow MOC to leverage approximately $33 million in funds to build out the Montbello FreshLo Hub, a mixeduse development that will include 97 affordable housing units, from one to three bedrooms, for residents making 30 to 70 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) which in 2020 is $24,000 to $56,000 in annual gross income for a twoperson household in Denver County. The Hub will also include a cultural arts wing with a black box theater, grocery store, nutrition education center and office and retail spaces. Located near two bus stops, the Montbello FreshLo Hub is a community-led initiative that will be a hub for the Montbello neighborhood. The federal tax credit was awarded as part of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) introduced with the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to help communities offset the high costs of developing af-

Montbello FreshLo Initiative Awarded $2+ Million Tax Credit

$55 million Hub, as well as a community food access project and 5-mile walkable loop that connects gardens, parks and schools. Several other funders including The Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Trust and Mile High Connects have also come to the table supporting the organization’s collaborative work in the community. “MOC and the FreshLo Hub are powerful examples of what even small groups can do when they anchor their work in community and bring together funders, investors, and residents to make real change at a community level,” said Patrick Horvath, Director of Economic Development for The Denver Foundation. “We also recognize the critical need for this project in a location that is currently a food, cultural, employment and transportation desert.” Thousands of community members have been engaged in the development’s planning throughout the process and are eagerly awaiting the launch. “We are excited about the FreshLo project because it represents our community’s self-determination and commitment to eliminate the inequities that have prevented total wellness for our neighbors,” says Rev. Vernon Jones,

fordable housing. The application for LIHTC is extremely competitive and complicated and most applicants receive the award only after two or more tries. The fact that the Montbello FreshLo project received these funds is a testament to the critical need for this Hub and the tireless collaboration of community leaders. Says Christopher Martinez, MOC Board Chair and long-time Montbello resident, “All we needed was for someone to take a chance on our community. That CHFA acknowledged our commitment and willingness to learn the ropes and tap experts to help us complete this development is a testimony. This outcome is the result of teamwork and community engagement and wouldn’t have happened without everyone’s involvement.” Taking a chance is a theme that runs through the narrative of MOC’s progression. The organization launched with grants from The Denver Foundation and expanded its efforts when selected by the Kresge Foundation as one of 26 out 520 applicants nationwide to receive a FreshLo planning grant in 2016. The Montbello FreshLo Initiative has grown into a project that includes the

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


who grew up in Montbello and continues to live and work in the Far Northeast region of Denver. The FreshLo Hub is projected to break ground in the fall of 2021 with a targeted opening date in late 2022. For more information, contact Donna Garnett, MOC Executive Director at About Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC): MOC’s mission is to galvanize MontMontbello residents and provide them with the tools and reresources necessary to develop their leadership skills to proacproactively address the issues afaffecting their community and quality of life. To learn more, visit About Montbello FreshLo IniInitiative: Created with multiyear funding from the Kresge Foundation and supported by The Colorado Health FoundaFoundation, The Denver Foundation, Colorado Trust, and Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, and dozens of community partners, MontMontbello FreshLo is MOC’s comcomprehensive community economic development proprogram designed to create places in the community that promotes cultural heritage, rerejuvenates physical spaces, imimproves health outcomes, and bring diverse peoples totogether. To learn more and to see project team members, visit About CHFA: Created in 1973, CHFA invests in loans to lowand moderate-income homehomebuyers through our network of participating lenders and makes loans to affordable multifamily rental housing dedevelopers and small and memedium-sized businesses. CHFA also provides education and technical assistance about afaffordable housing and ecoeconomic development. For more information about CHFA please visit

Nota del Editor: El Comité OrOrganizador de Montbello es uno de los 12 desarrollos estaestatales para recibir premios de crédito fiscal a la vivienda esestatales y federales en un paso crítico hacia la finalización de un centro cultural que incluirá 97 unidades de vivienda aseasequibles.

Denver, CO. – Recientemente, la Autoridad de Vivienda y Finanzas de Colorado (CHFA) anunció los beneficiarios de los créditos fiscales estatales y federales para vivienda otorgados en su segunda ronda de asignación competitiva del año. La Iniciativa FreshLo de Montbello, un programa del Comité Organizador de Montbello (MOC) que incluirá un centro cultural con viviendas asequibles y anclado en supermercados, recibió un premio de $ 1,267,504 en créditos fiscales federales para vivienda y $1,000,000 en créditos fiscales estatales para vivienda. La asignación de crédito permitirá al MOC apalancar aproximadamente $33 millones en fondos para construir Montbello FreshLo Hub, un desarrollo de uso mixto que incluirá 97 unidades de vivienda asequible, de uno a tres dormitorios, para los residentes que ganan del 30 al 70 por ciento de los Ingresos Medios del Área (AMI), que en 2020 es de $24,000 a $56,000 en ingresos brutos anuales para un hogar de dos personas en el Condado de Denver. El Hub también incluirá un ala de artes culturales con un teatro de caja negra, una tienda de comestibles, un centro de educación nutricional y espacios para oficinas y tiendas. Ubicado cerca de dos paradas de autobús, Montbello FreshLo Hub es una iniciativa liderada por la comunidad que será un centro para el vecindario de Montbello.

La Iniciativa Montbello Freshlo Otorgó un Crédito Tributario de $2+ Millones de Dólares

participación de todos”. Arriesgarse es un tema que recorre la narrativa de la progresión de MOC. La organización se lanzó con subvenciones de La Fundación de Denver y expandió sus esfuerzos cuando fue seleccionada por la Fundación Kresge como uno de los 26 de 520 solicitantes en todo el país para recibir una subvención de planificación para FreshLo en 2016. La iniciativa Montbello FreshLo se ha convertido en un proyecto que incluye un Hub de $55 millones, así como un proyecto comunitario de acceso a alimentos y un circuito transitable de 5 millas que conecta jardines, parques y escuelas. Varios otros patrocinadores, incluidos la Fundación Colorado Health, Colorado Trust y Mile High Connects, también se han unido a la mesa para apoyar el trabajo colaborativo de la organización en la comunidad. “MOC y FreshLo Hub son ejemplos poderosos de lo que incluso los grupos pequeños pueden hacer cuando anclan su trabajo en la comunidad y reúnen a donantes, inversionistas y residentes para lograr un cambio real a nivel comunitario”, dijo Patrick Horvath,

El crédito fiscal federal se otorgó como parte de los créditos fiscales para viviendas de bajos ingresos (LIHTC) introducidos con la Ley de Reforma Fiscal de 1986 para ayudar a las comunidades a compensar los altos costos del desarrollo de viviendas asequibles. La solicitud de LIHTC es extremadamente competitiva y complicada y la mayoría de los solicitantes reciben el premio solo después de dos o más intentos. El hecho de que el proyecto Montbello FreshLo haya recibido estos fondos es un testimonio de la necesidad crítica de este Hub y la colaboración incansable de los líderes comunitarios. Dice Christopher Martinez, Presidente de la Junta Directiva del MOC y residente de Montbello desde hace mucho tiempo, “Todo lo que necesitábamos era que alguien se arriesgara en nuestra comunidad. Que la CHFA reconociera nuestro compromiso y voluntad de aprender a manejar y a los expertos en tap para ayudarnos a completar este desarrollo es un testimonio. Esta consecuencia es el resultado de la la colaboración del equipo y la participación de la comunidad, y no habría sucedido sin la

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


Director de Desarrollo Económico para La Fundación de Denver. “También reconocemos la necesidad crítica de este proyecto en un lugar que actualmente es un desierto de alimentos, cultura, empleo y transporte”. Miles de miembros de la comunidad se han involucrado en la planificación del desarrollo durante todo el proceso y esperan ansiosamente el lanzamiento. “Estamos entusiasmados con el proyecto FreshLo porque representa la autodeterminación y el compromiso de nuestra comunidad para eliminar las desigualdades que han impedido el bienestar total de nuestros vecinos”, dice el Rev. Vernon Jones, quien creció en Montbello y continúa viviendo y trabajando en la región del Noreste Lejano de Denver. Se prevé que FreshLo Hub comience a construirse en el otoño de 2021 con una fecha de apertura prevista para fines de 2022. Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Donna Garnett, Directora Ejecutiva del MOC en Acerca del Comité OrganizaOrganizador de Montbello (MOC): La misión de MOC es impulsar a los residentes de Montbello y brindarles las herramientas y los recursos necesarios para desarrollar sus habilidades de liderazgo para abordar de manera proactiva los probproblemas que afectan su comunicomunidad y su calidad de vida. Para obtener más informinformación, visite a Acerca de la Iniciativa MontMontbello FreshLo: Creado con fifinanciamiento de varios años de la Fundación Kresge y apoyado por La Fundación Colorado Health, La FundaFundación de Denver, Colorado Trust, el Desarrollo Económico y Oportunidad de Denver, y docenas de socios comunitar-

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The Power of Community: Montbello in Action By Carly Daehnick, Caring For Denver Foundation Reprinted with permission from Caring For Denver Foundation #PowerTo.


he availability of mental health care services is limited in Montbello, one of Denver’s most diverse areas in the city. Despite its vibrant and strong community fabric, Montbello faces many economic challenges and years of underinvestment in infrastructure and community resources. For people in the neighborhood seeking care from people who look like them, resources are almost non-existent. The Montbello Mental Health Circle is stepping into this void to provide culturally responsive, community-based mental health services. “We thought, no more waiting for help, we have to help ourselves,” said Donna Garnett, Executive Director of the Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC), whose organization led the formation of the Mental Health Circle. “It’s one thing to get opinions, perspectives from leaders… it’s another to get the opinions of people who live with those decisions,” Ms. Garnett said. In summer 2020 MOC staff and volunteers reached out to residents using surveys and focus groups and striking up conversations with neighbors in various settings. They heard that a lack of trust in institutions and stigma was preventing people from acces-

modalities that are funded and available for people at all levels of economic status,” Ms. Garnett said, noting that she also hopes stigma will no longer be a hindrance to people getting the help they need. “Mental health issues impact us all.” The Montbello Solutions project includes partners Struggle of Love Foundation, Families Against Violent Acts, Therapists of Color Coalition, Academy 360, Mental Health Center of Denver, Steps To Success Montbello, and Montbello Organizing Committee. For more information about the project contact LaToya Petty, Project Manager at Caring For Denver Foundation was created on November 6, 2018 when seventy percent of Denver voted an idea into a reality. The ballot initiative was simple, yet powerful. For every $100 spent in Denver, 25 cents totaling over $30 million dollars (dependent on the economy) goes toward addressing mental health and substance misuse needs in our city. With this enduring investment, our vision is a vibrant Denver where all communities are strengthened by the mental health and substance misuse support they need. The Foundation’s mission is to address Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs by growing community-informed solutions, dismantling stigma, and turning the community’s desire to help into action.Y

sing services. Peer counselors and community mentors said they were suffering intense stress and burnout from being “boots on the ground” providing support for youth and adults in trauma due to the pandemic, violence, and substance misuse.

“It’s one thing to get opinions, perspectives from leaders… it’s another to get the opinions of people who live with those decisions.” Donna Garnett, Executive Director of the Montbello Organizing Committee

Community voice helped the Montbello Mental Health Circle partners create pathways to care that meets people where they are. “Therapy doesn’t need to be in an office. It can happen anywhere,” was a strong message from the community. The “front yard therapy” pilot they created is a prime example. Counselors visit residents where they are most comfortable – in their homes, gardens, front yards, backyards, and schools. Working together with the Mental Health Center of Denver, the partners build on this popular approach to give the community trusted, comfortable mental health supports. A kiosk to access psychological services virtually using Zoom and other telehealth options is being constructed inside Academy 360, a K-5 school in the neighborhood. Families or individuals can visit the kiosk at any time, and services provided regardless of the ability to pay, with a Caring for Denver grant covering part of the costs and matching funds covering other expenses. “I’m just hoping that we have a really wide variety of

About the Author: Carly Daehnick is a soon-to-be graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Criminology, Law & Society. She has been volunteering with Caring for Denver FounFoundation and assisting with youth outreach and comcommunity engagement efforts.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


El Poder de la Comunidad: Montbello en Acción Por Carly Daehnick, Fundación Caring For Denver Traducido por: Marta Welch Reimprimido con permiso de la Fundación Caring For DenDenver #PowerTo.


a disponibilidad de servicios de atención de salud mental es limitada en Montbello, una de las áreas más diversas de Denver en la ciudad. A pesar de su tejido comunitario vibrante y fuerte, Montbello enfrenta muchos desafíos económicos y años de inversión insuficiente en infraestructura y recursos comunitarios. Para las personas del vecindario que buscan atención de personas que se parecen a ellos, los recursos son casi inexistentes. El Círculo de Salud Mental de Montbello está entrando en este vacío para brindar servicios de salud mental basados en la comunidad y con sensibilidad cultural. “Pensamos, no más esperar por ayuda, tenemos que ayudarnos a nosotros mismos”, dijo Donna Garnett, Directora Ejecutiva del Comité Organizador de Montbello (MOC), cuya organización lideró la formación del Círculo de Salud Mental. “Una cosa es obtener opiniones, perspectivas de los líderes ... y otra es obtener las opiniones de las personas que viven con esas decisiones”, dijo Ms. Garnett. En el verano de 2020, el personal y los voluntarios del MOC se acercaron a los residentes mediante en-

MONTBELLO IN THE NEWS - MONTBELLO EN LAS NOTICIAS cuestas y grupos focales y entablaron conversaciones con los vecinos en varios entornos. Escucharon que la falta de confianza en las instituciones y el estigma impedían que las personas pudieran acceder a los servicios. Las madres consejeras y los mentores de la comunidad dijeron que estaban sufriendo un estrés intenso y agotamiento por estar “con las botas en el suelo” al brindar apoyo a jóvenes y adultos en trauma debido a la pandemia, la violencia y el abuso de sustancias. “Una cosa es obtener opiniones, perspectivas de los líderes ... y otra es obtener las opiniones de las personas que viven con esas decisiones.” Donna Garnett, Directora Ejecutiva del Comité Organizador de Montbello

La voz de la comunidad ayudó a los socios del Círculo de Salud Mental de Montbello a crear caminos hacia la atención que se encuentran con las personas donde se encuentran. “No es necesario que la terapia se realice en una oficina. Puede suceder en cualquier lugar”, fue un fuerte mensaje de la comunidad. El piloto de “terapia de jardín” que crearon es un excelente ejemplo. Los consejeros visitan a los residentes donde se sienten más cómodos: en sus hogares, jardines, patios delanteros, patios traseros y escuelas. Trabajando junto con el Centro de Salud Mental de Denver, los socios se basan en este enfoque popular para brindar a la comunidad apoyos de salud mental confiables y cómodos. Se está construyendo un quiosco para acceder a los servicios psicológicos virtualmente usando Zoom y otras opciones de telesalud dentro de Academy 360, una escuela K-5

en el vecindario. Las familias o individuos pueden visitar el quiosco en cualquier momento, y los servicios se brindan independientemente de la capacidad de pago, con una subvención de Caring for Denver (Cuidando a Denver) que cubre parte de los costos y los fondos de contrapartida cubren otros gastos. “Solo espero que tengamos una amplia variedad de modalidades financiadas y disponibles para personas de todos los niveles de situación económica”, dijo Ms.Garnett, y señaló que también espera que el estigma ya no sea un obstáculo para que las personas obtengan la ayuda que necesitan. “Los problemas de salud mental nos afectan a todos”. El proyecto Montbello Solutions incluye socios de la Fundación Struggle of Love, Families Against Violent Acts (Familias Contra Actos Violentos), Therapists of Color Coalition (Coalición de Terapeutas de Color), Academy 360, Mental Health Center of Denver (Centro de Salud Mental de Denver), Steps To Success Montbello (Pasos Para el Éxito en Montbello) y el Comité Organizador de Montbello. Para obtener más información sobre el proyecto, comuníquese con LaToya Petty, Gerente de Proyecto en Fundación Caring For Denver se creó el 6 de noviembre de 2018 cuando el setenta por ciento de Denver votó una idea y la convirtió en realidad. La iniciativa de la votación fue simple, pero poderosa. Por cada $100 gastados en Denver, 25 centavos por un total de más de $30 millones de dólares (dependiendo de la economía) se destinan a abordar las nece-

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sidades de salud mental y abuso de sustancias en nuestra ciudad. Con esta inversión duradera, nuestra visión es un Denver vibrante donde todas las comunidades se fortalezcan con el apoyo que necesitan para la salud mental y el abuso de sustancias. La misión de la Fundación es abordar las necesidades de salud mental y abuso de sustancias de Denver mediante el desarrollo de soluciones informadas por la comunidad, desmantelando el estigma y convirtiendo el deseo de la comunidad de ayudar en acción. Y Acerca del Autor: Carly Daehnick es una futura gradgraduada de la Universidad George Mason con un título en Criminología, Ley y SocieSociedad. Ha sido voluntaria en la Fundación Caring for Denver y ha ayudado con los esfueresfuerzos de acercamiento a los jójóvenes y participación comunitaria.

ios, Montbello FreshLo es el programa integral de desardesarrollo económico comunitario de MOC diseñado para crear lugares en la comunidad que promueven el patrimonio culcultural, rejuvenecen los espacios físicos, mejoran los resultados de salud y unen a los pueblos diversos. Para obtener más ininformación y ver a los miembros del equipo del proyecto, visite a www.montbelloorganizing. org/FreshLo. org/FreshLo. Acerca de CHFA: Creada en 1973, CHFA invierte en préstapréstamos para compradores de vivviviendas de ingresos bajos y moderados a través de nuesnuestra red de prestamistas participarticipantes y otorga préstamos a desarrolladores de viviendas multifamiliares asequibles para alquiler y pequeñas y mediamedianas empresas. CHFA también brinda educación y asistencia técnica sobre vivienda aseasequible y desarrollo económico. Para obtener más información sobre CHFA, visite a

RECYCLING YOUR TREE AFTER THE HOLIDAYS IS EASY! REMOVE all decorations, lights, and the tree stand from your tree. SET YOUR TREE OUT for collection by 7 a.m. on one of your scheduled trash collection days between January 4 and 15. PICK UP FREE MULCH made from your tree at the annual Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale in May.

COLLECTION SCHEDULE January 2021 SU MO 28 3 4 10 11 17 H 24 25 31

TU 29 5 12 19 26

WE 30 6 13 20 27

TH 31 7 14 21 28

FR H 8 15 22 28

SA 2 9 16 23 30

Download our Denver Trash and Recycling app for Treecycle collection reminders! If you do not receive Denver Solid Waste Management services, please visit for our list of drop-off sites. | 311 (720-913-1311)

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021



The Facts About Coronavirus Vaccines

through the medical establishment, has created not only poor health outcomes for people of color, but also has led to a deep distrust in these institutions. That distrust jeopardizes the successful distribution of an effective vaccine to help protect all from the coronavirus.

Editor’s Note: The information provided in this article is proprovided by the Colorado VacVaccine Equity Taskforce established by Immunize ColColorado in September, 2020 to ensure that communities of color have all the facts to necessary to make informed decisions about the safety of vaccines for their families and to hold leaders accountable for ensuring access to these vaccines for all. Taskforce members include individuals from communities of color from across Colorado. For more information visit

Prevalence Among Communities of Color •Latinx Coloradans are 2.8 times more likely to contract COVID-19 and make up 29.5% of total cases and 21.5% of the total deaths despite only making up approximately 20% of the state’s population. •In Denver, Colorado, the majority of adult COVID-19 cases (55%), hospitalizations (62%), and deaths (51%) were among Latinx adults, double the proportion of Latinx adults in Denver (24.9%) between March and October. •Native American Coloradans represent 0.4 percent of Denver County’s population but account for six times more cases and more than three times more of the deaths. •Coloradans who are Black make up about 4 percent of the population but have experienced 7 percent of total coronavirus-related hospitalizations. •Black Coloradans make up 3.9% of the total population and make up 2.7% of cases, but 3.9% of all deaths. •Black Coloradoans who live in Denver make up 4.6% of the total county population but make up 6.4% of total cases and 11.6% of total deaths from March to October 2020.

The coronavirus has killed thousands of Coloradans. The pandemic has been particularly difficult and deadly for Coloradans who are Black, Latinx, and Native American as well as members of the immigrant community. This is not due to any genetic or biological predisposition. These communities have experienced more negative impacts because of systemic racism that has created a chronic lack of access to quality, affordable health care, which leads to underlying health conditions that put individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses. Communities of color also have higher numbers of individuals in jobs which do not allow them to work safer from home. There are clear and compelling reasons why many in communities of color are vaccine hesitant. Literally hundreds of years of racism, particularly

Dr. Terri Richardson gets her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

High-speed development was the aim of this process in order to respond to the crisis. Governments around the world have eliminated financial barriers that typically slow down vaccine testing and production. And together scientists from around the world were able to build on decades of vaccine knowledge to speed up development. Urgent need for vaccines does not negate the fact that vaccine manufacturers were still required to follow all Federal Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines and provide their clinical trial data to the FDA. That data was used to conduct a thorough review of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness before approving it for use. By the time a COVID vaccine is approved for use, it has been reviewed by more than 50 independent experts. While more needs to be be done to increase the participation of communities of color in all drug trials, our community’s participation in the COVID trials has been strong, meaning the resulting vaccines are producing good results specifically for people of color. In

Vaccines have Been Held to Rigid Testing Rules No corners have been cut in developing a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, despite the speed of that development.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


trials for both primary vaccines, participation of Black and Latinx volunteers ranged from 23 percent to 33 percent, meaning thousands of volunteers have already taken the vaccines and there are positive results from their experience. Existing vaccine monitoring systems like the National Healthcare Safety Network will continue to track and report results to ensure safety and share any possible side effects and to ensure that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks. Things to expect when receiving the COVID-19 vaccine Like most vaccines, the COVID vaccines involve taking doses of the vaccine through a shot. In the case of COVID, some of the vaccines require two shots spaced from weeks to up to one month apart. Health care providers giving the vaccines will give specific instructions about what follow-up needed to be fully vaccinated. Everyone taking the vaccines should assume a roughly three-month period from the first shot until being protected.

MONTBELLO IN THE NEWS - MONTBELLO EN LAS NOTICIAS The vaccine can create some illness-like symptoms in some people. This is the body’s immune system responding to the vaccine and building up its defenses, which is precisely what vaccines are designed to prompt. These side effects are usually rare. Your health care provider should give you a list of these possible symptoms and let you know what they mean and when to seek additional medical treatment. A vaccine trial has not yet been conducted in children under the age of 16 or with pregnant women. Initial vaccinations will not be given to children under 16 and pregnant women should talk to their health care provider before getting vaccinated. As with all vaccines, the success of this effort depends on you, your neighbors, your family and your friends. If we all join together to get vaccinated, we can protect ourselves, our communities and our state. Stopping this virus will take all of us. For information regarding when people can expect to get their vaccines see the schedule below. Y

Los Hechos Sobre las Vacunas Contra el Coronavirus

para los habitantes de Colorado que son Afro-Americanos, Latinx y Nativos Americanos, así como para los miembros de la comunidad inmigrante. Esto no se debe a ninguna predisposición genética o biológica. Estas comunidades han experimentado más impactos negativos debido al racismo sistémico que ha creado una falta crónica de acceso a atención médica asequible y de calidad, lo que conduce a condiciones de salud subyacentes que ponen a las personas en mayor riesgo de contraer enfermedades graves de COVID-19. Las comunidades de color también tienen un mayor número de personas en trabajos que no les permiten trabajar de forma más segura desde casa. Hay razones claras y convincentes por las que muchos miembros de las comunidades de color dudan en vacunarse. Literalmente cientos de años de racismo, particularmente a través del establecimiento médico, no solo han creado malos resultados de salud para las personas de color, sino que también han llevado a una profunda desconfianza en estas in-

Nota del Editor: La informinformación proporcionada en este artículo es proporcionada por el Grupo Especial de Trabajo sobre Equidad de Vacunas de Colorado establecido por ImImmunize Colorado en septiemseptiembre de 2020 para garantizar que las comunidades de color tengan todos los datos necenecesarios para tomar decisiones informadas sobre la seguridad de las vacunas para sus familfamilias y responsabilizar a los lídlíderes de garantizar el acceso a estas vacunas para todos. Los miembros del grupo especial de trabajo incluyen individindividuales de comunidades de color de todo Colorado. Para obtener más información, visvisite a https://www.immunize

El coronavirus ha matado a miles de habitantes de Colorado. La pandemia ha sido particularmente difícil y mortal

stituciones. Esa desconfianza pone en peligro la distribución exitosa de una vacuna eficaz para ayudar a proteger a todos del coronavirus. Prevalencia Entre Comunidades de Color •Los Latinx de Colorado tienen 2.8 veces más probabilidades de contraer COVID-19 y representan el 29.5% del total de casos y el 21.5% del total de muertes a pesar de que solo representan aproximadamente el 20% de la población del estado. •En Denver, Colorado, la mayoría de los casos de COVID-19 en adultos (55%), hospitalizaciones (62%) y muertes (51%) ocurrieron entre adultos Latinx, el doble de la proporción de adultos Latinx en Denver (24.9%) entre marzo y octubre. •Los Nativos Americanos de Colorado representan el 0.4 por ciento de la población del Condado de Denver, pero representan seis veces más casos y más de tres veces más muertes. •Los habitantes de Colorado que son Afro-Americanos representan alrededor del 4 por ciento de la población, pero han experimentado el 7 por ciento del total de hospitalizaciones relacionadas con el coronavirus. •Los habitantes Afro-Americanos de Colorado representan el 3.9% de la población total y representan el 2.7% de los casos, pero el 3.9% de todas las muertes. •Los habitantes Afro-Americanos de Colorado que viven en Denver representan el 4.6% de la población total del condado, pero representan el 6.4% del total de casos y el 11.6% del total de muertes de marzo a octubre de 2020. Continúa en la página 10

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


MONTBELLO IN THE NEWS - MONTBELLO EN LAS NOTICIAS Vacunas para el coronavirus, Viene de la página 9

Las Vacunas Se Han Sometido a Estrictas Reglas de Prueba No se ha escatimado esfuerzos en el desarrollo de una vacuna COVID-19 segura y eficaz, a pesar de la velocidad de ese desarrollo. El desarrollo a alta velocidad fue el objetivo de este proceso para responder a la crisis. Los gobiernos de todo el mundo han eliminado las barreras financieras que normalmente ralentizan las pruebas y la producción de vacunas. Y juntos, científicos de todo el mundo pudieron aprovechar décadas de conocimiento sobre vacunas para acelerar el desarrollo. La necesidad urgente de vacunas no niega el hecho de que los fabricantes de vacunas to-

davía debían seguir todas las pautas de la Administración Federal de Medicamentos (FDA) y proporcionar los datos de sus ensayos clínicos a la FDA. Estos datos se utilizaron para realizar una revisión exhaustiva de la seguridad y eficacia de la vacuna antes de aprobar su uso. Cuando se aprueba el uso de una vacuna COVID, ha sido revisada por más de 50 expertos independientes. Si bien es necesario hacer más para aumentar la participación de las comunidades de color en todos los ensayos de medicamentos, la participación de nuestra comunidad en los ensayos de COVID ha sido fuerte, lo que significa que las vacunas resultantes están produciendo buenos resultados específicamente para las personas de color. En los ensayos de ambas vacunas primarias, la

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Dr. Terri Richardson gets her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

participación de voluntarios Afro-Americanos y Latinx osciló entre el 23 y el 33 por ciento, lo que significa que miles de voluntarios ya han recibido las vacunas y hay resultados positivos de su experiencia. Los sistemas de monitoreo de vacunas existentes, como la Red Nacional de Seguridad de la Salud, continuarán rastreando e informando los resultados para garantizar la seguridad y compartir los posibles efectos secundarios y para garantizar que los beneficios de la vacunación continúen superando los riesgos. Cosas Que Esperar al Recibir la Vacuna COVID-19 Como la mayoría de las vacunas, las vacunas COVID implican tomar dosis de la vacuna a través de una inyección. En el caso de COVID, algunas de las vacunas requieren dos inyecciones con un intervalo de semanas a un mes. Los proveedores de atención médica que administran las vacunas darán instrucciones específicas sobre el seguimiento necesario para estar completamente vacunado. Todas las personas que reciben las vacunas deben asumir un período de aproximadamente tres meses desde la primera inyección hasta que están

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


protegidas. La vacuna puede crear algunos síntomas similares a los de una enfermedad en algunas personas. Este es el sistema inmunológico del cuerpo que responde a la vacuna y fortalece sus defensas, que es precisamente para lo que están diseñadas las vacunas. Estos efectos secundarios suelen ser raros. Su proveedor de atención médica debe darle una lista de estos posibles síntomas y hacerle saber qué significan y cuándo buscar tratamiento médico adicional. Aún no se ha realizado un ensayo de vacuna en niños menores de 16 años o con mujeres embarazadas. Las vacunas iniciales no se administrarán a los niños menores de 16 años y las mujeres embarazadas deben hablar con su proveedor de atención médica antes de vacunarse. Como ocurre con todas las vacunas, el éxito de este esfuerzo depende de usted, sus vecinos, su familia y sus amigos. Si todos nos unimos para vacunarnos, podemos protegernos a nosotros mismos, a nuestras comunidades y a nuestro estado. Detener este virus tomará a todos nosotros. Para obtener información sobre cuándo las personas pueden esperar recibir sus vacunas, consulte el calendario a continuación.Y


A Hopeful 2021 and COVID-19 Vaccine Plan By Denver City Council President, Stacie Gilmore

This year has been very stressful for our community, families, and businesses, and I understand the mental, emotional and physical toll it has taken on us all. I want to express my sincere condolences for those who have lost loved ones during these challenging times, I hope we will all get that needed closure soon. I also want to share to those who have not been able to see their loves ones in the past 9 months, to hold in there and they are all missed dearly but we will see each other when its safe again. With the turbulence of this difficult year, we are still hopeful! A year that started with a worldwide pandemic is also concluding with the initial rollout of a vaccine and that means there is more to look forward to in 2021. We currently have two vaccines by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna that are reported to be around 95% effective against COVID19. The City and County of Denver and the State of Colorado are ensuring that every person who receives their first dose will be able to access a second dose in the correct time frame and anticipate broad vaccination of all individuals to be available sometime in Summer 2021. These vaccines will be free, but some providers may

ask for insurance so that they can bill for the vaccine administration fee. Until the vaccine is widely available, please continue following the critical public health protocols in place. Wear a mask in public, maintain at least six feet of distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick. If you need testing information or to find a testing site near you, please check the City’s community testing page. If you need food, housing, employment, health, small-business and youth resources please visit tent/denvergov/en/covid19/support-services.html for a list of city support services. Also, a big thank you to all the community organizations who have been supporting our neighbors in their time of need! There were also things to celebrate this year – Denver City Council approved a fullservice, food option for the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch-Gateway neighborhoods with the approval of a $9.5 million sales tax share back agreement that will bring a COSTO anchored development called The Flyway. Denver City Council also approved a $700,000 loan for purchase of the new Montbello FreshLo site which will bring a groceryanchored, cultural hub that will also have much needed affordable housing. For 2021, we are looking forward to accomplishing more of these big community projects, such as 56th Ave Expansion, Green Valley Ranch Indoor Pool and many more that are on our District 11 Work Plan and was made directly from your input at our

annual town halls. As always, you are our priority. Please do not hesitate to contact us at or 720-337-7711 or with anything.

Un Esperanzador 2021 y Plan de Vacunación de COVID-19 Por Presidente del Concejo Municipal de Denver, Stacie Gilmore Traducido por: Marta Welch

Este año ha sido muy estresante para nuestra comunidad, familias y empresas, y entiendo el costo mental, emocional y físico que nos ha causado a todos. Quiero expresar mi más sentido pésame por aquellos que han perdido a sus seres queridos durante estos tiempos difíciles, y espero que todos consigamos ese cierre necesario pronto. También quiero compartir con aquellos que no han podido ver a sus seres queridos en los últimos 9 meses, para aguantar allí y todos los extrañamos mucho, pero nos veremos cuando sea seguro nuevamente. Con la turbulencia de este año difícil, ¡todavía tenemos esperanzas! Un año que comenzó con una pandemia mundial también está concluyendo con el lanzamiento inicial de una vacuna y eso significa que hay más que esperar en 2021. Actualmente tenemos dos vacunas de las compañías farmacéuticas Pfizer y Moderna que se reportan en alrededor del 95% eficaz contra COVID-19. La Ciudad y el Condado de Denver y el Estado de Colorado se aseguran de que cada persona que reciba su primera dosis pueda acceder a una se-

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


gunda dosis en el período de tiempo correcto y anticipen que la vacunación amplia de todas las personas estará disponible en algún momento del verano de 2021. Las vacunas serán gratuitas, pero algunos proveedores pueden solicitar un seguro para poder facturar la tarifa de administración de la vacuna. Hasta que la vacuna esté ampliamente disponible, por favor siga los protocolos críticos de salud pública vigentes. Use una máscara en público, mantenga al menos seis pies de distancia de los demás, evite las reuniones, lávese las manos con frecuencia y quédese en casa cuando esté enfermo. Si necesita información sobre las pruebas o para encontrar un sitio de pruebas cerca de usted, por favor revise la página de pruebas comunitarias de la Ciudad. Si necesita alimentos, vivienda, empleo, salud, pequeñas empresas y recursos para jóvenes, por favor visite a tent/denvergov/en/covid19/support-services.html para obtener una lista de los servicios de asistencia de la ciudad. También, un gran agradecimiento a todas las organizaciones comunitarias que han estado apoyando a nuestros vecinos en su tiempo de necesidad! También había cosas que celebrar este año – el Ayuntamiento de la Ciudad de Denver aprobó una opción de comida de servicio completo, para los vecindarios de Montbello, Green Valley Ranch y vecindades cercanos con la aprobación de un acuerdo de $9.5 millones de cuotas de impuestos que traerá un desarrollo anclado de COSTO llamado The Flyway. El Ayuntamiento de Continued on page 12


Denver también aprobó un préstamo de $700,000 para la compra del nuevo sitio de Montbello FreshLo, que traerá un centro cultural anclado a un supermercado que también tendrá una vivienda asequible muy necesaria. En el 2021, esperamos lograr más de estos grandes proyectos comunitarios, como la expansión de la Avenida 56, la piscina cubierta de Green Valley Ranch y muchos más que están en nuestro Plan de Trabajo del Distrito 11, que fue hecho directamente a partir de sus comentarios en nuestros ayuntamientos anuales. Como siempre, ustedes son nuestra prioridad. No dude en contactarnos en o 720-337-7711, o con cualquier cosa!

Montbello in Action at the Colo. Legislature By SD33 Senator-Elect & HD7 Representative James Rashad Coleman

I have been blessed to serve as the Representative for Colorado’s House District 7 for the past four years, and I am excited for the new opportunities in front of me as I begin my first term as Senator for Colorado’s Senate District 33. Montbello is a beautiful and historic community filled with brilliance. As your elected official for the next four years, I strive to contribute to the pioneering legacy

within our community. Especially in times like these, we can forget the power that resides within each of us that make up this community. The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly devastating for our community, yet it is just another part of the plague that we must face together. In December of 2020, the Colorado General Assembly convened to alleviate some of Colorado’s most immediate needs, and we will be reconvening in February to continue to fight the impacts of COVID-19. With the first rounds of vaccines being distributed across the state, the end of this pandemic is finally in sight – but it is critical that we be more vigilant, not less. A vigilant commitment is why for the next four years, I will be staunch in working to eliminate three things that I believe are key barriers to Montbello’s continued progression: the Black wealth gap, youth violence, and prison recidivism. I believe that by having a laserfocus on eliminating these issues, I can pass legislation that will increase the capital investments in our community; I believe that I can work with our Justice and Corrections systems to keep more of our brothers and sisters from going back to prison after serving their sentences; I believe that we can advance apprenticeship opportunities to keep our kids off the streets and out of harm’s way. Now that we have been isolated in our homes for almost a year, it is more important than ever that we remember one of the many things that makes Montbello a beautiful place to live. It is what Montbello has always been about. The People. Each one takes care of another.

I believe that committing to these three goals is the best way I can serve each and every member of this community. That principle may seem not to exist anymore; it does. I know the fears you all have felt when it comes to politicians and the political process because I have felt them. But the process does work, and I ask that you work with me to shape what our future will look like. That’s why our legislative team is committed to asking our community for their policy ideas and encouraging our neighbors to meet with us. Normally, the 120 days that the General Assembly would spend in session would start in January, but with concerns about COVID-19 we will be recessing until February. That recess doesn’t put my work on hold, it only gives me more opportunity to hear from my community about the things they most need to have addressed. I want to hear from you. Let me hear the challenges our community members face so I can get to work; I can’t do it alone. Reach out to Senator-elect Coleman at (720) 297-5301 or email him at

Montbello en Acción en la Legislatura de Colo. Por James Rashad Coleman, Senador Electo de SD33 y Representante de HD7 Traducido por Marta Welch


e tenido la suerte de servir como Representante del Distrito 7 de la Cámara de Colorado durante los últimos cuatro años, y estoy emocionado por las nuevas oportunidades

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


que tengo frente a mí al comenzar mi primer mandato como Senador por el Distrito Senatorial 33 de Colorado. Montbello es una ciudad hermosa y comunidad histórica llena de brillantez. Como su funcionario electo durante los próximos cuatro años, me esfuerzo por contribuir al legado pionero dentro de nuestra comunidad. Especialmente en momentos como estos, podemos olvidar el poder que reside dentro de cada uno de nosotros que formamos esta comunidad. La pandemia de COVID-19 ha sido particularmente devastadora para nuestra comunidad, pero es solo otra parte de la plaga que debemos enfrentar juntos. En diciembre de 2020, la Asamblea General de Colorado se reunió para aliviar algunas de las necesidades más inmediatas de Colorado, y nos volveremos a reunir en febrero para continuar luchando contra los impactos del COVID-19. Con las primeras rondas de vacunas distribuidas en todo el estado, el final de esta pandemia finalmente está a la vista –pero es fundamental que estemos más atentos, no menos. Un compromiso vigilante es la razón por la que durante los próximos cuatro años, trabajaré firmemente para eliminar tres cosas que creo que son barreras clave para la progresión continua de Montbello: la brecha de riqueza de los Afro-americanos, la violencia juvenil y la reincidencia en las cárceles. Creo que al tener un enfoque láser en la eliminación de estos problemas, puedo aprobar una legislación que aumentará las inversiones de capital en nuestra comunidad; Creo que puedo trabajar con nuestros sistemas de Justicia y Correccionales

ELECTED OFFICIALS SPEAK OUT - OFICIALES ELEGIDOS HABLAN para evitar que más de nuestros hermanos y hermanas regresen a la cárcel después de cumplir sus condenas; Creo que podemos promover las oportunidades de aprendizaje para mantener a nuestros hijos fuera de las calles y fuera de peligro. Ahora que hemos estado aislados en nuestros hogares durante casi un año, es más importante que nunca recordar una de las muchas cosas que hacen de Montbello un hermoso lugar para vivir. Eso es lo que siempre ha sido Montbello. La Gente. Cada uno se ocupa del otro. Creo que comprometerme con estos tres objetivos es la mejor manera en que puedo servir a todos y cada uno de los miembros de esta comunidad. Puede parecer que ese principio ya no existe; si existe. Sé los miedos que todos ustedes han sentido en lo que respecta a los políticos y el proceso político porque yo los he sentido. Pero el proceso si funciona y les pido que trabajen conmigo para dar forma a cómo será nuestro futuro. Es por eso que nuestro equipo legislativo está comprometido a pedir a nuestra comunidad sus ideas de pólizas y alentar a nuestros vecinos a reunirse con nosotros. Normalmente, los 120 días que pasaría la Asamblea General en sesión comenzarían en enero, pero con preocupaciones sobre COVID-19 estaremos en receso hasta febrero. Ese receso no detiene mi trabajo, solo me brinda más oportunidades de escuchar a mi comunidad sobre las cosas que más necesitan abordar. Quiero oir de ustedes. Permítanme escuchar los desafíos que enfrentan los miembros de nuestra comunidad para poder empezar a trabajar- No puedo hacerlo solo.

Comuníquese con el Senador Electo Coleman al (720) 297-5301 o envíele un correo electrónico a

Greetings from Denver Public Schools! By Jennifer Bacon, Denver School Board Director Responding to COVID-19 When the Pandemic landed, DPS responded quickly providing meals (over half a million to date) and computers and hotspots to all families in need. From bus drivers, to teachers, to cafeteria workers, DPS is one of the largest employers in the state with over 15,000 staff members. We ensured each of them kept their jobs and without being furloughed. DPS continues to look for the best way forward to educate our students. We have focused on three crisis priorities: Ensuring student and staff 1. physical health 2. mental health and social-emotional wellbeing; and 3. preventing learning loss especially for early learners, students in poverty, special education, English learners; and black students per the Black Excellence Resolution. Equity is the cornerstone of the Crisis Priorities. Our ultimate goal is to return to school in person on January 13th. We follow Denver Health’s COVID Dashboard, implementing different strategies for return to school

for different dashboard color levels. For example, at red, elementary will meet in person and secondary will be in hybrid mode of in-person. You can learn more here: We anticipate at least a national average of a year and half of learning loss. As Montbello sees some of the highest COVID-infection rates, many are worried about returning to school. However, due to reasons ranging from job security to students’ mental health, many families desperately want to return to school. We do know that school is safe and perhaps safer than remaining remote for many children. Our data show that staff who work remotely are contracting COVID at a higher rate than those who work in-person. At school, we can ensure students are fed and warm, have social interactions and safe learning space, and that they wear a mask, wash hands, and social distance. Action-oriented in 2021 We intend to hire a Superintendent by this summer to lead the 21-22 school year. As a grassroots-driven board, we intend to lead a search process that includes your input, feedback, and assistance in choosing our next superintendent at every phase. This includes helping us shape application questions, reviewing responses, interviewing candidates and including community scores in our final assessment. We know from our last Superintendent search that Denverites value a candidate that identifies with the community through language, ethnicity or from growing up in the area. You value having experience as an educator. We

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


need someone with a strong vision for our family of schools that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past and that staff can respect and who will set clear expectations for measurable success. In 2021, I will set the Far Northeast (FNE) on a path to offering robust and diverse high quality school options. We recently made the decision to unify CPA, DCIS and NCAS into Montbello HS. We are now able to pool resources of the three smaller schools to provide more robust class offerings including languages, arts, and advanced courses; as well as have unified D4 athletic programs that can grow into D5 level sports. FNE Denver now offers early colleges, STEAM and STEM schools, and a comprehensive high school option. My hope is to bring a Continuing Technical Education (CTE) site to the FNE as well. Families have children that attend multiple schools and they deserve to have all of their schools be on the same page. This year I will work to build structures and practices to pool our knowledge and resources, find alignment across all of our schools including charters, and posture ourselves for learning and to discover best practices so we can all do better. If you have an issue relating to DPS, please e-mail or if you have a community issue for me as your Colorado House District 7 representative please e-mail gov. You can also reach my community cell phone at 720593-9618. We look forward to serving you!Y


Fight the Stigma

A New Column dedicated to challenging the Mental Health Stigma in communities of color

By La Toya Petty, Manager Montbello Solutions Mental Health Project


any have been making changes in their lives. Everyone goes into the new year with physical health goals to lose weight, start a workout routine, actually stick to keto or veganism, pump-up for the summer months with the dual goals to look and feel better. Why can’t we take the same approach with our mental health and go into the new year with a goal to find a culturally relevant therapist to talk with or a support group to join that helps with the journey of life? How can we start taking a more holistic approach to our well-being and mental health? The stigma of mental health weighs heavy in communities of color. The unspoken rules of engagement with outside entities are clear and defined. We never under any circumstances talk about our family problems with anyone outside of the im-

mediate family unit. We never talk within our family units about family members misusing or abusing their authority. We never question the mental state of those close to us and we are often encouraged to just ignore unhealthy behaviors and to just “pray” for those individuals struggling mentally and for their symptoms. Too often poor mental health is coupled with behavioral symptoms like alcoholism, drug addiction, overeating, compulsive physical activity, and hoarding. Usually, poor mental health starts with not coping properly with life and falling into habitual behaviors that can lead to negative self-talk, depression, poor anger management, internal self-degradation, and anxiety. Learning the skills to cope with life experiences is necessary to maintain a healthy outlook on life. There is no shame in exploring how to approach and deal with life experiences that have caused anguish and trauma. There is no shame in using educationbased resources to help through hard and mentally demanding times. Taking a holistic approach to your mental health can help you have a successful and progressive 2021. Many of us are still trying to understand what exactly happened in 2020. We started the year strong with opportunities and dreams at our fingertips. We made plans to spend time with family, vacation in remote places around the world, excel at work and gain that promotion, buy property and see our youth excel in school – celebrate another birthday in style and with loved ones. Instead, house parties turned into zoom happy hours and the general public

got really good at playing Yahtzee. Everyone’s pantry is full of a year’s supply of toilet tissue and paper products and the newest fashion accessory has become a face mask. As unexpected and horrifying 2020 was, conversations with people have been surprisingly encouraging and positive. Sometimes it pays dividends to spend energy counting your wins. For some it was an opportunity to spend quality time with the family. Others used their time to focus on their health. Some just decided to finally take a much-needed break from life and get some sleep while others revived an old hobby and explored new and exciting activities to keep occupied. Pollution has decreased in major cities, there has been a sudden drop of greenhouse gases emissions, a reduction in noise pollution, and a reduction in water pollution. Apart from there being an increase in biomedical waste, people are living in a healthier world. Our thoughts, hearts and support to go the families who have lost loved ones, jobs, housing and stability. As we bring in a new administration that celebrates the diversity and inclusive history of our great nation, let us make a unified effort to rebuild our fellow neighbors and overcome this humbling human experience in a way that encourages a new lifestyle that is holistically healthy for human beings and the natural world in which we dwell. Let us take this opportunity to make a holistic approach to our ongoing mental and physical health. Allow this year to open new doors to the possibilities that life can bring when given the coping skills to make

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


positive changes that can have generational affects. Let us make a conscious effort to be pro-mental health and break down the walls of stigmas that hold back ourselves, our loved ones and our communities from moving forward in a constructive and progressive manner. That is my prayer.Y

Lucha Contra el Estigma Una nueva columna deddedicada a desafiar el Estigma de la Salud Mental en las comucomunidades de color

Por La Toya Petty, Gerente del Proyecto de Salud Mental de Soluciones de Montbello Traducido por: Marta Welch

Muchos han realizado cambios en sus vidas. Todo el mundo entra en el nuevo año con objetivos de salud física para perder peso, comenzar una rutina de ejercicios, en realidad seguir la Dieta Ceto o el veganismo, animarse para los meses de verano con el doble objetivo de verse y sentirse mejor. ¿Por qué no podemos adoptar el mismo enfoque con nuestra salud mental y comenzar el nuevo año con el objetivo de encontrar un terapeuta culturalmente relevante con quien hablar o un grupo de apoyo al que unirnos que ayude en el viaje de la vida? ¿Cómo podemos empezar a adoptar un enfoque más holístico de nuestro bienestar y salud mental?

VOICES FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD - VOCES DEL BARRIO El estigma de la salud mental pesa mucho en las comunidades de color. Las reglas tácitas de interacción con entidades externas son claras y definidas. Nunca, bajo ninguna circunstancia, hablamos de nuestros problemas familiares con nadie fuera de la unidad familiar inmediata. Nunca hablamos dentro de nuestras unidades familiares sobre miembros de la familia que abusan o abusan de su autoridad. Nunca cuestionamos el estado mental de las personas cercanas a nosotros y, a menudo, se nos anima a simplemente ignorar los comportamientos poco saludables y simplemente “orar” por aquellos individuos que luchan mentalmente y por sus síntomas. Con demasiada frecuencia, la mala salud mental se combina con síntomas conductuales como el alcoholismo, la adicción a las drogas, comer en exceso, la actividad física compulsiva y el acaparamiento. Por lo general, la mala salud mental comienza con no afrontar adecuadamente la vida y cayendo en comportamientos habituales que pueden conducir a un diálogo interno negativo, depresión, mal manejo de la ira, autodegradación interna y ansiedad. Aprender las habilidades para afrontar las experiencias de la vida es necesario para mantener una perspectiva saludable de la vida. No hay vergüenza en explorar cómo abordar y lidiar con las experiencias de la vida que han causado angustia y trauma. No hay vergüenza en utilizar recursos basados en la educación para ayudar en tiempos difíciles y mentalmente exigentes. Adoptando un enfoque holístico de su salud mental

una reducción de la contaminación del agua. Aparte de que hay un aumento de los desechos biomédicos, la gente vive en un mundo más saludable. Nuestros pensamientos, corazones y apoyo van a las familias que han perdido a sus seres queridos, trabajos, vivienda y estabilidad. A medida que traemos una nueva administración que celebra la diversidad y la historia inclusiva de nuestra gran nación, hagamos un esfuerzo unificado para reconstruir a nuestros vecinos y superar esta humilde experiencia humana de una manera que fomente un nuevo estilo de vida que sea holísticamente saludable para los seres humanos. seres y el mundo natural en el que habitamos. Aprovechemos esta oportunidad para hacer un enfoque holístico de nuestra salud física y mental en curso. Permita que este año abra nuevas puertas a las posibilidades que la vida puede traer cuando se les dan las habilidades de afrontamiento para hacer cambios positivos que pueden tener efectos generacionales. Hagamos un esfuerzo consciente para ser pro-salud mental y derribar los muros de estigmas que nos impiden a nosotros, a nuestros seres queridos y a nuestras comunidades avanzar de manera constructiva y progresiva. Esa es mi oración.Y

puede ayudarlo a tener un 2021 exitoso y progresivo. Muchos de nosotros todavía estamos tratando de comprender qué sucedió exactamente en 2020. Comenzamos el año con fuerza, con oportunidades y sueños al alcance de la mano. Hicimos planes para pasar tiempo con la familia, vacacionar en lugares remotos del mundo, sobresalir en el trabajo y obtener esa promoción, comprar una propiedad y ver a nuestros jóvenes sobresalir en la escuela – celebrar otro cumpleaños con estilo y con sus seres queridos. En cambio, las fiestas en casa se convirtieron en horas felices de zoom y el público en general se volvió muy bueno jugando a Yahtzee. La despensa de todos está llena de suministros para un año de papel higiénico y productos de papel, y el último accesorio de moda se ha convertido en una mascara. A pesar de lo inesperado y espantoso que fue 2020, las conversaciones con la gente han sido sorprendentemente alentadoras y positivas. A veces vale la pena gastar energía contando tus ganancias. Para algunos fue una oportunidad de pasar tiempo de calidad con la familia. Otros usaron su tiempo para concentrarse en su salud. Algunos simplemente decidieron finalmente tomarse un descanso muy necesario de la vida y dormir un poco, mientras que otros revivieron un viejo pasatiempo y exploraron actividades nuevas y emocionantes para mantenerse ocupados. La contaminación ambiental ha disminuido en las principales ciudades, ha habido una caída repentina de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, una reducción de la contaminación acústica y


New Oral Health Equity Group By Emily Cervantes, CLLARO Policy Research and Analysis Manager As 2021 approaches, the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, Research Organization (CLLARO) is convening a group of interested stakeholders and community members to address oral health equity in Aurora and Denver. Good oral health is an integral part of good overall health. Healthy oral care practices should be started early in life. However, oral health care is often lacking for children and adults. Latinos, non-Latino Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives generally have the poorest oral health of any racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The greatest racial and ethnic disparity among children aged 3–5 years and aged 6–9 years is seen in Mexican American and non-Latino Black children. By convening this group, we hope to broaden, strengthen, and facilitate the inter-agency oral health access, prevention, and connection coalition in Aurora and Denver. We also hope to focus on Spanish-speaking and lowincome Latinos and immigrant families with children under 12 and older adults in the family. Overall, we hope to provide education for families around the importance of regular oral health screenings and care for the whole family. Continued on page 19

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS - RECURSOS PARA RESIDENTES We would like to invite those interested in addressing oral health inequities to join our new group that will convene in early 2021. Please email to get a preliminary overview of the goals of the group. However, we are also ready to change or modify those goals if other needs are identified by group members, especially considering that the pandemic has caused many to forgo regular oral health care. We are looking for a diverse group of members, including oral health professionals as well as community members. We are hoping to convene a group that can speak on the issues facing the communities they represent so that we can document the need and advocate for solutions. We plan on holding our first meeting in mid-January to early February. Please let CLLARO know if you are interested by emailing All of our meetings will be virtual and held via zoom to ensure every member can easily participate and remain safe. CLLARO extends a special thanks to Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation for support of this effort.Y

Nuevo Grupo Abordar Las Inequidades en la Salud Bucal De Emily Cervantes A medida que se acerca el 2021, la Organización de Liderazgo, Defensa e Investigación de los Latinos de Colorado (CLLARO) está convocando a un grupo de partes interesadas y miembros de la comunidad para abordar la

equidad en la salud bucal en Aurora y Denver. La buena salud bucal es una parte integral de una buena salud general. Las prácticas saludables de cuidado bucal deben iniciarse temprano en la vida. Sin embargo, la atención de la salud bucal a menudo falta para niños y adultos. Los latinos, los negros no latinos, los indígenas estadounidenses y los nativos de Alaska generalmente tienen la salud bucal más pobre de todos los grupos raciales y étnicos en los Estados Unidos. La mayor disparidad racial y étnica entre los niños de 3 a 5 años y de 6 a 9 años se observa en los niños mexicoamericanos y negros no latinos. Al convocar a este grupo, esperamos ampliar, fortalecer y facilitar la coalición interinstitucional de acceso, prevención y conexión a la salud bucal en Aurora y Denver. También esperamos enfocarnos en los latinos de habla hispana y de bajos ingresos y las familias inmigrantes con niños menores de 12 años y adultos mayores en la familia. En general, esperamos brindar educación a las familias sobre la importancia de los exámenes de salud bucal regulares y el cuidado de toda la familia. Nos gustaría invitar a aquellos interesados en abordar las

inequidades en la salud bucal a unirse a nuestro nuevo grupo que se reunirá a principios de 2021. Envíe un correo electrónico a para obtener una descripción general preliminar de los objetivos del grupo. Sin embargo, también estamos listos para cambiar o modificar esos objetivos si los miembros del grupo identifican otras necesidades, especialmente considerando que la pandemia ha causado que muchos renuncien al cuidado de la salud bucal regular. Buscamos un grupo diverso de miembros, desde profesionales de la salud bucal hasta miembros de la comunidad. Esperamos convocar un grupo que pueda hablar sobre los problemas que enfrentan las comunidades que representan para que podamos documentar la necesidad y abogar por soluciones. Planeamos celebrar nuestra primera reunión a mediados de enero hasta principios de febrero. Informe a CLLARO si está interesado enviando un correo electrónico a cllaro@cllaro. org. Todas nuestras reuniones serán virtuales y se llevarán a cabo mediante zoom para garantizar que todos los miembros puedan participar fácilmente y permanecer seguros. Emily Cervantes es la gerente de investigación y análisis de políticas públicas. Y

Open Arms Assisted Living Montbello Is Open By Mary J. Davis, PhD, RN After months of anticipation, the newly constructed Open Arms Assisted Living facility (OAAL), located on the St. Andrew Lutheran Church

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


Campus at the corner of Peoria Street and Andrews Drive, accepted its first residents on December 1. The facility is a much needed eldercare resource for residents in the Montbello and surrounding communities. OAAL the innovative repurposing of the St. Andrew Elementary School into a state licensed 30-bed assisted living facility that is open to Medicaid qualifying and private pay residents. OAAL communicates its vision to residents and the community in three sentences: We have the vision to be the best caregivers by providing timely compassionate care with emphasis on family-based love and togetherness. We want to walk beside you in your journey and help assist with any needs to include emotional, physical, and spiritual. We have a calling to serve our elders and assist with daily life functions. OAAL has a dedicated Life Enhancement Coach whose planned activity and art therapy programs ensure each resident has an opportunity to participate in a variety of meaningful activities designed to enrich the mind, body, and spirit. Or, if desired the residents can decide on other selfdetermined activities including taking a walk in the facility’s large outdoor protected yard space. In addition, residents are free to attend worship services of several congregations in the St. Andrews Lutheran Church’s sanctuary, which is connected via a hallway OAAL menus offer three balanced meals each day with the oversight of a licensed dietician, who signs off on all menus. Residents participate in menu planning; everyone gets the

RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS - RECURSOS PARA RESIDENTES meal of choice on their birthday. The plan is for residents to be able to cook in the facility kitchen “post COVID-19.” Recently, the OAAL Executive Director asked residents the following question: “How has the transition been from your former living situation to Open Arms?” They responded enthusiastically: “Every day I wake up, the first person I see always smiles and says good morning.” “I feel like I have a voice here and what I say matters! I haven’t felt that for a long time.” “I have had some of the best food since moving in.” “I like being able to help plan the menu. They even used one of my mom’s recipes.” “I never want to leave OAAL.” “I feel like part of a family here.” Of note, OAAL is the first assisted living community in Colorado to offer telehealth to residents. Every room is prewired and set up with the equipment for residents to privately see their doctors from the comfort of their apartment. This helps residents stay socially-connected even if they must be physically distant. OAAL telehealth program ensures that each resident has the comfort of medical appointments from their own room. Telehealth allows family members to take an active role in a loved one’s care. They can participate on a video conference with healthcare providers without having to travel to the healthcare provider’s office. This allows each family to stay in the caregiving loop and ask important questions. Another bonus: The technology and TVs provided in each room can also be used to video confer-

ence with friends and loved ones. OAAL is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that has its own Board of Directors. The Board has contracted with DRIVE Resource Management, Inc. to management day-to-day operations. DRIVE employee, Certified Assisted Living Administrator Megan Moneypenny, is the OAAL Executive Director. She invites community members who desire a tour of the facility to contact her at 720.452.8006. Editor’s Note: Dr. Mary Davis is the owner of World of Wellness Home Care and is an Open Arms Assisted Living Board Member.

Vivienda Asistida de Open Arms Está Abierta en Montbello Por Mary J. Davis, PhD, RN Traducido por: Marta Welch


espués de meses de anticipación, la instalación de Vivienda Asistida de Open Arms (OAAL) recién construida, ubicada en el Campus de la Iglesia Luterana de St. Andrew en la esquina de Peoria Street y Andrews Drive, aceptó a sus primeros res-

identes el 1 de diciembre. La instalación es un recurso de cuidado de ancianos muy necesario para los residentes de Montbello y las comunidades circundantes. OAAL planeó la remodelación innovadora de la Escuela Primaria de St. Andrew en una instalación de vida asistida con licencia estatal de 30 camas que está abierta a residentes que califican para Medicaid y que reciben pagos privados. OAAL comunica su visión a los residentes y la comunidad en tres frases: Tenemos la visión de ser los mejores cuidadores proporcionando atención compasiva oportuna con énfasis en el amor y la unión basados en la familia. Queremos caminar a su lado en su viaje y ayudar con cualquier necesidad de incluir emocional, físico y espiritual. Tenemos un llamado para servir a nuestros ancianos y ayudar con las funciones de la vida diaria. OAAL cuenta con un Entrenador de Mejoramiento de la Vida dedicado, cuyas actividades planificadas y programas de terapia artística garantizan que cada residente tenga la

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


oportunidad de participar en una variedad de actividades significativas diseñadas para enriquecer la mente, el cuerpo y el espíritu. O, si lo desean, los residentes pueden optar por otras actividades autodeterminadas, como dar un paseo por el gran patio exterior protegido de la instalación. Además, los residentes pueden asistir a los servicios de adoración de varias congregaciones en el santuario de la Iglesia Luterana de St. Andrews, que está conectado a través de un pasillo. Los menús de OAAL ofrecen tres comidas equilibradas cada día con la supervisión de un dietista licenciado, que aprueba todos los menús. Los residentes participan en la planificación del menú; todos obtienen la comida de su elección en su cumpleaños. El plan es que los residentes puedan cocinar en la cocina de la instalación “después de COVID-19”. Recientemente, el Director Ejecutivo de OAAL hizo la siguiente pregunta a los residentes: “¿Cómo ha sido la transición de su anterior situación de vida a Open Arms?” Respondieron con entusiasmo: “Todos los días me despierto, la primera persona que veo siempre sonríe y me da los buenos días”. “¡Siento que tengo una voz aquí y lo que digo importa! No lo he sentido eso en mucho tiempo”. “He tenido algunos de los mejores alimentos desde que me mudé”. “Me gusta poder ayudar a planificar el menú. Incluso usaron una de las recetas de mi mamá”. “No quiero irme nunca de OAAL”. “Aquí me siento como parte de una familia”. Continued on page 18

RESOURCES - RECURSOS Continued from page 17

Digno de atención, OAAL es la primera comunidad de vida asistida en Colorado que ofrece telesalud a los residentes. Cada habitación está precableada y equipada con el equipo para que los residentes puedan ver a sus médicos en privado desde la comodidad de su apartamento. Esto ayuda a los residentes a mantenerse conectados socialmente incluso si deben estar físicamente distantes. El programa de telesalud de OAAL garantiza que cada residente tenga la comodidad de tener citas médicas desde su propia habitación. La telesalud permite a los miembros de la familia desempeñar un papel activo en el cuidado de un ser querido. Pueden participar en una videoconferencia con los proveedores de atención médica sin tener que viajar al consultorio del proveedor de atención médica. Esto permite que cada familia permanezca en el circuito de cuidado y haga preguntas importantes. Otra ventaja: la tecnología y los televisores proporcionados en cada sala también se pueden utilizar para realizar videoconferencias con amigos y seres queridos. OAAL es una organización sin fines de lucro 501c(3) que tiene su propia Junta Directiva. La Junta ha contratado a DRIVE Resource Management, Inc. para administrar las operaciones diarias. La empleada de DRIVE, Administradora Certificada de Vida Asistida, Megan Moneypenny, es la Directora Ejecutiva de OAAL. Ella invita a los miembros de la comunidad que deseen un recorrido por las instalaciones a que se comuniquen con ella al 720-4528006. Nota del Editor: La Dra. Mary Davis es la propietaria de World of Wellness Home Care y es Miembro de la Junta de Open Arms Assisted Living.


You Can’t Really Know Someone Until You Know Their Story Part 2 of 3 By Mary Ann Bash, Director Each One Teach One COVID has separated us physically, but our stories offer a lifeline. In honor of Marie L. Greenwood’s passing a year ago after 107 storyfilled years, Each One Teach One created a photo/storytelling legacy project in her honor. If Mrs. Greenwood had not written her autobiography at age 99, we would not really know her. Her namesake school is filled with families with unique and engaging stories. With the support of Denver photographer Katy Tartakoff, private donors, and the Boeing employee Liftoff for Learning campaign, we are celebrating Greenwood families. Post-COVID we will be reunited, learning our families’ stories exhibited in the Marie L. Greenwood Academy hallways. While COVID keeps us apart, we invite you to get to know the richness Montbello families bring to our community with a few of their stories. (Editor’s Note: Thank you to Denver photographer Katy Tartakoff for the beautiful porportraits and to Montbello famfamilies for their stories.)

Monarch Butterfly By Chan-Zhen, 6th grader I saw my Mum painting all sorts of butterflies, different shapes, different colors, different sizes, but ALL beautiful. From that moment I started thinking about what is going on today in this world. People of all walks of life protesting, demanding justice for all kinds of problems people are experiencing. While people are marching in hopes of getting their voices heard, they were getting hurt over being judged of their race, they are being treated bad because of the color of their

skin. Some are being killed. In the beginning I didn’t understand what brought this all about. Now I think I understand. I started talking to my Mum about racism. I see sadness and hurt to talk about it, then I remembered the butterfly. I said, “Why can’t we be more like butterflies? They will always be beautiful, they come in multiple reflections that intensify their colors. They represent so many good things to everybody. If butterflies come in countless shapes and colors and sizes, at the end of the day, they’re still butterflies. They are only a symbol of change - positive change such as metamorphosis, rebirth, renewal, beauty, and more beauty. Because of their beauty and cute fluttering, no matter how sad, or how bad things may be, butterflies can put a smile on your face.” People can be somewhat like butterflies. We are all beautiful and unique in our own ways. People come in all shapes and colors and sizes, at the end of the day, they’re still humans/people. We are absolutely capable to change such as metamorphosis - transformation, rebirth, renewal - mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and we are all beautiful. As beautiful people, compassion, empathy, respect, love, positiveness, joy, confidence, peace, we can ALL share and help each other thrive and live together peacefully, just like the butterflies. I want to see the U.S. full of butterflies on the news and in my neighborhood. What butterfly are you? La Familia Cruz-Rivera All four of the Cruz-Rivera children have been students at Greenwood. Monica attended from 5th through 8th grade and the rest have

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


been at Greenwood since ECE/1st grade. We all have our special love for Greenwood and some of the greatest things we love about this school is the students have always been so inclusive, the bond we’ve created with staff and teachers, and most importantly Each One Teach One. This program has allowed us to grow not only in our schoolwork but also within ourselves as it has taught us leadership, teamwork and countless vocabulary words. Since graduating from Greenwood, Monica has continued on to study science and nursing at Metro State University. Melanie has been inspired to pursue becoming an Immigration Lawyer, as one of her strong suits is debate and persuasive arguments. Monica also inspires her to follow the medical field and become a pharmacist. She often plays “little nurse” when family members get sick and thinks about the possibilities of creating and working with medications in the future. Alex’s dream job is to be an entrepreneur and own his own mechanic garage. Fernando’s is to become a Petroleum Engineer who would build machinery: he would very much like to follow in his Grandpa’s footsteps of being a remodeler. Our parents grew up in Mexico City. They met and married very young at the ages of 15 and 19. Shortly after they married they decided to immigrate to Colorado in 1995 in search of a better life with bigger opportunities as they planned to start a family. While most of our family still resides in Mexico City, when my parents first came here they only had one cousin from my dad’s side that was willing to show them around and that is how their journey in Colorado began. They came to the United States with nothing and created a family of four kids, a great loving home and a business called Mary’s Party Rental. Despite being far away from where we originate, we continue to


carry on our Mexican traditions. One of our biggest and most important traditions is the Virgin of Guadalupe’s birthday. Every year for the past 19 years, on December 11th at 7pm we have gathered a peregrination of 200+ people who walk from our house in Montbello to a church in Commerce City in honor of her birthday. Many people along the way pray, play music, as well as make personal promises. Once we have arrived at the church for a short mass, we invite everyone who walked back to our house and we serve Menudo, Mexican pastries, and Mexican chocolate accompanied by music from a live Mexican band. We wait for midnight so we can sing Las Mañanitas to our Lady of Guadalupe. Another tradition we still continue is in the month of November we make an altar in our home with pictures of loved ones that have passed away along with their favorite food and/or treats. Lastly, our family has created a tradition to make it a priority to come together as a family for each other’s birthdays and holidays. As a family we are proud to be bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. The Pittman Family

The Pittman family is combined of different personalities: EJ is fun, polite and sincere; Daiquan is kind,

nurturing and dependable; Da’Janae is resilient, generous and outgoing; QuayJaun is quiet, self-disciplined and determined; Dad Edmund Sr. is easy-going, loyal and versatile; and Mom Chaunell is humble, understanding and passionate. When you put us all together, you get a whirlwind of greatness. Our family’s lifestyle is Livin’ Decent. Our immediate family is from Denver, but the children’s greatgrandparents originated from Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas. All great-grandfathers were in the Army. They moved to Colorado mostly because their siblings moved here or because the military stationed them here. Some of our family traditions start with Thanksgiving. Our extended family gets together and cooks and eats the traditional Thanksgiving dishes such as turkey, yams and dressing. We love to watch football on Thanksgiving as well. Then we have Christmas and we all gather together to open presents around the tree. We do matching pajamas on Christmas which is always fun. Then we usually come together and decide what to make and who cooks what. We always have the special cheesecake my grandmother makes and the best sweet potato pie ever. Yummy! Our grandmother has a recipe book that is to be passed down so the next generation can continue her cooking and baking legacy. We share laughs, stories and usually get a history lesson, such as when the kids’ great-great-great-grandfather carried his brother from slavery. We’re a Bronco family! We’ve all played a variety of sports including football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and softball. We are a very active family and all around busy. A family of 6 is definitely a handful. We all love to travel: the

kids’ favorite places would be Mississippi, Georgia and California and the parents’ favorite place traveled is Jamaica. Most of us like to try different foods like Curry Goat, Codfish and Ackee fruit in Jamaica. We love to see different cultures and atmospheres. Although QuayJaun did not attend Greenwood, DaiQuan began in 4th grade, Daja in 2nd grade and EJ came from Escalante-Biggs in 1st grade. We are proud of QuayJaun who is studying psychology in college. EJ loves the teachers and his friends at Greenwood. La Familia Preciado-Pelayo

When people ask me where I am from, I am proud to answer, Villa Purificación, Jalisco, Mexico. My husband Saul and I are both from the state of Jalisco where there are 5 groups of indigenous people. I love the fresh manta fabric, bright colors and hand-embroidery of the traditional clothing, huaraches and bracelets of the Otomi culture. My town was declared a Pueblo Magico, a Magic Town, for its beautiful mountains, rivers, traditional foods and temple of La Candelaria. It is the Town of Pineapples! My husband’s family of 9 lived in Cerro de la Silleta where they did not have drinking water or electricity. His house was made of sticks. The family grew corn, oranges and kept bees, cows, and goats. I, on the other hand, lived in the town where my father, 2 younger brothers, uncles, and grandfather

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were all mechanics. Saul and I met when he was on vacation in my town. He came to the United States in 1989, and I followed him in 2005. For us, family comes first. As good Mexicans we have the saying, “Mi casa es tu casa.” I am so sad my father passed away in 2019. Now my mother lives with us part of the year. One of my favorite family traditions was every day before dinner, our whole family would gather at the house of my maternal grandparents for games and conversation. We had so much fun listening to our abuelo tell scary stories! I still call my abuelos almost every night, and we keep the tradition of having dinner together every day. The other tradition is the novena of the Virgen de la Candelaria. For 9 days there are pilgrimages and masses. After mass there is always a fair in the beautiful plaza where adults and children walk around and eat delicious raspados, corn, hot dogs, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, popcorn, pozole and aguas frescas!! The town band plays in the gazebo and everyone knows each other. You always have someone giving you a plate of food! We still celebrate our Virgen de la Candelaria in Denver. We go to church the 2nd of February and I make tamales with a traditional atole drink for dinner. Saul and I have a beautiful family with 3 children – Samantha, Sherlyn and Saul. We always try to make our children feel proud of their roots. They love going to Mexico to stay with my mom and brother. They feel so free, walking to the tiendita and going often to the rivers and beach. Sherlyn and Saulito love animals so they love to visit my fatherin-law who has chickens, cows, 3 horses, cats and dogs!! They cry when they have to leave Mexico. Our children have attended Marie L. Greenwood Academy for 5 years and have all participated in wonderful learning in Each One Teach One. Y


No Return To Normal By Vernon Jones For nearly a year, our world has been disrupted by an invisible adversary, COVID-19. It has transformed the landscape of how we pretty much do everything, including education. The student experiences have varied and sadly, the same students in the same places have continued to be shortchanged, failed, and frustrated because an equitable cohesive strategy remains elusive due to the ongoing bureaucracy that prevents transformative collaboration among the many organizations that are speaking into the moment. The school district, mayor’s office, governor’s office, health departments, county officials, first responders and families, all going through this, all needing to be heard, all wanting to survive. Very little communication between them. Our current reality has changed. We must interrogate it honestly to know the way forward. A false interrogation will simply spiral us into further cycles of insanity; no transformation, just the same troubles kicked down the road for another generation to shoulder. On the heels of an ongoing struggle for the acknowledgment of equal humanity, justice, and equity, this once in a lifetime pandemic has pushed us out of the status quo box of business as usual in education. It has removed the walls of the classroom. It has lifted the limitations of our rigid schedules. It has forced us to expand the who, what, when, where, and how of our pedagogy while replanting us in the rich soil of our why. While this pandemic has brought much pain, heart-

ache, and irreplaceable loss it has also brought about paradigmshifting truths that we cannot ignore. Truth 1: There is no returning to normal school because normal school was not working for all children. • Return to school can’t just be about being vaccinated and virus-free. It can’t be about new safety protocols and no shifts in policies and practices that still oppress and subjugate. It must be about new vision for what school should be and must be for all children. It must be about bold right-now actions that get done the things that have been delayed to protect dominant culture’s power and comfort at the expense of our children and communities. We cannot return to what was, what is called normal, because normal was not about us thriving. Truth 2: The solutions are in our ability to co-create, codeliver, and be co-accountable for outcomes that align with all neighbors thriving. • What I have seen very clearly in this crisis, is community coming together to do for one another in ways that large structures and systems are not designed to do. I have been in the trenches with people able to be nimble, fluid, responsive, and even proactive when it came to supporting and serving neighbors. There has been little to no red tape to cut, no waiting period for some disconnected board to decide if we got funding, and no rejection of the individualizing of our approaches; person to person, house to house, neighborhood to neighborhood. We have bulldozed the walls, erased the lines, and decided that our collective brilliance is

better than our siloed best. We share a desired reality of all neighbors thriving and to get there we have embraced cocreation, co-delivery, and co-accountability as the way forward. Truth 3: WE are getting better and our best days are in front of us! • I am the forever optimist because of the brilliant people that surround me now, the great cloud of witnesses whose testimonies speak into my life, and because of my faith in Christ. There is nothing that is not possible if we shed the chains of individualism and embrace the life-giving liberation of being connected in this great network of mutuality, woven together in this single garment of destiny. I desperately need you and you desperately need me and the more we live that, the more we experience better days and our best days. WE are getting better and our best days are still in front of us. For nearly a year we have been disrupted. Social-distancing, mask-wearing, trip-canceling, zoom-connecting, and staying at home unless travel was necessary. All to survive, no, to thrive, and to never go back to normal! Vernon Jones Jr. serves and supports community as the DiDirector of Operations for FaithFaithBridge, a nonprofit bridging relationships and resources to improve education. He also proudly serves as the ExExecutive Director of the NorthNortheast Denver Innovation Zone in Denver Public Schools that serves nearly 5,000 students in NE Denver on a daily basis. He is a twenty-year resident of NE Denver and proud to be born and raised in Colorado.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


Sin retorno a la normalidad By Vernon Jones Durante casi 9 meses, nuestro mundo ha sido interrumpido por un adversario invisible, COVID-19. Ha transformado el panorama de cómo hacemos prácticamente todo, incluida la educación. Las experiencias de los estudiantes han variado y, lamentablemente, los mismos estudiantes en los mismos lugares han seguido siendo defraudados, fracasados y frustrados porque una estrategia cohesiva equitativa sigue siendo esquiva debido a la burocracia en curso que impide la colaboración transformadora entre las muchas organizaciones que están hablando en el momento. El distrito escolar, la oficina del alcalde, la oficina del gobernador, los departamentos de salud, los funcionarios del condado, los socorristas y las familias, todos pasando por esto, todos necesitan ser escuchados, todos quieren sobrevivir. Muy poca comunicación entre ellos. Nuestra realidad actual ha cambiado. Debemos interrogarlo honestamente para conocer el camino a seguir. Un falso interrogatorio simplemente nos llevará a nuevos ciclos de locura; sin transformación, solo los mismos problemas se lanzaron en el camino para otra generación a hombros. Inmediatamente después de una lucha en curso por el reconocimiento de la igualdad en la humanidad, la justicia y la equidad, esta pandemia única en la vida nos ha sacado del statu quo de los negocios como siempre en la educación. Ha eliminado las paredes del aula. Ha eliminado las limitaciones de nuestros rígidos horarios. Nos ha obligado a expandir el quién, el qué, el cuándo, el dónde y el cómo de nuestra

MONTBELLO VIEWPOINTS - PUNTOS DE VISTA DE MONTBELLO pedagogía mientras nos replanta en la tierra fértil de nuestro por qué. Si bien esta pandemia ha traído mucho dolor, angustia y pérdidas irremplazables, también ha provocado un cambio de paradigma en verdades que no podemos ignorar. Verdad 1: No se puede regresar a la escuela normal porque la escuela normal no funcionaba para todos los niños. • El regreso a la escuela no puede consistir solo en estar vacunado y libre de virus. No puede tratarse de nuevos protocolos de seguridad ni de cambios en las políticas y prácticas que aún oprimen y subyugan. Debe tratarse de una nueva visión de lo que la escuela debe ser y debe ser para todos los niños. Debe tratarse de acciones audaces ahora mismo que se hagan las cosas que se han retrasado para proteger el poder y la comodidad de la cultura dominante a expensas de nuestros niños y comunidades. No podemos volver a lo

que era, lo que se llama normal, porque lo normal no se trata de que prosperemos. Verdad 2: Las soluciones están en nuestra capacidad de co-crear, co-entregar y ser corresponsables de los resultados que se alinean con todos los vecinos que prosperan. • Lo que he visto muy claramente en esta crisis, es que la comunidad se une para hacer el uno por el otro en formas para las que las grandes estructuras y sistemas no están diseñados para hacer. He estado en las trincheras con personas capaces de ser ágiles, fluidas, receptivas e incluso proactivas cuando se trataba de apoyar y servir a los vecinos. Ha habido poca o ninguna burocracia que eliminar, ningún período de espera para que alguna junta desconectada decida si obtuvimos fondos y ningún rechazo a la individualización de nuestros enfoques; persona a persona, casa a casa, barrio a barrio. Hemos derribado las paredes, borrado las líneas y hemos de-

cidido que nuestra brillantez colectiva es mejor que nuestra mejor sillería. Compartimos una realidad deseada de que todos los vecinos prosperen y para llegar allí hemos adoptado la co-creación, la co-entrega y la corresponsabilidad como el camino a seguir. Verdad 3: ¡Estamos mejorando y nuestros mejores días están frente a nosotros! • Soy el optimista para siempre por la gente brillante que me rodea ahora, la gran nube de testigos cuyos testimonios hablan en mi vida y por mi fe en Cristo. No hay nada que no sea posible si nos despojamos de las cadenas del individualismo y abrazamos la liberación vivificante de estar conectados en esta gran red de reciprocidad, tejida en esta única prenda del destino. Te necesito desesperadamente y tú me necesitas desesperadamente y cuanto más vivimos eso, más experimentamos mejores días y nuestros mejores días. Estamos mejorando y nuestros mejores

días aún están por delante. Durante casi un año nos han interrumpido. Distanciamiento social, uso de máscaras, cancelación de viajes, conexión de zoom y quedarse en casa a menos que sea necesario viajar. ¡Todo para sobrevivir, no, prosperar y nunca volver a la normalidad! Letter to School Board Demands Latino Role in DPS Superintendent Search Eleven leaders of Latino community organizations sent a letter to the Denver Board of Education in December demanding community participation in the search to replace Superintendent Susana Cordova who resigned last month. Citing persistently low graduation rates by Latino students at DPS, the group urged the board to address “division within the school board,” and to “dispel the impression of discord and dysfunction” that critics say led Cordova to leave. Continued on page 22

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MONTBELLO MONTBELLO VIEWPOINTS - PUNTOS DE VISTA DE MONTBELLO Continued from page 21 The majority of DPS students are Latino. “Latino students, their families, and Latino communities will be among those negatively impacted by her departure,” the letter said. The community engagement process of the superintendent search that resulted in Ms. Cordova’s unanimous choice in 2018 was documented by a report by Dimension Strategies’ Denver Public Schools Board of Education Superintendent Search: Community Engagement Report. The letter cited the community concerns and community participants noted in the report. Community engagement “participants included ‘District employees, non-profits, faithbased groups, youth, parents, and education advocacy stakeholders.’” Concerns raised include “the curriculum needs to be more diverse and culturally relevant…Many community members expressed a strong preference for a Superintendent who will ‘work with the community rather than for them” and a willingness to communicate with the community ‘at all levels’…in an authentic manner to unite divided communities.” The end of the letter reflected a hope to work with the DPS Board to select the next superintendent. “Our organizations have long reflected and voiced the interests, concerns and needs of DPS’ Latino students. We stand ready to assist you in developing an open process for the selection of the next superintendent. We will advocate for a superintendent who meets or exceeds Superintendent Cordova’s outstanding and demonstrated ability to implement the Colorado Academic Standards for culturally and linguistically diverse speakers. DPS has a long path ahead toward achieving education equity for Latinos. Our or-

ganizations hope to work with you to assure that both the process and the selection of the next superintendent meets those expectations.” Signatories to the letter are Elsa Bañuelos, Executive Director, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos; Mario M. Carerra; Jim Chavez, Executive Director, Latin American Education Foundation (LAEF); Mike Cortés, Executive Director, Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, & Research Organization (CLLARO), Dr. Kathy Escamilla Professor Emerita, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder; Anthony J. García, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center; Jorge García, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Colorado Association for Bilingual Education (COCABE); Nita Gonzáles, Nuevo Amanacer, LLC; Rudy Gonzáles, Executive Director, Servicios de la Raza; Rosemary Rodríguez; and, Esther Romero, President Congress of Hispanic Educators (CHE). The full letter is available at Editor’s Note: This letter sumsummary provided by Gloria Rubio-Cortes, CLLARO ManManager of Program DevelDevelopment.

Carta a la Junta Escolar exige un papel en la búsqueda del superintendente de DPS. Once líderes de organizaciones comunitarias latinas enviaron una carta a la Junta de Educación de Denver en diciembre exigiendo la participación de la comunidad en la búsqueda para reemplazar a la superintendente Susana Cordova, quien renunció el mes pasado. Citando las tasas de graduación persistentemente bajas de los estudiantes latinos en DPS, el grupo instó a la junta a abordar la “división

dentro de la junta escolar” y “disipar la impresión de discordia y disfunción” que los críticos dicen que llevaron a Córdova a irse. La mayoría de los estudiantes de DPS son latinos. “Los estudiantes latinos, sus familias y las comunidades latinas estarán entre los mas afectados negativamente por su partida”, decía la carta. El proceso de participación comunitaria de la búsqueda del superintendente que resultó en la elección unánime de la Sra. Cordova en 2018 fue documentado por un informe de Dimension Strategies ‘Búsqueda del superintendente de la Junta de Educación de las Escuelas Públicas de Denver: Informe de participación comunitaria. La carta citó las preocupaciones de la comunidad y los participantes de la comunidad señalados en el informe. Participación comunitaria “los participantes incluyeron ‘empleados del distrito, organizaciones sin fines de lucro, grupos religiosos, jóvenes, padres y partes interesadas en la promoción de la educación’”. Las inquietudes planteadas incluyen “el plan de estudios debe ser más diverso y culturalmente relevante ... Muchos miembros de la comunidad expresaron una fuerte preferencia por un Superintendente que ‘trabajará con la comunidad en lugar de para ellos’ y la voluntad de comunicarse con la comunidad ‘en todos los niveles’ ... de una manera auténtica para unir comunidades divididas.” El final de la carta reflejaba la esperanza de trabajar con la Junta de DPS para seleccionar al próximo superintendente. “Nuestras organizaciones han reflejado y expresado durante mucho tiempo los intereses,

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition – January/February 2021


preocupaciones y necesidades de los estudiantes latinos de DPS. Estamos listos para ayudarlo a desarrollar un proceso abierto para la selección del próximo superintendente. Abogaremos por un superintendente que cumpla o supere la capacidad sobresaliente y demostrada del Superintendente Cordova para implementar los Estándares Académicos de Colorado para hablantes cultural y lingüísticamente diversos. DPS tiene un largo camino por delante para lograr la equidad educativa para los latinos. Nuestras organizaciones esperan trabajar con usted para asegurar que tanto el proceso como la selección del próximo superintendente satisfagan esas expectativas.” Los firmantes de la carta son Elsa Bañuelos, Directora Ejecutiva, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos; Mario M. Carerra; Jim Chavez, Director Ejecutivo, Fundación de Educación Latinoamericana (LAEF); Mike Cortés, Director Ejecutivo, Organización de Investigación, Defensa y Liderazgo Latino de Colorado (CLLARO), Dra. Kathy Escamilla Profesora Emérita, Escuela de Educación, Universidad de Colorado, Boulder; Anthony J. García, Centro Cultural y de Artes Escénicas Su Teatro; Jorge García, presidente y director ejecutivo de la Asociación de Educación Bilingüe de Colorado (COCABE); Nita Gonzáles, Nuevo Amanacer, LLC; Rudy Gonzáles, Director Ejecutivo, Servicios de la Raza; Rosemary Rodríguez; y Esther Romero, Presidenta del Congreso de Educadores Hispanos (CHE). La carta está disponible en línea en Resumen de la carta proporproporcionada por Gloria RubioCortes, Gerente de Desarrollo de Programas de CLLARO.

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